Shared posts

11 Jan 21:02

James Howard Kunstler and the Harrows of Spring

by Strong Towns
“One of the ideas that I tried to get across in [my book] is that, in the event that the global economy unwound through some set of circumstances, we would be left in a North American economy that was much more internally focused.”
— James Howard Kunstler

Author James Howard Kunstler (website) chats with Chuck Marohn about the newest book in his World Made by Hand series, The Harrows of Spring.

Listen to James Kunstler in previous Strong Towns podcasts including from February, 2014, September 2014 and November 2015.

Strong Towns Podcast - James Howard Kunstler and The Harrows of Spring

(Top photo by Charlie Samuels)

06 Dec 00:24

Support for Trump Is Strongest Where Illegal Immigration Is Lowest

by Kevin Drum
Joseph Hartman

people fear what they don't understand?

Here's a chart for you:

What this shows is that states with the smallest population of illegal immigrants had the strongest vote for Donald Trump. It's not an especially strong correlation, and I wouldn't draw any grand conclusions from it, but it sure doesn't seem to suggest that actual loss of jobs to illegal immigrants is what drives support for Trump and his wall. If anything, it's just the opposite.

State-level popular vote data here. Immigration data here.

27 Feb 16:17

Let Us Take a Minute to Fully Appreciate the Current State of American Politics

by Kevin Drum

Do you remember this famous video of the South Korean parliament from a few years ago?

How infantile! This is supposed to be a mature democracy. What the hell is going on?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Marco Rubio on Friday morning, making his case against Donald Trump:

Can you feel the burn? And here is Trump a few hours later making his case against Rubio:

Makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it? The presidential campaign of one of our great political parties has now degenerated into two guys in suits insulting each other for sweating a lot during a debate.

By the way, Trump's schtick came during an event where he announced the endorsement of New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Trump now has the following endorsements:

  • Sarah Palin, crackpot former Republican VP candidate.
  • Teresa Giudice, star of Real Housewives of New Jersey.
  • Geert Wilders, Dutch Islamaphobe and leader of the Party for Freedom.
  • Joe Arpaio, famous Arizona sheriff fond of chain gangs, dressing inmates in pink underwear, feeding them moldy food, and too many other lunatic acts to count.
  • Paul LePage, wingnut governor of Maine who memorably said that Maine's biggest problem was "guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty....they come up here, they sell their heroin."
  • David Duke, noted white supremacist and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Alex Jones, insane talk radio conspiracy monger.
  • Jerry Falwell Jr., evangelical leader of Liberty University, whose endorsement came despite Trump's well-known string of affairs, remarriages, skinflint charitable giving, and apparent lack of any serious Christian faith.
  • Ann Coulter, political commentator noted for her Islamaphobia, hatred of illegal immigrants, and general descent into highly-calculated derangement.
  • Dennis Rodman, famous basketball player and friend to Kim Jung-un
  • Juanita Brodderick and Paula Jones, who both made sketchy but famous accusations of sexual harassment against Bill Clinton.
  • Willie Robertson, homophobic star of Duck Dynasty.
  • Carl Paladino, racist emailer and secret-daughter-hiding former Republican candidate for New York governor.
  • Chris Christie, ambitious, tough-guy governor of New Jersey embroiled in a controversy over punishing a political opponent by deliberately shutting down two lanes on the George Washington bridge and tying up traffic for miles.

This man is currently leading the national Republican polls by more than 20 points over his nearest competitor.

04 Apr 02:02

The global secular savings stagnation glut

BEN BERNANKE, until last year the chairman of America's Federal Reserve, has started blogging. Not just a little bit, either. Mr Bernanke has in the space of a few posts embroiled himself in a weighty online debate with some of the titans of economics, and blogging. Both Paul Krugman and Larry Summers are scrapping with the former chairman on the live and important subject of secular stagnation.

Secular stagnation is an old idea which received an intellectual revival in 2013, when Mr Summers, who not long before was one of Barack Obama's chief economic advisors, began to deliver speeches on the topic. It describes a world in which there are lots of savings and comparatively few attractive places to invest them. The excess of saving over investment represents a shortfall in demand, and weak demand shows up in anaemic growth figures and low inflation.

