Above the Fold
- Bypass paywalls on popular online publications for free, by 7 Labs.
There is a lot of important information out there that is behind paywalls, many requiring expensive subscription to overcome.
- Economic growth is an unnecessary evil, Jacinda Ardern is right to deprioritise it, by Jack Peat, The London Economic
I can't help wondering how far Ms. Ardern can go in this direction before running afoul of some very powerful people.
- Sam Harris Has a Problem, by Johnathan Rash, Medium —ARC
"This is what it looks like when a public intellectual doesn’t know what he’s talking about."
- Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam, by Douglas Rushkoff, Medium —Basic Income
"As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money."
"Whether its proponents are cynical or simply naive, UBI is not the patch we need. A weekly handout doesn’t promote economic equality — much less empowerment. The only meaningful change we can make to the economic operating system is to distribute ownership, control, and governance of the real world to the people who live in it."
- Overpopulation, by Jason Godesky, Medium
"This is the true response to eco-fascists: not that overpopulation isn’t real, but that they have utterly failed to understand the problem, and they’ve leapt to the most cruel and awful conclusions purely out of their shocking lack of imagination. Overpopulation is the crisis of civilization itself: of agriculture and the hierarchies and elites it allows for, of the connected systems of exploitation that it is made of. Fascism seeks to create even more of those things, the very things that created the problem in the first place. While the food race goes on, mass murder is just another step along the track. Overpopulation is a problem, perhaps even the problem — and fascism makes it worse."
But read the whole article, the author has a lot of things right, maybe a few wrong, but on the balance it's pretty good stuff.
The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months
, by Rutger Bregman, The Guardian
"When a group of schoolboys were marooned on an island in 1965, it turned out very differently from William Golding’s bestseller, writes Rutger Bregman"
I am not surprised. The idea that humans are selfish has been spread to justify the selfish behaviour of the elites, and simply isn't based on reality.
- Just Because It’s Natural Doesn’t Mean It’s Moral: A Conversation With Alan Levinovitz, by Alex Ronan, The Nation
- The Best Solution to Capitalism in One Word: Subsistence, by Wyatt Edward Gates, Medium
- A Love Letter to My Curmudgeonly Big Brother, by Steve Friedman, Outdoors
"A Pessimist and an Optimist Hike 28 Miles in the Woods Together"
- The Evolution of Grand Parents, by Rachel Caspari, Scientific American
"Elders play critical roles in human societies around the globe, conveying wisdom and providing social and economic support for the families of their children and larger kin groups.... Research my colleagues and I have been conducting indicates that grandparent-aged individuals became common relatively recently in human prehistory and that this change came at about the same time as cultural shifts toward distinctly modern behaviors—including a dependence on sophisticated symbol-based communication of the kind that underpins art and language. These findings suggest that living to an older age had profound effects on the population sizes, social interactions and genetics of early modern human groups and may explain why they were more successful than archaic humans, such as the Neandertals."
"...have shown in their studies of several modern-day hunter-gatherer groups, grandparents routinely contribute economic and social resources to their descendants, increasing both the number of offspring their children can have and the survivorship of their grandchildren. Grandparents also reinforce complex social connections..."
Note: for the purposes of this article, "modern" starts about 30,000 years ago.
- Grandparents 'give humans evolutionary edge', The Telegraph
"After examining a large body of evidence from traditional human societies the evidence suggested that the presence of some grandparents can substantially increase the chances of a child surviving during the high risk period of infancy and childhood."
- Phylogenetic network analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, by Peter Forster, Lucy Forster, Colin Renfrew, and Michael Forster, PNAS
- No matter how you crunch the numbers, this pandemic is only just getting started, by William Hanage, The Guardian
"People are understandably looking for good news. But the truth is, we’re nowhere near controlling coronavirus."
- When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, is the cure worse than the disease?, by Charles Fishman, Twitter
"That is, do the stringent public health rules imposed in 42 states—mandatory closing of non-essential businesses, stay-at-home orders—do so much economic damage that they are worse than the pandemic?"
"Deaths are not just events of personal sadness and grief.
They have a huge economic impact — on the families involved, of course, but on companies and communities as well.
The economy isn't separate from the people in the economy—an excellent insight from @ezraklein in a recent podcast on this topic.
The economy is the people in it.
We don't balance saving the people against saving the economy.
It turns out, we save the economy by saving the people."
- The Grim Truth About the “Swedish Model”, by Hans Bergstrom, Project Syndicate
Seems to me the Swedish model was based on some critical misinformation, and the results are deadly.
- The Three Most Likely Scenarios to Defeat the Coronavirus, by Andy Slavitt, Medium —Coronavirus
"Unlike new treatments and a vaccine, wearing a mask doesn’t require scientific breakthroughs to stop the spread of Covid-19"
- The Dr. Erickson Covid-19 briefing: What they got RIGHT and what they got WRONG., by pleiotropy, YouTube
- These are the 7 things we must do before we open up America. , by ProPublica, Twitter thread
- Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing, by Ed Yong, The Atlantic
"A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend"
- The USA has 5% of the world’s population, but about 30% of COVID-19 cases, despite being the richest nation on the planet. Where did it go wrong?, by Christian Winter, Quora
The New Fascism, and Antifa
I hear a lot of well educated people saying that the people some of us are calling fascists don't meet all the criteria for being "real" fascists. Others have even accused us of calling anyone we disagree with a fascist. I predict that a few decades from now those same people will be saying they wish they hadn't been quite so fussy with their definitions, and had acted sooner to oppose these "new fascists", even if they weren't identical to the fascists of the twentieth century.
- Madeleine Albright Warns of a New Fascism —and Trump, by Robin Wright, The New Yorker
Resource Depletion, formerly (and still including) Peak Oil
The change in title stems from the fact that it's not just oil that is peaking.
- ‘This Feels Very Different’, by Tamir Kalifa and Clifford Krauss, New York Times
Fracking goes bust in the Permian, with photos.
- Roving bandits and looted coastlines: How the global appetite for sand is fuelling a crisis, by Melissa Marschke et al, The Conversation
- Is the world running out of sand? The truth behind stolen beaches and dredged islands, by Neil Tweedie, The Guardian
"The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry."
Economic Contraction and Growing Inequality
- Coronavirus: the economic recovery won’t only be U-shaped —it’ll look like a wheelbarrow , by Karl Schmedders , Jung Park and Robert Earle, The Converstation
- The Limits of Clean Energy, by Jason Hickel, FP (Foreign Policy)
Hazard and Risk
- Four things you didn’t know about nuclear waste, by Laura Leay , The Conversation
- The Secret World of Radishes, by Karen Bertelsen, Lee Valley Tools
I tried this articles recommendation of planting radishes one inch deep, fully expecting to have them not come up. A week and a half later and they are up and doing well.
Recipes and Cooking
- 5 Shortcuts to More Flavorful Soup, by Mark Bitman, Medium-Heated
Before jumping to the erroneous conclusion that this section was paid for by Monsanto, stop for a moment and understand that organic agriculture/food is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies on fear to get people to buy its product. Millions of dollars are spent to convince you that non-organic food is dangerous. In fact both conventionally grown and organic foods are equally safe. Sadly neither method of agriculture is even remotely substainable.
- Panic-free GMOs, A Grist Special Series by Nathanael Johnson
"It’s easy to get information about genetically modified food. There are the dubious anti-GM horror stories that recirculate through social networks. On the other side, there’s the dismissive sighing, eye-rolling, and hand patting of pro-GM partisans. But if you just want a level-headed assessment of the evidence in plain English, that’s in pretty short supply. Fortunately, you’ve found the trove."
A series of articles that does a pretty good job of presenting the facts about GMOs. I plan to include one article from this series here each month.
- Genetically engineered food: Allergic to regulations? , by Nathanael Johnson, Grist
- How To Make Your Own Sugar, by Stephanie Dayle, The Home Front
This is a pretty crunchy article, as shown by the author's concern about GMO seeds.
I have actually tried this, and I would say that there is no need to cut the beets so fine, but I would put the cooked mush in a bag and press it to get more of the liquid out. If you boil it too long, it goes from a thick syrup to a burnt mess very quickly. 40 to 45 degrees above boiling sounds way to high to me.
The article is full of what I have often called "mother Earth News enthusiasm". Actually you will find the syrup is quite bitter and has pretty rustic flavour. It could hardly be called sugar at all, but if you had no other sweetener, you'd still be glad for it. The syrup can be treated to get rid of the compounds causing the bitter flavour, but that would probably be going beyond "kitchen chemistry".
- Chomsky, Wolfe and me, by Daniel Everett, Aeon
"I took on Noam Chomsky’s ideas about language and unleashed a decade of debate and ridicule. But is my argument wrong?"
These are of such importance that I've decide to leave them here on an ongoing basis.
- Debunking, Wikipedia
- Pseudoscience, Wikipedia
- List of topics characterized as pseudoscience, Wikipedia
- Rational Wiki
- Science Based Medecine
- Snopes, debunks or validates urban legends
- Bad Astronomy
- The Skeptics Society
- The 8 Best Fact-Checking Sites for Finding Unbiased Truth, by Megan Ellis, MUO —Make Use Of
- Pain Science, by Paul Ingraham
- Techniques of Science Denial
Lacking an Owner's Manual
The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.
- Hugs and kisses: Research connects affection, attachment style and marriage satisfaction, by Binghamton University, Medical Express
- How Philosophy, Yes Philosophy, Can Help You With Anxiety, by Samir Chopra, Medium —Forge
This fellow apparently has a doctorate in philosophy. He ranges from the Buddha, through William James and Soren Kierkegaard, and finally to Thomas Hobbes in this piece, but not too deeply into any of them. Still, I think he has a point.
Intelligence and Consciousness
- What we can learn about respect and identity from ‘plurals’ , by Elizabeth Schechter, Aeon
Poverty, Homeless People, Minimum Wage, UBI, Health Care, Affordable Housing
- The New York Renters Who Can’t Pay May, by Zach Helfand, The New Yorker
"As the coronavirus economic shutdown stretches on, some tenants are turning missed rent payments into a movement."
These are great times for political satire.
- Meet Trump's New Press Conference Advisor, The Late Late Show with James Corden
- Bar Officially Cannot Be Lowered, by Andy Borowicz, The New Yorker
- Doug Ford rattles bars on cell as imposter continues to competently manage COVID-19 pandemic, by Luke Gordon Field, The Beaverton
Some pretty good zingers in the one, especially about Jason Kenny.
- Trickledown Economics – Honest Government Ad, by Giordano – with big helps from Dbot and Jake, The Juice Media
- Behind the Urals, by John Scott
"An American worker in Russia's City of Steel"
- The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, by Benjamin Friedman
Finally finished this. Written by a conventional economist who doesn't even seem to know what causes economic growth, or what its consequences really are, it is pretty tough going. Important to know how the other side thinks, though, I guess.