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## Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Last Mealby tech@thehiveworks.com Monday July 25th, 2016 at 3:37 PM

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I dare anyone to try this.

New comic!
Today's News:
popular
18 hours ago
InShaneee
1 day ago
Chicago, IL

## Trump and the Convention and Where We Go From Hereby John Scalzi Saturday July 23rd, 2016 at 6:17 PM

Some thoughts on Trump, and the GOP convention:

1. The convention, generally, was the worst-run major political convention in a generation, and that should scare you. How is Trump going to manage an entire country when he can’t even put on a four-day show? (The answer, as we found out this week, is that he has no intention of managing the country at all; he plans to foist the actual work onto his poor VP while he struts about as bloviating figurehead.) Trump lost control of his convention and his message twice, once with Melania Trump’s clumsy plagiarism of Michelle Obama, which ate up two days of news cycles before Trump’s people found someone to be their chump for it, and then second with Ted Cruz, that oleaginous lump of hungering self-interest, who rather breathtakingly took to the stage of a nominating convention in order not to endorse Trump, in the most public way possible. That bit of low-rent Machiavellianism ate up another day of news cycles.

In the end, all the GOP convention has coming out of it are two massive failures of message control and Trump’s cataclysmic nomination speech. With regard to that hot mess of a speech, Trump was always going to be Trump, and there was no way of avoiding that, but the other two mishaps were eminently avoidable — vet all your speeches for previously-used phrases (which is a thing that is commonly done in politics anyway), and don’t give your previous political opponent whose family you’ve insulted a primetime speaking slot when you know he’s not going to endorse your candidate, as Cruz never intended to, and which was a fact the Trump campaign knew. That’s the part that boggles my mind. Two unforced errors on the Trump campaign’s part, and they blew up his convention.

2. Not that there was much to blow up; the Trump GOP convention line-up was closer to that of a struggling MLM company sales rally hosted in Tulsa or Des Moines than that of a major political organization, and the messages offered to the faithful there were almost insultingly simple:

• We’re all doomed by crime, immigrants and minorities;
• It’s all Hillary Clinton’s fault, let’s jail and/or kill her;
• Trump is great, Trump is the supreme leader, all hail Trump, details to come.

i.e., your basic fact-free racist appeal to authority, and at any point you might like to suggest a fact-based counter-argument (crime is near historical lows, immigrants are not major engines of crime, Hillary Clinton is largely not corrupt, as 30 years of intense scrutiny has shown, and Trump is mostly a scammy bungler who likes to screw over the people who go into business with him, etc), the rebuttal from the Trump folks is to just yell louder. YES HILLARY IS A CRIMINAL YES CRIME IS OUTSIDE MY DOOR RIGHT NOW YES THE IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING TO EAT OUR BABIES WITH CRUEL TINY SPOONS

Well, no —

CRUEL TINY SPOOOOOOOOOOOONS

And honestly there’s nothing much one can do to convince them otherwise.

Which means that even if Trump’s convention had gone off without a hitch (which is to say, to be clear, without the hitches that he and his people should have known better than to allow), it still would have been a factless embarrassment of bigotry and fear. The GOP convention this year was going to be a shitshow even without the unforced errors; the unforced errors just added farce to the tragedy.

3. So, let’s talk about that speech of Trump’s for a second, shall we. I didn’t watch it live (I decided instead to go see a Thursday night showing of Star Trek Beyond, which, trust me, from an entertainment point of view was the right call), but I caught it afterwards. I think if you were already in the tank for Trump, it was a fine piece of theater. If you weren’t already in the tank for Trump, though, it scanned as You’re going to die we’re all going to die you need me to save you you need me to save us all. And, well, no. I’m really not, and I really don’t. I don’t know that it will scan effectively for anyone else not in the tank, either. Things just aren’t that bad.

But that’s the Trump shtick: He doesn’t have policies or positions or plans (details to come!), but what he does have is the ability to yell and to confirm your opinion there’s something wrong. To paraphrase Aaron Sorkin (See! Look! Attribution! It’s not difficult!), whatever your particular problem is, Trump is not the least bit interested in solving it, he is interested in making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. In this case that’s Clinton, who it’s evident that he doesn’t actually hate (or didn’t prior to this campaign), but when he pressed the “Hillary” button his voters spun spin up into an excited froth, so why not. It’s also immigrants, which I also suspect he doesn’t hate or care about either, except as a lever, and it works because there are a lot of racists, overt and latent, in his voting pool.

Trump knows what got him this far, and like the unimaginative businessman he is, he sees no need to “pivot” away from it, to try to bring in other people not already in the tank for him. I know this works, he says, why fuck with it? Which, actually, maybe isn’t a bad argument! His recent predecessors as the GOP candidate didn’t benefit from all from trying to pivot, did they? They didn’t win! Like the proverbial boy who keeps digging because there’s got to be a pony down there, Trump is betting there are even more white people he can scare into voting for him. He and the GOP are all in on the idea that there are still enough white people out there to win an election. All he has to do is scare ’em hard enough and make Hillary Clinton look crooked, which has been a GOP hobby for a quarter century running.

So, that was his speech: Scare the white folk.

4. Now, a brief interlude with the Trump voters, aka the scared and angry white people of America.

We’re not scared! Hillary’s crooked!

Guys, no. She might be good at getting out of scrapes, but no one’s that good, and not at the highest levels of scrutiny that she operates on, and has for decades.

Benghazi! E-Mail! Vince Foster! Whitewater!

Dudes. They spent millions and decades trying to pin something on her, and the best that they got out of it was that she was stupidly careless with her email. Which is not good! But it’s not a thing she should be jailed for. Or hanged from a tree for, which was a thing when spoken that Trump’s people only rather half-heartedly distanced themselves from. I could have told you she was stupidly careless with her email and wouldn’t have charged nearly as much, or taken that much time with it.

It’s conspiracy!

It’s really not.

Well, I just don’t trust her.

Of course you don’t. The GOP, as noted, has spent the better part of three decades trying to make her look crooked and evil; concurrently the GOP’s modus operandi, thanks to Newt Gingrich and his followers in Congress, has been to demonize and hate their political opponents. You can’t just disagree with anyone anymore — you have to despise them, and fear them, and scream for them at your political convention to be thrown in jail. You’ve had decades of indoctrination and now you think that’s normal, and that’s kind of fucked up.

Oh, so you can’t criticize Hillary! I see how it is, commie!

Sure you can criticize her, and disagree with her policies and positions and even dislike her as a person. Maybe try to do it without visualizing her as That Horrible Bitch Queen What Belongs in Jail, and while you’re at it, maybe stop visualizing Barack Obama as That Terrifying Kenyan Muslim Socialist Who is Coming For Our Guns, which is not accurate, either. Both of them, as it turns out, are pretty much bog-standard liberalish Democrats. You don’t like that? Okay, fine! You don’t need to go the extra step of demanding to salt the very earth upon which they walk, so nothing ever grows there again.

And while you’re at it, think about why it is that the GOP’s m.o. since Gingrich has been to hate and fear its political opponents, and how it’s come down to this election. Folks, as a candidate for President, Trump has no ruling principles other than hate and fear. He wants you to hate and fear minorities. He wants you to hate and fear immigrants. And most of all he wants you to hate and fear Hillary Clinton. Why? Because those are the buttons he can press to get to the presidency and that is all. If there were other buttons to be pressed, he’d press those. If it were Bernie Sanders in there instead of Clinton, he’d make you hate and fear him instead. It’s all he’s got, but then again, it’s all he’s needed.

5. Which is entirely on the GOP. Make no mistake about two things: One, Trump is where he is today precisely because the GOP has for decades worked on a principle of “demonize and obstruct” rather than working across the aisle to get things done, making it possible for someone with no recognizable Republican principles to bully his way to being the nominee; Two, no matter what happens with the 2016 election, the GOP is pretty much fucked. If Trump wins, there will be a dangerous occupant in the White House, one that has no guiding philosophy beyond his own narcissism and whose own personal inclinations lead him to admire autocrats, and if the GOP thinks they can manage that, I invite them to think on the primaries and the convention. The GOP doesn’t have managers in its ranks anymore; the last one, John Boehner, flipped Congress the bird and went home, and now there’s just hapless Paul Ryan, aka Hangdog Reardon, Ayn Rand’s saddest acolyte, minding the store. They’re not going to control Trump; they can’t even control themselves. They don’t see the value of it.

