Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Water Cooler

It's not just Prince: Musicians die young (WaPo). Check out this graph from the story:

"Across the seven decades studied, popular musicians’ lifespans were up to 25 years shorter than the comparable US population," researcher Dianna Theodora Kenny writes. "Accidental death rates were between five and 10 times greater. Suicide rates were between two and seven times greater; and homicide rates were up to eight times greater than the US population."
Colorado school district to equip security workers with semiautomatic rifles (, because the answer, clearly, is more guns.

The Stone Mirror of War ( A moving piece.
The war rises to meet you. Panel by panel, you descend into the roster of the dead. Soon you are in over your head. “Now I understand,” I thought, “why they dug a ditch.” You look up to squint at the names on the top lines. And you notice something unusual about the names. On other monuments the names are carved into the stone, carefully chiseled deep into the granite and then polished and then perhaps even gilded. But not here. The names are scratched into the stone, barely breaking the polished surface, so that the wounded stone reveals the names. You touch the names; you feel the rough surface. It is like putting your hand into the wound. One wonders how such scratches will stand up to time and weather. Will the names fade, and the memorial become a monument to oblivion? By then, none will remain with any living connection to the names; it might as well say “Septimus Servius Brutus,” for all anyone will know of them; let them fade.

2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record (

Apple holds steadfast, refuses to help feds unlock seized iPhone in NY drug case (

When Bitcoin Grows Up ( Warning: This superb London Review of Books article is 11,085 words long. But if you're a student of the future of money, it's well worth reading. Set aside a Sunday morning.

It's a federal crime to shoot down a drone (

Trump sends aides to court the GOP elite ( Trump sent Ben Carson, Paul Manafort, and Rick Wiley (among others) to RNC's spring meeting in Hollywood, Florida this week to try to convince RNC he's suddenly going to work within a system he openly dismisses as "rigged." Suddenly it's Donald, the Statesman!

The Mystery of the Two Hillarys ( This is not a hatchet job but a deftly written, sensitive analysis of Hillary's well known yet oft-forgotten strengths and weaknesses, from the POV of someone with no axe to grind (AFAIK). It contains, among other unexpected delights, a welcome reminder that women can't campaign on the same terms as men, because strident chest-thumping of the Trump variety is seen as ten times more distasteful when a woman does it. When Trump blasts someone, he's being Trump. When Hillary does it, she's being shrill (and thus feminine in a Bad Way). The difference is worth pondering, because it says more about the social milieu than about the candidates themselves.

Clinton Throws Women Under Bus for Corporate Cronies ( A chilling account of how (for example) Clinton backed a Unocal pipeline project that benefitted the Taliban, when she could have chosen to... oh I don't know... maybe object to the horrific way Taliban treat women? Her record here is so rotten, so venal, it's amazing. Fortunately for her, most voters don't care!

69 Percent of Americans Want to See Voting Reforms ( Only 69 percent?

The (un)Democratic Primary: Why We Need a New Party of the 99% ( Seattle City Council Woman Khama Sawant explains what we all already know: the smoldering dung-heap known as the Democratic Party has served its purpose. It needs to be replaced with something better.

Do We Need a White House Press Corps? ( Evidently not. It's all ceremonial.
Only a small rotating group of reporters representing wire services, newspapers, network broadcasters, and big news magazines travel aboard Air Force One. They are charged a First Class fare plus extra fees to sit isolated in a tail-end compartment of the massive Boeing 747. Obama rarely visits. “He comes back at the end of foreign trips, but what he says is off–the-record so you can’t use it,” said one exasperated traveler. The designated “pool” reporter files a report quickly available to the cash-strapped stuck in Washington.
List of Logical Fallacies ( Every writer needs to bookmark this and keep it handy.

The Death Gap ( The poor are living shorter lives. Objective achieved!

The Killer Hiding in the CDC Map ( If you're a student of epidemiology or the history of medicine, don't miss this. A great read, with some shocking twists and turns.

If you have never seen Hacking Democracy (2006), it's worth a view.

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