Open Thread and Link Farm, Dancing On Stairs Edition

  1. Cash/Consent: The War on Sex Work | by Lorelei Lee
    This essay is excellent – resisting simplistic narratives about sex work from both anti-sex work crusaders and pro-sex work liberals.
  2. NYC restaurant industry is thriving after $15 minimum wage – Business Insider
    Thanks to Grace for the link!
  3. Northern snakehead: This invasive species can live on land and breathe air. Authorities suggest you kill them on sight. – The Washington Post (And an alternative link.)
    They’re not dangerous to humans (although they do sometimes eat mice), but in the U.S. they’re an invasive species.
  4. These Machines Can Put You in Jail. Don’t Trust Them. – The New York Times (And an alternate link).
    “Alcohol breath tests, a linchpin of the criminal justice system, are often unreliable…”
  5. Did Emma Sulkowicz Get Redpilled?
    It sounds like the answer may be “no, but she’s got new libertarian friends and she was never actually all that political anyway.”
  6. The Adults In The Room: Deadspin
    “A metastasizing swath of media is controlled by private-equity vultures and capricious billionaires and other people who genuinely believe that they are rich because they are smart and that they are smart because they are rich, and that anyone less rich is by definition less smart. They know what they know, and they don’t need to know anything else.”
  7. The Bernie vs. Warren Debate We Need by Eric Levitz.
    This is the best article on the “Warren or Bernie?” debate I’ve read. Even if people don’t agree with the conclusions (and really, Levitz doesn’t come to a conclusion), these are the kinds of questions leftists need to be thinking about.
  8. How online allies joined a trans artist’s street art war
    TERFs and LGBT folks in Oxford fight each other through the medium of anonymous stickers.
  9. No, Obama is Not a Member of the Intellectual Dark Web
  10. Twitter hates me. The Des Moines Register fired me. Here’s what really happened. – Columbia Journalism Review
    This was the reporter who was (unfairly) fired for reporting on some guy’s racist teenage tweets. (Read the story for why I think his firing was unfair). What’s oddest is that the reporter is one of the clearest-cut cases of someone being fired due to outrage on social media – and yet he denies that he was “cancelled.”
  11. If 2020 Democrats Are Going to Be Serious About Climate, They Need to Cut Out Congress – Mother Jones
    What the President can do without Congress’ approval.
  12. How ‘Slings & Arrows’ on Acorn TV made a Shakespeare fest a cult hit – Los Angeles Times
    This decades-old TV show is one of my favorite TV shows ever. But the reason I’m including this in the link farm is that the article mentions that the Slings and Arrows creators are shopping around a prequel to the series. Fingers very much crossed!
  13. The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 – Wikipedia
    In which a relatively harmless tradition of hat-snatching goes overboard.
  14. This 195-Gigapixel Photo of Shanghai Has To Be Seen To Be Believed | IFLScience
    That’s an article about the photo; here’s the photo. I spent a couple of hours just exploring the photo.
  15. One year after Kavanaugh, I can’t go back to SCOTUS.
    A short piece by Dahlia Lithwick. “That is the problem with power: It incentivizes forgiveness and forgetting.”
  16. A Comprehensive Defense of Trans People : musicotic
    A very impressive list of references and links.
  17. James Dean Reborn in CGI for Vietnam War Action-Drama (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter
    The movie will co-star a CGI recreation of Dean; all the other parts will be played by living actors. “‘This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us,’ said Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents Dean’s family alongside more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music and historical personalities, including the likes of Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis and Jack Lemmon.”
  18. Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That’s Worrying
  19. Trump’s Justice Dept. Wants to get rid of old antitrust rules that keep major film studios in check – The Atlantic
    It’s hard to see what possible benefit consumers could get from this. I think the question is not if Disney will buy a major movie theater chain, but when.
  20. Rats learned how to drive tiny cars and it reduced their stress, researchers say – The Washington Post
    “Beyond the adorableness, it has real scientific value” sounds like a New Yorker cartoon caption to me.
  21. The A.V. Club’s 100 best TV shows of the 2010s
