Quick hits (part II)

1) Good stuff from Brian Beutler:

Republicans trying to hurt the country rather than serve as a faithful opposition isn’t new. Antipathy between the far right and the GOP leadership is longstanding. If you think right-wing Republicans lying to their voters about the limits of their power for personal gain is something they invented in 2023, Ted Cruz would like a word. And if reactionaries are going to issue marching orders to their leaders, including orders to shut down the government or default on U.S. debt unless Democrats pay various ransoms, the correct response is also old: We won’t negotiate. You get nothing.  

What’s new, or at least unique to this circumstance, is the character of the splinter faction that seems poised to seize control of the House. It’s composed almost entirely of insurrectionists. Their aims as legislative terrorists, such as we can discern them, aren’t the kinds of nonstarter policy demands that marked Republican hostage taking in the Obama years (gut Medicare, defund the Affordable Care Act, etc). They are rooted in the realm of corruption. They want to steal elections. They want to sabotage criminal investigations that implicate themselves, Donald Trump, and January 6 defendants, current and future. They want to dictate the the tactics and tools the House will bring to bear to achieve those goals to whoever becomes speaker. They want to institutionalize a standard of impunity for Republicans caught in the reach of legitimate oversight, and a different standard of total compliance for Democrats, whether investigating them is merited or not.

And here we get drawn into the question of how Democrats should react. Because the key thing about this insurgency is that the faction waging it is the same one that just cost Republicans victory in the 2022 midterms. Its goal is to redouble the party’s commitment to the exact same losing politics. And as of this writing—by deposing McCarthy or making him their puppet—the insurgents are poised to win.

Over the past week plenty of smart people have daydreamed that a more sensible wing of the GOP will reach its breaking point, find a sane candidate to nominate for the speakership, and get him elected by offering Democrats some basic concessions—no trifling with government shutdowns and debt defaults; no Benghazi-style fishing expeditions. Other equally smart but more jaded observers have noted…well, have you met Republicans?!

And as a practical matter, the cynics are almost certainly right. But as a theoretical matter, there’s really nothing more far fetched about a coalition legislature than one commandeered by right-wing hijackers. The difference is that the hijackers are willing to try. The Republicans who claim to be furious at the hijackers could stop them. But once again, same as it ever was, they’re more fixated on their jobs or their grievances than with what’s best for the country. Their failure to confront the MAGA wing is an endorsement of the MAGA uprising over the alternative of conceding an inch to political reality or the national interest. The whole Republican Party, every last member of the House GOP, has now re-embraced the toxic politics of its losing 2022 campaign. And so, through the speakership crisis and for the next two years, Democrats should remember what it was that saved them from landslide defeat in the 2022 midterms. 

2) An AI text detector

3) So, not stretching, but here’s a dynamic warmup before exercise.  

But in recent years, exercise science has coalesced around a better way to prepare your body for exertion: the dynamic warm-up.

A dynamic warm-up is a set of controlled, up-tempo movements that can help make your workout safer and more effective, said Alvaro López Samanes, an assistant professor and international coordinator of physiotherapy at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, in Madrid, who’s studied them in tennis players.

Research suggests dynamic warm-ups improve agility, speed and overall performance for a wide range of sports, including tennisbaseball and running. They also appear to reduce injury risk. In a fast-moving, direction-changing sport like soccer, a tailored dynamic warm-up lowered the odds of getting hurt by about 30 percent in one 2017 research review.

While Olympic sprinters and World Cup players do them before competing, they’re not just for elite athletes. In fact, “people who don’t move athletically very often need dynamic warm-ups the most,” said Emily Hutchins, a personal trainer and owner of On Your Mark Coaching and Training in Chicago. If you go straight from your office chair or your bed to a workout, you might arrive with a hunched posture, not to mention cold, tight muscles that don’t move fluidly. Dynamic warm-ups bridge the gap.

4) I really wish NYT had just written a nice article instead of giving us this video, but the gist is important.  The reason that we keep running out of hospital space for kids is largely that hospitals have simply decided adults are more profitable.  

5) Hell, yeah, “Guns Are Not Speech”

In dealing with the controversy that erupted, I made hundreds of speeches, many of them in synagogues, defending free speech for everyone, including the Nazis. I published a book on the subject called “Defending My Enemy.” I hold the same beliefs today as I expressed then: I would defend free speech for all, regardless of my antipathy for their views.

