October 29, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

I’m going to be short on pithy commentary this week. I’m in the middle of our fall photo shoot and don’t have a lot of time.

Other

Love After Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed Wife

 

Nearly every country on earth is named after one of four things – A directional description of the country, a feature of the land, a tribe name, or an important person.

 

The Only Underwater Submarine-to-Submarine Kill in History

 

Did Sally Hemings And Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other? – I like the article’s conclusion that it is really impossible to know. Can a slave ever really be said to “love” their master?

 

These Are the Happiest Cities in the United States – It’s not. It’s a list of cities that meet the author’s criteria for what would make him happy.

 

Seven Things You Don’t Need to Fear, No Matter What the Internet Says – According to some article on the same Internet that the subject discredits.

 

Mark Barbieri – You can find my name on the list. What I found interesting was what a great job they did with the complete list of places that I’ve lived. In fact, I planning on referring back to this when I get those questions asking me to confirm who I am by specifying which address I’ve lived at, which gives you some sense of how useless those things are.

 

Foursquare data reveals the most popular fast-food chain in every state — and America has a clear winner – It’s a Chick-fil-A country, but surprisingly they didn’t win in Texas.

 

Health – Physical and Mental

Should Your Spouse Be Your Best Friend? – I think it is a major plus, but I guess it isn’t necessary.

 

Art and Culture

In Norway, the Journey Is the Destination – Amazing scenery, nice people, and lots of blondes apparently weren’t enough so they are adding some interesting art. Definitely high on my list of travel priorities.

 

The Blonde vs. Brunette Map of Europe – Just in case you were wondering where in Europe to go to see the most blondes. Incidentally, neither Alexa nor Google Home will tell me a blonde joke, presumably to avoid giving offense to blondes (like they’d even understand).

 

The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons & Dragons

 

Which Disappointing TV Show Do You Resent for Consuming Your Time? – I can proudly say “none of the ones listed in the article”. I do resent wasting the time to read the article, though. And Napoleon Dynamite. I’m still bitter about the time wasted watching that movie.

 

Maybe Don’t Dress Your Kid Up As Moana This Halloween? – And while you’re at it, don’t let them dress up as Elsa unless they are Scandinavian AND a princess. Or the Ariel if they haven’t grown up under the sea. Never let your child dress as anything other than who they are or you are an insensitive bigot.

Science

When you die you know you are dead: Major study shows mind still works after the body shows no signs of life – Really cool. Apparently, your brain and hearing still work for a while after you are dead. Makes the guillotine even crueler.

 

Conspiracy Theorists Have a Fundamental Cognitive Problem, Say Scientists – There is no way that people believe all these crazy conspiracy theories on accident. I think someone is putting something in our water or air to make us more inclined to believe nonsense.

 

CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARDS RISK AS WE GET OLDER: New evidence that ageing societies become more risk-averse – Seems a bit backwards. Logically, you’d think that older people would be more willing to accept risk since they have fewer years of life at stake.

 

Bird feeders might be changing bird beaks

 

Technology

MugLife – This is an iOS only app that looks fun. It allows you to jack with people’s faces in pictures.

 

Japanese noodle company invents noise cancelling fork to mask offensive slurping – I thought that Japanese people slurped noodles using chopsticks, not forks.

Politics and Policy

Why the trial by ordeal was actually an effective test of guilt – This was weak. The idea is that if everyone believes that the trial by ordeal will work, only the innocent will go through with it, so the people conducting it will fudge it so that they look innocent.

 

Liberate government workers from forced union fees – This, essentially making government unions follow “right to work” principals, seems likely to happen via Supreme Court fiat this session.

 

The New Populism Isn’t About Economics

 

My liberal white male rage: What should I do about it? – a LWM SJC has frequent violent fantasies. The author comes across as rather disturbed. I’d avoid him.

 

The Misguided Student Crusade Against ‘Fascism’ – It does seem that a lot of anti-fascist crusaders really are fascists at heart (but for a good cause, of course).

 

Why ‘Medicare for All’ Will Sink the Democrats – I’d like to see reforms to allow states to experiment more with the provision of medical care, including “Medicare for All” or some other form of single-payer system. Let the states that want it try it and let the other states learn from them.

 

How do I get my daughter interested in computers?

 

New Zealand Government to ban foreigners from buying property – The new government is wasting no time in doing stupid things.

 

Facebook censored me. Criticize your government and it might censor you too. – I’m tempted to write the author and ask the he post something I’ve written and, when he refuses, accuse him of censoring me. Sorry, but nobody has a right to make Facebook publish their thoughts. In fact, I wish that they exercised that discretion much more often.

 

Cops Claim Teen Consented to Sex in Their Custody, Point Prosecutors to Her ‘Provocative’ Selfies – This seems pretty simple. You cannot arrest someone, lead them away in handcuffs, and then claim that they consented to having sex with you while they were in your custody.

 

Che Guevara: Symbol of Love or Hate? – He was one of the more loathsome people of the last century. Why do people celebrate him? Why where Che shirts but not Goebbels? In what meaningful way were they different (besides their hair?)

 

Economics, Business, and Money

Americans are still terrible at investing, annual study once again shows – Repeat after me – hold a balanced portfolio of low cost index funds and don’t trade them. It’s pretty simple.

 

How Retailers Use Personalized Prices to Test What You’re Willing to Pay

 

Forced Scarcity Won’t Make This Country Richer

 

Fortune 500 firms 1955 v. 2017: Only 59 remain, thanks to the creative destruction that fuels economic prosperity

 

401k plans do not “subsidize saving”

October 22, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

Other

Butterfly swarm shows up on Denver radar system – I love living in a world with so many butterflies that they sometimes show up as clouds on radar systems. I want to see this happen in my area.

 

Three Chinese women stuck at South Korea airport unable to confirm identities after plastic surgery – This isn’t a problem I ever really thought about. What if you don’t look your passport photo anymore?

 

Chinese scientists can identify you by your walk – I guess they needed this because of the plastic surgery women. More seriously, this is interesting stuff. You are getting increasingly less anonymous. I wonder what impact this will have on masked protesters.

 

Dubai Airport Plans to Put Tunnels with Face-scanning Aquariums as Security Checkpoints for All – “Not only those boarding departure flights but also those catching connecting flights at Dubai will have to walk through the tunnels with face-scanning aquariums.” I understand that the biggest challenge is training the fish to recognize faces.

