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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Where you can’t be off-topic because there IS no topic.

    That sounds like a dare I can’t resist, James.

  2. Rick Zhang says:

    This would be a point where if true, I would have to give Trump points for reining in the hawkish instincts of his advisers. Of course, this doesn’t offset him appointing them to their positions in the first place. Let’s hope that Bolton and Pompeo haven’t goaded Iran into doing something rash that neocons in the US will then use as justification for war with Iran.

  3. Teve says:
  4. Teve says:

    Several podcasts I listened to on a weekly basis, like the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, Pod Save America, and WTF, have gotten boring.

    I need some new podcast suggestions.

  5. Jax says:

    I’m super excited for Trump’s new “Submit your proof of political bias on social media” tool. I suspect this is not going to go the way they planned. 😉

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m reading “Logan’s Run.” Right off the bat, it’s very different from the movie. Let alone ni the book people die at age 21 and in the movie at 30. In the movie people are confined to one city they never leave, while in the book the whole world is open.

    In retrospect, the idea of there being one city only is kind of ridiculous, but it has a long history in science fiction. One of Clarke’s best works, “The City and The Stars,” involves most of the (im)mortal remnants of humanity living their long, pointless lives in one city.

  7. Kathy says:


    You could start with Trojan War The Podcast by Jeff Wright, then follow with Odyssey The Podcast also by Jeff Wright.

    Or if you want a deep dive into Roman history, there’s Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome, and a still ongoing sequel by Robyn Pierson, The History of Byzantium. I do mean deep. These podcasts ran for years.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    Another investigative news story about Trump’s business woes. This concerns his hotel and golf course business and their steep decline, especially compared to surrounding and equivalent accommodations.

    I would never have stayed at a Trump property at any point, as I always associated him with gilded mediocrity. I assumed that his hotels would be basically Marriotts done up with cheap marble veneers, plastered everywhere with the Trump name, and charging JW Marriott prices. I assumed his restaurants would serve Safeway Sale quality steaks, charging Wagyu beef prices (and no doubt claiming to be Wagyu beef).

    You know, that’s unfair to Marriotts. I like Marriotts. But I wouldn’t like them if they charged twice as much as a Hyatt. And I especially wouldn’t like them if they charged twice as much and their interior design resembled a “classy” brothel.

    But even if you liked that vibe and didn’t mind the upcharge, you would have to be crazy to eat food at a Trump accommodation in this era, even if you are the most ardent Trumper in the universe. Prepared and served by the illegal immigrants and other brown people he despises so much, you would be lucky if the worst they did was spit in it.

    And I suspect that, just as many smokers get non-smoking hotel rooms and go outside to light up because even they want to get away from the stank, even Trump supporters wouldn’t want to be around their most fanatical brethren when they are trying to relax. I know that the ardent Trumpers we have in our small neighborhood waste no opportunity to inject their bitter anger at every community meeting or to enlighten us on NextDoor. (Did you know that raising money for a half basketball court in the local park is just typical waste by liberals and Democrats?)

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: I’m a big fan of Reply All and Science Vs. And for something with more amateur production values but incredibly well researched and interesting: Futility Closet.

  10. Kathy says:

    @Rick Zhang:

    It depends. I suspect it went as follows:

    Bolton: …and this are our plans for taking down Iran.
    Dennison: Do I have to do anything?
    Bolton: Well, yes, sir. quite a lot actually. This is a major military action, after all, which will require months of focus, effort, diplomacy–
    Dennison: Pass!

    Seriously, from the story:

    Trump “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal” and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said.

    He had a deal in place already. He could have tried extending it both to reign in the mullahs in Tehran and to further open up Iran. Instead he tried to tear up the deal in place, with blatant lies which would lead the Iranian leadership not to trust him ever. And now wants to show the world he can do exactly what Obama did, but with some meaningless flourishes to prove he’s far, far, far “greater” than some uppity person of color.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Rick Zhang: We shouldn’t neglect the damage done by the Republican Senate rubber stamping these idiots. In the “every cloud has a silver lining” department, I suspect you could run against Congressional Republicans in a red, Trump loving district or state by blaming them for all of Trump’s fiascos. “We all know Trump is overflowing with ideas and plans and relies on the people around him to help him focus on the best ones and talk him off the ledge on the doozies. That is literally Congress’ job. By not doing it and mindlessly getting behind every passing comment from the president, they created chaos that he has to constantly unwind. It’s like having a financial advisor who just tells you to go ahead and do every passing idea you come up with.”

