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Links: The White Wartyback, fighting poverty, healthcare and prices, big soda, college versus learning, and more!

* “Recovery Efforts for the White Wartyback,” a favorite recent grant program from

* Propel, a Start-Up, Says It Wants to Fight Poverty. A Food Stamp Giant Is Blocking It.

* “Medicare will require hospitals to post prices online.” This is really good and important news. See also us, here, on some of healthcare’s shibboleths.

* On Henry Green, who figures prominently in How Fiction Works and Reading Like a Writer.

* “You Can’t Have Denmark Without Danes,” amusing throughout.

* “Police and therapists are joining forces to de-escalate situations involving mentally ill people. Is it working?” Makes sense to me.

* “How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America.”

* Non-profit NewStoryCharity built the first 3D home printer for the developing world.

* “The Decline of ‘Big Soda:’ The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade.” Great news!

* And Then There Were Nones: How Millennials’ Flight From Religion is Transforming American Politics. Maybe.

* Living in suburbs is very expensive due to the cost of cars.

* Why Social Services Are Virtually Useless Outside of Cities.”

* “Scientists say we’re on the cusp of a carbon dioxide–recycling revolution.” Great news if true.

* “Why Some Americans Are Risking It and Skipping Health Insurance: Prices and deductibles are rising. Networks are shrinking. And even some well-off Americans are questioning what they’re paying for.” Makes sense to me. We have “good” insurance with absurd deductibles. That’s one reason why, per this post, I’ve become a stronger advocate for pricing transparency (hence the link above). Right now, I can call three providers and I’ll be lucky if one can give me a price quote. That’s absurd. If Amazon can offer instant pricing on a billion items, it shouldn’t be hard to have every insurance code with a cash price next to it.

* Doctors hate their EHRs.

* How the humble bicycle can save our cities. Oddly, it never mentions ebikes. Also, “Electric bike purchases pulling people from private cars, finds NITC study.” This should be obvious to anyone who’s ever ridden an electric bike.

* Almost no one knows what education really means.

* “High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University.” See also our post, “Rare good political news: Boosting apprenticeships.” And if you have not read Bryan Caplan’s book The Case Against Education, you need to, now.

* “In grant writing, longer is not necessarily better” (and is often worse).

* Universal basic income is not feasible. I think it’s a cool idea and it could one day be feasible but isn’t now.

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Links: The changing nature of donations, the changing nature of job training, DARE in the time of legalized pot, and more!

* “No One Wants Your Used Clothes Anymore.” Actually, most nonprofits don’t want clothes or volunteers or anything else, except money, because money is way more efficient; it’s much easier to transport and deploy. People like giving away physical stuff, but that’s just not a great way of benefiting actual recipients.

* “‘People are freaking out.’ Will electric vehicles doom your neighborhood auto mechanic?” The answer is “probably.” Electric vehicles require virtually no maintenance; they need tire changes and windshield wipers and that’s about it. They’re a huge boon to drivers but less good as providing employment for mechanics.

* “The Pool Safely Grant Program” may be my favorite weird grant program to appear in recently.

* “How Germany Wins at Manufacturing – For Now.” You may remember our essay, “Rare good political news: Boosting apprenticeships.” Skilled trades and vocational education are wildly undervalued in the contemporary U.S.

* “Nonprofits Are Tapping Outside Firms To Conduct Internal Probes.” This whole “tapping outside firms” thing, among all kinds of organizations, mostly seems like it’s designed to signal caring. I’m also reminded of Laura Kipnis’s endless Title IX trial. That is what universities are spending money on now, by the way.

* “The Current Sex Panic Harks Back to the Era of Coddling Women.”

* “How to Get American Men Back Into the Workforce.” “Public investment in improving skills” is another way of calling for more job training funding.

* “People Aren’t Having Babies Because The Rent Is Too Damn High.”

* “Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar.” But the real issues get little airing amid culture-war grievances.

* Portugal is “winning” the war on drugs via decriminalization.

* The lucrative business of America’s opioid crisis.

* “Why American doctors keep doing expensive procedures that don’t work.”

* “The problem with ‘problematic.'” Seems obvious to me.

