Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Months of Tabs, and This Is Maybe Half of Them

As I said yesterday, the tabs are getting to the crush level. Here are some of them.

Strong Towns' Chuck Marohn explains why autonomous vehicles will make our streets worse. One great quote: "Streets are the framework for growing a place, a platform for building wealth where the quality of the human habitat is more important than the throughput of vehicles."

Initial property continues to vex Libertarians. By Matt Bruenig at the People's Policy Project. "Perhaps the most interesting thing about libertarian thought is that it has no way of coherently justifying the initial acquisition of property. How does something that was once unowned become owned without non-consensually destroying others’ liberty? It is impossible."

America's made-up culture of guns. From The Week. "...when you say something is part of your culture, you're placing it beyond reasoned judgment. Its status as a component of culture infuses it with value that can't be argued against."

Ezra Klein does an admirable job (at Vox) of explaining why Charles Murray and all his apologists are wrong about inherent differences in intelligence between what racists call "races." Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science, from late March 2018. (Some day, I will get back to writing up my thoughts on Nell Painter's The History of White People and finally read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, which is sitting on my to-be-read shelf.) As Klein writes, "the idea that America’s racial inequalities are driven by genetic differences between the races and not by anything we did, or have to undo, is not 'forbidden knowledge' — it is perhaps the most common and influential perspective in American history."

Why I sold my guns. A piece from 1999 from UU World. "My experience has taught me that if average citizens and legislators think they can whip a concealed gun out to shoot down a bad guy, they’re living under an illusion—the same dangerous illusion—I once cherished myself. We cannot spend every moment of our lives on alert, prepared to use lethal force against another person."

White supremacy and the church of the Second Amendment. From Jeremy Scahill's podcast on the Intercept, with a transcript for the time-pressed. Starting with the Black Panthers in California... and heading to Barack Obama and our present-day hysterical NRA. An interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of the recently released book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.

It's science: we know the most effective ways to decrease your individual carbon footprint in Western countries. They are: having one fewer child (decreases 58.6 tons of CO2 emissions per year), living car-free (2.4 tons), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tons  per round-trip trans-Atlantic flight), and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tons). Notice the scale difference between having one fewer child and the next best thing, living car-free. It's well over an order of magnitude.

Does segregation beget segregation? Two poverty researchers talk about the social forces reinforcing the cycle of segregation. From Pacific Standard.

How discriminatory policies harm Latinos' mental health. Also from Pacific Standard. (This fits with other research that found lower birth weights among the children of Latinas after ICE raids in an Iowa town.)

A Boing Boing post from December 2017, about Zephyr Teachout's book Corruption in America (currently sitting on my to-be-read shelf), contains this quote:

[The book is] also a fascinating look at the way that the Reagan years represent a sustained attack on the idea of public service and the common good. [Ayn] Rand and [Friedrich] Hayek and their disciples held that acting in your own self-interest produced the best possible outcomes, and their mathematically inclined acolytes at the University of Chicago produced endless shitty equations to prove that selfishness was Pareto-optimal. 
Geez, some of these tabs are really old. This one from Quartz is also from December 2017, called The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal. "It turns out that places with less economic complexity tend to grow more slowly and have much bigger gaps between rich and poor, even after taking into account factors like income and education levels." In which I learned of a guy named Nick Mullins, a former coal miner who now runs his own public relations firm aimed at bridging political and cultural divides surrounding Appalachian issues, and a lot more.

An Ivy-League ethnographer worked in a check-cashing business for four months and came up with some surprising findings.  From Business Insider.

Why do poor Americans eat so unhealthfully? Because junk food is the only indulgence they can afford. It's part of the scarcity problem. From the LA Times.

Patterns of death in the South still show the outlines of slavery. From Five Thirty Eight.

I'm also very late to this on HuffPost, by one of my Twitter favorites, Tressie McMillan Cottom: The real threat to campuses isn’t ‘PC culture.’ It’s racism. This is the lead:
I’ll never forget the first time I received a panicked call from a fellow academic who was being harassed online by a “white identity” group. That was about six years ago, and it has happened many times since, becoming more coordinated and more frightening as the years go by. Now, not a month goes by that I do not receive such a call.
And she nails it on the idea that colleges are indoctrinating the young into the Left:
...even elite institutions are not nearly as radical as the alt-right believes. They are, if anything, the finishing schools for conservative economics, social science and social policy. A handful of gender studies courses could not begin to check the power of an economics department or a business school at any university in the U.S.
Thomas Edsall explores Why is it so hard for democracy to deal with inequality? for the New York Times. He cites five reasons:
First, growing bipartisan acceptance of the tenets of free market capitalism. Second, immigration and low turnout among the poor resulting in an increasingly affluent median voter. Third, “rising real income and wealth has made a larger fraction of the population less attracted to turning to government for social insurance.” Fourth, the rich escalated their use of money to influence policy through campaign contributions, lobbying and other mechanisms. And finally, the political process has been distorted by polarization and gerrymandering in ways that “reduce the accountability of elected officials to the majority.”
The lost art of bending over: How other cultures spare their spines. From NPR. It's all about "hip-hinging." Kind of like that drinking bird toy. It also loosens your hamstrings.

And I'll close with a couple of possible pieces of good news: 

The health benefits of humor. From WNYC's The Takeaway. 

This company may have solved one of the hardest problems in clean energy by Dave Roberts at Vox. About unlocking the possibilities of hydrogen.

This new graphene invention makes filthy sea water drinkable in on simple step. From Science Alert. This graphene is made from soybean oil, too.

Norm activation theory helps reinforce the need to do the right thing when it comes to your personal carbon footprint.

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