An obvious link that hadn’t occurred to me: our levels of incarceration hurt our mobility. People in jail can’t leave, of course, but there are other reasons as well. Richard Florida also writes about the make-up of “Stuck America.”

A look at Stanford’s free online education experiment.

ED Kain argues that America needs 1Gbps Internet in every home. I honestly don’t think that top speeds are the issue. The primary issue is reliability. Both in terms of having it available everywhere and in reliability of speed. The maximum speed is just a number. The average speed is more helpful. The minimum speed during periods of high usage is the most important thing.

The story of a woman who jokingly tried to sell her husband on eBay.

I love this! We should use landfill junk to expand Manhattan.

An interesting story on the link between video game playing and creativity. Kudos to the article for not conflating correlation with causation (it wouldn’t be surprising if more creative people were attracted to video games in the first place). The fact that computers and the Internet were “unrelated to creativity” is itself interesting, as these things are supposed to be the death knell to creativity compared to reading Dickens, locked in chains, in a basement.

What law schools can learn from Zappos!

Half Sigma likes to talk about how unhealthy marathoning is. Could cardio exercise itself be a problem?

I agree with the “weirdly sinister” description of this 1967 IBM ad that Jim Henson put together.

Should antivirus companies be allowed to overlook spyware put on your computer by the police? I find this question refreshing, as I fear the question may ultimately become: Should they be allowed not to overlook it?

Also, to what degree should police be allowed to use license plate readers? I’m having trouble coming up with a good libertarian argument against this, other than just a vague sense that the government should not be able to track us so easily. But the expectation of privacy on where you drive your publicly-registered vehicle has to be pretty minimal.

So in 1999, a federal judge ruled that police can bar people with high IQs from becoming police officers. From a constitutional standpoint, this makes sense. And in a way, I guess it’s personality profiling. But once this makes its way to the courts, what police force wants to defend the policy that cops shouldn’t be too smart? It’s a series of jokes that write themselves.


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24 Responses to Linkluster Protons in a Stable Bismuth Atom

  1. Samson J. says:

    A look at Stanford’s free online education experiment.

    I’ll have to have a look at that! Sounds right up my home-schooling alley. And speaking of that:

    ED Kain argues that America needs 1Gbps Internet in every home.

    Very interesting topic. My first inclination (instinctive Luddite that I am) is to naysay the proposal – my own home internet is like, whatever the next step up is from dial-up, and it works fine for us. But I’m open to all the ways that that this could revolutionize education and employment and make it easier for folks to stay in their home communities.

    Should antivirus companies be allowed to overlook spyware put on your computer by the police? I find this question refreshing, as I fear the question may ultimately become: Should they be allowed not to overlook it?

    Wow, it’s amazing how the pace of technology means that we are constantly confronted with new forms of legal dilemmas that no legal system ever had to grapple with before.

    I love this! We should use landfill junk to expand Manhattan.

    I grudgingly admit that this is cool.

    What law schools can learn from Zappos!

    I’ve enjoyed Half Sigma’s exposition on the law school scam. I really don’t think it’s the same here in Canadia since going to a “good school” isn’t as important here, but I could be wrong. Anyhow, letting first-year students off with a half-price refund sounds like it may not be a bad idea. We lost, I think, 3 students from our medical school class. That’s awfully tough, to be like $40,000 further in debt and have nothing to show for it.

  2. Peter says:

    Extending Manhattan to Governor’s Island sounds enticing, but considering that New York has been trying to build the desperately needed Second Avenue Subway since the 1920’s (and has paid for it three times), it may be a VERY long wait.

  3. trumwill says:

    But I’m open to all the ways that that this could revolutionize education and employment and make it easier for folks to stay in their home communities.

    Well, I wish I could give you a schpeil about how it will do that, but I don’t think it will. I do think that there are definite possibilities for education, but I think kids will leave home anyway.

    Wow, it’s amazing how the pace of technology means that we are constantly confronted with new forms of legal dilemmas that no legal system ever had to grapple with before.

    It can certainly complicate things, though it still comes down to expectations of privacy. The existential question is whether the increasing ability and willingness to put our lives out there for everyone to see will ever take hold as a permanently diminished right to privacy.

    (Facebook means the government has the right to your email without a warrant, because Internet Means No Privacy.)

    We lost, I think, 3 students from our medical school class. That’s awfully tough, to be like $40,000 further in debt and have nothing to show for it.

    At my wife’s medschool alma mater (a large state university), they did absolutely everything they could to prevent people from leaving. Bending over backwards. Because at that point they’ve invested in you.

    One of my wife’s colleagues was kicked out of residency for incompetence and was blackballed. She had three years of medical school and one-and-a-half years of residency, but no means to ever practice medicine. That’s how I found out the above. “How did she pass medical school?” “They probably wouldn’t let her fail.”

