Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the benefits of preschool

Here is a link to a paper about the benefits of preschool for disadvantaged Americans.  In a nutshell; college degrees increase to 23%, employment at least 2/3 of the time goes up to 75%, and only 4% were on the forms of public assistance the study was looking at--I presume that this would refer to TANF and the like.  For comparison's sake, about 25% of adults have college degrees, and about 92% of adults have worked full or part time in the past two years.

Their method?  They did so by implementing an incredibly low student-teacher ratio of 3:1 to 6:1, and they found a 4-5 point IQ advantage at age six months that did not widen over the course of the study.

What does this mean?  Either better nurture and nutrition helped these children as infants, or the study used the wrong control sample and the results are meaningless.  Not exactly any argument for making government preschool universal, as President Obama desires, especially given that I'd guess the cost would be about half a trillion dollars annually.  (look at the student-teacher ratio and do the math yourself)

This is another case where the proper thing for government to do is to ask "where are we discouraging traditional family life, and how can we stop doing so?".

Joe Biden, PLEASE take Eddie Eagle

This latest bit from Vice President Biden illustrates why liberals (or at least Joe Biden) desperately need to take the NRA "Eddie Eagle" course, or better yet, a carry permit course.  The advice he gives--step outside and fire warning shots, fire a load of buckshot through the door--is illegal in most towns and cities, a violation of the law called "disturbing the peace."   

Not to mention it bears the strong likelihood of destroying your house, maiming or killing Girl Scouts, or getting yourself killed as the intruder concluded that any nutcase willing to fire "warning shots" from the balcony or through the front door just might pose a credible risk of "death or grievous bodily harm". 

Yes, you got it; Biden's advice would give would-be burglars just cause to kill the homeowner.  With brilliance like Biden's, the nation has no need of stupidity.

Hilarity in the instrument cluster

Apparently, there has been a lot of regulation of speedometers over the years, ranging from Clinton-era limits to about 85mph to modern speedometers going to 40-60 mph faster than the car can go.  So what gives?

Well, the standard claim is that it's a mix of regulation and sourcing, but I have to suggest that it's an abuse of basic principles of gauges.  You want a gauge that will be easy for the user to read in the range that is appropriate, no?

In layman's terms, that means that the speedometer should be easily legible from about 20mph to about 85mph to accomodate the range of legal speeds, and for "performance" cars, you probably want to have the range go well above that so that the driver has a way to avoid exceeding the performance limits of his vehicle, especially his tires.

If regulators can't figure this out, we'll thank them to get out of the way and stop getting people hurt and killed by their ignorance.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Want to go to Mars?

Well, an entrepreneur who formerly worked at JPL (otherwise known as "the group that doesn't specify units of measure and crashes spacecraft into Mars") is organizing a once in a lifetime trip to Mars, and he's looking for a married couple to go on a 500 day trip in "spartan conditions" (Go Green!) to the red planet and back.

It all sounds great, with one tiny little exception; high energy cosmic rays would kill you and your wife.    Don't let that worry you, though; JPL veterans would never, ever would fail to consider a factor that would lead to the failure of a mission.  I believe that the mission is being organized, of course, by "King David's Cruise Line," the same people that brought you the Titanic, the Costa Concordia, and the Carnival Triumph.

This leaves, of course, Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows as the obvious couple for this mission.

A must read on the minimum wage

...from who else but Walter Williams?  Yes, the minimum wage can and does reduce employment prospects for low wage earners unless a rising economy makes it irrelevant.  If only the President and the Democrats would stop reading Krugman and start reading Williams.

Let's get to the root of the problem

I saw an article that indicates that the wealth gap between blacks and whites is bigger than ever, and the problem is getting worse.  While the article points to education, income, homeownership, and inheritances as drivers of lesser family wealth among blacks than among whites, that really misses the main question; why are blacks less likely to get their diplomas and college degrees, or get a better job, or buy a home, or receive an inheritance?

