Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy at Wrightsville Beach

Our annual two weeks at Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, NC, are pretty much our favorite time of the year.

A local ad.  Hokey, as one might expect.  But it makes us happy.

Remy on VA: Perhaps the best Remy yet...

This is pretty savage.  Not unfair, but savage.  (I like the "one way" that we can be made to care about a soldier:  desert your unit under fire...)

There is an actual problem with government provided health care.  It doesn't really work, anywhere.  England and Canada have systems that allow "important" people to jump the endless queues.  And the U.S. just lets people die as a means of making the queue shorter.




My own view is that single-payer INSURANCE, or government FINANCING combined with private provision, may be the best we can hope for.  So, people who are using the VA crisis to indict tax-funded insurance are mistaken.  But the VA crisis is a perfectly legitimate indictment of those who want an English-style system.  It sucks.

UPDATE:  Some useful background:  VA system is NOT a test of ACA.  But if we aren't careful, we could move toward VA-type system.  Republicans need to make some actual proposals, instead of just being hopeless hypocrites.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

On the Musical Stylings of Steve Horwitz

Okay, so I recognize that I am Prof. Horwitz's "Newman."  As in the Seinfeld character.  The way that Jerry said "Newman," Horwitz says "Munger."

Partly because I have long mocked his love of Rush.  Of course, I am hardly alone in this.  Consider this "review" from a "Most Over-rated" list:

These Canadian Prog-Rock mouthbreathers have earned a place in the history books for humble conceptual retardation and for having the most prolific legion of apocolyptically prententious fans under the sun. This band grew into maturity and developed a fan base after having produced a number of records. The inclination of their fanbase seems to to tally with the period within which they began producing some of the most disappointing concept albums of all time. And singing about dragons or whatever. This just goes to prove that pot wasn't as unpopular in the 70's as you were led to believe. This band also excercise the right to gargantuan respite periods, due to band break-ups and so forth; much to the chargrin of their fans. In my experience (as Anglo-Canadian Prog Metal Ambassador and Correspondant), Rush fans are the jacket-and-jeans wearing, male equivalent of bagladies that are willing to kill in the name of Lee, Lifeson and Peart. Genuinely, this band started life with a great of potential. They went from "Funny/Peculiar" to "OHMYFUCKINGGODTHESE-GUYSAREFUCKINGHILARIOUS!" within a few small steps. 

Still, it was sort of cute.  It's hard not to sing along with a Rush song in the car, if the radio is broken and you have no way of changing the channel to the "All Yani, All the Time!" station.

But....now.  Now Prof. Horwitz has launched off into new territories of tastelessness.  He has expressed the view that (wow) Steely Dan is "da bomb."  The Prof. has been heard crunching old fish bones and chortling about his Dan concert tickets: "Mine, preeeeecious.  All miiiiiine, precious."  Problem?  Yes.  Even "The Daily Kos" is right about "The Dan."

Personally, I'd be hard pressed to think of another major act that even approaches the sheer awfullness of Steely Dan. 

Their music reminds me of cottage cheese, tasteless and lumpy. And I don't like tasteless lumps. They natter. They noodle. Their music goes on and on and on with no discernable point or plot. And their singing?? Ay! yi! yi! A bandsaw hitting a hard wood knot sounds better. 

Here's the thing:  that quote is from...2005.  That's a long time ago.  Steely Dan has NOT gotten better in the last ten years.  Basically they are a tribute band that plays songs that their now geriatric fans listened to while smoking their first doobie. It all seemed deep.  But:  It wasn't the music that was deep; it was the doobies.  I'd rather listen to Lt. Dan. Tapdancing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rocket Science?

Apparently, the following true statements are much less obvious than I would have thought.

1.  If you give something away for free, the people getting the free thing will like it.

2.  If you take money from other people to pay for the "free" thing, some of them will complain.

3.  The people who once depended on selling the (now free) thing will get hammered.

Is this rocket science?  Apparently so, at least in NY.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Political Memoir Simulator

So, you can get a title for your own political biography, with this simulator.

Mine was below:


This is surprisingly insightful, for a computer simulator of political biographies.  Many of the men who go to Washington would like to think their careers focused on legislation.  But for a lot of guys that "career" was mostly focused on his dictum.  With thanks to Dan "Sincere Audacity" Drezner.

Say Something, Obama

A little slow.  I'm not sure this works.

But, check it out.  What do YOU think?  Effective?  Wishful thinking?

Monday, June 09, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  The moral code of dogs...

2.  The YYM just moved back home.  "Temporarily."  Graduated from Duke in May.  Will keep you apprised...Not an isolated incident.

3.  "The Psychology of Human Misjudgement," By Charlie Munger (unfortunately for me, no relation)

4.  If an "error" is bigger than the combined GDPs of several countries, is it really an error at all?  Or something a bit more...sinister.

5.  Elena Boschi's thong was photo-shopped.  Still, she has clearly made more effort than most male politicos to stay in shape.  No Chris Christie signing ceremony looks that good, even if we stick to the real version...
(moremoremore!  Just for @anthonybullard )

Sunday, June 08, 2014

My Prediction? PAIN!

A group of English PhD students investigate the problems of common pool resources.

What could possibly go wrong?

More details....

Like Magic Mike


Like Mike: Ability contagion through touched objects increases confidence and improves performance 

 Thomas Kramer & Lauren Block
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, July 2014, Pages 215–228

Abstract: Magical thinking refers to irrational peculiar beliefs, including those that conform to the laws of contagion. We propose that touching an object that was previously touched by a high performer increases confidence via magical thinking (ability contagion) and improves actual performance among individuals high in experiential processing. A series of studies provides support for this main proposition. Our results cast doubt on an alternative explanation based on priming, and are obtained controlling for participants’ level of rational processing, motivation, and affect.