Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s week in pictures.  Haven’t had a surfing photo in a while:

Julian Wilson of Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Australia (pictured) flying through the air after pulling out of a wave at the last minute during the World Surf League Fiji Pro, at Cloudbreak off Tavarua island, Fiji

Julian Wilson from Coolum, Australia flies through the air after pulling out of a wave at the last minute during the World Surf League Fiji Pro, at Cloudbreak off Tavarua island, FijiPicture: EPA/KIRSTIN SCHOLTZ/WSL



Quick hits (part I)

1) Fascinating piece on the complete cultural inversion in recent times of which sex society thinks wants more sex (not that long ago, women were seen as the rapacious sex fiends).

2) I kept meaning to write a post on Hillary’s stand for voting rights.  I never did.  But, Chait, Jamelle Bouie, and Seth Masket all see her position as both good policy and good politics.

3) I had no idea there was a backlash against the whole “grit” thing.  Whether we want to talk about “grit” or not, though, I’m definitely supportive of the idea of teaching kids to improve their non-cognitive skills.

4) Should have included this with last night’s Charleston post.  The Economist:

The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become—for those not directly affected by tragedy—ritualised and then blend into the background noise. That normalisation makes it ever less likely that America’s political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness. Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.

5) Chipotle is working to design a better tortilla— the secret is fewer ingredients.  I like the existing tortillas well enough, but almost never eat them (I’m a burrito bowl guy) due to the 300+ (!) calories per tortilla .

6) Okay, I was going to write a a post on this college professor who is scared of his liberal students because of the rampant, new PC-ism (see Laura Kipnis), but I’m not scared of mine.  Although, maybe I should be– if anybody in my department is going to get in trouble for saying the wrong thing, it’s me.  I suspect this is still pretty much only a problem in elite liberal arts colleges.  Of course, I hope I don’t find out the wrong way.

7) JP says this is the best thing he’s read on Rachel Dolezal.  That’s a good endorsement.

8) Why we should keep Andrew Jackson on the $20 (short version, we tend to only pay attention to the bad stuff these days).

9) Why do we even need males, you may ask?  Here’s why:

The researchers found that when sexual selection was removed and beetles were paired up into monogamous couples, the population’s health declined rapidly and the bugs were wiped out by the 10th generation. Conversely, beetles that had a strong influence on sexual selection, where intense competition saw 90 males trying to compete to reproduce with only 10 females, were more resilient to extinction.

“To be good at out-competing rivals and attracting partners in the struggle to reproduce, an individual has to be good at most things, so sexual selection provides an important and effective filter to maintain and improve population genetic health,” said Gage. “Our findings provide direct support for the idea that sex persists as a dominant mode of reproduction because it allows sexual selection to provide these important genetic benefits.”

The study suggests that sexual selection plays a crucial role in sifting out harmful genetic mutations, as competition means females are less likely to mate with genetically inferior individuals.

10) In 3/4 of cases of non-complicated appendicitis, antibiotics can solve the problem.  So why do we keep cutting out appendices?  Mostly, it seems, because we always have.

11) Had an open tab on this nice German Lopez piece on marijuana legalization for far too long.  Basic point, yes “Big Marijuana” would not be a good thing.  But surely better than our current status quo.  Interestingly, he argues the most viable long-term option is not decriminalization– as many, including me, have advocated– but full-on commercialization:

Other policies fall short of fixing all the issues caused by prohibition. While decriminalization would reduce the number of marijuana-related arrests, it would leave in place a black market that would continue to fund drug cartels. And while legalizing pot in more limited ways — by allowing only growing and gifting — would deplete some of the demand for a black market, it’s likely some form of legal sales is necessary to satisfy demand for the most widely used illicit drug in the country (although experts are watching Washington, DC, to see how grow-and-gift turns out).

This leaves legalization supporters with one feasible option to address the full scope of issues that concern them: commercialization. The other options are, for better or worse, either politically impractical or wouldn’t be able to greatly reduce black market demand for pot.

12) I had no idea how many animal hybrids were out there, seemingly just to satisfy human curiousity, while leading to animal suffering.  While we’re at it the Echidna is no hybrid, but it sure is freaky.

13) You already know how evil civil forfeiture is, but one more sad story on the matter can never hurt.  Hopefully, the unfortunate victims of this will learn that you really need to forget about travelling with significant cash (of course you should be able to do so in America, but as long as this policy is allowed to persist, it’s just folly).

14) Noted Libertarian (former NC Gubernatorial candidate) and Duke Political Science professor, Mike Munger, weighs in on the LaCour affair.

15) In some ways, the poor are more rational about money than the wealthy.

16) Is your inflation-adjusted middle class salary really better than you think?  This has kicked off an interesting discussion.

17) Interestingly, and distressingly, parents of obese children seem to be in an amazing amount of denial on the matter.

18) Was having a nice back-and-forth with a former student (a libertarian, frustrated as all with the GOP) and I sent him this great piece by Jon Chait (from a few years back) on how tax cuts for rich people truly has become the over-riding ideology of the contemporary GOP.  I don’t know if I’ve linked it here before or not, but it’s quite good and it made quite an impression.

19) Last post on Game of Thrones for a while.  Just nice to see another take so similar to my own on the ultimate boring-ness of the White Walker army.  On a related note, Yglesias is (rightly) disappointed in the de-emphasis on the political scheming from whence GOT actually derives it’s name.

20) We’ll end on an uplifting note involving a stuffed Hobbes that once was lost, but now is found.



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