Linky Friday: Domestic Tranquility

Family:

march madness photo

Image by HPUPhotogStudent

[F1] March Madness turns out to be a very popular time for vasectomies.

[F2] Will Trump bring back family values? There is a theory that trade with China may be breaking hurting marriage in the US. Danielle Paquette at the Washington Post says maybe, Brookings says not really.

[F3] I sort of get the sense that if this had been about Alabama, there’d be a different response. (It’s 16 in Alabama, by the way.)

[F4] Sarrah Le Marquand has taken a lot of criticism for a piece titled “It should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mum” but, looking past the title, it seems to be mostly about beneficial and preferential treatment from the Australian government.

[F5] Cohabitation: Still not stable, even in Europe.

Housing:

mobile homes photo

Image by oatsy40

[Ho1] I understand the motivation behind this policy, but it’s one I could see backfiring. For instance, someone with prior evictions may be accepted on a discretionary basis unless something like this is in place. At least it exempts basement apartments and the like.

[Ho2] What could possibly go wrong? (But seriously, the last one was more complicated than a strictly subprime problem.)

[Hp3] We all know that war and the threat of war spurs innovation, but sometimes it creates housing!

[Ho4] Now, if only we had places to put these things.

[Ho5] If on the other hand we want to encourage mobile home ownership, this may be a good way to make it more workable.

Pets:

[Pe1] I fear this will be Clancy, when our dog passes. If we could ever get some stability, I almost want to go ahead and get another so that we’re not dogless.

[Pe2] Long suspected, confirmed true: Dogs love their owners lots more than cats do.

[Pe3] Lies.

[Pe4] Good dog. RIP.

[Pe5] If you can step away from the Upworthyish title, this is a pretty awesome story.

Education:

cafeteria photo

Image by Richard Berg

[E1] David Perry is getting rid of in-class tests.

[E2] Hehe. But maybe it’s not a joke.

[E3] Will nobody think of the vain?

[E4] Andrew Lilico says free lunches may get kids fed, but won’t improve their education.

[E5] I am completely down with this, though it screams of unintended consequences. If you hold colleges responsible for their students, they’ll spend a lot of money trying to get a better class of student, and some HBCU’s and community colleges will be extremely hard hit.

Psychology:

lies photo

Image by miss.killer!

[Ps1] Calvin always win, in the end. Jeff Wise on the guilt of pleasure.

[Ps2] If you’re not outraged, you’re not overcompensating.

[Ps3] The more you lie, the easier it gets.

[Ps4] Do you have nightmares? Bad news… (Take care of yourself.)

[Ps5] This sounds right. Of all of the factors that go into politics, the social is always the most underrated.

Health:

[He1] Depressed? Maybe it’s not all in your head. Maybe it’s in your gut.

[He2] Wow.

[He3] I agree with all of Tabarrok’s suggestions here. Including especially the “more doctors” part. Though some say there is no need.

[He4] Quick! Kill it! Kill it! Relatedly, I hold out a bit of hope that this isn’t quite as bad as it appears. A couple doctors I know say they do recommend them but almost apologetically – it wouldn’t surprise me if they answered “no” in a survey.

[He5] If patients demand it, and doctors are ready and willing to do it, does science get a say?

[He6] Get your rest. It’s important.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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162 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Domestic Tranquility

  1. [Ps1] Kind of makes sense to me; the greatest, best-lasting pleasure I’ve had has come from working on projects that require work (everything ranging from writing a research paper to learning to speak German) than short-term stuff like a meal or purchasing some gewgaw. I’m guessing the amount of effort you put into something somehow influences how you feel about it….it takes a lot less effort to buy a lipstick at the Ulta than it does to fix something in my house that is broken, and I can tell you what will make me happier over the long term.

    though then again, the quoted passage on the workaholic does make me cringe a bit.

    [He1]: Crikey, how miserable would I be if I didn’t eat yogurt nearly every day of my life? (Taking a probiotic has helped some physical issues I’ve had but I can’t see that it’s made me much happier)

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      • I’m thinking about doing Irish Gaelic next, then I will have learned at least a little of the languages of my main three heritages. (took French all through school, even before I knew my grandad’s family was actually French and not Scots).

        I try to keep learning things because I have this magical-thinking belief that it will prevent me from developing Alzheimer’s. I’m also trying to learn to play the piano but I seem to have more setbacks with that than with learning German.

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        • I’m the same way. I usually have a hobby or interest for two years or so then want to jump into something else to keep my mind fresh. Languages, though, are a brick wall for me. It’s really true about how young people can absorb them naturally, while old-timers like me struggle.

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          • I’m actually surprised how well I’m absorbing German. I still suck at sentence structure because it’s so different from English and the tool I’m using to play around with (Duolingo) doesn’t exactly go into that.

            The music is more frustrating to me; I feel like, “Shouldn’t I be better at it by now?” Then again, a high school music teacher once essentially implied I had no talent (at the clarinet) and even if he was an a-hole, maybe he was right.

            One thing I struggle with is enjoying something even though I kind of suck at it. I wish I could get to that place. I know a lot of people who are terrible dancers or singers or sculptors or whatever who do it because it makes them happy, but I’m enough of a perfectionist that if I don’t meet my own standards, I kind of stop enjoying something I once enjoyed.

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              • My parents learned “reading German” and they claim to have a record with a drinking song on it where, as my father says, “There’s a long sentence and when they get to the end of it the person says ‘Um” and everyone laughs.” Apparently it changes the meaning of the sentence somehow? He couldn’t explain why it was funny to me (so as a teen I always assumed it meant something dirty). I hope some day to understand.

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                • Japanese has a similar thing – as you say your sentence, you can watch for a reaction, and with the very last syllable you can emphasize, negate, change the tense, make it subjunctive, change it to a question, even imply that it’s only an opinion.
                  With everything up to that syllable exactly the same. Some say it’s an adaptive feature to deal with status differences.

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                  • Muneco,
                    Probably more an adaptive feature to deal with the very rapid back and forth nature of Japanese conversation and the “strict politeness”. It is probably considered rude to emphasize something if your conversational partner disagrees, whereas changing it to a question invites more dialogue.

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                    • I admit – the whole “it evolved as a way to avoid offending Oda Nobunaga, thereby saving your monastery from fiery destruction” sounds so trite it’s almost certainly a just so story.
                      But the language in general is so saturated with exquisite attention paid to the nuances of the relations between speakers, I can’t help but think there’s some there there.
                      Certainly is also a very nice feature to have in consensus-based conversation, you”re right on that.
                      I just love how it makes everything you say a Schrodinger cat box, it’s never really committed one way or the other until everyone can see it…

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            • You should play music with others if you aren’t now. When I started playing the bass guitar in my mid-40s, some friends asked me to play with them in church. I stank, but the constant practice made me much better. Am I Paul McCartney today? Of course not, but I know my way around the fretboard, and I can play a wide variety of stuff fairly servicably.

