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July 12, 2014

"People Who Get The Job Done"

A brief photographic tribute to the inventiveness, resourcefulness, and unwise risk-taking of some of our fellow humans

"18 Facts That Make Houston The Best City In America"

As I get older, having M. D. Anderson close at hand would seem to be a big plus.

July 11, 2014

"Poor man’s polar vortex to make shocking summer return in eastern U.S. next week"

Better now, though, then in the winter.

Call it the ghost of the polar vortex, the polar vortex sequel, or the polar vortex’s revenge. Meteorological purists may tell you it’s not a polar vortex at all. However you choose to refer to the looming weather pattern, unseasonably chilly air is headed for parts of the northern and northeastern U.S at the height of summer early next week.

"Breaking Down the Multi-Billion-Dollar Seinfeld Economy"

It's generated over $3 billion in syndication.

"Cool surfing video makes me want to be at the beach even more"

POV from inside the tube.

July 10, 2014

"How You Can Recreate 36 World Cuisines Using 3 Spices"

Interesting. And it's why the cuisines of Greece, Hungry, Louisiana, and "European Jewish" rule.

"What universities have in common with record labels"

"If you spent the 1990s plucking songs from a stack of cassettes to make the perfect mixtape, you probably welcomed innovations of the next decade that served your favorite albums up as individual songs, often for free. The internet’s power to unbundle content sparked a rapid transformation of the music industry, which today generates just over half of the $14 billion it did in 2000—and it’s doing the same thing to higher education."

"How India’s Economic Rise Could Bolster America’s Economy"

Let's hope this comes to pass

But I'm skeptical.

"LA Schools Realize Giving Every Kid an iPad Was a Costly Disaster, Will Give Every Kid a Laptop Instead"

Once again, you can't make stuff like this up.

July 09, 2014

"[Part of a] Review of Levitt and Dubner's 'Think like a Freak'"

The full review is gated, but John Lott has posted an excerpt on his blog. Includes this terrific line about the incorrect story that the price of a new car drops by many $thousands as soon as it is driven off the lot:

Typically, Levitt and Dubner fail to understand that when a problem arises in a market, it generally provides an incentive for those involved to remedy the problem.

"Problems with collective action"

Glenn Reynolds:

Government, we are sometimes told, is just another word for things we choose to do together.

Like a lot of things politicians say, this sounds good. And, also like a lot of things politicians say, it isn't the least bit true.

Many of the things government does, we don't choose. Many of the things we choose, government doesn't do. And whatever gets done, we're not the ones doing it. And those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly.

Take, for example, the Veterans Administration. 

"Dear Feminists: In The Name Of Fighting Poverty, Can We Call A Truce About Marriage?"

Social scientists have known for a while now that poverty isn't just about money:

A shockingly high 94 percent of births to college-educated women today are in wedlock, but 57 percent of women with high-school degrees or less education are unmarried when they bear their first child. Sadly, marriage today is relegated largely to higher social classes, as documented in the recent book Marriage Markets, by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn. 

"40 maps that explain food in America"

#11: ". . . together, corn and soybeans make up almost half of America's crop revenues."

July 08, 2014

"72 Funny Jokes from Beautiful Women"

Sample from Tamara Feldman:

One day a little boy wrote to Santa Claus, "Please send me a sister." Santa Claus wrote him back, "Okay, send me your mother."

Diane Kruger:

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a very satisfied smile on his face. The egg is frowning and looking frustrated. The egg says, "Guess we answered that question."

"Government Fixes Have Created Long-Term Instability"

Interesting how that happens.

We need a shift in thinking, argues the BIS. Pay less attention to the business cycle and more attention to what BIS economist Claudio Borio calls "the financial cycle." It typically lasts 15 to 20 years and may straddle several traditional business cycles. In its early years, the debt levels of households and businesses gradually increase. This strengthens economic growth, drives up asset prices - especially of real estate - and makes debtors feel richer. With credit plentiful, homes, stocks and businesses are worth more. This is the cycle's expansive phase. But "when financial booms turn to busts," the depressing phase has devastating consequences. Defaults multiply. Asset prices collapse. The fallout lingers.

"New York’s Common Core-Aligned Standardized Tests Are PAINFULLY Stupid And Awful"

The article links to this year June's Algebra I test, so you can judge for yourself.

"Explain your answer,” demands Question 29, just after perfectly reasonably asking students to graph a simple equation. “Justify your answer” insists Question 30. “Explain how you arrived at your answer” commands Question 35 (which has students graphing out Caitlin’s movie rental card expenditures). “Use your equation to justify your answer” orders Question 36 — a multipart question involving an equation about an animal shelter. . . .

For all of these questions, the obvious answer to “Explain your answer” and “Justify your answer” is very easy for any honest kid: “I used math.”

"This Company Can Predict Athlete Injuries With Unbelievable Accuracy — Here's How"

If this company were publicly held I'd think seriously about investing in it. This has got to be a gold mine. (But success will almost surely draw entry and fierce competition.)

"A Heroine for Our Times"

F. H. Buckley pens an appropriate tribute to a government employee for the ages, Lois Lerner.

See also the very interesting "Federal government email from the inside". (Via Instapundit.) (Yeah, but Lois was special!)

.

July 07, 2014

A small feast

"Small" only in the sense of being relatively short. In "Deirdre McCloskey and Economists’ Ideas about Ideas" Don Boudreaux, Joel Mokyr, and John Dye discuss McCloskey's recent work. Of interest, I think, to anyone who is interested in economics, history, or public policy. 

"Open Culture: The best free cultural & educational media on the web"

Links to literally hundreds of free online courses, free movies, free e-books, free audio books.free textbooks and other free educational stuff. A good place to start: "A Master List of 1,000 Free Courses From Top Universities: 30,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures".

It's a good thing they didn't have all this available when I was a teenager. I never would have graduated high school, let alone college. 

Best. List. Ever.

"The 26 Most American Comebacks In The History Of The World."

If you can’t handle the burn, go back to Iceland.

"Feminism and Its Discontents: ‘Rape culture’ at Harvard"

By noted Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield. Featuring this spot-on sentence:

Instead of trying to establish a single standard by bringing men up to the higher standard of women, as with earlier feminism, today’s feminism decided to demand that women be entitled to sink to the level of men.

"Crapitalism!”

Coinage by John Stossel. I like the term a lot. Spread the word.

Capitalism is great because it lets entrepreneurs raise money so they can scale up and get their products and services to more people. If there is free competition, innovators with the best ideas raise the most money, and the best and cheapest products spread far and wide.

But it’s crapitalism when politicians give your tax money and other special privileges to businesses that are “most deserving of help.” Often those businesses turn out to be run by politicians’ cronies.

"The world in 2025? We'll all own a pilot licence, teleportation will take off and food shortages will disappear, experts predict"

If this is the best the "experts" can do, I'm not very impressed. I question at least #2 and #4.

But I hope--hope--#1 and #8 are correct. (#8 is already partly fact.)

July 06, 2014

Baby technology then and now

Some big changes over the last 30 years

"How in the world can the Los Angeles Clippers be worth $2 billion?"

Economist Lee Ohanian explains.

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