Open Thread and Link Farm, Not About Trump Edition


  1. The battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline, explained – Vox
  2. Donate to the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council
  3. It’s time to kill the $100 bill – The Washington Post and, by the same author (Larry Summers), India just made a big mistake with its currency ban – The Washington Post. An interesting issue that I’ve never thought about before – high-value currency fosters crime, but getting rid of it has to be done the right way.
  4. Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal – The Baffler
    A bit of a long read, but interesting, about the moderate-liberal Rowling versus how Harry Potter’s more radical fans interpret the Potter books.
  5. Was Lee Harvey Oswald Just a Bad Shot? | Mother Jones
    Like Kevin, I have no clue if this is a reasonable argument or not. Anyone know?
  6. Please don’t try to get screenings of The Red Pill cancelled :: We Hunted The Mammoth
  7. The inexplicably ubiquitous phenomenon of ‘woods porn’ | Dangerous Minds
  8. Sex, death and aliens: a feminist watches ‘Arrival’ | language: a feminist guide
    Spoiler alert! But interesting stuff.
  9. Self-Driving Trucks Are a Canary in the Coal Mine | Mother Jones
  10. Big Farms Are Getting Bigger And Most Small Farms Aren’t Really Farms At All | FiveThirtyEight
  11. Whimsical Storybook Beasts and Birds Illustrated by Vorja Sánchez
    Those illustrations near the bottom of the post, of people affectionately holding monsters, are gorgeous.
  12. Oregonians: Do you want pavement or gravel & dust? You decide. – BlueOregon
  13. Right-Wing Media Misquoted a Gay University Official and Tried to Get Him Fired – WATCH
  14. 5 Huge Driverless Car Problems (Besides The Obvious Ones)
    Will driverless cars kill radio?
  15. A Brilliant Version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ Played on a Traditional Korean Gayageum
  16. The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends – The Washington Post
  17. Clickclickclickclick is sort of brilliant. I won’t describe it, just go check it out. Have the sound on.
  18. Street photographer’s fantastic series of “then and now” photos
    I’m oddly fascinated by this genre of photos.
  19. NASA Team Claims ‘Impossible’ Space Engine Works — Get the Facts
    “The long-standing catch is that the EmDrive seemingly defies the laws of classical physics, so even if it’s doing what the team claims, scientists still aren’t sure how the thing actually works.”

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31 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Not About Trump Edition

  1. 1
    Jake Squid says:

    I really, really ,really like the cartoon at the top of this post. Like, a lot.

  2. 2
    David Simon says:

    EmDrive would be super helpful for interplanetary and interstellar travel if it worked, but since as it’s usually presented you could use it to make a perpetual motion machine and get free infinite energy, it’s… pretty doubtful.

    My money is still on solar sails as the first practical space flight mechanism that gets beyond the expensive limitation of lifting fuel out of the gravity well.

  3. 3
    desipis says:

    So why is Dr Hoffstein walking around wearing nothing but a hat…?

  4. 4
    Harlequin says:

    desipis, lol!!

    There’s a more detailed analysis of the em drive stuff at Ars Technica.

  5. 5
    MJJ says:

    desipis #3: That reminds me of an old Sappo cartoon I once saw in a book of old comics (by E.C. Segar, creator of Popeye, and with the actual main character being Professor O.G. Wottasnozzle).

    Sappo was shrinking after eating a shrinking pill – the comic took the time to mention that the pill made him send some sort of rays out of his body that caused his clothes to shrink with him. Plot hole avoidance!

  6. 6
    Kai Jones says:

    #12: I have written my state legislators every other year to tell them two things: stop trying to fix PERS (it just costs more in the long run because the state attorneys spend so much time on the subsequent lawsuits plus the state pays the union attorneys’ fees), and please spend more money on infrastructure repair and maintenance. They don’t pay attention to either demand!