Normally a central bank would try to fix the imbalance between saving and investment by reducing interest rates (which should discourage saving and encourage borrowing). But in a weak enough economy with low...Continue reading

23 Aug 22:10

What is Ferguson doing on Europe's front pages?

I WOKE up today to find my Dutch morning paper, the Volkskrant, dominated by a full-page spread on the results of the independent autopsy on Michael Brown, the shooting victim whose death has plunged the town of Ferguson, Missouri, into protests and riots. The situation in Ferguson also headlined today's editions of Spain's El Pais, Portugal's Publico, Denmark's Politiken, France's Liberation, and Germany's Der TagespiegelContinue reading

03 Apr 18:58

April 03, 2014


You can now watch the entire BAHFest 2013 event on youtube for free!

10 Feb 21:05

John Cochrane’s excellent essay on on-line education

by Tyler Cowen

You will find it here, it is one of the very best short pieces written on this topic.  Excerpt:

A lot of mooc is, in fact, a modern textbook — because the twitter generation does not read. Forcing my campus students  to watch the lecture videos and answer some simple quiz questions, covering the basic expository material, before coming to class — all checked and graded electronically — worked wonders to produce well prepared students and a brilliant level of discussion. Several students commented that the video lectures were better than the real thing, because they could stop and rewind as necessary. The “flipped classroom” model works.

Read the whole thing.

17 Dec 00:34

Guess Who Gets the Most Brazen Federal Inflation Adjustment in the Country?

by Kevin Drum

I learned something new today. Apparently the federal government has a cap on the amount it's willing to reimburse contractors for the salaries of their employees. If someone makes $50,000 per year, no problem. You can charge the feds for their entire salary if they're working on government business. But if your company's CEO makes $3 million per year, you can't charge it all back to the feds even if 100 percent of the CEO's time is spent on government contracts. The limit, set in 1998, was $340,000.

This cap was allowed to rise with inflation, so you'd figure that by 2011 it would be around $467,000. But no. It was $763,000. Why? Because ordinary inflation adjustments are for chumps, that's why. For purposes of charging CEO overhead to the federal government, the cap was set at "the median amount of the compensation provided for the five most highly compensated employees of all publicly owned U.S. corporations with annual sales in excess of $50 million for the most recent fiscal year."

Isn't that fabulous? When it comes to the minimum wage, we don't index for inflation at all. But for CEOs earning top-one-percent pay, we not only index for inflation, we index to the rise in CEO salaries. And since CEOs have been relentlessly voting themselves ever more astronomical compensation over the past few decades, we know that number is going to rise a whole lot faster than piddly old CPI. Ka-ching.

This comes via Lydia DePillis, who'd like to talk about raising the compensation floor, not just cutting the CEO cap back down to size. Good luck with that.

09 Dec 16:22

To-do list

by rss@dailykos.com (Tom Tomorrow)

Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and be sure to visit TT's Emporium of Fun, for all some of your holiday shopping needs!

06 Dec 00:40

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

by Alex Tabarrok

Invictus

By WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

N_MandelaOut of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

 

05 Dec 21:03

God-Man and his faithful sidekick, Fan-Boy!

by rss@dailykos.com (RubenBolling)

Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling.  

BE THE FIRST ON YOUR BLOCK to see Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling, every week!  Members of the elite and prestigious INNER HIVE get the comic emailed to their inboxes at least a day before publication -- and much, much MORE!  

JOIN or DON'T.

05 Dec 06:13

About that new GOP healthcare website...

This week, the media learned of an Affordable Care Act website, created in late August by the California Assembly Republican caucus.
04 Dec 18:09

Surprise! Mozilla can produce near-native performance on the Web

by Peter Bright
Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

In a bid to make JavaScript run ever faster, Mozilla has developed asm.js. It's a limited, stripped down subset of JavaScript that the company claims will offer performance that's within a factor of two of native—good enough to use the browser for almost any application. Can JavaScript really start to rival native code performance? We've been taking a closer look.

The quest for faster JavaScript

JavaScript performance became a big deal in 2008. Prior to this, the JavaScript engines found in common Web browsers tended to be pretty slow. These were good enough for the basic scripting that the Web used at the time, but it was largely inadequate for those wanting to use the Web as a rich application platform.

In 2008, however, Google released Chrome with its V8 JavaScript engine. Around the same time, Apple brought out Safari 4 with its Nitro (née Squirrelfish Extreme) engine. These engines brought something new to the world of JavaScript: high performance achieved through just-in-time (JIT) compilation. V8 and Nitro would convert JavaScript into pieces of executable code that the CPU could run directly, improving performance by a factor of three or more.

Read 94 remaining paragraphs | Comments

04 Dec 18:09

One Time Thing

One Time Thing
22 Nov 04:49

QUOTE: You know, one of the things that really hurt…

by Travis Jeffery

You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen.

And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make. There are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.

Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And it’s that process that is the magic.

—Steve Jobs

20 May 16:09

Geoguessr

I'm not sure if you can get Epcot, but my friend just got LegoLand. He guessed California but it was the one in Denmark. Meanwhile, I'm rapidly becoming a connoisseur of unmarked dirt roads over flat, barren landscapes.
30 Apr 04:27

Microsoft Research’s Illumiroom wants to expand gaming past your TV

by Kyle Orland

Have you ever stayed up really late, ingested some illicit substances, and wondered what would happen if a video game could, like, jump outside the TV screen, man? Microsoft Research is working hard to make that hazy dream a reality with Illumiroom, a project that uses a projector and a Kinect to make the wall and objects surrounding the TV into an extended display.

Illumiroom was first unveiled at CES during a short proof-of-concept demo (after being hinted at in a wide-ranging patent filing last year), but Microsoft is ready to really show off the potential of the system this week at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris. Ahead of that presentation, Microsoft Research has published a paper detailing the project and unveiled a new, five-minute video showing off just what it can do.

What really makes Illumiroom different from other projector-based displays is that it works with the image on a standard TV and with the geometry of the room surrounding it. While other systems usually require a flat surface for game image projections, Illumiroom uses a Kinect to sense the position and orientation of objects surrounding and behind the TV, like cabinets or an entertainment center. The system then alters portions of the projection that will hit those objects so they look natural and flat even on uneven surfaces. Illumiroom can also adjust for the color of those surrounding objects, saturating or desaturating the image in spots so the full image appears uniform and correct.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

16 Apr 20:58

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin and Mike Konczal: Researchers Finally Had a Chance to Replicate Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems.

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin and Mike Konczal: Researchers Finally Had a Chance to Replicate Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems.:

I thought it important to put this up right away, since I have referenced the correlations in the Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart and Ken Rogoff paper “Debt Overhangs, Past and Present.” It is likely that the later paper I relied on has some of the same problems as the earlier paper that Mike Konczal discusses based on Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin’s paper “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” In particular, I would like to know how the figures from “Debt Overhangs, Past and Present,” that I copied over in my post “Noah Smith Joins My Debate with Paul Krugman: Debt, National Lines of Credit, and Politics” are affected by the emendations of Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin. I would be grateful for any help in figuring this out. 

03 Apr 20:11

Honk

Honk
22 Mar 05:31

Photo



19 Mar 05:34

Vanishing

by Lucy

Vanishing

In this comic’s starring roll: My toys. Cheifly, my bear, Brownie.

Did you guys have those “My First Sony” things? Like this!

I loved that damn thing so so so much, I can still taste the microphone to this day (that’s how you use a microphone, right? Basically by talking with the mic actually touching your mouth?)

Somewhere in my mom’s basement are HOURS of recordings of me breathily making up my own radio commercials for toothpaste and snack foods, and interviewing the neighbor kid.

EDIT: I found one. Enter SALLIE MAPLE.

Lucy and Cody, 7/7/89
19 Mar 02:12

One Time Thing

One Time Thing