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August 01, 2014

"I got a line on you"

Spirit, 30 years ago.

Charles C. writes, "This is one of those songs that simply MUST be played at full volume!"

"The Next Big Programming Language You’ve Never Heard Of"

What comes after "C"?

"This Map Explains Why Midwesterners Find New Yorkers Weird"

I thought the answer might be "Because they are weird." But noooooooooo.

July 31, 2014

"At this bar I go to, the prices of the beers change every 15 minutes based on supply and demand inside the bar."

Fifteen minutes seems a little short, but the idea is certainly worth experimenting with. (Unless it's just a marketing gimmick.)

"How American Beer Became Great Again"

It wasn't that long ago that we heard Anheuser-Busch and huge seller concentration would be the absolute death of American beer.

Surprise!

"Compassion and the Rule of Law"

Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary:

But that isn’t what’s at stake in this debate. Nobody is saying that the kids shouldn’t be cared for. But the notion, pushed by the United Nations and a growing volume of liberal commentators, is that we must treat these illegals as refugees and let them stay in America rather than being sent back home.

The argument for this proposition rests principally on the idea that the kids are in genuine danger from violence in their own countries. Looked at from that point of view, sending them back would be a death sentence. Thus, granting them asylum is being represented as not merely ethical but our obligation as civilized people.

But the problem with this reasoning is that if this position is allowed to stand, Central America and indeed, much of the rest of the world, might well empty out as immigrants seeking a better life pour into the United States.

"Two Top Experts Debate the Outlook for Growth"

Summary of Joel Mokyr's reply to Robert Gordon's stagnation thesis.

July 30, 2014

*This* is a bigger problem than inequality

"Employers say they can't fill jobs—and here's why".

A declining unemployment rate—now at 6.1 percent—would seem to mean that employers are packing their payrolls with workers. But many businesses say they are having a harder time filling open positions this year than last year, according to a new survey.

"The Worst Days To Do 19 Common Activities"

Worst days, supposedly, to eat out, to drive, and more.

"How A Former Denny's Waitress Amassed An Empire Of Over 75 Denny's Locations"

The American Dream lives for at least this one lady.

Two on Google

"Google Is About To Take Over Your Whole Life, And You Won't Even Notice".

"Google’s Master Plan--It’s easy: Turn everything into data."

July 29, 2014

"The Trouble with Campus Rape Tribunals"

Includes this information important, I think, for addessing the problem:

Every year, there are horrific crimes against female students, often perpetrated by a small number of men who prey upon first-year women who are under the influence of alcohol. United Educators, an insurance company owned by 1,160 member colleges and universities, reported that between 2005 and 2010, 63 percent of complainants filing claims of sexual assault are first-year students, and their assaults typically occur in September. In 92 percent of these claims, the complainant was under the influence of alcohol. More than 60 percent of these claims involved women who were so drunk that they had no memory of the assault. Eighty-one percent of these assaults occurred in student dormitoriesResearch by forensic consultant David Lisak indicates that three percent of college men account for over 90 percent of college rapes.

Link via Glenn Reynolds.

"Piketty’s Can Opener"

Jim Manzi:

In summary, Piketty has weak evidence to support his theory for why CEO pay has increased in America. What evidence he has covers only CEOs of public companies, and hence about 3 percent of the top 0.1 percent. His whole model, even if correct and extended beyond what is supported by the evidence could only apply to about one-fourth of the top 0.1 percent. And this very group that he claims is responsible for driving income inequality in America is collapsing as a share of the top 0.1 percent.

Piketty’s explanation for rising inequality in America plays to many people’s predispositions, but he has no real evidence that it’s true. Therefore accepting the predictions he makes for the effect of his policies would be incredibly dangerous.

Ouch.

"Closing Comments"

K. C. Johnson winds up the "Durham-In-Wonderland" blog.

He bravely accomplished, very well, what he set out to do, so now he's moving on.  (If only some government agencies--hello, TVA!--did the same.)

"The Latest Public-Sector Pension Scandal"

Ira Stoll, Reason:

The current system takes rich money managers, who ordinarily might be a voice for lower taxes and restrained government spending, and makes them beholden, for business, on public pension boards that sometimes include union officials. Instead of arguing for less generous pensions, or for personal accounts that employees would manage individually, the money managers now have incentives to argue for more generous pensions and to avoid upsetting the system that is enriching them. . . . 

What should be done? Shut these pension funds down and turn the money over to the individual employees and retirees. Let the government workers open retirement accounts at Charles Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, and so on, just like much of the rest of America does. Let the money managers compete for individual business by advertising on the basis of price, service, or performance, rather than by paying off government officials with shoeboxes or paper bags full of cash.

Link via Glenn Reynolds.

"The real Medicaid problem"

"The paradox is that a progressive program also has unprogressive consequences."

