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Weekend link dump for August 17

“Late last year, scientists unveiled the complete genome of a female Neanderthal whose 130,000-year-old toe bone had been found in a cave in Siberia. As it turned out, her sequence of some 3 billion DNA letters was not all that much different from mine or yours.”

“So, we go from bogus attempts to stifle criticism via copyright law, to then trying to stifle discussion of that stifling by bogus defamation threats. Someone really doesn’t like being criticized apparently.”

A linguist walks into a bar…

“For the more than 22,000 pedestrians killed nationwide between 2008 and 2012, poorer neighborhoods have disproportionately higher rates of pedestrian deaths.”

How to deploy your pet to find unsecured WiFi connections.

Evolution isn’t about what you believe. It’s a fact whether you “believe” in it or not.

“Secondly, good lord, people, it’s like it’s scientifically impossible to write a song about how great it is to have curves that doesn’t insult people who don’t.”

“Once you’ve learned enough to earn your cynicism, you have to outgrow it and learn to believe in things again.”

A pagan perspective on faith-based activism.

Just a reminder that there was an Ebola outbreak in America 25 years ago.

RIP, Robin Williams. I can still quote bits from his A Night At The Met album. He sure did touch a lot of people’s lives. I can’t do much better than what Scalzi says, but be sure to see Zelda Williams’ tribute to her dad. And have a tissue or two handy when you do.

See also David Simon’s tribute, a remembrance from the set of Homicide: Life on the Streets.

RIP, Menahem Golan, producer of fine 1980s movies.

“Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record.”

On lawyering while hot. Gotta say, I think the author is perpetuating the same attitudes she decries in her essay.

What can WalMart do to make delivering health care more affordable?

“In the end, we’ve learned a valuable lesson: don’t poison your kids.”

One’s opinion of the constitutionality of the federal subsidies for insurance exchanges depends entirely on the litigation one is engaged in at the time.

RIP, Lauren Bacall. And yes, I do know how to whistle.

“It’s difficult to imagine the events in Ferguson going down the same way with a white shooting victim and white protesters. It’s pretty much impossible to imagine cops exercising restraint in Nevada if the guns pointed at them had been in black hands. Black Americans shouldn’t have to explain why this double standard might make them angry.”

“To even acknowledge this line of debate is to start a larger argument about the worth, the very personhood, of a black man in America. It’s to engage in a cost-benefit analysis, weigh probabilities, and gauge the precise odds that Brown’s life was worth nothing against the threat he posed to the life of the man who killed him. It’s to deny that there are structural reasons why Brown was shot dead while James Eagan Holmes—who on July 20, 2012, walked into a movie theater and fired rounds into an audience, killing 12 and wounding 70 more—was taken alive.”

“At a broader level, there is no research that tracks how police using military tactics and equipment affects civilian safety (or police safety, for that matter).”

How much wellness is too much?

Congratulations to Maryam Mirzakhani of Stanford University, the first female mathematician to win a Fields Medal in the prize’s 78 years of history.

“Really, as a compromise, it’s more than fair. Feminists are actually sacrificing more in this compromise! After all, all anti-feminists have to do is promise not to tell lies, something they should have been doing already. Feminists, in exchange, will give up an amusing source of gifs.”

“In addition to combat vehicles and assault rifles, police departments have obtained everything from karaoke machines to bouncy castles through the DoD program, free of charge.”

Workers deserve more stability in their schedules. This is another reason why unions matter.

“Over the past generation or so, we’ve militarized our police to protect a public that has broadly become less and less violent.”

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