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          • Languages, though, are a brick wall for me. It’s really true about how young people can absorb them naturally, while old-timers like me struggle.

            That rings true to me, Pinky. I took French from 8th grade through four years of undergrad. While I’m not fluent, I have a pretty strong grasp of the language. The others I have tried to teach myself–German, Spanish, and others–are so much weaker, probably because I started them later. (My wife speaks Spanish, so that helps a bit.)

            I want to try Ukrainian next because I live in a Ukrainian neighborhood. But we’ll see….

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            • My ex-wife did DuoLingo for a year and wound up at least able to read and understand spoken Italian. Academically, she’s probably got better Italian than I do, but she said she didn’t want to do the speaking part so didn’t and consequently her pronunciation is still slow and halting. So I still had to do all of the speaking when we went — but she could keep up with what was going on without my assistance, a great step forward from our honeymoon when all she could do was sit there and smile.

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  2. E3: This is so perfect that I suspect a hoax.

    A high school in California has hung in its girls’ bathroom signs of affirmation instead of mirrors.

    Replace something that has everyday utility and that literally reflects reality with a bunch of vague self-esteem culture claptrap. This is how you make a cohort of solipsistic narcissists.

    Also, what if you just want to know if you have spinach in your teeth or if your shirt is tucked in correctly?

    He3: You would think that these sorts of suggestions would have wide appeal, because they are non-exhaustive. That is, those on the left could support more price transparency while still advocating for a public option or single payer coverage and those on the right could support more government funding to basic research, because it’s a pretty clear example of a market failure and a case were government spending tends to be pretty efficient. Alas, this tends not to happen.

    I used to think that this was about making the perfect the enemy of the good, but more and more I realize that it’s something else. People start off fighting for a particular policy change, because they believe that policy change will lead to better outcomes. Part of that fight involves defending aspects of that policy from people with different policy preferences. Invariably, lots of those people end up changing their mission from fix the problem to oppose the enemy. And so, anything that seems like it might be supported by the enemy because automatically suspect, regardless of its potential efficacy.

    This is a very bad way of making collective decisions.

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      • Yes. It makes it worse. It’s one thing for adults to lie to kids in the name of protecting them. It’s another when those kids start demanding the lies.

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        • But the kids didn’t demand it. One student thought it would be a nice gesture and it was received well by others. We really want to demonize that?

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          • Demonize is your word, not mine. I’m just here to stay that there is a direct relationship between taking away all the mirrors and demanding that the only people who should be allowed to come to a college campus and speak are the people who are going to uncritically parrot your preferred world view.

            I’m not interested in demonizing it. I’m just pointing out that it is not a recipe for virtue.

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            • Nyah. Kids are kids. In addition to having dumb ideas because they’re people, they’re going to have more dumb ideas because they have yet to learn better. It’s on the administration to say, “No,” to those dumb ideas.

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              • and

                Fair points. Demonize was too strong a word. I was thinking an eyeroll would be a more appropriate response but that might very well be what JR was offering.

                Moments like these are indeed teachable ones so hopefully the school makes use of it to explore this issue/idea from various angles.

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                • One thing that bugs me about “coddled kids”/”snowflake students” narratives is they often seem to start with the idea that the kids should know all of this stuff already, and that the fact that they don’t is a failing on their part.

                  Also, the idea that it’s somehow unique to this cohort of teens to be sensitive to perceived insults, and to react to them without thinking things through… is curious.

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            • and ,

              You’re both missing my criticism. Kids will be kids. Great! They ought to be. They ought to go out into the world and let their reach exceed their grasp and make dumb mistakes and think that they know everything and invented everything and that they’re parents and teachers are a bunch of old squares who don’t know anything.

              My observation is that this is something other than that. This is kids choosing to impose severe limits on their worldview. I find that disturbing. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it will blow over. I guess that we’ll find out. My suspicion though, is that we are already finding out.

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              • I guess I see it differently. If they were seeking to ban mirrors, maybe. But one kid thought, “Hey… looking in the mirror tends to make me feel shitty and I know/bet others feel the same. Maybe for one day we can change that.”

                Teenagers are weird in myriad ways. This doesn’t strike me as one of the more egregious ways they are weird, even if it might be problematic.

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              • Severe limits on their worldview?

                Getting rid of mirrors changes their reality 2 times a day, for 30 seconds each. It doesn’t severely limit their worldview. Their eyes still work. Don’t we normally give kids a hard time for overreacting? This sounds a lot like that to me.

                I mean they are not sowing their eyelids shut and putting affirmations on the inside, are they?

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                • Before you know it, schools are going to have other reality escaping devices for these little snowflakes. Like movies, and books. And god forbid, video games. Were doomed…

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                  • You said:
                    “Replace something that has everyday utility and that literally reflects reality with a bunch of vague self-esteem culture claptrap. This is how you make a cohort of solipsistic narcissists.”

                    I read this as you saying, removing mirrors, which literally reflect reality, and putting up signs of self-affirmation instead, is how you make a cohort of solipsistic narcissists. Was that a misread?

                    You also included “Its another [thing] when kids start demanding the lies”. Choosing to read signs of self-affirmation rather than look at yourself in a mirror, whether you think you’re the best or worst looking person on earth, is “demanding the lies”? Could it be, “I have low self- esteem, and I don’t like the way I look. I’d prefer to read something that sounds nice rather than look at my face, even though I understand that doing so instead of looking at my face doesn’t mean I don’t have to live with my face anymore” instead?

                    Which you followed by saying “There is a direct relationship between taking away all the mirrors and demanding that the only people who should be allowed to come to a college campus and speak are the people who are going to uncritically parrot your preferred world view.” Care to expand on what the direct relationship is?

                    And then, as others seemed to be misreading your point too, you clarified with a “Your both missing my criticism” and then observed that “This is kids choosing to impose severe limits on their worldview.”

                    When I responded with “Severe limits on their world view?” and questioned how removing bathroom mirrors could accomplish that (because mirrors are probably responsible for transmitting an extremely low percentage of anyone’s daily does of reality), you responded that I am severely misreading your comment. I’m certainly open to that being the case, but I have no idea how. So I’d appreciate it if you’d be willing to point out how that was the case.

                    And my worldview? I’d love to hear what you think mine is. And why that worldview caused me to respond to you the way I did. Cause it’d be good to know if that was in fact the case.

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      • I’d still be super-annoyed if I got an eyelash in my eye and had to rip down a ton of signs before I could work at trying to get it out.

        Someone somewhere also referenced the “affirmations” that Lee prints on the pocket linings of some of its women’s jeans. I’ve seen that – I like Lee as a brand because they fit me but the positive messages seem weird. How can they tell me I’m “glamorous” if they’ve never met me? I’m really NOT glamorous at all. (I also tend to over think things)

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    • It amazes me how much the practice of medicine is a craft rather than a discipline.

