Jul 28, 2013

Weekend Blogging Roundup

I was blogging for the Monthly this weekend, and this time I'm actually going to do a compilation of all the posts I wrote, because I'm rather pleased with how they turned out. To wit:

1. There was a bit of a fracas around pictures showing a meltwater lake at the North Pole. Turns out that's something of an exaggeration.

2. What can we learn from PayPal accidentally giving some guy $92 quadrillion for a few minutes?

3. Why my fellow broke young men won't be slickered by conservative scumbags into bailing on Obamacare.

4. Social Security evades the effective demand problem with forced saving by transferring the money rather than storing it.

5. Walter Russell Mead is just completely full of shit about climate change.

6. Tom Coburn has this fascinating view that you should win elections if you want to implement your agenda.

7. An America where voting just broke down by race would suck balls.

8. Against the housing status quo. This one is almost entirely swiped from an email conversation with Steve Randy Waldman, who was incredibly gracious with his time in helping my dumb ass understand the housing market. I'm pretty proud of how the post came out, but mostly because I was able to (hopefully correctly) digest his explanation and rephrase in a way that made sense to me. And maybe add a couple nickels of value of my own. (Needless to say, any goofs are probably mine.)

And here's the anthem for the weekend:

Department of WTF, Bear Scratching Post Bureau

Jul 15, 2013

My Dad on Public Radio, Telling River Stories

This was thoroughly awesome:



Little nervous at first, but really he's a radio natural! (I'm biased of course, but I think he actually picked it up pretty fast.) The story they mention about running the Little Colorado is here. Find more of his stuff here.

Jul 12, 2013

The Positive Power of Misogynist Trolls

Remember back last year when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and turned her overnight into a superstar women's rights activist? (A year later, the controversy is still dogging his career.) It occurs to me that this is almost the same thing that happened to Anita Sarkeesian, the feminist video game critic. Jim Sterling shows how:


Of course it's terrible to be called a slut, or be threatened with rape, assault, or murder. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But it's pretty striking how what used to be a tried-and-true tactic of enforcing existing hierarchies—aggressive slurs and threatening violence—often tends to backfire spectacularly.

I'd add by the way that contrary to Jim's expectations Anita's video series actually turned out pretty well. The production values especially skyrocketed from the massive pile of outrage money she pulled down:


If anything, I'd say the video could have benefited from being more aggressively feminist. It's fun to watch people like Jim and his colleague Yahtzee Croshaw with really bold points of view, even if they go off the rails sometimes. Of course that's yet another set of tangled gender prejudices, but given that Anita is already in troll hell, she'd have little to lose.

Jul 3, 2013

RIP Randy Udall

Terrible news from the Sublette County Sheriff's Office:
At approximately 2:03 p.m. today an aerial search team spotted a male subject matching the description of missing hiker James “Randy” Udall. The subject was in open/rolling terrain laying on his side. The helicopter immediately landed and deployed the two search and rescue members on board. The subject showed no signs of life and was identified as Mr. Udall.
A search and rescue member, who is also a Wilderness First Responder, stayed with the victim while the helicopter returned to base to pick up a detective with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office. The body was flown back to base and transported to Pinedale by the Sublette County Coroner. An autopsy will be performed in Loveland Colorado at the request of the Coroner and Mr. Udall’s immediate family. Foul play is not suspected.
I didn't know Randy that well, though my father did. Both my parents worked with his brother Brad Udall in Grand Canyon back in the day, and knew Randy through the broader community. Right now my dad is on a Grand Canyon science trip, as a matter of fact.

I knew Randy from the time my family and his family shared a private Grand Canyon trip back in 2003, and from his reputation as an indefatigable environmentalist. I remember him being a kind, funny guy with a nearly compulsive love of hiking. He was also the brother of Mark Udall, Colorado's senior senator.

My heart goes out to his family.

UPDATE: Here's the statement from Mark Udall's office:
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Randy. Randy's body was discovered today by the heroic search and rescue team that worked for days to locate him in a remote area of the Wind River Range of Wyoming. Our family is extremely grateful to Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, his staff, Tip Top Search and Rescue, the United States Forest Service, Wyoming Air National Guard, and all others involved for their tireless efforts over the past several days. Although an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears he died of natural causes.
"Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world. He appeared to be on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family. The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country. Randy's passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did."