Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat

It is virtually impossible to work on my review of literature paper on the desktop computer in one bedroom of my house--and also answer the door for the trick-or-treaters.

Oh well, I'm almost done with the paper.

Some Would Call This "Hate"

If you're willing to give this guy a pass, YOU are part of the problem:
So yeah, I don't want the GOP defeated.

I want it immolated.

I want it razed to the foundation, reduced to a moonscape, left unlivable even for cockroaches, much less newts. I want it treated like boot heels treat ants and furnaces treat ice cubes, treated like a middle-school basketball team playing the '71-'72 Lakers.

Defeat is not enough. Let there be humiliation. Let there be pain.
Yeah, it's the Republicans who won't reach across the aisle.  It's the Republicans who are dividing the country.  It's the Republicans who won't be reasonable.

As I've said 8 zillion times:  Conservatives think liberals are wrong.  Liberals think conservatives are evil.  And that's why liberals are always so angry, so hostile, so violent--because those are the correct responses to evil.  But when you think that half your fellow countrymen are evil, that doesn't bode well for the body politic.

Sad News Today

Over two years ago I wrote this post about my visit to St. Maarten, and included video and pictures.  Anyone who's been to St. Maarten will tell you that one of the highlights is being on Maho Beach, watching as the airplanes fly only a few meters above you on their way to the runway only a few dozen meters away.  Seriously, go see the post above!

And then lament that 747's will no longer fly into St. Maarten, removing one of the highest of the highlights:
The world's scariest airplane landing—or coolest, depending on who you ask—happens when KLM flies its Boeing 747 flight into St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport. For years, crowds have gathered on Maho Beach to watch the four-engine jumbo jet barely clear the sand before landing at the Caribbean airport.

But the times are a-changing, and the iconic 747 will no longer make this crazy landing following its final touchdown this morning. KLM flight 785 will start being operated by the much smaller (but still pretty impressive) Airbus 330 on October 30.
I'd still go back.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The "Have You No Decency" Crowd

I remind the gentle reader that it was Republicans who pushed for Trent Lott to step down as majority leader after his comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party were made public:
Remember all the shock, horror, dis-endorsements and refusals to appear with the candidate among establishment Republicans when the tape was released of Trump saying "pussy"? Prima facie evidence of sexual assault!!!

Have there been, are there or will there be any such repugnance among Democrats not just over these most recent revelations but also for the whole ghastly modus operandi of the Clintons? Or is this just now accepted as part of the way political business is done? If so, the rot in the Republic runs much deeper than anyone imagined. 
Yeah, what he said.

The temperature was steaming hot before Dems turned on Anthony Weiner.  They "stand by their man" no matter what, and don't do what's right until the situation is darned near untenable.

Friday, October 28, 2016

My Advice To Donald Trump's Campaign Manager

Don't let him mention today's FBI story.
Don't let him mention the latest Wikileaks story.
Don't let him talk about whose hoo-hah he wants to grab, or what women he wants to sue.

Let him talk about his plan for the first 100 days. 
Let him talk about his Black New Deal. 
Let him talk only of a positive vision. 
Let him talk only if scripted. 

The first rule is, when the enemy is conducting a circular firing squad, don't get in the middle of it.

But if anyone could get in the middle of it, it's Donald Trump.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Press Is Complicit

The only way to ensure that Clinton wins--it's not like she has a record of success to run on--is to change the subject.  Talk about anything but what matters--and no, Donald Trump's asinine comments from a decade ago don't matter as much as what Clinton has been doingHere are some things we might be talking about if people were interested in what's best for the country rather than just ensuring we get our 2nd affirmative action president in a row:
We need to be talking about five wars, the national debt, rising health care costs and corruption.
Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I've Never Seen It Put So Succinctly

From the Instapundit himself, quoting Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comic):
THE BULLY PARTY: Scott Adams: “I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.”
If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.

If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.

If you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.

On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.

We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.

We also know Clinton’s side hired paid trolls to bully online. You don’t hear much about that.

Yesterday, by no coincidence, Huffington Post, Salon, and Daily Kos all published similar-sounding hit pieces on me, presumably to lower my influence. (That reason, plus jealousy, are the only reasons writers write about other writers.)

Joe Biden said he wanted to take Trump behind the bleachers and beat him up. No one on Clinton’s side disavowed that call to violence because, I assume, they consider it justified hyperbole.

Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion. But facts don’t matter because facts never matter in politics. What matters is that Clinton’s framing of Trump provides moral cover for any bullying behavior online or in person. No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right?
It’s who they are, it’s what they do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How To Win Friends And Influence People

Dr. King accomplished a lot more than these people ever will, and he did it without being a bully or an a-hole:
Left-wing students at the University of California, Berkeley are protesting again. This time, however, these students are calling for “safe spaces” for transgendered people, as well as “spaces of color” at the University (which they already have).

The protesters are also harassing white students trying to study, barring their path across a key bridge while allowing students of color safe passage.

The protest, which began last Friday, blocked Berkeley’s Sather Gate, disrupted studying students in the Student Union, and blocked traffic at the intersection of Telegraph and Bancroft in front of campus.