      Lawyers, for example, do not get to rely on arguments that have been invalidated by the Supreme Court 20 years ago. We have an enormous array of resources available to us to tell us what the law is — caselaw, treatises, hornbooks (super-condensed summaries that help you get started in understanding a new field), conferences and the like. In return, our regulatory agencies demand that we know the law before giving advice. Yet somehow it’s acceptable for doctors to rely on what they remember on the spur of the moment to issue scrips.

      And while plenty of advice is given orally, most lawyers ultimately put their work in writing, be it a contract, a brief or any of the other ways that we actually perform our practice. How often is it that you leave the doctor’s office with a printout that identifies your diagnosis and your treatment regimen?

      Personally, I’d be much happier if the patient-doctor interaction went a) intake, b) examination, c) go home, d) work-up of diagnosis and treatment regimen, e) treatment regimen delivered via email, f) call/Skype with physician assistant to review procedure, g) drugs delivered to my home. (for dogs’ sake if the pizza joint down the street can run a delivery service, why can’t the adjacent pharmacy do so?)

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      • IMHO, there are two types of doctors: Scientists and mechanics.

        The scientist is the one the AMA puts on the brochure, but there are an awful lot of mechanics out there, following the troubleshooting flowchart in their head with imperfect information, and the more patients we demand they see, the less time they have to double check their diagnosis.

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        • Oscar,
          Yeah, you never want to be in a situation where you have a scientist doctor as your “treatment giver”.

          “we are pretty sure you’re going to be dead within a month, but we want to experiment on you anyway. Pleaase?”
          Followed shortly by:
          “Ve needt more blut” (Take one liter. Get weird result. Ask for another liter. Remember afterwards, “oh, right, drink orange juice”)

          At least the scientist docs are willing to say “Here, we’re giving you poisons.Try not to die”

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          • I dunno, if I were pretty certain to die of some disease, I’d be willing to try the Hail Mary method (heh) of the Scientist Doc.

            And if I were gonna die anyway, at least maybe my life and suffering would have meant something if they learned something, even if it was only “Don’t do that with the next patient.”

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          • The scientist is the one heavy into evidenced based medicine and is up on the latest research, etc. These also tend to be your low volume specialists, rather than your PCPs and high volume specialists.

            I mean, even if we were able to get rid of all the doctors who just don’t care to learn anymore and stay current, we’d still have this issue, because the high volume doctors become mechanics out of necessity. They just do not have the time or resources to stay current on everything.

            We need more doctors, or we need to relax things for PAs/NPs/etc. so they can take care of the low hanging fruit.

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            • All doctors are going to find horses most of the time. And if you happen to be a zebra, you should expect the horse-treatment anyway. There may be “ways to determine if this isn’t a horse” — but unless you’re hitting something time critical, they’ll probably just give you the horse treatment first.

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    • I keep thinking about that “sometimes technocrats are the best” piece from a few weeks back. It seems like that, He5, the Data thread, and a bunch of other recent pieces are all part of a much bigger conversation.

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  3. So, regarding the Syrian airstrikes…

    Honestly, I don’t really care what Trump said back whenever about what should be done in Syria or even what he said last week about what should be done in Syria. I mean, his comments as sitting President matter insofar as they are heard by people around the world and can influence them and thus he should not be talking off the cuff or making policy decisions lightly. It is possible that Assad took his comments about Syria as a bit of ‘permission’ to use chemical weapons because the threat of an (American-led) response seemed to be gone.

    But that is another conversation for another day. The world changes rapidly and, as a result, sometimes policies need to change.

    So, I don’t want to get into “Trump said he’d never do this and now he’s doing it!” I don’t think that matters in the moment. What I want to know is…

    1. Was this the right move?
    2. Was this the right way to make this move?
    3. Was this the right time to make this move?
    4. Was there a better move for any reason?

    I realize there aren’t hard and fast answers to any of those questions but they seem to be largely absent from much of the coverage. Instead, folks seem to be harping on what Trump said previously or inconsequential BS like how a Tomahawk missile works.

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    • 1. Was this the right move?

      Probably not, but there’s an outside chance it deters future use of chemical weapons on Assad’s part, so it’s not completely pointless. Still, it’s unlikely to actually slow Assad’s murder campaign down much, and seems to already be complicating attempts to fight ISIS.

      2. Was this the right way to make this move?

      No. They should have at the very least had a clear message that the President, the Defense Department, and the State Department could agree on. They should have worked things out with allies beforehand. Ideally, they should have followed the precedent set by Obama and asked Congress for an AUMF.

      3. Was this the right time to make this move?

      Probably not. The whole thing seems to have been rushed out the door for no particular reason.

      4. Was there a better move for any reason?

      Expanding humanitarian efforts and being open to Syrian refugees would be better. That’s not mutually exclusive with missile strikes, of course, but the failure to do these things is striking.

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    • 1. Was this the right move?
      Yes, he got a result and a message was sent with minimal cost.

      2. Was this the right way to make this move?
      Yes, he got a result and a message was sent with minimal cost.

      3. Was this the right time to make this move?
      Yes, the action and the sanction should closely follow each other.

      4. Was there a better move for any reason?
      I don’t think so. Doing nothing besides importing more refugees hardly an answer. It doesn’t punish Assad but probably encourages him.

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    • Assad’s government has always been the best choice of enemy available in Syria, so one cheer for hitting them, but destroying a few aircraft isn’t likely to change the basic dynamics of the conflict and may well make the continuing tacit cooperation with that same government in fighting ISIS more difficult and dangerous. The whole thing appears to be an incoherent addition to an already dubious policy.

      Cable news seems pretty happy to have some new Tomahawk launch b-roll, so at least there is one clear winner here.

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    • {shrug} It depends on what the overall strategy might be. As part of a sound diplomatic/military approach it might be effective; as doing something because something must be done, then I expect little or possibly negative results.

      So if you wanted to be optimistic, you could wait to see how the entire strategy plays out. If you wanted to be pessimistic, you could assume this is just some sort of Trumpian kinetic flailing about that doesn’t have the requisite pieces to make the action meaningful diplomatically.

      We should all be at least a little concerned that the fading pretense that our military is subject to (at the minimum) US oversight via congress is perhaps a deader letter than yesterday.

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    • As I wrote in today’s Syria thread, there is no credible path to anything that looks like victory in Syria, because: no good guys + Russia. So we have to “pre-clear” our retaliatory strike with Russia so as to not take out any Russian advisors as collateral damage, and that in turn makes it likely that we didn’t really do much real strategic harm to Assad. Assad already knew we didn’t like him and he knows the real international relationship he needs to protect is with Russia.

      That said, doing something in response to a likely (not certain) Assad chemical weapons attack probably is doing better than simply clucking disapprovingly. We do get to do somewhat stronger diplomacy now. We just shouldn’t fool ourselves that the something that we’ve done is going to be particularly efficacious. There’s still no pathway to a winnable ground war for reasons stated above: we aren’t going to conquer Syria any more than we could have conquered Iraq.