The answer is, of course, that marriage rates among blacks are far lower than they are among whites, to the point where many young black children deride marriage as a "white thing."  The reality here is that if I were not married, I could live very well on a shoestring in an apartment, such a situation, I'd also be unlikely to pass down an inheritance.

So if you want to make things better for blacks--or for that matter, anyone living in poverty--let's think of eliminating ways the government works against marriage.  Maybe it's time to end tax credits for daycare, ensure that there are no tax penalties for marriage, and start teaching kids that if they want to avoid poverty, there are few smarter things that they can do than to get married, finish high school, and stay out of trouble.

With a bit of luck, in a generation or two, we wouldn't be able to distinguish the wealth demographics of blacks (or rural whites) so clearly from the average.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A bit of hilarity

Drinkers of Bugweiser and Michelob are apparently figuring out what drinkers of real beer have known for decades; Anheuser-Busch makes a pretty watery brew, as do most mass market American brewers.  The big mistake they make, though, is in concentrating on the alcohol content instead of the hops and malt--what gives beer its taste.

And so in honor of the world's largest brewer, a joke lifted from Cold Fusion Guy.

There's a big conference of beer producers. At the end of the day, the presidents of all beer companies decide to have a drink in a bar.

The president of 'Budweiser' orders a Bud, the president of 'Miller' orders a Miller Lite, Adolph Coors orders a Coors, and the list goes on. Then the waitress asks Arthur Guinness what he wants to drink, and much to everybody's amazement, Mr. Guinness orders a Coke!

"Why don't you order a Guinness?" his colleagues ask.


"Naah. If you guys won't drink beer, then neither will I."

Seriously, it's been my contention for nearly 25 years that if people drank things that had discernible taste, the amount of drunkenness would plunge.

Dereliction of duty

Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security Heimatssicherheitsdienst is releasing up to 10,000 criminal illegal immigrants in preparation for budget cuts for the "sequester."

I'm thinking that a real leader would admit that releasing 10,000 criminals into the public would be a bad thing, and might do something minor--like cut short his 100 city tour advocating for more government spending and idle Air Force One for a while--in order to avoid this.

As is, I'm thinking that releasing 10,000 criminals into the general population does qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors", even if those released are "only" burglars or such and not murderers and rapists.  Congress, when are you going to take action on this?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why not improve the background check system?

One thing that is difficult for those not involved in advocacy for the right to keep and bear arms to understand is why many gun owners oppose an expansion of the "Brady check."  Who could be opposed to keeping guns out of the hands of felons, after all?

Well, it depends on what kind of felon you're talking about, as a huge number of non-violent crimes are now felonies.  Al Capone aside, tax evasion doesn't make one a lifelong threat to society, does it?  There are thousands of such crimes that ought not make one ineligible to exercise one's 2nd Amendment rights these days.

Moreover, we have the history of the original "Brady check," in which the BATFE illegally kept the records for 18 months, the DOJ has refused to prosecute most people who lie on a firearm purchase form, and nobody has produced clear evidence that the background check has actually made us any safer.  As the NRA and GOA told us, most truly dangerous criminals weren't getting their guns from a gun shop to begin with.

So what President Obama and many Democrats are asking us to accept is an additional burden on the law-abiding that does nothing to prevent crime and enables the government to keep a quiet registry of firearm owners--which can lead to confiscation.  That is reason enough to scuttle any "universal background check" bill, don't you think?

The minimum wage and inflation rates

One other "classic rebuttal" is of the claim that increases in the minimum wage do not drive inflation.  Now, we can either check the data, or we can think about what we would expect to see.  Let's do the latter and see where it takes us.

If, as data assure us, less than 2% of the workforce is paid minimum wage, but increases in the minimum wage tend to put lower-skilled workers out of work, we would expect that those who employ them would strike a balance of higher efficiency (self-service gas stations, burger-flipping machines) and shifting a portion of the cost on to consumers.  On the flip side, those lower skilled workers who have lost their jobs do not have as much to spend.

In short, we would expect something of a wash inasmuch as minimum wage could drive inflation (exactly what a quick review of historic data suggests), and that monetary policy, the overall state of the economy, tax policy, and spending policy would dwarf the effects of the minimum wage--it's at best #5 on the Pareto for variables influencing inflation.

Translated into non-statistician's terms, it means that designing an experiment to test the hypothesis is in itself a fool's errand almost guaranteed to confound the measurable mean shift of your test variable with the ordinary variance of your more important variables.   Translated into parents' terms, it means that at least one more person with no clue about experimental design is probably at some college teaching economics to your kids, telling them from behind a tweed logic-proof jacket that it matters that increases in the minimum wage do not consistently result in inflation spikes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

History of minimum wage and unemployment

With regards to the historical record and the minimum wage, maybe we'd do well to see what's happened with unemployment, and how it correlates to minimum wage hikes.  Here is the history of the minimum wage, and here is the history of unemployment in the United States.

From the first link, we learn that hikes in the minimum wage appeared in 1938, 1946, 1950, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, from 1975 to 1981, in 1991 and 1992, in 1997 and 1998, and from 2007 to 2009.

From the second link, we learn that unemployment spiked in  1938, 1946, 1950, 1958, from 1976 to 1982, from 1991 to 1993, and of course from 2008 to 2010.   In short, every increase in the minimum wage except for those in the 1960s and the 1997-8 increases were accompanied by corresponding increases in unemployment.  During the 1960s, of course, many prospective minimum wage earners were sent to work in a place called "Vietnam", and in 1997 and 1998, the dot-com boom was still underway. 

In short, we're seeing exactly what sound economists would predict.  When the economy is sound, increasing the minimum wage is meaningless because people are already earning more than the minimum wage.  When it is not, it's suicidal because it puts otherwise-employable workers into a situation where they must demand a wage that is higher than their productivity.  That situation is--at least among smart businessmen--called "unemployment."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More thoughts on the minimum wage

In this post from Mitch, one of the resident liberals linked to this study, which claims that the effect of raising the minimum wage is minor.  Now the study is remarkably reticent to actually provide the statistical data, so it ought to be taken with a grain of salt ("In God We Trust, all others must bring data"), but one piece of data it does present is that a 10% increase in the minimum wage corresponds over time to a 1% decrease in employment among low wage workers.

So let's work with that.   Let's assume, for what it's worth, that "low wage workers" includes about the bottom quintile, or about 30 million workers.  So that 1% decrease in employment impacts about 300,000 workers, which is about the same number of people as are currently employed by Sears, Roebuck and Company--which now includes Kmart as well.  In short, three of every forty minimum wage workers would lose their jobs.

In short, even a 10% increase in the minimum wage impacts a LOT of people.  But of course, the story gets worse, as President Obama and Governor Dayton Messinger are proposing 24% and 31% increases in the minimum wage.  So we would expect, if the relationship were linear, that over 700,000 people would lose their jobs from Obama's minimum wage proposal--seven out of forty--and we can thank God that Mark Dayton is not the President.

Of course, few things are linear in real life, and so I've constructed a model assuming that the actual productivity of labor is normally distributed somewhere above the minimum wage, and that those workers whose productivity does not exceed the minimum wage will lose their jobs.  If we assume that the current minimum wage deprives only 2.3% of these workers of work (-2 standard deviations), then we arrive at a mean productivity of $8.95/hour with a standard deviation of about $0.85.

Shift the minimum wage to $9/hour, and we then predict overall job losses of approximately half of minimum wage workers.   Any historical comparisons?

Glad you asked.  From 2007 to 2009, there were three consecutive increases in the minimum wage exceeding 10%.  Here's what happened to unemployment among young people:  it more than doubled as overall unemployment went from 4.6% to 10%.  When the increases in the minimum wage stopped in 2009, the trend in unemployment quickly stabilized and started to reverse.  In short, it's exactly what one would predict if the productivity of entry level labor were normally distributed somewhere above the minimum wage.

