Author={Weahterby, Leif},
Title={A Few of the Ideas About How to Fix Human Behavior Rest on Some Pretty Shaky Science},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Virtually all behavioral “science” research has replicability problems. The idea of “nudges” is based on bad science. Thinking, Fast and Slow relies heavily on research that is not replicable. And these nudges are built into all the algorithms that shape the world around us today.},
category={Criticality, Economics, behavioral economics, pseudoscience}

Author={Gower, Nathan},
Title={Mayflower 400 years: How many people are related to the Mayflower pilgrims?},
comment={Probably at least 3 million people, and maybe as many as 35 million people, are descendants of the original ~100 that came over on the Mayflower (and the ~50 that survived the first winter in North America).},
category={Criticality, genealogy, mayflower}

Author={Preston-Werner, Tom},
Title={Readme Driven Development},
comment={Argues that you should always write the readme file first when developing software. It’s a way to make sure you understand what the software will do and why, and let others weigh in on it before you start coding without committing yourself to a huge design spec.},
category={Criticality, readme, software development, project planning}
% See also this articule from Amazon on working backwards (write the press-release first): \url{}

Author={Mazzetti, Mark and Bergman, Ronen},
Title={A Front Company and a Fake Identity: How the U.S. Came to Use Spyware It Was Trying to Kill},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The Biden administration put the Israeli company NSO on blacklist for selling its Pegasus spyware to governments around the world. Days later some other part of the government signed a secret contract with NSO purchasing spyware.},
category={Criticality, spyware, pegasus}
% See also: \url{} where the FBI investigates and finds that they had purchased NSO spyware themselves in violation of the Biden blacklist.
% (But, says the smart people at the NY Times, there’s no way the government could keep an extraterrestrial materials research program secret from itself…)
% See also Frontline episodes about Pegasus. (From which, I got the impression that the US was not interested in Pegasus, which I assumed the only reason could be was that they had something better. In light of these articles, I’m not sure that isn’t still true, but clearly the US is intersted in Pegasus — enough to break the law to use it.)

Author={Nathoo, Zelekha},
Title={Why ineffective diversity training won’t go away},
comment={Research shows the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training has little to no effect.},
category={Critcality, diversity, dei}
% Information in this article is largely pulled from a book called Diversity, Inc.
% See also this Harvard Business Review article about researchers who are among the few to actually measure the effects of DEI programs: \url{}
% And this article in Forbes reflecting on the current state of DEI: \url{}

Author={Krugman, Paul},
Title={The Rich Are Crazier Than You and Me},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Most of the time conventional and expert opinions are right. But there can be big social and personal payoffs to finding places where they’re wrong. “The trick to achieving these payoffs is to balance on the knife edge between excessive skepticism of unorthodoxy and excessive credulity. It’s all too easy to fall off that knife’s edge in either direction.” Contrarianism is a “brain rotting drug” that causes you to lose the ability to tell good evidence from bad and cling to low-quality contrarian fads and lose the ability to judge other contrarians. Tech bros are especially susceptible because they often got rich by embracing some outsider perspective on something, and thus (falsely) gain the confidence to consider themselves uniquely brilliant and able to master any subject without consulting the people who have actually worked hard to understand an issue. Great wealth also leads them to being surrounded with yes-men. “It may seem odd to see men of vast wealth and influence buying into conspiracy theories about elites running the world. Aren’t they the elites? But I suspect that famous, wealthy men may be especially frustrated by their inability to control events, or even stop people from ridiculing them on the internet. So rather than accepting that the world is a complicated place nobody can control, they’re susceptible to the idea that there are secret cabals out to get them.” Ala Henry Ford.},
category={Criticality, Economics}

Author={Philipps, Dave and Ismay, John},
Title={U.S. Is Destroying the Last of Its Once-Vast Chemical Weapons Arsenal},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Within days of this article, the US will have destroyed the last (declared) chemical weapons on Earth. It took decades longer than expected and cost 42 billion dollars (against an initial estimate of 1.4 billion dollars and completed in a few years). The stockpile was built up, like nuclear weapons, as a supposed deterrent against attacks with chemical weapons. The public was not informed as the scale of the stockpile (which makes one seriously question the value as a deterrent…) The public only found out about the stockpile in 1968 when 5600 sheep in Utah died on land adjacent to a site where the Army was testing chemical weapons. The Army was doing open-air testing at a number of locations and storing chemicals in 8 states. Decades and decades later, 2900 percent over budget, the weapons were all safely disposed of.},
category={Criticality, chemical weapons, robots, Science, army, military}
% The Army was capable of storing a huge stockpile of chemical weapons for decades… but it’s ridiculous to suggest the government might have a few bits of a UFO?

Author={Lowenstein, Roger},
Title={How Warren Buffett Came to Refuse Progressive Orthodoxy},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Warren Buffet continues to adhere to the precept that Berkshire Hathaway should be first and foremost responsible to its investors. This is in contrast to what is becoming the standard practice of creating reports for how a corporation is responding to climate change, diversity, and other socially valuable priorities. Despite this, Berkshire Hathaway still meets many diversity, climate, and other goals simply because those seem to be good business for Berkshire subsidiaries, (though maybe at a slower pace of change than more aggressive policy-oriented corporations). Buffet refuses to change as the world changes around him. For his individual case, it’s not clear that’s a bad thing.},
category={Criticality, berkshire hathaway, invesing, social investing}
% An interesting piece because what is being described here is that Buffet is the epitome of the benevolent dictatorship. Buffet is able to achieve reasonable results for progressive goals simply by being his uncompromising self focused on the greatest good for everyone in his corporation with guide post of investor returns – particularly to individuals who invested in buying Berkshire stock with their own money rather than institutions like Vanguard or other funds. For Buffet, (or other imaginary folks to whom power is handed and they are responsible with it) not requiring reporting or shifting of goals is probably fine. It’s all the OTHER corporations that are a problem. You simply cannot rely on corporations to have someone like Buffet in power. Most don’t. So most DO need to be doing self-analysis reporting of, say, what their diversity makeup looks like and how they can improve. Even picking board members in a political way – trying to achieve diversity goals as well as talent – doesn’t seem like a terrible idea in the broader context of the corporate world beyond Berkshire, simply because most corporations do such a terrible job with those things if left to their own devices (Berkshire, on the other hand, does reasonably OK.)

Author={Willingham, Daniel T.},
Title={There Are Better Ways to Study That Will Last You a Lifetime},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Students are not taught to study properly. Essentially they are left on their own to figure out study methods, and they tend towards methods that are easy and yield results, rather than methods that actually retain knowledge. For example: highlighting and re-reading are nearly useless. But being trained to read while focussing on concepts and conclusions will help a student more permanently remember the material.},
category={Crticality, education, studying, memory}

Author={Desmond, Matthew},
Title={Why Poverty Persists in America},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={It is not true that the government spends less on social programs since the Reagan era. In fact, it spends quite a bit more. But poverty rates have not improved. A large chunk of the cost is health care. Poor people have more access to consumer goods than they used to, but not to housing or health care. Much of this can be traced to the decline of unions. Programs that provide housing support tend to just cause rents to go up as landlords charge more if people have more money. So policies need to both support people financially and control markets.},
category={Criticality, poverty, us}

Author={Ross, Andrew and Livingston, Julie},
Title={Once You See the Truth About Cars, You Can’t Unsee It},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Cars have become debt traps for low-income people, in many cases ending up car rich, cash poor because financers are willing to finance a high-interest loan for low-income people, but not loans for practical cars. Also cars are a route into the prison system, both through the ‘driving while black’ experience, where a minor offence can escalate through lack of ability to pay fines or show up in court into an arrest.},
category={Criticality, Transportation, cars, debt, racism}

title={Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia},
author={Pomerantsev, P.},
comment={How money and gangsterism were released on Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and how that is managed in the media.},
category={Criticality, Politics, russia, gangsters},
% Page 32: In the west, politicians try to act like upstanding citizens, and the movies are all about gangsters. In Russia, the politicians try to act like gangsters, and the TV and movies are all happy.
% Page 48: “When the President will go on to annex Crimea and launch his new war with the West, RT will be in the vanguard, fabricating startling fictions about fascists taking over Ukraine.” – This book was written in 2014. (Though was Crimea invaded then under the same fiction about fascists as the Ukraine invasion in 2022?)
% Page 49: But he goes on to talk about how Russia Today is happy to show opposition shows featuring Westerners like Larry King. Describing an add for King’s show on RT, “The little ad seems to be bundling the cliches of CNN and the BBC into a few seconds, pushing them to absurdity. There is a sense of giving two fingers to the Western media tradition: anyone can speak your language; it’s meaningless!”
% Page 51: Describing the houses of Kaliningrad as, “hollow to the touch, painted Perspex and plaster imitating stone, timber and iron.”
% Page 106: One time I see a poster advertising a new property development … Got up in the style of a Nazi poster, it shows two Germanic-looking youths against a glorious alpine mountain over the slogan “Life is Getting Better.” It would be wrong to say the ad is humorous, but it’s not quite serious either. It’s sort of both. It’s saying this is the society we live in (a dictatorship), but we’re just playing at it (we can make jokes about it), but playing in a serious way (we’re making money playing it and won’t let anyone subvert its rules).
% Page 113: The genius in casting Christ as the main hero of the divine drama was that for the first time the viewer had a God he could truly identify with. “Christ is the precursor to Chaplin and all the other great loser-heroes of cinema and television. Before Christ all the gods were either perfect, aspirational Appollos, or invisible. But this one is frail and broken, just like you.” [think of Dave’s uber-Christ sculpture for contrast]
% Page 126: “The victims I talk to never talk of human rights or democracy; the Kremlin has long learned to use this language and has eaten up all the space within which any opposition could articulate itself. The rage is more inchoate: hatred of cops, the army. Or blame it all on the foreigners.” “The only response to the absurdity of the Kremlin is to be absurd back.” So he describes the ‘Monstration’ movement and the art group Vojna (“war”) who did the giant penis graffiti on the underside of the bridge in St. Petersburg so when the bridge raises it points at the local FSB.
% See also this article on Surkov: \ur{}
% Page 175: Pomerantzev spends a chapter describing a cult-like self-help group called Rose of the World. The self-help process emotionally breaks down a person and uses peer pressure to get them to try things they would never do. For some people, it’s life changing, for others they crack under the strain (potentially leading to the suicides of the models described in this book). Rose of the World’s methods are developed from a scam/cult from the US called Lifespring.
% The one thing about this that gives me pause it a lot of what they describe sounds similar to the effects of LSD and psychedelics for breaking people down and allowing them to reach new insights about themselves. Nobody denies that Lifesprings methods are powerful. And has similar ctiticisms that have been leveled against psychedelics for decades. Is it possible that these cult/scams are ABUSING a method that COULD be truly helpful in a more nurturing and supportive environment?
% Page 200: In Russia, people have a split personality — the corrupt criminal at work is not you at home. And the public space is not worth taking care of: in Russia, people leave all their junk out on their balconies — in the public space. % Page 216: Because of all the corruption and snitching, everyone avoids talking about politics or what their jobs are in Russia. About the only neutral topic rich people can talk about is art.

Author={Newman, Andy},
Title={Is N.Y.’s Child Welfare System Racist? Some of Its Own Workers Say Yes.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A cataloging of all the challenges, problems, and abuses of the Administration for Children’s Services in light of a report (suppressed by the agency) that found even it’s own caseworkers thought the agency was a manifestation of systemic racism. Included in the article are facts about the racism inherent in the system, the legitimate efforts by ACS to address racism, and the complete lack of solutions to the problem. “Black families in New York City are also more likely than Hispanic and Asian families to be accused of neglect or abuse or to have their children removed, even though Hispanic and Asian families have higher poverty rates. A New York Times analysis of 83 child homicides from 2016 to 2022 found that Black children in the city were killed by family members at about seven times the rate for white and Asian children and three times the rate for Hispanic children.” “There is no child welfare system in the U.S. that stands out as being able to have effectively dealt with the issue of disparity. To A.C.S.’s credit, they’ve tried a bunch of things, maybe more than other jurisdictions, and none of them has moved the needle. The agency faced the impossible task of keeping every child safe without overpolicing families. This is the only place which has a standard that you can never make a mistake.”},
category={Criticality, acs, administration for children’s services, Health, abuse, neglect, systemic racism}

Author={Broad, William J.},
Title={The Surprising Afterlife of Unwanted Atom Bombs},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Dismantled nuclear weapons in the US aren’t destroyed, instead they are painstakingly disassembled and the parts are put into storage. From these parts, new weapons are created.},
category={Science, superscience, Criticality, nuclear weapons}

Author={Grier, Jacob},
Title={We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans},
comment={The science behind the dangers of second hand smoking (and thus the justification for smoking bans) was deeply flawed, for reasons that are now standard in problematic science: “The first is that small sample sizes allowed random variances in data to be mistaken for real effects. The second is that most previous studies failed to account for existing downward trends in the rate of heart attacks. And the third is publication bias: Since no one believes that smoking bans increase heart attacks, few would bother submitting or publishing studies that show a positive correlation or null effect.” This particular applies to findings that secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart attacks — these findings disappear entirely in large-scale studies. But even lung disease risk is very low for secondhand smoke. (People who smoke cigarettes are, of course, still taking huge risks.) The article concludes by pointing out that this has implications for journalism: bad studies reporting wildly implausible positive health outcomes from smoking bans were picked up by the media. Critical voices pointing out how insane the findings were were ignored.},
category={Criticality, second hand smoking, smoking, Health, media, journalism}

title = {Is the ongoing obesity epidemic partly explained by concurrent decline in cigarette smoking? Insights from a longitudinal population study. The Tromsø Study 1994–2016},
journal = {Preventive Medicine},
volume = {147},
pages = {106533},
year = {2021},
issn = {0091-7435},
doi = {},
url = {},
author = {Ola Løvsletten and Inger Njølstad and Tom Wilsgaard and Laila A. Hopstock and Bjarne K. Jacobsen and Kaare H. Bønaa and Anne Elise Eggen and Maja-Lisa Løchen},
keywords = {Smoking cessation, Obesity, Longitudinal, BMI},
abstract = {The increase of obesity coincides with a substantial decrease in cigarette smoking. We assessed post-cessation weight change and its contribution to the obesity epidemic in a general population in Norway. A total of 14,453 participants (52.6% women), aged 25–54 years in 1994, who attended at least two of four surveys in the Tromsø Study between 1994 and 2016, were included in the analysis. Hereof 77% participated in both the first and the last survey. Temporal trends in mean body mass index (BMI), prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and daily smoking were estimated with generalized estimation equations. We assessed BMI change by smoking status (ex-smoker, quitter, never smoker, daily smoker), and also under a scenario where none quit smoking. In total, the prevalence of daily smoking was reduced over the 21 years between Tromsø 4 (1994–1995) and Tromsø 7 (2015–2016) by 22 percentage points. Prevalence of obesity increased from 5 – 12% in 1994–1995 to 21–26% in 2015–2016, where obesity in the youngest (age 25–44 in 1994) increased more than in the oldest (p < 0.0001). Those who quit smoking had a larger BMI gain compared to the other three smoking subgroups over the 21 years (p < 0.0001). The scenario where none quit smoking would imply a 13% reduction in BMI gain in the population, though substantial age-related differences were noted. We conclude that smoking cessation contributed to the increase in obesity in the population, but was probably not the most important factor. Public health interventions should continue to target smoking cessation, and also target obesity prevention.},
comment={A large scale long-term study shows that the decrease in smoking is a significant factor in the increase in obesity.},
category={Criticality, Health, smoking, obesity}

Author={Schulz, Kathryn},
Title={What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={Review of “For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America,” by the historian Jonathan D. Cohen. The early United States made much use of lotteries for funding public projects without raising taxes. But corruption led to them being banned in the late 1800s. Later they came back again, sold to states as a way to bring in vast amounts of money without raising taxes. This is not true. In reality, lotteries bring in very small amounts of money that rarely impact the areas the money may be targeted towards (like education) and at the same time the public bedomes resistant to raising taxes to support those areas because they believe there’s all this lottery money which doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, lotteries regressively exploit poor people. Despite this, states lotteries have exploded, especiall scratcher tickets driven by the shady lobbing practices of the company S.G.I. In 1978, “bingo games hosted by Ohio Catholic high schools took in more money than the state’s lottery.”},
category={Criticality, lotteries, lotto, scratcher tickets}

Author={Manjoo, Farhad},
Title={Nuclear Power Still Doesn’t Make Much Sense},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Nuclear power plants might not be as dangerous as the public widely believes, but they are still insanely expensive, prone to cost-overruns, and take forever to build. Manjoo argues their time has simply passed. In 2021 and 2022 the same amount of wind and solar power was added to the planet as the capacity of all the world’s nuclear power plants. And they are still dangerous, as the war in Ukraine and having to shut down plants due to the risk of storm or earthquakes makes clear.},
category={Criticality, nuclear power}
% Talks about the dangers of nuclear power in war, but not the fact that the war in Ukraine revealed to the world how dangerous nuclear power plants are as a strategic goal in war: if you can capture a plant you control the power generation and if anyone attacks the plant you can cry that they are endangering the entire populaion’s lives.
% This means that you would need to be confident when you built a plant that a war won’t break out there in the next 100 years that the plant might be operating. Can you guarantee Georgia (where one new plant is being built right now) won’t try to leave the union in the next 100 years and set off another civil war?

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={The Immortal Awfulness of Open Plan Workplaces},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Brooks catalogs the long and strong evidence against productivity of open plan workplaces. This is an instance where notions of transparency are clearly not beneficial.},
category={Criticality, office, open plan}
% This so strongly reminds me of the characteristic of induced demand in highways, where even the unquestionable empirical evidence against building more highways is presented to experts, they still will soon fall back to the “common sense” idea that more highways is the solution to traffic.
% The empirical evidence against open plan offices is overwhelming, but smart people just can’t let it go.

Author={Goode, J.J.},
Title={The Recipe Convention That Dooms Home Cooks},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={Seasoning is a matter of years of experience and skill, yet is often left in recipies as “season to taste.” Goode argues that it is possible to give more precise instruction for seasoning.},
category={Criticality, cooking, seasoning, food}

Author={Caplan, Bryan},
Title={School Is for Wasting Time and Money},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Convincingly argues that school teaches very little that is retained long-term and instead fills a function mostly of credentialing (proving employers should trust you) and essentially day-care. He suggests that over the long-run in-person schooling has the same quality as web-based schooling done during the pandemic — that is, barely any teaching at all. Web-based simply also did not provide the benefit of day care. He less convincingly argues that the solution to these issues is school vouchers.},
category={Criticality, Economics, education, school, home schooling}
% The voucher thing really tips his hand as having an agenda rather than simply offering the type of critical analysis I appreciate. Why vouchers? School might be mostly day-care, but $15,000/year for high-quality day-care that includes educational programming is a good rate! What evidence is there that private institutions can provide better day-care with educational programming?
% And why not just try to FIX the programming problems? How about music programs that teach kids to play the kinds of music that they actually will make use of as adults (rock and hiphop)? Why not start foreign-language training when children are younger and actually retain foreign languages? And the basics of civics, science, and government ARE learnable things — most people who know them pick them up from reading the paper(he admits that adults do retain skills in reading, writing, and math because they use those things every day) — so why not train kids to learn those things by engaging with media; instill a lifetime of learning about those things rather than just a couple of years of rote memorizing in school?
% His criticisms ring very true for me, but not his solutions.

Author={Coy, Peter},
Title={Whom Can Tell One’s Social Class Based on Grammar?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={About how social class can be signaled in as few as seven words, and how education is one of the biggest signifiers of class these days. Spends a lot of space talking about the correct usage of me vs I.},
category={Criticality, Grammar, Humanity, class}
% Not actually a very good article, but about a topic that I think is VERY rarely spoken (or written) about. I mean, everyone complains about grammar nazis, but very few are willing to admit that education IS class, because it both challenges the notions of education as equitable, and also challenges the sense of power that good liberal rich folks relish – power from being smart and educated.

