monday pretty big linked list: call about health care!, drug overdoses, VW is tricky

Health care stuff

– Sorry to keep beating this drum, but: Senate GOP won’t release draft health care bill – they don’t want people to read it because it is presumably terrible for people with preexisting conditions, etc. Please call your senators – here’s how! Ask them not to support a bill that would leave tens of millions of Americans who currently have health insurance without it.

How Alaska fixed Obamacare – an interesting look at how reinsurance stopped a possible “death spiral” in Alaska.

Maps Show A Dramatic Rise In Health Insurance Coverage Under ACA – Obamacare isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what we had. (also: hey Texas, maybe you should expand Medicaid?)

Nevada’s legislature just passed a radical plan to let anybody sign up for Medicaid – looks like the governor hasn’t decided whether to sign it or not, but: neat!

Other stuff

You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic? – spoiler alert: it is very bad.
  – Related: I used to support legalizing all drugs. Then the opioid epidemic happened. is an interesting point.

Inside VW’s Campaign of Trickery – yikes, that is damning evidence.

Here’s a Very Powerful Study That Bolsters the Lead-Crime Hypothesis – interesting stuff!

Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem

The Last Person You’d Expect to Die in Childbirth – super depressing story here. The US has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and I was expecting this to be because of funding or taxes or abortion (somehow), but it sounds like it’s not really any of these. Which is good because it means we can fix it! (right?) (thanks Jessica!)

Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove – check out USAFacts! If I had more time and could think of a good angle, I would make an app using this data, and then no one would download it.

These days in baseball, every batter is trying to find an angle – neat visualization of launch angles in baseball

7 reasons why today’s left should be optimistic – hooray!

For an Inclusive Culture, Try Working Less – this is a good point…

friday giant linked list: LiveJournal, Venezuela, Barry Bonds

Russian-Owned LiveJournal Bans Political Talk, Adds Risk of Spying – so, yeah…probably time to ditch LiveJournal if you haven’t already 😦

How Does Populism Turn Authoritarian? Venezuela Is a Case in Point – scary stuff.

What if Barry Bonds had played without a baseball bat? – I clicked on this because, hey, baseball! But this video was both wildly entertaining and really interesting. I was very impressed by the way he did a bunch of work with data and then did a bunch of work to make an interesting story out of it. Then I started looking up the rest of the Chart Party series which led me to SBNation’s Pretty Good series by the same guy and now I’m hooked!

Film Crit Hulk Smash: P.C. Culture Vs. The Big Joke – this is the best description of “PC culture” and 4chan, Breitbart, and Milo I’ve read. (thanks Ben L!)

TrumpBeat: ‘I Realized It’s Not So Easy’ – so yeah, this is an easy thing to (rightfully!) make fun of, and it’s not a good thing if Trump really just agrees with the last person to talk to him, but I find it hopeful that he is willing to listen and change his mind when he’s wrong. (you know, sometimes)

Our Dishonest President – speaking of Trump, this is a pretty remarkable series of editorials from the LA Times.

Trump Threatens Health Subsidies to Force Democrats to Bargain – also speaking of Trump, here he is threatening to make health insurance unaffordable for millions of people to gain “leverage” over the Democrats. Pretty terrible!

Justice Thomas’s Doubts About Civil Forfeiture – this is promising!

I Went to the ‘Contact’ Radio Telescope with the Astrophysicist Behind Twitter’s All-Time Sickest Burn – reads like hyperbole but that may, in fact, be Twitter’s sickest burn. Anyway, good interview and I followed her on Twitter!

Want to pay off a student’s lunch account in Austin? Here’s how – honestly not sure how to feel about this: happy that people are helping out kids, or angry that this is necessary in the first place?

A.I. Versus M.D. – What happens when diagnosis is automated? – interesting look at how AI may or may not help doctors.

– This is a pretty great website for a copywriter – just move the slider from left to right!

Texas plans to designate official state gun along with other weapons – oh, Texas! (thanks Stephen!)

United Passenger “Removal”: A Reporting and Management Fail – a good look at some aspects that haven’t been covered much. (also worth noting: “Calculated misery”: how airlines profit from your miserable flying experience – thanks David!)

Windows 10 gets major update as Windows Vista reaches its end of life – a good look back at Vista here and why it was (somewhat) unfairly maligned. (thanks Adam!)

Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones – compassion and kindness FTW!

How to Find Your Missing Keys and Stop Losing Other Things – very practical advice. I used to lose things pretty often, but I’ve gotten better at tending to put things down in the same places, so it’s easy to exhaustively search them.

no foolin’ linked list: the gig economy, saving 100k lives per year, PHP

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death – yeah, similar to my thoughts on Uber (but of course it’s better written than mine 🙂 )

Powdered Vaccine Raises Hopes Of Stopping A Top Killer Of Kids – wow this could save 100,000 children’s lives per year!!

PHP: a fractal of bad design – this really resonated with me because I spent a while porting Gallery from PHP5 to PHP7, which meant I ran into a few of these annoyances. (so many static functions that weren’t declared as such…) (thanks Ben!)

Can Religious Charities Take the Place of the Welfare State? – spoiler: probably not. Charities of all sorts are great, of course, but it seems unrealistic to ask them to take up social services. Those require a consistent funding source. (this is a topic because Trump’s proposed budget cuts tens of billions of dollars from social services…)

According To Harvard Psychologists: Parents Who Raise “Good” Kids Do These 5 Things – linkbait title, and I’m mostly posting it for future me. But, here you go!

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware – DRM makes sense in some cases, but disallowing third-party repairs is pretty shady. (for cars there’s a law saying the manufacturer has to honor your warranty even if you take it in to a third-party repair shop, at least according to the signs I see at Jiffy Lube!)

Grand jury decides that seizure-inducing GIF counts as a deadly weapon – what a great time to be alive, sigh. (this seems reasonable since the sender knew Eichenwald had epilepsy and it in fact did cause a seizure, although I’m not 100% sure about the “deadly” part)

This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account – no scandal here (although it’s interesting to see who he followed, including the Onion!), but a nice bit of detective work!

‘It Didn’t Pump Itself’ – depressing comic about an old contract that lent prisoners in Alabama out to do hard labor mining coal.

Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen – exactly what it promises, a pretty great minute-long video!

tuesday linked list: poverty and iPhones, friends are important, trump/russia

Laziness isn’t why people are poor. And iPhones aren’t why they lack health care. – this is a very good look at why people want to believe these things. Also worth noting – saying that poor people should never treat themselves to anything is not realistic or compassionate. I also feel this way about food stamps: if a family is able to save up their food stamps to enjoy a nicer meal every once in a while, why shouldn’t we allow that? (thanks David!)

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness. – this is sobering. Having friends that you do stuff with is important!

If Trump Is Innocent, Why Is He Acting So Guilty? – see, yeah. It is 100% believable to me that Putin wanted Trump to win/Hillary to lose, so the government hacked both parties and released the DNC emails via Wikileaks. But so many of his campaign officials have ties to Russia and Trump keeps lying about what’s going on that it’s getting concerning. Of course, Trump seems to lie about a lot of things, so maybe this is just his way of “counterpunching”. And extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which we don’t have yet. But still…

In Fight Over Bail’s Fairness, a Sheriff Joins the Critics – good for the Harris County (Houston) sheriff and district attorney! (thanks David!)

The Opioid Epidemic Is This Generation’s AIDS Crisis – wow, I didn’t realize that things were this bad. (probably because I don’t live in a rural area) My rough insensitive guideline for when something is really bad is when it causes more deaths per year than traffic fatalities (~38,000 in 2015), and this is well above that.

The Lessons of Obamacare: What Republicans should have learned, but haven’t – health care is hard!

How WWI food propaganda forever changed the way Americans eat – interesting! (also, I’m totally a sucker for war propaganda posters…)

A Behavioral Economist Tries to Fix Email – man, I need something like Filtr…

6 Big Differences That Turn City Dwellers Into Liberals – makes a lot of sense. Also, when did cracked.com start publishing good articles?

How Donald Trump’s Enemies Fell for a Billion Dollar Hoax – impressive detective work to find all the ways the wire transfer document was phony!

Steve Jobs’ liver—and the quest for a better organ algorithm – tricky stuff. Also, be an organ donor!

The CIA uses board games to train officers—and I got to play them – sounds like fun!

monday linked list: the x-plan, panhandling, american exceptionalism

X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out – this is a great idea, although I’d imagine the hard part is not asking questions afterwards. (thanks Leigh Ann!)