In video of the protest, the so-called anti-racism protesters were seen denying passage across the bridge to white students — shouting “go around” — while happily allowing students of color to pass through.

However Much Their Parents Pay For This School, It's Too Much

Here are some obviously-oppressed little flowers:
Administrators at prestigious Boston Latin School have been embroiled in a dispute with female students over rape culture.

And the whole thing was triggered by the school’s decision to actually enforce its longstanding dress code.

The code is fairly conventional as schools go: It bans gang-related colors and symbols, sexually explicit logos, hemlines higher than four inches above the knee, and shirt-shoulder straps narrower than the width of three fingers. It also prohibits leggings worn as pants (as opposed to under a skirt or dress).

The female students, in middle and high school, didn’t react well to the announcement.

Here's the deal. You can't simultaneously support the existence of sexual harassment rules (which they no doubt do) and then think they apply only one way.  Just like you don't want to see too much of my body, I don't want to see too much of yours.  Show off too much of your body, and maybe you're sexually harassing me.

Nobody's asking you to wear a burka, honeys, they're asking you not to show too much thigh.  Is that really asking so much?

And it's not men telling women what to wear.  It's adults telling children how to dress appropriately.  Take your patriarchy argument, put in on a shelf with all your other outdated toys and knick-knacks, and get back to your studies.

Their argument is so weak, you have to wonder what they're learning there at Elitist High.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Final Paper Has Been Started

I've read the research. Highlighted the interesting stuff. Made a few notes.

I've done about as much as I can do without actually writing the paper.

So last night I set fingers to keyboard. I created the title page (APA format, don't you know), formatted the headers, drafted an abstract, and typed the first two sentences of my "review of literature" regarding what attributes a good math teacher should have. My goal for tonight is two paragraphs.

The paper is due in less than a month.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Great Way To Screw People

This just makes me sick:
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.
A decade later? Really?

It's clear those bonuses were what was necessary to get the soldiers to reenlist--and fight. To take that away now should be criminal. It's certainly unjust.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Just Filled Out My Ballot

I'm a permanent "vote by mail" person in California--which probably means that I'll be voting Democratic after I die--and I just filled out my ballot.  California has some election peculiarities:

1.  There are only 2 options for US Senator, and they're both Democrats.  We hold our primaries in the Spring, and the top two vote-getters in the primaries advance to the general election ballot.  Can you guess which party runs California?
2.  Voters can submit initiatives to vote on, the most famous being 1978's Proposition 13 (which limits property tax increases).  I don't know how many initiatives have been submitted over the years, but I do know that we reuse the numbers (so we don't have Proposition 1,857).  This year propositions ranged from #51 to #67 and covered topics as varied as legalizing marijuana, requiring porn actors to wear condoms when filming, banning plastic grocery bags, eliminating the death penalty, and pricing prescription drugs, among others.

Clearly, I didn't vote for senator.  And my default position on initiatives is to vote "status quo", which is usually "no".  Unless I'm absolutely sure that the initiative has no chance of "going wrong", that it's so simple and obvious that it cannot be corrupted, I vote "no".  Unless somethng is simple and obvious, big money will no doubt have its own way.  I will only vote "yes" on an initiative if I can see no harm coming from it.  As a result, on the 17 initiatives, I voted "yes" on only 2.

My school district put a bond measure on the ballot, one that's expected to win with 65% of the vote.  It's for the equivalent of two years of the district's entire budget to upgrade, repair, and build new facilities.  As they put such measures on the ballot every few years--measures that pass every time, despite obvious evidence that the district doesn't budget for maintenance properly--I voted "no".  It doesn't matter, though, as it's only a protest vote, because as I said, it's expected to pass handily.

I almost always vote down bond measures.  If there's an issue, the legislature should address it.  If our schools are falling apart, the district and the county office of education should lobby the legislature for more funds.  That's what the legislature is for.  If the county wants to repair streets and expand light rail, the board of supervisors should vote on it and vote to raise taxes.  Initiatives are the coward politician's way out of doing what they're elected to do.  If Proposition 53 passes, which would require a statewide vote for state bond issues over $2 billion (direct response to the bullet train fiasco), politicians should vote for the project first, and then ask the public for the money.  Make them go on record justifying an expenditure.

That's just my fantasy world, living as I do in the People's Republik of Kalifornia.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Logarithm Test, Part 2

They're good at pushing buttons on a calculator.

The second half of the test, given today, was a "calculator allowed" test.  Most of the questions didn't require a calculator, even for a decimal/fraction-written exact answer.  But there were a couple of problems that required them to pull variables out of an exponent, and they were able to do that just fine.  With a calculator.

But they couldn't do similar problems yesterday, on the "no calculator" portion of the test.  What gives?  The steps are exactly the same!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What Is It About Logarithms?

