The Price of Water→
Using price to encourage conservation:
Economists argue that without real prices and measurements that would determine cost, there’s no incentive to conserve consumption. But these prices and systems were set in a time when water shortage wasn’t a huge issue. Robert Carson, an economics professor who specializes in natural resources at University of California San Diego, says that caps on water prices were set in part so municipalities could not abuse the utility for profit.
“California law requires that a water utility can only collect money to cover its costs,” says Carson. “While preventing cities from using water utilities to extract lots of extra revenue, it prevents a water district from using a higher price to reduce demand.”
Shaken Baby Syndrome Shaky→
But what prosecutors called a clear-cut case of child abuse is now mired in doubt. Two doctors working on Dobson’s appeal last year argued that the scientific testimony used against her was fundamentally flawed. A judge overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, finding that a jury hearing that argument could have had “a reasonable doubt” about her guilt.
Doctors for the prosecution said Trevor had been a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a 40-year-old medical diagnosis long defined by three internal conditions: swelling of the brain, bleeding on the surface of the brain and bleeding in the back of the eyes. The diagnosis gave a generation of doctors a way to account for unexplained head injuries in babies and prosecutors a stronger case for criminal intent when police had no witnesses, no confessions and only circumstantial evidence.
What Really Happened to Harry Reid?→
When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year’s Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs, and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of “I walked into a doorknob,” it isn’t hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters. Yet the national press has studiously averted its eyes from Reid’s condition, and has refused to investigate the cause of his injuries. To my knowledge, every Washington reporter has at least pretended to believe Reid’s story, and none, as far as I can tell, has inquired further.
The Deadly Global War for Sand→
A fascinating feature; Wired at its best.
Our civilization is literally built on sand. People have used it for construction since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. In the 15th century, an Italian artisan figured out how to turn sand into transparent glass, which made possible the microscopes, telescopes, and other technologies that helped drive the Renaissance’s scientific revolution (also, affordable windows). Sand of various kinds is an essential ingredient in detergents, cosmetics, toothpaste, solar panels, silicon chips, and especially buildings; every concrete structure is basically tons of sand glued together with cement.
The Shut-In Economy→
Life in an app-catered world:
Many services promote themselves as life-expanding — there to free up your time so you can spend it connecting with the people you care about, not standing at the post office with strangers. Rinse’s ad shows a couple chilling at a park, their laundry being washed by someone, somewhere beyond the picture’s frame. But plenty of the delivery companies are brutally honest that, actually, they never want you to leave home at all.
GrubHub’s advertising banks on us secretly never wanting to talk to a human again: “Everything great about eating, combined with everything great about not talking to people.” DoorDash, another food delivery service, goes for the all-caps, batshit extreme:
“NEVER LEAVE HOME AGAIN.”
Woody Allen: Predator→
Muriel Hemingway’s memoir suggests Allen in Manhattan was Allen in real life:
Hemingway’s memoir destroys that separation once and for all. Woody Allen was Isaac, and quite possibly still is. Thankfully for her, Mariel Hemingway was not Tracy — stronger and smarter and more sure of her own instincts, even as the adults she should have been able to trust were willing to sell her out for the sake of her career and anything they stood to gain from it. There are still many people who don’t believe Dylan Farrow when she says Allen sexually abused her as a child. The scandal over Allen’s affair with and subsequent marriage to his ex-partner Mia Farrow’s daughter Soon Yi Previn has long since subsided into a “well, it seems to be working out for them” shrug. That’s his messy personal life, people might say, but ah, his art! But Hemingway’s revelation demands we look unflinchingly at the reality that “Manhattan” so artfully disguised as art, and see it for what it truly is. Woody Allen is a genius. Woody Allen is a predator. He put those two sides of himself together, hand in hand, and dared us to applaud. And we did — over and over. We all have our blind spots, but after a while, we also have to admit what we have deliberately refused to see.
How Good Is Tom Izzo in the NCAA Tournament?→
Better than any other coach in modern NCAA history… by far.
Izzo’s performance is almost seven standard deviations above average, lending further credence to Nate’s assertion that Izzo isn’t simply the outlier you’d expect to naturally arise in a data set of 523 coaches. Rather, there seems to be something very real — whether it’s coaching, or perhaps recruiting the types of players whose styles suit March Madness — about Izzo’s ability to take his Michigan State teams much further in the tournament than the numbers or seedings say they ought to go.