The Pope on Panhandling: Give Without Worry – this is inspiring, and I’m going to try to do this from now on. (one challenge: keeping enough cash on hand…)

It’s time for Democrats to become the party of American exceptionalism – I’m of two minds about American exceptionalism. On the one hand, saying “hey we’re the best and no other country is like us!” always seemed a little presumptuous. But I’m 100% behind “we should do good things because we’re a good country”! (sidenote: it is still so weird to see the Democrats have this opportunity, as the Republicans have had a stranglehold on this since the Reagan years)

Kansas Republicans Sour on Their Tax-Cut Experiment – it’s almost like supply-side/trickle-down economics don’t work!

Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins – apparently the best charter schools are the most “public”. (and also nonprofits)

‘What Do You Think Is the Most Important Problem Facing This Country Today?’ – a neat look at the answers to this question over time. There doesn’t seem to be any one big thing now, but a lot of the answers are domestic in nature, which is new.

The Future of Not Working – a good piece on universal income and GiveDirectly.

Just How Abnormal Is the Trump Presidency? Rating 20 Events – in handy chart form!

Be More Careful on Facebook – this is, sadly, good advice, especially for immigrants and visitors. (thanks David!)

What One Photo Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Program – a neat look at what you can learn from even a propaganda photo. (although this is, of course, terrifying…)

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide – wow, terrible few weeks for Uber! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer company.

Meet The Man Who Stopped Thousands Of People Becoming HIV-Positive – wow. PrEP works, and this guy is inspiring!

wednesday linked list: ObamaCare and its proposed replacement, Uber is still terrible

This Is What Obamacare’s Critics Won’t Admit Or Simply Don’t Understand – the Affordable Care Act has problems, but it’s done a lot of good.

Republican Health Proposal Would Redirect Money From Poor to Rich – not a surprise here, but giving the same tax credit to everyone of the same age regardless of income is hugely regressive!

Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber – wow. Wooooow. Pick your own headline here:
  – Company with a creepy CEO and creepy policies also allows creepy employees to be creepy!
  – Why aren’t there more women in tech? I don’t know, I guess it’s a pipeline problem or something! Nothing we can do!

Dole Food Had Too Many Shares – man, the stock market is complicated!

How to Keep Your Children From Learning Stereotypes – talk about individuals (“This Muslim family eats different foods”) instead of groups (“Muslims eat different foods”). Good stuff! (thanks Sid!)

This is actually what America would look like without gerrymandering – old article, but putting redistricting in the hands of a fair algorithm seems like a good idea. I am sympathetic to the idea of keeping “communities of interest” together, but in practice that just hasn’t happened.

Simpsons episode loaded with famous guest stars to be honoured in Baseball Hall of Fame – yay!

Mike Piazza Learns How to Be an Owner. Of a Soccer Team. In Italy. – man, this sounds like a lot of fun…

friday linked list: the CFPB, overdraft fees, food sell-by dates

The Watchdog Protecting Consumers May Be Too Effective – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is doing good work, so of course Republicans want to cripple it. Sigh.

Republicans Are Moving to Scrap Rules That Limit Overdraft Fees – I think it’s cute that Gruber thinks this should be a bipartisan issue. Sadly, when there’s big business on one side and poor people on the other, often Republicans will help big business.

Barney Frank: Here’s how to not waste your time pressuring lawmakers – good advice that largely lines up with the Indivisible Guide. But it’s good to hear it confirmed by a former representative!

You’re about to see a big change to the sell-by dates on food – neato!

Here’s what really caused the housing crisis – it wasn’t lending to low-income households… (thanks David!)

‘I thought I was smarter than almost everybody’: my double life as a KGB agent – wow!

A Tax Overhaul Would Be Great in Theory. Here’s Why It’s So Hard in Practice. – path dependency is a big deal.

The Puzzling Popularity of Back Surgery in Certain Regions – seems to be based on physician preferences.

When ‘The Simpsons’ Came Out of the Closet – neat! Interesting to see that the episode (which I didn’t see until a while after it aired originally) was a pretty big deal at the time.

11 Amazing Hotels for Book Lovers – someday… (although that Alice in Wonderland one looks kinda creepy)

The horror of blimps – hah!