I find logarithms to be one of the most interesting topics in the math I teach, along with matrices.  For some reason, though, students freak out about logarithms.  On the test they make the goofiest mistakes, unlike any they've made before (e.g., on quizzes), such as
log(x-6) = log x - log 6  
or, one of my personal favorites,
x ln x = ln
I'm at a loss.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Freedom of the Press

Too many people today have either forgotten, or never understood in the first place, what "freedom of the press" was intended to guarantee:
I’ve often argued that the freedom of the press was seen near the time of the Framing (and near the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment, as well as in between and largely since) as protecting the right to use the press as technology — everyone’s right to use the printing press and its modern technological heirs. It was not seen as protecting a right of the press as industry, which would have been a right limited to people who printed or wrote for newspapers, magazines and the like. I discussed this in great detail in my article on the history of the free press clause.
After explaining that the freedom of the press is not redundant with the freedom of speech, Professor Volokh continues:
Likewise, George Hay — who was soon to become a U.S. Attorney, and later a federal judge — wrote in 1799 that “freedom of speech means, in the construction of the Constitution, the privilege of speaking any thing without control” and “the words freedom of the press, which form a part of the same sentence, mean the privilege of printing any thing without control.” Massachusetts Attorney General James Sullivan (1801) similarly treated “the freedom of speech” as referring to “utter[ing], in words spoken,” and “the freedom of the press” as referring to “print[ing] and publish[ing].”

And this captured an understanding that was broadly expressed during the surrounding decades. Bishop Thomas Hayter, writing in 1754, described the “Liberty of the Press” as applying the traditionally recognized “Use and Liberty of Speech” to “Printing,” an activity that Hayter described as “only a more extensive and improved Kind of Speech.” (Hayter’s work was known and quoted in Revolutionary era America.) Francis Holt (1812) defined the liberty of the press as “the personal liberty of the writer to express his thoughts in the more improved way invented by human ingenuity in the form of the press.” William Rawle (1825) characterized “[t]he press” as “a vehicle of the freedom of speech. The art of printing illuminates the world, by a rapid dissemination of what would otherwise be slowly communicated and partially understood.”
Remember, Thomas Paine published Common Sense as a pamphlet.  He was not a newspaperman, but he used the "press" to create his work for distribution.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My New Favorite Phone App

My pre-calculus classes are comparatively small, but my statistics classes have 35, 36, and 36 students.  That's a lot of teenagers in one classroom, and in one stats class in particular, the volume can get exceedingly loud.

I'm usually pretty good at classroom management--it was one of the few worthwhile classes in my credentialing program--but keeping a classroom volume down to a reasonable level has not been one of my strong suits.  I don't have many of the difficulties other teachers have, but noise level is one of my issues.  It's also one of my pet peeves.

This past weekend I downloaded a sound meter app onto my phone.  After instruction was over today, and when it was time for students to work on the practice problems I'd assigned, I told them I didn't want the volume to go over 60 dB.  I projected the face of my phone up onto the screen where they could see the decibel meter in action.  I don't care how accurate it is, what I cared about was keeping the volume reasonable--and on that meter, 60 dB seems reasonable.

It actually worked!  For a time, at least.  But this time, when the volume creeped up, I didn't have to raise my voice in order to be heard.  "Note the volume, please," in a soft speaking voice, was all that was needed.  Or, if one group started getting a little loud, I'd walk over to them and merely point to the screen.  Yes, this really worked.

Of course, it could just be the Hawthorne Effect, but I choose to believe that being able to see objective and measurable evidence of loudness, rather than just "noticing" (or, more likely, not noticing) that it's getting louder, made it easier for the students to modulate their volume.

I just don't want a loud classroom.  If this app helps me get there, I'm ok with that.

Whose Culture Is That Of A Gorilla?

"Cultural appropriation" is one of those silly, lefty, paternalistic ideas that deserves no more attention than is required by mockery.  Cultures adapt and change all the time, and to assume that one person--often by virtue of skin color--cannot participate in anything related to another culture is just silly.  I'm going to have some chips and salsa in a bit, is that acceptable?  No, according to the most outlandish of the "cultural appropriation" crowd.  It's probably not acceptable when students tell me good-bye when they leave class and I respond with "adios", either.

Halloween is one of those times when the "cultural appropriation" types screech the loudest, what with their "my culture is not a costume" posters and the like.  My question is, whose culture is that of a gorilla?
According to a display at Florida State University, dressing up as Harambe for Halloween is an example of “cultural appropriation.”

The warning is one of many on a “My Culture Is Not a Costume” bulletin board hanging at the school’s Deviney Hall residence, a picture of which was provided to Campus Reform.

Other “examples of appropriation” on the board include “headdresses” and “Latinx alien.” Below that are suggestions for “great Halloween costumes” including “extraterrestrial alien,” “Steve Jobs” (what?), and “any animal,” despite the fact that Harambe is previously listed as an unacceptable option...

After all, exactly what kind of culture would dressing up like Harambe be appropriating? Gorilla culture? No, that can’t be it, because “any animal” is on the “great Halloween costumes” list — meaning that gorillas by other names would be okay. African culture? No, that can’t be it, because even though gorillas are African animals and the name “Harambe” is a Swahili name, no other African animals (or animals of any other African names) are advised against.

So what culture, exactly, would dressing up like Harambe be appropriating?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Tests

I'm currently taking a testing/measurement/assessment course for my master's program.  While lately I've been poring over research to see if there's any consensus about what makes for a math teacher (and which teacher candidates might become great math teachers), and the results are about what I expected.

