Why the Norwegians aren’t coming here

Nice piece from CNN.  And I presume this goes for the other Scandinavian countries as well:

But despite the President’s offer, it’s unlikely that an influx of Norwegians will begin to settle in the US anytime soon.

Norwegians become American citizens at a much lower rate than most other countries…

Norway has a rich economy, generous social welfare programs, a highly-rated (and free) education system, and exemplary gender parity practices, to name a few of the benefits.
And to top it off, the United Nations named Norway the “happiest country in the world” last year. The US came in 14th place…
In the US, patients wanting to see a doctor will shelve out at least $30-200 per visit, depending on their insurance plan, according to OECD data.
For women, Norway ranks the second best in the world, according to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report. The annual report examines gender imbalances in economics and the workplace, education, politics and health.
The US ranks 49th on the list…
None of this was lost on social media users familiar with the benefits of living in Norway.
“If you want to attract more immigration from Norway, you’re going to need to provide Universal Healthcare, Free College, and robust social safety nets. Because they already have all those things,” [emphasis mine] author Patrick S. Tomlinson wrote on Twitter.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Great David Graham take on the “shithole” countries and how immigration actually works:

His presumption seems to be that other nations are deliberately sending to the United States their least-desirable citizens. That sounds a lot like the Mariel boatlift of 1980, in which Cuba released a number of inmates from jails and mental facilities, dispatching them to the United States as part of a massive refugee exodus. It seems to shape the way Trump views all immigration—he and aides have cited it repeatedly.

But in the vast majority of cases, this is not how immigration works. Governments are not deciding who to send. People are deciding to leave, often at great risk, out of personal motivation. Those who come are the ones “who had a special love for freedom and a special courage that enabled them to leave their own land, leave their friends and their countrymen, and come to this new and strange land to build a New World of peace and freedom and hope,” as Ronald Reagan once put it.

This entirely different paradigm is one reason Trump, unlike most of his fellow Republicans, wants to limit not only illegal immigration but legal immigration as well; he seems to object not just to illegality, but to much immigration itself.

This zero-sum mentality is why he approaches refugees as safety threats and drains on U.S. government resources, seldom considering the reasons refugees have been driven to leave. There’s a middle ground—there are people who believe that on the one hand, refugees deserve aid but that on the other hand the United States must work within its means, and safety threats must be eliminated—but Trump’s comments, both previously and about Haitians and Salvadorans now, demonstrate this is not his view.

Trump’s decision to label these places “shitholes” is coarse and revolting, but the greater failure is his inability to connect his assessment with what it means for the people who live there. He either cannot see or is not interested in the conflicts and violence and poverty that immigrants are seeking to leave behind, and he is not interested in the extent to which the U.S. has contributed to these problems through interventions in El Salvador and Haiti.

2) Julia Azari makes the case that political amateurs are a threat to democracy.

3) Yes, of course Trump is a racist, but I do think there’s something to the fact that not everybody sees calling non-white countries “shitholes” as inherently racist because how liberals and conservatives see “racism” is different.  Drum: [emphases in original]

And come on, their thinking goes, all those third-world countries really are shitholes. Everyone knows it, but only Donald Trump has the guts to just say it.

Until Donald Trump comes along. He’s basically saying that we all know those fancy words are just the liberal elitist version² of “shithole countries,” and he’s giving Joe permission to say so. Go ahead and use the words you know and ignore the faux gasps from all those liberal scolds who believe the same thing but just won’t say it in plain language. You’re no more racist than they are.

Right or wrong, this is liberating for them. Trump isn’t so much appealing to racism as he is telling people you’re not a racist. J

4) Interesting take on how Facebook is redoing its newsfeed, “Facebook Couldn’t Handle News. Maybe It Never Wanted To.”

5) Female professors are asked for favors more than are male professors.

6) Some rather dispiriting research thusly summed up, “Men Are Destroying Our Planet Because They Don’t Want to Seem Girly.”

