Shared posts

01 Dec 14:14

The Drowning Island Scam

by tonyheller


Kuredu’s Jacuzzi Villas are perfect for a Maldives holiday

One of the favorite scams of COP 21 climate criminals is to blame you for problems in the Maldives, which have been occurring for centuries.

ScreenHunter_4964 Dec. 06 06.09ScreenHunter_4963 Dec. 06 06.08


In 1934, the Maldives were a disease ridden swamp, wrecked every day at high tide.


14 Dec 1934, Page 2 – at

The islands lost 3-4 feet of elevation before 1902.


4 May 1902, Page 27 – at

In 1988, experts said the Maldives would all drown by 2018

CRnu6RfUYAAl2iQ (1)

26 Sep 1988 – Threat to islands

Sea level in the Maldives is about the same in 2015 as it was 20 years ago.


Interactive Sea Level Time Series Wizard | CU Sea Level Research Group

Life in the Maldives is much better now, thanks to you and your evil consumerism.


HaveeruOnline – Maldives, China near pact on airport runway


01 Dec 15:32

Centerville Students Debate Coddle U

by Jonathan Haidt


Last week I wrote a post titled The Yale Problem Begins in High School. I talked about an odd experience I had giving a talk at a private high school which I called “Centerville High.” The school was very progressive, very concerned with issues of diversity and inclusion. Yet I found in discussions that conservatives and boys felt silenced, and that most students felt that they were “walking on eggshells” and afraid to speak up on some issues.

The post has received 272 comments so far, including thirteen from students who self-identify as being Centerville students who attended my talk. Their comments are fascinating, thoughtful, respectful, and helpful. This post presents their comments to give readers deeper insight into what is going on at Centerville, and perhaps at many other high schools. The comments are unedited, in the order they were posted [although I will insert a few brief comments in brackets]. I will also put in bold some sections that I think are particularly important. As you’ll see, the students split on exactly the issue that was the subject of my talk, and of my essay with Greg Lukianoff: Should class discussions be safe spaces in which students are shielded from ideas and statements that some of them find upsetting?

The only other preface I want to add is to repeat here the apology I added to the last post, a few days after publishing it:

My original draft of this post said that the boys were “bullied into submission by the girls with the blessing of the teachers.” But this was unfair and I regret it. The Centerville teachers I met were all very friendly to me, even after my talk. I think they could do more to counter the intimidation felt by students with minority viewpoints, but I have no reason to think that the teachers at Centerville are anything other than caring professionals who try to curate class discussions without inserting their own views. Indeed, the comments from “Centerville” students below, in the comment threads, indicate that the intimidation comes primarily from other students, not from the teachers. This is a pattern I have seen at universities as well.

1) Taylor Swift on November 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

I am a student at “Centerville High School” so I feel qualified to counter a few of Jonathan Haidt’s points. His assertion that the questioning was “the most unremittingly hostile questioning I’ve ever had.” was not untrue. Many of the people asking questions barely even listened long enough to hear his response, only wanting to attack Haidt and somehow feel superior. The question, “so you think rape is ok?” was completely unfounded, and most of the audience groaned at it. I consider myself to be very liberal, and I agree that discussion rather than aggression and attack is the best way to approach these issues. However, I think Haidt exaggerated the “oppression” that males, or more specifically conservative males, feel at Centerville. His words were “bullied into submission by the girls, with the blessing of the teachers.” Bullied. What needs to be addressed here is the fact that for years, many girls are unconfident in the classroom, and discussions, particularly in STEM classes, are dominated by their male counterparts. I’ve attended Centerville since Middle School and can honestly say that many of my female classmates only found their true voices Freshman, Sophomore, or even junior year. Now that females do have a stronger presence in the classroom, we are being labeled as “aggressive,” and even “bullies.” It’s important to note, also, that in the wider world, males have a stronger voice and stronger presence–in government, in the workforce, in the media, and even sometimes in the home. Girls need an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their opinions, no matter how strong. That is not to say that the boys should be silenced. I agree with Haidt that there needs to be real discussion, and for that to happen, everyone needs to be respectful and responsive to others’ viewpoints. I also believe, like Haidt, that to have your viewpoints challenged is critical to growth and change; consequently, I think it’s hypocritical of Haidt to say that boys or conservative students are being bullied because of their opinions, because their beliefs need to be challenged just as much as liberal beliefs. Not attacked, but challenged. I really loved having Haidt as a speaker because, though I didn’t agree with everything he said, its really important that Centerville, and high schools and colleges around the country, open up discussion of more viewpoints.

[JH: This all hinges on the difference between girls speaking up and challenging boys, which is good, versus using Marcusian tactics to discredit one’s opponents by, for example, stating that they are sexist, or that they have no right to speak because they do not have the right kind of “lived experiences”]

2) High School Student on November 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm

As a student of ‘centerville high school’ as well, I can assure you this comment [by Taylor Swift] is completely true. While multiple questions were phrased as attacks towards Haidt personally, many of them were completely rational. In response to one question (about his annoyance towards people who are pushing women to be in more stem positions) he stated a very vague position on how women, no matter their environmental conditions in childhood, are still predisposed to not be in stem positions (genetically). This was not the only ‘sketchy’ point he made. The question about his condoning of rape, while completely unnecessary, was founded on his insensitivity towards the subject (which continued into many subjects, including race and gender).

His careful picking of data allowed his points to made clearly and succinctly in his mind. Questions that were too long or that had follow ups were completely ignored. In response to one of the first (albeit angry and unnecessary) questions, Haidt’s response was to tell the audience that in order to fully look at an argument, one had to look at both sides, something I (as someone who did believe in a large amount of what Haidt was saying) had to scoff at. His entire argument was founded on the idea that everyone being free to say whatever they want is the best thing possible for American schools, while being politically correct in all scenarios is the worst thing possible for American schools. Obviously there are positive and negative aspects to both. This completely contradicts his belief to look at both sides of an argument dispassionately, not to mention being hard, as students who do care about their education, to listen to.

Haidt’s talk was difficult to listen to. Even though I believe in almost all of his points (despite being part of many, although not all, of the minority groups mentioned) his inability to speak to us effectively (in a way that didn’t seem like he condoned rape) made it so that his argument was not relayed to us clearly. His blatant misunderstanding of his audience put him in the position to be attacked. One can say that he did that on purpose, to prove his point about shaking those who do walk on eggshells. But that doesn’t work. Telling defensive people their wrong doesn’t work. Sorry.

[JH: On the STEM issue: I was trying to tell the students about what I think is a major cause of women’s under-representation in STEM fields, even as women have achieved parity or more in most other academic fields: Prenatal testosterone shapes developing brains, thereby influencing what children later enjoy doing, and what kinds of careers they later choose to pursue; see here:

A) An essay by autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen
B) Gendered Occupational Interests: Prenatal Androgen Effects on Psychological Orientation to Things Versus People
C) A recent study that found a fairly strong preference for hiring women in STEM professorships

Should high school students be exposed to such research findings, or should they be protected?]

3) Carter M. on November 24, 2015 at 9:26 pm

As a student at Centerville High School who is willing to use their real name I would like to say first off how ashamed much of school is that that question was asked. The questioning of Jonathan Haidt when he came to speak during the main lecture was more reminiscent of a cross examination in a courtroom, rather than a questioning of ideas by curious students. The questions were malicious, designed to trip up Mr. Haidt and force him to apologize or backdown. (Something, to his credit, he did not do and handled with great poise) It is shameful that a guest of the school was treated in this way.

Addressing the point of “Taylor Swift,” I have most certainly been aggressively verbally confronted by classmates and teachers when I say an opinion that is not the norm, and I will note that it is not usually male classmates doing this. The issue is not that female students have a strong voice. All students should have a strong voice, it is essential to the learning process. The issue is when students use their voice to attack others in a harmful way and prevent a safe learning environment from forming. It is not an issue that points of view are challenged, and we agree on this, it is that they are attacked. The difference in our opinion is that in my experience, different opinions are attacked, and often.

As a conservative male the difference between when I express my opinions, and when a liberal does is stark. I do not have a problem with my beliefs being challenged, or even attacked. I in fact think that growing up constantly being challenged for my beliefs has made me a much better at defending them and not taking personal offense when they are challenged. The problem is that often only the conservative student, speak or opinion is challenged, while the liberal one is taken to be gospel. I would have no problem if everyones beliefs were challenged, but it is wrong that only mine, the conservative ones, are.