  22. Making Sense of Autogynephilia Debates – Julia Serano – Medium
    A readable guide to what Ray Blanchard’s autogynephilia theory is, and why Blanchard is wrong. It’s long, but also well-divided into sections, so you can read just the first section for a basic overview or continue if you want more.
  23. Actually, The SUV-Defeating Rock Is Good
    “It has made it its purpose to demonstrate that a great deal of SUV drivers have no fucking clue what they’re doing and cannot be trusted to drive in public.”
  24. How Rich Would Bill Gates Be Without His Copyright on Windows? | Op-Eds & Columns | CEPR
  25. Why Black Voters Prefer Establishment Candidates Over Liberal Alternatives | FiveThirtyEight
    This article is from early October, before “the squad” endorsed Bernie, but I think it’s still worth reading.
  26. Five Reasons the Diet Soda Myth Won’t Die – The New York Times (Alternate link.)
    I think that at a fundamental level, the idea that diet soda is secretly poisoning us is too good a story, too intuitively correct, for us to drop it merely because it’s not true.
  27. On Race, Genetics, and Pseudoscience – Violent metaphors
    “Describing race as a social construct does not undermine its existence, nor its importance; it merely points out that there is no fundamental biological basis for race.”
  28. OK boomer: The psychology of why baby boomers complain about millenials and Gen Z – VoxMemories are not accurate, and generational personality differences are like astrology.
  29. Hesitant hitmen jailed over botched assassination in China – BBC News
    The case involves a chain of five hitmen, each of whom (but the last one) tried to subcontract the hit to another hitman.
  30. The Art of Power: How Louis XIV Ruled France … With Ballet | Mental Floss
    A French classical musician I sat next to on a plane told me this story, and I had to google it once I got home to make sure he wasn’t pulling my jambe.
  31. This animated gif shows the difference between the “red vs blue” map as it’s currently often presented – showing red counties (i.e., counties where there were more Republican than Democratic votes for President) – versus a map that shows how many actual votes are represented, rather than land mass. I’m not describing it well, but if you look at it, it’s pretty clear.
  32. Ohio Was Set to Purge 235,000 Voters. It Was Wrong About 20%. – The New York Times (Alternate link.)Including about 20,000 voters from a heavily Democratic area who were purged because there was no record of them voting in upcoming elections.
  33. Stephen King’s Maine Home to Become a Museum and writer’s retreat | Mental Floss
  34. According to a new paper, 43% of white students at Harvard are “ALDC”: athletes, legacy, donors’ kids, or children of faculty. (Sci-hub link.)
    In comparison, only 16% of non-white students at Harvard are ALDC. 70% of ALDC students wouldn’t have gotten in without ALDC preferences. Without ALDC preferences, there would be as many or more Asians, Blacks, and Latinx students, but fewer white students.
  35. Painting “Zebra Stripes” on Cows Wards Off Biting Flies | RealClearScience
    Small sample size and not yet replicated, but interesting nonetheless. Also, loved that whoever created the photo illustration decided that it made sense to label the “body” and the “leg,” preventing me from mixing up those body parts. (Okay, probably there’s some sensible reason for that if one reads the study…).
  36. You and a super intelligent snail both get 1 million dollars, and you both become immortal, however you die if the snail touches you. It always knows where you are and slowly crawls toward you. What’s your plan?”
    I really enjoyed reading the answer that got the most “upvotes” (right at the top of the thread).
  37. The backlash against Impossible and Beyond Meat burgers going mainstream – Vox
    Foodies were in favor of the faux-meat burgers until they started being served in fast food restaurants.
  38. Florida GOP leaders finally utter ‘sea level rise,’ lament ‘lost decade’ | Miami Herald
    It’s not so much “we lost” as “we deliberately threw it away.” And more like three decades.
  39. 20 Years Later, and the Women of Angel Still Deserve More | TV Guide
    “With the deaths of Darla, Cordelia, and Fred, Angel says that a woman is a person until she gets pregnant, and that’s the end of her story.” On her Twitter, the woman who played Cordelia praised this article, saying it made her feel seen.
  40. The art at the bottom and top of this post is by French artist Levalet. Check out Levalet’s website. I love their work, which nicely combines whimsical humor with really strong rendering skills.

