Photo of the day

There was a “total cloud inversion” at the Grand Canyon and Vox has a number of photos.  So cool.

Total cloud inversion as seen from Mather Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, December 11, 2014 NPS photo by Michael Quinn (Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr)

Quick hits (part I)

1) How game theory improved the NYC high school application/matching process.

2) I saw a “Five Myths” about police and was prepared to not be impressed.  But it’s by Radley Balko, so it’s really good.

3) Just your typical every-day story about how corrupt our democracy is these days.  In this case energy firms working secretly with state attorney generals against the public interest.

4) I’m not much of a cat person, but loved this story on the death of Cat Fancy magazine and the birth of Catster.

5) Charlotte is experimenting with pay for trash service the volume of trash you produce.  This should be an idea both liberals and conservatives can love.

6) Ross Douthat on the politics of Star Wars.

7) Politico argues that we should lower the drinking age.  Personally, I think it’s worth a shot:

Lowering the legal drinking age breaks the lock that fraternities and dorm rooms and off-campus housing currently have as the only places to drink Offering an alternative changes the dynamic in which vulnerable students feel they have no choice but venture into potentially unsafe places.

Socializing and drinking in public places with more observers instantly raises the threshold of getting away with misbehavior. In a brighter light amid a more diverse crowd, those contemplating a crime will know they’re being watched, and the likelihood of someone intervening if a situation becomes unwise rises.

A lowered drinking age reduces the push for “pre-gaming” — of gathering in private spaces to drink fast and hard early on before setting out. It spreads consumption across an evening, where one’s metabolism has a fighting chance of matching consumption.

8) Mark Kleiman basically summarized his terrific book, When Brute Force Fails for the journal Democracy.  If you want to spend about 20 minutes to be more knowledgeable and thoughtful on crime in the US than 99% of the public, I strongly suggest you read it.

9) On how Pets.com was actually a good idea, just too far ahead of it’s time.  And I did love those ads.

10) I get so tired of conservatives using stealing as an analogy for progressive taxation

11) Speaking of which… big cuts to the IRS enforcement budget.  Of course, the biggest beneficiaries will be rich tax cheaters.

12) Another day, another white police office (or two) are able to beat a black person with impunity.

13) On how it would have been really easy to indict Darren Wilson if the prosecutor had actually wanted to.  There has been an indictment in a recent NC case.  Why?

Charles G. Monnett III, a lawyer for Mr. Ferrell’s parents, said the indictment would not have come had the state prosecutor not taken the case over from the Mecklenburg County district attorney. “The district attorney’s office works way too closely with the local police department and individual officers to be able to objectively look at these cases,” he said.

Simple.  We need to take these cases out of the hands of local prosecutors.

14) The sexism, etc., in these vintage ads is simply amazing.

15) Eric Alterman on why liberals need radicals.

16) You probably haven’t the story of Ian Crozier, another American doctor who contracted Ebola.  It’s an amazing and inspiring story.  Click through.  Really.

17) It’s not easy being poor.

18) Loved Dana Milbank on the death of the New Republic.  George Packer is excellent on it as well.  And if you really want the full story, current New Yorker writer and former TNR staffer, Ryan Lizza, is all over it.

19) How to take better photos for Instagram.

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