Author={Robertson, Campbell},
Title={‘Everybody Is Armed’: As Shootings Soar, Philadelphia Is Awash in Guns},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Philadelphia has had more than 1400 shootings this year with more than 300 dead — more deaths than the much much larger NYC or LA. Most of the shootings are happening in the very lowest income areas — Philly is often called the country’s poorest big city. Philadelphia has a very progressive DA who avoids prosecuting people for gun possession arguing that even though they have massive gun arrests, only a quarter of fatal shootings have arrests. Others argue that if there’s no consequences for carrying a gun, then what is to keep someone from getting one? One young man explained it this way: If you were arrested, you could still see your family in jail. Not so if you were dead.},
category={Criticality, Health, Urbanism, philadelphia, guns}

Author={Mnookin, Seth},
Title={The Bumbling 1960s Data Scientists Who Anticipated Facebook and Google},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Review of Jill Lepores IF THEN, about the Simulmatics Corporation. The reviewer says that Lepore makes claims about Simulmatics having the best and the brightest people working on using early computing to make predictions about elections, Vietnam, and urban rioting, but in fact the company was entirely unsuccessful and full of incompetent people. ‘The coup de grâce comes courtesy of the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency during a period in which the department was responsible for 70 percent of Simulmatics’ annual revenue: “Simulmatics reflects discredit not only upon itself as an organization — it appears more a sham — but upon behavioral research in general.”’},
category={Criticality, big data, computer prediction, history}

Author={Wilkinson, Francis},
Title={We Will All End Up Paying for Someone Else’s Beach House},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Whe the US was settled, the rich people passed by the beach seeking solid land to develop. Hundreds of years later, the rich realized their mistake and settled the beaches. Now they build bigger and bigger homes on the beaches (and spend less time on the actual beach). The beaches are already replenished by dredging paid for by public dollars (and then the public is charged for using the beaches). Soon the rich will start demanding more and more compensation from the government for their beach mansions wrecked by climate change, or expensive protection paid for by the government. “Strategic retreat” is a joke – in New Zealand reatreating just 1000 properties over 100 years will cost a billion dollars.},
category={Criticality, Urbanism, beach houses, beach}

Author={Segnit, Nat},
Title={Who Killed Louis Le Prince? },
journal={Harper’s Magazine},
month={04}, comment={A recap of the history of the first moving picture projector technology and the development of the film industry. Le Prince invented the machine in France before Edison’s crew had even started working on it. Covers the history of how Edison stole most of his biggest inventions through patent law manipulation and straight thuggery. Le Prince disappeared right at the time Edison claimed a patent on motion picture equipment. The article (and the book it is reviewing) suggest that Edison had Le Prince killed, but there’s no hard evidence. Le Prince was also not the sole inventor of the technology, but put together a number of available technologies before anyone else did.},
category={Criticality, The Art, film, edison}
% Interestingly, Le Prince was spurred on by the concept of ‘persistence of vision’ even though that idea has in modern times be proven to be a false understanding of how the brain works. So in this case a false framework of how things work created a vision for Le Prince to work towards of a very real and profoundly important invention: the motion picture.

Author={Tabuchi, Hiroko},
Title={How Fashion Giants Recast Plastic as Good for the Planet},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The clothing industry created a yardstick to measure the environmental impact of clothing materials called the Higg Index. But it relies on bad plastics-industry-funded science to create its ranking that put plastic materials at the top of the environmentally friendly list. The industry is responsible for as much as 8 percent of the world’s emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide, the United Nations estimates, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Even as leather is replaced by synthetics, Americans are still eating lots of beef — which means the hides from those slaughtered cattle have nowhere to go. In 2020, a record 5 million hides, or about 15 percent of all available, went to landfills, according to the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association, a Washington-based trade group.},
category={Criticality, Science, plastics, clothing, leather}
% Good article, but doesn’t say whether the Higg index has any measure at all of the impacts of plastic pollution from materials.

Author={Anderson, Jenny},
Title={Learning the Right Way to Struggle},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Promotes the idea that children learn better if they struggle first. Suggests the kids should use the metaphor of a pit that they are in, struggling to learn a concept, which they can escape through hard work resulting in a good feeling. Goes against the idea that children are fragile (while not letting the children get to the point of panic). Learning is best done by tackling a problem with no information and struggling with it, rather than being given a technique that solves a problem and then practicing it.},
category={Criticality, education, learning}
% I feel like this could be taken a step further than the educators here are arguing. I think the idea of putting kids on a topic they struggle with could be presented to them as a technique not just for learning, but for creating and even TEACHING (the teacher) — someone who approaches a challenge with no prior conceptions of how to solve it is much more likely to come up with a creative new solution (out of the box thinking). The teacher could present themselves as curious to find out what the children come up with, rather than holding a solution in reserve that they aren’t going to share until the children suffer a little first (you can see right there how it can easily be a litttle sadistic…)
% I have long argued that no one, not college students, adults, or children, appreciates pedantic “well, how do you think that problem is solved?” kind of questions from someone who CLEARLY has a specific answer they believe is right and are waiting for you to discover. I think this style of teaching is abused by people with power over others. Teachers need to internalize the idea that they are learning WITH the children, not TEACHING them. The technique described in the article COULD be that, but could also be pedantic awfulness in a different teacher’s hands.

Author={Gorman, James},
Title={How Old Is the Maltese, Really?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Even though many owners of pure-bred dogs like to claim the breed dates back thousands of years, the truth is dog breeds were invted in Victorian England specificall for dog shows. There were no dog breeds before the 19th Century. In the case of Maltese, there were certainly small white dogs sitting on the laps of Roman emporers, but they had nothing to do with Maltese as a breed.},
category={Criticality, dogs, dog breeds}
% See also: \url{}
% Where scientists find that breeds are mostly about looks, and behaviors vary more between individual than between breeds.
% Though, in this study they found evidence for ancient behavioral traits: \url{}

Author={Brannen, Peter},
Title={To Understand Our Future on Earth, Look to the Laws That Govern Nature},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Review of A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE FUTURE What the Laws of Biology Tell Us About the Destiny of the Human Species By Rob Dunn which argues that ‘nature will find a way’ and humans have to live with and in that. Covers the ‘megaplate’ experiment where E. coli will evolve within 10 days to be able to cross a plate full of extremely powerful antibiotics. He claims there are foundational laws to ecology that are predictive and can be used to predict what ecological results will occur from a human intervention. These laws predict that virus-spreading tropical mosquitoes will establish themselves in the southern US due to global warming. The key to success is to diversify. “Diversify the microbes in your intestines, the crops in your fields, the plants in your watershed, the research in your grant proposals. Recruit the forests to filter your water. Let a trillion microbial flowers bloom.” “There are now beetles that consume only grains, mosquitoes that live only in the London metro.”},
category={Criticality, Humanity, ecology}

Author={Jelly-Schapiro, Joshua},
Title={What Kind of Power Should the Names of New York Have?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An excellent essay where Jelly-Schapiro picks apart with supreme precision the complexity of the meanings loaded onto place names. Many places in NYC are named for people who held slaves, but later the place name came to have significance far beyond the original reference to the diverse communities that live in those places. Nostrand was both a slave-holder and is currently a reference to a thriving Dominican neighborhood. At the same time, most confederate soldier memorials date not to the civil war but the the Jim Crow era. There is no healthy reason to keep those.},
category={Criticality, Urbanism, Politics, Humanity, place nameees, nyc}
% A good pairing with Names on the Land.

Author={Manjoo, Farhad},
Title={The Look of Cars Is Driving Me Out of My Mind},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Like phones, cars all look the same now and Farhad is upset about it.},
category={Criticality, cars, design}
% What he doesn’t address is that one possibility the reason cars all look the same is that they no longer function as identifiers of inndividualism. (At least not for anyone that who isn’t a car enthusiast, though even among them it seems like they mostly lack the ability to choose a cool car over one that provides a host of modern connected features.)
% Cars have become commodities, one is basically like the next. In some ways this just reflects the reality of cars: cars might have LOOKED cool and each was distinctive in the past, but in reality they all did the same thing. If you have an econobox, a clunker, or a supercar you all sat in the same traffic, you all went the same speed, and mostly nobody cared what you drove.
% If they all do the same thing on the outside, might as well focus on having a nice interior.
% And if all cars do the same thing, might as well make individual expression about the wardrobe, and just take uber.

Author={Szalal, Jennifer},
Title={‘Looking for the Good War’ Says Our Nostalgia for World War II Has Done Real Harm},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Review of new book by Elizabeth D. Samet that argues liberating Jews was never a priority for the US in the war. “Why We Fight” was a series of propaganda films make by Frank Capra in the 1940s that made no mention of the Nazis exterminating the Jews, even though the American government knew of it as early as the summer of 1942. The US entered the war after Pearl Harbor and it remained a war of revenge and racism focussed on the Japanese. ““Japanese were looked upon as something subhuman and repulsive,” the journalist Ernie Pyle wrote, “the way some people feel about cockroaches or mice.” Surveying the records of the era, Samet contrasts this dehumanization with the portrayal of European fascists, who were more typically described as “gangsters.”” The primary example of the fallacy of hero-worshipping myth of the good war is Steven Ambrose and his Band of Brothers.},
category={Criticality, history, nazis, wwii, band of brothers}

Author={Requarth, Tim},
Title={Our Worst Idea About “Safety”},
comment={Risk compensation (that is, if you make people feel safer, they take bigger risks) might exists in small moves humans make with their behavior, but overall it is never a serious factor in safety. eg, seat belts and motorcycle helmets clearly save lives despite arguments that they would cause people to take bigger risks. Much of the scientific studies that supported risk compensation were deeply flawed. Oddly, the article argues both that experts use risk compensation as a concern (based on the idea that people are too dumb to adopt safe behaviors without taking riskier behaviors elsewhere – eg masks in covid) and at the same time argues that the concept sticks around because it aligns with libertarian political ideology. Also anti-lock brakes had no overall effect on reducing crashes (may or may not be related to risk compensation).},
category={Criticality, Transportation, Health, risk compensation, bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, seatbelts, covid masks}
% So… the authoritarian experts are hesitating to recommend public safety moves because they are libertarians? Something doesn’t jibe there.
% While the argument that risk compensation is basically an unsound theory not well supported by science and maintained by libertarian ideologies is in my mind a very strong position, there are actually a number of problems with this article:
% The covid mask thing, I think, is MUCH more strongly explained by the complete idiotic misunderstanding of how respiratory diseases spread, where experts were ignoring their own science that they spread through air circulation. (Linked to, but quickly blown over in the artifle.) Risk compensation about wearing masks might have been a small part of it, but that was because the experts were worried people would stop washing their hands — which at the time they thought was much more of a problem. Now they know that’s minor compared to filtering your breathing. It wasn’t the risk compensation behind their flawed decision making, it was their ow entrenched idiocy.
% There’s a lot going on in the world that might be a more significant example of risk compensation: rugby players suffering far fewer injuries than much more heavily padded American football players; snowboarder deaths rising dramatically AFTER they all started wearing helmets. You could convince me these aren’t risk compensation, per se, but something crazy is going on.
% In situations where the risk is already very low, factors get complex fast. It might not be risk compensation, but I still believe its so much better for your health to ride a bicycle every day even if you wear no helmet that the health factors far outweigh the slightly increased risk of riding without a helmet. FOUR riders have died in the 100+ year history of the tour de france — most of that without helmets and with some of the most dangerous road riding you could do.
% Overall, I’m entirely in favor of the core argument of this article. Particularly when you are talking about things that just so vastly improved safety there’s no way risk compensation was ever a factor, as in seatbelts, motorcycles helmets, and guardrails.
% But I’m going to be pissed when someone brings this up to argue for bicycle helmets with me.
% …I find I keep thinking about this. And while I support the basic premise of the article: that far too many decisionmakers assume a power to risk aversion that is not there; I still think the issue is far too complicated to make proclamations like risk aversion is a bad idea.
% First, there’s just far too many oddball examples out there where the opposite result of some public health initiative was achieved. It seems like risk aversion is real, it just doesn’t have the impact and power that is often attributed to it. I don’t think the article would disagree with this.
% Where it gets fuzzier is in the ability to study this stuff. Like so much science that involves peopke, the modelverse the experiments have to be carried out in just don’t reflect the complexity of the real world. Take those snowboarders. If you told me a study found that the snowboarders were given helmets and took similar risks to when they didn’t have helmet on that day, I would totally believe you. But over the course of a generation of snowboarders — the previous generation having gone without helmets — would there be a slow march into doing tricks in the death zone that is unhampered because snowboarders of the new generation have a vague sense of invulerability in their heavy gear? Would that generation have backed off from more extreme stunts when they or their friends started experience traumatic injuries at a far lower level of life-threatening danger if they had no protective gear?
% The death zone concept comes into play here: like rock climbers getting above 40 feet, or cars moving faster than 40 mph (is there something special about 40?) Suddenly you go over a cliff of danger where the injuries become fatal, more or less regardless of protective gear. Does a new generation wearing protective gear learn to feel it’s safe to enter that death zone? Even though it is objectively NOT. Even though they would be safer without protective gear if they remained out of the death zone?
% It’s that thing that the human body is evolved to sustain blows up to 20mph or so (a trip while running fast downhill). Gear that allows you to move beyond that, safety or otherwise, is what kills people.
% There’s also the fact that the sensation of danger, whether perceieved or real, causes humans to behave more safely. Unquestionably, wider lanes cause people to drive faster. Narrower lanes make it feel dangerous to drive faster, so people demonstrably don’t. Aren’t wider lanes causing risk compensation in this case?
% I think it’s a concept for which some criticality’s time has come. But it’s far too useful and complex and idea to dismiss it entirely.

Author={Schlossberg, Tatiana},
Title={Coffee and Climate Have a Complicated Relationship},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Coffee takes a lot of water to grow. Climate change is going to make coffee harder to grow and more expensive. Some people are trying to engineer ways around that.},
category={Criticality, coffee, climate change}
% There is a quote in this article that “coffee is one of the main victims and contributors to climate change,” she said, citing the energy and water required to grow, transport and brew a cup of coffee.” % This makes it sound like it’s possible coffee requires stupid amount of energy to create, and probably we should all reduce our coffee consumption — if we were serious about climage change. I have never seen anyone suggest that.

Author={Cepelewicz, Jordana},
Title={The Brain Doesn’t Think the Way You Think It Does},
journal={Quanta Magazine},
comment={Neuroscientists have traditionally broken brain function into different physical areas of the brain. But the more they study the brain the more they learn that complex overlap permeates the system — to the extent that any notion that notion that different parts of the brain are responsible for different fuctions is almost meaningless. ‘Almost’ because there’s just enough to make the language describing it that way still vaguely useful for some scientists — if it isn’t also holding back the quality of research.},
category={Criticality, Health, neuroscience, brains, emotions, perception}
% The article isn’t written with this focus, but this can also be understood as a crisis of language: we don’t have the words that describe how the brain functions at all, and the words we do have describe our experience of brain function, but are potentially preventing us from actually understanding how it works.
% David Brooks cites this article with excitement, pointint out how much there is still to learn. But that is grounded in a faith that we could learn it. It’s possible that it, and always will be, simply beyond us. A critical pessimist could read this and point out how meaningless science and research is, that we more or less wasted the last hundred years of effort on understanding the brain, and there’s a strong potential we could waste the next hundred years of effort as well. % The article skews closer to this perspective – it is essentially pointing out that what we know about the brain right now is nearly useless – but doesn’t come at it with quite the negative tone that it certainly could have given the evidence and the material covered.

Author={Howe, Ben Ryder},
Title={The Cutthroat World of $10 Ice Cream},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={High-end ice cream is a tough business to be in. Blue Marble was started by a woman who was from Boston and wondered why there wasn’t good ice cream in NYC. Ample Hills crashed and burned after expanding too fast.},
category={Criticality, ice cream, food, nyc}

Author={Miller, Christian B.},
Title={Is Your Crush on OkCupid Telling You the Truth?},
journal={NY Times},
comment={Research shows that people actually lie very little online in dating site or linkedin accounts. This is likely because, unlike in a resume where only a few people might see it and not notice a lie or two, an online account is potentially checked by a large number of people. And a lie in a job profile or dating site could ruin a potential job or date.},
category={Criticality, truth, lies, online}
} % Also includes a link to research showing that people are bad at detecing lies in person.

Author={MacKinnon, J.B.},
Title={We’re ready to spend again. But there are profound costs to consumption},
journal={The Globe and Mail},
comment={Around the turn of the millenium consumption surpassed overpopulation as the greatest driver of eco-crises. The average person in a rich country consumes 13 times as much as the average person in a poor one. The “greening” of consumerism has only caused people to consume more. The only time greenhouse emissions go down is during an economic downturn. And the instructions during an economic boom is to shop so it doesn’t turn into a bust, and during a bust to shop to get things goins again. There is never a discussion of reducing consumption.},
category={Criticality, consumption, consumerism, environment, Economics}

Author={Herrman, John},
Title={You Anon},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Arguments for allowing people to remain anonymous online. Points out that even though there is often an instinctual call for less anonymity with the argument that people will behave themselves if they have to be in public, the research actually shows that people who are offensive are typically the first to admit publicly who they are. Conversely, people who want to remain anonymous often have a reason to do so. Either because they explicitly don’t want to offend people, or come from a more threatened place and need to be able to read and talk about senitive things online without fear of being identified.},
category={Criticality, anonymity, pseudonymity}

Author={Ketcham, Christopher},
Title={The Business of Scenery},
comment={The National Parks Service has utterly failed in its mandate for conservation, instead entirely focussing on the profitable business of public use. Even though by law the NPS was required to come up with conservation plans and think about ways to start limiting visitors, they have never done so. The service is also infiltrated to its core by corrupt business connections. It also has held sacred the idea that more visitors is always good, despite the evidence that more visitors does tremendous damage to the parks in addition to just making them less pleasant places for visitors to go. Ends with a call to ban all cars from all parks and let the roads go back to the wild.},
category={Criticality, national parks services, national parks}

Author={Kortova, David},
Title={Lost in Thought},
comment={Recounts evidence that meditation can in some cases (maybe often) drive people to psychosis.},
category={Criticality, Health, meditation, psychosis, breakdowns}
% This is terrifying.

title={Culture Is Our Business},
author={McLuhan, M. and McLuhan, E.},
publisher={WIPF & STOCK PUBL}, comment={}, category={Criticality, media, culture, mcluhan, advertising} }
% Page 196: Pussycat Pussycat – the cat in the throne room only notices the mouse under the throne and has no notion of the Queen herself. % Page 200: Thomas Jefferson in 1807 – “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put in that polluted vehicle. I will add that the man who never looks at a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them.”

Author={Engber, Daniel},
Title={Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real. Which means science is broken.},
comment={In which a highly respected and rigorous social psychologist does many experiments proving the existence of ESP, and when published essentially is found that science itself is broken. Fundamentally, this is an instance of John Ioannidis’ “most published research findings are false” theory. It is likely that Bern’s research followed very precisely best practices, but was still able to prove the impossible fact that ESP exists because he chose the parameters of his experiments very carefully.},
category={Criticality, Science, social psychology, psychology, esp}

Author={Graeber, David},
Title={What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?},
journal={The Baffler},
comment={Graeber argues that science has been preoccupied since Darwin with the idea that all animal behavior has an evolutionary purpose, including play. This arises from the application of a capitalistic/economic world-view to the sciences: all animals are rational actors, driven by genes to maximise their chances of survival and reproduction. Graeber argues that this world-view flatly ignores the strong evidence that animals (not to mention humans) often behave irrationally, often to all appearances doing things just for the fun of it — animals play. He then argues that this goes beyong just animal behavior, but in fact the idea of irrational behavior (and its foundation in consciousness) has to come from one of two places: either it “emerges” from dumb elemental particles stacking on top of eachother until poof a complex system pops up, or there is some aspect of elemental particles themselves — some tiny nuance that expresses randomness and irrationality — that combines into consciousness at a higher level. Graeber takes the second possibility and runs with it, arguing that play could exist the entire way down the structural ladders of all species and objects to the fundamental root particles of the universe. He wraps up with the caveat that this stuff is very complex and he is not proposing that his view is the solution, merely that it seems just as likely as the hyper-rational model that is currently unquestioned canon, and his view should at least be in the mix.},
category={Criticality, Economics, Science, fun, animal behavior}
% As terrific as this article is, and as much as I agree with the overarching critical concepts, he uses ant “mock” battles as an example of ants displaying play behavior. But EO Wilson lays out in The Ants 30 years before this article that those mock battles are not for fun, but a way for one colony to test the strength of another without destroying themselves. It may indeed be fun! But there’s an easy-to-point-to rational reason for those mock battles. % However, I do so often see scientists bending over backwards to cram strange animal behaviors into some kind of rational-actor evolutionary theory. From this comes much of the more complicated, fascinating, and counter-intuitive of the power of evolution! And… also sometimes ridiculous claims about why animals do things that scientists can’t explain.

