Quick hits (part I)

1) Apparently, millennials are eating less cereal because you have to clean up a cereal bowl when you’re done.  Sad.  Alas, I think I may be failing my post-millennial as a parent (the larger point of this Wonkblog piece).

2) Low testosterone makes you a better dad.  Does that make me even better for being a good dad without low testosterone :-).

3) Not that big on the NBA, but I was so glad that Cleveland got a championship.  And I really enjoyed this Josh Levin piece on Lebron.

4) Kristof with a good piece on guns:

The Orlando killer would have been legally barred from buying lawn darts, because they were banned as unsafe. He would have been unable to drive a car that didn’t pass a safety inspection or that lacked insurance. He couldn’t have purchased a black water gun without an orange tip — because that would have been too dangerous.

But it’s not too dangerous to allow the sale of an assault rifle without even a background check?

5) The most mysterious object in the history of technology.

6) I’m sure I’ve noted the fact before that American sports are basically socialist while European sports leagues are much more meritocratic.  This is an excellent piece that actually explains the why behind this fact.

7) The Supreme Court’s horrible recent ruling on the 4th amendment really deserves it’s own post, but, busy, busy week.  Good take here:

The U.S. Supreme Court weakened the Constitution’s protections against unlawful police stops on Monday, ruling that evidence found during those interactions could be used in court if the officers also found an outstanding arrest warrant along the way.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a five-justice majority in Utah v. Strieff, concluded that a Utah police officer’s “errors in judgment hardly rise to a purposeful or flagrant violation of [Edward] Strieff’s Fourth Amendment rights.”

But in a thundering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was less forgiving. “The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights,” she wrote, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong.”

Later, writing only for herself, Sotomayor also added that the ruling “implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

8) Paul Waldman on the “catastrophe” of the Trump campaign.  And another piece on Trump’s campaign as a giant “political science experiment.

9) Chilling interactive feature on the Orlando night club shooting.

10) Seth Masket on the fact that open primaries just wouldn’t change things all that much.

11) As an avid photographer I loved this– why taking photos does not ruin the moment:

A new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology supports this second view. It suggests that the act of taking a photograph often improves people’s experiences, by focusing their attention on the aspects of the moment most worth capturing…

The papers suggests that the benefits the researchers saw weren’t necessarily tied to photography, but more how photography forces people to notice their surroundings. The act of framing and taking a photograph helps to focus our attention on the aspect of the experience most worth capturing and remembering – a friend’s expression, or the way the light hits a landscape. In one study, the researchers tracked the eye movements of people visiting a museum, and found that those taking photographs looked longer and more frequently at the art.

12) The biggest threat to the US Economy?  Trump.  Quite seriously.

13) On why the worst fears of legal marijuana are likely overblown.

14) Yeah, I order a ton of books from Amazon.  But I love having a local Barnes & Noble, which I not only browse at, but purchase from because it deserves to be kept afloat.  Alas, the chain is in real danger and that’s a serious threat to book lovers:

In a world without Barnes & Noble, risk-averse publishers will double down on celebrity authors and surefire hits. Literary writers without proven sales records will have difficulty getting published, as will young, debut novelists. The most literary of novels will be shunted to smaller publishers. Some will probably never be published at all. And rigorous nonfiction books, which often require extensive research and travel, will have a tough time finding a publisher with the capital to fund such efforts.

The irony of the age of cultural abundance is that it still relies on old filters and distribution channels to highlight significant works. Barnes & Noble and corporate publishers still have enormous strides to make in fully reflecting America’s rich diversity. But without them, the kinds of books that challenge us, that spark intellectual debates, that push society to be better, will start to disappear. Without Barnes & Noble, we’ll be adrift in a sea of pulp.

15) I would argue that not income inequality, but rather inequality in genuine opportunity for economic mobility is the most substantial problem facing America today.  Tom Edsall with an excellent piece on the matter.

16) I had not really thought about the fact that the US national soccer teams don’t have more Latino players.  But they really should!  Good story on why they don’t.

17) Great take on those wanting to vote for the Green Party:

If my friends want the Green Party to really be the progressive party that will represent them and their interests, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a vote in a national election. It’s going to take an influx of volunteers and candidates at the local level who are willing to fight with current party representatives to make the Greens what they could be. It’s also going to take a shift in attitude away from the idea that doing politics is doing something dirty, corrupt, and wrong in itself.

So if you want to vote for a “little guy” like you, you’re not getting it in Stein. If you want a real alternative third party, you can’t get there by voting for the Greens as they run now. (Go lobby your local elections bodies for instant-runoff voting instead.) If you want someone fighting for economic justice on the national level, you’re not getting that from the Greens based on their history or strategy. If you want someone incorruptible, that’s not a promise any party can make.

About the only principle you can effectively uphold by voting for Stein is that politics shouldn’t be done by people who are good at it. And if that’s the message you’re trying to send, well, then I disagree vehemently. Government is our check on the strong, on the mob, on the rich. It doesn’t always do those things well, but that’s what it exists for. I want people in office who can do that job.

18) Wow, now this is what I call brilliant satire (on guns).  And the story.

 

19) I already listen to my podcasts at 1.5 speed.  Think of how much more TV I could watch if I did the same, like Jeff Guo.  But it somehow seems wrong.  Still, think I may give it a try.

20) Of all Trump’s absurdity, his taking on Hillary’s religion is definitely up there.  EJ Dionne on how Trump actually has a nasty and despicable habit of going after people’s religious faith.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Quick hits (part I)

  1. Jon K says:

    19) I listen to a ton of audiobooks and almost always do so at between 1.25 and 1.5 speed. I can’t stand listening to them at 1.0 as it is slower than my brain can process what is being said. I have also been watching most tv and movies at 1.2 or 1.4 for a long time.

    I use a cablecard and a pc cable tuner to receive cable. Microsoft has an excellent cable box, dvr, and program guide called Windows Media Center. This setup allows me to avoid renting a box, provides free program guide, and also provides free dvr.

    Unfortunately Microsoft abandoned it with Windows 10. I solved this by buying a 135 dollar micropc that uses an Intel Atom processor and runs the full pc version of Windows 8 Professional. I plug in a USB Hub with my cable tuner, a 1 terabyte USB hard drive, and just leave it running. It provides me a fully functional two tuner dvr. I have it set to play at 1.2 by default. I don’t even notice it is sped up anymore, and when I watch live TV it feels like it is in slow motion. It has caused me to record stuff I would watch live and then wait 30 minutes to start watching it.

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