DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for May, 2013

Study Shows ‘Red’ States Rank Highest in Economic Potential

31st May 2013

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Gee, now I wonder why that might be?

The “Red States, Poor States” study, the sixth of its kind to be released by the conservative think tank, measured states based on 15 factors, ranging from minimum wage laws to tax rates to labor policy.

Almost all of the top 10 tend to vote “red” in presidential and state elections. At the top of the list, for the sixth year in a row, was Utah.

“The real key to Utah is low tax rates, but more than that a predictable tax climate,” said Jonathan Williams, with ALEC. “Utah legislators are very conscientious about the fact that they don’t spend beyond their means and also they don’t make changes in tax policy retroactively.  They make changes very gradually and they generally make them in a lower tax direction.”

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Simon Jenkins Is an Ass

31st May 2013

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One of the blind spots of the progressive mind proceeds directly from the rock-solid assumption that, since Progress is inevitable and Progress isn’t possible without change, any change will therefore lead to Progress and so failing to change is somehow throwing Progress under the bus.

Therefore, those who refuse to see change, any change, as an improvement aren’t just wrong, they are Enemies of the Future and therefore of Mankind. And if change doesn’t work out, well, just change it again! There are an infinite number of possible ways to change, and therefore an infinite number of possible avenues to Progress, so inevitably we’ll hit on one, and everything will be golden.

As things fall apart around them, they bask in the warm glow of denial, comforted by the thought that We’re On Our Way To The Future.

Morons, every one of them.

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Complex Crystal ‘Flowers’ Self-Assemble With Chemical Manipulation

30th May 2013

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Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have grown microscopic fields of flower-like structures made of crystals. Project lead Wim L. Noorduin and his colleagues were able to modify the growth of the crystals through tiny chemical alterations of a fluid containing water, liquid glass, and the salt barium chloride. Carbon dioxide from the air dissolved into the solution, forming solid barium carbonate crystals. “This precipitation happens spontaneously,” says Noorduin, but by controlling the amount of carbon dioxide that dissolves into the solution, the team was able to change the way the crystals formed. A high amount of carbon dioxide led to “broad, radiating leaves,” while low carbon dioxide levels could create “a thin stem, or a rosette of petals.”

We have the technology. Kinda scary, really….

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NY Union Workers Fed Up With Boss’s Two-Hour Work Day

30th May 2013

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If you’ve ever been in trouble for sleeping on the job, take heart: you can still achieve upward mobility in a local union.

Take, for instance, Mark Rosenthal, the president of Local 983 of District Council 37 in New York. Rosenthal makes $156,000 a year and apparently spends only two hours a day at work–much of that napping, according to his colleagues who spoke out to the New York Post.

Marvin Robbins, a union vice president, paints an unflattering portrait of his boss’s routine: “He eats lunch when he arrives at work at 2 p.m. Then, like clockwork, he goes to sleep with a cup of soda on the table and the straw in it. Then he wakes up, looks at his watch and says, ‘I have to get out before the traffic gets bad.’ He’s usually out by 4 p.m. after being at the office two hours.”

Look for … the Union label … if you can find it….

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Undersea Colony Ruins

30th May 2013

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I’d like to be … under the sea … in an octopus’s garden, with you….

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Maine Doctor Not Accepting Any Insurance Anymore, Posts Prices Online

30th May 2013

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The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

Saw that comin’.

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Many Top-Paying Jobs in 2020 Won’t Need College Degree

30th May 2013

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Which of course won’t prevent employers from requiring one anyway.

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12 Obsolete Technologies Americans Still Use

30th May 2013

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I guess there are more Republicans out there than expected.

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Toxic Waste From Greek Yogurt Poses Danger to Waterways

30th May 2013

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I’ve always had my suspicions about yogurt.

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Amelia Earhart’s Plane Found? Sonar Images May Have Pinpointed Wreckage

30th May 2013

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A grainy sonar image captured off an uninhabited tropical island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati might represent the remains of the Electra, the two-engine aircraft legendary aviator Amelia Earhart was piloting when she vanished on July 2, 1937 in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

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Woman Undergoes Quadruple Amputation After Black Market Silicone Butt Injections

30th May 2013

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Let that be a lesson to us all. (Non-black market butt injections are perfectly safe, of course.)

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Holder Runs Into Roadblocks on Off-The-Record Meetings With News Organizations

30th May 2013

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A plan by Attorney General Eric Holder to hold meetings with news organizations about guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters has run into snags over the terms of discussions.

The Justice Department wants the meetings to be off the record. The Associated Press issued a statement saying it wants any meeting to be on the record, meaning it could be the subject of news stories. And The New York Times said it won’t attend because of the department’s off-the-record ground rules.

Looks like the press is, you know, actually doing its job. Can’t have that.

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Obamacare to Usher in Health Insurance Cancellation Notices

30th May 2013

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My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren’t up to the basic standards of President Obama’s health care law.

But ‘if you like your current plan, you can keep it’! The President said so! He wouldn’t lie to us!

Also, it doesn’t seem to square with one of the president’s best known promises about his health care overhaul: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

No shit.

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Smash the Rich!

29th May 2013

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Soon to be a for-credit college course.

A year ago, Duke Cheston of the Pope Center criticized a class in political science at North Carolina State University. Because its presentation of the American political system was clearly biased, his story was titled “Evil Republicans 101.” Now we have come across another section of the same course taught by a different instructor. It, too, is riddled with one-sided education about the American government. Because of its focus on class divisions, it might be called “What Can We Do to Level Incomes and Restore the Progressive Agenda?”

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

The class was an online section of Political Science 201, American Politics and Government, one of nine sections taught this spring. The course is the basic introductory class for potential political science majors, although it also serves as a general education course.

Professor David Garson, the instructor, is not actually in the political science department. He is a full professor of public administration who has received a number of distinguished awards from his peers. The student who brought this online class to our attention praised him for answering questions promptly, although the student also noted that otherwise the professor did not take an active role. There were no lectures, and he rarely intervened in the online discussions.

Of course, the major way in which modern academia is ‘fighting the rich’ is by loading their students with so much debt that they’ll never have that burden.

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Big Government’s Impossible Task

29th May 2013

Donald Boudreaux, a Real Economist, points out some Inconvenient Truth.

 Among the core problems that skeptics of big government have long highlighted is precisely the inability of even the best-intentioned government leaders to successfully supervise and keep honest the legions of bureaucrats employed to carry out all the tasks that “progressives” assign to government. So one cannot legitimately, when seeking to expand state power, assure us that such power will be exercised with sufficient attentiveness to avoid abuse, but then — when reality exposes those assurances as fanciful — plead innocent by noting that the degree of attentiveness necessary to prevent abuse is humanly impossible.

The fundamental question raised by the IRS scandal isn’t whether Obama ordered, or even knew of, the apparent misuse of the taxing power to punish political opponents. Rather, the fundamental question asks about the wisdom of creating in the first place government agencies that can so easily abuse their power in order to play political favorites.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Fisherman Dies as Increasingly Aggressive Beavers Attack People in Belarus

29th May 2013

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I’m waiting for Obama to claim that this is somehow George W Bush’s fault. You know it’s coming.

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Mass. Audit Finds Dead Welfare Recipients Collecting Millions of Dollars

29th May 2013

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A state audit has revealed that Massachusetts has given out $18 million in “questionable public assistance benefits” in recent years, in cases that included the distribution of benefits to more than 1,160 people who were either dead or using the Social Security number of a deceased person.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

What do you think — are these Republicans, or Democrats? The question answers itself.

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Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy

28th May 2013

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“Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy” is a 2003 paper by A. W. F. Edwards. He criticises an argument first made by Richard Lewontin in his 1972 article “The Apportionment of Human Diversity”,[1] which argued that division of humanity into races is taxonomically invalid.[2] Edwards’ critique is discussed in a number of academic and popular science books, not all of which endorse his conclusion.[3][4]

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‘Has anybody apologized to Enoch Powell yet?’

28th May 2013

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The British establishment declared the Conservative MP a nonperson back in 1968 after he warned that unchecked Third World immigration would engender catastrophic domestic unrest.

His address was dubbed the “Rivers of Blood” speech. Powell, a classical scholar, had alluded to the Tiber and to Virgil’s Aeneid, but opponents and supporters alike omit that detail. Powell, they all came to believe, had predicted “rivers of blood”—that of battling blacks, browns, and whites—flowing through London’s streets.

Which brings us to last Wednesday’s beheading in Woolwich.

What peaceful, friendly people! Wouldn’t you just love to have some for neighbors?
That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.
Of course, as we all know, the real problem is Islamophobia.

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Listening to the Future With a 3D-Printed Ear

28th May 2013

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Welcome to the future of 3D-printed body hacks. Dr. Susmita Bose and Dr. Amit Bandyopadhyay have been waiting for you.

In the same way that commercial 3D printing has changed product design and prototyping, these researchers are creating a way to build body parts. Their cheap, iterative designs take the best of the 3D-printing industry and add novel materials like resorbable ceramic powders and titanium. The resulting artificial body parts can then be placed on humans, creating some of the most complex chimeras in existence.

“Using 3D-printing technology, and optimum material chemistry, one can control the geometry and shape of the scaffold and bone-like material chemistry at the same time. We can control the resorption and dissolution kinetics in a controlled manner that can be used based on application need. If you can resorp the scaffold, then the ultimate result would be for the natural healing to replace the scaffold and need for a second surgery, as is needed with current technologies,” explains Dr. Bose on a recent visit to her office.

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‘Don’t just sit there. Really.’

28th May 2013

First World Problem.

“Prolonged sitting is not what nature intended for us,” says Dr. Camelia Davtyan, clinical professor of medicine and director of women’s health at the UCLA Comprehensive Health Program.

“The chair is out to kill us,” says James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

Most of us have years of sitting experience, consider ourselves quite good at it and would swear that nature intended us to do it as much as possible.

I guess California doesn’t have anything more newsworthy.

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Peak Farmland?

28th May 2013

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“Humanity now stands at Peak Farmland, and the 21st century will see [the] release of vast areas of land, hundreds of millions of hectares, more than twice the area of France, for nature,” declared Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, in a December lecture. Ausubel was outlining the findings of a study he and his collaborators had reported in the Population and Development Review Supplement that month. Unlike other alleged resource “peaks,” peak farmland reflects not the exhaustion of resources but the fruits of human intelligence and affluence.

We don’t subsidize Family Carmakers so that they can compete with General Motors, why do we subsidize ‘family farms’ so that they can compete with ADM and Conagra?

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Researchers Turn Cement Into Metal

28th May 2013

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In a move that would make the Alchemists of King Arthur’s time green with envy, scientists have unraveled the formula for turning liquid cement into liquid metal. This makes cement a semi-conductor and opens up its use in the profitable consumer electronics marketplace for thin films, protective coatings, and computer chips.

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Why Republicans Lose

28th May 2013

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Karl Rove, arguably one of the biggest losers of the 2012 election, inexplicably won the RNC contract to revamp its voter contact database. Rove, who was a specialist in direct mail, has no obvious expertise in technology or social media. Yet, the well-connected operative was able to win a contract on which the GOP has pinned its future electoral success. It is going about as well as expected.

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The Effect of Petting a Dog on Immune System Function

28th May 2013

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Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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Tiny Mall Kiosks Make a Surprisingly Big Impact

28th May 2013

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Not that anybody who writes for the New York Times would be caught dead in a mall, of course. But they like to keep an eye on what’s happening in Flyover Country.

(When was the last time you were in a mall?)

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High School Teacher Faces Discipline for Informing Students About Their Rights

28th May 2013

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A high school social studies teacher in Batavia, Illinois, faces disciplinary action for informing students of their Fifth Amendment rights in connection with a survey asking about illegal drug use. The survey, ostensibly aimed at assessing the needs of students at Batavia High School, was distributed on April 18. After picking up the survey forms from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class of the day, John Dryden noticed that they had students’ names on them and that they asked about drinking and drug use, among other subjects. Dryden, who had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights, worried that students might feel obliged to incriminate themselves—an especially ticklish situation given the police officer stationed at the school. Since there was no time to confer with administrators, he says, he decided to tell his students that they did not have to complete the forms if doing so involved admitting illegal behavior. Tomorrow the school board will consider whether and how to punish Dryden for taking advantage of this teachable moment.

Of course, if he had been talking about their 2nd Amendment rights (not likely, I’d say, just looking at him) rather than their 5th Amendment rights, he’d already have been fired and it wouldn’t be thought newsworthy.

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Washington Post Whines That U.S. Insufficiently Socialist, Not Like Other Cool Kid Countries

28th May 2013

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As this graph from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows, the United States is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee its workers either paid vacation or holidays.

Yeah, because if the U.S. did that, then we too might have unemployment rates hovering around 20%, like the Europeans.

Of course, in practice, richer workers are able to negotiate for both paid vacation and paid holidays. It’s poorer workers who can’t take any time off.