Author={Dasgupta, Rana},
Title={The Silenced Majority},
journal={Harper’s Magazine},
comment={A broad overview of the history of capitalism in the west ala Adam Curtis. He suggests that the notion that capital is answerable to democracy is a result only of a short-lived and unique period in the first half to the 20th Century when capital needed nationalized labor due to the rise of the industrial revolution, and so allowed democracy to rise as a counterpoint to capital. He suggests that now democracy is well on the way to returning to a 17th-18th Century western style of structure: where capital is global (it was in the overseas companies like the Dutch East India Company then) and held almost exclusively by a few oligarchs. Those people reshaped the local government and economy to fit their needs, while not being answerable in any way to the people. This resulted in two economies: the local economy of everyday people and the global economy of the oligarchs. He calls these first and second economies respectively, and the second economy is almost entirely unanswerable to the first.},
category={Critcality, Economics, capitalism, democracy}
% THe 17th and 18th Century Enclosure efforts in England were the privitizing of ancient public lands.
% The second economies valued property, and so part of the effort to make people believe that they should be invested in property was the pushing of home-ownership as a way of neutralizing social opposition — and indeed neither party offered an option to vote against that.
% The result of the Tiananmen Square protests was not that democracy shown in China, but that the crackdown of the protests were a signal to global capital that demoracy would NOT take hold in China — and global capital flooded in.
% The middle class is still inclined to believe that the system exists to serve them.
% Big auto and big oil bully and bend the state, but ultimately share its organizing principles. This is not true of big data.

Author={Mishan, Ligaya},
Title={The Appealing and Potentially Lethal Delicacy That Is Fugu},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An argument that the West doesn’t understand fugu — Japanese blowfish sushi. Eating it is seen in the West as akin to an adventure sport, like skydiving, because of the deadly toxins in wild fugu. But most Japanese see it as sublimely delicious, and don’t think about the toxins — though the Japanese government has strictly regulated and tested fugu preparers in an effort to reduce the deaths caused by eating the fish. More interestingly, the article also talks about ‘artisanal’ food preparation. As farmed non-poisonous fugu brings fugu to more people, the art of preparing the deadly fish may fade away somewhat. But the article quotes American anthropologist Susan J. Terrio: “raft can serve as a metaphor for an alternative set of cultural values and work practices in contrast to the dominant norm, it becomes an ideological stance, a way for people to assert themselves against an increasingly corporatized, monocultural world. Still, it takes a certain amount of privilege to indulge in nostalgia for a more labor-intensive time. Much of this longing is for an imagined past in which every task in the production of food was intentional and joyous, rather than a matter of necessity. Such work only earned the label “artisanal” when it became a choice.”},
category={Criticality, sushi, fugu, sashimi, craft, artisinal, food, japan}

Author={Fadiman, Anne},
Title={All My Prounouns},
journal={Harper’s Magazine},
month={08}, comment={A strict grammarian works her way around to arguing for using ‘they’ as a singular gender non-specific pronoun. Covers the interesting history of plural ‘you’ — which used to be thou and thee for singular, and ye and you for plural, but shifted over time, for many of the same reasons as using singular they, to you meaning either singular or plural. Also The King James version of the Bible, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Shaw, and Jane Austen all used singular they.},
category={Criticality, grammar, they, you, gender neutral, trans}
% Also see Farhad Manjoo’s similar argument in the Times: \url{} % At one point in the essay Fadiman says “Once a new usage becomes widespread on campus, in a few years it’s widespread everywhere.” % But she fails to acknowledge the problem with that: much unique language usage on campus is nothing more than signifiers of youth culture, that rapidly fade away. Think of “groovy” “rad” or “square”. I’m not aruguing that this applies to singular ‘they’ — that feels like it is so deeply embedded now that it isn’t going anywhere. But some of the more out-there gender identifiers (“ze”) seem unlikely to ever jump off campus, or beyond our current decade. % I also question the constantly naming your pronouns along this line. I feel like that is so cumbersome, politicized, and possibly youth-culturized that it has little chance of permanently being embedded in our culture.

Author={Mildenberger, Matto},
Title={The Tragedy of the Tragedy of the Commons},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={The man who coined the concept and term “The Tragedy of the Commons”, Garrett Hardin, was a racist, eugenicist, and nativist. He promoted the idea of “lifeboat ethics” — that the rich should take resources from the poor because global resources are limited. These views colored all his ideas, including the tragedy of the commons, and there is little evidence that he was right about the whole concept of tragedy of the commons, including being very literally wrong about how historical commons actually worked.},
category={Criticality, tragedy of the commons, racism}

Author={Fountain, Henry},
Title={Belching Cows and Endless Feedlots: Fixing Cattle’s Climate Issues},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Calculating the carbon impact of beef production is not straightforward. Beef produce methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas that CO2, but they produce it by consuming grass which has recently captured CO2 — in effect they are converting CO2 into methane. Unlike fossil fuels, it’s a short-cycle loop, (akin to the argument for burning wood as fuel instead of oil). Also grass-fed beef produces more methane than corn/grain-fed beef, and grain-fed beef grow faster, so they are producing methane for less time. In terms of scale, the US meat industry/number of cows is drastically reduced since its peak in the 1970s. However, there are far more beef cows in other countries.},
category={Criticality, Health, cattle, meat, food, climate change, methane}

Author={Curtis, Adam},
Title={Adam Curtis: why South Park is the best documentary of them all},
journal={The Guardian},
comment={Curtis argues that South Park’s 3-part Imaginationland episode is better for exposing the truth of the world than any documentary.},
category={Criticality, politics, adam curtis, south park, documentaries}
} % This was referenced in the Adam Curtis / Alan Moore panel talk: \url{} % Notes from that talk: % * Counter-culture: % * counter-culture is the way culture criticizes itself, and renews itself % * stamping out counter-culture will lead to culture dying % * counter-culture came of the 1960s failure to use politics to change the world % * Individualism became big in the 60s because the generation before that said DON’T believe in mythologies — look what happens: fascism, totalitarianism % * Individualism cannot be put back in the bottle, but to achieve anything we need someone with a vision that people will follow % * (This may not be relevant to argument here) % * It lead to a great deal of selfishness and narcissim % * We need something new, though based on the individual, because the opposite of that is fascism % * Individualism: % * what replaced it was you the individual use culture as a way to challenge culture. % * you trust your own instincts, you are authentic, the man is fake % * Being true to your individualism is the conformity of our time % * It died in the 90s because it became the norm % * we need a new kind of counterculture that goes the next step: % * some kind of story that can unite us all, but also allows us to feel like we’re in control of our destiny % * that we’re not going to be doing what the man tells us to do % * Every individual needs to be their own leader: this is the only way we’ll get the counter-culture we are looking for % * The created reality: % * See Adam Curtis article in the Guardian about South Park % * Reality can be whatever you want it to be (some of the most important figures in our world have reinvented characters) % * computers disempower us by simplifying us: if you like this then you’ll like that % * they know nothing of our dreams % * Places need to have mythos/stories told about them % * Journalism is failing to tell those stories for lack of imagination. (Even on the left.) % * It’s just chaos, completely random events that are edited into the news studio until they find some sort of narrative, and then they call that ‘reality’ % * It’s not just the internet, there is no imagination in the way the world is told to us % * It’s not just about telling story, it’s about telling you what it means. % * That telling you what it means is controlled by think tanks now – and they destroy everything % * South Park (particularly imaginationland) tells you about what’s happening in the world in a new way % * The elites have been completely wrong about everything % * The Trump election and Brexit was a big fuck-off button being pressed by the voters % * But at least it showed elections DO have consequences % * (This may not be relevant to argument here) % * Conspiracy theories at least offer a vision/story that makes sense % * That’s a better alternative to us living in a bunch of random chaotic events and nobody understanding anything! % * The liberal disdain for conspiracy theories (only stupid people believe them) misses the point that conspiracy theories reveal that we don’t understand the world — in a way that the normal think-tank pushed “rational” journalism completely fails to do. % * It is also reassuring to believe that monsters or gray aliens are running the world rather than that nobody is % * Even though many who follow conspiracy theories know they aren’t true, they are fascinated because they are a wonderfully entertaining dark alternative to the banality of the conventional media % * Occupy and arab spring failed because while they knew how to organize, they didn’t have a vision for what they wanted % * We could get rid of the idea of nations now, and focus on our local communities, as a few hundred years ago people didn’t know what country they lived in, only what village they came from % * People create reality in their head, by putting together all the things around them. % * If you live in a place that’s a shithole, sooner or later you will feel like you are a shit % * If you live in a place with a rich mythological landscape, you will feel empowered % * Enrich places with their meaning — meaning is the most important currency. It’s what we lose when we don’t have mythologies anymore. The meaning bleeds out of everything. Meaning has a half life. We need to restore meaning to things. Find meaning in everything, it will reempower the landscape around us % * Does that sense of place lead to enmity against others? % * Curtis holds out Rojava Syria as an example % * Our media, politicians, those in power, are drama queens who push a continual sense of crisis, and this puts off any thought about the future % * Whereas in Rojava, where there is REAL crisis, they actually spend their time thinking about the future % * (And now, with covid, is that different?) % * New journalism: no objectivity is impossible, so accepting subjectivity is more honest. We need some of that. % * It was part of the rise of individualism, but it petered out sometime in the 1990s. % * Now we’re just waiting for a new kind of journalism. People want stories. We want to know what’s going on. But nobody tells us. % * It used to be that journalists tell stories about terrible things, everyone gets mad about it, and the politicians do something about it. % * But this broke in the 90s sometime — now journalists tells stories about something awful and all the individuals shrug and nothing happens. % * Everything is up for grabs now, it’s wide open for powerful emotional stories that make sense of everything, we should be optimistic about the future.

title = {Comparing risks of alternative medical diagnosis using Bayesian arguments},
journal = {Journal of Biomedical Informatics},
volume = {43},
number = {4},
pages = {485 - 495},
year = {2010},
issn = {1532-0464},
doi = {},
url = {},
author = {Norman Fenton and Martin Neil},
keywords = {Bayes Theorem, Bayesian networks, Event trees, Catheter angiagram, MRA scan, Aneurysm, Palsey},
abstract = {This paper explains the role of Bayes Theorem and Bayesian networks arising in a medical negligence case brought by a patient who suffered a stroke as a result of an invasive diagnostic test. The claim of negligence was based on the premise that an alternative (non-invasive) test should have been used because it carried a lower risk. The case raises a number of general and widely applicable concerns about the decision-making process within the medical profession, including the ethics of informed consent, patient care liabilities when errors are made, and the research problem of focusing on ‘true positives’ while ignoring ‘false positives’. An immediate concern is how best to present Bayesian arguments in such a way that they can be understood by people who would normally balk at mathematical equations. We feel it is possible to present purely visual representations of a non-trivial Bayesian argument in such a way that no mathematical knowledge or understanding is needed. The approach supports a wide range of alternative scenarios, makes all assumptions easily understandable and offers significant potential benefits to many areas of medical decision-making.}
comment = {Even smart people struggle with understanding things when put in math terms. This paper shows that converting to visuals helps tremendously with comprehension and avoiding the `base-rate neglect’ fallacy.},
categort = {Criticality, Health, bayesian theory, visual learning, mathematics, covid, base-rate fallacy}
% Also see this op-ed in the Times: \url{}
% About this problem in terms of understanding covid testing

Author={Kisner, Jordan},
Title={Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues: Inside America’s Autopsy Crisis},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The US is critically short of forensic death examiners — doctors who are qualified to do autopsies. There are fewer than 500 forensic pathologists in the US (compared to 12,000 dermatologists). Funding and pay are low for these doctors, even though understanding causes of death are one of the key public health information sources.},
category={Criticality, death, forensic pathology}

Author={Wilson, Bee},
Title={How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket },
journal={The Guardian},
comment={Argues that ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are responsible for the lousy health of Americans, English, and Australians. Connects to corporations manufacturing nostalgia for these foods, and class idenfication. And covers the strong evidence that processing is bad for you. Includes a link to a paper that has tips for identifying UPFs.},
category={Criticality, sugar, Health, diet}
% Intersting in connection with the how cooking made us human book – where he argues that the more processed a thing is, the more digestible it is for humans.
% And these UPF people are essentially trying to draw the line at what is TOO processed for human health.

Author={Enrich, David},
Title={The Money Behind Trump’s Money},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Because Deutsche Bank is evil, and deeply siloed, they repeatedly funded Trump over the course of decades. At one point he even borrowed money from one part of the bank to pay back a loan he had defaulted on with another.“The International Monetary Fund a few years ago branded Deutsche Bank “the most important net contributor to systemic risks” in the global banking system.” And “Before and during World War II, the bank was a leading financier of the Nazis, helping to pay for projects including the construction of Auschwitz.” The bank fought itself for years to try to stop themselves from lending money to Trump, but failed. In the end, through sheer luck, they came out ahead in profile and profitability when Trump was elected.},
category={Criticality, Economics, trump, deutsche bank}

Author={Hemel, Daniel and Kysar, Rebecca},
Title={The Big Problem With Wealth Taxes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that a even-handed good-faith reading of the constitution would be to understand that in the US a “wealth tax” (as currently being proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) would be unconstitutional. That is to say that while there’s no problem with an income tax — money that an individual earns in a year — there is no constitutional way to collect taxes on wealth that is already owned (legally, a ‘direct’ tax).},
category={Criticality, taxes, wealth, income inequality, redistribution}
% This is a pretty convincing (and disheartening) argument that wealth redistribution in the US is fundamentally never going to happen (short of a structural overhaul of the constitution).

Author={Homans, Charles},
Title={Bob Dylan and the Myth of Boomer Idealism},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Beginning with Bob Dylan in Rolling Thunder Review, this article explodes the myth of the liberal baby boomer. It argues that the baby boomers have a nostalgic view of past liberal political fights, with which they identify even though they have themselves become more conservative. They find themselves out of touch with modern ideals of liberalism: “We know now that the real story wasn’t the people at the protests and the concerts; it was all the people who weren’t.”},
category={Criticality, baby boomers, Politics, nostalgia, 1960s, bob dylan}

Author={Douthat, Ross},
Title={The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Douthat argues that slicing the statistsics on declining numbers of Christians in America differently reveals a more nuanced picture and brings into question the idea that Christianity is collapsing in the US. Particularly, it seems that people who are mildly affiliated with churches are leaving, but not active churchgoers. This puts the number of church attenders more in line with the 1930s before the post-war religion boom. Also young millenials attend church far less than other age groups, but they attend church slightly MORE than their equivalent age group in 1995 did.},
category={Criticality, church, christian decline}

Author={Trujillo, Josmar},
Title={Do Cops Serve The Rich? Meet The NYPD’s Private Piggy Bank},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={About the history of the New York City Police Foundation, best know for it’s Crime Stoppers programd and started in the 1970s after the revelations of Frank Serpico to address the corruption of police accepting bribes from drug dealers, and still exists today essentially allowing billionaires and the real estate industry to bribe the NYC police with cash gifts of 100 million dollars to date.},
category={Criticality, Urbanism, nyc, police, new york city police foundation.}

Author={Bowles, Johnathan and Koblitz, Avril},
Title={More Time in the Stacks: Library Hours in NYC Still Lag Behind Other Big Cities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={NYC’s libraries are open fewer hours than any other major city in the US.},
category={Criticality, Urbanism, nyc, libraries}

Author={Hill, Kashmir and Krolik, Aaron},
Title={How Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Tens-of-millions of photos posted on Flickr under Creative Commons licenses have been gathered together into databases used to train AI software to identify people. The databases are not anonymized because the researchers creating the databases wanted to adhere to the Creative Commons license requirements to attribute the photos to the creators — so every one includes a link to the original Flickr account source.},
category={Criticality, creative commons, open-source licensing, flickr, ai}
% Posted on the Times:
% There’s a whole meta-issue that is more or less not addressed in this article - these databases represent a fundamental failure of the intent of Creative Commons open-content licensing.
% It’s sad because I (and many others) have encouraged people to make as much content freely available as they are willing and able to - and now that impulse comes back to bite us with dark privacy-violation overtones.
% Unfortunately, I feel like the Creative Commons people now face a reckoning, and the possibility that in some ways better privacy might equal a more strictly capitalistic sense of copyright and digital content ownership. A tragedy of the Creative Commons, if you will.

title={The White Album: Essays},
author={Didion, J.},
publisher={Open Road Media}

Author={Scranton, Roy},
Title={Climate Change Is Not World War},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Gives a nice literative overview of just how significantly and deeply mobilization for WWII impacted American society. (Including the idea that it was a huge social class mixing experiment.) Then goes on to argue that climate change is not a problem that merits this kind of mobilization — because it requires global mobilization, does not have a defined enemy, and cannot define a way to win.},
category={Criticality, wwii, history, climate change}
% The fall back, if not WWII is the moon shot. But The Right Stuff makes clear
% that the moon landing was widely understood by Americans as a mobilization of
% war — against the Russians. Without that context, it’s not clear it could
% have happened. And it’s not clear how that could be applied to climate change
% without an enemy.

Author={Sanger-Katz, Margot and Carroll, Aaron E.},
Title={The ‘Euphoria’ Teenagers Are Wild. But Most Real Teenagers Are Tame.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Unlike the HBO show Euphoria that depicts young people as off the leash, the reality is that young people today drink less, do fewer drugs, get in fewer car accidents, fewer fights, drop ouf of high school less, have less sex, commit fewer crimes, and are less likely to become pregnant. The only negative factor that is still a problem is suicide.},
category={Criticality, teenagers, generation z}
% I think most of these facts apply to millennials as well.
% Not discussed: why “the kids are going to hell” narrative seems to
% remain a perennial source of entertainment - even in the face of all
% the facts pointing the other way.
% Time to put the blame on the people whose fault it is: everyone over 40.
% Side note: there’s an interesting thing here that the fact that the
% kids are so good suggests that they are meek and cowed, and obedient to
% authority. This generation will never create an angry punk rock style
% youth movement - not unless its in visuals only, or arm-in-arm with
% their parents (who, as we see above - the only good thing they ever did
% was make these kids - why should the kids trust them?)

Author={Song, Lisa},
Title={An (Even More) Inconvenient Truth},
commen={Carbon offsets are supposed to work by having polluters pay to plant trees which would offset the carbon they create through their pollution. Since carbon stays in the atmosphere for about 100 years, the trees planted would have to live for 100 years. Any tree cut down before then is releasing the same amount of carbon back into the atmosphere. Since there is little to no evidence that any carbon offset program currently in existence comes anywhere close to preserving trees for 100 years, the carbon offset programs essentially do nothing to falsely asuage the guilt of polluters.},
category={Criticality, carbon offset, carbon credits, brazil, global warming, climate}

Author={Kushner, Rachel},
Title={Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A profile of Ruth Wilson Gilmore who is an advocate for the abolition of prisons. Her argument is that the closing of all prisons should lead us to figure out a better way than prison to address problematic human behavior — holisitic approaches that include everything from drug-treatment to community building to environmenal factors.},
category={Criticality, prisons, abolitionist, incarceration}

Author={Alexander, Michelle},
Title={Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that if all people charged with a crime would opt for trial instead of plea bargain, they would bring the whole justice system to its knees and force a conversation about our justice system at a high level that is necessary. Recognizes that this is not practical for people in that situation, but if they KNEW it were true, then the would feel empowered - and understand that the system of incarceration depends on the COOPERATION of the people it is incarcerating.},
category={Criticality, plea bargains, trials, incarceration}

Author={Newman, Andy},
Title={If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Lays out the dire pollution numbers for any individual who decides to travel, including how ships are even more polluting than airplanes and how carbon offsets are totally questionable. Concludes with a big “fuck it” and supports traveling anyway — with no rationalization or justification. At. All.},
category={Criticality, carbon emissions, carbon offsets, air travel}
% And this ONLY looks at the carbon pollution of travelers. It doesn’t even
% consider the cultural pollution of having a bunch of overweight Americans in
% shorts and flipflops invading your Mediterranean town each summer demanding
% bland food and copious sunscreen.
% Every time you get on a plane, remind yourself your grandparents
% couldn’t do that, your great-grandparents couldn’t do that, and your
% great-grand-children won’t be able to do that. But you, fuck it, YOU
% are going to Disney World! In Paris.
% There just is no way to rationalize travel. The Western middle class
% has managed to dismantle all the institutions that gave their lives
% meaning: religion, neighborhoods, familial bonds. All in exchange for
% more money. And with their money, they look for what they can do to get
% meaning back into their lives - travel is widely accepted as a way to do
% that. We need to go back to overseas travel being a thing that happens
% only once or twice in a lifetime. But nobody wants to even talk about
% that. Look at how this Times article ends. That’s how we know that it
% isn’t just Republicans - NOBODY is serious about climate change.
% This idiotic opinion piece DOES try to rationalize travel by essentially
% arguing that global tourism is the only
% way capitalism can function without utterly annhilating the planet:
% \url{}
% The fact that morally we are culpable for finding both a solution to global
% poverty AND climate change, doesn’t seem to occur to him.

Author={Wu, Tim},
Title={The Democrats’ Complexity Problem},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that the Democrats try to solve problems with complexity, and this is reinforced by experts who use understanding complexity as a badge of honor. Instead, Wu argues, we should be approaching policy problems like a design-thinker — trying to solve them with simple and elegant solutions.},
category={Criticality, Politics}
% While I love this, and have had the same thought myself, it doesn’t address the fact that a lot of complexity arises through the effort at compromise to get something passed. Ironically, the Democrats often add complexity to bring on board conservatives who get political backing by shouting simplistic aphorisms!