      And FTR, it seems overwhelmingly likely way that a President Clinton or a President Sanders or a President Kasich or a President Cruz would have gone about this in a substantially similar fashion.

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      • To quote Simon and Garfunkel: “Any way you look at this, you lose.”

        I can’t think of any path (given current geopolitics, especially) that would solve the problems in Syria. So on one hand we’ve got a proxy war with Russia, or on the other we’ve got a brutal regime killing its citizens while we look away, and on the other hand, I don’t know.

        this is why I would never go into politics: I don’t have the answers and I am AWARE I don’t have the answers.

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      • And FTR, it seems overwhelmingly likely way that a President Clinton or a President Sanders or a President Kasich or a President Cruz would have gone about this in a substantially similar fashion.

        Probably. I think that any of those would have coordinated with out allies before striking, had a clear message that the President, State Dept. and DOD could deliver, and would have had a State Department staffed and ready to go in order to actually do that tougher diplomacy.

        I would have winced then, too—I didn’t want Obama to launch strikes in 2013, and was relieved when he didn’t. But I would have been much less worried about the non-military aspects of the operation being bungled. Clinton, Rubio, et al. are pros, and would have had pros working for them.

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        • From the DoD website

          Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line, Davis said, and U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel at the airfield.

          Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that US forces gave Russian forces precise details on location and timing of the strike. Just that over a certain time frame, something would be in the air over a particular area (which could be quite large, indeed, the entire country)

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          • I heard one person say that if information was offered, it was likely done as late as possible to minimize the opportunity for Russia to warn Assad.

            ETA: That was a talking head’s speculation.

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    • 1. Was this the right move?

      We are exposed to the Russians making us look foolish. I’m concerned that the Assad regime with Russian assistance could have the rubble swept up and pictures of planes taking off issued to the world press within a day or two. Assad can then mock Trump for being both hasty and weak. I don’t know if they’ll do so, but the opportunity is certainly there.

      How Assad responds, and how Trump reacts to that response, are what’s going to make next week interesting. Perhaps nobody says anything and this incident is quickly forgotten. Or perhaps Assad feels emboldened to ramp up his terror war on his own people.

      2. Was this the right way to make this move?

      Probably. Killing Russians and risking American lives is way too much of an escalation this early.

      3. Was this the right time to make this move?

      I don’t see much value in waiting for this kind of strike. If we had hit Assad much harder, actually destroying the airbase, our allies would probably have wanted to be notified first and had some say. Our allies have their own relationships with Russia, after all.

      4. Was there a better move for any reason?

      Better in light of what goal? Dissuading Assad from using chem weapons? Driving a wedge between Russia and Assad? Driving Assad from power? Looking resolute on the world stage?

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      • I suppose a question I should have included was, “What was the point of this strike?” Again, not to imply there was no point, but that there are so many different possible goals… most overlapping but some not… that assessing the appropriateness or success of a particular act is impossible without knowing what agenda it was furthering.

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  4. F4: Australia is a weird place. It isn’t a strictly religious country. Most Australians are post-Christian like the average resident of Europe but it isn’t exactly a hotbed of liberalism either. Australian society could be strikingly conservative in some ways like the fact that it has a high number of stay at home mothers.

    F5: How much is this because ending cohabitation doesn’t require legal work but ending marriage does?

    Ho1: I’m reluctantly against this policy. The idea is noble but landlords have a long history of trying to get around laws they hate to the detriment of everybody else.

    Pe2: Some cat owners are in denial about this but many relish in the fact that cats love them less than dogs. Don’t know why.

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    • Ho1 – not to mention the plaintiffs have a point. Sure, it’s one thing if the landlord lives far from the rental property, or is a corporation, but if it’s a private owner renting out the other half of a duplex, you certainly want to be able to make sure it’s a person you can tolerate sharing a wall with.

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      • The way to fight housing discrimination is to… fight housing discrimination. In a very similar way to how we fight employment discrimination: on a case-by-case basis. Given that the financial stakes of housing discrimination cases tend to be lower than employment discrimination cases, it’s probably appropriate that the enforcement happen to a higher degree through governmental intervention. But this fight gets won in the trenches, not in the board room.

        Hamfisted policies like “first come, first served” can’t help but reach absurdities and spin off perverse incentives. Better, I think, to let landlords and tenants figure it out for themselves and if the tenant thinks something discriminatory happened, let them complain about their particular situation to an enforcement agency that has sufficient resources to investigate fairly and adequately.

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        • Better, I think, to let landlords and tenants figure it out for themselves and if the tenant thinks something discriminatory happened, let them complain about their particular situation to an enforcement agency that has sufficient resources to investigate fairly and adequately.</blockquote.

          Therein lies the rub. A lot of these not-very-good to terrible regulatory schemes seem to be cooked up to try to get a result without (directly) spending anything on it.

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    • Pe2: Pssh. It is entirely possible the average dog loves its human more than the average cat does its human. We gonna get into “I love you more” silliness? Nah.

      My cat loves me. Peoples dogs love them. Yay, love!

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    • I don’t find Hillary Clinton to to be particularly virtuous, nor do I find her particularly corrupt. She is pretty much in the acceptable range for politicians, so I don’t expect her to be particularly honest or introspective about her campaign, at least not publicly. I’m not sure why anyone else would, either. I can only imagine what lengths Trump would have gone to to deflect blame had he lost.

      That said, what I find odd has been the number of other people who’ve jumped through so many tortured logical and ideological hoops to come up with any and every excuse as to why Clinton lost other than the very obvious.

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      • jr,
        The allegations concerning how Clinton hushed people up at the DNC are a little more than “corrupt” in my book. I wager that the people jumping through hoops are trying to avoid being put on Clinton’s Enemies list.

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      • She lost by a few hundred thousand votes in a few midwestern states – there are literally dozens of things, that if half of them were difference, would’ve resulted in a situation where she was President.

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        • Like, um, campaigning for 15 days in October, which she literally took off?
          Like, um, listening to staffers instead of firing them when she was told that she was losing the midwest?

          …. yeah. totally not her fault.

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  5. Pe2,
    Oh, my gawd, guyz. Playing with your owner in cats is hunting behavior. No surprise it’s not “I luvz you vewwy much.”

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    • As I always say, my cats are cute when they play but I outweigh them by twenty-to-one. If I were a bird or a mouse I wouldn’t be thinking “aww that’s cute” when the kitty jumps on my hand and rakes his back claws down my arm.

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      • This is why it tends to end badly when people get it into their heads to keep a tiger or a mountain lion as a “pet.”

        there is also an utterly horrific news story out of OKC today about a woman mauled to death by two large dogs that were roaming the neighborhood where she was walking. I will spare you all the gruesome details that the tv news channel didn’t spare me, but suffice it to say, I’m not sure I trust dogs any more.

