What the present will have been
- In an op-ed in the WaPo, philosopher Anthony Kwame Appiah looks to the past and observes that whereas certain practices such as slavery were considered acceptable, today they seem reprehensible. And past critiques of social behavior such as prohibition can be interpreted in the present as misguided. Which of our own contemporary practices then will be condemned by those in the future?
U.S. economy and housing: Routes and roots
- Folks living out of cars and RV’s along Venice Beach are being turned out of their parking spots by LAPD. To the claim that a bohemian homeless crowd is drawn to Venice because its cool to live out of your car, UCLA law professor Gary Blasi says, “The idea of carefree vagabonds is statistically false. More often, these are people who lived in apartments in Venice before they lived in R.V.’s. The reason for losing housing is usually the loss of a job or some health care crisis.”
- Debate continues on the root causes of the ongoing U.S. housing crisis with complex financial instruments, regulatory incompetence and corruption, political ideology, and good old fashioned greed all offering themselves as potential culprits. Add to that now institutional racism, according to new study put out by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, which finds that “residential segregation created a niche of minority clients who were marketed risky subprime loans.”
Race and demography
- If you haven’t already seen this Flickr set of maps of major U.S. cities illustrating residential segregation as recorded by census data take a long break and flip through them. There’s 103 to view, so if you want to get the main points in digest form check out Gawker or Sociological Images.
- A report from the NYU law school reveals that of the 15 states with the largest inmate populations, 13 of them charge the poor for use of public defenders. Such fees are considered an important source of revenue for cash strapped state justice systems and are on the rise. “In Michigan, the report says, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found the ‘threat’ of having to pay the full cost of assigned counsel caused misdemeanor defendants to waive their right to attorneys 95% of the time.”
- Retired Justice John Paul Stevens said in interview with NPR that the “one vote I would change” was the 1976 vote he cast to restore the death penalty.
Hey, hey! We’re the monkeys!
- At the Commonwealth Games, held this year in New Delhi, India, langur monkeys are being used by event security at several venues to keep other, smaller primates in check.
- Remember “Ida”? While the media hype over the Darwinius fossil has subsided, the debate over its taxonomy continues. Laelaps, the evolution blog at Wired, provides a synopsis and links to Zinjanthropus for a second opinion.
- Greg Graffin, of Bad Religion now a lecturer at UCLA, on evolution and punk rock.
Ground Zero mosque will look totally trippy
- Try this experiment. If you type the word “Ground” into Google the third suggested search is Ground Zero Mosque (right behind Ground Beef Recipe). I originally did this because I couldn’t think of what the proper name of the place is, GZM having been seared into my brain the mass media. The proper name is, thank you Wikipedia, Park51. It will be amazing to behold.
- Suggestions for addressing common classroom problems in a choose-your-own-adventure format for tailored results, via Carnegie Mellon.
- Short tip sheets for help with basic tasks like grading and leading discussion, via Harvard.
- NYT does a Mad Magazine fold-in retrospective.
- Scientific American has a comic feature on the Neanderthal genome.
Seen something around the web that you’d like to share with the Savage Minds community? Drop me an email at mdthomps AT odu.edu.