Showing posts from January, 2016

Systemic Ideological Segregation vs Systemic Racial Segregation

In an earlier post, I explained that while a white-looking person is less likely to be discriminated against for their skin-color, that doesn't prevent her from from being discriminated against for every other possible reason in the world.

In Megan McArdle's recent Bloomberg column, she demonstrated how impacting this can be by presenting a woman likely rejected for a doctorate program, at least in part, because she was home-schooled and went to a Christian college which the reviewers derided as an institution of “right-wing religious fundamentalists” that was “supported by the Koch brothers.” She opened this by telling the story as if the woman grew up in a high poverty neighborhood and went to a small, historically Black college. She framed the issue the way "white privilege" is typically outlined (remember she is actually talking about a white ideological minority in academia):
No, no one said “we don’t want blacks in this program”; they don’t have to. They just h…

On how price gouging benefits you

I often offer this video as an explanation for why "price gouging" should be allowed, especially after a natural disaster. One reason I like it is that it sets up the question under the most dire circumstances:
There's a natural disaster and a mother goes out to find a generator to run the refrigerator that keeps her daughter's insulin. She finds that the only generators available are now 3x the price. The best argument the video makes for allowing prices to rise freely as scarcity increases is that it allows people who need the item the most to stake their claim for it over people who need it the least. When a limited resource is under-priced (relative to its scarcity), it is only natural that consumers will use up every little bit of it so it will not be available at all to more people who need it the most. As the video points out, settting a low price ceiling on resource when it is limited means that people don't have to be stingy in using the resource. Bef…

The Insidious Beauty of Capitalism

Capitalism is a loaded word. It means a lot of things to a lot of different people. In a practical sense, Capitalism is the freedom to do what you want with your own property, your own labor, your own intelligence. In it's purest form, you can do this without anyone (church, mayor, social justice warrior) looking over your shoulder to see if what you are doing is "fair".  In a free trade system, the only people deciding whether the deal is fair is the buyer and the seller. I'm going to leave aside the question of whether oversight is necessary in practice. I'm going only talk about a benefit that free trade produces in a society.
How many, for the sake of charity, would serve refreshing beverages to strangers -- not just for a weekend, but for scores of hours every week for years. Yet Starbucks has enticed people to do just that for the sake of ...what shall we call it? Greed? Ambition? A desire to thrive and to take part in the luxuries of modern life? Also …

What does the saying mean "The exception that proves the rule"?

How can an exception to a rule prove it?

The meaning of this saying is rooted in an important principle of Information Theory which says that "Knowledge only progresses when an experiment fails." Or inversely, "We don't learn anything from our successes." Here is an example:
Teacher: I'm going to give you a series of four numbers based on a pattern. You can give me three test series and I'll tell you if they match the pattern. Then you must tell me what the pattern is. Ready? "12, 14, 16, 18". Okay give me some test series, and I will tell you if they follow the actual pattern or not.

Student: 20, 22, 24, 26

Teacher: Correct.

Student: 32, 34, 36, 38.

Teacher: Correct.

Student 2, 4, 6, 8.

Teacher: Correct. What is the pattern?

Student: Consecutive even numbers.

Teacher: Incorrect. The pattern is this: "Each number must be larger than the previous one." 31, 45, 122, 123" would have also followed the pattern. Or even "1, 2, 3,…

"societally we can't seem to grasp the idea that even if a woman's body attracts attention, it's NOT an open invitation"

Tattooed women's experiences of nonconsensual touching, grabbing and commentary demonstrate how societally we can't seem...
Posted by Stuff Mom Never Told You on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 Woman posts on problems women with tattoos face with inappropriate attention, comments, and touching. Of course, women without tattoos face the same problems. But what drew my attention to her video was her claim that this has to do with a problem WE have SOCIETALLY.  I don't have a problem like that even though I consider myself part of society.

The term my daughters use for people that do have problems like that is "creepers". I like that term better than "creeps" because it identifies them by what they do in a specific situation rather than assuming to know what they "are". If a guy who "generally means well" is creeping, then he's a creeper. You don't need to know his backstory. I don't think any creepers will be turned around by thi…