Friday Links: Wal-Mart, Letter to My Freshman Self, Kitchen Tricks, And Much More

What I’m reading. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve seen some of these–but not all!

Radley Balko does an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop. Tons of interesting q&a about police practices and culture.

And more from Balko, “New Study Finds that State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction.” I see no way this could go wrong!

Megan McArdle: “Why Wal-Mart Will Never Pay Like Costco.” Useful reading, important in correcting various economic myths, although the complaints I’ve heard/read from actual Wal-Mart workers tend to center on the callous, “you’ll do whatever we say because what choice do you have?” attitude of management toward workers, rather than on the wages per se.

This Al-Jazeera article on welfare fraud. In which a caseworker advises a woman to get a divorce; then a different one suggests that she commit fraud by living apart from her husband; then things get worse; then things get much worse. Key lines include, “Hey, you need to calm down!”; the average total income of people convicted of welfare fraud, and the cost of fraud investigation vs. the cost of, you know, fraud; and the mention of the Fourth Amendment.

And on a related note, Maia Szalavitz: “Just thinking about shaky finances can drop IQ by the equivalent of 13 points.”

Matt Jones, “Letter to My Freshman Self.” So powerful–a gay guy looks back on his freshman year at evangelical Wheaton College. Great stuff about “normalcy” as well.

National Religious Campaign Against TortureCall for Art” about/against solitary confinement.

On a very different note, “24 Essential Kitchen Tips and Tricks.” You’ll know which ones you don’t care about (pre-peeled garlic?), which ones you’ve already tried and loved (immersion blender!) or discarded (I don’t care enough about how pretty my avocado slices look, and the ginger spoon trick has never worked for me), and which ones you can’t wait to try (keeping herbs in the fridge, using acid on mushrooms).

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