Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pelsmin Guest Post: The Paradox of India

Frequent commenter/long-time reader Pelsmin is visiting India, and shared these thoughts.  More below the fold...


This week I visited Bangalore to tour facilities of my new employer, an outsourcing engineering firm with most of our employees based in India. Companies use us to develop technology better, cheaper and faster.

When President Obama rails against un-patriotic American companies “outsourcing” their work, he’s referring to our customers. And incidentally, he means “offshoring.” Outsourcing is the completely un-objectionable process of allowing another firm, possibly based across the street, to handle non-core business activities. Peter Drucker championed the concept half a century ago and it has led to vast improvements in competitiveness and productivity, and countless American job gains.

 Offshoring can be done without outsourcing, by changing the location of a company’s own employees to India, and outsourcing can be done without offshoring, by transferring work from your own employees to more productive labor situated in the US. They may originate from another country. Think H1 visa.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Tunapanda just exceeded their new goal of $20,000, but we still haven't raised enough for a financial literacy content-creation person.

Our new goal is $975 more (by tomorrow) to help spread financial literacy!  Contribute here (I'm giving $100, myself...)

There is a small but nascent free-market movement in East Africa that could use some educational tools, as you can gather from this article

Since the Left Doesn't Like Violence, Why Do They Want More?

It does seem paradoxical.  Our leftist brothers and sisters decry violence, and then say we need a larger state.  But the state IS violence.  That's really all the state can do.

And the state attracts those people for whom committing violence causes the least distress. It may be that they feel they are "just following orders," or that they are serving the public, of course.

But the state also attracts the fringe that just likes to commit violence because it's fun.

This is pretty rough.

Some comments.

My question:  If you really think "this shit's gotta stop," why are you constantly pressing for a larger and more powerful state?  If you want to stop, then stop it.

First Moon Party

This is uncomfortable and funny.

And yet another reason that I thank merciful God in heaven that we were blessed with boys.

The product is "Hello Flo."  Yes, it is.  And it's a real product.  "Special delivery for your crimson tide."  Gott im Himmel.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Child

Monday's Child was full, so Tuesday's Child (normally "full of grace") had to take some links.

1.  Are drones model airplanes, or commercial vehicles?  And does the answer ONLY depend on who is flying them?

2.  Churches need more joy.  A priest who dances flamenco is joyful.

3.  Four governors in four days.

4.  Feel the buzz, and then turn that way.  Smart shoes?

5.  Jon Stewart on Mr. Cuomo.  Since Mr. Cuomo is unprincipled thug bent on using legal power to extort money, I'm not sure why this surprises anyone.  Anthony Cuomo is impossible to caricature.  He's straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, the character that you say, "This is ridiculous.  No one could be this clueless."  Well, Cuomo is not clueless.  He just has no ability to feel shame or recognize irony.  It's just power, and theft.

6.  This is not very mysterious.  Proving once again that the NYTimes has abandoned journalism.

Headline for the Ages:  

Married Chinese man suffering from stomach ache goes to the doctor and learns he is actually a female

(To be fair, this "actually" raises a question about "actually."  who's to say he is "actually" anything?  What he actually has is a genetic aberration.  What he "actually" is up to him.)

Toddler Sets Jeep Loose, Runs Back Inside to Watch Cartoons.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  We just want to help you.  But we need to know a lot about you.

2.  In the future, everyone will be fined for 15 minutes.  We'll fine you if you water, we'll fine you if you don't.  How much is "too much"?  We'll fine you if you ask.

3.  Violence is wrong.  But sometimes, a 72 year old man has just had enough.  Buzz Aldrin punches an idiot.  And the idiot needed to be punched.

4.  Roko's Basilisk.

5.  Drive free....until we repossess. Incentives matter, part 2045671.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Somewhere on the road between Norman and Santa Fe

Angus recently drove from Norman to Santa Fe.

And this sign was vandalized.

Coincidence?  Oh, I don't THINK so.

