Mid-week quick hits

Tuesday night and I’m already up to 21 for the week!  So, here you go.

1) You’d think that anybody who was actually a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld would know he would not want to hug a stranger.

2) This is the dumbest HS yearbook oversight yet– a kid’s “Trump: Make America Great Again” shirt was photoshopped to plain black in his yearbook photo.  OMG that’s so stupid.

3) Enjoyed this from Paulina Porizkova (who used to adorn my middle school locker with photos cut out from the SI Swimsuit issue) on how America made her a feminist.

4) I try not to use the term “evil” about politicians, but it may well fit Kris Kobach, the man trying to make it as hard as possible to vote behind fraudulent voter fraud claims.

For Kobach, the question of citizenship, and who has a rightful claim to it, is at the heart of his lawsuits and legislation. Years before Donald Trump began talking about building a wall, the fate of America’s white majority was a matter of considerable interest to Kobach, who once agreed with a caller to his radio show that a rise in Latino immigration could lead to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites and has written scores of laws across the country to crack down on undocumented immigration…

Kobach’s plans represent a radical reordering of American priorities. They would help preserve Republican majorities. But they could also reduce the size and influence of the country’s nonwhite population. For years, Republicans have used racially coded appeals to white voters as a means to win elections. Kobach has inverted the priorities, using elections, and advocating voting restrictions that make it easier for Republicans to win them, as the vehicle for implementing policies that protect the interests and aims of a shrinking white majority. This has made him one of the leading intellectual architects of a new nativist movement that is rapidly gaining influence not just in the United States but across the globe.

5) I love this from David Plotz on all the jobs in America that employ way more people than (Trump’s obsession of) coal miners.

6) The headline from the Monkey Cage post captures it, “The Confederate flag largely disappeared after the Civil War. The fight against civil rights brought it back.”

7) Loved this “in defense of cultural appropriation.”  Hell yeah:

The accusation of cultural appropriation is a secular version of the charge of blasphemy. It’s the insistence that certain beliefs and images are so important to particular cultures that they may not appropriated by others. This is most clearly seen in the debate about Ms. Schutz’s painting “Open Casket.”

In 1955, Emmett Till’s mother urged the publication of photographs of her son’s mutilated body as it lay in its coffin. Till’s murder, and the photographs, played a major role in shaping the civil rights movement and have acquired an almost sacred quality. It was from those photos that Ms. Schutz began her painting.

To suggest that she, as a white painter, should not depict images of black suffering is as troubling as the demand by some Muslims that Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” should be censored because of supposed blasphemies in its depiction of Islam. In fact, it’s more troubling because, as the critic Adam Shatz has observed, the campaign against Ms. Schutz’s work contains an “implicit disavowal that acts of radical sympathy, and imaginative identification, are possible across racial lines.”

Seventy years ago, racist radio stations refused to play “race music” for a white audience. Today, antiracist activists insist that white painters should not portray black subjects. To appropriate a phrase from a culture not my own: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

8) How Dallas— a city with a third white residents, but only 5% white public school students– is looking to integrate.  Good for them.

9) It’s not exactly shocking to learn how cruise ships exploit their workers, but it is sad.

10) Seth Masket on what we can learn from the White House’s ongoing problem with typos.

11) Good stuff from Katherine Cramer on how rural people are so resentful of those in cities.  Huge flaw in this, though.  Nowhere does she point out that rural people are 100% wrong in thinking that they are subsidizing those in cities (an example from Minnesota).

12) Mentally ill people should not wield knives at police.  Police– especially a pair of them– should not should people for brandishing a knife until non-lethal and deescalation measures have proven ineffective.  Alas, legally, they can just shoot.

13) MS is obsessed with emoji differences between platforms.  Here’s a nice Slate video on the matter.  I love the tongue-out ghostImage result for ios emoji ghost and use it all the time.  Little did I realize how different it appears to my non-IOS friends.  And here’s a website with a comprehensive comparison.

14) Even Erick Erickson seems to get the reality of race in America.  Now for the rest of the Republican party.

15) Why, yes, there is a vegan strip club in Portland.

16) I was curious as to whether google image search could identify an insect I found.  

It couldn’t, but my FB friends could.  It’s a milkweed bug.  Great NPR story on the difficulty computer algorithms have with tasks like this– best one, labradoodle vs fried chicken.

17) This EJ Dionne piece on the (asymmetric) destruction of political norms is very good.

18) Radley Balko on Sessions’ amazing wrongness on drug policy.