* Facebook billionaire Dustin Moskovitz pours funds into high-risk research.

* “Los Angeles’s Vermont Avenue Subway Should be A Priority For Metro.”

* “I’m no longer advocating for clean energy; here’s why.” Important though also depressing.

* “American Fertility Is Falling Short of What Women Want.” News rarely heard.

* A sweeping new bill targets California’s housing crisis. Great!

* “Legal pot on the one hand, opioid crisis on the other. What’s a DARE officer to do?” The optimal thing would be to tell the truth—but nah, that’s too hard.

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Language update for grant writers: the CDC has a new list of seven forbidden words/terms

The Washington Post reports that “CDC gets list of forbidden words” from its political masters. We find it hard to judge how serious the list is, because knowledge of the ban itself is only by way of “an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing”—not exactly an authoritative source for final policy. Still, the article has been making the rounds and the supposedly forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”* As grant writers, we’re always sensitive to the vagaries of evolving language and ideas, as you can see from our 2014 post “Cultural Sensitivity, Cultural Insensitivity, and the ‘Big Bootie’ Problem in Grant Writing.”

(EDIT: It appears that “After firestorm, CDC director says terms like ‘science-based’ are not banned.” Alternately, it’s also possible that the word ban was being discussed, but the reaction to the leak caused the CDC to can it.)

While most PC language emerges from the political left, this CDC directive comes from the Trump administration. There’s a bit of humor in this, as right-wing commentators often cite the PC “language police,” raising the dire specter of Orwell’s 1984 and his 1946 essay, “Politics and the English Language.” It seems the wingtip is now on the other political foot.

Still, the CDC banned words are standard proposalese that we frequently use in CDC, HRSA, and many other proposals. Some combination of these words are also found in virtually every RFP. “Evidence-based practice” (EBP) is so ubiquitous as to be cliché, even though RFPs rarely define what is supposed to constitute a given EBP. I find this true: “When I see the words used by others, my immediate reaction is to think someone is deploying it selectively, without complete self-awareness, or as a bullying tactic, in lieu of an actual argument, or as a way of denying how much their own argument depends on values rather than science.” People who understand EBPs just cite the evidence and let the evidence speak for itself; people who don’t use the term EBPs as a conceptual fix-all.

Despite the putative ban, grant writers should continue to use these buzzwords, because proposal reviewers—both federal program officers and peer reviewers—expect to read them. Reading them is a good substitute for thinking about what they mean. In addition, there’s often a disconnect between the political appointees (e.g., Deputy Under Assistant Secretary for Obscure Grant Programs), who nominally run federal agencies, and the career civil servants or lifers who actually operate the agencies. Lifers often refer to the political appointees as “the summer help,” since they come and go with new administrations—or more frequently. Peer reviewers are practitioners, who are likely to be PC in the extreme and unlikely to attend to most administration instructions. As grant writers, our audience is composed of reviewers, not the summer help, so that’s who we’ll continue to write to.

For those of us of a certain age, it’s also ironic that the CDC picked seven words to ban, instead of six or eight, given comedian George Carlin’s 1972 monologue “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television.”

* Mother Jones has a parody of this kerfuffle with seven replacements for the banned words: vulnerable=snowflake, entitlement=welfare, diversity=anti-white, transgender=deviant, fetus=unborn child, evidence-based=elitist, and science-based=atheist.

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Links: Vocational education, housing challenges, iGen and Millenials, healthcare and faxes machines, and more!

* “Blue-collar wages are surging. Can it last?” As I argue in “Rare good political news: Boosting apprenticeships,” it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s teaching college in non-elite schools that way too many students are getting college degrees that don’t mean much.

* “Kimbal Musk wants to feed America, Silicon-Valley style.” Great! Sign me up. Also, Memphis Meats Bets That Lab-Grown Meat Can Solve the Global Food Crisis.

* “Why can’t we cure the common cold?” Turns out that we likely can but choose not to for economic, legal, and regulatory reasons, which is terrible.

* “Rising Rents Are Pushing More Tenants Past the Breaking Point.” Maybe this will get more voters interested in the seemingly boring issue of zoning.