Leaving those lofty research heights, however, I'm compelled, by virtue of living in the real world, to continue to teach and assess my students--and that means writing tests and quizzes.  Putting some of the practical lessons I've learned to good use, I spent quite a bit of time today writing a test on basic probability.

One thing I've learned:  be explicit about what I expect.  Rather than saying, "what is the probability of drawing, without replacement, 2 consecutive kings from a deck of cards?",  my wording is now somewhat different:
What is the probability of drawing, without replacement, 2 consecutive kings from a deck of cards?  State the applicable formula/rule, substitute numbers into that formula, and then solve.
Clarity and specificity are the keys.

And if you're wondering, the answer would be:
P(A and B) = P(A)*P(B|A)
P(K and K) = 4/52*3/51 = 4/884 = 1/221

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Northern Lights

Saw a deal online, talked to a friend about it, told him that the deal ends tonight, and his reply was "book it."

Over "ski week" in February we'll be traveling to Reykjavik to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights.

The only time I've seen Reykjavik before was when there was next to no darkness; this time I'll be going when there's very little light.  It'll be interesting to note the differences.

How 1066 Changed English

I've read compelling arguments that the defeat of the English in 1066 turned out to be the best thing that could ever have happened to the English.  Saxon law was pretty good, but the combination of Saxon law and efficiency with Norman law and customs made for a good melding.

I'm not in a position to say if that's true or not.  It happened, 950 years ago, and we live with the results today.  I'm quite sure that every event in history has both good and bad results.  When looking at history, though, I like to look for the changes.

In this post I wrote about how English is currently changing.  In this article the author, while bemoaning the Norman victory, discusses how the language changed after 1066:
Englishness became, almost by definition, a badge of subjugation. Human nature being what it is, people soon began to adopt the names and manners of their overlords. On one English farm in 1114, records Peter Ackroyd, the workers were listed as being called Soen, Rainald, Ailwin, Lemar, Godwin, Ordric, Alric, Saroi, Ulviet and Ulfac. By the end of the century all those names had disappeared.

The status of the defeated English is often illustrated with reference to the vocabulary of meat. The Anglophone farmer in the field used plain Saxon words for his livestock: cow, pig, sheep. But by the time these animals found their way onto his Norman master’s plate, they had acquired French-derived names: beef, pork, mutton.

More telling, though, is the political vocabulary introduced under the Normans. Out go witan, folkmoot and folkright. In come fealty and homage, fief and vassal, villein and serf.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Water fell from the sky yesterday, which was novel enough that a couple of kids at school carried umbrellas--even though the amount of water that fell was barely enough to make the ground wet.

It was supposed to rain today, too, and it still might tonight.  Today ended up being somewhat overcast and warm enough not to need a jacket, but it feels like rain tonight.  It doesn't smell like rain, it feels like it, and I don't know how to describe that.  (couple minutes later:  I'll be darned, it's just starting now!)

I've spent a lot of this afternoon watching movies and drinking hot tea.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Update, 10/16/16:  It's been raining lightly for awhile this morning.

Friday, October 14, 2016

With A Third of Iraq Belonging To ISIS....

I just want to remind you that this is what the president was bragging about 6 years ago:
Video of the president and vice president bragging about Iraq is here.

My post from a year and a half ago, detailing what a disaster the president has been regarding just foreign policy, is even more true today.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Who Could Have Foreseen This Disaster?

Anyone who knew anything about human nature and economics, that's who:
Minnesota’s Democratic governor on Wednesday said Obamacare is "no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people" — the latest sign of Democrats' growing concern about the law's rising insurance costs.

Gov. Mark Dayton's criticism comes as his state faces massive rate hikes and shrinking competition in its Obamacare insurance marketplace next year. Dayton's comments also come almost a week after Donald Trump and Republicans seized on former president Bill Clinton's remarks lamenting Obamacare's affordability problems...

"The governor wants to make it clear that the Republicans in Congress are to blame for their unwillingness to make improvements necessary to make the Affordable Care Act more successful," Dayton spokesman Sam Fettig said in an email to POLITICO.  
No, the Republicans aren't to blame at all.  Not a single Republican in either house of Congress voted for that bill.  Not only was it an all-Democrat bill, but you might recall Nancy Pelosi's saying that it had to be passed before we'd even get to find out what was in it.  No, this is entirely a Democratic screw-up, one of massive proportions.  The Republicans are under no obligation at all to fix it.  In fact, they've sent at least one bill to President Obama to repeal the law, but he vetoed it.  He'd rather the American public have massive insurance cost increases, lack of ability to see a doctor, and reduced competition, than admit his signature policy is a failure.

It "bent the cost curve" all right.

