August 2014

The debtor’s prison effect on Ferguson, Missouri.

Ferguson is a city located in northern St. Louis County with 21,203 residents living in 8,192 households. The majority (67%) of residents are African-American of residents live below the poverty level.
Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants,and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.

Tabarrok: You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant,low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.

visualizations of how our world’s changed, by @maxcroser 

Yobeat gold

Screenshot 2014-06-26 03.07.36

Hats off to my friends Jesse and Andy,

who along with the crew of Ora.TV have produced a fine program featuring Mr. William Shatner. The first episode just went live, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. Introducing Brown Bag Wine Tasting.

Good ones

Congrats to my friend Shanan and his associates on this incredible project just completed.

A machine-compiled macroevolutionary history of Phanerozoic life
This is my unscientific understanding of what they did: Much about the world and the life that inhabits it comes from paleontological data collected by guys like Shanan. But this data is locked away in different scientific reports, tables, graphs, and whatever else researchers can pack it into. In order develop well-founded theories about our world, it is critical to compare as much relevant data as possible. Shanan and his team made a super computer thing that spotlights data locked away in various sources and synthesizes it with other relevant data. AMAZING.

June 11

Opium tragedy hits children. In Afghanistan’s mountainous Badakhshan region, 5,000 children are addicted to opiates because their mothers give them the drug to treat them when they are sick or to help them get to sleep.
Real estate pushes out the dead. The last traditional graveyard of the Hakka people in Singapore, Yin Foh Kuan Cemetery, is to be dug up to make way for urban and commercial development.
A government ban has forced the Ol Pejeta conservancy, one of Kenya’s largest game reserves, to halt its plans to use drones to monitor its seven northern white rhinos – the last in the world.
Rage Against FIFA. “FIFA is the 1% of the global 1%, the apple of Thomas Piketty’s ire. And for a non-profit organization, it sure is a profitable one: the Zurich-based group stands to rake in $4.5bnfrom this World Cup alone, far above its initial expectations. And with Brazil preparing to host the 2016 Olympic Games, we can’t let FIFA set an example for sports extravaganzas turned into loathsome economic and social disasters.â€
Cheat like a pro. In light of the upcoming Gaokao, China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam, pics have surfaced of confiscated Chinese test-cheating equipment that looks like it was taken straight from the KGB.
Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK
How to drive through all 48 of the contiguous United States in 113 hours.
California teacher tenure and seniority system is struck down.


SF art

May 28

“According to Uber, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week in New York City is $90,766 a year. In San Francisco, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week is $74,191.”
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has signed a new educational reform that may close up to 70% of private schools
Incredible profile of Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest national park ranger in the United States. “When I was 85, I became a full-time ranger.”
The suburbs were white only, but we didn’t accept that. We thought we had a perfect right to live where we wanted to. We got an architect who saw no reason why he shouldn’t design a house for us and a white person purchased the lot for us, believing that once we got the house built it would be all right. We soon began receiving threats.
[The firm] agreed to pay one of the highest amounts ever to rent San Francisco office space. Norwest is paying an average rent of about $117 a square foot over its five-year term, according to people familiar with the matter. That is just shy of the record $117.50 a square foot set in 2001 when Lehman Brothers leased 30,000 square feet in the Bank of America Center tower, according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.
Standing in front of a profane backdrop created by her own campaign, an emotional Annette Bosworth condemned criticism of her, blasted the media, addressed her alleged scandals and even issued a book recommendation in a free-wheeling news conference Tuesday.
The stated purpose of the event was to condemn “hateful” and “hurtful” abuse Bosworth said she has suffered as a U.S. Senate candidate, primarily in the comment sections of blogs and media outlets.
Her campaign staff papered the room with dozens of large Bosworth campaign signs spraypainted with slurs she said had been aimed at her. The obscenities surrounding Bosworth during her announcement led her to warn that minors wouldn’t be allowed into the event.
“Right to care does not mean access to treatment,†he says. “Tens of millions of people who did not have insurance coverage may now be prompted to seek mental health treatment. And the capacity just isn’t there to treat them. … There really is no mental health system in the US.”

May 26

A mysterious liquid is seeping from a crypt in Cullman, causing concerns for residents and those who keep the cemetery grounds.
In 1976, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was a comic book villain … Kissinger was featured in a Fantastic Four comic that year — and he sided with the bad guys.
It won’t solve all of our problems with violence, not by a long shot. But it’s a start: Shut down the pump. (Hullaballoo)
they didn’t need to cure the disease to end the epidemic. What ended it was shutting down the pump. … The lesson is this: End the epidemic and then we can — and must — talk about root causes and mental health facilities and our violent culture. But first things first — shut down the damned pump.
[Chilean] Artist named Fried Potatoes removed tuition contracts he says were worth up to $500m from private university and burned them. (Guardian)
For a whole year, a Chilean artist using the name Fried Potatoes (Papas Fritas) planned his revenge. Saying he was collecting material for an art project, the 31-year-old visual artist sneaked into a vault at a notorious private, run-for-profit university and quietly removed tuition contracts.
Fried Potatoes – whose real name is Francisco Tapia – then burned the documents, rendering it nearly impossible for the Universidad del Mar to call in its debt – which he claimed was worth as much as $500m (£297m). “It’s over. You are all free of debt,” he said in a five-minute video released earlier this month. Speaking to former students, he added: “You don’t have to pay a penny.”
At the outset of the midterm-election season, McConnell vowed to oppose all tea-party candidates, telling the New York Times in March that “we are going to crush them everywhereâ€; now, McConnell will attend a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for the Nebraska nominee.
“Sensing trouble ahead for Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) “took the unusual step Friday of asking a federal judge to immediately block her own decision if she does strike down the ban. Also Friday,” Gov. Scott Walker (R) “backed away from his previous support for the state ban on gay marriage passed in 2006, saying he didn’t know if it violated the U.S. Constitution, would still be approved by voters today or would amount to a big change for the state’s values and economy if overturned.”
The number of teachers living in San Francisco is down almost 75-percent from a year ago, according to Teacher’s Union Chief Dennis Kelley.

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