Today’s Links: December 4, 2012


DEREK THOMPSON: “If You Don’t Watch Sports, TV Is a Huge Rip-Off (So, How Do We Fix It?)
“If you watch sports, millions of pay-TV households who never click on their ESPN channels are subsidizing your habit. If you don’t watch sports, you’re one of the suckers paying an extra $100 a year for a product you don’t consume. […] Maybe DISH will decide it won’t pay the high costs that ESPN and regional sports networks demand and will become synonymous will “cable for people who hate sports.” That way, households in an area served by DISH and Comcast can choose between sports and not-sports, and if more people choose not-sports, then sports networks will necessarily slow their inflation rate to keep from upsetting sports fans who suddenly get stuck with a higher bill.”

PHIL PLAIT: “Congress Promotes Dangerous Anti-vaccine Quackery
“Virtually every claim made by antivaxxers is wrong. And this is a critically important issue; vaccines have literally saved hundreds of millions of lives. They save infants from potentially fatal but preventable diseases like pertussis and the flu. So why did Congress hold hearings this week promoting crackpot antivax views?”

DESMOND LACHMAN: “Gushing about America’s Energy Future
“In November, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recognized the remarkably positive developments in the U.S. energy sector of the past few years. Not only did the IEA project that U.S. oil production would exceed that of Saudi Arabia by 2020, it also projected that the United States would become virtually energy independent by 2035. However, what the IEA did not do was emphasize how much of this good news has occurred as the result of market forces rather than government planning aimed at securing energy independence.”


HUMAN RIGHTS – Bihar Village Bans Women and Girls From Using Mobile Phones
“A village council in the state of Bihar this week prohibited unmarried women and girls from using mobile phones, saying that they promote extramarital affairs and unsanctioned marriages and erode the moral fabric of society.  Married women will be allowed to use them only indoors and in the presence of a relative.”

GMO – Fast-Growing Fish May Never Wind Up on Your Plate
“Salmon that’s genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal could soon show up on your dinner plate. That is, if the company that makes the fish can stay afloat.”

DISTRACTED DRIVING – Huron Enacting Ban On Texting While Driving
“Huron is the latest city in South Dakota to ban texting while driving. The ordinance approved by the City Commission on Monday night also encompasses distracted driving. Mayor Dave McGirr says that includes everything from eating pizza to reading a newspaper while driving. The ordinance also bars drivers with learners’ permits from talking on a phone while driving.”