Quick hits (part II)

1) Girls aren’t meaner than boys– it only looks that way:

So how do we account for girls’ relational infamy? The answer may have little to do with how, or how often, girls are unkind, and more to do with the chain reaction that is set off when girls are on the sharp end of a peer’s stick.

Evidence suggests that girls, more than boys, are injured by social mistreatment. We’ve long known that girls place a higher premium on their interpersonal relationships than boys do, so it follows that they become more upset when their relational ties are threatened. Indeed, research finds that, disproportionately, girls harbor painful thoughts and feelings when hurt by their peers. They fret about why they were targeted, wonder if they had it coming, and strategize about how to befriend the antagonist.

To soothe their bruised feelings girls, more than boys, reach out to their friends . Turning to peers puts girls in touch with valuable social support, but we also know that recruiting friends to analyze social slights in detail can actually deepen a girl’s emotional distress. In contrast, boys who are hurt often seek out distractions— they stop thinking about hard feelings by thinking about something else. This may render boys less fluent in the language of their emotions, but they tend to feel better, faster.

2) Plenty of cross-national evidence (via Vox) that welfare doesn’t make people lazy, but helps get them out of poverty.

3) The uncertainty of “sanctuary cities” in NC after a new state law.

4) Sure, the Star Wars prequels don’t match the originals.  Don’t hate.

5) Nothing like liberals arts college protesters.  The ones at Smith want to bar all journalists except those that disagree with them.   College meets kindergarten.

6) Love the story behind the famous image of a toddler throwing a tantrum in front of Obama in the Oval Office.

7) Mockery is so fun.  But I do agree with Drum that it will not change many minds (on the Syrian refugees, or anything else).

8) So, did you know the meaning of “Netflix and chill”?  Was quite surprised to learn this from my students this week.  So far, I have not been able to convince my wife we need more Netflix time together.

9) So, about that “crime wave” caused by #blacklivesmatter?  Not so much.

10) I do find this issue of copyright and Anne Frank’s diary to be really fascinating.  Nice column on the trouble with present copyright law.


The foundation dedicates all the earnings from the diary to charitable ends, but its move underscores what many copyright experts and public advocates see as a disturbing perversion of copyright principles. Instead of providing a limited monopoly to creators to promote the flow of artistic works to the public, it’s become a practically limitless source of income to creators’ heirs–sometimes generations removed–and corporate rights holders.

“There’s no way a 95-year copyright term is an incentive for anyone to create anything,” says Dennis Karjala, a law professor at Arizona State who led the opposition to the Copyright Term Extension Act, the 1998 federal law known as the Sonny Bono Act after its chief promoter in Congress. The act set copyright duration at the author’s life plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication for works done for hire.

The act wasn’t aimed at encouraging artistic expression, Karjala says. It was pushed by corporate entities such as the Walt Disney Co., which would soon lose rights to the earliest films featuring Mickey Mouse. “They were all concerned about the cutoff of the royalty spigot,” Karjala says.

Rather than promote the flow of works into public view, copyright here and abroad has become a tool for keeping works out of the public domain.

11) How our microbiome (may) shape autism.  My guess is that microbes shape all sorts of aspects of human behavior that we don’t yet appreciate.

12) Are you hating Muslims?  Exactly what ISIS wants you to be doing.

Extremist groups feed off of alienation, some counterterrorism experts say, and Islamist militants deliberately aim to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities.

13) Great piece on the research of NCSU professor Walt Wolfram on Southern accents.


14) Today’s college students really do approach college living with a different mindset.

Particularly in the way things have unfolded at Yale, students’ social-justice activism has been expressed, in part, as the need for care from authority figures. When they experience the hurt that motivates them to political action, they’re deeply disappointed with parental surrogates for not responding adequately or quickly enough to support and nurture them. The world in which it’s not bizarre for a young person to rebuke someone for failing to “create a place of comfort and home,” or to yell, “Be quiet … You’re disgusting!,” and storm away, is the world of family, where a child in pain desperately desires empathy and understanding from a parent. The online scorn heaped on the student who was filmed behaving this way represents an unproductive refusal to compassionately translate her behavior across the generational divide. In a piece called “Hurt at Home,” another Yale student wrote, “I feel my home is being threatened,” and contrasted her comforting relationship with her father to the care she felt students emphatically did not receive from the master of Silliman College. Yale tells its students that the residential college is their “home away from home,” but this generation might be the first to insist so literally on that idea.

