Linky Friday #126: USE! USE!

Useful:

[U1] Ever want to give a eulogy at your own funeral? Now, maybe, you can.

[U2] You know that round thingie at the end of your laptop charger? Well this is what that round thingie is all about.

[U3] Jan Chipchase looks at unexpected ways self-driving automobiles might play out in our daily lives. An example: [M]asturbating in an autonomous vehicle while driving will be a far more practical use case, but is not something that corporates are going to talk about any time soon.

[U4] When my mother-in-law was last in town, she used MapQuest to map her way to the airport. Apparently, MapQuest still exists! (Their Android App is pretty useless.)

[U5] Here’s an interesting concept. Safety Trucks that allow people behind trucks to see what’s in front of it.

Image by Cesar Mascarenhas

US Education:

[Ed1] Here’s an interesting idea: An Oklahoma school system seeks to deal with a budget crunch and a teacher shortage by condensing the school schedule.

[Ed2] According to a report from the FRB-NY, federal student loans and grants don’t increase enrollment, but do increase price tags.

[Ed3] Hayley Manguia reports that the class of 2014 is doing alright. Naturally, I’m more interested in the helpful chart about positive and negative outcomes for various majors.

[Ed4] Kristin Wilcox looks at ways liberal arts colleges need to try to sell themselves. (Not sure if I got this from Hanley or I need to forward this to him.)

[Ed5] IJR points out that 68 public university presidents make more than the President of the United States. And yet, university presidents have employees who make a lot more than they do.

US Economy:

[Ec1] War or no war, the Slave Economy was in for a lot of hurt.

[Ec2] The TPP could have some bad consequences for generic drug availability.

[Ec3] Roberto Ferdman is angry at the trend of restaurants wanting to clear plates one at a time (instead of when everybody is finished). I… have no problem with this, really.

[Ec4] You can AirBnB in an igloo in Massachusetts.

[Ec5] Tyler Cowen looks at the economic states in Kansas and Louisiana. Scott Sumner tackles Louisiana.

[Ec6] Google is repurposing a coal plant in Alabama to be a new data center.

United States of Europe:

[Eu1] This is the #1 reason – and indicator – that it will be a very, very long time before we see a United States of Europe.

[Eu2] Andrew Orlowski is concerned that EU copyright plans will drown Europe in a worthless pop culture. I can sort of understand where he’s coming from, but targeted international release dates are a losing proposition anyway.

[Eu3] Desperate migrants are trying and dying to swim across the English Channel from France to England. I asked Matt Feeney, who gave supplied the link, why immigrants consider the UK so much better than France, and he sent me this.

[Eu4] Italy promised pain if the EU didn’t agree to distribute the superstate’s refugees, but France and Germany are not so sure about the solution.

[Eu5] David Frum makes the case for closing Europe’s harbors to refugees, who are in many cases not that distinguishable from immigrants looking for work.

[Eu6] Dutch immigrants are desperate to have white classmates

United Society & Entertainment:

[SE1] David Whitlock makes the case against foul ball nets in baseball. I think #2 and #4 are especially strong points, and that #2 helps push along #1 and #3.

[SE2] Hollywood allegedly has a pedophilia epidemic.

[SE3] Tom Selleck and the White Tattoo Guy have been vindicated!

[SE4] Jon Cryer wrote an autobiography where he talks about watching the meltdown of Charlie Sheen.

[SE5] This is pretty brilliant: Just Another Day In Hell.

United States:

[US1] Idaho is down to one full-time federal judge.

[US2] From aaron david: No Irish Need Apply was true, fourteen year old girl discovers.

[US3] Reihan Salam argues that Mexican immigrants have more to fear from the US than vice-versa. Or as Orrin Judd likes to say, we’re importing the superior culture. (An old college professor had a similar line, that immigrants are wonderfully used until we drag them down to our level.)

[US4] Our wild very regulated west. Personally, I blame UFOs are apparently most prevalent in the west.”>aliens.

[US5] John Nova Lomax writes about the deliberate transformation of Texas from a southern state to a western state. I don’t blame Texas for wanting to move past its confederate associations. Would that more states had a way of doing that. I’m far more perplexed by people in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia who seem to feel some allegiance to something they should be trilled that they weren’t (technically) a part of.

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134 thoughts on “Linky Friday #126: USE! USE!

  1. U4: In my work it is often important for me to know in what county some specific spot of ground lies. MapQuest is better about showing boundaries. It is in every other way clunkier than Google Maps. I generally start with Google Maps, then if that spot of ground is near a boundary line I pull up MapQuest. I know of no other reason why anyone would favor it over Google Maps.

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      • I momentarily considered explaining why I would need to know this, but decided that it was obvious to anyone who would be interested.

