Climate change as a prisoners’ dilemma

"Rrrat's okay, you guys. We would have done the same to you."

“Rrrat’s okay, you guys. We would have done the same to you.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest report on intergovernmental panels climate change, and our situation does not look good. Contrary to a number of anonymously funded think-tanks who insist that everything is fine, the Yokohama panel warns that “nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.” The good news, though, is that poor people are going to get touched a lot harder and in more uncomfortable places. The big warning from the panel is food scarcity, which will ironically starve people in undeveloped nations—the same people who contribute least to carbon emissions. Climate change is an ethical issue. The people who are doing it most are mostly doing it to other people, which makes it a kind of prisoner’s dilemma.

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Judge issues injunction against collection of phone data

Come back to me, Edward, and sleep forever.

Come back to me, Edward, and sleep forever.

Perhaps this was massive, world-interrupting news yesterday and I slept/vomited through it, but a federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against broad federal collection of cell phone data, saying that the program “surely” infringes on the Fourth Amendment. Blanket domestic surveillance from the NSA is by no means over, but it seems likely to suffer a serious blow in the next six months. DC District Court Judge Richard Leon stayed his injunction to allow the federal government time to appeal—something it almost certainly will do, so business as usual recently revealed by a dude who has to hide in Russia. But Leon also called the programs “almost Orwellian” and said James Madison would be “aghast” if he knew about it. He meant to say “a ghost.”

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Meanwhile, inside Michele Bachmann’s career

Michele Bachmann wants you to pull another quarter out of her ear, but this time she's watching.

Michele Bachmann wants you to pull another quarter out of her ear, but this time she’s watching.

Could this be the end of Michele Bachmann head science? It’s possible the wormhole is collapsing, as the four-term Representative from Minnesota announced that she will not seek reelection in 2014. Her decision is definitely not related to the 1.1% victory she won last year over Jim Graves, who recently announced that he would run for her seat again. Nor is it connected to the ongoing ethics probe into her 2012 presidential campaign. You can watch Bachmann explain how unimportant both of those things are in this eight-minute video:


I will miss her cadence most of all—like a children’s record played at the wrong speed.

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How to write an anecdote about welfare

Because she's black!

Because she’s black!

Let’s say it’s April 16th and you hate taxes, because 98% 12% of it goes to social safety net programs, better known as welfare. As everyone knows, most people on welfare don’t even need it. They just don’t want to work, and they probably make more money from lapping at the government teat than you do at your horrible job. The welfare queen has a storied history in American political discourse. We all know she’s out there, and most of us have a pretty good idea what she looks like. The problem is that the poor have so much power in America that specific welfare queens are carefully hidden. An actual person who picks up his food stamps in a limousine is almost impossible to find. So what do you do? Do you wait for the government to create a welfare queen for you? Of course not—you’re a hard-working American, so you make one up yourself.

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Meanwhile, inside Michele Bachmann’s head

Michele Bachmann watches her owner eat a hot dog.

Michele Bachmann watches her groomer eat a hot dog.

Picture space as a balloon with pennies stuck all over the surface. The balloon surface is the space-time manifold that we know; the pennies are points within that manifold. Now inflate the balloon a little more, so that all the pennies move apart. This is the expansion of the universe that has been occurring at nearly the speed of light for the last six billion years. Now inflate the balloon even more, until it pops and you accidentally inhale several pennies, plus balloon parts and glue. Wave your arms. Suck gallons of Coca-Cola into your lungs in an attempt to dissolve the pennies, until you pass out and hit your head on the toilet. Did you see the explosion of white stars? That is the best analogy we have for the extradimensional space known as the inside of Michele Bachmann’s head. It is a white-hot field that our instruments cannot penetrate, and it is in trouble.

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