15) With disgusting amounts of xenophobia on the loose, it’s also helpful to remember Japanese internment.

16) Drum on the anti-science leadership of the House Science Committee:

In any case, Smith is a disgrace, and it’s a disgrace that Republicans allow him to chair a committee on science. Smith’s view of science is simple: if it backs up his beliefs, it’s fine. If it doesn’t, it’s obviously fraudulent. This is the attitude that leads to defunding of climate research or banning research on guns. After all, there’s always the possibility that the results will be inconvenient, and in the world of Smith and his acolytes, that can’t be allowed to stand. Full speed ahead and science be damned.

17) The “quiet eye” and coordination in athletes.

18) Ezra Klein on how America only pretends to value moms.

19) Jonathan Cohn on the trouble Obamacare is facing with individual policies:

As HHS acknowledges, the remaining uninsured tend to be the hardest to reach. This includes those don’t qualify for subsidies or receive only modest assistance, and don’t find the insurance affordable or valuable. What’s more, people shopping for coverage on the exchanges are finding that the policies have high deductibles and limited physician networks. If insurers raise prices, the danger is that more and more people will decide such coverage is simply not worth buying — even if it means paying the penalties.

The Affordable Care Act has already accomplished a great deal — slashing the uninsured rateand providing millions with consumer protections like the guarantee of coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. But enrollment could stagnate.

So what would happen then? It’s impossible to be certain, but many experts think the subsidies would function as a built-in safeguard against a severe market collapse — “the news about United does not presage a death spiral,” Kingsdale said — because that financial assistance keeps coverage cheap for millions of lower- to middle-income people, even if insurers raise their premiums. The mandate would obviously make a big difference, too.

But the law’s architects and supporters had hoped enrollment would continue growing beyond where it is today, reaching more and more people and providing as great a benefit to the affluent middle class as to the working class and poor. If enrollment stalls, the law would still be helping millions of Americans, but it would also be coming up short of expectations.

20) On the easy and unearned virtue of hating “bad” things.

21) Jedediah Purdy on Bernie Sanders and the history of socialism.

22) Speaking of Bernie, anecdotally it was clear to me that my students strongly prefer him over Clinton.  Actual polling (and quality polling done by my colleague Mike Cobb) shows this to be very much the case.  Sadly, Ben Carson also leads among NCSU students.

23) So, back in my classic-rock-loving teen years, I listened plenty to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (Karn Evil #9 being a particular favorite).  I was at a improv class performance for my oldest son at The Cary Theater and there was a sign for Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy tonight.  I mostly thought it was interesting, but not much more.  At 7:50, I checked recent set lists on-line and decided I had to go.  Made it by 8:05 before the show started.  Turns out the show was actually sold out, but somebody had turned in an extra ticket.  Pretty cool.  Great show.

24) Really nice longer read from HuffPol and Chronicle of Higher Education on money and college athletics.  Lots of cool statistics, too (such as the good news that students at my university have to pay very little to subsidize intercollegiate athletics– at some places it is a ridiculous amount).

Quick hits (part I)

Lots of good stuff this week.  Let’s go.

1) I did not read the (surely great) NYT series on how big business has basically taken away all our rights in the fine print (with a very strong assist from the Supreme Court), but I did love the Fresh Air interview on the matter.

2) A physician on the problem of allowing only 15 minutes for appointments.

3) Sadly, NC Republican legislators really do pretty much hate public schools.

4) Frank Bruni with a nice takedown of the epic phoniness of Ted Cruz.

5) Loved the Wired interview with JJ Abrams about making the new Star Wars movie.

6) So, our whole Middle East terrorism problem.  We should be talking more about Saudi Arabia.  And another take on Saudi Arabia.   And yet one more.  Maybe all these people are onto something.

7) On how building relationships with students leads to student success.

Last year faculty on my campus met for dinner to discuss How College Works,by Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs. The book documents a long-term study the authors conducted to understand which aspects of the college experience had the greatest impact on students — both during their undergraduate years and afterward.