But in these controversies, we have to be clear about what free speech actually entails. In recent years, there has been a troubling increase in people conflating free speech with something quite different: the right to carry weapons. On November 26, The New York Times published a front page article on the increasing frequency with which guns are being carried and displayed by participants in demonstrations. It included an analysis of more than 700 such demonstrations during the past three years and found that, at about 77 percent of them, those carrying guns came from the political right.

Indeed, right-wing groups have been increasingly outspoken in recent years about what they claim are efforts to suppress the expression and dissemination of their views. A spokesman for Gun Owners of America told the Times that “Americans should be able to bear arms while expressing their First Amendment rights, whether that’s going to church or a peaceful assembly.” Proud Boys and Oath Keepers invoked free speech to justify their armed participation in the January 6 Capitol assault.

But these arguments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what free speech is all about. Freedom of speech is about persuasion. Those engaged in free speech try to persuade others on the basis of the information they disseminate and the quality of their arguments. If these are worthless or repugnant, like those of the Nazis who proposed to march in Skokie, they deserve to fail. If their views have merits, that should be the basis on which they persuade others. In either case, their right to express their views should be protected.

Weapons, on the other hand, are about threats. Openly brandishing weapons conveys the message that they may be used against those who express contrary views. It is the antithesis of freedom of speech, and clearly indicates that one is not interested in persuasion or dialogue but is only interested in intimidation. Unsurprisingly, protests at which firearms are carried are far more likely to turn violent than protests without guns present.

For these reasons, I would not have defended the right of the Nazis to march in Skokie if they had chosen to carry guns, knives, baseball bats, or anything else they could have used to assault or intimidate people. They had a right to seek police protection as they marched—but no one has a right to use or threaten violence to impose their views on others.

6) I love that EJ Dionne is devoting a column to my former member of Congress and former Duke Political Science Professor, David Price.

Price, who is retiring from Congress in January at the age of 82 after 17 terms in office, has been a special figure in our public life. He is a loss to the institution and our politics precisely because he thinks institutionally. He believes that Congress matters and that individual members have obligations not only to themselves, their consciences and their constituents, but also to making the first branch of government function effectively.

He grew up in east Tennessee in a Republican family and became a Democrat as a student in North Carolina because of his engagement in the early years of the civil rights movement. He got divinity and political science degrees from Yale and is a first-rate political scientist — his book on Congress, first published in 1992, came out in its fourth edition at the end of 2020. It’s one of the best examples of “participant-observer” scholarship.

7) I actually did not notice at all that the new Avatar movie was using high frame rates. 

The problem is that increasing the frame rate begins to make everything look hyper-clear. That extreme sharpness, far from being an unalloyed benefit, changes the whole texture of the image, giving it a look that we associate with video and stripping away whatever mystique and aesthetic allure comes from longer time gaps between frames…

There is no discernible rationale for Cameron’s choices: The rate often shifts within a scene or when he cuts to another angle on the same object. And the technique isn’t simply used for action scenes and fast camera movements, the most obvious potential sources of blur or judder. Some of the action is shown at 24, and some quiet, character-driven shots are at 48.

8) One of those big-think Noah Smith pieces you just have to read, “The third magic: A meditation on history, science, and AI”

9a) Surely, at least part of the answer, “Young adults are struggling with their mental health. Is more childhood independence the answer? “

But a growing body of evidence is beginning to suggest that the problems of “adulting” and mental health in college students may be rooted, at least in part, in modern childhood. Research shows that young people are lacking in emotional resilience and independence compared to previous generations. The problem has been growing in tandem with rising rates of anxiety and depression, perhaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has left colleges scrambling to help and adapt.

“Some parents have been parenting differently, they have this value of success at all costs,” said Dori Hutchinson, executive director of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University. “I like to describe it as some kids are growing up developmentally delayed, today’s 18-year-olds are like 12-year-olds from a decade ago. They have very little tolerance for conflict and discomfort, and COVID just exposed it.” …

Research shows that young people who arrive on campus with healthy amounts of resilience and independence do better both academically and emotionally, but today more students of all backgrounds are arriving on campus with significantly less experience in dealing with life’s ups and downs. Many even see normal adult activities as risky or dangerous.

In a new study currently under review, Georgetown University psychologist Yulia Chentsova Dutton looked at whether American college students’ threshold for what is considered risky was comparable to their global peers. Chentsova Dutton and her team interviewed students from Turkey, Russia, Canada and the United States, asking them to describe a risky or dangerous experience they had in the last month. Both Turkish and Russian students described witnessing events that involved actual risk: violent fights on public transportation; hazardous driving conditions caused by drunk drivers; women being aggressively followed on the street. 

But American students were far more likely to cite as dangerous things that most adults do every day, like being alone outside or riding alone in an Uber.

The American students’ risk threshold was comparatively “quite low,” according to Chentsova Dutton. Students who reported they gained independence later in childhood — going to the grocery store or riding public transportation alone, for example — viewed their university campus as more dangerous; those same students also had fewer positive emotions when describing risky situations. 

Chentsova Dutton hypothesizes that when students have fewer opportunities to practice autonomy, they have less faith in themselves that they can figure out a risky situation. “My suspicion is that low autonomy seems to translate into low efficacy,” she said. “Low efficacy and a combination of stress is associated with distress,” like anxiety and depression.

In recent years, other psychologists have made similar associations. Author and New York University ethical leadership professor Jonathan Haidt has used Nassim Taleb’s theory of anti-fragility to explain how kids’ social and emotional systems act much like our bones and immune systems: Within reason, testing and stressing them doesn’t break them but makes them stronger. But, Haidt and first amendment advocate Greg Lukianoff have argued in their writing, a strong culture of “safetyism” which prizes the safety of children above all else, has prevented young people from putting stress on the bones, so to speak, so “such children are likely to suffer more when exposed later to other unpleasant but ordinary life events.” 

Psychologists have directly connected a lack of resilience and independence to the growth of mental health problems and psychiatric disorders in young adults and say that short cycles of stress or conflict are not only not harmful, they are essential to human development. But modern childhood, for a variety of reasons, provides few opportunities for kids to practice those skills. 

While it’s hard to point to a single cause, experts say a confluence of factors — including more time spent on smartphones and social media, less time for free play, a culture that prizes safety at the expense of building other characteristics, a fear of child kidnapping, and more adult-directed activities — together have created a culture that keeps kids far away from the kinds of experiences that build resilience.

Chentsova Dutton said America has an international reputation for prizing autonomy, but her study opened her eyes to a more complicated picture. American parents tend to be overprotective when children are young, acting as if kids are going to live at home for a long time, like parents do in Italy. Yet they also expect children to live away from home fairly early for college, like families do in Germany. The result is that American kids end up with drastically fewer years navigating real life than they do in other countries that start much earlier. 

“We parent like we are in Italy, then send kids away like we are in Germany,” Chentsova Dutton said with a laugh. “Those things don’t match.”

The woke culture of “safetyism” where everything is a threat to personal well-being, sure doesn’t help either. 

9b) and just before queuing these up, I came across this:

10) Really interesting post on evolved sex differences across species

Biological Constraints


Darwin’s [7] sexual selection, that is, the social dynamics that emerge with intrasexual competition for mates and intersexual choice of mating partners, is the primary source of sex differences across species [for review see 8]. Sexual selection results in the evolution of traits that support competition and choice, and the evolutionary emergence of sex differences for these traits, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The male kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) from The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex, Vol. II, by C. Darwin, 1871, London, John Murray, p. 255. Males compete by locking horns and pulling and pushing each other as a display of physical strength and stamina. Females are hornless.

These traits can be physical (e.g., body weight), ornamental (e.g., colorful plumage), behavioral (e.g., mating displays), or supported by brain and cognitive systems (e.g., bird song). The key result is trait exaggeration in one sex or the other. But this exaggeration can also create a vulnerability for the seemingly advantaged sex [4]. Larger, exaggerated traits consume more cellular energy (and result in more oxidative stress and other cell damaging processes) to build, maintain, and express, making them especially vulnerable to energy and nutritional short falls, as well as to other stressors [9]. By analogy, a poorly working furnace will result in a more rapid drop in ambient temperature in a 300-square-meter than a 100-square-meter house. Basically, the ability to fully express these traits depends on the overall condition of the individual, which is why they are called condition-dependent traits, and the condition of the individual will depend in part on social and ecological conditions.

