27 February, 2015

GOP senator to House: 'Here's a straw so you can suck it up' | TheHill

GOP senator to House: 'Here's a straw so you can suck it up' | TheHill: Kirk warned Republicans to never again tie controversial riders to must-pass spending bills that affect U.S. national security.

“I would say this battle should be the end of the strategy of attaching whatever you’re upset at the president [about] to a vital piece of government. I would be, in the future, strongly arguing that if it’s a vital piece of the government … the strategy of sticking whatever you’re interested in sticking Obama on should end now.”

25 February, 2015

Ebola: the race to find a cure | Sarah Boseley | World news | The Guardian

Ebola: the race to find a cure | Sarah Boseley | World news | The Guardian: The Oxford scientists had 15 days to visit eight potential sites, spread across three countries paralysed by economic collapse, and where travel was limited by curfews and quarantine laws. They were looking for a treatment centre that fitted the exacting criteria for their trial. Horby described finding the right site as “like aligning the stars”. They needed well-designed buildings, internet connectivity, reliable power and plug sockets. They needed to be sure the drugs could be kept securely on site. “You’ve got a long list [of possible sites], but when you look at who fits all the criteria, you rapidly cross them off,” said Horby. “Finding one that’s easily accessible, got good infrastructure, international and local staff who are enthusiastic, good data management, good pharmacy, access to a good lab that’s willing to process research samples – and it’s got patients. There were hardly any that met all those criteria.”

The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness | Mother Jones

The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness | Mother Jones: If places as different—economically, demographically, politically—as Salt Lake City and Santa Clara County can make Housing First work, is there any place that can't? To be sure, the return on investment will vary, depending on how you count the various benefits of fewer people living in the streets, clogging emergency rooms, and crowding jails. But the overall equation is clear: "Ironically, ending homelessness is actually cheaper than continuing to treat the problem. This would not only benefit the people who are homeless; it would be healing for the rest of us to live in a more compassionate and just nation," Tsemberis says. "It's not a matter of whether we know how to fix the problem. Homelessness is not a disease like cancer or Alzheimer's where we don't yet have a cure. We have the cure for homelessness—it's housing. What we lack is political will."

This Is the Best Reason Why a Newspaper Has Ever Withheld a Source's Identity | Mother Jones

This Is the Best Reason Why a Newspaper Has Ever Withheld a Source's Identity | Mother Jones: When a New York Times reporter approached a random woman about the improved conditions inside the bathrooms at the usually disgusting Port Authority Bus Terminal, the reporter probably did not anticipate the question would lead to fulfilling a profound lifelong goal.

24 February, 2015

The Pentagon Is One Step Closer To Awarding a New $11 Billion Health Records Deal - Defense One

The Pentagon Is One Step Closer To Awarding a New $11 Billion Health Records Deal - Defense One: According to a Feb. 19 presolicitation notice, DOD’s procurement team has established a “competitive range” for the DHMSM contract, leaving only bids from three teams remaining.

'Mistakes Were Made' - The Atlantic

'Mistakes Were Made' - The Atlantic: Those were not General Custer's last words at the Little Big Horn. But if he were a modern politician, they probably would have been.

23 February, 2015

How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? -- NYMag

How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? -- NYMag: The search failed to deliver the airplane, but it has accomplished some other things: It occupied several thousand hours of worldwide airtime; it filled my wallet and then drained it; it torpedoed the idea that the application of rationality to plane disasters would inevitably yield ever-safer air travel. And it left behind a faint, lingering itch in the back of my mind, which I believe will quite likely never go away.

Statistical controls tell us how the gender pay gap works, not that it isn't real - Vox

Statistical controls tell us how the gender pay gap works, not that it isn't real - Vox: Life is complicated. Any summary statistic is, by definition, going to be an effort to simplify that reality. And it is absolutely true to say that pay discrimination on the part of employers between the women they employ and the men they employ only accounts for a minority of the gap. But the statistical controls that reveal that don't make the problem of the wage gap go away. They help us identify where it exists. Some of it exists inside the companies where women work. Some of it exists inside household dynamics and broad social expectations of how family life should work. And some of it exists at the level of occupations, where women's job opportunities are structured in an economically unhelpful way.

22 February, 2015

What Happens When Rich People Marry Poor People -- Science of Us

What Happens When Rich People Marry Poor People -- Science of Us:

It seemed like the role of emotion was one of the biggest and most
persistent cleavages you found in how partners from different classes
The white-collar partners tended to have much more what
I call the “managerial style.” They manage their emotions, so before
you want to express something, you think about it first, you figure out
what you really feel, you think about how to express it in a way that
will make the other person most comfortable, and then you kind of
quietly and very calmly state how you feel and make sure there’s a good
rationale behind it. Whereas the people who grew up in blue-collar
families express emotion in more of what I call a “laissez-faire” style,
kind of an unregulated way: If you feel it, you express it, and it
might not always be expressed in the nicest way or the calmest way, but
it’s basically more honest.

21 February, 2015

Lenovo Superfish scandal: Why it’s one of the worst consumer computing screw-ups ever.

Lenovo Superfish scandal: Why it’s one of the worst consumer computing screw-ups ever.: By installing a single self-signed root certificate (trust me: That’s really bad) across all of Lenovo’s affected machines, Superfish intentionally pokes a gigantic hole into your browser security and allows anyone on your Wi-Fi network to hijack your browser silently and collect your bank credentials, passwords, and anything else you might conceivably type there. As Errata Security’s Robert Graham put it, “I can intercept the encrypted communications of SuperFish’s victims (people with Lenovo laptops) while hanging out near them at a cafe wifi hotspot.” If you have a Lenovo laptop that has Superfish on it (try Filippo Valsorda’s Superfish test to see), I would advise nothing short of wiping the entire machine and installing vanilla Windows—not Lenovo’s Windows. Then change all of your passwords.

19 February, 2015

In Fairfax, Va., a different, no-less-scary police shooting - World - CBC News

In Fairfax, Va., a different, no-less-scary police shooting - World - CBC News: According to those official documents, the shooter — a cop with significant anger issues (he once screamed and cursed at prosecutors in open court) — is contradicted by four fellow officers and two civilian witnesses. That sort of rank-breaking is practically unheard of.

And yet there has been no judicial action, and almost no public uproar. Most politicians have remained silent. Those who have marched against police shootings in the past have been largely uninterested.

