GlobalPost: The future of religion around the world, in one chart.
Lifehacker: The Salary Required to Be “Middle Class” in Every State.
One more from LH, just because. $43,872 to be ‘middle class’ in NM? Southern NM, perhaps. In Santa Fe gas, food and sundries are *expensive*. Stuff gets re-shipped from Albuquerque [major transport hub]: Extra transport costs. I’d raise that at least another $20k.
The Atlantic: U.S. Supreme Court - GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure.
“If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a search—and is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday ...” Good.
NakedCap: Fracking’s New Nemesis - Earthquake Lawsuits.
“Indeed, some of the bigger players appear to have decided it’s best to keep these cases out of the press if possible. BHP Billiton and Chesapeake Energy settled a 2013 case lodged by five homeowners for a confidential amount.” Industries prefer to minimize case law on the books. Swift gag settlements are the first line of defense.
The Millions: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.
“The perfect life does not and never will exist, and to assert otherwise perpetuates a pernicious fantasy: that it’s possible to live without regrets. Every important choice has benefits and its deficits.”
The Bookseller: Median author advance under £6,600.
~$9,700. Our culture still loves the archetype of the ‘starving artist.’ Rice and beans, that.
Fuel Fix: Oil workers in West Texas and New Mexico were underpaid millions, Labor Department says.
“Among the problems found, employers were failing to include bonus payments when calculating overtime rates, weren’t paying for time spent working off-the-clock and paying flat rates despite the hours worked by employees. There were also instances of workers being misclassified as independent contractors.” Check out image #5, in the bottom gallery. Also, no word in this article about the workers getting their owed $$.
NakedCap: Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back as Citigroup Tries to Blackmail the Democratic Party.
“Cynics may say that these are just range wars, and that Warren is a progressive hood ornament for the Democratic party. While we’ve criticized her for her timid student loan proposal and for her falling in line with US adventurism abroad (save the proposed intervention in Syria, where Congress refused to back Obama), Warren is nevertheless is achieving something significant.”
The Economist: America - A flagging [education] model.
“The country that has given the world so many ideas about how to run higher education could do with some new ones itself.” Note also that for-profit colleges are swiftly going the way of the dodo ... and rightfully so. Every ‘graduate’ of these schools I’ve run across has been unqualified. One in particular, the only skill s/he seemed to have acquired was an ability to make dreadful graphics in Powerpoint ... something Lynda.com could remedy for $25/mo, a significant savings over one of those ‘colleges’. Employers need to loosen up on their degree requirements and look at actual skills; I’m reminded of when airlines began requiring degrees of pilots. They lost a generation of some of the best stick-and-rudder flyers in history. Wouldn’t you rather have a Chuck Yeager flying you to your destination? No degree, likely no HS diploma either; unimpeachable skills.
ProPublica: How Much Water Do You Use? Help ProPublica Investigate Water Use in the U.S.
Survey form. Let’s give ‘em a gout of info, shall we?
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.