Today’s Links: May 4, 2012


VIRGINIA POSTREL: “Recycling Eyeglasses Is a Feel-Good Waste of Money
“Recycling old glasses makes people feel generous and thrifty. They believe they’re helping people and saving money. They think the glasses they donate are “free,” because they don’t consider all the hidden costs of sorting and shipping them. And they don’t realize just how cheap manufacturing new glasses has become. If they really wanted to help people see, they’d send money. Unlike leftovers, it’s guaranteed to fit. ”

DAVID SIROTA: “Who Owns the Cloud?
“When you hear the phrase “property rights,” you probably think of farmers fighting environmental regulators and homeowners arguing with oil drillers. But in the Information Age, you should also be thinking about your computer – and asking, how much of you is really yours? It’s not a navel-gazing rumination from a college Intro to Existentialism class – it’s an increasingly pressing question in the brave new world of social networking and cloud computing.”

JAMES TARANTO: “The Lonely Life of Julia
“Barack Obama has a new composite girlfriend, and her name is Julia. Her story is told in an interactive feature titled “The Life of Julia” on the Obama campaign website. Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs.”


PRIVACY – Wireless Carriers Who Aid Police Are Asked for Data
“A leading House Democrat is demanding information from the country’s biggest cellphone companies about their role in helping local police departments conduct surveillance and tracking of suspects and others in criminal investigations. ”

SOCIAL SECURITY – Web Put Off-Limits to Social Security Claims Justices
“The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases — taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud.”

PIPELINE: “Transcanada Reapplies After Changing Route
“As expected, TransCanada reapplied Friday for a presidential permit for its Keystone XL pipeline. The company’s application covers the stretch of the proposed pipeline from the U.S.-Canadian border in Montana to Steele City, Neb. TransCanada will supplement the application once an alternative route is selected within Nebraska.”