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  6. [He6]: How soon before I can expect the nannying e-mails from my health insurer about trying to get enough sleep?

    (Today, they sent out one essentially sugar-shaming people for buying Easter candy. Yeah, what about those of us who do that kind of thing in moderation, where maybe we eat marshmallows once a year? Are we still bad and wrongthinkers and should be putting broccoli in our kids’ Easter baskets instead? Ugh, I hate that kind of thing….I struggle with the all-or-nothing kind of thinking myself (approached eating-disorder territory when in college) so I dislike having my health insurer seem to use it on me)

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    • I’d estimate a decade +/-

      My company bought everyone a fitbit, and set-up a (for now voluntary) program to track your health and get recommendations; I’m sure they are getting discounts on their group health – well “sure” in the “I totally assume” sort of way – and once this early wave of concept trials are over, I expect the Insurance programs and large employers will start ramping up programs that are increasingly less voluntary… or totally voluntary with you paying the cost for non-participation, if you prefer those optics.

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      • We have a “survey” we can fill out to have $250 knocked off our deductible. A colleague who is less paranoid and privacy-concerned than I am filled it out and declared it “intrusive.” That tells me I’d rather just shell out the bigger bucks for now. (I presume it becomes mandatory in a couple years).

        They have the voluntary fitbit thing here. I probably fulfill the required amount of exercise a week (I try for 150 minutes of bordering-on-strenuous, just because I’ve empirically found I sleep better and am less anxious when I am exercising), but again, my all-or-nothing mindset tells me it might be dangerous for me to wear a Fitbit; I might give myself an RSI trying to get more and more steps in.

        All the nannying e-mails bug me because I feel like I am a monkeyfighting adult and I strive to eat a healthful diet and exercise and all that jazz, and it “feels” to me (I know, falsely) like my insurer doesn’t believe it, that they just think I’m about like a particularly dull six-year-old who would ingest an entire bag of sugar if “Mommy” wasn’t watching.

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          • Shoot. Well, I do get screening blood tests every year because I’m a hypochondriac. (So far, my doctor’s main response to my results is a rueful, “Your numbers are better than mine” – she is perhaps 10 years younger than I am and is a good 40 pounds slimmer)

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          • I shut down at the idea of stents that were not necessary to save one’s life being put in. I’m a hypochondriac and a worrier, but I also hate pain and fear general anesthesia.

            And anyway, some days, I look at the news and go “Why should I worry? If the big one drops, it’s not going to matter how many hot dogs I avoided in my life.”

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        • “My company bought everyone a fitbit, and set-up a (for now voluntary) program to track your health and get recommendations”

          They’re doing that because the ACA greatly increased the tax incentives for having “wellness programs” as part of their insurance coverage.

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    • A friend was asking me if Bug was going to have an Easter Egg hunt this year. I said, “Yeah, sure, got like 2 dozen plastic eggs. Gonna put one M&M in each one and hide it.”

      Yep, I’m a bastard…

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      • You will be teaching Bug a lesson. Maybe not the one you intended to teach…

        That said: I remember being excited as a kid at finding eggs with a single penny or nickel in them. Kids are kinda stupid sometimes. (Then again: when I was a kid, a nickel would still buy a piece of candy, at least some places)

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        • Joking aside, we do try to control his candy intake. We don’t want to deprive him of it, but nor do we let him graze or gorge on candy.

          Although I can’t complain too much, the kid loves all fruit, broccoli and grilled salmon. Pretty sure that right there covers most of his nutritional needs.

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          • I think depriving a kid of candy can lead to as many problems in adulthood as letting him or her gorge. My parents allowed candy but were careful about intake. I have friends whose parents forbade all sugar and now they have real problems with self-control around it. (I can buy a bag of Lindt truffles – my favorite candy-type item- and it will sit on the dining room table for a month or six weeks, while I eat one every other day or every third day. Well, not of late, because Lent, but during ordinary time that’s how I do it)

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              • Primarily sugar with coconut/palm oil emulsified with soybeans (lecithin).

                Not exactly how we’d make them at home… but on the industrial food scale disaster rating… probably about a 5 (mostly owing to the sugar).

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                    • I’m not, though.

                      If I listened to my health insurer, I’d probably be the person pulling 2 hours a day in the gym and eating 1250 calories a day of vegetables until I’d starved myself down to 130 pounds.

                      I dunno. I look at what’s going on geopolitically and then I ask myself what difference dietary restriction is going to make? I mean, if we all wind up vaporized within the next five years it doesn’t matter if it happens to me at 130 lbs or 180 lbs.

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                      • filly,
                        We won’t wind up vaporized within the next 5 years.
                        Disaster averted.
                        (no, seriously, even the US Military isn’t big on that scenario. They’re gearing up for resource wars, not anything hitting us Stateside).

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                  • Sorry… on the plus side, using coconut and palm oils are on the better side of their options.

                    What’s funny is that if you look-up a recipe for chocolate truffle, its just good heavy cream and good chocolate.

                    Making it with sugar and emulsified oils with chocolate flavoring is selling yourself out.

                    Make Truffles and live large.

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            • Tell me about it. My folks really restricted candy, and I developed a hell of a sweet tooth. Which was fine when I was young, or in the Navy and burning 5000 calories a day.

              Now, I need to exert an awful lot of self control. But, gotta set a good example…

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    • I am unperturbed by nannying emails from my insurer because I make full use of the spam filter. It would never occur to me to actually read one of those things.

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  7. Ho4: As someone who has a place to put those things, I’ve been following all of the various developments in modular building… alas, most everything I find is smoke from a very small fire. I keep hoping that some of these ideas will hit production, but they all seem to be in prototype phases.

    *not including simple offsite modular stick-built… which has some plusses, but ultimately is not really the modular solution I’m hoping for.

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    • Everytime I dig into something like this, I find two common roadblocks – contractors who aren’t interested in doing something other than stick building (because it costs them money to learn new ways to build things, and if they don’t see how it will replace stick building, they aren’t gonna bother), and local governments who are not sure how to permit such things, and again, are not interested in learning how.

      This despite the willingness of the people who develop such things to teach.

      So such ideas are relegated to experimental communities where a developer can afford to pay for people’s time (and thus the unit cost goes up), or homes out in the boonies where the owner is willing to do the bulk of the work themselves and the permit process is minimal.

      Places like Amsterdam and Rotterdam (all northern Europe and Scandinavia, really) have some pretty interesting experimental architecture movements, and they’ve somehow managed to overcome the two bottlenecks I’ve noticed.

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    • And in the end, it’s not that expensive to build buildings in areas where housing is expensive. It’s the underlying *land* that’s expensive, and that makes most property owners build more expensive buildings to maximize return on investment.

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      • True… this goes back of course to Will’s original point that you have to have a place to put them; but in true chicken/egg fashion reducing the friction to building modular dwellings that don’t require the massive time/money sink would be a good idea… but if there’s nowhere to put them, why invest in a company to design/build them.

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  8. E5:

    This seems rather simplistic as colleges don’t have any control over the job market once they educate the student.

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  9. e5:

    … some HBCU’s and community colleges will be extremely hard hit.

    that is a significant understatement. it would finish off the hbcu’s in a few years (which is something that’s coming for most of them anyway, but it will move up the timetable rapidly)

    it would also introduce interesting curves in loan rates for majors and/or more likely, bending recruitment efforts to target certain majors and certain populations (e.g. well prepared mid to high ses students from rigorous highschools who want to do business majors)

    i mean, i think it’s great for me personally, because i’d have guaranteed clients for years. but overall it’s goofballs.

    re: dumb titles – some of this is dumb titles because people love dumb titles. you can get a phd in student affairs, after all. but some of this is dumb titles because lots of colleges have people who will be there for forty years. gotta do something with them. in lieu of better pay, particularly at smaller institutions, you can then be the associate assistant director of student wellness hashtags or whatever.

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    • Straight up, I think you are right. Holding schools accountable for student debt would have to be done carefully to control for perverse incentives.

      That said, schools do need to have some accountability here, since they seem to be doing a great job of loading people up with debt for credentials that either aren’t very useful, or by failing to teach students how to leverage that education into success.

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      • There also have to be some incentives on the students: we sometimes have a hard time filling our work-study hours because (it’s claimed) students say they’d rather take out loans. I also once had a non-trad student load up on loans saying, “What are they gonna do, come after me to pay these off after I’m dead?”

        I was very discomfited by that second statement (made to my face) but I didn’t know quite what to say to it.

        I dunno. I get worried about anything that could “punish” small universities because my life right now kind of depends on my small university, you know, not closing down and stuff.

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        • my life right now kind of depends on my small university, you know, not closing down and stuff.

          yeah, it is a thing that sucks. especially if you’re in a rural or semi-rural situation. #livingthedream

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          • If I lost this gig, I’d probably have to move. The hell of it is? I own a house here. I mean OWN, like, no mortgage. I doubt I could even consider affording a house in other markets.

            I’m too damn old to take on semi-strangers as roommates.

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      • for starters, the picture changes if you split out the for-profits from the non-profits.

        https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/06/23/the-for-profit-student-debt-dilemma/

        but i think i object to the second point to some degree. education isn’t about success in a direct 1:1 thing. it’s about cultivating a mental environment that can become success of some variety. this doesn’t mean you go to vanderbilt or emory as a full pay and study theatre or anthro (or even architecture in some cases) and expect to get an immediate 1:1 payout worth the 200k+ runout that they would have accrued.

        career services are good and important and all that, but it is literally impossible to predict what degree paths will a) prove useful/lucrative in ten years and b) which students will take full advantage of their opportunities. that said, you can figure out where the “good” outcomes are going to be – slice by SES and call it a day – but the 538 piece (which is dumb on several levels) doesn’t fully understand what this set of incentives is going to help produce – namely more well-prepared, upper and middle class students studying business and a handful of other safe majors (safe meaning “safe for right now”, which again has a prediction problem built in).

        there’s enough stuff here for an hour-long podcast/infowars style rant, but that’s the short short version.

        it’s also not a thing where even lifetime earnings necessarily gives you a full picture of what the time and money spent was truly worth. that said, i think most would agree (including some or perhaps many alumni/dropouts) that the for-profit track has a significantly lousy outlay versus reward ratio.

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        • I don’t expect a 1:1, but we seem to have an awful lot of 0.001:1 these days.

          I’m still for my original thought (which, IIRC, you pointed out some weeks ago was starting to materialize), that the best accountability is for the public to have access to cost versus return data in the form of how many borrowers were struggling to repay or in default from any given institution.

          As for career services, if the Navy could teach me how to leverage my training and experience into employment in the few weeks I spent transitioning, Universities should be able to excel at it. And no, I did not leave the Navy and become a gas turbine tech at a power plant (although I could have), I actually started out as a stone cutter running a CNC saw, because I knew how to program machines and how to be detail oriented, and how to sell the hell out of that.

          Perhaps our faculty hereabouts ( , etc ) can speak more about this, but most of the non-engineering faculty I took classes from (and even some of the eng faculty at the lower levels) had the attitude that you were learning X for the sake of X, and discussions of real world applicability were rare to non-existent. I think that is one of the reasons STEM degrees do well, because by the time you hit junior or senior year, you are getting regular, in depth discussions about how X is used outside the academic setting.

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          • I’m STEM, so yeah. I try hard to show applicability. (I also tend to be of a somewhat practical mindset, at least as far as stuff I’m getting paid to do. I feel like the “fun stuff” is the stuff I have to wait until I have free time to do).

            We still wind up with a distressing number of our grads “underemployed” in some area outside their field (e.g. stocking shelves part-time at the Lowe’s) but in some cases that’s directly attributable to the amount of effort put in to the degree. I’ve had people cheerfully say “D is for Diploma” but it also does not seem to be for Gainful Employment.

            (I think our grads who do best are the ones who pursue things like internship or research opportunities: a lot of the internships can directly translate into jobs if the person does well at them, and research shows that the person has some initiative).

            That said: I wish our students spent more time writing and reading. A lot of them, their writing is atrocious (in terms of ability to organize an argument and support it, and also just in general organization of their writing). I tend to think that reading widely and well helps one write well.

            I think part of the problem was during the “boom times” before the dot-com crash (and really, before 2008 in general), you could get a decent job with almost ANY degree, and so people did what they thought would be “fun” or “easy” and then took the credentials and got an office job. Now that’s changed, but universities and also to a certain extent student mindsets haven’t caught up.

            Also, “Follow your bliss” is really terrible career advice. Instead, I’d say: “Find something that is useful to do but that you find tolerable, and do that.” Because even those of us more or less doing what we really wanted to – we have days that are FAR from bliss. (unfortunately, lately, the blissful days for me have become fewer and farther between. I don’t know if I’m burning out or if academia is just getting worse, or both)

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            • That said? Teaching our students – especially the pre-meds – botany can be a very hard sell.

              I have ALMOST been on the point of saying, “Yeah? When society collapses you’ll want to know what a willow tree looks like so you can brew aspirin from its bark” but I really don’t want to let my paranoid-freak flag fly.

              I now just tell people “If you’re not going to be a botanist, you AT LEAST need to know what poison ivy looks like.”

              Though I suspect for GPs and Pedes doctors, being able to identify common horticultural plants might be a bonus – I have been called in for “consults” on “My kid ate these leaves, do we need to dose him with Ipecac?”

              (I should write up a list of all the weird phone calls I get. Every spring someone calls me all freaked out about dog-vomit fungus. THOSE are amusing calls)

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          • I have a number of friends who run small Catholic Liberal Arts colleges.

