Kids Prefer Cheese
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
Monday, July 04, 2011
We Like to Watch
"Q: Will Transformers: Dark of the Moon serve any purpose for society? A: After watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon, even the most hardened of patriots will finally understand why the terrorists hate us...Q: Should I see Transformers: Dark of the Moon? A: Probably not, but you will anyway. And you will leave the theater a less intelligent human being, but you will also leave slightly happier." [Mike Ryan, Vanity Fair]
"One study, for example, found that children who had just finished playing
violent video games were more likely to fill in the blank letter in 'explo_e' with a 'd' (so that it reads 'explode') than with an 'r' ('explore')...The prevention of this phenomenon, which might have been anticipated with common sense, is not a compelling state interest." [Justice Scalia, majority opinion (footnote #7) in support of First Amendment protection for violent video games]
"Among the most popular 'casual' games (so called because they are quick and simple to play) are twisted, violent games with names like Beat Me Up, Bloody Day and Boneless Girl. Young people don’t need to rent or buy casual games. They are available on computers, tablets and cellphones — free. (California’s law wouldn’t have applied to these games, even if it had survived the court’s scrutiny, because they are not rented or sold.)" [Joel Bakan, NYT op-ed]
(I had never seen "Boneless Girl." WTF? I mean, WTFingF?)
(Nod to Kevin Lewis)
You say it's your birthday.....
Norman Rockwell and Independence Day 2011
We have two sons. They are both alive and well. A lot of people have lost sons, or daughters, whom they will mourn today, and every day for the rest of their lives. Because our troops are fighting three wars, and doing a lot of other things they were asked to do.
The picture below captures, with a Norman Rockwell-like clarity of composition, a little of how most of us feel about the fallen. The casket contains the remains of 2nd Lt. James Cathey. The honor guard covered the casket with a flag, and prepared to meet the family on the tarmac. The passengers watched, letting Lt. Cathey get off the plane first. (Todd Heisler, photographer)
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. 'I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,' she said. 'I think that's what he would have wanted'. (Todd Heisler, again)
(The pix are from 2006, but for some reason have been circulating as an email in the last weeks...Besides, for the family that's only five years. It is never going to be long enough ago. Thanks to AB for sending this to me).
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Russ and John talk about FotC Video on CSPAN
A Tangled Web: Papiss, Pliss
Hey, who told you that you could use that sunscreen, kid!?
Camp comes down hard on unauthorized sunscreen users!!
“The camp is just doing what the state ordered them to do,” said Paul Basken, a father of two children who attend Barrie camp. “But this can’t be serious. I mean, if I didn’t feel safe about the camp, I just wouldn’t send my kids there.”
Oh, Paul: They are NOTHING if not serious. I just hope these same legislators and bureaucrats can soon be put in charge of whether or not I am "authorized" to take my aspirin. Show yoah papiss, pliss.
(Nod to the Anonywife)
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Wow. There are two stories.
HE SAYS: The maid was in the room. He didn't know it. He walked out of the shower, all nekkid and pasty white 62 year old dough boy. The maid, seeing him, was overwhelmed by his physical beauty, and demanded that they couple, immediately, on the nearest available horizontal surface.
SHE SAYS: He came out of the shower, she didn't know he was in the room. She tried to ignore him. He pursued her, caught her, and raped her, in spite of her protests and resistance.
WHAT IS KNOWN FOR SURE: They were both in the room. Sex was had, because there is ... let's call it "DNA" ... from DSK. And it was all up in the part of the woman where "DNA" would be if they had sex.
THE VERDICT: These are two implausible stories. His is just silly. But it turns out that the maid has a history of lying and associating with very sketchy characters. Since both stories are implausible, we look to the presumption. In a criminal case, the strong presumption is innocence on the part of the accused.
DUKE LACROSSE: Not even close. There, no sex was had. Except with six other (non-lacrosse, non-Duke) guys, before and after. (EWWWWW!) But there was never any evidence that any of the students had sex with CM. None. Zero. In the DSK case, he DEFINITELY DID have sex with the woman, according to his own story and the DNA evidence. The question is whether it was consensual. Sounds like DSK walks.
STILL: The lacrosse players at Duke were innocent. DSK is "not guilty." There's a big difference.
I got your evil empire right here, bud.
Closer to home, Hugo Chavez and his Axis of Anklebiters are descending towards farce. The economic success of Chile and Brazil cuts the ground out from under the "Bolivarean" caudillos. They may strut and prance on the stage, appear with Fidel on TV and draw a crowd by attacking the Yanquis, but the dream of uniting South America into a great anticapitalist, anti-U.S. bloc is as dead as Che Guevara
Friday, July 01, 2011
Duke Lacrosse Redux?
"Prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself."
"Mr. Strauss-Kahn could be released on his own recognizance, and freed from house arrest, reflecting the likelihood that the serious charges against him will not be sustained."
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Better than having a shoe thrown at you....
N. Sarkozy gets grabbed by some random idiot.
There is a silly myth, in the U.S. at least, that French troops / police are cowards. The fact is that the French upper level officer corps was corrupt and cowardly, for a few decades of the previous century. But if you try to mess with any enlisted level French troops, or elite police unit, this will be a cause of considerable regret to you. They are fearless and brutal. The grab-man may be in for a difficult hour or so.
Nod to Anonyman
Amorous in Amarillo
The Broken Window Fallacy
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
How's this for a new TV show idea:
Monty & the Tuna:
Labels: separated at birth
The old lefthander, rounding third and heading for home....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Born That Way
An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young Men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it. One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects.
1. A Bible.....
2. A silver dollar.....
3. A bottle of whiskey.....
4. And a Playboy magazine.....
"I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself. "When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be!
If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and Lord, what a shame that would be.
And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room..
The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table...With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired this month's centerfold.
"Lord ha' mercy, that's terrible." the old preacher disgustedly whispered. "He's gonna run for Congress."
(Nod to the LMM)
Markets on a (Computer) Chip? New Perspectives on Economic Calculation
Mark Jablonowski, Science & Society, July 2011, Pages 400-418
Abstract: Is it possible to implement an efficient economic alternative to market capitalism using economic planning? The debate, which has blown both hot and cold over the last 80 years, has turned on the feasibility of calculating solutions to what amounts to a vast quantity of economic equations. More recently, issues of respecting the uncertainty and preserving the information content inherent in "real world" economic transactions have surfaced. The question may ultimately be decided not on how much computing power is needed to solve complex economic problems, but rather on how well new solutions are articulated. New developments in computer "chip level" computation, including the rebirth of electronic analogs and the incor-poration of the fuzzy set formalism for computing in complex systems, may impart a greater feasibility to the idea of deliberate public planning that integrates the benefits of the market process for the achievement of social objectives. These developments have implications for establishing workable alternatives to capitalism.
(Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Delta Dawn, What's That Airplane I Got On?
A remarkably bad experience with Delta.
As background, I am a Gold Medallion member. That means I get treated better than the average flyer, by a fair amount. Not saying I deserve it, just saying that if this happened to me, with GM status, then the little people get...yikes!
Get to Memphis, on a Salt Lake to Raleigh trip, for layover. Plane supposed to leave at 7:05. Go to gate. Told gate is changed, flight is now 8:05.
Go to new gate. Told gate is changed, different terminal. Flight is now 8:40.
All facilities, and I mean ALL facilities, except bathrooms, close at 7:30. No way to buy anything to drink or eat. Not even vending machines. I've never seen anything like it. The airport was full of people, but every service facility, drinks food, news stores, everything: locked up. People were still in line, and the "service" folks were pulling the metal cage doors shut.
New gate announcement: other end of terminal. Flight is now 9:05. We all walk over. Arrive at gate, told that was a mistake. Wait, maybe it was NOT a mistake. Yes, a mistake. Go back to gate next to gate where we just were all sitting.
Announcement at new/old gate: "The flight is now expected to depart at 10:21 pm. That is a rough estimate, though." Bitter laughter. The mood is growing ugly.
Plane arrives, passengers deplane. Immediately, gate person says, "Now boarding, all rows, all passengers!" Now, one reason I value Gold Medallion status is that I get to board first. I have an LCD projector that is large and very fragile, and I need a minute to get it settled into the overhead. It will be damaged if I have to put it underfoot, and they are supposed to give zone 1 passengers an extra minute or two. But, not this time. By the time I get to my seat, there is no overhead space. I have to push the projector under the seat. Hear cracking sounds. Worried about it, but no choice. Keep pushing.
Stewardess gets on intercom, explains delay. Turns out that this plane (Delta #4271, Lubbock, TX to Memphis, TN to Raleigh, NC) had been stuck in Lubbock for 3.5 hours because...it was TOO HOT. Turns out that this plane cannot be operated in hot places like Lubbock, TX. Which led me to want to ask, "Why the $^%$#$ did you have this plane in Lubbock scheduled for a late afternoon take-off!? It is always hot in Lubbock in late June!" (To be fair, it hit 110 degrees F in Lubbock on Sunday. That's warm...)
Stewardess goes on to tell us the following happy news:
1. Our arrival into RDU would be 1:15 am (scheduled arrival: 10:05 pm)
2. Because they had had to pull the sweaty passengers off the plane three times in Lubbock (once after the cabin filled with smoke!), and the passengers had spent nearly six hours on the plane, the plane was trashed. But....there was no crew on hand to clean the plane. (Everyone who works for Delta in Memphis goes home at 7:30 pm, see above). So, though there was trash and stickyness everywhere....we should just go screw ourselves. Fly or don't.
3. There was also no crew to provision the plane. So, no drinks or snacks. She implied we were lucky to be flying at all, given the heroic efforts of the flight crew to fly a plane that was not really allowed to fly out of hot Lubbock in the first place...you maggots should be GRATEFUL!
Got home, at 1:15 am. And you know what? She was RIGHT. I was very grateful... that I did not have to fly on Delta any more for a while.
Monday, June 27, 2011
An Economy Produces Goods for Consumers, Not "Jobs"
He Jumped the Surfer
So, "he jumped the shark" means to go way, WAY too far in the direction of doing something stupid, for a show or activity that has long outlived its "dispose by" date.
Well...this shark jumped the surfer. Yes, he did, in this very video.
And since a lot of people have never heard of the Happy Days origin of the phrase "jumped the shark," I give you: Fonzie.
Magic Fed dust
"There is still a sufficiently low real interest rate that would produce recovery, but it’s a rate that’s hard to achieve."
Sunday, June 26, 2011
All your jets are belong to us
I am not an airplane snob. I've flown Rwanda Air Express, MadAir (the national airline of Madagascar), along with bush planes in Guatemala, Mexico, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and Peru (when our charter pilot in Peru went out of business between our outbound and inbound flight we got a ride from the Peruvian air force!).
NYT and Bubbles
I was pleased to see that the NYT actually had reverted, if briefly, to being a newspaper instead of a hack mouthpiece for the Obama regime.
They had this very plausible story about the "green energy bubble." And it's true: many of the companies that were recently photo ops for some grinning Obama regime rep (including Mr. Obama himself) have gone belly up. They only were created to suck down subsidies from idiots. A classic bubble. The Green she go boom. Pop go a bunch of weasels.
But then I looked more closely. Far from focusing on the actual bubble, the one in green energy, the one that has already burst, the Green Lady of News is actually forecasting a bubble in...natural gas. The discovery of enormous new reserves of cheap, clean-burning fuel is very annoying to the Green Energy Gods, the apparatchiks of the regime who want to use public money to pay off their pals. And for the "peak idiocy" bunch....fugeddaboudit. Natural gas is a disaster for the authoritarians who want us all to return to sad stone age lives perched in caves and contemplating the sins of "late" capitalism.
Amazing. Just when you think the NYTimes can't sink any lower, they submerge into the muck.
(Nod to the Blonde)
7 million new jobs in 7 paragraphs
Man Robert Frank is ON FIRE in his Economic View column. The whole thing is 16 paragraphs, but in grafs 6-12 Bob lays out how we can get "more than 7 million" new jobs by the end of 2012.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
In case you were wondering
Friday, June 24, 2011
Here is a picture of Michelle Obama, who according to the AP is "participating in youth activities raising awareness for HIV prevention". Sadly, no further details were given.
Are she and Bishop Tutu promoting pushups as an alternative to unprotected sex? Is the idea that one should work out until they are too tired to engage in unprotected sex? What exactly is the link between pushups and HIV prevention awareness?
PS: I like Michelle's tribute to Michael Jordan!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Ignacio, a loyal KPC reader from Chile, passed me a great article about politics in Argentina, which I will loosely translate here:
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Cholera is a small price to pay for Liberty!
I am often skeptical of claims of racial bias when someone is obviously being a jerk.
But in this instance....well, what do you think?
This man was told he could not fly, because he had his pants drooping, exposing his boxer shorts. (A video; comments are interesting)
This man was told...yikes! Anyway, this man was told he could fly, even though "his" underwear was fully exposed.
(Nod to the Blonde, who has a white sweater just like that)
Thank you, homie
The revolution might not be televised, but the hostage-taking will be Facebooked!
Why don't I just let him tell it: "I'm currently in a standoff ... kinda ugly, but ready for whatever," "I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends."
An astute commenter has found the perp's Facebook page. Here's a link to his wall, the posts from him about the situation are a few pages back from the current front page.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The best paragraph I've read this month
"what if Poland had agreed in 1939 to join Germany in an invasion of the Soviet Union, as Hitler wanted? If Poland had allied with Germany rather than resisting, Britain and France would not have issued territorial guarantees to Poland, and would not have had their casus belli in September 1939. It is hard to imagine that Britain and France would have declared war on Germany and Poland in order to save the Soviet Union. If Poland’s armies had joined with Germany’s, the starting line for the invasion would have been farther east than it was in June 1941, and Japan might have joined in, which would have forced some of the Red Army divisions that defended Moscow to remain in the Far East. Moscow might have been attained. In this scenario, there is no Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and thus no alienation of Japan from Germany. In that case, no Pearl Harbor, and no American involvement. What World War II becomes is a German-Polish-Japanese victory over the Soviet Union. That, by the way, was precisely the scenario that Stalin feared."
Thanks to Tyler, Andrew Roberts and Timothy Snyder for coaching me up. More here.
Several people have guessed they might have been a lucky winner.
But not so far. One frequent reader was 1,000,002, and proclaimed himself the lamest man on earth.
Here are the winners. If you are one of them, fill in the ##s and send me your physical address!
Country : United States
State : California
City : Long Beach
IP Address 69.245.###.#
Country : United States
State : Indiana
City : Fort Wayne
IP Address 66.69.##.#
Country : United States
State : Texas
City : San Antonio
Podcast on Euvoluntary Exchange
The 20th time (here's the whole list) Russ Roberts has been kind enough to let me jabber. I really enjoyed this one, a very interesting discussion about my idea of "Euvoluntary Exchange." (The paper has finally come out... Here is the gated version. Happy to share if you email me.)
I hope you like it!
Don't cry for me Greco-tina
People, we've seen this movie before. Greece is Argentina II.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Millions and Millions Sold
Well, a million at least.
I have the IP addresses and physical addresses of numbers 999,999, 1,000,000, and 1,000,001.
Just send me an email identifying your location, and give me your physical address, and you'll get a "Public Choice, Fool: You Better Represent!" t-shirt with that creepy "Gordon and James in the woods with pocket protectors" photo!
Labels: absolutely fabulous
Wow, things are worse than I thought
The "Keil Institute for the World Economy" gave its "Global Economy Prize" this year to......
"We have thereby been safeguarding the euro's purchasing power," Mr. Trichet said in Kiel. The ECB will continue to do what is necessary to deliver price stability, Mr. Trichet said. "There is no moment of complacency," he added. "We have to deliver price stability."
Saturday, June 18, 2011
This story got me thinking: is the stereotype about women drivers correct, in terms of central tendency? Obviously many men are too aggressive, and are far more likely to cause accidents, than women. But, still... women drive differently, right?
Anyway, here is the story:
A young woman mistakenly followed her rental car's GPS directions down a boat ramp in Bellevue, Washington. The driver apparently thought she was on a road when she crashed her SUV into the water at Mercer Slough Nature Park, reports KATU.com. One woman immediately jumped to safety, and the other two stood on door frames before wading ashore.
The three women were in town for a conference and were searching for a hotel just after midnight when they drove down the darkened path. "They were trying to re-route their path and found this boat launch," says a local fireman. "[They] just kept driving into the water." The SUV was completely submerged when a tow truck arrived in the morning. Police don't suspect drugs or alcohol were a factor. "We've seen sitcom parodies of something like this," says the fireman. "To actually see it is surprising."
The truth is that women are not just better and safer drivers, but are substantially better. Maybe they are just not very good at programming the GPS.
(Nod to Anonyman, who can program anything except women)
People, I am not a programming genius by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I've done work with a variety of co-authors (Mark Perry, Mrs. Angus, Rodolfo Cermeno, Olan Henry & Nilss Olekalns ) where we write our own code to estimate multivariate GARCH in mean models, which so far are not available as pre-programmed packages in STATA or EVIEWS or SAS.
Friday, June 17, 2011
No Sh*t, Sherlock
Hey. Do you know what is the favorite food of people that live in India?
It's so sexy...
...to be living in America.
Peaking Lights has a new record called "936". This is the first dubby, chilly, kind of band that I am really liking. Neon Indian just doesn't do it for me.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Hey boy, get a sweater!
The Senate voted today 73 - 27 to eliminate the federal subsidy for domestic ethanol AND eliminate the $0.54 per gallon tariff on imported ethanol!
"The White House issued a statement saying it was against a full repeal of ethanol subsidies, indicating it could use its veto power if the amendment continued to advance in Congress."
So I guess it's not expected to pass the House with a 2/3 majority?
Is there ever a bad time to get busy?
Labels: true love
Mom's secret receipe
Start with a group of elderly activist moms who helped end Argentina's dirty war, then toss in some political opportunism and payback. Add in a pinch of patricide.
And the Main Mother's top advisor is none other than Sergio Schoklender, who did a bit in the Argentine slammer for beating his parents to death with a steel bar!
Somehow, the money that the Kirchner government is funneling to the Mothers in exchange for their political support was getting funneled by Sergio into his own pocket!
Man, I never would have seen that coming.
What do Miles Davis and Kevin Love have in common?
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
ATMs destroy jobs?
So, President Obama went on the TODAY SHOW.
And, according to a couple of people I talked to, and some writers, he said that ATMs are destroying jobs. The quote is this:
There are "structural issues with the economy. ... You see it when you go to a bank you use the ATM, you don't go to a bank teller."
Here is the show excerpt. It's long; the relevant part starts at 3:00 or so.
And...that's not what he said. "Media Matters" has this right, I think. The President just did not say ATMs are costing America jobs. He didn't.
Still, I might not have said "structural problem," which is wrong. The fact is that economies are constantly doing things like replacing people with machines in some sectors and then hiring people somewhere else. That is not a problem at all, but a challenge.
I admit that for a command and control, "let's pass a law" guy like the President, it has to be a little scary to rely on the "creative" part of creative destruction. It's not clear where the new jobs will come from. It never is.
But he came close to telling the truth. The reason that business is not investing now is that investors are uncertain, and can't be sure if the economy is turning up. So they are sitting on cash. In the meantime, productivity (he called it "efficiency," which is accurate enough) is through the roof, so companies are making decent profits. And the Treasury is selling huge amounts of government debt, and companies can park their cash there and make a decent return in the short run.
Here's the thing. KPC BFF Mark Perry has the straight dope: fewer jobs but much larger manufacturing output.
But look at productivity:
ATMs are a good thing. (And the President basically said so). But losing jobs to productivity means that jobs must be created somewhere else, if the economy is to grow. The U.S. is still (by far) the largest manufacturing economy in the world. And U.S. manufacturing is (still) trending up, not down. That's not controlling for population, and not using any tricks. We are number one, by a lot.
Here's what the President should do.
1. Stop the class war rhetoric. Stop blaming business for the depression. He can blame his Wall Street butt boys at Goldman and Lehman, if he wants, but he would never do that and turn off the campaign contribution money pump.