The factors that sap the development and expression of these traits are well-captured by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Figure 2), that is, infection, famine, and intense social competition. Exposure to these conditions, as well as some man-made toxins, compromise exaggerated traits more than other traits and therefore reduces the magnitude of any associated sex differences [5, 10, 11]. There are, of course, individual differences within each sex in sensitivity to these stressors, such that some individuals are compromised more strongly than others, but the overall results are smaller sex differences for the population and more variability in the affected trait across individuals…

By the logic above, variation in nutrition, disease risk, and social stressors represented by the Horsemen should result in variation in the magnitude of the sex differences in physical size, such as height. More precisely, height differences between the sexes should have increased over time as developed nations kept the Horsemen at bay with improvements in public health (among other factors) and be larger today in developed than in developing nations. Indeed, from 1900 to 1958, the sex difference in height increased 36 percent in Great Britain [17]: In 1900, the average British man was 11 cm taller than the average woman, but this increased to 15 cm by 1958. For young adults in nutritionally stressed regions of Nigeria, men are 7.5 cm shorter than their better-nourished peers, whereas women are 3.2 cm shorter [18]. The result is a sex difference in height that is 38 percent smaller than it would be if these adults had received better nutritional and medical care during childhood and adolescence.

11) Teen pregnancy and child poverty are both down and it is a fascinating and difficult question of which of these declines is driving the other one more.  You should read this, thus the gift link (I’m actually going to run out of these). 

Teen births have fallen by more than three-quarters in the last three decades, a change of such improbable magnitude that experts struggle to fully explain it. Child poverty also plunged, raising a complex question: Does cutting teen births reduce child poverty, or does cutting child poverty reduce teen births?

While both may be true, it is not clear which dominates. One theory holds that reducing teen births lowers child poverty by allowing women to finish school, start careers and form mature relationships, raising their income before they raise children. Another says progress runs the other way: Cutting child poverty reduces teen births, since teenagers who see opportunity have motives to avoid getting pregnant…

The reasons teen births have fallen are only partly understood. Contraceptive use has grown and shifted to more reliable methods, and adolescent sex has declined. Civic campaigns, welfare restrictions and messaging from popular culture may have played roles.

But with progress so broad and sustained, many researchers argue the change reflects something more fundamental: a growing sense of possibility among disadvantaged young women, whose earnings and education have grown faster than their male counterparts.

“They’re going to school and seeing new career paths open,” said Melissa S. Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland. “Whether they are excited about their own opportunities or feel that unreliable male partners leave them no choice, it leads them in the same direction — not becoming a young mother.” …

On the surface, the decline in teen births is easy to explain: Contraception rose, and sex fell.

The share of female teens who did not use birth control the last time they had sex dropped by more than a third over the last decade, according to an analysis of government surveys by the Guttmacher Institute. The share using the most effective form, long-acting reversible contraception (delivered through an intrauterine device or arm implant), rose fivefold to 15 percent. The use of emergency contraception also rose.

Contraception use has grown in part because it is easier to get, with the 2010 Affordable Care Act requiring insurance plans, including Medicaid, to provide it for free.

At the same time, the share of high school students who say they have had sexual intercourse has fallen 29 percent since 1991, Child Trends found. Some analysts, including Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, say the postponement of sex, which has intensified since 2013, stems in part from the time teens spend in front of screens.

Abortion does not appear to have driven the decline in teen births. As a share of teenage pregnancy, it has remained steady over the past decade, although the data, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omits medication abortions, and analysts say the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, could cause teen births to rise.

12) I actually had this book sitting in my “maybe read from the library” pile when BB sent me this really interesting article, “Rethinking the European Conquest of Native Americans: In a new book by Pekka Hämäläinen, a picture emerges of a four-century-long struggle for primacy among Native power centers in North America.”  Now I’m not sure if I should read the book or if I got most of what I would’ve out of the article.

13) Somewhat relatedly, this is a fascinating thread on gender dynamics among Native American tribes after the introduction of horses and how much it varied across tribes.

Here’s what I’ll add based on these two.  Land Acknowledgements are just insultingly stupid.  Do you know what any indigenous tribe would have done to the colonists if they were the ones with better weapons? Killed them and taken their land. This is what humans do.  I’m so tired of the noble savage.  Any land acknowledgement that addresses the Comanches (and quick google shows that there are plenty of these), for example, ignores the fact that they violently and brutally appropriated their land from other native tribes.  

