Time's Michael Grunwald has a damning assessment of the new Ryan budget:

My beef with Ryan 3.0–like my critique of the “radical document” that was Ryan 1.0, and my screeds about the media gushfest over Ryan 2.0– is that it gets the problem wrong and the solution wrong. It would hurt people who need help and helps people who don’t. And while Ryan deserves some credit for taking some political risks, his budget is still brimming with the dishonesty and hypocrisy that often characterizes the modern Republican Party.

Following proposals to test teachers for emotional intelligence, at The Conversation Rachel Grieve has an interesting article about the concept of emotional intelligence:

The idea has intuitive appeal and testing emotional intelligence remains a “hot topic” in psychology circles. But it is also a slippery construct and can be difficult to test.

This doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t have merit, but let governments and education faculties be warned, testing emotional intelligence will not be easy.

Tibetan Monks self immolating has (unfortunately) become so regular as to verge on the mundane, but FP Passport points out that it isn't that uncommon in Bulgaria either:

According to a comprehensive literature review of deliberate self-burning (DSB) over a 20-year period, conducted by Medecins Sans Frontiers in 2003, Bulgaria had an average of 7.4 cases per year and a total number of cases only surpassed among European countries studied by the Netherlands.

As many of us recover from the announcement that Google is killing off Google Reader, Felix Salmon has a blog post to pour oil on the flames:

The result is that Google is going to be less of a utility, less of a public service, and more of a company with a constrained set of products. The problem with the death of Reader is that it was the architecture underpinning lots of other services — the connective tissue of just about all RSS readers and services, from Summify to Reeder to Flipboard.

RSS has been dying for years — that’s why Google killed Reader. It was a lovely open format; it has sadly been replaced with proprietary feeds like the ones we get from Twitter and Facebook. That’s not an improvement, but it is reality. Google, with Reader, was really providing the life-support mechanism for RSS. Once Reader is gone, I fear that RSS won’t last much longer.

Saudi Arabia is (possibly) moving away from sword beheadings as a method of execution, according to FP passport:

“This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages of official swordsmen,” the committee explained in a statement quoted by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. The committee also complained that official swordsmen have been known to show up late to executions.

Chrystia Freeland has a hard look at the scrutiny of Sheryl Sandberg's new “sort of feminist manifesto”, that makes me want to read it even more:

For women in the workplace, the problem is, as Sandberg told me in an interview this week, that “success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. As a man gets better, gets more successful, gets more powerful, gets to the corner office, everyone likes him better, men and women. As a woman gets more successful, everyone likes her less, men and women.”

One of the ironies of the ferocious reaction to Sandberg’s book is that much of it confirms her core thesis. The chief criticism of her is that she is offering a path to success for privileged women at the very top. Her book, the prosecution argues, speaks only for these she-wolves. What the critics are really saying is that Sandberg is behaving too much like a man, and speaking too much for other women who do the same thing.

The idea that wind farms can cause health problems has been kicking around for a while now, but Simon Chapman at The Conversation notes two new studies that suggest its all in our heads:

A study of mine published last night delivers a double whammy to those who argue that wind turbines cause health problems in communities.

Earlier this week researchers at the University of Auckland published an experimental study showing that people primed by watching online information about health problems from wind turbines, reported more symptoms after being exposed to recorded infrasound or to sham (fake) infrasound.

The study provided powerful evidence for the nocebo hypothesis: the idea that anxiety and fear about wind turbines being spread about by anti-wind farm groups, will cause some people hearing this scary stuff to get those symptoms.