        It since occurs to me that the defense attorney is probably using the same tools when considering a venue or jurisdiction challenge. This makes MapQuest boundaries the de facto standard, regardless of whether or not they are actually accurate. I have no reason to believe they aren’t, but it is an interesting speculative question.

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  2. Ed2 : So an increase in the supply of money available for a good or service results in an increase in price? Who knew? My question is how do they figure enrollment didn’t increase, considering the explosion of for profit schools? Or are they just looking at how much established schools expanded? Or at student demographics (enrollment has not expanded significantly for groups normally underserved by higher education) ?

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    • The enrollment claim seems odd to me in that enrollment has increased greatly, hasn’t it? It’d make more sense if we were talking about graduating.

      Maybe they’re basically saying it can’t have increased enrollment because the financial obstacles remain more or less in tact?

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      • in the short-run access to postsecondary education by looking for differential growth in enrollments around these policy changes. We find an effect only for changes in Pell Grant availability, which may be due to the fact that Pell Grants, which are available only to low-income students, may be affecting those most likely to be on the margin of enrolling, and because unlike the federal loans we study, they do not require any sort of principal repayment.

        Demographics it is

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    • Arming both sides of a bidding war for limited space always seemed like the wrong way to go to me. I think our problem is that it’s hard to increase the supply of higher education quickly (at least, not without affecting quality). Pouring a ton of money into the demand side and hoping for new, high quality suppliers to come online quickly to offset it seems like wishful thinking. A brand new university needs time to build a reputation to attract good students and scholars and refine its programs. An existing university may not scale very well and generally doesn’t have “scaling up to absorb more tuition dollars” in its mission statement.

      But it is pretty easy to get yourself a bunch of classrooms, call yourself a college, and just start teaching stuff. It seems like we’ve created a pretty healthy industry for doing that. I’m just not sure that’s what we intended.

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  3. U3: So the guy thinks about “Oh boy we can masturbate in cars like creepers” but can’t think about the Trolley problem (what happens when a self-driving car realizes that it needs to cause harm to one of two people. How does it decide who to smash into?) and how many jobs might be displaced because of self-driving cars. Oh Techies!!!

    Ed4: Pretty much. Though the elite SLACs will always find applicants. I don’t think Amherst, Williams, Colby, etc are hurting for applicants.

    Eu2: There has always been a certain part of the European elite that hates how Europeans got hooked on American pop culture. This has been true since the 1930s or 40s. The intellectual wing of the Labour Party hoped that their 1945 landslide victory would mean less American pop culture in the UK. J.B. Priestley wrote a radio speech where he told listeners to “resist the swan song of Hollywood”. He failed.

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    • So the guy thinks about “Oh boy we can masturbate in cars like creepers” but can’t think about the Trolley problem (what happens when a self-driving car realizes that it needs to cause harm to one of two people. How does it decide who to smash into?) and how many jobs might be displaced because of self-driving cars. Oh Techies!!!

      Is this the way you read this, or did you just want to mention the Trolley Problem (which isn’t quite what you say it is, but eh, close enough)? Is this the way you usually read stuff? Like if you read a review of a new sushi restaurant, do you feel like criticizing it for not focusing on the ethics of fishing instead of talking about their literature-themed rolls?

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        • A few years ago, doing research on moral cognition, we needed to come up with some “better” trolley problems (the trolley problem works fine as a sort of loose intuition pump, but it’s absolutely terrible for controlled experiments, which hasn’t stopped the ExPhi folks from using it extensively). Our first meeting, which was at a pub, mostly involved celebrities and historical figures.

          “You’re standing on a footbridge over railroad tracks. An out of control train is approaching, headed straight toward 5 workers on the tracks who are completely unaware. Standing next to you is Dennis Miller, the comedian. You could throw him onto the tracks…”

          “Yes, I’m going to throw him onto the tracks.”

          “Wait, I haven’t finished describing the dilemma.”

          “No need, Miller’s gonna be on those tracks no matter what you say next.”

          Hard to know whether to classify this as utilitarian or deontological reasoning, however.

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          • I’ve mentioned that I am watching The Strain, an epically-stupid show in which they switched out an annoying child actor for an even worse one, who is playing the Most Insufferable Child Of All Time on the show, Zach.

            Over at AVClub, a commenter fantasized about this desired scene:

            [Character #1 slices off Zach’s head with a sword]
            Character #2: Whew, you saved us from that vampire!
            Character #1: Wait, Zach was a vampire?!

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          • I’m not the author, but someone over at LGM suggested this as a question for the Republican candidates:

            “You’re walking in the desert, and you see a tortoise lying on its back, its legs kicking helplessly, belly baking in the sun, and you’re not helping.”

            My only concern would be that the answer would be lost amidst the roaring and cheering of the crowd.

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  4. Ed1: Of course this really just exposes the sad state of U.S. school funding. You have a lot of policy wonks who argue that short school days hurt the learning of less economically advantaged Americans and yet this is what needs to happen because schools can’t afford teachers otherwise.

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      • My first off the cuff thought is that Obama should do something to help the creation of new jobs instead of killing them with his new environmental standards as well as do something about his precious illegals, the presence of which drive down wages for unskilled citizens.

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        • So we’d expect to see a large percentage of the missing jobs in industries that are most affected by environmental regulations, right? Resource extraction, energy, etc, right?

          This seems like something that’s knowable and testable.

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          • Gov’t employment is always the liberal answer, isn’t it? How sad yet predictable. Why not get the gov’t out of the way of the private sector so they can create jobs?

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                  • Really kazzy, such personal attacks? Please try to show some class. Hpw did you prove me wrong? Did you show that the numbers of long term unemployed are wrong?

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                    • You deserve zero respect because you are incapable of discussing things sincerely. Others have already debunked the relevancy of your numbers here just as I did before. And I just destroyed your claim about Obama harming the private sector. The FACTS are that you are wrong and it is very sad and, ultimately, pathetic that you can’t even muster up a defense that doesn’t involving dodging, changing the subject, or claiming victimhood.

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                      • My argument is that obamas new environmental regs are going to kill jobs in the future. Is your reading comprehension that bad, i guess so. Those coal workers can join the ranks of the long term unemployed. And as for what respect you have for me, i couldn’t care less. I laughed at your tanturn in the miami officer thead. It was quite pathetic.

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                        • No, your argument is whatever you dream up on the spot that hasn’t already been debunked upthread (at least, too recently upthread. If it’s from like 20 comments ago, it’s probably safe to return to).

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                        • My argument is that obamas new environmental regs are going to kill jobs in the future.

                          Obama’s EPA is killing the American Dream for blacks and hispanics.

                          Not only that, it’s gonna literally (like LITERALLY!) kill poor people (“Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) sums it all up by saying, “A lot of people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are going to die”).

                          And if THAT wasn’t bad enough, Obama’s new regs are single-handedly gonna kill the natural environment INCLUDING HUMANS since “[CO2] is essential to the process of photosynthesis in plants, which is the foundation of the food chain for all plant and animal life. It is not “pollution.” Without CO2, plants would die, and consequently, so would all animal life, including humans.”

                          He’s like Cortez. What a killer…

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                        • wait a minute: actually has an argument to offer instead of trolly snark?

                          That’s new and different.

                          Congratulations, welcome to the conversation.

                          /and yes, environmental regulation will kill some jobs. It also creates some jobs. Not much different from off shoring (kills local manufacturing jobs, creates importing jobs) or innovation (displaces old products and their makers).

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                        • The phrase “obamas new environmental regs” shows a poor understanding of the political dynamics of how we’ve reached the current point with respect to coal. Among other things, it ignores all of the heavy lifting done by about a dozen blue states and the federal courts.

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                        • My argument is that obamas new environmental regs are going to kill jobs in the future.

                          Jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today. We’ve heard the “environmental regulation jobs apocalypse” claim every year as long as I can remember, and it never seems to surface in the data. It’s almost as though the key factors driving overall unemployment and economic growth are something other than environmental regs and environmental regs tend to be down in the noise floor.

                          But this time it will be different.

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                      • My personal theory is that notme is actually a multi person trolling project.

                        The slim basis for that is a thread a while ago where (if I’m right) they posted within minutes of each other from at least three different browsers, as ‘notme’ ‘Notme’ and ‘Nomte’

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    • Also, this has to be one of the most innumerate paragraphs I’ve ever seen in something purporting to be news about economics or social science:

      In 1975, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping such records, 58,627,000 Americans were not in the labor force, and the number has grown steadily since then, breaking the 80-million mark at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency; and the 90-million mark in July 2013, during Barack Obama’s second term. The number of Americans not in the labor force has continued to rise since then.

      On the other hand, it illustrates why “this year’s absolute number is higher than last year’s” is still a meaningless statistic. You could literally substitute anything that has stayed roughly constant per capita for “Americans not in the labor force” and the paragraph would read the same. The number of left handed people is at an all-time high! What’s going on? Are we being overrun by demon-people? I blame Obama!

      I strongly recommend not consuming news from sites that don’t understand how math works (or who assume their readers don’t). They’re not your friends.

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      • This year, more people in the United States will die than at any point in the 17th century. Under Obama, we’re literally seeing more death than we did before the advent of modern medicine. This man is a monster!