19) McSweeney’s with writing advice with a title that makes this hilarious, “WRITING ADVICE TO MY STUDENTS THAT WOULD ALSO HAVE BEEN GOOD SEX ADVICE FOR MY HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIENDS.”

20) I don’t think I previously linked this excellent NYT feature on women in the infantry.  Good stuff.

21) Elevators are key to the modern city.  Cool New Yorker video:

The history of elevators is a history not just of engineering but also of psychological trickery and human adaptation. It’s the job of elevators to obscure from passengers that they’re “hovering over an abyss,” as Paumgarten says. And the passengers, in turn, keep our cities moving by stepping into these small flying boxes every day, as though it were nothing at all.


Lying parents

Happy Father’s Day.  I love my dad and I’m happy my kids love me, but I could’ve done with a little less paternal fawning over all the “greatest dad ever”s on social media.  Yeah, I’m a curmudgeon some times.  That said, I did enjoy my Father’s Day hike with the kids.  Here I am with the 3 kids who wanted to pose with me.

Anyway, Pew had a nice FactTank piece on modern Fatherhood.  I found this chart hilarious, as should every other parent who is honest:

You know what you call parents who say parenting is enjoyable and rewarding all of the time?  Liars.  You all know how much I love being a dad.  But “all the time”?!  Oh, yeah, I’m loving it when Evan and Sarah won’t stop screaming at each other for whose bothering who and who hit who, etc.

Also, while we’re at it, interesting to see how much more time parents now spend with their kids and the gender disparities:

Quick hits (part II)

1) How Facebook is trying to combat terrorists/extremists using its site.

2) Don’t you just totally know NRA the reaction to Philandro Castille (a licensed gun owner shot after he informed the police officer he was licensed and carrying) from the would be completely different if he were white instead of Black.  Hell yes.

Staying conspicuously silent on the Yanez verdict so far is an organization that can typically be counted on to offer extreme and uncompromising advocacy on behalf of licensed American gun owners: the National Rifle Association. As of Saturday afternoon, the NRA had issued no statement addressing the verdict, its pugnacious chief spokesman Wayne LaPierre had not been quoted in any media stories about it, and an email from Slate requesting comment had not received a response. For those who remember the aftermath of Castile’s death, this should come as no surprise: The NRA was almost completely silent then, too, putting out a tepid statement only after coming under intense pressure from some of its members. As was widely noted at the time, whoever wrote the statement—most likely LaPierre himself—couldn’t even bring himself to mention Philando Castile’s name.

On its face, the Castile case would seem to have all the trappings of a cause célèbre for the NRA. The group’s most fiercely held belief is supposed to be that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be burdened—let alone killed in cold blood—by repressive agents of the government just because they want to protect themselves and exercise their Second Amendment rights. Castile should be a martyr for the NRA, while Yanez—who reached for the holster of his service weapon as soon as Castile mentioned he was armed—should be its bogeyman.

3) Hand it to Brett Stephens— NYT’s newest conservative columnist.  His latest installment, cheekily titled, “Only Mass Deportation Can Save America” is great:

In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system.

They need to return whence they came.

I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.

On point after point, America’s nonimmigrants are failing our country. Crime? A study by the Cato Institute notes that nonimmigrants are incarcerated at nearly twice the rate of illegal immigrants, and at more than three times the rate of legal ones.

Educational achievement? Just 17 percent of the finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search — often called the “Junior Nobel Prize” — were the children of United States-born parents. At the Rochester Institute of Technology, just 9.5 percent of graduate students in electrical engineering were nonimmigrants.

4) I was pretty intrigued by these emotional and academic readiness challenges for young adults.  I know an almost legal adult who needs to try some of these.

5) College kids were way more interested in eating carrots with fancy names than with healthy names.

6) The many, many ways we talk to boys differently than we talk to girls.  And that’s definitely not all good for boys:

When fathers appear in children’s picture books, they’re angling for laughs, taking their sons on adventures or modeling physical strength or stoic independence. There is the rare exception in children’s books where a father baldly demonstrates — without symbolic gestures — his love for his son (a few are “Guess How Much I Love You” and “Oh, Oh, Baby Boy!”). Just as women’s studies classes have long examined the ways that gendered language undermines women and girls, a growing body of research shows that stereotypical messages are similarly damaging to boys.

