Links: Deadlines, funny grant programs, the life of the mind, batteries, solar, sex ed, and more!

* What happened when the NSF eliminated grant deadlines: Applications fell enormously. Is this good or bad?

* A favorite weird Federal Register announcement: “Notice of Intent (NOI) to Issue Funding Opportunity Announcement.” So… that’s a notice about a future notice. I didn’t see if there was a notice about a notice about a notice, but, if I see one, you’ll read about it here.

* “Straight From High School to a Career;” this ought to not be controversial. We’ve written about the issue before. I in particular am aware of the pitfalls of college-for-all, having taught college to extremely uninterested, confused students who would’ve been better served by direct skills training than college.

* “How ‘Safe Spaces’ Stifle Ideas.” Seems obvious, but…

* “How Saudi Arabia captured Washington: America’s foreign policy establishment has aligned itself with an ultra-conservative dictatorship that often acts counter to US values and interests. Why?” It’s amazing that this story doesn’t get more press.

* New lithium battery ditches solvents, reaches supercapacitor rates.

* “Nixon official: real reason for the drug war was to criminalize black people and hippies.” It worked. Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent ought to be mandatory reading for American citizens.

* “When Did Porn Become Sex Ed? Conversations between adults and teenagers about what happens after “yes” remain rare.” See our post “What to do When Research Indicates Your Approach is Unlikely to Succeed: Part I of a Case Study on the Community-Based Abstinence Education Program RFP.”

* “The Life Biz: How to succeed at work and at home.”

* Welcome to the next housing crisis: chronic undersupply of homes for a growing country. A point I’ve made before but that is worth making again. Housing touches so many other issues: innovation, education, “income inequality,” opportunity.

* “Millennials like socialism — until they get jobs.” Sometimes my students express shock and horror that anyone, anywhere would vote for Republicans. When they do, I sometimes ask, “How much did you pay in taxes last year?” They look at me, confused, and then I say something like, “When you can answer that question immediately, you’ll know one reason. Which isn’t an endorsement of the party as a whole or of specific Republican politicians, but it’s a piece of the puzzle that may offer a partial answer.”

* “When will rooftop solar be cheaper than the grid?” In some places, it already is. Also: “Cheap Solar Power,” which is a re-think from a former solar skeptic. If you’re doing job training you should be thinking about “solar installer” as a potential career path, especially in the sun belt.

* “Rezoning in the age of hyper-gentrification.” See also my piece, “Do millennials have a future in Seattle? Do millennials have a future in any superstar cities?

* “The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life: Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.” The most important piece you won’t read today. I just got back from L.A. and L.A. feels insane: a supermassive city built for cars, not humans.

* “The Sins of the Chicago Police Laid Bare,” a horrific story:

Mayor Emanuel created the task force in December, not long after the city released a police video showing a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, executing a black teenager named Laquan McDonald on a street on the South Side of Chicago. The video contradicted a police news release saying that the young man was killed because he had been menacing the officer. Officer Van Dyke was not charged with murder until November, more than a year after the killing. There is no reason to believe that the officer would ever have been charged had a judge not ordered the city to make the video public.

* “Why There’s Hope for the Middle Class (With Help From China).”

* “The Senate’s criminal justice reform repeats one of the worst mistakes of the war on drugs;” depressing: “The Senate’s bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), suggests at least some federal lawmakers have truly learned nothing from the failures of the war on drugs.”

* How cheap does solar power need to get before it takes over the world?

* The Wirecutter tests the (many) online mattress companies and likes Leesa best.

* More than 1,000 world leaders say the obvious: the drug “war” has been a disaster.

* “When Bitcoin Grows Up,” which also covers what money is, what it might be, and the future of money.

* “What the ‘Freedom’ of a Car Means to Me in a City Where Everyone Drives: Compared to the subway I was used to, driving in Seattle was freeing—but it was also lonely.”

* Obvious, but: National HPV vaccination program would provide big benefits. FQHCs should make sure they’re doing everything they can to ensure vaccination.

* AT&T offering $5 internet to low-income families. The devil may be in the details here, but the story goes nicely with an “Obamaphone.”

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