America's trailer parks: the residents may be poor but the owners are getting rich | Life and style | The Guardian
I met someone recently who worked in the real estate business professionally, and had bought a trailer park as a personal investment vehicle. I was pretty surprised, but I guess it's not as unusual as I thought. I'm not sure what to think of this; there is nothing inherently undignified about mobile housing as a technology, but in the American context here and now it's hard not to see the rise in trailer park occupancy as a further sign of worsening economic inequality.
housing  economics  america  real-estate 
4 days ago
Star Guitar on Vimeo
an old favorite, reminded of it today by something on twtr
music  videos 
14 days ago
The Paradox of Redistribution
<<In an early critique of the emphasis on targeting in the U.S. policy debate, Korpi
(1980a, 1983) contrasted a marginal social policy model with minimum benefits targeted at the poor with an institutional model based on universal programs intended to maintain normal or accustomed standards of living. He argued that while a targeted program "may have greater redistributive effects per unit of money spent than institutional types of programs," other factors are likely to make institutional programs more redistributive (Korpi 1980a:304, italics in original). This rather unexpected outcome was predicted as a consequence of the type of political coalitions that different welfare state institutions tend to generate. Because marginal types of social policy programs are directed primarily at
those below the poverty line, there is no rational base for a coalition between those above and those below the poverty line. In effect, the poverty line splits the working class and tends to generate coalitions between better-off workers and the middle class against the lower sections of the working class, something which can result in tax revolts and backlash against the welfare-state>>
welfare  political-science  poverty 
26 days ago
InfoSec Taylor Swift on Twitter: "IMPORTANT: Multiple people who are graduating college have asked how they can get into InfoSec. What is your advice for people with degrees?"
I am far from a security expert but I know a little bit. I think it's interesting that so many here recommend doing some devops/IT work to familiarize yourself with the terrain, and then teaching yourself the infosec part on the side. Seems like sound advice (certainly a typical CS degree, for example, does not seem to instill sound security thinking, from either an offensive or defensive mindset), but I am sad that there's no better advice we can offer as a field.
security  computer-science  devops 
4 weeks ago
FBI overstated forensic hair matches in nearly all trials before 2000 - The Washington Post
<<Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.>>
law-enforcement  corruption  government  pseudoscience 
5 weeks ago
The Dangerous Myth of Appomattox - NYTimes.com
<<Grant himself recognized that he had celebrated the war’s end far too soon. Even as he met Lee, Grant rejected the rebel general’s plea for “peace” and insisted that only politicians, not officers, could end the war. Then Grant skipped the fabled laying-down-of-arms ceremony to plan the Army’s occupation of the South.

To enforce its might over a largely rural population, the Army marched across the South after Appomattox, occupying more than 750 towns and proclaiming emancipation by military order. This little-known occupation by tens of thousands of federal troops remade the South in ways that Washington proclamations alone could not.

And yet as late as 1869, President Grant’s attorney general argued that some rebel states remained in the “grasp of war.” When white Georgia politicians expelled every black member of the State Legislature and began a murderous campaign of intimidation, Congress and Grant extended military rule there until 1871.

Meanwhile, Southern soldiers continued to fight as insurgents, terrorizing blacks across the region. One congressman estimated that 50,000 African-Americans were murdered by white Southerners in the first quarter-century after emancipation.>>
war  united-states  civil-war  slavery  confederate-states-of-america  terrorism 
6 weeks ago
'High' Achievers? Cannabis Access and Academic Performance by Olivier Marie, Ulf Zölitz :: SSRN
<<This paper investigates how legal cannabis access affects student performance. Identification comes from an exceptional policy introduced in the city of Maastricht which discriminated legal access based on individuals' nationality. We apply a difference-in-difference approach using administrative panel data on over 54,000 course grades of local students enrolled at Maastricht University before and during the partial cannabis prohibition.We find that the academic performance of students who are no longer legally permitted to buy cannabis increases substantially. Grade improvements are driven by younger students, and the effects are stronger for women and low performers. In line with how THC consumption affects cognitive functioning, we find that performance gains are larger for courses that require more numerical/mathematical skills. We investigate the underlying channels using students' course evaluations and present suggestive evidence that performance gains are driven by improved understanding of material rather than changes in students' study effort.>>
drugs  education  public-policy 
6 weeks ago
Fear in the Cockpit: The Differences Between the Plane Crash in Taipei and the Miracle on the Hudson
<< In this aroused state, we experience what’s known as “cognitive tunneling.” Our attention narrows as we focus on the danger at hand. An elevated heart rate and quickened breathing ensures that well-oxygenated blood reaches the muscles. The opening of the sweat ducts reduces the risk that exertion will lead to overheating. Cognitive tunneling means that all mental resources are focused on the main threat.

Yet there is also a flipside. With a narrowed focus it becomes hard to multitask, to think complex thoughts, to decipher instructions, or to generate novel solutions. Our judgment can be clouded, and experience thrown out the window. In extreme cases, we lose the ability to consciously control our behavior at all, and find ourselves willy-nilly engaging in ancient stereotypical behaviors like fighting, running, or playing dead. >>

exercise for reader: consider consequences for job interviews, other tests, claims that the society is basically meritocratic, etc. (I write this as someone who interviews relatively well and has done well on various tests all my life.)
psychology  cognitive-science  air-travel  via:hackernews 
6 weeks ago
Six Things You Didn’t Know the U.S. and Its Allies Did to Iran - The Intercept
Well, I knew most of these, but anyway, useful to have as a resource to forward to people.
history  united-states  iran  middle-east 
7 weeks ago
Facebook hosting doesn't change things, the world already changed — Remains of the Day
More on "the future of the Internet is TV" beat.

Also, on a perhaps more positive note:

<<It turns out that differentiated content is differentiated. When the world's an all-you-can-eat buffet of information, you want to be the king crab legs, not the lettuce bowl. The value of being a generalist as a reporter, someone who just shows up and asks questions and transcribes them into a summary article, is not that valuable.>>
internet  media  culture  social-software  futurism  journalism 
8 weeks ago
Exploding Software-Engineering Myths - Microsoft Research
Would like to see these replicated. Also the title is misleading: it's more "empirically validating commonly held beliefs" than myth-exploding. Nobody really doubted that assertions improve the quality of software. Also there are some severe correlation/causation issues here. Still, worth keeping in mind.

HN discussion here and some of it is not bad (comment by Silhouette seems like a good response to the alleged TDD findings):
research  software-engineering  via:hackernews 
8 weeks ago
Ivy League Admissions Are a Sham: Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper
Overblown clickbaity headline but am bookmarking as evidence to be used in a future blog post.
social-inequality  social-engineering 
9 weeks ago
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