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December 2008

Three pieces that seem appropriate on New Year's Eve

The new year means that, according to polls, a great many Americans will once again be trying to lose weight. So maybe this well help: "The Seven Pillars of Successful Weight Loss".

One blogger's "Things I've Learned" (Minyanville, a year ago). Three things I especially agree with:

Time is the most precious commodity.

To appreciate where we are, you must understand how we got here.

Tenacity and resolve are the hallmarks of success.

Finally, I meant to link to this around Thanksgiving, but I forgot. Sorry. Susan Estrich's graceful, moving "Giving Thanks".

I wish a happy and healthy new year to all my readers.

Some items you might find useful . . .

. . . if you find your PC beset by a really nasty trojan.

1. McAfee Rootkit Detective. Before you can solve the problem, you need to identify it. Rootkit Detective did that very well. (Google helped, too, as usual.)

These three pieces of software each fixed part of the problem:

2. The Avenger.

3. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.

4. SUPERantispyware.

Finally, at a crucial point I couldn't do anything because the machine was booting into CHKDSK and then repeatedly hanging. Google turned up advice that I needed to boot from CD and then run CHKDSK /F. Several "boot" disks I had failed to work. But Dell's Reinstallation CD worked swell. Many people on the Net recommend to always have the manufacturer's OS reinstallation CD handy.

Something I should read soon

Conin, Easterly, and Gong, "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?"

To the extent that history is discussed at all in economic development, it is usually either the divergence associated with the Industrial Revolution or the effects of colonial regimes. Is it possible that precolonial, preindustrial history also matters significantly for today's national economic development? The authors find that technology adoption circa 1500 A.D., prior to the era of colonization and extensive European contacts, predicts approximately 50 percent of cross-country differences in both current per capita income and technology in a large cross-section of countries. When exploring the causes of this extreme persistence in technology, they find evidence in favor of the importance of the effect of current adoption on subsequent adoption as the main driver. This leaves a limited role to country-specific factors such as institutions, geography, or genes to explain the persistence of technology.

"Creative Conservatism"

The editors of the Weekly Standard call for conservatives to be creative.

I don't know how creative it is, but here's my program:

1. Phased-in--current recipients get all promised benefits--increase in the age for full Social Security/Medicare benefits to 75.

2. The Federal government sells a lot of its 600+ million acres of land.

3. A two-year freeze of federal spending (except for interest on the debt and defense).

4. Cuts in marginal personal and corporate income tax rates, payroll tax rates, and capital gains tax rates.

But please note that if nominated I will not run, and if elected I will not serve.