Mother Jones has a feature comparing the fuel efficiency of different airlines. Flying a lot, of course, has a hugely detrimental effect on the environment due the great amounts of fuel used; this at least gives you the opportunity to choose more-fuel-efficient airlines.
Caveat one: their interactive map isn’t working on any of my Mac browsers, so – boo.
Caveat two: there seems to be great variability between different routes planes fly, so don’t just make choices based on which airline is most efficient, try digging deeper and make choices based on which airline is most efficient on the route you actually want to fly.
A short comic strip about how Breaking Bad never would have even gotten started if Obamacare (or some better form of national health care) was in place.
If your favorite system administrator seems a bit down this weekend or to be drinking particularly heavily, it’s probably because of this.
As Bruce Schneier sums it up:
Basically, the NSA is able to decrypt most of the Internet. They’re doing it primarily by cheating, not by mathematics.
(Tangentially, for various reasons, I’ve recently been using Linux more and FreeBSD less. News like this is pushing me to move back past FreeBSD and into the arms of the OpenBSD fanatics.)
From Ars Technica, link to a study suggesting that both professionals and normal folks can more easily judge the winner of a classical music competition from watching a silent part of the performance than hearing (but not seeing) a small part of the performance.
The twist: the judgement seems to be based on the performer’s movements translating into fairly intangible aspects, not – as I would cynically expect – the performer’s attractiveness, race, gender, etc.
(The paper itself.)
Marginal Revolution links to an NIH study (PDF) in which scientists studied 12 different animal species; as has been the case for humans, the weight of animals in each population has increased substantially over the past several decades:
“In a remarkable paper Allison et al. (2011) gather data on the weight at mid-life from 12 animal populations covering 8 different species all living in human environments….there are specific explanations for the weight gain in each of the animal populations, just as there are for humans. Each explanation looks plausible taken on its own but is it plausible that each population is gaining weight for independent reasons? Could there instead be a unifying explanation for the weight gain in all populations?”
Also see the more layman-friendly article at Aeon Magazine for a discussion of what this means (or should mean) for the general societal attitude that fat people are just – well – lazy. (And one of the better comments.)
Ostensibly because email is not secure (and cannot be made so), which puts people who correspond with the site, who are often either informants of legal wrong-doing or people seeking advice on the law, at risk. But for a deeper reason, too:
“You’ll find all the laws in the US related to privacy and surveillance there. Not that anyone seems to follow any laws that get in their way these days. Or if they find they need a law to make conduct lawful, they just write a new law or reinterpret an old one and keep on going. That’s not the rule of law as I understood the term.”
Groklaw was a site that operated based on the belief that the law matters and holds governments and corporations in check, and can be interpreted rationally, and is generally applied appropriately. Recent history – from real estate and financial crises to U.S. government surveillance of its citizenry – suggest otherwise.
What you might regret as armageddon approaches…
According to the Atlantic, most of the statistics cited regarding how hard it is for “older” (let’s say post-35) women to get pregnant is based on pre-1900 data. As things have changed, odds have improved, even without artificial help.
Sushi Yasuda, a restaurant in New York, doesn’t allow tips – because it pays its staff a decent wage and provides good benefits.
There are just too many articles on Edward Snowden, and aspects to the story, to absorb in one sitting. Some worthwhile links though:
It can be hard to get riled up about this when most of the people being surveilled just don’t care. I find it hard to get angry myself. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand what can be done with the information collected on them; or maybe because, the truth is, the information being collected is unlikely to ever be used directly against them. I’m unlikely to ever be targeted by the US government for anything, even though I’ve been to anti-war rallies and an Occupy march.
But aside from the potential for abuse by individuals within the system, consider this: we have 2 “sides” in politics in this country. Generally speaking, you’re probably in favor of the policies of one side and against the other, and you may in fact distrust the “other” side’s adherence to law and morality. When that other side gets into power, they’ll be able to use all this data to hamper and hound those who are working within the confines of the law for issues you care about – whether it be healthcare, gun rights, abortion issues, immigration reform, or what-have-you.