What I'm reading ed. 101219

Just in time for the Christmas break, a new what I’m reading!  (I actually was hoping to have it ready by Thanksgiving, but work and an untimely internet outage got in the way.)  Lots has happened, so let’s get to it!  North-South Korea shelling and tensions, China snubs Nobel Laureate, DADT repealed, DREAM filibustered, START still being debated.  The grand tax bargain, the deficit commission report, the afghanistan review report, the DADT report.  Harry Potter 7 drops, cold snap hits, Lelie Nielsen dies, and much more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.


  1. The case for the ratifying the new START Arms Treaty
  2. Politifact’s top 10 lies of the year 2010
  3. Obama’s statement on the DADT repeal
  4. The Interactive Deficit Puzzle (nyt, article)
  5. Warren Buffet thanks US Gov’t for rescuing the financial system
  6. Eric Holder profiled (GQ)
  7. What wikileaks revealed about the US state department (Zakaria)
  8. The shadow life of the mentally ill in China (NYT)
  9. Transforming China’s economy (nyt)
  10. The physics behind the new TSA backscatter detectors (ArsTechnica)
  11. Modern Day Marriage (Time)
  12. 2010 in ideas (nyt)
  13. US Census Data, every city, every block (nyt)
  14. 2010 in Pictures, Parts 1, 2, 3 (BigPicture)
  15. The Tax Cut Deal (Klein – 1, 2, 3)
  16. Parkour for the Lazies: The Lying Face Down photo meme
  17. 8 year old bboy lil demon



US Politics

  • Tampon Bombers: After seeing the TSA’s new “patting down” procedures, I really hope they never catch talk to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex)

    Gohmert learned of the plot, he explained to Fox News’ Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson, while flying from Texas to DC. “Two 20ish Muslims sitting next to me were speaking in a foreign language and pointing at an attractive woman woman across the aisle from us (we were on SouthWest). It was then that I noticed what appeared to a be fuse between her legs.”

  • US Voting Patterns since 1920 (time-lapse)Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Presidential Vote from d sparks on Vimeo.
  • The case for the ratifying the new START Arms Treaty
  • Unemployment Benefits expire for the 99+ers. (2million – since extended in the tax cut deal)
  • Joe Scarborough (former GOP Rep) takes on Sarah Palin
  • PHRMA spends big in 2010 elections

    And though the group spent more helping Reid than any other member of Congress, its total spending was split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans, knowledgeable industry sources told POLITICO.

  • The (ex)-power of Pelosi
  • Politifact’s top 10 lies of the year 2010
  • Obama’s statement on the DADT repeal
  • What Obama should do next (TNR)
  • Meet your new GOP House Chair(wo)men (tpm)
  • Debating the DREAM Act (Reihan (conservative), Serwer (liberal))
  • Eric Holder profiled (GQ)

    “The biggest surprise I’ve had in this job,” he said, “is how much time the national-security issues take. Those are the primary things that I have to deal with in a post-9/11 world. From an eight-thirty meeting every morning, to the threat screen for the last twenty-four hours, to meetings during the course of the day. And almost inevitably there’s something that I take home at night that is national-security related. Our National Security Division didn’t even exist when I was last here!”

  • The Tax Cut Deal (Klein – 1, 2, 3)



  • Warren Buffet thanks US Gov’t for rescuing the financial system

    So, again, Uncle Sam, thanks to you and your aides. Often you are wasteful, and sometimes you are bullying. On occasion, you are downright maddening. But in this extraordinary emergency, you came through — and the world would look far different now if you had not.

    Your grateful nephew,


  • The real story behind the Record Corporate profits.

    So the reason that corporate profits are near their all-time highs would appear to be that financial corporations (mainly big financial corporations) and multinationals are making lots of money and paying less of it out in taxes. Hmmmm.

