Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day Weekend Reads

Links for a long weekend.  Have fun this Fourth of July.  Try not to blow off any appendages with fireworks.

 Sixty-nine Days - The New Yorker. The rescue of the Chilean miners.

WWII Hero Louis Zamperini Dies at 97 - Wall Street Journal

Jobs Charted by State and Salary - Flowing Data (h/t Kaye).  Mailmen are overpaid.

The Broken Thread of Culture - The Archdruid Report. Merle Haggard: "Are the good times really over for good?"  Money quote:
In point of fact, for the lower 80% of Americans by income, the zenith of prosperity was reached in the third quarter of the 20th century, and it’s all been downhill from there. This isn’t an accident; what the rhetoric of progress through science misses is that the advance of science may have been a necessary condition for the boomtimes of the industrial age, but it was never a sufficient condition in itself.

The other half of the equation was the resource base on which industrial civilization depended. Three centuries ago, as industrialism got under way, it could draw on vast amounts of cheap, concentrated energy in the form of fossil fuels, which had been stored up in the Earth’s crust over the previous half billion years or so. It could draw on equally huge stocks of raw materials of various kinds, and it could also make use of a biosphere whose capacity to absorb pollutants and other environmental insults hadn’t yet been overloaded to the breaking point by human activity. None of those conditions still obtain, and the popular insistence that the economic abundance of the recent past must inevitably be maintained in the absence of the material conditions that made it possible—well, let’s just say that makes a tolerably good example of faith-based thinking.
An American Fourth of July, made in China - Wonkblog

Joey Chestnut is America's greatest, most American athlete - SB Nation.  One of my Fourth of July traditions, along with listening to the Declaration of Independence being read on Morning Edition, and drinking beer and grilling out, is watching the Godawful hot dog-eating contest.  It is the quintessential American event.  Gluttony and crass commercialism merged with hype and the sense of significance.  It is worth an hour of your life to watch the carnival barker/announcer introduce a bunch of competitive eater/freaks who will "compete" to eat the most processed pork snouts and rectums. You may be dumber for having watched it, but you will better understand the United States. God bless America.

The 25 cities nobody wants to live in - Vox.  Actually, the cities with the fastest shrinking populations. Youngstown is the only city in Ohio to make the list.  Beats the six in Michigan.  The real question is, what about the metro areas?

Cotton Boom Goes Bust as Rain-Soaked Texas Crop Sets Glut - Bloomberg.  "In the cotton belt of West Texas, the biggest U.S. growing region, rainfall over 60 days through June 23 was as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters), double the amount from a year earlier and the most during the planting season since 2007, according to World Weather Inc. Texas has been mired in drought for much of the past four years, which helped cut the state’s cotton output in 2013 by 17 percent."

"Counter-Revolution of 1776": Was U.S. Independence War a Conservative Revolt in Favor of Slavery? - Democracy Now.  Historian tries to rain on your Fourth of July.

Inside Monsanto, America's Third-Most-Hated Company - Businessweek.  What was the cosmetic company tagline? "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful?"

On N.C.’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast - Washington Post.  When science is against you, legislate it away.  Bought and paid for by Art Pope.  But see The ocean is swallowing up Virginia so rapidly that its leaders are forgetting to bicker about climate change - Quartz

How the South is becoming a solid band of poverty: One in three live in poor neighborhoods - Daily Mail. The Republican playbook is to make the rest of the nation like the south.

Texas Set To Overtake Iraq In Oil Production - Oil Price.  I propose an invasion of that shithole.

Lone Star Crazy: How Right-Wing Extremists Took Over Texas - Rolling Stone.  More like how even crazier loons did it.
Canada's Big, Ugly Environmental Problem - Pacific Standard.  Prime Minister Harper is a bigger oil tool bag than Rick Perry, and that's saying something.

Map Shows When Summer Heat Peaks In Your Town - Scientific American.  Map below.  Shows Western Ohio peaking in the first two weeks of July.  Almost covered.  I would've guessed the Dog Days.

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