            One of the things I’ve tried to get them to adopt (among other things) is powerpoint creativity as a regular part of their curriculum. Not, mind you, as a class in itself… but as something the students do in certain classes as part of a deliverable around an essay or a project.

            For example, at least once per semester per class, the student should have as part of their assignment, present your Essay to the class in, 1, 3, 5, or 10 slides (max). Doesn’t matter if it was an essay on Plato’s Symposium or an essay on the Treaty of Augsburg. Students will learn that much of what they will do in the business world is present their ideas to peers and superiors in short digestible increments. In fact, that’s what we’re good at. Synthesizing complexity is worth a lot of money to employers.

            Resistance, at the moment, is mostly at the professorial level… they don’t really know .ppt and don’t want the added expense of learning and/or evaluating it… nor, frankly, are most of them any good at it when they use it themselves. [In general, academics and engineers, in my experience, are terrible presenters – present company excluded, of course]. Plus, most liberal arts academics have no commercial experience, so they have no idea what liberal arts graduates do once they graduate.

            One college I’m close with regularly has St. Crispin’s day competitions and other events where the students orate various classics; I’m going to sponsor an event where they have to present, say, Marc Antony’s speech in 5-7 slides with no more than 3 words on a slide. The rules are liberating.

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                • eh, I get the sentiment, but no.

                  Powerpoint is a real thing, and a real skill. If you want to convince your SVP on why he should give your team the $M you need to do X… you had better be a fucking wizard with post-its.

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                  • Presentations are a real thing, and a real skill. Powerpoint is merely the tool (one of many).

                    Back in my youth, before PowerPoint was a thing, you learned how to do presentations in high school forensics, with slides, or transparencies, or props.

                    I.E. If you don’t know how to do a presentation, PowerPoint won’t save you.

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                    • When I was getting my MPP degree, the regulatory policy class required a final paper, and an in-class presentation based on that paper. Each student was allotted 15 minutes. It became painfully clear that there were only two of us that had ever done a presentation with a hard time limit that short before. The other student with experience and I both had three slides. (I had another one “in my hip pocket” if a particular question was asked (it wasn’t)). We had both obviously practiced our deliveries. Every other student had far too many slides — one had 75. At least IMO, none of them had even done a run through against a clock.

                      I admit that I was somewhat shocked to realize that here were a bunch of students paying pricey tuition at a private school who had gotten through high school and four years as an undergraduate and had never had any public speaking instruction.

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                    • If you don’t know how to do a presentation, PowerPoint won’t save you.

                      Nope. In fact, it’ll almost certainly make things worse. When I adjunct for grad school, I sometimes have a student presentation as a grade-earning deliverable. Although I make “You Suck At Powerpoint” a mandatory assignment, I can usually tell within about twenty seconds of the presentation beginning, and certainly by the second slide, who and who has not actually read it.

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                    • I.E. If you don’t know how to do a presentation, PowerPoint won’t save you.

                      And this is the problem with so much ed-tech (and other tech): people think the bells and whistles is what’s important, not the content or how it’s being presented.

                      There’s so much faddish awful stuff in higher ed right now. Some days I just want to chuck all the technology and just walk into class with a piece of chalk and an outline of what I want to say, but I think people might complain.

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              • Heh, yeah, its moved beyond Shiznit to simply the worldwide standard.

                That’s why its cool to try not to use it. I mean, we can always talk about Amazon’s stance but that’s the proverbial exception that proves the rule.

                Still, though, the point isn’t .ppt its that the skills you bring to the business as a liberal arts major are derivative from your studies, not directly related to the studies. I write all day long, but rarely longer than 1000 words at a time. But, I have to synthesize thousands of pages and concepts into 1 hr presentations day in and day out.

                If something came (comes) along and replaced .ppt as a presentation medium, then that’s what college students should use instead.

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  10. E4: It seems to me that the task of learning is generally going to be easier when you aren’t hungry. The entire article was not convincing. It seems to be arguing that sacrifice is good and we should make poor people experience the fierce and harsh discipline of the market. That hasn’t worked in the past to reduce or eliminate poverty en mass and it isn’t going to work now.

    Ps1: Its Calvin’s world we just live in it. There is a theory that strict religions or interpretations of religions thrive better than liberal interpretations of religion because of a similar thought process.

    Ps3: This is not surprising.

    He3: The mystical magical quest for free market universal healthcare continues. What I find particularly infuriating about these issues is that the free markets are always unwilling to make even the smallest concession to the idea that some type of government funding or socialism is necessary to provide healthcare in an equitable manner.

    He4: This is one reason why markets do not work in healthcare. Under the logic of the market, patients are consumers and doctors are merchants selling a service. If the patient wants something done than the doctor should do it even if contrary to science according to this logic. The doctor-patient relationship is not strictly commercial just like the lawyer-client relationship isn’t strictly commercial. A lawyer isn’t supposed to break the law or help is client break the law to meet the clients goals. Doctors should be able to say no to things that their patients want if it is contrary to science or the good practice of medicine.

    He6: This is another area where science and the market conflict. We have pretty good scientific evidence about how much work an average person can do before their brain gets fuzzy and how much rest is needed. The market tends to ignore this and extracts as much labor as it wants science be damned.

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    • He3: Are you agreeing with Tabbarrok, or disagreeing with him, or something in between?

      He4 (actually 5): WTF are you going on about? The article is talking about (well meaning) doctors offering treatments that aren’t effective for a given condition because patients don’t know better and doctors are poorly informed. Nothing about a more socialized system would guarantee better results.

      He6: Again, WTF? Companies, especially companies heavy into knowledge work, already know this and have policies in place to combat over-work. Individual managers who are bad at being a manager might be prone to relying on long hours to make up for shortcomings in their ability to manage, but that is different than companies having over-work as a policy. So yes, the science has spoken, and the market is paying attention.

      Now you lawyers, who are supposed to be all smart and logical, the fact that your big name firms are still living in the 80’s is not a reflection on the market as a whole.

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      • Nothing about a more socialized system would guarantee better results.

        Guarantee? Nyah, but they tend to lead to more standardized care and reimbursement rates, which is at least a push in that direction when faced with this particular issue.

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          • @leeesq

            I’m not seeing how the problem being described is heavily dependant upon standards of care or commercial reward? I mean, stents are standard, and are doctors really making bank on procedures to such an extent that that’s part of the issue?

            Or is the problem that high volume doctors can’t fully explore the problem and offer the best possible treatment? That strikes me as a supply problem, which is not something socializing the system will necessarily resolve (granted a market approach hasn’t resolved it either, because controlling the supply of doctors benefits established interests).

            Remember, I’m a disabled vet. I have a fully socialized medical system available to me, and I use it sparingly, because the bureaucracy of that system has certain standards of care and it is very loathe to deviate from what it knows.