Author={Wu, Tim},
Title={The Oppression of the Supermajority},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Gives the usual list of how the majority of Americans favor progressive policies like higher taxes for the wealthy, paid materinity leave, net neutrality, etc. Then argues that we are not in a time of polarization but a time where the majority is unable to get the things they want because our represenatives are too responsive to the interests of donors and industry groups. This is couched in terms that ours is a represenative democracy of checks and balances and not supposed to just respond to the will of the majority because you need to be an expert to understand the impacts of policy. Wu argues that this is a misrepresenatation of the Constitutional framing, the founding fathers intended the will of majority to be moderated, not overridden.},
category={Criticality, government, democracy, Politics, majority rule}

Author={Harris, Elizabeth A.},
Title={Galleries From A to Z Sued Over Websites the Blind Can’t Use},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Dozens of NYC galleries are being sued in “drive-by” lawsuits claiming their websites are not accessible to the blind under the American’s with Disabililies Act. Courts have recently been interpreting the law as applyign to websites. There are no standards for what makes a website compliant under the ADA. There are thousands of these lawsuits being filed, most of which are settled. Advocates for people with disabilities seem disinclined to reform the law for fear of weakening protections.},
category={Criticality, disabilities, ada, policy}

Author={Manjoo, Farhad},
Title={Abolish Billionaires},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues for the simple principle that we should adapt policies to get rid of billionaires. Makes a case that even though there are morally ok billionaies (Gates and Buffet) they themselves would be better people if they had less than a billion dollars. Nobody needs a billion dollars, and more importantly nobody deserves a billion dollars.},
category={Criticality, billionaires}
% This article argues that it’s about fixing policy not abolishing billionaires:
% \url{}
% I say:
% There’s 6 countries that outrank the United State on a well-being index and
% also have more billionaires per capita… and there’s six that don’t. All this
% suggests is billionaires don’t prevent prosperity. But you can’t read causation
% from those statistics, there’s absolutely nothing there that suggests they
% contribute prosperity either.
% The argument against billionaires isn’t that they prevent or promote
% prosperity, it’s that it is simply morally wrong for any individual to have a
% huge lump of money, and a billion is a nice round, easy-to-grasp number that
% fits well with our current global economic situation.
% A nice straightforward simple rule like “let’s get rid of billionaires” is a
% good way to get public support behind the more complex set of redistributional
% policies it would take to make that happen.
% This column isn’t arguing the morals at all, which I think misses the real
% point of arguing against billionaires. And if what you care about is good
% policy, “no billionaires” is still a useful rule.

Author={Gettleman, Jeffrey},
Title={In India, Gandhi’s Halo Glows Less Brightly for Hindu Right and Lower Castes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={While Gandhi has a reputation of a saint worldwide, in India his image is somewhat mixed. The Nationalists see him as a symbol of weakness. And that Dalits at the bottom of Hundu society also dislikes him because of his close relationship with rich industrialists. They blame him for not doing enough to dismantle the caste system — which is still a very serious problem in India. Gandhi also occassionally showed disdain for black people, and slept naked with young girls to test his chastity.},
category={Criticality, india, gandhi}
% Real people are just never the same as their legends.

Author={Willingham, Daniel T.},
Title={Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn’t Matter},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={There is no scientific evidence to back up the theory that there are different “types” of learners (ie visual vs readers). Rather, there are simply more efficient ways to learn different tasks. And people who believe they are better at certain types of learning handicap themselves by trying to process something the way they think they are better at learning, even when that is less efficient, to no benefit.},
category={Criticality, Science, learning styles}

Author={Joel, Daphna and Fine, Cordelia},
Title={Can We Finally Stop Talking About ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ Brains?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that despite what the popular culture, and even many scientists believe, the idea that there are characteristics and behaviors that are more common to males or females is flawed. They argue that all individuals are a mosaic of behaviors, and while certain combinations of those mosaics might arise more often in a male or a female, those statistically liklihoods are useless when considering any individual.},
category={Criticality, brains, male, female}
% While I love this notion of understanding the complexity and variety of individual human minds, I don’t understand why it is
% limited to only the idea of “male” vs “female”. Seems to me like the same argument applies to ANY notion of statistical
% liklihood of human behaviors vs the individual you might be considering.
% For example, while the research may show that statistically humans are more likely to buy something priced at $.99 instead of $1, that does not mean that it is true for any individual considering those prices. Ad infinitum.

Author={Lustgarten, Abrahm},
Title={Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The U.S. put legislation in place to promote the use of biofuels as part of addressing climate change. This resulted in soy oil being used for fuels and the food industry replaced the soy oil with palm oilr. Because of this, vast tracts of Borneo rain forest were clear cut to plant palm oil trees — destroying the rain forest and planting palm oil trees there released the largest single-year carbon release in 2000 years. ``The E.P.A., in 2009, made one of the most significant efforts to model and predict the carbon from biofuels, using three of the most established models and an overlay of satellite imagery of agricultural lands around the world, including those in Indonesia. The agency determined that the carbon footprint of land-use changes overshadowed any other consideration, and not by a small margin.’’},
category={Criticality, environment, palm oil, soy oil, biofuels, indonesia}

Author={Landsburg, Steven E.},
Title={How the Web Prevents Rape},
comment={Report on research that found the rise of internet porn is associated with a decrease in rape and sexual violence. Posits that the distinction between this and other research where simply viewing porn increases misogyny might not continue to hold true when someone (read: teenage males) is able to view porn at home with the inevitable outcome, which may lead to decreased misogynistic tendencies. Also talks about studies that find that violent movies are associated with decreased violence — particularly during the hours movies are shown, and continuing afterwards. Posits that this is because people who would commit violence are instead in the theater watching movies (and NOT drinking alcohol, which could account for the continuation in the decreased rate of violence afterwards.)},
category={Criticality, violence, rape, movies, porn}
% Not wholly convincing, I suspect this is more of a statistical significance not meaningful significance phenomenon.
% (Making porn and violent movies more available seems to lower violence by a marginal (but real) amount.)
% And there’s a real possibility of correlation not causation here.
% However, the alternative is that the ever-decreasing levels of violence in our culture COULD be attributed to rise
% of the availability of violent material on the internet. What if we’ve been approaching violence all wrong:
% We need to give those people with violent tendencies a healthy way to use them, not punish them.
% How far does that argument go? Should (virtual) child pornography be encouraged to decrease the chance of
% someone with those desires acting on them?

Author={Schor, Juliet B.},
Title={Pre-industrial workers had a shorter workweek than today’s},
comment={The early 20th century labor movement’s effort to push for an 8 hour workday is a return to the pre-industrial standard of work that had been carried out for hundreds of years, not a new win from the ridiculous standards of the 19th century. In the pre-industrial time period, not only did people (in Europe) work a maximum of 8 hours a day (with lots of breaks) but also had a third of the year off for holidays.},
category={Criticality, Economics, pre-industrial, workday, labor}
% No date on this publication

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={What the Working Class Is Still Trying to Tell Us},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Brooks covers the main points of a book The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass about how the educated classes have undermined labor markets and devalued working class work by prioritizing GDP and consumption over production - even in how our poverty program work. ``We in the college-educated sliver have built a culture, an economy and a political system that are all about ourselves. It’s time to pass labor market reforms that will make life decent for everybody.’’},
category={Criticality, Politics, labor markets, working class}

Author={Crivello, Florent},
Title={Own the Demand},
comment={Argues that the big tech companies are orienting themselves to own the demand side of markets, instead of the supply side. ``Another reason to focus on demand is that it can pull supply much more effectively than supply can pull demand. It is not the case that “the world will beat a path to your door if you build a better mouse-trap” — but if you gather everybody with a mice problem in one place, I guarantee it will soon turn into a convention for better-mouse-traps inventors.’’},
category={Criticality, supply and demand, markets, technology}

Author={Fang, Janet},
Title={Ecology: A world without mosquitoes},
comment={Considers the role mosquitoes play in ecosystems, and generally finds that the quaint notion that every animal has an imporant and interconnected place doesn’t really apply to (most) mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are tiny and don’t form a large part of dfood source for most animals (bats, for instance, eat far far more moths than mosquitoes). If they were wiped out most ecosystems would recover very quickly with something else (always possible - something worse!) taking their place. This is especially true if we only wiped out the hundreds of species of mosquitoes that pester humans, or the handfull that carry malaria, among the thousands of speicies of mosquitoes.},
category={Criticality, Science, Health, mosquitoes}
% This article ends with the idea that the thing that limits us from wiping out mosquitoes is the technology to do it, not some notion that it would have unintended consequences for the environment.
% But this article: \url{} ends with the exact opposite conclusion: we now HAVE the technology to wipe them out - the only thing keeping us from doing it is moral and social questions.
% Also see this Radiolab episode about the same topic: radiolab2018bugs

Author={Sonit, Rebecca},
Title={Nobody Knows},
comment={Solnit argues that anyone in power loses situational awareness because anyone below them, by the very virtue of their relationship to the person in power, will stop sharing information freely with the person in power.},
category={Criticality, power}

Author={Wright, Jennifer},
Title={Jocks Rule, Nerds Drool},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that the nerds of the world are not the sweet misunderstood characters of the movies, but are in fact cruel misogynists. Meanwhile athletes have been showing time and again a deep concern for making the world a better place},
category={Criticality, Humanity, nerds, jocks}
% I think if you pressed her obviously there’s a lot of jock
% assholes out there, and a lot of sweet nerds.
% I think the bigger point, that she didn’t quite articulate clearly
% enough, is that nerd leadership in this country is totally fucked
% up. I can’t remember the last time I saw a nerd leading a major
% project or company and I was like “Oh yeah, that guy is one really
% great person doing amazing things that make the world a better place.”
% It was probably Richard Stallman 20 years ago, and that dude is so
% insanely uncompromising that people almost can’t even talk to him.
% Meanwhile people in leadership roles in athletics regularly impress
% me with just how damn decent they are.
% jocks just funnel different types of people to the top? Does the
% culture as a whole channel certain personalities into these fields? Or
% is there something way weirder and much more deeply human going on?

% I thought about it some more and I’m reversing myself.
% Alan Moore is one of my personal heroes, and Neil Gaiman seems like
% he’s at least a decent human being. It’s possible that the difference
% isn’t really nerds vs jocks, but public-facing cultural people versus
% businessmen. The businessmen in sports are horrible horrible people
% nearly without exception. But it shouldn’t be too surprising that there
% are a number of athletes, who are in the public eye all the time, and
% were raised with a set of ideals about how to treat people that maybe
% were never compromised, who turn out to be good guys.
% And the same is true in nerdom. The CEOs of tech corporations might be
% universally horrible people, but certainly among the comic book artists,
% sci-fi writers, and actors - the nerds who face the public all the time
% - there’s a whole bunch of good guys.
% Once again, you can go looking for cultural dichotomies if you want to,
% but you always find “well, actually, the problem is capitalism makes
% people assholes.”

Author={Gorman, James},
Title={What Breeds Make Up This Mutt?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Testing of both amateurs and experts shows that people are incredibly bad at guessing the breeds that make up a mutt, with experts doing just slightly better than amateurs guessing 28 percent of the breeds correctly.},
category={Criticality, dogs, breeds, pup test}
% No word on whether this impacts the validity of the creepy-eugenics quality of pure-bred dog rating…

Author={Scranton, Roy},
Title={Raising My Child in a Doomed World},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that having a child is a deeply human thing to do, and therefore morally ok. Cites Take the widely cited 2017 research letter by the geographer Seth Wynes and the environmental scientist Kimberly Nicholas, which argues that the most effective steps any of us can take to decrease carbon emissions are to eat a plant-based diet, avoid flying, live car free and have one fewer child — the last having the most significant impact by far.'' as the argument against having children, and then disputes that notion as being equivalent to choosing suicide. Makes an interesting argument against individual choices, The main problem with this proposal isn’t with the ideas of teaching thrift, flying less or going vegetarian, which are all well and good, but rather with the social model such recommendations rely on: the idea that we can save the world through individual consumer choices. We cannot. Society is not simply an aggregate of millions or billions of individual choices but a complex, recursive dynamic in which choices are made within institutions and ideologies that change over time as these choices feed back into the structures that frame what we consider possible. All the while, those structures are being disrupted and nudged and warped and shaken by countless internal and external drivers, including environmental factors such as global warming, material and social innovation, and the occasional widespread panic.’’},
category={Criticality, Humanity, kids, death, climate change, suicide}
% This is pretty unconvincing, first in equating the idea that a vegetarian without a car who takes staycations and has only one kid is throwing their life away and should just kill themselves.
% And second because following that it makes basically no coherent argument FOR having children except that the world is a complicated place full of gray areas.

Author={Vohs, Kathleen D. and Hafenbrack, Adrew C.},
Title={Hey Boss, You Don’t Want Your Employees to Meditate},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={These researchers find that mindfulness meditation “a Buddhism-inspired practice in which you focus your mind entirely on the current moment” decreases the motivation of workers. This is because mindfulness makes a person more relaxed and calm, and at peace with the current status of things. Motivation generally arises from the desire the change things, implying the person is not at peace. Their research finds that people who meditate are more relaxed and less at peace and therefore less productive. Similar to taking a nap during the work day, the worker might feel better, but not very inspired to do grunt work.},
category={Crtiticality, mindfulness, meditation, productivity, motivation}
% Actual paper here: \url{}

title = “How Effective is Energy-Efficient Housing? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Mexico”,
author = “Lucas W. Davis and Sebastian Martinez and Bibiana Taboada”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “24581”,
year = “2018”,
month = “May”,
doi = {10.3386/w24581},
URL = “”,
abstract = {Despite growing enthusiasm, there is little empirical evidence on how well energy efficiency investments work. Evidence is particularly lacking from low- and middle-income countries, despite a widespread view that these countries have many of the best opportunities. This paper evaluates a field experiment in Mexico in which a quasi-experimental sample of new homes was provided with insulation and other energy-efficient upgrades. A novel feature of our study is that we deploy large numbers of data loggers which allow us to measure temperature and humidity at high frequency inside homes. We find that the upgrades had no detectable impact on electricity use or thermal comfort, with essentially identical temperature and humidity levels in upgraded and non-upgraded homes. These results stand in sharp contrast to the engineering estimates that predicted up to a 26% decrease in electricity use. Part of the explanation is that air conditioner ownership is lower than expected, thus reducing the potential for reductions in energy use. In addition, we document that most households have their windows open on hot days, nullifying the thermal benefits of roof and wall insulation. Overall, we conclude that the benefits from these investments are unlikely to exceed the costs, which added $400-$500 USD to the cost of each home. Our results underscore the urgent need to fully incorporate socioeconomic conditions and human behavior into engineering models of energy use.},
comment = {Our results add to a growing number of analyses that find ex post energy savings well below engineering estimates. See, e.g., Davis et al. (2014); Levinson (2016); Fowlie et al. (forthcoming). In our case, the differences stem from low penetration of air conditioning, one of the key sources of energy savings in the engineering estimates. In addition, we document that most households have windows open during the summer, making building insulation and the other energy-efficiency investments less effective than predicted by the model.'' our results point to the urgent need to fully incorporate socioeconomic conditions and human behavior into engineering models.’’},
category = {Criticality, Science, Housing, energy effiency, mexico, air conditioning}
% Get pdf here: \url{}

Author={Shell, Ellen Ruppel},
Title={College May Not Be Worth It Anymore},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that, while a college degree yields higher lifetime earnings for middle class students, it yields only the slightest amount higher for low-income students. The push for college degrees has yielded an oversupply of college-educated people, which means that many jobs which can be done without college training now require college degrees. This means that lack of a college degree is becoming a punishment for people without them, rather than a reward for people with them. ``This distinction is more than semantic. It is key to understanding the growing chasm between educational attainment and life prospects. For most of us, it’s not our education that determines our employment trajectory but rather where that education positions us in relation to others.’’},
category={Criticality, education, college}
% I have long suspected that the “get a degree, have better outcomes” mantra
% that is pushed so hard was backed up by evidence - but not very sophisticated
% evidence and that if it were looked at more granularly it might not be so
% obvious a truth. This op-ed and the research it cites seems to suggest my
% instincts on that were right.

Author={Miller, Ben},
Title={The Student Debt Problem Is Worse Than We Imagined},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The government only tracks student debt defaulters for the first three years. So colleges have been pushing students to take deferments on their debt early, and then resume payments after the three year mark. This results in MUCH higher defaults than are tracked. Private for-profit colleges are, as usual, the worst about this. Most defaulters are low-income people.},
category={Criticality, universities, colleges, student debt}

Author={Chokshi, Niraj},
Title={Native American Brothers Pulled From Campus Tour After Nervous Parent Calls Police},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Two brothers touring a university campus have the police called on them by nervous (presumably white) lady. The brothers are Native Americans. And also metalheads.},
category={Criticality, native americans, heavy metal, prejudice, paranoia, police}

% The implication of the headline is that another woman on the tour called the police because they were Native Americans. Reading the article it is clear that the kid wearing a “Cattle Decapitation” metal band shirt and being shy contributed more to having the police called than any other factor. But I think it’s a fair guess this story would never have risen to the NY Times level if the brothers were not Native Americans.
% Metalheads are not a protected class, but the police are called to confront them all the time based on nothing more than how they dress. There is prejudice against Muslims because of the perception that they are a terrorist threat, and there is (very rightly) a huge effort to address that prejudice. I think there’s probably just as much prejudice against metalheads because of the perception that they might become an active shooter threat. But where is the effort to address this prejudice?

% It would be fascinating to have someone go ask these brothers why THEY thought the police were called on them. It’s a chance to unpack the actual fears of the culture against the national narrative of fear.

Author={Cabrera, Claudio E. and Lucero II, Louis},
Title={What Is Cinco de Mayo?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Cinco de Mayo is a bullshit holiday commemorating a minor win in Mexico’s civil war years. It is not celebrated in Mexico, and while it was originally celebrated by some Latinos in the US, it was appropriated by beverage companies to become a holiday to party on. More beer is now sold in the US for Cinco de Mayo than St. Patrick’s day or the Super Bowl.},
category={Criticality, holidays, cinco de mayo, drinking}

Author={Jeltsen, Melissa},
Title={Everyone Got The Pulse Massacre Story Completely Wrong},
journal={Huffington Post},
comment={While the media has fully adopted the story that Omar Mateen cased and chose the Pulse Nightclub in Florida as a way to target the LGBT community. But during the trial of his wife, Noor Salman, it came out that there is no evidence that he chose Pulse randomly an hour before the attack when his first targets were too heavily targeted. This of course means that Noor Salman could not have know beforehand where he intended to attach, nor planned it with him. Instead, it is likely she was a victim of his abuse. She was aqcuitted in trial — a rare loss of a terrorism case by the government. But she was denied bail and had spent 14 months in prison. The Pulse Nightclub shooting was not categorized as a hate crime by the police.},
category={Criticality, media, on the media, pulse nightclub, lgbt}

Author={Kimmelman, Michael},
Title={Forensics Helps Widen Architecture’s Mission},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Kimmelman review’s Eyal Weizman’s show of Forensic Architecture, in which he shows how he has used architectural techniques to expose human rights abuses.},
category={Politics, Urbanism, forensics, architecture, human rights, Criticality}
%I’m skeptical that there’s really an expansive utility for
%architecture in the service of human rights investigations. But since
%there’s an infinite number of ways that architecture is used as a
%tool of power, it’s nice to see Weizman at least TRYING to use it in
%the reverse direction.
% Talking at a party to someone who works on forensic architecture,
% he agreed with this assessment. But made the interesting point that
% he likes it because forensic architecture sets a precedent for
% citizen scientists/architects to present evidence in a court room
% — a precedent for breaking down the domain of lawyers and forensic
% professionals. A step towards requiring court evidence to be based on
% the strength of the evidence, and not on the credentials of the person
% who presents it. An important precendent in this age of corrupted
% forensic science.

