Twitter Droppings

Being a small collection of links from my tweets of the past week that deserve a few more than 140 characters.

The Bootstrap Myth, an episode of the always interesting DecodeDC podcast. It’s all about the fact that “as compelling as the story is, the data show it’s not nearly as common as we’d like to believe”. Or that lazy  and/or deceitful politicians want us to believe. Go listen.

The Post headline begins The U.S. has more jails than colleges. Unfortunately, the article is mostly statistics and an infographic about where those prisoners live, not about the much larger issues of why we have so many Americans in jail. Another big issue, however, is why the Post spends so much of its energy on trivia instead of covering issues.

Air travel is not a fun experience any more and has become much worse in just the past five or so years. A writer in The New Yorker says that change is no accident. Airlines want basic passengers to pay additional fees (which is largely pure profit) for a better experience, and are willing to make the basic one crappy to do it.

To go with that downer about air travel, an essay explaining Why Americans Are Terrible at Vacation. For one thing, “America is the only advanced economy in the world that does not have government-mandated, paid time off”. But there’s also the fact that 41% of us who have paid time off don’t even use it all.

And finally, for many decades we’ve heard all kinds of predictions of how artificial intelligence (AI) is coming. Now some big thinkers (like Elon Musk and Steven Hawking) are afraid it’s here and we aren’t ready. What kind of ethics can be built into self-driving cars and stock trading algorithms? And who decides?