Morning Links

Monday, November 1st, 2010
  • Here is a compilation of people doing awesome things, set to cheesy music.
  • Five safety measures that don’t make you safer. I’ve heard skepticism about sunscreen before, but is it really that useless?
  • Rock Band gradually becoming more like a real rock band. Next edition rumored to come with petty infighting and starter heroin.
  • Woman arrested, charged for refusing to hand found wallet over to the police. But it isn’t because she wanted to keep it. She had apparently had a bad prior experience involving police and stolen property and wanted to first make sure the owner was okay with them making the transfer.
  • Esquire‘s list of “Best Members of Congress” is pretty well done. We’re obviously grading on a generous curve here, but the names they picked are largely the better members of either party, and except for a couple, Esquire picked them for the right reasons. I can’t complain about the “worst” list either. But that’s a much easier list to make.
  • The full Larry Sanders Show finally released on DVD. Jeffrey Tambor is on my list of 10 funny people with whom I’d like to have a beer.
  • Not your ordinary “megachurch leaders comes out of the closet” story. In fact, this one is in encouraging. (UPDATE: Link fixed.)
  • Heard a segment on NPR the other day in which there was much lamenting over how unenthusiastic Latino voters seem to be, and how this could make things worse for the Democrats tomorrow. I’m thinking that the Obama administration boasting about its record number of deportations might have something to do with the dampened energy.

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61 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Joe | 

    Five safety measures that don’t make you safer. I’ve heard skepticism about sunscreen before, but is it really that useless?

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the article, but it is funny we now rely on Cracked Magazine as an authoritative source on issues like this. Then again, I loved both Mad and Cracked as a kid, so I am game.

  2. #2 |  Joe | 

    #21 | Joshua | November 1st, 2010 at 11:19 am
    Re: #10 and #14 – One thing I’ll definitely give Barney Frank credit for is admitting he was wrong on supporting massive federal pumping of low-income home ownership in the wake of the Fannie/Freddie collapse. A Congress Critter willing to reverse course so dramatically may clear the way for others to publicly reconsider positions.


    Barney Frank has blamed Republicans for the mess. I can’t recall him ever taking personal responsibility for it. But if you have a link, how about sharing that with us? Thanks.

  3. #3 |  V-Man | 

    The new TSA policies are already having an effect. A close family member missed her flight this morning because the security checkpoint couldn’t process people through fast enough. Apparently she was far from alone, and it had a cascade effect throughout the day’s flights. She’s flying out tonight, only twelve hours later than planned.

    Thanks, TSA!

  4. #4 |  boomshanka | 

    The cracked article definitely conflates bike helmets with bike helmet laws. While bike helmet laws may lead to a decrease in overall cycling and therefore a more dangerous cycling environment, bike helmets clearly help protect one’s brains from spilling out onto the pavement in the event of an accident.

    Also, that study that showed drivers riding closer to cyclists with a helmet than those without was pretty limited in scope, and didn’t account for a huge variety of factors that may lead to a bicycle accident.

  5. #5 |  Dr. T | 

    Safety Measures: Lots of errors in this sensationalized story.

    To claim that antilock are ineffective is idiotic. It’s hard to count accidents that were avoided. On wet surfaces, antilock brakes reduce stopping distances significantly (except for expert drivers who can do slightly better with manual braking). Antilock brakes helped me to avoid three accidents over a five year period.

    Bike helmets are highly effective at preventing brain injuries, and I recommend them for all riders. Of course, helmets cannot prevent death from body trauma caused by a redneck asshole who deliberately sideswipes a bicyclist with his pickup truck.

    Sunscreens, when applied properly, effectively protect against sunburn (and that is their primary purpose). Avoiding sunburns helps prevent skin cancers. Melanoma is just one type of skin cancer, and it can arise on areas of the body with minimal sun exposure. The fact that melanoma incidence changes little with sunscreen use is irrelevant.

  6. #6 |  croaker | 

    The wallet article reminds me of the NYPD slugs that needed to boost their arrest stats, so they left wallets lying around and arrested anyone who picked them up.

    One of these days police funeral processions will need to be protected from flying rotten food products thrown by citizens who are tired of getting bent over by gun-wielding yahoos. Those “officers” on that po-po board are a perfect example.

  7. #7 |  croaker | 

    Cop told to disarm at voting booth, poll worker fired.,157664

  8. #8 |  anarch | 

    At that point, she was arrested for interference and told police where the wallet could be found.

    “We’re only going to take so much,” Moody testified

    Y’mean you’ll leave the credit cards and take only the cash?

  9. #9 |  expat | 

    A former professor of mine used to say never trust the statistics unless you have manipulated them yourself.

    Having field tested a couple of bike helmets now, I would agree that they didn’t make being out on the road or the trail any safer. However, both helmets probably kept the test results at concussion rather than something more serious. Helmets aren’t intended to make cycling safer. They are intended to reduce the likelihood of a brain injury when one of these inevitable unsafe events occurs.

    The science behind the sunscreen study is questionable and there are lots of response articles out there that hit the major points. EWG has a history of scaremongering. Leaded lipstick, anyone? If you look at the scoring approach used in the study’s methodology (, you will see that at its core, their approach is inconsistent. 50-66% of the score is based on actual effectiveness testing of the product and 34-50% is based on perceived health hazards associated with its ingredients. If the assessor had a bias for or against one or more chemical ingredients, s/he would alter the overall score accordingly. That’s not good science. The health hazard portion of the assessment is really tricky to do well anyway, let alone when its weight can be varied arbitrarily. Probably a good way to be consistent would be to create a metric that relies on one or more of the widely-used chemical classification systems (e.g. IARC or USEPA for carcinogenicity). For most of the compounds in question, there isn’t enough data for classification in these systems. The science that was actually used for their health hazard assessment is probably quite limited, variable and inconsistent. Somewhere between 34 and 50% of each overall score is based on a very subjective set of information… and that doesn’t even get into the methodology behind the other [50 – 66%] of the assessment. It’s a shame, really. If the effectiveness testing methodology is good scientifically, there are so many useful things that can be learned from the dataset.

  10. #10 |  delta | 

    #31: “This is why I don’t understand the acrimony towards religion so often exhibited here. The majority of religious folks are just dupes who want to do the right thing but can’t figure out what that is. Religion is redeemable. Government is not.”

    I have no idea how you think religion might be redeemed, other than having the “dupes” exit said religion. Which makes it, ipso facto, irredeemable.

  11. #11 |  Elliot | 

    @anarch, #58 — zing!

    Nicely done