January 31, 2018

Rough Waters: Gentrification and Cataclysmic Money.

Why The History Of Content Moderation Matters.

Decoding the Design of In-Flight Seat Belts.

Mosaic’s birthday: 25 years of the modern web. More customizable than the current Firefox.

Preventive Care Saves Money? Sorry, It’s Too Good to Be True. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it tends to cost money, but it improves quality of life at a very reasonable price.

Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns to Plant Just in Case They Shot an Unarmed Person.

Death During Childbirth Has More Than Doubled in the Past 30 Years.

January 30, 2018

Verizon, Apple Continue to Lobby Against Your ‘Right to Repair.’

How the MacBook Air Changed Laptops Forever. That Apple “just” copies others is the stupidest fucking idea ever. (As if copying well is even all that easy.)

Modern human brain organization emerged only recently: Homo sapiens fossils demonstrate a gradual evolution of the human brain towards its modern globular shape. I suspect Julian Jaynes was wrong in the specifics but correct in the general sense that humans weren’t really neurologically and cognitively modern until very recently.

Americans Are Saving Energy Because Fewer People Go Outside.

An ER visit, a $12,000 bill — and a health insurer that wouldn’t pay. A new insurance policy expects patients to diagnose themselves.

How did the Roman Republic determine its budget?

Facebook Can’t Be Fixed.

The Mysterious Interior World of Exercise.

It appears that our fiscal and monetary policy reactions in 2007 saved us from the volatility of the 1930’s — we didn’t suffer the worst of the Depression-decade decline in the real economy this time — but didn’t really put us in a better place long-term. Essentially, it’s been a smoother ride to the same general, crappy destination.

Why Most Business Laptops Still Have Horrible, 1366 x 768 Screens.

Language at the End of the World.

What Democrats Can Learn From Cecile Richards. In the face of a sustained Republican onslaught, the longtime head of Planned Parenthood didn’t back down.

January 29, 2018

“Dark Matter” DNA Influences Brain Development.

The United States is growing spatially more unequal, in ways that are ripping the country apart and threaten to undermine prosperity for all of us. Technology was supposed to reverse agglomeration and urbanization. Instead, the opposite occurred.

3.5 Billion-Year-Old Fossils Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start.

The wealthy huff a lot about efficiency, but what fundamentally distinguishes the insurance behavior of the wealthy and the poor is that the poor insure one another with much greater capital efficiency than the rich.

The ostensibly moral face-off between good and evil is a recent invention that evolved in concert with modern nationalism – and, ultimately, it gives voice to a political vision not an ethical one.

The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem.

In economics, there is a tendency to minimize the importance of externalities, to suggest they’re rare or insignificant.

My Pacemaker Is Tracking Me From Inside My Body. Cloud-connected medical devices save lives, but also raise questions about privacy, security, and oversight.

January 28, 2018

The End of the Awl and the Vanishing of Freedom and Fun from the Internet. The internet used to be so, so much better. I truly do miss that, and I’m not usually one for nostalgia.

Uber, Lyft & the roads of hell.

The importance of Taleb’s system: from the Fourth Quadrant to the Skin in the Game.

A 15-year look at how energy changed in the US, state by state.

The End of the Social Era Can’t Come Soon Enough.


We live in Philip K. Dick’s future, not George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s.

Take a look inside Amazon’s Spheres as they get set to open.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to reclassify major pollution sources like power plants and factories so that they face less regulation—and this spells trouble for the low-income communities and people of color who live near this pollution.

All Good Magazines Go to Heaven.

January 27, 2018

Pets don’t actually make people healthier, according to a new analysis. Ability to own a pet does.

Urban Bird Feeders Are Changing the Course of Evolution.

I miss blogrolls.

The known population of one of the world’s rarest fish has just doubled, thanks to a lucky find in the waters off Tasmania, Australia.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die.

ICE Is About To Start Tracking License Plates Across the US.

USAF Is Jamming GPS In The Western U.S. For Largest Ever Red Flag Air War Exercise.

January 26, 2018

Now even YouTube serves ads with CPU-draining cryptocurrency miners.

Hunting for the ancient lost farms of North America.

Just weeks after France’s labor overhaul went into effect, companies are readily taking advantage of new rules that make it easier to hire and fire.

To Make Government Work, You Have to Respect It. Americans malign but also rely on government workers.

Mosquitoes learn to avoid people who’ve swatted at them.

Creating a guidebook for Earth’s hypothetical twin.

A powerful earthquake off the coast of Alaska caused water to slosh in Devils Hole, in Death Valley National Park.

January 25, 2018

Charisma and Representation.

