July 8, 2012
OUCH: DISCORD AT THE SUPREME COURT IS DEEP AND PERSONAL. “Conservatives feel a sense of betrayal. They feel that Roberts changed his mind for the wrong reasons.”
He chose . . . poorly.
OUCH: DISCORD AT THE SUPREME COURT IS DEEP AND PERSONAL. “Conservatives feel a sense of betrayal. They feel that Roberts changed his mind for the wrong reasons.”
He chose . . . poorly.
AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Health, Fitness & Dieting.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there.
Michelle Amaral wanted to be a brain scientist to help cure diseases. She planned a traditional academic science career: PhD, university professorship and, eventually, her own lab.
But three years after earning a doctorate in neuroscience, she gave up trying to find a permanent job in her field. Dropping her dream, she took an administrative position at her university, experiencing firsthand an economic reality that, at first look, is counterintuitive: There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs.
That reality runs counter to messages sent by President Obama and the National Science Foundation and other influential groups, who in recent years have called for U.S. universities to churn out more scientists.
As noted here earlier, we don’t need more scientists, we need better ones. “I was talking with someone the other day who advanced the proposition that there are probably only 50 really first-rate scientific minds produced in the United States every year. And then came the question: Does the current system of training and funding scientists encourage those 50 to stay in the game, or to find something else to do?”
CORPORATE SELF-ABUSE: The Terrible Management Technique That Cost Microsoft Its Creativity. “One former Microsoft engineer says that his performance reviews were ‘always much less about how I could become a better engineer and much more about my need to improve my visibility among other managers.’”
IS MOVEON.ORG A PAPER TIGER? ANTI-ROMNEY/KOCH BROTHERS DEMONSTRATION IS AN EPIC FAILURE.
CAN CATS drive women to suicide? At least in the world of provocative headlines, they can!
SCIENCE: Above-normal weight alone does not increase the short-term risk of death: study. “When compared to those with normal weight, people who were overweight or obese had no increased risk of death during a follow-up period of six years. People who were severely obese did have a higher risk, but only if they also had diabetes or hypertension.”
UNVETTED PRESIDENT INTRODUCED BY UNVETTED EMCEE: That Magic Touch: Man Who Introduced Obama At Rally Owes $500G To Former Employer.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Scott Walker Prepares To Reform Higher Education. Walter Russell Mead comments:
Change has to come. After World War Two the United States built its modern university system by extending a model that was originally intended to groom the sons of a social elite to succeed their fathers as government and business leaders to manage the preparation of tens of millions of people for the business of life.
The template doesn’t work in many cases, and the result increasingly is that training and job preparation takes too long and costs too much. The problem isn’t that America has “too much” education. The problem is that a 21st century society needs to be able to teach more skills to more people at a much lower cost and in much less time than our 20th century institutions can manage. It’s really that simple. The most urgent business of a state university system at this point must be to reform and improve the kind of education (in many cases, training) that can enable the state’s citizens of any and every age to acquire skills and prepare themselves to flourish in a rapidly changing economy.
SAY, I WONDER IF THERE ARE ANY IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL RACES HERE? Unemployment Rate Dropped In Every State That Elected A Republican Gov. In 2010. “The job market in these Republican states is improving 50% faster than the national rate.” Nah, I guess it’s just one of those quirky fun facts.
FOR ONLY $40,000, Jane Austen’s ring can be yours. “A gold and turquoise ring that belonged to Jane Austen, a Mozart among English novelists if one thinks about the dazzling perfection and brilliant invention of her prose, or perhaps a Vermeer if one considers the intense observation and painstaking description of her portrayals, is being auctioned off at Sotheby’s next week in London. The ring’s provenance seems pretty well established; this is a rare chance to buy a serious piece of real literary history.”
SURE, THEY MAY HAVE FOUND THE HIGGS BOSON, BUT WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR US LATELY? When Ice Cream Attacks: The Mystery Of Brain Freeze Baffles Scientists.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Kindle Daily Deal.