4) Courtenay Roche on November 25, 2015 at 12:11 am

Hi Carter! It’s actually Courtenay, if you must know, however I don’t think your mentioning of your name gives any more credibility to your argument. I do believe that you have been aggressively confronted, however I believe the majority of those confrontations happen in instances where others have more of a stake in the conversation than you. By this I mean that the conversation is one concerning, for example, women. Lets say its a discussion on abortion. Obviously the women will have very strong opinions because it is concerning their own bodily rights, and if your comment or opinion compromises that in any way, they may understandably be verbally aggressive. In that instances, you are entitled to your own opinion, however it is marginally less valid than that of a woman who the issue actually affects. This could be expanded to many different marginalized groups–people of color, religious groups, etc. This is certainly not to say that you deserve to be harassed, merely an observation that if someone is getting really angry with you it may be because it is about an issue that affects them more than it affects you, and it is very important to them. I still believe that all opinions need to be listened to and respected, however it is not necessarily “bullying” or “harassment” to have a very strong opinion on an issue and confront someone about it.

[JH: This is the bright line that identity politics teaches students to cross: Some people’s views are less valid because of their race and gender. This is the rhetorical move that encourages students to begin their arguments by emphasizing their prior victimization and suffering, just as Campbell and Manning said about victimhood culture. This is a key feature of intellectual life at Coddle U: you judge and attack the person, not the argument.]

5) Carter M on November 25, 2015 at 3:05 am

Courtenay, fancy seeing you here. I actually do believe that lending ones name to an argument gives it more credibility because one is not just asserting something behind a mask, they are attaching their name to their point. It gives the individual involved more skin in the game, so to speak, and requires a higher degree of investment on their part. Writing anonymously is one thing, attaching your credibility to an argument is another. (It lends the argument a fair amount of Ethos) But this is aside from the point.

It is interesting that you should bring up the issue of abortion because it could be very easily argued that the issue of abortion is not one of “women’s rights” but one of the “sanctity of human life.” Abortion is obviously a very difficult issue to talk about as even the basic premise of where to begin the argument often requires the acceptance of the opposition’s side.

For instance, is this a “women’s rights” issue or a “sanctity of human life.” Does life “begin at conception” or after “the viability of the fetus” as stated in RCW 9.02.110. Nonetheless, it is a deeply controversial and hot button topic for both sides. With one believing that the other hates women, and one believing the other side supports the murder of society’s most vulnerable, babies. Because of this, abortion absolutely can affect a man as much or more than a women depending on the situation of the individuals involved.

Nonetheless the issue is not having strong opinions on an issue or topic, but the way in which they are brought about. At “Centerville” they are systemically brought about in a negative and hostile way against conservatives and their view points. I agree with you that passionate debate can often be had without it resulting in bullying or harassment, however all to often this is not the case.

Regardless of one’s emotional convictions or otherwise an academic environment is an inappropriate environment to take out that frustration on a peer. Disagreeing with someone is not an excuse to be unkind or a bully. Allowing such behavior on the basis of “emotional distress” or dislike of someone or their opinions is not only wrong but sets an incredibly bad precedent that ones actions are justified because they believe them to be. Just because someone is offended or feels something does not mean they are right.

[JH: Carter is describing the “emotional reasoning” that Lukianoff and I discussed in The Coddling of the American Mind. If it is allowed and encouraged in High School, then students will take it with them to college.]

6) ThinkUp on November 26, 2015 at 2:55 am

Thank you for the thoughtful comment, [addressed to a non-centerville commenter who noted that being victimized does not confer the right to later become a bully] I would certainly agree on your opinion of bullying. I am not sure if your questions about bullying reflect the “intimidation” of males that Jonathan Haidts’ article mentioned, but if it is, I have a few thoughts on it. First off, while I go to Centerville High, there are a lot of differing opinions about his talk, and mine isn’t shared by everyone. I have read Mr. Haidt’s Atlantic article, and it brought up some very good points about higher education and whether students were too coddled. But I think there is a difference between being bullied and becoming more aware. You ask about a cycle of bullies and the oppressed, switching sides. But maybe when we consider issues in that light, we miss the point. If I try to think of policies of oppression from the past, they’d probably come up as policies benefiting white, straight, males. I’m not saying males were all bullies, but the right to vote, hold jobs, marry whom you want…the list could go on. Now things, gratefully, are much better in the U.S., but we definitely could still be making progress. Society is still set up to advantage straight white males-not as blatantly, but it is easier to notice when the inequality affects you. So does this measure at all to the uncomfortable feeling people with privilege (who unconsciously receive those societal benefits) feel when they start realizing how that might make their answers be offensive to another? It is good that we can start recognizing this, but its also good to feel a bit awkward sometimes–that means we are learning! Jonathan Haidt’s Strengthen U professors should agree that having our viewpoints challenged is good for our growth. It isn’t acceptable to shut down others opinions, and if that is happening, we can fix it, however, I don’t think this is an example of cycles of bullying. If this is our next biggest complaint (not that I think it is, especially with all of the news recently about racial conflicts) I would say we are moving in the right direction.

[JH: I think this is an interesting and valid point, that boys (or anyone) who claim that they are being attacked might be over-interpreting their own discomfort at having their views challenged; they could be engaging in “emotional reasoning” as well.]

7) First Hand on November 25, 2015 at 11:46 pm

I was a 14-year-old female student at “Centerville” in 9th grade. It was an election year. When voicing my support for a conservative candidate, an aggressive classmate called me an idiot. Another called me a racist for not supporting Obama, even though my rationale centered on economic policies.

Teachers were openly and uniformly liberal (you could tell by the posters hanging in their rooms and the stickers on their cars). Their clear support of a single viewpoint seemed to fuel the righteousness that came at me from my fellow students. One student pulled me aside and said she worried I was being bullied and suggested I keep my views to myself. I didn’t want to (or couldn’t resist) and found myself in a constant state of conflict. After seeing a political sticker on my binder, a student in biology shoved my books to the ground and called me stupid. I don’t blame him – he was only 14 too. The climate at “Centerville” fueled his thinking. There were students with conservative views, but only the boldest spoke up.

As weeks went by, I grew depressed. The contrast was too great between this school and my family. At home, differing opinions were the norm and my own parents often openly and cheerfully disagreed on politics. It was more than I was equipped to handle.
Eventually I confided in an advisor about my stress. She was kind and acknowledged the hostile political environment at “Centerville”. Then, she too advised me to lay low as tempers might diffuse after the election. So much for encouraging everyone to share their own opinions.

In then end, I transferred out after 9th grade. Before I left, I penned a letter to the head of school about how I felt. I wrote that the school valued tolerance, but in my opinion, tolerance was extended only to approved opinions. Then I tucked the letter away in my desk where it still sits today. I had learned when to keep views to myself.

8) Jake K on November 27, 2015 at 12:12 am

Hey First Hand,
I’m a current student of Centerville High and I am very sorry for the things you went through. I am shocked to hear that you went through these things so recently at a place like Centerville. Centerville, at least now, seems like a much more inclusive environment than it was when you attended, as I’ve never seen any of the bullying you described. I’m trying to remember seeing political posters in classrooms, but have found that the only ones I remember seeing in my time at Centerville have been very non-partisan, or from many decades ago (in history classrooms, where we learned about those elections). Which classrooms did you see these posters in, or which teachers posted them? Please only respond to this if you feel you can answer the question to me without revealing the identity of the teachers or school to the rest of the internet.

9) Ethiopia on November 25, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Hi, I was the one who asked the question that you quoted above: “So you think rape is OK?” I think though you quoted what I said, you left the context and other necessary information out. Before my question you stated that you didn’t encourage the use of trigger warnings. I disagreed with your point from the beginning, but I was open to understanding the reasoning behind your statement. As you continued, you mentioned that you thought trigger warnings were meant to precede things that were considered “terrible”. You even gave the example that people often put trigger warnings in front of mentions of rape even though there was no scientific evidence that proved that people could be “re-triggered”. It was this point that pushed me into my emotions. I felt as if your comment diminished the experiences and feelings of those who have been traumatized and especially those who have experienced such a traumatizing violation like rape. I felt that your point minimized rape to an extent where you found it unnecessary to label it as triggering. Thus, it was not “terrible enough”. Paired with your previous point this pushed me to ask what was your stance on rape and whether you thought it was OK. I felt as if you didn’t express what’s considered “terrible enough” to need a warning. I do acknowledge that my question didn’t express my entire thought process and I apologize that this caused confusion.