2014 study in Pediatrics found that mothers interacted vocally more often with their infant daughters than they did their infant sons. In a different study, a team of British researchers found that Spanish mothers were more likely to use emotional words and emotional topics when speaking with their 4-year-old daughters than with their 4-year-old sons. Interestingly, the same study revealed that daughters were more likely than sons to speak about their emotions with their fathers when talking about past experiences. And during these reminiscing conversations, fathers used more emotion-laden words with their 4-year-old daughters than with their 4-year-old sons.

7) Our school kids need to exercise.  They’ll do better in school.  And be healthier.

8) In case you missed the totally bizarre experience where Trump’s cabinet members took turns praising him.  Krugman get it, “”Their own private Pyongyang.”

9) Oh man do I love these maps of the hidden structure of “Choose your own adventure” books.  Damn did I love The Mystery of Chimney Rock and Journey under the Sea in particular.

10a) Vox with a nice piece looking at the acquittal in the Philandro Castille shooting.

10b) Interesting take that essentially argues, the system sucks, but given the system, the Castille jury did the right thing.  I’m thinking that our standard of an “objectively reasonable” belief that there is a threat is just not working.  It seems increasingly clear that an officer thinking (barring any clear visual evidence) that a suspect is reaching for a weapon is just too low a bar.

11) A truly fascinating Supreme Court case that creates a clear, high, bar when it comes to gender discrimination as a matter of law.  Alas, it leaves the plaintiff in the case totally screwed.

12) Good interview with a Trump biographer:

OK, then let’s talk about the present. Is Trump self-aware about the fact that his presidency is not going well, and if so, what do you think he makes of that?

I think he has a remarkable capacity for denial, and I think there have been very few occasions over the course of his life where he has been slapped in the face with his failure, whether it was his bankruptcies, the failures of any number of his businesses, the failures of two marriages. In each case, he has an almost admirable ability to move through life as if those losses and failures hadn’t happened, and to portray them not in a crass political spin sort of way but in a really gut-level, deeply felt way as things that didn’t bother him and things that he didn’t even acknowledge.

By living in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or even acknowledging the past, he has the ability to keep going. People who were with him when his casinos were going down, when he was suffering through these bankruptcies, and being in this humiliating position of groveling before bankers, thought, “He’s going to come in the next day utterly crushed and not willing to face people, and humiliated,” and it never happened. He came in just as bright and bullish as he’d been the day before. That capacity serves him well I think in some ways, but it also divorces him from reality in some ways. That, I think, is what people around him have come to find a bit frightening.

13) How your mind makes accidents happen.

Quick hits (part I)

1) I’m not a huge fan of Bill Maher, but I generally think he’s pretty funny and almost always enjoy his “new rules” when I watch his show.  Yes, it was pretty stupid of him to use the N-word recently in a weak attempt at humor, but that seems like a pretty weak last straw, as it was for this writer.

2) The myth of the kindly, non-white-supremacist, Robert E. Lee.

3) How Democrats are increasingly moving in favor of supporting single-payer health care.

4) Given the Lego-loving kids in my house, I really loved this Guardian story on how Lego went from a company on it’s deathbed in 2013 to one of the most globally powerful brands:

In 2015, the still privately owned, family controlled Lego Group overtook Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand. It announced profits of £660m, making it the number one toy company in Europe and Asia, and number three in North America, where sales topped $1bn for the first time. From 2008 to 2010 its profits quadrupled, outstripping Apple’s. Indeed, it has been called the Apple of toys: a profit-generating, design-driven miracle built around premium, intuitive, covetable hardware that fans can’t get enough of. Last year Lego sold 75bn bricks. Lego people – “Minifigures” – the 4cm-tall yellow characters with dotty eyes, permanent grins, hooks for hands and pegs for legs – outnumber humans. The British Toy Retailers Association voted Lego the toy of the century.

5) Nice deconstruction from Drum on NYT reporting on how Trump is now lying to his key National Security Staff.  Ugh.

6) Very cool article on the secret micro-dots your printer is probably printing that make leaking documents a precarious proposition.

7) The reality of how Planned Parenthood helps people— in this case, Paul Ryan’s constituents.  Not that he cares in the least.

8) I’m always reading about what’s wrong with the French economy is how it’s too hard to fire workers, but finally an excellent explanation from Catherine Rampell about what’s going on (and how Macron wants to fix it):

So what exactly is wrong with the job market in France?

The problem isn’t generous health-care benefits or onerous environmental protections or the usual “job-killing” regulations that American politicians so often vilify — and that the French love.

It’s that it’s virtually impossible, or at the very least prohibitively expensive, to fire employees. Which makes hiring employees unattractive, too.

