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October 2007

Glenn Reynolds has a question: "Hurricane Charley in Florida went okay. Katrina response in Mississippi was a lot better than in New Orleans. Now California seems to be dealing with this disaster competently. What could explain these differences?"

Hmmmmmm . . .

The Wall Street Journal's distinguished columnist, Walter S. Mossberg, is among the latest to slap Microsoft Vista:

. . . Vista has proved to be a disappointment, even though Microsoft says it's selling like hotcakes. Based on my own experience and on reports from readers, it's clear that many Vista PCs start up more slowly than new PCs running its predecessor, Windows XP, or than even well-worn Macs. And there is still a significant compatibility problem: Too many software and hardware products still don't run, or don't run properly, with Vista.

Mr. Mossberg crosses his fingers, though, and concludes:

Buying XP will likely result in fewer frustrations in the short run. But buying Vista may be the better choice for the long run. Over time, more and more products will be released that are tailored to the new system.

Great stuff from Mike Munger

Highlights from some recent Mike Munger posts.

A reader asks Professor Munger, "Scandinavian countries get a great reputation for providing a high standard of living alongside big government programs to redistribute wealth. I am sure they didn't invent a free lunch up there so what part of the story am I missing?"

Part of Munger's answer (read the whole thing):

In short, the Northern European solution involves:
a. Keep out the poor people
b. Send lots of your poor people to the U.S., where by the way they become rich and prosperous.
c. Rely on a cultural ethic of working hard, even if lazy people take advantage of you.

(a) is still working pretty well. (c) is falling apart.

Somebody--it's not clear who--takes Munger to task, using comments posted on RateMyProfessors.com. Part of Munger's reply (again, RTWT):

3. Some students don't like having to think. They prefer to have lectures read to them, instead of thinking. Those students should not take my classes. The idea that "prepared" means having the professor read lecture notes is rather silly.

Finally, Munger reads a post that quotes Science Daily:

Charlotte has a spooky secret: the North Carolina city is home to a robust population of very large barred owls -- a species long-believed by ornithologists to require old growth forest for survival. According to ecologists doing the most extensive field study ever done on the species, the owls see urban life as an upgrade on the old woods, and Charlotteans are not at all creeped out by the big birds that share their yards.

He then comments--and this is just too good:

You mean, in re the barred owls:

1. Species are capable of adaptation in the face of environmental change?
2. That all the crap about having to preserve forests because species CANNOT adapt was just treehugger propaganda?
3. That the folks who tell us that we are losing undiscovered species at an unprecedented rate might just be wrong?