Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees are pushing... →
No one wants to give it to the Yankees because of the payroll — the perception that any Tom, Dick or Cashman could run baseball ops backed by Steinbrenner wallets. In reality, the Yankees have a well-run baseball operation.
The shocking banality of infanticide →
One possible answer is that Gosnell might be particularly depraved. On his own, he came up with the idea that murdering a fetus near the moment of birth was morally permissible, at least if the mother asked him to do it. That’s comforting. It lets us console ourselves with the thought that such brutality is a fluke and not likely to be repeated. But that’s probably not the right...
Dictionary of Numbers →
I don’t like large numbers without context. Phrases like “they called for a $21 billion budget cut” or “the probe will travel 60 billion miles” or “a 150,000-ton ship ran aground” don’t mean very much to me on their own. Is that a large ship? Does 60 billion miles take you outside the Solar System? How much is $21 billion compared to the overall budget? (That last question is why I made my...
Yankees School of Witchcraft and Wizardry →
Michael is convinced that it is time that I just admit that I am wrong, and he is right about the New York Yankees being a magical species, not unlike house elves. He is fairly enraged that I will not just admit defeat. I picked the Yankees to collapse under their own weight this year. He thinks I’m a flat-earther who will not face the obvious truth — that the Yankees will always, continuously,...
It’s been a full year since Somali pirates... →
Over the last 12 months, piracy off the Horn of Africa has nearly disappeared. In the first 16 weeks of 2013, there have been no vessel hijackings reported (pdf) to the US Office of Naval Intelligence. And according to the UN, the last vessel to be commandeered by militants was the Greek tanker MV Smyrni on May 10, 2012, almost a year ago. (via Taegan Goddard)
Subway more unhealthy than McDonald's? →
In the end, it’s not where you eat but what you choose off the menu that matters — and eating at Subway is just as likely to make you fat as pulling up to the drive-thru at McDonald’s, researchers concluded. (via Dave Pell)
The Cleveland victims and our hunger for obscene... →
I quote these passages not to suggest in any literal way that Ariel Casto’s evil is ingested by anyone who reads about his story, but to point out the idea that for all the scrupulous reporting what happened to the three women in Cleveland we are left with an excess of obscenity and cruelty that cannot be neatly stowed away inside a news story. I can’t help asking, for whom, and for what purpose,...
A clever way to reduce pirating →
“Is there some way to avoid [piracy]? I mean can I research DRM or something?” lamented one poster. “Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me! … Not fair,” wrote another.
A few reminders on Miranda rights →
Law enforcement has successfully captured Dzhokar Tsarnaev, and DOJ has announced that Tsarnaev is being interrogated without first being read his Miranda rights because the DOJ thinks that the public safety exception to Miranda applies. Back in 2010, I blogged a lot about Miranda in this setting. Here are a few reminders about the law here:
Scientists make 'laboratory-grown' kidney →
A kidney “grown” in the laboratory has been transplanted into animals where it started to produce urine, US scientists say. Similar techniques to make simple body parts have already been used in patients, but the kidney is one of the most complicated organs made so far. (via Dashiell Bennett)
“When Will Politicians Find Courage to Ban... →
The answer to this question is pretty much 1986 (whether that’s a matter of “courage” or not), when automatic weapons — i.e., machineguns — were largely banned. There is an exception for pre-1986 automatic weapons, of which there are relatively few, since they have been heavily taxed since the 1930s. As a result, automatic weapons are very expensive, hard to get legally, and banned outright in...
Why bitcoin fails: Illiquidity →
But bitcoins are not so liquid. Mostly, to buy things, I need to trade them for dollars or another currency. And that is the fatal weakness of bitcoins: at some point, to compete with dollars, it needs to enter the real economy. And if bitcoins become a good way to avoid government surveillance of your financial transactions, then governments will find a way to choke off those entry points so...
The psychology of naming a hurricane →
Like many decisions that seem arbitrary at first, hurricane naming has unexpected practical consequences. In the mid-1980s, Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin showed that people like their initials more than they like other letters in the alphabet. For example, in one study Nuttin found that Europeans who spoke 12 different languages were 50% more likely to identify their own name letters among...
FGCU and Atlas Shrugged →
If you’re wondering how Florida Gulf Coast University became the first 15th seed in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to advance to the Sweet 16, look no further than the ur-text of the school’s economics department: “Atlas Shrugged.”
Narratively does long-form journalism right →
Inspired to create a new platform that would tell the real and bold narratives of New Yorkers, Rosenberg and co-founder Brendan Spiegel launched a Kickstarter campaign, eventually raising almost $54,000
Facebook likes can reveal private personality... →
It’s no secret that Facebook is a goldmine for advertisers seeking to target specific demographics — but it may surprise you to discover just how much of your personality is revealed by simple activities there. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Microsoft Research have been quietly (and innocuously) collecting data on Facebook user likes and personality traits using...
What Bush did right →
It’s impossible to tell exactly how many lives the program has saved, though Secretary of State John Kerry recently claimed that 5 million people are alive today because of it. That’s probably as good an estimate as any.
The last all-nighter →
It did not take long for my daily late nights at the office to segue into a voracious need for letting loose off the clock. I quickly became unable to socialize without popping the medication that now provided just enough extra energy required to maintain my outgoing side. Even on nights when I planned to take it easy, the meds had no off switch, so I’d find myself leaving the office full of...
Coming out as a friend of Dan Cathy and... →
Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being “a follower of Christ” more than a...
A real world series: Inside the world championship... →
In the ’60s, when baseball really was a pastime – unlike now, when it’s past its time – lots of blind guys wanted to play the game. So in 1964, Charles Fairbanks, an engineer with Mountain Bell Telephone invented a baseball that beeped, and bases that emitted a sound, and after a decade of tooling the mechanisms, and hashing out the rules, the first World Series took place in St. Paul in 1976.
Lessons from Uber →
Instead of responding to a new kind of virtual competitor with better products and services, however, the highly-regulated taxi and limousine companies in every city Uber has entered have instead gone the route of trying to ban Uber’s existence.
The case against a mandatory draft →
As I have explained elsewhere, I am not opposed to the draft under all conceivable conditions. If, for example, having a draft were the only way to avoid getting conquered by an enemy that would impose a totalitarian state on us, I would support it. The draft is a great evil. Still, there can potentially be situations where it is the only way to stave off an even greater one. But the arguments...
A pro-choice woman's conversion →
“It just occurred to me that being pro-life is being pro-other-people’s-lives. Everyone is pro-their-own-life.”
3D printing for cells →
A new bioprinter developed at a hackerspace can print living cells for less than the cost of an iPod touch. 3-D bioprinters have the potential to change the way medical research is conducted, even print living tissue and replacement organs, but they are expensive and highly specialized. They literally build living structures, like blood vessels or skin tissue, cell by cell, revolutionizing...
The 2016 presidential race →
Compared with the early Democratic line, the list of possible GOP hopefuls looks about the size of the cast of “Les Misérables.”
Obama's partisan legacy →
Hence the basic irony inherent in the Obama presidency: He campaigned as a post-partisan, but his most lasting accomplishments will be those of a partisan.
Strange isn’t it: each man’s life touches so many other lives, when...– ~George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life Particularly fitting for today, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Affordable Care Act hits college faculty hard →
The federal health-care overhaul is prompting some colleges and universities to cut the hours of adjunct professors, renewing a debate about the pay and benefits of these freelance instructors who handle a significant share of teaching at U.S. higher-education institutions. The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30...
New York State's gun law's controversial mandate... →
The mental health aspect of the response to the gun shootings is the one thing that everyone agrees we should act on. But the actual policy is a lot more complicated than that. A provision in New York state’s new gun-control laws that requires mental-health professionals to report potentially dangerous patients is drawing concern from experts who fear it could discourage people from...
Chris Christie on compromise →
If you want to understand the difference between a functioning democracy and Washington, listen to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: “I wake up every morning knowing that even though I think I’m right,” the GOP governor said today, “I’m not going to get everything I want.”
Mark Lynas, environmentalist who opposed GMOs,... →
If you fear genetically modified food, you may have Mark Lynas to thank. By his own reckoning, British environmentalist helped spur the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, arguing as recently at 2008 that big corporations’ selfish greed would threaten the health of both people and the Earth. Thanks to the efforts of Lynas and people like him, governments around the world—especially in Western...
The liberal case against affirmative action →
This book shatters the notion that affirmative action is helpful even for the students that are the so called beneficiaries. The premise of the book is actually quite simple and nonracial. The premise of mismatch theory is that people who enter a school with an academic index (some composite of GPA and standardized test scores such as ACT, SAT, MCAT, LSAT) considerably lower than their peers...
Al Gore’s hypocrisy →
The blowhard who often proclaims the end of the world is nigh because of fossil fuels sold his TV business to the emir of Qatar, king of the oil patch. But Gore’s scheming didn’t stop there. He also reportedly wanted to finalize the deal before the end of the year so his $100 million windfall wouldn’t be subject to new higher tax rates he zealously supported.
The Dronenet →
Here’s my favorite Big Idea of the year so far, via John Robb, who’s always worth your attention: The Dronenet, a “short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol.” He fleshes it out in a series of posts, but basically, it would be a network of drones that would carry things the same way the Internet carries data: in packets, over a series of multiple hops, routing on the fly.
Boehner tells GOP he’s through with one-on-one... →
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama.
"Diversity" and its definition at issue in... →
New Jersey Democrats have long argued that they would approve only “diverse” nominees to the state Supreme Court. But now, as liberal opposition builds against Gov. Christie’s most recent picks, the definition of diverse appears to be changing. (via Orin Kerr)
Intel's new set-top box will allow consumers to... →
This set-top box, said by industry insiders to be available to a limited beta of customers in March, will offer cable channels delivered “over the top” to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection regardless of provider. (Microsoft Mediaroom, for example, requires AT&T’s service, and Xbox has limited offerings for Comcast and FiOS customers). For the first time, consumers will be...
Voters get what they wanted on the fiscal cliff →
Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for...
President rejects his own Bowles-Simpson... →
The fiscal deal struck last night makes one thing clear: President Obama must have really hated the recommendations of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission that he appointed. The commission said that we needed to reform entitlement programs to rein in spending and that increased tax revenue should come in the form of base broadening and lower marginal tax rates. The deal appears to offer no...
Seidman: "Let’s give up on [parts of] the... →
As commenters in the open thread have already noted, the Constitution itself provides for its own revision to cure deficiencies: Article V. This amendment process has allowed for dramatic changes to the document, from the Bill of Rights and the Civil War Amendments to women’s suffrage and changes to election procedures.
iOS and Android: Quantitative and qualitative... →
I think we’ve had the biggest answer for a long time: in the combined phone and tablet markets, while Android devices outnumber iOS devices, more iOS devices (possibly by a very wide margin) are used actively as multipurpose computers.
Self-destructing cancer drug →
For the first time ever, three pharmaceutical companies are poised to test whether new drugs can work against a wide range of cancers independently of where they originated — breast, prostate, liver, lung. The drugs go after an aberration involving a cancer gene fundamental to tumor growth. Many scientists see this as the beginning of a new genetic age in cancer research. Great uncertainties...
Questions for gun controllers →
In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a call has gone up for a conversation about our gun laws. To that end, here are questions for advocates of gun control who are pushing for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, among other new restrictions, to address school shootings.
Gun control: The experiences of Great Britain and... →
We aren’t alone in facing this problem. Great Britain and Australia, for example, suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. Both countries had very stringent gun laws when they occurred. Nevertheless, both decided that even stricter control of guns was the answer. Their experiences can be instructive.
Health-care sector vulnerable to rudimentary hacks →
“I have never seen an industry with more gaping security holes,” said Avi Rubin, a computer scientist and technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “If our financial industry regarded security the way the health-care sector does, I would stuff my cash in a mattress under my bed.”
Really alternative schools rising →
But the larger question of whether it makes sense to warehouse a bunch of kids together, sorted by age, remains. Is it time to rethink traditional public schools? (via RealClearPolicy)
Food stamps and obesity →
That title that would once have been impossible, but now it’s merely paradoxical. Because the situation is this: 17 percent of children in the United States are obese, 16 percent are food-insecure (this means they have inconsistent access to food), and some number, which is impossible to nail down, are both. Seven times as many poor children are obese as those who are underweight, an indication...
The irrational fear of for-profit education →
Critics charge that for-profits are distracted by the demands of investors, while public systems can focus solely on the children. Yet the vast majority of K-12 spending goes to pay employee benefits and salaries. Meanwhile, school boards and superintendents have accepted crippling benefit obligations and dubious policies to placate employees and community interests. In a 2010 national survey by...
The open educational resources movement that’s... →
In fact, there’s so much open content out there now that sorting through it all can be daunting. Boundless curates OER and organizes it in a way that mirrors popular textbooks. So if you’ve been assigned to read Chapter 4 (“Principles of Supply and Demand”) of Mankiw’s book, you can simply head to Boundless and get free content that covers that same ideas and concepts, optimized for your tablet...
France faces growing pension deficit →
Mr Hollande, who is expected to convene talks on the issue with employers and trade unions in the new year, is likely to be reluctant to raise the retirement age. But the alternatives of increasing pension contributions, favoured by the unions, cutting pension payments or raising the number of years of contributions required to qualify are also unpalatable. (via Walter Russell Mead)