A protest at Fairfax police headquarters drew a couple of dozen people. Only the Washington Post has taken a serious interest in the case.

But the killing of John Geer should frighten everyone. It is the best example yet that while police often target minorities disproportionately, their basic and overriding demand is total and unquestioning submission to their authority.

17 February, 2015

Is China’s Internet Becoming an Intranet? | ChinaFile

Is China’s Internet Becoming an Intranet? | ChinaFile: Ironically, Beijing has adopted a double standard where global social media are concerned. In recent months, state-owned media organizations such as the official Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television launched official and verified Facebook and Twitter accounts. On the one hand, Beijing tries to tell 1.3 billion citizens they can’t get on Facebook and Twitter inside China. On the other hand, Beijing allows and most likely encourages state media to occupy foreign social media platforms to better tell the China story now that the nation is firmly in the spotlight as the world’s No.1 economy. Beijing’s double standard Internet policy will cause embarrassment. The young generation of Chinese is not stupid or na�ve. Naturally, some smart kids will doubt such a double standard.

‘Fields of Blood,’ by Karen Armstrong - NYTimes.com

‘Fields of Blood,’ by Karen Armstrong - NYTimes.com: Second, this involvement with politics means that religions have often been tied up with violence: Crusaders, conquistadors, jihadists and many more. But — a point Armstrong cares about so much that she makes it dozens of times — the violence almost always originates with the state and spills over to religion, rather than vice versa. This, she says, is because any governing body, democratic or tyrannical, peace-loving or expansionist, “was obliged to maintain at its heart an institution committed to treachery and violence,” and because “violence and coercion . . . lay at the heart of social existence.” The earliest states required force to maintain systems of agricultural production; mature ones found that the threat of violence — by police within their borders, by armies between them — was, sadly, the best way to keep the peace.

7 Ways Thomas Merton Changed the World | OnFaith

7 Ways Thomas Merton Changed the World | OnFaith: I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. . . . This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

America's Tolerance Problem - Bloomberg View

America's Tolerance Problem - Bloomberg View: Democracies don't need agreement. They do need tolerance of disagreement. The politically engaged -- progressives and conservatives alike -- mock the disenchanted majority for asking, "Why can't we all just get along?" In one way, they're right: Politics divides, and it should. In another way, they're wrong. Getting along doesn't require milquetoast moderation, flaccid centrism or "moving beyond left and right." However, it does require some willingness to compromise, some curiosity about what might be valuable in the other side's point of view, and some minimal attention to the civic virtues of tolerance and restraint.

What Andrew Sullivan's exit says about the future of blogging - Vox

What Andrew Sullivan's exit says about the future of blogging - Vox: The first is that, at this moment in the media, scale means social traffic. Links from other bloggers — the original currency of the blogosphere, and the one that drove its collaborative, conversational nature — just don't deliver the numbers that Facebook does. But blogging is a conversation, and conversations don't go viral. People share things their friends will understand, not things that you need to have read six other posts to understand.

How Measles Attacks | Motherboard

How Measles Attacks | Motherboard: The "secondary attack rate" for people exposed to the virus is upwards of 90 percent. To put that into perspective, the secondary attack rate for the flu is ​between 10 and 20 percent and around ​3 percent for full-blown tuberculosis, while the risk of HIV transmission is roughly around 1 percent per exposure (a rough average of exposure types). Using ​the r_0 value for measles—how many secondary infections are likely to result from a primary infection—it's about the most infectious thing going with a value of 18. HIV is down at 4 infections per primary and the mumps comes in closest at 10.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History | ThinkProgress

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History | ThinkProgress: An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students “what is bad about America.” Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher (R) has introduced “emergency” legislation “prohibiting the expenditure of funds on the Advanced Placement United States History course.” Fisher is part of a group called the “Black Robe Regiment” which argues “the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists.”

To Live and Die in Gitmo

To Live and Die in Gitmo:

Ali Abdullah Ahmed (693) was a Yemeni who, according to his Department of Defense record,
was “a street vendor who sold clothing…and was prompted to travel to
Pakistan to receive [a religious] education upon hearing God’s calling.”
He was captured at a safe house in Faisalabad that was alleged to be
under the control of Abu Zubaydah, then believed to be one of Osama bin
Laden’s top officers. Branded by the Pentagon as “a mid-to-high-level
Al-Qaeda” operative, Ahmed arrived in Cuba on June 19, 2002. Later,
government investigators realized there was “no credible information”
tying him to terrorism. But this wasn’t the Palookaville slammer: If you
tell the world, as the Pentagon did, that your island prison is home to
“the worst of the worst,” you won’t want to advertise your errors and
hyperboles. So they kept Ahmed. [...]

Not everybody at the Pentagon agrees. A highly placed source in the Department of Defense who deals with detainees’ affairs, and who asked to remain anonymous because he is not permitted to speak to the media without receiving prior clearance, wrote to me in an email: “After reviewing the information concerning the three deaths at Camp Delta on June 9, 2006, it is painfully apparent the personnel involved in fact created an illusion of an investigation. When you consider the missing documents, the lack of key interviews, and the questionable evidence found on the bodies, it is blatantly obvious there was something that occurred that night that is not documented.”

The Quality Of Mercy � The Dish

The Quality Of Mercy � The Dish: The ability to work alongside or for people with whom we have a deep political disagreement is not a minor issue in a liberal society. It is a core foundation of toleration. We either develop the ability to tolerate those with whom we deeply disagree, or liberal society is basically impossible. Civil conversation becomes culture war; arguments and reason cede to emotion and anger. And let me reiterate: this principle of toleration has recently been attacked by many more on the far right than on the far left. I’m appalled, for example, at how great gay teachers have been fired by Catholic schools, even though it is within the right of the schools to do so. It’s awful that individuals are fired for being gay with no legal recourse all over the country. But if we rightly feel this way about gays in the workplace, why do we not feel the same about our opponents? And on what grounds can we celebrate the resignation of someone for his off-workplace political beliefs? Payback? Revenge? Some liberal principles, in my view, are worth defending whether they are assailed by left or right.

16 February, 2015

A Pale Blue Dot | The Planetary Society

A Pale Blue Dot | The Planetary Society: Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

What ISIS Really Wants - The Atlantic

What ISIS Really Wants - The Atlantic: All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

The underrepresentation of women in foreign policy is a huge problem - Vox

The underrepresentation of women in foreign policy is a huge problem - Vox: The Washington Post recently compiled data from events hosted by six leading think tanks in Washington, DC. They found that not a single woman spoke at more than 150 events on the Middle East. Of the 232 total events included in the Post's data set, fewer than 25 percent of the speakers were women. According to the Op-Ed Project, women author only 10-20% of op-eds. Another way to look at the status quo: women over 65 (a group that currently includes a presumptive frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race) are less likely to be cited as an expert in the media as are boys between the ages of 13 and 18.

