Animated graph shows how USA has become more polarized in last 20 years

Pretty astonishing to see how close together median Democrats and Republicans were in 1997.

From Sociological Images:

A recent Pew Report reported that in 1994, 64% of Republicans were more conservative than the median Democrat on a political values scale. By 2014, 92% of Republicans were more conservative than the median Democrat. Democrats have become more consistently liberal in their political values and Republicans have become more consistently conservative. And this has led to increasing political polarization.

You might think ideological commitments naturally come in groupings. But there are lots of illogical pairings without natural connections. Why, for instance, should how you feel about school vouchers be related to how you feel about global warming, whether police officers use excessive force against Black Americans, or whether displays of military strength are the best method of ensuring peace? The four issues are completely separate. But, if your Facebook feed looks anything like mine, knowing someone’s opinion about any one of these issues gives you enough information to feel reasonably confident predicting their opinions about the other three. That’s what ideological consistency looks like.

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Life Undersea: 1968

From Paul Di Filippo: "Our glorious domestic undersea future, as depicted in an ad sponsored by "Investor-Owned Light and Power Companies" in the issue of LOOK for May 14, 1968." Read the rest

Excellent, cheap monitor stand

The AmazonBasics Metal Monitor Stand ($15) was just what I needed to give my monitor a 4.25 inch boost. My laptop fits under the monitor, too, freeing up desk space. Read the rest

The "ludic loop" of checking email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all day

Slot machines are designed to lock you into a "ludic loop" -- doing something over and over again because every once in a while you get a reward. People check their emails and social networks repeatedly for the same reason.

Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at NYU and author of the new book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, has come up with 5 ways to break the ludic loop addiction to your phone.

From Barking up the Wrong Tree:

3) Use A “Stopping Rule”

Ever said you’re going to “just check your phone real quick” — and then an hour goes by? (No, you did not discover time travel.)

You check email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… And by the time you’ve done all that, it’s time to check email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram again. You may call this your “happy place.” Researchers call it a “ludic loop.” It’s what slot machines are designed to produce. Here’s Adam:

The “ludic loop” is this idea that when you’re engaged in an addictive experience, like playing slot machines, you get into this lulled state of tranquility where you just keep doing the thing over and over again. It just becomes the comfortable state for you. You don’t stop until you’re shaken out of that state by something.

So something happens and you’re shaken out of your Kubla Khan dream state. That’s when you go, “It’s been an hour?!?!” So what you want to do is make sure you have that interruption planned ahead of time so you don’t go down the rabbit hole and spend 3 whole hours hanging with the rabbits.

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TV special - Woody Allen Looks at 1967

Liza Minnelli, John Byner, Aretha Franklin, William F. Buckley are the guests in this TV special, "Woody Allen Looks at 1967." The opening title sequence is 10 times too long for today's audience. Allen's opening monologue as a weird long joke about a hate crime. Aretha Franklin performs a couple of songs, including "Respect," Liza Minnelli lips syncs "The 59th Street Bridge Song" and "Up Up and Away" on a set that looks like she's in the clouds, and William F. Buckley provides comedic entertainment.

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Groovy 1973 Bell Labs documentary about communication technology

Produced by Bell Labs in 1973, The Far Sound looks at the latest developments it telephony, electronics, and computers. The intro has Peter Max-ish graphics and a song that sounds like a Partridge Family instrumental.

1973, the year this film was made, was a very exciting time to be at Bell Labs. Telstar was under development. BellComm was about to be spun off, to work with NASA on the moon project. Technologies involving the transistor, laser, and the solar cell were underway. Scientists were just starting to explore what a computer was and what it might accomplish. In the middle of this wave of innovation was the Bell System’s core business—providing telephone service to almost the entire country.

At 9:43, we get a great description of how transistors work, complete with anthropomorphic electrons. Read the rest

Weird undersea life photos and videos from NOAA expedition

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research has a bunch of great photos and videos from a recent expedition to American Samoa. Photo above is the Cosmic Jellyfish.