  12. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: You raise an interesting point. I always wondered who Trump’s target market for his brand was. People who think the crap he peddles is “classy” can’t afford it, and people who can afford it know much, much better. So who has a lot of money and execrable taste? Russian oligarchs? Saudi oilmen?

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I think Trump Wine is a good indication. In the local store around here they sometimes put a case or two on display and it goes for $26.99. For many people (including me) that is an expensive but not unreachable bottle of wine. And for people who don’t normally drink wine or only drink the cheap stuff, it could come across as a special occasion purchase and, since they believe Donald Trump is classy, it must be good. Of course, those who know the background realize Trump Wine comes from a failed West Virginia winery Trump bought for pennies on the dollar and gave to his son to “manage”. The wine should be $6.99 and sold in bottles labeled with cute animals. Instead it’s sold at $26.99 in a label that looks like it came off a 1950’s French wine.

  14. Franklin says:


    (Did you know that raising money for a half basketball court in the local park is just typical waste by liberals and Democrats?)

    Probably attracts the wrong crowd, too, if you catch my drift.

  15. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: Sure, but how many special occasions do people like that have? Enough to sustain a winery? Look at Trump Vodka. When Trump launched it in 2006, it cost more ($30-$100) a bottle than any other premium vodka. And it bombed, big time, again, because people who could afford it stuck with Gordon’s for half the price and people who couldn’t afford it didn’t buy it.

    FWIW, I’ve never in my life seen a bottle of Trump Wine sold anywhere.

  16. Teve says:

    @CSK: In my lifetime I’ve had thousands of shots of vodka. It’s 40% ethanol and 60% water. That’s it. I’ve never understood why anybody would pay more than $10 for a fifth.

  17. CSK says:

    @Teve: According to my local spirits provider, it’s the number of times the vodka is distilled that counts–a couple of times will do. Apparently some people’s stomachs are upset by single-distilled vodka.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I think the same thing when I see a Hummer. Who can afford one and is so insecure as to want one? (I suspect part of the answer is they can’t afford it.)

  19. Kathy says:


    I suppose one has to factor in filtering as well. there surely are impurities of various sorts that may affect the flavor. I can tell you that Stolichnaya tasted quite differently from a generic brand. I will admit once you mix either with orange juice, they pretty much taste the same.

    Past that, it’s what the bottle looks like, what the brand is worth, how cool or distinguished or whatever it comes off in advertising (sell the sizzle, not the steak), etc.

  20. Teve says:

    I’ve heard lots of stories about distillation and filtration and people running cheap vodka through Brita filters etc etc but I’d have to see some serious double-blind work to think that it wasn’t just psychosomatic.

    you know how if you put red food coloring in white wine, even experienced wine people will tell you how jammy it is etc? I suspect if you put Burnett’s in Grey Goose bottles you’d see a similar effect.

  21. Jen says:


    The WaPo article briefly mentions that, likely due to the financial troubles they are having, the plans for a lower-cost Trump hotel brand have been scrapped. I find it mildly hilarious that they had to jettison plans that would have catered to the only remaining demographic that would be willing to pay to stay in one of his branded properties.

    I think it just goes to show what a lousy businessman he is. For the most part, my hunch is that the target market for his golf+hotel properties are middle managers on expense accounts who want to squeeze in a round or two at a nice course while on someone else’s dime for the sleeping accommodations.

    And I concur, I’ve never seen a bottle of Trump wine out for sale, anywhere, ever.

