Quick hits (part II)

1) Fairly entertaining Business Insider piece on philosophical paradoxes.

2) Joe Nocera on Keystone.  I had not realized a lot of tar sands oil was already using existing US pipelines:

Yet these new pipelines are going to be carrying some 200,000 barrels per day of the heavy crude mined from the tar sands. True, that is only a third of what the Keystone XL would be able to deliver, but it essentially helps double the amount of tar sands oil that can be exported to the United States. In addition, there will be expanded rail capacity for Alberta’s oil, which is a far more dangerous way to move it than a state-of-the-art pipeline.

4) Show dogs are already a bad enough thing.  Did not realize the Labrador standard was actually making dogs fat.  That’s horrible.  At least the Lab people are pushing back on that.

5) Short summary on the latest research on police body cameras— they work.

6) Love this Reason post calling out the New York Post on a subway attack.  At first the attack was committed by a “hulking brute.”  Then they learned the attacker was a police officer and the victim was “allegedly put in a bear hug…”

7) A look at college grade inflation:

Ultimately, grade inflation has severe consequences. Not only does it make it difficult for employers to vet the caliber of an applicant, but it also misleads students, who often use their grades as benchmarks to help diagnose their strengths and weaknesses. “If everybody gets an A or a B, then grade point average doesn’t carry as much as information as a signal to potential employers or graduate schools,” Michael McPherson said, an economics professor at the University of North Texas. Grade deflation—which still affects some institutions, including Boston University—has its repercussions, too.

The epidemic of grade inflation—and deflation—brings America’s higher education system under further scrutiny, particularly because many administrators and professors appear to condone, or at least accept, the grade manipulation.

8) Love that the NRA photo of a diverse crowd supporting gun rights is a stock photo photoshopped with gun signs.

9) Speaking of guns, nice post from Adam Gopnik (probably my favorite writer on criminal justice issues) on the “moral work” of gun control.

10) Why do NYPD officers keep using chokeholds?  Because, of course, they never actually get punished for doing so.  No accountability –> lots of bad behavior.

11) I did not find this “case for having just one child” the least bit compelling.  Okay, maybe the part about how it’s better for the environment, but not the rest.

12) The conviction of former Alabama governor was totally political (60 Minutes story from many years ago)and has no place in a democratic society.  Toobin on why he should be pardoned.

13) The history of the criminalization of jaywalking (I do it almost every day) and how it reflects the changing role of the automobile.

14) This top 10 list of best sitcom episodes of the last 25 years has some great ones.  I’ve heartily enjoyed 8 of the 10.  I also love that they have Party Down on here– the best show nobody knows about.  And also, a shout-out to Ricky Gervais and the Free Love Freeway– a song I find myself singing for no apparent reason every now and then.

15) Did you know there were Lyme Disease Wars?  They’ve reached a new level.  Few better than New Yorker science writer Michael Spector to tackle the subject.

16) Have you checked out Invisibilia?  As I figured it would be, it’s awesome.  Great first show.  I was totally fascinated by the story of Martin Pistorius.  Here’s a WP piece on him.  And if you’ve only got 12 minutes to spare, the All Things Considered version of the story is terrific.

17) On why the Segway has been a complete flop.

18) Honestly, I’m naturally skeptical of most anything on Upworthy (my cynical nature?), but this bit on privilege is pretty good.

19) What Donald Sterling’s children and I have in common?  The benefit of “stepped up basis” in inheritance taxes.  My mom owned two houses in the lucrative DC-area real estate market when she passed away 6 years ago and my sister and I got the benefit.

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