Here’s an insightful and spot-on cartoon by GMU Econ alum David Youngberg.
Here’s an insightful and spot-on cartoon by GMU Econ alum David Youngberg.
This is yet another case of Facebook knowing way more about you than you think.
The social network is categorizing its users as liberal, conservative, or moderate. This information is valuable for campaign managers and advertisers, especially in the midst of election season.
For some, Facebook is able to come to conclusions about your political leanings easily, if you mention a political party on your page. For those that are less open about politics on social media, Facebook makes assumptions based on pages you like.
As The New York Times explained, if you like Ben and Jerry's Facebook page and most of the other people that like that page identify as liberal, Facebook might assume you too are liberal.
Personally, I'm not too politically active on Facebook and I was curious to see how they categorized me. To my surprise, I am "very liberal," when I was expecting "moderate" or "conservative."
To find out how Facebook has categorized you, just follow these steps:
Using this link, you can see some of the ad preferences Facebook has for you.
Jobs are the way in which we stretch ourselves morally beyond our in-groups and see, touch, and listen to other people as human beings for the first time.
Calling all college students: Do you love the intellectual climate on your campus? Or do you sometimes wish that a broader range of viewpoints was represented in the classroom, and by invited speakers? Are some students reluctant to speak up in class because they are afraid they’ll be shunned if they question the dominant viewpoint?
American college campuses have been growing more politically purified since the 1990s. Professors and visiting speakers who are not on the left, politically, are becoming increasingly rare. This should concern you—especially if you are on the left. Political orthodoxy impoverishes everyone’s education. Exposure to a diversity of viewpoints (i.e., heterodoxy) is the best way to expand your mind and improve your ability to deal with the politically diverse world you’ll find after graduation.
Heterodox Academy is therefore launching an initiative to empower students who want greater viewpoint diversity on campus. Working with students at several universities, we have drafted three short resolutions that you can use or modify as you please. Click here to see the resolutions, along with advice about how to get started.
As John Stuart Mill wrote, in On Liberty:
He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
If you would like to reduce political orthodoxy at your school, then please consider introducing a resolution to your student government to declare your school a “Heterodox University.” The first school to do so will earn a great deal of positive media attention, attract a much larger number of applicants, and gain a national reputation for independent thinking. It will also have a much more open and exciting intellectual climate.
(This is the first of a suite of new tools and resources we’re releasing this fall to promote viewpoint diversity on college campuses and in academic disciplines).
Verizon Communications, the largest telecommunications company in the US, is experimenting with blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology, which powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, depends on a distributed ledger that allows users to verify transactions without an intermediary.
Blockchain has tons of applications that are being explored by banks, startups, exchanges, and corporations that want to get in on the action.
Business Insider obtained a copy of the US patent, filed on May 10, for a passcode blockchain that Verizon has apparently been working on for three years.
The patent relates to digital content — think an e-book or a digital-music or video file. Verizon declined to comment.
Here is a passage from the filing:
"The DRM (digital rights management) system may maintain a list of passcodes in a passcode blockchain. The passcode blockchain may store a sequence of passcodes associated with the particular digital content and may indicate a currently valid passcode. For example, a first passcode may be assigned to a first user and designated as the valid passcode. If the access rights are transferred to a second user, a second passcode may be obtained and added to the blockchain, provided to the second user, and designated as the valid passcode. Thus, the first passcode may no longer be considered valid. If the second user transfers the access rights to a third user, a third passcode may be obtained and added to the blockchain, provided to the third user, and designated as the valid passcode. Thus, the first and second passcodes may no longer be considered valid.
"Furthermore, the expiration date associated with the key may continue to be in effect with respect to the second user and/or any subsequent users. Thus, if access rights for a particular digital content are associated with a rental period, or a subscription period, users may continue to transfer the rights to other users during the rental period."
There is quite a bit of excitement about having digital rights on a blockchain-type system. It could allow for pay-per-usage, for example, while smart contracts — the contractual clauses that form part of a transaction — could provide automatic payment distributions, according to a Moody's Investors Service report.
A blockchain of digital rights for consumer products — music and news articles, among others — could ensure that artists or authors are paid immediately once a consumer reads an article or listens to a song, with funds proportionally distributed as per contractual clauses.
Given lower transaction costs on a blockchain, micro-payments through a blockchain would be more feasible, allowing for a pay-per-usage setup each time an article is read or a song is listened to.
