Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Atlantic

Handy chart from Slate DoubleX on The Atlantic's articles over the years telling women how to, you know, live their lives and stuff.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Iran sanctions

Since I previously linked to Juan Cole's comprehensive argument against Iran sanctions, I though I might also link to Kristof's recent columns that provide an argument in favor of sanctions, particularly this one from last week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bikeshare bikes and hills

So there are some people who ride bikeshare bikes downhill more than up. I wouldn't know anything about this.

How bad is the problem? Not actually all that bad, argues Rob Pitingolo, who crunched the numbers using data from bikeshare. Yes, there's a slight downhill average in rides. But it's pretty small.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Post-modern civilian casualties

In "Obama Administration’s Drone Death Figures Don’t Add Up," Justin Elliott shows how claims from "administration officials" about how many civilians have been killed by U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan aren't even consistent with eachother.

Also: that whole thing about how they sometimes count all dead men as not being civilians.

This just in: political pressure sometimes works

Julia Preston and Helene Cooper have a news analysis in Monday's NYT looking at the backstory of the policy change on deportations ("After Chorus of Protest, New Tune on Deportations.") This wasn't exactly some hidden secret, but turns out the White House makes decisions under political pressure. Sometimes that pressure can even come from our side.

The whole game of "what does Obama actually think?" on every issue is an amusing exercise. But it's usually not particularly relevant, as it wasn't here. The question is, what can and will he be pressured to do?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Slate being stupid

Suffice to say, shame on Slate for publishing Mark Regnerus to tell us about his new study that magically shows that gay parents are bad. The left has done a nice job pushing back; i.e. E.J. Graff and the others she links to.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The state of the science on artificial sweeteners, and sugar

See this piece by Kenneth Chang yesterday. Thoughts?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Food deserts

Sarah Kliff had a useful look the other day at the state of the research on food deserts ("Will Philadelphia’s experiment in eradicating ‘food deserts’ work?"). Food deserts is a lousy term. People generally (though not always) mean "healthy food desert". And those exist. They might be largely due to lack of demand. Well, lack of demand under a messed up status quo where some of the unhealthy food is very cheap, and some of the healthy food is expensive, and where sweet foods are marketed to kids, etc.

My point is, you stick a tomato in a store that didn't previously sell them, and the research so far says probably not that many people are going to buy it. If that's indeed true, the necessary policy might be something more in the direction of vastly cutting the over-subsidization of many unhealthy foods, and perhaps increasing the subsidization of some healthy foods, and putting more restrictions on advertising. Only after you did that would the corner stores find it in their own interest to provide fruits and vegetables, etc. In fact, at that point, the bodegas would change the product line to meet the demand, with perhaps no intervention necessary. Perhaps?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

"Failing Schools"

Paul Farhi's piece in American Journalism Review the other month:
The American education system has never been better, several important measures show. But you’d never know that from reading overheated media reports about “failing” schools and enthusiastic pieces on unproven “reform” efforts.
I found this from hearing the On The Media interview on it.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Brad Will update

A couple weeks ago Mexican authorities announced a new arrest in the murder of Indymedia journalist Brad Will in 2006 -- Lenin Osorio Ortega. Whether this is the right guy is pretty unclear. Much more from Reporters Without Borders.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Jon Stewart claims there are picnic tables in 7th avenue. There aren't.

In Jon Stewart's schtick last night against Bloomberg's banning of soda containers over 16 oz (maybe I'll come back to that in a separate post), he said this:
"What are you doing? We already let you make up a third term as mayor, put cameras on every intersection and, for some reason, picnic tables in the middle of 7th avenue -- what the fuck is that?"
Actually, there aren't picnic tables in the middle of 7th avenue. They're in the middle of Broadway. It's extremely different. The latter was, in fact, a brilliant idea, one that has worked extremely well. Kudos to Bloomberg for having the courage to do it.

It's too bad Stewart's take on the issue is similar to that of the New York Post.