And if Trump loses? Then you can rely on the GOP to do what it did in 2008 and 2012: To figure the problem was that they weren’t “conservative” enough — “conservative” in these cases means “even whiter and older and scareder.” I mean, shit. The reason Ted Cruz did his Wednesday Night Knifework on Trump was to set himself up for 2020 when Trump loses, and let’s just think about that, shall we. First, Cruz is such a howling vortex of personal regard self-regard that he sees someone else’s party as the perfect place to launch his next campaign; second, Cruz — smug, grasping Ted Cruz — actually is likely to be where the GOP goes next. That should genuinely terrify any GOPer who still has sense, or who wants have a Republican in the White House this side of 2024.

6. Trump is still not likely to win — after everything, he’s still trailing Clinton, even if that margin is as slim as its ever been, and in the next few days we’ll see what, if any, convention bounce he gets — and now it’s Clinton’s turn at bat, with her VP pick and the Democratic convention. But let’s not pretend he can’t win, or that he might not be correct that there are still more white people to scare into voting for him. Ultimately it doesn’t matter to the GOP that their nominee is manifestly unfit to be in the White House, because Trump wins them a Supreme Court seat and (if they keep both houses) legislative repeals of all sorts of policies they hate. Whatever hate; whatever mischief Trump gets into as President, they figure he’s not going to veto anything they send his way. They’re probably right about that; all that is detail work, and Trump doesn’t care about that stuff. That’s the silver lining to the upcoming GOP disaster.

Now, I suppose we could try to appeal to true conservatives or GOP folks not to vote for Trump — look! Gary Johnson is there and has actual positions! — but let’s not bullshit about this. Trump wins if everyone else who is not an anguished conservative flirting with Johnson does not show up at the voting booth in November, and, bluntly, does not vote for Hillary Clinton for President. And yes, you few remaining diehard Sandernistas, that means getting the fuck over yourselves for once in your lives, realizing that this is not an ordinary election, and acknowledging you pretty much owe the entire world not to consign it to the flames over your entitled fit of pique.

(But I’m in a safely blue state! Can’t I vote for the Greens/Peace and Freedom Party/Wavy Gravy/etc? Ugh, fine, but only after you’ve extracted a promise from at least three swing state pals that they’ll vote for Clinton. It’s important, y’all.)

7. But not everyone who’ll vote for Trump is scared and/or angry and/or white, you say. Sure. Some people just won’t be able to countenance Clinton in the Oval Office for perfectly principled political reasons, and figure that Trump is the only one with a chance to stop her. I understand that. I am sorry for them, who I suspect are largely GOPers, that their choice against Clinton this year is Trump, and that the GOP right now is in a place where Trump was able to become the nominee, because most of the rest of the candidates for the 2016 GOP nomination were an appalling clown car of Dunning-Kruggerands. Whether or not that’s on them as party members, it’s still a tragedy for the country.

All I can say to them is what I have been saying: Look at Trump. Look how he got where he is. Look how he plans to get to the White House. It’s not through policy or positions. It’s through anger and blame and fear, and screaming that those who oppose you are going to pay. Look how he’s run his campaign. Look how his convention went down.

You can’t vote for that and say you didn’t know that was what you were voting for. And if he gets into the White House, you won’t be able to say you weren’t responsible for what happened next. You knew, and you will be.

popular
2 days ago
beslayed
7 hours ago
Rebuttal to 7: Generally fuck you. If Trump wins it'll be thanks to you and your self-serving Whiggish ilk.
3 days ago
New York, NY
acdha
1 day ago
“the GOP’s modus operandi, thanks to Newt Gingrich and his followers in Congress, has been to demonize and hate their political opponents. You can’t just disagree with anyone anymore — you have to despise them, and fear them, and scream for them at your political convention to be thrown in jail. You’ve had decades of indoctrination and now you think that’s normal, and that’s kind of fucked up.”
Washington, DC
JimB
2 days ago
Learn from the Brexit vote! Don't vote for the liars as a protest.
2 days ago
Pretty much spot on.
Denver, CO
steingart
3 days ago
Cruel tiny spoons
Princeton, NJ