Author={Goldstein, Joseph},
Title={‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An in-depth look at the decades-old problem of NYC policy lying under oath. Mostly they do this to cover up illegal searches. Up until 1961, generally police were given the benefit of the doubt during searches. Then the Supreme Court ruled in Mapp v. Ohio that the fourth ammendment prevents illegal searches. Police figured out they could get around that with certain descriptions, like “the defendent dropped the drugs on the ground.” (This became known as “dropsy” testifying.) The practice of lying under oath is so common that it is called “testilying” by many people. Now police often testify that contraband was “in plain view” or there “was a suspcious bulge in the person’s pocket.”},
category={Criticality, police, nyc, testilying}

Author={Quiggin, John},
Title={‘Millennial’ Means Nothing},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that using terms to try to define generations obscures trends more than enlightens them. It makes a (pretty convincing) argument that understanding people in terms of “generations” is a fairly recent development. And that breaking groups into generations is a mildly helpful way of understanding people, at best. Far more important are groups classified by income, race and ethinicity, urban vs rural. The article points out that using generations puts Donald Trump and his housekeeper in the same constituency.},
category={Criticality, millenials, generations}

Author={Cox, John Woodrow and Rich, Steven},
Title={No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.},
journal={The Washington Post},
comment={The widely reported “fact” that by the time the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in South Florida happened there had been 18 school shootings is fundamentally inaccurate. It came from a group called Everytown for Gun Safety founded by Bloomberg. They count ANY firearm discharge near a school property as a school shooting - including things like cops accidentally setting off their gun. There have been eleven mass shootings in schools since Columbine in 1990.},
category={Criticality, guns, school shootings, media}

Author={Johnston, Fenton},
Title={The Future of Queer},
journal={Harper’s Magazine},
comment={An essay arguing that gay marriage is an assimilating move in the LGBT community. The evolution from ACT UP and Zen Hospice to state-sanctioned marriage is precisely analogous to gentrification --- the creative outliers do the heavy lifting, and when a certain level of safety has been achieved, the assimilationists move in, raise prices, and force out the agents of change. But while we recognize and make at least cosmetic efforts to address the darker aspects of gentrification, we have forgotten or marginalized the in-your-face, in-the-streets activists of the LGBT left.'' The legalization of same-sex vows is another step in the monetization of all human encounter. Under capitalism, love, like everything else that was once sacred, has become inextricably entangled with Social Security perks and property transfers and thirty-thousand-dollar weddings accompanied by prenuptial agreements written in anticipation of divorce. When its advocates spoke of marriage as a civil right, they were speaking not of love, which remains mercifully and always indifferent to the law, but of property—its smooth acquisition and tax-free disposition, the many advantages it affords, one might say, to the married.’’ ``How is Earth’s situation today different from that of a person with ­AIDS in 1985? Capital, backed by a growing and ever more heavily armed police force trained to shoot, so thoroughly monitors and controls every expression of resistance that the violent demonstrations of the 1960s come helplessly to mind. Our current political crisis arouses a dark urge to respond to the rhetorical violence of Donald Trump with the literal violence it encourages. Would the Vietnam War have ended without riots on campuses? Would African Americans have made any progress without the burning of cities? Those events, and not World War II, challenge my commitment to nonviolence.’’},
category={Criticality, marriage, gay marriage, anti-violence, protest, capitalism, lgbt, aids, hospice}
% I didn’t know that hospice came out of the caring for the dying of the AIDS movement.

Author={Rothman, Joshua},
Title={Why Paper Jams Persist},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={Despite gains in quality and speed of copiers, paper jams persist as a serious problem. This is because of the nature of paper — a natural product with a lot of variability, being put through a mechanical process. The engineers who work on the problem need to cover a wide range of disciplines. One of the things that had helped in increasing the quality of the paper. But it is unlikely paper jams will ever be solved entirely.},
category={Criticality, Science, paper jams, copiers, engineering}

Author={Pierre-Louis, Kendra and Tabuchi, Hiroko},
Title={Want Cleaner Air? Try Using Less Deodorant},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Researchers found that petroleum-based chemicals used in perfumes, paints and other consumer products can, taken together, emit as much air pollution in the form of volatile organic compounds, or V.O.C.s, as motor vehicles do. The VOCs can interact with other particles to create smog and PM2.5 pollution.},
category={Criticality, Science, personal products, smog, vocs, pm2.5, pollution, environment, Urbanism}

Author={Moore, Heidi N.},
Title={The secret cost of pivoting to video},
journal={Columbia Journalism Review},
comment={News sites that have moved (pivoted) to more video have been losing readers. There are a variety of reasons, including poorly produced videos, poorly planned distribution, pushing for shiny new things over quality, and simply not understanding how videos are actually supposed to benefit journlism. This article doesn’t dismiss videos entirely, but talks about how the pivot to video is currently failing and that needs to be understood before it should be pursued further as a strategy.},
category={Criticality, journalism, video, news sites}

Author={Kofman, Ava},
Title={Finding Your Voice},
journal={The Intercept},
comment={The NSA has for decades used voice recognition to ID people. They have a massive library of intercepted calls (especially international calls) with which they can identify individuals when they get a new recording. This technology is now more widely used by the public for legitimate uses. At the same time, there are more microphones in more places all the time which potentially could be tapped by the NSA.},
category={Criticality, Politics, Science, superscience, voice recognition, spying, NSA}

Author={Merkin, Daphne},
Title={Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that the current prominence of sexual harrassment charges has indeed taken on the qualities of a witch hunt. And that secretly most people feel this way, but say something else in public.},
category={Criticality, sexual harrassment, metoo}
% This is one of those articles that says something I have been thinking.
% And then it makes me wonder if it’s just coded right-wing propoganda against the left.
% But that seems unlikely. This woman is most famous for writing an article about how much she likes spanking as a fetish: \url{}

Author={Fortin, Jacey},
Title={All That Glitter? It’s Not Good, Critics Say},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Some people in England are talking about banning decorative craft glitter as a microplastic pollutant contaminating oceans. Nobody in the US is talking about it seriously — yet — but it is not radically different than microbeads which are currently banned.},
category={Criticality, glitter, plastic, pollution, CUP, sewer in a suitcase}

Author={Weaver, Caity},
Title={What Is Glitter},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An in-depth (somewhat amusing) look at how glittle is made. Virtually all US glitter is made in New Jersey, and turns out to be surprisingly complex to produce. Some “rainbow” glitter is produced with more than two hundred layers, each half a wavelength of light, at the scale of hundreds of nanometers. Craft glitter is the thickest and least complex, the finest glitter is used for lipstick. To make something sparkle requires tiny pieces of things, so whereever that is seen, it is a product that contains glitter. Scientists track animals by mixing glitter with their food and looking for sparkly feces. Plywood manufacturers mix in glitter to prevent counterfeiting. ``Because glitter is difficult to remove completely from an area into which it has been introduced, and because individual varieties can be distinguished under a microscope, it can serve as useful crime scene evidence; years ago the F.B.I. contacted Glitterex to catalog samples of its products.’’ It takes glitter 1000 years to biodegrage. },
category={Criticality, glitter, plastic, pollution, CUP, sewer in a suitcase}
% She takes this tone that the glitter factories being so
% secretive is funny, but in light of the controversy around the
% stuff in Europe, (see fortin2017glitter) of which the glitter
% manufacturers are no doubt aware, its easy to understand why
% they are so secretive - they are trying to protect their
% business from public shame. This article’s humor kinda
% undermines the legitimate concerns about pollution from
% glitter.
% She says all glitter ever made is still with us, but I think that is just
% ignorance about the fact that a lot of plastic garbage is incinerated.

Author={Harris, Malcolm},
Title={The Working Classroom},
comment={Twenty-first century American kids are required to do more work than their predecessors, cutting into their play time. Technologies that make work faster function in one of two ways: by reducing the time spent on the work or by intensifying the nature of the work.'' American children's educational output has grown steeply over the past 30 years. In 2013, an article appeared in The Atlantic with the title, “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.” The writer, Karl Taro Greenfeld, had attempted to complete the homework of his daughter, an eighth grader at a selective New York public school, to discover the exact nature of the labor that was keeping her up every night. He quickly found that he wasn’t prepared to keep up: Imagine if after putting in a full day at the office — and school is pretty much what our children do for a job — you had to come home and do another four or so hours of office work. . . . If your job required that kind of work after work, how long would you last?’’ The sad truth, however, is that college admissions are designed to funnel young adults onto different tracks, not to validate hard work. A jump in the number of Harvard-caliber students doesn’t have a corresponding effect on the size of the school’s freshman class. Instead, it allows the university to become even more selective and to raise prices, to stock up on geniuses and rich kids. This is the central problem with an education system designed to create the most human capital possible: an increase in ability within a competitive system doesn’t advantage all individuals.'' If more human capital automatically led to a higher standard of living, this model could be the foundation for an American meritocracy. But millennials’ extra work hasn’t earned them the promised higher standard of living. By every metric, this generation is the most educated in American history, yet its members are worse off economically than their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Every authority from moms to presidents told millennials to accumulate as much human capital as they could; they did, but the market hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. What gives?’’},
category={Criticality, education, labor, homework}
% By Malcolm Harris, from Kids These Days, a book about millennials

Author={Nilsen, Thomas},
Title={Urgent to lift dumped K-27 nuclear sub},
journal={Barents Observer},
comment={The K-27 was a Soviet experimental nuclear submarine powered by reacotors that were cooled with liquid lead. After an accident it was scuttled in the arctic in about 100 feet of water. There are concerns that it will eventually rust through and the sea water contacting the uranium in the reactor will start a nuclear chain reaction. As of 2017 there has been a lot of talk of raising it, but no actions.},
category={Criticality, Science, superscience, pending disasters, nuclear submarines, liquid metal}

Author={Stark, Anne M.},
Title={Americans used more clean energy in 2016},
journal={Lawewnce Livermore National Laboratory},
comment={Graphic showing that 2/3 of U.S. energy consumption is lost to waste energy, typically in the form of excess heat from inefficient cars, lightbulbs, factories, etc. However that is not the point of this post which focuses on clean energy use. Inefficiency is only mentioned briefly.},
category={Criticality, energy, Science, waste, electricity}

Author={Hart, David Bentley},
Title={Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A New Testament translator realizes that the New Testament is pretty stark in its condemnation of wealth. Matthew 6:19-20, for instance (“Do not store up treasures for yourself on the earth”), or Luke 6:24-25 (“But alas for you who are rich, for you have your comfort”) or James 5:1-6 (“Come now, you who are rich, weep, howling out at the miseries that are coming for you”). While there are always clergy members and theologians swift to assure us that the New Testament condemns not wealth but its abuse, not a single verse (unless subjected to absurdly forced readings) confirms the claim.'' local churches in the Roman world of the apostolic age were essentially small communes, self-sustaining but also able to share resources with one another when need dictated. This delicate web of communes constituted a kind of counter-empire within the empire, one founded upon charity rather than force — or, better, a kingdom not of this world but present within the world nonetheless, encompassing a radically different understanding of society and property.’’ Eventually these practices gave way to the more establish order of society and property.},
category={Criticality, communisim, early christians, christianity, new testament}
% A strong addition to the Christianity-is-social-justice arguments.
% Though this still doesn’t address the critique of Christianity that I call the “render unto Ceasar” problem. If there was an empire-within-an-empire happening, the poor and underserved outside the Christian empire were still abused by the unjust system of the imperial government. If you let the government have the share of taxes it wants it is essentially using your labor to promote it’s unjust causes.
% The early Christian empire may have served it’s communistic members in a just way, but it leaves behind everyone who is not part of the commune.
% There is no social justice in saying that only IF you are part of our communistic system there will be justice for you. All others can suffer with the abuses of the conventional system.
% It’s nice to share property equally among all the members of a community, but you aren’t really addressing justice until you are sharing property among all the members of a society.

Title={Public Shaming and Even Prison for Plastic Bag Use in Rwanda},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Rwanda has used the power of the authoritarian tendencies of its government to crack down on plastic bags. They are banned in every form from ziploc to garbage bags. Stores have to remove plastic packaging from items before selling them. This is part of why Rwanda is Africa’s cleanest nation and among the cleanest in the world. Though it has also led to a strong smugglers market for plastic bags, and the bags being smuggled into the country like drugs in the US, and enforced like drug crimes, with severe sentences and public shaming. This article points out that in the US and Europe this might not be achievable because ``there is a dispute between environmentalists and representatives of the plastic industry who say that bags made of alternative materials, like cloth, have a bigger carbon footprint than plastic ones and aren’t as environmentally friendly as people think.’’ Of course this doesn’t change the fact that Rwanda is sparkling clean.},
category={Criticality, plastics, rwanda, africa, plastic bags}

Author={Rakoff, Jed S.},
Title={Why Innocent People Plead Guilty},
journal={The New York Review},
comment={The criminal justice system is not like TV. Most cases are settled through plea bargaining, not court - despite what you see on TV. ``our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone.’’ In 2013 8 percent of federal charges were dismissed, 97 percent were plead, and just 3 percent went to trial. In most states 95 percent of felony charges are plead. In most other countries plea bargains are not a common tool. Even after plea bargaining became common after the Civil War, it mostly could still be seen as honest, until the increasing crime of the 1980s led to stiffer sentences. This created pressure for defendents to avoid trial and the maximum sentence. And this, in turn, has led to many people pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.},
% This is what happened to Jesse Friedman in Capturing the Friedmans
% This is another argument for why Grand Jury discretion is so important in our current corrupt legal system.

Author={Onishi, Norimitsu},
Title={Queens Spit Tried to Be a Resort but Sank in a Hurricane},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Hog Island was an island off Edgemere in the Rockaways in the late 19th Century. It was developed at the time, about a mile long and a few hundred feet wide. It sank during an epic hurricane in 1893. Coastal geologist Nicholas K. Coch argues that epic hurricanes hit NYC much more often than people believe.},
category={Criticality, Science, coastal geology, rockaway, nyc, hog island}
% The wikipedia article about hog island says that Hurricane Sandy was NOT big enough to fit in with the epic-scale hurricanes that Coch predicts, and that NYC is still overdue for a major hurricane event. And this article was predicting these hurricanes long before global warming was known to be feeding the power of storms.

Author={Elliott, Justin and Eisinger, Jesse and Sullivan, Laura},
Title={The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster},
comment={The Red Cross’ internal analysis after Sandy shows that it had a weak response where ``Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it.’’},
category={Criticality, red cross, disasters, aid, hurricanes, sandy}
% Things have not improved much, many complaints about the Red Cross follow Harvey too: \url{}

Author={Wallace-Wells, David},
Title={The Uninhabitable Earth},
journal={New York Magazine},
comment={What is rapidly becoming a classic article, that makes the argument that climate scientists are not being alarmist enough about their own findings. Points out that most of the discussion about the future of the climate is based on median outcomes, often skewing towards low-end outcomes. The discussion more or less ignores the high-end outcomes, and taking those into account the impacts on the world are going to be dramatic and apocalyptic.},
category={Criticality, apocalypse, end of the world, superscience, Science, climate change, disease}
% Includes the possibility of ancient diseases humans have no protection against might thaw out of arctic ice and kill us all.
% I really hope this is the way the world ends.

Author={Bornstein, David},
Title={When Families Lead Themselves Out of Poverty},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An interview with Mauricio Lim Miller, formerly of Asian Neighborhood Design - a community development organization in California. Lim Miller is pioneering a method of addressing poverty by collecting data from a group of low-income families to see who is doing things that are successful, and then sharing those successful moves back with the group. This creates social signaling — families that see what other families do that works, want to try that too. Miller’s program is called the Family Independence Initiative. He talks about how the war on poverty began as movements, then grew into programs. But many of those programs reinforce a paternalistic notion, and become programs that people avoid for the sense of indignity they bring. People who are at conferences on poverty don’t represent themselves, they represent the success of a program in order to justify funding for that program. He also talks about how hard it is to tell social workers that they might not actually be helping people. Miller wrote a book about it called The Alternative: Most of What You Believe About Poverty Is Wrong.},
category={Criticality, poverty, social work}

title={Atheists as “other”: Moral boundaries and cultural membership in American society},
author={Edgell, Penny and Gerteis, Joseph and Hartmann, Douglas},
journal={American Sociological Review},
publisher={Sage Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA},
comment={Research that finds atheists are less accepted than any other group (from a long list of ethnic, religious, and minorities). It is rooted in moral and symbolic rather than ethnic or material grounds. Increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn’t extend to atheists.},
category={Criticality, religion, atheism}
% See also this research which finds a worldwide prejudice against moral behavior by atheists - including by other atheists: \url{}
% And the NY Times coverage of that article: \url{}
% The Times article includes some interesting extra notes: “The relationship between religious belief and moral behavior is, in fact, not well understood. Some studies find that devout believers live more morally upright lives, compared with nonbelievers; others find no differences at all. The research is plagued by differing definitions of what moral behavior is and what constitutes true religious devotion (e.g., self-identification, or daily ritual?). Even the definition of nonbelief is a moving target: A person may identify as atheist, agnostic, “lapsed” or merely indifferent depending on his or her mood and understanding of those terms. The urge to impute beliefs, motives and mental states to mass murderers, moreover, is often misplaced, experts said. Some mass killers clearly commit atrocities because of their professed religious beliefs, like terrorists. But modern history’s register of assorted serial killers, spree shooters and other mortal predators is a rogue’s gallery of mostly male, aggrieved actors who are sometimes believers, sometimes not, and who half the time do not qualify for any specific psychiatric diagnosis, as disturbed as they are, according an analysis of more than 200 such killers by Dr. Michael Stone, a New York forensic psychiatrist. A large number — perhaps 25 percent, in Dr. Stone’s estimation — showed evidence of paranoid schizophrenia, which is characterized by delusional thinking. Those delusions, often enough, are infused with religious symbolism.”

Author={Bates, Laura},
Title={The Trouble With Sex Robots},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Looking towards a future when sex robots could be available which mimic women who don’t grant consent, this opinion piece argues that these robots will essentially endorse a culture of sexual violence.},
category={Criticality, robots, rape, feminism}
% She argues that we wouldn’t “facilitate murderers by giving them realistic, blood-spurting dummies to stab” but we DO have a vast culture of violent movies. Millions and millions and millions of people watch horror movies all the times, yet the murder rates decline.
% We’re so used to horror that the genre has pushed out to surrealistic extremes like Human Centipede 2 - which seem to be made ONLY to challenge you to stomach it.
% Meanwhile nobody makes rape joke (other than the Eiger Sanction). Our films and TV treat rape as this horror reserved only for the most dramatic situations on film (think of all the murders in the Sopranos versus the one rape scene) and the sexual violence in our culture continues to rise.
% It just isn’t as simple as she makes it out to be here.
% I remember reading a piece by a person who had a family member murdered, talking about how hard it was to see all the murder on TV and movies treated so nonchalantly, and how rape is never portrayed that way.
% I’m super sympathetic to that - but again, the murder rate continues its percipitous decline.
% Maybe it is because murder has entered this realm of fantasy, and in becoming a part of our cultural fantasy realm, it becomes LESS likely to be something to be carried out in reality?
% This is a possibility, though some might argue that for those few who slip between the fantasy and reality, it turns into real-life horror like school shootings.
% (However, despite the increased media coverage of shooting events like that, I’ve heard the totals are actually down.)
% It’s also possible that most murder was previously the result of gang battles, and we are simply less likely to have small-scale internecine warfare like that as we get more connected wide-scale over the internet. (And this doesn’t account for the fact that gang violence is WORSE in some specific locations like Chicago.)
% ANY theory like this COULD be true. Which is exactly the same problem with sex robots.

Author={Barrett, Lisa Feldman},
Title={When Is Speech Violence?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Calls on neurological research to make the argument that offensive speech is good for you because it challenges your assumptions and lets you see things from a different angle. But abusive speech actually causes phsiological damage to people. It’s stuff that is based on campaigns of abuse - long stretches of simmering stress cause problems with your nervous system. This article argues that the distinction is clear, and can be used to decide what speech is appropriate for say, a college campus, and what is abusive. Offensive things are offered as scholarly concepts to be debated, abusive things are like grenades thrown.},
category={Criticality, speech, nervous system, physiology}
% I think this article is very clear, and makes a good case. But how to judge what is abusive and what is merely offensive is still not clear. And it isn’t clear that what is offensive to one person isn’t abusive to another.

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={How We Are Ruining America},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Brooks argues that the upper-middle-class is isolating itself from the rest of society using residential zoning restrictions that keep less educated people out of areas with good schools and good job opportunities. Also college admissions require candidates to have travel and unpaid internship experience to get into the most exclusive schools - only affordable to the wealthier classes. Brooks further argues that the educated class creates class barriers by establishing practices that can be accessed only by those in possession of rarefied information like choices in reading, food, purchases, child rearing, gender norms, intersectionality, etc.},
category={Criticality, Economics, Zoning, class}
% What reading Brooks makes me realize is how insane the dialog on the right is. Brooks articulates concepts in a clear-headed way, that totally make sense - he just comes at them from a different value set from most NY Times readers.
% That is in stark contrast to nearly everyone else engaged in dialog on the right - who ONLY come at things from a different value set (minus the clear-headed thinking part.)
% To be fair, TONS (maybe most?) dialog on the left ALSO comes straight from a value set, minus clear-headed thinking. But there is at least a strong core (even if it’s a minority) of clear-headed thinking on the left.