Update, 10/14/16:  From Instapundit:
ED MORRISSEY: Minnesota Could Be the First Obamacare Domino to Fall.
As the Star Tribune notes, all seven of the remaining insurers in the state had threatened to follow Preferred One out the door without the massive rate hikes. Even with Rothman surrendering to the realities of centrally controlled economies, Blue Cross Blue Shield will still exit Mnsure at the end of 2016. The massive price hikes, Rothman said in September, were “a stopgap for 2017.” Foreshadowing Dayton’s announcement on Wednesday, Rothman added, “It’s an emergency situation – we worked hard and avoided a collapse.”
Avoided? As Dayton made clear yesterday, all Minnesota has done is postpone a collapse – and probably for only another year. The biggest problem for insurers in these markets is the unstable utilization rates, which prevent them from accurately calculating risk to set a tenable premium price.
The reason for that instability is that higher prices are disincentivizing healthier consumers from buying expensive comprehensive insurance policies as they opt instead to pay out of pocket for their minimal utilization and pay the tax penalty for non-coverage instead. Thanks to skyrocketing premiums and deductible thresholds, the likelihood of many consumers to have benefits applied to anything but a basic wellness check is remote at best, which makes the risk worthwhile.
Leave it to Big Government to coerce a market into existence, where individuals are required to buy a product they can’t afford to use, and which producers can’t afford to sell — and then blame the free market for the inevitable collapse.
Update, 10/15/16North Carolina isn't looking so good, either:
These stories are now becoming so common as to be the norm, but there’s yet another tale of the Obamacare exchanges essentially collapsing in North Carolina as we approach the next open enrollment period. Keep in mind that health insurance is still mandatory under law and the grace period for not facing a hefty penalty on your taxes for non-compliance is over. Also remember that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and the Affordable Care Act was going to reduce premiums. Oh, wait… it was going to at least keep them about the same. No? Well, at least they’ll rise more slowly.

Don’t tell that to consumers in the Tar Heel State. All but one of the previously available insurers have fled the exchange and the sole remaining participant – Blue Cross Blue Shield – almost left. They’re sticking around, but the already high premiums they charge will be jumping up by an additional 25%. (Washington Post)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What New At Universities?

Here's an astute observation:
It’s not new for college students to indulge in self-righteous certainty, to be so intoxicated by a grand moral mission that they can’t see any value in hearing what the other side has to say. What is new: administrators who bend to their will.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Last Research Paper

Next semester I'm taking a math class, and I hope I won't have a research paper due in there!  It's been a few semesters since I've had a real math class; the last few semesters I've had an educational philosophy class and a couple of math history classes.  I'm currently taking a measurement and assessment (think: testing) class.

We have tons of small writing assignments in this course along with three papers.  I've already written the shortest of the three, my personal philosophy on testing and assessment, and turned it in.  The second paper was a unit or lesson plan that incorporates what we have learned in class; mine turned out to be over 10 pages long, but I finished it and turned it in.  I only have one paper left, the most "academic" of the three.

It's limited to 7-10 pages, so it's a "mini-review" of literature.  We're required to review only peer-reviewed journal articles (like that means much anymore); I thought about writing about math testing but thought I'd settle on something a little more fun.  I'm going to write about math teacher quality--how do we measure and assess how good a math teacher is, and can we determine in pre-service if a teacher candidate will be a good math teacher.

Oddly enough I found many journal articles related to this topic, a few directly but most tangentially.  I printed them out to make reading them easier, but even printing them double-sided the stack is about an inch-and-a-half thick. 

I doubt I'll read all of them in their entirety, rather just enough to get the flavor (as well as a few quotes).  I don't have much time to read them all, the paper is due in a little over a month :-)

Once this one is turned in, I can't imagine why I'd ever need to write another such research paper again in my life.  Ever.

Let's hope.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump's Foul Talk

Yep, it was foul.  But as I've said so many times:  he says mean things, Clinton does mean things.

All of you Clinton supporters pretending to be upset over Trump's comments:  you supported and voted for a rapist, and now you're supporting and voting for the wife of that rapist.  And she's not innocent; no, she trashed those women in public, and even hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on Paula Jones.  I guess all victims of sexual assault should be believed unless they were assaulted by her husband, right?

I guess I'd feel more sympathy for you and your outrage if I had never encountered the phrase "Sarah Palin is a c**t" back in 2008.

"Cocks not Glocks" got invited to the White House?  Brandishing dildos in public is so good that you get invited to the White House, but vulgar language a decade or more ago is bad?

Your "trumped-up outrage" doesn't impress me:
Now why might it be that men regard women as sex objects? Surely the ravenous purchase by females of stiletto heels, push-up bras, butt-hugging mini-skirts, plunging necklines, false eyelashes, hair extensions, breast implants, butt implants, lip implants, and mascara, rouge, and lipstick to the tune of billions a year has nothing to do with it. Females would never ever exploit their sexuality to seek attention from men. Bush and Trump, driving to the set of Days of Our Lives on a studio bus, comment on the legs of actress Arianne Zucker who is coming to meet them: “Oh, nice legs, huh?” Trump says. “Your girl’s hot as shit, in the purple,” Bush says. How surprising that Trump and Bush noticed Zucker’s legs! As documented in the video, she is wearing a skimpy purple dress, with an extremely short hem cut on the bias, a low neckline and fully exposed back. She is in high heels to accentuate her bare legs. The ratio of exposed skin between Zucker, on the one hand, and Trump and Bush, on the other, is perhaps 100 to one. But all that bare flesh must simply be because Zucker has a high metabolism and gets exceedingly warm; she would never want to broadcast her sexuality to men or have men notice her. The fact that she swishes her hips when she walks must just be a quirk of anatomy.
Now, I don't argue that Trump's comments are costing him big time.  What I argue is that such talk only matters if you're a Republican.  Use your intern as a humidor and no one cares--if you have a (D) after your name.    I also argue that Trump's language isn't as important as what Friday's Wikileaks dump says about what Clinton has done.

We've already had almost 8 years of one affirmative action president.  He's been a disaster; I'm hard-pressed to think of one thing I can actually support him on.  Now we're poised to elect our second affirmative action president in a row.  No matter which of the two major candidates is elected, we'll be in bad straits; Clinton's election, though, will be worse for America.

But at least she keeps her potty mouth to herself, right?  You can sleep well at night knowing that.  While she sleeps with a rapist.

The Republic is doomed.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

My Life(time) In Numbers

Of course it all comes down to the metrics used to generate the graphs, but here's how the United States has done since the year I was born according to this web site:
Notice what's missing--a "freedom" index.  Yes, our 2nd Amendment protections are stronger today than when I was born, but when I was born, firearms weren't the bugaboo for some people that they are today.  In fact, a friend of mine (and long time reader of this blog) used to take his .22 rifle to high school for marksmanship instruction in PE.  Also, when I was born, we didn't live in as much of a surveillance state as we do today, and I have no doubt it will get worse before it gets better.

Here's how we've done compared to Britain:

Next, I thought I'd look at a couple of countries that weren't in such great shape when I was born but are considered in great shape today.  Germany was only 15 years out of its disastrous defeat in World War II back then, and while free and independent it was still swarming with American servicemen:
As the old advertisement would say, "You've come a long way, baby."

South Korea went from being a tightly controlled country to one with more freedom, and the results speak for themselves:

And then there are neighbors to the north and south.  Mexico has made some improvements, but certainly not much in the way of economic freedom:
Mexico has made a lot of improvement, mostly because it had so much more improvement to make.

And lastly, Canada:

Interesting snapshots, to be sure.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Institutionalizing Gender Hatred

Femininity is toxic.  Such women are weak, whiny, and vain.  They are a drag on resources, and it's time we do something about it.

If that offended you, then perhaps you can understand the sickness behind this:
A group of Claremont College students hosted an event where they discussed why masculinity is triggering and “toxic.”

The event, “Masculinity + Mental Health,” was organized by a group of women called “Thrive,” who aim to provide a “safe space” for students to discuss mental health, Steven Glick of The Claremont Independent wrote. 

“Masculinity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it,” the Facebook event page reads.
What the heck has happened to our universities?

No More Ice!

The boy who cried wolf:
Dire predictions that the Arctic would be devoid of sea ice by September this year have proven to be unfounded after latest satellite images showed there is far more now than in 2012.

Scientists such as Prof Peter Wadhams, of Cambridge University, and Prof Wieslaw Maslowski, of the Naval Postgraduate School in Moderey (sic), California, have regularly forecast the loss of ice by 2016, which has been widely reported by the BBC and other media outlets.

Prof Wadhams, a leading expert on Arctic sea ice loss, has recently published a book entitled A Farewell To Ice in which he repeats the assertion that the polar region would free of ice in the middle of this decade. 

As late as this summer, he was still predicting an ice-free September.

Yet, when figures were released for the yearly minimum on September 10, they showed that there was still 1.6 million square miles of sea ice (4.14 square kilometres), which was 21 per cent more than the lowest point in 2012.

For the month of September overall, there was 31 per cent more ice than in 2012, figures released this week from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) show. This amounts to an extra 421,000 (1.09 million square kilometres) of sea ice, making the month only the fifth lowest since records began.
When the facts contradict your expectations, believe the facts.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Designed This Way, Or Just Really Wrong and Screwed Up?

I'm not sure the Democrats in Congress and the White House were actually smart enough to make a program that would fail so spectacularly that they would have to go back and try for single payer in order to fix it.  Oh, I'm sure they planned to do that anyway, but I believe they really believed their own rhetoric--they actually thought Obamacare would work. 

Only MSNBC viewers and New York Times readers could possibly have believed that:
“Tennessee is ground zero for ObamaCare’s nationwide implosion. Late last month the state insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, approved premium increases of up to 62% in a bid to save the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. ‘I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse,’ she said.

Then last week BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it would leave three of the state’s largest exchange markets—Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. ‘We have experienced losses approaching $500 million over the course of three years on ACA plans,’ the company said, 'which is unsustainable.’ As a result, more than 100,000 Tennesseans will be forced to seek out new coverage for 2017.”
How, with a complete and total lack of evidence, people could think that government is the solution to the vast majority of problems, I'm at a loss to understand or explain.  Cause--well, yes, of course, but not the solution.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Boys Don't Matter

Hard to argue with this:
Young women are taking more honors classes, getting better grades and have a higher overall GPA than their male peers, according to a report compiling SAT Test data.

