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Sciencism? September 16, 2014

Posted by Sobek in News.

I need a new word.  This is something that’s been bugging me for a long while now.  I need a word that means something like “a believer in the importance and efficacy of science.”  Normally you can throw the suffix “-ist” on the end of a word, like “humanist,” “jihadist” or “pacifist,” but I try to do that here, I end up with “scientist,” which means something else, or “sciencist,” which sounds horrible.

I’ve wondered about this for a while now, but mores in the past few days as people have been piling on Neal deGrasse Tyson for his, um, let’s call them ethical lapses.  Like falsely attributing the million dollar space pen to NASA, or egregiously misquoting George W. Bush to make him look dumb (you need to misquote him to do that?), or just flat-out making crap up.


Um Versus Uh September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Some guy made a map of the tendency to use “Um” vs. “Uh” in your speech (it’s actually a map of the statistical significance of that tendency, but you get the point).


As for me, I’ve started using the Japanese “eto,” because I watch way too much anime.

Which brings to mind another point. It’s funny to me that it’s in vogue now to add “right” to the end of sentences, as in: “I know, right?” The Japanese have been doing that for forever, adding “ne” to the end of their sentences. So they would say, “Nice weather, right?” rather than just saying “Nice weather” in the old American way.

We’re turning Japanese, we’re turning Japanese, I really think so.

Economic Growth is Always Around the Corner September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Well, in the 4 months since May, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has lowered its prediction of US economic growth. Significantly.

…the OECD saw the United States’ economy growing 2.1 percent this year before accelerating to 3.1 percent in 2015. In May the OECD forecast U.S. growth of 2.6 percent this year and 3.5 percent next year.

That means the growth this year will be entirely due to inflation.

At this rate, by next May they’ll be predicting 2.1% growth for 2015 as well.

Why So Inversiony? September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Oh, I see:

On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.”

The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Yeah, I’d merge with a foreign company to avoid taxes too.

If Momma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy September 14, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

This is consistent with my experience:

What is the key to a happy and long-lasting marriage? It may be a combination of several factors but apparently the contentment of the wife is one of them. A new research has found that in a marital union, the odds for a happy marriage can be significantly affected by how satisfied the female partner is.

The researchers also observed that regardless of how men feel towards the marriage, husbands tend to be happier when they have wives who are happy with their union.

But I think this correlation exists due more to the downside than the upside. It’s not that the woman’s marital satisfaction makes the man happier, it’s that the woman’s dissatisfaction makes the man’s life hell.

Which, of course, he usually deserves.

Your First Lady September 13, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

Presented without comment (actually, just waiting for Lipstick to comment):

AFP 533318897 A GOV USA DC

Photo by Nicholas Kamm /AFP/Getty Images

Discouraging Slides from the CBO September 12, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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The CBO put up a set of slides today. A sad set of slides which describe the revenue and spending outlook for the US. Trigger Alert: You may want to cut yourself after viewing these.

Let’s start off with their overview chart:


Graphically that looks like:


How Little We Change September 12, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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I’ve been reading F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and at the beginning of Chapter 8 he had this quote:

The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom. –Lord Acton

Lord Acton said that in a speech in 1877, about the French Revolution.

137 years ago, but still as fresh and relevant as it was then.

Almost 14 Years Best Forgotten September 11, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Richard Fernandez had a nice retrospective piece today, talking about the difference between the way things looked one the eve of January 1, 2000 vs. the way they turned out to be.

New Year’s Eve before January 1, 2000 was so long ago that it is hard to remember that it was the future. September 11 was nearly 2 years away. the crash of 2008 was yet unsuspected. America was a hyperpower so unassailable that some feared it would last forever. But no one cared because it was a time without fear. We had a guarantee things would get ever better; the world had settled into the groove of progress. Liberal democracy had won the jousts of history. Dark words like ‘drone’ and ‘NSA’ were as yet unknown. The biggest worry of that festive evening was whether the Y2K bug would kick in the next day.

Then the Business Insider had this interesting, if dated, chart:


Note that the chart was published in 2001, so everything after 2000 was projected, not actual (we’re about 4 years behind the projection). But point taken.

Monday Funny September 8, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Dark humor related by Breitbart UK:

A CNN Reporter, BBC Reporter, and an Israeli commando were captured by terrorists in Iraq. The leader of the terrorists told them that he would grant them each one last request before they were beheaded.

The CNN Reporter said, ‘Well, I’m an American, so I’d like one last hamburger with French fries.” The leader nodded to an underling who left and returned with the burger & fries. The reporter ate it and said “Now, I can die.”

The BBC Reporter said, ‘I’m a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what’s about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job till the end.” The terror leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder and dictated some comments. The reporter then said, ‘Now I can die knowing I stayed true until the end.”

The leader turned and said, “And now, Mr. Israeli tough guy, what is your final wish?”

“Kick me in the ass,” said the soldier.

“What?’ asked the leader, “Will you mock us in your last hour?”

“No, I’m not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass,” insisted the Israeli. So the leader shoved him into the open and kicked him in the ass.

The soldier went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from under his flak jacket, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he jumped to his knapsack, pulled out his carbine and sprayed the terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, all terrorists were either dead or fleeing for their lives.]

As the soldier was untying the reporters, they asked him, “Why didn’t you just shoot them in the beginning? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass first?”

“What?” replied the Israeli, “and have you report that I was the aggressor?”

Q. Why Are US Exports Not the Capitol of Ireland? September 7, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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A. Because they’re not Doublin’

Doubling exports would be a good idea, if there was a way to accomplish it that didn’t rely on sheer dumb luck. Unfortunately for our president (and our economy), he couldn’t find a way and he’s not very lucky.

Five years, he said. Doubling exports was critical to our economic recovery, so he promised to double them in 5 years.

With only 5 months to go, here’s how he’s done:


When I look at that chart, I see the work of a man whose policies killed off export growth a year after he took office.

Hey Manufacturers! No Jobs for You! September 6, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

At the beginning of every month I update the full-time unemployment chart, the exports chart, and the manufacturing jobs chart. The first gives an indication of the health of the employment situation, and the latter two track how the President is doing with key promises he made – promises that were also essential parts of his economic recovery scheme.

So today we take a look at the manufacturing jobs created over the past month, and compare that to the President’s promise to create 1 million manufacturing jobs in 4 years. Next month we’ll be halfway through that 4-year timeline, so we should have created 500K jobs.

Unfortunately, we’ve only created 216K. And last month? We created exactly zero manufacturing jobs.

Here’s your chart:



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