 

The Enormous Spreadsheet that Runs the World’s Mail – When you send a letter to another country, how to the intermediate countries get paid? This video describes the process and the spreadsheet at the heart of that process.

 

America’s Top Fears 2017 – Corruption of government officials came in at #1. Health care #2. Last year, Terrorist Attack was #2 and Terrorism was #4. Neither made it onto this year’s list.

 

Camp Chef’s Italia Pizza Oven is Worthy of Your Dough – I think everyone should have a pizza oven.

 

Wolf Puppies Are Adorable. Then Comes the Call of the Wild. – Wolves don’t make good pets. This article talks about why. It’s something about them being wild animals.

 

‘My wife thinks I’m crazy:’ Grower of gargantuan fruit nabs new record with world’s largest squash – He grew a one ton squash. I read the article, but I still don’t understand why. It’s his third world record squash. I guess everyone needs a hobby.

Health – Physical and Mental

Study fails to discover why old women exist – There are three popular theories. #1 – it’s hard for evolution to make women alive and healthy while raising children and then die shortly afterwards. #2 – Men can still have children when they are old and maybe women get some of those genes. #3 – Old women are helpful and improve the success of the community overall. This study didn’t find evidence of any of the three. I’m trying to imagine the conversation he has with his mother over Thanksgiving when she asks what he is studying.

 

Why Adults Need to Play More Often – I wouldn’t have thought that the benefits of playing as an adult needed any explanation, but here’s one.

 

You Must Get Started on Your Swedish Death Cleaning – It’s a book about straightening out your stuff before you die. When you are done cleaning up, don’t forget to build your coffin. And if you could dig a hole about six feet deep, that would be great.

 

Magic mushrooms ‘reboot’ brain in depressed people – study – This was curious. It appears that a treatment of psychedelics can rewire the brain enough to permanently fix some problems with depression. I’ve found that eating at Mellow Mushroom helps with depression, but the results are only temporary.

 

SSC JOURNAL CLUB: SEROTONIN RECEPTORS – This is a little geeky, but an excellent read. It goes into much more detail about dopamine and serotonin than most articles. It does a much better job of discussing the magic mushroom study than the prior article. I also loved the explanation of “Algernon’s Law”.

 

Forget getting rich – sex and sleep are the real keys to happiness – OK, but if you are rich enough, you can sleep all day and, when you wake up, hire people for sex.

Art and Culture

Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades – Disgusting on so many levels. How can a person be that depraved? Why were so many people silent for so long? I guess this should be a surprise. Our current President bragged about his ability sexually abuse women. His opponent destroyed the reputation of women that made allegations of sexual abuse against her husband, who was forced to settle with one accuser. Despite all that, they are both popular with women and “women’s rights” advocates. Another weird thing is how many people that are criticizing Harvey turn around and defend Roman Polanski after he admitted raping a young girl and then fled the country to escape punishment. It’s no wonder that Harvey thought that he would be forgiven if he kept supporting causes popular among women’s groups.

 

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories – I couldn’t make it through this. The stories were just too disturbing. What a loathsome person.

 

What to know about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the Ben Affleck allegations, and how Matt Damon fits in – Look like Ben Affleck, while criticizing Harvey (that name sure has taken a beating lately), is facing allegations of his own misbehavior. Matt Damon’s name was also sullied during the week, but that appears to have been a misunderstanding.

 

Celebrity Misbehavior – “Casual empiricism suggests that celebrities engage in more anti-social and other socially unapproved behavior than noncelebrities. I consider a number of reasons for this stylized fact, including one new theory, in which workers who are less substitutable in production are enabled to engage in greater levels of misbehavior because their employers cannot substitute away from them.”

 

Leonard Nimoy – Both Sides Now – What the hell was going on the 60s? This wasn’t nearly as bad as sexually assaulting someone, but still. Why?

 

It’s No Better to Be Safe Than Sorry – This is an interesting retake on “Take on Me”. It was redone as an acoustic ballad. The video isn’t nearly as cool as the original, but the song is surprisingly good in a different way. It is certainly better the Leonard Nimoy singing “Both Sides Now”, but what isn’t?

 

The Strength of Absent Ties: Social Integration via Online Dating – Most heterosexual couples still meet through friends, but meeting online is a close second. Meeting online is dominant for same-sex couples. Interracial marriages increased sharply with the advent of online dating sites twenty years ago.

Science

Has adult sleep duration declined over the last 50+ years? – Surprisingly, the answer is no. It seems like we’re busier than people used to be, but maybe we make up for it by having more meetings to sleep through.

 

Easter Islanders Falsely Blamed For Their Own Demise – That story about the Easter Islanders destroying their own habitat? It looks like that might be wrong. This guy blames rats.

 

Who Would Agree to Have Sex With a Total Stranger? – According to this, one of the biggest differences between men and women is their willingness to have sex with strangers. In studies, about 75% of men will but virtually no women will. The article goes into much more detail. The difference is essentially unchanged even when the stranger danger aspects are mitigate.

 

The scientist who spots fake videos – This is going to be an increasingly important skill as it gets easier and easier to create fake photos and videos. I’ve heard that it is already possible for amateurs to fool people with faked pictures.

Technology

Bringing Portraits to Life – Don’t think we need better ways to spot faked videos? Check this out. They are taking still images of people and then animating them based on the actions of third person. Wow!

 

Google Pixel Buds Speaking Translator|Translate Language Instantly – It’s Babel Fish 1.0. This is really, really cool. Really cool. I need this before our next exchange student arrives.

 

How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees – Want to understand how computers compress text? Probably not, but if you do, here’s a simple explanation.

 

Fibonacci Numbers hidden in the Mandelbrot Set – Numberphile – Last video got you in a mood for nerdy videos? How about watching Dr. Holly Krieger show you how Fibonacci sequences appear in the Mandelbrot Set. Don’t worry, she explains what Fibonacci numbers are and what the Mandelbrot Set is. I hadn’t seen her videos before. She’s no Vi Hart, but I’m excited to go watch more.

 

Why Stanford Researchers Tried to Create a ‘Gaydar’ Machine – Remember my references to gender preference determining facial recognition software? This article tells the story of the guys that made it.

 

U.S. signals tougher stance with tech companies on encryption – This is another move in the fundamental debate over whether we are entitled to privacy or whether that is too dangerous. Should we be able to encrypt things? If so, that means that terrorists and pedophiles can encrypt things. If not, that means that none of our communications and records are very secure. It’s a little like the free speech debate. You can just have a right for good people to have free speech.