Perhaps that’s because ‘richer workers’ (i.e. those with useful skills) are worth more than ‘poorer workers’ (i.e. those who could be replaced by a robot)? Naw, that couldn’t be it. (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen ‘richer’ and ‘worker’ combined in an article in the Washington Post. Where was the editor? Didn’t he know that ‘workers’ aren’t ‘richer’, and ‘richer’ don’t actually ‘work’?)

This is one more way in which the poor often end up working much harder than the rich.

The others being things like minimum wage laws, mandatory union dues payments even if you don’t want to belong to the union, uncontrolled immigration of low-skilled workers, and mandatory benefits that make ‘poorer workers’ uneconomical to hire.

Of course the goal here is not to ensure that ‘poorer workers’ don’t work as hard, but to make sure that they don’t work at all, by pricing them out of the market and guaranteeing that they’ll wind up on taxpayer-provided benefits and therefore augmenting the voter base of the Democrat party.

But that’s not on your copy, of course….

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What Detroit Crisis? Pension Fund Trustees Hang Out in Hawaii

28th May 2013

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The city of Detroit may be facing a deepening financial crisis but that hasn’t stopped four trustees of its public pension funds from spending $22,000 of retirement system funds to attend a conference in Hawaii this week.

Well, you couldn’t expect them to stay in Detroit. Have you seen the place? Yuck.

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Police Arrest 10th Suspect in Brutal Killing of British Soldier

28th May 2013

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All those ‘lone wolves’ just happening together. What are the odds?

Rigby’s killing and Adebolajo’s apparent links to radical Islam have fed a spike in anti-Muslim sentiment in Britain, with police and activists reporting a surge in hate crimes, violence and vandalism.

As opposed to the daily hate crimes, violence, and vandalism committed by Muslims, both foreign and domestic, which are too common to rate notice. I see.

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McCain Sneaks Across Border, Visits Syrian Rebels

28th May 2013

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There’s never an IED around when you really need one.

I don’t suppose their persecution of Christians in the area came up in conversation. God knows that McCain has shown little worry over persecution of Christians his his own country, much less in somebody else’s.

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Family Says Arizona Mother Imprisoned in Mexico on Drug Charges Is Wrongly Accused

28th May 2013

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An Arizona mother of seven is being held in a Mexican prison after being accused of attempting to smuggle drugs while in the country for a family funeral.

42-year-old Yannira Maldonado, a Mormon who has been a U.S. citizen for 17 years, was thrown in jail while traveling on a bus back to Phoenix from her aunt’s funeral in Hermosillo with her husband Gary, MyFoxPhoenix.com reports.

It’s usually a bad idea to visit countries whose inhabitants are willing to subject themselves to criminal penalties in order to move from there to here. It’s safe to assume that they know something that you probably don’t.

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Hamptons Elite Worried About Strivers

28th May 2013

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There was an article in the NY Times on Saturday about how the Hamptons elite are worried about middle-class strivers, who are young people who go to the Hamptons because of the glamour of the whole place even though they can’t really afford it; they tend to stay in illegal “share houses” and they get drunk on the beach.

For ‘Hamptons Elite’ feel free to substitute every ‘rich’ person whose smiling face has accompanied an article in the Axis of Drivel about how his/her taxes are too low. It’s not that their taxes are too low; it’s that everybody’s taxes are too low; it isn’t weeding out the almost-theres. So they want all tax rates to go up, something that they will survive but which will act to cull the herd.

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Hipsters on Food Stamps, Part 2

28th May 2013

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It’s a simple thesis and no one wants to hear it: hipsters may lack drive, but the world they live in wasn’t set up by them, it was set up by their parents, i.e. the Dumbest Generation Of Narcissists In The History Of The World, the ones who magnified the importance and cost of college without having any idea of what should be its purpose, let alone its content.

So start with an interesting hypothetical: does everybody need to work anymore?  I understand work from an ethical/character perspective, this is not here my point.  Since we no longer need e.g. manufacturing jobs– cheaper elsewhere or with robots– since those labor costs have evaporated, could that surplus go towards paying people simply to stay out of trouble?  Is there a natural economic equilibrium price where, say, a U Chicago grad can do no economically productive work at all but still be paid to use Instagram?  Let me be explicit: my question is not should we do this, my question is that since this is precisely what’s happening already, is it sustainable?  What is the cost?  I don’t have to run the numbers, someone already has: it’s $150/mo for a college grads, i.e. the price of food stamps.  Other correct responses would be $700/mo for “some high school” (SSI) or $1500/mo for “previous work experience” (unemployment).  I would have accepted $2000/mo for “minorities” (jail) for partial credit.

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Temper Tantrums in the DSM

28th May 2013

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Diagnosis is not the same as disease.  This just coordinates the language, “from now on we’re going to call this this.”  “Then why is it called a disorder?”  Ah, you must have no insurance or the best insurance.  Healthcare policy is set by Medicaid/Medicare, you Blue Cross suckers are merely collateral damage.

In Medicaid America, i.e. America, if you come through the door and I ask you all the questions and I determine there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, two things will happen at the exact same time: 1. You will punch me.  2. I won’t get paid, can’t get paid for no diagnosis, no matter how hard I work.

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5 Celebrities You Won’t Believe Were Badass Soldiers

27th May 2013

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Hipsters On Food Stamps

27th May 2013

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“It’s the economy, stupid!”  Thanks guy from 1992, but the economy did not tell you to go to college for something you knew in advance would make you unemployable, especially when that unemployable choice cost exactly the same as the employable choice, i.e. too much.  Lesson one at the academia should be the importance of separating vocation from avocation, as character actor Fred Thompson and electrical contractor Benjamin Franklin both understood. When I was six I wanted to be in Playboy.  Just because it’s your dream, doesn’t mean you should pursue it.

Before we blame them for their choice, we should ask why they felt they could make that choice.  I’m not trying to start trouble, but let’s choose something I’m familiar with, i.e. women: why would a smart high school junior, 4.0 and AP Everything, think that going to Hampshire College for English Literature was a good idea?  Why would her parents allow this madness, other than the fact that they were divorcing?  What did she think would happen given that she knew in advance there were no jobs for English majors?  Serious answers, please, I’ll offer four I had personal experience with: law school; academia; non-profits; marriage.  Don’t roll your eyes at me, young lady: let’s say you are the daughter of a lawyer and you major in English.  When you were 17 and you imagined your life at your Dad’s age– not the starving poetess fantasy you wrote about in your spiral notebook, but a glimpse of the bourgeois future you then thought you didn’t want– what kind of a house did you imagine in the “if that happens to me I’ll Anne Sexton myself” scenario?  A lawyer’s house or an English major’s house? In other words, the choice to major in English was predicated on information she received from multiple sources like schools and TV– sources I will collectively call the Matrix–  that every generation does better than the last, that there was a safety net of sorts, a bailout at the end, that future happiness was inevitable, and so we return to economics: the general name for that safety net is credit.  America was the land of the minimum monthly payment.  And if this analogy isn’t clear enough for you, let me reverse it: the ability of the economy to offer English as a major required a massive subsidy to make you feel like $20k/yr was the same as free.  If you had to pay it up front, you’d either be an engineer or $80k richer.  That subsidy is now worthless, not because the money doesn’t exist but because the bailout at the end, e.g the four options I suggested were operational 1977-1999 which guaranteed the payments would be made, won’t help.

Bottom line:

Imagine a large corporate machine mobilized to get you to buy something you don’t need at a tremendously inflated cost, complete with advertising, marketing, and branding that says you’re not hip if you don’t have one, but when you get one you discover it’s of poor quality and obsolete in ten months. That’s a BA.

I suffered from this one through two graduate degrees and ten years of living hand-to-mouth — until I learned better.

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How an Entirely New, Autistic Way of Thinking Powers Silicon Valley

27th May 2013

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After I gave a talk at one high-tech firm in Silicon Valley, I asked some of the folks there how they wrote code. They said they actually visualized the whole programming tree, and then they just typed in the code on each branch in their minds. I recalled my autistic friend Sara R. S. Miller, a computer programmer, telling me that she could look at a coding pattern and spot an irregularity in the pattern. Then I called my friend Jennifer McIlwee Myers, another computer programmer who is autistic. I asked her if she saw programming branches. No, she said, she was not visual in that way; when she started studying computer science, she got a C in graphic design. But she did think in patterns. “Writing code is like crossword puzzles, or sudoku,” she said. (Crossword puzzles involve words, of course, while sudoku involves numbers. But what they have in common is pattern thinking.)

This explains a lot.