Their most consistent finding: Students cited the relationships they formed as the most important and memorable aspect of college. Those relationships began with fellow students, but also included connections with faculty and staff members. The number and intensity of those relationships not only predicted students’ general satisfaction with college, but had the power to motivate them to deeper, more committed learning in their courses.

8) Can reading (books) make you happier?  Of course.  That said, it makes me sad that the author of one of my very favorite books, The Corrections, left me pretty disappointed with Purity.  

9) So, what’s up with this daesh thing?  An explanation.

10) Great story on the secret effort to thwart the Nazi’s nuclear effort by blowing up their heavy water production.

11) Fascinating story on risk at baseball games and umbrellas.  I don’t go to many baseball games, but when I do, you will never find me near the field down the baselines.

12) And speaking of fascinating… this story of the most extensive face transplant ever.  At least click through and check out the photos.

13) Summary of my colleagues’ research on how state-level corruption doesn’t really hurt political parties.

14) It’s time (is it time?) for the Supreme Court to end the death penalty.

15) Future redistricting and North Carolina’s changing demographics.

16) What a journalist learned from interviewing imprisoned ISIS fighters.

17) Scoring in hockey is down significantly.  Goalies are bigger and better.  Time for bigger goals?

18) Religious children are more selfish than secular kids:

The findings “robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households”.

Older children, usually those with a longer exposure to religion, “exhibit[ed] the greatest negative relations”.

The study also found that “religiosity affects children’s punitive tendencies”. Children from religious households “frequently appear to be more judgmental of others’ actions”, it said.

19) Phil Klay’s tweets on the refugees (whole series at the link).  And another opportunity to plug his brilliant book, Redployment.  

20) Very much enjoying the new Gimlet podcast, Suprisingly Awesome.  Especially this episode on free throws.

21) Long read to finish things off– John Judis on Bernie Sanders.



Quick hits (part I)

A little late today.  Sorry.

1) The psychology behind conspiracy theories.

2) Bats are awesome.

3) Krugman on the favorable historical record on Democrats and the economy:

But Americans overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy pay less than their fair share of taxes, and even Republicans are closely divided on the issue. And the public wants to see Social Security expanded, not cut. So how can a politician sell the tax-cut agenda? The answer is, by promising those miracles, by insisting that tax cuts on high incomes would both pay for themselves and produce wonderful economic gains.

Hence the asymmetry between the parties. Democrats can afford to be cautious in their economic promises precisely because their policies can be sold on their merits. Republicans must sell an essentially unpopular agenda by confidently declaring that they have the ultimate recipe for prosperity — and hope that nobody points out their historically poor track record.

And if someone does point to that record, you know what they’ll do: Start yelling about media bias.

4) When Gmail writes your emails for you.  Good stuff.

5) Of course (and sadly) there’s a flight of good teachers from North Carolina.

6) The overly busy modern family.  Happy to report the Greene’s are doing just fine.

The data highlight the complicated trade-offs that working families make.

Forty-one percent of working mothers said being a parent made it harder to advance in their careers, compared with 20 percent of fathers. Men’s careers took priority more often than women’s did, though the majority said they were equal. Fathers earned more than mothers in half of full-time working families, the same as mothers in about a quarter and less than mothers in a quarter.

The ways parents spend their time at home have changed markedly over the years. Government time-use data show that parents over all do less housework and spend more time with their children than they used to.

The time men spend on paid work has decreased to 38.5 hours a week from 42 hours in 1965, while the time they spend on housework has doubled to 8.8 hours and the time they spend on child care has tripled to over seven hours.

Still, women do much more, especially when it comes to the tasks of raising a child, like managing their schedules and taking care of them when they are sick, according to Pew. Fathers and mothers are much more likely to equally share in doing household chores, disciplining children and playing with them.

There is a gender divide in parents’ perceptions of how much responsibility they take on, Pew found. Fifty-six percent of fathers say they share equally, while only 46 percent of mothers agree.

7) Year round daylight savings will keep us safer and save lives.  Seriously.  Count me in.

8) Did we just legalize insider trading?  For some insiders.

9) Is America back where it was 100 years ago.  The case for yes.  (Strikes me as too extreme).

10) Shame on NC University English departments for not teaching enough courses about British and American male authors!

11) You know how I feel about guns.  But when you commit a robbery with a fake gun that looks like a real gun, you have just forfeited your right to life in my book.

12) Seth Myers on how an anti-discrimination statute in Houston went down because the opponents scared everybody over bathrooms.  Definitely worth a watch.

13) Sure there’s some older children s books that are racist and sexist (none of which ever made it to me in my 1970’s early childhood), but does this article then have to go on and insinuate that the lack of non-white male protagonists is “racist” and “sexist”?  I read lots of my old favorites to my kids and I’ve yet to come across a book that made me squirm out of outdated racism of sexism (hopefully that doesn’t make me a racist/sexist).  In fact, I’ve been reading The Sneetches a lot lately.  One of my favorites as a kid and now.  And hard to imagine a more anti-racist story out there.

13b) On a totally different note, Drum says save the calls for racism and sexism for stuff that actually is.

14) Kevin Drum creates his own chart of candidate honesty.

15) Of course there’s actually very good reasons why we should raise the age at which we try people as adults.

16) I’ve found the Adaptors podcast to be a bit hit in miss in terms of quality, but I loved this one on what the world would be like if rats took over as the dominant species.

17) As long as I’m talking podcasts, really loved this episode of Start Up that explained and demonstrated the carefully-crafted podcast approach that is also the basis for TAL, Radiolab, etc.  And really helped me understand why some of the less crafted podcasts can be so frustrating to listen to.

18) The Economist explains how treating travelers well is bad for airline business.

19) The fascinating case of intersex children in Salinas, Dominican Republic.

20 Garrett Epps on the first amendment.

But we pay a price for this freedom, and not everyone pays the price equally. The First Amendment imposes on us all the duty to maintain the peace even when our deepest beliefs are denounced. But that duty is doubly onerous for minorities, because they must endure such abuse more often and longer.

In a country that is 70 percent Christian, Muslims account for less than one percent of the population. Since 9/11, powerful religious and political figures have been openly campaigning to strip this tiny population of the protections of the Constitution.

21) What “death to Americareally means.

22) We’ve actually got death panels now (hooray– this is actually great policy).  Nobody seems to have noticed.

23) The history of jaywalking.  More complicated and political than you might think.  I came very close to getting a jaywalking ticket from an MP at the Pentagon once, but got off with a very stern warning.

24) Damn was that bombing of the Doctors without Borders hospital horrible and a massive screw-up.  Some heads really need to roll for this.

25) Now this is how you score a goal.

Politics laid bare

Of course we know this is how politics actually works, but rarely do we see it so brazenly laid out before us.  From right here in NC:

Last fall, Gov. Pat McCrory personally intervened on behalf of a friend and major political donor who wanted to renew $3 million in private prison contracts over the objections of McCrory’s top prison officials, records and interviews show.

Graeme Keith Sr., a Charlotte developer and retired banker once known as “Billy Graham’s banker,” has aggressively pursued private maintenance contracts in state prisons since 1999. Keith’s contracts at two prisons were set to expire Dec. 31, 2014; a third would have ended four months later.

The governor convened an October 2014 meeting in Charlotte, where, according to a Department of Public Safety memo, Keith told prison officials and McCrory that “he had been working on this project ‘private prison maintenance’ for over ten (10) years and during that time had given a lot of money to candidates running for public office and it was now time for him to get something in return.” [emphasis mine]

Oh, and as for concerns about what would make the most sense policy-wise?  Well, apparently that did not matter in the face of a major donor with profit to make:

Perry told Roberts and Stith he wanted to end the contract and allow state employees to resume maintenance. His staffers had been adamant that private maintenance wasn’t saving money and posed a greater security risk.

Perry protested the contract extension and said it wouldn’t save much money. But he said he would carry out the “marching order.”

“Very bad decision,” Perry texted. “Sorry, but this will soil our Gov.”

The sad thing is we all just know this sort of stuff happens all the time.  The only thing different this time is that the donor was dumb enough to make the tit-for-tat explicit.

Quick hits

1) Great Rolling Stone article on the Freedom Caucus.  Gives a really full and nuanced picture of these radicals.

2) Will Saletan with among the better takes on the Benghazi hearings.  And a good take from John Cassidy.

