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An argument that books are a bad way to learn things.

Air pollution seems to cause dementia.

Map of self-reported life satisfaction around the world.

Fascinating interview with a biologist who specializes in invertebrate consciousness.

Missisippi prisons are somewhat horrifying: “Another time [the informant] called from prison and said, “You hear that?” The noise sounded like a busy construction site. He explained that it was metal striking metal as gang members made weapons.

““Police officers are the first ones to say, ‘Hey, that’s unfair that I’m not gonna get this promotion, because some algorithm said I might be more violent or at risk than someone else,’” Ferguson says. “And you want to turn around and say, ‘Exactly. It’s unfair that some kid gets put on a heat list because he lives in a poor area and he’s surrounded by poverty and violence.’”

This is the ideal religious figure. You may not like it but this is what peak performance looks like.

This article about incel plastic surgery is trying to nudge me to dislike the plastic surgeon who gives incels plastic surgery but honestly I respect the hell out of him. “It’s not my job to ask why you want seven-centimeter testicles, it’s my job to invent groundbreaking surgical techniques to get you them” is a position I can support. Bodily autonomy! (To be clear, the incels don’t want seven-centimeter testicles, he just separately does both seven-centimeter testicles and incels.)

TurboTax has lied to people seeking refunds, such as by claiming that ProPublica was going to run a retraction of its story about how TurboTax deliberately deceived people who should have been able to file their taxes for free into paying. (Incidentally, if you earned less than $34,000 last year and paid TurboTax, to file your taxes you may be able to get a refund. I suggest seeking it because fuck TurboTax.)

This article about ransomware data recovery firms is incredibly interesting. Data recovery firms usually just pay the ransom; the value they add is (1) plausible deniability about whether you paid a ransom and (2) long-standing relationships with hacker groups, which lets them negotiate discounts and know who is likely to flake or claim to be able to decrypt something they can’t. Ransomware has become remarkably professionalized, including special discounts for data recovery firms who use a particular ransomware group regularly. Because multiple hacker groups use the same virus, there’s competition to see who can offer the cheapest ransoms.

One from the Goodhart’s Law files: requirements that a high percentage of teenagers graduate from high school lead to heavy use of online credit recovery, which might not teach kids anything.

Medieval books of penances for particular sins give us insight into the sex lives of the medievals. Also, into the fact that sex urban legends are not a modern invention, although at least the present-day ones are less likely to involve dead fish.

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