 

Why Commodore Failed – A Conversation with Commodore UK’s David John Pleasance & Trevor Dickinson – Commodore was one of the dominant PC brands in the 80s. Then it died. Here’s an insider’s perspective on why.

 

An Apple Genetically Engineered to Never Brown Will Hit Stores This Fall – New apples that don’t brown as quickly are about to hit the shelves. They’ve shut down the gene that “controls polyphenol oxidase production”. I guess that’s the stuff that makes apples go brown. Anyway, this cool because it will make sliced apples easier to deal with and should lead to a reduction in food waste.

 

Why SQL is beating NoSQL, and what this means for the future of data – This is a good article defending SQL.

Politics and Policy

Russia reportedly used Pokémon Go in an effort to inflame racial tensions – Are we living inside a badly written dystopian future novel?

 

5 Ways White People Can Fight White Supremacy – This was so stupid that I posted it to complain about its stupidity. “[Racism] is a contagion carried and spread by white people among white people.” There you have it. Racism isn’t a universal problem that we all need to struggle with. According to the author, it’s only a white person problem. It appears that the author could stand to do a little self-reflection.

 

President Reagan’s Radio Address on Canadian Elections and Free Trade on November 26, 1988 – Just a little nostalgia for when we had a President that was a vocal supporter of free trade. “Over the past 200 years, not only has the argument against tariffs and trade barriers won nearly universal agreement among economists but it has also proven itself in the real world where we have seen free trading nations prosper while protectionist countries fall behind.” Instead, we have a President that has jacked up the cost of lumber at a time when many people in Houston, California, and Puerto Rico are rebuilding after natural disasters. He did so by sticking high tariffs on Canadian lumber to help US lumber companies price gouge people rebuilding their homes. To be bipartisan, he did so with the support of former President Jimmy Carter, who owns tree farms and stands to profit from the tariff.

 

Prejudice Reduction: What Works? A Review and Assessment of Research and Practice – The conclusion is essentially “we don’t know.” From the study: “We conclude that the causal effects of many widespread prejudice-reduction interventions, such as workplace diversity training and media campaigns, remain unknown.”

 

I Tweeted About My Toddler and Someone Called Child Protective Services – This was an interesting story about the abuse of child protective services as a means of harassing parents. The evidence used to start the investigation was a tweet saying “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.” This isn’t an easy problem to solve. The more you encourage CPS not to pursue obviously frivolous charges, the more often they’ll miss cases of serious abuse.

 

Salt Lake Police Fire Cop Who Arrested Nurse Over Blood Draw – Remember the jerk cop that arrested the nurse for not letting him draw blood from an accident victim? He got fired from his police job. He had already been fired from his EMT job. It looks like body cameras are a good thing because he would probably not have been punished if we didn’t have the footage. Incidentally, his union is still angry that the footage was released. When the union uses the phrase “protect and serve”, they are deliberately vague about just who they are protecting and serving, but it seems pretty obvious that is isn’t citizens like the nurse in this story.

 

Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits – Setting aside the debate over the goals and merits of the legislation, the Affordable Care Act was one of the worst crafted major pieces of legislation I can recall. I assume that is due to the rush to get it passed and the razor thin margins on which that happened. As a result, the law was unworkable without significant (and probably illegal) executive intervention. It’s a mess. I don’t know what will or should be done, but we definitely need some form of health care reform – hopefully bipartisan and better thought out.

 

We Brought Charles Murray to Campus. Guess What Happened. – OK, this is turning into a repetitive old meme, but I still find the intolerance closed minds of college “liberals” to be depressing. Schools are failing students if they aren’t teaching them how to appropriately disagree with people. What sort of employees will these kids become if shout downs are their way of dealing with people they disagree with?

Economics, Business, and Money

Ceteris Numquam Paribus – Prof. Deirdre McCloskey – This is from an econ blog written by a teen. This entry is about a very interesting professor. “She is known as a “conservative” economist, Chicago-School style (she taught at the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1980), but protests, “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive-Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.”” She’s actually a very interesting writer and I’m delighted to see some teen interested enough in libertarian economists to blog about them.

 

We’re Number 11, We’re Number 11! Eh? – We’ve tied Canada for 11th in this year’s Economic Freedom of the World index. Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Ireland took the top 5 spots. We improved a bit from last year, primarily from sound money and de-regulation but lost ground on freedom to trade.

 

The flaws a Nobel Prize-winning economist wants you to know about yourself – A nice little summary of behavioral economics, for which Richard Thaler just won the economics “Nobel” prize.

 

Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend – Yet another article calling for the breakup of the tech giants. This time the angle is that they “don’t have our best interests at heart.” First, no company has your best interests at heart. Second, the author calls for them to be regulated by the government, but the government doesn’t have our best interests at heart either. It helps to remember that every organization, whether public or private, is guided by people and those people have their own interests and they don’t necessarily align with yours.

 

October 15, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

Other

Butterfly swarm shows up on Denver radar system – I love living in a world with so many butterflies that they sometimes show up as clouds on radar systems. I want to see this happen in my area.

 

Three Chinese women stuck at South Korea airport unable to confirm identities after plastic surgery – This isn’t a problem I ever really thought about. What if you don’t look your passport photo anymore?

 

Chinese scientists can identify you by your walk – I guess they needed this because of the plastic surgery women. More seriously, this is interesting stuff. You are getting increasingly less anonymous. I wonder what impact this will have on masked protesters.

 

Dubai Airport Plans to Put Tunnels with Face-scanning Aquariums as Security Checkpoints for All – “Not only those boarding departure flights but also those catching connecting flights at Dubai will have to walk through the tunnels with face-scanning aquariums.” I understand that the biggest challenge is training the fish to recognize faces.

 

The Enormous Spreadsheet that Runs the World’s Mail – When you send a letter to another country, how to the intermediate countries get paid? This video describes the process and the spreadsheet at the heart of that process.

 

America’s Top Fears 2017 – Corruption of government officials came in at #1. Health care #2. Last year, Terrorist Attack was #2 and Terrorism was #4. Neither made it onto this year’s list.

 

Camp Chef’s Italia Pizza Oven is Worthy of Your Dough – I think everyone should have a pizza oven.

