Monday, October 6, 2014

Tabs Are Clogging the Tubes

You wouldn't believe how absolutely overloaded the tabs are: they're even backing up into my email. Here are some of them in no helpful order. Sorry about that.

A Scientist's Aim: Save the Bees. A profile from the Star Tribune of University of Minnesota bee researcher and MacArthur genius winner Marla Spivak.

Bill Moyers recently featured a talk with Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian and climate scientist who believes that her faith is compatible with science. She works to get the message out to climate-change deniers.

Is Racism Behind High Infant Mortality Rates Among African-Americans? From RH Reality Check. Chronic stress and its effects on epigenetics are the key components.

Radley Balko, the reporter who has done the most over the years to bring attention to the militarization of the police, had a great piece in the Washington Post a few weeks back called How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty.

Economics reporter and journalism professor David Cay Johnston argues that it's time to end health care co-pays because they do harm, are cost inefficient, and are economically irrational.

The FBI and the Shattering of Students for a Democratic Society. From Truthout.

Up to 20 percent of child deaths in high-income countries are preventable, researchers say. From Susan Perry at MinnPost.

Dispelling the Myth of Deferred Gratification: What waiting for a marshmallow doesn't prove, by Alfie Kohn writing in Education Week. The upshot: Kids who could wait for the marshmallow were better at distracting themselves -- they didn't just ignore the marshmallow using "willpower" or "grit." And the ability to distract yourself is related to greater intelligence.... which seems pretty likely would also related to greater success in life, on average.

This one was a real mind-cracker for me. Don't let the vague title (The Moral Molecule) keep you from reading it. It's about the role of the hormone oxytocin in human interactions. Oxytocin is called the "bonding hormone" and it's also what causes women's uteruses to contract during labor.

The Imagined Sex Worker: the stigma against black sex workers can reinforce stigmas against all black women and all sex workers. From Pacific Standard magazine.

Good news! There’s bad news for coal by Dave Roberts at

Green Growth: U.S. program for controlling climate change and expanding job opportunities, from the Center for American Progress. Sounds just about like what we need. "The report finds that the investment needed to stabilize our climate and improve our economy amounts to about $200 billion annually in both public and private resources. Average net public expenditures would comprise roughly one quarter of that total, averaging $55 billion per year, which falls within the $44 billion to $60 billion per year range that the United States has devoted to clean energy investments in recent years. If a successful carbon tax or cap were implemented as part of this plan, it would also yield public revenues averaging $200 billion per year."

Another one from David Roberts at On climate, how far gone is the far right? (Spoiler: far). A depressing read but pretty realistic. Some amazing quotes in their from climate-change deniers and don't-carers.

I sometimes think George Orwell really did have it all figured out. "Of course the post-war development of cheap luxuries has been a very fortunate thing for our rulers. It is quite likely that fish-and-chips, art-silk stockings, tinned salmon, cut-price chocolate (five two-ounce bars for sixpence), the movies, the radio, strong tea, and the Football Pools have between them averted revolution." Quoted (among many other bits and put into context) by the Conversable Economist, Timothy Taylor, a Macalester College economics professor.

And finally, a link to a withering critique of both my own blog's existence and the approach taken by every nonprofit organization I've ever known: Awareness Is Overrated, from New York magazine's new blog the Science of Us. "A baseline of awareness is a 'nice first step' to behavior change...simply because it provides an underlying motivation. [But] once a certain level of awareness has been raised, there are rapidly diminishing returns to raising more of it. In most cases, undesirable behavior simply isn’t caused by a knowledge deficit." The story does provide several examples of behavior change techniques that work better than awareness raising, so read on to get the how-to.

No comments: