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Links: Democracy, academia, standing desks, pre-school / UPK, email, murder, iMacs, and more!

* “American democracy is doomed;” don’t attend too much to the clickbait headline, but this may be the most important thing you read all day, week, or month.

* “I have one of the best jobs in academia. Here’s why I’m walking away.

* “The Future of New York City Transportation: Goodbye Cars, Hello Rails: Young people are driving the city towards a carless future.”

* A review of studies of standing desks; as you know I use a GeekDesk and am standing as I type this. Here’s our 2008 post on tools.

* An excellent piece on Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite writers, ever, and also excellent for anyone working in low-income communities. Start with Get Shorty and Out of Sight, in that order. Like many writers and especially prolific writers his work is uneven, but the best more than excuses the worst. Few of us hit the high notes even once.

* “Preschool Can Be Worse Than the Alternative.” We’ve worked on numerous proposals for New York City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program, as well as Head Start, and some of that experience has made us… skeptical… of the push for more structured education for everyone, everywhere, all the time. In these discussions about more, more, and still more education, the words “diminishing returns” seemingly never appear.

* “The Real Anti-Facebook Is Good Old Email.” Which I still use more than any other online system, though sometimes I feel out of time for doing so. I do use Dropbox for distributing pictures.

* The Case of Richard Glossip, who is about to be murdered by the state—in and by the United States.

* Parking costs are eating our housing.

* Why aren’t America’s ports automated? Short answer: Unions.

* “How Tasteless Suburbs Become Beloved Urban Neighborhoods.”

* “America: Abandon Your Reverence for the Bachelor’s Degree: Many high-school graduates must choose between two bad options: a four-year program for which they’re not academically or emotionally prepared, or job-specific training that might put a ceiling on their careers.” Again, the phrase “diminishing returns” is important here.

* “In California, Electric Cars Outpace Plugs, and Sparks Fly.” Of course, this is not much of a problem is South Central LA, the Oakland flats and in the 500-mile long Central Valley. What would Tom Wolfe say?

* “Inside the lab: Why Apple still sweats the details on iMac,” a fascinating story; Apple also updated iMacs on October 13. The 5K iMac is an amazing machine. If you order one, make sure you get the Fusion drive upgrade. The 21.5″ iMac is probably the best bargain, as long as you get the Fusion drive.

* Europe’s love affair with diesel cars has been a disaster.