The CFPB Is Now the Predatory Lender Protection Bureau.

The Shark and the Hound. America’s long history of predatory lending.

How to Survive 75 Hours Alone in the Ocean. A new case study digs into the medical records of a lost diver’s incredible survival story.

January 24, 2018

Five years. Between 1994 and 1999, there was a brief period when the web was truly open.

Telling Rural People To Move Won’t Solve Poverty.

Street parties pretending to be political action are in vogue again. Just like Occupy, the Tea Party, and the first Women’s March. The Women’s Marches have even less political content than the OWS and the TP, and hence probably will have even less political impact.

Sheltering people does not address the flaws of an economic system that creates mass homelessness.

If humans gave up on geoengineering after 50 years, it could be far worse than if we had done nothing at all.

Centipedes eat animals 15 times their size thanks to this powerful toxin, study finds.

January 22, 2018

Once seniors are too old to drive, our transportation system totally fails them.

Privatization Is Bad.

“Sure” is the most infuriating way to say “yes.”

January 21, 2018

The rich landowners blocking access to public lands.

Borrow $5,000, repay $42,000 — How super high-interest loans have boomed in California.

Walk Inside a Warehouse-Sized Kaleidoscopic Painting by Katharina Grosse.

To keep their bond-ratings, hedge-funds have to publicly demonstrate that they are the most ruthless of landlords.

Google CEO says AI will be more important to humanity than electricity or fire. I know the left will hate me for this (join the club), but I agree. However, the ramp-up period will be 200-500 years for it to truly “hit.” (Electricity took much longer than people think, too, btw.)

It is a measure of the abject inadequacy of liberal thought today that all it can bring to the political arena, and to public discourse generally, is high indignation at the tawdriness of what it dismissively describes as ‘populism’.

A randomly generated, totally novel enzyme rescues mutant bacteria.

R.I.P. for the spec script, long a source of some of Hollywood’s most beloved films.

Dutiful dirges of Davos.

January 20, 2018

Data has taken The Awl network away from us. Software swallowed the world, and turned it to shit.

A lot of us have been talking about being older lately; never have I thanked the fates for my arthritic knees and wrinkly ass more than this week, when the thought of having to navigate this dating moonscape made me quake with fear. Yes. If I had to date now, I’d just become a monk.

The funniest thing about Trump are those who feel he is of a piece, separate from American history, and somehow a break from it. That this government is significantly qualitatively worse than those that came before, rather than an extension of it.

Rolling back regulations often comes before a financial meltdown, according to 300 years of history.

‘Pale Rider’ by Laura Spinney.

Why Walkable Streets are More Economically Productive.

Maybe Men Will Be Scared for a While. But maybe to fear women is to begin seeing them as people.

Frances “Betty” Snyder Holberton, the software pioneer who programmed the groundbreaking ENIAC digital computer.

The PT Cruiser and the 2007 recession.

Safeguarding our soils.

January 19, 2018

Tale of 2 polls: What do librarians have that journalists don’t?

Other People’s Money: How Banking Worked in the Early American Republic. (Book Review.)

Alzheimer’s disease: neuronal loss very limited.

What Amazon’s move tells us about the culture wars.

The Shadow Safety Net.

How lax homeschooling laws protect child abusers.

A new theory for why Americans can’t get a raise.

January 18, 2018

Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not.

Mark Zuckerberg Quietly Bought a Giant Escape Yacht, Which Seems Like a Bad Sign.

Understanding How (old-school) TVs Work Is a Lot Easier When You Watch Them at 380,000 Frames Per Second.

Fed Up With Drug Companies, Hospitals Decide to Start Their Own. A group of large hospital systems plans to create a nonprofit generic drug company to battle shortages and high prices.

The Great Urban Housing Solution That Has No Good Name. Call them “accessory dwelling units” or “granny flats”—small living spaces built on existing lots could help make cities more affordable.

The results show that people with intellectual disabilities — women and men — are the victims of sexual assaults at rates more than seven times those for people without disabilities.

Did Americans Turn to Opioids Out of Despair – or Just Because They Were There? This is the kind of bullshit that results when you engage in spreadsheet fuckery reductionism. If the economy were humming and there were true full employment and a real safety net, does anyone really think there’d be record opioid deaths? Come the fuck on.

The ‘Star Wars’ MRA Cut Is The Regrettable Endpoint Of Fan Entitlement. If any aliens are watching, please invade now.

January 17, 2018

The looming student loan default crisis is worse than we thought.

Facebook Doesn’t Like What It Sees When It Looks in the Mirror. Oh, cry me a river.