Category: Economics

Monday Links

I hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day weekend. There will be a bit of tab clearing since we didn’t have a links post last week.

I’ve got a slew of Reason articles to start.

A look into how bad science is keeping bad regulations around nuclear power. We need more nuclear power. Because we need more power. Because we need to reduce our dependence on oil. Not just climate change, but because of the politics and other environmental hazards of oil.

A look at how zoning regulations empower the people we don’t want to have power.

Surprise, surprise, the real reason for self-checkout bans is not the stated reason of stopping theft. Incentives matter, and that doesn’t change once the issue becomes political.

No, Super Size Me was not a documentary. It was a bullshit publicity stunt that did nothing to address what it purported to address. Other than getting Mickey D’s to change it’s branding.

NYT says that looser gun laws caused the spike in homicides. Um, yeah. Keep thinking that.

This one about a New York man being convicted of building guns made the rounds of the gunblogs, but here’s Reason’s coverage. The judge telling the defense the Second Amendment doesn’t work here was surprisingly unsurprising.

Now on to other sources.

From Ground News, we have an aggregation of Uvalde parents suing Meta, Microsoft, and Daniel Defense because the bad guy was on Facebook, played Call of Duty, and used a DD rifle. I’m kinda glad the plaintiffs are pulling in Meta and Microsoft, as they can slap down those better than Daniel Defense.

From 404 Media – all those nifty northern lights that folks were able to see earlier this month? Yeah, that same coronal storm caused issues with tractors talking with GPS, which has resulted in issues with planting. Which will definitely have some downstream effects in the food supply chain.

Nature published an op-ed decrying climate scientists being climate activists. This has been one of the big problems with doing anything about climate change. The moment you step out of being a neutral dispenser of information to a partisan, whatever information you provide is degraded. Either because a swath of the population will no longer believe you, or your information becomes shaded. Because incentives matter.

Ars Technica has an article on a company that had its Google Cloud account completely wiped out. Including the backups. Fortunately, the company had backups other than Google, but it’s an interesting case study.

Via The Brother, here’s the transcript from a talk Bert Hubert delivered on Cyber Security and war.

From the local TV station, we have an article about a homeowner who killed an intruder, by stabbing him, after the intruder shot her in the face. In a fight for your life, don’t stop until you can’t fight anymore. Or the threat is stopped.

Monday Links

Israel and its adjacent topics are a big theme in this week’s links. So, let’s start with our normal slate of Reason links (which include more than usual Volokh Conspiracy entries).

The UF president laid out his thoughts on campus free speech and protest.

Jewish students at Columbia did their own letter on their “lived experience” since October 7.

Here’s a pair of articles on the Supreme Court’s recent (disappointing) ruling on civil asset forfeiture. One from Reason and one from Volokh.

Now for some Ground News aggregations.

Biden halts arms shipments to Israel over the invasion of Rafah.

US alleges Israel broke international law while using US weapons, but on incomplete evidence. Both of these stories are troubling, because its showing how weak US resolve can be to even our most trusted allies.

US tells Intel and Qualcomm they can’t sell chips to China.

A US Airman was killed by deputies who broke into the wrong apartment.

Now on to other stories that crossed my transom.

SkyNews reports on a “massive” hack of Britain’s Ministry of Defence (Brit spelling). While officially, the hackers are “unknown,” bets are it was China. Reminds me of the OPM hack ten or fifteen years ago.

Bloomberg that there are over 40,000 AI-voiced audiobooks on Audible. I’m kind of torn on this. First, as a small author, if I want to convert one of my stories to an audio version, it’s nice knowing that there’s a lower cost alternative. As a consumer of audiobooks, I understand how important a good narrator can make a book come alive. On the gripping hand, I see this as where the great narrators will still be in demand, but lesser narrators will be pushed out of the market.

An American Cop piece on why “high-ready” might not be a safe way to hold your weapon. The expected audience is cops, but good points for non-cop folk. Things to keep in mind if you’re on either end of the gun. (h/t Tam).

Gizmodo reports on Victorinox announcing it was going to be offering bladeless versions of their famous “Swiss Army knife”. This is another good case to ignore the headlines and the sturm und drang on the internet. Victorinox is simply coming out with new versions for sale in areas where knives are banned/restricted. They’re still selling bladed versions. I’m kind of wondering if these new ones will be TSA compliant.

Tampa Bay Buisness Journal is reporting of Florida Aquarium getting funding for a planned $15 million expansion. It looks pretty interesting.

