Linky Friday #9

[A] The University of Phoenix’s accreditation is under review. Also, Grand Canyon University is joining the Western Athletic Conference, becoming the first for-profit school in NCAA Division I sports.

[B] The land of foreclosures has opened up a market for single-family rentals. I consider this to be an unmitigated good. While home ownership has its social advantages, home rental has both economic and environmental benefits. Besides, do you know how hard it is to find a rental in rural Arapaho?

[C] At long last, Amazon is giving you free MP3’s of CD’s that you buy. PaidContent explains why they won’t do the same with books. Another factor, people who own a CD can more easily make them MP3’s on their own than they can a physical book. People who own a physical book may buy an ebook, but people who own a CD won’t buy MP3’s.

[D] Our gun battles are without a doubt reflective of our larger cultural disconnect. Josh Marshall touches on this nicely. Pascal-Emmanuel Goby responds. Also, gun owners in New York are invited to relocate to Texas.

[E] Japan is so hard core on its gun laws that if you are a cop who kills yourself with a gun, they will apparently charge you posthumously for improper firearm use.

[F] The overwhelming likelihood is that the reason for the disparities between those whose parents pay for college and those who pay for it themselves (or borrow) is entirely a matter of external circumstances. You’re dealing with different kinds of circumstances. Still, though, you’d expect the externals to result in kids from households wealthy enough to bankroll college to have better externals than the other.

[G] You won’t read this in the New York Times: How the mineral boom in North Dakota is improving higher education.

[H] I found Dr Phi’s thoughts on sexual-social history and popular entertainment to be interesting.

[I] Lion says some important and worthwhile stuff about economic class and gifted programs. On the one hand, I do understand the concerns about parallel programs based more on economics than actual giftedness. On the other hand, the most likely alternative is not that they will send their kids to the local public school, or often even that they will send them to private school. The most likely alternative is that they will relocate to the suburbs.

[J] China’s one-child generation is growing up differently in, when you think about it, not unexpected ways. Biological or adopted, I hope that Lain gets a sibling.

[K] The sad story of a man that helped save Newtown children who is now being harassed by conspiracy theorists for it.

[L] Yes, Prime Minister is coming back! I actually preferred Yes, Minister… but I’ll take it.

[M] Liars, all of them. Money does by happiness. Derek Thompson has six nuggets from happiness research. Emily Esfahani Smith explains that the pursuit of happiness thwarts happiness.

[N] People with low self-esteem rush to the defense of damaged brands. That might explain my continued – albeit waning – affiliation with the Republican Party.

[O] I haven’t been a parent long, but it’s given me a much better appreciation for breadwinner/homemaker households. I barely know how double-income households do it. It may be a while before I can re-enter the workforce.

[P] Andy Hinds tried to keep princesses away from his daughters, but they found’em, anyway. I don’t know that I care nearly as much as Hinds on princesses in particular, but trying to wade through what I would consider to be the balance between Wonder Woman and Cinderella is something I haven’t figured out (and ultimately won’t be our call anyway). [Ed note/update: accidentally initially linked to this article, recently discussed by NewDealer and myself.]

[Q] TVs that spy on us could revolutionize the industry. Okay, yeah, a little creepy. By my smartphone knows when I am looking at it and keeps the screen on, so I at least am being conditioned. Also, ArsTechnica explains why Ultra-HD won’t be the next big thing any time soon. For the longest time, I was a big “monitor resolution guy”… but honestly, since getting HD, I don’t really know what more I could want.

[R] Doctors have developed a 3D camera that’s the size of a pill. It’s supposed to help diagnose cancer.

[S] Google funded a survey on piracy. Here are the results.

[T] Cable companies have admitted that data caps are not about congestion. What’s interesting to me that Comcast, one of the two leaders, really was worried about congestion or carriage costs. They weren’t trying to upsell, they were threatening to cut you off.

[U] I’m with TechCrunch here. The HAPIfork seems neat and could be useful.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. I love this Linky Friday so much. Cool picture, lots of interesting links.

    [P] does not seem to direct to an article like the one you describe. But it does direct to an interesting article.

  2. I read the two pieces on guns and it made me think of our discussion on the Working in the Fields about college, culture, and choices for a mate.

    All of this is probably tribal like the American Scene says and for better or for worse, I am just representing the values and goals of my tribe. My tribe deems a university and/or higher education to be necessary. We were also raised more with cultural trappings. I was not allowed to join the Boy Scouts because my dad deemed the group too right-wing. However, my parents did take me to many Young People in the Orchestra Concerts at Lincoln Center. I remember my parents taking me to the Museum of Natural History and other museums a lot as a kid. We did not go camping or do fishing/hunting type stuff really. Part of this is geogrpahic family history. My family was never very country or rural. My ancestors lived in major cities in Europe and when they came here, we never moved far from a city.

    I have simply absorbed the values of my tribe and when people react against it and see it as snooty, what they are really communicating is that they come from a different tribe with a different set of values. Everything is culture clash. Obviously some or many people rebel against their tribes for a variety of reasons but I did not. I am at home in it.

    What was galling to me about the American Scene essay is that he is essentially saying that non-gun people should learn about guns like gun people. He placed no burden beyond lip-service on gun people understanding how non-gun people view and feel about guns.

    • My view is that, generally speaking, those that wish to prohibit or discriminate against a specific behavior do have an additional burden than do those that are defending the right to have or do something. Which makes me more sympathetic to PEG’s piece in the overall.

      Despite coming from Red America, my history is pretty much gun-free. BB guns at summer camp and target practice once at the (generally liberal) in-laws’ compound. Counteracted by a father who since I was young has voiced the belief that private guns ought to be outlawed. I don’t know many people that own guns.

      It’s only somewhat recently that I had ever considered getting a gun, and that’s purely a function of where I live. On a personal level, I’m not particularly comfortable with CCW laws.

      However… I think what I am comfortable with is subservient, in the overall, to the right of other people to do what they wish and the impetus is more on me to be respectful of what they want it rather than why I don’t like it.

      On the other hand, I am completely with JMM on the complete inappropriateness of those who are going out of their way to flash their guns around to make people uncomfortable. I don’t actually get the impression that PEG disagrees with that, either. I could be wrong, but my interpretation was more that he was sharing the other side of the story.

      • “It’s only somewhat recently that I had ever considered getting a gun, and that’s purely a function of where I live.”

        If I recall correctly, this is because of your proximity (or lack thereof) to law enforcement, yes?

        I recently watched an old episode of Morgan Spurlock’s show “30 Days”, where they sent a gun control advocate from Boston to live with a family deeply steeped in gun culture in rural Ohio. As someone who has grown up in exclusively urban/suburban areas and thus has little understanding of gun culture but leans towards supporting gun ownership rights, it was interesting to see the experiences and perspectives of the Ohio family and see how the Boston lady was challenged.

        • I’d like to see the show in the reverse and see if the gun culture person changes.

        • If I recall correctly, this is because of your proximity (or lack thereof) to law enforcement, yes?

          Yeah, and my proximity to wildlife.

    • Central tribes tended to have a overwhelming suspicion of doctors and hospitals. My father set his own broken arm in the late 80s. I remember when I was 16, a neighbor hauled me to the nearest hospital, a high fever had me pretty much out of it. When we entered the ER I remember the doctor started asking questions within a couple of minutes.

      When the meds wore of I started walking the halls, there were only one or two patience in the entire building. For nearly years thats the way I thought all hospitals ran. A doctor in the door ready to see you, a couple of johnny on the spot nurses and empty beds ready for patience.

      We typically labeled Boy Scouts as weak. Farming was everything. The boy who started farming earliest was always held as champion in some strange way. I started at 11, thats when my body weight could force down the clutch pedal to shift the transmission. My friend I mentioned earlier, started at 8. His body was to light to force the clutch down, but he found if he pulled up on the steering wheel along with exerting all his weight he could keep the clutch in until shifting the transmission. He was legend.

      These were times when there were no cabs on tractors, and yes we were running gang discs. If you fell off, your last moments wouldn’t be pleasant. There were mixed sentiments about “educated” people. School teachers were always held in high regards, so much more than doctors.

    • “I was not allowed to join the Boy Scouts because my dad deemed the group too right-wing.”

      that’s pretty great.

  3. Yes, [Prime] Minister without Nigel Hawthorne? That’s like Duck Soup without Groucho.

  4. [C] Many technical books come with free PDFs. Relatively few come with Kindle or other e-book formats, which display much better on e-book readers than PDFs. My guess is that the expected use case is quickly looking things up on the computer, rather than reading.

    The only exception that comes to mind is completely free: This book on git, which comes in a first-rate mobi (Kindle) version. (The content is as good as the formatting; I highly recommend it for anyone new to git.)

  5. On D — I keep hoping for a league discussion on the NY law, particularly the requirements on mental health providers and the confidentiality of doctor/patient relationships. I’m all about a healthier gun culture (meaning fewer guns in our culture), but I’ve got some serious concerns about this aspect of this law.

    • And on O:

      An aspect of the feminist movement that I think needs serious debate is the problems/costs of not having homemakers within families. The problem with the notion of a homemaker is that it’s always a ‘she.’ What’s best for the family may differ. And men deserve the freedom to fill that role, it’s difficult, challenging, rewarding (though not financially), and adds greatly to society in general.

  6. Q: Not only were there numerous 4k (UltraHD) televisions at CES earlier this month, at least one vendor was showing an 8k prototype. A friend of mine who saw the 8k set pointed out that, assuming you watch the screen from 10 feet away across your family room, the size of the screen needed to tell the difference between an 8k and 4k screen raises the question, “Which doorway(s) must be enlarged in order to get the screen into the room/house?” All of the things that the TV manufacturers are trying — ever-increasing screen size, 3D, 4k, 8k — are necessary attempts to keep enough of their sales well up in the >$400 range. Below that, the fixed costs associated with manufacture, shipping, warehousing, and retailers’ expenses eat up all of the profit.

    • How did they do it before LCD/HD? Seems to me that TVs were getting pretty cheap by that point.

      My main concern is that a better TV will only accentuate the limitations of my streaming video. Though I was concerned about that with HD and it turned out not to be an issue with at least some of them (non-HD looks lackluster on my Vizio, though looks perfectly fine on Dad’s Samsung).

      • Well, simple curved-screen three-electron-gun CRTs were pretty cheap except for those up in the 36-40 inch range (which were both expensive and ridiculously heavy). You could still spend the requisite amount though, and tubes went through a variety of changes — single-gun; flat-front (required much more complex control circuitry); steadily shorter tubes so the TV could be thin (for certain values of “thin”). When even those began to get too cheap, the manufacturers all started on projection TVs using various tech: three-color front-projection; transparent LCDs for front- and rear-projection; Texas Instruments’ little digital mirrors. Then came plasma.

        One of the places where manufacturers very quietly distinguish themselves is in the quality of their resizing hardware and software. Down-sampling (eg, showing a 1080p image on a screen that doesn’t have that many lines) an image is straightforward. Up-sampling (eg, putting a 480i DVD image on a screen with many more lines) is harder, particularly when the image has been through a compression algorithm and picked up some artifacts. There are a wide variety of approaches to the problem, and the manufacturers are pretty tight-lipped about exactly what they’re doing.

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