## You are the best author in human historyby Shaun Usher (noreply@blogger.com) Friday July 22nd, 2016 at 3:46 AM

In 2013, a then-9-year-old boy named Joshua wrote to his hero, Alan Moore, the genius responsible for writing such classics as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Joshua’s father recently told me by email:
“Whilst my sons were at primary school they both did an exercise in English where they wrote letters to their favourite writers. In fact they both did it twice, and three of those times received back a form letter from the publishers. However, my youngest wrote a letter to Alan Moore and received back the most wonderful reply, along with a book and some unlettered art from The Roses of Berlin which hadn't yet been published.”
Moore's reply is indeed wonderful, as is Joshua's original letter; transcripts of both can be found below. Since Joshua's father contacted me, and I subsequently got in touch with Alan Moore, I've learned that Joshua's quote will quite literally be reprinted on the back of Moore's upcoming Jerusalem: see here. Enormous thanks to all--Joshua, his father, and Alan Moore--for generously allowing these to be featured.

Update, 21/07/16: It's less than 24 hours since these letters were posted here on Letters of Note, and already almost a million people have enjoyed them. A message from Alan Moore's daughter:

The Letters
Dear Alan Moore

I am writing because I want to know more about your comics including V for Vendetta, Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Swamp Thing. I also want to say thank you for making such amazing graphic novels and how did you make such wonderful things?

The first book I saw was V for Vendetta which has a brilliant storyline and is very cool when he blows up Parliament. I also love his awesome mask. Watchmen was the second, so far the best book I have ever seen - Rorschach is my favourite character, then Dr. Manhattan, lastly the Comedian. I like the way he uses a flamethrower as a cigar lighter and a smiley face for a badge. My third favourite was the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I like the way it’s more like a book because it has lots of writing in it and I also like the things that they have collected. All in all you are the best author in human history. Please write back.

Joshua

--------------------

Dear Joshua

Well, first of all, thank you for a lovely letter. I apologise if this reply is a bit short, but I’m working really hard on about six different things at once just now, and I know that if I put replying to you off until later when I had more time then I might lose your letter (you should see all the books and papers and clutter filling nearly every room in my house), or not get back to you for some other reason. After your kind words about me and my writing I really didn’t want to do that, so here I am in an odd half hour between finishing one piece of work and starting another.

I’m really pleased that you’ve enjoyed so much of my stuff, and especially because most of my readers these days are people almost as old as I am. Of course, I appreciate my audience however old they are, but it’s particularly gratifying to think that I’ve got intelligent and adventurous readers of your own age out there. It’s the kind of thing, when I’m taking my vitamin pills and swilling them down with Lemsip, that makes me feel like I’m still ‘down with the kids’.

Books like Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Swamp Thing were done back when I was just starting my career in the 1980s, when I was in my twenties or thirties. I’m glad they’re still enjoyable today, and as for how I wrote them...well, I suppose I’d have to say that I started out, when I was your age or a little younger, by being simply in love with comics or books that were full of brilliant ideas that set my imagination on fire. From a very young age, I was trying to emulate the people whose stories I was reading by writing little stories or poems or even little comic books drawn in coloured biro on lined jotter paper and then stapled together. I’m not saying that these things were any good, but that I had tremendous fun doing them and that they at least taught me the beginnings of the skills that my writing would need in later life.

As well as writing and drawing, I was also reading as much as I could about the things that interested me...this is why libraries are so important...whether that be in books or comics or any other medium that I could get my hands on. When I was reading things, part of me (probably the biggest part) would just be enjoying the story because it was so exciting, or scary, or funny or whatever, while another part of me would be trying to work out why I’d enjoyed whatever it was so much. I tried to understand what it was that the author had done that had had such a powerful effect upon me. It might be some clever story-telling effect that had tickled my brain, or it might be a powerful use of symbolism that had struck a deep, buried chord inside me, but whatever it was I wanted to understand it because I figured that if I understood these things, I’d probably be a better writer than if I didn’t.

As I got older, while I found I still enjoyed a lot of the books and comics I’d grown up with, I found that I was becoming able to appreciate all sorts of other writings and art that I hadn’t been able to get to grips with before, and I started to apply the lessons that I’d learned from these different sources to my writing. Thus, when I finally entered the comic field in my late twenties, I’d probably got a much wider range of influences than most of the other writers in the field at the time and was able to produce work that was very different to what had been seen before. I liked to experiment with things (I still do, for that matter), and to try and think of a different way that I could write a specific scene or a specific story. I think that one of the most important things for any artist or writer is that they should always be progressing and trying new things, because that is what will keep your work feeling fresh and lively to your readers even after twenty or thirty years. Yes, it means that you have to work harder, and to think harder, and to generally keep pushing yourself and testing your limits, but in my opinion the results are definitely worth it.