I NEVER HAVE THIS KIND OF LUCK: Man Finds 100-Year-Old Whiskey In Attic.
LOOKING AT BMW’S 3-Series Hybrid. “We’ve learned to expect that hybrid vehicles will produce lower emissions and fuel-consumption scores than their standard gasoline-burning siblings. What we generally don’t expect, however, is for that same hybrid to be quicker to 60 than its turbocharged brother or for it to make more overall horsepower. Such is the case with the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, which offers up 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque from its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six and electric motor combination – useful gains from the 300 hp and 300 lb-ft in the 335i.”
A NEW RECORD FOR NATURAL GAS: “King Coal is meeting its match: natural gas. Power plants fired by natural gas have set a new record by producing as much electricity in the United States as those run by coal, long the nation’s dominant power producer.” Natural gas is much cleaner, too, which explains America’s plummeting carbon emissions. Yay, fracking!
DEREK THOMPSON: How Consumers Get Screwed Over With Aid From Their Lousy Math Skills. So get better at math.
But actually, many of these problems have equally troubling application in politics. And we see the results of that all around us. . . .
LAWS, AND TAXES, ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: “The governor insists Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown’s home is Maryland, but he and his family are receiving tax breaks for claiming primary residences in two different states, I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller said Wednesday. A dark-colored Crown Victoria that’s owned by Maryland taxpayers is the take-home car assigned to Brown, Miller reported. The 11 News I-Team took pictures of the car on Memorial Day — not in a Maryland neighborhood, but in Camp Hill, Pa. — a suburb of Harrisburg. It’s one of two places Brown can call home.”
THE GOD-HELP-US PARTICLE: IowaHawk: DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts’ Taxon. “The landmark experiment in Quantum Rhetoric began early this week after legal particle cosmologist John Roberts published a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Tortured Logic that solved the long-debated Pelosi’s Paradox in Universal Health Care Theory.”
AT AMAZON, Warehouse Deals in Grocery & Personal Care.
PHIL BOWERMASTER: Post-Credentialism: “Imagine a meritocracy… actually based on merit. Yes, it’s a shocking idea. But we may very well be headed there. And not a moment too soon.”
SO MUCH FOR THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WE WERE PROMISED: How Canada broke up with the U.S. “It is clear that on a number of issues there is a gathering sense of grievance on the Canadian side, a feeling that Canada’s concerns are not taken seriously in official Washington. . . . In response, Canada has moved to more aggressively assert its interests, for example warning it might cultivate China and other export markets for its crude oil, scaling back its commitment to Afghanistan and changing its Facebook status to ‘it’s complicated.’”
Oprah was the queen of all that she surveyed. She was regularly highlighted as one of the most, if not the most, influential persons in the United States. If she touted a book, it went to the top of the best seller lists. She waved a wand and the already famous were made more famous. And she was ardently “non-political.”
But four years ago, the House of Oprah made an epic decision: It chose to endorse Barack Obama. Oprah featured Obama on her show, with Michelle, and put the celebrated Oprah muscle to task for his campaign. It was a truly momentous event — the most powerful woman in entertainment endorsing a presidential candidate.
The move was timely. Obama had not yet crested to the great heights of adulation that marked the later stages of his campaign. Oprah endorsed him when it counted, then — having made her point — withdrew from the stage. I can’t think of a more significant moment in the modern intersection of the worlds of Hollywood and Washington, celebrity and power.
Was Oprah’s benediction a “tipping point”? Was it the moment when Obama jumped from being just another candidate to being a star in a class of his own?
Perhaps, but that was then. What of now? Well, something strange has happened. Oprah has lost her chi. She ended her long-time relationship with mainstream television and decided that she should have her own network. It is one of the very few examples of a person ordering her own self-exile. And the result is that she has simply ceased — in television terms — to be. I cannot recall a more precipitous drop in status, and in the influence status bestows, than Oprah’s almost complete fall from entertainment eminence.
Who speaks of Oprah now, save in valediction? Is she endorsing Obama this time? Who cares?