* “The White-Minstrel Show,” which went all over the Internet when it was published but I’m just now getting to it.

* “‘Victimhood narrative’ taught in schools fuels anxiety in young women.” See also Jean Twenge’s book iGen.

* “The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded.” Anyone worried about overpopulation is fighting the last war and ought to read Bryan Caplan’s Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.

* “Five reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes.” Note that any American city could copy all five factors.

* “The fax of life: It’s 2017. American medicine still runs on fax machines because doctors and administrators think that making medical records easier to transfer will make patients change providers more easily.” In other words, this is yet another patient-unfriendly, anti-competitive part of the healthcare landscape.

* “When the Academy Retreats: Thought-policing and value-signaling are pre-empting free and open discussion on college campuses.” It’s pretty depressing that we’re still fighting for free speech in 2017.

* “Insurers make billions off Medicaid in California during Obamacare expansion.”

* Denver Radically Expanded Its Transit. So Why Are More People Driving Cars?

* “Meet the startups fighting Bay Area’s soaring housing costs.” These efforts are useful but pretty marginal; the basic problem remains: it’s illegal to build the housing that people want to live in.

* “Seven megatrends that could beat global warming: ‘There is reason for hope.'”

* “Startup ‘Plenty’ wants to build a giant indoor farm next to every major city.”

* In October I visited Nashville and wrote, “Nashville, seen and unseen.” Now Citylab asks, “Can Nashville Pull Off a $5.2 Billion Transit Makeover?

* Bryan Caplan’s next book, The Case Against Education, is available for pre-order here. I’ve been looking forward to it for years.

* “‘Homes for human beings’: Millennial-driven anti-NIMBY movement is winning with a simple message.” Good.

* “Outbreak: Our Next Global Pandemic.” Be scared.

* “Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow.” Not the usual.

* “E-bikes: time to saddle up with low-cost energy and no sweat?” An underrated story.

* “Solidia has a way to make cement that absorbs greenhouse gases instead of emitting them.” Very cool if true.

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Links: The end of the world, schools, teens having less sex, school structure, housing, drug policy, Pre-K For All, and more!

* “The Ends of the World is page-turner about mass extinction.” Note: “The evidence suggests that every single time, mass extinction was the result of runaway alterations in the planet’s atmospheric composition.” I read and loved it.

* “GM and Cruise announce first mass-production self-driving car.” Wow.

* Why do U.S. schools still start way too early? “Tradition and inertia” seem to be the real answers. But starting middle and high schools later in the day is as close as we’re likely to come to a free lunch in education.

* École 42, a free, teacher-less university in France, is schooling thousands of future-proof programmers. Cool.

* “How Local Housing Regulations Smother the U.S. Economy;” nothing here that regular readers don’t know, but the venue is of interest.

* In Defense of Amy Wax’s Defense of Bourgeois Values.

* “Americans Losing Faith in College Degrees, Poll Finds: Men, young adults and rural residents increasingly say college isn’t worth the cost.” Isaac sent this one to me, and I wrote back to say that in some cases. . . they’re probably right. There are a lot of people (and not just men) who likely don’t belong in college and go because it’s “the next thing” after high school. Which is a great way to spend a lot of money, not necessarily learn very much, and then be 22 with five figures of debt. I’ve taught a lot of college classes and wrote about that experience here.

* “Pile it high: Singapore’s prefab tower revolution.” It’s possible to dramatically lower the cost of construction itself.

* “Bored? Underworked? You’re an ideal candidate for a company struggling to find new staff.”

* Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk. Good news is underrated.

* Why Koreans shun the suburbs.

* “Cheaper, Lighter, Quieter: The Electrification of Flight Is at Hand.” Maybe, but we’re still waiting for the flying cars and paperless offices we’ve seen prophesied for decades. For another take, see Why electric airplanes within 10 years are more than a fantasy: Startups plan to make hybrid airplanes, and eventually purely electric ones.”

* Relatedly: As electric motors improve, more things are being electrified.

* “Top medical experts say we should decriminalize all drugs and maybe go even further.” It seems the current approach is ineffective at best and is more likely to be actively harmful, so a new method is in order. Or, rather, a new-old method, because drug laws didn’t come into being until the late 19th Century.

