Weekend Reading 3/29/13

Cleaning up the Pacific garbage patch, a reborn Elwha, and more.
This post is 100 in the series: Weekend Reading

Editor’s Note: The “Weekend Reading” series issues its 100th post this Friday! Happy birthday, little guy!

Anna

Too big to fail is one thing. Now John Cassidy asks in The New Yorker if the S.E.C. is for sale.

Krugman on the claim we’re “cheating our children” with deficit spending:

Contrary to almost everything you read in the papers or see on TV, debt doesn’t directly make our nation poorer…Yet there is, as I said, a lot of truth to the charge that we’re cheating our children. How? By neglecting public investment and failing to provide jobs.

Are fast food chains coming to their senses about Obamacare?

National Geographic is releasing archived photos on its new Tumblr site. They’re either historically fascinating or breathtaking—or both.

Finally, have you hear of an instrument called a gayageum? If not, here’s your introduction in the form of a unique take on Jimi Hendrix.

Eric

Here’s a cool video on the price of carbon. Not the carbon tax I want you to pay, but rather the one you’re already paying.

This week I learned that “sailormongering” is a word. I also learned that it’s a crime. Please make a note of it.

I ran across Centralia Dead March, a 1995 book by Thomas Churchill. The excerpt of it painted on the wall at the McMenamin’s in Centralia is intriguing enough that I think I’ll check it out.

Speaking of books, Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes has a new one out, Elwha: A River Reborn, charting the restoration of the Olympic Peninsula stream that is home to the largest dam removal project in US history.

Jean Melious takes a deep dive into the costs born by taxpayers of dealing with at-grade crossings obstructed by heavy rail traffic. She concludes that while it’s hard to find a set number, railroads probably contribute about 2% of the cost of fixing the traffic problem. Taxpayers pick up the rest.

Torrance Coste has a cri de couer of an opinion piece at The Tyee, explaining why he opposes the Raven Underground Coal Project on Vancouver Island. It’s a safe bet that most folks south of the 49th parallel have never heard of the plan. (Actually, it’s a safe bet that most folks to the north haven’t either.) The nickel summary is that the Raven proposal is a shortsighted scheme that would jeopardize the lasting economy in the Comox Valley and beyond.

Clark

This actually seems pretty cool: an idea for a cost-effective way to remove floating plastic trash from the Pacific “garbage patches.”

How to Google.

Alan

When was the last time you read a news article about how little we know about a topic of pressing public interest? Here’s one from Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun: Journalists there have no idea what share of real-estate in Metro Vancouver is owned by overseas investors, even though rumors have run rampant for two decades that Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese buyers are driver of sky-high real-estate prices there. Just so, they have no idea what share of condos sit empty, held by speculators—part of the same set of rumors about offshore buyers. This ignorance doesn’t stop news outlets from citing figures—figures that vary from less than 1 percent to as much as 80 percent.

Want to reduce crime? Work on alcohol, says UCLA policy prof Mark Kleiman, who studies crime and drugs and is advising Washington state on marijuana regulation. He says alcohol is the elephant in the living room of US crime problems. “All illegal drugs combined are to alcohol as the Mediterranean is to the Pacific. We have our whole navy in the Mediterranean. And that’s true both of the drug policy machinery and those who are fighting the drug war, and of the drug reform movement, which, it seems to me, neglects the problem with the one drug we’ve legalized. Any sentence about drug policy that doesn’t end with ‘raise alcohol taxes’ is an incoherent sentence.”

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Comments

  1. Jimmy McMillan says:

    Re speculative vacancies: Earthsharing Australia did a study in Melbourne last year based on utility usage. Pretty simple and very different from the official numbers:
    http://www.earthsharing.org.au/2012/06/20/over-90000-empty-houses-amidst-housing-crisis/

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