Friday, July 5, 2013

While the Cat Was Away, the Tabs Did Play

I was out of town for three weeks, and while away, the tabs built up incredibly. Here are some of them. This isn't anywhere near everything -- only the ones that were the most interesting and required the least video watching.

The first use of surveillance cameras by Scotland Yard was to take pictures of suffragists. Way to use technology to fight crime!

Gar Alperovitz was on Marketplace Money, talking about how co-ops are an essential part of building a sustainable economy.

Cleaning up diesel trucks and cooking stoves could reduce climate change (from Technology Review). "...if every country were to do what California has done in the last couple of decades to clean up diesel emissions, it would slow down global warming by 15 percent. Reducing similar pollution from sources such as ships and cookstoves—which weren’t included in the study—could help even more."

A song of a warming planet: one cello, playing a note for each year's average temperature. Crescendo follows.

Human males at all ages -- from fetus to elder --  die at higher rates than females. NPR's Robert Krulwich looks at why.

All those stories about the ticking biological clock are overstated and based on 200-year-old data about women's fertility. Sheesh. As is probably obvious, the type of population "matters because fertility is affected by things like quality of nutrition, infection rates, and even childhood illnesses — all of which have changed drastically for the average Western woman since the 19th century."

From "Read a piece of scholarship from the mid-twentieth century, and you are likely reading the work of a male scholar and his wife. Peruse the acknowledgments sections of history book and you might discern the presence of a research-assistant-typist-editor-cum-wife. Scientists too benefitted from wise wife selection: choose a smart woman and she could run a lab, run regressions, and run analyses—in addition to running errands, running after children, and running the home. If these women were lucky enough to marry a solicitous man, they received a brief mention for their thankless and uncompensated labor; otherwise, their scut work went uncredited and their husbands received salaries, tenure, and prizes." And Wendell Berry's wife types his poetry for him, too.

From the Guardian: We keep moaning about population, but ignore consumption habits. "Sharing planet Earth's finite resources in a better way is a more practical way of managing the needs of a rising population."

If you thought the Third Amendment against the quartering of troops was the one that still had some weight, get a load of this story. All of the militarized might of the modern SWAT team was brought to bear on the neighbors of a suspected domestic assault suspect. Police treated them like criminals because they refused to let the cops use their houses to surveil the suspect.

Orchids and dandelions -- why some children are more resilient than others in adverse upbringings.

Because I have a teenager in my life, I know what a manic pixie dream girl is. But I didn't know the MPDG archetype is hazardous to anyone's well being. "Men write women, and they re-write us, for revenge. It's about obsession, and control."

A social experiment in a park: three actors try to steal a bike in broad daylight. First, a white teenager. Then, a black one. Finally, a young blonde white gal tries her luck. Does anyone try to stop them? Let's guess at the outcome.

Everything you ever were afraid of about tomatoes, but never wanted to know or ask about. From Smithsonian.

The case against the idea of universal national service.

Twenty-one percent of households in a Swiss town under study accounted for 50 percent of the town's greenhouse gas emissions, including both home energy use and personal transportation. (Their last names were all some variant of "part of the problem.")

Not only are large employers moving paychecks to fee-riddled bank cards, the Federal government is heading that way, too, for Social Security and other payments. When will the stupidity end?

Someone realized that airplanes can taxi without using jet fuel to do it. Which could save airlines $200,000 a year per plane, plus a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Make it so.

Two conservatives make the argument for a carbon tax.

The best of Michael Hastings from Up with Chris Hayes.

Billy Bragg did one of those Tiny Desk concerts at NPR, starting with his new song Handyman Blues.

What Google has found in its years of hiring the best and the brightest: "G.P.A.’s are worthless as criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation." And: "...when I was in college and grad school [I] knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer."

Art Pope of North Carolina. If you don't know who he is, you should.

What's more important: A college degree or being born rich?  The upshot: 25 percent of people born in the top fifth who don't get a college degree still wind up in the richest fifth. While only 10 percent of the poorest fifth who do get a college degree wind up in the richest fifth. "So, you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated."

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