More links! 22 January - 16 February 02014
CVS Caremark has decided that all CVS pharmacy sites will stop selling cigarettes. Other tobacco products, and other products with potential health risks, such as candy, beer, or snacks will remain at the stores.
Iran, in the span of a few generations, had managed to both push their population growth up to levels near a theoretical maxim and to reduce that rate to right around the replacement rate, without coercing anyone. Things are on the rise again, with an accompanying disregard for the environment, both thanks to the government in power. How they got the population down should be a lesson for everyone - education and jobs for women, free birth control and sterilization surgery, and health centers spaced out even in the far ranges of the country to ensure healthy people. Give women the ability to take control of their lives, and desired results happen. How novel. [/sarcasm]
The guide to the strategy game known as real life, which regrettably is always set to hardcore mode.
Scotland joins the Century of the Fruitbat! And the Justice Department in the United States has indicated that all spousal protections extended to opposite-sex couples will also be extended to same-sex couples, consistent with the government's position on recognizing all marriages. In British Columbia, the first child with three named parents on their birth certificate, thanks to B.C. and their Family Law Act.
The Dead Pool Actors and Ambassadors Guild recognizes Shirley Temple Black for 85 years of excellent service and Sid Caesar for 91 years of making people laugh a lot and being honest about his life away from the stage.
In the United States, After having been dismissed many years ago from journalism for fabrications, a California court denied a petition for Stephen Glass to become a lawyer. Mr. Glass presented many character witnesses, but his past ultimately was too much.
A Congresscritter threatened a reporter, claiming he would throw him of a balcony for asking a particular question. Said Congresscritter has since apologized and said he overreacted to the question.
After eight years of fighting the government, a Stanford scholar and United States citizen was able to get her name off the No-Fly list, with the judge calling her placement a mistake, rather than addressing any constitutional or legal issues surrounding the secret list. The judge's actual ruling is sealed and secret, but we're allowed a small abstract of what happened. How frustrating it must be to find oneself unable to travel, with no apparent means of challenging the designation. And then how much more frustrating to know that the only reason you got off the list was because the government decided to admit to the mistake, rather than try to cover it up or justify it somehow.
The Snowpocalypse called Polar Vortex has produced an interesting effect - it shows where some intersections could use pedestrian islands to help people cross the street and make the cars slow down.
Joss Whedon makes transphobic joke, is surprised when Poe's Law kicks in. Better idea? Don't make transphobic jokes. And have the decency to apologize when called out on it. Even if it has to come after getting all the defensiveness out first. Additionally, if someone is writing a column about the need for literature, especially science fiction, to move beyond binary gender models, don't post an ill-thought response that shows your ignorance, unless you like having other authors mock you for your strawmen, your ignorance, and your inability to believe that readers want good stories with characters that are like them.
Senator Ted Cruz impeded the debt ceiling vote by using his Senatorial filibuster privilege, then lambasted other Republicans for cooperating with Democrats on the debt ceiling issue. The choice quote is that Republican heads apparently explode when they are forced to tell the truth. This may be true, but it's for reasons different than Senator Cruz thinks.
A papyrus fragment has given us (parts of) two new poems of Sappho, one nearly complete. Hooray for finding more of the ancient world, and especially for a poet whose corpus has not survived well over time.
The United States mind is significantly WEIRD, which means science involving the mind and social aspects in the States is susceptible to thinking local conditions are universal ones. When Reality Ensues, the depths of the errors can be frightening.
It is not always desirable to try and frame depression as external to oneself, as it can become a method by which agency is lost. That agency could be useful in fighting off the depression, instead.
Likability in characters sometimes prevents them from being interesting. Thus, unlikable characters are often necessary to the story, yet we often criticize characters based on their likability, instead.
In technology, companies, in their desire to provide good customer service, often introduce inappropriate security risks for people and their private data, which can lead to identity theft or extortion for valuable digital property. That's when there isn't technology compromising their networks, brought in by thieves and hackers who probably knew what sort of software and hardware was in use. And it's not just retail stores. Stores, restaurants, and bars attached to certain hotels have had their card readers hacked.
Less horribly, The market for engineering toys is now including kits that are just connectors, allowing for basically an infinite number of potential pieces. Which is much different than the way that the Goldiblox project had been not living up to its hype.
Comcast wants to buy Time Warner cable. The resulting juggernaut could screw everyone who wants fair internet access or not to have to pay a cable company for their internet television.
Social media like Twitter, rather than making us appear to be dumber, may be an expression of oral culture in a written form, useful and now capturable, if inadvertently.
Observe some excellent visualizations of complex science concepts, in a variety of media.
Last for the post, analyzing the typography in the movie 2001. It's always interesting to see what the past thinks the future is going to use as their typefaces.
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