2016-Oct-01, Saturday 22:46
mindstalk: (Default)
Perspective of an ex-neo-Confederate.

Weekly church attendance by state.

Barcelona's plans for superblocks.  And Barcelona transit: crazy trains but hyperrational bus grid, with lines labeled as H2 or V5 ,for Horizontal or Vertical.

Paris turns the bus stop into major transit infrastructure.

Save a biker, use the Dutch reach in opening car doors.

Not sure if this is correct or just plausible, but words on why Europe, or cold climates in general, doesn't have many venomous animals.

The mythology of "Irish slavery".

mindstalk: (Default)
Discussion of urban taxes, which introduces me to the idea of frontage taxes. My new love, along with land tax.

GE drops annual employee ratings

Massachusetts bans employers asking for salary history

Evolution of urban animals is rapid

evolution of Europeans and white skin

Some friends got really excited by this: library furniture maker

convention bumps may be due to changing willingness to talk to pollsters, rather than actual changing opinion. Though I wonder if this year is an exception.

Advocacy of backing into perpendicular parking spaces

Feynman wrong about Faraday cages?

(PDF) 21 page article on Greek voting, acclamation vs. counting:


2016-Jul-30, Saturday 14:08
mindstalk: (Default)
Time for another dump.

Israel's massive desalination project.

Messing with prices works: 5 cent charge cuts UK plastic bag use by 85%.

Smoking gun found in North Carolina: voter ID laws are explicitly racist in their intent, aimed at disenfranchising black voters.

Long piece on Hillary's climate policy.  The DNC pro-gay rights platform.

Houston Chronicle endorses Hillary, way early. They went for Romney last time.

Story on how Hillary helped a constituent with cancer.

Trump claims a tax exemption for people with income <$500,000.  Bit odd for an alleged billionaire.

Apollo dying off of heart disease.

GOP thinker thinks modern GOP is doomed, by its original sin of Goldwater and racism.

Trump blames GOP for RNC ratings.  What a leader.  Such responsibility.  Wow.

Trump talks about a or secret base in Saudi Arabia.  Neither one reflects well on him.

Hillary's DNC speech, annotated.  Trump's speech, annotated.

Another article arguing dieting doesn't work.

Hillary's paid speeches in context.

"Why should I *like* Hillary, rather than fearing Trump?"  A list.  A similar list -- haven't checked to see if they're kept in sync.  Not included: what she did for trans people.

America's gridlock. "What if D's won every place w/ electorate less than 75% white, lost everywhere else? D's would win 292 EV's but just 36 Sen/191 House seats."

Green Party platform calls for something that was done in 2009.  Such updating.

"what if Hillary accepted the nomination with 5 children by three different men, like Trump?"


2016-May-01, Sunday 16:53
mindstalk: (Default)
Allergies suck. Job hunting sucks. Let me dig up saved links that aren't live politics or RPGs.

Maps of store zones in cities

Origins of modern racism

WWII production numbers

Clinton role in Irish peace process

on worker co-op productivity

why exit polls mislead

Klingon and copyright

feminist season of GoT?

Krugman on the importance of models
and tax progressivity not being the end-all:
mindstalk: (juggleone)
I'm tired and lazy. Here's some things I found interesting.

Nacreous clouds seen in UK.

Couple pieces on "Bernie bros" and sexist attacks on Hillary.
And is Bernie ready for Republican attacks? For being asked unfair questions like why he wants to destroy the economy and turn us into Venezuela, or why he thought socialism was cool during the Cold War?
Speaking of Venezuela, the rationing is so bad even lines are being rationed. And the economy czar doesn't believe in inflation.
But to be positive: Bernie's Fed agenda

Harry Reid saved the renewable energy revolution.

How Houston improved bus ridership "for free": sparser network of higher frequency buses, in a grid rather than radial pattern.

How Likud won the 2015 election in Israel.

From last April, one article on how taxi medallions prices have dropped due to Lyft and Uber.

A trippy 9 minute history of Japan. The Reddit comments linked to by Vox are good glosses.

Purported evolution of fairy tales.

Memoization in Python

Thread on previews of a new edition of the Blue Rose RPG

Obama's reform of federal solitary confinement
mindstalk: (Mami)
Some articles on democracy (pluralist and feminist) among Syrian Kurds: NYTimes, FT, scribd copy of FT.