Another good article from Angry Staff Officer. This time on how fantasy armies never screen their flanks. I like reading him to make my writing better.

PCGamesN reports that Civ 7 will be out sometime later this year. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this news. As of this writing, I’m up to over 7,700 hours on Civ 6. Which, to be fair is a very different game now than when it released many moons ago.

Monday Links

This week is light and mostly Reason. So, let’s get started with those.

The DEA is looking to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Let’s get this out of the way. I’m not a fan of marijuana. I don’t like the smell, and I don’t like the culture surrounding it. That doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge it has some medical benefits. Or, that more importantly, that adults should be able to imbibe substances that they choose.

DeSantis is all about banning lab-grown beef. Don’t let his right-wing culture war schtick fool you as to why he signed legislation. Beef cattle are big business in Florida. It’s where we get the slang “crackers” from. Scratch a right-wing populist, find a protectionist.

A think piece on how D&D flourished because of few copyright protections. I really didn’t get into any of the D&D “worlds” when I played. We mostly just used the rules and creatures and played in our own worlds. It was fun coming up with our own. Although, I will recommend Ptolus if you want a great setting for a fantasy game.

A man in Illinois who specializes in filing paperwork is being told by the state he needs a PI’s license. Occupational licensing is a fucking racket.

California decided to ban diesel locomotives. What’s the worst that could happen?

Florida police and sheriffs departments spent thousands on training banned in other states.

Now, on to other stories.

The Verge has a story on the FCC fining the big telecoms over sharing location data without consent.

From War Is Boring, we have an article on the new “Doomsday Plane” for the USAF.

From The War Zone is an article that the Poles are naming their F-35’s the “Husarz”. Husarz. Hussars. Winged Hussars. That is the best combination of historical callback and Dad-joke.

For our light item, here’s a 1942-style web-based game for Space Battleship Yamato.

Monday Links

Reason links first:

Another reminder that cops have no duty to protect you.

Gasp, politicians helped killed the Amazon / iRobot deal. Can I tell you how much this annoyed me?

The Supreme Court is taking a look at another case of the ATF’s flexible rule making. This one involving so-called ghost guns. Or as we refer to them, unfinished parts.

FCC is bringing back net neutrality. Because we have to solve a problem that has never happened.

And the FTC is banning non-compete agreements, even though that may be beyond their powers. Okay, I can understand non-competes where you could bring trade secrets to a competitor. I can also understand wanting to stop non-competes being blanket issued on all employment contracts including fast food workers. Still think this should have been passed by Congress, not the FTC.

Colorado told HOA’s they can’t ban home businesses.

Now, on to the Ground News aggregations:

A quarter of adults over 50 say they don’t expect to retire.

The feds don’t think Putin ordered Navalny’s death. Okay, fine. But I’m good with using the felony murder rule.

Ukraine pulled its new-to-them Abrams tanks after losing some to drones. We are seeing the rules of warfare change on the fields of Ukraine and in the streets of Gaza. I doubt that tanks have been supplanted, but they will have to learn how to survive.

A company wants to build submersible superyachts. It reminded me of a wild-eyed scheme that The Brother and I once had to turn old Soviet Typhoon-class boomers into luxury cruise ships. You know, because they already had a pool built into them.

Now on to some other stories:

One of the local stations reports that the last big owner of Clearwater properties not tied to the Church of Scientology has sold out to someone with ties to Scientology. Clearwater is pretty much the company town for the Church.

John Richardson reports that Marion Hammer’s contract with the NRA has been quietly canceled. I’m kind of unsympathetic to someone who helped loot the organization that I dutifully paid into for many, many years.

The Verge has an article on Home Assistant. Ward Manor currently runs the Echo ecosystem for its smart home needs because they’re relatively cheap and easy to use. I’m not against switching to something that would work just as well without getting Amazon’s ads and curated articles pumped in.

Angry Staff Officer has another great article mixing science fiction properties and modern military theory.

Time for light items.

For ten grand, you too can have a robot dog with a flamethrower.

Space Battleship Yamato is celebrating its 50-year anniversary with new sequels.

The Quintessential Quintuplets are coming out with a new movie.

Monday Links

Starting off with the obligatory Reason links.

I have a trio of stories surrounding the current DEI workscape.

A thinkpiece on the Uri Berliner story. I’m not surprised he was suspended. You can’t publicly shame your employer and not escape consequences.

Speaking of NPR, let’s talk about the current boss’s tweets. She’s certainly not talking.