2. Take real steps toward settling the budget and debt crisis. Force the bed-wetters who "lead" the Senate to pass a freakin' budget.
3. Reduce the uncertainty business faces in forecasting health care costs, taxes, and new regulations. The whole health care fiasco is a major cause of the extended recession. Republicans are just as much to blame, in that area. They obstructed without offering a better alternative, and now health care is still a big job-killing tax on new hires. But the President is the one who has to try to do something.
In 1936 and 1937, as Amity Shlaes chronicles in her book THE FORGOTTEN MAN, the Roosevelt administration went after business hard. They tried to pass new taxes, and they blamed business for (wait for it) sitting on piles of cash. The result was a second dip, where employment jumped back above 16%. It could happen again. ATMs are good; uncertainty is bad. And deficits are stupid.
Race to 1,000,000!
It looks like KPC will beat "Fight of the Century" to 1,000,000 hits!
Of course, KPC started counting in August, 2004. FotC just came out at the end of April, not even two months ago. But, who's counting?
I am! KPC: 997,250 FotC: 893,200. KPC! KPC! KPC!
Remember, that 1,000,000 (+/- 1) viewer gets a pack of FAAAABULOUS prizes. If you are number 999,999, number 1,000,000, or number 1,000,001, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll check the records for the IP, and if it matches up locations, you WIN!
I did try to address the controversy from last time, at 500,000 views. And at least one person got their (belated) prize.
Bug Ice Cream
Ice cream store in Columbia, MO makes ice cream using boiled, sugared cicadas.
Not so fast, says the state health Gestapo. Seems that if it's not approved, it's not permitted.
Now, if they were using bugs secretly, as a filler, that would be illegal, sure. But this is called "Bug Ice Cream," and the cicadas are visible.
There should be a list of prohibited items, not a list of permitted items. This is upsetting.
Massively Multiplayer On-Line Twit
"Heavy users of Twitter, as Weiner used to be (he hasn’t posted since June 1), play a complicated strategy game. Like World of Warcraft and Halo, Twitter is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, but with higher real-world stakes. It is grounded in the first principles of game theory, including variations on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. You have to give to get; you have to get to give. Managing these ratios — deciding how much of your attention to expend to win attention to yourself, say — is the lion’s share of the Twitter action...Twitter handsomely rewards those with a capacity for risk and an aptitude for the social sciences, especially economics, game theory, psychology and sociology...In the days immediately after the Weiner revelations, according to the statisticians at TweetCongress, posts by Republicans went down 27 percent, while posts from Democrats dropped 29 percent." [Virginia Heffernan, NYT op-ed]
(nod to Kevin Lewis)
Affirmative Action for Athletics?
Okay, ha ha. But:
1. If anything, coaches already try to find white players.
2. Some black people have racial prejudices; everyone does. But "racism" is directed at the societal minority, which is NOT white people. Affirmative action tries to overcome racism (which is an aggregate effect), not racial prejudice (which is individual).
3. Performance in sport (as in music, and the military) is objective. The idea of using race in those categories is silly. And of course that's why sports, music, and the military have long been the most integrated parts of U.S. society (although even there white racists said blacks didn't have the "character" to be a quarterback, boxer, etc.). But academics and hiring are more subjective. A bad time in the 40 yard dash means you are slow. A bad SAT score could mean all sorts of things. When I ran admissions at UNC MPA, I was surprised how many low GRE score students did VERY well once they were admitted.
4. Basketball is the key sport among urban populations, many of whom are black. Hockey, swimming, lacrosse much less so. This is sorting, not racism.
Nonetheless, I was amused to see the kids struggle with making ANY of the above arguments. The video does a good job of showing how our "support" for aff-action is a religion, not a considered conclusion.
(Nod to the Blonde)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
BFFs: du Process
Interesting talk at dinner the other night about friendship. What does it mean, how do you tell, and how do Germans and Americans differ in their understanding of the meaning, obligations, and limits of friendship.
Germans see Americans as superficial or even manipulative. We smile too much, we presume too much intimacy too fast. In German, there is a distinction between different forms of "you." I found this article, and also this one, if you are interested.
The money quote from the article:
The real problem isn't just grammar; it is also a matter of culture. An English-speaker is not used to making the distinction between the familiar and formal you (except in the similar "Mr. Brown" vs. "Bob" situation). German-speakers are very much aware of it and can become very uncomfortable when the du/Sie rules are broken. German-speakers tend to keep their distance longer with acquaintances than English-speakers do. German business colleagues who have worked together for years continue to address each other as Sie. It does not mean they are unfriendly, but they are maintaining the important German division between truly close friends and mere acquaintances.
This can manifest itself in ways that seem odd to the boundaries. As I wrote before, to an American, Franconia can seem like the land of state-sponsored autism.
But it is just as odd, or maybe more so, for Germans, and especially Franconians. If I said "Good Morning," in perfect German with a German accent, to someone on the street, they would stare in amazement. That is absolutely not done. "We have not been introduced!" would be the reaction. The circle of friends, real friends, for a German is generally smaller than the circle an American with precisely the same set of relationships might identify. But at the center of that circle the friendships seem deeper and with more reciprocal obligations for a German, especially German man.
Americans, on the other hand, can count their friends on Facebook. Where Americans might want many friends, Germans might want good friends.
There was a lot more, but that's the gist of it. I personally am more comfortable with being friendly, and the "superficial" criticism is not very persuasive. Why not be nice? It's more fun. Germans, at first, when they visit the American south assume that people are trying to get something, maybe even rob them, if a conversation is struck up. Americans don't need to be introduced. Germans also find it tough to tell where a friendship starts with an American, and I think they have a point here. Americans are a bit too intimate too fast, but then pull back. How can tell who is a friend, without "du" process?
Schadenfreude? Or Just Another Excessive Law Exploited in a Way That Amuses Us?
Monday, June 13, 2011
Uganda trip report #3: The big Kahunas
You can see more gorilla photos from the trip here.
A Not Bad At All Mexican Restaurant
T.G. is the man. He felt moved to defend the honor of Erlangen, after reading about the "Worst Mexican Restaurant in the World" incident.
So, we went to La Pasion. Here is the menu (PDF, a download).
It was just fine. First, the chips/dip. You may recall that in the WMRITW this was crackers with ketchup-with-tomatoes. At La Pasion, a perfectly eatable bottled salsa, nothing special, but actual salsa. The guacamole was fine, and they HAD guacamole, which was an improvement.
The food came with beans, canned jalapenos, and fiery little fresh chiles with stems. The quesadillas...well, check the menu. They had...pollo! At the WMRITW the very idea of pollo had been mocked by the waitress, who had insisted only puten (turkey) could be used in Mexican food. But La Pasion lists chicken, pollo, and hanchen, which makes sense for a multi-lingual menu.
And the beer was first rate. A very excellent hefeweisse. (To be fair, even the WMRITW had managed to get that right).
So, overall, a perfectly acceptable Mexican restaurant. Wouldn't survive in Los Angeles, perhaps, but they used ingredients and flavorings that strongly reminded one of Mexican food. One of our party said the food was what you might get if your mom cooked Mexican, but I think that's not right. This was what you might get at Applebees or some chain. In any case, thanks to T.G.! Erlangen's honor is restored. I liked the restaurant very much.
Tales from the Berg II: Ran into a chum, with a bottle of rum....
And wound up drinking all night. I blame Martin. Will post about Mexican restaurant soon, though.
Went out for lunch at Carpaccio. An Italian restaurant with actual Italians. Great little courtyard, with lattice and umbrellas (it was sunny here, by the way; a miracle!) The boys and I went, along with Martin, the lovely Ulla (who should have known better) and the indomitable Dominik.
Martin insists on ordering a whole liter of chianti, even though he was the only one who wanted any. Well, actually, I did that. Martin was kind enough to go along. But I need to work something like a chum with a bottle of rum in here, to make the Buffet allusion work. Really great lunch, first rate, kind of Martin to suggest it.
Our waiter was hilarious. Funny, insulting, did a little dance. Long hair pulled back, oiled down, about five foot ten and 150 pounds, looked like an Italian waiter should look. Kept checking back, brought the food quickly. I briefly forgot I was in Germany, with such service. The pizzas and pasta all very good.
Then we climbed the Huguenot Church in the main square. Yes, we did. It's tall.
. Amazing view.
Then the boys and I went back to the Hotelchen, where I immediately napped for 20 minutes. Fortunately, Hajo called and woke me up. He was at Berg, waiting for us. We didn't get up there until nearly 17:00, and it was really hard to find a table. Martin was going to join us later (after HIS nappie). Finally found a table, near "The Kessel" at Entla's Keller. This description is funny, both the "boiling" and the list of cheesy sing-along songs. Here is the Kessel (yes, that's really what is going on; our table was above a bit, though, not in the boiling):
After we found a table, shared with some other folks (Ha-Jo did this, crucial to be quick and speak German), we sat for quite a while (Ha-Jo had some entla, which was cool). Our table companions left, leaving half a table open. This is like a pretty girl in a tight tube top sitting alone at a dance for sailors just back from the sea. LOTS of people were hitting on us, though of course they only wanted us for our table. We were trying to hold seats for Martin, Ulla, and Dominik, but we were under constant attack. Apparently (Martin insists) I left a phone message for him (he was still napping) that was like a call for an air strike in a bad war movie: "Martin! You have to get here. We can't (loud noise)...Wow! That was close. We can't hold on much longer. Please...(loud crashing and banging)... You have got to get here!"
And then they did get there, and it was all good, and we sang and danced on the tables at the Kessel.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
So, Erlangen is never like this, EXCEPT during Berg. Then your Bavarian getaway is exactly like this.
(No, I have no idea what this is about. Blame Martin)
Last night Berg was so crowded I literally could not move. And some really drunk guys were doing the "throw the shoulder and elbow" thing to try to start fights.
On the other hand, I also walked by "The Worst Mexican Restaurant in the World," with fond memories.
The admirable T.G. took us last night to a different Mexican restaurant. I have two posts later today about the experience. Stay tuned.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I did this podcast (or, some of what I said made up a small part of the podcast) with CBC.
Canucks in the Cup Final, and may not be again ever. What should tickets cost?
The question is not what people are CHARGING, but rather what people are PAYING.
Oh, and the games....
There is no Great Stagnation!
Tales From Berg I: Martin
So, frequent commenter and KPC BFF Martin and I had spent nearly 4 hours at a table at Berg, eating the chocolates that Der Geist (Scrounger forever) demanded I open and drinking mass biers (Maßkrüge). (By "mass biers" I don't mean many, or Spanish for more, I mean 1 liter bier glasses, which are different from bier goggles).
Anyway, Martin and I were walking back toward town from Berg, along the Haupstrasse, with 10,000 or so other merry folks. The atmosphere is a little charged, a lot inebriated.
Some moron decided he was going to drive. A car. On the Hauptsrasse. Now, it was so crowded, curb to curb, that you really couldn't walk. Drive a car? Really? Goofball in the car, and his passenger, are yelling, revving engine, squealing brakes, and going exactly the same speed as the people walking.
I got out of the way, but Martin (you have to know Martin; he is basically a psychological twin of Angus, if Angus were a German Socialist) not only didn't get out of the way but walked a little slower. Goofball in the car keeps revving/braking, finally actually touches Martin's leg with the car.
More happened then. I was watching Martin, who turned,gave an excellent wind up and released a nice high arching spit onto the car's windshield. I followed the trajectory, like a camera cut, to...pandemonium. The crowd was enraged that one of its own had been touched intentionally by a car. There were 2 or 3 guys with their legs sticking out of both front windows. They had dived (diven?) into the car, turned it off, put it in neutral, and were now beating the crap out of the occupants.
Martin and I walked on. Half a km later, we looked back, and the car was in exactly the same place, though by now the flashers were on. (Nice touch). Martin felt bad about the spitting (which I thought was fully called for). The beating... hard to say.
And der Geist ate all my damned chocolates. Scrounger.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Democracy is Overrated
(Update: This did come from a public speech. The laughter/applause is real, though of course undeserved. It is on YouTube; just click on bottom right of the embedded image, or use this link...
I had no role in making the video, which is nearly 3 years old. It was created by Libertyfizz from a speech I gave permission to use. Libertyfizz may or may not choose to identify him/herself; that's not for me to decide. But whatever claim or credit you want to give, it is Libertyfizz's, not mine. If you are interested in the text of the speech...this is pretty close.)
Some little stories... I was hoping to be funny, but I still want to be serious.
Tocqueville rocks, by the way.
The mysterious recession, take II
Yesterday I claimed that the behavior of the US economy in our current recovery is, contra Matt Ygelesias, "mysterious", in that we have not seen the common "v-shape" or recovery to the original trend.
Gotta Do This
Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Was trying to avoid it.
1. The John Edwards prosecution: witch hunt. There is no way that what he did was illegal. And if it is, he could not have known it was illegal. There was no campaign contribution. This is just prosecutorial harrassment of someone where our political judgment is that he's a bad guy. And, okay, he is a bad guy. But that's not a crime. All Edwards has to say is that he kept it secret to hide his affair and the bimbette's pregnancy from his wife. That is reasonable doubt. End of story. If prosecutors are free to bring trumped up charges like this, we are all less safe.
2. The Anthony Weiner saga: really? What the hell? There is not even an allegation of a crime. And I can't blame the media, 'cause they are just serving up what you bunch of Rocks are cookin'-smellin'. Not saying media can't write about it, that's fine. But I pledge that I will change channels, URLs, or tweets any time I see anything more about the Congressman's weiner. This is a softer, but still ugly, kind of public harrassment. Why would anyone want to run for office? (If they had a chance to win, I mean, something I don't know anything about). This is just puritannical garbage.
Labels: political theatre
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Apparently, there's three kinds of people in this world.
The mystery of Yglesias
Matty Y has put up a mysterious blog post called "The non-mystery of the recession".
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
If these be sweatshops, give me MORE of them!
Just after midnight in Munich. Tremendous doner durum for dinner, then a variety of locally brewed malt beverages. Nonetheless, I am over here watching my boy Ben Powell. And you should watch, too.
Still, here at KPC we strive for fairness. Since Ben Powell is a smart guy, and he's right, the opposing view should be a nonsensical article written by an idiot. Here you go; enjoy!
All hail Frank Esser!
Uganda trip report #2: Kazinga channel cruise
For a long time, I've wanted to canoe down the Zambezi river among the hippos and other riverine creatures, but Mrs. Angus wants no part of it. The closest I've gotten so far is the pontoon boat ride down the the Kazinga channel, a 30 km "river"which connects lakes George and Albert in the northern part of Queen Elizabeth park as seen in this aerial photo:
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The Wal-mart of Weed
A 21,000 square foot one stop shop for growing the chronic, complete with an on-site doctor to get you signed up for using medical marijuana has just opened up in Phoenix.
Uganda trip report #1: Non-primate wildlife
Price Controls Lecture
Anthony Davies. Not sure about some of those graphs, as "proof" about min wage increasing unemployment. But a good video for a general audience.
Labels: free market videos
When You Read This, I'll Be in Munich
Get to Munich at 7:30 am on Tuesday, staying at the Conrad Hotel de Ville on Schillerstrasse, right by the Hauptbahnhoff.
Heading up to Erlangen on Thursday, giving several talks, and staying at the Hotelchen am Theater on Theaterstrasse.
Of course, it just HAPPENS to be time for ... Bergkirchweih!
Also "on tap" (forgive me): A return to the very worst Mexican restaurant in the world! The single most viewed page in KPC history, and the YYM and I are going to see if it has gotten even worse.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Woman Aroused? How Can You Tell?
So, German police are flummoxed. (I write this in the air, using GoGo wifi, heading for Munich). A law written for male flashers requires that the flasher be visibly sexually aroused before the crime can be prosecuted.
But this woman has been flashing...and who can tell? I've been married 25 years, and I have no idea. Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe later, maybe not? Part of a lady's charm, that fickle mystery.
Men not very mysterious. I think more research needs to be done.
(Nod to the Blonde)
Air France Does a DSK Move
What is it with the French and taking responsibility? Jeez, DSK goes after the chambermaid, and all the French hoity toits fall over themselves blaming the woman.
The Air France plane falls 30k feet because it stalled.... stalled! When the stall warnings went off, Bozet the Clown in the pilot's seat pulled back on the stick to bring the nose up. Did he never play "Flight Simulator"? Amazing. Yet the Air France hoity toits...here's the quote from the WSJ article:
Air France praised the three pilots, who "demonstrated a totally professional attitude and were committed to carrying out their task to the very end," the airline said in a statement.
The carrier, a unit of Air France-KLM SA, noted that "the initial problem was the failure of the speed probes which led to the disconnection of the autopilot and the loss of the associated piloting protection systems."
The largest trade union representing Air France pilots, SNPL, said Friday the report "describes only part of the sequence of events experienced by the crew" and it awaits the full report.
Now, I understand that the disconnection of the autopilot would be a problem, if (for example) I or even the intrepid world traveller Angus were sitting up front. We are not...PILOTS. Losing the piloting protection systems would indeed be a big problem for anyone who is not a trained pilot.
But I would have expected that the term "pilot" would connote some ability to fly a plane, and in particular it should mean you have training in flying the particular plane you are "piloting" across the big old ocean.
I also understand that the guys are dead, and that Air France is trying to avoid massive liability for what appears to be simple negligence in training.
Still wonder, though, how a stall alarm would say to any trained pilot, "Get your nose up!" (Two analyses, one here and then a really interesting one here. The actual pilot, the last link, seems to think it was a tough situation. And he mentions what it must have been like to have a 40 degree up angle, and then the long stall, falling into the ocean. Must have been terrifying.)
A video of the problem of stalling.
The partners from Hell
Mrs. A and I have returned from two weeks in Uganda. It was a fantastic trip. We saw and did so much, I'm still kind of trying to process it all (and get over the jet lag).
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Standing In the School House Door
Refreshing honesty from one of the commissars in the dark hierarchy of the education-industrial complex. Article in the N&O today, by UNC Ed School Dean Bill McDiarmid. Please do read it.
His essential points go as follows:
1. Students who have uninterested or unsupportive parents fail to do well in school.
2. Students whose parents are interested, involved advocates have the potential to do well.
3. It is not fair to open opportunities for the type 2 kids, since the type 1 kids won't have those opportunities.
4. Therefore, it is more fair to have a system where all students fall well short of their potential than to have a system where some students escape the trap of poverty and the cycle of educational failure.
Dean McDiarmid actually goes so far as to say that the desperate parents in the movie "Waiting for Superman" should be forced, literally forced, to keep their kids in the horrible public school system of Washington D.C. The ideology of our education commissars is that unless everybody escapes, nobody escapes.
Why would someone who at least pretends to care about children take such an abusive position? After all, if we are to ensure social mobility and a chance for some people to realize their dreams of a better life for their children, shouldn't we want to save at least some of those poor kids? Because, remember, the research the commissar cites shows that kids without adult advocates are GOING TO FAIL EITHER WAY. The only actual question is whether we let kids who DO have adult advocates succeed. Dean McDiarmid does not want that to happen. Again, why?
A remarkable story from New York tells us why. The NAACP is mounting an aggressive defense of failing schools in Harlem. Some of these schools have success rates (proportion performing at grade level) of 3%. (That's 97% NOT at grade level, for those of you who got degrees in education...)
Who is on the other side? Who is the NAACP valiantly fighting against? Poor black people. Nice. Check this article; it brings tears to your eyes. Shame on you, NAACP, and shame on Dean McDiarmid. At the end of the day, you are happy to sacrifice the future of our poorest children for a few pieces of silver for your public unions and their ideological fellow travellers.
Several polls near the end of the 2008 race showed my support among African-Americans was 50% higher than among whites. Some of this was because I was opposed to capital punishment. But people I talked to told me their support was based on educational reform, giving choice to poor people. Rich people have always had choices, and they are leaving the system to go to private schools. Poor people are the ones who need choices, and only changing government policy can do that.
(UPDATE: Link is fixed. Thanks!)