Archive for September, 2015

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Thoughtcrime

September 22, 2015

Here’s the start of an interesting post at Coyote blog. Read the whole thing; it’s brief.

These 20 Scientists Want to Make it A Crime to Disagree with Them

I think it is important to publicize these names far and wide:

Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Edward Maibach, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Barry Klinger, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Paul Schopf, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
David Straus, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Edward Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Michael Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
William Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
T.N. Krishnamurti, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Vasu Misra, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Ben Kirtman, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Robert Dickinson, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Michela Biasutti, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY
Mark Cane, Columbia University, New York, NY
Lisa Goddard, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY
Alan Betts, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, VT

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How to make a sandwich

September 17, 2015

This is along the lines of “I, Pencil.” But instead of just talking about the principles of division of labor and comparative advantage that are typically involved, Mr. George sets out to actually make himself a sandwich from scratch.

‘From scratch’ in this case means raising or securing all the different foods that will go into his sandwich as directly and as personally as he can. He gets his hands dirty, in other words.

(This is a series of 14 short videos; you’ll need to click to see the next one as each one ends.)

Luckily for him, he’s not a BLT fan like I am.

Via Carpe Diem

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Another spoiler

September 16, 2015

I’ve dropped most of this op-ed in the quote below but if you want to know why Donald Trump is a blight on the political scene (for any party) read the whole thing. It’s brief and you don’t need to be a Republican to appreciate his points.

I think Mr. Gabriel puts his finger on the issue in his final line.

The Debate We Were Supposed to Have

The 2016 election was the grand battle conservatives had been hoping for since Ronald Reagan left the Oval Office. The roster of candidates was to be a who’s-who of smart, proven, center-right leadership. […]

It would be obvious to the electorate that Republicans were the only party with the vision, with the heart, and with the intelligence to lead the nation. […]

We aren’t discussing America’s $18.4 trillion national debt and our insolvent social programs. The stagnant economy and an expansionist China, Russia, and Islamic State. Burning cities at home and burning countries abroad.

Instead we’re trading GIFs of a reality show star on “The Tonight Show,” giggling about menstruation, and wondering if the most impressive GOP field in a generation are a bunch of “dummies” or if they’re a bunch of “losers.”

These are serious times. We are not a serious people.

It continues to amaze me how people continue to talk about Trump as though he were worthy of their time and consideration. Pfft!

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When things get politicized

September 6, 2015

What a great object lesson on why the government should have as little power as possible.

Because most things it touches get handled the way Tom Harkin handled health care.

The Alternative Medicine Racket: How the Feds Fund Quacks

James Randi, call your office.

H.T. Jeff G

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She’s been there and done that

September 2, 2015

Here’s a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by Mirta Gutierrez.

IMO, a $15 minimum wage is great news for automation companies. But…

A $15 minimum wage would hurt entry-level workers

Living in poverty in Argentina was not easy. Like many Argentinians trapped at the bottom of the economy, I was determined to make something of myself. I pursued a degree in accounting, but I quickly discovered that even with an education in my country, I was on a path to a dead end. […]

After arriving in Washington, I learned at a job fair that an Angelo & Maxie’s restaurant was opening and hiring 300 people. I met the chef, and in very broken English I asked for an opportunity to prove myself. He agreed, reluctantly, to hire me as a dishwasher at $5.50 an hour. It was 2001. I watched everything, took mental notes and looked for every opportunity to try something new in the back of the house. […]

When Angelo & Maxie’s closed, I went to work at District ChopHouse near Verizon Center. In nine years, the general manager and executive chef taught me everything he knew about the restaurant business. Then, in a bittersweet moment, he told me, “It’s time for you to fly.”

I was hired as the executive sous chef at Rosa Mexicano, where I was able to apply the skills that I had learned over the years. Before long, restaurant executive Spike Mendelsohn asked for my help with kitchen management and bookkeeping for one of his restaurant concepts, Good Stuff Eatery, on Capitol Hill. Soon, I was recruited to be executive chef at Tortilla Coast, where I am today.

I am an immigrant who started at the bottom with nothing. I became an executive chef who understands the kitchen and an accountant who understands the numbers of running a business. […]

As a poor immigrant, would a $15 minimum wage have helped me? Absolutely not. No restaurant owner would hire someone without experience, skills or English at such a high wage. I would never have made it to that first rung on the career ladder. […]

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What he said (6)

September 1, 2015

I recently finished Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear. It’s a little dated now, since it came out in late 2004, but I still found it an entertaining read. And that’s despite the fact that it’s not one of his better novels; it ain’t a patch on The Andromeda Strain, for example.

I won’t give anything away but it’s a story about how people perceive climate change and anthropogenic global warming.

At the end, Crichton wrote some end notes to explain his personal take on AGW. Among those were these comments that I liked.

I believe people are well intentioned. But I have great respect for the corrosive influence of bias, systematic distortions of thought, the power of rationalization, the guises of self-interest, and the inevitability of unintended consequences.

I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.

Before making expensive policy decisions on the basis of climate models, I think it is reasonable to require that those models predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. Twenty would be better.

The hard-headed common sense of these remarks reminds me of things that Thomas Sowell has said.

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