Now granted, there were other things going on at this time, but reality is that it shouldn't take a PhD economist to realize that when the price of labor rises, less of it will be demanded.  So if someone tells you he's trying to increase the minimum wage for your good, let him know that you'd be thankful if he didn't try to "help" you that way.

Oh, and how did that group of PhD economists miss the obvious?  By not looking in the right places, of course.

Monday, February 18, 2013

About that argument for a minimum wage hike

One of the arguments that President Obama made in his push for an increase in the minimum wage is that the single mother of two children earning the minimum wage should not be in poverty.  Now, that seems like a commendable notion, except for the little question of..... does a woman get to be the single mother of two children?  There are of course only three answers; she had them out of wedlock, she was divorced by her husband, or she divorced her husband.  Let's go further; 40% of births today are to unmarried parents (if Mom is below 30, it's close to 60%), and about two thirds of divorces are initiated by the wife these days.  In short, most single mothers get that way by their own choice.  I'd guess that it's well over 80% of the total from the statistics and my own experience.

Now apart from the question of how insane our welfare system is, paying very handsomely for people not to work, let's consider the question again; should we get worked up because women who freely choose to be single parents find themselves in poverty, or should we say "maybe they should have considered this possibility before accepting the sperm donation or divorcing their husband."?

I don't favor letting anyone starve or living in Dickensian penury--and again, our welfare system isn't exactly allowing this--but I do think it would be very appropriate if we did, as a society, allow people to suffer the consequences of their actions just a little bit.  Maybe we could start--look at that graph again--by telling single moms that if they aren't working a job, they don't need full time childcare for their kids. 

About those high powered "assault rifles"

Have been doing some thinking about the "shootout" in which former LAPD officer Dorner participated, and how despite being in a wooden cabin, the only bullet wound he received was the one he inflicted upon himself.

In short, either those .223 rounds being fired at Dorner were not intended to hit him, or they weren't capable of penetrating the siding, sheathing, and sheetrock of that house.  Neither is a good argument for banning assault weapons, really.  I suspect that two wounded officers who will be making a full recovery are pretty glad that Dorner wasn't carrying a rifle chambered in .308, 30.06, 7mm, or the like.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Modest Proposal....

.....for the revitalization of American Education, courtesy of the teachers' unions, no less.  How does it go?

Simple.  The teachers' unions argue, more or less, that schools which underperform the average ought to be closed--at least, according to Mitch Berg, when the subject is charter schools.  Well, sauce for the goose, you know, and I'll just have to suggest that we ought to get rid of the bottom 10% of schools.

Au revoir, Chicago Public and District of Columbia Public. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Roundup

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that it might be nice to ban Michael Bloomberg, whose latest goal is to ban styrofoam.  

Activists are complaining that Dreamworks is producing its next sequel in the Kung Fu Panda series in China, noting that producing the film here could "create jobs".   Well, yes, you could reduce the profits that would fund the next Dreamworks film by doing so, I guess, but that doesn't guarantee jobs for Americans, to put it mildly.  The obvious questions for me, though, are whether you could get better kung fu artists and settings in China (almost guaranteed), and why on earth would a concept like "Kung Fu Panda" be good for three movies?

Want to go on a cruise?  Take a look at the latest from King David's Cruise Line.  Four days of baloney sandwiches on a filth-strewn, darkened, airless ship because there was no redundancy in propulsion or power generation. 
Dr. Keith Ablow states my opion of Dr. Ben Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast just about perfectly. 

Skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her child is said to reduce postpartum depression.   You mean like "breastfeeding"?  That maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't be subsidizing daycare?

And finally, a bit of hilarity; Rep. Shiela Jackson-Lee (D-TX) is arguing that no cuts in government should be made because government has already been cut to the bone.  Yeah, "cut to the bone" is what I think when I think of all those marble buildings in DC and 3000 calorie "lunches" for the inauguration.