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18 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Dancing On Stairs Edition

  1. 1
    Celeste says:

    The “The A.V. Club’s 100 best TV shows of the 2010s” link in #21 just links to a Good Place picture, which is accurate, as the Good Place ought to be all 100 best shows.

    The link I think you were looking for is here.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Celeste! I’ve fixed the link. :-)

  3. 3
    Ben Lehman says:

    I never understood why the snail would want to kill you. It’s super-intelligent. Surely you could come to some agreement.

  4. 4
    J. Squid says:

    Why is there no plan to keep their immortality secret? Do they want to be a test subject forever?

  5. 5
    lurker23 says:

    this made me laugh alot, you will laugh alot too i think?

    holidays got you stressed? ok then: https://youtu.be/LAO6-rkpYCY

  6. 6
    LTL FTC says:

    I liked #5. Every other angle on this young woman paints her as a one-dimensional embodiment of what they were already talking about.

  7. 7
    Adrian says:

    I thought along the same lines as Ben. All the careful arrangements to get the snail as far away as possible and keep it there, the threats and barriers and Wile-E-Coyote schematics…they seem to presume the snail benefits from killing you. Why not just set the snail up in a comfortable home in New Zealand, send it really good adaptive computer equipment, and stay north of the equator? Everybody can be happy? If this is the only hyperintelligent snail, it’s probably lonely. It probably wants somebody to talk to, and might want to help make other intelligent snails and adaptive equipment to use tools without hands and feet.

  8. 8
    J. Squid says:

    I believe that the snail is not super intelligent. If it were super intelligent, why does it keep moving towards you? That’s the sign of a force, like gravity, or pure instinct.

    This works so much better if we eliminate “super intelligent” from the description. Then it becomes a lot more like It Follows, and that’s a lot more interesting.

  9. 9
    J. Squid says:

    re link #37 –

    I’ve had the Beyond Burger at a fast food joint and it was… okay.
    I’ve had the Impossible Burger at a fast food joint and it was… okay.
    I’ve had the Impossible Burger at an upscale sports bar and it was… amazing! I was really worried that I’d been given a meat burger and that I’d be sick as hell in the coming hours.

    It looks like in the hands of fast food joints, the new plant based burgers are acceptable but not good, while an actual cook preparing them makes them fantastic.

    I probably wouldn’t have either of them again given other options, but I’ve been a vegetarian so long, I’m not particularly interested in eating something that tastes like and feels like meat. But I encourage meat eaters to give them a try. At a real restaurant or in their own home. Do not eat these things at fast food stores – that’s an expensive waste.

  10. 10
    nobody.really says:

    Regarding the immortal and the snail: Lots of literature suggests that immortality would be a drag. Someday that snail might be your best friend, as the only exit you’ve got. Ultimately the hyper-intelligent snail might begrudge the fact that you can’t return the favor.

  11. 11
    nobody.really says:

    While humans haven’t yet achieved immortality, the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker reports the following average life expediencies for 2017:

    Japan: 84.1 years and rising
    France: 82.4 and rising
    Industrialized nations overall: 82.2 years and rising
    Canada: 81.9 and rising
    US: 78.9–and falling

    But wait–it gets worse: I’m lying. The US reached average life expectancy of 78.9 years back in 2014–and has been DECLINING EVER SINCE, now falling to 78.6. American exceptionalism on display.

    Still, striking a blow for national solidarity, we can report that life expectancy is declining for men, women, white, black, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaskan Native populations simultaneously. In Tom Lehrer’s immortal mortal words, we truly all go together when we go.

    Who wants to regress data on rates of life expectancy decline on voting patterns? Are voters who swing to Trump disproportionately likely to live in places where life expectancy is declining fastest?

    And who wants to run a regression to determine What. The. Fuck?

  12. 12
    Petar says:

    Still, striking a blow for national solidarity, we can report that life expectancy is declining for men, women, white, black, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaskan Native populations simultaneously. In Tom Lehrer’s immortal mortal words, we truly all go together when we go.

    No, we do not. The life expectancy for incomes over $2,000,000 were still rising 2014-1026, in the US, and I expect still are. It’s all a consequence of rising income inequality. Even the women/men life expectancy gap closes, when the incomes get high enough, from seven years to about one.

    Lets face it, the American exceptionalism is in the fact that resources, not just life, have been shrinking for the majority – in most of the developed world the rising tide raises most ships.

  13. 13
    nobody.really says:

    [T]he American exceptionalism is in the fact that resources, not just life, have been shrinking for the majority….

    To clarify, real median household income seems to have risen uniformly since 2014–although I expect it has risen at a slower pace than for more affluent households.

    But perhaps an analysis of the majority misses the mark. Depressed circumstances for a large minority might suffice to drive down aggregate life expectancy.

    Or maybe the decline in life expectancy is a lagging variable? Real median household income fell by more than 10% from 2000 to 2012. The cumulative stress over that period might just now be becoming lethal.

    Alternatively, perhaps the relevant variables are not about REAL income, but about RELATIVE income. But can status consciousness drive mortality rates?

  14. 14
    Petar says:

    Or maybe the decline in life expectancy is a lagging variable? Real median household income fell by more than 10% from 2000 to 2012.

    That is a very plausible theory… but then, why did life expectancy not fall all over the world? The 2008 crisis affected more than just the US.