Although I’m still very proud of the work that I did on all the books mentioned above, the fact that I no longer own any of those titles (I’m afraid they’re all owned by perhaps-less-than-scrupulous big comic-book companies) means that I’m always most interested in my most recent work, so I was glad that you’d liked The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which Kevin and I still own and have a great deal of fun doing. I know that a very clever young man named Jess Nevins runs a website at which he picks through all of the volumes of The League and points out all the different books, plays, films and stories that we’re making references to. Although a lot of the books mentioned might be pretty boring until you’re older, there’s a few of them that you might really love, and some of them might help you to enjoy The League a bit more.

Speaking of The League, I’m enclosing a couple of things with this letter, including a copy of the brand new Heart of Ice book. In case you haven’t seen League volume III, Century, (which isn’t out in collected form yet) the main character in Heart of Ice is the original Captain Nemo's daughter, Janni Dakkar, who somewhat reluctantly took over her father’s command of the Nautilus when he died of old age in 1910. Heart of Ice shows Janni attempting to recapture some of her father’s past glories and ending up running into a scenario from the work of American weird tale master, H.P. Lovecraft. As well as this, I’m also including a couple of pages of unlettered art that I’ve received from Kevin for the next book in the series, which is entitled The Roses of Berlin. Nobody except me, Kevin and our publishers have seen these yet, so this is a special preview just for you. Please guard them with your life (not literally, of course), and don’t let them get onto the internet or anywhere...I mean, I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of such a thing, but it’s just that than Kevin puts such a lot of work into these pages, and he wants people to see them when they’re properly lettered and coloured and everything, and part of the actual story that they’re intended for. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them.

Well, I’ve just looked at the clock and realised that I’d better get down town (Northampton) if I want to get my wife Melinda a present for our wedding anniversary on Sunday. Thanks again for a great letter, and thanks for calling me the best author in human history, which I don’t necessarily agree is completely true but which I may well end up using as a quote on the back of one of my books someday. Oh, and please give my regards to Naseby. It gets more than a couple of mentions in my forthcoming novel Jerusalem, which I’m about two chapters away from the end of at present.

Take care of yourself, Joshua. You’re obviously a young man of extraordinary good taste and intelligence, and you confirm my suspicion that Northamptonshire is a county touched by the gods.

All the best, your pal —

[Signed ‘Alan Moore’]
(Best Author in Human History. In your face, Shakespeare, Joyce and Cervantes!)
popular
4 days ago
glenn
4 days ago
rtreborb
3 days ago
My immediate thought was that "saw the book" meant the kid was referring to the movie versions.
JayM
4 days ago
:)
Boston Metro Area
digdoug
4 days ago
Alan Moore might be batshit insane sometimes, but goddamn if this wouldn't leave a mark on a kid. A good mark.
Louisville, KY
b12
5 days ago
This choked me up, honestly.

# Sun Bug

How many fireflies would it take to match the brightness of the Sun?

Luke Doty

Not that many! I mean, it's definitely one of those gigantic numbers with lots of zeroes, but in the grand scheme of things, there aren't as many zeroes as you might expect.

Our first question: Where does firefly light even come from?

Fireflies may look like they're full of glow-in-the-dark goo, but the light they give off actually comes from a thin layer on their surface.[1]You can see some diagrams of the organs here and here. Lots of insects have glowing surface patches, and some of those patches have been studied carefully to calculate their brightness. A 1928 paper on beetles called "headlight bugs"[2]Such a great name. found that their glowing patches, which were a little over a square millimeter in area, emitted about 0.0006 lumens of light. Fireflies have luminous organs (bright patches) that are about the same size as those of headlight bugs,[3]See this paper on some common American fireflies. and their organs tend to have a similar peak brightness per area, so this figure is a good guess for the brightness of a firefly's lantern.

Firefly lights aren't "always-on." They blink on and off, with patterns that vary from species to species and situation to situation. These flashes carry information, some of which you can decode using this delightful chart.[4]You can also use LEDs to mess with firefly patterns, which feels strangely invasive.

To get the brightest light, let's assume we're using a species with a mostly-on duty cycle—like a headlight bug. How does its 0.0006-lumen light output compare to the Sun?