  7. 7
    Danny says:

    Please don’t try to get screenings of The Red Pill cancelled :: We Hunted The Mammoth
    A publicity stunt? I guess when you are so dead set against the idea that decent MRAs exist you’ll come up whatever you can to justify dismissing them.

  8. 8
    Jake Squid says:

    Nobody doubts that MRA’s exist, Danny. We just find their opinions laughable and their interactions with the rest of humanity odious.

  9. 9
    Danny says:

    Jake I said decent MRAs. They are out there and they have valid points. It would be nice if people could actually talk about what’s in the documentary rather than hypocritically dismissing it just because it’s not a hit piece.

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    Danny, I haven’t seen the documentary, and probably won’t. (It takes too long to watch documentaries about policy and the like; I can read much faster than I can listen.) But doesn’t it present Paul Elam, siterunner of A Voice For Men, as one of the “decent MRAs”? Elam who once wrote:

    Recently here in the comments section, the subject of jury duty at rape trials has come up. One of our readers commented that he voted “not guilty” while sitting on the jury at a rape trial simply because he could.

    Another reader called that irresponsible. I imagine at least a 98% of the society would agree with her.

    Well, 98% of society has been wrong before.

    With this important subject in mind, I make the following pledge as an activist, and as an American that believes fully in the rule of law. Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.

    If the documentary indeed focuses on Elam and other MRAs of his sort, then I’d say the documentary is not a good example of “decent MRAs.”

    (Oh, I should acknowledge that Elam now says he’s “retired” from the MRA movement, although it’s not clear what that actually means, since he doesn’t seem to have changed his views at all.)

  11. 11
    Danny says:

    Amp Im not trying to pretend that all MRAs are decent and while Elam may be one featured in the documentary its not like he is one and only MRA in the world or the only and only MRA mentioned in the documentary. Just like any other movement the MRM is a mixed bag.

    There are 2 reasons Im interested in seeing that doc.

    1. The filmaker herself identifies as feminist and was able to admit that there is legitimacy behind what a lot of MRAs say. She admited her biases and preconceived notions were challenged and questioned. I put more stock in that than the many feminists that have protested against airing the film despite not knowing what its about other than the fact that it doesnt attack the MRM.

    2. The fact that so many feminists are so dead set on attacking or ignoring this doc makes me think there may be reason to watch it. There were feminists who were supportive of this documentary…..until they realized it wasnt going to be a hit piece and suddenly that support dried up or even turned to hate.

    As for Elam he’s said a lot of bullshit and some things I agree with. Frankly I think he has outlived his usefulness in that he and his inflammatory language were useful in bringing attention to issues but over time he got to that point where the flames were doing more harm than good byt he kept going because flames draw attention.

    Regardless of if he’s changed his views the MRM is better off without him.

  12. 12
    desipis says:

    Important part of the context of Paul Elam’s comment that Ampersand quoted:

    Now what if you are on a jury in a rape trial, and you know that it is highly likely that evidence that may be exculpatory has been deliberately hidden from you? What if you think there is a genuine possibility that the trial is more about the career of the prosecutor than about the pursuit of justice?

    What if you know you cannot trust what you are seeing?

    In your mind, here and now, I challenge you to ask yourself. What kind of impact do the answers to these questions have on the concept of reasonable doubt?

    And I would argue that if you are aware of how the system actually works, then you must be aware that reasonable doubt cannot be ascertained in a rape trial. There is just not enough trustworthy information in many cases to make that judgment, and unfortunately as a juror, you are not able to discern if the case you are seeing is one of the ones that has been tainted.

    Elam was simply stating a refusal to play a part in what he believes is a system of unfair trials. I’m not sure a belief in the paramount importance of fair trials to our justice system and society at large is a position that qualifies someone as not “decent”. Since he’s done this very publicly there’s basically zero chance of him ever actually serving on a trial so it’s all rhetoric and doesn’t represent a practical threat at all.

