tilly & the wall {music}

Omaha-based profanity-loving Tilly & the Wall has a new record out, and it’s way more upbeat and danceable than their previous efforts. I’m into it.

Tilly & the Wall — “Heavy Mood” {aac}.


On a related note: this Fresh Air interview with Stephen Colbert has really gotten me into Ben Folds again this week…

Links of the week

1. Find out the political persuasion of other people with your same name {andrew sullivan}.

The data show that names are a strong predictor of support for one party or the other. Looking at names that occurred at least 1,000 times on the donor rolls, it is immediately evident that women give in much greater numbers to the Obama campaign, a fact that the site OpenSecrets.org has also observed. Within a gender, however, some names have much stronger correlations than others. While people with very common names—James, David, Michael—are roughly evenly split between the two parties, names like Brent, Tyler and Clayton are considerably skewed toward the Republicans.

2. Check out the new “coworking space” for freelancers in Rittenhouse {technically philly}.

3. The smartphone patent war {fresh air}.

Patents are an example of the set of incentives — and the entire digital economy is a set of incentives that encourage people to go down one path or another. I think there’s a lot of people who right now are worried that people are going down frivolous paths, like inventing new social networks or new games, instead of inventing the cures for cancer or fundamental technologies that will change the world.

The Fine Print

Fascinating interview with author David Cay Johnston on Fresh Air about how companies pile on extra costs & fees (duh)—but leaving us with higher bills and worse service.

We’re way behind countries like Lithuania, Ukraine, and Moldavia in the speed of our Internet. Per bit of information moved, we pay 38 times what the Japanese pay. If you buy one of these triple-play packages that are heavily advertised, where you get Internet, telephone and cable TV together, typically you’ll pay what I pay, about $160 a month, including fees.

Well, the same service in France is $38 a month, that is 25 cents on the dollars. And instead of two-country calling, you get worldwide calling to 70 countries. You get an Internet that is 10 times faster uploading – downloading and 20 times faster uploading.

And as announced earlier this month, this disparity is only getting worse {daily tech}.

Rachel Maddow on Agreeing with Those You Disagree With

I’m not a Rachel Maddow fan per sé. I’m aware of her as a political presence, one whose views I likely agree with on most issues. But I get the impression that I agree with her too much, which always makes me leery.

She’s making the rounds to promote her new book, “Drift” {amazon}, about the dependence of the U.S. on war, and the lack of sacrifice we as Americans make to support those wars. She was on Fresh Air last Tuesday, and had this to say about the personal similarities between those who disagree on political issues:

I don’t believe that people who disagree in American politics are all that different from one another as humans. I mean, for the one thing, something that brings us together, no matter how much we disagree on a political issue, is that we both care about a political issue. And that’s not of every American. I mean, a lot of Americans don’t care about politics much at all. And so for those of us who are engaged in the political dialogue in the country, we already have something in common if we care enough to disagree with each other.

I think I’ll give her a show a chance.

Where TVs go after they die

Electronic waste dumped in residential area just outside of Alaba market in Lagos. This e-waste is routinely burned here.

Check out an excellent interview with Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In the interview, Puckett explains why certain toxic components of our devices are un-recycleable, and how 80% of techno-waste that U.S. consumers take to a recycling center ends up in  China, Nigeria, India, Vietnam and Pakistan. Needless to say, the toxic stuff stays toxic, and causes great harm to the workers and residents of those countries.