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        • This is very much like debating with creationists (or, as we’ve seen elsewhere, anti-GMO activists). Data and argument aren’t really about being right or getting the right answer. They’re about convincing the other guy.

          A logically unsound argument gets completely shot down and the response isn’t, “Well, I shouldn’t use that argument again.” It’s, “That one doesn’t work here. Maybe it will work on somebody else. I’ll try one of the other ones that sometimes works and keep that one for later.” Arguments are just tools for changing peoples’ beliefs and the only metric for whether an argument is good or bad is whether it works nor not.

          What’s galling is that there usually are data-driven and logically sound arguments for most positions held by any nontrivial part of the population. The idea that the economy is weak and there are probably better policies to help that problem isn’t exactly crazy or controversial. I don’t get why, “She turned me into a newt!” is the first line of argument that comes to the table.

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          • But apparently you ended up a frog. Does this imply you got better? Or Worse? Frogs versus Newts? Hmmmm if I factor in that you’re troublesome that seems to suggest that you got worse?
            She turned me into a newt and I degraded into a frog that causes trouble.

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  5. Ec3: Huh. This could be my personality/lifestyle, or the types of restaurants I tend to frequent, but I prefer that dirty plates be cleared as soon as they are empty, rather than pile up.

    For one, it gives you more table real estate; for two, a dirty, used plate is aesthetically-unappealing; for three, I have always gotten a weird thrill out of finishing the last bit of an item so that its clutter/container can be removed (the best meals are the ones that use the last remainders of their ingredients, so that their containers/packaging can be removed from fridges/cabinets and thrown away or washed).

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    • There is a trendlet of bitch pieces about this. Many people, including you and I, prefer having the plate taken away, but the bitch pieces take the REVEALED TRVTH approach. Mostly it tells me the complainer is remarkably free from actual concerns to be so bitter about a practice so high on the list of First World Problems.

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      • I can see the “don’t rush me” aspect, I guess, for people who see dining as their primary social interaction. I’ve never been one to linger overlong at meals – often, when I meet someone for a meal, the meal is just a stop on the way to somewhere else and not a final destination, so we are on a timetable.

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    • I agree with you on Ec3. Like you, I can kind of see the “don’t rush me” argument, too.

      What gets me is not just the fact that people don’t want their plates taken away (until recently I didn’t meet these kind of people, and the ones I know are all upper-middle to upper-class affluent). It’s also that they get so upset about it. I can see being annoyed.. I just don’t get the emotion, especially when, in my experience, the one’s I know who dislike the practice trend upper-middle to upper-class in income* and tend to treat people like CAUGHT YOU LOOKING!!! in general.

      * #notallwealthypeople , but gimme a break.

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  6. US5: A friend in Texas pointed me at this article when it first came out. Things we agreed on in our discussion… The vast majority of Texans still live along or east of I-35. El Paso really ought to be the largest city in New Mexico, not an afterthought in Texas. Yes, Texas did have a period where cowboys were prominent (eg, the big cattle drives), but it only lasted about 25 years until the railroads were extended to the south.

    My own thoughts are that the modern American West begins on the western side of the Great Plains and is characterized by, among other things, water, fire, large federal land holdings, and direct democracy. Texas really only qualifies on one of those.

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      • That particular Old West vision was largely confined to parts of Texas and Kansas (and illegally, the Indian Territory that would become Oklahoma). Occasionally I think that under the bravado, Texas has a serious insecurity problem. Most recently, there seems to be a case of California envy going on. Possibly because now that the population of Texas has reached the population California had in ~1985, Texas is facing the same problems California did and will have to solve them the same way that California did.

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  7. Ed2 — I have some concerns about this study; in reading through it, it’s obvious that the tuition increases happened in unis who tend to rely on Fed. student aid and happened during the worst of the recession years; so there are questions on the quality of student body, etc. that might also be part of tuition increases — not to mention the needs for schools to gear up for sharply increased enrollments quickly.

    Not to justify tuition bubbles, of course. Just my inner skeptic questioning the parameters that can’t be regressed away.

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  8. From US2:

    “Jensen’s email response to my criticisms was that they were to be expected because I was an Irish-American and a Catholic,” says Miller.

    “In fact, as I responded to him, I am neither.”

    If you had told me that Stephen Glass wrote this, I would have snorted and believed you.

    My main criticism of this story is that it confirms far, far, faaaar too many of my biases to be true.

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    • The history of race in the United States is very politicized. Many people, on both sides, really want it to be a simple conflict about white people vs. people of color. Like most history, it tends to be that simple. There was a lot of anti-Catholicism in the 19th century and Irish Catholics tended to bear the brunt of it, at least much worse than the German Catholics or other Catholics. They didn’t have it as bad as African-Americans or even other immigrant groups. The Irish had the benefit that they already spoke English and were able to gain political power relatively fast. This allowed them to rise to at least Lower Middle class status. It was touch and go until Reconstruction though.