  22. CSK says:

    @gVOR08: True, but they still can’t buy the Hummer.
    @Kathy: The triple distillation is supposed to be the filtering process. Same thing, really.
    @Teve: Oh, about 90% of it is psychological.
    @Jen: I’m in Mass. and you’re in NH, so is it possible it’s just not sold in the northeast? Have you ever seen it on a wine list anywhere? Me neither.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: You raise a good point, so I’ll offer an alternative theory: at this point the Trump Winery is just a bunch of generic grape vines leased to local farmers who sell the grapes on the jam and jelly commodity market. Trump Wine is just Trump’s name licensed to whoever is willing to pay the fee, which is basically how all his other “businesses” are run. And I can easily see some commodity wine bottler deciding that for the cost of some labels and $25K in licensing fees they will put some swill in bottles and send it to Trump states. My current state, Maryland, isn’t a Trump state but I live in a Republican county, so Republican that my state rep was literally an official in the local League of the South, so yeah, Trump country.

    For those unfamiliar with the League, here’s what SPLC says about them:

    The League denounces the federal government and Northern and Coastal states as part of a materialist and anti-religious society they call The Empire. In recent years, it has increasingly embraced violence, criticized perceived Jewish power and warned black people that they would be defeated in a future race war.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: I used to drink Smirnoff red as it was reasonable price and seemed to consistently win taste tests. But some years ago they changed the process and it acquired a muddy taste. I assumed they started using malt liquor, but maybe, as CSK says they cut down on distillation. Not sure anyone else noticed. It was the same time they started aiming their advertising at young party animals.

    Read somewhere many years ago that whiskey was the only distilled spirit for which there were tastings, and for which tastings made any sense. Marketeers blew that out.

  25. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: I’ve never had any whiskey that cost more than $100 a bottle, but the best stuff I ever had in that category was balvenie doublewood. Pretty tasty.

  26. gVOR08 says:


    Have you ever seen it on a wine list anywhere? Me neither.

    Lordy. If I did, I’d leave.

  27. MarkedMan says:


    The WaPo article briefly mentions that, likely due to the financial troubles they are having, the plans for a lower-cost Trump hotel brand have been scrapped.

    Yep. The Scion hotel brand was announced with great fanfare and they got some Indian-American businessmen to front the money. It’s hard to have much sympathy for brown people who believed they were the “right kind of brown” for Trump and so wouldn’t get the shaft.

  28. Kathy says:


    The Mythbusters did a blind taste test of refiltered vodka in one of their vodka myths episodes. I forget how exactly it turned out.

  29. CSK says:

    @gVOR08: Apparently the restaurant in the Trump International in D.C. carries a few selections–but only because they have to, according to Corby Kummer.

  30. Teve says:

    @Kathy: MythBusters and America’s Test Kitchen and one or two others claimed to find improvements with filtration. IDK. I could see maybe some mineral ions or something affecting the taste marginally.

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: I ended up getting into a vodka-testing evening with some friends when visiting Moscow (we Americans were claiming that all vodka tasted alike, the Russians told us that we were nuts). IIRC there was one bottle made from potatoes, one from wheat, one from barley, and one from honey. I couldn’t tell that much difference between the potatoes/wheat/barley brands–the potato one was “softer”–but the one made from honey was to DIE for.

  32. Teve says:

    I had a friend in HS who claimed he could taste the difference between mountain dew bottled in different plants.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    The winery that bears Donald Trump’s name, which is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, has long denied having anything to do with the current president of the United States.

    Earlier this week during a press conference meant to address a number of recent events — including the tragedy that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend — instead of denouncing racism and hate speech, Donald Trump essentially bragged about Trump Winery.

    Trump: I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?

    Reporter: Where is it?

    Trump: Oh, boy, it’s going to be — it’s in Charlottesville, you’ll see.

    Reporter: Is it in the winery or something?

    Trump: It’s a — it is the winery.

    [Reporters shout questions.]

    Trump: I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that’s been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. I own — I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States that’s in Charlottesville.
    But as Daily Show host Trevor Noah pointed out in 2016 and the Independent confirmed this week, Trump Winery is not affiliated with Donald Trump. According to the Trump Winery website, it is owned and managed by an LLC named Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing, and is “not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump”:

    Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates
    Trump got into the wine business back in 2011 when he purchased Kluge Estate Winery. He initially kept founder and owner Patricia Kluge on board, but dismissed her a year later when he passed the business off to his son Eric.

  34. CSK says:

    @Teve: The late Cristina Onassis, who purported to hate the United States, nevertheless guzzled at least a dozen bottles of its iconic product, Coca-Cola, per day. She would only drink the Coke from certain bottlers, though, claiming it was superior. All the bottlers she preferred were in the U.S.
    @MarkedMan: The Trump Winery isn’t even the biggest winery in Virginia.

  35. Teve says:

    Public Citizen
    to Gilead CEO: The list price [for Truvada for PrEP] is almost $2,000 in the US. Why is it $8 in Australia?

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    Spoiler: Because Australia has universal healthcare.

  36. KM says:

    I suppose it’s related to the concept of supertasters, genetics and sensitive systems. Quite frankly, the vast majority of people don’t have the ability to make fine discernment in terms of food for a good evolutionary reason – the more you can tolerate, the better chance at survival. Like with cilantro and brussel spouts, having the gene that makes them taste yukky removes a food source and thus is a disadvantage. Being sensitive to particulate matter in a place where you drink alcohol rather then water because the water’s not so safe even more so. A person that can drink single-distilled without getting ill has a genetic advantage over those who don’t, as well as social and economic ones. Why do the effort if you don’t have to and the only person it bothers is Frank over there?

    I’ve heard it commented that food sensitives are rare in developing countries. There’s a reason for that – your survival goes down and you’re lucky to make it to adulthood. It’s possible that folks who’s stomachs are upset (aka diarrhea, vomiting or damage) got weeded out fairly early and it’s only seeing a resurgence now that we’re at a point where we can debate levels of distillation academically.

  37. Teve says:

    @KM: good points.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: FWIW I spent two years mostly eating a developing world diet* (losing 50 pounds in the process – and not in a good way) and the most obvious thing about it is lack of variety. I ate plantain/yam foo foo with one of three types of fish based soup 7 nights a week, with a very occasional chicken leg based soup instead. No dairy. Salt, tomato paste and fresh hot peppers were the only spices. Only on very special occasions was there rice or bread. And that diet was a regular Henry VIII feast of variety compared to what my students ate. I suspect that most people never have their proclivity for food allergies tested. As you said, you wouldn’t survive to adulthood if you were allergic to the staples, but you also would only very, very rarely encounter non-staple foods, and then only in small amounts.

    *I’m not claiming poverty here. When I was out of my village I ate bread and rice and drank beer and all that good stuff.

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..I had a friend in HS who claimed he could taste the difference between mountain dew bottled in different plants.

    Coke, Pepsi, RC

  40. Teve says:

    Attention Pitcairn Islanders!

    Please Indicate Which Foods You Are Intolerant Of:

    *Granny Smith Apples
    *Coq au Vin


  41. Kathy says:


    Back during the New Coke kerfuffle, it became trendy for people to claim they could identify the difference between coke from a can, a restaurant dispensing machine, a glass bottle, and some even from the size of glass bottle.

    Machine soda does tend to taste differently. The rest IMO is bunk.

  42. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: “Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby” is a lighter, fluffier, snarkier mythology podcast, which might be more up @Teve’s alley. Or not.

  43. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Trump Midtown Restaurant.

    We are proud to feature the wines of Trump Winery, located in the heart of Virginia’s acclaimed Monticello Wine Trail in Charlottesville, Virginia. Just a few miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Trump Winery follows Jefferson’s footsteps in making new world wines inspired by the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Champagne.

    I was curious about Thomas Jefferson’s history as a vintner. Exploration on the interthingies let me to a Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival in VA, but it seems to have only happened once. In 2017. Color me skeptical.

  44. Gustopher says:


    wine should be $6.99 and sold in bottles labeled with cute animals.

    That’s basically my entire philosophy of wine, right there. I might go up to $12.99 and more refined animals.