Want to reduce crime?

Then take a look at this document, Minnesota's description of who commits crimes, upon whom they commit them, and what the likely motivations are. 

For example, with the crime of murder, most analyses go simply to page 17 and note that about 3/4 of murders are committed with a firearm, and the vast majority of those are committed with a handgun.

On the other hand, we can go to Figure 7, where the situation of the murder is given.  In this case, 21 result from domestic/lovers' quarrels, 16 are the result of gang activity, 19 result from other criminal activity, 19 are the result of another argument, and 12 have unknown causes. 

In short, if you don't want to be on either side of a murder in Minnesota, your best bet is to avoid gangs, criminals, and take care of your family relationships well.   Get rid of guns, and you might simply replace gun murders with knife and blunt instrument murders, really. 

Now I would guess that the drastic drop in murder rates since 1994 has something to do with a very simple factor; we are putting criminals in jail and keeping them there longer, really until many of them no longer have the "vim and vigor" needed to be a "competitive thug."  If we want it to drop further, we need to continue this and figure out what government can do to reduce family breakdown.

Oh, and it should be said; the drop in murder rates probably also has something to do with the fact that criminals can increasingly expect their victims to shoot back at them.  Like it or not, the increase in carry permits and guns out there since 1994 corresponds nicely with the drop in murder rates. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SOTU unwrapped

As a public service to those who, like myself, were doing something more productive during the SOTU address last night, like watching MSU wallop Michigan in hoops or the AKC finals, here's a little bit of unwrapping of the President's SOTU address with fake quotes from Dear Leader himself:

Proposal for minimum wage hikes:  "Never having run a business, I have no clue that the cost of a commodity influences demand for it."

Proposal for more "green energy" funding:  "Just because half the companies my administration funded went bankrupt doesn't mean I don't know a sound investment from a bad one, does it?"

Proposal for more funding for Head Start:  "If we get everyone to participate, then it won't be so obvious that Head Start participants are indistiguishable from other students by third grade."

Proposal for more taxes to pay for it all:  "Never having run a business, I have no clue that when you take resources away from business owners, it changes how much they invest in their businesses."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Exactly why we should leave the U.N.

Ambassador Susan Rice, when queried about what would be done regarding North Korea's recent nuclear test, noted that they'll "do the usual drill", which of course means a lot of talk and exactly no action against a regime that has not hesitated to export their admittedly sub-par armaments.

With effectiveness like that, it's long past time to return the United Nations to its rightful status as a debating society, and resettle headquarters in Somalia or Teheran.  Well said, Ambassador Rice!

Exactly, and no mea culpa

Here's a great article about coming demographic disasters in our country, courtesy of Les freres Bayly  The article points out the disasters of below-replacement fertility rates around the world, and notes that it has a lot to do with becoming a "professional" society where even the secretaries administrative staff require at least a bachelor's degree, Social(ist) (in)Security, and more, but really, there's a simpler way of putting it.

If you, and everyone you know, fails to have at least a couple of kids, good luck finding someone to change your bedpan in a few decades when you're in the nursing home.  Or, put differently, when Social Security and Medicare start costing over 25% of GDP--and that is likely if you take an honest look at the actuarial statistics--and the young face greatly diminished prospects because of the burden of caring for the elderly, senilicide may someday seem like not such a bad option.

Changing diapers for a few years, or floating to your death on a small iceberg.  Your choice, apparently.

Monday, February 11, 2013


According to "sources" (h/T Vox Day), the same police department that mistook a royal blue Tacoma and a black Ridgeline for a gray Titan is said to be using drones to hunt down a suspect.

Drones piloted by people who are apparently colorblind, can't distinguish a compact/midsize from a full size pickup, cannot distinguish the very different body shapes of these vehicles, and cannot read two inch tall logos saying things like "Toyota Tacoma" or "Honda Ridgeline" or four inch tall Honda and Toyota logos.  What could possibly go wrong here?