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Bartitsu: The Sherlock Holmes Way of Self-Defense

27th May 2013

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When the guy swung at Mark Donnelly, his only means of defense was a black umbrella—and a foppish one at that. But, ducking under a roundhouse punch, he jabbed the pointy end of the umbrella into the attacker’s gut, stopping him cold.

Mr. Donnelly, who is 43 years old and several inches short of 6 feet tall, then straightened his waistcoat, and the two men shook hands.

The skirmish was a rare demonstration of Bartitsu, an obscure Victorian system of gentlemanly self-defense practiced by Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective.

You can laugh, but in Britain, where their Olympic shooting teams have to practice overseas because the gun laws are so totalitarian, it’s all they’ve got.

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Why Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Just Amnesty in a Clever Plastic Disguise

27th May 2013

Peter Kirsenow blows the whistle.

Put simply, there is no border security in the bill. It’s a mirage. The bill only requires the DHS secretary to present a plan to secure the border. Meanwhile, the amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants isn’t merely a plan, it’s a reality.

That’s not on your copy, of course.

Consider: The Secure Fence Act of 2006 mandated that the DHS secretary “achieve and maintain operational control over the entire land and maritime border of the United States.” The law directed DHS to install 700 miles of double-layer fencing along the 1,930-mile southern border to keep out “terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics and other terrorism.” By 2011, only 36.3 miles of fencing had been erected, yet President Obama declared that border security is “now basically complete.”

The Democrats don’t want border security. They want amnesty. They want to import as many underclass unassimilated victim-class welfare recipients as they can get, because that is what they need to secure their power. If the only job you can get is as a day laborer or a scut-worker, and you have the alternative of a government handout, which one are you going to pick? And who are you going to vote for, the guy promising more handouts, or the guy who want you to go to work? Duh.

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Next on Deck for Khan Academy: Better Diagnostics and Internationalization

27th May 2013

Read it.

The critics of the Khan Academy efforts need to remember that the distance between the Altair microcomputer, which did little and that badly, and the iPhone, without which many people cannot function, is only about one-quarter of a modern lifetime. This IS the future of education, and all we have to do is wait for it to be more widely distributed and refined. When kids from one of the more backward cultures on the planet can bootstrap themselves into education (read it), it’s just a matter of time … and, I’m sad to have to say, keeping well-meaning control freaks (can you spell g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t? Can you spell u-n-i-o-n?) from screwing it up.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Next on Deck for Khan Academy: Better Diagnostics and Internationalization

Memorial Day

27th May 2013

HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Memorial Day

Google Annotations Gallery

27th May 2013

Read it.

If you write code, you need these.

Not only can you leave expressive remarks in your code, you can use these annotations to draw attention to your poetic endeavors. How many times have you written a palindromic or synecdochal line of code and wished you could annotate it for future readers to admire? Look no further than @Palindrome and @Synecdoche.

But wait, there’s more. The Google Annotations Gallery comes complete with dynamic bytecode instrumentation. By using the gag-agent.jar Java agent, you can have your annotations behavior-enforced at runtime. For example, if you want to ensure that a method parameter is non-zero, try @ThisHadBetterNotBe(Property.ZERO). Want to completely inhibit a method’s implementation? Try @Noop.

We have the technology.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Google Annotations Gallery

Computer Network Piecing Together a Jigsaw of Jewish Lore

27th May 2013

Read it.

The idea is to harness technology to help reassemble more than 100,000 document fragments collected across 1,000 years that reveal details of Jewish life along the Mediterranean, including marriage, medicine and mysticism. For decades, scholars relied mainly on memory to match up pieces of the Cairo genizah, a treasure trove of papers that include works by the rabbinical scholar Maimonides, parts of Torah scrolls and prayer books, reams of poetry and personal letters, contracts, and court documents, even recipes (there is a particularly vile one for honey-wine).

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Institutional Stockholm Syndrome

27th May 2013

Jim Goad blows the whistle.

Last week saw prolonged riots in Sweden and a surreal midday beheading in England, while the paid parrots of the Multi Cult spared no effort in blaming everyone but the rioters and the murderers.

Sweden has long been held up by naïve proponents of statist socialism as a blonde, suntanned example of how high taxes and cradle-to-grave welfare are effective. This has always been a simpleminded delusion that ignored the Scandinavian nation’s small population and—until recently—ethnic homogeneity. But now an estimated 15-20% of Sweden’s population consists of foreign-born immigrants, and deep wrinkles are starting to appear in the country’s Big Brother smiley face.

After Swedish police shot dead a Portuguese immigrant who was variously reported to be aggressively wielding either a machete or a knife on May 13, disgruntled immigrants used the incident as an excuse to smash and loot and burn and beat their way through Stockholm and its environs over several nights. Much of the mayhem took place in Stockholm’s Husby district, where an estimated 80-85% of residents are not indigenous Swedes. Automobiles were torched, windows were smashed, and a policeman was beaten while a joyous child filmed it and exclaimed “Allahu Akbar!”

What peaceful, friendly people! Wouldn’t you just love to have some for neighbors?
That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.
Of course, as we all know, the real problem is Islamophobia.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Institutional Stockholm Syndrome

Amazon Is Working on a Plan to Deliver Your Groceries

27th May 2013

Read it.

If they can beat Costco’s price, I’m in.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on Amazon Is Working on a Plan to Deliver Your Groceries

Scientists Build Record-Setting Metamaterial Flat Lens

27th May 2013

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For the first time, scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a new type of lens that bends and focuses ultraviolet (UV) light in such an unusual way that it can create ghostly, 3D images of objects that float in free space. The easy-to-build lens could lead to improved photolithography, nanoscale manipulation and manufacturing, and even high-resolution three-dimensional imaging, as well as a number of as-yet-unimagined applications in a diverse range of fields.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Scientists Build Record-Setting Metamaterial Flat Lens

The Machine-Readable Workforce

27th May 2013

Read it.

Xerox is screening tens of thousands of applicants for low-wage jobs in its call centers using software from a startup company called Evolv that automatically compares job seekers against a computer profile of the ideal candidate.

According to these data, culled from studying job records of many similar workers, past experience working in call centers isn’t a good predictor of success. Instead, a person should be a “creative” type, though not too inquisitive. Participating in one social network like Facebook is a plus, but involvement in too many is a negative. A short commute is a must—that means a person is less likely to quit before Xerox can recoup its cost to train them.

Hopefully this method is better than depending on the drones in HR.

Lawyers who practice anti-discrimination law are watching these trends. While it’s legal to give aptitude tests, hiring based on a computer’s assessment of seemingly unconnected factors—like how many social networks you join—could raise new questions. “They’re creating these big databases of people,” says Christopher Moody, an employment lawyer in Los Angeles. “More and more companies are doing pre-employment testing. Whether this really indicates some job-related quality in the applicant is questionable.”

There’s a sad truth: There is no activity that lawyers who practice anti-discrimination law are not watching. They ought to hire these guys as the CIA; they certainly could give them some tips.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on The Machine-Readable Workforce

Shadowy Evil Robots Victimize Poor Ticketmaster

27th May 2013

Steve Sailer learns that he’s not a member of the Crust and so has no opinions worth listening to.

You know, I haven’t bought concert tickets in a few years, but when I was paying 40% service charges to Ticketmaster so my son could go to shows, my impression was that the concert industry “serves” fans mostly in the Rod Serling sense.

Heh. It’s like the IRS charging you a ‘service fee’ for filing your tax return electronically, which saves them about 90% of their cost. And of course the DMV here in Texas does the same with car registrations; bureaucrats do love having a legal monopoly.

 When I pointed out to Krugman in (I believe) 1999 this long history of corruption within the concert ticket business, he was offended. There was no place in economic theory for this kind of insinuation, so why was I bringing it up? We went back and forth for awhile, but Krugman became increasingly acrimonious at the very idea that the music industry wasn’t completely on the up and up.

Whenever I think ‘Krugman’, I think ‘clueless’. Glad I’m not alone.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Shadowy Evil Robots Victimize Poor Ticketmaster

San Francisco Gun Store: 9mm Ammo Stays on Shelves ‘About Five Minutes’

27th May 2013

Read it.

A box of 9mm ammo at High Bridge Arms in San Francisco “has a shelf life of about five minutes,” according to Steve Alcairo, the general manager of the city’s only gun store.

Stock in Colt, Remington, and Ruger ought to be a good investment right about now.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a city with only one gun store. Plano, Texas, has at lesat two within easy walking distance.

At that time, ammo makers like Hornady, Remington, and Black Hills all said they were able to find ways to meet such panic-buying onslaughts in the past. However, many of them said they have never seen a panic-driven climate like today’s.

Never before have the gun-grabbers seemed so politically powerful.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on San Francisco Gun Store: 9mm Ammo Stays on Shelves ‘About Five Minutes’