link tuesday: Chinese censorship, smart devices, soaking the rich, sick days

last linked list friday of 2018! microaggressions and privilege, emergency room bills, chores and allowances

just hangin’ on friday linked list: willpower is overrated, Dr. Elon and Mr. Musk, solar panels are very cheap!

pre-thanksgiving linked list: disney theme parks are growing, doctors and computers, creepy thermometers

monday linked list: China maybe didn’t hack, except for the other hacks; doctors reading lab results; how to save the Supreme Court

– After that big China hack story last time, it might be falling apart – Apple and Amazon have issued very strong denials, and no other news source has been able to confirm much. Here’s an article that casts doubt on it.

How the US Forced China to Quit Stealing – Using a Chinese Spy – …but that’s not to say that China isn’t involved in hacking. Here’s an interesting part of the story:

Donald Trump’s trade war against China has largely been couched as a way to punish China for its years of rampant intellectual property theft. And the official documents that make a case for that war have made scant mention of the progress that the Obama administration made. “After years of unsuccessful US-China dialogs, the United States is taking action to confront China,” wrote the US Trade Representative’s office, disregarding the quite successful dialog that took place at the Omni Shoreham hotel in 2015. If the US isn’t going to acknowledge that things ever got better, what incentive does China have to keep on good behavior?

What the tests don’t show: Doctors are surprisingly bad at reading lab results. It’s putting us all at risk. – the math here is really not that hard, but it’s important that doctors get this right! (thanks David!)

How to save the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court faces a legitimacy crisis. Here’s what we can do about it. – I expected to roll my eyes at these suggestions, but they’re actually pretty good ideas. (I think the Supreme Court panel is the most feasible one) I used to be a big fan of lifetime appointments because it’s a very good antidote to corruption, but it makes the stakes for a Supreme Court seat so ridiculously high that I’m willing to consider other options now.

Stumbling Toward Armageddon: Newly declassified documents show why the Americans and the Soviets came so close to war in 1973. – because Brezhnev was addicted to sleeping pills. Much like with nuclear missiles, this is why the strategy of “raising tensions to get what you want” can have catastrophic results.

Wall Street Loves These Risky Loans. The Rest of Us Should Be Wary. – gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

The exciting new idea hospitals have to bring down drug prices – hospitals are banding together to produce generic drugs; competition is good!

In Praise of Mediocrity: The pursuit of excellence has infiltrated and corrupted the world of leisure. – yay hobbies!

The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Charge Electric Vehicles – battery swapping always seemed like a good idea, and maybe it’s coming back!

IBM Takes Cybersecurity Training on the Road – I like escape rooms and I don’t know much about cybersecurity but I’m willing to learn if I can get in this sweet truck!

Fight Night With LeBron: Laker fans get their first glimpse of L.A.’s newest megastar, in one of the most chaotic home openers in memory. – I’ve always been a minor LeBron fan, but I think this article converted me to a major LeBron fan, and I hope the Lakers do well except when they play the Rockets 🙂

thursday linked list: china hacking US hardware, compromising on policy is dead, delayed sexual assault allegations

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – wow – this is a huge scoop and incredibly scary! (if you have hardware access to a machine there’s basically nothing you can’t do)

Democrats Don’t Care About Policy Compromise Anymore — Just Like Republicans – this makes me really sad. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m much more of an incrementalist/pragmatist. It also seems very very difficult to pass anything meaningful without compromises.

Why Women Can Take Years to Come Forward With Sexual Assault Allegations – I know it can seem like an “ambush” or whatever, but there are good reasons most women don’t report sexual assault when it happens to them 😦

Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for all US employees – yes, this is partially a political move, and partially a business move, but even though the reasons aren’t altruistic this is an unambiguously good thing. Yay!

How AI changed organ donation in the US – I was vaguely aware of this, but this is a really cool application of an algorithm to save lives!

Which Foreign Aid Programs Work? The U.S. Runs A Test — But Won’t Talk About It – interesting, although this is aggravating:

“In this country we don’t like giving poor people money,” he says. There’s “an inherent sense” that they can’t be trusted to spend it wisely. No matter, Carbonell adds, that the research strongly indicates that poor people don’t spend cash aid on vices like tobacco and alcohol.