Hopefully this is just more "make believe" from "sources" so brave they will not be named, or else Kevlar bodysuits may come into style in LA in a hurry.  You can't be too careful when you're delivering newspapers in the city of angels, after all.

What happens during that 3am call?

Well, that was Hillary's famous question, and now we know what happens when the call is made, not at 3am but at 5pm eastern time.  Not only Mr. Obama, but also Mrs. Clinton, dropped the ball, and having done so, created a make-believe story to cover it up.

Just like with the Health Insurance Deform Act, the UAW Bailout, solar subsidies, and a host of other issues.  If only we'd listened back in 2008 before it was too late.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Why the Department of Energy doesn't work

I had an interesting discussion with one of my coworkers recently about the possibility of a thorium nuclear reactor.  In a nutshell, the DOE made one, it was melt-down proof, it could not generate material for a bomb, and the fuel is a trace element in coal.  In short, it should have been a shoo-in for more research except for one thing; the DOE wanted to help the DOD make bombs and assist the public sector in installing more light water uranium reactors.  Hence, it was shut down.

Now I cannot determine whether a thorium reactor is feasible and economical, but it illustrates a key problem with the DOE; they are operating under the idea that the reason certain technologies are not succeeding in the marketplace is a simple function of a lack of economies of scale.  Pay for the capital, and you'll get them to a sustainable economy of scale, right?

Wrong.  Consider ethanol distillation; literally thousands of companies around the world (and untold numbers of moonshiners) are distilling ethanol, most of them with a pretty good efficiency.  Most any HVAC technician of appreciable skill can get you set up--at least if it's legal for you.

In the same way, consider the hybrid car or the windmill; after over a century of making electric motors, do we really think that we're going to achieve breakthroughs in technology that reduce the cost by the order of magnitude it would take to make this technology competitive?  Do we think that in a world with Intel, Micron, and a host of others making ever more integrated circuits, we're going to be able to make solar cells that much cheaper?

In short, most DOE funding is chasing a false premise; that the capital costs incurred by startup windmill, vehicle, solar power, and other companies are a unique function of the technology.  In reality, few new energy companies have created any breakthrough technologies.

Now if the DOE were "merely" throwing away forty billion dollars a year, that would be one thing, but let's consider what else we're doing by subsidizing these (thanks Mitt Romney) loser companies; we are reducing the possible payoff for the guy who truly does have a game-changing idea that would revolutionize how we get energy.

In short, the biggest enemy of inexpensive, clean energy is our own Department of Energy.  If you're thinking of places where the federal government might cut spending without hurting the economy, here's a quick forty billion bucks that can be cut.

Friday, February 08, 2013

No brain, no pain....

.....seems to be the mantra of many anti-gun lawmakers.   How so?

Well, it' not simply that I disagree with them.  Here in Minnesota, Rep. Erik Simonson (CCCP-Duluth) has introduced a bill  (H/T ShotInTheDark) that would ban all body armor without a permit approved by the local sheriff.   The trouble is that industrial protective gear and motorcycle/snowmobile apparel like that used by loggers and snowmobilers around Simonson's district uses the same technology as a bulletproof vest.   So a bill for public safety would arguably have the effect of making some of Minnesota's greatest industries and motor sports far more dangerous--and possibly cripple winter tourism in Minnesota to boot.

Also, in California, bills have been submitted to make it illegal to own any firearm with a detachable magazine.  Because, of course, the Ruger 10/22 is far more lethal than a mere revolver or lever action rifle chambered in .454 Casull, and its ten rounds is far deadlier than the fifteen my Marlin has in its tube magazine. 

