Tuesday Afternoon Links!
* And marrying the last two links: One in Six Eligible Voters Has a Disability.
* Let history be our judge: Pepe the Frog, an explainer.
* Researchers at the Karadag Nature Reserve, in Feodosia, Russia, recorded two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, called Yasha and Yana, talking to each other in a pool. They found that each dolphin would listen to a sentence of pulses without interruption, before replying.
* CFP: this xkcd.
* Going viral this week: extinction illusions.
* Nice work if you can get it: Wells Fargo won’t claw back $125m retirement bonus from exec who oversaw 2m frauds.
* Stories that should be more exciting than they are: We Were Wrong About Where the Moon Came From!
* I read Jason Shiga’s Demon as a crowdfunder — it’s great. Check out the first volume when it comes to print next month.
* Special providence: Catfish Falls From The Sky, Hits Woman In The Face.
* The organizing economic metaphor of all of Against Everything is artificial scarcity. The concept usually refers to the way that monopolistic sellers exploit their excessive market power to restrict supply so they can raise prices. Greif’s view is more capacious and idiosyncratic: He describes a culture where the affluent, at sea in a world of abundance, engage in the elaborate restriction of their own demand (to kitsch diners, ethnic food, inappropriately youthful sexual partners). This turns what could be unfussy gratification into resource-intensive performance. On one level, this is about making a technically meaningless life more diverting, but it also gives our atomized selves the comfort of belonging. It serves to differentiate “people like me” from those other, worse people—those without access to the most current information, say, or simply the economic means to act on it. What gives n+1’s economistic turn its authority and novelty is the way Greif and his colleagues show that the market is not, as someone like Gary Becker had it, a bazaar untainted by sinister, irrational notions (discrimination, exploitation, class prejudice), but a site where those things are given free play under cover of neutral utility-maximizing exchange. They have taught us to speak the softer insights of theory (with its sensitivity to symbolic difference and its hermeneutics of suspicion) in the hardheaded but incantatory vernacular of the powerful.
* The New Yorker remembers the Wilmington coup of 1898.
* And I’m catching up late, but man oh man, Bojack Horseman is a good show.