  • Income inequality and the financial sector

    There is plenty of speculation on these possibilities, but a lot of it has been aimed at elevating one political agenda over another rather than elevating our understanding. As a result, there’s more confusion about this issue than just about any other in contemporary American political discourse. The reality is that most of the worries about income inequality are bogus, but some are probably better grounded and even more serious than even many of their heralds realize.

  • More Republican WTF-ery: Wall Street Commission: The political power of language

    Last week, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and, yes, “Wall Street.”


  • 15 story building built in 6 days in China (video)
  • Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi released
  • Private corporations enlisted to help determine UK’s health policy

    The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.

    In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five “responsibility deal” networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies.

  • Progress on the Millennium Development Goals (infographic)
  • Hajj 2010 (Mecca Pilgrimmage, BigPicture)
  • The future of the sari
  • Wikileaks: US Diplomatic Cables (NYT)
  • The not-impact of Julian Assange (Douthat)

    It may be cathartic for critics of state power to cheer when Assange sticks an online thumb into leviathan’s eye. But WikiLeaks is at best a temporary victory for transparency, and it’s likely to spur the further insulation of the permanent state from scrutiny, accountability or even self-knowledge.

  • What wikileaks revealed about the US state department (Zakaria)

    First, there is little deception. These leaks have been compared to the Pentagon papers. Which they are not. … Whether on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or North Korea, the cables confirm what we know to be U.S. foreign policy. And often this foreign policy is concerned with broader regional security, not narrow American interests.

    The cables also show an American diplomatic establishment that is pretty good at analysis. The British scholar Timothy Garton Ash concurs, writing in the Guardian, “My personal opinion of the State Department has gone up several notches. [W]hat we find here is often first-rate.”

  • Wikileaks: China tired of N. Korea’s behavior
  • Wikileaks: US diplomats don’t think too highly of German pols.
  • Wikileaks: India
  • Fiji kicks out Fiji Water
  • China’s plastic bag ban reduces usage by 50%
  • American body language (Fallows)
  • The shadow life of the mentally ill in China (NYT)
  • North Korea reveals nuclear plant
  • World Health and Wealth – 200 countries, 200 years
  • Transforming China’s economy (nyt)

    The larger idea is to build a more sustainable economy, or what Chinese leaders have called a balanced and harmonious society. In that economy, families would not have to save 20 percent of their income in order to pay for schooling and medical care, as many do now. They would instead be able to afford more of the comforts of modern life — better housing, clothing, transportation and communication. In time, China would become the world’s next great consumer society.

  • Afghans still don’t like airstrikes.
  • Inside a Nuclear Missile Silo (Pictures)
  • US Afghanistan War Review

    A fundamental conundrum, unmentioned in the report, is that the United States and its NATO allies constantly speak of Mr. Karzai and his government as an ally and a partner and try to shore up his image as the leader of his people. Yet many Afghans view his government as a cabal of strongmen, who enrich themselves and their families at the expense of the country.

Science and Technology and Environment

  • How cell phones are changing the world
  • Large Hadron Collider creates “mini big bang”
  • Antimatter trapped for the first time
  • Next-gen, brain-controlled prosthetic limbs.
  • Mysteries of the animal kingdom solved! The wet-dog shake and cat drinking
  • Portions of 2006 Global Warming Skeptic Report plagiarized.

    “It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others’ integrity when you don’t conform to the basic rules of scholarship,” Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner says.

  • Denver Ikea goes Geothermal
  • Sahara Desert Solar Breeder Project

    The Sahara Solar Breeder Project aims to begin by building a silicon manufacturing plant in the desert to transform silica in the sand into silicon of sufficiently high quality for use in solar panels. Solar power plants will be constructed using the solar panels, and some of the electricity generated will supply the energy needed to build more silicon plants to produce more solar panels, to produce more electricity…

  • Some online trackers to let users know the data collected about them.

    Seeking to head off escalating scrutiny over Internet privacy, a group of online tracking rivals is building a service that lets consumers see what information those companies know about them.

    The project is the first of its kind in the fast-growing business of tracking Internet users and selling personal details about their lives. Called the Open Data Partnership, it will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people to choose to not be tracked at all.

