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Weekend Reads 12/8/18

The Green New Deal Is Designed to Win

I have come to think of this tension as climate policy’s Boring-as-Dirt Problem: the bad problem. The bad problem recognizes that climate change is a very interesting challenge. It is scary and massive and apocalyptic, and its attendant disasters (especially hurricanes, wildfires, and floods) make for good TV. But the policies that will address climate change do not pack the same punch.…Floods are powerful, but stormwater management is arcane. Wildfires are ravenous, but electrical-grid upgrades are tedious. Climate change is scary, but dirt is boring.

Bacteria engage in chemical warfare against viruses

Bacteria produce a wide range of active small molecules that are not essential for survival but do confer a growth advantage. Some of these small molecules, which kill their fellow microbes, are already used (by us) as antibiotics. It was also observed, more than fifty years ago, that bacteria make molecules that can inhibit the growth of phages. But it wasn't clear whether these molecules are made specifically because they slow down the phages.

It’s easy to mistake humility for humiliation

The preacher, a queer woman preparing for ministry, drew, through the luck of the lectionary, a passage from the letter to Titus in which women are instructed to be submissive to their husbands.…She concluded that she was being called to notice her own insider language as a student of religion and to ask continually who was being excluded from her discourse. “The letter of Titus may not be speaking to me,” she said, “but God is.”

How Republicans are trying to strip power from Democratic governors-elect

Two years ago, North Carolina set the precedent for this kind of move, when the Republican-controlled legislature stripped then-incoming Democrat Roy Cooper’s power over Cabinet appointments, made the state’s judicial system more partisan, and ensured that the state’s board of elections would be controlled by Republicans in election years. Cooper has been in legal fights over the changes since.

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