Tech shock-and-awe

How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last | Ars Technica: One of the Equation Group's malware platforms, for instance, rewrote the hard-drive firmware of infected computers—a never-before-seen engineering marvel that worked on 12 drive categories from manufacturers including Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, IBM, Micron, Toshiba, and Seagate.

The malicious firmware created a secret storage vault that survived military-grade disk wiping and reformatting, making sensitive data stolen from victims available even after reformatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system. The firmware also provided programming interfaces that other code in Equation Group's sprawling malware library could access. Once a hard drive was compromised, the infection was impossible to detect or remove.

Report: Netanyahu may have leaked US secrets to hurt Iran negotiations - Vox

Report: Netanyahu may have leaked US secrets to hurt Iran negotiations - Vox: It is worth reiterating that, even if Ignatius' sources are correct, both the Israeli leaks and the US withholding are limited to the American negotiating terms with Iran, an important but relatively narrow topic within the wide field of US-Israel intelligence cooperation.

Still, the US and Israel have a long and productive track record of intelligence sharing, particularly when it comes to Iran, and this would be a worrying indication of the US-Israel breakdown. That should worry everyone, and not just observers who are skeptical of an Iran deal or who believe that preserving the level of US-Israel cooperation is more important.

15 February, 2015

What Makes Humans Different? Fiction and Cooperation | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

What Makes Humans Different? Fiction and Cooperation | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian: The truly unique trait of Sapiens is our ability to create and believe fiction. All other animals use their communication system to describe reality. We use our communication system to create new realities. Of course not all fictions are shared by all humans, but at least one has become universal in our world, and this is money. Dollar bills have absolutely no value except in our collective imagination, but everybody believes in the dollar bill.

Let’s Talk About It | The Players' Tribune

Let’s Talk About It | The Players' Tribune: I used to beat people up. Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot. Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up. In elementary and middle school, I threw kids against the wall. I rubbed their heads in the dirt at recess. I bit them. I even knocked teeth out.

I had a lot of anger that I didn’t know what to do with. Thankfully, I was saved by my faith when I was 14 years old, and was able to start living for others instead of just myself. But if you’ve ever been at the bottom of a pile with me, you know that I still have a bit of that bully deep down inside—just ask DeMarcus Ware—and I work hard to keep it there.

Let’s Breathe | The Players' Tribune

Let’s Breathe | The Players' Tribune: Growing up as an African American male in the U.S., I have been given many versions of The Talk by my parents, grandparents, and other family members. The Talk is usually given to you before you even start elementary school. The rules are simple: When it comes to law enforcement, do not act fidgety, do not back-talk, and answer every question with “yes sir, no sir.” Basically, just get it over with as quickly as possible without provocation. And if anything happens where you feel your rights have been infringed upon, the time for that isn’t in that moment. It’s down the road. You always have to assume that the police officer might just be having a bad day.

My friend, who happens to be white, never had The Talk. She was agitated and started back-talking right away. Everything she was saying was true.

Left Out | The Players' Tribune

Left Out | The Players' Tribune: That kind of system would make the game a lot more attractive to kids from low-income families. For all the backlash around the Jackie Robinson West team “cheating,” most people are ignoring the truth of how these 12-year-old kids make it out of their towns and onto a national stage. Individuals step in and fill that financial gap. Hopefully those people are trustworthy and have their hearts in the right place. I was fortunate in that respect. Other kids might not be. When you talk to players around Major League Baseball, almost every single one of them has a story about a person who stepped in and took care of their expenses. You hear it all the time: “If it wasn’t for this guy, I wouldn’t be in the league.”

When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime - The Washington Post

When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime - The Washington Post: One recent Saturday afternoon, six police officers and five patrol cars came to my home in Silver Spring. They demanded identification from my husband and entered our home despite not having a warrant to do so. The reason for this show of force? We had allowed our children to walk home from a neighborhood park by themselves.

14 February, 2015

A Russian TV Insider Describes a Modern Propaganda Machine - NYTimes.com

A Russian TV Insider Describes a Modern Propaganda Machine - NYTimes.com: LONDON — NORMALLY a boisterous sort, Peter Pomerantsev says he kept quiet when he found himself, at the age of 24, in a Moscow meeting room listening to 20 of the country’s top media executives discussing the news agenda for the week.

Not what the news was, but what they would make it, said Mr. Pomerantsev, the author of a recent book chronicling the moral and financial corruption of modern-day Moscow and the manipulation of a Russian television industry that he later joined.

He listened in amazement, he says, as a prominent news anchor reviewed the coming events as if they were part of a film script, musing on how best to entertain the audience and questioning who that week’s enemy should be.

“It was shocking,” said Mr. Pomerantsev, speaking over coffee in London last month. “They really saw television and news as a movie, and talked about it as a movie.”

They’re Watching You Read by Francine Prose | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

They’re Watching You Read by Francine Prose | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books: As disturbing may be the implications for writers themselves. Since Kobo is apparently sharing its data with publishers, writers (and their editors) could soon be facing meetings in which the marketing department informs them that 82 percent of readers lost interest in their memoir on page 272. And if they want to be published in the future, whatever happens on that page should never be repeated.

Will authors be urged to write the sorts of books that the highest percentage of readers read to the end? Or shorter books? Are readers less likely to finish longer books? We’ll definitely know that. Will mystery writers be scolded (and perhaps dropped from their publishers’ lists) because a third of their fans didn’t even stick around long to enough to learn who committed the murder? Or, given the apparent lack of correlation between books that are bought and books that are finished, will this information ultimately fail to interest publishers, whose profits have, it seems, been ultimately unaffected by whether or not readers persevere to the final pages?

Professors Are Prejudiced, Too - NYTimes.com

Professors Are Prejudiced, Too - NYTimes.com: Professors were more responsive to white male students than to female, black, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese students in almost every discipline and across all types of universities. We found the most severe bias in disciplines paying higher faculty salaries and at private universities. In a perverse twist of academic fate, our own discipline of business showed the most bias, with 87 percent of white males receiving a response compared with just 62 percent of all females and minorities combined.