* “The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids: Today’s young children are working more, but they’re learning less.” Should be a familiar story to our NYC Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) clients.

* “Is your state road system broke? Then hit up. . . the Prius drivers!” An example of misguided policy and failing to think about the bigger picture.

* “Is there a Rawlsian argument for redistribution as a form of social insurance?” A brilliant post, do read the whole thing, and note that I have thought this before, albeit phrased differently: “In fact what I observe is people taking the status quo, and its current political debates, as a benchmark of sorts, and choosing sides, yet without outlining the ‘stopping principles’ for their own recommendations.” And I have succumbed to this as well!

* “How to Win a War on Drugs: Portugal treats addiction as a disease, not a crime.” Seems obvious to most people, except for a few elected or appointed officials who are stuck in the 1980s “War on Drugs” fiasco.

* “A 400-year story of progress: How America became the world’s biggest economy.” The important news that’s likely to stay news.

* “How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state.” Many of you who live in CA already know as much. The point about land and housing costs links to our post, “L.A. digs a hole more slowly than economics fills it back in: The Proposition HHH Facilities Program RFP.”

* “L.A. County now has 58,000 homeless people. So why are there thousands fewer shelter beds than in 2009?

* “Don’t buy the idea teens are having less sex until you take a closer look at the data.” Does “sex” include “oral sex?” The answer changes the way the data are interpreted.

* “De Blasio Expands Affordable Housing, but Results Aren’t Always Visible.” Unfortunately, “The vast majority of the newly created affordable housing units in New York City are existing apartments, not new construction.” This just exacerbates the “haves” and “have-nots” problem in the city. The only affordable housing is lots of housing. Until we get lots of new units built, the cost of existing units will rise.

* “How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian’s donation on a stupid football scoreboard.” It does seem too nicely symbolic of modern universities.

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Links: New vaccines, construction workers and YouthBuild, vocational education, reading, jobs, and more!

* “Herpes cure needs free-to-choose medicine.”

* “The U.S. Might Not Have Enough Construction Workers to Rebuild Houston After Harvey.” Every YouthBuild applicant from the greater Houston area ought to cite this article in the next funding round.

* “Contrary to popular belief, nuclear power is the world’s safest energy source.”

* “Driving Tesla’s Model 3 changes everything.” This reminds me of electric bikes. Lots of people scoff at electric bikes, until they ride one, and then they go, “Ooooooo, wow, this is great!”

* “Colleges say they could lower tuition — if only they could talk to each other about it.” I’m not convinced this is true, but it is interesting, and certainly the current approach has not yielded good outcomes for most people. My worries are encapsulated by this:

On the other hand, said Scherer, “it’s just possible that collusion in tuition-setting could be reflected on the cost side by an above-average increase” in the price. “If you relaxed the pressure even more, where would it go? To a general reduction of tuition or to higher educational spending generally on the facilities and staff side? I, frankly, am skeptical.”

* U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned. Ill news, especially given the link about safety above.

* “When all job differences are accounted for, the ‘pay gap’ almost disappears.”

* “Apple and other tech companies are fighting to keep devices hard to repair.” It’s not hard to understand why, yet personal electronics repair is another promising vocational education field.

* “Why We Can’t Have the Male Pill: A condom alternative could be worth billions. What’s taking so long?” This would likely have a tremendous impact on unplanned pregnancy, but, perversely, it could also increase the STI rate (at least until we have vaccines for most common STIs).

* Someone found this blog by searching for, “how to win fqhc service area competitions.” You’ve come to the right place.

* “2016 Was Hot, Weird, and Unprecedented.”

* The death of the internal combustion engine.

* “The electric bike conundrum,” except it isn’t actually a conundrum and cheap electric bikes may reshape cities.

* Housing costs are the real driver of inequality in America, a theme familiar to regular readers but unfamiliar to many others.

* Too few patients shop around for healthcare coverage, driving up costs. Another thing FQHCs probably know and most people probably don’t.

* “Sutter will shift 10,000 Anthem Medi-Cal enrollees to community health centers.” The headline is a slightly nicer way of saying, “10,000 patients dumped onto FQHCs.”