In France, firings and layoffs can generally happen under very limited circumstances, including gross negligence and “economic reasons.” Laid-off employees can then challenge their dismissals in court, where judges are seen as somewhat hostile to employers.

Judges, for example, have wide latitude in deciding what counts as a justifiable “economic reason” for a layoff. They may decide that multinational firms that are losing money in France are not allowed to pare back their French workforce if they are collectively profitable in other countries, according to Jean-Charles Simon, an economist and former manager of the country’s main employer organization, Mouvement des Entreprises de France, or MEDEF.

A layoff in such a case could be deemed unfair. Furthermore, there is no cap on the damages that judges can award for unfair dismissal, meaning employers’ potential risks are essentially limitless. The whole process can take years to resolve, too.

9) Seems to me that my school system’s administrators are being needless hard-hearted and cruel in not letting a kid actually celebrate graduation because he didn’t know about the rehearsal:

All Wake County seniors are expected to attend graduation rehearsal, said schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten.

“Graduation is a production,” she said. “The students have to walk in a certain order, they have to sit in a certain row. There are a lot of moving pieces.”

A certain row!!  Oh, my, soooo complicated.  I’m sure allowing some kids to attend who had missed the rehearsals would just be mass chaos.

10) The fact that Eric Trump has basically been fraudulently and illegally stealing from children with cancer should be huge news.  But, increasingly, it seems our capacity for bad Trump news (Comey!!) is a zero-sum game.  And that is so to Trump’s benefit.

11) Derek Thompson on Trump’s policies:

The secret of the Trump infrastructure plan is: There is no infrastructure plan. Just like there is no White House tax plan. Just like there was no White House health care plan. More than 120 days into Trump’s term in a unified Republican government, Trump’s policy accomplishments have been more in the subtraction category (e.g., stripping away environmental regulations) than addition. The president has signed no major legislation and left significant portions of federal agencies unstaffed, as U.S. courts have blocked what would be his most significant policy achievement, the legally dubious immigration ban.

The simplest summary of White House economic policy to date is four words long: There is no policy.

12) Speaking of zero-sum political coverage.  Brian Beutler on how Republicans are trying to dismantle the ACA completely hidden from the light of day and nobody’s paying attention (Comey!).

13) Headline says it all, “How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News.”  Let’s be honest, Fox is hardly a “news” organization.

14) David Leonhardt on Trump’s L’état, c’est moi presidency:

Democracy isn’t possible without the rule of law — the idea that consistent principles, rather than a ruler’s whims, govern society.

You can read Aristotle, Montesquieu, John Locke or the Declaration of Independence on this point. You can also look at decades of American history. Even amid bitter fights over what the law should say, both Democrats and Republicans have generally accepted the rule of law.

President Trump does not. His rejection of it distinguishes him from any other modern American leader. He has instead flirted with Louis XIV’s notion of “L’état, c’est moi”: The state is me — and I’ll decide which laws to follow.

This attitude returns to the fore this week, with James Comey scheduled to testify on Thursday about Trump’s attempts to stifle an F.B.I. investigation. I realize that many people are exhausted by Trump outrages, some of which resemble mere buffoonery. But I think it’s important to step back and connect the dots among his many rejections of the rule of law.

15) Tiny jumping spiders can see the moon at night.  That also means you can get them to follow laser pointers (cool videos at the article).

16) I wanted to give Lee Drutman’s post on Trump exploiting the flaws of our two-party system it’s own post.  Oh well:

In this piece, I want to explore how much this “unlikely” conclusion flows from the zero-sum logic of our two-party system. The short answer: a lot.

Because of the two-party system, Republicans are stuck with Donald Trump. If he goes down, they go down with him. There’s now no way for Republicans to advance conservative policy goals without also advancing Trump. And In this era of bipolar two-party tribal politics, no matter what Trump does, there’s always one thing worse for Republicans. Something even more unthinkable, something even more existentially frightening than Trump with his hand on the nuclear codes: Democrats having power.

In two-party politics, a “pathological liar” is always better than a Democrat

Most congressional Republicans never wanted Trump as their standard-bearer. They still don’t. But their fates are now tied to him. If Trump goes down in a dramatic impeachment (is there any other kind?), Republicans almost certainly lose their House majority in the 2018 midterms, and probably continue to suffer the repercussions in 2020. And there’s a real risk that if Trump goes down, he tries to take all the furniture with him, fracturing the Republican Party.