Human Capital

Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment 

Mara Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer 
NBER Working Paper, June 2014 

Abstract: While human capital is a strong predictor of economic development today, its importance for the Industrial Revolution is typically assessed as minor. To resolve this puzzling contrast, we differentiate average human capital (worker skills) from upper tail knowledge both theoretically and empirically. We build a simple spatial model, where worker skills raise the local productivity in a given technology, while scientific knowledge enables local entrepreneurs to keep up with a rapidly advancing technological frontier. The model predicts that the local presence of knowledge elites is unimportant in the pre-industrial era, but drives growth thereafter; worker skills, in contrast, are not crucial for growth. To measure the historical presence of knowledge elites, we use city-level subscriptions to the famous Encyclopédie in mid-18th century France. We show that subscriber density is a strong predictor of city growth after 1750, but not before the onset of French industrialization. Alternative measures of development confirm this pattern: soldier height and industrial activity are strongly associated with subscriber density after, but not before, 1750. Literacy, on the other hand, does not predict growth. Finally, by joining data on British patents with a large French firm survey from 1837, we provide evidence for the mechanism: upper tail knowledge raised the productivity in innovative industrial technology. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I can just see the LMM doing this with me, in kayak, off the coast of Argentina.

Well, she might WATCH it, from a beach chair, ON the coast of Argentina.

Marriage at the Margin

Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages 

 Wolfgang Frimmel, Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
Demography, August 2014, Pages 1357-1379

Abstract: Policies to promote marriage are controversial, and it is unclear whether they are successful. To analyze such policies, one must distinguish between a marriage that is created by a marriage-promoting policy (marginal marriage) and a marriage that would have been formed even in the absence of a state intervention (average marriage). We exploit the suspension of a cash-on-hand marriage subsidy in Austria to examine the differential behavior of marginal and average marriages. The announcement of an impending suspension of this subsidy led to an enormous marriage boom among eligible couples that allows us to locate marginal marriages. Applying a difference-in-differences approach, we show that marginal marriages are surprisingly as stable as average marriages but produce fewer children, children later in marriage, and children who are less healthy at birth.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Pension-smoothing is a silly gimmick.  But it's a red herring.

Okay, yes, pretty much no one thinks it's a good idea.

It's dumb.  And wasteful.

Of course, the real solution is to raise taxes on gasoline, right?  Though that wouldn't solve the problem of people driving less, or the "problem" of more fuel efficient cars. (Problem?)

No, the real solution is to stop looting the highway trust fund for pork barrel projects, and use it for maintenance.  At present, 40% of the Fed's highway trust fund goes to "earmarked programs."

Stop that.  Easy peasey.

Here's the thing:  the states are supposed to pay for maintenance of the highway system.  And the STATE taxes are more than double the Fed excise tax.  The states you would expect (CA, CT, MI) all charge more than TRIPLE the Fed rate.  And these states all loot that money and use it to buy votes from developers and corporations.

There's this canard:  the rate of gas taxes has fallen, adjusted for inflation.  Well, the Fed tax rate has fallen, because all they do is use it to build bridges to nowhere.  It's just a slush fund for payoffs to campaign contributors.  The average rate of state gas tax was 20 cents/gallon in 2002.  It's 31 cents/gallon in 2014.  That's a 55% increase, in 12 years.  Inflation is only a 33% increase over that period.  The point being that state gas taxes have increased more than 20%, adjusted for inflation, since 2002.  Why do we need to raise gas taxes?

The answer is that politicians use your tax money to buy votes.  And they can never, ever have enough.  Votes, that is.

Just spend the actual money that we already raise on roads.  Take the 40% of the Fed highway trust fund that's spent on pork, and spend it on maintenance.  Stop enabling the states to use gas taxes for anything except roads.  We collect plenty of taxes for roads.  We just don't use it for roads.

Gas taxes are a pretty good example of a "user fee."  You pay more if you use more, and the money can be used to provide the service.  Except that, to paraphrase Gary Trudeau, "But the highway trust fund was just sitting there!"

Tenure and the Caterpillar

Found this great caterpillar, on the LMM's car.  Note the giant false head, unseeing "eyes," and upright posture.  When threatened, it rears up and tries to look all bad-ass, when in fact it's a soft little useless wimp.

Unfortunately, my good friend Michael Thomas imagined that there is some connection between this beast and the beast called "The Tenured Professor."   Click for an even more tenured image.

Ow.  Problem with the analogy, of course, is that caterpillars pupate and turn into pretty butterflies.  Tenured profs turn into....Keith Poole.  Double ow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

D-Drez lays down some smack

So, this guy was pretty sure of himself.  Got all up in here and talking big.  I thought I was going to have to respond.  I mean, the guy's "data" is "a woman sent me a letter."  Really?

