Linky Friday #14



[W1] The movie Argo told the story of six embassy employees at the time of the hostage crisis. What about the other 52?

[W2] A look at Al Qaeda in Timbuktu and what we can learn from it.

[W3] The sad story of the guy who shot Bin Laden. I am actually a bit surprised that I am not surprised by this.


[D1] A first-person account of the Carnival Triumph. Even if you don’t care about the misbegotten trip, such incidents reveal a lot about human nature.

[D2] The return of the disappearing Russian ghost ship!

[D3] A real, life Spiderman suit! Minus the aesthetics, but with functionality!


[N1] Relating to NewDealer’s recent post on urbanism and the middle class: “[A] a great deal of the urban-paradise boosterism of the mass transit/increased density/Richard Florida school is, either intentionally or not, vaguely anti-family.”

[N2] California and Florida are going to have trouble meeting physician demand spurred by PPACA.

[N3] I can’t help but escape the feeling that if this had happened in the US, there would have been casualties.


[A1] A real live condor got loose at a Bakersfield Condors game.

[A2] From Glyph, soccer is succumbing to some serious scandal.

[A3] Ohio University lost $79,000 going to the Independence Bowl. We really need to rethink these lower-seed bowl games. There’s really no reason for them to be neutral-site and run by a committee.

[A4] The Florida Atlantic Owls will be playing in a season named after a for-profit prison company. Which makes for some great stadium nicknames, but they actually already have one of the best: The Burrow.

[E1] Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper endorses frackwater.

[E2] Elana Schor makes the case that environmentalists are wasting their efforts of the Keystone XL pipeline.

[E3] An offshore rig was incapacitated because of piracy and porn. And not the Somalian kind of pirates.

[E4] If we want people to drive hybrids, it’s a pretty bad idea to carve out special taxes for them.


[T1] Google+ is promising “insanely great cameras” on the next Nexus phones. Sounds great. With my file server data possibly lost, Google+ has been a lifesaver with pictures of Lain. But how about the next Nexus phones having removable batteries and SD cards. So that I might actually want to get one.

[T2] Speaking of lost data, here’s more information on Bitcasa’s infinite file storage.

[T3] The case against the iWatch. I find it unconvincing, to be honest, though the more I read about what they plan to do, the less excited I am about the venture.

[T4] Obama’s response to the government-funded research thing gives me hope that he will free our cell phones.


[S1] The process of naming Pluto’s moons may be taken over by Trekkies. Do you have any nominees for naming the exoplanets?

[S2] Is global warming going to cost us our oysters? According to Forbes, a majority of (some) scientists are skeptical of AGW. A libertarian perspective on the matter.

[S3] So far my Pinterest account has not garnered much attention, but this map of every recorded meteorite strike since 2,300 BC got lots of repins. Relatedly, the only woman ever hit by a metorite survived.


[L1] A gambler’s case against legal Quick Draw video casinos.

[L2] Apple device theft is becoming such a big issue that the NYPD will create a special team to recover them.

[L3] A gamer faces a $50k fine for mapping a train-station due to fear of terrorism and panic.

[L4] Some folks are making hay out of the fact that the Pirate Bay is suing for copyright infringement. This is not necessarily as inconsistent as it sounds, though. The issue here is more trademarky, which most IP-opponents do actually support.

[L5] We’re moving closer to enforcing Internet sales taxes.

[L6] Denver is considering opting out of Amendment 24 due to the increase in crime that has apparently come with it. The Colorado experiment is apparently becoming captured by pot protectionism. Either way, the pro-weed majority is coming.

[L7] Weed legalization may make our roads less safe. This might help a lot in making them safer, however.

Will Truman

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


  1. W3: there is another side of the story that is clearly not being told. Not that I know what it is, but the journalism establishment that has been circulating this story for some weeks now isn’t even trying to dig it up, just recycling the same original reporting.

    A Senior Chief (E-8)* in any rate of the Navy is in a position to write his own ticket. Specifically, the ability to get a less stressful shore job in training or operational support. *Particularly* a guy with that specific bullet (so to speak) on his FITREP.

    Getting out voluntarily with less than 4 years to go before the pension guarentee is a perfectly acceptable choice, but one with a downside that an experienced veteran should well know. It’s vexxing when a 3-5 year first termer gets out without a plan, it’s positively flabergasting that a senior enlisted guy does it.

    So either he got out without a plan, which again, is something we counsel E-5’s not to do. Or he was quietly pushed out for some reason. But, we don’t know.

    Still, as it is, an E-8 in that naval warfare community in the Va Beach area *should* have some more prospects than simply looking to be a video game advisor. It’s not like he’s looking for a job in some West Virginia hollow. Contracting and Gov jobs are drying up all over, it is true, but the SPECWAR community is the most insulated of anybody from that overall trend.

    *discerned from this: “half his base pay: $2,197 a month”

  2. A3: there’s some dodgy math & accounting in that Deadspin article. And I’m not talking about the BCS.

    • Losing money in bowl games is not unheard of, especially for the lower bowls. The story about Florida State losing money on the ACC championship game was more surprising. I should have flagged that one, too.

  3. S2: Following the Forbes piece back to the original paper, I note that the sample was self-selected from among the members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta: licensed practicing engineers and geoscientists in the province. There’s no breakdown of the field of engineering expertise of the respondents, but the authors do note that large numbers of practicing engineers are employed by the oil, gas, and related industries in Alberta, and the oil sands activities in particular. Given that, I’m surprised that 36% of the respondents were willing to say that global warming is real, human caused, and a matter of serious concern. It reminds me of the Peak Oil community — there are quite a number of oil company senior geologists who argue that peak oil is real, but only after they retire.

    • This. The authors are not making a claim about the overall population of geoscientists’ views of climate change. Any reporting of the findings without emphasizing that is very shoddy reporting indeed. Forbes writer James Taylor needs a refresher course in either remedial research methods or ethics, if not both.

      • As Greginak points out below, Taylor adds slanted language to questionable methods. Ethics, fer sure.

        By the way, is the last link in S2 intended as meta? It’s about confusion in general, not AGW.

        • Wrong link. It was supposed to go to a Ron Bailey Reason article on AGW.

        • I don’t think the methods are so questionable. It was professional-org sponsored survey of professional-org members. Entirely legitimate, just limited in scope.

          • Questionable reporting given the methodology. I almost scratched it on that basis. Instead, I qualified the thesis with the “(some)” because I did find it interesting.

          • A convenience sample is a statistically worthless convenience sample, no matter who sponsors it.

        • Oh, and I see that Taylor’s day job is managing editor of The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News. He does this sort of deception for a living.

  4. S2 i’d trust this report if the reporter didn’t present his strong beliefs so obviously without any attempt to see if the survey was flawed. This guy says “People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged “consensus” have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists.” He talks about how its bureaucrats who do the reporting but now their are actual scientists who saying this. He doesn’t talk about any of the previous surveys of scientists who disagree with this poll.

    • There’s also the fact that the lead claim in the top paragraph is “Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis

      That’s actually not at all what the paper says.

      What the paper says is that 24% of the respondents think that nature is the dominant factor, not humans, and that 36% of the respondents (I’ll note, the largest frame in the survey) support following the Kyoto Protocol, and the remaining 40% have views that don’t align with “follow the Kyoto Protocol” group, but certainly don’t come anywhere near saying that global climate change is neither caused by humans nor a problem.

    • He talks about how its bureaucrats who do the reporting but now their are actual scientists who saying this.

      A quick visit to the APEGA web site (the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, and the organization whose members were polled) shows (a) the vast majority of the members are province-licensed professional engineers and (b) geoscience as defined in the enabling statute clearly emphasizes identifying and classifying oil, gas, and mineral reserves. APEGA’s own publications appear to be limited to things like business practice, salary surveys, and professional development.

      Which makes the statement in the Forbes’ piece a terribly misleading thing to say. I have nothing against, say, practicing professional civil engineers specializing in sewage treatment plants. Theirs is a valuable contribution to society. And I’m glad that the province has a procedure to make sure that people who hang out a shingle that says “Professional Engineer” know a good deal about their specialty. But I don’t consider them to be “scientists” whose opinion on AGW I should consider on a par with a full professor of climate science with a Ph.D. in that field, 20 years of experience building and calibrating climate models, and a dozen peer-reviewed articles published on the subject.