    Also, Pig’s Nose Scotch is so much better than a $24.99 bottle of blended scotch should be. It’s not great, but it’s a perfectly fine scotch for when you don’t want to be challenged too much.

    My favorite scotch is a 17 year Ben Reich, single cask, I believe aged for half that time in a Bourbon cask and then moved to a Sherry cask, but I would have to check it’s label. It cost a bit more than $24.99. The label, sadly, does not have a cute animal.

  45. Teve says:

    Ezra Klein
    The best thing about Trump is that he doesn’t seem to want new wars. His instincts are isolationist, not interventionist. But he’s surrounded himself with people who do want new wars.

    Usually, I want Trump’s staff to restrain him. On Iran, I’m hoping he restrains them. Yikes.

    @Kathy: around the same time, I heard two different explanations for new coke. This wacko musician I knew claimed that new Coke was a scam to distract everybody so that they could pretend to return to the old formula but actually switch to high fructose corn syrup. Around then I happened to read a book that claimed that the new Coke fiasco was an example of measurement error–the way the samples were tested in low volume sips gave higher scores to sweeter formulas that worked great in a 1-ounce test cup but were sickening in a 12 oz can. It was around then that I got an inkling of how much of our worldview is just kind of arbitrarily socially constructed from our nearby environment.

  46. just nutha says:

    @Teve: I’ve always believed that the most credible explanation for New Coke was that the patent for Coke was about to expire and the changeover to a new formula–and more importantly the change back after the marketing failure–gave the company another bite at the patent apple.

    Grumpy Realist–or anyone else who does patent/intellectual property law–may feel free to disabuse me of my suspicions as they come from an article in Esquire Magazine at the time.

  47. grumpy realist says:
  48. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: Coke was never patented. If it had the formula would be in the public domain by now. Trade secret

  49. Teve says:

    Yeah and I don’t think even it was much of a trade secret, that was more like a marketing gimmick. There are lots of chemists in the world and a whole flavor chemistry industry in New Jersey and it wouldn’t be hard to figure out the few basic ingredients it’s made out of. The trick is a blend of half a dozen essential oils like lemon, nutmeg, cassia, orange etc.

  50. Teve says:

    2 billion cans of coke are sold every day. If you can do that everyday for years and actually keep the formula a secret, you should probably get the Nobel Prize for Successful Global Conspiracy.

  51. Kathy says:


    According to my own memories at the time, plus histories about it I’ve read since, there is no mystery, conspiracy, nor brilliant marketing campaign.

    Coke was losing sales to Pepsi, so they went and changed Coke to make it more Pepsi-like. among the changes, they switched from cane sugar to corn syrup.

    The new product was not called “New Coke,” BTW, it was still just plain “Coke.” But the cans advertised “NEW” in a way that made it seem like it said “NEW Coke.” The name stuck.

    It flopped big time. People clamored for the old formula, now called Classic Coke (for a while). Some made cross border trips to Mexico and Canada to stock up. Eventually Coke caved and brought back Classic Coke, relaunching the new formula as Coke II . But when the old “classic” formula returned, it contained corn syrup rather than cane sugar.

    The free publicity, it was much discussed in the news media, may have increased Coke’s sales. But, come, they couldn’t have known they’d get so much free publicity. Likewise, the claims there was no market research are false. there was plenty of research before the formula changed, and before the new product was launched. A Coke executive summed it up thus “We weren’t that stupid, and we weren’t that smart.”

    My guess is that Pepsi had better advertising, and that drove sales. I conceded the brands taste differently, but they are close enough. most people can’t tell Coke from Pepsi if served in an unmarked glass.

  52. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist: Hey, it’s true if Trump says it’s true.

  53. Kathy says:


    I should have mentioned “Our Fake History” by Sebastian Major. The idea here is to look at historical myths, mostly, and find out how real they are. He sums up every podcast thus “What’s fact, what’s fiction, and what’s such a good story it simply must me told.”