14) A nice post on Epicurus and how to be happier from Eric Barker:

This is how to be happier:

  • Live For Pleasure: Not the frat party kind. Prize tranquility. We should be strategic hedonists. Think about the responsibly happy life you would wish for your children.
  • The Three Types Of Pleasure: Focus on Necessary pleasures like friendship. Enjoy Extravagant pleasures as long as they don’t require too much or infringe on the Necessary. Abolish Corrosive desires like the pursuit of fame and status.
  • Seek “Enough”: Satisfaction beats success. What we call “success” is often just slavery to Corrosive desires. And you don’t need quintuplets to be a happy parent.
  • Friendship is #1: (If you stop reading this right now to go laugh with friends over pizza, I promise not to be disappointed.)
  • Pleasure Can Make Us Resilient: Supportive friends, warm memories, and gratitude. A focus on these Necessary pleasures can give us strength.

15) I guess it’s good we’re making some progress on Alzheimer’s Drugs, but, this really doesn’t seem like enough to justify the costs and the risks:

In the Clarity study, which involved 1,800 patients, participants’ health declined whether they received the treatment or a placebo, but the lecanemab group deteriorated 27 percent more slowly. At 18 months, those patients scored a half-point better than the placebo group on an 18-point dementia test involving memory, judgment and other areas, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Some doctors say those effects are not large enough to be meaningful to patients and their families, and may not even be noticed. But others argue that the treatment could allow some patients with the fatal disease to enjoy the birth of a grandchild or to live at home longer.

16) I don’t think it will actually happen, but I would love to see a college lose it’s accreditation for such a gross violation of academic freedom, “A College Fired a Professor for Showing a Painting of Muhammad. Now, It Could Lose Its Accreditation.”

17) The idea of a cultural history of butts is pretty interesting. A shame the author had to turn it into overly-woke nonsense.  Apparently, men being attracted to women’s butts is racist or something. Kat Rosenfield:

For this we may thank the existence of Butts: A Backstory, a new book by journalist Heather Radke. To be fair, it surely is not Radke’s intention to inculcate racial anxiety in her reader: Butts feels like a passion project, deeply researched and fun to read, offering a deep dive into the history and culture of the human rear end, from the Venus Callipyge (from whose name the word “callipygian” is derived) to Buns of Steel to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s seminal rap celebrating all things gluteal. It is a topic ripe for well-rounded analysis, so to speak. But having been written in the very particular milieu of 2020s America, Butts unfortunately falls victim to the contemporary vogue for viewing all matters of culture through a racial lens. The result is a work that not only flattens the butt, figuratively, but makes the book feel ultimately less like an anthropological study and more like an entry into the crowded genre of works which serve to stoke the white liberal guilt of the NPR tote bag set…

The book is insistent on this front: butts are a black thing, and liking them is a black male thing, and the appreciation of butts by non-black folks represents a moral error: cultural theft or stolen valour or some potent mix of the two. Among the scholars and experts quoted by Radke on this front is one who asserts that the contemporary appreciation of butts by the wider male population is “coming from Black male desire. Straight-up, point-blank. It’s only through Black males and their gaze that white men are starting to take notice”. To paraphrase a popular meme: “Fellas, is it racist to like butts?”

Perhaps needless to say, a wealth of cultural artefacts — from the aforementioned Venus sculpture to the works of Peter Paul Rubens to certain showtunes of the Seventies —  belie the notion that white guys were oblivious to the existence of butts until black men made it cool to notice them. But the cultural legacy of the butt is undeniably entangled with the legacy of racism and eugenics, including a sordid and repellent history wherein certain anthropologists of the white male variety both fetishised the physiques of black women with ample backsides and conflated their peculiarities with savagery and promiscuity…

Certainly, it is impossible to do justice to the history of butts without devoting ample space to Baartman. But it’s one thing to give due scrutiny to the fact that some 19th century anthropologists indulged in the repugnant racial stereotyping of black women’s bodies and body parts; it’s another to replicate it ourselves — or to assume that other people are.

Radke does assume, though — repeatedly, persistently, and sometimes in spite of alternative theories or evidence to the contrary. This includes advancing the argument that bustles, the Victorian-era fashion that trended more than 50 years after Sarah Baartman’s death, were inspired by her singular figure — and that white women were coyly, perhaps even consciously, appropriating Baartman’s silhouette in an act of racist fetishisation. Notably, Radke is the first to acknowledge the obvious flaw in her argument: “There is also a question of why a late-19th-century woman would have wanted to look like Sarah Baartman, whose silhouette had been used as the quintessential example of African as subhuman,” she writes. Why, indeed? But Radke answers this question with some crude stereotyping of her own: “White culture and fashion have both proved relentlessly adept at cherry-picking throughout the centuries, finding a way to poach the parts of other people’s culture, histories, and bodies that suit them and leave behind the rest.”

