Assorted Links 9/1/09


Richard Feynman on “Social Sciences”

  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, September 9, 2009
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, September 11, 2009
  • How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, September 15, 2009
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, September 16, 2009
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, September 17, 2009
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, September 23-25, 2009
  • The Inheritance of Education – “The effect for father’s years of education is even larger; about a ten times larger effect on biological children than on adoptees. Similarly, parent income has a negligible effect, small and not statistically significant, on an adoptee completing college but an 8 times larger and statistically significant effect on a biological child completing college….”
  • PACER Petition – “Law librarians from Georgetown and Stanford Law Schools are getting ready to deliver a petition from several hundred law libraries to the Administrative Office of the Courts, the group that administers the federal judiciary’s PACER system. They have a goal of 1,000 signatures. If you have a few minutes, look over the petition and if you agree with it, I’m sure the organizers will appreciate your support. The petition asks for some pretty reasonable things from the federal judiciary: signatures on documents, copies of the dockets to federal libraries, and a better way to disseminate the data.”
  • Weekly wrap: Rising Medicaid bill a growing concern for states – “New Mexico may foreshadow a Medicaid crisis facing states next year as the federal economic stimulus money dwindles.”
  • Grasscutting, fertilizer, and healthcare – “My simple relationship with Jeff is, I believe, the healthcare model of the future. You manage your own cholesterol issues, your own basic thyroid issues, supplement and monitor your vitamin D levels, use diet to suit your needs, order blood tests when necessary, even obtain basic imaging tests like heart scans, carotid ultrasound, bone density testing. Your doctor is a resource, near by when and if you need him or her: guidance when needed, an occasional review of what you are doing, someone to consult when you fracture an ankle. What your doctor is NOT is a paternal, ‘do what I say, I’m the doctor,’ or a ‘You need these tests whether you like it or not’ holder of your health fate.”
  • FBI investigating laptops sent to US governors – “The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to figure out who is sending laptop computers to state governors across the U.S., including West Virginia Governor Joe Mahchin and Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal. Some state officials are worried that they may contain malicious software.” ht Bruce Schneier
  • Bankruptcy Filings and Mortgage Delinquencies by State – There is a sortable table to find the data for each state.
  • Fixing Health Care – “I won’t do Mr. Goldhill the injustice of trying to inadequately summarize his proposals – but it’s the first thing I’ve read (and again – I don’t claim to have read all that much) about this issue that makes a damned bit of sense to me.”
  • Cleaned by Capitalism VII – “One of the most unheralded anti-pollutants brought to you by capitalism is the metal can. By significantly retarding the multiplication of bacteria in the foods sealed within them, cans make our foods cleaner — less polluted — and safer.”


Hillary: The Movie
“More broadly, campaign finance regulation is thought control: it takes a position on whether money should influence political outcomes. Whether or not one agrees, this is only one possible view, and freedom of speech is meant to prevent government from promoting or discouraging particular points of view.”

  • Va. SPCA exec’s dog dies after 4 hours in hot car – “An executive for an anti-animal cruelty group says her 16-year-old blind and deaf dog died after she accidentally left him in her hot car for four hours.”
  • Housing, Transportation, and the Politics of Path Dependency – “I’ve been long puzzled by the widespread libertarian preference for state-subsidized roads plus building regulations oriented around cars over state-subsidized trains and buses and building regulations oriented around them.”
  • Aim Your Windshield Washer Jets – “Klann’s Windshield Washer Jet tool will run you about $6 before shipping. Whether it’s worth the money when you can probably do the same job with a straight pin is your decision.”
  • South Dakota: Supreme Court Limits Roadside Searches – “The South Dakota Supreme Court has limited the ability of police to search and interrogate innocent interstate travelers absent a reasonable and articulable suspicion of wrongdoing. The court considered the unique case of a vehicle search not made pursuant to a traffic stop, but while the owner was being detained before entering his vehicle.”
  • Clunkers and August Auto Sales – “There is no question auto sales will decline sharply in September, but there is a pretty amazing range of estimates for August … a couple of excerpts:”
  • Make Free VoIP Calls from Google Voice – “Since we’re extremely cheap, we’ll start out with the Gizmo/Google Voice 1/2 combo, since you can use it to place and receive calls without spending a dime. If you’re particularly partial to Skype, we’ll demonstrate how you can integrate Gizmo, Voice, and Skype for cheaper Skype calls after we demonstrate how to get everything up and running with Gizmo.
    . . .
    If you’re already set up with a Skype name and lots of contacts and you’d prefer to keep Skype as your go-to VoIP app, you can get Google Voice and Gizmo to route calls to Skype for notably less money than Skype charges for its call-out service. Alternately, if you only need to make the occasional Skype call and don’t want to bother installing software and getting a user account, Gizmo and Google are available there, too.” OR, you could just cough up the $60 per year for SkypeIn and Skype Out….
  • Hey Poland, We Were Only Trying to Help – “For the real story of Nazi-Soviet collusion in the war against Poland, check out the 2008 documentary The Soviet Story which, as The Economist explains, reveals that ‘Soviet radio transmitters guided German bombers in their attacks on Poland. A Soviet naval base near Murmansk helped the Nazi attack on Norway. The Soviet secret police helped train the Gestapo and discussed how to deal with the ‘Jewish question’ in occupied Poland.'”
  • Nation’s Unemployment Outlook Improves Drastically After Fifth Beer – “Despite ongoing economic woes and a jobless rate that has been approaching 10 percent, U.S. unemployment projections drastically improved Monday after the consumption of five beers.
    . . .
    Reports from those well on their way toward putting away a whole six pack suggested that unemployed Americans could look forward to increased job security and much higher salaries. In addition, many half-in-the-bag analysts said they foresee greater career satisfaction and massive quality-of-life improvements following the inevitable arrival of new employment opportunities.”
  • Dap 3.0 — The Official Goo Of The 21st Century – “When I heard ‘Dap 3.0’ my mind immediately wandered into science fiction territory and I started to wonder if they’d stuffed nanobots into the goo, but alas, we’ll have to wait on that. No, Dap 3.0’s new formula sports a quick dry compound that can be exposed to water in just three hours and won’t wash out. That’s some damn good news to those who depend on sealant on the job or who, like me, use it like a ward against household evil.”
  • Howard Dean on Obamacare and med-mal reform – “Perhaps the most buzzed-about story while I was on vacation (I’m back now) was the frank acknowledgment by former Democratic Party chairman (and former physician) Howard Dean when asked why liability reform was omitted from the health care redesign”
  • Things that are better than a New York City hot dog – “In response to a hyperbolic statement from a friend about the goodness of New York City hot dogs, Matthew Diffee compiles an extensive list of stuff that’s better. A sampling:”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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