Wednesday, July 5, 2017


The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power--Daniel Webster

India and China’s share of world GDP has increased six-fold since 1970. Meanwhile, the G7 nations share of global trade has declined from 50% to 30%.  Populations in the West are aging rapidly. In the US alone, 10,000 people turn 65 every day… and will do so for the next dozen years. An aging population means less economic activity. Over one-third of US jobs are expected to be automated over the next decade. But automation and advances in technology aren’t just affecting manufacturing workers.

"On agriculture, China reiterated a promise that it has broken in the past to let in more beef. Previously, we, as reciprocity, had been withholding publication of a permissive rule on Chinese poultry, but we have now relented. Advantage China." This is from Larry Summers' blog 5/24/17. What it omits is the factor that is usually omitted in such pronouncements from bureaucrats: The advantage of trade to the consumer.

Sasse's new book on American culture contains this view of Dewey and his concept of education via Will:
In the progressive view of education with which the philosopher John Dewey imbued the United States’ primary and secondary schools, parents “with their supposedly petty interests in their children as individuals” are deemed retrograde influences, hindering schools’ mission of making malleable young people outfitted with the proper “social consciousness.” Schools should embrace the need of “controlling” students and “the influences by which they are controlled.” Parents must be marginalized lest they interfere with education understood, as Sasse witheringly says, as “not primarily about helping individuals, but rather about molding the collective.” 
Dewey deserves some thought.

What is...Der Spiegel?

If current trends continue, by 2044 Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt will consume 100% of federal revenue. Everything else will be financed with new debt—and debt will reach 150% of GDP.  That's roughly where Greece was five years ago.

Backronym: I rarely pick modern words but Backronym is interesting. noun:
1. an existing word turned into an acronym by creating an apt phrase whose initial letters match the word, as to help remember it or offer a theory of its origin. For example, rap has been said to be a backronym of “rhythm and poetry.”
2. the phrase itself. For example, “port out, starboard home” is a misleading backronym for posh.
One backronym familiar to every parent of a newborn is that of the Apgar score. The expansion for Apgar is “Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration.” Actually the Apgar score is named after Virginia Apgar (1909-74), a US anesthesiologist who developed the test in 1952 to evaluate the effects of obstetric anesthesia on neonates. Backronym entered English in the late 20th century.

A day after Trump stunned his fellow NATO leaders with his financial demands, he renewed his attacks on the German auto industry during a closed door meeting with two high-ranking European Union officials, in which he said that "the Germans are bad, very bad” and added “look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S. Terrible. We’re going to stop that." 
Unbelievably stupid. It would be less bad if he could speak. Shows the advantage of a politician like Obama where the delivery can compensate for what is said.

"If regrettable behavior arises in isolated and identifiable ways, more or less uniformly across individuals, then a helping hand from the government may be just the thing.  If regrettable impulses are pervasive and personal, and the ability to deal with them is an art that applies beyond specifics, an art that is learned and strengthened through exercise and a sense of autonomy, then the parentalist hand needs to show its restraint." This is Klein arguing that if behavioral economists and psychologists are correct that ‘irrational’ behavior is quite common among humans, then the case for paternalism is weak rather than strong.

One technician's take on the economy: A wave of the first Baby Boomers turn 70 this year, which will flood the market with billions’ worth of equities and bonds from retirement plans.

The trial of a Kurdish man who tied one of his three wives to the back of a car and dragged her through the streets of a town in Lower Saxony has drawn attention to an outbreak of Muslim honor violence in Germany.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School looked at a random sample of Medicare data for more than 700,000 hospital admissions from 2011 to 2014. The patients received treatment from whichever physicians happened to be on duty at the time of their admission.
When the team looked up the ages of the nearly 19,000 doctors who handled those Medicare patients, a trend emerged: The older the doctor, the higher the patient mortality rate.
For physicians under the age of 40, patients’ mortality rate was 10.8 percent. That edged up to just over 11 percent for patients treated by doctors in their forties.
The patient mortality rate was 11.3 percent for physicians aged 50-59, and rose above 12 percent for physicians over 60.
This was actually reported in the BMJ.