Nothing to fear

A common proverb among those who endorse the militarization of the police is that if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

Well, those people need to talk to the Los Angeles are drivers of a black Honda Ridgeline and a royal blue Toyota Tacoma, whose compact/midsize pickups of the wrong color, make, and model were confused for one of the larger full size pickups, the Nissan Titan.  Both vehicles--very different from the distinctively styled Titan--were shot up, and there were some serious injuries.

I realize that sometimes things go very wrong in this line of work, but I think that a quick look at a suspect vehicle to find it's the wrong color, size, design, and manufacturer just might be possible.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A world gone mad

Apparently, CBS feels the need to send a note to those attending the Grammy Awards that indecent exposure will not be tolerated.  Now beyond the obvious fact that modern pop music seems to be more about exposed skin and attention-getting stunts than, say, music, and the fact that this shows a society in decline, I've got one question.

If indeed people should know that certain attire or lack thereof is inappropriate in public--and of course they should--wouldn't it be a lot more fun simply to have a few policemen offstage and arrest those who are exposing themselves--and then watch the auditorium clear out as all those underdressed "musicians" fled for the exits?

H/T ColdFusionGuy

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Worth a special trip

If you've got a Bug-Light-drinking friend that you'd like to bring to repentance, I can heartily recommend the seasonal brew "Hopslam" from Bell's of Kalamazoo.  What an ordinary IPA is to most American mass market brews, Hopslam is to ordinary IPAs.  Bold, citrusy, and only available now.  Get some while it lasts.

If the taste won't win you over--and it should--keep in mind that hops are rich in anti-cancer compounds

Monday, February 04, 2013

I love a story.....

....with a happy ending.  Detroit high school coach is accosted by street thugs while escorting students to their cars.  One of the street thugs will not need to be incarcerated, saving taxpayers thousands to millions of dollars.

Wayne LaPierre is right.   A few more teachers presenting this lesson, and it's a good bet that a lot fewer people will be targeting our schools.

Friday, February 01, 2013

I have a dream....

....that someday, we will have a President and a Congress with a reality-based worldview.  What am I getting at now?

The EPA is mandating ever more production of a fuel, cellulosistic ethanol, which has never been shown to be efficiently mass produced, and that after a court struck down their (obviously failed) mandate from last year.

President Obama has introduced a "compromise" on his contraceptive and abortafacient coverage mandate that allows companies to "not pay" for coverage as long as the employees get that coverage "for free."  Wouldn't it be nice if the courts would start to strike down mandates that are a contradiction in terms and violate the TANSTAAFL principle?  Or if the President learned this basic principle of economics?

Along with the insanity of announcing the opening of combat roles to women before any woman has ever made it through infantry training, it's becoming more and more clear that Washington, DC, is not a reality based town.  Unfortunately, our nation's survival depends on it becoming one.

A quality problem I'm glad I don't have to solve

Perhaps this explains why engineers don't generally make it into positions of high political authority, but I've been thinking about the question of whether Obama's plan to integrate the infanry and cavalry by sex has any chance.

Why so?  Well, a quick look at statistics indicate that women are at least a standard deviation smaller than men, and at the same size, are at least a standard deviation weaker.  It parallels what we see in various sports; female Olympic athletes (300 individuals of about 30 million women, about 4 sigma) are competitive in non-contact sports with good high school boys.

So we would assume that maybe 1% of women in the military would make it through infantry school when a woman needs to be three  or more standard deviations above average in "infantry suitability" where a man needs to be only one standard deviation above the average for his age. 

So what we have is a situation where at least one of the following will happen: (a) reduced standards for women and perhaps men ("let's fill some body bags"), (b) amazing work in determining who the 1% of women are who might make it, (c) devotion of large numbers of infantry school slots to women who have no real chance of completion, and (d) lifelong injuries to women pushed into training they are not capable of completing.

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on (a) and (c), and would expect (d) hospitals and body bags to be filled as soldiers discovered in combat that they were not physically capable for that task.

I'd love to be wrong here, but this is where the data points.  Those who claim to be "for" women are doing their best to get as many women as possible maimed or killed.