Still, my original opinion on your presentation has not changed. I think that you as a white male shouldn’t be responsible for making the rules on how we must discuss topics like race and gender. I do not mean that you are not allowed to and I am not trying to silence your free speech. Your ideas come from a point of privilege, and biases are inevitably attached to your ideas. These biases also come from a point of privilege. No matter how many articles, books, or journals you read you will never be able to fully understand the struggles of those of us who are not privileged. This means your ideas, frankly, don’t matter as much as those who have lived a life as an underprivileged person. In my opinion, from your point of view you cannot see the whole picture.
These are my thoughts, and in no way am I saying that I’m right.

[JH: Perhaps there was a misunderstanding. I certainly did not say that some things were so terrible that they deserved trigger warnings, but rape was not one of them. I oppose the use of trigger warnings across the board. Note again how the social category of a speaker is used to augment or discount the value of the speaker’s ideas. Note also that the exchange rate for valuing identities is determined by one political faction.  This is straight out of Marcuse, and is incompatible with the kind of viewpoint diversity we advocate here at HeterdoxAcademy.]

10) Ethiopia on November 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm

[in response to other commenters who said that she is very privileged]
I never said I didn’t have any privilege. I am a person of color and a girl. In this way, I am underprivileged. Jonathan Haidt proposed a new “set of rules” on how we discuss race and gender. Racism negatively affects me. Racism positively affects Haidt. Should he decide what can and can’t be said? Sexism negatively affects me. Some sexism positively affects Haidt. Should he decide how we talk about it? Why should someone who hasn’t experienced my struggle make the rules on how we discuss it?

11) Jake K on November 26, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Hey Ethiopia, it’s me, Jake. As far as I understand, Dr. Haidt wasn’t proposing a new set of rules of discussion. His talk, and more specifically the after-talk with the eggshells and polling, was designed to point out a problem in the way that we talk, and the way we perceive it. I remember seeing you at the after-talk, where everyone agreed that we want a place where discussion is open and free. You might have arrived after he asked the questions, but he was correct in saying everyone claimed to want an open academic environment, and that some people felt that it was not open. I believe his main point was just showing that there is a problem, that discussion is not equal. Now, when I raised my hand and said I sometimes feel like I’m walking on eggshells, that opinion came also from the fact that I don’t believe I am as informed as I should be on topics of race and gender. I often don’t want to share my opinion, because I believe I could be very wrong and don’t want to offend someone. I’m sure if I knew more about whatever topic was being discussed, and had a stronger argument, I would be much more comfortable discussing it. Several people above have argued with you about privilege, and I think I’ve found the point you’re arguing over. They’re claiming you said you didn’t have privilege, while you’ve said you did. I believe the misunderstanding came from the point at which you said “No matter how many articles, books, or journals you read you will never be able to fully understand the struggles of those of us who are not privileged,” which heavily implies that you yourself are not privileged. Based on what you said afterwards (“I didn’t say I didn’t have any privilege”) I think your earlier statement was misstated, which led to confusion and a bit of uncivilized behavior.

12) (Witty Username Here) on November 26, 2015 at 2:06 am

As a student at Centerville High School and a liberal, I enjoyed Mr. Haidt’s speech thoroughly as it was a thought-provoking experience for me. I don’t think many people actually disagreed with the fundamentals of his main point; most of us agree that we should not be coddled and that the overly PC culture emerging at some colleges is over the top. As a result, I feel that the majority of students agreed with his speech in general, hence the standing ovation at the end. That being said, there was a very vocal group of students who strongly disagreed with Mr. Haidt, resulting in the ridiculous question about him supporting rape. However, I believe that it was partially the fault of Mr. Haidt for inciting many students to anger by portraying his argument in an overly biased, polarized, and extreme manner that caused an irrational and emotion-based reaction from some members of the audience. I feel that if Haidt had wanted to convince us of the validity of the points he could have used a more moderate, logical approach rather than immediately rushing to extremes, something that outraged a few people who immediately forgot the logic in his arguments and went on the offensive, something that caused the discussion to deteriorate. While I enjoyed his presentation immensely, I would like to address some of the points in this article. For one, I think it’s ridiculous to say that the girls bully the boys. As a boy, I feel perfectly comfortable sharing my opinion, although I concede that that might be different if my views were more centrist or conservative. The part about the girls doing this supposed bullying with the “blessing of their teachers” is also, at least to the extent of my knowledge, false. During one discussion about how our cultural backgrounds effected our world views, I implied that all of us in the class supported the legalization of gay marriage, an assumption I had made based on the extremely liberal composition of our school. Our teacher quickly reminded us to not make assumptions about peoples’ political views as it could make them uncomfortable about sharing their opinions. Teachers have consistently made a strong effort to impartially moderate discussions and keep people from getting too out of hand. I’d have to agree about walking on eggshells when dealing with political ideology, race, and gender, although I don’t believe it’s as negative in the context of race in gender, as differing opinions can easily become discriminatory. On politics, however, I absolutely think the non-liberal members of our community should feel comfortable sharing their views – debating things like foreign policy or the ACA leaves room only for growth. Finally, I’d like to add that I oppose the overly PC culture that is emerging at many universities. Cancelling a yoga class due to cultural appropriation is ridiculous. Is eating ramen “cultural appropriation” from the Japanese? That girl’s outrageous outburst at Yale was, quite frankly, frightening in its irrationality. UCLA’s insane list of microaggressions (“America is a land of opportunity,” “Speak up more,” and “America is a melting pot,” to name but a few) is perplexing; it takes serious analysis to see how one could take offense from some of the statements included.
I thank Mr. Haidt for taking the time to visit our school and wish him all the best, even if I may disagree with some of what he says.

[JH: Thank you, Witty Username. It was your comment that led me to remove and apologize for the phrase “with the blessing of the teachers”]

13) Centerville Student on November 27, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Most reasonable people would agree that a diversity of ideas is good. Most reasonable people would also agree that hurting others through words is bad. As a Centerville student, I have observed that immediately after the talk, our school split into two opposite camps.

One side believed that in an exchange of information, diversity of ideas is absolutely essential. For the most part, people in this group agreed with most of Mr. Haidt’s points. Most people in this group were glad that Mr. Haidt came to speak. It is important to note that people on this side also believed that ensuring people did not feel hurt was a critical part of discussions.

The other side believed that ensuring that people were not hurt in discussions was vital. They also believed that viewpoint diversity was important. They believed that Mr. Haidt did not believe that making sure people were not hurt in discussions is important. In addition, they believed that Mr. Haidt was hostile towards women, especially in his statement that although women are just as capable as men, they are genetically less inclined to explore STEM. The majority of people in this group felt that this was incorrect. This group also felt that Mr. Haidt implicitly expressed negative views about transgender people. While this group supported the idea that viewpoint diversity was important, they felt that Mr. Haidt was expressing the view that women and minority groups should not be protected from hurtful ideas. This group felt that Mr. Haidt was not the ideal person to deliver his ideas about viewpoint diversity.

I think that the only disagreement our school had was over Mr. Haidt’s beliefs, not over whether viewpoint diversity or protecting against hostility is important. Indeed, both groups at our school believed that in discussions, it is vital to have a diversity of viewpoints expressed in a manner that does not distress others. This is not to say that everyone fits into the two primary groups at our school. Certainly, there are people who fall outside this. However, based on what I have observed, at Centerville the vast majority students fall into one of these two camps.

[JH: This strikes me as a very perceptive observation, and helps us to wrap up the entire discussion. The crux of the dispute is indeed whether one believes that teachers and students should be vigilant about ensuring that “people were not hurt in discussions.” But there are different ways of being hurt. I believe that ad hominem arguments and moralistic attacks on students for the ideas that they express must be stamped out, and it is the teachers’ job to set that norm. Threats, insults, and slurs have no place in the classroom. Students should learn to criticize the idea, not the person. But what about ideas that some students find upsetting? Should students be protected from such ideas? Should they be given trigger warnings and safe spaces? The question took center stage when, in response to a students’ comment about rampant sexism as shown by the under-representation of women in STEM fields, I noted that under-representation does not by itself demonstrate sexism. I told the students about research on how prenatal sex hormones shape the brain while they are shaping the body. For evidence, see here, and see here. Many students were visibly upset by my suggestion that there could be some innate sex differences, on average. If that idea is upsetting to some students, should they be protected from hearing it? Or should students be exposed to arguments and evidence about all the possible causes of gender inequality? At Coddle U. the answer is no. At Strengthen U., it is yes.]

01 Dec 14:21

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)


… is from page 243 of Deirdre N. McCloskey’s pioneering 2010 volume, Bourgeois Dignity:

[W]e cannot account for the riches of rich countries by reference to exploitation of poor people.


Deirdre acknowledges that a great deal of exploitation has occurred throughout history – exploitation that enriched some people and impoverished others.  (Indeed, such exploitation continues to occur in various forms and degrees.)  But the enormous, sustained, and widespread growth in the material wealth of market-oriented societies over the past 200 years is far too great to be the product of extractions from poor people.  An armed robber can indeed gain more material wealth for himself if he successfully confiscates the pennies, Metro cards, and cell phones from the purses of some hapless, poor victims of his predations.  But he isn’t going to get rich preying upon such people – and such people will not get rich by being preyed upon.  If we group these two classes of people – armed robbers, and poor victims of armed robbers – into a unit called “society,” no one imagines that that society grows richer through the exploitation by members of one of these groups of members of the other.

Yet the exact same sort of not-so-imaginative fantasy is believed by people who insist that modern capitalist prosperity is the product of slavery, of colonialism, or of cruel factory owners using monopsony power to exploit poor workers.  Such people argue that enormous wealth for the masses can be extracted by exploitation of the poor masses.  Such people believe, in effect, that squeezing stones hard enough produces a cornucopia of fruit and honey.  It’s a nutty belief.

30 Nov 19:49

“Climate change” is about the money. It’s always about the money- and look who’s going to profit.

by DrJohn
U.S. President Barack Obama, second left, and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, right, pose with world leaders for a group photo at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacky Naegelen, Pool)


Prince Charles has kicked off the global warming summit in Paris. As is always the case with liberals, Charles is preaching of combatting climate change via the use of other people’s money. He has not committed the wealth of the crown to the effort.

One look at the above image makes clear that Obama is in Paris to, as much as anything else, preen. Not surprisingly, they couldn’t get him to shut up.

The warming thing is a tool being used to bludgeon the masses into submission. The goal is redistribution of wealth, worldwide. But it’s your wealth that’s going to be redistributed, not Obama’s, not Pelosi’s, not Reid’s, not Hollande’s and not Cameron’s. And a lot of it going to go from you to the wealthiest liberals on the planet.

Have a look at who is “investing” in Obama’s new “clean energy”:

George Soros

Tom Steyer

Billionaires both. Soros, who broke the Bank of England leaving millions of Brits with their homes and savings severely devalued, curiously has invested millions in coal. Among the list of organizations supported by Soros: ACORN, Apollo Alliance, National Council of La Raza, Tides Foundation, Huffington Post, Southern Poverty Law Center, Soujourners, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women. The famously anti-American Soros once said “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”

Steyer made millions in coal and oil but now he doesn’t want you to be able to do the same.

The rest of the Breakthrough gang can be found here. These people aren’t fools. They know where the money is going, they know the plan is redistribution and their buckets are waiting for your cash.

And you wonder why the richest continue to get richer? Thank Obama. Thank democrats. Al Gore knows. He’s worth over $200 million thanks to globaloney.

The problem is the climate isn’t cooperating. The “pause” in global warming is now nearly nineteen years long. What does one do when the data doesn’t fit the narrative?

Alter the data.

Which is what has been going on now for some time.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.


Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

This is a scam. Heap on the guilt. It’s is an Alinsky tactic- the same one that was used to convince America that banks were racist and which consequently saw lending standards largely eliminated, which in turn saw loan default after loan default and in part contributed to the financial crisis. The financial crisis was a failed effort at redistribution of wealth. Global warming is the new horse to ride. Just as in the financial crisis, which saw Valerie Jarrett and Tony Rezko rake in the big bucks, the global warming scam will only further enrich Soros and Steyer all in the name of saving humanity.

It’s always about the money.

Media outlets have been pounded into submission by the left and are now as compliant for this nonsense as they were for the financial mess. You’re evil if you even question the dogma. John Effin Kerry now asserts that Climate Change is a threat to national security– even more than is ISIS. An even bigger threat than Jenjus Khan.

Fear mongering. If that doesn’t convince you this is one big pile of horsesh*t, nothing will. I suspect that responses to climate change doubters will grow even more strident over time as the evidence for doubt mounts.

30 Nov 17:19

Dear Conservatives: This Is Why We Hate All Your Civil Rights Restrictions in the Name of Fighting Terror

by admin

Because about 5 seconds after they are passed, government officials are scheming to use the laws against non-terrorists to protect themselves from criticism.

Twenty-four environmental activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the Paris climate summit, using France’s state of emergency laws. Two of them slammed an attack on civil liberties in an interview with FRANCE 24....

The officers handed Amélie a restraining order informing her that she can no longer leave Rennes, is required to register three times a day at the local police station, and must stay at home between 8pm and 6am.

The order ends on December 12, the day the Paris climate summit draws to a close....

Citing the heightened terrorist threat, French authorities have issued a blanket ban on demonstrations – including all rallies planned to coincide with the climate summit, which Hollande is due to formally open on Monday.

This justification is about as lame as them come:

AFP news agency has had access to the restraining notices. It says they point to the “threat to public order” posed by radical campaigners, noting that security forces “must not be distracted from the task of combating the terrorist threat”.

Note that the police had absolutely no evidence that these folks were planning any violence, or even that they were planning any particular sort of protest.  This was a classic "round up the usual suspects" dragnet of anyone who had made a name for themselves protesting at green causes in the past.

Postscript:  Yes, I know that these protesters and I would have very little common ground on environmental issues.  So what?  There is nothing more important than supporting the civil rights of those with whom one disagrees.

And yes, I do have the sneaking suspicion that many of the very same people caught up in this dragnet would cheer if I and other skeptics were similarly rounded up for our speech by the government.  But that is exactly the point.  There are people who, if in power, would like to have me rounded up.  So it is important to stand firm against any precedent allowing the government to have these powers.  Else the only thing standing between me and jail is a single election.

Update:  Think that last bit is overly dramatic?  Think again.  I can guarantee you that you have some characteristic or belief that would cause someone in the world today, and probably many people, to want to put you up against the wall if they had the power to do so.  As proof, see:  all of history.

30 Nov 18:29

Missing From the Volkswagen Diesel "Fix" Messaging -- How Much Performance Will Your Car Lose?

by admin

Nowhere in this video does it mention how much of a performance hit one's car will take in the modifications.  My guess is a lot, or else they would not have risked so blatant of a legal evasion in the first place.   If I had a VW diesel there would be no way I would take the car in for this modification, certainly not before others have had a chance to share their experience.   My guess is that VW will require dealers to make these changes whenever a car comes in for any sort of service, so I wonder if there will be a boomlet for non-dealer VW shops who are willing to fix your air conditioning without implementing these changes?

30 Nov 17:03

Pay the Piper – And Let Only the Piper Call the Tune!

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)


On NPR this morning I heard the president of Planned Parenthood lament the fact that women’s health care is “politicized.”  I agree that such politicization is lamentable.  But such politicization is an inevitable consequence of government subsidization of, regulation of, and involvement in health care.  And the more health care is subsidized by, regulated by, and meddled in by politicians and their deputies, the worse this politicization will be.

For the head of Planned Parenthood to self-righteously complain about the “politicization” of women’s health care as her organization receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually in government subsidies – money forcibly extracted by government from taxpayers and then given to Planned Parenthood – is an astonishing feat of hypocrisy.  No one who is ethically mature demands money from Smith and simultaneously complains when Smith expresses opinions about how that money is spent.

People – such as this head of Planned Parenthood – who use politics to seize other people’s money and who then are surprised and angry when such money comes along with attached political strings are inconceivably naive (at best).  They are akin to the person who orders a kosher ham sandwich – or, alternatively, they are akin to the would-be pet owner who wants a dog that flies and meows rather than one that walks and barks.  Such people, in short, are detached from reality.

