Photo of the day

Japanese Army makes giant Star Wars snow sculpture?!  Yes.  And it’s awesome.

The dark side of the force.(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Mega quick hits (part I)

1) Reihan Salam says the upper middle class (hey, that’s me!) is ruining America.

2) Far too many Southerners still think the Civil War was about “States’ Rights.”  Umm, yeah– the right to enslave people.  Anyway, interesting (if overly long, perhaps) history of this mis-history.

3) Garrett Epps explains why finding for the plaintiffs to destroy the ACA in King v. Burwell would simply be a phenomenally wrong-headed decision.  And, uses an awesome Harry Potter analogy to do it.

4) A summary of the various research on the benefits of decriminalizing drugs.

5) I used to really love Billy Joel about 25 years ago.  Here is all of his songs ranked.  Much to my dismay, my favorite– A Matter of Trust-– came in a lowly 86.

6) The R0 or measles is super high– about 15.  Ebola is more like 2– thank God.

7) Been meaning to post this for ever– time to fall into a quick hit.  Really disturbing story about how unscrupulous private companies are profiting of off NC charter schools.

8) Nice summary from Vox on just how horrible the research that “linked” autism to vaccines is.

9) I’ve read on multiple occasions on how phages— virus that attack bacteria– may be a key solution to our antibiotic resistant bacteria.  But for some reason, they only take this seriously in Eastern Europe.

10) A nice research study that shows how early education programs save money long-term by keeping kids out of (very expensive) special education classes later.  Of course, that means we need our politicians to think long term :-(.

11) Virginia is trying to dramatically limit the transparency of it’s executions.  Dahlia Lithwick is on the case.

In her testimony Lain pointed out how absurd it is to hide government actions and accountability precisely when the state must be held to account: “It strikes me as the essence of bad government to enshroud the government in secrecy in its most powerful moment—when it exercises its sovereign right to take the life of one of its citizens.” She added that this bill ensures that “there are no questions asked about where the drugs came from, what the drugs are, what their potency is, whether they have been contaminated, whether they are expired, indeed whether they were obtained legally.”

12) So these two poor brothers were wrongfully imprisoned in NC for 30 years.  Due to the nature of their release (declared innocent by a judge), though, they are not eligible for compensation for the state.  Not surprisingly, they are very much struggling to get by.  To receive compensation, they need an official pardon from the governor.  He’s had the request on his desk since September.  No action; no answers.  Hell of a guy, our governor.

13) Well here’s an intersecting study– parents are more willing to lie in front of their sons than their daughters.

14) Have you heard about the Columbia University student carrying a mattress around to protest the administration letting her alleged rapist stay on campus.  Here’s the story from his side.  I must say, the electronic exchanges between these two after the alleged incident, but before anything was reported, certainly muddy the waters.

15) It’s an interesting question just how much we should be pushing college on young elementary kids who come from backgrounds where college is not typically part of their aspirations.

16) A friend showed me this line of Nerf shooting toys intended specifically for girls.  Wow.

17) Loved Justin Peters‘ account of his life-changing (and not how you expect) time on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”  I was one of the junkies of this show back when it first came out and so wanted to get on it.

18) Maria Konnikova on how emotionally-laden memories are very vivid, but no more accurate than our super-inaccurate ordinary memories.  In fact, the vividness seems to come at the expense of details.

19) Love this Seth Masket post on how “charisma” among presidential candidates is way over-rated.

In 1988, both Michael Dukakis and George Bush struggled to appear charismatic during the campaign. Bush, in particular, fought to overcome “the wimp factor.” Yet today, Bush is widely recalled as winning because Dukakis lacked charisma. This is basically all besides the point: Bush won for the simple reason that the economy was growing strongly in 1987 and ’88 and Republicans got the credit for that. That election likely would have come out almost identically even if Dukakis looked like Tom Selleck and Bush looked like Screech. Yet because Bush got the win, he is remembered more favorably than his opponent.

20) Love how the little guy (and John Oliver!) have seeming made a different on net neutrality.  Nice NYT Editorial on why this is so the right call (and how right-wing talking points are full of it).

21) Jamelle Bouie on how public apathy may be good for much-needed criminal justice reform.

22) Are Costco and Super Wal-Mart making America fat?  Maybe.  Of course individuals make decision on what to eat, but to ignore the many situational/contextual factors in our rapidly rising rates of obesity is willfully idiotic.

%d bloggers like this: