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Links: June 2017

Animated Subway Maps Compared to Their Actual Geography

These are a wonderfully concise look at design thinking.

How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science

Murray Energy — despite its enormous clout with Mr. Trump and his top environmental official — boasts a payroll with only 6,000 employees. The coal industry nationwide is responsible for about 160,000 jobs, with just 65,000 directly in mining, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

By comparison, General Electric alone has 104,000 employees in the United States, and Apple has 80,000. Their chief executives openly pressed Mr. Trump to stick with Paris, as did dozens of other major corporations that have continued to support regulatory efforts to combat climate change.

But these voices did not have clout in Washington, either in Congress or at the White House, when it comes to energy policy.

American voters — even many Republicans — recognize that climate change is starting to affect their lives. About 70 percent think global warming is happening, and about 53 percent think it is caused by human activities, according to a recent study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. About 69 percent support limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

But most public opinion polls find that voters rank the environment last or nearly last among the issues that they vote on. And views are divided based on party affiliation. In 2001, 46 percent of Democrats said they worried “a great deal” about climate change, compared with 29 percent of Republicans, according to a Gallup tracking poll on the issue. This year, concern among Democrats has reached 66 percent. Among Republicans, it has fallen, to 18 percent.

How Did the Subway Get So Bad? Look to the C Train

In 2012, money was directed to replace the R32. Bombardier, one of only a handful of companies capable of filling the order, won the $600 million contract to build 300 new cars.

But as Bombardier was building the cars to replace the R32, engineers in early 2014 discovered small cracks in weld joints.

“We stopped production,” Ms. Roberts said. They had to find the cause, then agree with New York officials about the cause, then devise a solution, then work with the state officials to agree on the solution.

It took about a year for production to start again.

But it wasn’t long before there was another problem. In mid-2015, they discovered imperfections in the casting of a wheel unit manufactured by a subcontractor.

Another year passed before work at a plant in upstate New York got underway again.

Finally, last fall, Bombardier delivered 10 test cars to the city.

However, there is only one test track currently in operation for New York’s entire subway system and the standard amount of time it takes to run all the needed tests is one year.

Assuming no problems are found during the testing, the new cars will go into full production this fall and the order will be completed by September 2018.

My Daughter Is a Person; Her Frozen Embryo ‘Possiblings’ Aren’t

But nothing underscored the importance of reproductive choice quite like holding my daughter in my arms and thinking, “This is the beginning of a life.”

Before I met my child, I stayed clear of the “when does life begin” facet of the reproductive rights debate. To me, it never really mattered whether a five-day embryo was morally the same as an infant five days after birth. The important thing, I thought, was that even if an embryo was a person, they did not have the right to another human being’s body without that human being’s consent—as no one does. (For example, you cannot be legally compelled to donate an organ, even to a person who will die without it.)

Monument Valley 2 – Official Release Trailer

So excited to return to Monument Valley. No pressure to win, score, achieve, collect, etc. Just a beautiful space with thoughtful mechanics to explore.

A Beginner’s Guide to Biking to Work

Solid tips for beginners and veterans alike.

Notes From An Emergency

There are five Internet companies—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Together they have a market capitalization just under 3 trillion dollars.

Bruce Schneier has called this arrangement the feudal Internet. Part of this concentration is due to network effects, but a lot of it is driven by the problem of security. If you want to work online with any measure of convenience and safety, you must choose a feudal lord who is big enough to protect you.

The feudal system makes the Internet more brittle, ensuring that when a breach finally comes, it will be disastrous.

in our eagerness to find safety online, we’ve given this feudal Internet the power to change our offline world in unanticipated and scary ways.

Our plutocrats are eager to make death an opt-out experience.

Now, I’m no fan of death. I don’t like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

But at the same time, I’m not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper. If we’re going to worry about existential risk, I would rather we start by addressing the two existential risks that are indisputably real—nuclear war and global climate change—and working our way up from there.

But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven’t been sullied by contact with reality.

Religious Liberals Sat Out of Politics for 40 Years. Now They Want in the Game.

The Bible, he notes, says far more about caring for the needy than it does about homosexuality or abortion.

“How do you take two or three Scriptures and make a theology out of it, and claim it is the moral perspective, and leave 2,000 on the table?” he said. “That is a form of theological malpractice.”

“The fact that one party has strategically used and abused religion, while the other has had a habitually allergic and negative response to religion per se, puts our side in a more difficult position in regard to political influence,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, the evangelical social justice advocate who founded the Sojourners community and magazine in 1971.

“Most progressive religious leaders I talk to, almost all of them, feel dissed by the left,” he said. “The left is really controlled by a lot of secular fundamentalists.”

“The movement never does arrive,” the Rev. Daniel Schultz, who pastors a United Church of Christ congregation in Wisconsin, wrote in a piece on the Religion Dispatches website. “It never arrives because the left (or at least the Democratic Party) is too diverse and its priorities too different for anything like a mirror image of the religious right to coalesce.”

Dan Rhatigan on Variable Fonts and the Future of Typography

I think the first real disruption will happen with the people tinkering with CSS and variable fonts, who will be the ones to explore the possibilities a little more freely at first.

Susan Rogers on Working with Prince

One of my favorite things I’ve read about Prince.

When you’re mixing a record, you need to understand something about where you want your listener’s attention to go. You need to – subconsciously, I suppose – understand how you want people to move to this music. How would they dance to it? The answer to those questions determines, is the bass louder than the kick drum, or is the kick drum louder than the bass? Is the focus on the two and four, or is the focus on the one and three in this song? Should the vocal be up, should the vocal be down in the track? Where do we want people’s attention to go, because what do we want them to feel when they hear this?

Prince would have a four hour soundcheck, just for the fun of it, to play new songs, just to have some fun. We would soundcheck from two in the afternoon until 6 PM.

He never, ever took a predatory stance in his seduction. It was never about, “I am going to conquer you, my prey.” He always approached women as equals. I think that’s one of the reasons that women loved him so much. We trusted him. We felt safe with him. We felt empowered. We felt equal. He gave us that, and he always did. He was always consistent with that. That’s who he was.

The Last Year At Marienbad of Z-grade bad movies

Anyone can be incompetent, but what distinguishes the bad sublime is that everything about it insists that the filmmakers are in fact operating at the upper limit of their competence. What’s more, the movies are almost always the work of eccentric, untrained outsiders who lack the good sense to hide their egoism, weird hang-ups, and women issues behind a veil of craft, like real artists do. Really, the essence of the bad sublime is that it’s a parody of movie-making ambition. The classical auteurism that French film critics foisted upon the world was based on the idea that filmmaking was a collaborative process, but that a great director could be its protagonist; in true examples of the bad sublime, he (and it always seems to be a he) is the overreaching tragicomic hero of a farce.

Your run-of-the-mill endearingly bad movie is shameless, strained, and derivative in a way that makes it obvious what kind of film its creators are trying and failing to make. To the best of my understanding, After Last Season is trying and failing to be “a film,” and its failures are so unique that they sometimes suggest a creepy misinterpretation of reality.

Web Typography

I’ve looked forward to this since it was a twinkle in Rich Rutter’s eye a decade ago. Haven’t read it yet, but I can confidently recommend it.

Hell on Earth! Satanic Band Files Suit Citing Dreary Work Conditions

Best WSJ hedcut ever?

How Conspiracy Theories are Gripping the Resistance

As it turns out, though, the left wasn’t smarter than the right; it simply wasn’t terrified enough.

In a landscape this dystopian, conspiracy offers a salve. It promises an order behind the madness, some sort of rational explanation for the seeming chaos. It validates your paranoia, which paradoxically confirms you’re not paranoid. And most dangerous of all, it affirms your sense that things are hopeless, while absolving you from having to do anything about it. Conspiracy theories may temporarily allay our fear, but they ultimately exacerbate the very conditions that created that fear in the first place.

An infuriating feature of conspiracy theory,” the journal Skeptical Inquirer notes, “is its propensity to take the standard of evidence that skeptics value so highly and turn it on its head: Extraordinary claims no longer require extraordinary evidence; rather an extraordinary lack of evidence is thought to validate the extraordinariness of the conspiracy.”

“The less control people have over their lives,” one researcher explained, “the more likely they are to try and regain control through mental gymnastics.” The term for this phenomenon is “illusory pattern perception,” and it goes a long way toward explaining the paranoid mind-set. Conspiracists, fundamentally, believe that malevolent order is preferable to chaos. Those who assert that Trump and Steve Bannon are sinister masterminds who secretly control the world from behind the scenes find the prospect more reassuring than the idea that they are rapacious, half-assed con men who have bumbled their way into more power than they can handle.

(People of color, of course, are intimately acquainted with democracy’s shortcomings, which is perhaps why this new wave of conspiracists is overwhelmingly white.)

Okay, but:

Conspiracy, Goertzel found, also tracks closely with being part of a racial minority; hence the belief among some black Americans in the 1990s that AIDS was created by the government.

Uber board member cracks “inappropriate” joke about women at company event on sexual harassment

Uber gonna Uber, I guess.

These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books

Each arrow represents a page, each circle a choice, and each square an ending. Dotted lines show where branches link to one another.

In Her Shoes: Finding Feminism, Cynicism, And Geena Davis At A Walmart Soda Counter In Arkansas

Walmart wants to do better. It has to. Even in the age of Trump, inclusivity sells.

LGBTQ shoppers are projected to spend $1 trillion by the end of 2017. Black Americans spend $1.2 trillion a year. Hispanics, $1.3 trillion. Women, who tend to do the household shopping, control a staggering 85 percent of all consumer purchases, dwarfing the buying power of men.

Walmart wants that cash. Embracing activism to get it is cynical. Still, the majority of Americans want better health care, stronger gun control laws, equal rights, and a higher minimum wage. Walmart claims to offer what the government won’t. It needs the support of all shoppers and all voters, not just a gerrymandered 26 percent. Depressing as it sounds in a democracy, maybe dollars can do what ballots can’t.

Go-Go Forever

Deal traces go-go’s musical origins back to the batá drums, bongos, and timbales of Nigeria and Cuba. The lead talker in go-go, who acts as the conductor for the band and the audience, is similar to a talker, griot, or djeli in parts of Western Africa, who names the people who are present at a gathering and narrates important social events that are taking place in the community. Scholar Joy DeGruy has written that if a person arrives late to such a meeting, the speaker may stop what they are doing in order to introduce that person and catch them up on what they’ve missed. Similarly, the call-and-response at a go-go gives audience members the feeling of full participation. The band is no more important than the audience. When the talker puts people in the crowd and neighborhood crews on “display” by shouting them out as the music plays, he is acknowledging these people. The result can be a show that goes on and on until it feels like it has truly finished.

Palm: Shadow Expert EP Album Review

Conflict, in and of itself, becomes an act of solidarity.

Smartduvet Breeze: Dual-Zone Temp Self-Making Bed

Watched the video, assumed it was a joke, looked very carefully, found no indication it’s a joke. 😐