Slate: Georgetown, Texas, goes renewable.
“... contrary to renewable energy’s reputation as a luxury good, the new deals come at a discount to what Georgetown was paying for fossil fuel electricity.” My italic emphasis. I’ve been relating over the years the fact that Texas, in addition to drilling like crazy, is also raising windmills like crazy too.
OilPrice: Natural Gas Prices To Crash Unless Rig Count Falls Fast.
The Atlantic: Are Americans Over Their Economic Anxiety Yet?
“Disenchantment on jobs, wages, and living costs transcend almost all boundaries.” We did incrementally better this past year, but NM still isn’t seeing the performance of the two coasts.
Vox: A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with American health care.
“This is not a procedure where some hospitals are really great at lipid panels and some are terrible. There’s just not space for quality variation: you are running blood through a machine and pressing buttons. That’s it. And that all makes it a bit baffling why, in California, a lipid panel can cost anywhere between $10 and $10,000. In either case, it is the exact same test.” My italics. We’ve all heard stories like this. The other one I’ve heard: the cost of endoscopies varying hugely [with plenty of innuendo].
The Atlantic: Have Americans Officially Given Up on Washington?
“Changes on the national level haven’t affected me.” Hmmm. The ACA reached into our wallets and made Washington real in a way it hasn’t been in decades. And now the Common Core/PARCC tests, too. Young folks with families have their ears perked. So I don’t agree with this assessment - folks are going to be paying attention in ‘16, more than previous elections. When you reach into someone’s home finances, impose sudden change on their children, there’s going to be a backlash ... and children’s issues are a tried-and-true wedge for splitting off swing voters.
Design Bump: 22 Gorgeous Cottages From Around The World.
I dig the ‘haircut’ on the one in Schleswig-Holstein. Bangs, and a bit of a bun.
NY Times: Hermosa Beach, Calif., Voters Give Thumbs Down to Oil Drilling.
“As a result of the vote, Hermosa Beach now owes E&B $17.5 million to terminate the contract, under the terms of an agreement ending litigation with the firm.” Ouch. With oil prices so low, companies may pursue mineral rights litigation not to actually drill, but to simply minimize the red in their ledgers.
Slate: Baby boomers delaying retirement - It’s a myth, because retirement is bleaker than ever
Altered title for length. Read it.
Nielsen/Norman Group: Emotional Design Fail: Divorcing My Nest Thermostat.
Homedezen: Concrete Cabin by Nickisch Sano Walder Architekten.
How do they heat it?! Needs more than that fireplace. I get the shivers just looking at it.
The Atlantic: Why Walmart Raised Its Wages.
“The CEO of Walmart announced earlier today that all of the company’s employees will, starting in April, be paid at least $9 an hour, nearly $2 more than the federal minimum wage. That’s still far short of the $15 per hour pushed for by OUR Walmart, a union — like group of Walmart workers. Still, it’s a change for a company that has stubbornly opposed such a raise for years.” Good news, nonetheless.
SciAm: Pig Poop Fouls North Carolina Streams.
Well, I happen to know that NC universities are working hard to try to come up with ways to deal with the problem in-situ. My aunt worked in such research for one of those scholarly institutions. We used to make all kinds of jokes, but after living downwind of a small pig farm, I have to say it’s incredibly important. Until you’ve experienced it, you have NO idea. A smell so bad, you almost vomit on the first wafts to your sinus passages.
PS Mag: When It Comes to IVF, Who Should Call the Shots?
Vox: Another oil train explodes in West Virginia. Here’s why this keeps happening.
Oh, come on. Infrastructure, Vox. America’s rails are in worse shape - much worse shape - than America’s roads and bridges. One can walk along just about any set of rails and pull up spikes with your bare hands. I hear even the folks running the NE Corridor no longer have the technical knowhow to thaw switches in a timely manner. Tax cutting has gifted us with this situation. Now, when the same “drill baby drill” folks want to rely on the system, it fails. Nice going, politicos. No doubt you’ll lard the fix onto our backs.
Co.Design: How One Woman Makes Almost $1 Million A Year On Etsy.
“Now, Shaffer has a team of 15 sewers — ‘all moms,’ Shaffer says — working full-time, as well as a professional photographer. [snip] Not all the items are entirely handmade by Shaffer’s team — many, like the knitted legwarmers, socks, and gloves, are sourced wholesale from India.” The honesty’s refreshing.
The Atlantic: Where Have All the Construction Workers Gone?
“One morning, after waking up at 4 a.m. and doing his stretches, he had an idea. He opened the Sunday careers section in the newspaper, called on a higher power, and then closed his eyes and put his finger down on a random place on the page, deciding that whatever career it suggested, he’d pursue. His finger landed on an ad for a massage-therapy program at a local career college.” My italic emphasis. Anything in health care seems to be a good bet, as Boomers continue to face seniority.
NPR: With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia.
Don’t miss the comments.
Hellemanworld: Is it a blessing to be poor?
“According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it would only take US$30 billion a year to launch the necessary agricultural programs to completely solve global food insecurity. Severe hunger afflicts 862 million people each year; only $30 billion could save them. Although that sounds like a lot of money, in 2008 the US bailed out Wall Street for more than 23 times that amount!” My italic emphasis. Been thinking about poverty today. Much food for thought in this article from 2012. Ignore the religious bent (if it bothers you), and concentrate on the numbers quoted. I particularly like the point that ‘poverty is the absence of choice.’
Guardian.UK: US harvest threatened by water-intensive oil and gas boom.
You’re sick of hearing me say it, but I’ll do so again. They frack in the most boneheaded locations - places where water is precious, beyond all other value.
BBC News: Hey, fancy buying a straw house?
Strawbale’s been big out here for a while. Encased in stucco. The big problems are: rot, rodents and subsidence. I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will: Straw should never be weightbearing.
The Millions: Honey, Would You Read My Book?
Applicable to bloggers, too.
NY Mag: Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say.
Playing Devil’s Advocate seems to fly over more and more peoples’ heads these days. And that’s almost the whole fun of conversation/civil argument.
nakedcap: Announcing (Confirming) Our Focus on the CBO’s Dubious Models and Political Bias.
“Republicans plan to mandate that the CBO use something called dynamic scoring, which has the effect of making tax cuts look far more beneficial to the economy than they are, by effectively claiming that tax cuts boost growth, which then boosts tax receipts. It would effectively institutionalize the Laffer curve, which has been widely and repeatedly debunked.” The Laffer Curve’s been a laughingstock since Reagan’s first term. A tragic, maniacal laugh. As in, something like Heath Ledger’s Joker laugh.
AskReddit: What do insanely poor people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about?
This should be read by every politician.
LA Times: Ray Bradbury’s house, sold for $1.76 million, being torn down.
Another reason to dislike “starchitects”. As if I needed more.