Everything Obama touches . . . .
IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Study: Coffee Lowers Colon Cancer Risk. “Over the years, most studies of the subject have been either small or plagued by methodological flaws. But recently a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute followed half a million Americans over 15 years. The researchers looked in detail at their diets, habits and health, and found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day — regular or decaf — had a 15 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared with coffee abstainers. While the researchers could not prove cause and effect, they did find that the link was dose-responsive: Greater coffee consumption was correlated with a lower colon cancer risk. The effect held even after they adjusted their findings for factors like exercise, family history of cancer, body weight, and alcohol and cigarette use.”
I THINK I’D RATHER HAVE OUR HEAT WAVE: Britain’s Worst Summer Ever: “Britain is facing its ‘worst ever’ summer with cold wet weather ruining family holidays and blighting the Olympics, forecasters warned last night.”
Brits can comfort themselves with the knowledge that what they’re experiencing is merely variable weather, while the United States is experiencing climate change.
WELL, OUR POLITICAL CLASS ISN’T LOOKING TOO PROMISING: Spain May Not Be Uganda, But Will America Soon Be Argentina?
THE MEDIA AS TERRORIST AMPLIFIERS: “Media Exposure Increases Emotional Pain From Terrorism.” “Ease of access to media has increased the advantages to be had by managing your exposures to media. Your emotional and intellectual state can become too impacted by distant events that don’t even educate you about larger important trends in the world. emotional state by selecting your exposures to media becomes more important as media reports become more immediate. When wireless and cellular high speed connections become even faster and cheaper and tablets or video head gear make it easy to watch media everywhere we need to step back and turn off the constant flow.”
Don’t I know it.
DEMYSTIFYING THE IMMORTALITY OF CANCER CELLS: “In cancer cells, normal mechanisms governing the cellular life cycle have gone haywire. Cancer cells continue to divide indefinitely, without ever dying off, thus creating rapidly growing tumors. Swiss scientists have discovered a protein complex involved this deregulated process, and hope to be able to exploit it to stop tumor formation in its tracks.”
AN OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR BLOOMBERG: “I’m sorry, but with all due respect, sir, ARE YOU MY MOTHER?”
NEW STUFF coming out on Blu-Ray.
SUDDENLY NOTICING “ONLINE HARASSMENT.” As Stacy McCain emails, if it weren’t for double standards, they’d have no standards at all.
KEEPING THE FLU AWAY: Synthetic protein EP67 helps kick-start the immune system.
WHY WOMEN WATCH THE OLYMPICS: “A recent study conducted by Erin Whiteside (University of Tennessee) and Marie Hardin (Pennsylvania State University) explores these questions. The results, published in Communication, Culture & Critique, show that women prefer condensed sporting events like the Olympics to sports with longer seasons, and that in selecting which particular Olympic sport to watch, women often select events that are seen as traditionally ‘feminine,’ like gymnastics and figure skating.”
SKYNET WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Giddyup, Robot Doggies! Autonomous Soldiers Square Off at Army Robotics Rodeo.
AT AMAZON, 69 Cent Songs on MP3.
LIFE AMONG THE BARBARIANS: “We are against tourism. They foster debauchery.”
MONDAY: Internet Cutoff For Some. “Starting that day, computers still infected with the notorious DNSChanger malware will be unable to connect to websites.”
READER BOOK PLUG: Reader C.J. Casey writes about his book, A Flight of Dwarfs. “It’s a mix of steampunk and fantasy, where Dwarfs have split off from their traditional Elf antagonists and developed technology in order to keep their bid at independence. I grew up reading cold war era spy fiction, and I had a lot of fun re-imagining the conflict in a different world.”
THE FOUR BEST riding lawnmowers under $2000.
UPDATE: Link was wrong before. Fixed now. Sorry!
DON’T GIVE RAY LAHOOD any ideas.
IN THE MAIL: From Poul Anderson, The High Crusade.
So what’s to be concluded, 10 weeks after my initial inquiry to Pexton?
