Books

"Chrissie Hynde on artistic expression and the sexual revolution"

Ms. Hynde, speaking her mind.

You write pointedly about the sexual expectations of the 1960s. What do you think the sexual revolution has done for women?

I think it’s very convoluted. I’ve heard this kind of feminist argument a lot, there was a big sexual revolution and we took our lives into our own hands. It wasn’t like anyone took charge. I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad, but I think it confuses people. The idea of being promiscuous was cool in the sixties, because it meant you were free and you weren’t hung up. But that spreads a lot of disease. We could get rid of those diseases, so nothing seemed to matter. All people cared about was that you weren’t hung up. I mean, it’s very nice if you don’t want to have to be a stay-at-home housewife, but I’m not sure that was the choice people were making. I think they were putting that off as long as they wanted to and having as much sex as they could. I think it probably fucked up some people’s heads. You could bastardize what I’m saying, because I’m not making it very clear. But I’m not sure it was as liberating as it was almost enslaving. What’s liberation? That’s the real question. I’m still wondering myself.


"Solving the Poor"

A review of Robert Putnam's book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, by Amy L. Wax.

I also highly recommend her "Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure," Family Law Quarterly, Fall 2007, the sort of article that gets her branded a "racist" at one of our finer institutions of higher education.

See also "Family Structure Matters — Science Proves It". (And as Glenn Reynolds often cracks, we don't want to argue with science now do we?)


"Study shows college textbook prices up an insane 1,041% since 1977"

Yeah, yeah, but how does this fit with my experience? I have one observation to report. I purchased my undergraduate econometrics text, Jan Kmenta's  Elements of Econometrics, which I struggled with and grew to dislike intensely, but for unaccountable reasons have kept all these years (maybe as a reminder to stay humble, very humble), for spring semester of my junior year, so early 1977. The price--not stamped, not stickered, and, of course, not bar-coded--is written in pencil on the inside, first sheet after the cover: "$19.95". 

While a second edition of Kmenta is, apparently, still in print, I will ignore that. I can't imagine any university professor assigning it in 2015 given that there are many better choices available. One such better option is Stock and Watson's Introduction to Econometrics. Amazon quotes a list price of $260, but they'll sell it to you for $185.37. 

So at the list price, there's been an increase of 1203%; at the preferable transaction price, the increase is 829%. Either percentage is reasonably close to 1041%, or as they say in D.C., "close enough for government work". 

But--and this is an important "but"--Stock and Watson is a much better text. Is it eight times better than Kmenta, 1st edition? It's hard to say, but probably . . . close enough.


Precisely correct

Kyle Smith, reviewing  Ronald Bailey's new book, The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century:

Environmentalist groups are, of course, in the same business as the folks who brought you the “Saw” movies. Their fundraising depends on it, and the media rarely go back to fact-check past predictions, instead blustering ahead with the next dire warning.

Bailey doesn’t claim that global challenges simply resolve themselves — although, as we have seen, some scares were fictitious, based on junk science to begin with.

The doomsayers simply never account for the role of human cooperation and ingenuity in confronting challenges. . . .

So will global warming, a much more complicated issue than CFCs, be resolved by cooperation or ingenuity? Ask yourself which science has seen more breakthroughs in the last few decades — political science or technology.

Related: Matt Ridley, "The Green Scare Problem".

Also related: Jonathan V. Last, "Remember Ebola?"


Words to remember

From a review of Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Donald J. McNamara in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2015:

This book should be read by every nutritional science professional as a guide to risks of hubris and the unquestioning belief in whatever the conventional wisdom of the day is and to the consequences of basing public policy on belief as opposed to evidence of positive, beneficial effects. All scientists should read it as an example of how limited science can become federal policy, which may, in in the long run, be harmful when the basic tenets of science, skepticism, and consistent questioning are set aside to appease the powerful voices convinced that we must do something (even if we do not have the proof that that something is the right something).

(Sorry, no link because the piece is behind a paywall.)