Author={Secton, Joe},
Title={Despite Exposés and Embarrassments, Hundreds of Judges Preside in New York Without Law Degrees},
comment={An update on the 2006 NY Times reporting on the low-quality and professionalism of judges (particularly in rural areas) in NY State. Despite reforms since then, many judges simply aren’t lawyers, and that may be at the core of the problem. Why? ``The powerful idea that communities should choose their own destinies, including their own judges. The considerable costs of updating courtrooms and hiring lawyers to preside. The always-popular calls to keep lawyers out of people’s lives. And, not least, the power of the justices, who are often important players in local politics, wired into the same party mechanisms that produce the state’s lawmakers, judges and governors.’’},
category={judges, Criticality, Politics, lawyers, ny state}

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={Why Fathers Leave Their Children},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Using information from a book called “Doing the Best I Can” Brooks describes the relationship side of low-income fathers. They typically get a woman who is not a serious partner pregnant by accident first. Then they get excited about the ideal of fatherhood, and early on are far more involved with their children than most fathers. But they soon realize that the woman is not an ideal partner and start to see her as an authority figure. The woman at the same time is looking for stability and thinks she can trade up to something better, so the family falls apart. Brooks suggests that the good news is that the values are there for these fathers. They are not deadbeat dads.},
category={Criticality, Economics, fathers}
% Brooks of course (being Brooks) assumes that what we want is stable two-parent households.
% He also subscribes to the idea that these values of fatherhood are good. But if you read carefully, it’s pretty clear that these values are all but unobtainable for these men.
% They WANT to be idealized fathers. Rather than trying to build programs that reinforce that unobtainable ideal, we should probably trying to change the ideal to something more realistic.
% Which I gurantee the more successful program (say convincing people not to go off birth control) will do.
% What’s not fair about that of course is that why should they give up their ideals and dreams?
% It’s the fucking rich people who should be doing that.

Author={Faulkner, William},
Title={Southern Harm},
journal={Harper’s Magazine},
comment={From Harper’s archive, a short nonfiction piece by Faulkner talking about equality in the south. ``That’s what the white man in the South is afraid of: that the Negro, who has done so much with no chance, might do so much more with an equal one that he might take the white man’s economy away from him, the Negro now the banker or the merchant or the planter and the white man the sharecropper or the tenant. ‘’},
category={Criticality, race, south, equality, racism}

Author={Tramontana, Mary Katharine},
Title={Stop Calling It a ‘Vagina’},
comment={Makes the interesting point that the vagina'' actually refers to the inside parts of a woman's genitals, the vulva’’ is the exterior parts that is what people are usually referring to.},
category={Criticality, definitions, Humanity, words, women, genitals}
% The misunderstanding of what terms refer to what in female genitals is interesting, and it could have been interesting to dive deeper into how that reflects on the culture. That part of the article is here, but feels more like watered-down feminist tropes. She goes off on an argument that the reason people use the wrong term is because the culture is trying to bury and hide the exterior parts of a woman’s genitals. If that’s so, why would we be trying to correct the word they are using? She had just argued they are using the wrong word because they are TRYING to talk about the external parts. Essentially the first half argues that people WANT to talk about external parts, but are using the wrong term. And in the second half that people DON’T want to talk about external parts.
% Nowhere does she address the fact that porn, made for men, is OBSESSED with the external parts of the female anatomy (if somewhat less focused on the clitoris).

Author={Medina, Jennifer},
Title={The L.A. Riots 25 Years Later: A Return to the Epicenter},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Looks back at the Los Angeles riots 25 years ago. Makes clear that while in one way the riots were entirely effective at communicating how angry people were — the LA police department went through wide-spread reforms and put under civilian oversight — in another way the creeping unfairness is coming back and people are getting angry again. The corner of Florence and Normandie is essentially unchanged from 25 years ago, and polls say that for the first time in years people think another riot is more likely to happen. This despite the neighborhood being rebranded “South Los Angeles” from “South Central” and a shift to Latino-majority from African-American majority.},
category={Criticality, los angeles, riots}

Author={Dunlap, David W.},
Title={How Do You Pronounce Kosciuszko? It Depends on Where You’re From.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={How to pronounce the name Kosciuszko, as in the Kosciuszko Bridge. The Polish pronunciation is ko-SHCH-OO-SH-ko. Local folks call it Kos-kee-OOS-ko. Of course, it isn’t even spelled correctly, which is: Kościuszko.},
category={Criticality, bridges, nyc, Urbanism, kosciuszko bridge, polish}

Author={Jacobs, Andrew},
Title={China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={China is subsidizing a fishing fleet to travel around the world in giant trawlers to catch fish. It’s devestating small fishering in places like Senegal and collapsing fisheries.},
category={Criticality, Economics, Science, china, fishing, overfishing, senegal, oceans}

Author={Morris, Errol},
Title={‘The Umbrella Man’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Errol Morris interviews Tink Thompson who wrote the book on the Zapruder Film Six Seconds in Dallas.'' Tink describes how the umbrella man’’ who stood on the side of the road right at the point where Kennedy was assassinated with an open umbrella on a beautiful sunny day, was in fact protesting a obscure policy of Joseph Kennedy from the 1930s and referencing Neville Chamberlain. Tink points out that this is so bizarre it must be true. And if you look at any historical event closely enough you find that in addition to the simplistic big-scale themes that define the event, you will find an unimaginable array of other complex things going on beneath the surface. Like the relationship between Physics and quantum physics.},
category={Criticality, kennedy assassination, quantum physics, conspiracy theories}

Author={Tempey, Nathan},
Title={NYC’s Top 0.1 Percent Makes Four Times The Income Of The Bottom Half Of Earners},
comment={Report from the NYC Independent Budget Office finds that in NYC the income share of the bottom end has shrunk, while the top of the top end has grown. ``“The way it plays out in the data is that it seems that the top half has gained, but when I zoom into the top 10 percent, it’s the top 1 percent that’s gained,” Debipriya Chatterjee explained. “Then I zoom in further and it’s the top 0.1 percent.”’’},
category={Criticality, income inequality, nyc, ibo}

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={This Age of Wonkery},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Brooks argues here that there has been a shift in the generaly thinking of the culture, away from intellectuals and towards policy wonks. If you were a certain sort of ideas-oriented young person coming of age in the 20th century, it was very likely you would give yourself a label and join some movement. You’d call yourself a Marxist, a neoconservative, a Freudian, an existentialist or a New Deal liberal.'' People today seem less likely to give themselves intellectual labels or join self-conscious philosophical movements. Young people today seem more likely to have their worldviews shaped by trips they have taken, or causes they have been involved in, or the racial or ethnic or gender identity group they identify with.’’ In his book, “The Ideas Industry,” Daniel W. Drezner says we’ve shifted from a landscape dominated by public intellectuals to a world dominated by thought leaders. A public intellectual is someone like Isaiah Berlin, who is trained to comment on a wide array of public concerns from a specific moral stance. A thought leader champions one big idea to improve the world — think Al Gore’s work on global warming.'' As Drezner puts it, intellectuals are critical, skeptical and tend to be pessimistic. Thought leaders are evangelists for their idea and tend to be optimistic.’’ There used to be a sense that the very nature of society was up for grabs, but now public thinkers see themselves as legislative advisers. While public policy used to be guided by frameworks politicians operated in which was created by intellectuals, now the itellectuals simply provide policy guidance in an effort to change one thing.},
category={Criticality, Politics, intellectuals, public policy}
% This is super interesting, and STARTS to get at some themes I’ve noticed myself. But I don’t think it is totally cooked.
% For one thing, I’m not sure that “intellectuals” is the right term for who public thinkers are.
% Second this implies that the nature of society may no longer be up for grabs. If so, does that mean we have conceded defeat to a nature of society? Say the social-capitalists have won?
% Or are we simply lacking people challenging the nature of society, and we should get back to that? (I believe that’s what Brooks is saying.)
% Which has interesting implications in terms of punk rock: the punks wanted to tear the whole system down. Where are those people now?

Author={Simonite, Tom},
Title={The Decline of Wikipedia},
journal={MIT Technology Review},
comment={Covers the history of the rise of Wikipedia, and the decline in the last decade as aggressive old-school editors have made it hard for new people to start editing. Also caused partially by the efforts to cut down on vandalism. This has led to a sharp decline in the number of active editors. And a professionalization of those voluteer editors and at the same time a weak representation of articles from non-Western non-white perspectives. The volunteer editors themselves blame the lack of newbies on “policy creep” citing the 5000-word neutral point of view policy. There’s also some thought given to the idea that the ideals of the early internet are fading or being lost: Indeed, larger cultural trends will probably make it a challenge to appeal to a broader section of the public. As commercial websites have risen to prominence, online life has moved away from open, self-governed crowdsourcing communities like the one that runs Wikipedia, says Clay Shirky, a professor in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. Shirky was one of the biggest boosters of an idea, popular during the previous decade, that the Web encouraged strangers to come together and achieve things impossible for a conventional organization. Wikipedia is proof there was some truth to that notion. But today’s Web is dominated by sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where people maintain personal, egocentric feeds. Outside specific settings like massive multiplayer games, relatively few people mingle in shared virtual space. Instead, they use mobile devices that are unsuited to complex creative work and favor neatly self-­contained apps over messier, interconnected Web pages. Shirky, who is an advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation, says people steeped in that model will struggle to understand how and why they should contribute to Wikipedia or any project like it. “Facebook is the largest participatory culture today, but their mode of participation is different,” he says. “It’s aggregating rather than collaborating.”'' Also compares Wikipedia to a public park: Gardner agrees that today’s Web is hostile to self-organized collective efforts, likening it to a city that has lost its public parks. “Our time is spent on an increasingly small number of increasingly large corporate sites,” she says. “We need more public space online.” In fact, Gardner is leaving the foundation at the end of the year in search of new projects to work on that very problem. She contends that even with all its troubles, Wikipedia is one of the Web’s few public parks that won’t disappear.’’},
category={Criticality, public space, parks, wikipedia}
% Doesn’t address the fact that so much of wikipedia is now edited by experts that it can be hard to read some articles for being too technical. I have thought for a long time that Wikipedia should have a policy of putting a plain-language description at the top of every article.
% Also, while it does say that the efforts to address vandalism were mostly successful, it generally subscribes to the criticism that Wikipedia is often wrong. Sure it is, but it deserves credit for how GOOD and RIGHT it is too.
% As I say, it is obviously a mistake to cite Wikipedia for your academic paper, but you are a fool to not check the wikipedia article about whatever subject you are researching. Not only is it a good place to begin research, but you can avoid making a claim that has been proven wrong a posted on wikipedia.

Author={Higgins, Andrew},
Title={A Harsh Climate Calls for Banishment of the Needy},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Talks about how Lonyearbyen in Svalbard Norway achieves near-crime-free society by banishing homeless and jobless people.},
category={Criticality, arctic, svalbard, norway}
% This is the article that has suspciously similar themes to the letter I wrote to the Times. I got back a very short email from the author when I wrote to him.
% See also this amazing photo/illustration piece Cristoph Niemann did about Svalbard: \url{}

Author={Crawford, Kate},
Title={The Hidden Biases in Big Data},
journal={Harvard Business review},
comment={From the peak year of big-data hype comes this critical piece that tells the tales of how during Hurricane Sandy tweet data had things to tell us about what people in Manhattan were experiencing, but harder-hit areas like the Rockaways were completely silent on Twitter with the lack of power. And how Boston was trying to find potholes with a smartphone app that detected them with accelerometers, but had to supplement that data with government vehicles driven in neighborhoods with low smartphone usage. We can think of this as a “signal problem”: Data are assumed to accurately reflect the social world, but there are significant gaps, with little or no signal coming from particular communities.'' Big data’s signal problems won’t disappear as the use of smartphones and other digital technologies increases. As the geographers Michael Crutcher and Matthew Zook noted after Hurricane Katrina, technologies are always differentially adopted, and “any divide in accessing digital technology is not a one-time event but a constantly moving target as new devices, software and cultural practices emerge.” As we move into an era in which personal devices are seen as proxies for public needs, we run the risk that already existing inequities will be further entrenched. Thus, with every big data set, we need to ask which people are excluded. Which places are less visible? What happens if you live in the shadow of big data sets? This points to the next frontier: how to address these weaknesses in big data science. In the near term, data scientists should take a page from social scientists, who have a long history of asking where the data they’re working with comes from, what methods were used to gather and analyze it, and what cognitive biases they might bring to its interpretation (for more, see “Raw Data is an Oxymoron“).’’},
category={Criticality, big data, hurricane sandy, new urban mechanics, boston}

Author={Baggini, Julian},
Title={Joy in the task},
comment={Article looking at the rise of Nespresso machines over hand-made espresso even in top-end restaurants, and the old issue of machines (or robots) versus humans. “For most epicures, it is almost an article of faith that this will never happen, because food needs to be cooked with love, flair and passion. While this might conceivably be true at the very peak of culinary art, in most cases mechanisation is competing not against the artisanal best but against the human mean. So, even if the very best coffee is still made the traditional way by a skilled, human barista, all Nespresso need do is produce better coffee than the majority of baristas, whom most coffee fanatics describe as incompetent anyway.” “Surely we appreciate the handmade in part because it is handmade. An object or a meal has different meaning and significance if we know it to be the product of a human being working skilfully with tools rather than a machine stamping out another clone. Even if in some ways a mass-produced object is superior in its physical properties, we have good reasons for preferring a less perfect, handcrafted one.” “Corporations know this, which is why they will often use bogus personalisation to make their products seem more appealing, like putting a picture of a farmer on the label, or giving the product the name of a person or place. But do we have good reasons for this preference, or is it just romantic nonsense? I think we do. We live in a world of humans, other animals and things, and the quality of life depends on the qualities of the relationships between them. Mass production, like factory farming, weakens, if not destroys, these relationships. This creates a kind of alienation, where we feel no genuine, human contact with those who supply us with what we need.”},
category={Criticality, coffee, robots, espresso, food, haute cuisine}
% Doesn’t mention the fact that this goes all the way back to John Henry and beyond though.

Author={Raven, Paul},
journal={Velcro City Tourist Board},
comment={Argues that postmodernism did not say there is no truth, but that there is too much to know for any individual to think they know everything they need to. ``The point of postmodernism is not and was never “there are no facts”, the denial of an objective reality. The point is that facts are unevenly distributed across a metamedium which distributes half-facts and falsehoods with equal facility. The point is that the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth objective reality is by definition inaccessible to the subjective experience of individuals; there is far too much to know for any one individual to know it all. The point is that he who controls the distribution of stories controls the stories themselves.’’ Points out that despite virtually nobody reading much postmodern thought, and that it has always suffered from lots of criticism, it is now being used as the historical precedent, if not the blame, for the “post-truth” era.},
category={Criticality, politics, postmodernism, philosophy}

Author={Engber, Daniel},
Title={There Is No Island of Trash in the Pacific},
comment={Looks into the fact that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not actually a thing that can been seen, and in reality is micro-particles of plastic pollution widely spread. Compares it to the hole in the ozone layer, and how the image of that (though wildly inaccurate) spurred political action. Ultimately, decides the garbage patch image is actually a useful thing, if inaccurate.},
category={Criticality, Science, the great pacific garbage patch, plastic, garbage, ozone, gyre}
% On On The Media Engber points out that most of the reporting actually got it right. It was the IMAGES that go along with the reporting that were wildly off.
% Something interesting about the power of visuals there.
% See this article on the potential of a grub/worm to digest plastic too: \url{}
% No island of trash, but there are islands covered in trash in the Pacific: \url{}
% Update on Pacific Garbage Patch status: \url{}

author = {C{'o}zar, Andr{'e}s and Mart{'\i}, Elisa and Duarte, Carlos M. and Garc{'\i}a-de-Lomas, Juan and van Sebille, Erik and Ballatore, Thomas J. and Egu{'\i}luz, Victor M. and Gonz{'a}lez-Gordillo, J. Ignacio and Pedrotti, Maria L. and Echevarr{'\i}a, Fidel and Troubl{`e}, Romain and Irigoien, Xabier},
title = {The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in the North Atlantic branch of the Thermohaline Circulation},
volume = {3},
number = {4},
year = {2017},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1600582},
publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
abstract = {The subtropical ocean gyres are recognized as great marine accummulation zones of floating plastic debris; however, the possibility of plastic accumulation at polar latitudes has been overlooked because of the lack of nearby pollution sources. In the present study, the Arctic Ocean was extensively sampled for floating plastic debris from the Tara Oceans circumpolar expedition. Although plastic debris was scarce or absent in most of the Arctic waters, it reached high concentrations (hundreds of thousands of pieces per square kilometer) in the northernmost and easternmost areas of the Greenland and Barents seas. The fragmentation and typology of the plastic suggested an abundant presence of aged debris that originated from distant sources. This hypothesis was corroborated by the relatively high ratios of marine surface plastic to local pollution sources. Surface circulation models and field data showed that the poleward branch of the Thermohaline Circulation transfers floating debris from the North Atlantic to the Greenland and Barents seas, which would be a dead end for this plastic conveyor belt. Given the limited surface transport of the plastic that accumulated here and the
mechanisms acting for the downward transport, the seafloor beneath this Arctic sector is hypothesized as an important sink of plastic debris.},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Science Advances},
commet = {Plastic seems to be drifting up even into the arctic ocean.},
category = {Science, garbage, plastic, arctic}
% See NY Times coverage: \url{}

Author={Manjoo, Farhad},
Title={Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Makes the argument that Snapchat is focussing on cameras because it things the future of communication is visual not text-based. Claims that we evolved from writing letters to phone calls to text messages, and now on to photo sharing. References a paper that argues Snapchat returns us to a time before the printing press, moving infomration back to oral exchange rather than writing. Does reference Ikea instructions as an example of poor visual communication, ``None of this is to suggest writing is going to go away. On the internet, new forms of communication tend to be additive. We won’t replace text with pictures; we add them together to create something new. What’s more, text is still irreplaceable in lots of forms of communication. I could have tried to tell you this story in the form of an image-based Snapchat story, but it would most likely have been unwieldy and not especially informative. If you want to convey a lot of information concisely and accurately, writing is still one of the best methods to use. “If you’ve ever looked at Ikea instructions, those don’t have any words in them, and they’re notorious for how frustrating they are to use,” Ms. McCulloch said. “Ikea instructions would be a lot nicer if they came with words. So I don’t think words are going anywhere.”’’},
category={Criticality, snapchat, visual communication, writing}
% This is one of those articles that is so weak it provides it’s own very strong critique of its argument.
% His example of moving from letters to phone calls BACK to text messages shows exactly how much we value writing - MORE than oral conversations.
% Furthermore, the argument that moving to communicating orally is an argument FOR writing, not against it. We don’t draw pictures to communicate with other, we tell a goddamn story.
% I have no doubt that visuals are important, can HELP tell a story, and can help communicate, but the written word is never going to be supplanted as the main form of communication. If it were, we would have switched to communication pictographically eons ago instead of writing!

title = “Killer Incentives: Status Competition and Pilot Performance during World War II”,
author = “Philipp Ager and Leonardo Bursztyn and Hans-Joachim Voth”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “22992”,
year = “2016”,
month = “December”,
doi = {10.3386/w22992},
URL = “”,
abstract = {A growing theoretical and empirical literature shows that public recognition can lead employees to exert greater effort. However, status competition is also associated with excessive expenditure on status goods, greater likelihood of bankruptcy, and more risk taking by money managers. This paper examines the effects of recognition and status competition jointly. In particular, we focus on the spillover effects of public recognition on the performance and risk taking of peers. Using newly collected data on monthly “victory” scores of more than 5,000 German pilots during World War II, we find that status competition had important effects: After the German armed forces bulletin mentioned the accomplishments of a particular fighter pilot, his former peers performed considerably better. This outperformance varied across skill groups. When a former squadron peer was mentioned, the best pilots tried harder, scored more, and died no more frequently; in contrast, average pilots won only a few additional victories but died at a significantly higher rate. Hence our results show that the overall efficiency effect of nonfinancial rewards can be ambiguous in settings where both risk and output affect aggregate performance.},
categor ={Criticality, world war II, germany, flying, pilots, status competition, praise, recognition}
% Download paper here: \url{}

Author={Filler, Martin},
Title={New York’s Vast Flop},
journal={The New York Review of Books},
comment={A devestatingly critical architectural review of the new buildings of the World Trade Center plaza. Covers the fact that One World Trade Center cost 3.9 billion, making it the world’s most expensive skyscraper by far. Also the Oculus: ``The fortune spent on this kitschy jeu d’esprit—nearly twice its already unconscionable initial estimate of 2.2 billion—is even more outrageous for a facility that serves only 40,000 commuters on an average weekday, as opposed to the 750,000 who pass through Grand Central Terminal daily. Astoundingly, the Transportation Hub wound up costing 1 billion more than One World Trade Center itself.’’ Also includes a review of Lynne B. Sagalyn’s Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan.},
category={Criticality, architecture, world trade center, oculus, freedom tower}
% The Power at Ground Zero book sounds fantastic, like a Power Broker accounting of the world trade center plaza.