Surprisingly, several supposed advantages that some people believe women and minorities enjoy did not materialize in our data. For example: Were Asians favored, given the model minority stereotype they supposedly benefit from in academic contexts? No. In fact, Chinese students were the most discriminated-against group in our sample. Did reaching out to someone of the same gender or race — such as a black student emailing a black professor — reduce bias? No. We saw the same levels of bias in both same-race and same-gender faculty-student pairs that we saw in pairs not sharing a race or gender (the one exception was Chinese students writing to Chinese professors).

Why America Will Miss Saudi King Abdullah | The National Interest Blog

Why America Will Miss Saudi King Abdullah | The National Interest Blog: Saudi Arabia has a system of political succession that by its very nature cannot continue indefinitely. The kingdom's founder, King Abdul Aziz, made it thus when he determined that he should be succeeded by his many sons, one after the other, rather than using the usual vertical monarchical succession based on primogeniture. The succession has not reached the end of that line of brothers and half-brothers yet, but with Abdullah's passing it is getting closer. The succession to the throne of 79-year-old Prince Salman is not reassuring; Salman already has shown signs of losing his faculties.

Send in The Weathermen - NBC News

Send in The Weathermen - NBC News: In 2008, in response to demand for SOWTs and a rash of weather-related accidents, the Air Force quietly created career field 1WXOS, the first official class of commando weathermen. The field has allowed Air Force Special Operations Command to expand recruiting, signing kids as young as 17 and then sending them through a new two-year training pipeline, the longest in the Department of Defense.

SOWTs were on the ground ahead of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to military sources, and their work has helped nail pirates, free hostages and respond to humanitarian disasters. Overall, their ranks have tripled in recent years, with more growth expected. No position in the Air Force is a higher priority for recruiters.

The Bro Code | ChinaFile

The Bro Code | ChinaFile: Guo (a pseudonym), a friend’s cousin, greeted me ebulliently this May when we met in a smoky restaurant in the outskirts of Beijing. He works as a salesman of industrial-sized air conditioners and purifiers, mostly to local governments at inflated prices. “You know until now,” he told me in enthusiastic English, “I want to do business, I take a guy [from the government] out, we have drinks, we go to somewhere good, we find girls, he thinks I’m cool guy, I know he’s a guy likes girls, we’re friends. Business!”

In part, the power of the experience comes from the mutual pleasure of shared transgression, the feeling of a shared secret. Like schoolboys’ playing hooky, being bad together moves a relationship along fast. As one saying that went rapidly around the Chinese Internet in 2011 put it, “It’s better to do one bad thing with your boss than a hundred good things for your boss.”

What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything - NYTimes.com

What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything - NYTimes.com: My friends and family sometimes ask why photojournalists don’t just take fewer assignments to preserve their relationships and their safety, why they don’t simply work in some sunny studio adjacent to home. The truth is, the difference between a studio photographer and a photojournalist is the same as the difference between a political cartoonist and an abstract painter; the only thing the two have in common is the blank page. The jobs entail different talents and different desires. Leaving at the last minute, jumping on planes, feeling a responsibility to cover wars and famines and human rights crises was my job. To stop doing those things would be like firing myself.

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? - National Geographic Magazine

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? - National Geographic Magazine:

In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by
science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is
wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated
and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.

We’re asked to accept, for example, that it’s safe to eat food
containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because, the experts
point out, there’s no evidence that it isn’t and no reason to believe
that altering genes precisely in a lab is more dangerous than altering
them wholesale through traditional breeding. But to some people the very
idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists
running amok—and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, they talk about Frankenfood.

Confessions of a congressman: 9 secrets from the inside - Vox

Confessions of a congressman: 9 secrets from the inside - Vox: The only way political parties can successfully gerrymander is by knowing how you vote. Both parties have destroyed your privacy at the polling booth. Thanks to election rolls, we don't know exactly whom you voted for, but we get pretty damn close. We know exactly which primaries and general elections you have voted in, and since there are so few realistic candidates in most elections, down or up ballot, we might as well know exactly who you voted for. Marry that data with magazine subscriptions, the kind of car you drive, and all sorts of other easily available consumer information that we've figured out how to use to map your political preferences, and we can gerrymander and target subdivisions, houses — even double beds. Republicans want the male vote; Democrats the female vote.

Full text of Pope's in-flight interview from Manila to Rome :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Full text of Pope's in-flight interview from Manila to Rome :: Catholic News Agency (CNA): I cannot constantly insult, provoke a person continuously, because I risk making him angry, and I risk receiving an unjust reaction, one that is not just. But that’s human. For this reason I say that freedom of expression must take into account the human reality and for this reason it must be prudent. It’s a way of saying that one must be educated, prudent. Prudence is the human virtue that regulates our relations. I can go up to here, I can go up to there, and there, beyond that no. What I wanted to say is that in theory we all agree: there is freedom of expression, a violent aggression is not good, it’s always bad. We all agree, but in practice, let us stop a little because we are human and we risk provoking the other.

Americans overwhelmingly want paid sick time, even if it lowers their wages - The Washington Post

Americans overwhelmingly want paid sick time, even if it lowers their wages - The Washington Post:

More to the point, a 2010 survey of 1,461 Americans
conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of
Chicago asked respondents how they felt about paid sick time, and then
presented them with a battery of arguments for and against such

The "con" arguments included "If employers are
forced to increase costs by providing for paid sick days, they will cut
other costs by reducing wages or benefits like health care coverage" and
"A one-size-fits-all, paid sick leave mandate from the government would
threaten workers' wages and benefits. Government mandated benefits that
increase business costs would have to be made up by cuts in wages
or benefits."

But after hearing these arguments, respondents'
views on sick leave legislation were unchanged -- 75 percent supported
mandatory sick time before hearing the arguments, while 74 percent
supported it afterward. Even more telling, respondents rated the appeals
about lower wages among the least compelling of the con arguments.

Campus rape: Sororities want to fight sexual assault by throwing their own parties.