* “How I Survived the Title IX Star Chamber.”

* “75,000 Apply for State College Scholarships, but Many Won’t Qualify.” As so often happens, the bureaucracy itself becomes a hurdle.

* The Texas telemedicine breakthrough.

* Wind and solar power are on track to exceed expectations. Again. Good news!

* “The Fight Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Might Start With Vaccines.”

* “Amy’s Drive Thru, America’s First Meat-Free Fast-Food Restaurant Is Getting Ready To Expand.”

* How Nakaya, a Japanese Pen Maker, Anticipated the Writing-Tool Renaissance. Personally I’ve been a fan of Sailor fountain pens, but more often these days I just use Pigma Micron pens that are easier to carry around (and lose).

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Links: Bikes, jobs, why teen sex programs have fallen out of favor, hospitals, healthcare, and more!

* In parts of Indiana, the problem isn’t China. It’s too many jobs.

* Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands?

* “Not quite half of American teens have had sex by 18. That’s actually low.” In other words, teens are more boring and phone-addicted than they once were. More seriously, this, along with increasing rates of contraception use, explains why teen-pregnancy prevention grant programs have faded from view.

* “Making cities denser always sparks resistance. Here’s how to overcome it.”

* “California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing crisis. This is why they’ve failed.”

* “A generational failure: As the U.S. fantasizes, the rest of the world builds a new transport system.”

* “Cuts threaten rural hospitals ‘hanging on by their fingernails.’” Isaac says he’s been reading the same article every couple of years for 30 years.

* “Why market competition has not brought down health care costs.” The history and analysis are good but I don’t buy the solution. I’d like to see mandatory price transparency, savings accounts, and (government-run) catastrophic insurance. Oddly, we are evolving towards a world where basically all insurance is catastrophic insurance. I think my deductible is now something like $5,000.

* “Get Able-Bodied Americans off the Couch: Nearly 95 million people have removed themselves entirely from the job market.” From the article: “According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 41% of nondisabled adults on Medicaid do not have jobs. Thirteen million Americans 18 to 54 currently receive SSDI or SSI benefits.”

* “Big Foundations Double Down on Government Mistakes: What’s the trouble with ‘mission-related investments’? Who defines the mission.”

* Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes.

* Grid Batteries Are Poised to Become Cheaper Than Natural-Gas Plants in Minnesota.

* “A Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell: Revisiting Brown v. Board.” Extremely interesting and contrarian in an intelligent way that shows many familiar things in a light I’d never considered.

* “As opioid overdoses exact a higher price, communities ponder who should be saved.”

* Doctors think EMRs are hurting relationships with patients. We think so too. As I noted in this post, Isaac’s primary care provider thinks hand-charting was faster, better, and easier than digital charting is now.

* “Spending a Lot on Health Care Is the American Way: It’s a nation of consumers: Big houses, the latest gadgets, huge hospital bills.” Points rarely made about healthcare but useful throughout.

* Learning to Squat; unexpectedly found in The New Yorker. Note that few people squat, or ride bikes, or even walk around their neighborhoods, and that’s part of the reason U.S. healthcare spending is so high (pre the preceding link).

* A decade on, HPV vaccine has halved cervical cancer rate. The real tragedy is that vaccine compliance is so low.

* Are college costs finally declining, along with enrollments?

* “A promising new coalition looks to rewrite the politics of urban housing: An end to defensive planning could unleash huge change.”

* Tesla Model 3 first drive review. Or here is another variant, from The Verge instead of Motortrend.

* 34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage shows cop planting drugs.

* Pigs are smart and sensitive, yet we continue to justify killing them for food.

* Harlem Nonprofit Plans to Offer Virtual Psychiatrist Visits in School Clinics.

* When you should call your program officer.

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Links: Free speech, affordable housing, more on 50 Shades, drugs as medicine, college sex, Congress, and more!

* “Free speech, but not for all?” A very bad academic trend.

* “Japan shows the way to affordable mega cities.” Again, affordable housing is the issue that touches almost every other issue.

* “Labor Shortage Squeezes Builders: Why are property prices rising so quickly? Here’s one reason.” Pity we didn’t post this in time for YouthBuild season!

* “2017 Could Prove to Be a Turning Point for Plug-In Hybrids;” plug-in hybrids are an easy bridge between gas- and electric-powered cars.

* A surprisingly good comment about marriage, life, connection, and other topics.

* “In defense of philistinism: Don’t feel guilty if you’d rather read a Fifty Shades of Grey sequel than Proust.” Yeah.

* “Colleges Think Women Having Sex Is Dangerous. Laura Kipnis Says They’re Wrong.”

* “Elon Musk’s Boring Company Begins First Tunnel.” I predict it gets bogged down in NIMBYism and “Just say no” California politics but hope that it doesn’t. Also this Boring Company is not boring, so to speak.

* “Old Containers Find Out-of-the-Box Second Lives: Architects, designers and builders are discovering that shipping containers, the workhorses of freight transportation, aren’t just for hauling cargo.” If you’re working on affordable housing, you ought to be thinking about this.

* “We need ecstasy and cocaine in place of Prozac and Xanax.” Note that this comes from a mainstream popular science magazine, not from some random corner of the Internet. Still, while the ideas are interesting, you should not yet push these kinds of ideas in your proposals!

* “Mercedes-Benz Energy pairs with solar company to sell batteries, rooftop panels.” Good news for competition with Tesla.

* An electric bike is not cheating: How it could replace cars for millions of people.

* “Is Preventive Care Worth the Cost? Evidence from Mandatory Checkups in Japan.” Short answer seems to be “no.”

* “Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down.”

* “Books are superior to TV” (better than the usual but you already probably know as much if you’re reading this).

* “eClinicalWorks to pay $155 million to settle suit alleging it faked meaningful use certification.” News for FQHCs.

* “L.A.’s crisis: High rents, low pay, homelessness rising and $2,000 doesn’t buy much.” Many of our clients are in the greater L.A. area. Adjusted for the cost of living, California has the highest poverty rate in the country. Zoning turns out to be one of the great scourges of our time.

* “Automakers Race to Get Ahead of Silicon Valley on Car-Sharing.”

* “Get Congress Back to Legislating, Not Just Budgeting: Yuval Levin, an expert on the budget process, explains how a congressional power grab in the ’70s led to paralysis today.” Again, not the sexiest or most fun piece, but it is essential for understanding what’s amiss in government today.

* “The Old Are Eating the Young.” And the young don’t realize it and/or aren’t voting appropriately to it.

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Links: Job training, affordable housing, smart toilets, freedom of speech, zoning’s steep price, and more!

* “Indiana tries to certify skills rather than a college degree.”

* “Solarcoaster: The Promise and Pitfalls of Rooftop Solar Jobs.” Useful especially for job training providers. Solar technician and wind-power related jobs are popular career paths because they’re part of growing and green industries.

* Researchers replicate the Milgram Experiment. A timely piece that I wish wasn’t timely. Remember that you still have control over you.

* “Now You Can Live in a Remodeled Shipping Container: Boxouse is selling solar-powered mobile homes equipped with Alexa and is readying a smart toilet.” An interesting concept for anyone working in affordable housing, especially in rural areas. Also, it would be interesting to experience a “smart” toilet. I was reminded of Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted.

* “Middlebury’s Statement of Principle: Learning is possible only where free, reasoned and civil speech is respected.” Though lunatics make the news about academia with distressing frequency, most academics are actually reasonable. But “reasonable” is rarely newsworthy.

* “What If Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists?” Sounds stupid but isn’t.

* “Americans’ Shift To The Suburbs Sped Up Last Year,” mostly because building there is legal; we are all paying zoning’s steep price.

* “Eligible founder Katelyn Gleason’s plan to upend the billion dollar medical billing industry.” That would be fantastic.

* “How the Internet Gave Mail-Order Brides the Power“—one of these counterintuitive results. We’ve worked on human- and sex trafficking projects.

* An antidote for the Affordable Care Act: Cash-only medicine with transparent pricing.”

* “Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever: Can billions of dollars’ worth of high-tech research succeed in making death optional?” Fascinating throughout, but “immortality” strikes me as the sort of thing that will become the Cold Fusion of the 21st Century: Always 20 years off.