Author={Sullivan, Paul},
Title={A Good Westminster Show Dog? It’ll Cost a Lot More Than Some Kibble},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Dog shows are essentially just a hobby for rich people. They are scored based on recognition and personal judgement, so a good chance of winning requires advertising your dog in the dog competition publications. That’s on top of the high costs just to raise a show dog.},
% At least there’s no real money prizes. That’s the only thing making it seem like it isn’t totally a scam. Still, it’s just a hobby for rich people, with no real merit, even for “improving” dog breeds. Pretty stupid, really.

Author={Konnikova, Maria},
Title={Why Your Name Matters},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={The long history of research suggesting that having a conventional name could lead to better outcomes in life has been more recently undermined by better research. (Some interesting references to statistical process included in this article, as well as many links to research papers.) However, there is also more modern research suggesting that names associated with race play a role in life outcomes - with traditionally white names doing better than traditionally black names.},
category={Criticality, names, race}

Author={Manjoo, Farhad},
Title={Clearing Out the App Stores: Government Censorship Made Easier},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Points out that app stores give control of content to centralized power, going against the founding principles of the internet. “The bigger a company is, the bigger the risk that blocking them will lead to riots in the streets because you have come between people and their pictures of cats,”'' The Times, he argued, could have stuck with the old way of publishing news. The company could have declined to create a downloadable app and instead invested all of its engineering resources into making its news available on the web, anonymously. The Times could have refused to profile users for advertising purposes, or to have its articles hosted on Facebook, or to monitor what people read in order to recommend more articles to keep people engaged. In short, The Times could have refused to play the modern digital-publishing game. But like every other publisher, it went along. “What did you expect would happen?” Mr. Moglen said. “China didn’t have to build a Great Firewall to do this. You all offered them an opportunity to piggyback onto your disrespect for the privacy and integrity and autonomy of your readers and users.”’’},
category={Criticality, app stores, censorship}

Author={Elstein, Aaron},
Title={Drain freeze: A deluge of spent cooking oil is blocking sewer lines in Queens},
comment={Covers the problem of cooking oil being dumped down drains, cooling, congealing, and blocking sewers. This is particularly a problem in Queens, near Kennedy Airport, where lots of food is prepared and the sewer system needs an overhall.},
category={Critcality, cooking oil, sewers, Urbanism}

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={Searching for the Human Factor in Deadly Avalanches},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Instead of looking at terrain conditions as predictors of avalanches, a scientists looks at the decision-making processes that put people in the way of avalanches. Interesting because \emph{experts} are more likely to take risks and get into danger than people who are not experts and are more cautious.},
category={Criticality, Health, avalanches, decision-making, human factors}

Author={Taub, Amanda},
Title={How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Some research by Yascha Mounk contradicts the idea which Political scientists have a theory called “democratic consolidation,” which holds that once countries develop democratic institutions, a robust civil society and a certain level of wealth, their democracy is secure. For decades, global events seemed to support that idea. Data from Freedom House, a watchdog organization that measures democracy and freedom around the world, shows that the number of countries classified as “free” rose steadily from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. Many Latin American countries transitioned from military rule to democracy; after the end of the Cold War, much of Eastern Europe followed suit. And longstanding liberal democracies in North America, Western Europe and Australia seemed more secure than ever.'' This research created an index of democratic stability and their index suggest that Western democracies are weakening. The research suffers from a correlation vs causation problem, and it is only one measure. But the reasearcher adds: the minutiae of politics can easily distract from these more fundamental dangers. “It’s not just about what Trump will do to the E.P.A.,” he said, referring to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It really is that Trump may try to undermine liberal democracy in the United States.”’’},
category={Criticality, Politics, democracy, democratic stability}

Author={Lilla, Mark},
Title={The End of Identity Liberalism},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An argument that identity politics cost the Democrats the election. Paraphrases Bernie Sanders saying that American is sick of hearing about liberal’s bathrooms. And makes the point that modern history classes reframe old movements in terms of identity, which is misleading regarding the motivations.},
category={Criticality, Politics, liberalism, identity}

% Posted on NY Times:
% I find this argument wholly unconvincing. There are real criticisms to be made with identity politics, (some alluded to here) but costing the Democrats the election is not one of them.
% Americans might often been annoyed or feel slightly alienated by identity politics, but most people don’t actually despise them. That’s why they poke fun at it rather than protest it.
% The Democrats lost because they ran a candidate who completely failed to present any kind of vision against establishment politics. Presenting as anti-establishment is what won every election since 2000. It’s why Bush won, it’s why Obama won, and it’s why Trump won. (Or maybe more importantly NOT presenting as anti-establishment is why Gore, Kerry, Romney, and Clinton LOST.)
% If Hillary had presented her support of identity politics as a cause for CHANGE (and yes, had included white blue-collar workers as one of the included identities) she would have easily won. After all, what goes better with anti-establishment than identity politics?

Author={Rosenberg, Matthew and Markoff, John},
Title={The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The defense industry is moving more and more towards autonomous weapons. They claim that they want to keep humans in the loop for all major decisions: Centaur warfighting''. They unvconvincingly argue that thinking about it like Skynet is not right. But skeptics point out that the decision to simply arm vehicles that are already automous is too tempting and could set off an arms race. References some interesting ideas about how average chess players learned to be masters by learning from computer generated algorithms. Also references unlimited submarine warfare’’ during World War II.},
category={Criticality, Science, superscience, autonomous weapons, skynet, terminator, submarines, drones}

Author={Bartlett, Jennifer},
Title={Longing for the Male Gaze},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A woman with cerebral palsy argues that she wants to feel like men are paying attention to her, rather than ignoring her just because of the way she moves.},
category={feminism, Criticality, male gaze, cerebral palsy, handicaps, disability}
% I think the person with a disability is just an extreme example of something many women suffer from. For every attractive young feminist annoyed by all the male attention there’s probably 10 women who wish they had MORE male attention. The stats on OK Cupid (if I remember correctly) bear this out - some women with attractive pictures get tons and tons of attention, while some others get little to none.
% Being a beautiful woman must be a lot like being an adorable child. Total strangers are constantly trying to get your attention, and entertain you. I guess the difference being that children generally WANT attention - from pretty much anyone. And women only want attention from certain people.

Author={Rock, Michael},
Title={The Accidental Power of Design},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that we design'' everything. We design spoons and rooms, houses and cities, power grids and national identities, international treaties and defense systems and, when all else fails, military campaigns. If design refers to that which is planned and brought to fruition by human ingenuity, we’ve reached the point where, as Mark Wigley and Beatriz Colomina, curators of this year’s Istanbul Design Biennial, aptly observe, “the planet itself has been completely encrusted by design as a geological layer.” Even the few undesigned places left exist because we design the borders around them.’’ ``Design solidifies, and naturalizes, things that start off as opinions, stories and traditions, supplying form to the fictions by which we live. We rarely stop to consider the faith-based proposition represented by our paper money or the imagined national narratives engendered by borders. Unlike words, the meaning of which can be debated, the objective materiality of designed objects exudes a unique power. Once established, it’s difficult to think outside the systems and structures these objects represent.’’},
category={Criticality, design}

Author={Ripley, Amanda},
Title={Can Teenage Defiance Be Manipulated for Good?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Looks at emerging research that suggests the teenage tendency to defy authority and sympathy with social justice can be manipulated into good causes.},
category={Health, Criticality, teenagers, defiance, authority, CUP}
% Unfortunately while it’s clear that teenagers are DIFFERENT (and clearly not stupider than adults) what exactly it means for them to be defiant isn’t made clear here.
% For example, they talk about the teenager who rebels by becoming vegetarian. But it is so easy to find the teenager who rebels against vegetarianism by engrossing themselves in meat.
% I am skeptical that there is some formula that could be developed that taps teenager rebellion potential.
% Though if there is, the giant mass market media of corporations have definitely already figured it out.

title={Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made},
author={Geyer, Roland and Jambeck, Jenna R and Law, Kara Lavender},
journal={Science advances},
publisher={American Association for the Advancement of Science},
comment={8300 million metric tons of plastic have been produced. 9% of those plastics were recycled, 12% were incinerated, and 79% of them ended up in landfills or the natural environment.},
category={Science, plastic}

Author={Dillon, Noah},
Title={Are Tote Bags Really Good for the Environment?},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment={Argues that because reusuable tote bags require far more carbon to produce they are worse for the environment than plastic bags. References studies that show that you need to use a reusuable tote more than 300 times (and it has to last that long) for it to make up for the carbon used in production. While a plastic bag, if reused once (say as a trash bag) makes up for the carbon used in its production.},
category={Criticality, plastic, tote bags}
% This article mentions but doesn’t address the fact that plastic bags are forever though. It is important to understand the carbon differences, of course, but there’s other kinds of polution than carbon. (Same problem with the arguments for nuclear power.)
% See also: \url{} % Which claims each cotton tote must be used 20,000 times. Though overall it’s a terrible article ending with the quote, “we end up in an environmental what-about-ism that leaves consumers with the idea that there is no solution” — and then never addresses how that isn’t exactly what we have.

Title={The People’s Playground},
comment={Editorial introduction to the issue of Jacobin called Paint the Town Red (Fall, 2014). Argues that the city used to be a place of socialist ambitions but is now the playspace of technocrat capitalists. Radical critics were once at the forefront of urban thought and practice: in the 1950s and 60s, groups like the Situationists sought to counter the convention and alienation of life under capitalism by imbuing the city with the sense that everyday life held possibility, that it could be inventive and extraordinary.'' Meanwhile, Jane Jacobs-style urbanism has become all too adaptable to liberal appropriation. Her celebration of mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods has been used in the service of gentrifying, high-income developments.’’},
category={Criticality, Urbanism, jane jacobs, situationists, socialism, capitalists, gentrification}
% A link to this in a different article suggested that the situationists were reimagining the city not as a tool for capital, but as a place for play, experimentation and fun. (Whatever that article was also pointed out that situationist thinking was pretty opaque.)

Author={Stewart, James B.},
Title={How Much Does Donald Trump Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={It is likely that Trump pays nothing in income tax. This is because for real estate develpers there are many many tax loopholes. For instance if a real estate developer sells a property and uses the proceeds to buy another property, it’s considered a ``like-kind’’ exchange, and is not taxed. In addition losses are deductible and it’s afine line between business and personal expenses for a real estate developer.},
category={Criticality, taxes, real estate developers, trump}

Author={Anderson, Brett},
Title={Louisiana Loses Its Boot},
comment={Looks at the continuing loss of land in Louisianna, and draws a new map that shows walkable/inhabitable land'' in LA, which completely lacks its traditional distinctive boot’’ look.},
category={Criticality, mapping, louisiana, swamps}
% I’m 90% sure I read this article back in 2014, and it’s where I heard about John M. Barry’s book, Rising Tide.
% I was reminded of it by an interview with Anderson in On The Media.
% This article has some cool art and graphics besides the non-boot map.
% This article is probably work a re-read.

Author={Brooks, David},
Title={The Great Affluence Fallacy},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Brooks uses an example of how colonials Europeans kept running off to join Indian tribes, while Indians NEVER wanted to stay with colonials when given the opportunity as a metaphor for how we may have created a culture that values the wrong things in life. The argument is that Indians were primarily a communal culture, while Europeans were more atomized. If colonial culture was relatively atomized, imagine American culture of today. As we’ve gotten richer, we’ve used wealth to buy space: bigger homes, bigger yards, separate bedrooms, private cars, autonomous lifestyles. Each individual choice makes sense, but the overall atomizing trajectory sometimes seems to backfire. According to the World Health Organization, people in wealthy countries suffer depression by as much as eight times the rate as people in poor countries.'' If millennials are heading anywhere, it seems to be in the direction of community. Politically, millennials have been drawn to the class solidarity of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Hillary Clinton — secretive and a wall-builder — is the quintessence of boomer autonomy. She has trouble with younger voters.’’},
category={community, Criticality, millenials, indians, native americans, colonial europeans}
% Brooks pulls his example from a book called “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger that sounds really interesting.
% This makes me wonder about this issue in the context of planning, particularly the aspect where our individual choices add up to a worse society. Planning is (or could be) at the heart of this issue. It REQUIRES people to think systemically, not in their own interests, in order to work at all, and especially for a useful community input process. It is the opportunity to create physical spaces that can force a culture that operates with less atomization.

Author={Angwin, Julia},
Title={The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke},
comment = {The dude who developed GNU encryption for email (GPG), critical for keeping most email private, was starting to run out of money, but got a grant from one of the Linux foundations.},
category = {open source, software, email, encryption, Criticality}
% I only list this email because it includes a picture of the dude with his IBM Model M keyboard!

title={Gender, race, and perception of environmental health risks},
author={Flynn, James and Slovic, Paul and Mertz, Chris K},
journal={Risk analysis},
publisher={Wiley Online Library},
abstract={This paper reports the results of a national survey in which perceptions of environmental health risks were measured for 1275 white and 214 nonwhite persons. The results showed that white women perceived risks to be much higher than did white men, a result that is consistent with previous studies. However, this gender difference was not true of nonwhite women and men, whose perceptions of risk were quite similar. Most striking was the finding that white males tended to differ from everyone else in their attitudes and perceptions–on average, they perceived risks as much smaller and much more acceptable than did other people. These results suggest that sociopolitical factors such as power, status, alienation, and trust are strong determiners of people’s perception and acceptance of risks.},
% Yet another article I don’t have access to. Referenced by this Vox article about how white males have less fear of nuclear power, and climate change than other groups: \url{}

title={The myth of persistence of vision revisited},
author={Anderson, Joseph and Anderson, Barbara},
journal={Journal of Film and Video},
comment={Recaps their original 1978 article debunking the myth of persistence of vision''. Talks about how it is film scholarship's creation myth. Looks at (then-recent) theories of perception, and concludes that it is not the persistence of an image on the retina or the brain that causes the perception of motion, but the brain fuses two moving things that are close together into a single movement (while the brain can tell that movement with space between it is not a single movement). Thus they call for the phenomenon to be named the same thing it is in science: short-range apparent motion.’’},
category={Criticality, The Art, persistence of vision, sight, movies, film, art theory, film theory}

title={Human factors: Tenerife revisited},
author={McCreary, John and Pollard, Michael and Stevenson, Kenneth and Wilson, Marc B},
journal={Journal of Air Transportation World Wide},
comment={Looks at the Tenerife air disaster where nearly 600 people died, and concludes that the crew was a highly mechanized unit - useful for expected routines, but dangerous in a high-stress situation. In stress situations, the decision making becomes highly centralized (ie, the captain) and subordinates start deferring to the central, experienced authority exactly at the moment safety would require them to speak up and voice their concerns. Recommends Crew Resource Management (CRM) Training, communication training, and stress training.},
category={air crashes, Criticality, air disasters, tenerife, crm, authority}
% There’s an article about the role dentistry played in identifying the bodies in the Tenerife disaster that I came across while looking for this article: \url{} Looks interesting, but I haven’t read it because I have no access to it.

Author={Harris, Tristan},
Title={How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist},
comment = {Gives a detailed list of the ways design in technology is used to grab and hold your attention. For example, controlling the menu of what’s available, using adictive practices in software, making people feel like they are going to miss something important.},
category = {design, technology, Criticality}

Author={Klosterman, Chuck},
Title={Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Klosterman makes a game of thinking about who future historians will remember as the embodiment of rock and roll. Based on the idea that at some point history reduces entire genres to a single person because Wester culture understands everything through the process of storytelling, often to the detriment of reality. If Sousa represents all marching music, who is going to represent all rock and roll? },
category = {Criticality, rock and roll, the beatles, chuck berry, bob dylan, elvis, sousa}
% Klosterman quote jazz historian Ted Gioia who believes that specialists are the people who galvanize history. Critics have almost no impact on what music is popular at any given time, but they’re extraordinarily well positioned to dictate what music is reintroduced after its popularity has waned: critics and music historians hate sentimental love songs. They’ve constructed a perspective that emphasizes the rise of rock and pushes everything else into the background. Transgressive rockers, in contrast, enjoy lasting fame.'' % He points to a contemporary version of that phenomenon: “Right now, electronic dance music probably outsells hip‑hop. This is identical to the punk‑versus‑disco trade‑off of the 1970s. My prediction: edgy hip‑hop music will win the fame game in the long run, while E.D.M. will be seen as another mindless dance craze.”’’
% His example is the adversarial divide between punk and disco: In 1977, the disco soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” and the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” were both released. The soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” has sold more than 15 million copies; it took “Never Mind the Bollocks” 15 years to go platinum. Yet virtually all pop historiographers elevate the importance of the Pistols above that of the Bee Gees. The same year the Sex Pistols finally sold the millionth copy of their debut, SPIN magazine placed them on a list of the seven greatest bands of all time. “Never Mind the Bollocks” is part of the White House record library, supposedly inserted by Amy Carter just before her dad lost to Ronald Reagan. The album’s reputation improves by simply existing: In 1985, the British publication NME classified it as the 13th‑greatest album of all time; in 1993, NME made a new list and decided it now deserved to be ranked third. This has as much to do with its transgressive identity as its musical integrity. The album is overtly transgressive (and therefore memorable), while “Saturday Night Fever” has been framed as a prefab totem of a facile culture (and thus forgettable). For more than three decades, that has been the overwhelming consensus.'' % But I’ve noticed — just in the last four or five years — that this consensus is shifting. Why? Because the definition of “transgressive” is shifting. It’s no longer appropriate to dismiss disco as superficial. More and more, we recognize how disco latently pushed gay, urban culture into white suburbia, which is a more meaningful transgression than going on a British TV talk show and swearing at the host.’’
% Klosterman points out that Johnny B. Goode is on the song on Voyager though. (Against Alan Lomax’s wishes.) Here Comes the Sun was floated, all four Beatles wanted it, but none of them owned the copyright so it was killed for legal reasons.

Author={Emdin, Christopher},
Title={How Can White Teachers Do Better by Urban Kids of Color?},
comment = {Describes how white teachers going into low-income urban areas apply their own ideas of various behaviors to students who have their own image based on the culture they grew up in.},
category = {race, teaching, Criticality}

Author={Millhiser, Ian},
Title={What Do You Need to Do to Be a Supreme Court Justice?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {An analysis of the process of the career of elite lawyers, concluding that the top of the law field, including Supreme Court appointees is entirely dominated by ambitious people who made safe and establishment career decisions before the age of 24.},
category = {supreme court, Criticality, lawyers}
% This is really a smart critical analysis of the entire field of law. Compare to the Performance of elected officials paper NBERw22071.

Author={Hacker, Andrew},
Title={The Wrong Way to Teach Math},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Argues that the current mathematics course that Americans follow is more or less useless. Argues for numeracy'' and citizen statistics’’. ``By this I mean coping with the numbers that suffuse our personal and public lives — like figures cited on income distribution, climate change or whether cellphones can damage your brain. What’s needed is a facility for sensing symptoms of bias, questionable samples and dubious sources of data.’’ Instead most statistics courses teach research statistics that are incredibly difficult and not very useful for daily life.},
category = {citizen statistics, maths, numeracy, Criticality}

Author={Davies, William},
Title={How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next },
journal={The Guardian},
comment={Gives some history of statistics, and why populism and identity politics have given rise to a mistrust of statistics. Also warns about how private collection of big data allows companies to have a much more nuanced view of people than traditional statistics ever did.},
category={Criticality, statistics}

Author={Koebler, Jason},
Title={A New Advocacy Group Is Lobbying for the Right to Repair Everything},
comment = {The Repair Coalition intends to advocate for the basic right to repair anything that is made.},
category = {repairs, Criticality}

Author={Bennett, Jessica},
Title={She? Ze? They? What’s In a Gender Pronoun},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A look at all the current fashions of different gender pronouns. Some interesting support for ``they’’.},
category = {gender, pronouns}
% The people who are deeply in the conversation about gender neutral pronouns are so very similar to the people in the arguments for the different types of UNIXes, particularly resonant is trans* and *nix. But like the unix arguers, I doubt very much anyone outside a small group of insiders care very much.
% Beyond that, it’s hard to argue with the simplicity and current common adoption of “they”.
% And none of the pronouns suggested here carry the bright usable weight of “yo” — see article below.
% Another article about the rising use of ‘they’ \url{}

title={A new gender-neutral pronoun in Baltimore, Maryland: A preliminary study},
author={Stotko, Elaine M and Troyer, Margaret},
journal={American Speech},
publisher={Duke Univ Press},
comment = {Yo being used as a gender neutral pronoun.},
category = {pronouns}

Author={Sanger, David E.},
Title={New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Article about a new report that says that the government spy agency’s worries about communications ``going dark’’ from powerful encryption techniques are overblown. Particularly they don’t count just how many ways they can spy on people as more and more things are connected in more ways.},
category = {going dark, spying, terrorism, encryption}

Author={Philipps, Dave},
Title={Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Wounded Warrior Project rates badly by Charity Navigator for spending a lot on overhead instead of services.},
category = {charities, wounded warrior project, charity navigator}
% WWP has such a good logo. That silhouette combined with the name tells their whole story in a glance. It might not be GOOD design, but it is super functional design. When this article talks about “branding” I suspect that the logo is what they are talking about. It’s powerful shit.

