Friday, September 20, 2013

Buy a house, get a parking space!

I hear Mariachi static on my radio
And the tubes they glow in the dark
And I'm there with her in Ensenada
And I'm here in Echo Park 

Parking spaces!
Off the stree-eet!
I think I'm gonna see it...
'Cause I'm all strung out from searching
For a place to park this Prius.

Or something like that.

Nod to NC Mistress, and apologies to the legendary WZ

Fade into New?

Wow. Mazzy Star is coming back with a new album!


You can stream it here. Judging from the first song, it's pretty good.

I've been a big David Roback fan since Rain Parade, Opal, & the early Mazzy Star recordings.

They are even touring.

Apropos of very little, check out this amazing J. Macsis cover of the Mazzy Star classic, Fade Into You:

ACA: A Jobs Bill for Wealthy Democrats

So, this should surprise exactly no one. The point of ACA was never to take care of sick people, or poor people.  It was to line the pockets of rich campaign contributors to the Democrat Party.  And it's working out very well, for them.

The amazing thing is that our President seems genuinely to be confused between insurance, and health care.  I found this remarkable.  Is he proposing a new program, actual provision of health care?  Surely he recognizes that ACA is an insurance program, right?  As more and more units drop out of the system, health care is going to be sharply rationed.  Maybe that's a good thing.  But you can't possibly believe that ACA is going to increase health CARE options.  It will provide a way to pay for now sharply rationed* health care after all the private options disappear.  Will that be good for poor people? 

Why would it be? As usual, Frederic Bastiat had the model we need to understand what is going on.  From Angry Alex:

"When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating." (Source)

*Yes, health care is rationed now, and has to be.  But now it is rationed by price.  Soon it will be rationed by queueing.  If that were intentional, and had been explained, okay.  It isn't, and it wasn't.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

In honor (if that's the right word) of "National Talk Like a Pirate Day,"  this sing-along.  Four minutes of your life you will never get back.  The Clintons said that the impeachment was "a vast right wing conspiracy."  This is just...well...

Avast!  Just make sure you don't say, "Aye!  Avast!" 

And a video...

Blame the LMM, she sent it to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tale of the (non)Taper

The FOMC announced that QE will continue for the time being. No cutting back on the monthly asset purchases.

Check out these graphs:

Stock prices and bond prices both went vertical with the announcement.

I wish the next Fed chair a hearty "good luck" with their exit from QE and clean up the Fed's balance sheet policy. They are going to need it.

In case you ever wondered why Mungo is in Political Science and Angus in Economics....

Here is the explanation in one convenient chart (clic the pic for an even more enlightening image):

That's right folks, Mungo was just TOO HOT for economics (and conversely, I not hot enough for political science).

At least I'm hotter than a math professor!

Hat tips to cblatts and jwolfers.

In the near future, this is going to come up...

We laugh at some of the things that "doctors" did in the 19th century.

I bet that 100 years from now, this will be one of the things they laugh at US about.


Researchers found pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other lean. They transferred gut bacteria from these twins into mice and watched what happened. The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that got bacteria from lean twins stayed lean. 

The study, published online Thursday by the journal Science, is “pretty striking,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier, an obesity researcher and the dean of the Harvard Medical School, who was not involved with the study. “It’s a very powerful set of experiments.”

Michael Fischbach of the University of California, San Francisco, who also was not involved with the study, called it “the clearest evidence to date that gut bacteria can help cause obesity.”

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hey Mungo: Here's another reason to hate solar!

Firefighters complain that solar panels on the roof make it more dangerous for them to do their jobs:

Interestingly, the article does not give a single example of a firefighter being injured from a solar panel.

This Dog Must Know Skippy

Nod to the LMM

Discussion of Kant Leads to Gunfire

This is the way that philosophy disputes are actually ALWAYS resolved:  justice lies in the interests of the stronger handgun.  Thrasymachus said that, I think, or something close to it.

In Russia, gunfire breaks out over debate about Kant.

Best line:  "It was not clear which of Kant’s ideas may have triggered the violence." 

At a guess, let's go with thesis four of "Idea for a Universal History..."  Don't you agree?  Here it is:

The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men. 

By “antagonism” I mean the unsocial sociability of men, i.e., their propensity to enter into society, bound together with a mutual opposition which constantly threatens to break up the society. Man has an inclination to associate with others, because in society he feels himself to be more than man, i.e., as more than the developed form of his natural capacities. But he also has a strong propensity to isolate himself from others, because he finds in himself at the same time the unsocial characteristic of wishing to have everything go according to his own wish. Thus he expects opposition on all sides because, in knowing himself, he knows that he, on his own part, is inclined to oppose others. This opposition it is which awakens all his powers, brings him to conquer his inclination to laziness and, propelled by vainglory, lust for power, and avarice, to achieve a rank among his fellows whom he cannot tolerate but from whom he cannot withdraw. Thus are taken the first true steps from barbarism to culture, which consists in the social worth of man; thence gradually develop all talents, and taste is refined; through continued enlightenment the beginnings are laid for a way of thought which can in time convert the coarse, natural disposition for moral discrimination into definite practical principles, and thereby change a society of men driven together by their natural feelings into a moral whole. Without those in themselves unamiable characteristics of unsociability from whence opposition springs-characteristics each man must find in his own selfish pretensions-all talents would remain hidden, unborn in an Arcadian shepherd’s life, with all its concord, contentment, and mutual affection. Men, good-natured as the sheep they herd, would hardly reach a higher worth than their beasts; they would not fill the empty place in creation by achieving their end, which is rational nature. Thanks be to Nature, then, for the incompatibility, for heartless competitive vanity, for the insatiable desire to possess and to rule! Without them, all the excellent natural capacities of humanity would forever sleep, undeveloped. Man wishes concord; but Nature knows better what is good for the race; she wills discord. He wishes to live comfortably and pleasantly; Nature wills that he should be plunged from sloth and passive contentment into labor and trouble, in order that he may find means of extricating himself from them. The natural urges to this, the sources of unsociableness and mutual opposition from which so many evils arise, drive men to new exertions of their forces and thus to the manifold development of their capacities. They thereby perhaps show the ordering of a wise Creator and not the hand of an evil spirit, who bungled in his great work or spoiled it out of envy. 

Just reading that, you want to go shoot somebody.....

UPDATE:  Turns out it was "The Critique of Pure Reason."  That was my second guess.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday's Child

1.  Mr. Big feels all empty inside.  He gets some advice.

2.  Just put a monkey in charge, as long as the monkey is trained.  The Atlantic.

3.  This is fascinating.  What is it with UNC Profs and a near total incapacity for self-awareness?  Prof. Frampton thought he was a hottie, and this lady thinks....I'm not sure what she thinks.  But she clearly thinks she should be allowed to drive drunk.  I'm sympathetic to the legal challenge, I suppose.  Still, it takes some huevos to defend oneself in that way.

4.  Pravda article on Putin and Obama.  Hilarious, and accurate, sometimes.   Hilarious when it's inaccurate, and sad when it's accurate.

5.   A well-regulated militia.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Sport, or Bunching Mungo's Boxers

Fun article on how rooftop solar panels are the new granite countertops.

Look. Insulation is fundamental. It's still a LOT cheaper than solar. Three inches of insulation underneath the slab is a very cost-effective way to save on energy bills (if you live in a place with cold winters). Having an airtight building envelope is also an extremely cost effective way to save on energy.

But as the article points out, a 3KW rooftop system is less than $15K installed, and the article forgot to mention you get a 30% Federal Tax Credit as well.

So roll the cost into your mortgage, get the tax credit up front, and enjoy much lower utility bills.

You are "cash flow positive month one".

Mrs. Angus and I are doing exactly this in Santa Fe. Because our house will super-insulated, air-tight, and fairly small, we are only doing a 2KW system (we will have a separate thermal solar hot water system as well). We get a 10% state tax credit to go with the 30% Federal. We will be getting like $7 / square foot of tradeable state tax credits from the Build Green New Mexico program. We also dispense with the nastiest part of residential solar, the batteries and storage, by having our system be grid-tied. That is, we sell our power to the utility company, and they sell power back to us at a lower rate.