The report, released by the College Board, looked at the test scores of college-bound seniors in 2016, and reviewed high school data demographics. Girls, it turns out, are doing much better in high school than boys. In a chart compiled by American Enterprise Scholar Mark Perry, it's clear that girls are outperforming boys on nearly every level in high school...

Don't expect to hear calls for helping boys perform better in school. Activists have focused so heavily on girls for years now that boys have gotten the message that they no longer matter. It's what Christina Hoff Sommers wrote about in her book "The War Against Boys" nearly two decades ago.

What Perry noted in the chart above isn't new for this year, it's been a trend since before Hoff Sommers' book. Yet the focus is still on girls.
It would only be an issue if the sexes were reversed.

Clowns To The Left of Me, Jokers To The Right

Is anyone else tired of the hysteria over clowns lately?  Talk about a drummed up issue!  I even got a robo-call from my school district on the subject last night.

Never in my life have we had less substantive issues discussed, especially only a month before an election, than this one.  Seriously, clowns, and whether one presidential candidate called a beauty pageant contestant fat?  No immigration?  No public debt?  No threats from ISIS, Russia, or China?

It seems like everyone who should be serious is a clown.  The Republic is lost.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Why "Free" College Is A Bad Idea

If you love our "free" K-12 system, if you think our "free" high schools are great, just imagine what "free" college would be like!

If you're not bright enough to conduct that thought experiment, let's take a look at the lesson France provides us:
From certain perspectives, the French higher education system would seem to be doing great. There are numerous prestigious schools, thousands of students attend them, and the government has spent millions upon millions of euros since the 1980s in subsidizing both students and universities. But looks are deceiving. In fact, the number of students failing to pass their first year is at a record high, universities are overcrowded, infrastructure is in dire need of renovation, and youth unemployment is closing in on 30% (the European Union average is 20%). It turns out that free and fair are neither free nor fair...

If you subsidize something, you get more of it. These subsidies have effectively created a generation of young people who attend college because it is free, even if an apprenticeship might suit them better. Their education costs their neighbors large amounts of money and costs them several years of their lives that could have been spent learning more relevant skills.

But free college wasn’t enough; France also wanted it to be fair. To that end, France got rid of the ‘elitist’ system of getting accepted to a university. For many years, admission to a university required an entry exam or good grades: the numerus clausus. The French government got rid of that, opening the floodgates for thousands of students who otherwise would have been rejected. The effects of this have been especially pronounced in social sciences, law, international relations, history, and medicine. Since that time, only medical schools have successfully lobbied to get the restrictions reintroduced.

Unable to manage the overpopulation by limiting admission or increasing tuition, French universities have turned to a third way to deal with the problem.

2014 data show that only 30% of French students get their bachelor degree without resetting a year, only 43.8% make it from first to second year, and a solid 19% leave university with no diploma whatsoever. Why is that? Some of it obviously has to do with the decline in the quality of public secondary education, but degrees are also more difficult to acquire than they were before...

Instead of making the system free and fair, higher education becomes increasingly expensive for taxpayers and increasingly difficult for students.
Economics 101 tells us that this is exactly what would and should happen.  Still, some people believe in unicorn farts.

I Don't Care What The Justification Is. This Is Straight-up Racism.

Columbia University to host no-whites-allowed student leadership retreat

Monday, October 03, 2016

Free Speech in Academia

It's no secret that free speech is under assault in universities across the Western world.  Sadly, it's only news when someone stands up against that assault.  What's interesting is when the person standing up against it runs the University of California system, the flagship campus of which was at the forefront of the free speech movement back in the 1960's.  It's a start, but she doesn't go far enough:
All that said, Napolitano’s acknowledgment that American universities are facing a crisis of free speech, and her sharp criticism of illiberal activism, is an important step forward for the movement to save universities from the forces of censorship and intolerance. Let’s hope that a critical mass of students and faculty will back her up.
It's not just in the United States, either:
I came to England a few days ago in order to participate in a conference in Winchester on the fate of free speech in the academy, U.S. as well as British editions. We'll be publishing the papers for that conference in The New Criterion come January, but I can reveal now one thing that struck me about our deliberations.  Two years before, we had held a conference on a similar topic (which you can read about here): "Free Speech Under Threat." To some extent, what transpired in Winchester a few days ago comes under the rubric of what the philosopher Yogi Berra called "déjà-vu all over again."

But there are differences. In the couple of years since we last considered the issue of free speech, blatant assaults on free speech have grown much more common to the point where they are less scandalous than simply business as usual. People are harassed, shunned, sacked, fined, even jailed in some Western countries for expressing an unpopular opinion.

It is difficult to maintain a perpetual sense of emergency, however, and it’s my sense that many incursions upon free speech are now met more with a weary shrug than the outrage they would have occasioned even a few years back.
They intend to wear us down.  Eternal vigilance is the price we must continue to pay in order to maintain our freedoms.

Sunday, October 02, 2016


I've always been fascinated by futuristic, super-high-efficiency cars.  It has nothing to do with global warming, but rather with my own sense of conservationism (which is very different from environmentalism).  And let's be honest, the "cool" factor comes into play, too.