Google fired 28 employees after they protested their now-former employer on company time and on company premises. When you’ve lost Google…

Kansas has reformed their civil asset forfeiture laws. Let’s keep this ball rolling.

Virtual cashiers? Interesting. It sounds like it’s still in early days. I remember one chain I used to work with piloted a similar project for its drive thru order takers.

Now on to other stories.

From the Hill, even the IMF is worried about the US debt.

BleepingComputer reports that current and former T-Mobile and Verizon employees are being offered $300 to do SIM swaps. Why do all the heavy hacking work when you can find someone to do it for you on the cheap?

The Verge is reporting on new 4TB SD cards. Four terrbytes on an SD card. I was looking at those size drives when I put together my old NAS, and I thought they were expensive.

The Reload has reporting that there are more than 700 million standard capacity magazines floating around. Ward Manor refuses to comment on the extent it contributes to that total.

Sporting Illustrated had a couple articles on the new pistols and new shotguns for 2024. I still want to upgrade from my Mossberg 590 to an autoloader.

On the Florida side, I was pointed to this article about why we may not be seeing as many lovebugs. Lovebugs and mosquitos can both go extinct and I don’t think any Floridian would mourn the loss. H/T McThag.

Monday Links

Some of these are a little older, as I haven’t had the links post for the past couple of weeks. So, this is also kind of a browser tab dump.

The Reason segment:

Colorado decided not to join the blue wave in expanding the types of “sensitive places” where concealed carry would be forbidden.

Congress wants to limit credit card swipe fees. When they did that for debit cards, a bunch of companies dumped their rewards programs. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see brand new fees put in place.

Voters push back on sales tax to build stadium. I wish this would happen more. Particularly since the Tampa Bay area is looking at least one new “community-financed” sports arena in the next decade.

Now on to Ground News aggregations:

Several dead in a “mass stabbing” in Australia. While I can’t say a CCW in that instance would have helped the situation (although it has in the US), I wish that the Aussies had that option.

Anti-vaxxers are threatening elimination status of measles. Sweet FSM, it’s like everyone wants to drag us into the before times. I blame both sides for their bullshit on the COVID vaccine now spilling over to much more deadly diseases.

Zimbabwe has a new idea for combating rampant inflation – back their currency with gold. I’m not a gold bug, but I like the idea of taking some of the power away from central banks to artificially inflate the currency by “adding some zeroes.”

Microsoft learned from it’s Internet Explorer fight and is unbundling Teams from Office before getting dragged into litigation. Which is stupid, but unsurprising considering the recent state of activist regulators.

South of me, a house had some orbital debris fall through the roof. I don’t think most folks understand exactly how much space junk there is up in the orbitals that we’re going to need to clean up.

Now on to other stories.

WSJ has a story on the coming legal battles as to who’s responsible for what AI’s say and do. Note: paywalled.

The Verge is reporting that AI gun detectors installed by NYC as a pilot program resulted in an 85% false positive rate. H/t The Brother

War Is Boring analyzes the recent brouhaha over tweet from the Navy showing one of its captain’s requalifying on an M4. Let’s just say the picture was embarrassing enough that the tweet was deleted after everyone roasted it.

Speaking of service arms, TFB reports Taiwan has a new service rifle. Surprise, it’s an AR-pattern weapon.

More gun stuff. The Reload reports on the administration’s new “rules” regarding who needs an FFL. I use scare quotes because of they’re still fucking vague and leave too much open for interpretation by prosecutors and agents. Who, I don’t really trust to interpret.

DeSantis signed a couple of bills that worry me on the civil liberties front. One bans the use of civilian review boards of police in favor of the sheriffs/police departments appointing their own review boards. Um what? I can understand getting pissy about anti-cop activists worming their way onto those boards, but how is letting the cops review do their own reviews a way of holding them accountable? The other penalizes folks who “get too close” to first responders. It looks like it’s aimed at people video recording public servants doing public work.

Here’s a couple of critiques of the media.

The Freepress has an article from a long-time NPR reporter describing the change at NPR from “left-leaning” to “left-activist,” and the resultant loss of trust from the citizenry.

Almost as if to prove the point, NotTheBee has an analysis of a recent WaPo article on a Chicago Police shooting. Sweet FSM, there’s enough police misconduct, you don’t have to push a story claiming a man who opened fire on cops is some kind of martyr.

Monday Links

There was some temptation to do a bunch of April Fools links, but in all honesty, I didn’t have the time to set that up. Maybe next year.

Let’s do our Reason segment.

DeSantis signed a bill mandating age verification for social media. There are some things that I think are good ideas, but don’t trust the heavy hand of government to do. Getting kids under the age of fifteen/sixteen off of social media is one of those things.

We keep hearing how long it will take to fix the Francis Scott Key Bridge. One of the reasons is a protectionist law? Cue shocked Pikachu face.

A court decision reaffirms the Second Amendment rights of public housing tenants. Who often are the folks most in need of those rights.

We end Reason’s segment with a trio of articles about squatter’s rights.

Stossel illustrating the problem.

Court cases on if laws surrounding squatter’s rights should be considered takings.

Finally, how big of an epidemic are squatters?

In case you were curious, no, I’m not big on squatter’s rights. If you’re occupying my building or land without a contract in place, I should be able to have you arrested for trespassing.

Now on to other items.

From Ground News, the people pushing a new geologic epoch because of all the damage humanity has done have been denied.

An article on drone swarms and the possible irrelevance of the Air Force. I learned a new term – air littoral space. Drone swarms are definitely going to change the battlefield.

Tam has an article over at Shooting Illustrated on the impact Glock has had on the pistol market. It was certainly the right product at the right time, and it certainly ushered in what I would consider the modern sidearm.

We end on a sad note. The passing of Louis Gossett Jr.

Monday Links

This might be a bit longer than normal since I didn’t publish a links post last week. You’ll see some common themes running through the items – namely, medical science keeps advancing and the key rule of economics is always in force – “incentives matter”. So, with that, we’ll begin with the normal Reason links.

Seattle decided gig drivers should be paid more. Rates went up, but drivers ended up getting less.

An analysis of a recent example of taking part of what someone said and blowing it out of proportion. In this case, Justice Brown-Jackson’s question if the First Amendment could hamstring the government. That’s what the internet is blaring, but not the rest of the question on if the hamstringing was against protecting the citizens. Which is a legit question to hammer out.

An article saying it was wrong to imprison the parents because they failed to stop a school shooter. This is one of those edge cases where the defendants were clearly negligent in getting their son help. Kind of like parents who refuse to take their kids to doctors when they’re clearly suffering from an ailment. With the benefit of hindsight, the government is saying that it was a clear outcome of their negligence. The more I look into mental health, I’m not sure we can say that.

Last Reason link is on the economics and politics of Star Trek.

Now on to the Ground News aggregations.

Research on reprogramming immune cells to go after certain cancers is promising.

Surgeons implanted a genetically modified pig kidney. Given the issues surrounding supply of organs, finding other sources is a good step.

The FTC is nosing around Reddit’s plan to license their content for LLM training. Because reasons. Or because it gives them an icky feeling – which seems to be a guiding principle among the leadership of the FTC these days.

DOJ is suing Apple because of their “monopoly on smartphones.” Which is more a case of people prefer iPhones. But again, it makes the feds feel icky.

Joanne’s is restructuring through bankruptcy. Considering this is one of The Wife’s and MIL’s favorite stores, I’m glad it’s not going away.

Let’s go on to other news stories.

An NYT article on automakers sharing data with insurance companies without informing owners.

BBC reporting on the quadriplegic patient who is using Neuralink for playing chess. And for playing Civ 6.

For The Wife, WaPo has an article on how cats aren’t jerks.

The Drive’s article on Toronto police telling its citizens to make it easy on car thieves to prevent more violence.

CNN Business article on the demise of the 6% commission rule.

Now for a couple of light items.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office decided to have some fun when a prankster put a “For Sale” sign on one of its cruisers. Personally, I thought they handled it well – by acknowledging the humor and asking politely for people not to replicate.

For The Brother, an article on Clutch becoming the Phish of hard rock.

Monday Links

Reason links first:

Reason’s coverage of the Supreme Court dismissing Colorado removing Trump from the Republican Primary. It would have helped the case if Colorado had something like a conviction or an impeachment to hang their hat on. It would also help if we hadn’t enshrined private corporation – which is what the Republican and Democrat parties are – elections as part of our political process.

Argentina’s radical president has shuttered the state media outlet for being a propaganda outlet.

New York is sending in the National Guard to patrol NYC subways. I have a real problem with bringing in soldiers to perform a police function outside of martial law or a natural disaster.

Alabama passes legislation to protect IVF after their Supreme Court ruling. You know, if Congress would follow this example, we would have a better functioning federal system. But, why would Congress do their job when they can foist their responsibilities on the executive and judicial branches and prance around like peacocks.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is now requiring climate disclosures. This is an agency that needs to be reigned in. I think a lot of the SEC’s bullshit has been flying under the radar due to the FTC’s louder bullshit.

Georgia gave luxury car maker Rivian a bunch of incentives to build a factory – which the company now has put pause on. Cue shocked Pikachu face.

Now for some Ground News aggregations:

Heather Guitirrez Reed, the armorer on the movie “Rust”, guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Administration is going after credit card late fees. Funny. When Biden was the senator from Deleware, he wasn’t this vociferous about “junk fees”. Again, if this is important, why is it coming from the executive instead of Congress? Lastly, cue unexpected consequences in three, two, one…

The national debt is rising at an increasing rate. Rising interest rates aren’t helping, but again, a dysfunctional Congress is not helping.

Washington State Court dismisses challenge to state law allowing suits against gun makers. Lawfare and PLCAA invocation incoming.

Now on to other news stories:

Heroes who tackled gunman at Chiefs Superbowl rally are honored. Gentlemen, you have my utmost respect for your courage.

Five SAS troops are under arrest for murder in the shooting of suspected suicide bomber. On the face, this sounds very bullshit. The prosecutor better have some strong facts on their side.

New Jersey AG is invoking the state’s microstamping law after saying the tech was viable. Sure, let’s do something completely worthless to make gun owners’ lives more difficult. Must be a day ending in “Y”.

S&W released the newest version of their budget AR. Why am I putting this in? Because when I bought my first AR, it was the S&W M&P-15 Sport budget rifle. It was a great starter rifle, and I don’t expect this new one to be any less of a good deal. Plus, I love how the arms industry has advanced that a budget AR is now what an intermediate one was when I bought mine.

In sad news, Warner Brothers is shuttering Rooster Teeth. Hell, quotes from “Red vs Blue” still crop up in my everyday banter. And I’ve restarted watching “RWBY” when The Wife and I go to the gym. I really hope someone picks up the IP and continues the good work.

Monday Links

This is going to be a combination of current stuff and backlog from when I wasn’t posting the links. So, buckle up.

We’ll start with Reason, of course.

Cop hears acorn hit his car and empties his service weapon into his cruiser. Which was occupied. The deputy has resigned, but based on the available information, he should be charged. Why? Because I don’t doubt that if I made that kind of mistake, I’d be up for attempted manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and whatever else the prosecutor felt like throwing at me.

A think piece on why the US government shouldn’t be giving additional funds to Ukraine and Israel. I need to write a longer post on these. Because I have conflicting feelings on both of these situations.

Moving on to a couple of Ground News aggregations.

Justice Department issues damning report on Uvalde Police response to shooting. “No urgency.” The police had no urgency to engage the murderer. But if I give up my guns, I can just depend on the cops. When we have so many examples of them not.

Hardly any plastics are recycled. Plastic recycling is one of those bullshit “feel good” things that governments and NGOs push, but are boondoggles for the “recycling” industry. You know how I know? Because the manufacturing industry wasn’t pushing for recycling like they did with aluminum or glass.

Now on to other stuff.

Ars Technica has a story about private-equity owned hospitals having worse outcomes.

From War Is Boring, an article on lawmakers proposing a bill to ban civilian militias. Of course, it would impact firearms instruction. And it goes against voluntary association.

From Bloomberg, Amazon backing out of its purchase of iRobot. Because regulators. Which is annoying, because part of the reason we upgraded to iRobot was Amazon’s purchase would make it easier to get parts on subscription.

From Brian Niemier, an article on why Brandon Sanderson has issues with Audible. Which mirrors things I’ve heard on writing podcasts. Which annoys me because I listen to more books than read books.

From FEE, an analysis showing guns are used more times in self defense than people die in car accidents. Self-defense uses are more common than people know.

From a local station, Tampa had a loose kangaroo.

Here’s a New Yorker profile on the Advisory Opinions podcast and its host Sarah Isgur. I listen to this podcast to get the legal nuance skipped over by most talking heads.

Shooting Illustrated says Pennsylvania State Police will now field Walther PDPs. I certainly didn’t expect that.

And now for our lighter items.

The Drive has an article on a company converting old trucks to diesel-electrics. I find this concept intriguing.

Anime Herald has an article on Carl Macek’s impact on anime.

CBR has a listicle of the most “iconic” mecha.

Angry Staff Officer uses the Harry Potter world to demonstrate the principles of raiding. I lover ASO when he uses fiction to demonstrate good and bad examples relating to real-world military actions.