Quick recsJun 23, 2019
These are a few of my favorite things.
Podcast episode: “Monetary Mysteries Revealed” from The Weeds
Karl Smith, a columnist at Bloomberg, is interviewed by Matt Yglesias, a journalist at Vox, about the federal reserve, monetary policy, and the myth of the “skills gap.” The interview was largely inspired by this tweet which I swear you’ll find funny once you listen to the episode. The position argued by Smith is that during the recession, the Fed made a serious error in misjudging how low the unemployment rate could drop and tamping down on quantitative easing too early out of a misguided fear of inflation.
Podcast miniseries: Mitch from Embedded
It’s hard for me to convey how much I hate Mitch McConnell. You can draw a straight line between our current political dysfunction and his tenure as Senate minority / majority leader. This miniseries from Embedded explores his political career and somehow managed to make me hate him even more. It’s great.
Long-form article: “The Day the Dinosaurs Died”
If you’re my age or older, when you were in elementary school you learned that we don’t know exactly how the dinosaurs went extinct. Like, it probably was a result of an asteroid collision, but maybe it was a bunch of volcano eruptions or something? Expert opinions varied.
In the years since, the consensus has firmly shifted in one direction: 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid hit the earth right on the Yucatán peninsula and almost all life—including the dinosaurs–very quickly died. There’s a clear demarcation in the fossil record called the KT boundary where you can visually see the result of the collision: below this layer you’ll find dino bones and above you’ll find none (and on the line itself you’ll find unusual amounts of iridium, which sparkled down like snow from the asteroid as it burned up in the atmosphere).
There was one problem: for a long time we had never found any fossils buried in the nine feet or so just under the KT boundary. This gap lent credence to the idea that the dinosaurs went extinct before the asteroid hit. The discovery described in this article puts that idea to rest, and describes—assuming it holds up under peer review—what can only be described as the most significant and coolest paleontological find of the past century.
Short-form article: “Dumbest ‘Gotcha’ Story Of The Week: Google, Genius And The Copying Of Licensed Lyrics”
Genius accused Google of copying their lyrics in their search results, and this was mostly interesting to people because of the way they did it (encoding a message in morse code via curly vs. straight apostrophes), but actually this story is a lot weirder than that. It’s a short piece so just read it to find out why.
Twitter accounts: @ne0liberal and @MikeGravel
The Neoliberal Project is an effort to reclaim the word “neoliberal” mostly via tweeting. In broad strokes, it defines neoliberalism as a strong belief in the power of free markets, with the recognition that there are still appropriate places for government intervention. You can check out the top posts of their subreddit to get a general sense of the ideology.
Mike Gravel is an 89-year-old ex-senator from Alaska who is kinda-sorta running for president in the Democratic primary. I say “kinda-sorta” because rather than actually, I dunno, running a campaign or something, he just gave control of his twitter account to a couple of Gen-Z kids. Their goal is to move the Democratic primary’s Overton window leftwards via—you guessed it—tweeting.
The Neoliberal project has a podcast (who doesn’t…) and in one of their episodes they invited the Gravel teens on to discuss the campaign and it was maybe the most impressive thing I’ve listened to this year. Williams and Oks (the teens) demonstrate such a sophisticated understanding of politics, policy, and the power of clever tweeting that I chipped in a dollar to their campaign in the hopes that they can get Mike to qualify for the July debates.
TV Series: Season 7 of Veep
Just about every line of dialogue in Veep contains a joke. The show is the densest, darkest, funniest comedy on television. I binge-watched the first six episodes of the final season with my Dad yesterday and I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s fantastic, please watch it. (And then watch In the Loop, The Thick of It, and The Death of Stalin, three other brilliant Armando Iannucci creations)
No quiero dejar de bailar Sr. Stark
Math puzzle: this thing I saw on twitter dot com
It’s simple, but cute.
nifty math puzzle i saw in a recent alpaca farm quiz:— it is 2019 now. (@projectyl) June 20, 2019
i'm thinking of a number. it's evenly divisible by every integer from 1 to 30, with exactly two exceptions
those two exceptions are consecutive
what are they?
Quicker recs: presented without comment
How many bones would you break to get laid? If only Turing was alive to see this. 18 Questions / 21 Democrats. Gigantic Great Dane befriends tiny little kittens. Jeremy Lin 2019 NBA Finals MVP Highlights. Colorado Senate 2019 Legislative Day 067. These Face Mites Really Grow on You. Please, my wife, she’s very online.