Links for 12/2/11

A nice follow-up on the Occupy movement and democracy from Will Wilkinson.

As a minority within a minority, finding community as a black atheist can be difficult.

Will the FDA getting into the business of mandatory salt reductions?

Boston bans the use of e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants, despite the fact that they contain no tobacco.

Portland is home to some of the best Thai food in the country, but in many of the top restaurants one of the dishes you won’t find is pad Thai. That said, the pad Thai on the late night menu at Whiskey Soda Lounge is so good that’s it hardly worth going anywhere else for it.

Articles about “what your drink says about you” are usually pretty dumb, but David Wondrich’s contribution to the genre is an exception.

This 1943 cigar ad feels like it was designed by Ayn Rand.

Miracle fruit makes an appearance in the news again.


Links for 11/28/11

Slaughtering horses for food is once again legal in the US (but don’t get any ideas about using them as your personal Tauntaun). This is surely a sad day for my favorite commenter on this blog.

I’m generally willing to believe the worst about government, but there’s no need to posit conspiracy when incompetence is an adequate explanation.

Creative scams department: Why hailing a cab for strangers is illegal in New York City.

Yet another dubious heart miracle study that garners headlines despite its shoddy methodology.

Freakonomics on the limits of locavorism.

Jeff Alworth visits Belgium to report on the real state of Belgian beer. Big dependence on US market, high premium on getting any sort of association with an abbey, no matter how tenuous.

The case against Pi.


Links for 11/13/11

I have a ridiculous numbers of tabs open right now. Note to self: More links posts.

“Of course money equals free speech.” An interesting and sometimes surprising interview with Lawrence Lessig.

Just when you think you’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel of studies linking smoking bans to reduced heart attacks, Stanton Glantz is there to prove you wrong. In 2009 the rate of heart attacks in North Carolina fell by 10.5%. In 2010, the first year of the state’s smoking ban, the rate of heart attacks fell by only 5.5%. So how does Glantz publish a study showing that, according to his statistical model, admissions for heart attacks fell by an astonishing 21% in 2010 from what they would have been without a smoking ban?

It’s good to see John Tierney reveal the absurdity of trying to ban e-cigarettes in The New York Times.

Department of Unintended Consequences: DC City Council bans sales of single bottles of beer in some neighborhoods. Merchants respond by selling inexpensive two-packs instead.

The fascinating story of why Grade B maple syrup is better than the more expensive Grade A.


Links for 11/4/11

Is junk food the next tobacco? Diet paternalists are taking pages from the anti-smoking playbook.

In Australia, a law that banned smoking by mental health patients is likely to be reversed due to its cruel effects:

Reports have shown some involuntary patients were even swapping sex for cigarettes and poking electricity sockets with paper clips to get a spark and light up. […]

Ms Morton said the total smoking ban was harming patients and hindering their recovery, as well as endangering staff who had to deal with patients desperate for a cigarette. She said there was widespread support from stakeholders in the mental health area for a lifting of the smoking ban, which she hoped to change by next year.

Christopher Snowdon follows up on Oregon’s heart non-miracle.

Now that’s a leave of absence:

Last fall, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed decided to use vacation days he had saved up in his eight years as a regional compliance specialist in the Buffalo office of the New York Department of Transportation. He told his co-workers he would be traveling to Mogadishu—the city he was born in, but had not seen since 1985—and that he would return in three weeks. What he didn’t reveal was the purpose of the trip: to interview to become prime minister of Somalia.

Troy Patterson rounds up the year’s cocktail books and examines each through the lens of that enduring and infinitely varied cocktail, the Old-Fashioned.

Ken Jennings is the 99%.


Links for 10/1/11

Christopher Snowdon has new book coming out, The Art of Suppression: Pleasure, Panic, and Prohibition Since 1800. His Velvet Glove, Iron Fist is fantastic, so I’m definitely ordering this.

One more vestige of Prohibition falls in California: Bartenders can now infuse their own spirits without fear of being fined by regulators. And in Oregon, the OLCC has given the green light to a temporary cocktail cart.

A dubious first: Denmark becomes the first country to impose a “fat tax” on foods high in saturated fat.

Every libertarian in the country has linked to this GQ profile of Gary Johnson, but just in case you missed it…

The US has now assassinated one of its own citizens without due process; why Obama is a disaster for civil liberties.

A nice write-up of the Transatlantic Mai Tai at Food Shed.


Links 9/15/11

Penn Jillette talks about the magic of politics:

Is our entire political system built on this unwilling suspension of disbelief? We don’t really have a choice, so it’s sure unwilling. We know somewhere in our hearts that our political saviors are not really magic, but we so want them to be. We could bust every one of them if we just broke the rules for a moment. It’s all hanging by a very hard-to-see little thread.

A wonderful story about Richard Feynman and his dogged determination to seek rational explanations: “Here he is, describing a moment of enormous significance, and he won’t allow a Signifier.”

This looks like a solid intro guide to “travel hacking.”

Evangelical Christians armed with a bullhorn and a video camera invade Vanderbilt’s fraternity row on game day.

A nice write-up of our Houston Bols Genever launch event at Anvil in Culture Map.


Links for 9/2/11

A couple of years ago I wrote about the selling a brick scam, in which a conman dresses up worthless bricks as valuable electronics. It lives on with iPads.

Ron Bailey asks whether homeopathic remedies should be required to carry warning labels indicating that they have not been proven effective.

Bloomberg’s latest ban: Dogs in bars, even bars with outdoor seating. Will this give rise to barkeasies in Brooklyn?

The Pacific Northwest is due for a megaquake. And when it hits, it’s going to be bad.

Blog pal Rumdood is up for a job as a rumologist. Go help him out and give him a vote.

It wasn’t me.


Links for 8/23/11

I’ll be in Seattle tonight serving pre- and Prohibition era cocktails with Jason Saura for the State Policy Network annual meeting. If you’re attending the conference, come say hi at the bar.

A few of my favorite things get mashed up: Batman and latte art, The Decemberists and Infinite Jest.

Grant Morrison talks comics and his fun new book, Supergods.

As a fellow escapee from the DC policy world, I endorse Jeremy Lott’s “year of living frivolously.”

If Paul Krugman and these scientists are both right, global warming is just what the economy needs.

12 Bottle Bar rounds up the latest Mixology Monday.


Links for 8/17/11

Porcupines are a frequent sight here on the island in Upper Peninsula Michigan. The most alarming fact about porcupines? They “fall out of trees fairly often.” I walk under a lot of trees here.

Judging by a quick Google search, there are no reports of people being injured by falling porcupines. However a porcupine may be partially responsible for creating the killer Leopard of Gummalapur, which took the lives of 42 people.

Five Books interviews Ruth Reichl on the topic of American food.

Tim Carney and Jon Stewart on how the media dismisses Ron Paul.

Your tax dollars at work: Prosecutors throw the book at a private club selling raw milk to its members.

Penn Jillette explains why he’s an atheist libertarian.

Louboutin seeks to claim the color red as a trademark when used on shoe soles.

Homeopathic “remedy” company Boiron sues blogger for claiming its products have no active ingredient.


Links for 7/13/11

Yet another study finds that nutritional menu labeling makes no difference in consumer eating habits.

Baylen Linnekin reports on how the federal ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption has led to unintended consequences causing harm to the animals.

Matt Zwolinski combines two of my favorite topics: libertarianism and beer.

12 Bottle Bar’s contribution to this month’s beer-themed Mixology Monday is something I’ll have to try out.

The sugar cane Dr Pepper made in Dublin, TX is sought after by soda lovers, so much so that Dr Pepper is taking legal action against the distributor for selling outside its tiny territory.


Links for 7/8/11

Iceland is considering making cigarettes a prescription-only product, allowing sales only to those diagnosed by doctors as addicts.

The latest project of Ricardo Cortes, illustrator of Go the Fuck to Sleep, is a pamphlet encouraging juries to nullify in trials of non-violent drug offenders.

I feel like the intersection of criminal juries and Skyline Chili is something should write about, but I’m not going to. I will leave you with this from @tbrandis though: “Criminal justice is a dish best served 5 ways!”

Unfortunately this show directed by Neil Patrick Harris and starring magician Guy Hollingworth is sold out while I’m in LA. It sounds fascinating.

Tomorrow night a couple of my friends are collaborating on a beer and cigar pairing event at East Burn. $50 gets you 3 cigars, 5 beers, snacks, and a copy of the 33 Cigars notebook.

So far I’m liking Google+; my profile is here.


Links for 6/13/11

So you want to write a book? Advice from 23 successful authors.

I have an expanded version of my post about rum and trademarks up today at the food and beverage site Daily Blender.

Art of Drink explains how the unintended consequences of Prohibition resulted in thousands of Americans getting “Jake Leg” from adulterated ginger drinks.

Last week I made the switch from the iPhone to the new Google Nexus. Before switching I wanted to export my text messages to PC, which I assumed would be a straightforward task. In fact I had to use a damn SQL browser to do it. In case you also want to do this, here are directions.

Unfortunately, switching means I can’t download this excellent looking Asian Market Shopper app from Chronicle Books.

Blogger turned bartender Matt Robold writes about five things he’s learned working behind a professional bar.

If The New York Times is writing about them, beer cocktails are officially a trend.

The upcoming Buddy Holly tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly sounds interesting. Here’s a preview of “Oh Boy” by She and Him.


Links for 4/6/11

The open tabs are overflowing!

Keep Food Legal, “the first and only nationwide membership organization devoted to culinary freedom” founded by my friend Baylen Linnekin, has opened up its first membership drive. Join here.

The Atlantic summarizes how beer and wine wholesalers are lobbying Washington to secure their positions as middlemen and reduce consumer freedom.

The worst cocktail I have ever been served was a Martini made with cigarette infused Bombay Sapphire Gin. I expected it to be bad, but it exceeded my expectations of terribleness. Darcy O’Neil explains why tobacco infusions are also dangerous.

An interview with the always interesting Derek Brown, owner of the Columbia Room in DC.

Let’s have more teachers like Mr. Creamer, sponsor of high school atheist club.

I was lukewarm on the first Green Lantern trailer, but the new footage makes it look like this will be a fun movie.

Science reporters: Read this cartoon until you understand it, then post it in your work station.


Links for 2/12/11

Vanderbilt philosophy professor John Lachs sounds off on the “myth” of shared governance at contemporary universities.

Tyler Cowen’s take on state funding of the arts strikes me as on the money.

When I was in DC I dreaded CPAC, but with the two Pauls taking the convention by storm it sounds like this year’s might actually have been fun.

What’s going on at The New York Times? First an editorial against the city’s new outdoor smoking ban, then an article suggesting that private employer discrimination against smokers may be going to far. This is surprisingly reasonable tobacco coverage from the Grey Lady.

The latest attempt to prove that smoking bans reduce heart attacks is as faulty as the rest.

In Illinois, a bill would allow small breweries to opt out of the mandated three-tier distribution system and sell their beer directly to bars.

A fun look at the classic ferns bars of San Francisco.

Next time I visit Nashville, I’ll have to stop by bar No. 208.

Is Governor Kitzhaber’s sinful lifestyle the cause of weird winter weather? Teach the controversy!


Links for 2/5/11

If you’re in Portland tonight, come by the Hop and Vine for the grand opening of their bottle shop. Brewers and vintners will be on hand from 3-7 offering free wine and beer, then from 7-10 I’ll be behind the bar with Kyle Webster of St. Jack serving up $5 cocktails with House Spirits, Ransom Spirits, and Galliano. Details here.

Unsurprisingly, the only time I’m quoted in style magazines is when drinks are involved. This weekend I talk micheladas with Gilt MANual.

New York City becomes even more anti-smoker, banning smoking in outdoor parks and other areas. Whoopi Goldberg vows to fight the ban.

Meanwhile, in Bhutan, a Buddhist monk faces five years in prison for violating the king’s ban on tobacco sales.

The Institute for Justice has a new campaign: Defending food truck owners from protectionist policies backed by brick-and-mortar restaurants.

FYI, the US budget deficit is projected to be $1.5 trillion this year.


Links for 1/22/10

This is your war on drugs: Video of Utah man gunned down by cops during no-knock drug raid.

Over objections from the state-sponsored anti-smoking body, France will once again allow cultural depictions of smoking in advertising. Examples of previous French censorship here.

One Oregon lawmaker wants to ban cycling with young children.

This year’s Edge question: What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive tool kit?

“In China, children are being taught English in utero.” The most emailed NYT article ever.

The Oregonian takes a look at two new local fortified wines, including my friend Neil Kopplin’s excellent Imbue vermouth.

From barista to bartender, an excellent career path!


Links for 1/20/11

Jeff at Cheap Talk takes a look at jury strategy and the conditions under which non-unanimous convictions may be preferable. It’s an angle I hadn’t thought of, and worth keeping in mind.

Mandates don’t stay modest” is possibly the most important meme in the continuing debate over health care reform.

Erin at Uncluttered is right: It’s worth taking the time to learn the names of people you encounter on a regular basis.

I hope you like Bell’s Beer (I do!), because odds are good you’ll be subsidizing their operations soon.

It was only a matter of time before a legislator tried to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages; Iowa state senator Brian Schoenjahn gets there first.

A small town in New York has extended its smoking ban to include all public sidewalks.

Casting for The Dark Knight Rises is now complete; I’m looking forward to Nolan’s take on Bane.

Good Spirits News reviews the Cocktail Collective: “[A] great little 100 page book to keep in your pocket as a reference or to challenge your local bartender when out on the town.” Buy it here.