* “Humans produce so much stuff that we’re creating a new geological layer.” Which might be kinda cool in some ways.

* “How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive.” Unexpected throughout.

* Every attempt to manage academia makes it worse.”

* “Americans have become lazy and it’s hurting the economy,” on Tyler Cowen’s book The Complacent Class. The book is excellent and I write more about it here.

* “The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners: Demand and financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house.” Definitely one of those, “Don’t say we didn’t warn you” scenarios.

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Links: Fed hiring freeze, politics and nonprofits, LA Measure S, modern Linux for non-developers, bikes, policing, education

* “Trump Orders Broad Hiring Freeze for Federal Government.” It’s been our experience that such “freezes” usually don’t amount to much, as veteran federal bureaucrats know how to maneuver around them.

* “Blue states are in for a world of pain.” The “are” should right now actually say “may be.” The biggest challenge is that Congress’s tax plans “would eliminate most itemized deductions — including those for state and local income and property taxes.”

* The Many, the Humble, the Ubuntu Linux Users. About using Linux from the perspective of a writer rather than a programmer. There are also now very good laptops that come with Linux pre-installed, like this Dell XPS 13″.

* “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich.”

* We will miss antibiotics when they’re gone.

* On Forged Through Fire: War, Peace, and the Democratic Bargain.

* “Blue Lies Matter: How Video Finally Proved That Cops Lie.”

* Yes, there have been aliens.

* “Revenge of the bureaucrats: Federal workers fume over Trump’s vows to freeze hiring and shrink the government.” How policies go from high-level, highly abstract politicians to actual implementation on the ground is an unimportant theme that hasn’t been covered adequately. See the first link, above, about government “hiring freezes.”

* The next [debt or financial] crisis?

* “What the Death of the T.P.P. Means for America.” The short answer is, “Very little that is good.”

* Why bike lanes may appear to be underutilized.

* Chicago cops, unaccountable by design.

* How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps.

* “How Virginia’s Hospital Licensing Laws Led to an Infant’s Death.” The depth and bizarreness of medical licensing is hard to believe; we’ve heard all kinds of strange, fascinating stories about them from our clients.

* The ambiguities of dual citizenship.

* “How Immigration Uncertainty Threatens America’s Tech Dominance.” Well-known to people in the field and not known at all among voters.

* America needs to abandon its reverence for bachelor’s degrees.

* Life, death and demolition in Baltimore: “As Maryland’s largest city has dwindled from a peak population of 950,000 in 1950 to about 620,000 today, the receding tide has left behind 17,000 boarded-up houses and buildings, unoccupied, unwanted and unstable.”

* “U.S. nonprofits, including churches, should be allowed to take sides in politics.” I’m not convinced, but the argument is reasonable.

* All aboard: the Second Avenue Subway is here.

* To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics.

* Why does infrastructure cost so damn much in the U.S.?

* “Preschool can provide a boost, but the gains can fade surprisingly fast.” We’ve posted about this before, in, for example, “New York City is Having Trouble Giving Away Free Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Slots.” Still, we write lots of preschool proposals, because politicians and interest groups love these programs, which are more about hiring low-skill workers than education, which tends to be minimal at that age, for reasons obvious to anyone who’s spent time around three year olds. .

* “Stop Humiliating Teachers,” a lovely piece though unlikely to happen.

* “From work to income to health to social mobility, the year 2000 marked the beginning of what has become a distressing era for the United States.” Maybe.

* The great American streetcar myth.

* “Professor Lisa Servon spent 4 months working in a South Bronx check-cashing store says we’re getting it all wrong.” Useful especially for anyone who write DOT CDFI grant proposals like us.

* Why Dell’s gamble on Linux laptops has paid off.

* “The case for going to bed at 2:30 am.”

* “In praise of cash;” seems like an obvious point to me.

* “The Number of Children in L.A. Is Shrinking — Which Could Be a Disaster.” Blame housing policy and politics. L.A.’s Measure S ballot initiative could make the situation much, much worse.

* How Alcohol and Caffeine Helped Create Civilization.