“We don’t want to be seen as just giving handouts to poor people,” he says. “And that is a very deeply ingrained fear at USAID.”

What Happens When Gig-Economy Workers Become Employees – some like it, some don’t.

Once again, Putin gives us a lesson on the usefulness of the blatant lie – sigh

U.S. officials suspect Russia in mystery ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Cuba, China – this is an interesting twist.

A Map of the World Where the Sizes of Countries Are Determined by Population – cartograms are good and useful!

I lost my infant son to a drunk driver. This change could save countless lives. – lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration limit would save lives!

The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America – whoa, didn’t know that the Thai government subsidized restaurants! Also “gastrodiplomacy” is a cool word.

Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules – the rare article that’s depressing for girls _and_ boys!

The Effectiveness of Publicly Shaming Bad Security – I’m glad we’ve reached a point where this can work!

middle o’ the night linked list: coming-out videos, facebook fueling anti-refugee attacks, restaurants with no-poaching agreements??

The Ever-Evolving Art of the Coming-Out Video – kids these days! But seriously, this:

What compels people to take this deeply intimate moment and put it out there for anyone and everyone to see? It’s simple: Many people create these videos because they want the LGBTQ people watching them to feel even a tiny bit less alone.

and this

By focusing so much on “coming out” as a single moment, most cultural conversations misrepresent the reality of being LGBTQ. For many LGBTQ people, coming out is a never-ending experience. Regardless of how long they’ve been out, or how many people in their lives they’re out to, most will never stop having to say “Actually, I’m—” or “Yes, I’m—” or “No, my pronouns are—.” It’s not something they do just once, twice, or even ten times; it’s a lifelong reality. There is always a first time you come out, but there is not a last time.

rang very true for me. Good for them!

Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests – this:

Their reams of data converged on a breathtaking statistic: Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.

Nationwide, the researchers estimated in an interview, this effect drove one-tenth of all anti-refugee violence.

The uptick in violence did not correlate with general web use or other related factors; this was not about the internet as an open platform for mobilization or communication. It was particular to Facebook.

is incredibly damning.

8 Restaurant Chains Agree To End ‘No-Poach’ Agreements Under Threat Of Lawsuit – good for Washington state; this really ought to be illegal, as it’s just a way for owners to limit wages for workers. Of course high-tech companies in Silicon Valley were also guilty of this a few years ago. (also I’m not a huge fan of the word “poaching” for this as employees are people that can leave a job if they want, not animals…)

Walt Disney World Workers Reach Deal for $15 Minimum Wage by 2021 – this is why unions are important!

Life-Threatening Heart Attack Leaves Teacher With $108,951 Bill – he asked from his hospital bed whether his health insurance would cover this, and was told yes. This was the hospital where both my children were born, and the teacher apparently lives down the street from an acquaintance of ours. Kudos to NPR for this series (and the hospital slashed his bill after all of this publicity), but geez, what are you supposed to do as a patient? Note that Lloyd Doggett, a Democratic congressman from south Austin, proposed a bill to end this surprise billing but it went nowhere 😦

Stacking concrete blocks is a surprisingly efficient way to store energy – a giant mechanical battery, basically!

The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History – long article, but interesting. I didn’t reaiize it was so devastating, and caused $10 billion in damages. (although I would maybe take that estimate with a grain of salt…)

Meet a new kind of book, designed for the age of Peak TV – I’m not sure how I feel about this; I like serialized TV, but I also like books as they are right now. Maybe I’ll give one of these a shot?

Exclusive: Fitbit’s 150 billion hours of heart data reveal secrets about health – interesting data! I guess resting heart rate is a decent proxy for heart health? And it’s pretty cool how you can see the author’s resting heart rate line up with life events…

Cuban ‘acoustic attack’ report on US diplomats flawed, say neurologists and Microwave Weapons Are Prime Suspect in Ills of U.S. Embassy Workers and Cuba’s “Sonic Attack” on the U.S. Embassy Could Have Been Merely Sounds Emitted by a Listening Device and as a layman the sense I’m getting is “people don’t agree what this is right now”.

Gatwick flight information screens fail – hooray for whiteboards!

Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents – yikes…OPSEC is hard, but this seems like a huge screwup.