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Links: February 2016

The NYPD Is Kicking People Out of Their Homes, Even If They Haven’t Committed a Crime

“It’s an action about a place. It’s not about people,” says the NYPD, as it evicts innocent people from their homes.

The Lives and Lies of a Professional Impostor

“I think he doesn’t know where the lies stop and the truth starts anymore.”

Everyone Hates Martin Shkreli. Everyone Is Missing the Point

Last fall, Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger affiliated with Science, criticized Shkreli’s plan to raise prices as a “terrible idea,” not least because such an ostentatious plan posed “a serious risk of bringing the entire pricing structure of the industry under much heavier scrutiny and regulation.” He called on the pharmaceutical industry to denounce Shkreli as a means of protecting its own business model; from an economic point of view, Shkreli’s strategy seemed self-defeating.

Romantic Comedies: When Stalking Has a Happy Ending

“There is an unfortunate Double Standard common in the depiction of this trope,” as TV Tropes puts it. “Stalker-type behavior in a man can make him a romantic hero but the same behavior will almost always make a woman dangerous or pathetic.”

This is what happens when you reply to spam email

“Send £1,500.00 via A Giant Gummy Lizard.” This TED talk is a pretty fun way to start the day.

The F.C.C. Gets Ready to Unlock the Cable Box

Regulation “will stifle innovation,” say cable companies, whose services have not meaningfully improved in decades.

Wife crashes her own funeral, horrifying her husband, who had paid to have her killed

Survive kidnapping. Confront husband at your own funeral. Become single mom of 8. Get told to stop snitchin’. NOPE.

Liquid Assets

Fascinating explanation of the water crisis in the western US, and a man who thinks commodification might solve it.

February 8, 2016 | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is off to a great start. Super sharp, super funny. Scratches that Jon Stewart itch.

Getting ahead vs. doing well

When we share an idea or an experience, we both have it, it doesn’t diminish the value, it increases it.

Donald Trump Is a Conundrum for Political Comedy

Trump supporters: “…the populist mosh pit that has kept him from hitting the floor despite his verbal stage dives.”

My Story as a DMV Edge Case: How to Battle Bureaucracy and Win

“Why are you refusing to take the eye test?” Hannah Birch on how to navigate the DMV with a low-vision condition.

Dear Bernie Fans, a Vote for Him Is a Vote for Donald Trump

It’s not compromising, selling out, or picking the lesser of two evils to choose a candidate that can appeal to the broad middle of America—it’s democracy.

Kevin Cornell, Peace Through Music, Lily Meier

My talented buddy Kevin Cornell walks us through his illustration process and philosophy on WHYY.

New Jersey man completes 30-year murder sentence only to kill mother two days later

The headline of the year basically wrote itself.

I dare you to read this and still feel good about tipping

Studies have shown that tipping is not an effective incentive for performance in servers. It also creates an environment in which people of color, young people, old people, women, and foreigners tend to get worse service than white males. In a tip-based system, nonwhite servers make less than their white peers for equal work. Consider also the power imbalance between tippers, who are typically male, and servers, 70 percent of whom are female, and consider that the restaurant industry generates five times the average number of sexual harassment claims per worker. And that in many instances employers have allegedly misused tip credits, which let owners pay servers less than minimum wage if tipping makes up the difference.

The restaurant industry is the second largest and fastest growing industry, and yet the Department of Labor reports every year that seven of the 10 lowest paying jobs are restaurant jobs. And, in fact, of those seven lowest paying jobs in America, four are tipped occupations. So even including tips, restaurant workers make up four of the ten lowest paying jobs in America.

When you’re a woman living on tips—even if you’re making a lot of money on tips, which most women aren’t—you’re subject to the whims of the customer, and really encouraged by management to objectify yourself or subject yourself to objectification to make money in tips.

“among the six states that passed tipping bans, five of them were southern states, and it was based on this idea that black workers were the only workers making tips, because there was this idea that you only tip inferiors. That is what I mean when I say the origins are noblesse oblige. The origin is that you tip an inferior.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abortion Laws

John Oliver takes on disingenuous laws designed to put abortion clinics out of business. Don’t miss this.

The X-Files: Do We Still Want to Believe?

Understanding that Fox Mulder—the fiendishly handsome, winningly skeptical, extraordinarily loyal partner to the single greatest female television role model of the 1990s—is basically a disheveled, sweaty wackadoo who plausibly spends large parts of his day uploading YouTube videos regarding snake people and the melting point of steel was a trifle disappointing. But way worse was realizing that he had been these things all along.

The aesthetic of The X-Files was always that Cold War conception of the one-world government—shadowy meetings between faceless bureaucrats, invisible hands nudging things into place. Freedom fighters looked like The Lone Gunmen—goofy but harmless folk tinkering with HAM radios in their trailers. Now, it’s a very InfoWars world, and even though it’s pure fiction, it’s sad to see Mulder and Scully get wrapped up in it.

A Manhattan doctor has twice removed the same woman’s name from the same man’s buttocks

Okay, it is clearly too early to be declaring “headline of the year,” so I’ll just start collecting contenders.

Measuring Donald Trump’s Supporters for Intolerance

Even if you take the data with a grain of salt, pretty much every word of this is fucking terrifying.

Voters were asked if they favored temporarily barring Muslims who are not citizens from entering the United States, something Mr. Trump advocates, and 74 percent said they did. He won 41 percent of that group.

Possibly more surprising are the attitudes of Mr. Trump’s supporters on things that he has not talked very much about on the campaign trail. He has said nothing about a ban on gays in the United States, the outcome of the Civil War or white supremacy. Yet on all of these topics, Mr. Trump’s supporters appear to stand out from the rest of Republican primary voters.

Data from Public Policy Polling show that a third of Mr. Trump’s backers in South Carolina support barring gays and lesbians from entering the country.

The P.P.P. poll asked voters if they thought whites were a superior race. Most Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 78 percent — disagreed with this idea (10 percent agreed and 11 percent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s supporters, only 69 percent disagreed.

Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War.

Mr. Trump has reinvigorated explicit appeals to ethnocentrism, and some voters are responding.

3D Printed Sundial Displays Time Like a Digital Clock

Digital timekeeping via an analog sundial. Amazing.

Why it’s time to stop glorifying marriage

The fact that marriage doubles as an ex post facto welfare program for much of today’s middle class and is nothing short of a luxury good for the upper crust reflects growing income inequality.

The Party of ‘No Way!’

The Constitution gives no hint that the Senate’s “advice and consent” for nominations should operate only in three out of four years.

Just as we have work requirements for some welfare recipients, maybe it’s time to consider work requirements for senators.

How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable

The most insightful – and dismally entertaining – read on the Trump phenomenon so far.

in less than a year Trump has succeeded in turning the USA into a massive high school

Cruz certainly has an odd face – it looks like someone sewed pieces of a waterlogged Reagan mask together at gunpoint

Nine out of 10 times in America, the candidate who raises the most money wins. And those candidates then owe the most favors.

Meaning that for the pleasure of being able to watch insincere campaign coverage and see manipulative political ads on TV for free, we end up having to pay inflated Medicare drug prices, fund bank bailouts with our taxes, let billionaires pay 17 percent tax rates, and suffer a thousand other indignities.

Critics Love the Horror Film The Witch. Why Don’t Viewers Think It’s Scary?

Looking forward to revisiting The Witch with this perspective – especially about the ending – in mind.

Normally, the fall of the main character in the final scene of a horror movie would be a director’s gloomy or gleeful surrender to evil. But The Witch presents Thomasin’s conversion as a victory for her: Embracing Satan allows her to escape from the physical hardship, moral hypocrisy, and gendered violence that’s tortured her thus far. (Given how few people in the Calvinist universe actually belong to the divine elect, hedging your bets by becoming a cursed, uberpowerful immortal is just good sense.) I can’t overstate just how shocking this moment feels, when you realize that the movie has up until now perpetrated a fundamental deception about its own point of view. All along, Eggers has stood on the Devil’s side; the triumph of the forces he’s trained us to dread and fear actually constitutes a happy ending.