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!

friday linked list: political persuasion, sleep, Merriam-Webster

The Simple Psychological Trick to Political Persuasion – not too surprising but still useful in an era where you can be a conservative but not support Trump. Try to include patriotism, loyalty, and purity in your arguments!

The Brain’s Connections Shrink During Sleep – another theory about why sleep is important!

Ventusky is a very pretty weather map!

This Dictionary Keeps Subtweeting Trump And Here’s The Full Story – heh

Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat—And Casinos Have No Fix – pretty clever! If money is on the line you probably want to avoid using a PRNG if possible…

Victoria mosque fire ruled arson – as a followup to my last post about this, this is sad but not surprising. Also, what is this?

Investigators said evidence does not indicate the fire was a “biased crime.”

Do they mean, like a hate crime? Because, how could you tell from the fire?

Executive Power Run Amok – when John Yoo (the “If you’re at war the President can do basically anything” guy from the George W. Bush era) says you’re overreaching your executive power, that means you really must be overreaching!

In Libel Suit, Melania Trump Cites Loss of Chance to Make Millions – good thing we didn’t elect that “corrupt” Hillary Clinton, though! *sigh* (also, this should not be viewed as an endorsement of the Daily Mail, which is a terrible newspaper)

If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think – this is long and very self-helpy, but maybe you’ll find it helpful? I got a few things out of it…

An Oral History of Homestar Runner, the Internet’s Favorite Cartoon – not too long but still interesting. Also:

Matt: We have a property in Homestar called Cheat Commandos, which is basically making fun of old G.I. Joe cartoons. We eventually made Cheat Commandos toys and we wouldn’t even put an ad for the toys in the cartoon. That’s like, part of the joke, why didn’t we just do that and make some money? Like there was someone who told me recently that their favorite thing we ever did was Cheat Commandos, and they had no idea we’d even made toys! Probably a missed opportunity there! If anything we might’ve taken our punk rock status too far.

Yes, dang it! Making money isn’t selling out!

– These declassified CIA jokes about the Soviet Union (.pdf) are…OK!

friday linked list: healthcare options, Texas fighting against gay marriage, ransomware

Health Care Fundamentals – this is a good short column about why your three options for how a country handles health care are:

  • what we had pre-Obamacare, where insurers can refuse to give you insurance if you have any sort of preexisting condition, which most people agree seems unfair
  • something like Obamacare, where insurers can’t do that, but you need an individual mandate to prevent a death spiral (and some sort of subsidies for people who can’t afford it)
  • a single-payer system where the government pays for everyone (with tax revenue, obviously)

It’s pretty unclear to me which option Trump wants, although I’m not convinced that even he knows. (or particularly cares…) (thanks David!)

Texas court hearing case to limit gay marriage legalization – well that’s just great. You would think once the Supreme Court rules on something, it would be settled law for a while. And note that the state is suing to prevent Houston from offering benefits to same-sex married couples. Classy! (thanks Stephen!)

The evolution of (and solution to) ransomware – an interesting history. The first ransomware is way weirder than I expected! And the “solution” is pretty unsurprising – backup your files regularly, which is a good idea for a thousand other reasons too.

Disable Your Antivirus Software (Except Microsoft’s) – an interesting perspective from someone who used to work on Firefox – apparently a lot of antivirus software has a lot of bugs and can actually make things less secure! (by disabling things like ASLR)

3D TV is officially dead as Sony and LG stop making sets – huh, that didn’t seem to last long. When we bought a new TV we spent a little extra to get a 3D one, then used the 3D functionality a few times the first week and that was pretty much it. So I guess I’m not too surprised…

– I stumbled across this in an Agile book, but here is an interesting look at quantifying the cultural differences in different countries with numbers! (When you see “Masculinity”, roll your eyes and read something like “Achievement Orientation” instead)

Chinese Fans Are Slow To Warm Up To Ice Hockey – I love that grandma who brought her knitting since it was as good a place to knit as any 🙂

– Here is a pair of videos with opposite intents. If you want to be driven insane, listen to this kazoo-heavy version of “Yakety Sax” which is only 4 minutes long but feels much longer. If you want to feel awesome instead, listen to this ukelele version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme, which I’ve already listened to 5 times today!

thursday linked list: don’t watch the inauguration, why medical advice changes so quickly

Don’t Watch Donald Trump’s Inauguration – the subtitle is “There’s no better way to undermine Trump than to take away his ratings”

Why Medical Advice Seems to Change So Frequently – we discussed the new baby sleeping recommendation with our pediatrician and…yeah.

You Draw It: What Got Better or Worse During Obama’s Presidency – a fun way to test your knowledge!

U.S. Abortion Rate Falls To Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade – everyone can agree this is good news! (right?) And better access to contraception (*cough* Obamacare) appears to be a big cause.

How America’s Thinking Changed Under Obama – of course it’s hard to know how much Obama’s presidency really caused these. But that same-sex marriage number went up 20% in 8 years!

Gerudo Valley (from “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”) Mariachi Cover – this works really well! (thanks Jonathan!)

The best of Disney cinematography – pretty!