But D-Drez took care of it.  Better than I could have anyway.

First World Problems: A bad redeye in first class

I sometimes travel first class, as an upgrade.  On Delta, I get upgraded sometimes.

But for the trip back from LAX to Raleigh, I actually paid for first class.  And had a remarkable experience.  Rather than rant, let me just hit the bullet points...

1.  We arrived at LAS, and had to wait 25 minutes 50 yards from the gate, because they didn't have a ground crew.  Really?  No one knew we were coming?  They could have borrowed my cellphone, if they needed to call ahead.  Then at RDU, getting in at 5:50 am after a long flight, again we had to wait 20 minutes.  I timed it.  Delta is notorious for its indifference to customer service, but this was amazing.  If you fly Southwest, you'll notice that they have the door open and people filing out within two minutes of landing.  Delta wants to show you who's boss.  They are.  Apparently, this happens a lot.  I actually missed a flight once, because we waited 30 minutes to get a ground crew.  Got there with just enough time, but couldn't get off the place to go those last 50 yards.

2.  The head stewardess played video games on her cell phone the whole trip from LAS to RDU.  Never once, not once offered snacks or drinks, except when we first got on the plane.

3.  When I got up and asked for some water, she was indignant.  "How was I supposed to know you wanted a drink"?  Well, I don't know...Mental telepathy?  Or perhaps stop playing Tetris on your cell phone and get up and walk through first class and see if anyone ASKS for a drink?

4.  Never offered snacks.  Not once.  On a 4 hour flight.  Amazing.  I mean, the snacks aren't that great, even in first class.  But she never even offered.  Yes, I likely would have said "no."  But gosh.

5.  My tray table was broken. Actually broken.  The hinge was splintered, and the table kept falling down.

6.  My seat was broken, and would not recline.  Four hour overnight redeye, and the seat won't recline.  You may think that's not a big deal.  It's a pretty big deal.

7.  My air vent was broken.  Literally broken, smashed up into the plastic, like it had been hit with a fist.  Completely non-functional.  And it was very hot, the whole trip.

8.  At the end of the flight, the head stewardess actually said, "That was the easiest I've ever had a flight.  No one wanted anything the whole trip!"  Completely oblivious.  She had no way of knowing whether anyone wanted anything, because she never entered the first class cabin to check.  The passengers in first class talked to each other about this.  "Do you believe how bad she is?"  "Wow, this is terrible."  We had, in fact, wanted at least some water on that long trip.  But she never stood up from her smart phone games and even asked.

A note:  It is fair to say, "Oh, poor baby.  That's a first world problem.  No snacks in first class...Awww."  I hear you.  But this was the first time I had ever actually paid for first class.  It is not a mistake I will make again.  At least, not on Delta.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  They can't keep companies from leaving California, Michigan, and New York.  But they think they can keep companies from leaving the U.S.  That's a pretty terrible idea, since it means that companies won't come to the U.S. in the first place.

2.  Expulsion after graduation?   Not as bad as posthumous execution...

3.  Research shows that people who cycle to work are mostly white and wealthy.  Demonstrating an old truth:  If green living saved money, poor people would do it.  But only rich people do it.  Because the sacrifice makes them feel good about being rich.

4.  On the other hand, maybe poor folk don't cycle because they smoke too much.   "Do you smoke after cycling?"  "I don't know, I've never checked..."

5.  A princess...


Friday, July 18, 2014

Without Much Strain?

This story contains a number of jaw-dropping assertions.  I was hoping it was an ironic parody, but the New York Times doesn't really have enough self-confidence to be ironic.  It's just painfully earnest, shading over into earnestly painful.


When city leaders and state legislators agreed last year to fund roughly half the $1 billion cost of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, they attached the usual strings for such projects: It had to be architecturally iconic, employ steel made from Minnesota iron ore and offer at least a few cheap seats. 

So... Minnesota has a total population of 5.4 million souls.  Minneapolis has a population of just under 500,000, if you count the surrounding cities like St. Paul.  They need a $1 billion football stadium?  Really?  And taxpayers need to pay for half of it?  That's $2,000 per resident of the Minneapolis metroplex.  For a sports stadium that will be used, at most, 30 times per year, even counting monster truck shows.  The state is going to hit up taxpayers $1,000 per resident of the city to pay for a football stadium.  That's not $1,000 per fan, that's $1,000 per resident, in tax money.

That's the NYTimes' idea of "saving"?  Well, at least they have cheap seats.  Which will be scalped to rich people anyway.  Because the poor folks would prefer to have the money than the cheap/expensive seat.

I guess it's okay, though.  Knowing that they are using locally-mined, free-range artisanal iron gives folks a warm glow.  Because you should make sure and create giant, dirty mines as near as possible to where you live.  Oh, and the bathrooms will all be lit with $25 LED bulbs, too.  So that's something.

I guess Nick Gillespie just isn't a football fan.  Because he doesn't get it.

Seriously, the NYTimes is demonstrating a pretty remarkable support for crony capitalism here.  There is no conceivable "stimulus" justification, and the environmental justification is nonsense.  This is a giant waste of money, a giveaway from taxpayers to highly profitable large corporations.  And a perfect description of the program of the Democratic Party in the U.S.  Also the Republican Party in the U.S.

Nod to MK, who notes:  "I'm in the wrong business.  If a small amount of carbon is worth $500 million, I should set my hair on fire and sell the right to put it out on Ebay!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breaking up is hard to do...

...but it's not as hard as cancelling your cable service.

Here is the story.

Here is the recording.

It's disturbing that the corporate mouthpiece for Comcast just blatantly lied when confronted.  Clearly the employees are trained to harrass and browbeat customers who try to cancel.

I tried for nearly a month to get a customer service rep at Time-Warner here in NC to talk to me about ways to change the service into a bundle, three years ago.  Never could even get anyone to talk to me.

But when I called to cancel, after I gave up and switched to ATT, I was immediately connected to an extremely aggressive and abusive guy who demanded to know what was wrong, and how they could fix it.  At least he did back off when I told him I was a consultant, and would be happy to discuss the many ways that Time-Warner sucked.  All that was required was a signed contract, $175/hour, 4 hour minimum, payable in advance.

In the meantime, though, cancel my service.  That didn't work for the guy above, though.  Amazing.

I should have said that I would be willing to talk to him sometime between 8 am and 2 pm, and I couldn't be more specific than that....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Co-Authorship? Does This Extend to Academic Works?

When Multiple Creators Are Worse Than One: The Bias Toward Single Authors in the Evaluation of Art

Rosanna Smith & George Newman
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract: The present studies investigate whether people perceive the same work of art to be of lower quality if they learn that it was a collaborative work (resulting from the efforts of multiple artists) versus the work of a single artist. Study 1 finds that indeed, as the number of authors increases, the perceived quality of an artwork decreases. Study 2 finds that this effect occurs because people tend to assess quality in terms of the effort put forth by each author, rather than the total amount of effort required to create the work. Study 3 further demonstrates that this bias toward single authors appears to be driven by people’s beliefs, rather than by any inherent differences between individual versus collaborative work. These results broaden our understanding of how perceptions of effort drive evaluative judgments, and are consistent with a more general notion that art is not evaluated as a static entity, but rather as an endpoint in a “creative performance.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday's Child

1. If people were held responsible for the content of comments on their web  This kid is suing pretty much everybody because of some comments other people made.  If you fall asleep at a ball game....sorry, you are fair game.  And the commentators didn't even say much, though later the commenters did.  I'd fall back on this, which is informative and useful.  I read it about once every six months, just for the giggles.  Mr. Ken, he's a great American.

2.  Shirley's neighbor, Taylor Swift, has not thought very much about the music industry.

3.  Fish friends lost.

4.  The Duke's heirs sue the heirs of the Dukes.

5.  Against the grain....and back, from Japan.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mob Rule by Life Arrangers

It must be tough to be a policeman.  People call you and want you to arrest people who aren't breaking the law.

Of course, sometimes you do just that, can.  The whole child endangerment thing has gotten a little out of hand.  There is a mob mentality among the do-gooders.  The video on this page is pretty amazing.

Thoreau was right:

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. It is human, it is divine, carrion. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are suffocated, for fear that I should get some of his good done to me — some of its virus mingled with my blood. No — in this case I would rather suffer evil the natural way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Guest Post: Tunapanda!

A note from my friend Jay Larson in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.

