Mega quick hits (part II)

1) The cluelessness of an NYPD police precinct tweeting out Jack Nicholson’s “you can’t handle the truth” speech is sadly telling about mindset of too many police.

2) Matt Yglesias wrote a nice piece about all that Obama has accomplished despite the fact that he is unpopular.  Seth Masket hypothesizes that Obama is unpopular because of all he has accomplished:

3a) So, this Bill Nye thing explaining evolution with emojis is mildly entertaining, but this headline claiming he “annihilates” creationists with the video is preposterous.  Ummm, no.  This didn’t even strike me as a particularly good summary of how evolution works.

3b) Speaking of evolution, Darwin was awesome, but his speculation on the mechanism was spectacularly wrong.

4) Love this collection of posters about the dangers of giving women the right to vote.

5) Apparently not knowing the difference between screening tests and diagnostic tests is leading some people to abort healthy fetuses.  Pretty disturbing.

6) My  first ever post from Modern Farmer!  Interesting story about the problem of invasive Asian Carp and the various efforts to try and address the problem.

7) PPP on football fandom in NC.  This result on college football particularly struck me– Duke is now more popular than NC State!  Wow, nothing like winning:

When it comes to college football loyalties in the state, little has changed from a year ago. 26% of North Carolinians say they’re UNC fans to 15% for Duke, 14% for NC State, 9% each for Appalachian State and East Carolina, and 4% f0r Wake Forest.

8) I had never thought about the issue of the lack of body hair on women in post-apocalyptic movies and TV, but it really does say something interesting about our society and gender.

9) I’m strongly considering switching over to T-Mobile at some point for my Iphone.  More than anything, I love how they are trying to disrupt the very consumer-unfriendly practices of the cell phone industry.  And so does David Pogue.

10) Really, really good piece by Tom Edsall on “welfare chauvinism.”  Like most all Edsall, long, but very educational:

The current failings of the American system are less the fault of politics per se than of the irreconcilability of the conflicts that politicians are forced to reckon with. Globalization and technological advance are driving punitive employment practices that no one has figured out how to address. Illegal immigration by men and women determined to raise their living standards is difficult if not impossible to restrain. Social-cultural issues like abortion and same-sex marriage involve competing moral absolutes that do not lend themselves to compromise. Perhaps even more significant, the causes of poverty and inequality remain bitterly disputed.

11) Looking back at former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney’s decision 20 years ago to leave coaching at the height of professional success to devote all his energy to Promisekeepers.

12) A nice piece on the Sony hack and why we should all be very afraid.  I also liked Chait’s take that defending American culture from North Korean attack is a job for the US Government– not a private corporation.

13) Took me a week to finally getting around to watching the brilliant Office: Middle Earth skit from SNL starring Martin Freeman.  As a fan of the British Office and an enjoyer (not really a fan) of Jackson’s Hobbit movies, this was oh, so good.

14) Speaking of which, really enjoyed this take– Peter Jackson must be stopped.  I’ll see the final Hobbit movie because I’ve seen the first two, but I’m not particularly looking forward to it.

15) No, you don’t really want to boost your immune system.

16) Watched Edge of Tomorrow yesterday.  Loved it.  Very much agree with these two reviews.  Also, David really loved it– I’ve got to watch Groundhog Day with him.

17) Jamelle Bouie on how America’s prison system makes it quite clear that, as a country, we are okay with torture.

18) Yet another fine NYT piece on the absolute insanity of medical prices (echocardiogram edition).

19) Wisconsin has put a pregnant woman in jail for using drugs before she knew she was pregnant.  Sometimes like is far too like The Handmaid’s Tale.

20) Really meant to give this it’s own post, but since it’s just sat there in an open tab for a month… Anyway, really nice article on the science of willpower and self control.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Mega quick hits (part II)

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Along the lines of the lack of body hair on women in post apocalyptic movies and TV, have you noticed the straight, glaringly white teeth on even the lowliest peasant or slave or hero in medieval and earlier movies?

    • Steve Greene says:

      Yes indeed. Period pieces would look remarkably different without this little bit of creative fiction when it comes to teeth. Though, can’t say I mind all that much :-).

  2. Mike says:

    Chait on defending American movies from North Korea and suggesting the US government and American taxpayers reimburse Sony for losses.

    Sony has had at least 9 previous successful hacker attacks against them. They chose to not beef up their security. Usually it’s the customers who have to take the hit for corporations lax security, by having their credit card info sold on the black market. So it’s easy for corporations to ignore pressing computer security problems and not spend the resources they should be. But this time instead of customers taking the hit, the shareholders and some contract employees are going to be hit by the negative consequences.

    Sony has almost 8 billion a year in revenue. (North Korea has only 13 billion GDP)
    Sony has sufficient resources to at least make a meaningful attempt at securing their computers. Which they and the rest of the corporate world have been warned to do over and over by multiple computer security experts for at least a decade.

    I don’t know why Americans would want to reimburse Sony corporation for a problem Sony allowed to happen, indeed, practically created by their own cost cutting decisions. But I know if I had the decision, I wouldn’t pay. Not for the second hack. Certainly not for the tenth.

    Why would corporations bother securing their computer systems when they can simply be paid by the US taxpayer when something goes wrong? They will have an incentive to ignore computer security.

    Apparently, one of the tools used was a network password brute force attack. The hackers used software that guessed the password of the network. A sufficiently long and complex password on the network would make it practically impossible to guess.

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