I loved the Aptera.  I'm glad I didn't plunk down $500 to reserve one before the company went belly-up, though.  There's a brief shot of an Aptera in the background in the 2009 Star Trek movie!  Here's video of a Popular Mechanics test drive of the car back in its heady days:

Now I'm liking Elio.  An engine with less than a liter displacement, only 55 hp, but can go over 100 mph (largely because of its small profile)?  What's not to like!  And the price is right, too, at $7300.  But the memory of Aptera looms large, and I don't want to plop down reservation money on this car until I can be sure that it's not Aptera v. 2.0.  Here are some Elio videos.


One of my Sunday morning pursuits is to use an app on my phone to check out the BBC, CNN, FoxNews, and USAToday (3:1 liberal, I know, but it keeps me informed).  This morning the BBC web site had two articles on language that I found interesing.

The first was "Eight of the world's quirkiest phrases", along with an explanation of each.  I've heard "not my circus, not my monkeys" before, but didn't know it was Polish in origin.  The last three are French, and they're all pretty good!

The other article was one documenting the changing pronunciation of English words in England, particularly the "th" sound--which is predicted to be extinct by 2066, my 101st birthday:
According to the Telegraph, those changes include the complete disappearance of the voiced dental nonsibliant fricative, also known as the "th" sound. It will be replaced with the "f," "d," and "v" sounds, so "thick" becomes "fick" and "mother" becomes "muvver." Other changes include words like "cute" and "beauty" becoming "coot" and "booty," the "w" and "r" sounds becoming indistinguishable, and the dropping of "l" sounds at the end of words.

Researchers studied 50 years of language recordings and current social media to make their predictions, which the Guardian sums up in a sentence: "I totes fink that car is a booty." (Your Newser editors have no idea why the newspaper didn't change "that" to "dat" in dat example.)

Researchers believe the changes will be spurred on by immigrants, who have a hard time pronouncing the "th" sound; the increased use of voice command; the prevalence of the American accent in pop culture; and the fact that most computers are developed in California.
I'd love someone to explain that last comment.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Voter Fraud

Lefties like to say "voter fraud is a myth", as if saying it enough times will make it so--or rather, will make people believe them.  In all the stories I've ever seen about voter fraud, though, only one time was the perpetrator a Republican, and this story isn't it:
A Virginia Young Democrat working for a Democrat-aligned voter registration group got caught filing applications on behalf of dead people when he filed an application for a deceased World War II veteran who was known by a local clerk.

Andrew Spieles, a James Madison University student working for HarrisonburgVotes, confessed earlier this month that he submitted 19 applications for deceased individuals, according to a report in the local Daily News-Record.
That Democrats don't want to address this issue is one of the data points that leads me to believe that the Republic is gone, that we're just going through the motions but have already sunk into tyranny.

Update, 10/3/16:  You want more?  I got more right here:
So today we learn that in the key swing state of Virginia, voter registration rolls have been polluted with an excess of a thousand aliens, and most certainly far more.  This detailed study by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, or PILF, (which I assisted on) documents more than one thousand aliens on the voter rolls. It provides the government documents with the names.

Here’s the most frightening part: the sample is only eight Virginia counties and doesn’t include the behemoths of Arlington and Fairfax Counties. I’ll get to why that information is being concealed by election officials in a moment below.

In just eight Virginia counties, 1,046 alien non-citizens successfully registered to vote. Mind you, these are just the aliens who were accidentally caught because when they renewed their driver’s license, the told the truth they were a non-citizen.

That’s because of Motor Voter.
I wonder what parties these aliens registered under...
Virginia has no citizenship verification requirements like other states do, so the vulnerabilities in Motor Voter are amplified.  Voter ID is no solution either. These aliens are getting registered to vote when they are getting their photo ID cards!

Some groups like it this way.
I'm sure those groups are all affiliated with one particular political party.
It is illegal for a convicted felon who is incarcerated or in a half-way house to vote in Pennsylvania. Yet the lists of eligible voters in Philadelphia, and probably across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, contain the names of thousands of ineligible felons. No effort whatsoever is made to either remove these registrations or even annotate the record in case an absentee ballot request is made. 
Just sayin'.

Update #2, 10/8/16:  More myth:
Opponents of measures to improve ballot integrity like to deny that voter fraud exists. “Voter fraud is very rare, [and] voter impersonation is nearly non-existent,” asserts a statement by NYU law school’s Brennan Center entitled “The Myth of Voter Fraud.” That claim, so common on the left, is based on an assumption that election officials are on the lookout for fraud and mistakes. But incidents in states from Virginia to Pennsylvania to New York show that too many election officials are ignoring or even covering up the systemic problems brought to their attention. One way not to find something is simply not to look. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, one out of eight American voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date, or a duplicate. Some 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead.
Update #3, 10/8/16:  It's almost like Democrats would never win if they didn't cheat:
State Rep. Christina “Tita” Ayala, D-Bridgeport, was arrested Friday on 19 voting fraud charges.

Ayala, 31, is accused of voting in local and state elections in districts she did not live, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

The arrest warrant affidavit also alleges Ayala provided fabricated evidence to state Election Enforcement Commission investigators that showed she lived at an address in a district where she voted while actually living outside the district, according to the release.