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Weekend Reading 11/16/12

Mistakes, decisions, subways, and orange juice.
This post is 83 in the series: Weekend Reading

Anna:

This caught my eye on Facebook this week (it made the rounds a while back, maybe you saw it in April): A map that shows how many hours minimum-wage earners would have to work to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment in all 50 states. Nowhere is a 40 hour work week enough. In fact, in most states, rent requires more than 70 hours of work—if you can find it.

Seattle’s Family Ride blogger has been “messing with the bike counter”—the machine on the Fremont Bridge that counts bike traffic. After testing it by sending a tiny little kid through (bike= 10-inch wheel) and then a bike with a kid’s trailer bike attachment AND a trailer, she concludes that the thing is magical. It passed those tests. It even counted a kid’s wooden bike. Not too shabby!

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research looks at what effect LGBT attitudes had on the 2012 elections. (Spoiler: They call it a “cultural sea change.”)

No Impact Man (one of my heroes) on “What to Do if Hurricane Sandy Scared You.”

Eric:

Like everyone else on the internet, I got some guffaws out of the harshest restaurant review ever.

Mother Jones has a superb and concise explanation of the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

If you need a few yucks while you’re at MJ, you might want to read about why Glenn Beck’s new book looks incredible.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made some mistakes in my life. But not like this guy.

Alan:

This account of restoring New York’s subway system reads like a treatment for an action movie. The protagonists win, and their speed is “on the edge of magic.”

Vancouver super-urbanist (and Sightline Director) Gordon Price summarizes the briefing at an insiders’ gathering on BC housing. It’s obscure but fascinating stuff, for example:

Fifty-seven percent of seniors expect that health and activity limitations will only really hit when they get to their 70s — which also happens to be the age when they most want to stay in their homes and finish aging in place.  No one wants to say what a bad idea that is if we want a more efficient allocation of the existing housing stock. The housing crisis, some argue, could be solved tomorrow if we could free up all the empty bedrooms in existing and now oversized housing.

In regards to rising female membership of the US Senate, here’s the most interesting thing I’ve read about gender and group decision making in a long time. When women reach parity with men, and not before, the decisions shift dramatically.

On a lighter (or maybe darker) note, everything you need to know about the David Petraeus affair, in pictures. (Hat tip to Anirudh Sahni.)

Clark:

A detailed, county-by-county map of the 2012 presidential vote.

Pam:

Got juice? You might want to make sure that it’s not from concentrate.

It’s a match: African-Americans, Latinos, and support for gay marriage.

I never expected a book on avalanche avoidance to give tips on marriage decisions (“meet the in–laws, take a trip to a third world country, paddle a canoe together for a month”) or on the creation of a sustainable Northwest. But I’m finding Bruce Tremper’s chapter on human foibles rather applicable to Sightline’s quest. He points out that people make most decisions based on emotion, feeling, and beliefs, not facts. (That’s probably not a shocking revelation following election season.) Even when we know better, he says, we’ll live longer with established procedures, checklists, and rules that are grounded in facts. To me, this says that legislation of smart behavior can be valuable. Watch out, though; it’s not that simple. He also mentions that seatbelt regulations and crosswalks may not make us safer; they just make us take more risks.

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