If we kept DST all year, or got rid of it.

A Madoka fanfic I'm reading. It's like Starship Troopers or Old Man's War crossed with Madoka crossed with transhumanism and Culture ship Minds. Kyubey said we'd go to the stars, and we did. Many fans think magical girls are potentially immortal, and here they are. I've been enjoying it a lot. Could have used some more editing passes, but generally fun to read, often funny, I'm engaged with the show characters and the original one. Downside: it's longer than Lord of the Rings and still ongoing, last update Oct 6.  I've read 34 chapters out of 44 and am thinking I should pace myself, maybe go read Ancillary Mercy while I still sort of remember what happened in Ancillary Sword.

Funny panel from the Fate/zero manga.

Japan is actually doing quite well per capita: low unemployment, very high employment to working-age-population ratio, inflation is back.  Abenomics, and Keynesianism, works.  GDP is shriking... because the population is, especially the working-age population.

James notes that Heinlein's first story is closer to Dickens' last novel than it is to us.  This will be more interesting when his *last* book is closer to Dickens than to us, but still.

Polio is judged to be even closer to eradication.

Portugal's Left Bloc, a party run by women.

Secret gardens and numinous fantasy

SF written in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish


2015-Sep-13, Sunday 17:31
mindstalk: (Default)
Dzungarian Gate, possibly Herodotus's Gate of Winds, with China as Hyperborea.

For my Ars Magica game, I tried looking up medieval church services, which turned up this interesting thread:

The Emishi, apparently a people of northern Honshu, transitional between the Jomon period and the Ainu; the Japanese learned horse archery tactics from them.

Ryukyuan religion: similar to Japan and Shinto in some ways, but with a much stronger role for women, with women priests and even priest-queens.

Benedict Arnold apparently said he betrayed the US because we were too friendly with Catholic France.


Turkey apparently had banned some letters of the alphabet, for their association with Kurdish names.
Turkey, ISIS, and the Kurds


Jeremy Corbyn, UK Labour's new leader


Bernie Sanders vs. Black Lives Matter, leftism vs. liberalism on race and class
The black organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and
Freedom (it is telling that “Jobs and Freedom” are no longer part of
collective reflections of the march)

Sanders socialism


2015-Aug-30, Sunday 14:29
mindstalk: (Default)
Why the Red Line didn't go to Arlington, by a native

Why US tuition costs have risen so much. The toy model for public colleges is particularly interesting. 25% rise in costs and fall in state funding can lead to 200% rise in what students pay.

oldest stone tools, 3.x million years

Vox piece on nerd stupidity and politics. A friend noted that it's not clear nerds are any dumber than average. Maybe true, though we think we're supposed to be smarter than average...

solar boom in Texas

bike share safety outside of NYC

Kudzu: not that big a deal

why airline wifi costs so much h

wage subsidies vs. EITC


2015-Aug-15, Saturday 18:47
mindstalk: (Default)
Oil state prudence and sovereign wealth funds: Norway vs. Alberta, also a look at how Norway's fund invests. I liked the Albertan complaining that Norway is a relatively small country: yes, but it has more people than Alberta...

Debunking the fear about EMPs

Portugal, optimal currency area, and labor mobility: fiscal union trumps labor mobility in importance.
Who cares about reserve currency status?

First we export pollution to China via outsourcing, now they export it back to us via air movements:

Trees and bus stop waiting time perception

How the US 'justice' system abuses bail:

Vampire squid: not a squid. (Or vampire, durr.)

Real paleo diet might have evolved around carbs. Oops!

Privacy Badger, an EFF alternative to the supposedly more commercial Ghostery browser plug-in.

random stuff

2015-Mar-14, Saturday 23:48
mindstalk: (Default)
A riddle! Not mine:

We are little airy creatures,
All of different voice and features;
One of us in glass is set,
One of us you'll find in jet,
T'other you may see in tin,
And the fourth a box within;
If the fifth you should pursue,
It can never fly from you.


I've sometimes seen "lady/princess in the streets, hooker/slut/??? in the sheets". Today I saw "Senpai in the streets, Hentai in the sheets."



