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Archive for October 2009

democracy

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[I]t is the duty of a genuine democrat to see to it that the masses are not excessively poor. Poverty is the cause of the defects of democracy. That is the reason why measures should be taken to ensure a permanent level of prosperity. This is in the interests of all classes, including the prosperous themselves; and therefore the proper policy is to accumulate any surplus revenue in a fund, and then to distribute this fund in block grants to the poor.

-Aristotle

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Written by geek

25/10/2009 at 11:41 pm

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cool illustrations

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From a random google link that led me to Laughing Squid, I found the page of Bryan Christie with some interesting illustration work. There’s one piece with the history of Mars space missions and another that illustrates the relative size of various skyscrapers.

Written by geek

22/10/2009 at 2:28 am

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betting against america

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There’s this Garrison Keiller piece and I expected it to be sort of a joke, but he just unloads:

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear among Republicans is 68 percent envy and 32 percent sour grapes. Here is an idealistic, articulate young president who is enormously popular everywhere in the world except in the states of the Confederacy, and here sit the 28 percent of the American people who still thought Mr. Bush was doing a heckuva job at the end, gnashing their teeth, hoping and praying for something horrible to happen such as an infestation of locusts or the disappearance of the sun, something to make the president look bad, which is not a good place for a political party to be, hoping for the country to slide into chaos. When you bet against America, you are choosing long odds.

Written by geek

16/10/2009 at 6:24 am

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rules for stray cats

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Rules for stray cats.

Sample:

17. Stray cats will sleep outside.
18. Stray cats will sleep in the garage.
19. Stray cats will sleep in the house.
20. Stray cats will sleep in a cardboard box lined with an old blanket.
21. Stray cats will sleep in the special Kitty-Komfort-Bed with non-allergenic lambs wool pillow.
22. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed.
23. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed, except at the foot.
24. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers.
25. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers except at the foot.

Good stuff.

Written by geek

16/10/2009 at 6:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

crime and the city solution

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What factors caused the dramatic decrease in crime in the US during the 1990s? Tougher sentencing? More police? Economic factors?

According to some studies, the regulation of lead in gasoline and other sources is responsible for not just some, but almost all of the decrease:

The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children’s exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.

What makes Nevin’s work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.

“It is stunning how strong the association is,” Nevin said in an interview. “Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead.”

Through much of the 20th century, lead in U.S. paint and gasoline fumes poisoned toddlers as they put contaminated hands in their mouths. The consequences on crime, Nevin found, occurred when poisoning victims became adolescents. Nevin does not say that lead is the only factor behind crime, but he says it is the biggest factor.

That’s certainly not the only reason to regulate lead:

A new research study links performance on SAT scores to lead poisoning in the home

The Republican response?

Republican leadership in Washington attacked $100 million allocated for lead paint removal in President Obama’s economic recovery package as “wasteful” spending

Written by geek

14/10/2009 at 3:16 am

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out there having fun in the warm california sun

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From an article in Teh Graudian:

California’s education system has become so poor so quickly that it is now effectively failing its future workforce. The percentage of 19-year-olds at college in the state dropped from 43% to 30% between 1996 and 2004

We will be feeling the effects of this depression for the rest of our lives.

Written by geek

10/10/2009 at 11:06 pm

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today

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NASA bombed the moon, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and Marge Simpson appeared on the cover of Playboy.

I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

Written by geek

10/10/2009 at 2:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized