Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon: that's a strong name. / Image via Lisby
The Baffler,  November 18, 2014

Daily Bafflements

Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon: that's a strong name. / Image via Lisby


• So much for “upward mobility”: a new study for the journal Human Nature tracked British surnames from 1170 and 2012 to compare the families’ social status over time, by looking at elite school attendance and property ownership. The researchers found that “social status is consistently passed down among families over multiple generations—in fact, it is even more strongly inherited than height. This correlation is unchanged over centuries, with social mobility in England in 2012 being little greater than in pre-industrial times.”

• Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share coded polling data leading up to the midterm elections, CNN revealed yesterday. “Posting the information on Twitter, which is technically public, could provide a convenient loophole to the law—or could run afoul of it,” CNN reported. Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said, “It’s a line that has not been defined. This is really on the cutting edge.”

• Speaking of dirty deeds, Buzzfeed caught Emil Michael, an executive at Uber, floating the possibility of doing “oppo research” on journalists who were critical of the company, with the aim of exposing embarrassing details of their personal lives. “Nobody would know it was us,” said Michael.

• We’re honored. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan area, home of The Baffler, has been determined to be the country’s smartest (or, well, most-educated, at least), says this Forbes column that was “presented by Rolex.” What do we win? (We hope it’s a watch.)

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Further Reading

 February 7

If Jordan Peterson really is the “most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now,” as David Brooks writes, we have reason to worry.

 February 6

If the Internet is truly such a revolutionary break from the past, why are companies like Google in bed with cops and spies?

 February 2

To be young, gay, and undocumented in Alabama is to understand that "deferred action" means your freedoms are on hold.