« December 2016 | Main

January 2017

"The Everything Guide to Bottled Water"

If you drink bottled water like I do you might find this interesting.

I can quibble with this: "The logic’s controversial: Pure water measures a 7, after all, and the body might well maintain a proper pH balance regardless of what you consume." The pH of the blood is very tightly regulated, but--at least if my kidney stone doctor is correct--what you consume can and usually will affect the pH of your urine, which can be important in dealing with stones.

"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's"

You just know that that's got to be pretty bad.

Related: "It’s Happening".

Illinois is gradually bleeding out through ever deeper wounds inflicted by its own government. The most common question I get here is when it all blows up, but I doubt there will be any explosive event.

It’s not just happening, it’s worsening. The most recent news marks a death spiral in full swing. Population is shrinking, the tax base is eroding and the state’s revenue is declining, all while the underlying causes remain unaddressed and debt soars for the state and most of its municipalities.

And more: "Blue States Have Bigger Pension Debts Than Red States".

There's maybe some good news for California's pension problems: "Calif. Court’s Second Rejection of Pension Vested Rights May Help State Avoid Financial Disaster".

But there's also not-so-good news for some San Jose retirees: "California city overpays pensions for years, asks retirees for money back".

Also on California: "California's budget deficit is back, Gov. Jerry Brown says".

Less than four years after declaring California’s budget balanced for the foreseeable future, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said the state is projected to run a $1.6-billion deficit by next summer . . .

Everybody sing along with Sonny and Cher: "The Beat Goes On".

"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault"

Unless you live in a family of Duke fans like I do, you might not care about the Grayson Allen contretemps or even know about it. But here's a CBS report on the most recent event. The reporter writes:

I'll be honest: I had Duke-Boston College on television Saturday when the incident occurred, and I didn't even blink. Perhaps that's because I was also on social media and not totally focused. Maybe it's because my eyes are bad. Either way, the point's the same. I didn't notice it in real time. And neither did any of the three officials. 

So why did it become a huuuge deal? Because somebody put the video on Twitter. 

I'm not anti-technology. I'm not even opposed to Twitter. (For somebody who is, see "It's Time to Kill Twitter, Before It Kills Us".) I just think that journalists and writers of all kinds should devote less time and attention to a tiny, tiny number of folks who sound off on Twitter. Why does our national conversation have to be driven by them?

"Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"

I'd really like to know whether some people do not understand or just pretend to not understand that the minute you tell Americans--especially young Americans--"You can't think that. You can't say that." at least some of them will immediately want to think that and say that. You could even say that that's a vital part of a free society. And it's been going on a long time. See Marlon Brando's famous scene in  The Wild One (1953):

"Hey, Johnnie, what are you rebelling against?"

"Whatdya got?"

Related: "Why are people so terrified of Milo Yiannopoulos’s book?"

"An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"

Free--short--Principles text by Mathew Kahn, who has left UCLA for the University of Spoiled Children, that has an unusual approach:

. . . I still see an open niche here for a challenging e-book. Unlike other Principles books, this book will be “data driven”. I will present you with an empirical economics puzzle such as “why do men earn 22% more per hour than women”? I will then walk the reader through possible economic explanations for the fact but then we will go a step further. Often there will be several possible explanations for a given set of facts. I will challenge you to work with me to devise a new experiment for figuring out which explanation is right. In this sense, we will start with a set of facts.We will use economic logic to sketch out the set of possible explanations. We will then, because we are scientists, devise a new experiment for settling which of the explanations is right. The new experiment will generate new facts and the “correct theory” should both be able to explain the first fact and the new fact while the incorrect theories can explain the first fact but not the later facts.