Why would 19th century women have aspired to the silhouette of a sexually promiscuous savage? Because they were a bunch of Karens, that’s why (and here the self-loathing contemporary white woman reader is surely nodding along).

18) Another fascinating Noah Smith post, looking at economic development in Ghana (again, one of those things where I would typically just ignore it, but Smith is invariably so interesting in these essays). 

19) Interesting idea, “Can a Federally Funded ‘Netflix Model’ Fix the Broken Market for Antibiotics?”

The $6 billion measure, the Pasteur Act, would upend the conventional model that ties antibiotic profits to sales volume by creating a subscription-like system that would provide pharmaceutical companies an upfront payment in exchange for unlimited access to a drug once it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Some call it the Netflix model for antibiotics.

The measure attempts to address the vexing economics of antibiotics: Promising new drugs often gather dust on pharmacy shelves because health providers would rather save them for patients whose infections don’t respond to existing ones. That’s because the more frequently an antibiotic is used, the more quickly it will lose its curative punch as the targeted bacteria develop the ability to survive.

New antibiotics also tend to be expensive, a disincentive for hospital-based prescribers who will often turn to cheaper ones, making it even harder for drug companies to earn back their initial investmentAside from the shortages of drugs that still work, the shrinking toolbox of effective antimicrobials has become a silent global crisis that claims nearly 1.3 million lives a year. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that drug-resistant pathogens could kill 10 million people annually.

“If we want antibiotics to work for our kids, our grandkids or ourselves in 10 years, we have to invest in the infrastructure today,” said Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X, a nonprofit that provides funding for small biotechs developing novel antibiotics.

By separating profits from sales volume, supporters of the bill hope that prescribers will save new drugs for patients whose infections are resistant to existing medications. Limiting their use, experts say, can help extend the life of a new antibiotic before evolutionary pressure creates a “superbug” all but impervious to available antimicrobials.

The bill, a decade in the making, has bipartisan support and is widely backed by researchers, health care policy experts and drug company executives. But as momentum for the bill has gained steam, opposition has emerged from a small group of doctors and health care advocates, many of them critics of Big Pharma. They say the bill is a drug-industry giveaway — and unlikely to address the problem of antibiotic resistance.

20) I went through Evolv scanning/metal detectors for the first time ever last week at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum.  I loved how quick and efficient it was.  Get these everywhere.  “AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public”

Evolv machines use “active sensing” — a light-emission technique that alsounderpins radar and lidar — to create images. Then it applies AI to examine them. Data scientists at the Waltham, Mass., company have created “signatures” (basically, visual blueprints) and trained the AI to compare them to the scanner images.

Executives say the result is a smart system that can “spot” a weapon without anyone needing to stop and empty their pockets in a beeping machine. When the system identifies a suspicious item from a group of people flowing through, it draws an orange box around it on a live video feed of the person entering. It’s only then that a security guard, watching on a nearby tablet, will approach for more screening.

Dan Donovan, a veteran security consultant who rents Evolv’s systems out to clients for events, says that by allowing guards to focus on fewer threats, it avoids the fatigue metal-detector operators can feel.

A cool video of how they work.  

21) Somewhat relatedly, I have seen “Clear” at airports on my most recent flights and turns out it it’s basically evil:

That is the entirety of CLEAR’s offer to American flyers: Pay us money and give us your biometric data, and in return you can jump in front of other people to access an essential federal service. Unlike with TSA Pre, whose purpose is to speed up the entire airport safety system, there is no public benefit to CLEAR’s role in the screening process; it’s simply a way for a company—and airports themselves—to make money at the expense of passengers.
Worse, its insertion into aviation security undermines a core government function.

22) I loved, loved, loved Planet Money on the economics lessons in children’s books.  It featured one of my kids’ favorites that I have read hundreds of times, Put Me in the Zoo, as well as my favorite kids book ever, The Sneetches.  

23) The strong case for an economic market for kidneys.  Too many people are dying waiting for a kidney and lots and lots of people have extra kidneys they would do just fine without. 

24) Nice piece on the profound, very conservative influence Pope Benedict had on the Catholic Church, largely before he became Pope. 

25) A headline you don’t see everyday, “An airline worker died after being ‘ingested into the engine’ of a plane, NTSB says”

26) Here’s some amazing AI work:



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