Quick hits

Busy week of visiting my family (which I haven’t done in far too long) means far less reading on-line and fewer quick hits.  Nonetheless, I don’t want to disappoint.  So…

1) Nice piece on how Hollywood is very much a man’s world.  What I found most interesting is the idea that female directors are punished for a “flop” far more than male directors.

2) On how must Russians don’t even realize what dire trouble their economy is in.

3) On how being a CEO is (too much) like being a Silverback:

IN GORILLA society, power belongs to silverback males. These splendid creatures have numerous status markers besides their back hair: they are bigger than the rest of their band, strike space-filling postures, produce deeper sounds, thump their chests lustily and, in general, exude an air of physical fitness. Things are not that different in the corporate world. The typical chief executive is more than six feet tall, has a deep voice, a good posture, a touch of grey in his thick, lustrous hair and, for his age, a fit body. Bosses spread themselves out behind their large desks. They stand tall when talking to subordinates. Their conversation is laden with prestige pauses and declarative statements.

4) Apparently, tumeric is awesome.  I think I like it in stuff my wife cooks, but I’m not even sure.

5) Krugman on what we can learn by comparing and contrasting US and UK’s recent economic policy (short version– austerity doesn’t work).

6) Among the super shady practice of college sports, the perfectly legal practice of recruiting a kid’s mentor to your coaching staff has got to be among the sleaziest.  Apparently, it works, though.  Speaking of college sports– Go Buckeyes!

7) Seth Masket on what 2014 taught us about American politics.

8) Very nice piece from Vox on “the invisible primary.”  And if you really want to understand the primaries in 2016 and not be like a cable news pundit/hack, this is a really, really good start.

9) Matt Taibbi on what we can learn from the NYPD work slowdown:

If you’re wondering exactly what that means, the Post is reporting that the protesting police have decided to make arrests “only when they have to.” (Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously, take 10 or 15 seconds)…

First, it shines a light on the use of police officers to make up for tax shortfalls using ticket and citation revenue. Then there’s the related (and significantly more important) issue of forcing police to make thousands of arrests and issue hundreds of thousands of summonses when they don’t “have to.”

10) I love that the link I saw for this referred to it as the holy grail of tech tips.  How to remove google+ contacts’ birthdays from being automatically included on your calendar.  Done.

11) Now that it’s 2015, this is actually the year of Back to the Future Part II.  A nice look at what the movie got right and wrong about the future.  Big wrong– dominance of fax machines.

12) They are very racist in Ukraine, but at least they are very honest about it.  Nice first-person essay:

The officer walked toward me, gave a Soviet-style military salute and demanded that I present my passport. He looked it over before telling me to follow him into a mini-police unit inside the station. Once there, I asked the cop why I was being held. In Russian, he responded, “You’re a nigger and I know you’re bringing drugs into our country,” he said. “Where are the drugs?” …

As bad as the experience sounds, I appreciated the young cops’ forwardness. He made it clear that his stop was motivated by race and nothing more. In New York City, where I now live, the NYPD immediately rejects any suggestion that racism can motivate officers’ behavior, even subconsciously.  They categorically dismiss research that shows black people are habitually treated more severely than whites when suspected of the same crime. They swear that policing policies like “stop and frisk” and “broken windows” aren’t racially motivated, even though studies have repeatedly shown that they disproportionately target minorities. These knee-jerk denials breed distrust and allow tensions to fester.

13) So depressing that even in this environment of a super-cheap gas prices, the super-smart and endorsed by pretty much all economists and people who take policy seriously idea of raising the gas tax is going nowhere.  Ugh.

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