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Showing posts from January, 2013

Science is a process.

Science is a process, not a result. It is in particular a process of epistemology - it's a means of obtaining and verifying knowledge. Anyone who is wed to a theory as opposed to the facts is not a scientist. I've been watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and there is a great episode about Johannes Kepler. You see, Kepler's original theory was that the planets travel around the sun in perfect circles nested in perfect solids nested in other perfect circles and so on. Kepler spent many long, frustrating years trying to match his theory to the data, but he couldn't make it work. At one point, he decided the data he had on hand was flawed, so he sought out Tycho Brahe who had the best data on the motions of the planets. Even with Brahe's excellent data, Kepler couldn't make his theory work. So at long last, he gave up his theory. And in doing so, he was able to make a great scientific achievement - the first laws of planetary motion. You see, the planets tr

Murder in the US

In 2011, I calculate the overall US murder rate as 4.6 per 100,000 population. But if you recalculate this, and assumed that black men murdered at the same rate as everyone else, the overall rate would drop to 1.9 out of 100,000 population. That would give the United States the 147th highest murder rate in the world - or, the 60th best. The insane disproportionate murder rate among US blacks is why the overall US murder rate seems so high. I don't understand why liberals refuse to talk about this. I don't understand why blacks refuse to talk about this. Blacks are just as often the victim as the offender - almost SIXTY PERCENT of murder victims in the US are black. Shouldn't they care about this? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to talk about this? Yet they are silent. And it's not like this is any secret. This culture of violence, abuse of women, and plain thuggery is paraded around daily in pop music. It's glorified on TV shows like "

Krugman: We can just print money to solve our problems

Seriously. I shit you not. The bill above is from a period of Yugoslavian hyperinflation in 1993-1994. But Paul Krugman is arguing Obama can "sidestep" the debt ceiling negotiation by simply printing a trillion dollars. It's nice that Krugman hasn't given up his childhood belief in magic. But in the real world of grown-ups, such thinking is dangerous.

The Solution to Federal Spending - Tax the Rich!

Federal Spending has increased by $1 Trillion a year since Obama took office. These are big, absurd numbers that bear no relation to most people's daily lives. So let's put it into perspective. $1 Trillion, is a million millions. There are 300 million people in the US. Only about half of those, 155 million, are employed. One trillion divided by 155 million (i.e., each working person's share of the increased government spending) is $6,451. Per year, per working person. So if you are a typical family with two wage earners, your family's share of just the *increase* in Federal spending since Obama took office is $12,903. Per year. But the total Federal budget is actually $3.7 Trillion. Your family's share of the total Federal Budget is $47,741. Per year. Now let's take a look at soaking the rich. (You know you want to.) In 2011, about 6 million Americans made more than $200,000 in income that year. (1) Let's make them pay for everything! Ho