Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Water Cooler

Pluto, along the night-day boundary. Click to enlarge.
New Pluto pics reveal surprising texture, detail (, and also some interesting color variations. Check it out!

Ignoring science isn't just a Republican problem. It's an American problem. ( A fine opinion piece by Dan Rather. Ten thumbs up.

St. Louis landfill fire could reach radioactive waste in months ( "A fire smoldering underneath a landfill north of St. Louis since 2010 could reach radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project in as little as three months, according to a report released by Missouri’s attorney general..."

Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable ( Aspen joins a very short list.

The Earth Could Be Treeless in 300 Years ( The world faces a 10-billion-tree annual deficit, which is not sustainable.

Wealthier men are living longer ( The richest men live to be (are you ready for this?) 88.8. The poorest live, on average, 76.1 years. Of course, these are only averages. Keep telling yourself that.

Wages have fallen for the most common high-paid jobs (

Americans grossly overpay for cancer drugs ( It's not just about one Pharma Bro.

Bunostegos akokanensis may have walked upright on 4 legs.
Reptilian "cow" may have been first four-legged animal (, about 260 million years ago (artist's depiction, right). Cute, eh?

"Tree of life" for 2.3 million species released ( Bear in mind that everything from about 5 o'clock on the (circular) tree to 3 o'clock (going clockwise, of course) happened in just the last 1 billion years. Vascular plants and animals are fairly new.

Historical analysis of national subjective wellbeing using millions of digitised books ( Researchers used "sentiment analysis" to uncover subjective-wellbeing trends in published literature from 1776 to Y2K, for six countries. It's a fascinating idea, but the article is underwhelming, in part because the data series ends in 2000 (I wanted it to go to at least 2008) and in part because it seems as if the writeup has no "Discussion" section (BYOD).

Happiness (subjective wellbeing) for six countries, for the last 200+ years. Click to make big.

Invisibility cloak nears reality ( A true invisibility cloak may be only 10 years off. Until then? Just wear sunglasses.

Teen prosecuted as adult for having naked images – of himself – on phone (

Deviation from the average pre-recession duration of unemployment. The average duration
of unemployment (U.S.) is now at 28.4 weeks, 11.6 weeks longer than before the 2008 crisis.
Updating America's Scariest Chart ( It takes longer and longer to find a job.

Your Guide to Dieselgate ( CliffsNotes version of the VW cheating saga and why it's such a Big Deal.

If You Can’t Afford This GPS Ankle Bracelet, You Get Thrown In Jail ( Debtor's prison. But hey, at least you're not homeless.

U.S. police officers have shot and killed more than 700 people this year (WaPo). You have the right to remain silent...

Journalism isn't dead. It just takes frequent naps. Join us here every Friday for our legendary alternative news links, painstakingly curated from,, the Twitter feeds of shameless news geeks, and a variety of top-secret sources.

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