Astronomers have identified a young star, located almost 11,000 light years away, which could help us understand how the most massive stars in the Universe are formed. This young star, already more than 30 times the mass of our Sun, is still in the process of gathering material from its parent molecular cloud, and may be even more massive when it finally reaches adulthood.
The researchers, led by a team at the University of Cambridge, have identified a key stage in the birth of a very massive star, and found that these stars form in a similar way to much smaller stars like our Sun – from a rotating disc of gas and dust. The results will be presented this week at the Star Formation 2016 conference at the University of Exeter, and are reported in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
In our galaxy, massive young stars – those with a mass at least eight times greater than the Sun – are much more difficult to study than smaller stars. This is because they live fast and die young, making them rare among the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, and on average, they are much further away.
“An average star like our Sun is formed over a few million years, whereas massive stars are formed orders of magnitude faster — around 100,000 years,” said Dr John Ilee from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, the study’s lead author. “These massive stars also burn through their fuel much more quickly, so they have shorter overall lifespans, making them harder to catch when they are infants.”
The protostar that Ilee and his colleagues identified resides in an infrared dark cloud - a very cold and dense region of space which makes for an ideal stellar nursery. However, this rich star-forming region is difficult to observe using conventional telescopes, since the young stars are surrounded by a thick, opaque cloud of gas and dust. But by using the Submillimeter Array (SMA) in Hawaii and the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, both of which use relatively long wavelengths of light to observe the sky, the researchers were able to ‘see’ through the cloud and into the stellar nursery itself.
By measuring the amount of radiation emitted by cold dust near the star, and by using unique fingerprints of various different molecules in the gas, the researchers were able to determine the presence of a ‘Keplerian’ disc - one which rotates more quickly at its centre than at its edge.
“This type of rotation is also seen in the Solar System - the inner planets rotate around the Sun more quickly than the outer planets,” said Ilee. “It’s exciting to find such a disc around a massive young star, because it suggests that massive stars form in a similar way to lower mass stars, like our Sun.”
The initial phases of this work were part of an undergraduate summer research project at the University of St Andrews, funded by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). The undergraduate carrying out the work, Pooneh Nazari, said, “My project involved an initial exploration of the observations, and writing a piece of software to ‘weigh’ the central star. I’m very grateful to the RAS for providing me with funding for the summer project — I’d encourage anyone interested in academic research to try one!”
From these observations, the team measured the mass of the protostar to be over 30 times the mass of the Sun. In addition, the disc surrounding the young star was also calculated to be relatively massive, between two and three times the mass of our Sun. Dr Duncan Forgan, also from St Andrews and lead author of a companion paper, said, “Our theoretical calculations suggest that the disc could in fact be hiding even more mass under layers of gas and dust. The disc may even be so massive that it can break up under its own gravity, forming a series of less massive companion protostars.”
The next step for the researchers will be to observe the region with the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), located in Chile. This powerful instrument will allow any potential companions to be seen, and allow researchers to learn more about this intriguing young heavyweight in our galaxy.
Rho Cassiopeiae (Rho Cas) shown at the top of the page belongs to an unusual class of stars, a yellow hypergiant of which only seven have been found in the Milky Way. Despite being located some 10,000 light-years (ly) away, the star is visible to the naked eye because it is over 500,000 times more luminous than Sol. With surface temperatures between 3,500 and 7,000 °K, yellow hypergiants appear to be stars that are at a very evolved stage of their life and may be close to exploding as supernovae.
The Daily Galaxy via RAS and University of CambridgeRelated articles
Tel-Aviv based decentralized tech stack development company, Synereo has announced that it will be releasing the Alpha phase of decentralised social network in September. The company claims that this]]>
That's right. Robots. When the day comes that robots take over the Earth, do you think they will accept cash as a form of payment? What need do they have for paper? And coins are made out of metal. That is what robots are made of. How do you think they will feel when they see that we made money out of them? Mad. So do yourself a favour and prepare for the robot takeover today.
There appears to be no rational way to explain Ryan Lochte's bizarre need to make up a story about being the victim of an armed robbery. The media seems to be pushing the notion that he made up the story to cover up his own vandalism at a gas station, but that makes zero sense. He had already defused the vandalism incident with a payment of cash to the station owner. The rational response would be to just shut up about the whole thing and let it be forgotten.