 

Wolf Puppies Are Adorable. Then Comes the Call of the Wild. – Wolves don’t make good pets. This article talks about why. It’s something about them being wild animals.

 

‘My wife thinks I’m crazy:’ Grower of gargantuan fruit nabs new record with world’s largest squash – He grew a one ton squash. I read the article, but I still don’t understand why. It’s his third world record squash. I guess everyone needs a hobby.

Health – Physical and Mental

Study fails to discover why old women exist – There are three popular theories. #1 – it’s hard for evolution to make women alive and healthy while raising children and then die shortly afterwards. #2 – Men can still have children when they are old and maybe women get some of those genes. #3 – Old women are helpful and improve the success of the community overall. This study didn’t find evidence of any of the three. I’m trying to imagine the conversation he has with his mother over Thanksgiving when she asks what he is studying.

 

Why Adults Need to Play More Often – I wouldn’t have thought that the benefits of playing as an adult needed any explanation, but here’s one.

 

You Must Get Started on Your Swedish Death Cleaning – It’s a book about straightening out your stuff before you die. When you are done cleaning up, don’t forget to build your coffin. And if you could dig a hole about six feet deep, that would be great.

 

Magic mushrooms ‘reboot’ brain in depressed people – study – This was curious. It appears that a treatment of psychedelics can rewire the brain enough to permanently fix some problems with depression. I’ve found that eating at Mellow Mushroom helps with depression, but the results are only temporary.

 

SSC JOURNAL CLUB: SEROTONIN RECEPTORS – This is a little geeky, but an excellent read. It goes into much more detail about dopamine and serotonin than most articles. It does a much better job of discussing the magic mushroom study than the prior article. I also loved the explanation of “Algernon’s Law”.

 

Forget getting rich – sex and sleep are the real keys to happiness – OK, but if you are rich enough, you can sleep all day and, when you wake up, hire people for sex.

Art and Culture

Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades – Disgusting on so many levels. How can a person be that depraved? Why were so many people silent for so long? I guess this should be a surprise. Our current President bragged about his ability sexually abuse women. His opponent destroyed the reputation of women that made allegations of sexual abuse against her husband, who was forced to settle with one accuser. Despite all that, they are both popular with women and “women’s rights” advocates. Another weird thing is how many people that are criticizing Harvey turn around and defend Roman Polanski after he admitted raping a young girl and then fled the country to escape punishment. It’s no wonder that Harvey thought that he would be forgiven if he kept supporting causes popular among women’s groups.

 

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories – I couldn’t make it through this. The stories were just too disturbing. What a loathsome person.

 

What to know about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the Ben Affleck allegations, and how Matt Damon fits in – Look like Ben Affleck, while criticizing Harvey (that name sure has taken a beating lately), is facing allegations of his own misbehavior. Matt Damon’s name was also sullied during the week, but that appears to have been a misunderstanding.

 

Celebrity Misbehavior – “Casual empiricism suggests that celebrities engage in more anti-social and other socially unapproved behavior than noncelebrities. I consider a number of reasons for this stylized fact, including one new theory, in which workers who are less substitutable in production are enabled to engage in greater levels of misbehavior because their employers cannot substitute away from them.”

 

Leonard Nimoy – Both Sides Now – What the hell was going on the 60s? This wasn’t nearly as bad as sexually assaulting someone, but still. Why?

 

It’s No Better to Be Safe Than Sorry – This is an interesting retake on “Take on Me”. It was redone as an acoustic ballad. The video isn’t nearly as cool as the original, but the song is surprisingly good in a different way. It is certainly better the Leonard Nimoy singing “Both Sides Now”, but what isn’t?

 

The Strength of Absent Ties: Social Integration via Online Dating – Most heterosexual couples still meet through friends, but meeting online is a close second. Meeting online is dominant for same-sex couples. Interracial marriages increased sharply with the advent of online dating sites twenty years ago.

Science

Has adult sleep duration declined over the last 50+ years? – Surprisingly, the answer is no. It seems like we’re busier than people used to be, but maybe we make up for it by having more meetings to sleep through.

 

Easter Islanders Falsely Blamed For Their Own Demise – That story about the Easter Islanders destroying their own habitat? It looks like that might be wrong. This guy blames rats.

 

Who Would Agree to Have Sex With a Total Stranger? – According to this, one of the biggest differences between men and women is their willingness to have sex with strangers. In studies, about 75% of men will but virtually no women will. The article goes into much more detail. The difference is essentially unchanged even when the stranger danger aspects are mitigate.

 

The scientist who spots fake videos – This is going to be an increasingly important skill as it gets easier and easier to create fake photos and videos. I’ve heard that it is already possible for amateurs to fool people with faked pictures.

Technology

Bringing Portraits to Life – Don’t think we need better ways to spot faked videos? Check this out. They are taking still images of people and then animating them based on the actions of third person. Wow!

 

Google Pixel Buds Speaking Translator|Translate Language Instantly – It’s Babel Fish 1.0. This is really, really cool. Really cool. I need this before our next exchange student arrives.

 

How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees – Want to understand how computers compress text? Probably not, but if you do, here’s a simple explanation.

 

Fibonacci Numbers hidden in the Mandelbrot Set – Numberphile – Last video got you in a mood for nerdy videos? How about watching Dr. Holly Krieger show you how Fibonacci sequences appear in the Mandelbrot Set. Don’t worry, she explains what Fibonacci numbers are and what the Mandelbrot Set is. I hadn’t seen her videos before. She’s no Vi Hart, but I’m excited to go watch more.

 

Why Stanford Researchers Tried to Create a ‘Gaydar’ Machine – Remember my references to gender preference determining facial recognition software? This article tells the story of the guys that made it.

 

U.S. signals tougher stance with tech companies on encryption – This is another move in the fundamental debate over whether we are entitled to privacy or whether that is too dangerous. Should we be able to encrypt things? If so, that means that terrorists and pedophiles can encrypt things. If not, that means that none of our communications and records are very secure. It’s a little like the free speech debate. You can just have a right for good people to have free speech.

 

Why Commodore Failed – A Conversation with Commodore UK’s David John Pleasance & Trevor Dickinson – Commodore was one of the dominant PC brands in the 80s. Then it died. Here’s an insider’s perspective on why.

 

An Apple Genetically Engineered to Never Brown Will Hit Stores This Fall – New apples that don’t brown as quickly are about to hit the shelves. They’ve shut down the gene that “controls polyphenol oxidase production”. I guess that’s the stuff that makes apples go brown. Anyway, this cool because it will make sliced apples easier to deal with and should lead to a reduction in food waste.

 

Why SQL is beating NoSQL, and what this means for the future of data – This is a good article defending SQL.

Politics and Policy

Russia reportedly used Pokémon Go in an effort to inflame racial tensions – Are we living inside a badly written dystopian future novel?

 

5 Ways White People Can Fight White Supremacy – This was so stupid that I posted it to complain about its stupidity. “[Racism] is a contagion carried and spread by white people among white people.” There you have it. Racism isn’t a universal problem that we all need to struggle with. According to the author, it’s only a white person problem. It appears that the author could stand to do a little self-reflection.

 

President Reagan’s Radio Address on Canadian Elections and Free Trade on November 26, 1988 – Just a little nostalgia for when we had a President that was a vocal supporter of free trade. “Over the past 200 years, not only has the argument against tariffs and trade barriers won nearly universal agreement among economists but it has also proven itself in the real world where we have seen free trading nations prosper while protectionist countries fall behind.” Instead, we have a President that has jacked up the cost of lumber at a time when many people in Houston, California, and Puerto Rico are rebuilding after natural disasters. He did so by sticking high tariffs on Canadian lumber to help US lumber companies price gouge people rebuilding their homes. To be bipartisan, he did so with the support of former President Jimmy Carter, who owns tree farms and stands to profit from the tariff.

 

Prejudice Reduction: What Works? A Review and Assessment of Research and Practice – The conclusion is essentially “we don’t know.” From the study: “We conclude that the causal effects of many widespread prejudice-reduction interventions, such as workplace diversity training and media campaigns, remain unknown.”

 

I Tweeted About My Toddler and Someone Called Child Protective Services – This was an interesting story about the abuse of child protective services as a means of harassing parents. The evidence used to start the investigation was a tweet saying “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.” This isn’t an easy problem to solve. The more you encourage CPS not to pursue obviously frivolous charges, the more often they’ll miss cases of serious abuse.

 

Salt Lake Police Fire Cop Who Arrested Nurse Over Blood Draw – Remember the jerk cop that arrested the nurse for not letting him draw blood from an accident victim? He got fired from his police job. He had already been fired from his EMT job. It looks like body cameras are a good thing because he would probably not have been punished if we didn’t have the footage. Incidentally, his union is still angry that the footage was released. When the union uses the phrase “protect and serve”, they are deliberately vague about just who they are protecting and serving, but it seems pretty obvious that is isn’t citizens like the nurse in this story.

 

Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits – Setting aside the debate over the goals and merits of the legislation, the Affordable Care Act was one of the worst crafted major pieces of legislation I can recall. I assume that is due to the rush to get it passed and the razor thin margins on which that happened. As a result, the law was unworkable without significant (and probably illegal) executive intervention. It’s a mess. I don’t know what will or should be done, but we definitely need some form of health care reform – hopefully bipartisan and better thought out.

 

We Brought Charles Murray to Campus. Guess What Happened. – OK, this is turning into a repetitive old meme, but I still find the intolerance closed minds of college “liberals” to be depressing. Schools are failing students if they aren’t teaching them how to appropriately disagree with people. What sort of employees will these kids become if shout downs are their way of dealing with people they disagree with?

Economics, Business, and Money

Ceteris Numquam Paribus – Prof. Deirdre McCloskey – This is from an econ blog written by a teen. This entry is about a very interesting professor. “She is known as a “conservative” economist, Chicago-School style (she taught at the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1980), but protests, “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive-Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.”” She’s actually a very interesting writer and I’m delighted to see some teen interested enough in libertarian economists to blog about them.

 

We’re Number 11, We’re Number 11! Eh? – We’ve tied Canada for 11th in this year’s Economic Freedom of the World index. Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Ireland took the top 5 spots. We improved a bit from last year, primarily from sound money and de-regulation but lost ground on freedom to trade.

 

The flaws a Nobel Prize-winning economist wants you to know about yourself – A nice little summary of behavioral economics, for which Richard Thaler just won the economics “Nobel” prize.

 

Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend – Yet another article calling for the breakup of the tech giants. This time the angle is that they “don’t have our best interests at heart.” First, no company has your best interests at heart. Second, the author calls for them to be regulated by the government, but the government doesn’t have our best interests at heart either. It helps to remember that every organization, whether public or private, is guided by people and those people have their own interests and they don’t necessarily align with yours.

 

October 8, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

Other

Smartest man in Texas saves his home during the flood with something his friends laughed at him for – This video shows a guy that filled tubes around his house with water to form a makeshift damn that protected his house.

 

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights – This is a very scary and fascinating story. In many places (they focus on Nevada), someone can petition the court to make them the guardian of an elderly person with whom they have no relationship. This tells about someone effectively enslaving an elderly couple and bleeding them of their funds. I guess that the lesson here is that if you are going to grow old with assets worth stealing, make sure that you have some younger people close to you that will fight this sort of thing vigorously if it happens.

 

Mass Killings: An Evolutionary Perspective – This article sees mass killings as being status related.

 

Why Can’t Americans Ditch Checks? – We really need to move beyond checks. At the very least, don’t allow anyone to write a check at a store when someone is behind them.

 

A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It – I’m not a scientist, but I thought this was stupid the minute I heard of it. Maybe they are being poisoned. Maybe it is a mass hallucination. Maybe it is some weird spy game thing. It is not some sort of sonic attack.

 

GiveDirectly comes to Houston – It looks like GiveDirectly is a charity that hands out cash and lets the recipients use it however they need it. I think it is an interesting concept, but not so interesting that I’m going to donate.

 

Buy These 20 Toys Now Because They Will Sell Out By the Holiday – Someone’s predictions for what the hot toys will be this Christmas. Looks like a pretty weak year to me.

Health – Physical and Mental

Why Do Smart People Do Foolish Things? – Being smart and wise (they refer to it as being able to think critically) are different things.

 

Scientists Are Racing to Create Synthetic Blood in the Wake of Mass Tragedies – Hurry up. I’ll be delighted when “giving blood” is a thing of the past. Oh, and for those of you that don’t give blood because you don’t like needles or whatever, NOBODY likes having a needle jammed in their arm for 15 minutes. You’re just making excuses. Just like the way that they should (but don’t) allocate organs to organ donors first, when they need to dole out limit supplies of blood, they should give it to the donors first and only give the non-donors whatever is left over.

