Favorites January 1st 2024
This is great, I had no idea it was happening. Here's the NYTimes article, which includes the point that most crops are still clearly economical to grow in CA even if they have to pay for water, but the low value stuff wouldn't be. But that seems good, obviously?
I think that the 2016 Watts-Bar plant should not really be counted, as it's more of a reactivation than a new plant. Somewhat related, 40% of US electricity came from zero-emission sources in 2023. The US once accounted for half of all world emissions, we're now down to just over 10% and falling.
He goes on in a thread with more great graphs and details, but you could also check out the details from the paper and it's notes directly. Our current land use regime was explicitly created to make it harder to be poor in US cities for straightforward reasons. We created the high minded reasons afterwards. Perhaps there's an argument for stopping development to preserve natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but already developed low-density suburbs *are not that*
Here's more info about the test, I think you only have to swab one time. I'm pretty upset with the FDA's regulation of US at-home tests, my best understanding is that they're the reason we don't have more options like this in the US. I'm also worried about their apparent plans to claim regulatory power over lab-developed tests as well.
Next they lowered him into the toaster, and then the winning team ate the giant poptart, it was sorta disturbing, here's the video. The Cheez-it mascot quickly responded that it's 'not an edible mascot'
• Thread arguing that the US needs more vocational training (and probably doesn't need as much academic training).
Flotsam and Jetsam
– The idea that the Maine case is anti-democratic is a bit incorrect given that the Secretary of State was appointed by the legislature. Also, conservatives are now arguing that the 14th amendment is too old to matter, which seems like the opposite of textualism. Finally, humorously, one of the plaintiffs in the Maine case argued that Trump can't be president because of the 22nd amendment (he claims he's already been elected president twice), although the Maine Secretary of State threw that argument out. (src)
– Stapp points out that the US Customs Mobile Passport Control app is actually quite nice, unusual for government software. (src)
– Taylor Lorenz is saying that Bernie Sanders is advocating eugenics by working from home while he has COVID. That seems crazy? YMMV (src)
– More GLP-1 drug competitors emerging, probably good if competition pushes the price down. (src)
– OPEC tried to raise oil prices by cutting production, the US managed to stablize prices, and oil is actually down a bit over the last year (src)
– A Nature paper about remote work that is sometimes cited as evidence that WFH reduces innowation, but if you read it carefully, it's saying that what's important is colocation, being nearby so that you can see each other regularly, but not every day. And further, the results didn't hold after digital collaboration tools became popular in 2010! (src)
– Steven Soderbergh discussing how he will never stop being amazed by Mad Max: Fury Road (src)
– The hard part of government funded health care in the US is that healthcare in the US is expensive, not that the US is stingy. And military spending is close to it's postwar low, so it's not like we've got a bunch of other money we're wasting. (src)
– Why the heck are we spending a bunch of money giving Israel arms that we could be sending to Ukraine. Helping Ukraine actually serves our long term national interests, and Israel has plenty of money to buy their own weapons. (src)
– NIMBY judge in Montana has blocked their legislation that would legalize more housing. Gonna turn themselves into California at this rate. (src)
– The rate of immigration to the US appears to have shot up after a policy change that took effect in 2022, so that's good news. But we could take so many more, one person living in China estimated that 90 percent of highly educated young people would jump at the chance to move to the US. (src)
– Amazon is using on on-site electrolyzer to refuel it's hydrogen powered forklifts at one of their warehouses (src)
– Tolkien credits his hatred of Shakespeare's work as motivation to write The Lord of the Rings. (src)
– "elevated suicide rate in recent years [in the US] is all driven by compositional effects and in age-adjusted terms it’s falling fast" Here's a detailed write-up (src)
– A paper using newly available data shows that Uber has decreased US Traffic fatalities by 5%. Here's the abstract, they were given access to Uber's internal monthly rideshare volume and mapped it to Census tracts. This is also clear evidence for why it's so important that we make progress on automated vehicles. (src)
– Really seems like effective altruists were ahead of the curve back in 2018, from the perspective of modern public opinion. Seems incorrect to call them a cult. (src)
– Xi keeps doing purges, including of military, possibilities? Noah Smith guesses: 1) he wants war, purging those who don't. 2) Xi doesn't want war, purging those who do 3) coup attempt foiled. 4) He's gone insane like Stalin. These all sound very bad! (src)
– Denver housed 1000 people in 6 months. Pretty good. When you provide housing to people: you reduce crime, increase employment, and do not increase reliance on social benefits. (src)
– The US is currently protecting trade through the Red Sea, but it's China and Europe who will be screwed if the Houthis successfully close that trade route. (src)