Golden oldie:
Sequester, the evil beast, continues to advance on the calender. Many are at risk. The Office of Management and Budget reports the  Nationa...

An article from Der Spiegel is titled:
"A Danger to the World It's Time to Get Rid of Trump" with the sub-title: "Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse."
They have a number of solutions including the unlikely impeachment process, the even more unlikely 25th amendment process, the possible but several years' process of a Democrat resurgence which could then impeach him--but is stupidity a grounds? They, slyly, then mention Game of Thrones and some of their solutions to bad leadership (actually recalling them erroneously.)
They clearly have a bad handle on democracy--but, in fairness, they haven't had a lot of experience with it recently. Unfortunately, democracy has risks. Hitler was elected. Trump is not a threat to the democracy, he is just another test of it. The real danger here is the precedents that have been allowed to develop that makes a bad or inept leader escape the usual checks and balances system that is the essence of the founding of the nation. That erosion was purposeful, "for good causes," and now people can see the risks that erosion has caused. But my bet is the Trump phenomenon will not cause a reassessment of our direction away from basic principles, it will only provide a partisan opportunity for the ambitious.

Apple on Friday said that it's open to cooperation with French authorities, who are exploring the possibility that two of the company's devices were linked to the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 in 2016. The flight's first officer may have plugged an iPhone 6s and an iPad mini 4 into the wrong socket in the jet's cockpit, French officials told Le Parisien. That may have triggered runaway heat, in turn sparking a fire.

According to USAToday, the annual survey of roughly 5,000 beekeepers showed a dip of 33% in bee colonies from April 2016 to April 2017. The decrease is small compared to the survey's previous 10 years, when the decrease hovered at roughly 40%. From 2012 to 2013, nearly half of the nation's colonies died. The death of a colony doesn't necessarily mean a loss of bees, explains vanEngelsdorp, a project director at the Bee Informed Partnership. A beekeeper can salvage a dead colony, but doing so comes at labor and productivity costs. That causes beekeepers to charge farmers more for pollinating crops and creates a scarcity of bees available for pollination. "It's a trend that threatens beekeepers trying to make a living and could lead to a drop-off in fruits and nuts reliant on pollination," vanEngelsdor said. So what's killing the honeybees? Parasites, diseases, poor nutrition, and pesticides among many others. The chief killer is the varroa mite, a "lethal parasite," which researchers said spreads among colonies.

Chipolte says "most" of its restaurants were infected with credit card stealing malware.

The New Zealand Herald reports: Rocket Lab engineers have started analyzing data from yesterday's historic launch from the Mahia Peninsula that took the company to space but not able to complete its orbital mission. Lift-off at 4.20 pm was the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private site in the world. New Zealand became the 11th country with potential to launch cargo into space, joining superpowers and tech heavyweights. The Government hailed the lift-off as a major milestone for the country's space industry...
(This part is great:) "We didn't quite reach orbit and we'll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our program," said founder and chief executive Peter Beck.
Beck added they'd developed their rocket "from scratch" in under four years.
New Zealand!

In Real Wage Inequality, author Enrico Moretti looks at cost-of-living data in U.S. cities from 1980 to 2000 in order to determine whether growing nominal wage inequality is really indicative of a growing disparity in living standards. Because college-educated workers are more likely to live in cities with higher costs of living, especially higher housing costs, some of their newfound income gains must go toward paying for life in these expensive areas. So the growing disparity in wages that is observed is partially an illusion.

According to the Human Mortality Database, U.S. life expectancy has risen progressively since the Great Depression, increasing from about 61 years [at birth] in 1933 to about 79 as of 2013.  Over those same decades, America’s Gini index for lifespan inequality was cut in half – from 0.22 to 0.11.  Irrespective of all the ethnic, income, and other enumerated gaps that characterize our society, Americans of all backgrounds have never before enjoyed such equality in length of life as we know today. --from Anti-Piketty (graph below)

 AAAAaaaaaannnnnndddddd.....a graph on U.S. mortality:

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