  5. N3,

    I saw a news report indicating a near-identical story happening here in America, Texas I believe. The story seemed poorly fact checked, as the prime claim was that the stuck accelerator left the car traveling 125MPH for 90 minutes, covering 110 miles. That just doesn’t add up. But they showed dashboard cam of a police officer following the guy as he weaved in and out of traffic. He eventually lost control and rolled it 4 times, escaping with minor injuries.

    I think this is it:

    It appears the story is at least a year old and I guess is being reported on now because of the resulting lawsuit? I dunno.

    • I have a hard time believing this story. Every time he stepped on the brake the car speeded up? Unless Renault has a very bizarre setup for their cars, braking and acceleration systems are completely separated, as far as I understand. Maybe there’s some engineers here who can comment, but this just sounds like an engineering possibility.

      • And what stopped him from putting in the clutch, shifting into neutral, or turning off the ignition?

          • I’m not sure. I tend to give this story more of the benefit of the doubt over “sudden acceleration syndrome” due to the inherent riskiness of what he was doing. Maybe he clammed up and didn’t think of the emergency break or putting it in neutral. Or maybe there was a mechanical error. But this strikes me as significantly different than someone trying to explain why they darted into a storefront and how it totally wasn’t their fault.

          • The Atlantic story says that the driver was talking to a Renault engineer, who was suggesting things to try. You’d think one of them would have come up with “turn the car off”.

          • You’d think. One of the downsides to Linky Friday is that the distancebbetween flagging and writing up am item and posting it is such that I forget pertinent details.

          • The Atlantic story doesn’t try to explain why none of the obvious stuff would have worked. Frustrating.

      • Wonder how much of their real-time software Renault will have to reveal at trial? And how much of the car is drive-by-wire now? When Slashdot covered this story, some of the commenters there asserted that this was not a normal Laguna, but one that had been modified for a disabled driver, with added controls mounted on the steering wheel. If that’s true, then there’s more possibilities for the on-board computer to get mixed signals and do something weird as a result.

        • Given how much of a car is drive-by-wire these days, it might be nice if there were a completely manual “cut the power to the spark plugs” switch.

        • Well, if those assertions are right, I’d certainly reduce my level of skepticism considerably.

          • Several European news stories state that the Laguna 3 had been modified, with throttle and brake controls mounted on the steering wheel. Wonder if it’s something Renault does as a special order, or if this is third-party modification? And how many other controls (eg, cruise control, stereo, etc) were mounted there?

      • If it’s a newer car, it might have drive by wire, which eliminates physical connections in favor of software inputs to throttle, etc.

        …at least that’s the only possibility I can think of.

      • Correct, brakes and throttle are always separate systems. Even with computer aided systems, such as ABS, the basics of the brake system is hydraulic and will override the acceleration.

  6. I love how Ben Affleck is in the least 70s looking outfit in the Argo picture. They gave him a more timeless guy look the other guy’s around him are in the ugly clothing that everyone lampoons about the 1970s.

    I disagree with the link about America’s coming Demographic disaster. There have always been people who did not want children and I see no compelling evidence to say that this number is increasing at a rapid clip. And most importantly: People change their minds! Childfree at 25 is not going to be that way forever most of the time.

    This is the kind of conservative pearl-clutching that I don’t get. Why does everyone need to know and be always planning for having a family. Just let people have fun. The sky is not falling. So what if 21 year olds are not having kids anymore?

    My opinion of Joel Klotkin is not very high. He is very anti-city in general

    • There have always been people who did not want children and I see no compelling evidence to say that this number is increasing at a rapid clip.

      The number of people who don’t want children may or may not be increasing (which actually isn’t Last’s argument, see below). The number of people choosing not to have children is increasing, though. The question is… why? Is it because a previous generation had kids against their desires and the younger generation is not repeating that? Maybe. Is it because people are actually changing their minds due to cultural influence? Perhaps. Is it because we have national policies that aren’t family-friendly, or aren’t sufficiently so? That’s dependent on what kind of fertility numbers we want and how we define “family-friendly.” Childfree couples can correctly point out that we do encourage parenthood through various tax incentives, natalists can argue that it’s insufficient to compensate for the various disincentives.

      Last’s argument is actually less about the number of people who want children and more about the number of children people want to have. His book (which I haven’t read yet) makes the case that people actually want more children than they are having, but are having fewer children due to economic considerations. He backs this up with sociological research, though I can’t verify it one way or another.

      I am a fan of Kotkin, mostly because he is a much-needed antidote to Richard Florida’s crusade to tell the smart set what they want to hear (cities rule, suburbs drool, and oh yeah urban policy ought to be directed at pleasing people like us if cities want to thrive). While others keep trying to argue that people are moving back to the city in large numbers and the suburbs are in trouble, Kotkin is pointing out that this really isn’t the case and that the suburbs continue to grow. Kotkin also has the wisdom to agree with me vis-a-vis employers being more likely to move out to the suburbs than vice-versa when/if push comes to shove. Well, I cite it as possible while be actually makes a case for it. But it’s not a weak case.

      • Mrs. Likko and I are childless by choice. The reason is not economic, it’s personal preference. Neither of us have ever really got a ton of pleasure from interacting with children. For me, kids don’t get interesting until their teens, and sometimes not even then. What if you get a dud? So neither of us ever felt any attraction to the idea of being parents. We figured, you need a better reason to want to invest the attention and care into having kids than “It’s just what you do, I guess.”

        Now, you could take that narrow focus of personal preference and dial the focus back to the 1,000-foot level. Why doesn’t this perfectly ordinary middle-class couple enjoy the idea of having kids? Lots of other people are attracted to the idea, so what’s going on with them and people like them? There, I suppose you can talk about economic incentives. Our individual decision was based on a hedonic economy rather than a monetary one. So is there something about modern childrearing that is less pleasant than childrearing was in the past? That’d be an interesting discussion to have, I suppose.

        • Most people I know who are childless are like you and your wife and have non-economic reasons for the decision.

          There are probably people who delay having children for economic/educational reasons but that is a whole other issues.

          • I agree (see below), though the delays also have an effect. People who just time of time out of having kids (wait too long). Or people like Clancy and myself who would prefer three, but due to the delays are probably looking at two.

        • I can think of a few reasons, but from a purely cultural standpoint it’s hard not to think of them as either positive or a downside to something that is overwhelmingly positive.

          I mean, higher opportunity costs almost certainly play a factor. Monetary ones, for sure, but that’s not even what I am thinking about. There is ever-more to do that children can “get in the way” of, if children aren’t something that motivates you. It’s a product of our economic comfort, but so far the downsides to parenthood have really been lifestyle rather than money. Whatever the baby is costing at the moment, she is possibly saving us in my present inability to go out and do things. But that’s okay, because I want kids. It would be the source of more than a little resentment if I didn’t.

          The other thing is women in the workplace. Another positive! But it makes things harder. A lot harder.

          This could be mitigated to a degree with free day care or paying women (or men!) to stay at home with kids. Neither of which are on Last’s agenda, I don’t think (though I haven’t read his book, I feel I should repeat). But the European experience suggests it wouldn’t have much of an effect on overall fertility rates anyway. The government can’t arrange for you to attend Leaguefest, after all.

          For those that are disinclined to have children, the increasing social acceptability of such does play a role. Families with kids have their communities, and so do people that don’t go that route. That makes a difference. Maybe not for Mr. and Mrs. Likko, but at least in cases where you have one partner that wants kids and another partner that doesn’t. The former used to win by default, and still does in some places and subcultures, but that’s less the case than it used to be.

          • I will add that sometimes I am shocked from reading old novels. For example, I read the novel for MASH and this struck me:

            1. The main characters are really young. All the doctors are in their mid to late 20s.

            2. All of them still had one or two kids while still in med school or residency and being really young.

            Now med residency is different than other forms of advanced education because it lasted longer even then but I still think the current norm is to wait until post-residency to have children. There are probably good and bad policies/social norms that made it perfectly normal for people to have kids while still in med school or law school. I am going to go for mostly bad policies like the lack of women in advanced degree programs and societal expectations that women would be nothing but housewives.

Comments are closed.