The Sun's brightness is $$3.8\times10^{28}$$ lumens, so by simple division, it would take $$3\times10^{31}$$ of those fireflies to emit the same amount of light. That's a surprisingly small number; adult fireflies weigh about 20 milligrams, which means $$3\times10^{31}$$ fireflies would only weigh about a third as much as Jupiter and 1/3000th as much as the Sun.

In other words, per pound, fireflies are brighter than the Sun. Even though bioluminescence is millions of times less efficient than the Sun's fusion-powered glow, the Sun can't afford to be as bright because it has to last billions of times longer.[5]If you like Fermi problems—and silly equations—there's an interesting route you can take to this answer without doing any research on fireflies or the Sun at all. Instead, you can just plug this equation into Wolfram|Alpha: (5 billion years / (4 hours/day * 3 months)) / (1% * (speed of light)^2 / (3200 calories/pound)).

Let's walk through it: The first half—the numerator—is a guess for the ratio between how long the Sun has to keep glowing compared to how long a firefly does. I took a wild guess that fireflies have to light up for a few hours each night for one summer, while the Sun has to last another five billion years. The second half—the denominator—is a guess as to the ratio between the stored energy in a pound of firefly vs a pound of star. Nuclear fusion converts about 1% of the input matter to energy, so from E=mc2, the stored energy is c2 kg/kg, whereas animal matter (say, butter) is about 3,200 food calories per pound. The result should tell us the ratio between a firefly's brightness per pound and the Sun's. And the answer we get says that the fireflies are a few thousand times brighter—which is roughly what we got from working through it the other way!

It's true that we got lucky with some of our guesses, but since we made errors in both directions, they tended to cancel out. This kind of thing works more often than it seems like it should!

But wait! A mass of fireflies that big would run into problems. Besides the obvious problems with gathering that many animals in one place, the fireflies would block each others' light. The inner fireflies would be hidden behind the outer ones, and the total brightness would be limited.[6]But the light from the core fireflies wouldn't just vanish. After bouncing around a few times, it would be absorbed by neighboring fireflies, which would get warmer. This is sort of like how radiation makes its way out of the Sun's core—but in the case of the fireflies, they'd die from the heat before the process got very far.

Since the only light that matters is the light at the surface, we could imagine arranging the fireflies in a hollow sphere, with their lanterns pointing outward. Or, to make thing simpler, we could imagine a single giant firefly. How big would it need to be?

Since we know our firefly will need to give off about $$3\times10^{31}$$ times as much light as a normal firefly, it will need a glowing patch $$3\times10^{31}$$ times larger. Since surface area is proportional to length squared, our firefly will have a body length $$\sqrt{3\times10^{31}}=5\times10^{15}$$ times longer than a normal firefly, which would make it about the size of the Solar System.

Since mass is proportional to length cubed, our firefly would weigh $$\left( 3\times10^{31}\right)^{\tfrac{3}{2}}=1.6\times10^{47}$$ times as much as a normal firefly, which works out to about half as much as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Such a firefly would immediately collapse under its own weight and become a black hole. In fact, given the distribution of galaxies in our universe, there's an upper limit to how large black holes can grow, and this firefly would be bigger than that limit. That means our firefly would become the largest black hole in the universe. It would give off a lot of light as it devoured our galaxy, and then, eventually, it would give off none at all.

Black holes last a long time, but they eventually evaporate through Hawking radiation. When the black hole era of our universe comes to an end, black holes will evaporate one by one, with the smallest evaporating faster. Since our firefly's black hole would be the largest one in the universe, it would be the last to evaporate—a final outpost of irregularity in a universe fading toward heat death.