A very belated THANK YOU to the KPC readers who supported Tunapanda Institute's crowdfunding campaign in early 2013! Thanks to such contributions we have been able to deploy computer hubs in low-income rural and urban slum areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We've also made headway directly training young people and teachers in digital era vocational skills like web design, video editing, computer programming and graphic design. A core focus is always on increasing personal freedom through self-expression.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation via the Kids Prefer Cheese fundraising page:  Click here now!  All contributions made now will be matched/doubled. We've set an ambitious KPC goal of $4,000 which covers:

1) Computers. 5 computers for our new computer lab + tables/chairs/networking + some server costs.
2) 1 year of study-work stipend + housing for a training facilitator from the slum of Kibera. Among other things, (s)he will be responsible for testing an economics video course based on the book “Common Sense Economics” and then facilitating it's larger rollout in East Africa. That becomes a priority once our web design, film making and computer programming curricula are more stabilized (read: very soon). Of course our economics plans will seek “the nod” by Tunapanda board member Mike Munger aka Mungowitz.
3) Additional KPC contributions will help create a small video recording studio where we'll create freely-licensed video learning content that anyone else in the world can use or modify as they see fit.

This is where the computers will live in Tunapanda's new facility in the outskirts of Kibera. As you can gather from the windows: security is tight.

More Details

A reality that fans of economics will appreciate is that demand for computer-trained employees is rising as East African economies surge forward and large multinationals (like Google, PWC and Cisco) move strongly into the region with regional HQs here in Nairobi. Meanwhile, a teacher vs. technology paradigm was inadvertently set up last year when the Kenyan government announced a decision to buy computers/devices with money that had been allocated to increase teacher salaries. The result was a 3-week nationwide primary and secondary (K-12) teacher strike. Given the increasing demand for computer-literate employees and small teacher salaries, the result is obvious: computer teachers move into the private sector.

Part of Tunapanda's solution is to deploy free video learning content and open source software to increase human capital for our students. Much of our content is delivered using cloud-like computer networks which allow users to have personal digital space and to access resources like Wikipedia, Khan Academy videos and a wide variety of software without needing an internet connection. And without many of the distractions offered by the worldwide web.

Video content and software allows us to develop talent without relying too much on the human capital of our training facilitators. This way when facilitators/teachers move into higher-paying jobs it becomes a victory for Tunapanda rather than a show-stopping pain.

We work with local partners outside of the traditional education system, but also support the study of math and science using software and video content. We've discovered that, when working in very low-income areas, we get much more focus and higher attendance rates when our subject matter directly applies to earning money. Having said that, financial literacy and weak accounting is widely cited a major reason small businesses fail to scale in Sub-Saharan Africa – hopefully the Common Sense Economics curriculum can help.

Here's how you can get involved:
1) Make a donation on the KPC page of our crowdfundingcampaign/ .
2) Spread this blog post. Consider it licensed under a CC-BY-SA license meaning you can re-publish and modify it for your own needs.
3) Sign up for the Tunapanda newsletter [].
4) Let me know if anyone wants to help with monitoring and evaluation or would like some data. This might be of interest to Econ grad students or professors who want some data. The “holy grail” for us is showing that taking our courses increases income for people. But we can collect a lot more data – which we'll need to grow even more in the coming years.
5) Email/post comments/questions that I can address in a future post.

That's all until next time. Thanks for reading.

Warm regards from one KPC fan to another,
Jay Larson
Tunapanda Institute co-founder

Check It Out

A cartoon on the meaning of life, at least for 20 year old men.  (Or 40.  Or 60.  Or...)

Reminds me of a  conversation I had with the LMM, when we were first dating.

She:  "I went to Assumption College, but we would sometimes go over to Holy Cross [also in Worcester] to go the library and check out the guys."

Me:  "Wow, that is one full service library!  Just 2 hour reserve, or could you keep them overnight?"

I know, amazing we ever got married. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

OKC Pigeon Musuem

It's there.  Why aren't you there?  'Cause it's the place to be.

The Oklahoma Pigeon Museum and Library (And Library?  Really?).

It's in Northeast Oklahoma City.  Excerpt from the story....

Whether a pigeon is for show, racing or sending secret messages, they are all descendants of the Rock Dove, which is "the one that left Noah's hands," said Jim Jenner, a pigeon expert and documentary filmmaker. 

 "They're very beautiful, very intelligent. Sadly, they're the most revered bird and yet the most reviled in many ways," Jenner said. "They've been tagged as being dirty and stupid and all these very inaccurate things and that's very sad because it's made it difficult for people who care about pigeons and believe they are a wonderful pet to have." 

An excellent SNL skit, this would be.  The Noah part is excellent.  Well played, OK!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Obama the Spectator.  Money quote, pretty disturbing:  "A perilous and unspoken accord in American politics has grown up while no one was looking, which unites the liberal left and the authoritarian right. They agree in their unquestioning support of a government without checks or oversight; and it is the Obama presidency that has cemented the agreement. The state apparatus which supports wars and the weapons industry for Republicans yields welfare and expanded entitlements for Democrats. "  

2. Ban cash?

3.  Conan The Taxpayer. He's 6'5".  I'd like to see a picture of him standing with frequent reader (and Westerly, RI resident) Shirley.  It would be amusing....

4.  Mormons are fans of property rights.  But this is pretty territorial.

5.  8 things that happy people do.  This may explain why Democrats are so unhappy.  As far as I can tell, Democrats are pretty much 0 for 8 here.


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Pro-Government Libertarians?

I'm not sure "Pro-government libertarian" is a sensible concept.

But I do like the idea of "Pro-liberty libertarian."

And there are some circumstances--we'd have to argue about which--where the existence of a state can enhance liberty. 

I'm not really a fan of either (1) the state is never right, or (2) the state is always right.  Both are religious observations, rather than policy prescriptions.

Female Hurricanes: Deadlier?

Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes 

Kiju Jung et al. 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 June 2014, Pages 8782–8787 

Abstract: Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations? We use more than six decades of death rates from US hurricanes to show that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more deaths than do masculine-named hurricanes. Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents’ preparedness to take protective action. This finding indicates an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the gendered naming of hurricanes, with important implications for policymakers, media practitioners, and the general public concerning hurricane communication and preparedness.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Where Will My Talents Go?

LeBron James famously said he would be taking his talents to South Beach, in that ill-considered press conference.

Now he may be moving his talents again.

It come down to who will take more of his "talents" from him.  If you think of talents as a unit of money, or a weight of precious metals--and given the Biblical knowledge of KPC readers, we KNOW you have been thinking just that--LeBron is indeed a man of many talents.  And states are broadly different in their tax policies.  LeBron won't be able to look just at the salary offer...

If a "talent" is unit of money worth $22,239, then here is a table of how many talents LeBron would have to give up from his salary in each city:

Loss of Talents
(at $20.7 million salary…)
Team Record
This Year
Dallas, TX
With Mavs:  0
Miami, FL
With Heat:  0
With Clippers:  124
Chicago, IL
With Bulls:47
Pheonix, AZ
With Suns:  42
Cleveland, OH
With Cavaliers:  50

This is at a price of silver of $21/ounce, a conversion rate of 35.3 ounces per kilogram, and 30 kilograms per talent. Your results may vary…

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bouncy, Bouncy

So, a faulty emergency slide deployed while the plane was in flight.  Well, I guess the slide was not faulty, because it deployed.  But the switch was faulty.  Or something like that.

Which led M.K. to wonder if perhaps we couldn't use the "Boob Bouncy Castle" at the NY Museum of Sex (that's a thing?  The museum, I mean...) as an emergency slide.  Though presumably for a very different kind of emergency...

M.K. also notes that the Boob Bouncy Castle might be the perfect place for the LMM and me to renew our marriage vows.  M.K. is not a very nice person.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The PPE Program: UNC and Duke Actually Cooperate, for Once

Thunder Roared

To paraphrase the old kids' doggerel:

Thunder roared, lightning flashed.
Tree fell, car got smashed.

They come to take away the Lincoln today.  It was a fine car.  We had just put new tires and suspension on the thing, within the past year.  Which, unfortunately, cost more than the total blue book value of the car.  Still, it only had 120k miles on it, and those Town Cars last double that, at least on the drive train.  So we were in for the long haul.

Now, it's a short haul, to the dump.  The LMM pays her last respects.  Note the murder weapon, sawed up into fireplace-sized bites, in the background.

Government Waste (!)

EPA employees are apparently fed up with bureaucracy.

And they are taking matters into their own hands.  And putting "waste" in the hallway.  Ew.  Excerpt:

Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently. Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography. 

It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway. In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom. 

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions. 

You do have to like how they consulted an "expert."  These people are supposed to take care of problems with toxic waste, but they had to go to a poop expert to see if this was incorrect behavior?