DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Thought for the Day

17th December 2014

“Jeb’s a nice guy, and would certainly be a better President than Obama — but, then, my cat would be a better President than Obama, and I don’t own a cat.”

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

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Hit Me Harder, I’ve Been Bad!

16th December 2014

Read it.

Mocking treasured liberal slogans is as easy as shooting (bicycle-riding) fish in a barrel.

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Thought for the Day

16th December 2014

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Can a Simple Algebra Test Predict Programming Aptitude?

14th December 2014

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Shown above, our students’ performance on the algebra test predicts their future performance on programming tasks. As with all studies involving human subjects, there’s a fair amount of variance and outliers (e.g. the highly-rated student who scored only a 52% on the algebra test). But we can still confidently say that a student who scores a 75% or higher on the test will most likely be an above-average programmer, whereas a student who scores 60% or below will most likely be a below-average programmer.

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The Irregular Verbs

14th December 2014

Steven Pinker gets his nerd on.

The irregulars are defiantly quirky. Thousands of verbs monotonously take the -ed suffix for their past tense forms, but ring mutates to rang, not ringed, catch becomes caught, hit doesn’t do anything, and go is replaced by an entirely different word, went (a usurping of the old past tense of to wend, which itself once followed the pattern we see in send-sent and bend-bent). No wonder irregular verbs are banned in “rationally designed” languages like Esperanto and Orwell’s Newspeak — and why recently a woman in search of a nonconformist soul-mate wrote a personal ad that began, “Are you an irregular verb?”

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122 Things Everyone Should Know About Investing and the Economy

14th December 2014

The Motley Fool tells you what you need to know.

9. Wealth is relative. As comedian Chris Rock said, “If Bill Gates woke up with Oprah’s money he’d jump out the window.”

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

14th December 2014

And Your Bird Can Sing

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Kling’s List

14th December 2014

Read it.

Arnold Kling‘s Not What They Had in Mind is a short book which lays out why he thinks the financial meltdown of 2008 happened. It costs 87 cents on Amazon Kindle and is an easy read, as economics books go.

His basic theory is that each generation of regulators creates an unintentional policy bomb from the ruins of the most recent crisis. They prepare to fight the last economic disaster and prepare the ground for the next one. One of his key graphs is a timeline of regulatory regimes starting from the 1934 National Housing Act until the 2004 Housing Interim Goals set for 2005-2008. They regs as they stood in 2008 were just the thing to prevent the disasters of the previous decades, but unfortunately that was not the crisis they faced.

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Thought for the Day

13th December 2014

Democrats copy

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Why Math Might Be the Secret to School Success

10th December 2014

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Morris says a 2013 study by Greg Duncan, at the University of California, Irvine’s School of Education, showed that math knowledge at the beginning of elementary school was the single most powerful predictor determining whether a student would graduate from high school and attend college. “We think math might be sort of a lever to improve outcomes for kids longer term,” Morris says.

Oh, ya think?

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Fighting the Language Fragmentation

10th December 2014

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A German blogger explains why he’s switching to English.

Language

I would put it like this: Everything that is not being expressed in English does not matter on a global scale, is not being seen by others, is not being shared, questioned and re-thought by enough people with different views and experiences. Or, if it matters, it happens with a delay (until the translation and distribution in foreign circles).

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Thought for the Day

10th December 2014

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Obama Becomes First President to Write a Computer Program

10th December 2014

Read it.

I predict that it crashed.

The most interesting part of the picture is the girl with him, who appears to be no more ‘black’ than he is. Perhaps the implicit message is that one needs significant white ancestry in order to code. The brown-bag-and-ruler test appears to be alive and well.

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Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report Confirms That CIA Did Not Torture Detainees

10th December 2014

Read it.

First, the tone of the report is remarkably hostile to the CIA. It reads like a prosecutor’s brief. I don’t know what the Agency did to get on the wrong side of Dianne Feinstein, but the report is, seemingly, an act of revenge. I suspect that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed himself would render a more sympathetic account of the CIA’s interrogation program than we got from Senate Democrats.

Second, a great deal of the report is devoted to proving that the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques did no good. I didn’t find this discussion particularly persuasive, mostly because it is so patently partisan and one-sided. Further, while it is appropriate for the intelligence agencies themselves to analyze the success, or lack thereof, of various approaches they have used, this issue strikes me as almost beside the point. In the aftermath of 9/11, it was vitally important to learn all we could about al Qaeda–who was in it, how it was organized, how its members communicated, and above all, what other plots were in the works. It was appropriate to try just about anything to get information from the small number of high-level al Qaeda members to whom we then had access. If some techniques worked and others didn’t, so be it; but they all had to be tried.

Third, the report goes to great lengths to document alleged misrepresentations by the Agency concerning the enhanced interrogation program. Many of these come from Congressional testimony by former CIA Director Michael Hayden. The Agency has acknowledged that Hayden got some facts wrong, especially relating to events that occurred before he became Director. In other instances, I don’t find the Committee’s effort very persuasive. Once again, the vituperative tone of the report undermines its credibility.

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Government for the Strongest

9th December 2014

George Will pulls back the curtain.

Intellectually undemanding progressives, excited by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — advocate of the downtrodden and the Export-Import Bank — have at last noticed something obvious: Big government, which has become gargantuan in response to progressives’ promptings, serves the strong. It is responsive to factions sufficiently sophisticated and moneyed to understand and manipulate its complexity.

Hence Democrats, the principal creators of this complexity, receive more than 70 percent of lawyers’ political contributions. Yet progressives, refusing to see this defect — big government captured by big interests — as systemic, want to make government an ever more muscular engine of regulation and redistribution. Were progressives serious about what used to preoccupy America’s left — entrenched elites, crony capitalism and other impediments to upward mobility — they would study “The New Class Conflict,” by Joel Kotkin, a lifelong Democrat.

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Kroger Profits Up 21 Percent After Refusing to Ban Guns

9th December 2014

Read it.

In mid-August Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a campaign pressuring Kroger to bar law-abiding citizens from openly carrying guns for self-defense in their stores. Kroger refused to change its policy and in the third quarter–“ending Nov. 8″–Kroger saw a “21 percent increase in profit…compared with the same period last year.”

I guess that’ll show ‘em.

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The Search for Exceptional Genomes

7th December 2014

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This is the sort of discussion that makes ‘progressive’ heads explode. It is therefore virtuous ipso facto.

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The Resource Leak Bug of Our Civilization

7th December 2014

Read it.

Our mainstream economic system is oriented towards maximal production and growth. This effectively means that participants are forced to maximize their portions of the cake in order to stay in the game. It is therefore necessary to insert useless and even harmful “tumor material” in one’s own economical portion in order to avoid losing one’s position. This produces an ever-growing global parasite fungus that manifests as things like black boxes, planned obsolescence and artificial creation of needs.

I’m not sure where he’s going with this but it’s an interesting read.

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The Shape of Rome

7th December 2014

Read it.

A fascinating review of the many layers that accrete in an ancient city.

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Discovering How Greeks Computed in 100 B.C.

7th December 2014

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After a closer examination of a surviving marvel of ancient Greek technology known as the Antikythera Mechanism, scientists have found that the device not only predicted solar eclipses but also organized the calendar in the four-year cycles of the Olympiad, forerunner of the modern Olympic Games.

The new findings, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, also suggested that the mechanism’s concept originated in the colonies of Corinth, possibly Syracuse, on Sicily. The scientists said this implied a likely connection with Archimedes.

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Pearl Harbor Day

7th December 2014

Some of us remember.

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Eric Garner’s Death Has Nothing to Do With Racism and Everything to Do With Bad Nanny State Laws

5th December 2014

Matt Welch cuts through the crap.

‘Killed over selling untaxed cigarettes. What a shame!’ Yes, it is a shame, but who decided to make it a crime to buy a box of cigarettes and sell a few of them? Who decided that depriving the city and state of tax revenue ought to be a criminal matter? Who decided to ruthlessly track down and punish anyone who cheats the government out of a few pennies? Who decided to employ cops as fundraising agents for the State? Who made it nearly impossible for an average Joe to afford cigarettes in New York with the rationale that the average Joe shouldn’t smoke in the first place? Who turns petty acts into crimes and then allocates police resources towards prosecuting those crimes? Who goes around thinking of ways to meddle in every aspect of American life? Who made the Nanny State?

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Thought for the Day

4th December 2014

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“Hands off, don’t loot.”

3rd December 2014

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Law abiding, tax paying, responsible citizens need some gesture or symbol of solidarity that is photogenic. I am thinking perhaps, one hand over our back pocket/wallet with the other hand waist high outstretched palm forward, as in “don’t come toward me, don’t rob me, don’t try to assault me.” I’m sure Ramirez could render a model.

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‘ Do not rebuild in Ferguson.’

1st December 2014

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From a kid who survived the Hough Riots in Cleveland nearly a half century ago, some unsolicited advice to the business owners in Ferguson, Missouri: Do not bother rebuilding. Your customers do not want you. They tore up your stores — twice. And after one of them robbed a store. These are not protests. They are pogroms aimed at the middle class. Take the insurance money and run.

Police officers, too, should leave. Why risk a criminal trial or worse for doing your job?

Homeowners, too. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic — it does not matter. You are middle class. They do not want you. Leave.

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Robot Sub Finds Surprisingly Thick Antarctic Sea Ice

1st December 2014

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The discovery adds to the ongoing mystery of Antarctica’s expanding sea ice. According to climate models, the region’s sea ice should be shrinking each year because of global warming. Instead, satellite observations show the ice is expanding, and the continent’s sea ice has set new records for the past three winters. At the same time, Antarctica’s ice sheet (the glacial ice on land) is melting and retreating.

Hey, maybe (just maybe) the climate models are wrong and THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL WARMING. Just maybe.

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Why You Don’t Want Programmers Running the Government

30th November 2014

The General Problem

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The Physical Evidence in the Michael Brown Case Supported the Officer [Updated With DNA Evidence]

30th November 2014

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An article from The Wasington Post with the truth about the Ferguson Grand Jury decision.

The Washington Post has this extremely helpful graphical presentation of what happened during the shooting, with links to some of the physical evidence in the case.  What follows is my discussion of what appears to be some of the most significant.  To be clear, I do not purport here to completely describe all the forensic evidence and related testimony.  But I will commit to carefully reviewing all of the comments to this post and if anyone points to a significant omission in what I’m describing about the physical evidence — and provides a citation to the volume and page number of the grand jury testimony for that omission — I’ll be glad to consider adding discussion of it.  This post is limited to discussing the physical evidence, as witness testimony cuts in many different directions.

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Thought for the Day

30th November 2014

Penguin

‘What’s this “Hope and Change” crap he’s always on about?’

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Black History II

30th November 2014

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In celebration of Black Alternative History Month, the Carlyle Club continues to call the Attorney General’s bluff with a forthright conversation about the most uncomfortable aspects of race we could think of.

Table of Contents

  1. Mind the Gap

  2. Race Differences in Intelligence, plus:

    1. Return of the Derb
  3. The Evolution of an Idea, including:

    1. Tropical Living
    2. Indian Artistry
    3. No Expectations
    4. “Like a Parrot Who Speaks a Few Words Plainly”
    5. “Almost Completely Worthless”
    6. “Political Partisanship and Liberal Hackery”
    7. Savage Africa
    8. Harsh Words
  4. Mulatto History Month

  5. A Different Sort of Delusion, plus:

    1. ’Tis Sixty Years Since
  6. Rushton’s Case, featuring:

    1. Brainpower
  7. The Celebration Continues at Radish

  8. Recommended Reading

  9. Letters to the Editor

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“Let’s give Ideology the quits”

30th November 2014

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Why are we wedded — if we are, as it seems we are — to the use of the term ideology when we cite our political dispositions? Is it a matter of necessity? A matter of mere alterable preference? A matter of superior rhetorical utility?

Or might it rather be some sort of colossal cosmic irony, an infection in our commonplace political vocabulary by a received term we were handed down [in relative innocence] by our parents and teachers, a term which only seems to meet a descriptive need, a handy name for political categorizations, but a term about whose implications we have no earthly clue?

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Chinese Eugenics

30th November 2014

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China has been running the world’s largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China’s ever-faster rise as the global superpower. I worry that this poses some existential threat to Western civilization. Yet the most likely result is that America and Europe linger around a few hundred more years as also-rans on the world-historical stage, nursing our anti-hereditarian political correctness to the bitter end.

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How the Chicken Built America

30th November 2014

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THIS season millions of Americans will celebrate with turkey on the table. The turkey is, after all, the native North American animal that Benjamin Franklin considered “a much more respectable bird” than the scavenging bald eagle. But while the eagle landed on the country’s Great Seal and the turkey gets pride of place at our holiday dinners, neither bird can claim to have changed American culture more than their lowly avian cousin, the chicken.

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GiveDirectly

30th November 2014

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Consider GiveDirectly this holiday season for your charitable giving. As you may recall, GiveDirectly was started by four economists and it gives money directly to the very poor in Kenya and Uganda. GiveDirectly is a top-rated charity by GiveWell. The founders are committed to providing independent, randomized controlled trials of its process. One RCT has already been conducted with positive results and 3 others are under way. GiveDirectly publicizes the trials of its process before the results are produced. Impressive–the drug companies had to be forced to do this. Check out their website, they even provides real-time performance data. Here’s a bit more on their process.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a similar program for poor people in America? Perhaps we could get the Kenyans and Ugandans to set one up; obviously Americans are too busy.

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No Exit

29th November 2014

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, lays out some inconvenient truth.

It’s all too drearily familiar, isn’t it? Newark and Detroit; Miami; Crown Heights; Los Angeles; Cincinnati; here we go again.

The problem with separatism is that blacks would be nuts to want it. With all the real or imagined indignities of minority status, life is far better for them in a white nation.

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Happy Turkey Day

27th November 2014

One of the newest fads for celebrating Thanksgiving is a Turducken — a chicken stuffed inside of a duck, which is in turn stuffed inside of a turkey.

Not sure what a combination of a turkey, duck, and chicken looks like? Well, lucky you — we have a picture:

 

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The Anatomy of Shows

27th November 2014

anatomy-of-shows

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Giving Thanks for Property Rights

27th November 2014

Read it.

One of the traditions the Pilgrims had brought with from England was a practice known as “farming in common” (the “common course and condition” to Bradford). Everything produced became community property, to be allocated according to need as specified in the Mayflower Compact.

They had thought “the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing,” Bradford writes. Instead, “for this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.” Young, able-bodied men resented working for others without compensation, which they saw as an “injustice.”

After three winters of near-starvation, Bradford and his advisors decided to experiment when it came time for the spring planting. They set aside a plot of land for each family “that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard to trust to themselves.”

“This had very good success,” Bradford writes, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content.”

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The Architecture of Urban Unrest

27th November 2014

Steve Sailer connects the dots.

The Medici Palace in Florence was built in the 1440s with heavy stone on the street level and delicate windows on the top floor, both to express the upward-yearning spirit of the Renaissance and to keep the urban mob from dismantling the place when they got uppity, as they were known to do.

One of the best of the retro stadiums was Jacobs Field in Cleveland, which opened a couple of years later and sold out 455 games in a row. A friend told me an interesting rumor. He’d been talking to Mr. Jacobs, owner of the Cleveland Indians, and they got on the topic of why the White Sox new ballpark was so uninviting and closed-off. Mr. Jacobs told him that the owners of the White Sox had some kind of arrangement with the city of Chicago to use the ballpark as a giant holding pen for rioters, much in the traditional manner of a South American soccer stadium.

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Thought for the Day

26th November 2014

Non Sequitur

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Liberals Can’t Believe their Eyes: More Women in Congress After GOP Wave

25th November 2014

Read it.

When five liberal Democratic senators were elected in 1992, pundits gleefully proclaimed it the year of the woman. Yet their arrival in the Senate, along with that of 24 female freshmen representatives, brought the total number of women in Congress to about 60, or little more than half of what it is today. “A defining moment of change was the general election of 1992 dubbed the ‘Year of the Woman,’ “the official House of Representatives web site proclaims. “The arrival of 28 new women in Congress resulted from the confluence of historic circumstances that have not recurred since.”

How about that War on Women, eh?

 

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Thought for the Day

25th November 2014

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Talking Past Each Other: Truth and Untruth

25th November 2014

John C. Wright looks behind the curtain.

We have a whole generation of people who seek the kind of thing people naturally seek from God (love, meaning, a moral compass, communion and companionship, self-worth) they are now seeking from politics.

That is why these modern Postchristian people — so overwhelmingly Leftist that in this column I use the terms interchangeably — are immune to facts during normal political discussions and debates: to them it is not a political discussion.

