15% of U.S. marriages in 2010 were between people of different races or ethnicities, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. 43% of Americans think that the rise of interracial marriage is a societal good, and only 11% think it’s bad. Over a third of Americans have a close relative who is married to somebody of a different race. The internals of how people of different races pair up are really fascinating, and well worth reading. I view this as a happy step towards the functional elimination of race. Within a few generations, I hope that most Americans will be somewhere on a racial spectrum, rather than seen as simply “white,” “black,” “latino,” etc. →
- The Guardian: Mexico City considers fixed-term marriage licences
The city is considering offering two-year marriage licenses. Couples would get married, and two years later their marriage contract would end, though they could, of course, renew it. Why? Because so many marriages end after two years, requiring an expensive and trying divorce. I've been forecasting limited term marriage licenses for years, but I never would have guessed that it might start in the heavily Catholic Mexico.
- CNet: Was legal site rewrite a liberal plot? Not quite.
Justia made a mistake in a regular expression (I made the same mistake last week), resulting in some SCOTUS rulings going missing from their website. The conspiracy-theory responses are remarkable, especially the bizarre call for a criminal investigation. Justia is a private site—they're free to exclude any rulings for any (or no) reason!
I am embarrassingly excited about this thermostat. I've put a lot of thought into thermostat design over the past few years, convinced that they could both look and function a great deal better than the best models currently available. (In my new home, we got top-flight ones installed, and they're still ugly and work poorly.) The Nest Learning Thermostat is quite a bit more advanced than anything I'd imagined. One more feature I'd like: the ability to detect the presence of people in the home based on whether their phone is on the WiFi network.
- Talking Points Memo: White House—We Thought We Were Down To The Details
Turns out the real reason that Boehner walked out on Obama on Friday is because Boehner demanded a repeal of the individual healthcare mandate. Which, ironically, would actually have worsened things, since the individual mandate will significantly reduce federal spending.
- New York Times: Some Parents of Gay Children Push for Marriage
I really enjoyed this article about the normalization of gay marriage having led to parents saying "OK, fine, you're gay, and now gay marriage is legal, so what's the holdup?" Gay or straight, kids are going to get nagged about marriage by their parents.
- UC Berkeley: Agonized pose tells of dinosaur death throes
So many fossilized dinosaurs were preserved in the same position: head and neck pulled backwards, bent halfway down the back. There has long been a standard explanation for this—drying tendons and ligaments pulled them into this shape—but attempts to simulate this in animal corpses have all failed. A new theory is that this is consistent with damage to the central nervous system, specifically damage to the cerebellum, perhaps through infection from algal blooms.
- AP: October 2010 Newsletter
It was only last fall that the Associated Press stopped distributing their news via satellite and moved to an internet-based distribution system. Wow.
- PolitiFact: George Allen changes stance again on ethanol subsidies
Allen was against ethanol subsidies. Then he was for them. Now he's against them. It's got to be dizzying, change positions every time the political wind shifts.
- PolitiFact: Virginia GOP says Phil Puckett voted against sending EPA a message
PolitiFact finds the RPV's criticism of Sen. Puckett to be "absurd," rating it "pants on fire" on their "Truth-o-Meter."
- Kudzu and the Marriage Amendment
Sex is not binary. I don't mean that in a fluffy pick-yer-gender-identity way, but in a very real biological way. Sex is a spectrum. In this essay, Rick Moen provides a series of examples of the many ways that labeling sexes can be difficult (Exhibit A: Caster Semenya), and how opposite-sex marriage laws could actually legally mandate same-sex marriage for some people.
- The Register: Google dumps all 11+ million .co.cc sites from its results
Good. .co.cc sites are almost uniformly worthless—a hive of malware sites and search engine spam.
- Andrew Sullivan: Boehner’s Economic Terrorism
"For the GOP to use the debt ceiling to put a gun to the head of the US and global economy until they get only massive spending cuts and no revenue enhancement is therefore the clearest sign yet of their abandonment of the last shreds of a conservative disposition. A conservative does not risk the entire economic system to score an ideological victory. That is what a fanatic does."
- Salon.com: The final nail in the supply side coffin
For the twelve people who still believe in trickle-down economics, the current economic climate is the final proof of its failure. We've got low taxes, record corporate profits, businesses are sitting on huge piles of cash…but ain't nothin' trickling down.
- DosMan Drivel
MS-DOS creator Tim Paterson maintains this blog, in which he recounts his work developing operating systems in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Of particular interest to me is how hardware and code were co-optimized to read from and write to floppy discs in the most efficient manner. The work at that point was incredibly low-level in a way that must have been very satisfying to develop.
- Slate: How the voters of 2004 are blocking same-sex marriage in 2011.
This is something that I've complained about here in Virginia—that by using a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, we have bound ourselves to the wishes of our past selves. There can be no doubt that gay marriage will be legalized in Virginia, but it's going to require a lot of work to get done.
- New York Times: A Tipping Point for Gay Marriage?
With the government unable to muster a legally defensible argument against gay marriage, it's amazing that the House of Representatives went ahead and hired their own private law firm to carry on the right. But it's more amazing still that the law firm dropped the case, finding the Republican majority's position impractical to defend. This looks like the beginning of the end of anti-gay discrimination. My children will almost certainly not know a world in which marriage is only for opposite-sex couples.
- Salon.com: "USA! USA!" is the wrong response
I'm glad to see that others share my discomfort with some of the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. "In the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys."
- The Independent: Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden
Remember when the Taliban offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to the U.S., the President Bush rejected the offer? That was in October 2001, a week after we started bombing. Bush's response? "When I said no negotiations I meant no negotiations."
- The Washington Post: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt
In case you've forgotten how we went from record surpluses to record deficits in a decade (hint: you have), the Post recounts the story of how President Bush blew President Clinton's carefully crafted budget by going on the largest-ever tax-cutting spree, recklessly distributing our nation's wealth to the nation's wealthiest.
- Wall Street Journal: Jobless claims
The WSJ put a sparkline in a tweet. *swoon*