    And, without falling too much into conspiracy theorizing, I do not get how ‘real income’ works. I have been in the US for about thirty years. The US government lists the inflation for last 28 years as 102.5%.

    Medical insurance, student tuition, rent in the states I would live – all of these have tripled or more. Whole wheat bread, five+ cultures yogurt by the half gallon, dry salami, fruit with a taste, a dozen eggs, lasting clothes – all of these have gone up by more than 100%, as well. And which is worse, the new stuff (tools, power tools, clothing, shoes, consumer electronics) lasts months where it used to last years.

    Sure, the new stuff is cheaper, but to get what used to be the reasonable balance between price and cost, now you need to pay luxury prices. I have been wearing the exact same Rockport shoes, Levi’s jeans and L.L.Bean tropical shirts for 30 years. In my college years, those were sensible purchases because they lasted forever, and you could buy them everywhere. Today you can find cheap alternatives, but the real thing costs three to four times more. Brands even play with the model names. The Euro Walkers that cost $25 in Boston in 1992 are not the 50$ Eureka Walkers of today. They are the $100 (on sale) World Tour.

    I can buy more horsepower for my car, and more flops for my computer, but the 300hp Toyota Supra of 1992 was not the same as the 300hp Toyota Camry of today. The former was a hot sports car that carried some prestige in certain circles, the latter is a drab family sedan. The 2020 Supra? It costs about twice what the 1992 did, sure, but it puts out a measly 10% more horse power than the bloody Camry. To buy the car that stands up, performance and prestige wise, to the Supra of yore, you will need to get a $150,000 luxury exotic.

    So, forgive me for not believing that the household with $150,000 income of today is as financially solid as the $75,000 household of 1992.

    Maybe my views are skewed by the fact that I am approaching 60 instead of being in my 30s. But the seniors in my wife’s class sound a lot less hopeful about the future than my class sounded in the 90s.

    Alternatively, perhaps the relevant variables are not about REAL income, but about RELATIVE income. But can status consciousness drive mortality rates?

    I can definitely buy that, but not before I have discarded the much more plausible theory that health care with higher RELATIVE premiums and deductibles and less REAL benefits leads to worse health outcomes.

    Why has California not experienced the life expectancy drop? Could it be because of things like better post-natal care legislation that makes it the one place in the US where new mothers die less frequently than those in developing countries?

    A more interesting question is why whichever state goes by WY, or was it WI, doesn’t report a life expectancy decrease, either?

    (Yes, I know which state it is, no, I cannot answer the question)

  15. 15
    J. Squid says:

    I can definitely buy that, but not before I have discarded the much more plausible theory that health care with higher RELATIVE premiums and deductibles and less REAL benefits leads to worse health outcomes.

    Yup. Health insurance costs are way up, deductibles are up 10 x or more, and out of pocket expenses are way, way up. If you live long enough, you or a member of your family will probably bankrupt you for their medical care. USA! USA!

  16. 16
    Kate says:

    I remember seeing somewhere that the opioid epedemic has played a significant role in the lowering of life expectancy in the U.S..
    Our for-profit healthcare system contributed to that through both over prescription of drugs and under funding mental health services for people who do need opiods but also need help processing a traumatic accident, living with a condition that includes chronic pain, etc..
    In some cases, it is also a way in which reaction to lower relative income might prove deadly.

  17. 17
    nobody.really says:

    I remember seeing somewhere that the opioid epedemic has played a significant role in the lowering of life expectancy in the U.S.

    Funny you should say that (Funny in the “hmmmm” sense, not the “ha ha” sense): Amp’s blogroll just posted a link to the Incidental Economist post noting that, because black people in rural America get less medical care, they received less opioids–and this may have saved 14,000 black lives!

    “[N]ew prescription opioids were marketed more aggressively in white rural areas, where pain drug prescriptions were already high. African-Americans received fewer opioid prescriptions, some researchers think, because doctors believed, contrary to fact, that black people 1) were more likely to become addicted to the drugs 2) would be more likely to sell the drugs and 3) had a higher pain threshold than white people because they were biologically different.

    A fourth possibility is that some white doctors were more empathetic to the pain of people who were like them, and less empathetic to those who weren’t.”

  18. 18
    Michael says:

    Remember Gordon Sondland (one of the “Three Amigos” in charge of Ukraine policy)? Now he’s been accused of sexual harassment:
    https://www.propublica.org/article/multiple-women-recall-sexual-misconduct-and-retaliation-by-gordon-sondland

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