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    • Jensen definitely comes off like a giant ass. Hell, he can’t even be bothered to read the paper, as you can see by the fact that he completely missed some of its evidence.

      I’m sure he still believes it’s a myth.

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    • Sounds like Jensen is practicing scholarship in the Aristotelian tradition – do the formal logic well enough, and you don’t have to get your pants dirty going out to look for material evidence.

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  9. SE1: That is impressively bad argumentation. I knew it was going to be bad when the first argument against changing something was that if you change something, it will have been changed.

    The actual argument is that the esthetic benefits of no nets outweigh the increased risk of injury. This need not be a terrible argument, particularly when the persons incurring the risk (a) do so willingly, and (b) enjoy said esthetic benefits. But what are the actual risks? I have no idea how many such injuries occur, or how severe they are. Neither does the guy who wrote this piece. Hence “Maybe once a year per stadium there is an injury requiring immediate medical attention (i.e. hospitalization).” The experienced internet user will instantly recognize that this is an acknowledgement that what follows is among the 73.6% of statistics on the internet that are made up. This is not improved by a risk analysis that includes everyone in the entire stadium. Not only is this guy bullshitting: He is doing it badly.

    For what it is worth, I have sat behind the net many times at minor league games. It really is not a problem. This is confirmed by fans’ willingness to pay a premium for those seats, contra argument #3 in the piece.

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  10. On [Ec2] — I happened to be given (samples) of a drug called Vimovo. My doctor gave me samples becaues I needed to be on a NSAID, but I have lately had problems tolerating them (the usual stomach issues). Vimovo is a simple NSAID + acid reducer, just in a single pill.

    Since it seemed to work for me after a week, I notified the doctor who proceeded to generate an actual prescription. I then checked GoodRx and found out it was 1500 dollars a month. I rapidly checked my insurance, and found out they didn’t cover it. I quickly researched the drug.

    It’s Aleve and Nexium. I’m not kidding. There’s no fancy time release, there’s no proprietary ‘advanced’ version — it’s the straight up, generic naproxan and whatever OTC nexium is. In OTC doses. In one pill. Which they charge 1500 for. I told my doctor no thanks (he was shocked how much it cost. He’s not a pharmacist, and he was ALSO aware it was basically Aleve and Nexium) and picked up…Aleve and Nexium.

    So when I hear about strangling access to generics, that’s what I think of. A company that had the giant balls to charge 1500 dollars a month for a drug combination that costs 40 bucks a month OTC.

    I’m pretty sure if your insurance covers it, they’ll charge you their top-tier copay (there’s no generic, because the ballsy company in question has patented combining those two drugs into a single pill) and then won’t pay a penny more. And the ballsy company will still get a huge profit off of selling you OTC drugs at at least a 100% markup.

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    • Putting old drugs in new combinations in one pill is a classic way to get a patent. Beyond that it needs marketing. It is a good bet that your doctor got those samples from a perky blonde pharmaceutical sales who talked up how convenient this new formulation would be for his patients without mentioning the price. The best case scenario at this point is that your doctor, being a reasonable person, never thought that the price might be so inflated, and so never looked into it. If so, he will in the future recommend to his patients that they buy to two drugs separately and take two pills. The not-so-good case is that your doctor is being bribed by the manufacturer to prescribe the drug. This happens routinely, with just enough disguise to avoid RICO prosecutions.

      These combinations can cause real problems. Acetaminophen is combined with lots of other drugs. You can end up rotting your liver, not realizing how much of the stuff you are taking.

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      • He was pretty shocked and just told me the dosages of Aleve and Nexium (well prilosec for me. Nexium doesn’t seem quite as effective) and how long to take it for. And in the past, they’ve warned me when a particular drug was known to be expensive and either talked to the insurance company first or tried to find a substitute.

        The office is pretty littered with samples, and the doctors there mostly keep them for cases like mine (wherein they don’t want you to fill a whole prescription if you find out in a two days it’s not gonna work) or — less necessary these days — people with crap or no insurance. I know of at least two people who got a few hundred bucks in drugs entirely via ‘samples’ to cure bad infections and the like back in their poor, no insurance, days.

        They’ve always worked pretty hard at controlling costs to patients.

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    • Heh. I was at the doctor not too long ago and they wrote me a scrip for that (or something similar, a NSAID + acid reducer) too.

      Next time I went they asked why I didn’t fill it, and I asked them why I should, when I can get generic ibuprofen and generic ranitidine for next to nothing, OTC with no waiting, and use them in concert or separately as needed.