 

Psychological stress declines rapidly from age 50 in the United States – Really? The first few years after fifty haven’t really seemed that much less stressful. Oh well, I’m not going to worry about it.

 

Seven Body Organs You Can Live Without – Sort of. Some, like the Appendix, make sense. Others, like Kidneys, less so. Yes, you can live without them, but at considerable cost and inconvenience. If you are going to go that route, why not add lungs and hearts to the list? It’s just a more extreme form of the same concepts.

Art and Culture

Behind the Magic of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – This video shows how some of the effects for the most recent Star Wars movie were put together.

 

An Artist Is Launching a 100-Foot Satellite That Will Be Visible to the Naked Eye – OK. Not sure what to think about this one.

 

Number Six At 50: The 50th Anniversary Of ‘The Prisoner’ – The 50th anniversary of a cool (but very, very weird) show. It was the show that introduced me to the Lotus Seven.

Science

Physicists find we’re not living in a computer simulation – This wasn’t convincing at all. Their argument is that, as the number of particles you have to simulate grows, the complexity of the simulation grows exponentially – a concept familiar to anyone that has had to watch more than one child. But this logic assumes that whatever runs our “simulation” isn’t infinitely powerful (by our standards).

 

Violent helium reaction on white dwarf surface triggers supernova explosion – They think they saw a helium explosion trigger a supernova. That’s interesting enough, I guess, but what really struck me was this line “Among 100 supernovae we discovered in a single night, we identified a Type Ia supernova that had exploded only within a day before our observation.” We must live in a big universe when we can find 100 giant stars exploding in one night.

 

Why fake islands might be a real boon for science – Not sure about this. It seems like an awfully expensive way to add more land. The biggest potential benefit that I see is the ability to create places that aren’t under the control of any existing government, hopefully allowing more experimentation in governing models.

Technology

APPLE IS REALLY BAD AT DESIGN – I don’t really follow the iStuff space in much detail, but I’ve been somewhat surprised at how many iStuff fans have reacted so negatively to the new iPhones. I’m not sure why that is. It almost feels like the reaction of someone with an insufficiently requited crush.

 

Free Viewpoint Video – The concept that this video attempts to illustrate is that if you have a lot of high resolution cameras around a stadium and enough computing power, you can place virtual cameras almost anywhere and watch the event from almost any perspective. The future is going to be really cool.

 

The Rise of Necrofauna and the Ethical Dilemma of De-Extinction –I love the term Necrofauna. I’m a fan of the idea of bringing back extinct creatures, but it looks like it isn’t really possible. It looks like they are talking about recreating them. Sort of like the difference between running the original code for an old game on an emulator vs rewriting the game.

 

GoPro: This Is Fusion – This is the future of action cameras. It’s a camera that shoots high resolution 360° video and then you control the viewpoint in post-production so you always have the perfect angle. This will do nicely until we get that “free viewpoint” stuff working better.

Politics and Policy

Is Health Care a Right? – This article talks about the debate over whether health care is a right or not. It’s hard for me to really sink into because I am solidly in the camp that believes that our rights restrict what the government can do to us or require from us, not what we can require from it. The article talks a lot about water, as an example, but the government isn’t obligated to provide water and even municipal water services will shut off your supply of water if you don’t pay for it.

 

Bogus Stoned Driving Arrests Highlight Dubious Methods of ‘Drug Recognition Experts’ – One of the challenges of legalized marijuana is that there is no easy way to test whether someone is high right now or not. You can test whether or not they have used the drug in the past several weeks but not whether they are currently under the influence. Because of that, we are back to relying on unreliable field sobriety tests and, as you can expect, abuses by overzealous enforces are occurring. For example, you can’t assume that someone is on drugs because they drive a Nissan Cube. They may just have bad taste in cars.

 

100 years of Communist Disaster – A short video talking about the disaster that communism was.

 

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants – It seems like a waste to lock people away in prisons when we and they could both benefit from them being productive. The problem is that this sort of thing ends up happening – they essentially become slaves. And while this article doesn’t go into it, when you allow a lot of people to profit from prisoners, you risk having a system that encourages the creation of more prisoners, kind of like when municipalities that made money from red light cameras started shortening the yellow lights to generate more revenue.

 

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – I don’t want to wade too far into the murky swamp of gun law debates, especially right now, but I thought this was an interesting article.

Economics

A progressive VAT – An interesting argument that a progressive VAT tax would be both fair and efficient. I found the article intriguing.

 

The End of Free College in England: Implications for Quality, Enrolments, and Equity – This study concludes “that tuition fees, at least in the English case supported their goals of increasing quality, quantity, and equity in higher education.” I still remember how excited and then disappointed I was by Bernie Sander’s proposal for free colleges. At first, I was amazed that so many people would donate their time to teach, donate supplies, donate buildings, donate their labor to maintain the physical plan, etc. Then I found out that the colleges weren’t going to be free at all. His proposal was for me to pay for other people’s college.

 

THE ESPORTS PLAYBOOK – This is Neilsen’s (the ratings company) guide to eSports ostensibly from an investment perspective but really to help you understand how and why you should target that market. It’s a decent, but not surprising, overview of the fans.

 

MONTESQUIEU’S “SWEET COMMERCE” AND COBDEN’S “GOD’S DIPLOMACY” – This article argues that free markets and free trade actually make people more cooperative than people are when they live in more “managed” economies. I agree.

 

This is How Shake Shack Will Pay for Higher Minimum Wages – Shake Shack is preparing the use of more automation to reduce labor use in preparation for higher minimum wages. Yet more evidence that the $15 wage is going to be a disaster for those it promises to help. I still like the idea of a minimum wage, but I think every person should be free to pick their own personal minimum wage.

 

October 1, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

Other

The Untold Story of Kim Jong-nam’s Assassination – This is the surprisingly fascinating story of the execution of Kim Jong-un’s older brother Kim Jong-nam (they have a weird naming convention). He’s the guy that was poisoned in an airport. The story has hookers, binary chemical weapons, spies – everything a good murder mystery should have.

 

Scott Baldwin: Lion bites Ospreys’ Wales hooker – This article was all sorts of weird. Why is a hooker playing rugby? Why was the hooker allowed close enough to the lion to get his hand bit? How much rugby does a hooker have to play to get dumb enough to think that petting a lion is a reasonable thing to do?