Not unlike Vanity Fair, the Post appears to have scrubbed the digital reminders of an embarrassing misstep, of a high-profile story that the newspaper got utterly wrong.
It’s also pretty clear the Post has no interest in making freely available online its botched reporting about Jessica Lynch.
It’s pretty clear, too, that Pexton doesn’t eagerly follow through on his rhetoric about the value and importance of “iconoclastic, questioning voices.”
MICKEY KAUS: “Doesn’t Mitt Romney get points for blowing off Rupert Murdoch, in person, when the latter joined Univision’s CEO in trying to pressure the Republican candidate to change his position on immigration enforcement (in the direction of promising amnesty)?”
THOUGHTS ON conflicts of interest and university trustees.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: “No Loans” Policies Falling By The Wayside.
“No loans” policies were the hit of 2007 and 2008, as many of the nation’s most elite (and wealthy) colleges and universities announced that borrowing would be eliminated from the aid packages of students with family incomes below certain levels.
But this particular movement in higher education took off just before the economic downturn hit in the fall of 2008, sharply reducing these institutions’ endowments and forcing many of them into budget-cutting mode. Now, a few years later, institutions are taking steps that reflect very different financial outlooks than those before the downturn. In May, Wesleyan University ended its policy of need-blind admissions, a policy seen by many as (when combined with meeting admitted applicants’ full need) the gold standard of private college admissions. This policy is supposed to mean that applicants can rest assured of their ability to attend if admitted — and that lack of resources shouldn’t stand in the way.
This week, Cornell University announced modifications of its “no loans” program for those eligible for aid. Instead of assuring a “no loans” package to everyone with family income of up to $75,000, Cornell will make that pledge only to those with family incomes of up to $60,000. (The changes will take effect with those enrolling in the fall of 2013, and will have no impact on those already enrolled or who will enroll this fall.) Those in the $60,000-$74,999 family income category will be assured of aid packages that don’t have more than $2,500 a year in loans. For those in the family income category of $75,000 to $119,000, Cornell is increasing the loan share of aid packages from $3,000 to $5,000 a year, while those with family incomes of $120,000 and higher will still be assured of loan maximums of $7,500 a year (unchanged from the policy to date).
The issue of pulling back from some of the pledges made in previous years — generally with much fanfare — is a sensitive one for universities, especially those like Cornell and Wesleyan that would be the envy financially of 99 percent of research universities and liberal arts colleges, respectively, but that happen to compete with the 1 percent with greater resources.
If it’s a loan, it’s not “financial aid.” It’s more like exploitation.
Plus, from the comments: “Colleges can’t afford their own tuition anymore.”
THE SUPREME COURT, JOHN ROBERTS, AND the psychodynamics of judging.
Professor Bainbridge: Posner never was a conservative, so how can he become less of one?
CHART OF THE DAY: The scope of the US oil shale resource. “Alberta oil sands are changing the petroleum industry . . . but that resource is dwarfed by the potential of oil shale. The US has more energy available in its oil shale alone than the entire global reserves of conventional oil. This is on top of the trillion cubic feet of natural gas and the world’s largest reserves of coal.”
CHANGE: White House declares Afghanistan a ‘major non-NATO ally.’ “President Barack Obama officially designated Afghanistan a ‘major non-NATO ally’ on Friday, putting the country on par with some of the United States’ closest international partners.”
WARFARE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: “Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?”
OUR RULING CLASS: Flummoxed by Twitter.
ED DRISCOLL: The Leitmotif of the Obama Era: ‘Less Than Expected.’ “In 2004, the unemployment rate averaged out at 5.5 percent. In June of that election year, Obama, running for the US Senate that year (where he would would later stop in for a cup of coffee on the way to his now fateful presidential bid) attacked President Bush over his job record. As Drew at Ace of Spades’ blog writes, let’s compare how the two presidents stand up at identical points during their tenures in office.”
WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED? Ray LaHood envies the Chinese government.