    Typically he does two or three parts per subject. he’s covered people like Joan d’Arc, Stalin, Schliemann (he dug up Troy), Hadrian, and others less well-known. Characters like Robin Hood and King Arthur. Weird theories like Atlantis, aliens, ancient advanced humans, etc. Topics like Ninjas. And even bizarre conspiracy theories like phantom time. He’s all over the place.

  54. KM says:

    Meh. I can taste a difference between can and glass bottle with beer – metallic taste, bleh. Anything in metal picks up the metal taste naturally unless it’s made of something non-reactive. Most people wouldn’t notice or care because it’s such a subtle nuance…. unless something’s wrong with the contents and BAM, the taste of pennies overrides the drink so you might want to consider calling poison control…..

    I’ve never really noticed any difference in glass vs can vs plastic for Coke or Pepsi but then again, I most drink can or from the machine if I indulge. I think plastic is supposed to let more light in to break down the sugar or something so that’s why it’s the least favorite choice.

  55. Gustopher says:

    I’m a little surprised that there hasn’t been a post about Team Trump’s new legal argument that Congress has no authority to investigate the President, which in conjunction with the claims that a President cannot be indicted, place Señor Dennison above the law.

  56. Kylopod says:

    I remember seeing the following clip in a course I took in the late ’90s. It was the first time I began to wonder about Cosby’s personal character.

  57. Kylopod says:


    But when the old “classic” formula returned, it contained corn syrup rather than cane sugar.

    Around Passover time in Jewish areas, a sugar version of Coke is sold because of kitniyot.

  58. Moosebreath says:


    On the subject of things I was surprised not to see, I thought we would get something on Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to get the Ukrainians to smear Biden through his son.

  59. Mister Bluster says:


  60. Kathy says:

    @KM: I don’t drink beer, so I couldn’t possibly say.

    Drinking soda directly from the bottle will give you a different flavor for plastic vs glass, largely because the glass gets colder than the plastic, therefore even when stored in the same fridge, the soda in the glass bottle will be colder and taste differently. Or so I’ve heard it explained. It’s been years since I drank anything straight from a bottle.

  61. DrDaveT says:


    I need some new podcast suggestions.

    A few niche ‘casts that I’ve enjoyed:

    1. (Fiction) If you loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you might well like We Fix Space Junk, which is a pretty direct homage to the original THHGTTG radio series.
    2. (Philosophy) Closer to Truth is one man’s exploration of the implications of modern physics for philosophy and theology. He seems to have lots of access to top physicists and philosophers, which makes for some good interviews.
    3. (Sports) Effectively Wild is a quirky FanGraphs-sponsored baseball podcast. They are all over the map, from advanced analytics to interviews with not-yet-dead players from the past. They interviewed Jeopardy! phenom James Holzhauer about his love of baseball statistics (and many other topics).
    4. (Language) That’s What They Say is a weekly 5-minute spot on Michigan Public Radio featuring my second-favorite* linguistics celebrity, Dr. Anne Curzan.

    That’s all I’ve got. You might also check out audio-only offerings from The Great Courses. They occasionally discount them deeply — for example, you can currently get 16 lectures (12 hours) of Dr. Robert Greenberg’s excellent Understanding the Fundamentals of Music for $30, or 6 hours of Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution for $15…

    *My favorite is still John McWhorter.

  62. DrDaveT says:


    the glass gets colder than the plastic

    It doesn’t really. But it does conduct heat away from your hand/lips much more efficiently than the plastic does, so it feels colder. It’s the same reason the granite kitchen counter feels colder than the kitchen wall, even though they are exactly the same temperature.

  63. Kathy says:


    Flavor is dependent on temperature, as much of the sense of taste is actually smell. some compounds evaporate at different temperatures. Temperature also affects texture.

    So, if the soda in both types of bottles is at the same temperature, they should both taste the same. The conclusion then is the glass bottle perhaps takes more heat away from the soda than does the plastic bottle, even if they’re both kept at the same ambient temperature inside the refrigerator.

    It’s all the same to me. I always pour my soda into a glass with ice. I think I last drank straight from a bottle in 2006.

  64. Kathy says:


    You might also check out audio-only offerings from The Great Courses.

    I second that.

    You can also get them, though not all, from Audible. If you have a subscription, any of the Great Courses in Audible’s catalog is one credit (I think $15 or so). Much of my Audible library is Great Courses lecture series, mostly in history.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Plastic is also said to be related to being significantly lighter than glass thereby pinching a few pennies at a period when fuel prices became volatile back in the mid 70s. Now the price is so high that the difference in weight is insignificant.

  66. Teve says:

    Right now this is the most relaxing thing in the world:

    A British 30-something woman who has never seen one second of a Star Trek episode of any kind, who is married to a geek who grew up watching Star trek, starts watching the original series from episode 1 and then after each episode they discuss it for 30 minutes, and she has completely fresh eyes and actually makes some really interesting observations about some of the stuff on the show that we just take for granted now because we’re used to it. It’s adorable.

    like 5 episodes in after they watch the first four episodes where somebody on the ship dies in each episode, she refers to Kirk as “a very charismatic leader of an unsuccessful organization. I can just imagine the sign ‘It’s been x days since a workplace fatality’ and the guy with the ladder has to keep puttin’ the zero back up.” And I could have died laughing.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Doug will have to weigh in on the “POTUS is above the law”, but I think we call that The Horsesh*t Defense Gambit.

  68. MarkedMan says:

    Those of you who regularly read the comments have heard me say that the private insurers add at least 30% to our healthcare costs in the US. Insurers say they add well under 10%. Here’s an interesting article by someone who makes their living doing this kind of analysis and she talks about various estimates for insurer and corresponding provider job losses under a Medicare for all system. There are a few ways to estimate the cost of each employee, with the simplest being salary and direct and indirect benefits. This results in about $100K per clerical job going up to $300K for mid level managers. But a very simple and surprisingly effective rule of thumb for fully loaded costs (salaries, benefits, share of building overhead, share of all the support departments necessary (HR, IT, Finance, etc)) is $250-$300k per year. Unfortunately she mixes and matches estimates so she doesn’t come up with a final number. One estimate from one study would be two million jobs that are directly insurance related. That translates into $500-600B per year out of $3.5T total spending. Another estimate says there would be up to 1.5 million jobs lost in just community hospitals. That doesn’t account for private hospitals, clinics, doctors offices, X-ray clinics, pharmacies, the people that find and deal with insurance at every company in the US as well as all the employees of medical device, pharmacy, EHR and so forth that sell to the tens of thousands of individual entities. I think my 30% number (3-4 million jobs lost plus some system sales) falls in with theses numbers fairly solidly.

  69. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Don’t forget the theory as to why young kids are picky eaters and that it takes multiple exposures to new foods before they’ll accept them has to do with keeping possibly poisonous stuff out of their mouths. Kids who were voracious omnivores who would “try anything” also had a higher probability of poisoning themselves.

  70. gVOR08 says:

    WAPO has an article up on passage of the first abortion law in the US. It was passed in reaction to a sex scandal involving a charismatic pastor. Home medical guidebooks at the time commonly included “instructions to eliminate “obstructed menses” — a euphemism for early pregnancy.”

    In 1821, the (Connecticut) General Assembly passed a bill banning medicinal abortion after quickening (emphasis mine), with those who provided the medicine — not the pregnant woman — facing prosecution. Within 20 years, 10 of 26 states followed suit with similar laws.

    Mohr, the historian, notes that many abortion-inducing substances could also cause the death of the mother in larger quantities, so the law “might best be characterized as a poison-control measure.”

    Mechanical abortion was noticeably absent from the ban. Inniss said the disparity is probably due to who was performing the different methods of abortion. Mechanical abortions were mostly done by the fledgling medical establishment, which was white and male, “whereas many medicinal abortions were done by grannies and midwives, many of them immigrants and formerly enslaved women, or even enslaved women,” she said.

    Some things never change.

    So…. If we are to be guided by the wisdom of the founders, we should note that when they wrote the constitution abortion was legal, and apparently fairly common. And they didn’t feel moved to say anything about it.