 

Where is Pizza Most Expensive (and Cheapest) in America? – The cheapest state is Alaska. The most expensive is North Dakota. The most pizza places per capita is Orlando, but I wonder if that is because Orlando has the most people per capita. I know that sounds weird, but I’m guessing that the “capita” in “per capita” is a count of residents and not a count of people there right now. By city, Lexington is the cheapest and Buffalo the most expensive.

 

NCAA Threatens College Runner With Ineligibility for Promoting Water Bottle Company – Did he do a side deal with Desani? Is he pushing Perrier? No. He and a friend started a bottled water business in high school. We can’t let those student athletes get away with running their own business.

 

Five Ways Ancient India Changed the World With Math – The gave us “Arabic” numerals (should have locked up the naming rights), zero (sounds like nothing but is quite valuable), quadratic equations (forcing us all to spend an extra year on high school math), rules for negative numbers (which they called “debts”), and the basics of calculus (this last seemed like a stretch).

 

Reserve private bathrooms across NYC with a new app – I guess that it’s hard to find a public restroom in New York. They need Buc-ee’s. The weird thing is that you get an hour reservation for the bathroom. If you need an hour in the bathroom, you need more help than an app is going to provide.

 

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE GREAT SILICON HEIST – How do you literally walk out with 43 tons of valuable silicon? This is another interesting crime story. Sorry, no hookers.

 

What You Actually Got From Those Back-of-Magazine Ads – If you are old enough, you probably remember those weird little ads in the back of magazines and wondered what you actually got from them. This article reveals the truth. It was probably one of those ads that I answered that caused someone to come to my house when I was about 10 years old. He was trying to sign me up for

stenography school. My parents sent him away, which is how I ended up where I am today.

Canada MPs to loosen penalties for drunks in kayaks – Looks like they are going decriminalize KUI in Canada. The problem is that they were overbroad with their law against operating vehicles under the influence, so now they are redefining it to not include personally powered vehicles like kayaks and bikes. Not sure about dogsleds.

Health – Physical and Mental

As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common – Work out hard, but not too hard, especially when doing something new. Rhabdo appears to be getting more common. You don’t want it.

 

New antibody attacks 99% of HIV strains – This will be welcome news if it proves itself in the real world. I don’t hear much about HIV here in the US anymore, but my understanding is that it is still a horrible crisis in Africa.

 

We Expect Too Much From Our Romantic Partners – This was kind of weird. I understand that people get divorced more often now and that they expect more from marriage than they did. It’s really not a bad thing that marriage is now more of a choice than an obligation. Still, I have to think that the mumbo-jumbo about Maslow and self-actualization is probably part of their marriage problem. No spouse wants to listen to blather like that.

 

Let Kids Play With Junk – I’m a big fan of the idea. I remember the day that the kids spent a morning playing with a box of Styrofoam packing. They made an incredible mess all over the family room, but then they had even more fun sucking it all up with a shop vac. Also, one of my favorite quotes was from a Christmas when our two year-old son unwrapped the box containing his large present. His reaction – “Wow!!! A BOX!!!”

 

The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life: the new sleep science – Have problems waking up in the middle of the night? This article will give you something to think about while you lay awake.

 

Get up at least once every 30 minutes. Failure to do so may shorten your life, study finds – This contradicts the prior story. If you get up once every 30 minutes, neither you nor your spouse are going to get enough sleep and your spouse will definitely shorten your lifespan.

 

The pursuit of pleasure is a modern-day addiction – This is a British story on the increase in drug addiction and subsequent shortening of lifespans there. They contend that dopamine tells the brain “This is good. I want more.” and serotonin tells the brain “this is good. I have enough.” The world is increasingly making dopamine easy to get and so we are getting less serotonin. I guess the lesson is to seek satisfaction rather than pleasure.

 

After 15 yrs in vegetative state, patient becomes minimally conscious – OK, “minimally conscious” is the key phrase here, but after 15 years, that’s still a big deal. Even teens don’t go that long without thinking.

 

Why Butter Used to Have Its Own Food Group – I love the thought of butter being a food group. “Kids, you have to finish your butter before you leave the theater!” Maybe some things in the past really were better.

Art and Culture

How The Negro Traveler’s Green Book Helped Black People Get Around in the 1950s – It was great that butter was a food group back in the day, but it sucks that people needed a special book to figure out where they could travel based on their skin color. Good for Victor Green for writing it and shame on the people that made it necessary.

 

The 100 Hardest Video-Game Bosses, Ranked – #1 was Skolas from House of Wolves. The toughest I’ve faced and beaten is #10 (Mike Tyson from Punch-Out!!). I’ve never heard of most of these.

 

There and Back Again – This is a celebration of The Hobbit on its 80th anniversary. I still love it and, while I wouldn’t call it my favorite book, it is the first book that completely engrossed me in a story.

 

Playing the Online Dating Game, in a Wheelchair – The author, who has been in a wheelchair for virtually her entire life, finds that online dating is harder when people see that she is in a wheelchair. That’s a shame, but it isn’t surprising. I’m sure that the same is true for people that are overweight, balding, unattractive, short, have low-status jobs, or any other “undesirable” traits. It would be interesting to see the relative negative weights of each. As a very short young man, I quickly learned that my height was a deal killer for many women. I also realized that it was a deal killer for women that I didn’t want to be dating anyway. It saved me from wasting time with shallow people and helped me eventually marry the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. It may suck for the author to feel rejected by so many men because of her wheelchair, but she’s probably better off not having to weed them out in a more time consuming way. Of course, I have to admit that I was attracted to my wife because she’s a hottie, so I’m not going to claim to be consistent here.

 

The Forgotten Man/Woman – I usually agree with the iconoclastic views that Bryan Caplan writes about, so I was surprised at how far off base he seems with this one. He’s basically taking the position that people of the opposite sex should avoid being alone together even at work for the sake of their respective spouses and families. Must suck to be a female grad student of his. I knew right away that I was going to disagree with the article because it started with “Even today, we rarely socialize with co-workers of the opposite sex.” Really?

Science

We seem to be getting stupider and population ageing may be why – IQ test scores had been increasing for decades. Now they are declining. Is it because of the stupid millennials? A side effect of smart phone use? The author suggests that it is because the test takers are getting older and older people have lower IQs. That was definitely true when I was a teenager.

