Early December Links: Mostly unrelated to fiction, but a lot of potentially useful stuff nonetheless

* The Shadow Knows: On ghost writing for students.

* The “Typical New Yorker” story. I tend not to read the fiction in the New Yorker.

* A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating.

* Why the U.S. needs a new visa for foreigners who want to start businesses here.

* The dramatic decline of the modern man notes that our ancestors and people in other parts of the world are sometimes dramatically faster and stronger. I can’t speak to that part of the alleged science behind the article. But I can speak to one major flaw: survivorship bias.

People who lived to adulthood 20,000 years ago were those strong enough not to die in childhood. Before modern medicine, lots of people died because they couldn’t handle the stress of day-to-day life, so the people who did survive were presumably much tougher than the average modern sissy, who gets stuff like antibiotics, clean water, and hospitals.

Most of them, however, probably don’t know vector calc or how Shakespeare conflates immortality with literary achieve in Sonnets 1 – 18.

* When It Comes to R-Rated Movies, Does Sex Still Sell? Possible reasons it might not: we can get all we can eat, so to speak, on the Internet; nudity in film is a turnoff to women (as a whole, not you, the person about to leave an angry comment); and the MPAA restricts sexuality to the point where we don’t have enough data to judge.

* A hacker’s guide to tea. This is really worth reading—who knew that “Tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes mental acuity. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine creates a sense of ‘mindful awareness.’ ”

The Best Investment Advice You’ll Never Get:” Rich early Google employees were told to use index funds for investing for a very good reason: it’s almost impossible to beat the market but very easy to wrack up fees.

The reason you’ll never get this advice? Most so-called “financial professionals” make their money through fees. So they’re dis-incentivized to tell you to use index funds.

* The challenge to German liberalism, which may have its lessons for the United States as well.

* University presses need to go digital, which is apparently obvious to everyone save those immediately involved.

* Hollywood’s favorite line: “You look like shit.”

* Close the Washington Monument.

* The New York Times: “Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve — by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses.”

* How the idea of data is changing the humanities. But:

Most humanities professors remain unaware, uninterested or unconvinced that digital humanities has much to offer. Even historians, who have used databases before, have been slow to embrace the trend. Just one of the nearly 300 main panels scheduled for next year’s annual meeting of the American Historical Association covers digital matters. Still, universities, professional associations and private institutions are increasingly devoting a larger slice of the pie to the field.

There’s also a distinct lack of English Lit work mentioned here.

* No sex, please, we’re literary!: The annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award is an exercise in prudery and cowardice.

* Security theater, continued:

More importantly, though, Obama’s response strikes me as being politically tone deaf. In the face of outrage over Americans being groped by TSA agents, children being man-handled in a bizarre procedure that makes no logical sense, and people being exposed to the humiliation of having prosthetic breasts removed or being covered in their own urine, Obama’s “Too bad, you’ve gotta do it anyway” response is a sign of how far removed from reality the Presidency makes a person. If the President or members of his family had to subject themselves to TSA screening on a regular basis, one would think his opinion on the matter w0uld be quite different.

* Young mother harassed at TSA checkpoint.

* Daniel Roberts reads The Magicians at The Millions.

* The most amusing search query to hit The Story’s Story lately: “what beer does tucker max like.” Alas, I have no idea and don’t care, but I wonder what the person searching Google for that bit of information has in mind.

* Department Of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little Shits No Longer Worth It.

* Modern Parenting: If we try to engineer perfect children, will they grow up to be unbearable? Fortunately, I do not believe this was a problem for me growing up.

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