In this video, you can see the perfectly relaxed arrangement of the two sets of tentacles; scientists think this is a position that allows for optimum feeding in the midwater environment at ~3,000 meters. Through remotely operated vehicle video observations such as this, we can learn much about the animals in the midwater and what they are up to when we can catch them in an undisturbed manner.

By the way, the White House is proposing a 17% cut to NOAA's budget. Read the rest

James Randi debunks Magnet Man

In This video, professional skeptic James Randi demonstrates his new powder (called tal-kom or something like that) that demagnetizes a magnetic man. Read the rest

In-browser emulator of Mac Plus running Mac OS System 7

Here's a virtual Mac Plus running Mac OS System 7. It's got MacPaint, MacDraw, Kid Pix, and Teach Text. Read the rest

Sensation / Forever by American Grandma

American Grandma is a fantastic two-piece band from Colorado consisting of Jennifer Lynn Keller and Caden Marchese. They have a new album on the First Base Tapes label, titled Sensation / Forever, that I've been listening all week. It's available on cassette here. You can preview it here.

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Interview with a man who manufactured 3,000,000 Doses of LSD

UPDATE 3/5/2107 Peter Sjöstedt-H emailed me: "Thank you for promoting my interview with Tim Scully. Tim has emailed me to ask if the title of your article could be altered a little as it is now factually incorrect: Scully did not manufacture "750,000,000 Doses of LSD" but only *wanted to*. He actually only manufactured about 3,000,000 doses of 300 ug.

Peter Sjöstedt-H interviewed famous 1960s acid chemist Tim Scully for High Existence.

In 1977 Tim Scully was imprisoned for the manufacture of LSD, a high-standard variety thereof well known in the 1960s as Orange Sunshine. Following his release in 1980, Scully returned to a life concerned more with electronics than with acid-infused ideology. The story of his acid adventures with Nick Sand have been documented in the new film The Sunshine Makers – philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-H here asks Tim Scully eight questions stemming therefrom.

In the documentary you complained of “bad trips” after your run in with the law. Do you believe that the so-called “bad trip” can be beneficial?

There wasn’t room in a 90 minute film to explain this point fully. During the time from late 1966 through mid-1970 I was frequently followed by federal agents. I had to lose them before doing anything important. They knew that I knew that they were following me and I knew that they knew.

In mid-1968 my 2nd Denver lab was busted as shown in the film when I was out of town. I was arrested by federal agents in the spring of 1969 on a fugitive warrant from Denver.

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Suggestion for improving the design of the Academy Awards cards

Benjamin Bannister has a good idea about the design of the Academy Awards cards.

That’s horrible typography. I will emphasize horrible again. Horrible. Or to be nicer, not good. Look at it again. Of course, anyone could’ve made the same honest error!

The words “Best Actress” is on there — at the very bottom — in small print!

You are on television with millions of people around the world watching. You are a little nervous, and you have to read a card. You will most likely read it from top to bottom (visual hierarchy) without questioning whether the card is right. That look on Warren’s face was, “This says ‘Emma Stone’ on it.” Faye must’ve skipped that part and was caught up in the excitement and just blurted out, “La La Land.”

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Brave man paints outside of building

Just Painting a Little Wall

Not sure if he is working his way up or down. Either one is terrifying. Read the rest

Talented border collie knows many tricks and routines

All dogs are amazing but this one stands out

Mary, age 16, has a two-year-old border collie named Magic. They have a lot of fun together. Here's their Instagram account. Read the rest

Man happy about watch appraisal on Antiques Roadshow

This guy said his sergeant recommended that he buy a Rolex GMT Master Model when he was stationed in Germany. He was happy to learn that it was appraised at a much higher price than the $120 he paid to buy it in 1960. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions can't recuse himself from Colbert's monologue

"Big news today from the Kremlin... er, the White House." Colbert has a field day with Lyin' Jeff. "You don't have to recuse yourself, you've already fucked yourself." Read the rest

Anker’s PowerCore USB 15600 battery pack for $24

I have quite a few different battery packs, but I think Anker's are the most attractive. The Anker battery I have had for years is still going strong. Amazon has a good sale on the PowerCore 15600 USB battery pack: it's $24 when you use the code SPRING80 at checkout. Read the rest

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