May 7, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting


‘Seductive’ dress gets girl barred from chess tournament – I admit that I was hoping to see pictures of a scantily clad chess babe causing her male nerd opponents to be horribly distracted. Nope. Any guy that thinks this outfit is seductive needs to get out more.


The Pets’ War: On Hilda Kean’s “The Great Cat and Dog Massacre” – This is a book review for a book about the killing of pets in London during the war. It appears that something like a quarter of all pets in London were killed by their owners at the start of the war. I don’t think that would happen today, but then I didn’t realize it happened then.


Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving – This is a VERY funny story about someone moving two neurotic dogs. After reading this, I think I have a better understanding of why people in London killed their pets.


Who Defines Expertise? – A college is going to make a prof who has been teaching philosophy for 50 years stop because their PhD is in English. The new rule is you can only teach what you have an official credential in. Socrates, Plato, Locke, Descartes, Bertrand Russell…none of them had PhD’s in Philosophy. Something to think about.


Guy makes good money farming in other people’s yards – “This nomadic gardener travels between Maine to Florida gardening leased front yards. With a frugal lifestyle and revenues as high as $1.5K a week, he’s living the dream.” Not sure what dream that is, but if it is working for him I guess it’s good.


Crows atop other birds – Crows are the cool kids of the bird world. These pictures of crows riding on other birds are awesome.


Why Americans Smile So Much – According to this, people in other countries don’t smile at each other nearly as much as Americans do. I suspect that it is because of a combination of poorer dental care and because they just don’t like each other as much. The latter is not a surprise. I’ve heard that most people in other countries are foreigners.


Biisuke Ball’s Big Adventure Part 2 – What the heck is this? It’s a “story” of a little red ball being captured by big black balls and then rescued by its orange and green ball brothers. It’s Japanese with English subtitles. It’s a musical. Watch this and you won’t have to wonder why people in other countries don’t smile as much as we do.


This is How Google will Collapse – Here’s the logic: Google makes money off of ads. People are blocking more ads. Google is doomed!!! My recommendation – don’t sell all your shares just yet.

Health – Physical and Mental

Why Quality Sleep Grows More Elusive with Age – Another story on how people don’t sleep as well when they get older. Maybe it is because they spend their nights writing articles like this. I learned that if you think you are getting enough sleep because you aren’t tired during the day, don’t be so sure. You may be sleep deprived but just don’t know it.


Malcolm Gladwell on Why We Shouldn’t Value Speed Over Power – The author of the “10,000 hours” stuff is back and he is pushing the theory that we judge people’s brains on how quickly they can think when we should be focusing on how powerfully they can think. I may need more time to think about this. Maybe I’ll sleep on it.


When It Comes to Heartbreak, Placebos Are the Best Medicine – They took people that had just gone through painful breakups and sprayed saltwater up their nose. They told half of the people that it was a new medicine. Those people felt better than the people that were told it was just saltwater. Not sure if this really shows that placebos help with heartbreak. It may just show that people getting saltwater sprayed up their nose for no reason at all stay upset longer.


How Do You Find and Maintain Your Friendships? – An online discussion of how to maintain friendships. The common theme seems pretty simple – do things together, preferably things that allow you to interact. I would also add that you shouldn’t spray saltwater up each other’s noses.


Parents Aren’t Good Judges of Food Allergies – In a Swedish study, only about 10% of the kids whose parents thought they had food allergies actually had food allergies.  Sounds shockingly bad, but don’t forget the article from a couple of weeks ago that 88% of the patients that get second opinions get a different opinion. It is starting to look like it is hard to know anything about someone’s health.


THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF BEING (SLIGHTLY) CRAZY – This is a really long article extolling the virtues of being a bit insane.


Talking to Yourself Makes You Smarter, Not Crazy – Wait. I just learned that I’m supposed to be crazy. Sigh. I wonder what percentage of people that think they are crazy are crazy?


Strong language: swearing makes you stronger, psychologists confirm – Damn it! So those crazy people I see walking around talking to themselves and swearing continuously, they aren’t drugged up homeless people; they’re probably superheroes in disguise.


Fred Hoiberg: ISAIAH THOMAS Travels Every Time – I know almost nothing about basketball, but I thought that you had to keep bouncing the ball unless you were about to pass or shoot. Apparently not.


How Couch Potatoes Could Change the NBA – The theory here is that if more people drop cable, they’ll watch fewer full games and more sports highlights which will encourage more showboating, which will change the game. I’m not convinced, but then I still thought you had to keep bouncing the ball.


Stephens College is the first all-women’s school with an eSports team – It’s good to see these sorts of barriers coming down in the world of sports.

Art and Culture

Why Doesn’t Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings? – I think it is because ancient people used to actually do more stuff. Now people do less and worry more about what everyone is thinking, so that’s what they write about.


Dartmouth Study Finds Democrats Are The Least Tolerant Students On Campus – I’m not surprised, but not because I think Democrats are less tolerant than conservatives. I think that Democrats are more the majority social group at Dartmouth and that people in majority groups probably tend to be less tolerant of people in minority groups than vice versa.


When Flamethrowers Like Ann Coulter Come to Campus – Brief essays by several students about controversial speakers coming to campuses. These aren’t encouraging reading to anyone that considers freedom of speech extremely important. A theme seems to be that freedom of speech shouldn’t be extended to people that only have bad things to say.


Gut Check : The Microbiome Game – “Gut Check is a downloadable game that allows you to give your friends botulism while you focus on developing a healthy microbiome.” Probably good to play once or twice, but it seems like you would get sick of it after a while.


How Some Cultures Live Without Numbers – “Numbers do not exist in all cultures.” My advice – don’t lend money to people in these cultures.


The Professor’s Bookshelf – If you are looking for something to read, this article has recommendations from a bunch of professors. To be safe, you should probably ignore any recommendation from any professor outside of their specialty. Or maybe you should just go to GoodReads instead. Or check out Literature-Map.


Ink In Motion – Very cool slow-motion, close-up visuals of ink being squirted in water. Why does everything look cooler in slow-motion?


’13 Reasons Why’ spreads suicide like a disease – Should a TV series be canceled for glorifying suicide? If so, what about shows the glorify violence? Sex outside of marriage? Excessive drinking? Wearing seductive dresses to chess matches?


Defying Gravity With Korea’s Premier Balance Artist – Don’t think balancing stuff is an art form? Check this out. I love this guy. He’s AMAZING! He probably swears to himself like crazy.


An Indian barber is using fire to cut people’s hair –This guy puts powder in people’s hair and burns it while running a comb through it as a way to trim their hair. I’m going to pass on this one.


A Season of Regret for an Aging Tribal Expert in India – A guy that got to know an extremely isolated tribe now regrets reducing their isolation because they have changed. But is that really a bad thing? Can they go back to living isolated if that is what they want? The fact that they endure poverty associating with the rest of the world may reveal that they prefer that to what they had before. Something to ponder.


Field Test of GMO Algae Highlights Its Vast Potential, Researchers Say – Looks like algae is the new “plastics”. It appears that we are expecting great things from algae. I wonder if we could make artificially intelligent algae. Sounds like a good plot for a bad sci-fi movie.


The Crazy Eruptions That Spit Up Diamonds – This article is about how diamonds get made deep in the earth and only surface with these weird, super-deep eruptions.


Are These Birds Too Sexy to Survive? – This tells about a bird that sings with its wings. The authors conclude that in specializing in this display, it may actually be making itself less fit for long term species survival. Perhaps, but the chicks dig it.


Collin’s Lab: Pulse Room – I’m not sure why you would set up a room to flash and thump with your heartbeat, but if you want to do it, this video shows you how.

Politics and Policy

A More Moderate Diversity – This article describes two versions of diversity on campuses – Truth Diversity, which is diversity of viewpoints; and Social Justice Diversity, which is diversity of characteristics like race, gender, and ethnicity. The article argues for more of a blended approach.


Make measles great again – This article talks about the increase in measles do to the increase in vaccine waivers reducing the immunized percentage of the population. I can’t help but wonder if a better approach would be to have insurance not cover avoidable medical expenses people incur because they chose not to immunize. Maybe combine that with civil liability for damages to others they infect as well.


Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms – I had no idea that we have privately developed “black box” algorithms that influence sentencing and possibly even convictions. Seems like this would run afoul of the right to cross-examine.


Save Jobs, Address Automation – Good grief, it is yet another article on how we need to slow the pace of automation because it is going to cost jobs. Writing these articles is becoming a huge source of jobs by itself. Do these people want to become the new Amish? Are they willing to drop all the automation we have today – washing machines, vacuums, computers, elevators, etc to bring back the jobs those took?


‘Middle-Class Tax Relief’ Is a Hoax – This article says that it is harder and harder to sell tax cuts as middle class tax relief because barely half of adults pay a net federal income tax. If “the rich” are paying the taxes, then all tax cuts are tax cuts for “the rich”.


Who Should Pay to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions? – “Insurance” for people with pre-existing conditions isn’t “insurance” because these are known expenses. The question this article asks is, who should pay? The sick? Other people with health insurance? Taxpayers? Somebody else?


Will the Supreme Court Defend Citizenship? – This talks about a recent case in which someone was stripped of their citizenship because of a non-material lie told under oath years ago. It was interesting to see the questioning from the Justices. It seems likely to be overturned.


Trump and GOP, not campus radicals, pose the real threat to freedom – I’ve linked to a lot of articles on the campus speech imbroglio. Here’s a slightly different perspective. It essentially says to not worry about that because the big attacks on freedom are coming from the right. I see their point, but I see the attacks coming from both sides of the aisle. The notion that we have too darn much freedom seems to be bi-partisan.


Colorado’s Absurd War on Online Dog Walking Services – It is OK to smoke pot in Colorado, but you aren’t legally allowed to get paid to take care of your neighbor’s dog. Seriously.


When Character No Longer Counts – Remember all the complaints about Bill Clinton not being morally fit for the Presidency? It looks like some of the people complaining about that have changed their views on the importance of character for a President.



It’s a Wonderful Loaf – I hate to bury this down in the rarely read “economics” section because it is a delightful video. It shows the miracle of economic freedom in allocating resources using a loaf of bread as an example. Perhaps if the people that cheered Hugo Chavez had seen this and understood it, Venezuela wouldn’t be the hellhole that it is today.


Congressional Democrats’ $15 Minimum Wage Bill, Explained and Why a $15 Minimum Wage Is Good Economics – I’m not a fan of laws banning people from working if they can’t find someone willing to pay them $15 an hour. It seems cruel. Here are a couple of articles with a very different perspective. If you read them, notice that they both talk a lot about how much better off the people getting raises from the minimum wage will be, but they don’t talk as much about the people that can’t find work anymore.


Future Global Mineral Resources – This is a long paper on the topic of future minerals availability. It is very well thought out. If you got caught up in peak oil, the copper shortage, the rare-earth minerals shortage, or any of the other scares that have run rampant through the press, this is something you should read. Those scare articles are almost always written by people that get paid to scare you and know very little about what they are writing about.