Those of us who point out that increased government involvement in our lives inevitably comes along with increased government controls and commands on how we act are often ridiculed as naive or alarmist.  But evidence of the reality of the exact sort of government control and commands that we warn of is supplied – unwittingly – by the president of Planned Parenthood.

30 Nov 16:59

The Contradiction at the Heart of Speech Limitations Sought by Campus Progressives

by admin

Campus Progressives are becoming increasingly open about their opposition to unfettered free speech.  As a minimum, they seem to want restrictions on (and thus punishments for) speech they feel disparages ethnic minorities, homosexuals, various flavors of trans-gendered people, etc.  If pressed, many might extend these restrictions to other speech they don't like, e.g. climate skepticism or advocating for the Second Amendment.

What often confuses outsiders about these calls for speech restrictions is that they are generally asymmetrical -- eg it is OK to criticize Christians but not to criticize Muslims.  You can impugn the motives of rich white males but not of blacks or Hispanics.  Critics of these limitations will say, "aha, you are a hypocrite" but in fact Progressives are quite open about this asymmetry.  They argue from a framework where everything comes back to the powerful vs. the powerless.  In this framework, it is OK for the powerless to criticize the powerful, but the reverse is not allowed -- they call it "punching down".  Thus the need for asymmetric speech limitations to protect the powerless from the powerful.

But this is where we get to a massive contradiction.   Because whoever is in a position to enforce speech limitations is always going to be the person with power.  By definition.   The powerless don't write and succesfully enforce speech codes, or else if they do, we now have to call them powerful.  And historically, people in power always use speech limitations to protect their own power.  That is why the First Amendment exists, to protect minorities of any sort from the power of the majority.  If historically disenfranchised people suddenly start making speech codes stick that protect them from criticism, it only means that the in-group and out-group tags have been shifted and the new in-group is acting just like all the other in-groups have in the past.  That is why we don't rely on assurances of good behavior by people in power, we try to circumscribe them with Constitutional limitations.

30 Nov 12:12

NASA Has More Than Doubled Southern Hemisphere Warming

by tonyheller

In 1981, NASA showed a little over 0.3C warming from 1900 to 1980 at 23°S- 90°S


They now show about 0.8C warming during that same time period for 23°S- 90°S


Fig.B.gif (407×661)

The next image overlays the two graphs at the same scale. Note how Gavin Schmidt massively cooled the past, to increase Southern Hemisphere warming.


Gavin’s data tampering didn’t stop in 1980 however. Since 2001, Gavin erased a 0.2C cooling in that region from 1990 to 2000.


2001 version: FigB.txt
2015 version: Fig.B.txt

As with the Northern Hemisphere, Gavin has cooled pre-1960 temperatures and warmed post-1960 temperatures.


But with Gavin, the data tampering never stops. Since 2004, Gavin warmed 1980-2000 23°S- 90°S temperatures by about 0.1C.


2004 version:

This might be considered surprising, because Gavin knows that Antarctica cooled significantly during that period.

Shindell, D.T., and G.A. Schmidt 2004.

While most of the Earth warmed rapidly during recent decades, surface temperatures decreased significantly over most of Antarctica.

Pubs.GISS: Abstract of Shindell and Schmidt 2004

NASA temperature graphs have little or nothing to  do with the actual temperature of the earth. They are simply propaganda tools for the White House. Gavin will argue that the addition of fake historical ocean temperatures altered the trend, but buffering by the thermal mass of the oceans would have the opposite effect of reducing warming – not increasing it.

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

  • Vladimir Lenin
29 Nov 07:25

GoT's The Mountain Breaks His Own World Record

by Alex Osborn

h/t Roumen.ganeff

Game of Thrones star Hafthor Bjornsson has set a new world record, surpassing his own previous keg-tossing high.

According to Giants Live, the actor who plays Ser Gregor Clegane (aka "The Mountain") on the popular HBO series was able to toss a 33-pound keg over 23 feet in the air.

"It was easy!" Bjornsson said of the feat. "I could have broken the roof. It was amazing to do this in front of the great crowd. Bring on Europe's Strongest Man."

That's not the only record the Game of Thrones actor has managed to shatter this year, having tossed a 56-pound kettlebell over 19 feet in the air with a single arm at the Arnold Sports Festival back in March. If that weren't enough, Bjornsson also broke a 1000-year-old weightlifting record the month prior.

Continue reading…

27 Nov 06:00

Why do you never see gasoline taxes itemized on your receipt?

The answer will shock you.
28 Nov 06:00

The Syrian Refugee Program Has the Hallmarks of the Obama Style

It lacks a proper legal basis; it will harm rather than help its purported beneficiaries; it will undermine important American interests; and it is designed to signal virtue rather than accomplish anything
29 Nov 14:14

OPINION: Will Police Accountability Enter New Era After #LaquanMcDonald?

by Grant Stern

It took Chicago Police over a year to release the video of Laquan McDonald. If a video is recorded and nobody sees it, then does the recording matter?

What if there wasn’t a whistleblower, a reporter and a lawyer who combined to sue on behalf of the public interest and gain release of the video depicting an officer shooting the teenager McDonald as he walked away from cops.

Our political leaders ultimately make the choice of what videos are released or not. Many have claimed that Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel personally intervened to suppress the recording of Laquan McDonald’s last moments.

Officers knew that Laquan McDonald was walking away from the shooter.

Those police are complicit.

This is not just one bad apple, but an apple that fell from a rotten tree.

Why did authorities say Laquan McDonald lunged at police officers?

Copaganda is the only narrative presented to the public.

The perversion of the english language, infused with public relations, infused with the spilled blood of the innocent on our city streets and a black, leather boot covering the pool with cold comfort to the families of the deceased.

“Officer involved shooting” is the inaccurate term peddled by police spokespeople, often union representatives – like Pat Camden, the Chicago FOP’s public relations face, a former PIO for the Chicago PD – and the very passive tone of it, makes one imagine that the gun did all of the work, the officer was merely there…

The words a “weapon was recovered at the scene” are dutifully invoked, and There It Is!

He must’ve had it coming.

With videos existing, it’s taking a while, but finally the public is learning that police narratives are not about truth telling, but about truth concealing.

Just like the Catholic Church who denied rumors of child abuse and pedophilia for decades until incontrovertible evidence emerged, admissions and eventually a general public knowledge of the terrible affairs of Priests who were also seeking to “serve the public” but rather served their own anti-social desires.

Now, Copaganda wears thin, the oft repeated phrases of our boys in blue no longer give the public solace.

Nine Inch Nails said it best in their 90’s hit song March of the Pigs, “now doesn’t that make you feel better? the pigs have won tonight, now they can all sleep soundly, and everything is all right”

Chicago teen killed by Cop Monday; Community activists urge action against police brutality from Medill Reports on Vimeo.

Opinion by Grant Stern, Podcast by James MacArthur the Baltimore Spectator

The post OPINION: Will Police Accountability Enter New Era After #LaquanMcDonald? appeared first on PINAC.

29 Nov 16:16

This stunning app lets you see Wi-Fi pulsing around you

by Rob Price


There's a new app that lets users visualise WiFi and radio signals — with stunning results.

It's called Architecture of Radio, and has just launched for iOS. An Android version is due to launch in early 2016.


The brainchild of Dutch designer Richard Vijgen, the project first made headlines back in August. But at the time, it was only available to use at a single exhibition in Germany, and you couldn't download it yourself.

Happily, it's now on the Apple App Store, retailing for $3 (£1.99). Installing it sheds new light on the hidden grid of signals that underpins our devices: Radio towers, satellites, Wi-Fi routers all appear against a blue backdrop. According to Architecture of Radio's website, "the dataset [the project uses] includes almost 7 million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers and hundreds of satellites."


Here's how it looks in practice:

And here's a video released earlier this year showing it in action:

You can download it here »

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch the mesmerizing way a company puts camouflage on helmets

29 Nov 11:47

France imposes Soviet Style Movement Restrictions on Climate Activists

by Eric Worrall
Guest essay by Eric Worrall France has arbitrarily imposed Soviet style movement restrictions on a number of climate activists. French Authorities claim this measure is necessary, to reduce the risk of public disorder during the COP21 conference. According to the Australian ABC; French climate change activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the…
27 Nov 17:51

Smartphone use in stores can help — and hurt — retailers

by Alexei Oreskovic

Take a stroll through the aisles of a retail store, and chances are you'll see someone looking at their smartphone. Nearly eight out of ten shoppers turn to their devices to assist them when shopping in physical retail stores, according to a Holiday shopping survey of 3,000 US consumers by Deloitte, charted for us by Statista

What do they do on their phones? Roughly 55 percent of shoppers use their phones inside a store to compare prices. This so-called "showrooming" by shoppers has caused panic among some retailers worried that in-store smartphone use is bad for business.

But it appears that smartphones are also helping retailers. The number one reason for using smartphones was to look up store locations, according to the survey. And 45% of consumers use their phones to get product information and to get or use coupons. For retailers, the invasion of smartphones in stores means both risk and opportunity.



SEE ALSO: Thanksgiving Day is becoming the new Cyber Monday for online shopping

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These 25-year-old BFFs are Instagram stars thanks to their crazy beards

28 Nov 17:14

11/27/15 PHD comic: 'Your love life'

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Your love life" - originally published 11/27/2015

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

19 Nov 21:00

Let's have an argument about encryption

by Violet Blue

h/t Roumen.ganeff

Government officials have been vexed for quite some time now that they can't surveil communications that use end-to-end encryption. Never mind that to crack encrypted platforms open for one spy would mean to open them up for all spies. Just being a...
28 Nov 18:48

Market Analyst Value Line Issues Strong Warnings Against Major Solar Companies …Only For “Most Risk-Tolerant Of Speculators”!

by P Gosselin

A reader passed on some interesting investment advice.

Market analyst Value Line,the most trusted name in investment research” has issued warnings against investing in two major US solar energy companies: SOLARCITY CORP and SUNEDISON CORP.

234 million 3rd quarter loss

Value Line informs market participants that Solar City reported “a much great-than-expected net loss” in the third quarter: $234 million, thus “shocked market participants”. Value Line hints that the company is misleading the public by stressing the company’s “impressive operational statistics” adding that the company has had an “inability to translate the gains into anything coming close to a profit“. Value Line also reports of a huge increase in company debt.

Despite the projected growth in sales of solar modules, Value Line does not see any profit for Solar City. Value Line’s advice:

In sum, only the most risk-tolerant of speculators should consider this equity.”

Getting hammered…

The advice is not any better when it comes to renewable energy giant Sunedison, originally the wafer-making arm of Monsanto, now a global leader of solar and wind power. Value Line informs that the company “used loads of debt to buy alternative power entities” and that the “company’s timing could not have been worse” in a sector that “has been getting hammered“.

Value Line

Here Value Line offers the same advice that “all but the most speculative investors to steer clear of this volatile equity“.

Largest bankruptcy in Spanish history

Meanwhile the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundations reports here how Spain’s renewable energy firm “Abengoa has announced the start of insolvency proceedings. International banks’ total exposure to a full Abengoa bankruptcy stands at about $21.4 billion, meaning the company’s downfall would end up being the largest bankruptcy in Spanish history.”

Ironically world leaders are meeting in Paris with the aim of steering people into investing in this junk-grade equity. A wonderful way to destroy wealth and people’s savings.

27 Nov 14:03

Mom Believes She Must Helicopter if Lowest-Level Sex Offenders Come Off Registry After 20 Years

by lskenazy


Here in my state, something wildly fair is about to happen: People who have been on the Sex Offender Registry for 20 years, who GOT ON the list for a “Level 1” non-violent sex crime like going to a prostitute, “public lewdness,” or peeing in public, are finally going to be allowed to get off it.

This, of course, makes for a great news story, especially if you find a mom and interview her without explaining to her or the audience that “stranger danger” is the least likely danger her child will encounter, that the Sex Offender Registry is a Scarlet Letter making normal life almost impossible for anyone on it, and that Level 1 offenders are extremely unlikely to become rapists, because they were not rapists to begin with. Legally, a Level 1 Offender has to have a “low risk of repeat offense.” And that’s even more true two decades later! But here’s the inexcusable way RochesterFirst played it:



Compare and contrast that story with the one below, from WHEC, that at least took the time to talk to a source who does NOT automatically hear “Sex Offender” and assume that no children will ever be safe as long as anyone with that label is allowed to live a normal life again:


Here’s what Sandy Rozek, communications director of Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc., has to say:

Of course people are protective of their children, but when they have the facts, they can make better choices. These are some of the facts. Research indicates that when a former offender has gone twenty years offense-free in the community, his risk of committing a sexual offense is no greater than someone who has never committed one. This shows rehabilitation at work. Isn’t that our goal?

The greatest risk to any child for this kind of abuse comes from those related or close to the child, not someone on the registry. Chief Phelan is being disingenuous portraying registration so benignly. [In the RochesterFirst story, local Police Chief Phelan says that registering is no big deal for the person on the registry.] Sex Offender registration is a death knell that inhibits rehabilitation. It prevents the reintegration of registrants into the community. They are shut out of job opportunities and often housing opportunities, and certainly the opportunity to earn the good will of society based on who they have become, because the well is poisoned by who they were 20 or more years ago.

How could this be better for public safety? Research shows it isn’t. Furthermore, it does not protect children from abuse; it creates misdirection that keeps the actual problem from being addressed.”

What’s more, the Economist writes that:

Human Rights Watch urges America to scale back its sex-offender registries. Those convicted of minor, non-violent offences should not be required to register, says [Human Rights Watch researcher Sarah] Tofte. Nor should juveniles. Sex offenders should be individually assessed, and only those judged likely to rape someone or abuse a child should be registered. Such decisions should be regularly reviewed and offenders who are rehabilitated (or who grow too old to reoffend) should be removed from the registry.

The idea that our kids are not safe unless we know the location of every person who ever committed a sex offense, no matter how minor, is new. It is a level of knowledge that, rather than reassuring parents, is making them more scared. They see dots on the map and assume their kids are not safe outside, unsupervised.  As a parent, my worry would be this: If my son sexts, streaks, or pees in public, the law might label him a sex offender for 20 years…and then decide that’s just not long enough. – L


You can't play outside, dear. There's a man three blocks away who once sent a sext!

You can’t play outside, dear. There’s a man three blocks away who went to a hooker in 1997! 


26 Nov 13:00

3 Mistakes Free Marketers Often Make

Libertarians like to think of themselves as economically literate, at least when compared to other political groups, and for the most part, I believe that’s true. But there are at least three mistakes that I keep hearing even libertarians make when talking about the free market.

Mistake #1: “The free market doesn’t need regulation.”

One of the dangers of talking with someone who disagrees with you, or sometimes even with someone who seems to agree with you, is that you talk past each other. I find that’s true in discussions about regulation.

Even among libertarians, whether and to what extent we need government regulation — for example, to prevent environmental catastrophe, to prosecute violent criminals, to defend against territorial aggression — is a subject of heated debate.

We’re fooling ourselves if we think that even in a free market, there won’t be unscrupulous sellers who will try to sell to unsuspecting buyers unsafe food and drugs, dangerous cars, and shoddy housing, or that there won’t be unscrupulous buyers who will try to cheat unsuspecting sellers with false claims about their ability to pay.

In the real world, knowledge is imperfect. It’s impossible always to know when someone is telling the truth, and people are vulnerable to opportunists. Such unsociable behavior, if not restrained by internal norms, requires external constraints — regulation — of some kind. But even libertarians too often concede that regulation means expanding the role of the state.

If, by “regulation,” we mean external constraints on harmful behavior by buyers and sellers, then people in free markets do need regulation to protect them. The mistake is to assume that only government — that is, a monopoly over the legitimate initiation of violence — can do the regulating.

Free markets unleash forces not only to lower costs and to innovate; they also unleash the resourcefulness of ordinary people to regul...

25 Nov 15:01

Moore’s law and the productivity paradox

by Sarah Gustafson

In recent days, a bunch of smart people — including at AEI — have addressed the apparent productivity paradox that makes our economy so hard to gauge right now. Silicon Valley is booming, and yet productivity growth is tepid. But if productivity growth is so awful, then how can super-high-skill workers and robots also be eating so many jobs?



 Speaking at the Peterson Institute, Larry Summers offered some thoughtful observations. Summers takes seriously the idea of technological disemployment, pointing toward the discouraging trends for working age men especially. “And yet,” he wonders,

…if technical change is a major source of dis-employment, it is hard to see how it could be a major source of dis-employment without also being a major source of productivity improvement. In part, if the technology is replacing people that means that productivity should be expected to go up at least if you measure simple labor productivity. And if more of that is happening than used to be happening, then you would expect productivity to be rising more rapidly than it used to be rising.

There is the further wonkier, but not that wonky observation that if the lower tail of the workforce is increasingly not working, than if you remove the least productive people, the average productivity of those who remain should be increasing. So, I think, the largest thing that I do not understand in this area, is how to square the “new economy is producing substantial dis-employment” view, with the “productivity growth is slowing” view.

Summers offered a second explanation for the paradox.

I think it is at least possible that there are substantial mismeasurement aspects and that there is a reasonable prospect at accelerating mismeasurement as an explanation for some part of this puzzle. I do not base this judgment on calculations about the consumer surplus from Google or Facebook; I think those are important conceptual issues for measuring the welfare of the average citizen. I am not sure that they are important conceptual issues when quantified for measuring market GDP, as economists traditionally understand market GDP.

Rather, I am struck that there is likely what may well be an increase in unmeasured quality improvement.

But if productivity is actually higher than we think, then inflation is actually lower than we think, and real interest rates are not as low as we think. Thus, Summers admitted, he is now questioning his own idea of demand-side secular stagnation.

Several days before Summers’ comments, AEI’s own Jim Pethokoukis and Steve Oliner hosted a related discussion of innovation, productivity, jobs, and wages, asking if we are in a great stagnation — or perhaps just the opposite, an acceleration.

 It’s a fascinating topic that happens to animate a significant portion of my new paper on the 50th anniversary of Moore’s law, which surveys the past and prospects of exponential computer trends. While I don’t address the macroeconomic factors or implications, I do look at the mismeasurement question, pointing toward Steve Oliner’s good work on microprocessor prices as a prime example of what is likely a much more pervasive and multifaceted measurement challenge. It turns out, for example, that the price of computer power, as measured by the producer price index, might be overstated by a factor of 27.
software microprocessor bret swanson

Moore’s Law at 50 also addresses the future. Some have argued that the information revolution was not nearly as powerful as the Industrial Revolution and that the information age is in fact winding down. Innovation is thus likely to limp for decades to come. I argue just the opposite — that information technologies are poised to deliver some of their most potent economic benefits, specifically in the perennial productivity laggards we call health care and education.

 Health care, I argue in another new report, The App-ification of Medicine, will be transformed into an information industry. Computers and the Internet are on the cusp of making healthcare more personal, consumer oriented, cost effective, innovative, agile, and entrepreneurial. The powerful combination of smartphones and personal technology, Big Data and Social Data, and accelerating breakthroughs in our understanding of the Code of Life (or biological information networks) will empower consumers and physicians, dramatically cut costs, and open up vast frontiers for medical research and entrepreneurial business models. Bad policy can of course retard this vision, but the potential is clear.

As Peter Huber argues, “The vital core of medicine is now on the same plummeting-cost trajectory as chips and software.” If so, we could turn one-sixth of the economy from a burden into an economic blessing.

The post Moore’s law and the productivity paradox appeared first on AEI.

25 Nov 18:37

Climate/Geology Professor Friedrich-Karl Ewert Says “Standards Of Science Not Met” By Climate Models

by P Gosselin

EwertA few days ago I posted a piece about an article written by award-winning journalist Günter Ederer, who had reported on Prof. Karl-Friedrich Ewert’s analysis of NASA temperature data – data that he found to have been “incredibly altered” to show warming. That NTZ post has been shared or liked close to 20,000 times so far, making it one of the most shared ever at NTZ.

Prof. Ewert now writes that he has received many enquiries requesting to see his results. He has posted a reaction at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here. What follows is a summarized version I’ve translated.

Plot of unaltered data NASA GISS. The reference of 13.8°C is the IPCC’s global mean temperature for 1880. The cooling in the 5th phase was modest at first, until 1960, but then was significantly stronger, despite rising CO2. Atmospheric CO2 rose by 1 part for each 10,000 due to emissions.

Ewert writes that man has always known that climate change exists. And as science developed, the reasons were for this were discovered: changes in solar activity and the sun’s the interactions with the earth. Yet, beginning in the early 1980s, out of the blue, solar activity ceased being a factor and suddenly atmospheric trace gas CO2 morphed into the major factor and is now regarded as dominant for the development of the climate.

Ewert remarks that the climate movement first started out as one run by environmental activists, but soon also scientists saw they could exploit it for advancing their careers, and thus shifted their efforts to producing evidence and computer models to show that CO2 was the cause of warming since 1980 and that it would continue warming into the future respectively.

However Prof. John Christy of the Uni­versity of Alabama compared the projections generated by the most important computer simulations and found that the results were completely different. Therefore the standards of science were not met because these standards require that different approaches reach the same result. The computer results showed the exact opposite: a warming range of 0.3°C to 1.3°C by 2020! Which result can be valid when they are all different? None!

Ewert says it is false to claim that a few decades of data from the earth’s 4.5 billion year history are sufficient to say the models are reliable for simulating the climate of the future. He notes that German experts Ulrich Berner & Hans-Jörg Streif scientifically analyzed the geological past, up to the present, for German government institutes and have proven that climate warming by man-made CO2 emissions is not taking place as claimed.

Despite the expertly performed analyses by John Christy, and Ulrich Berner & Hans-Jörg Streif, climate politics continue to claim a manmade global warming is taking place due to CO2 emissions. The sole basis for the political claims are climate models projecting warming despite the current cooling phase. The planet is currently cooling. Although the IPCC said early on that forecasting the climate is not possible because it is a chaotic system involving a myriad of factors, governments and scientists continue to rely on the computer model forecasts.

Ewert writes that much evidence exists showing that CO2 emissions are meaningless, but that the evidence simply gets ignored.

One example is the more than 100 years of measured temperature readings that taken from weather stations worldwide. This is the reason it was necessary to manually evaluate the registered temperatures from 1881 to 2010 in detail. The results are available in the pdf-file report. The chart above summarizes what was found. It shows:

– that four cooling phases and three warming phases occurred between 1881 and 2010,
– that stronger warming occurred before CO2 emissions began in earnest, and despite the longer cooling phases,
– that the temperature over the first 100 years even cooled slightly, and
– that there is no recognizable effect by CO2 emissions on temperatures.

The long version (in German) can be downloaded in two parts from the annex.


25 Nov 14:51

Most of What You Learn in Econ 101 is Right

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)


Several people have asked me to weigh in on Noah Smith’s recent essay entitled “Most of What You Learn in Econ 101 Is Wrong.”  In a sense I have already done so, in two posts from a few weeks ago.  They are here and here.

While not written in response to Smith directly, these two blog posts of mine were indeed written in response to the argument that Smith makes, for it is an argument frequently offered by those who resist the counsel of humility that a good principles-of-microeconomics course rightly instills in its students.

I don’t now have much worthwhile to add to what I wrote a few weeks ago, save to note that not all courses in principles of economics are taught well.  Many such courses are extended and rather mindless discussions of how to bend curves and how to do math that is asserted to describe economic relationships. (And many of these wrong-headed courses in economics principles do indeed teach lots of wrong notions, such as that markets require perfect information in order to work well, or that “perfect competition” would be the best kind of competition in reality if it were possible.)  So, yes, most of what is taught in those kinds of intro-“economics” courses is indeed “wrong” – or, at least, irrelevant to a true understanding of economics.


But a well-taught principles course – a course taught, for example, by the likes of Deirdre McCloskey, by my colleague Walter Williams, by Dwight Lee, or by the late Armen Alchian – is one that teaches, and teaches well, at least ten vital foundational lessons: (1) the world is full of both desirable and undesirable unintended consequences – consequences that are largely invisible but that even a course in ‘mere’ principles of economics gives us great vision that enables us to “see,” (2) intentions are not results; (3) our world is unavoidably one of trade-offs and not “solutions,” (4) market-determined prices (4a) are not arbitrary, (4b) connect millions of strangers to each other in productive ways that almost none of these strangers are aware of, and (4c) cannot, save under the rarest of unrealistic circumstances, be controlled by government without causing consequences quite the opposite of those that are ostensibly desired, (5) productive and sustainable complex economic order emerges without design or intention, (6) individuals respond to incentives, (7) individuals, and not collectives, choose and act, (8) wealth is not fixed in amount (and it is not money), (9) government officials are no smarter or better-motivated than are people operating in the private sector, and (10) the economy is inconceivably more complex than someone with a poor understanding of economics realizes – so complex that the promises of social engineers are revealed to be fantastic delusions.

A good principles-of-economics course teaches us to appreciate the marvels of the spontaneous market order and, in doing so, teaches humility.  Sadly, far too many advanced courses in economics teach the opposite: by their whiteboard rendering of economies as GDP-producing machines, such “advanced” courses instill the mistaken notion that economies are far simpler than they really are.  It would be much closer to the truth to say that most of what you learn in Econ 800 is wrong, for in too many cases it dilutes or destroys the truths you learned in a good Econ 101 course.

23 Nov 10:54

Impatient terrier honks car horn while waiting for owner

by Jack Evans

h/t Roumen.ganeff

Every so often dogs act a little too much like humans for their owner's liking. Caught on camera, this terrier had become impatient at waiting for its owner outside a shop – honking...
25 Nov 04:18

Mom Rejects Plea Deal of “Just” 30 Days in Jail for Letting 4 y.o. Play 120 Feet From Home

by lskenazy


A mom who let her 4-year-old son play outside at the playground 120 feet from her home was arrested . Her neighbors had called 911 when they saw the kid outside. While many people might think four is too young for a boy to be outside on his own, the bigger question is: Is this a criminal offense?

It should not be. The boy was in a gated apartment complex and on a playground. What’s more, if the neighbors were worried, why wouldn’t they just talk to the mom? And if the cops were worried, why didn’t they tell her why this was dangerous (citing actual stats, not just “what ifs”), rather than threatening her with jail time, as they did? How does that solve any problems? The mom, Sonya Hendren, was arrested and charged with child endangerment — a felony. While the charges were later dropped to misdemeanors, Hendren told KTXL in Sacramento:

We have a CPS (Child Protective Service) case now and every time he’s not in my visual site we’re in violation,” Hendren said.

In other words, the state has decided how best to raise her child and will prosecute the mom if she doesn’t agree.

The neighbor who reported Hendren hoped the mom would just get a warning. But when you play with fire — that is, call 911 — someone can get burned. Or, in this case, scorched:

The maximum sentence that Hendron can face is 6 months in jail with 3 years of probation. She was offered an alternative deal of just 30 days in jail and 1 year of probation but she has rejected the offer.

Gee, just 30 days. That shouldn’t disrupt a family’s life, should it? It’s barely a month!  I’m sure someone will supervise little Tomahawk while his mom is in the pokey.

But let’s talk (non-Thanskgiving, metaphorical) turkey: Just how dangerous is it for a 4 year old to play outside, period? It totally depends on the neighborhood, the child, and what the child has been taught. A 4-year-old is almost kindergarten age. He can speak the language, he knows where he lives, and he is close to home. This is not to say that nothing bad could ever happen to him. Only that the mom who loves him more than we do  assessed the risk and decided it made sense for her to let him have some time outside.

As her lawyer noted:

“If this happened 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be here. There wouldn’t be a criminal case filed,” said Hendron’s attorney.

Today, thanks to the ease of dialing 911, the constant exhortations to report unattended kids to the authorities, and selective risk aversion, a call was made. No one calls the cops when a mom drives a kid to the grocery, even though the #1 way kids die is as car passengers. But ever fearful of the much rarer stranger danger, they call when they see a child not directly supervised, even for a short time, by a parent.

Good luck to the mom, and to all of us who don’t want our parenting second-guessed by arrest-happy police. – L.


Mom, you are under arrest for letting your 4-year-old play outside in front of your home.

Mom, you are under arrest for letting your 4-year-old play outside in front of your home.

., faces

24 Nov 18:24

When Protectors Become Predators

by Tim Lynch

From a Special Report for the Buffalo News:

A Louisiana police chief ushers a drunken woman to his office and forces her into sex.

A Utah officer takes advantage of a suicidal woman before escorting her into a hospital.

A Buffalo cop insists a vulnerable mother give in to him whenever he pounds on her door.

In the past decade, a law enforcement official was caught in a case of sexual abuse or misconduct at least every five days. Nearly all were men. Nearly all victims were women, and a surprising number were adolescents….

More than 700 credible cases from the past 10 years are now detailed, county by county and state by state.

The violators pulled over drivers to fish for dates, had sex on duty with willing or reluctant partners, extorted favors by threatening arrest and committed rapes.

In more than 70 percent of the cases, officers wielded their authority over motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs.

Read the whole thing.


When Protectors Become Predators is a post from

24 Nov 21:40

The Paris effect: 97% Of Americans Don’t Believe Climate Change Is Top Concern

by Anthony Watts
From the “magic number is always 97%” department US Survey: 97% Of Americans Don’t Believe Climate Change Is Top Concern Via Dan Joseph, MRC TV News A new Fox News poll finds that in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the issue of terrorism has become the top concern of American voters. Only 3 percent of respondents said…
24 Nov 22:11

The ultimate ‘Godwin effect’ – Science In 1941: ‘Global Warming Caused Hitler’

by Anthony Watts
For those who don’t know: Godwins law Via the GWPF and the department of “global warming causes everything” comes this blast from the past. It sounds just about as ridiculous as some of the claims being made today trying to link the Syrian war to climate change. “Increasing warmer temperatures may produce a trend toward dictatorial governments”…
24 Nov 13:25

Back to the Future: Was Doc “Grooming” Marty?

by lskenazy


How can you tell when a culture is changing? When something that was once normal suddenly seems wrong. This can be good — grown African-American men no longer called “boy,” grown women at the office no longer automatically called “girl” — or it can be ominous. The story below is silly, but ominous. Our culture has nurtured the knee-jerk suspicion that anytime a man is interested in young people, watch out.

Dear Free-Range Kids: Something happened the other day that made me think of your blog.

In honor of the 30th anniversary, I was re-watching “Back to the Future” with a 23-year-old friend (I’m 34) who had never seen it.  We were mere minutes into the first film when she said, regarding Marty and Doc Brown, “That’s an inappropriate relationship.”

I was taken aback.  I have been watching these movies repeatedly my whole life.  Their relationship never seemed odd to me.  If anything, I wished I had had a genius time-travelling scientist friend to call my own.  But some time in the 11-year gap between my age and my friend’s, the social norms had changed in such a way that the friendship between a grown man a teenage boy had become something that stood out as suspect.

I wonder if this script would even get the green light now, or if it would have to be re-written to make Doc into Marty’s step-dad or something ridiculous.

Just thought I’d share. — Shari Creamer

I wrote back: Actually, that IS fascinating. When she said “inappropriate” was she truly disturbed, or was she just joking? Did she realize that treating all adult-child friendships as suspect is a new thing? What was “inappropriate” about it to her? Just very curious!

She said that a young boy going over to a doctor’s house, and also meeting him at 1:30 in the morning, would be cause for the police to come knocking on doors because everybody would automatically assume their relationship was sexual.

When I asked her why she felt the impropriety stood out to her and not to me (this is the really interesting part), I didn’t get the answer I was expecting.  I thought she would mention our age difference and that public ideas about what was proper had changed since I was young.  Instead, she mentioned her education (women’s studies and social work) and her volunteer work (rape crisis counseling), and said these made her more aware of and wary of inappropriate relationships.  In other words, the impropriety was there the whole time; I just wasn’t trained to notice it.

She did enjoy the movie though, so it couldn’t have bothered her that much. — Shari

As a gal who took some women’s studies classes back in the day and was also a rape crisis counselor for a little while myself, it worries me that this woman feels she has been trained to “see” something — exploitation, sex, danger — that actually isn’t there. There’s insight and then there’s, “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I do worry that we are creating a whole lot of hammers with our culture’s emphasis on worst-first thinking and our belief that young people are in constant danger. L


Doc, since you are an adult male, we can longer be friends. (Back to the Future, 1985. Directed by Robert Zemeckis Shown from left: Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly)

I’m sorry, Doc. But since you are an adult male, we can longer be friends. (Back to the Future, 1985. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Shown from left: Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly)