1) I feel like I wrote something on the stupidity of American lawns pretty recently. But given drought conditions in much of the country, lawns are dumber than ever. And this is a nice story on it (that also links to a great 99% episode on the matter).
2) Speaking of wasting water. Stop drinking bottled water. Seriously.
3) And stop trying to be so original with your baby names. Today’s uncommon may well be tomorrow’s top 10.
3) Re-thinking addiction not as a disease after all. Really interesting take.
The title of his manifesto lays out Lewis’s basic argument, which he insists upon throughout the book. “I’m convinced that calling addiction a disease is not only inaccurate, it’s often harmful,” he writes (repeatedly). “Harmful first of all to addicts themselves.” The alternative, he asserts, is to call addiction what it is: a really bad habit caused by a constellation of variables and a brain that is receptive to compulsively reinforcing really bad habits. Most important, that habit is possible to break, not by becoming a “patient” getting medical attention in order to “recover” but by becoming a responsible adult with a solid vision of the future who has at last decided to break a destructive habit.
4) Destroying mountains for coal removal? All good for this Southwestern, Virginia community. “Ruining” the view with windmill farms? Not so much. Oh, and wasting an absurd amount of money to build a modern “technology park” in basically the middle of nowhere? Oh, yeah, on that. Tech workers love locating to extremely rural areas. Surely a great way to attract business development.
5) Bojack Horseman is my new TV obsession. Season 1, down. Starting season 2 tonight. How can I not love comparing Bojack to Mad Men.
6) Donald Trump as the political equivalent of chaff. Love it.
Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff, a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things — yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.
7) Speaking of Trump, nice take from Yglesias comparing him to the far right movements in Europe.
8a) So much wrong about college football (but I just keep watching it)
All of which makes Gilbert M. Gaul’s “Billion-Dollar Ball” a hard and challenging book, but one that I hope college football diehards will join me in reading. Gaul, a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post, forces us to confront what major college football has become. When we cheer for our schools and our teams, we’re also supporting a powerful and autonomous entertainment business that monetizes every aspect of the game, an operation that is not only divorced from the mission of higher education but that often undermines it.
8b) Much of which can be seen in Under Armour’s relationship with University of Maryland.
9) You’ve all read me brag about the great diversity in my kids’ schools, but sadly, Wake County is going in the wrong direction on this.
10) I hope some graphic designer was fired over this.
11) Nice essay on how we need to move past the idea that the ideal worker is one who sacrifices family life.
Mr. Groysberg and Ms. Abrahams found that “even the men who pride themselves on having achieved some degree of balance between work and the other realms of their lives measure themselves against a traditional male ideal.” They quoted one interviewee as saying, “The 10 minutes I give my kids at night is one million times greater than spending that 10 minutes at work.” Men who are counting their caregiving in terms of the last 10 minutes of a day are not playing a caregiving role on a day-to-day basis.
12) Time for the media to start treating the names of mass murderers like the names of rape victims? There’s definitely something to be said for the idea.
13) Irony is when the guy wearing the “less government; more freedom” t-shirt has his butt saved by firefighters.
14) Love this metaphor in the case for teaching ignorance.
Michael Smithson, a social scientist at Australian National University who co-taught an online course on ignorance this summer, uses this analogy: The larger the island of knowledge grows, the longer the shoreline — where knowledge meets ignorance — extends. The more we know, the more we can ask. Questions don’t give way to answers so much as the two proliferate together. Answers breed questions. Curiosity isn’t merely a static disposition but rather a passion of the mind that is ceaselessly earned and nurtured.
Mapping the coast of the island of knowledge, to continue the metaphor, requires a grasp of the psychology of ambiguity. The ever-expanding shoreline, where questions are born of answers, is terrain characterized by vague and conflicting information. The resulting state of uncertainty, psychologists have shown, intensifies our emotions: not only exhilaration and surprise, but also confusion and frustration.
15) Not the least bit surprised that a documentary about the evils of sugar is chock full of pseudo-science (not to argue that sugar is all great shakes, but anytime something gets demonized like this, you should probably be skeptical).
16) The Duke freshmen who can’t read handle reading a book with lesbian sex(!!) in it need to get over themselves. Local columnist Barry Saunders with a nice take.
17) I’ve been meaning to give this Ezra Klein piece on how conservative media helped the far right take over the Republican Party it’s own post for a long time. I’ve failed long enough. To quick hits it goes. Read it.