Friday, November 30, 2018

Weekend Reading: The A Little Bit Grumpy Edition

It rained here yesterday, which we needed. It was still cool and windy today (I won't insult my readers in places where it actually gets cold by calling my 65 degree F high "cold"). I decided that between the wind and the fact that the sidewalks by the bay are probably still wet from yesterday's rain, a rollerblade was probably not a great idea.

So I skipped that and spent 45 minutes on the phone with Dell tech support trying to diagnose an issue with my laptop screen. They had me run through the exact same steps I'd run through on my own following their online instructions, and then at the end told me that if I wanted to send the laptop in to be fixed under my hardware warranty, he'd have to send me an email and I'd have to respond to it right away - I couldn't wait until after the holidays.

I'd tried to get him to tell me what the "end game" was at the start of the call, but either I didn't express my question in a way that made sense to him or he wasn't allowed to go off his script. Either way, we wasted 45 minutes of both of our time, because if I'd known we were just going to run through the same diagnostic steps I'd already done and that any further steps would require mailing my laptop away for 2 weeks right before Christmas... I would have politely hung up at the start.

This all made me a little bit grumpy, so I went out for a run/walk in the neighborhood, and while that isn't as good as a rollerblade by the bay, it helped a bit.

Now, on to my links for this week.

If you read only one thing this week, read Dara Lind's explainer about the current refugee situation at the Tijuana border crossing and why it is a crisis we could have easily avoided. The number of people involved is actually pretty small and there have been multiple choice points where we could have chosen to de-escalate the situation and instead chose to make it worse. This is true of so many things in our current immigration mess. It is very frustrating.

Sometimes, it is worth saying what is obvious, and Josh Marshall does that: They All Lied. They're All Guilty.

Ken White's summary of what Michael Cohen's guilty plea means in the larger story is very helpful.

Republicans aren't taking their election losses all that well in some cases... this story out of Maricopa County, Arizona (my home county!) is an example. For what it is worth, having grown up there and still spending a fair amount of time there, I think the change from being the "Trumpiest" county to the 2018 midterms is in partly due to a fair number of white people my age and older who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary who now voted for Sinema with enthusiasm (I know of 3! Just in my own little social circle - two of my high school friends and one friend of my mom) and partly due a changing electorate as more younger people and Latinos came out vote. Paul Ryan has apparently also said mildly conspiracy-mongering sort of things about the California results, and that is just laughable.

Updated: Here is a tweet with Paul Ryan's laughable comments:

Meanwhile, something untoward does seem to have happened in one corner of North Carolina.

I don't know how much of the news about the Chinese babies born after having CRISPR done to gene-edit the embryos has made it into the general news cycle... but Derek Lowe has a pretty succinct summary of the reaction I'm seeing in scientific circles. This is not something any scientists I follow are celebrating.

This Twitter thread goes into some more details:

In happier science news: My 11 year old came home talking about watch InSight land on Mars, so I showed her this tweet so she could see some of the scientists celebrating, too:

I'm finally listening to Ezra Klein's interview with Anand Ghiridharadas about his new book, Winners Take All. It is a book about the problems with our culture of fixing problems via elites taking on "do good" projects. I've heard several other interviews with Ghiridharadas, but I think this is the best one. I'll probably load the book onto my Kindle to read over the Christmas break.

That's all for this week. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Oh... almost forgot to end with a bunny:

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