  • What the length of your index finger has to say about you

    According to developmental biologist Dr John Manning, who has been analysing digit ratios for more than 20 years, this subtle difference in finger lengths is linked to a foetus’s exposure in the womb to sex hormones, notably the ‘masculine’ hormone testosterone.

    And it is this exposure to testosterone in the womb that has very profound effects on our behaviour and susceptibility to diseases.

  • The physics behind the new TSA backscatter detectors (ArsTechnica)

    These safety issues were highlighted by a back-and-forth between the FDA, which sets safety standards for imaging devices, and a group of faculty at the University of California, San Francisco. While recognizing that a few scans from a backscatter device weren’t sufficient to pose a significant health risk, the UCSF group highlighted a large number of uncertainties in the safety analysis. The FDA subsequently responded, but the response largely elided some of the issues the UCSF group pointed out.

  • Why 9mpg is a big deal

    Right now heavy-duty trucks — a huge part of the way we move products around in this country — are clocking just 6 miles per gallon. And the technology is there — the Union of Concerned Scientists describes it as “existing and near term” — to move that number by a lot. Maybe even to 9 mpg.

  • The many considerations of glacial melting effects on sea level (ars technica)
  • Bill Gates seeks an “energy miracle” (Rolling Stones)
  • Lies, damned lies, and medical science (theatlantic)

    Ioannidis was putting his contentions to the test not against run-of-the-mill research, or even merely well-accepted research, but against the absolute tip of the research pyramid. Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated. If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable.

  • How people searched 2010 (google, add’l)
  • Global temperature change visualized by decade. (NASA)
  • Google Labs Books Ngram Viewer – search for phrase usage over time.
  • (nyt article)

  • Oil spill: Sand berms $220 million, stopped 1,000 barrels of oil.
  • Top 100 science stories of 2010 (discovermag)
  • Visualized: Facebook around the world
  • Materials: Gorilla glass, the smartphone’s unsung hero.


  • Men more vulnerable to heartbreak
  • How men and women spend their money (infographic)
  • Recent images of Guantanamo
  • The cost of college (infographic)
  • Mythbuster Adam Savage carries 12 in. saw blades past the TSA. o_O
  • 0 to 10 years old in 1:26 (video)
  • What else you should know about Walmart (Reader)
  • Leslie Nielson, the master of the art of not being funny. (npr)
  • David Zucker’s (director of Airplane) Tribute to Leslie Nielson
  • Words from Leslie Nielson: What I’ve learned (esquire)
  • Modern Day Marriage (Time)

    In 1960, the year before Princess Diana, William’s mother, was born, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are. Eight times as many children are born out of wedlock. Back then, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married; in 2008 just 26% were. And college graduates are now far more likely to marry (64%) than those with no higher education (48%).

    “One statistic I saw when writing my book that floored me was that a child living together with unmarried parents in Sweden has a lower chance that his family will disrupt than does a child living with married parents in the U.S.”

    It’s easier for the college-educated, with their dominance of the knowledge economy, to get married and stay married. The less well off delay marriage because their circumstances feel so tenuous, then often have kids, which makes marrying even harder. “A marriage gap and a socioeconomic gap have been growing side by side for the past half-century,” the Pew study’s authors note, “and each may be feeding off the other.”

  • Black boys’ scholastic achievement continues to lag

    Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.

  • How to be a gamer parent (cracked)
  • Why the Marines are the corp most resistant to repealing DADT
  • How much does it cost to raise a kid (infographic)
  • School lunches (infographic)
  • Growing up digital, wired for distraction (NYT)
  • 30 airports, 30 days (slate)
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Time’s Man of the Year
  • Julian Assange, the reader’s choice (Time)
  • 2010 in ideas (nyt)
  • US Census Data, every city, every block (nyt)
  • Would you stop for someone broken down on the side of the road?

    But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.


This entry was posted in linkfest. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>