A new study from the journal Scientific Americansuggests men are less likely than women to engage in ecofriendly behavior, not because they’re less concerned about the environment, but because they’re worried it might undermine their masculinity. Because nothing makes you seem more like a wimpy little girl than wanting froufrou things like “breathable air” and for “whole continents not to sink under rising seas.”

In seven experiments conducted with over 2,000 American and Chinese participants, researchers found both men and women had a “green-feminine stereotype,” and judged ecofriendly purchases and behaviors as more feminine than their non-green alternatives. For example, individuals who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store were perceived as more feminine than those who used plastic bags. Another experiment found that men who were presented with a pink, floral gift card were more likely to purchase environmentally unfriendly items than men who were given a standard gift card.

Well, this feminine guy is going to stick with his reusable bags, damnit!

7) The scientific controversy over whether lobsters feel pain.

8) This is so good, “A Storm Trooper reconsiders his support for Snoke.”

9) Brett Stephens “shithole” column on immigration may be the best I’ve read yet.

10) Loved this Atlantic article on how pretty much all animals are susceptible to “sleep pressure” and how poorly scientists ultimately understand it:

In particular, this need to make up lost sleep, which has been seen not just in jellyfish and humans but all across the animal kingdom, is one of the handholds researchers are using to try to get a grip on the bigger problem of sleep. Why we feel the need for sleep is seen by many as key to understanding what it gives us.

Biologists call this need “sleep pressure”: Stay up too late, build up sleep pressure. Feeling drowsy in the evenings? Of course you are—by being awake all day, you’ve been generating sleep pressure! But like “dark matter,” this is a name for something whose nature we do not yet understand. The more time you spend thinking about sleep pressure, the more it seems like a riddle game out of Tolkien: What builds up over the course of wakefulness, and disperses during sleep? Is it a timer? A molecule that accrues every day and needs to be flushed away? What is this metaphorical tally of hours, locked in some chamber of the brain, waiting to be wiped clean every night?

In other words, asks Yanagisawa, as he reflects in his spare, sunlit office at the institute, “What is the physical substrate of sleepiness?”

11) Global warming is sending sea turtle sex ratios way out of wack.

12) James Hamblin with one of the more thoughtful and informative takes on whether Trump is mentally ill.

13) That said, also love this, “Maybe Trump Is Not Mentally Ill. Maybe He’s Just a Jerk.”

There is another problem with the current debate over Mr. Trump’s mental condition: It assumes his behavior isn’t voluntary, and that his shocking or “unpresidential” conduct is a symptom of mental illness. This kind of thinking contributes to the stigmatization of mental illness. It’s entirely possible that he simply has certain personal qualities we don’t find ideal in a leader, like being a narcissistic bully who lacks basic civility and common courtesies. That he is, in a word, a jerk. But that alone does not make him mentally unfit to serve.

14) Satirical high school reading list.  Good stuff.

15) Ron Brownstein on voters abandoning Trump:

A massive new source of public-opinion research offers fresh insights into the fault lines emerging in Donald Trump’s foundation of support.

Previously unpublished results from the nonpartisan online-polling firm SurveyMonkey show Trump losing ground over his tumultuous first year not only with the younger voters and white-collar whites who have always been skeptical of him, but also with the blue-collar whites central to his coalition.

Trump retains important pillars of support. Given that he started in such a strong position with those blue-collar whites, even after that decline he still holds a formidable level of loyalty among them—particularly men and those over 50 years old. What’s more, he has established a modest but durable beachhead among African American and Hispanic men, even while confronting overwhelming opposition from women in those demographic groups.

16) My pencil-loving son (i.e., not the one reading this blog post) loved this NYT feature on America’s last pencil factory.  Amazing images.

17) Pretty sure my non-pencil loving son who is reading this blog post will love this terrific video on how the editing made the original Star Wars so much better.  So will fans of Star Wars and those interested in film-making.

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