November 5, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting

Once again, I’m skimping on the commentary. It’s our final photoshoot weekend. I hope to be back to my usual annoying comments next week.


Startup will train crows to pick up cigarette butts in return for peanuts – Very cool. I loved this.


Frank Stephens: “I Am A Man With Down Syndrome And My Life Is Worth Living”


Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Sells For $17,752,500, Becoming The World’s Most Expensive Wristwatch Ever Sold


LIGHTS ON | LIGHTS OUT – A look at changes in light emissions by areas. Some are getting more electrified and lighting up. Other areas are making an effort to reduce “light pollution”.


Virginia is betting more people will turn to transit when I-66 tolling begins – We should use more congestion pricing in more places, but the politics of it looks hopeless.


Time to bury Che Guevara for good



Health – Physical and Mental

Narcissism and Self-Esteem Are Very Different – I feel that I’ve mastered both of them.


The Fragile Generation – How not to raise a snowflake.


A Pill to Make Exercise Obsolete – They invented a pill that gives you most of the benefits of regular, strenuous exercise without having to do the work! The only significant downside is that it causes cancer at an alarmingly high rate. Now they’re working on pills that make you want to exercise instead of just giving you the effects of exercising. Disappointing.


The ‘drunken monkey’ argument: are we predisposed to alcohol addiction?


Companies claim marijuana makes cancer “commit suicide,” FDA loses it


Is He Really That into You? – Weird. Why do I get the feeling that creepy guys are going to read this looking for ways to hit on women?

Art and Culture

Muslim Vikings and Abuses of History – Remember that article about Muslim artifacts in a Viking grave? It appears to have been someone stretching to find what they wanted to find, at least according to this article.


Outrage after Kyrgyzstan reburies its only ancient mummy – Why is this in “Art and Culture”? It’s a weird article. I had no idea what to make of it.


BrandColors, Team Color Codes – Color codes for popular brands and sports teams. I found this stuff while researching face painting in Photoshop. Seems like these pages could be very useful.


Are People More Disturbed by Dog or Human Suffering? – “We also found more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies, and fully-grown dogs than for victims who are adult humans.”


Postmodern Creationism in Academia: Why Evergreen Matters – I’m familiar with people that challenge the scientific consensus on evolution and the age for the earth because of their Biblical interpretations. This is the first I’ve heard of “Native Americans” also challenging that consensus because it can be seen as decreasing their claim on the Americas.


Why Dozens of Octopuses Marched Out of the Sea – Labor dispute? Protest? No. They think it was overcrowding and a lack of food. Is “marched” the right term here?


Climate Scientist Mark Jacobson Sues Journal For $10M Over Hurt Feelings – Sigh


Inseparable: Ten Years Joined At The Head – Fascinating! Two girls joined at the head actually share portions of their brains, senses, and motor control. Please read the story despite how bad the following joke is. From the article – “Though academically delayed, they are learning to read, write and do arithmetic.” Apparently two heads aren’t always better than one.


How Google’s Physical Keys Will Protect Your Password – Yuck. Passwords are annoying enough. Now we’re moving back to a world with physical keys?


Familiar-Looking Numbers Are The Latest Twist In Robocalls – I’m generally not a fan of the death penalty, but I might be willing to make an exception for robocallers.


Microsoft Engineer Installs Google Chrome During Presentation After Edge Freezes

Politics and Policy

Sexually active students must be reported to law enforcement or state officials, Oregon school district says – I remember when people laughed at conservatives for teaching “abstinence”. They laughed because they knew that it would have almost no impact on young people’s sexual behavior. It appears that the left is now getting into the game. “According to Oregon law, anyone under 18 years old cannot legally give consent, meaning all sexual activity between minors is considered sexual abuse.” Interestingly, the minimum age for marrying in Oregon is 17.


From chaperones to modesty wear, a sexual reformation is underway


Fix this democracy — now – I disagree when most of these, but it is an interesting list of ideas to improve our country. Some are horrible – require everyone to vote, teach identity 101 in high school, and outlaw private education; but some aren’t so bad – befriend a libertarian, allow garage unit rentals, and switch to instant run-off elections. It’s a collection of short essays.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren says 2016 Democratic primary was rigged – It appears that the “Democratic” party wasn’t. Maybe democracy does need to be fixed.


Donna Brazile and the Latest Great Hillary Scandal – Here’s a counterpoint. It was hard to find one.


Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars – One of the smartest policy changes we made last century was to end conscription. Do people seriously want the draft again?


Progressives Are Now Arguing that the First Amendment Is Profoundly Limited on College Campuses – It’s strange how things change.


Professors like me can’t stay silent about this extremist moment on campuses


Why I’ve Started to Fear My Fellow Social Justice Activists


Get On the Bus or Get Under It: Shouting Down Free Speech at Rutgers


Harvard Returns to Its Puritan Roots


Philosophy Professor Tells Bisexual Student Who Criticized Islam ‘We’re Not Going to Let You Damage the Program’ – How does someone get to be the dean of a philosophy department while thinking like this? This was a UTSA.


University cancels play accused of criticizing Black Lives Matter – Ironically, the play was about political correctness run amuck at colleges making it hard for people to express unpopular opinions.


Forget Washington. Facebook’s Problems Abroad Are Far More Disturbing. – There seems to be a growing consensus that Facebook (and Google) need to start addressing the political implications of the content they serve. I still disagree.


Would You Blame the Phone for Russian Interference?


Why Feminists Must Understand Evolution


Prostitution Reduces Rape – Interesting blog post with some interesting (and some insane) counter-arguments in the comments.


A Broke, and Broken, Flood Insurance Program

Economics, Business, and Money

The World’s Poorest People Are Getting Richer Faster than Anyone Else – It doesn’t get much press, but the last few decades have seen some of the greatest improvements in the wellbeing of the world’s poorest people.


Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stagnation – At a time when families are getting smaller, travel costs lower, and communications better, I would have expected more people to be willing to move to find work. I guess I would have been wrong.


Labor Market Equilibration: Evidence from Uber – The supply of driver hours is very elastic, so you cannot easily increase driver pay by having Uber raise rates. If you did, it would just draw in more driver hours, which would compete the price back down.


Import duties are taxes imposed on, and paid for, by Americans, not foreign producers


DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shut Down After Vote to Unionize – Here’s a little friendly advice. If you work for a company owned by someone that hates unions and the company has been losing money ever since it was started, forming a union might not be the best idea.


Who Pays for Free College? Crowding Out on Campus


Why Movie-Ticket Surge Pricing Is a Bad Idea


We Can’t Reduce Housing Costs by Wishing for Rent Control – This should be really simple for people to understand. If you propose something to lower housing costs, the proposal needs to either increase the supply of housing or reduce the demand for it. Rent control does the opposite, so it will inevitably lead to some combination of higher housing prices or shortages. It’s just that simple. It all comes down to supply and demand.


Yellen Retrospective – By objective measures, she appears to have been one of the most successful FED chairs in history.


Bubble Investing: Learning from History