    I’ve heard, completely anecdotally and so probably untrue, that law schools intentionally fail people out after the second year if they are pretty sure that they will fail the bar to improve bar passage scores.

  4. trumwill says:

    Subway since the 1920’s (and has paid for it three times), it may be a VERY long wait.

    For Colosse it was Monorail. They’d pass the funding for monorail, they’d use the money to add more cops. Then they’d need more money for monorail… the monorail never got built and light-rail happened instead.

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    I’m surprised to see you citing Florida. His thesis is, essentially, “Things that I find esthetically pleasing are the solution to all our social problems.”

  6. Brandon Berg says:

    I love this! We should use landfill junk to expand Manhattan.

    They do this in Hong Kong a lot. If you take a look at a map of Hong Kong, especially Kowloon and the New Territories, you’ll notice several parts of the coastline which are unnaturally straight. Tokyo’s coastline, as well, appears to be almost entirely artificial.

  7. Samson J. says:

    I do think that there are definite possibilities for education, but I think kids will leave home anyway.

    Well, we’ll see. Anyway the practice and culture of “moving away from home” for college or work is much bigger in the US than here.

  8. trumwill says:

    Brandon, most of the time I bring Florida up, it’s in the context that you mention: Those things I like are actually demonstrably beneficial to society. Major causation problems (owning a yacht will make you rich!), but his numbers-crunching is often illuminating.

    Tokyo’s coastline, as well, appears to be almost entirely artificial.

    But was it artificially created with junk?

  9. trumwill says:

    Anyway the practice and culture of “moving away from home” for college or work is much bigger in the US than here.

    My snarky response: Yeah, because there’s only two cities to move to! (made ironic by my favorite Canadian city being neither of those two: Calgary).

    My genuine response: When I was in Toronto a long time ago, I was impressed that all of the people I met who lived in Toronto were actually from Toronto. On the other hand, I met a fair number of people who were from Toronto originally but arrived at the wedding by flying in from their new home in the United States.

  10. Kirk says:

    So in 1999, a federal judge ruled that police can bar people with high IQs from becoming police officers.

    It’s not okay to discriminate against dumb people, so why is it okay to do it to those who are smart?

  11. Brandon Berg says:

    Technically, it’s not illegal to discriminate against people with low IQs. But in practice doing so has a disparate impact on another demographic which it is illegal to discriminate against. You don’t have that problem with discriminating against smart people.

  12. Brandon Berg says:

    Not so sure about the “demonstrably” part. Granted that I’ve never read any of Florida’s books, but in the articles of his that I’ve read, it always seems to me that the data he presents are consistent with multiple causal models, and he just picks the one he finds most emotionally satisfying.

  13. trumwill says:

    Wow, I made a mess of that. My comment should have said (and was trying to get at):

    [M]ost of the time I bring Florida up, it’s in the context of criticizing him along the same lines you are: His claim thathose things that he likes are actually demonstrably beneficial to society in an objective sense. His conclusions have major causation problems (owning a yacht will make you rich!), but his numbers-crunching is often illuminating (albeit not necessarily in the way he suggests).

  14. Brandon Berg says:

    That makes more sense.

    But was it artificially created with junk?

    Yes!

    (To clarify, we’re now talking about Tokyo’s land reclamation projects, not Florida’s research.)

  15. ? says:

    Brandon called it. If discriminating against low IQs has a disparate impact on blacks, discriminating against high IQs has a disparate impact on whites. Why should one be allowed but not the other?

  16. ? says:

    The really good kind of exercise, resistance training, makes you more functional and stronger. That is the only sensible definition of fitness if we follow the hippocratic oath with our selves.

    Okay, but couldn’t a similar article be written about overtraining on weights? Personally, my heart seems to be doing great, but I’ve already developed rotator-cuff and tennis-elbow from resistance training.

    All exercise probably involves tradeoffs, and at some point those tradeoffs are net-negative. But I don’t think that should discourage, say, overweight people from getting off the couch.

  17. trumwill says:

    Brandon called it. If discriminating against low IQs has a disparate impact on blacks, discriminating against high IQs has a disparate impact on whites. Why should one be allowed but not the other?

    Disparate impact can be sidestepped if it can be demonstrated that the basis for the test is relevant to the job. And in this case, there is no reason to give people the test except to discriminate on the basis of how well they did on it. We see here that they used it to discriminate against people who did very well, but they almost certainly use it against people who did poorly. So somehow or another, they have already justified the disparate impact of the test.

  18. trumwill says:

    But I don’t think that should discourage, say, overweight people from getting off the couch.

    Maybe or maybe not, though it’s worth pointing out here that exercise is not shown to be a particularly good tool for weight loss. When people do successfully lose weight, it’s far more likely to be due to a reduction in consumption.

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