3) Not only most powerful hurricane ever measured, but reaching the theoretical limits of hurricane strength.  Amazing.

4) And a good Politco piece on the Freedom Caucus:


There hasn’t been a bloc like the Freedom Caucus for at least a century, one that refuses to work with its own party leadership while being steadfastly unwilling to reach across the aisle. “There have been groups that often broke from the party, but in doing so, they didn’t stand as a third force,” says former GOP Rep. Mickey Edwards. “This group is very different.”

The Freedom Caucus, rather than breaking from Republican ranks, has forced Republican leaders to break from them. It’s a perverse sort of political jujitsu. One of outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s supposed crimes was that he went begging Democrats for help passing legislation when he couldn’t find the votes within his own caucus. Some rank-and-file Republicans, meanwhile, have made a separate peace with Democrats on reviving the Export-Import Bank. Normally the opposite would happen and it would be the insurgents reaching across the aisle. But that presupposes an interest in governing.

5) Seth Masket on why we should not be asking “who won?” after debates.

6) I must say, I agree with google on this.  I hate the idea of an app for every stupid website you want to go to.  Just give me a goo mobile website.

7) A James Hamblin video on our meatless future.  I really do think this is going to happen.  It’s just chemistry.

8) Weight Watchers might be doomed by all the free weight loss apps, but I still love it for basing it’s diet around choice and actual scientifically-based weight loss principles.  We’ll see if Oprah can save it.

9) Yes, it is time for baseball’s unwritten rules to be re-written, but that is not why the sport is losing popularity.  No, that’s because it’s boring and takes too long:

Baseball has lagged behind basketball and football in popularity for a number of reasons, but primarily because the game is too buttoned down. In many ways, baseball has been the team version of golf.

10) Finally, the truth on what makes for good college teaching.

11) I love Terry Gross.  I already lament whenever she retires because there’s just no other interviewer close.  And I loved this NYT Magazine profile.

12) Best piece I’ve read on explaining the reasoning behind the recent and important (and somewhat complicated) Federal Appeals Court decision on gun control.

13) You know what’s good for poor people, but not bad for rich people?  More poor people living near rich people.

Critics would do well to study Mount Laurel itself, where an affordable housing development that opened in 2000 has yielded benefits that have been chronicled in a study led by the Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey. The study, recounted in the book “Climbing Mount Laurel,” shows that an attractive, well-maintained affordable housing development in an affluent neighborhood can improve the lives of struggling families without jeopardizing local property values, precipitating more crime or becoming an economic burden on the community.

14) And how white children may benefit from integrated schools.

15) I used to think birth order was bunk.  Then I read some research in grad school and thought it was real.  Latest research says it’s basically bunk.

16) Jesus would probably not be such a big Tea Party fan.

17) Enjoyed this post on the Star Wars movies in light of the new trailer:

Coming to the original “Star Wars” trilogy at the right age is a minor blessing: young enough to be confused by the fact that “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” looked like the future, or to be terrified by pretty much all of “The Empire Strikes Back,” or to think that tiny Teddy bears armed with sticks and rocks really might be able to defeat armored professional soldiers. But old enough to recognize the regret and redemption of Obi-Wan Kenobi, squirm at the flirty banter of Han and Leia, and understand just how magnificently terrible it would be to discover that Darth Vader is your father.

18) Those “social welfare” PAC’s that are supposedly about educating the public rather than electoral advocacy are about the biggest, most embarrassing sham in American politics.  Looks like the one supporting NC Senator Thom Tillis has been caught in its fraud.  I doubt anything will happen.  And the N&O on it.

19) The secret to a easy to remember but hard to crack password?  Poetry.

20) If you are betting, Hillary is way under-valued as a presidential candidate.  I really need to put actual money in this some day.  For now, I’ve just got lunch riding on it (in a bet dating back to 2013).



Quick hits

Sorry to be late with this.  Was out at a play Friday night when I usually get this post done.  “The Hound of the Baskevilles.”  I like Sherlock Holmes as much as the next guy, but literally the most boringn play I have ever seen.  Anyway, on with the show.

1) Given what we know about the microbiome, this piece asks “should we bank our own stool?”  Of course we should.
2) If you know anything about the Kitty Genovese murder chances are what you know is wrong.  Her brother is out to change that.

