Monthly Archives: October 2018

Adding ‘high-lethality weapons’ to the media vocabulary

If you have ever engaged in conversation with a Second Amendment radical and even mentioned the words “assault weapon” or “semi-automatic,” you have likely descended quickly into “pedantry hell.” You will receive a lecture about why these terms are meaningless in their side of the discussion about any reasonable gun regulation. And they have intentionally made this “word corruption” a… Read more »

Albums you missed: Kate Wolf – Safe at Anchor

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This is the second post in a series featuring music that remains in my iTunes playlist and in the complete original running order after a lot of years have passed. This one features the later singer-songwriter Kate Wolf. After a lot of years of playing the singer-songwriter circuit in northern California, Kate Wolf scored her first major television appearance in… Read more »

Some caveats about election statistics

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Even if you remember a few things from that college statistics class (and confess, you probably don’t) the barrage of election statistics around this time of year can get overwhelming and confusing. I will admit that I have fivethirtyeight.com and other election statistics sites in my news feed, but I have learned a few limitations to human knowledge about this… Read more »

Hurricane Michael, F-22 jets and the Report from Iron Mountain

In the wake of the devastating Hurricane Michael, news reports from Tyndall Air Force Base, located just outside of Panama City, Florida, detailed extensive damage to somewhere between $5.8 billion and $7.5 billion worth of F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets left on the ground as the base was abandoned. [1] [2] This story reminded me of a 50-year-old book that was… Read more »

Albums you missed: John Stewart – Cannons in the Rain

This is the first post of a recurring series that I plan to run on Saturdays, looking at albums that remain on my iTunes playlist in original running order after a lot of years. For this first one, a look back at John Stewart, not the comedian and Daily Show host, but rather the less-well-known songwriter of one of the… Read more »

Education and the fixed-cost dilemma

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I wrote a post back in February that looked how an accounting problem called the fixed-cost dilemma skews many medical costs like drugs and ambulances. The same problem occurs in spades in higher education, and that is the focus of this post. If you are going to advocate for “free college education,” I suggest that it is very helpful to… Read more »

Education and the high price of the credential

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In a prior post, I noted that much of the pure “education” delivered by a college or university is alternatively available from other sources for little or no cost. What then are all of the tuition dollars, state funding dollars and student loan dollars paying for? If we are looking to fund “free college for everyone” then where is that… Read more »

Education has always been free

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I was representing my publisher employer at a technology meeting at the dawn of the commercial internet in the mid-1990s when I heard the popular technology guru Esther Dyson presciently say that “the price of information always trends toward zero.” That prediction was not good news for many book publishers like mine, but it has certainly come true in the… Read more »

Politics informed by math #5 – Small conspiracies

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In an earlier post I suggested that you can likely doubt that most alleged grand conspiracies are real on probability grounds alone, as the number of one-to-one connections requiring “trust against a lie” grows factorially. By the same logic, the smaller the conspiracy, the better the odds of keeping the trust factor intact. In this post I will look at a… Read more »

Tax avoidance, tax evasion and Trump

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The New York Times recently published a deep dive into some of the questionable tax practices of the Trump Organization going back to the days of Donald’s late father Fred Trump and his transfer of many millions of dollars in assets to his children through methods of dubious legality. [1] The gist of the story is that first, the Trump… Read more »