Rather, it is a religious discussion.

Let us distinguish: A political discussion is how best to arrange the laws to achieve peace and freedom. A religious discussion is always about what one must do to be saved.

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Urban Planning Ideas for 2030, When Billions Will Live in Megacities

25th November 2014

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The statistics are staggering: Researchers predict that by 2025, the world will have 37 megacities, defined as urban areas with more than 10 million people. New York City and Newark are expected to have more than 23 million inhabitants; Tokyo, more than 38 million people. All told, well over half of the world’s population will be living in these super settlements.

Uh-huh. Name one instance where predictions by ‘urban planners’ have come to pass.

Indeed, one might extend that challenge to ‘researchers’ generally. Well, let’s see, there’s ‘peak oil’, and ‘climate change’, and the exponentially explosive growth of population that the Zero Population Growth people warned us about…. (Oh, wait….)

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Fun and Games on the Old South Side

25th November 2014

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Haven’t seen this sort of action in the neighborhood since they tore down the Delaware Terrace projects. The cops raided a house about a block away from TOF, looking for a fellow who had been dealing heroin on a nearby playground. There is an alley running behind the duplexes shown in the picture, and the playground is across that alley. In TOF’s youth, that playground was actually a cornfield, improbably surrounded by houses and (on one side) by a carpet factory. Every spring the farmer would drive his tractor down from the hill and plow it up and plant corn. Eventually, a new generation of kids arose who regarded the corn as free for the taking, so he gave up and sold out and the city built a park where people could pedal heroin. The carpet factory is also gone. There is a drug store on the site.

Funny how all the behavioral sinks tend to be in areas governed (if you can call it that) by Democrats.

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Urbanists Need to Face the Full Implications of ‘Peak Car’

25th November 2014

Read it. Ponder the graphs.

Indeed, the “peak car” is antithetical to the reigning urbanist paradigm of highways known as “induced demand.”  Induced demand is Say’s Law for roads: supply of lanes creates its own demand by drivers to fill them. Hence building more roads to reduce congestion is pointless. But if we’ve really reached peak car, maybe we really can build our way out of congestion after all.

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New Word Day

24th November 2014

Freeberg nails it again.

Had this one germinating in my cranium for awhile. SNews (n.): News that is produced for the benefit of the producer of the news, or some third-party who has entered into some transaction with the producer of the news, rather than for the benefit of the consumer of the news.

If you like, you can think of it as a portmanteau for “sponsored news.” It is meant to be a homonym of snooze. The litmus test is: Thinking of the “news” as an answer to a question, does the question it answers bear any resemblance to a question the audience would have been asking? If it doesn’t — and lately, I notice, it very rarely does — then it isn’t really “news,” is it?

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Chinese Buying Detroit

24th November 2014

Read it.

To paraphrase John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, there is very little wrong with any large American city that a million ethnic Chinese wouldn’t fix.

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Today’s Renewable Energy Technologies Won’t Save Us.

24th November 2014

Read it.

As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.

Lewis Page, in British tech pub The Register, expands on that:

Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible. Merely generating the relatively small proportion of our energy that we consume today in the form of electricity is already an insuperably difficult task for renewables: generating huge amounts more on top to carry out the tasks we do today using fossil-fuelled heat isn’t even vaguely plausible.

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Studying for the Test by Taking It

23rd November 2014

Read it.

One leading researcher in this field, Henry L. Roediger III of Washington University in St. Louis, argues that tests of varying scale and intensity can deepen learning. “We now know that testing, including self-testing, is an especially powerful form of study,” said Dr. Roediger, co-author of the book “Make It Stick.”

Tests find out what you know. That’s all they do. Yet to read a lot of what passes for discussion these days, especially among ‘educators’, you’d think that making a student take a test is somehow a violation of his or her civil rights.

“Oh, I don’t test well.” Better learn, then; that’s like saying that you can’t walk well. Real Life is constantly putting one in situations where one either has to come up with a fact or successfully exercise a skill — in other words, IT’S A TEST — and the technical term for those who ‘don’t test well’ is FAILURE. Now, I realize that to be a FAILURE in this degenerate modern age isn’t the Bad Thing that it used to be, but it’s not a Good Thing, either.

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