Friday, February 21, 2014

You Won't Believe the Tabs

The U.S. now employs "as many private security guards as high school teachers." That doesn't count police, members of the military, prison and court officials. Does that seem right? "The share of our labor force devoted to guard labor has risen fivefold since 1890 — a year when, in case you were wondering, the homicide rate was much higher than today." From One Nation Under Guard, New York Times Opinionator, by Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev (here's a past post about guard labor and Bowles's work).

A newly found Tumblr full of laughter to tears to the point of pain: I give you Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos. The photos are bad, sure, but the genius is in the captions. Just one excerpt:

After days of waiting this agent’s patience is finally rewarded. Weak with thirst, a pair of wild mattresses appear at the watering hole.

By the great David Cay Johnston: the myth of health care's free market.

China has approved a huge increase in coal-fired power plants, which is not good, though also not a shock. But there was one fact right in the lead that put it into perspective:

China approved the construction of more than 100 million tons of new coal production capacity in 2013, six times more than a year earlier and equal to 10 percent of U.S. annual usage, flying in the face of plans to tackle choking air pollution (emphasis added).
So China, with more than four times as many people as the U.S., is being called out for daring to build 10 percent of what we use. Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to build or continue to use coal-fired power plants, but isn't this hypocritical?

An academic study from an urban planning journal (pdf): Secessionist Automobility: Racism, Anti-Urbanism, and the Politics of Automobility in Atlanta, Georgia. The writer defines secessionist automobility as "using the car as a means of physically separating oneself from spatial configurations like higher urban density, public space, or from the city altogether."A quote from the abstract: "Secessionist automobility is bound with the blunt politics of race-based secession from urban space, but also more subtle forms of spatial secession rooted in anti-urban ideologies."

According to CNN, Americans spend $18 billion on Valentine's Day, or $131 per person. We also spend $6 billion on Halloween. For comparison, total spending on the 2012 presidential election, the most expensive one on record, was just under $6 billion. So don't tell me we couldn't have public financing of elections.

I'm not the only one obsessed with letter shapes and plants. Meet Ana Bangueses, who has created an alphabet based on the design of the Bodoni typeface, but rendered in plants. This is her take on Wisteria:

She calls the work Herbarium Typography. Here she is drawing ginkgo leaves for the G:

Bangueses is a 21-year-old graphic designer living in Barcelona.

Living in a violent neighborhood is as likely to give you PTSD as going to war (from Mother Jones).

How to build a solar furnace for under $300. Really.

Hari Kondabolu, one of the writers on W. Kamau Bell's now-defunct show Totally Biased, puts on a short bit about race in America as we head toward 2042, when white people will become a minority in the U.S.

Orange juice is not health food. It was promoted based on misinformed and unscientific thinking and now it's supported by a huge industry that's contributing to the sugar-fueled sickening of our people. Stop it right now.

Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson recently unveiled a 50-state plan to transform U.S. energy use to renewable resources. More details at The Solutions Project (click the 50 Plans link).

If you ever hear someone from the Employment Policy Institute arguing against raising the minimum wage, remember their "think tank" is a front for the restaurant industry.

From Forbes (of all places): In the World's Best-Run Economy, house prices keep falling -- because that's what house prices are supposed to do. (Which economy are they talking about? Germany's.)

Bad news: shrinking household size may offset progress in curbing population. Fewer people living in more space and buying more stuff. (And eating more meat, of course.)

And some good news: a new ‘pomegranate-inspired’ design solves problems for lithium-ion batteries.
While these experiments show the technique works...the team will have to solve two more problems to make it viable on a commercial scale: They need to simplify the process and find a cheaper source of silicon nanoparticles. One possible source is rice husks: They’re unfit for human food, produced by the millions of tons and 20 percent silicon dioxide by weight. According to Liu, they could be transformed into pure silicon nanoparticles relatively easily...
One more for my Florida, WTF? file: Until 2011, Florida was still placing young male offenders in a labor camp where black boys were essentially treated as slaves doing hard labor, while white boys got wood shop and vocational education. Mother Jones recently returned to the place with several retirement-age black  men who spent their teen years there, often for "crimes" as minor as truancy.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I always love your "Too Many Tabs" posts. Still making my way through all of the interesting links.

I've now spent a good hour laughing at the real estate photos. Reminds me of the now defunct It's Lovely! I'll Take It!