But instead, he purposely made a big deal about the incident, switching around the facts until he was a victim of an armed assault by men posing as police officers, up to and including harrowing details of a cocked gun being jammed into his forehead. The incident, likely ignored otherwise, suddenly became a BIG DEAL and subsequent investigation (including multiple video sources) showed Lochte to be a bald-faced liar.
The only way I can explain Lochte's motivation is to equate it with the lies by "Jackie" at the University of Virginia, whose claims of being gang-raped as published in the Rolling Stone turned out to be total fabrications. Like Lochte, she dressed up the story with horrifying details, such as being thrown down and raped on a floor covered in broken glass. The only real difference I can see, in fact, between Lochte and Jackie is that the media still protects Jackie (via anonymity) from well-deserved humiliation for her lies while it is piling on Lochte.
I can sort of understand Jackie's motivation -- she was by all accounts a frustrated, perhaps disturbed, certainly lonely young woman who was likely looking for some way to dramatically change her life. But Lochte? Ryan Lochte has won multiple Olympic medals, historically in the sports world a marker of the highest possible status. But in today's world, Lochte viewed victimhood as even higher status.
h/t Whig Zhou
If you follow media coverage of America’s mass incarceration problem, you are likely to hear a lot about unscrupulous police officers, mandatory minimums, and drug laws. But you are unlikely to hear these two words that have probably played a larger role in producing the excesses of the American criminal justice system than anything else: plea coercion.The number of criminal cases that actually go to trial in America is steadily dwindling. That’s because prosecutors have so much leverage during plea bargaining that most defendants take an offer—in particular, defendants who are held on bail, and who might need to wait in jail for months or even years before standing trial and facing an uncertain outcome.We reported last week on a study from Columbia showing that all things being equal, defendants in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who were made to pay bail are much more likely to plead guilty. Since then, a separate study from researchers at Harvard, Princeton and Stanford has come out that reaches a similar conclusion:
Using data from administrative court and tax records, we find that being detained before trial significantly increases the probability of a conviction, primarily through an increase in guilty pleas. Pre-trial detention has no detectable effect on future crime, but decreases pre-trial crime and failures to appear in court. We also find suggestive evidence that pre-trial detention decreases formal sector employment and the receipt of employment- and tax-related government benefits. We argue that these results are consistent with (i) pre-trial detention weakening defendants’ bargaining position during plea negotiations, and (ii) a criminal conviction lowering defendants’ prospects in the formal labor market.
As the study notes, letting accused defendants go free before trial has drawbacks: It modestly increases the likelihood that they will miss court dates and be accused of a different crime before their trial. But it also allows them to enter plea negotiations on stronger footing, and increases the chance they will opt for a jury trial. And as we wrote earlier this year, “a world in which only single digit percentages of defendants get a full and fair trial doesn’t seem much like the America you learn about in civics class.”Of course, bail remains a vital tool for judges, and some defendants are too dangerous to be let out before their trial, period. But there are ways we might be able to reform the pre-trial detention system so as to reduce the number of defendants who simply resign themselves to a guilty plea out of desperation since they can’t come up with the money to buy their temporary freedom. For example, the average amount of money bail assessed should be reduced (it has risen exponentially over the last several decades) and courts should experiment with ankle bracelets and home visits to monitor defendants rather than holding them in a jail cell before they have been convicted of a crime.The focus on policing and minimum sentences and drug laws in the public discourse is all well and good. But if they are serious about making our justice system more fair and less arbitrary, criminal justice reformers should devote more of their efforts to reforming what happens in the period after arrest and before sentencing. That’s an area where big progress can be made with relatively straightforward, and politically palatable reforms.
Sixty years ago, scientists understood that glacial retreat and Arctic ice loss was due Earth to coming out of the little ice age.
This was still understood by scientists at the end of the 20th century, until Michael Mann corrupted climate science with his hockey stick. It is only been the last 15 years that climate science has been completely dysfunctional and corrupt.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from the newly-released ebook, The Jefferson Letters, Vol. 1: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Available as a free download at this link.
In 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison penned the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, formally detailing the principles of nullification for the first time. Standing alone, the resolutions make a strong case for nullification. But they don’t reveal the whole story.
The resolutions were actually just a first step in the strategy Madison and Jefferson developed for dealing with the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts. Correspondence between the two men, and other players involved in the fight to block this early example of federal overreach, provide a much clearer picture of what they were trying to accomplish in the long run.
During the summer of 1798, Congress passed four laws together known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. These laws violated several constitutional provisions and represented a gross federal usurpation of power.
The first three laws dealt with the treatment of resident aliens. TheAlien Friends Act gave the president sweeping power to deport “dangerous” aliens, in effect elevating the president to the role of judge, jury and “executioner.” The Alien Enemies Act allowed for the arrest, imprisonment and deportation of any male citizen of a nation at war with the U.S., even without any evidence that the individual was an actual threat. These laws unconstitutionally vested judicial powers in the executive branch and denied the accused due process.
The most insidious of the laws was the Sedition Act. It essentially criminalized criticism of the federal government, a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
Recognizing the Alien and Sedition Acts represented a serious threat to the constitutional system, and with few options for addressing the overreach due to Federalist Party control of the federal government, Jefferson and Madison turned to the states.
Jefferson secretly drafted the Kentucky Resolutions, and the Kentucky legislature passed a revised version on Nov. 10, 1798. Asserting that “the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government,” Jefferson proclaimed that nullification was the proper way to deal with unconstitutional acts.
“Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non fœderis) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.”
On Dec. 24, 1798, the Virginia Senate passed resolutions penned by Madison, asserting not only the right, but the duty, for states to step in and stop unconstitutional actions.
“In case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”
Taken together, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions lay out the principles of nullification. But they did not actually nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts. These non-binding resolutions merely made the case for nullification and set the stage for further action in the future.
As Jefferson and Madison strategized on how to address the Alien and Sedition Acts, they corresponded by mail, discussing their ideas. Ten key letters give further insight into their strategy. Their correspondence reveals that the resolutions were merely intended to serve as a starting point, setting the stage for additional, more aggressive steps to stop the federal overreach.
Wilson Cary Nicholas was also involved in the effort. He was an important figure in the Virginia ratifying convention that approved the Constitution, and at the time the Alien and Sedition Acts passed, he served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He was a close and trusted friend of Jefferson, and delivered Jefferson’s draft of the Kentucky Resolutions to John Breckinridge, who eventually introduced them in the Kentucky House.
Following, you will find the ten letters between these three men reprinted in their entirety. Some of the letters also address other issues. In those cases, the relevant passages have been bolded.
h/t Whig Zhou
We've written frequently over the years about the legions of "safe space" seeking Millennials moving back in with mom (see "More Young Americans Live With Their Parents Than At Any Time Since The Great Depression"). As the Pew Research Center reported back in May, for the first time ever more 18-34 year olds are living at home with mom than are "married or cohabiting in their own households." According to Pew research the biggest reason for Millennials moving back home is their inability find jobs to support their independence. Take, for example, "young" Lisa Jacobs:
Lisa Jacobs holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in photography and one in graphic design. But work has been sporadic, so this year she moved back in with her parents in Somerset, New Jersey.
“My parents have a lovely home, but nobody’s happy to be living at home at 32,” Jacobs said, adding that she needs to make at least $20 an hour to afford an apartment. “There are plenty of places that would pay me $15 an hour. But that’s not getting me any closer to moving out.”
Frankly, we're shocked that someone with TWO uselessamazing bachelor degrees wouldn't be able to find a job in such a robust economy. But don't strain yourself, young Lisa Jacobs, with a $15 per hour job that is beneath your level of enlightenment...no you just move in with mom and wait for your dreams to come true!
For parents who might find themselves in similar situations, the University of Minnesota has developed a very helpful map to assess the risk of your over-educated, entitled, self-indulging offspring moving back home. Unsurprisingly, parents are most at risk in the states with large, expensive metropolitan cities where recently-educated, residentially-challenged young adults like to return to indulge their "social" desires but can't necessarily afford to live. The states with the highest percentage of Millennials living at home were New Jersey (43.9%), Connecticut (38.8%), New York (37.4%) Florida (37.2%) and California (36.7%).
If you're the parent of a Millennial and just want to be left alone might we suggest a nice "fly-over" state like North Dakota where only 15.6% of Millennials are found to be living at home. Sure it's a little cold but the remote, barren landscapes are amazing Millennial deterrents.
(click on map below to be redirected to interactive version with additional stats)