Thursday, April 24, 2014

TODAY'S READ: The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VIAGRA-LACED ICE CREAM? Anyway, congratulations to whoever chose the picture…

A FEW HEADS WILL EXPLODE: Four Great Myths of the McCarthy Era.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

IT'S NOT THE WARMING, STUPID:

Earth Day is a chance to take stock: What is the state of the world’s environment? Our knee-jerk reaction is that it’s getting worse. But that is not only mostly incorrect, it also prevents us from using Earth Day to help do the most good to make the environment even better.

Many think the biggest global environment problem is global warming. After all, the issue gets the lion’s share of headlines and accounts for much of the hell-in-a-hand-basket environmental news we come across. But by any reasonable measure, this is entirely wrong. The most important is in fact indoor air pollution.

One-third of the world’s people — 2.9 billion — cook and keep warm burning twigs and dung, which give off deadly fumes. This leads to strokes, heart disease and cancer, and disproportionately affects women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that it killed 4.3 million people in 2012. Add the smaller death count from outdoor pollution, and air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide.

Compare these numbers to global warming. As the new report from the UN Climate Panel concludes, “At present the worldwide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors.” Air pollution doesn’t garner the headlines afforded to global warming because it’s not nearly as sexy. It’s old-fashioned, boring, and doesn’t raise anywhere near as much money as climate change.

Global warming is a real problem, but its threat is much, much lower.

Keep reading.

BARCELONA'S disused subway stations: a pictorial essay. Forget the politicized tone (do people really have to politicize everything?): the post is fantastic anyway.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BRACE YOURSELVES: China Property Collapse Has Begun.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NO, France Did Not Make It Illegal To Answer Work Emails After 6 P.M.

YOU BET: “Alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates and sweets - The secrets of a long life?

However, some of the examples given of people who quit those habits at a very advanced age and then suddenly died doesn't mean that those habits were protecting them from dying, mind you. They were of a very advanced age and —excuse the bluntness— their time had come anyway,. But the article's underlying thesis is still valid: that those things are not as bad as told (plus drinking might even be doing you good, if at moderate dosage).

In any case, booze, cigs and chocolate perhaps don't increase your life, but they certainly make it more pleasant. Even if they shortened it a bit… what's the point of living longer if you can't have fun?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

JON LOVETT'S piece on 'the culture of shut up' is a must-read:
I don’t want those voices to drown out the diverse and compelling voices that now have a better chance of making it in front of us than ever before—even as we still have a ways to go. And what I think we have to do, then, to protect this new wonderful thing of ‘a good idea can come from anyone anywhere’—is we need to stop telling each other to shut up. We need to get comfortable with the reality that no one is going to shut up. You aren’t going to shut up. I’m not going to shut up. The idiots aren’t going to shut up.

We need to learn to live with the noise and tolerate the noise even when the noise is stupid, even when the noise is offensive, even when the noise is at times dangerous. Because no matter how noble the intent, it’s a demand for conformity that encourages people on all sides of a debate to police each other instead of argue and convince each other. And, ultimately, the cycle of attack and apology, of disagreement and boycott, will leave us with fewer and fewer people talking more and more about less and less.
Read the rest.

EXODUS: The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs.

FANTASTIC: 30,000 Historic Photos of NYC Added to Online Archive.

The gallery in full is here.

UGH: Critical crypto bug in OpenSSL opens two-thirds of the Web to eavesdropping; Exploits allow attackers to obtain private keys used to decrypt sensitive data.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

AT THE ECONOMIST, a great review of Michael Lewis' latest book, Flash Boys.

FASCINATING: During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union.

GREAT PICTURES: What Richmond Looked Like After Confederate Troops Set it on Fire.

Monday, April 07, 2014

WHAT MUSIC does to our brains.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

THE ECONOMIST explains why homeopathy is nonsense.

Friday, April 04, 2014

SMART GUY: Long Island Teen Gets is Accepted into All Eight Ivy League Schools.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

IF A PRO-LIFE POLITICIAN turned out to be running an abortion clinic it would get much more media attention than this: The Unbelievable Story Of How An Anti-Gun Politician Ended Up Arrested For Alleged International Arms Dealing.

HOPE THE I.R.S. doesn't read this or that'll give them an idea: “Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents”.

Monday, March 31, 2014

MUST-READ: The inflated world of Internet traffic.

IT'S NOT the 1%, it's the 0.01%.

Friday, March 28, 2014

WHEN we lose antibiotics, here’s everything else we’ll lose too.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

HOW MUCH would it cost to live a New York Times lifestyle? “There are many reasons to be annoyed with the trend pieces the New York Times runs (not the least of which is that most of these stories are apparently knowingly fabricated[1]), but chief among them is the fact that—even if these trends were actual things that actually existed in the real world, rather than just being things that some Times intern had dreamed up after a night of hard partying at the McKibbin Lofts—the lifestyle that the Times is trying to sell is really, really expensive and therefore out of the reach of most New Yorkers. But just how expensive is it? Just how rich would you need to be to live the Times lifestyle? Well, we decided to do a little bit of math and find out.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

REALITY CHECK: Mao invented traditional Chinese medicine in the 50s, because he couldn't pay the Western kind to so many people, but he personally wasn't a believer and never used it. And he got away with it, as you see.

MICHAEL BARONE: “What's the proper size of government? Here's an article from American Enterprise Institute's The American website citing a study by Canadian economist Livio De Matteo of the free-market Fraser Institute. The bottom line: The optimal government size of maximizing economic growth is 26 percent of gross domestic product. Below that, you miss out on useful services; above that, you start to plunder the private sector economy. The bad news: The current share in the United States, counting state and local as well as federal spending, is 40 percent. The good news: You can ratchet back spending quite sharply, as Canada did in the mid-1990s.”

DOG. Magician playing the 'disappearing cookie' trick. Puzzlement ensues.


NOT even security:
Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said.

[…] The alleged behavior would violate Secret Service rules ­adopted in the wake of a damaging scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012, when a dozen agents and officers had been drinking heavily and had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms before the president’s arrival for an economic summit.

Under the requirements, anyone on an official trip is forbidden to drink alcohol in the 10 hours leading up to an assignment. As members of the advance team for a presidential trip, the CAT members would have been called to duty sometime Sunday for a classified briefing ahead of the president’s arrival on Monday. Drinking late into the night Saturday evening and Sunday morning would have violated that rule.
Imagine the scene: one of the hulk-sized guys protecting the president (I've seen then in person and they're HUGE and intimidating), on the floor, passed away, totally waster. I'd say that's unthinkable in previous modern-era presidents.

ELEVEN nutrition lies that vegans will tell you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

100% SPOT ON: 11 Awkward Things About Email.