Mo' [virtual currency] mo' [real-world] problems. / Photo by fdecomite.
The Baffler,  September 18, 2014

Daily Bafflements

Mo' [virtual currency] mo' [real-world] problems. / Photo by fdecomite.
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• “Millionaire Roger Ver has become a bitcoin bounty hunter. This will not end well.” – Vocativ‘s Eric Markowitz on an Internet vigilante known as “Bitcoin Jesus.”

• The Los Angeles Unified School District police officials are debating whether they really need a twenty-foot-long, fourteen-ton armored transport vehicle and several grenade launchers, both of which they currently have, and both of which they got for free from the federal government. Meanwhile, in unrelated news, The Los Angeles Youth Justice Organization reports that L.A. cops have killed about one person a week since 2000.

• Today in Ooh La La: Fashion shows are so expensive to put on that designers typically rely on corporate sponsors to put them on. That used to mean signs or “seat gifts” (e-cigs!), but the corporate partnerships are increasingly showing up on the runway as well, in the form of, say, “Tinker Bell” dresses sponsored by Disney, or “wearable tech” created by Samsung.

• Today in Oh Really: Johns Hopkins researchers have surveyed hundreds of staffers in D.C., who either have government jobs or other policy-related gigs, to gauge their understanding of, and commonalities with, the average American. In a recent talk entitled “The Civic Distance Between the Rulers and Ruled,” they presented their findings that “the inside-the-Beltway crowd has little in common with America at large.” The authors wrote: “The elements of difference we have identified between the rulers and the ruled—demographic, experiential, partisan, and ideological—give us some reason to suspect that the two groups may not perceive the political world in the same way.”

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Further Reading

 June 22

For the Atlantic, actual political agency, it seems, is a lesser virtue than the civic jolt proffered by a “mediating function.”