I have a new podcast episode – a Minicast about a small group of Lotto Enthusiasts who tried to guarantee themselves a jackpot by buying every single ticket in a Virginia lottery in 1992. We've all wondered about that at some point. Can it be done? Only one way for you to find out. And I know you're curious.
I use this anecdote when introducing probability in my research methods courses. Don't panic, though. I removed all the math for your listening pleasure. Get the episode on iTunes or listen through your browser via Stitcher.
A new episode of Mass for Shut-ins is now available, featuring the very interesting Dr. Daniel Immerwahr talking about his new book, "How to Hide an Empire."
We talk about the many ways in which America has maintained (and still maintains) an empire through territorial occupation, a network of military bases fanned out across the globe, and domination of international standards. Tales of various Guano Islands Act (1856) possessions are told, and you don't want to miss them. Extended version of the interview available on Patreon.
Cocktail of the month: Suffering Bastard
Question Cathy returns with a special Patreon-only mailbag.
Please support Mass for Shut-ins, an independent and ad-free podcast, via Patreon.com/ginandtacos
Thanks: Dr. Immerwahr, all the bands that contribute music (Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.
Beneath the layers of apologia from the tech bros in charge of these companies, not to mention the hand-wringing over a red herring version of Free Speech, remember that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms managed to get rid of ISIS and most Islamic extremist groups very easily. They can get rid of white supremacists and far-right content, too. They just don't want to. I'll let you decide whether it's because they're sympathetic or because it would cut into their revenue too deeply.
Deplatforming works. It forces these people into the dark underbelly of the internet where people have to actively seek them out. And people will. White supremacists will go find the other white supremacists even if they're banned from Facebook. The point is to prevent them from being able to spread their messages to people who aren't already white supremacists. Normal kids using Twitter or watching YouTube videos or whatever.
If it doesn't work, why are these sites so militant about keeping al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups off the sites? If we need a "free exchange of all viewpoints" then let them back on YouTube. If not, then admit that we're picking and choosing because we don't perceive white supremacy as terrorism.
This is the last of the None of This is OK shirts for Holiday Shopping 2018. The only remaining sizes are men's (S, M, 2XL) and women's v-neck (L, XL, 2XL).
Women's shirt buyers, check the Canvas sizing guide. Bella/Canvas women's shirts run on the small side. (see Jersey and Rib sizing here)
Shirts are in stock to ship immediately. $19 (slight upcharge for XXL) plus $4 s/h in the USA.
The special post-election episode of Mass for Shut-ins is now available. Question Cathy and I devote the whole 'cast to mailbag questions about the midterms. Topics we cover include the national popular vote, ranked-choice voting, Beto-mania, the Democratic disadvantage for taking back the Senate, and the best ways to get involved and do something other than feel angry.
Minicast soon to follow! Also working hard at the moment on a Deadspin piece (NHL expansion to Seattle), a Baffler piece, and my first-ever non-academic article in real print – like, on paper! – for an upcoming Baffler. More posts here as soon as possible.
The cycle of Trump-related allegation and disclosure is so predictable as to be tedious at this point.
Start by loudly (and unconvincingly, of course) arguing for an extended period of time that you absolutely did not do what you've been accused of doing. After a few weeks, soften it up by suggesting that maybe someone else might have done it – certainly not you though – and if that was the case you had no idea, none at all, that it was being done by someone else.
What? Irrefutable evidence? OK well yeah it turns out I did it, I knew all along. In fact the whole idea was mine and it was directed personally from minute one.
But it's not even illegal! I did it because why wouldn't I do it? Everyone does it. It's not illegal at all to do it. Just because there are laws against something doesn't make it illegal if it's a thing everybody does all the time.
I have a new thing at The Nation about the need for the new Democratic House to do whatever they can to fix the 2020 Census. Trump and his Commerce Department appointees have done what they can to manipulate it, and the consequences of a botched Census will last well beyond a Trump presidency.
No idea whether this is even on the radar of anyone in the leadership, but it should be.
I've had a few pieces run in other outlets and end up traveling well. Most writing, here or anywhere else, tends to float around for a minute, gather the standard amount of traffic, and then disappear. There's just an ocean of Content out there and none of it has much staying power.
This piece for The Baffler is the first one that, like, really traveled well. It's disappointing in the sense that I often try to write serious stuff with useful history or social science in it and it goes fair to middling, and then I write a long, mean screed about something that's shitty and everyone loves it. It's a perverse system of rewards.
So do go ahead and check that rant out, but for balance check out something where I tried to make a more important point like this thing in The Nation from back when Roseanne's show was canceled.
Episode 9 of Mass for Shut-ins is live featuring the story of Harold Holt, the Australian Prime Minister who disappeared. Seriously, he vanished without a trace. How Australia is that?
My guest is Mike Bridavsky, human friend of the Internet Cat Sensation that is Lil BUB. We talk about the strange experience of viral internet fame, living your life one day and having literal millions of people clamoring to see your cat the next.
If you're new to (or abstain from) listening to podcasts, don't let that minor technological fear stop you from enjoying Mass for Shut-ins. Here's a short and simple guide.
Additionally, I have a new piece up at The Outline – my first for them. It's a millennial-oriented online magazine, maximized for mobile devices. The piece covers the myth that just won't die: that colleges and faculty are havens for hardcore leftist extremists. It doesn't take much thought to see how patently silly that caricature is…but it's more thought than right-wingers are willing or able to devote to the issue, apparently.
I've been doing a lot of writing on other platforms lately, and I will give you guys a real post here soon. You're owed it.
Many new things to take a peek at if you're looking to pass the time this weekend.
First, a new Mass for Shut-ins Minicast is available. I take a short look at why Donald Trump's suits look so bad. It's more interesting than it seems on the surface and goes beyond "Because he's a big garbage bag of shit."
Then check out this new piece for The Nation on one of the most remarkable stories of the year so far – a jury convicted a Chicago police officer of murder for the shooting death of an armed black 17 year old. That's so much different than the outcome of every other police shooting story in this country. I take a look at what made it happen.
If all of that seems too heavy, here's a preseason Deadspin piece on the NHL Triumverate that combined to win 8 Cups in the last 10 years. Pittsburgh still has gas, Chicago looks like it might be running out, and LA is just a mess.
Now back to work editing the next very special guest podcast segments…