Weekly Digest 5/31/18

Scott Alexander weighs in on whether the thinks of “the intellectual dark web” can be silenced even though they’re popular – Scott points out the error in publications that conflate being popular with not being able to be silenced. Just because a popular proponent of a certain view cannot be silenced doesn’t mean that the other people supporting the same view, those without a big platform, cannot be. An example he gives, is that Caitlyn Jenner can be extremely famous, rich, and have a popular platform while transgender people, in general, can be stigmatized and oppressed. The two are not mutually exclusive (he also notes that he’s not comparing the marginalization that transgender people face with what supporters of “the intellectual dark web” face).

Dan Carlin Common Sense – Dan Carlin’s politics podcast. He rarely releases episodes so I’m always excited when he finally does.

Alex Tabarrok’s post on Andrew Leigh’s new book Randomistas – TOMS donates a pair of shoes for every pair bought. Instead of resting on its laurels, TOMS wanted to see the effect it was having and allowed economists to randomize shoe distribution to study the effects. The results weren’t great, and TOMS is reevaluating how it’s giving. The book sounds interesting and props to TOMS for studying the actual impact of their donations.

Latest This American Life episode – This episode documents one female airport security guard’s journey to combat discrimination. With all the news around MeToo today, we forget that low-paid, hourly female employees are probably the ones that face the most difficulties in overcoming gender barriers, and this episode shows just how hard it can be. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to call LaDonna a heroine.

Vox video explaining the rhymes of some of the greatest rappers ever – It’s so cool having some of the most iconic lines of rap broken down. Having a better understanding of how the verses are crafted gives me even more appreciation for songs that I already enjoyed.

Ezra Klein interviews Mehrsa Baradaran on costs imposed on black and poor people – The section that was most thought-provoking for me was when Mehrsa talked about the difficulties imposed on poor people who do not have access to banking. I take my checking account for granted, but if you’re poor, your checking account isn’t free, so you can’t afford one, which means that you have to go in-person to individually pay all of your bills. Crazy.



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