On the Liberal Bias of Facts

Paul Krugman on the conservative refusal to accept facts when they contradict pet theories:

[…] the liberal and conservative movements are not at all symmetric in their goals. Conservatives want smaller government as an end in itself; liberals don’t seek bigger government per se — they want government to achieve certain things, which is quite different. You’ll never see liberals boasting about raising the share of government spending in GDP the way conservatives talk proudly about bringing that share down. Because liberals want government to accomplish something, they want to know whether government programs are actually working; because conservatives don’t want the government doing anything except defense and law enforcement, they aren’t really interested in evidence about success or failure. True, they may seize on alleged evidence of failure to reinforce their case, but it’s about political strategy, not genuine interest in the facts.

NYT

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept town homes.

NPR.org

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain

This is not one of those “Turn off every useful feature of iOS” posts that grinds my gears. My goal is to deliver practical steps to truly solve your iOS battery woes.

Thorough and non-alarmist post from somebody who knows whereof they speak. Happy to see the author included a refutation of the idiotic you-should-kill-apps meme: “You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.”

overthought.org

Lessons for Other States from Kansas’ Massive Tax Cuts

Trickle-down economics, aka Reaganomics, is a fantasy.

Tax cuts enacted in Kansas in 2012 were among the largest ever enacted by any state, and have since been held up by tax-cut proponents in other states as a model worth replicating. In truth, Kansas is a cautionary tale, not a model. As other states recover from the recent recession and turn toward the future, Kansas’ huge tax cuts have left that state’s schools and other public services stuck in the recession, and declining further — a serious threat to the state’s long-term economic vitality. Meanwhile, promises of immediate economic improvement have utterly failed to materialize.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

“The era of Facebook is an anomaly”

danah Boyd knows a thing or two about how teenagers use social media.

The era of Facebook is an anomaly. The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space. Fragmentation is a more natural state of being.

The Verge

Obama’s Trauma Team

The story of the team that saved HealthCare.gov. Long, but worth it.

[...] they couldn’t seem to get what McDonough calls “actionable intel” about how and why the website was failing in front of a national audience of stunned supporters, delirious Republican opponents and ravenous reporters.

“Those meetings drove the President crazy,” says one White House senior adviser who was there. “Nobody could even tell us if the system was up as we were sitting there, except by taking out laptops and trying to go on it.”

Time

The Dark Power of Fraternities

Fantastic lede on a disturbing article about the underside of fraternity culture and its history:

One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole.

The Atlantic

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.

—Bertrand Russell

The Keeping-Up-With-the-Joneses Myth

Disputing the idea that poor people took on lots of debt prior to the recession in order to keep up in appearance with wealthier people.

[...] a new paper finds that the parts of the country where poor families took on the most debt weren’t the areas with the most inequality. They were the areas with the least inequality.

The Atlantic

Target Hack A Tipping Point In Moving Away From Magnetic Stripes

Industry leaders know magnetic stripes are outdated and easily exploitable. The rest of the world moved on to a more secure, harder-to-hack payment system based on chip-enabled cards — chip and PIN. Chip-enabled cards are more secure because the data on the chip are hidden behind encryption. So even if criminals intercept what’s on it, they can’t reuse it.

“It’s standardized all over the world and used all over the world, except in the U.S. and perhaps one country in Africa,” Litan says.

Yes, let’s not let people’s financial security get in the way of our profit margins.

NPR