Campus rape: Sororities want to fight sexual assault by throwing their own parties.:

So now, some young women on campus are fighting for their right to
party. It seems obvious that sorority members (and the other women on
campus) would be safer in their own homes than at frat parties. The
problem is that the scenario is risky for the sororities themselves. For
the national organizations and local chapters, banning alcohol is a
financial calculation, not a moral one—staying dry helps them to avoid
the legal liabilities shouldered by raucous fraternities. Drinking
contributes not just to campus rape but also to physical fights,
accidents, poisoning, and other destructive behaviors. James R. Favor & Company, an insurance company that covers more than a dozen fraternities, told the Times in 2012
that one national fraternity was paying an average of $812,951 in
annual settlements until it went dry, at which point its annual payout
dropped to $15,388. An officer with the National Panhellenic Conference
told the Times that “she preferred to preserve the relative
calm of sorority houses, and continue to let fraternities assume the
cost, risk and cleanup of house parties.”

In Graphic Photos and On Twitter, ISIS Members Record and Tout Executions of Gays - The Daily Beast

In Graphic Photos and On Twitter, ISIS Members Record and Tout Executions of Gays - The Daily Beast: These are obscene images. They depict two men thrown from the roof of a building as a crowd watches them fall to their deaths, and they purport to show the Islamic State (or ISIS) carrying out public executions before an audience in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

The two victims’ alleged crimes? They are believed to be gay. In another photo, woman accused of being an adulterer is stoned to death, and two men charged with thievery are bound to crucifixes. Victims are commonly crucified, sometimes after they have been killed, in ISIS public executions.

13 February, 2015

Jon Stewart changed journalism before journalism was ready to change - The Washington Post

Jon Stewart changed journalism before journalism was ready to change - The Washington Post: Over the last few years, "The Daily Show" was still funny, even as it grew more routine and was distributed everywhere on social media. Stewart could still bring it -- the Eric Garner moment was perfect. But the show wasn’t crucial anymore, and it no longer felt as new. The media world had taken Stewart’s most basic impulses -- breaking down the biases, inherent fluffiness and navel-gazery of our political and pundit class -- and turned them into something ubiquitous.

In an era in which the Web generates instant takes on every gaffe or policy flub, Stewart’s nightly takes on the news began to feel a bit old. There are now a thousand professional bloggers and explainers and aggregators making Stewart’s points for him, calling out politicians before Stewart’s show went on the air. And there are a hundred researchers dredging up clips. If 2006’s “makaka” scandal happened today, Stewart would be the last to talk about it.

5 mistakes liberals make about corporate personhood and Hobby Lobby - Vox

5 mistakes liberals make about corporate personhood and Hobby Lobby - Vox: By the same token, the idea that corporations have a right to free speech is essential to preserving the values of the First Amendment. It's imperative that not only do Fox News' anchors have the right to criticize the Obama administration, but that Fox News as a corporate entity has that right. Otherwise, censors could effectively silence critics by heavily fining hostile broadcasters and publishers even while leaving the human critics unmolested. Similarly, NARAL Pro Choice America and the National Organization for Women are themselves corporations. It's critical to the democratic process that they are able to criticize Supreme Court decisions, lobby congress, and otherwise act as constitutional persons.

All politics is identity politics - Vox

All politics is identity politics - Vox: This is where the at-times tiresome concept of privilege becomes very useful. The truth is that almost all politics is, on some level, about identity. But those with the right identities have the privilege of simply calling it politics while labeling other people's agendas "identity."

Denial of this reality, it seems to me, is actually a key failing of a certain brand of American liberalism. Conservatives may join some white male liberals in decrying "identity politics," but nobody knows better than conservatives the power and importance of identities like Christian, American, traditional family, etc., in shaping thinking and giving meaning to political engagement.

Larry Summers on What Business Can Do to Save the Middle Class - HBR

Larry Summers on What Business Can Do to Save the Middle Class - HBR: But I have the concern that as currently practiced, our institutions provide overly high-powered incentives for taking steps that will benefit share prices in the very short run and insufficient incentives for taking steps that will benefit the company and both shareholders and stakeholders over the long run. I think this tendency has been exacerbated by some of the extremes of activism that we have witnessed in recent years where activists have sought to disrupt or restructure companies for the sake of an immediate payout even at some sacrifice of long-run interests.

Mike Daisey’s advice for Brian Williams: The monologist tells the NBC News anchor what he’s learned.

Mike Daisey’s advice for Brian Williams: The monologist tells the NBC News anchor what he’s learned.:

The problem is that in American public life a person must never admit
he’s lied. Our leaders will leap through incredible rhetorical hoops to
avoid it: We will be “mistaken,” “misled,” “misrepresented,”
“unaccountably in error”—anything to avoid saying that word. It’s
American cognitive dissonance at work, because we all know that in the
real world people lie all the time. No one tells the unvarnished truth
unless he wants to have a very short career—our culture teaches us that
it would be far better to be mentally deficient and incompetent than to
admit we lied.

Right now we are asked to believe Williams is unaccountably dim and
prone to fantastical visions, and that’s why his is no apology at
all—because it doesn’t respect the listener.

How The New York Times Works

How The New York Times Works: Dicke meets his first deadline—barely—but 9 p.m. is only the beginning. Deadline for the first local edition is 10:45, followed by another at midnight, and a final call half an hour later. When Dicke finally packs up to leave just after 12:30 a.m., Lillie Dremeaux is still plotting out the next morning's home page and preparing to hand overnight duties to an editor in Hong Kong. In a previous era, after the last page was sent to the printer, an editor would ring a bell, walk toward the door, and holler "Good night!" to mostly no one, because there was no one left to yell at. Dicke looks around at colleagues midshift, their eyes pinned to computer screens.

"We no longer do that," he says.

12 February, 2015

Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her

Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her: The internet became unbearable, unreadable for me, a constant ringing and roaring in my ear. There was no point in defending myself; any attempt at explaining my joke would cause those who were gleefully offended by it to redouble their efforts. GamerGate had turned itself into something more despicable and retrograde than I'd ever intended to point out with my little joke, but there was no one who wanted to listen to that. There wasn't any conversation to be had, no objective to reach or conclusion to draw. Smashing a pinata isn't just for the candy—it feels great to swing your arms and feel a thud, and so they'd clobber me no matter what, even when it was clear there wasn't much sport left in it for GamerGate, either.

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life - NYTimes.com

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life - NYTimes.com: Still, in those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive. I also began to marvel at the disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment. It almost felt as if shamings were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script.

Chapel Hill shooting: My best friend was killed and I don't know why -- Fusion

Chapel Hill shooting: My best friend was killed and I don't know why -- Fusion:

Deep down everyone in this community knows it was a hate crime. But how do you prove it?

I have so many questions for him.