Author={Cohen, Rick},
Title={Planet Aid and the Clothing Bin Wars},
journal={Non Profit Quarterly},
comment = {Planet Aid, the company that runs the ubiquitous yellow clothing donation boxes, has a bad record as a charity, and is connected to a shadowing international cult. Goodwill recommends not donating to them.},
category = {planet aid, clothing donations, charities, Criticality, charity navigator}

Author={Robles-Anderson, Erica and Svensson, Patrik},
Title={“One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech},
journal={Computational Culture},
comment = {An in-depth look of the history and impact of PowerPoint on speech and conveying information.},
category = {powerpoint, david byrne, speech, military}

title={La Place de la Concorde Suisse},
author={McPhee, J.},
publisher={Farrar, Straus and Giroux},
comment = {McPhee wanders the Swiss countryside, meets interesting characters, talks about Swiss love of their weapons and military. See some cool additional photos in this article, \url{}},
category = {switzerland, guns, weapons, cold war}

title={Racial Capitalism},
author={Leong, Nancy},
journal = {Harvard Law Review},
volume = {126},
url = {},
abstract = { Racial capitalism — the process of deriving social and economic value from racial identity — is a longstanding, common, and deeply problematic practice. This Article is the first to identify racial capitalism as a systemic phenomenon and to undertake a close examination of its causes and consequences. The Article focuses on instances of racial capitalism in which white individuals and predominantly white institutions use nonwhite people to acquire social and economic value. Affirmative action doctrine and policies provide much of the impetus for this form of racial capitalism. These doctrines and policies have fueled an intense legal and social preoccupation with the notion of diversity, which encourages white individuals and predominantly white institutions to engage in racial capitalism by deriving value from nonwhite racial identity. An examination of the consequences of racial capitalism is particularly timely given the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, a challenge to the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas. Racial capitalism has serious negative consequences both for individuals and for society as a whole. The process of racial capitalism relies upon and reinforces commodification of racial identity, which degrades that identity by reducing it to another thing to be bought and sold. Commodification can also foster racial resentment by causing nonwhite people to feel used or exploited by white people. And the superficial value assigned to nonwhiteness within a system of racial capitalism displaces measures that would lead to meaningful social reform. In an ideal society, racial capitalism would not occur. Given the imperfections of our current society, however, this Article instead proposes a pragmatic approach to dismantling racial capitalism, one that recognizes that progress must occur incrementally. Under such an approach, we would discourage racial capitalism. But if racial capitalism did occur, we would identify it explicitly, call attention to its harms, and impose penalties on those who engage in racial capitalism. Moreover, we should ensure that any transaction involving racial value is structured so as to discourage future racial capitalism. I briefly survey some of the various legal mechanisms that can be deployed to discourage racial capitalism through limited commodification. Ultimately, this approach will allow progress toward a society in which we successfully recognize and respect racial identity without engaging in racial capitalism.},
comment = {Discusses the phenomenon of racial capitalism, where white groups add some kind of value from minority members. Mentioned in NY Times op-ed: \url{}},
category = {racial capitalism, racism, diversity}

Author={Wayne, Teddy},
Title={`NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {‘NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves with a plague of pregnant pauses and off-kilter pronunciations. Traditionally news would be delivered with a voice of authoritarian perfection. But now, people don’t trust that voice, and Ira Glass’ style of seeming more human (though of course heavily practised) seems more trustworthy. Also talks about how blogs walk a line between speech and writing.},
category = {NPR, blogs, speech, writing}

Author={Miller, Claire Cain},
Title={A Disadvantaged Start Hurts Boys More Than Girls},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {``Boys are more sensitive than girls to disadvantage. Any disadvantage, like growing up in poverty, in a bad neighborhood or without a father, takes more of a toll on boys than on their sisters.’’},
category = {boys, gender, disadvantage}

Author={Shulz, Kathryn},
Title={Pond Scum},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment = {“Walden” is less a cornerstone work of environmental literature than the original cabin porn: a fantasy about rustic life divorced from the reality of living in the woods, and, especially, a fantasy about escaping the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.'' “Walden” is far closer in spirit to Ayn Rand: suspicious of government, fanatical about individualism, egotistical, élitist, convinced that other people lead pathetic lives yet categorically opposed to helping them. It is not despite but because of these qualities that Thoreau makes such a convenient national hero.’’},
category = {walden, Thoreau}

Author={Haspel, Tamar},
Title={Why salad is so overrated},
journal={The Washington Post},
comment = {``Lettuce is a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table.’’},
category = {salad, environment, food}

Author={Eveleth, Rose},
Title={Why the `Kitchen of the Future’ Always Fails Us},
comment = {Covers the promotional visions of kitchens of the future from the past and from the present. Little has changed. Those films always promote a vision for the future that doesn’t reflect how people actually live. The modern films promote ``work-saving’’ devices that actually lead to more work, since they need far more training to use, (and need to be trained). No longer are they simply turned off and on. And of course those visions of the future, and that kitchen work largely falls to women.},
category = {kitchens, future, feminism}
% These films touch on our “shared values”. Unlike in this article, I think these films DO show a vision and values that a large (appliance-buying) segment of the population share. But there is a much larger segment of the population that would never actually live that way in real life, even if they share in the vision, and another segment of the population that does not share those value at all. Also, I think those values/vision are disctinctly shared with architects/designers/the architect class.
% She makes an interesting point about how new technology requires new expertise. It reminds me of the transparency article, arguing that transparency alone isn’t good enough. You still need experts to decode the transparent data. …and suddenly you have a need for human expertise again, in a robot filled world. Maybe the same thing happens with kitchen technology. Maybe the same thing happens with ALL technology.

Author={Paul, Annie Murphy},
Title={Are College Lectures Unfair?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Research shows that we learn new material by anchoring it to knowledge we already have. So a lecture conveys different information to different people. Wealthier white males have more background knowledge and therefore better absord and retain what they hear. The research shows that flipping the format of courses, so that lectures are listened to online and active learning is the in-class experience yields better learning for everyone.},
category = {education, lectures}
% I am skeptical of this research. If more women than men are attending college, and have better grades throughout high school, why would men have better results from lectures? And I want to see the evidence that active learning isn’t actually holding back the people who already have a richer background from learning more. Maybe the solution is better preparation for lecture for low-income and non-white people, rather than getting rid of lectures altogether. I’d really like to talk to an expert on these topics.
% Plus, the woman writing this article kinda veers to the self-help side of things, if you look at her web page. She is not a scientist herself.

Author={Ford, Paul},
Title={What Is Code?},
journal={Bloomberg Business},
comment = {Paul wrote a 38,000 word visual essay on what ``code’’ is for the layman. Covers the basics of git, agile management, how people think in trees but computers think in a line, how Lisp is the ultimate computer language because it handles trees so nicely (and how Clojure tries to take Lisp and make it useful in a modern sense), the difference between SDKs and frameworks, and the history of computer languages.},
category = {code, computers}

Author={Reich, Robert B.},
Title={Is Big Tech Too Powerful? Ask Google},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Argues that government and free market are intertwined, and arguing about which of those entities you trust is irrelevant. In 2001 10 websites accounts for 31% of web traffic. In 2010 they account for 75%.},
category = {big tech, government, web traffic}

title={How college affects students},
author={Pascarella, Ernest T and Terenzini, Patrick T and Feldman, Kenneth A},
publisher={Jossey-Bass San Francisco, CA},
comment = {There is no difference between colleges based on the quality of the educations provided, and no unified educational mission, other than branding. There are differences between departments and classes within colleges, but that’s it. referenced by this NY Times article: \url{}},
category = {higher education, college, university}
% I haven’t read this book, just the Time article. Quotes from the Times article:
% The illusory university pretends that all professors are guided by a shared sense of educational excellence specific to their institution. In truth, as the former University of California president Clark Kerr observed long ago, professors are “a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.”'' % Because universities aren’t as they appear, systems designed to improve them tend to fail. Consumer protection in higher education is accomplished primarily through accreditation, in which colleges, through nonprofit agencies, are examined by members of other colleges who certify that they meet minimum standards of quality.’’
% Accreditors are charged with an impossible task: to certify that a whole college, which doesn’t really exist, educationally speaking, is educationally sound. Inevitably, many colleges with full accreditation nonetheless graduate students with substandard skills.'' % From the Book: “The great majority of postsecondary institutions appear to have surprisingly similar net impacts on student growth,” the authors write. “If there is one thing that characterizes the research on between-college effects on the acquisition of subject matter knowledge and academic skills, it is that in the most internally valid studies, even the statistically significant effects tend to be quite small and often trivial in magnitude.”’’

Author={Whitehead, Colson},
Title={The Loser Edit' That Awaits Us All}, journal={The New York Times}, date={2015-03-03}, comment = {Colson Whitehead floats the idea that all events leading up to your failures are being recorded, so that when you fail, a loser edit’ can be made showing just where you started to go wrong. And of course your audience will have then claimed to have seen it coming.},
category = {surveillance}

Author={Aschwanden, Christie},
Title={Vitamin-Packed With Promises},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Review of the book Vitamania by Catherine Price. Might be worth checking out as a criticism of the supplement industry.},
category = {books, vitamins, Health, supplements}
% See Jane Brody’s piece about avoiding vitamin supplements, which includes references to further research on how supplements are a scam: \url{}
% And also Health News Review recommendations for reporters writing about supplements and health research in general: \url{}

Author={McBrayer, Justin P.},
Title={Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Argues that children are taught that there is difference between opinions and facts. The result being that they believe there is no such thing as a moral fact.},
category = {education, kids, morality}

Author={Holland, Julie},
Title={Medicating Women’s Feelings},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Argues that women should embrace the strong emotions they have evolved, instead of medicating them down to male levels. Some interesting implications about men, if true.},
category = {feminism}

Author={Davidson, Adam},
Title={In Greenbacks We Trust},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Davidson admits that all economics is built on faith in a bunch of stories. Economics lags behind other fields in raising critical voices, and deconstruction as core to the field. Finally embraces that it might be a better field with uncertainty at the core. References a paper by Frank Knight that differentiates risk from uncertainty and is supposed to be a classic of the field. Sounds like a good read.},
category = {economics, uncertainty}

Author={Davidson, Adam},
Title={The V.C.s of B.C.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Though a fluke of preservation, there is a very complete record of economic trade in the city of Kanesh from 1800s BC. Referring to this record economists have come up with some evidence that there are immutable laws of trade that generally apply across history and place. One economist came up with an equation that predicts that trade between two markets will equal the trade of them multiplied together, and then divided by the distance between them. Turns out this applied to Kanesh too. This equation has an odd mathematical similarity to the law governing the attraction of gravitation.},
category = {economics, Gravity Model}
% It would be interesting to read the original research about Kanesh and the Gravity Model.

title = “It’s Good to be First: Order Bias in Reading and Citing NBER Working Papers”,
author = “Daniel R. Feenberg and Ina Ganguli and Patrick Gaule and Jonathan Gruber”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “21141”,
year = “2015”,
month = “May”,
doi = {10.3386/w21141},
URL = “”,
abstract = {Choices are frequently made from lists where there is by necessity some ordering of options. In such situations individuals can exhibit both primacy bias towards the first option and recency bias towards the last option. We examine this phenomenon in a particularly interesting context: consumer response to the ordering of economics papers in an email announcement issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Each Monday morning Eastern Standard Time (EST) the NBER issues a “New This Week” (NTW) email that lists all of the working papers that have been issued in the past week. This email goes to more than 23,000 subscribers, both inside and outside academia, and the placement order is based on random factors. We show that despite the randomized list placement, papers that are listed first each week are about 30% more likely to be viewed, downloaded, and cited over the next two years. Lower ranking on the list leads to fewer views and downloads, but not cites; however, there is also some recency bias, with the last paper listed receiving more views, downloads and cites. The results are robust to a wide variety of specification checks and are present for both all viewers/downloaders, and for academic institutions in particular. These results suggest that even among expert searchers, list-based searches can be manipulated by list placement.},
comment = {Referenced in this piece on NPR \url{}},
category = {economics, email lists}
% I haven’t read this paper, just the NPR article.

Author={Knee, Jonathan, A.},
Title={In ‘Misbehaving,’ an Economics Professor Isn’t Afraid to Attack His Own},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Review of a book by economist Richard Thaler, `Misbehaving’. Documents the behavioral economists cricism of rationalist'' economics and optimizer’’ based economic theory. Seems like it would be worth reading.},
category = {behavioral economics}

Author={Thaler, Richard H.},
Title={Unless You Are Spock, Irrelevant Things Matter in Economic Behavior},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Thaler gives a basic explanation of how traditional economics fails, and behavioral economics tries to correct for it. Explains the concept of SIFs: Supposedly Irrelevant Factors.},
category = {behavioral economics}

title={Of money},
author={Hume, David and others},
journal={Essays, London: George Routledge and Sons},
url = {},
comment = {Classic essay that talks about how money is actually about what we make, feel, do and want, not money itself. Referenced in this Adam Davidson piece that talks about how the Fed doesn’t even know how much money there is. \url{}},
category ={economics, classics}
% I haven’t read this yet.

Author={Bui, Quoctrung},
Title={50 Years Of Shrinking Union Membership, In One Map},
comment = {Shows the history of location of shrinking union membership. NYS has the highest union membership, but mostly because people in the city government are in unions.},
category = {unions}

Author={Scott, A.O.},
Title={Unexpected Lessons From ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Talks about how the entertainment business sorts and divides everyone into categories - and identity politics does that too. And that sometimes staying true to the book, but making a crappier movie because of it, might be the right move. 50 shades, the movie, fails because it is better than the book.},
category = {criticism, movies}

Author={Krugman, Paul},
Title={Knowledge Isn’t Power},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Higher educational attainment doesn’t actually equal higher incomes. After adjusting for inflations incomes of the highly educated haven’t risen since the 1990s. There is more wealth being created all the time, but it isn’t being redistributed. The POWERFUL are getting richer, not the more highly educated. There is no demand for highly skilled workers, but manufacturing jobs moving back to the US are paying better.},
category = {education, trade, redistribution, wealth}
% In late March 2016 I heard a thing on NPR about how Tunsia has managed to create a highly educated society, but without jobs for those educated people. This has led to a high level of radicalism (the highest in the world right now.) Almost certainly all that education came from international development organizations pressuring Tunisia to educate its citizens because ``educational attainment is the best indicator of positive outcomes’’.
% It seems pretty clear to me that educational attainment is a good indicator of a positive outcome for an INDIVIDUAL. But it is not clear that is it a positive outcome for an economy or society.
% As in other places, my non-scientific analysis is that strong manufacturing is the best indicator of a positive outcome for a society or an economy (Well, behind massive natural east-to-extract oil reserves.)

title={Pedagogy of the oppressed},
author={Freire, Paulo},
publisher={Bloomsbury Publishing},
comment = {The classic work with a marxist class analysis of the colonizer and the colonized.},
category={education, classics}
% Embarrassingly, I haven’t read this.

title={Games for actors and non-actors},
author={Boal, Augusto},
publisher={Psychology Press},
comment = {The most influential book by the creator of Theater of the Oppressed. According to wikipedia this is the more practical and pragmatic book that has lots of examples, exercises and anecdotes. Whereas his previous book, Theater of the Oppressed, is more academic.},
cateory = {education, acting}
% less embarrassingly than Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but I haven’t read this either.

Author={Chait, Jonathan},
Title={Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say},
journal={New York Magazine},
comment = {Breakdown of the current political-correctness landscape. Suggests that identity politics is actually a money-making endeavor for the chattering class. Possibly left wing PC may be going to far (again)},
category = {pc, identity politics}

title={The Case for Filth},
author={Marche, Stephen},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that instead of trying to get men to do more housework, we should all just do less of it. Cleanliness is an abstration and subjective.},
category={Criticality, feminism, housework}
% See also this feminist history of housework, where Marxists feminists in the 1970s demanded pay for housework:
% \url{}

Author={Thompson, Derek},
Title={Three Theories for Why You Have No Time},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment={Argues that when labor-saving devices create time, the standards simply get higher creating more work. Argues that the pressure from this is not just societal, but also comes from work and government requirements.},
category={Criticality, housework, labor-saving devices, parkinson’s law}
% See also: marche2013case
% Economics is as much if not more about cultural expectations than any notion of supply meeting demand.
% Cultural expectations don’t just create the demand, they ARE the demand.
% This is the reason automation has not and might not be a problem - expectations will change and people will want yet more sophisticated things and services to fill their lives.
% We’re like little kids playing house - we WANT to fill a role and work, we WANT to put other people to work by spending money.
% Like freeways, cultural expectations will always expand, and the economy will alway grow to fill it…
% Until it all collapses.

title={What is household work? A critique of assumptions underlying empirical studies of housework and an alternative approach},
author={Eichler, Margrit and Albanese, Patrizia},
journal={The Canadian Journal of Sociology},
publisher={University of Toronto Press},
comment={Not read. Referenced by A Case For Filth. Seems like it could be interesting.},
category={feminism, housework}

Author={Martin, Clancy},
Title={Good Lovers lie},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Convincing argument that lying is fundamentally human and necessary, and part of a healthy relationship},
category = {love, lying, feminism}

Author={Eisinger, Jesse},
Title={The Trouble With Disclosure: It Doesn’t Work},
comment = {Argues that disclosure/daylighting/transparency is a fad that doesn’t generate results in the real world. Ties in criticism of movement towards plain language and simplicity as well.},
category = {banks, simplicity, daylighting, transparency}

Author={Solomon, Christopher},
Title={Leaving Only Footsteps? Think Again},
journal={The New York times},
comment = {Argues that we love the outdoors \emph{too} much. And that to conserve the environment, we need to cut back on outdoor adventurers. And that motor-based outdoor sports might actually do \emph{less} damage than muscle-powered ones.},
category = {outdoors, nature, hiking}

Author={Hanson, Chat T. and Dellasala, Dominick A.},
Title={More Logging Won’t Stop Wildfires},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Loggin is not good for preventing forest fires, or for habitat. ``Contrary to widespread misconceptions, large fires burn mostly at low and moderate intensities. For example, only about 20 percent of the Rim Fire was high-intensity, and only a portion of the land involved was densely forested enough to create snag forest habitat. Moreover, current science indicates that we have less, not more, mixed-intensity wildland fire in our forests now than we did historically. Allowing more fires to burn in backcountry areas will help restore our forest ecosystems.’’},
category = {wildfires, logging}
% Another in the category that nature should just be left alone.

Author={Reynolds, Gretchen},
Title={How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Walking in nature has small positive effects on the brain. Walking next to a highway increases ``broodiness’’ (which is apparently a scientific thing.)},
category = {nature, walking, hiking, broodiness, parks}

title={Autonomic Nervous System Responses to Viewing Green and Built Settings: Differentiating Between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Activity},
author={van den Berg, Magdalena MHE and Maas, Jolanda and Muller, Rianne and Braun, Anoek and Kaandorp, Wendy and van Lien, Ren{'e} and van Poppel, Mireille NM and van Mechelen, Willem and van den Berg, Agnes E},
journal={International journal of environmental research and public health},
publisher={Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute}
comment={Paper which found that even looking at pictures of green spaces could lower stress levels. Covered by Gretchen Reynolds in the times in this article, \url{}},
category={pictures of nature, color green, Health, Science}

title={Manifold destiny},
author={Nasar, Sylvia and Gruber, David},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={About the battle to solve the Poincare conjecture.},
category = {Science, maths, nerds}
% See Wikipedia article for the controversy surrounding the story the article tells: \url{}
% The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the documentary King of Kong. Do nerds at all levels form the same bizarrely warped social hierarchies?
% More bizarro nerd confrontational behavior in Chess: \url{}
% Not as perfect a mapping as King of Kong (in Chess, the nice guy is the established reigning champion and the dick is the upstart, but…)

Author={Dickey, Colin},
Title={Tempo Shifts},
comment = {About the history of calendars, and how we march towards the apocalypse.},
category = {time, calendars}

title={I was a Playboy bunny},
author={Steinem, Gloria},
journal={If Men Could Menstruate},
comment = {Her classic story of going undercover as a playboy bunny},
category = {feminism}

Author={Tabuchi, Hiroko},
Title={Etsy’s Success Gives Rise to Problems of Credibility and Scale},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {As it grows, Etsy wrestles with decisions about what is ``handmade’’. Fundamentally Etsy has to figure out just how much they give into capitalist economic impulses. A smart company would recognize this, and carefully reach a compromise.},
category = {economics, capitalism, crafts}