3) Love this essay from a “responsible” gun owner who decided the responsible thing to do was destroy his gun:

Mostly, I’m angry about what it says about America. The idea that kids getting slaughtered at school is too big a problem for us to solve absolutely infuriates me. If there is truly nothing we can do, nothing we can try — if we just have to accept it — then we have failed as a nation and as a culture. I don’t want to believe that.

Instead, I believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans — including American gun owners — want to reduce gun violence and are open to solutions: policing, education, training, technology, mental health, media and yes, gun laws.

I believe claiming the NRA speaks for all gun owners is like saying theWestboro Baptist Church speaks for all Christians. It doesn’t. The gun lobby in America is seen as some all-powerful political force, but it is a narrow special-interest group, same as any other. It has exactly the amount of power we give it.

And I believe people are ready for change.

4) Of course Netflix should bring Firefly back!  Why hasn’t this happened yet?

5) Women who show anger are taken less seriously than men who do.  But don’t worry, there’s no sexism left and feminists are just whiny man-haters.

6) So now I know why I got a robo-call during the day from my son’s HS principal.

7) Michael Tomasky on the stupidity on focusing on candidate’s “authenticity.”  I think I’ll just have to not take seriously any commentator who talks about authenticity from now on.

8) Of course Republicans would argue it would ruin the economy (of course we have empirical evidence it has not in the past), but increases taxes on the rich could bring in a lot of much-needed revenue.

But what could a tax-the-rich plan actually achieve? As it turns out, quite a lot, experts say. Given the gains that have flowed to those at the tip of the income pyramid in recent decades, several economists have been making the case that the government could raise large amounts of revenue exclusively from this small group, while still allowing them to take home a majority of their income.

It is “absurd” to argue that most wealth at the top is already highly taxed or that there isn’t much more revenue to be had by raising taxes on the 1 percent, says the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel in economic science, who has written extensively about inequality. “The only upside of the concentration of the wealth at the top is that they have more money to pay in taxes,” he said.

9) Older faculty keep not retiring (I’m sure not planning on retiring any time before 70) and it is tough on university budgets.

10) One-star reviews of national parks.

11) Did NC legislators re-write US history?

12) The most amusing/confounding thing about Bernie to me is how we couches his moderation on gun policy about the need to work for compromise to actually get anything done.  This, of course, is at odds with all the rest of his positions.  And why Jamelle Bouie calls him an unserious candidate.

13) You know what else LARC’s are good for?  Implanting in women right after they have had a baby.

14) Great visual story-telling on what to do with all the dead bodies on Mount Everest (don’t worry, no dead bodies in the photos).

15) Tom Edsall on the Democrats also became the party of the rich.  Read it.


Quick hits (part I)

Lots and lots this week.  Here goes…

1) John Tierney on the difficult economics of recycling.  Basically, only paper, cardboard, and metal cans are cost effective.  That said, he totally elides the issue of externalities.

2) The public university system in North Carolina has a great reputation.  Rob Christensen on how our Republican leadership is putting that in jeopardy.

3) Mark Kleiman on the problem of full legalization of marijuana as opposed to decriminalization:

Inevitably, then, the marijuana movement has begun to give way to the marijuana lobby. To be sure, I’ve had my share of clashes with movement folks, and I haven’t always been impressed with their policy acumen or their standards of argument, but I’ve never seen any reason to doubt that they’re advocating the public interest as they perceive it. The people now being hired by the guys in suits doing cannabis-business stock promotions play by different rules. I expect them to have about the same ethical standards as lobbyists for the alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical, food, and fossil-fuels industries: that is, I expect them to be utterly willing to sacrifice human health and welfare on the altar of the operating statement, just like those folks at VW who decided it would be a cute idea to poison the air just a little bit to goose the performance of their diesel-driven cars.

4) Forget Match.com, just find the credit score of a potential romantic partner.

5) I really enjoyed the Everest movie.  Not a great movie, but so awesome to see the super-dramatic events of Into Thin Air so stunningly realized.  Nice New Yorker piece on how death is portrayed in disaster films.

6) Okay, I’m somewhat sympathetic, but really, just how far do universities need to go in allowing “service” animals on campus.  An anxiety bunny?

