It is perpetually tempting to imagine letting the red states (whose voters imagine that they are getting the short end of the stick, when in fact they are vastly subsidized) go their own way. Tempting, but both impossible and harmful.

Much better, as cogently explained here by @interfluidity, is to build things up in the red states, so that their citizens perceive that they have an economic and political stake in the United States.

Fix the Senate II: Integrate

“The only way to mitigate this tendency towards corrosive crisis is to ensure that differences of interest between larger and smaller states are generally modest.”

A fascinating article! For a movement geek like me, a veritable rabbit warren of links to follow.

“the origins of today’s self-care industry are deeply embedded in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s, in underserved communities across the country.”

Source: The Radical History of Self-Care | Teen Vogue

This from Forbes is actually a pretty good start. All media outlets should commit to such a policy:

“Trump’s liars don’t merit that same golden parachute. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie… Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”

Source: A Truth Reckoning: Why We’re Holding Those Who Lied For Trump Accountable

We did not prosecute Nixon, but we did prosecute his enablers (Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, etc.). Because of this a generation grew up knowing: If you commit crimes for the president, he will not go to jail but you will.

That is the lesson that the next generation needs to learn. Ignore Trump; prosecute his corrupt enablers.

“There is a social cost to not pursuing potential criminal cases. But the alternative is arguably costlier.”

Source: The case against indicting Trump

Jackie attended the annual Illinois Master Naturalist’s conference last week, and came away with any number of interesting tidbits, but one in particular stuck with me: Forest bathing is like ergonomics.

Both Jackie and I have had our understanding of ergonomics informed by Katy Bowman, who points out:

Modern ergonomics is not the scientific pursuit of what is best for the human body, but the scientific pursuit of how the human body can be positioned (in one position, for eight or more hours at a time) for the purpose of returning to work the next day, and then the next and the next and the next.

Don’t Just Sit There by Katy Bowman; excerpt.

What Jackie learned at her conference was that the Japanese concept of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) has roots in the same idea. When Japanese salarymen started dying from overwork, a lack of exposure to nature was put forward as a partial explanation.

If the problem is a lack of exposure to nature, then immersing yourself in nature is an obvious solution. But, of course, actually immersing yourself in nature would take too much time out of the workday. Hence the research into forest bathing is all about finding the minimum effective dose. There is little or no research into figuring out the optimum time for humans to spend in nature.

Keep that in mind when you read yet another article about how just looking at a forest scene for 20 minutes reduces salivary cortisol 13.4%, or walking in the woods for just 40 minutes improves mood and boosts feelings of health and robustness.

I’m not so much interested in the answer to the question, “What’s the least number of minutes I can spend in nature and not die early from overwork?”

I’m more interested in questions like:

  • If I go for a walk in the prairie, is that as good as going for a walk in the woods? Do I get added benefits if I divide my time between them?
  • Is doing my workout under a tree in a nicely mowed lawn as good as doing it in the woods?
  • Is running past a cornfield or soybean field nearly as good as running down a forest path? How about running past a row of osage orange trees? A suburban lawn? Between two suburban lawns on the other sides of 6-foot privacy fences?
  • If I can’t get to an actual natural area, how should I choose among possibilities like a park, an arboretum, a formal garden, a managed forest, or an unmanaged thicket? How do various water features (lake, stream, creek, natural pond, detention pond, drainage ditch, etc.) affect the benefits?
  • Is just sitting on a concrete patio outdoors better than sitting indoors?

I have my own tentative answers to many of these questions, but very little data.

On one of my top-two issues when it comes to means-testing benefits, @interfluidity gets it just right:

“Requiring demonstration of inadequate means up-front, rather than on the back-end, creates at best a delay between when a shock is experienced and when it can be ameliorated. “Delay” can mean your kid skips meals, you start rationing your insulin, or your family is evicted from its home. It’s a big deal.”

Lawless acts in violation of international norms will end up harming our country. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-08-16/the-u-s-brings-state-sponsored-piracy-into-the-21st-century

“the concept has altered little in 440 years — we still have one of the world’s preeminent naval powers passing its own laws allowing it to seize treasure from its enemies in the ocean.”