So Republican congressional leaders are stuck. The only thing worse than having Trump as their unpopular standard-bearer is losing power and popularity because they tried to remove him as their standard-bearer…

For Republicans, the challenge will be to keep their troops feeling certain that however imperfect Trump might be, Democrats would by definition be worse — that it really might be the end of the republic if Republicans lose the house. This likely means doubling down on all the aggressive us-against-them white Christian identity politics and apocalyptic narratives they can find to make sure their base shows up.

And so deeper into the widening gyre we go. This is the logic of our two-party system right now. And Donald Trump is still our president, leading us into deeper tribalism as he takes advantage of our two-party system’s fatal flaw.

17) Pretty cool infographic on the scale of D-day.

18) On the secret social media lives of teenagers.  Damn are their some super-sneaky apps out there.  My teenager just prefers to lie (“sure I did all my homework”) to my face.

19) Nice NYT feature on how to raise a feminist son.  On it.  Great role model for this in my mom.

20) The lies from Trump and his people are pretty amazing.  This one on coal may take the cake.  Also, some nice context.  Chait:

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, appearing on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, casually asserted that the Trump administration has presided over a staggering increase in coal-industry employment. “We’ve had over 50,000 jobs since last quarter — coal jobs, mining jobs — created in this country. We had almost 7,000 mining and coal jobs created in the month of May alone,” boasted Pruitt.

How false are these statistics? Extremely false.

Last month, the coal industry added 400 jobs, not 7,000. Since October, it has added just 1,700 jobs. The industry as a whole now employs 51,000 people — total. (No, there were not merely 1,000 people working in coal before the election.)

It is bizarre to design your country’s energy policy — which, even if you disregard climate science, has important implications for public health and international diplomacy — around the goal of maximizing jobs in an industry that employs fewer people than Arby’s.

21) Happy to learn the Texas teacher who awarded her students “superlatives” such as “most likely to be a terrorist” is out of a job.

22) A friend just recently posted a portion of this 2012 Michael Lewis speech to Princeton students on FB.  It’s awesome!

I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.

23) Happy 15th birthday to my pretty amazing son, Alex.

The mental load of parenting

I really loved this recent extended cartoon about the “mental load” of parenting.  I think it absolutely captures an underlying truth about how parenting works in many, many a household.  Here’s a key snippet (definitely, definitely check out the whole thing):

Exactly.  Parenting and running a household is so much more than just getting the kids to school on time and picking up the toys and getting the laundry done.  It’s knowing that the kids need to be to school early on Thursday and planning according Wednesday evening, and actually knowing where all the toys go, and knowing that the outfits the kids will need for church on Sunday need to be washed.

Based on regular conversations with fellow dads, I’d say I definitely do better than average on the mental load, but I would no way suggest I’m hitting the 50% mark that really, every parent should be (feel free to assign me a percentage in the comments, Kimberly).  Part of the way we’ve de facto divided the mental load is by sort of having a lead parent for various matters with the kids.  When it comes to my oldest, for example, I’m the one who’s always been at all the parent-teacher meetings, emailed the teachers, kept track of activities, etc.  When it comes to Alex, it’s definitely been Kim.  And for the other two, heck, it’s way easier.  That said, I’ve taken the lead on Evan and piano.  And, of course, I’m the lead soccer parent :-).  Okay, enough of an accounting.  I’ve never put a thought into teacher gifts, or what cute outfits the kids will wear for Easter, or what size Crocs to buy for Alex.  I do, however, think that the “mental load” concept is a great way to think about the reality of parenting and the real balance of parenting and household responsibility.  However much most men may do with cooking dinner, folding laundry, or picking up groceries, I suspect that it is here that we really do come up short.

Did Hillary lose the 2016 election due to sexism?

I don’t know and we never will.  Also, Comey!  Emails!  What I do want to say, though, is that this Rebecca Traister article purportedly about Clinton’s post-election life, is the best examination of the role of gender in her campaign that I have seen.  Straight onto the Gender & Politics syllabus.  My favorite quote:

The anger at Clinton from some quarters — in tandem with the beatification of her from others — reminds us just how much this election tapped into unresolved and still largely unexplored issues around women and power. In the aftermath, the media has performed endless autopsies. We have talked about Wisconsin, about Comey, about Russia, about faulty messaging and her campaign’s internal conflicts. We have fought over unanswerable questions, like whether Sanders would have won and whether Clinton was particularly mismatched to this political moment, and about badly framed conflicts between identity politics and economic issues. But postmortems offering rational explanations for how a pussy-grabbing goblin managed to gain the White House over an experienced woman have mostly glossed over one of the well-worn dynamics in play: A competent woman losing a job to an incompetent man is not an anomalous Election Day surprise; it is Tuesday in America. [emphasis mine]

It’s long, but there’s a decent chance you have the day off, so give it a read.

Quick hits (part I)

1) I actually think I’m pretty good at admitting I’m wrong.  It helps, of course, that it’s such a rare phenomenon ;-).  In all seriousness, my high self confidence does make it pretty easy.

 Traits like honesty and humility make you more human and therefore more relatable. On the flip side, if it is undeniably clear that you are in the wrong, refusing to apologize reveals low self-confidence.

“If it is clear to everybody that you made a mistake,” Mr. Okimoto said, “digging your heels in actually shows people your weakness of character rather than strength.”

2)  Political polarization is changing how we shop.

3) I’ve probably written about my oral allergy syndrome before.  Very cool to see a NPR story about it.  Thank God for Zyrtec because I sure love my apples.

4) Love this article about a Texas high school student who did not initially get into UT-Austin despite being first in her class because she was not in the top 7%.  You can’t be in the top 7% if your class is only 10.

5) Are women’s credentials more likely to be ignored than men’s.  I’d be really surprised if this wasn’t true.

6) This article is insane for the seeming hundreds of fruit recipes in the middle, but some very good science-based advice on happiness around all the fruit.

7) Diane Ravitch says blame Democrats for Betsy DeVos.

8) This speech by Mitch Landrieu!

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history; well, what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame—all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.

So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission. There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.

9) Re-thinking how to best protect biodiversity:

Biodiversity is usually understood in simple numerical terms: more species means more biodiversity. In the United States and abroad, most conservation laws are designed to protect as many species as funding and politics allow. But just as diversity within a human population can be measured by more than skin color, diversity within animal and plant communities can be measured in a number of ways. Some species have a unique evolutionary lineage; others perform unusual or even irreplaceable functions in their ecosystems; and still others, such as the solenodons, are sui generis by almost any metric. Until recently, reconstructing a lineage required painstaking guesswork based on tiny variations in anatomy and appearance. The advent of cheap genetic sequencing, however, changed that. At the same time, the increasing prevalence of digital photography and remote-sensing technologies such as drones, along with the growing enthusiasm for citizen science, means that more humans are watching more species more closely than ever before. “We have this massive decline in biodiversity, but, at the same time, over the past decade, there’s been this explosion of all types of data—so now is really the time to use them,” Laura Pollock, a postdoctoral researcher at Grenoble Alpes University, in France, and the lead author of the Nature paper, told me.

10) We don’t need feminism anymore.  There’s clearly no more sex discrimination.

11) I love that they measure urine in swimming pools (really not so bad) by unmetabolized artificial sweeteners.

12) I love the circus.  This makes me so sad.

13) When pollen counts rise, test scores fall.

14) This is insane.  In NC, once you give consent to sex, you cannot revoke it.  Period.  Oh, and the effort to change this absurd and archaic law?  Going nowhere thanks to the Republicans in charge of the legislature.

15) Did being a woman mean HRC couldn’t run an angry campaign?

16) It’s long been thought marriage makes people healthier.  Maybe not.  Because divorce sucks.

The participants in the Swiss study reported their life satisfaction every year, and Professor Kalmijn found that people who married did become a little more satisfied. Over time, their satisfaction eroded, though much more slowly than in most previous studies of marriage. Dr. Kalmijn also examined the implications of divorce and found that people who divorced became significantly less satisfied with their lives. In fact, the negative implications of divorce for life satisfaction were more than three times greater than the positive implications of marrying.

That’s important. It helps explain why so many of us have been so sure for so long that marriage makes people happier and healthier. In the typical study, only people who are currently married are included in the married group. Then, if the currently married people do better than people who are not married, single people are told that if they get married, they will do better, too. But many people who marry — probably more than 40 percent — divorce and end up less happy than when they were single. A better way to assess the likely implications of marriage is to compare everyone who ever married to people who never married. Very few studies ever do that.

17) Covered the gender pay gap in class yesterday.  Timely piece from Claire Cain Miller.  It’s (almost) all about motherhood.

18) Yglesias makes the case that Montana’s result is further evidence Republicans are in trouble in 2018.  I think they probably are, but I’m still not sure how much any single special election tells us.

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