Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday miscellaneous (10/18)

This week the quasi-shutdown finally ended and government got back to normal. What did the Republicans gain from it? Oh right, nothing. In fact, less than nothing, since (echoing what I wrote here) "the partial shutdown reinforces public doubt that Republicans can be trusted to govern." The lack of strategy was a major problem. And when even Grover Norquist says the Republicans went too far, well, that's a problem. It also doesn't help that the Republicans declined to negotiate 19 times prior to the shutdown, and then tried to pin the lack of bipartisan talks on the Democrats.

Not that the Democrats look much better in this giant game of chicken played by giant egos. The result: the nation was harmed and nobody won (except for maybe a singing sloth somewhere).

In the meantime, the shutdown failed to stop the Obamacare rollout (which I thought was the entire point--see comment about lack of strategy above). And the rollout has had problems of its own. So much so that President Obama's own former press secretary is wondering if someone should be fired over the debacle. And then one can't help but be amused that this Obamacare supporter became rather upset when informed that it would double his insurance premiums.

Because when it comes to customer service, the government could take a cue from Netflix. Or T-Mobile. That's what millennials appreciate.

And socially, income distribution in the United States is becoming a problem even by capitalist standards. It's no surprise that there's a Marxist renaissance taking place.

But enough about domestic politics.

Russia is building a rail system to bypass the Suez canal. Unfortunately, other parts of its transportation infrastructure are falling apart.

And here's the little known story of Iran Flight 655, which helps explain some of the current tensions between Iran and the United States.

On a completely different note, here's a fascinating scientific development that appears to cheat Newton's third law.

And finally, an explanation for some of the awkwardness in romance.

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