She’s so young. Would you not let her blossom a bit more? What went
through your mind? I mean, as you pulled the trigger you clearly killed
people. You killed one, then you killed a second time, a third time. And
you walked away from the scene. You took three young people. I don’t
know if he has kids but how could you do that to someone’s child? And
then just walk away. What is his motive? I wonder what would have
happened if we were there? Would he have killed us all, since we were a
bunch of hijabis? I can’t imagine. I have so many questions I don’t know
how to word them all. And I want to know exactly what happened, all the
details. I need to know.

F.B.I. Director Speaks Frankly About Police View of Blacks - NYTimes.com

F.B.I. Director Speaks Frankly About Police View of Blacks - NYTimes.com: One remedy, Mr. Comey said, would be for the police to have more interactions with those they are charged to protect. “It’s hard to hate up close,” he said.

Mr. Comey said there was significant research that says all people have unconscious racial biases. Although people cannot help their instinctive reactions, law enforcement needs “to design systems and processes to overcome that very human part of us all,” he said.

“Although the research may be unsettling, what we do next is what matters most,” Mr. Comey said.

He said that law enforcement agencies across the country needed to be compelled to report shootings that involve police officers so there can be a baseline to measure the issue.

11 February, 2015

Mom Lets Her 3-Year-Old Boy Dress Her For A Week | Bored Panda

Mom Lets Her 3-Year-Old Boy Dress Her For A Week | Bored Panda: If you let your 3-year-old son dress you up… you might wind up looking pretty fabulous, actually. Summer Bellessa, an actress and blogger at babble.com, decided to let Rockwell, her 3-year-old son, choose her outfits every day for a week. There are hits and there are misses, but you can’t deny that the kid has a good eye sometimes.

10 February, 2015

Brian Williams Suspended From NBC News for Six Months | Variety

Brian Williams Suspended From NBC News for Six Months | Variety: We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.

Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.

While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.

09 February, 2015

Egypt’s Jon Stewart Comes to America - The Daily Beast

Egypt’s Jon Stewart Comes to America - The Daily Beast: By the next month, however, Morsi would be forced out of power and the military took control of Egypt. Youssef tried to navigate these new waters but it soon became clear to him that after Sisi took office in June 2014, there would be no place for satirical humor in Egypt mocking those in power.

So where is Youssef now?

On Monday night, Youssef will be making his fourth appearance on The Daily Show, this time delivering a scripted comedy rant about the Middle East.

And he will be serving as a resident fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for the spring semester. Not a bad gig for a comedian. But that’s only for a few months. From there Youssef may head off to Dubai to start a new venture, but things seem a little bit in flux.

Brian Williams, Retreading Memories From a Perch Too Public - NYTimes.com

Brian Williams, Retreading Memories From a Perch Too Public - NYTimes.com:

the evening news anchor, Mr. Williams possesses a rare combination of
fame and trust, with each feeding off the other. But fame is slippery,
morphing into infamy very quickly, as Mr. Williams discovered in four
days of sustained pounding. Everyone loves a story about seeing the
mighty fall, even if they are as fundamentally likeable as Mr. Williams.
(NBC confirmed that Mr. Williams would not be making a scheduled
appearance on Mr. Letterman’s show this week.)

it turns out, his non-apology was not a safe haven, but a trap door,
and his self-banishment was not a consequence, but a mistake.

don’t know if Mr. Williams will lose his job. I don’t think he should —
his transgressions were not a fundamental part of his primary
responsibilities. But if the executives who run NBC come to believe that
he can’t credibly cover combat or hurricanes, or call a politician on a
lie, they will dismiss him even though there is no plan in place for

Western Illusions Over Ukraine - NYTimes.com

Western Illusions Over Ukraine - NYTimes.com: The most difficult thing for a communist, it has been observed, is to predict the past. I was reminded of this as I listened to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in full Soviet mode at the Munich Security Conference, suggesting that after World War II it was “the Soviet Union that was against splitting Germany.”

People laughed; they guffawed. Germans recall the Soviet clamp on the east of the country and the Berlin Wall. But in a way Lavrov was right: The Soviet Union would have been quite happy to swallow all of Germany, given the chance.

Today, in similar fashion, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia would be quite happy to absorb all of Ukraine, which it views as an extension of the motherland, an upstart deluded by the West into imagining independent statehood.

08 February, 2015

I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles — The Archipelago — Medium

I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles — The Archipelago — Medium: No matter what other lofty ideas of toxins and vaccine-related injury anti-vaxxers try to float around in their defense, that’s really what all of this is about: we’re facing a massive public health crisis because a disturbing number of people believe that autism is worse than illness or death. My neurology is the boogeyman behind a completely preventable plague in the making.

The anti-vaccination movement is a particularly bitter issue for me because it doesn’t just dehumanize me as an autistic person; it also sets off two of my biggest triggers. Like many people on the spectrum, I don’t handle it well when people are 1) wrong, and 2) unfair.

When Children With Autism Grow Up - BuzzFeed News

When Children With Autism Grow Up - BuzzFeed News:

I was led to a corner of the room I hadn’t before seen. It was darker
than the rest of the space and a few decibels quieter. In the nook, I
saw Scooter. He had a stringy mustache and hair with great curling
wings. One of his eyes wandered slightly. He sat behind a
crescent-shaped table padlocked to the wall at both ends of the curved
top. Scattered in front of him were piles of flashcards, jars of beads,
toy cars, unfinished puzzles, crumbs from lunch, and a laminated piece
of tagboard with a strip of Velcro down the center. As soon as he saw
me, his face tightened into a sort of grimace, baring his teeth, but the
rest of his face, his eyes, posture, and hands were unexpressive as he
blankly leaned out into the dim classroom.

“Well, hi there,” I said, waving. I began to clam up in all of the pits of my body.

“Well, hi there,” Scooter said, and he let out a deep laugh.


person I was going to meet that day had been a child in my mind. In
front of me was a man. A man only two years younger than me.

In which marketing your news brand becomes a "bad thing"

Brian Williams’ Slow Jam - Jack Shafer - POLITICO Magazine:

Today, NBC News confirmed
that it will investigate Williams’ Iraq story, which is more bad news
for the anchor. If he is to survive his lapses (and given my low view of
the broadcast news-readers we call “anchors,” it doesn’t matter to me
whether he stays or goes) he needs to recast himself from the wittiest
and most engaging story-teller in the room and into the hardest-boiled
of TV journalists. If desiring a career as a comedian or an actor, he
should quit the news business and pursue his Hollywood dreams. But if he
chooses journalism, I’d have him strike from his calendar all future
guests spots on entertainment programs.

There’s nothing wrong
with a journalist making a few visits to the late night couches, but the
frequency of Williams’ appearances on entertainment programs indicate
he’s forgotten what business he’s in. Nobody is big enough to slow jam
the news and broadcast the news at the same time.

06 February, 2015

Concession brawl - Mike Allen - POLITICO

Concession brawl - Mike Allen - POLITICO
It’s one of the iconic moments in American politics — never rehearsed, and never pleasant. The loser of a long, expensive presidential campaign telephones the victor with carefully worded pleasantries after the networks have declared a winner. Then the two go before their supporters and a global television audience.

But that ritual — designed to signal the polite end of the campaign, and the commitment to unite the country behind the winner — has sparked one final disagreement between the still-bitter camps of President Barack Obama and his 2012 rival, Mitt Romney, with eyewitnesses to the concession call lining up on Thursday to dispute just what was said between the two men.

At issue isn’t just the political spin, but a footnote of history, destined to be reviewed by anyone who writes about the 2012 presidential race.

Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender - NYTimes.com

Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender - NYTimes.com: Men are more likely to be described as a star, knowledgeable, awesome or the best professor. Women are more likely to be described as bossy, disorganized, helpful, annoying or as playing favorites. Nice or rude are also more often used to describe women than men.

Men and women seemed equally likely to be thought of as tough or easy, lazy, distracted or inspiring.

Interestingly, women were more likely to be described in reviews as role models. Mr. Schmidt notes that the reviews are anonymous, so he doesn't know the gender of reviewers. It could be that more female students describe female professors as role models than men do when describing men or women.

Obama ‘Has Offended Every Christian’ - The Daily Beast

Obama ‘Has Offended Every Christian’ - The Daily Beast: At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Obama told fellow Christians that their religion had been abused and misappropriated in the past, just as Islam has been by terrorists in recent years. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” he said. Critics, including many Republicans, were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore told The Washington Post. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

04 February, 2015

Tom Brady Giving MVP Truck To Malcolm Butler � CBS Boston

Tom Brady Giving MVP Truck To Malcolm Butler � CBS Boston

As MVP, Brady also received a shiny new Chevy truck. While he didn’t
hand his MVP trophy to Butler, the quarterback is doing the next best
thing: He’s giving him the truck.

Butler was not one of the 256 players drafted into the NFL last May,
and earned his spot on the Patriots with an impressive rookie camp and
preseason. While fans didn’t see much of Butler during the regular
season, he was no stranger to Brady, constantly plucking the
quarterback’s passes from the sky.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality | WIRED

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality | WIRED: Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.

 That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

GoScienceEverything comments on ISIS Burns Jordanian Pilot Alive

GoScienceEverything comments on ISIS Burns Jordanian Pilot Alive: In times of war, brutality rises out of the human psyche--war has always been accompanied by torture, rape, and murder, except in the most disciplined of militaries. Look around at a hundred civilized men, and ask yourself how civilized they would have been if they were raised as 13th-century Mongols or Vikings.

Finally, what makes ISIL's brutality so beyond anything we've seen in recent times?

Generally, groups embrace, and emphasize, what sets them apart. ISIL has been shocking successful--and its defining trait is its shocking brutality. Does it surprise us, then, that they emphasize their defining trait for as long as it brings them success? They're milking it for all it's worth.

Exclusive: Google and Uber Are Going to War Over Taxis - Bloomberg Business

Exclusive: Google and Uber Are Going to War Over Taxis - Bloomberg Business: Now there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Google is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project. Drummond has informed Uber's board of this possibility, according to a person close to the Uber board, and Uber executives have seen screenshots of what appears to be a Google ride-sharing app that is currently being used by Google employees. This person, who requested not to be named because the talks are private, said the Uber board is now weighing whether to ask Drummond to resign his position as an Uber board member.

03 February, 2015

BBC - Future - How to survive a disaster

BBC - Future - How to survive a disaster: This explains why in emergencies people often fail to do things that under normal circumstances would seem obvious. So the only reliable way to shortcut this kind of impaired thinking, most survival experts agree, is by preparing for an emergency in advance. “Practice makes actions automatic, without [the need for] detailed thinking,” says Chertkoff. This means making a mental note of the fire exits when you go to the cinema (and imagining yourself using them), reading the evacuation guidance on the back of the door when you stay in a hotel, and always listening to aircraft safety briefings however frequent a flyer you are. “Every time I go on a boat the first thing I do is find out where my lifeboat station is, because then if there is a problem I just have to respond, I don’t have to start thinking about it,” says Leach. Typically, survivors survive not because they are braver or more heroic than anyone else, but because they are better prepared.

The curious case of the disappearing Polish S — Medium Engineering — Medium

The curious case of the disappearing Polish S — Medium Engineering — Medium:

A few weeks ago, someone reported this to us at Medium:
just started an article in Polish. I can type in every letter, except
Ś. When I press the key for Ś, the letter just doesn’t appear. It only
happens on Medium.”
This was odd. We don’t really special-case any language in any way, and even if we did… out of 32 Polish characters, why would this random one be the only one causing problems?

out, it wasn’t so random. This is a story of how four incidental
ingredients spanning decades (if not centuries) came together to cause
the most curious of bugs, and how we fixed it.

02 February, 2015

RubberNinja Animations

RubberNinja Animations: Who was Monty? Monty was the personification of motivation, determination and resolve. He was the man who never slowed down, who always wanted his life to be efficient, quick and as productive as possible. To those of you that never knew Monty, it might be hard to imagine to what extent of this I mean. Imagine a man who would literally microwave food by hitting random numbers, then pull it out the second it was ready, to rush off to an 18 hour work day where his uniform was a suite adorned with ping pong balls. Imagine a man who opted to have a work space right next to a motion capture stage because it was the most efficient location. Imagine a man who operated his computer entirely via keyboard shortcuts, hardly ever needing to touch the mouse, frequently breaking his keyboard keys from the break neck speed he worked. This was Monty, a literal Bruce Lee of animation. He would slow down for nothing more than his amazing wife Sheena.

Obama: We Should Stop "Overinflating" Importance Of Terror Groups As If "They Are An Existential Threat" To U.S. | Video | RealClearPolitics

Obama: We Should Stop "Overinflating" Importance Of Terror Groups As If "They Are An Existential Threat" To U.S. | Video | RealClearPolitics: What I do insist on is that we maintain a proper perspective and that we do not provide a victory to these terrorist networks by overinflating their importance and suggesting in some fashion that they are an existential threat to the United States or the world order. You know, the truth of the matter is that they can do harm. But we have the capacity to control how we respond in ways that do not undercut what's the -- you know, what's essence of who we are.

That means that we don't torture, for example, and thereby undermine our values and credibility around the world. It means that we don't approach this with a strategy of sending out occupying armies and playing Whac-A-Mole wherever a terrorist group appears because that drains our economic strength and it puts enormous burdens on our military.

Sharing Out Loud | AIRmediaworks

Sharing Out Loud | AIRmediaworks: In the past few years, I have also gotten much more comfortable with saying no and walking away. This is hard for me because I have a natural inclination to please people and I don’t want people to not like me. But I know my limits and I know when people are trying to take advantage of me.

Sometimes walking away is a good thing.

It’s OK to say no. (I recently put a disclaimer on my website explaining how I structure my consulting work. I recommend thinking about this and then writing something similar if you’re someone who is constantly getting your brain picked.)

It’s also OK to pivot. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s fair to take a step back. And it’s acceptable to go offline. In fact, I recommend it — and often.

Obama to parents doubting ‘indisputable’ science: ‘Get your kids vaccinated’ - The Washington Post

Obama to parents doubting ‘indisputable’ science: ‘Get your kids vaccinated’ - The Washington Post: Obama acknowledged that some people have concerns about the “effects” of vaccinations, but he cautioned, “the science is pretty indisputable.” He also noted that both his daughters Sasha and Malia have been vaccinated.

“You should get your kids vaccinated — it’s good for them,” Obama said. “We should be able to get back to the point where measles effectively is not existing in this country.”

Three Thrown Over the Cuckoo's Nest • Damn Interesting

Three Thrown Over the Cuckoo's Nest • Damn Interesting: What might happen, he wondered, if a psychologist were to deliberately pair up patients who held directly conflicting identity delusions? Perhaps such psychological leverage could be used to pry at the cracks of an irrational psyche to let in the light of reason. Dr. Rokeach sought and secured a research grant to test his hypothesis, and he began canvassing sanitariums for delusional doppelg�ngers. Soon he found several suitable subjects: three patients, all in state care, each of whom believed himself to be Jesus Christ. And he saw that it was good.

The Conspiracy Theory Surrounding The Seahawks’ Last Play | The Nation

The Conspiracy Theory Surrounding The Seahawks’ Last Play | The Nation: The conspiracy theory lies in the fact that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believed that the last yard the Seahawks needed for that Super Bowl victory was a gimme and, all things being equal, much better to have the iconic Super Bowl moment go to Russell Wilson than to Marshawn Lynch. Coaches setting certain favored players up for glory is as old as football itself. In addition, the politics of race, respectability, public relations and what’s in the best interest of a $2 billion corporation all played into this. That’s the theory.

I contacted someone inside that locker room and they said to me as if on repeat: “Can’t believe it. We all saw it. They wanted it to be Russ. They didn’t want Marshawn to be the hero.”

Jeb 'Put Me Through Hell’ - POLITICO Magazine

Jeb 'Put Me Through Hell’ - POLITICO Magazine: So most of the talk has touched on his more measured stances on immigration and Common Core. He’s been portrayed as a cerebral policy wonk in contrast to his father, the solicitous writer of thank you notes, and his brother, the clownin’-around worker of rooms. This bloodless depiction, though, ignores the intensity, the vehemence, the practically gladiatorial certitude with which he pursued what he wanted in the Schiavo case, and more generally the fervid way in which he believes in what he believes—that “absolute truth” he talked about in his speech in Savannah, two months after the death of Terri Schiavo, and one month before he asked the prosecutor to investigate her husband.

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia | Ars Technica

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia | Ars Technica:

That's the way events actually unfolded. But imagine an alternate timeline for the Columbia mission in which NASA quickly realized just how devastating the foam strike had been. Could the Columbia astronauts have been safely retrieved from orbit?

During the writing of its report, the CAIB had the same question, so
it asked NASA to develop a theoretical repair and rescue plan for Columbia
"based on the premise that the wing damage events during launch were
recognized early during the mission." The result was an absolutely
remarkable set of documents, which appear at the end of the report as
Appendix D.13. They carry the low-key title "STS-107 In-Flight Options Assessment,"
but the scenario they outline would have pushed NASA to its absolute
limits as it mounted the most dramatic space mission of all time.

01 February, 2015

Read Roald Dahl's Powerful Pro-Vaccination Letter (From 1988)

Read Roald Dahl's Powerful Pro-Vaccination Letter (From 1988):

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous
illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have
their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at
risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like
smallpox, has been virtually wiped out. 

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of
obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised,
we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of
those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another.
At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will

5 confounding questions that hold the key to the future of driverless cars - The Washington Post

5 confounding questions that hold the key to the future of driverless cars - The Washington Post: Now, here is the economic conundrum: Many of the biggest benefits of driverless cars will be shared by society, but the costs of the technology will be borne by individual consumers. That means that we have to find a way to better align the costs and benefits of driverless cars for the people who might buy them. That may mean offering subsidies. Or it may mean building into these cars clear value for individual consumers from the moment they drive off the car lot. It's easier to value, for instance, great fuel economy (which saves me money now) than great safety (which produces the absence of future accidents).

'Play Freely at Your Own Risk' - The Atlantic

'Play Freely at Your Own Risk' - The Atlantic:

At one point, I looked up at the trees. I was astonished to see that
there were children in them. The more I looked, the more children I saw.
There were children 15 feet high in the air. There were children
perched on tiny homemade wooden platforms, like circus ladies dressed in
glittery clothes about to swan-dive into little buckets. There were
children sitting up there, relaxed, in their navy blue sailor-type
school uniforms, chatting and eating candy on bitty rectangles of
rickety wood as if they were lounging on the Lido deck of The Love Boat.
There were children, preteens, crouching 15 feet up on the roof of the
playpark hut and then—I gasped to see this—leaping off it onto a pile of
ancient mattresses.

King and I sat on a log, eating warm, white gooey marshmallows. The
park was around us, and the trees were around us, and the dirt was
around us, and the smoke, and the music. The children were in the trees,
and were flying in the air.

We stayed there as long as we could.