Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Tabs

Here's what's been occupying my tabs. Time to clean them out for the new year, or else it won't be able to get started.

From Fast Company: A Little Less Driving Means Big Dividends for Local Economies. People who drive less give less money to distant oil corporations, but give a lot more to the local economy.

My year without a car. A guy in Portland, Ore., gives full-time biking a try.

But watch out for police parked in bike lanes. There's a Tumblr that documents some of those moments.

Rob Delaney writes about what it's like to parent boys:

Before my wife and I had any kids, I’d wanted to have girls. I just thought girls would awaken the fathering instinct in me faster or more thoroughly or something. I know some men would rather have boys and they can be quite vocal about it. They worry about having to protect their daughters, real or imagined, from men. Men like them? Are you afraid men will treat your daughter the way you’ve treated women? Or do you doubt that a girl raised with love of all varieties, tough included, can handle herself in the world? Is it misogyny or self-loathing? Flip a coin; they’re both awful. You should do cartwheels in the street if you have a daughter.

But another thing I’m learning is that that same worldview does a gross disservice to the act of parenting boys. If you need to dote on your daughter and shield her from reality or she’ll crumble or be torn apart by wolf-men, does it follow that boys just raise themselves? No attention required? Can boys not be damaged or led astray? As the father of two boys, are my responsibilities few? Here’s just one reason the way I raise my sons matters to the world at large: my sons will one day wander out into the world and meet your daughters. So one hopes I instill in them, and model for them, behavior that is rooted in kindness, compassion and fundamental respect of others.
Seven impressive solar energy facts. My favorite: "The price of solar PV panels dropped about 100 times over from 1977 to 2012. Since 2008, the price of solar PV panels has dropped about 80%."

Big surprise: the founding of our country was not the way we learned about it in school. But more surprisingly, current college history textbooks are not keeping up with scholarship that has uncovered new truths that everyone should know.

Richard Florida explains why Bill de Blasio's policies won't drive the rich out of New York City.

The case for SAT words. And the case against. Notable fact: vocabulary acquisition eventually stagnates by grade 4 or 5 unless students acquire additional words from written context.

Insights from crusading journalist Chris Hedges after he taught a play-writing class in a prison.

Do bigger governments lead to happier people? Sounds like... yes.

A dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald "peak food." Some researchers say most conventional yield projection models are not based in realism.

A new favorite fact: Teens who take more risks have more mature brains, not less mature ones. The research was about white matter, not executive function or prefrontal cortex development, though.

Dr. David Gorski of Science-Based Medicine tries out a time machine to explore all the ways he wouldn't be a very good doctor if he suddenly found himself practicing 300 years ago. A nice rumination on the cumulative nature of science and medical practice.

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