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Do Americans Care About Political Process?

It’s no revelation that Americans have strange attitudes about politics. We like results, but we don’t like seeing the work required to accomplish them. We fear the government running amok, yet grow weary of gridlock in which nothing is accomplished. Political process is, as the term suggests, the way political goals are achieved. There are formal and informal aspects to this. Formal aspects are things like Constitutional and administrative procedures. Informal elements consist of backroom dealing, favor trading, and various forms of relationship management and networking.

What Men Don't Talk About

A sexist culture harms everyone. Some are harmed more than others. I don’t think I need to argue that women bear the brunt of sexism’s consequences. I’ve written about it here a couple of times. But it affects men, too, and in ways that are often difficult to talk about. I don’t anticipate bringing a lot of links and scientific research to this post, though I will do so as I consider appropriate.

Radical Policing

I recently came across an article discussing a TED Talk by a Baltimore police officer. The thesis: we (Americans) rely on police too much. I didn’t find that an unreasonable premise. It got me thinking about both policing as well as our criminal justice system. Do we depend on them too much? Consider all the ways in which we use police: * There are thousands of police officers assigned to schools all over the country.

The Power of Echo Chambers

In a political culture divided not simply by ideology, but basic judgments about reality, it should be no wonder that echo chambers–homogeneous clusters, in the research parlance–are commonplace. A couple of papers were brought to my attention, both written by (more or less) the same group of Italian researchers. They are: * [Debunking in a World of Tribes]( * [The spreading of misinformation online]( I will quote from both, as needed.

What Works, What Doesn't

It’s Meta Sunday. You know what that means. Every so often, I like to see what posts are getting the most attention. I’ve done it before in one of these Sunday posts. Time for an update! Rather than list specific articles, I will just note the general topics and themes that seem to do best around here (in terms of people reading them). What’s most popular? * History * Discussion of sexism and gender issues * Politics * Financial topics That’s cool.

Link Roundup: January 23, 2016

I’m being buried under a couple feet of snow. Looks like a good time for some links! Crime and Punishment * [Election year anti-crime posturing could derail even limited sentencing reform]( -- Another election season, another round of politicians stressing how much they hate crime and criminals, as if "tough on crime" attitudes have accomplished anything other than decades of misery. Transgender Issues * [Jewish transgender man gives birth and embraces life as a single "abba"](http://www.

Whitesplaining Berniebros

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has made an impressive showing thus far in the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary season. Last summer, he was considered an incredible longshot–a guy with no chance in hell of securing the nomination. To have come from behind and shaped himself into a real contender is admirable. It is not, however, without its downsides. Most of Sanders’ support comes from white people. It has been claimed that there is a gender gap between Sanders and Clinton supporters, but this isn’t true: about half of Sanders’ supporters are women, same with Clinton.

The Martian: A Book Review

I am very late to the party on this one. Too bad. I haven’t watched the movie, either. If you have somehow escaped having any knowledge of Andy Weir’s The Martian as well as its film adaptation, a synopsis is very simple: astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, alone, and must figure out how to survive and somehow get home. That’s it. The premise is about as straightforward as can be.

Build Your Own Computer!

Never built a computer before? It’s not as hard as you think! This guide is not meant to be comprehensive, but to answer some of the most common questions I get with regard to computer building. First off, this is not about laptops, but desktops and other essentially stationary machines. Laptops are very limited in terms of their customizability so there’s not much to discuss there. That said, a new desktop computer will generally consist of the following parts:

Police Responses to Mass Shootings

I was recently embroiled in a discussion about police responses to dangerous situations. It was suggested that police, when responding to a mass shooting event, are generally able to stop or reduce the killing. Being the kind of person I am, I wondered if this was true. I had to find out! This LA Times piece was cited as evidence of effective police responses to mass shootings. It is a list of the 46 deadliest mass shootings in the US, in reverse chronological order.