Rolling Stone: Fracking Increases Risk of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer.

Some science-oriented wonks in the past kept spewing 'impermeable rock layers' to me. I maintain there are no impermeable rock layers. Oil and gas interests ARE POKING HOLES IN IT. By the DOZENS.

Do you realize how many leaking capped wells there are in Texas? Ever think about it? Cement fails. There is no such thing as a permanent cap. Last time I looked, Texas had two (TWO) individuals tasked with checking those thousands of wells. You do the math.

Inside Higher Ed: Cooper Union plans to restore free undergraduate tuition in a decade.

During their 'free tuition' period in the 80's and 90's, the assistants I would hire who had CU backgrounds were all of very high quality. Even compared to Parsons, Pratt, FIT or Manhattan Institute of Tech.

Just goes to show. Affluence has no relationship to actual talent.

WSJ: How Your Returns Are Used Against You at Best Buy, Other Retailers.

Are you used to ordering two or three of something, in order to guarantee you receive the correct size/shape/color/construction? Well, there's an outfit companies are using called Retail Equation to score you for your returns. Seriously. You may not be able to read this (WSJ paywall), so here's International Business Times as well.

Return a couple of things, you may find yourself locked out of making returns at all. You should be able to find this status out before you purchase, but there's a secret database involved. I've talked before about buying lenses, and needing to make a return if you get a bad copy. The above service could make this an untenable strategy for lens purchasing. I'll be asking retailers if they use that, or any similar service, before ordering. You should, too.

All in all, I find this pretty outrageous. I'm ready to pack up and live in the wilderness somewhere.

I expect the next thing will be sensors in appliances. If it registers a clunk, you get scored for 'appliance abuse' ...

naked cap: Elizabeth Warren Slams Democrats for Helping Gut Financial Regulations.

They stopped training credit officers who were able to analyze the risks of lending to idiosyncratic businesses, and to the extent that there will still old-school branch managers who had those skills, they cut or got rid of their ability to make discretionary loans and also gutted the higher level supervisory apparatus for small business loans.

And to what loan instruments do small businesses turn, if not the above? Credit cards. But interest rates have gone sky-high compared to previous decades. Miss a payment, you can end up in usurious ranges (30% or more, rates that shouldn't exist). So small business is suffering in America. More than it should. Politicians really want to brag about us on one hand, whip and starve us on the other.

NY Times: Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show.

... remove land that contained oil and natural gas deposits that had been set aside to help fund public schools.

Note my frequent observation - kids as political lever. If Utah kids protested for Bear Ears, what then? Senator Hatch might have an aneurysm.

I still believe it was more a uranium play than an oil and gas one. Notice not even a mention of uranium here. Simply because covering oil and gas hides the other, more politically-toxic agenda - note the language ("resolve all known mineral conflicts"). Oil and gas won't supply revenues immediately. Uranium will. But now I sound like a crank conspiracy theorist to my own ears, so I'll shut up now.