TAVIS SMILEY IS OBVIOUSLY A RACIST: PBS Host Questions Obama‘s ‘Genuine Love for Black People.’
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Tough Choices Ahead For Some High-Ranked Law Schools.
WHERE THE FIRES COME FROM: “The Ponderosa forests have been mismanaged.”
HUGH HEWITT: Randy Barnett and Mark Levin Debate the meaning of Roberts’ decision.
WHEN TRUST IN THE SYSTEM breaks down.
FROM MARK STEYN, A HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: “So America is now the first nation in history in which people take on six figures of debt for the privilege of entrusting their education to persons with no pronouns. That seems likely to work.”
AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Electronics.
WELCOME TO THE CRAZY YEARS.
THE MIDAS TOUCH CONTINUES: Akron restaurant owner dies hours after meeting Obama.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Office Electronics Outlet Sale.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: ‘Her Fiancé, Garry Brown Sr., the Man Who Fathered 10 of Her 15 Children …’
And so does the Brasserie Burger from the Northshore Brasserie, if you insist on bought-burgers.
As for the 100% Bacon Burger, all I can say is, be still, my beating heart! Which is probably what would happen if I ate one. . .
UPDATE: Will Collier says the best burger in America is in Atlanta.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: 10 Things Star Wars Taught Us About Dating.
CHANGE: First Instance of iOS App Store Malware Detected, Removed. “Kaspersky antivirus experts discovered a Russian-language app called ‘Find and Call’ that was available in both the Apple App Store and in Google Play. The app is essentially a Trojan that steals and uploads the user’s address book to a remote server. Once uploaded, the server then sends spam to the email addresses and phone numbers belonging to the victim’s contacts telling them about the Find and Call application. The app also grabs the GPS coordinates from the victim’s phone and uploads them to the server.”
THE SOCIAL MEDIA RULE OF THIRDS: How not to be annoying.
CAN DIET SODA MAKE YOU FAT by messing with your digestive bacteria? “Consuming high amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) cause your gut bacteria to adapt in a way that interferes with your satiety signals and metabolism, according to a new paper in Obesity Reviews.”
USING SEXY COVERS TO lure Twilight teens to real literature.
Bah. That’s old news.
HASHTAG DEVELOPMENTS: Weak jobs report spurs #OneTerm and #Obamaisntworking.
WHY DO ECOLOGISTS have a problem with evolution? “I bring this up because despite the similarities between ecology and economics it strikes me that ecologists often have a difficult time admitting that the parameters of the model which they think they have a good grasp of may not always be fixed. Incentives and innovation can shift the dynamics radically.”
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanomachines and molecular motors can make use of thermal noise.
READER STEVEN KELLMEYER ASKS ME TO PLUG his book, Are You Smarter Than The President?
In my case, almost certainly. I got into Yale Law, while he had to settle for Harvard.
ROBERT FARAGO: Why Gun Control Will Never Find Favor in the United States.
FREE SPEECH UPDATE: Maryland Court Dissolves Injunction Against Blogger; Massachusetts Judge Orders Blogger to Take Down Blog Posts. “Massachusetts District Court Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega issued a ‘harassment prevention order’ against a blogger, Dan Valenti, whose web site provided critical coverage of the actions of Meredith Nilan, the daughter of a senior court official, who struck a pedestrian with her car (leaving him with a broken neck), and then drove off (she was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, but in a deal with prosecutors, she will avoid any jail time in the case). The judge ordered Valenti to stop blogging about Nilan, demanding that he take down his prior blog posts about her, and remove ‘any and all references’ to Nilan on ‘any and all’ web sites. . . . The judge’s order violates Massachusetts law, not just the First Amendment.”
THE ECONOMIST ON THE LIBOR SCANDAL: The Rotten Heart of Finance. So what other numbers can’t we trust? And what does an economy where people realize you can’t trust the numbers look like?
UPDATE: Reader Eric Schubert writes: “The answer is China.”
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Out of College, Out of Work: Number of College Grads With Jobs Dropped 406,000 in June.