Swiss fines wealth based fines
Finland fines day fines
Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland also have
some sliding-scale fines

bike lanes don't hurt businesses bike lanes and businesses

Thomas Piketty on Greece, eurozone monster

getting RPGs on the same page tool


2015-Jan-12, Monday 13:52
mindstalk: (YoukoYouma)
Economics profession swings left

Cracked on prostitution myths. Anecdotal, but consistent with studies I've read and possibly linked to in the past.

Pew on the religions of Asian-Americans. Christian 42%, 26% none, 14% Buddhist, 10% Hindu.
As a group, they range from the least religious unaffiliated to the most evangelical Protestants. Majority of Korean-Americans are Protestant; I think back in South Korea only 25% are Christian, with 50% having no religion.

Idea on why Charlie Hebdo was attacked:
"France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination."

Westeros-world map updated for Worlds of Ice and Fire
GRRM deconstructing war, dark Daenerys (spoiles for whole series )
Dornish vengeance (ditto)

no to Boston Olympics

experience of black atheists

Attack on Titan/Frozen AMV

Saudi Arabia and 9/11

America's poor vs. those in other rich countries
mindstalk: (atheist)
Overwhelmingly male characters, speaking and non-, and the girls don't get to do much.

'Nel notes that it was pointed out to Geisel that there was a line from ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’ that was sexist (“Say – anyone could think of that, Jack or Fred or Joe or Nat – Say, even Jane could think of that.”) and when asked to change that line, he called the request “beyond contempt”.'

Sample of Republican predictions about Obama's administration. Not exactly accurate.

(FB warning) description by a black Harvard attorney of how he's treated as a black man. Not well.

I hadn't noticed before that the Nandor knew about hobbits.

men with guns feel like victims
and go on effective strike
union leader calls mayor an accomplice to murder
NYPD "will only make arrests when it has to". As opposed to... when it feels like?

why do women menstruate?


2014-Dec-24, Wednesday 23:09

Drive-by doctoring

2014-Dec-17, Wednesday 18:21
mindstalk: (Default)
US healthcare: #1 in legalized medical fraud. "Drive-by doctoring" by out of network doctors, while you're lying there groggy on the operating table.

Medicare for all now plz
mindstalk: (Default)
Of all the political groups in the US, "steadfast conservatives" are the least willing to compromise.

GPS electronic monitoring could help house arrest replace or greatly reduce prisons. picks up Shoup's parking story, summarizes the arguments

2009 article on New England's triple-deckers being under threat.
'Modern zoning laws, Ms. Friedman said, would never allow three units on such small lots. "So it's very important to us to sustain them."' Maybe you should fix the zoning, then? See above about parking, too...

'Zillionaire' Nick Hanauer warns his fellow plutocrats about inequality and pitchforks, backs things like a higher minimum wage and investing in the middle-class, attributes his success to luck and says rich people aren't job creators.

Some people are assholes:

If this article is accurate, San Francisco has horribly inept if not corrupt government: OTOH the city is trying smart parking.

give the poor money: Mexico finds it works well, is cheaper than giving food.
2.4% overhead for cash, 20% for food.
San Francisco went the other way with "Care Not Cash", providing shelters in return for an 80% reduction in general assistance. Disaster.

Boston Globe weighs in on Uber vs. obsolete taxi regulations

Dire warnings about Obamacare: 0 for 6

If Congress doesn't legislate, bureaucrats and judges will. If you run into anyone praising gridlock while denouncing judicial activism, remind him of that.

US politics links

2014-Jun-14, Saturday 13:48
mindstalk: (Default) on polarization in US politics. Three kinds: R vs D, liberal vs. conservative, engaged vs non-engaged. Yes, it's increasing. Notes that polarization doesn't mean extremism, it means consistency. Parties used to be mucked up, such that a 1940s poll question was "should we replace the parties with Liberal and Conservative parties?" Now they're not, and the engaged wings are definitely not, and people more view the other party as a threat to the country. Also

'Pew finds that the stereotypes are true: 75 percent of consistent
conservative want a community where "the houses are larger and farther
apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away".
Liberals were just the opposite: 77 percent wanted to live where "the
houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and
restaurants are within walking distance."'

A related question also finds that conservatives say they want to live in rural or small town areas, while liberals want to live in cities. [Gloss: pity that liberals don't make it easy for cities to build more housing and tend to view developers as the devil.]