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    • This has nothing to do with the optimal patent lifetime for drugs. The problem isn’t that the patent on this particular combination of drugs is too long, but either that a) it shouldn’t be patentable at all, or b) doctors shouldn’t be prescribing it where a combination of existing medications will work just as well.

      Shortening patent lifetimes does very little to address this issue, while doing real harm to the incentives to develop truly novel drugs.

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      • I think (b) is the big one. Doctors have no incentive one way or another to prescribe drugs based on price. You buy them from a third party and beyond telling you what to buy, they’re not involved in the transaction at all, so it’s really not their problem.

        If there’s one thing more insane than the fact that the prices doctors charge are shrouded in mystery, it’s the fact that the prices for pills made in a factory and sold to anybody with a prescription are equally mysterious. If the prices were easy to pull up and compare, I’m sure most doctors would advise you to use the much cheaper solution. As it is, they don’t have the information close at hand and they aren’t really expected to act as your financial advisor on the topic, so they prescribe something that will work and call it a day.

        Patents don’t really have much to do with it. These drugs are the equivalent of this stuff. You ask a certain amount for a product people don’t understand and some people who don’t know better will pay, patents or no.

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    • Yes. I’m one of those guys who attempts, in all circumstances, to buy all medications separately, and thinks it’s insane the medical industry hasn’t taken a stand about this ‘Let’s combine random things and sell them as one’ stuff, both for prescription and OTC stuff.

      Not only does this cause scammy behavior of drug companies and complete confusion as what causes what side effects (What if some OTC said not to take it with Aleve/naproxan and you’re like ‘Well, I’m not taking that.’), as pointed out, this is causing a real problem with companies throwing acetaminophen into everything.

      It also causes problems with people taking ‘combination’ stuff that causes weird dosage problems because the decongestant in it lasts 12 hours, but the cough suppressant and acetaminophen lasts 4. And what they *actually* need is the cough suppressant…which they can now only take every 12 hours because they bought the combo thing, thinking it was somehow different than just *buying three different medications* with those active ingredients. (Meanwhile, they also take a Tylenol and their liver despairs.)

      This is one of those ‘Should be taught in high school’ things: Do not buy whatever drug of that category is promising ‘the most’…figure out what each *actual chemical* does, and then buy the chemicals you need, alone, and then you can put them together yourself. This is nowhere near as complicated as it sounds. And it will keep you from stupidly buying something because something else ‘didn’t work’…without realizing you’re buying exactly the same thing in a different package.

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  11. Eu5: As somebody who works with asylum seekers, this argument is really galling. People decide to migrate for a wide variety of reasons rather than just one. People with more of stake in their country of origin because of age, family situation, or wealth are going to put up with a lot more than people without a stake or people without ambition. Asylum seekers have mixed motives and this isn’t a problem/

    Eu6: This probably exists through out Europe but the Low Countries provide a very interesting case. From around the late 19th century to the 1960s, the Low Countries had something called the Pillar System. The society of the Netherlands and Belgium were divided into different groups like Protestants, Catholics, and workers. Each group had it’s own school system, unions, news papers, shops, institutions, political parties and latter, radio stations. People mainly only interacted with people in their Pillar. It was self-segregation in a all white country. By the time non-European immigrants began to arrive in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Pillar system was dying but the politicians in charge of working with the immigrants were used to the Pillar system so the recreated it for the immigrants. This is why integration is a lot lower in the Low Countries than other European countries.

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  12. Eu5: “Remove opportunity, and migration will cease.”

    Here I was thinking that all that “Land of Opportunity” stuff was a nice aspiration.

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  13. US3 I read the link and the linked article from that link. All they talked about was “immigrant” populations. Curiously they omitted any mention of illegal immigrants (as best I can tell), who by definition, are all criminals.

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    • , illegal immigrants or undocumented aliens are not criminals in the United States because being present in the United States without official permission is considered a civil offense rather than a criminal offense under the law. Just because a person breaks the law, does not mean that a person is criminal. If you break a civil law, your not a criminal.

      There is a very good reason why being present without permission is considered a civil offense rather than a criminal one. Deporting people would be a lot more difficult if being present in the United States is considered a criminal offense because constitutional protections would kick in even stronger than they do with normal removal procedures. Every alien that the United States government was trying to deport from the United States would first have to be indicted by a Grand Jury, they would also have to be given right to counsel, they would have to be tried in full Federal court rather than Immigration Court and would have the right to a jury trial rather than having their case be adjudicating by an Immigration Judge alone, and finally, the burden would be higher on the United States government to prove that they are removable from the United States. Currently, the US government just needs to demonstrate removability by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden than shifts to the alien to demonstrate why she should be allowed to stay. If being here illegally was a criminal offense, the burden would be an the government to demonstrate that an alien should not be here by a beyond the reasonable doubt standard.

      For the anti-immigrant crowd, there are many reasons why you should be glad that being here illegally is not considered a crime. If it was, deporting anybody would be an impossibility because the full formalities of criminal proceedings would apply in every case of deportation. The costs of just determining whether one particular alien should be deported would rise astronomically. Even if you get a grand jury to indict, your still dealing with all the formalities and rights of a federal criminal trial. Rather than allowing immigrants lawyers if they can afford them, your going to have to give each one a lawyer and a jury if they want rather than one judge.

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      • That’s the clearing that up for me! And I thought the current process was a POS. Clearly we need to do our best to remove as many constitutional protections for non citizens as possible to speed the process up!

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        • The interesting thing about immigration administration is that all sides do have an interest in keeping the system somewhat loose-goosey. I’ve outlined why treating illegal immigration as a criminal offense is bad for the government. However, while full Constitutional rights would slow down the deportation process against undocumented aliens, it would also make getting relief slower because the INA does provide many routes to legal status. Both sides generally want the issue decided sooner than latter and in their favor. Speed requires playing somewhat fast and loose with the rules.

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  14. Question time. Help me out here:

    http://www.michaelkasumovic.com/

    I look at this website and think “Wow. This is amazingly unprofessional and does not inspire confidence in me at all”.

    Other people seem to think “Come on. This website is trying to have a geeky sense of fun. Stop being so serious. This website is probably more accessible than most.”

    What explains the differences in thought? Is this lawyer brain vs. I fucking love science/geek brain? Some inner traditionalism on my part?

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    • I can’t imagine any lawyer doing this but this more because of the restraints on lawyer speech and solicitation than any deep respect for the law. If a law firm could do something like this without getting into deep trouble with the relevant Bar than I can see somebody pulling this off.

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      • If a lawyer or law firm makes a website for his or her work, it’s likely to promote him or herself professionally, either with prospective employers or potential clients. When scientists make lab pages, it is partly to promote it for prospective students (both undergraduate research assistants and applying/deciding graduate students), partly to showcase their work, but it’s also largely personal. It’s something to have fun with, while showing that you lab is a fun place to work, and that your research is cool.

        That anyone is upset by this is making my head explode repeatedly, as shown above.

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        • Upset is too much. Perplexed is more like it. I said it did not inspire confidence and I conceded that I can see what the guy was doing and there very well could be differences in how a lawyer vs. a scientist would see this kind of thing.

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            • Considering that video games are a main area of Kasumovic’s interest, and that he has also thought and written about science “outreach,” it’s appropriate that his site has a both playful and highly developed design, and Chris may also be right about reasons to “show… that you lab is a fun place to work, and that your research is cool,” but, on further reflection, I think Saul has a bit of a point, too, but an overstated one. A lawyer is, presumably, offering services to people whose real interests are on the line in one way or another. This guy and his colleagues are studying “video games and evolution” and “spider silk mechanics,” and standing up for “free science.” It all may be important and profitable one way or another, but probably doesn’t involve anyone’s life about to get wrecked or not.

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    • I’m surprised that there was something to take a photograph of. I don’t believe that the Seer Stone really does what it supposed to but the thing does look old enough to be held by Joseph Smith. It could still be a fake but I’m guessing that it is an object that was actually held by Joseph Smith at one point in his life.

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      • Well, whatever you think about the old “Joseph Smith was a con artist” debate, this should settle once and for all the question of whether or not he had the stones to pull off such a big grift.

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        • Con artist is a wrong word to use because we do not know what Joseph Smith’s intent was. Joseph Smith could have produced everything in the Book of Mormon from his own mind but could have also been undergoing a sincere religious experience at the same time. The mind is a tricky thing. Even if everything in Mormonism was made up by Joseph Smith, I’m not really willing to label him as a con artist without specific evidence of malign intent on his part.

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  15. Ec2: The one-sidedness of these articles drives me nuts. If generics are so swell, why wait? Why don’t we just allow them from day one? The answer, of course, is that the period of patent protection is what gives pharmaceutical companies to undertake the tremendous expense and risk of developing new drugs. Shortening the patent lifetime has costs, in the form of fewer marginal drugs getting developed.

    Maybe, on balance, having shorter patent lifetimes would be worth it. But maybe not. Maybe it would be better, on balance, to have even longer patent lifetimes. This propaganda piece doesn’t even discuss that issue, leaving less-informed readers to conclude that it’s some big ol’ corporate giveaway with no benefits whatsoever to consumers.

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    • The argument I read was that it would take the decision out of the hands of the individual countries. That does seem troublesome, even if I don’t support dramatically limiting drug patent length.

      It’s not unlike, to me, how when we talk about copyright durations, people bring up the fact that even if we wanted to shorten them (which I favor, as do a lot of libertarians), we couldn’t due to international agreement. That seems troublesome to me.

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      • Which is where I come in to note the inherent tension between freedom to trade and protection of property and how more often than not one comes at the expense of the other.

        Gates and switches, chutes and ladders.

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  16. Worked for me.

    I mean, only kind of – it’s just an article with a picture of a rock. I still can’t read reformed Egyptian.

    (EDIT – Hm, this was supposed to be in response to a now vanished comment saying the link in Jaybird’s post didn’t work.)

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    • I’ve always thought that they handled the gold plates poorly.

      I would have argued that there were people who stole the gold plates and adulterated them with some other metals in order to make coins, jewelry, and so on.

      As proof: here is a gold ring that was made from the gold of the gold plates.

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          • I thought it would be something like that. It is a good answer from a religious point of view but Mormonism had a problem because it was founded at a time that was secular enough for many people to express skepticism about that explanation even if they were otherwise religious.

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            • Early 19th century western New York was an interesting time and place for religion. There was so much going on that it was called the “Burned-over District.” The image is of territory that has had several fires go through it, until there is no fuel remaining. Some of this religion was fairly conventional, but there also was a bunch of novel sects. Most died out fairly quickly. The Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists are the notable survivals.

              What I find particularly interesting about the Mormons is how they were constantly getting run out of town. This is usually presented as a typical martyrs-oppressed-by-intolerant-authorities story. The problem is that the era was lousy with novel religions and communes and the like. Most of these groups weren’t constantly being shown the door. One theory is that the Mormons would initially we welcomed in, then would try to take over the place. This theory is consistent with my prejudices. My dislike of the LDS church is the major religious prejudice I allow myself. So I am attracted to the theory, but in my more detached moments I and suspicious of this attraction.

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              • Considering how so far Mormonism is removed from normal Protestantism, it really isn’t surprising that the LDS would get run out of town frequently. Even by the standards of very religious Protestants, there was enough strangeness about Mormonism to get people’s skepticism meters active. Their practice of polygamy did not make them particularly welcome to straight-edged Americans.

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      • Oh come on, that was feeble. You can do better than that.

        The post on Sweden’s declining education system contains some statements on what approach conservatives favour. Shouldn’t you be over there defending that approach without having done any research?

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  17. Have we talked about the cops who busted a medicinal shop and ate edibles while on camera and then, when an investigation was threatened, had their police union move to have the video evidence of the “medicinal” use suppressed on the basis that the video evidence violated the cops’ privacy??

    If we haven’t, here.

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      • I get that the officers deserve due process, and competent legal representation. I get that the Union is obligated to assist the officers in securing such representation.

        What bugs me is when the Union decides to act as the officers PR team even in the face of clear evidence of bad acts. I mean, is it in the Union contract or something?

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        • Oh yeah. I’m fine with a zealous defense. But this is a bit far. Cops seem to have little honor regarding their duty to the public. Well some cops at least. But good cops, of which there are plenty, need to be the ones up front punishing these douchbags. Same for the union: hire lawyers and make sure they get due process. But uphold the duty to the public and even if they doesn’t move them them pay attention to how bad you make yourselves look. Those kind of cops and unions don’t need protesters to make themselves look like raging jerkholes. They can handle it all by themselves.

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        • I’m okay with unions acting as PR flacks. What I’m a bit more confused about is the union *suing* on behalf of the police. That actually seems slightly out of line for the union, and more something the police officer’s *lawyers* should do.

          But, anyway, like I say every time police union nonsense comes up: The problem is not the police union. The problem is *never* the police union. . The police union is supposed to be helping cops, and, no unions are not ‘supposed’ to throw bad employees under the bus.

          Complaining about a police union when a police officer gets away with obvious criminal activity is like complaining about a defense attorney who wins cases where the defendant is clearly guilty. This despite the fact the defendant won because the prosecutor decided to drop the case because he’s old friends with the defendant, and police didn’t investigate the defendant because they’re friends too. (That analogy got a little…non-analogy-ish there.)

          The union is *supposed* to be on the side of the cops, hell, they’re being *paid* to be on his side, like a defense attorney….what the hell is *everyone else’s* excuse in the government? Why are the *police department* often on the side of bad cops?

          The problem, generally speaking, is the *prosecutors* and *internal investigators* that refuse to do anything about the bad cops, not the fact that the group that cops pay dues to, partially to defend them in case of accused wrongdoing…defend them in a case of accused wrongdoing.

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  18. Black Lives Matter continue to interrupt poor Bernie Sanders, what a joke. Also isn’t this the one year anniversary of the Ferguson shooting?

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