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  11. I am also perplexed about why libertarians often seem to have a knee-jerk reaction about going against the simple humanitarian action of “maybe kids shouldn’t go hungry” and then launch into the “Well they aren’t that poor.” Is contrarianism really that strong of a force for people?

    The sleep thing is tricky because of what Lee mentioned above and a lot of people seem very resistant to the idea that you might make more money and do better work in the long run by getting sleep because it seems paradoxical I guess. At every place I worked, there was always a relatively low-level person who seemed hellbent on defining themselves solely through the amount of work they did and it was like they couldn’t find any self-worth out of their economic/work self. People who seem to send e-mails at 11 PM, 2 AM and 7 AM.

    I can never do this except when I know there is a real deadline and I always marvel at people who can do it constantly and feel bad when I compare myself to them even if I do fairly long days.

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    • 1) He’s a conservative, not a libertarian.
      2) Unless you have data to contradict his position that the UK free lunch program has too high a bar to entry (i.e. it only works for the destitute, not the struggling), why do you assume his point isn’t valid? Middle class families can afford school lunch, or can pack one for junior, so at what point is providing free meals effective for those people, except as a subsidy? I’m not even opposed to the idea of all kids getting fed by the school as part of their tuition (a school can feed kids far more cost effectively than if every family sent food along from home), but let’s not pretend it will improve the score of kids who are not nutritionally deficient.

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      • 1) He’s a conservative, not a libertarian.

        Agreed. He makes a bunch of really strange and off-putting arguments as a result, effectively shifting all the responsibility for being into a shitty or merely impoverished home onto the kids born their. He dresses it up with some appeals to “community and love” and the like, but it’s not convincing.

        2) Unless you have data to contradict his position that the UK free lunch program has too high a bar to entry (i.e. it only works for the destitute, not the struggling), why do you assume his point isn’t valid?

        I didn’t see that actual point anywhere in there. I mean, someone could make that argument, and they might even be right.

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        • To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what his point was. My take away was, let’s not add cost to schooling with the goal of feeding children who are not hungry.

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      • Another example of Saul not understanding the mentality of his opponents. The article says “Conservatives value family, Church, philanthropy and community”. Even taking the differing meanings of the word “conservative” into account, when was the last time you heard a libertarian valuing “family, Church, philanthropy and community”? Some might value one or two of those things, or even all of them in theory or in passing. But this article presents an argument against meritocracy. How many non-libertarian points does the article have to make for Saul to recognize it as such?

        There’s also the matter of Saul’s sleight-of-hand identification with his particular policy choice with humanitarianism.

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    • “If we feed hungry children, it will not only feed them, it will make their grades go up, reduce crime, and improve self-esteem!”

      “…studies show that it doesn’t make their grades go up, it doesn’t reduce crime, and it doesn’t improve self-esteem.”

      “WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO FEED HUNGRY CHILDREN?”

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        • Jaybird, don’t you remember Todd’s post? We live in a post-fact narrative-driven world now. And the narrative is “feed kids good, feed more kids plusgood”

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            • Saul rolled in with “I am also perplexed about why libertarians often seem to have a knee-jerk reaction about going against the simple humanitarian action of “maybe kids shouldn’t go hungry” and then launch into the “Well they aren’t that poor.” ” which looks a hell of a lot like “dueling narratives” to me.

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  12. I agree with all of Tabarrok’s suggestions here. Including especially the “more doctors” part.

    Oh, sure, it’s easy for you to say that, with your wife having that cozy doctoring job. Why don’t we make more doctors, and see how you like it then?

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  13. He5: What the Fuck. Who does quality control on these articles?
    Sinus Infections ARENT a good use for oral antibiotics, as you have poor bloodflow and a nice pool of infection. Antibiotics in general are fabulous, they aren’t for sinus infections.

    Liquid IV is one of the biggest advances of the past century, in terms of public health. Costco sells it for like a dollar a serving.

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  14. [He3] I sort of nod along to this kind of argument, until I remember the existence of people like Martin Shkreli. Yeah eventually drugs become cheap to produce, mostly.

    For ten years I took prescription formulated niacin. You know, a B vitamin that you can buy in bulk off the shelf. I took 3000 mg a night, and my doctor wanted me to get the prescription formulation because the dosages of over-the-counter pills isn’t all that accurate, and a big fluctuation in dose could seriously damage my liver at that level. Also, he said, we have studies for this drug, but not for OTC stuff.

    The pills cost me $350/month. Sometimes my health insurance paid for it, sometimes it didn’t. About a year ago my cardiologist (the new one, the old one retired) said, “Well, the studies are out and niacin doesn’t reduce heart attacks, so the HDL it produces is apparently the wrong kind”. And I went off the drug.

    I still am not thrilled with those drugs costing so much in comparison to OTC prices. I don’t really trust the market. And Tabarrok says that there isn’t really a functioning market in health care. I agree.

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    • “I still am not thrilled with those drugs costing so much in comparison to OTC prices. I don’t really trust the market.”

      and then I said hold up

      okay first off

      so you’re comparing the price of a prescription-formulated item that insurance normally pays for

      against the price of an OTC formulation

      and you’re complaining that the market is failing?

      as soon as you have insurance pay for something then you aren’t the market anymore. It’s the provider and the insurance company. If you pay cash for something that insurance normally covers then of course the price looks weird because those prices aren’t FOR you.

      second, as you point out, the prescription formulation is done by (presumed) professionals who (in theory) carefully measure the dose of active ingredient with an accuracy and precision that are (supposedly) well beyond what we tolerate in factory-made formulations for OTC items. (at least that’s the idea.)

      and to do all this instead of mass-producing pills in a factory costs…$350.

      you portray this as a failure of the free market but you know what? it looks to me like the free market has driven development of precision mass-production technology to the point where niacin of quality that serves most pharmaceutical uses can be provided for two orders of magnitude lower cost than the hand-formulated version.

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      • Ok, I really, really doubt that the price differential is due to manufacturing costs.

        During those months when I paid for the drugs myself (I hadn’t reached my policies deductible), the other drugs, also manufactured to those same standards, were 1/10th the price of Niaspan. Those drugs were generic, and probably had competitors making them. So no, I don’t think that the manufacturing costs were the issue. I think monopoly pricing was the issue. And monopoly pricing is the result of a market failure.

        Precision is an extra cost. I’d expect it to add to the cost. Just not a 10x multiplier. Not a 4x multiplier, a 10x multiplier.

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        • “the other drugs, also manufactured to those same standards…”

          If the OTC drugs were manufactured to the same standards then your doctor wouldn’t have had a reason to require the prescription formulation.

          “monopoly pricing is the result of a market failure”

          Why is it a monopoly? You could certainly go buy the OTC product.

          And if you want the not-OTC product, well, we know how much that costs. That you don’t like the big scary number is not a refutation of a market-based approach to healthcare.

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