That's no "paradox". It happens all the time. See, for another example, "Banning Big-box Stores Can Hurt Local Retailers".

July 28, 2014

"The Common Core Commotion Haven’t we seen this movie before?"

Magnificent attack on education reform by Andrew Ferguson. Virtually no one escapes. He concludes as follows:

The delays and distancing suggest a cloudy future for the Common Core. Even its advocates say that the best possible outcome for now involves a great deal more unpleasantness: The tests will be given to many students beginning next spring, and the results will demonstrate the catastrophic state of learning in American schools. Of course, we knew that, but still. “Maybe this will be a reality check,” one booster told me the other day. “People will take a look at the results and say, ‘Aha! So this is what they’ve been talking about!’ It will send a very strong signal.”

It would indeed, but a signal to do what? Educationists don’t like unpleasantness; it’s not what they signed up for when they became reformers. We already know what happened when NCLB state tests exposed the reality of American public schools. It was time for a new reform. 

In that case, Common Core would survive, but only as NCLB survives—as a velleity, a whiff of a hint of a memory of a gesture toward an aspiration for excellence. And the educationists will grow restless. Someone somewhere will come up with a new reform program, a whole new approach—one with teeth, and high-stakes consequences for stakeholders. Bill Gates will get wind of it. He will be intrigued. His researchers will design experiments to make sure the program is scientifically sound. Data will be released at seminars, and union leadership will lend tentative support. The president will declare a crisis and make reform a national priority. She will want to be called an education president too.

"Solving California's Drought Problem: Market Pricing"

Still more on the fabulous lie that "government is the name we give to things we do together":

The New York Times reports that "cities across California are encouraging residents to tattle on their neighbors for wasting water" — just the kind of behavior that we want our government to cultivate.

Those reluctant to squeal are instead shaming residents they see washing their cars and watering their lawns, and embarrassing anyone suspected of taking long showers.

To help out, water officials in Los Angeles will soon offer hangers that residents can "slip anonymously around the doorknobs of neighbors whose sprinklers are watering the sidewalk."

What a swell way for government to pit neighbors against each other and create conditions that could explode into violence. But then, what should we expect when some officials defend the shaming practice because it's akin to an "education" program?

Even more: "Snitch nation".

There is value in collective self-policing, a feature of health societies that will never and should never disappear entirely. And public shaming has a rich, if lamentable, Western tradition dating back to the stockades. But the rise of an informant culture in America is distinct from self-policing, and many appear to participate in the encouraged practice of informing on others more in service to a base desire to indulge in a little schadenfreude than anything else.

"Madness in Madison"

Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, W. Lee Hansen:

The University of Wisconsin adopted its first diversity plan back in 1966 and every few years it launches a much-touted new one. During my 30-year teaching career at Madison, followed by more than a decade of retirement, I have seen not the slightest bit of evidence that the fixation on “diversity” has made the campus better in any respect.

I predict this new Inclusive Excellence plan will fail to produce its hoped-for utopian outcomes. In a few years, the university will hear demands for yet another diversity plan.  

Achieving “diversity” is like sailing toward the horizon.

You never get there.

"The First Single-Payer Domino"

Conservatives need to watch this: "If the health-care experiment fails in Vermont, it would send shock waves nationwide."

"Shalom, motherf****r"

Very well put.

But I will not apologise for surviving.

For surviving missiles intended to kill me. The fact they didn’t kill me doesn’t mean they weren’t sent with the intention to murder. We have a defence system, shelters, evacuation procedures and governments who take care of us – I will not apologise for living and surviving thanks to being prepared because we have a culture that celebrates our lives and cherishes them instead of sending 10-year old children to be fighters and bombers. I will not apologise for having a business, a home, a family and friends here who want normal lives and to live in peace with our neighbors. I will not apologise for existing and I want nothing more than to co-exist quietly with neighbors who accept me here.

 

"The Economics of Marriage, and Family Breakdown"

By Isabel Sawhill, Senior Fellow at Brookings. Includes this:

A child's education begins in the home. No improvement in public policy can compete with what only families can provide.

July 27, 2014

"RE2PECT"

Nobody makes ads like Nike.

Nobody.

"Ten most valuable albums of all time"

If you have a low-numbered copy of the White Album, it's supposedly worth about $10,000.

July 26, 2014

"The 25 Best Romantic Comedies Since When Harry Met Sally"

Of the ones listed that I've seen, I like 10 Things I Hate About You, Groundhog Day, and especially Clueless.

"8 Star Trek Technologies Moving From Science Fiction To Science Fact"

One more reason why Star Trek--particularly the original series--is great

July 25, 2014

"9 Actors Who Do the Exact Same Thing on Every Movie Poster"

Revealing: "#5. Jennifer Aniston Is Always With a Guy and Never Really Happy About It".

"ESPN First Take- Best of Jay Pharoah Impersonations"

He's good.

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