7) Nice summary of the difficulties faced by contemporary pollsters.

8) This Salon piece pretty much gets at why the gun debate is so asymmetric.

Conservatives aren’t lying when they say they need guns to feel protected. But it’s increasingly clear that they aren’t seeking protection from crime or even from the mythical jackbooted government goons come to kick in your door. No, the real threat is existential. Guns are a totemic shield against the fear that they are losing dominance as the country becomes more liberal and diverse and, well, modern. For liberals, the discussion about guns is about public health and crime prevention. For conservatives, hanging onto guns is a way to symbolically hang onto the cultural dominance they feel slipping from their hands…

It’s not just Hanlin. Guns are generally talked about in right-wing circles in these mythical terms. And because a gun isn’t just a gun to conservatives, but a symbol of all they hold dear, having a reasonable conversation about gun control has become impossible. To liberals, it’s about keeping guns out of the hands of people who misuse them. But to conservatives, it’s clearly about stripping away their very sense of identity, which is naturally going to be a touchier subject.

That’s why Republican politicians would rather say the dumbest, most offensive things possible after a mass shooting than even entertain the possibility that guns might need a teeny bit more regulation.

9) We’re having quite the historical lull between hurricanes hitting the US.  This can’t really keep up.  And when they do start hitting again there’s going to be a lot more people living at the coast.

10) Time to start holding “experts” accountable by making them give precise and testable predictions.

11) The biology of gender ratio is really a complex and fascinating subject.

12) I’ve mentioned before that as fun as the Myers-Briggs personality test is, it really is nothing more than entertainment.  But this explains so succinctly.

But the problem with that idea is the fact that the test is notoriously inconsistent. Research has found that as many as 50 percent of people arrive at a different result the second time they take a test, even if it’s just five weeks later.

That’s because the traits it aims to measure aren’t the ones that are consistently different among people. Most of us vary in these traits over time — depending on our mood when we take the test, for instance, we may or may notthink that we sympathize with people. But the test simply tells us whether we’re “thinking” or “feeling” based on how we answered a handful of binary questions, with no room in between.

13) A pretty entertaining Buzzfeed list on jokes professors play.  I need to up my game!

14) And, lets start a run of gun links.  First, awesome Wonkette headline, “11-Year-Old Shoots 8-Year-Old Over Puppy, America Remains Free Of Tyranny.”  In all seriousness, though, here’s a radical idea– hold gun owners criminally responsible when their children commit acts of violence with their unsecured guns.  Seriously!!

15) You know that NRA “good guy with a gun” trope.  Actual good guys with guns don’t think so highly of it.  And the stats are pretty clear on the matter, too.  And the good guy with a gun who tried in Oregon.  And got shot.

16) Speaking of stats, Vox brings the charts on gun violence.

17) And Charles Blow on the irrational fear of the gun nuts.

These people are afraid. They are afraid of a time conservative media and the gun industry has convinced them is coming when sales of weapons, particularly some types of weapons, will be restricted or forbidden. They are afraid of growing populations of people they don’t trust. Some are even afraid that a time will come when they will have to defend themselves against the government itself.

Unfortunately this fear is winning, as many Americans think crime is up, even though it’s down. This fear is winning as massacres, and the gun violence discussions that follow, don’t lead to fewer gun sales, but more. This fear is winning, following continued violence by antigovernment militias and hate groups.

Fear is winning as there are now close to as many guns in this country as people — with the gun industry producing millions more each year.

We have reached our supersaturation point as a culture. And with that many guns in circulation, too many will invariably make their way into the hands of people with ill intent.

18) After Dr. Seuss, Boynton is by far my favorite childrens’ book author.  I love impressing people by citing the entire Hipppos Go Berserk from memory.

19) Pro Publica on how our lack of a gas tax is a clear indication of what’s so wrong with Washington.

20) Wonkblog on how a natural experiment shows the power of just getting more money into the families of at-risk children.  Maybe we should try and do this.  I expect the ROI would be huge.  I also expect conservatives would never go for it regardless of what the evidence suggests.

21) And your long read.  John Judis on Donald Trump and the return of the Middle American Radicals.  Really good stuff (though, he really should mention the role of white ethnocentrism).


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