We should probably add that to the identification chart, just in case.

popular
6 days ago
Berstarke
6 days ago
From bugs to the biggest black hole in the universe. We could make a wikirace out of how many bullet points a What If article takes until it goes cataclysmic.
gmuslera
5 days ago
Still far from what he did in with the electron moon (https://what-if.xkcd.com/140/)
jepler
6 days ago
"In other words, per pound, fireflies are brighter than the Sun."
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

## Dehydration Monday July 18th, 2016 at 5:36 PM

popular
7 days ago
7 days ago
New York, NY
Beckyhargis
7 days ago
More confusion: I heard half your body weight in ounces
Columbia, MO
Covarr
7 days ago
I might need a conversion chart for this. I don't know how big a glass is, but I try to drink three to four bottles per day.
Moses Lake, WA
Lythimus
7 days ago
A glass is 0.61 bottles, unless it's raining outside, then it's 0.58 bottles.
phlebas
7 days ago
If the glass is traveling at near the speed of light, it appears to hold more water

## NYPD cop secretly records supervisor pressuring him to racially profile black men Saturday July 16th, 2016 at 6:26 AM

7 Shares

Gawker has posted an audio recording provided to them by an NYPD officer that seems to be an exchange in which the officer is being pressured to profile black men.

The recording was made in August 2012 during a performance evaluation of New York transit officer Michael Birch. He was expecting a routine evaluation, but instead he told Gawker, “the conversation just turned completely weird to me. Because he’s basically telling me it’s OK to racially profile.”

In the recording, his supervising captain can be heard criticizing him for only stopping two black men out of 54 people.

“Two male blacks,” the man’s voice can be heard saying. “So you’re telling me you only saw two male blacks jump the turnstile?”

Birch is currently suing the department, claiming he has been retaliated against for being a whistleblower on an illegal quota system. While his original case was dismissed, he’s filed an appeal with a higher court, Gawker reports. The New York Daily News reported on the tape but didn’t publish it at the time. The Daily News says the supervisor in the tape is NYPD Capt. Constantin Tsachas.

Birch is not the only officer to accuse the department of racism or of having a quota system. A black highway officer told the Daily News that “racism is routine.” In 2014, Reuters reported that black NYPD officers feel threatened by their colleagues when they are off-duty and not in uniform.

An excerpt from the recording, posted by Gawker, seems to show the captain interrogating Birch as to why he didn’t target black men. The supervisor makes him admit that “mostly male blacks and Hispanics” between 15 and 19 years of age commit most of the crime in the city — though that would be a warped point of view if the group is in fact being targeted more than others by law enforcement.

Via Gawker:

Commanding Officer: Who commits the crimes in the city?

Birch: Who commits the crimes? Well, it’s mostly teenagers, anywhere between the ages of 15 and 19, mostly male blacks and Hispanics.

OK. Who are you stopping?

Everybody. I stop everybody.

Fifty-four TABs up to 8/20. Twenty-five of those are female. Half.

Like I said, I stop everybody. I’m not targeting anybody.

You just told me who the bad guys are.

Yeah, I know that. But there’s also other people who are committing violations as well. I’m not saying that there’s not violations being made.

The male blacks, that you told me commit the crimes—

Plenty of people that I write summonses to are male blacks and male Hispanics.

You stopped two male blacks.

Not for the whole year. You’re telling me for the whole year I only stopped two male blacks on summonses?

8/20. From January 1st to August 20th. Fifty-four TABs: two male blacks, seven Hispanics, seven other, ten white, three Asian. So where are you targeting the perps that you just told me?

Like I said, if I don’t see a perp jumping over the turnstile, what am I supposed to do to him?

These people are not going to pop.

How do I know that? A female Hispanic that I stopped in Sheepshead Bay did pop, actually, for a warrant, and I arrested her. Female Hispanic. The Hispanics that we’re supposed to be going after. That are committing the crimes. The people that I—

Did you think that she was going to pop?

Did I think she was going to pop? I didn’t put no thought into it. If you come up for a collar, I’m taking you in.

Here’s what I see. You just described to me who’s committing the crimes. You’re fully aware of it. But you’re not targeting those people.

I am. I’m targeting everybody.

Two male blacks.

Whoever is out there. If I—

So you only saw two male blacks jump the turnstile?

If you’re saying that’s what’s in front of you, then yes, that’s all I saw, is two male blacks for the whole year jumping the turnstile. If you’re saying that’s what’s in front of you, I’m not disputing that. If that’s what I got there.

That is what you have. That is not disputed here.

I’m saying, we’re also talking Hispanics as well. I stopped a lot of Hispanics, too.

Seven male Hispanics. But more than half are female.

And like I said, everybody’s committing violations in front of me.

Popping, according to Gawker, is when a warrant pops up and leads to an arrest, and TAB is police jargon for a court summons resulting from a transit violation.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct definition of the term “popping.”

Listen to the recording, as posted by Gawker, here: