News from Sweden: Long commutes increase divorce rates. I wonder if that’s true in the US as well.
A natural experiment suggests that the housing collapse was not inevitable. Folks who lucked into sane, non-predatory mortgages weren’t nearly as likely to default.
From The New Republic, a great demographic analysis of Medicare politics. From the article: “Today’s seniors and near-seniors spent much of their working lives…with their incomes rising, investments gaining, their health increasingly secure, and their retirements predictable. Everyone 55 and younger spent his or her entire working life in an economy where all those trends had stalled or reversed.” That fault line creates a natural strategy for people who want to trim Medicare: maintain service for today’s seniors, focus the cuts on the under-55 set, and everyone gets what they’re used to! Funny how demographic trends that stretch back to 1974 have a powerful (but little-recognized) influence on today’s policy debates.
What’s wrong with our streets? A lot. Transportation For America breaks it down in their latest comprehensive analysis, “Dangerous By Design 2011.” Northwest cities do pretty well, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
How did things get this way? I don’t think I’ve ever read a short diagnosis of the problem as clean as the one at DC Streets Blog, “Five Media Myths That Perpetuate Car Culture.”
Finally, I’ll recommend something I’d like to read when I can find the time (ha!): Dominick DellaSala of the Geos Institute advocates for Cascadia’s dominant natural landscape in “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation.”
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Bill McKibben is coming to Bellingham next Tuesday to talk about the proposed coal export facility at Cherry Point. In a “preview” interview with the Cascadia Weekly, he frames the issue up as a question of coal vs. soul—as in the community’s soul: “There’s virtually no place on the continent that’s done a better job of showing us how to live locally. Now, by quirk of geography, Bellingham is going to have to make some decisions about what kind of role it wants to play globally.”
Well, this is embarrassing! Nine out of ten of the most prolific climate denying scientists have ties to Exxon Mobil money. I usually don’t waste my time talking about the science deniers, but this Carbon Brief report is a good read.
And while I’m already on the subject, Good reminds us that last year, “Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway released Merchants of Doubt, that looks at how the very same tactics (and in some cases, the very same scientists) are being used in the anti-climate science field now as were used by those who denied the health risks of cigarettes half a century ago.”
“Invite a motorist for a bike ride through your city and you’ll be cycling with an urbanist by the end of the day,” via SustainableCitiesCollective.
Plus, check out this harrowing video taken by Dan Bertolet of his regular commute through Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
For the writing nerds out there—an essay on why we should—maybe—lay off the em-dashes a bit.
And lastly, say goodbye to your afternoon. Take on the NY Times computer (that looks strangely like a Skynet creation) at rock-paper-scissors.