Good Things: September 12th, 2016

The Best Thing

Claims about the world

  • A killer whale named Old Tom helped herd other whales toward fisherman in exchange for pieces of the catch, including the tongue. Old Tom was a traitor to his kind. (Wikipedia)
  • Prior to welfare reform in 1996, we had a largely cash-based welfare program. Since then, the states have had more latitude to spend welfare funds on in-kind benefits and programs dubiously related to fighting poverty. (FiveThirtyEight / Andrew Flowers)
  • Maybe the unconscious mind isn’t any more powerful than we thought it was before pop psychology exploded. (Slate Star Codex / Scott Alexander)
  • “Places with more men than women do not typically experience higher rates of social instability” because it forces men to commit and settle down more often. (PsyPost / University of Utah)
  • Fake it till you make it? The idea that forcing yourself to smile can create a happy affect? Yeah, that’s not actually a thing. (Wagenmakers et al.)
  • “There is one group whose incomes are far above the rest: same-sex married men with children. Their income is roughly $275,000, more than double the pretax income for heterosexual couples and same-sex married female couples with children. This is a select group of people for whom the cost of children is particularly high. Using a surrogate can cost $250,000, and adoptions can cost upward of $30,000.” (NYTimes / Quoctrung Bui)
  • In WWII, submarine seamen would drink a mixture of pineapple juice and torpedo fuel called “torpedo juice.” To prevent this practice, the Navy poisoned the torpedo fuel, causing blindness among some sailors. (Wikipedia)
  • The Cayman Islands is hiring contract hunters to kill of its iguana population before it takes over everything. (Cayman Compass / James Whittaker)
  • Investors in NY restaurants, much their counterparts in tech investing on the West coast, are subsidizing a great user experience. (New Yorker / Gary Sernovitz)
  • The father of the youngest victim of the Sandy Hook shootings used to be a conspiracy theorist. Now his family’s tragedy has been subsumed by the paranoiacs. (New York / Reeves Wiedeman)
  • America is starting to seem like it has a monopoly problem. (The Atlantic / Derek Thompson)

There were other good things today, too.

Good night,

Alec

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