  13. 13
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    In re rape trials and suppressed exculpatory evidence: this is plausible– prosecutors are pretty bad. Now I’m wondering whether an always-acquit jurors’ strike would be a good thing, and that does seem like overdoing it. I’m not sure what a good strategy would be.

    Have MRAs been addressing sexual predation by women?

  14. 14
    Ben Lehman says:

    AFAIK, the profound cultural silence about female rapists extends to MRAs, as well as to (most) feminists and (most) everyone else.

  15. 16
    Danny says:

    Actually MRAs often bring up female sex predators and call for them to be held responsible for their actions because as it is they largely are not. In fact Id say they are better about talking about this than most feminists and most people in general.

  16. 17
    Ruchama says:

    The Weather Channel is fighting back against climate change denial.

  17. 18
    Jake Squid says:


    It’s the least they can do in repentance for ruining Weather Underground.

  18. 19
    Charles S says:

    Speaking of climate change: an interesting article on the degree to which individual extreme weather events are caused by global warming and how to effectively convey that information.

    Super short version: we can clearly show that specific modern heat waves would not have happened without global warming, while for extreme rain/flood events, we can show that global warming has a substantial influence, but they are also driven by specific conditions; when talking about this, we should lead with what we know, not with caveats and uncertainties).

    The old claim that we can’t say that a specific event was caused by global warming is no longer true. We have good methods for working out whether and how much of a role global warming had in some kinds of weather events.

  19. 20
    Elkins says:

    I messed around on that clickclickclick site for an embarrassingly long time (it is hypnotic, isn’t it?), but I never got any sounds whatsoever. :(

  20. 21
    kate says:

    [Comment moved, by Kate, to a different thread. Thanks Kate!]

  21. 22
    h says:


    Woods porn! I thought I was the only one whose intro to pornography was via a soggy old porn mag stumbled upon in the woods. In my case, it was a gay porn magazine discovered in the woods in the middle of redneck country in Northwest Florida. Can’t help but wonder who the owner was and whether they hid it out there because it was porn or because it was gay porn.

  22. 23
    Elkins says:

    Tales of Woods Porn always make me feel obscurely cheated, as I spent enormous portions of my childhood tromping about in exurban woodlands, and yet I never stumbled upon even the tiniest stash of porn. Not even a single raggedy Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue ever did I find. Bah!

    It really is charming, though, how universal an experience it seems to be. It makes me wonder if well-meaning adults ever purposefully purchase smut just to hide it–but not too well, mind you–out in the woods to serve as the catalyst for the next generation’s sordid little rite of passage. I imagine a kind of dirty-minded Saint Nick, hoisting up onto his shoulder a big bag swollen to bursting with archaic pin-up calendars and age-yellowed skin mags, and then tip-toeing off with it into forest, a sly smile on his face and a raging erection pressing through the fabric of his jolly red trousers. Ho ho ho!

  23. 24
    Ruchama says:

    My friends and I once found a Playboy magazine in the woods. It was with an old rusty suitcase and a harmonica.

  24. 25
    kate says:

    Sorry about the post @21 – wrong thread.

  25. 26
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think it was wrong, Kate. Taking an off-topic discussion to an open thread, is part of what open threads are here for.

  26. 27
    Elkins says:

    I suspect what Kate means, Amp, is that the other open thread might have been a better choice for that particular off-topic discussion than this one, which was after all created to be a Trump-free safe-space. Ah well. With luck, no one found themselves too traumatically Trump-triggered.

  27. 28
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, d’oh! Now I get it.

  28. 29
    Kai Jones says:

    Yes, when one asks for a safe space and it is then invaded by the very thing one wished to be safe from, it is rather discouraging of future visitation and usefulness. At least for me.

  29. 30
    Ampersand says:

    Quite right! Thanks for reposting your comment on the other thread, Kate. I’ll cut it from this thread. :-)

  30. 31
    Kai Jones says:

    And this is why I keep coming back-the commentariat here is generally good quality and kind. Thanks Kate and Amp and everyone who cooperates!