And yes, a bunch of people with liberal positions call themselves moderate or even conservative.

Can conservatives govern? The second DW-NOMINATE axis looks like "insider/outsider" these days, and the conservatives seem hostile to the idea of compromise.

CBO isn't rescoring Obamacare, same way they don't rescore things after they've passed, because scoring is comparing real world to hypothetical law, not real law to some unspecified hypothetical world.

Democrats unified across several important positions.

Even the CEO of Goldman-Sachs thinks US inequality is a problem.

Not quite politics, but maps of US population change. Houston keeps doing well. Easy to build housing there...
mindstalk: (Earth)
Whoever maintains this is a master of Venn Diagrams:

Ever wonder about Nobel prizes per capita? Wikipedia provides
Switzerland once again kicks ass, followed by the Nordics and Austria. And, at less statistical significance... East Timor.
Relatedly, a map of Nobels by continent:

Speaking of Switzerland and the Nordics, I may have linked to before.
...why am I studying Spanish, again? German or Norwegian seems more ratonal...

There's a proposed new inequality metric, Palma ratio: ratio of the income of the top 10% to that of the bottom 40%; apparently the middle 40-90% almost always get 45-55% of the income.
Related map

Terrible street-road hybrids, called stroads:

If you read the webcomic Freefall, I have some links putting Friday's strip in context:

Repealing the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators) has been a big conservative cry. points out that if you actually believe in federalism it's a terrible idea: state legislators choosing Senators doesn't make Senators beholden to state governments, it makes state elections all about the Senate. The famous Lincoln-Douglas debates? Those were about the Senate -- but there was no popular election in those days; instead those debates were trying to sway the state legislative elections, that would in turn choose the Senator.
mindstalk: (science)
Someone claims to have made a breakthrough with the Voynich manuscript: also
The reports introduced me to an idea for it that I hadn't noticed before: that it's a book in an novel script in an extinct language. That would sound romantic on its own, but compared to "massive hoax" or "medieval RPG manual" it feels almost banal. In his paper Bax notes the undeciphered script of Easter Island, and the which isn't undeciphered but had a rocky early period and could easily have died out leaving us some book in a weird script and extinct Slavic dialect.

I also wondered "what if we had an Iliad-class epic in Linear A?"

There's also undeciphered texts, like

Rohonc is most like Voynich, including in being suspected of being a hoax.

In reading around, I stumbled upon which is a Yupik syllabary created in five years by Uyaquk, who like Sequoyah of Cherokee fame, started out as an illiterate. (Five years? Between this and Vai, Sequoyah starts to seem slow.) Unlike the Cherokee script, it didn't take off, and having a Bible translation in "what the hell is this" seems a plausible outcome.

*** mentions some new work claiming people were on the SE Asian continental shelf aka Sundaland 50,000 years ago, with much older populations, and SE Asian culture starting there before sea level rise kicked them off; the Polynesian culture says Y chromosome + mitochondiral DNA shows 'Taiwanese' migrants move into existing Melanesian populations. Given that people were in Australia 40-60,000 years ago, people north of there seems like a no-brainer...


Disney princesses as Game of Thrones characters.
Related fanart:


Finns are pushing an initiative for gay marraige. I got excited, until I learned that all it does is push a bill into the legislature, where it can die in committee just like any other bill; it's not an initiative for a referendum, as in Switzerland or US states. Lame!


Venezuela is exploding.


2013-Dec-28, Saturday 17:28
mindstalk: (Default)
Business cycle assymetry. More support for thinking that the economy doesn't fluctuate around a long term average, it just hits potential or not, usually not, especially these days.

Filibusters and status quo conservatism help the rich. Anti-democratic Founding Fathers: "Just as planned."

Nice phrase: environmental fiscal reform.

Finnish prison cell
Finnish prison cell with a bucket for a toilet

Aragorn should look Egyptian or Middle-Eastern

Some private colleges cutting and rationalizing tuition

LAPD harasses jaywalkers

Making fun of gold mines and Bitcoin mines. Though I'm seeing some potential utility for Bitcoins for international payments, or was before countries starting slamming down.

The unemployed suffer most, but a poor economy imprisons the employed, as well; little freedom to leave. Which makes it a good time to link back to the liberation of full employment

Should we regulated Uber? Yes, and we already do, in the important ways:

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