 

The Stability of Implicit Racial Bias in Police Officers – “when officers slept less prior to testing they demonstrated stronger association between Black Americans and weapons.” It looks like police racism is worse for tired cops.

 

Entropy Explained, With Sheep – This article is a wonderful explanation of entropy, which is rarely explained well.

 

The world could run out of food two decades earlier than thought – When Malthus made his original claims about overpopulation, they probably seemed reasonable. When Paul Ehrlich got everyone excited about it again in the 70s, they were clearly foolish. Now, someone claiming that we are two decades away from running out of food is an idiot. Here’s a better counterpoint than my dismissive summary.

Technology

Genetically modified approaches to fighting malaria succeed in new tests – They may have a way to make mosquitos resistant to malaria. Personally, I’d prefer a way to just kill all the damn mosquitos, but I guess this is better than nothing.

 

Could lab-grown fish and meat feed the world – without killing a single animal? – People are investing a lot of time and money into developing ways to grow meat in lab. I wonder what percentage of vegetarians and vegans will eat lab grown meat. And why “fish and meat” instead of just “meat”? In what sense are fish not made out of meat?

 

Project management: A surefire way to kill your software product – OK, I find project management and project managers annoying, but I don’t have nearly as negative a view of them as this author does.

Politics and Policy

THIS FOOD FOREST ON A BARGE IN NEW YORK FLOATS THE IDEA OF FRESH FOOD FOR CITIES – This is pretty cool from a technology perspective, but it seems pretty pointless from a practical standpoint. It’s more like taking “Eat Local” far enough to the extremes to show why it is silly.

 

This Tiny Country Feeds the World – The Netherlands grows and awful lot of food in a very small space. I have a hard time believing that this makes economic sense, but that’s their problem, not mine. I probably benefit as they learn more about increasing crop yields.

 

THE POOR ARE CARRYING THE COST OF TODAY’S CLIMATE POLICIES – “Climate change is doing more good than harm. Climate change policy is doing more harm than good.” That’s a pretty unconventional viewpoint.

 

How the Debate on Climate Change Is Cooling Down – Good news! The climate isn’t warming as fast as was predicted. The bad news is that it is still warming, but the slower rate gives us more time to adjust.

 

Tech’s push to teach coding isn’t about kids’ success – it’s about cutting wages – This made me chuckle. The writer seriously thinks that the big push by people in the Tech industry to encourage people to learn to code is because they want to cut wages. So suddenly are short-sighted corporate executives only focused on this quarter are now planning decades in advance to marginally decrease labor costs.

 

Puerto Rico’s American Dream Is Dead – The island was in bad shape before it was crushed by Maria. Even if we repair the damage from the storm, Puerto Rico will still be an American territory that is a mess without easy solutions. Keep in mind, there is no immigration policy that prevents the millions and millions of Puerto Ricans (all US citizens) from resettling on the mainland, so this could result in an unstoppable refugee crisis.

 

Rexford Tugwell and the New Deal in Puerto Rico – How did Puerto Rico get this messed up? Rexford Tugwell helped lay the foundation. I suppose you could argue that they are the richest island in the Caribbean, but I don’t doubt that if we’d established the same laissez faire policies that the Brits applied to Hong Kong they would be much better off today.

 

What Happened to Myanmar’s Human-Rights Icon? – The usual story is that the oppressors are the bad guys and the oppressed are the good guys. It looks like the oppressed Suu Kyi was just another oppressor that happened to be oppressed.

 

The New Fight For Labor Rights – This article pushes the notion that workers should fight for their “rights” and then abuses the term “rights” into insensibility. One example is his claim that workers have a first amendment right to criticize their employers on flyers, T-shirts, or Twitter. Well, they do. His mistake is not understanding that this means that the government can’t punish them for what they say. It doesn’t mean that their employer can’t fire them.

Economics, Business, and Money

Warren Buffett shared his best investment advice, and said the ‘elite’ have wasted $100 billion ignoring it – “My regular recommendation has been a low-cost S&P 500 index fund.” I couldn’t agree more. Well, I’d go for a total stock market index fund like VTSMX, but it’s basically the same thing.

 

This Brilliant Email From Netflix Was a Master Class in Dealing With a Legal Issue – Most lawyer letters are boring and overbearing. This is a clever example that goes against type. Kudos to Netflix legal team for not being jerks.

 

Hurricane Doofonomics – This article explains that the result of damage from hurricanes may cause an increase our GDP, but that doesn’t make us better off. GDP measures economic activity, but it doesn’t account for everything (like the losses caused by hurricanes).

Football

OK, I have to come right and say that I think the whole controversy over the National Anthem at Footballs games is stupid. I don’t see the point of playing the Anthem before games. I don’t see why players should be compelled to come out and stand for it. I also think that coming out for it and then ostentatiously taking a knee is rude. It is the right of team owners not to hire an entertainer that their fans don’t want to cheer for (see my points about the first amendment not applying to employers above). Finally, I think we made a mistake in 1931 when we picked it to be our National Anthem. It’s a foreign song written by a slaver about a war that we lost. America the Beautiful is a much better choice. And as long as I’m offending everyone, someone needs to tell Colin to get a haircut. Long hair almost always looks silly on men and you can drop the “almost” when it is bushy.

 

Football Is Problematic, but Not Because of #TakeTheKnee – “There have been at least 44 different players who have been accused of physical or sexual assault in the last few years.” “Investigation has shown that many NFL teams have been violating federal laws when it comes to narcotic painkiller prescriptions.” “It’s been alleged that the NFL knew about the prevalence and negative effects of CTE and did nothing to warn players.” “So, the rampant drug use, physical and sexual violence, animal abuse, and widespread brain damage were fine, but the peaceful exercise of free speech is not? Duly noted, guys.”

 

In NFL Fight, Trump Embraces Political Correctness – The man elected because he wasn’t afraid to ignore political correctness and tell people what he thought is pushing for vengeance on someone not following his brand of political correctness. Nice.

 

Donald Trump and the USFL: A ‘Beautiful’ Circus – An interesting history of Trump’s history with the USFL. Most surprising fact – he paid Doug Flutie 40% more than Joe Montana was making coming off of a Super Bowl win. Weirdest fact – his celebrity judges to help pick cheerleaders included an offensive lineman, his wife, LeRoy Neiman (I loved his Olympics art), Beverly Sills (yes, the opera singer), and Andy Warhol. That’s right; Andy Warhol helped Donald Trump pick cheerleaders.