You know what we could do with less of? Saturation coverage of the space station urine recycler. This story was worth about 5 seconds of snickering over on cable news. It’s time to move on.
Archive for November, 2008
I interrupt this brief blogging hiatus to bring you this important news. Scientists estimate that the effort to produce a live woolly mammoth will cost only $10 million. At that price, we can’t not do this. Just think of it. Mammoths!
This is an important national priority. I assign the task of securing funding to Hank Paulson. No one will notice if a measly $10 million is whisked away from that $700 billion TARP fund.
Worth a look: a gallery of postage stamps designed by famous type designers.
Do MSM science journalists only know how to regurgitate press releases?
From the New York Times:
The old-fashioned school bake sale, once as American as apple pie, is fast becoming obsolete in California, a result of strict new state nutrition standards for public schools … They require that snacks sold during the school day contain no more than 35 percent sugar by weight and derive no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat.
Outrageous! Now, I’m all for healthy eating, and I would be delighted if parents were less wont to load their kids full of sugary snacks and soft drinks. But these people need to lighten up!
In Chula Vista, Calif., near San Diego, sales plummeted at Hilltop High School’s multicultural food fair, an annual fund-raising event for the foreign language and global studies departments that has traditionally featured bratwurst, breadsticks with marinara sauce, apple pie and root beer floats. “This year was really hard,” said Jade Wagner, a senior, referring to the half-bratwursts and nondairy diet root beers.
Half-bratwursts!? Save the children!
A multicultural food fair without the food is just a multicultural fair. And folks, that’s just boring.
What’s more, under these nanny-state brownshirts’ regime, the life-giving, healthful saturated fat in a bratwurst is banned, but a glass of apple juice and a bagel—no added sugar, right?—would be the ideal healthy meal, even if it’s basically the nutritional equivalent of eating pure table sugar. Makes sense!
And the NYT might have mentioned that similar programs have been shown to be useless. The Junkfood Science blog recently had a look at some recent studies which failed to show any benefit from school sugar bans:
… we heard little about the intensive two-year study published earlier this year that was to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the School Nutrition Policy Initiative in reducing childhood obesity. This comprehensive program included every initiative popularly believed to reduce obesity and all of the interventions were in accordance with the CDC’s “Guidelines to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” that are being incorporated into school wellness policies across the country. The program was a total failure. Not only had the children’s “healthy eating” behaviors slightly dropped, but it had no effect on the incidence, prevalence or remission of obesity…
… Given the massive resources, and increasingly intrusive interventions for students and families as school and government officials attempt to monitor and control what young people eat in schools, parents and tax paying consumers might begin insisting on some evidence before continuing to support these programs.
And one last thing: how can you trust anyone who can’t spell “McDonald’s?”
Obama’s transition team is adopting stringent rules for ex-lobbyists:
John D. Podesta, a co-chairman of the Obama transition, called the restraints “the strictest, the most far-reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history.”
Doesn’t that sound kind of familiar?
Bill Clinton, 1992: “Mine will be the most ethical administration in the history of the Republic.”
Pelosi, 2006: “The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”
I don’t think history can take all this ethics!
I recently came across this great (and prophetic) Murray Rothbard piece on Alan Greenspan from way back in 1987, the year Greenspan was first appointed as Chairman of the Fed.
I found particularly remarkable the recent statements in the press that Greenspan’s economic consulting firm of Townsend-Greenspan might go under, because it turns out that what the firm really sells is not its econometric forecasting models, or its famous numbers, but Greenspan himself, and his gift for saying absolutely nothing at great length and in rococo syntax with no clear-cut position of any kind.
Greenspan’s real qualification is that he can be trusted never to rock the establishment’s boat. He has long positioned himself in the very middle of the economic spectrum. He is, like most other long-time Republican economists, a conservative Keynesian, which in these days is almost indistinguishable from the liberal Keynesians in the Democratic camp. In fact, his views are virtually the same as Paul Volcker, also a conservative Keynesian. Which means that he wants moderate deficits and tax increases, and will loudly worry about inflation as he pours on increases in the money supply.
There is one thing, however, that makes Greenspan unique, and that sets him off from his Establishment buddies. And that is that he is a follower of Ayn Rand, and therefore “philosophically” believes in laissez-faire and even the gold standard. But as the New York Times and other important media hastened to assure us, Alan only believes in laissez-faire “on the high philosophical level.” In practice, in the policies he advocates, he is a centrist like everyone else because he is a “pragmatist.”
As an alleged “laissez-faire pragmatist,” at no time in his prominent twenty-year career in politics has he ever advocated anything that even remotely smacks of laissez-faire, or even any approach toward it. For Greenspan, laissez-faire is not a lodestar, a standard, and a guide by which to set one’s course; instead, it is simply a curiosity kept in the closet, totally divorced from his concrete policy conclusions.
… Yes, the Establishment has good reason to sleep soundly with Greenspan at our monetary helm. And as icing on the cake, they know that Greenspan’s “philosophical” Randianism will undoubtedly fool many free market advocates into thinking that a champion of their cause now perches high in the seats of power.
Unfortunately, Greenspan’s groundless self-identification as a libertarian has also given anti-market polemicists some useful ammo for discrediting free-market economics. Jake Weisberg, of course, took that ball and ran with it in his asinine Slate piece, in which Greenspan is portrayed as some kind of rampaging anti-state ideologue. (Weisberg also somehow forgot to mention monetary policy anywhere in his piece. Curious!)
Here’s a memo to anyone else who is planning on destroying the world economy: Please do not call yourself a libertarian, especially if you’re not one! I’m looking at you, Bernanke.
On a whim, I decided that it would be good to know what, besides The Monkees and Huey Lewis and the News, happened in 20th century music, so I queued up a Philip Glass station on my Pandora Radio.
Based on under two hours of listening, I officially declare avant-garde music to have gotten a bad rap. Glass is eminently listenable!
I’m also struck by how a lot of movie scores seem to have been influenced by Glass or minimalism in general. I’m thinking of music from The Remains of the Day and Jon Brion’s score for Magnolia.
In other news, a lovely Debussey track called Arabesque No. 1 came up, but I couldn’t keep from being reminded of Jack Horkheimer, Star Hustler, a cheesy old public television show that used that piece as its theme. It ran on our PBS station in the 80s. Does anybody else remember that show? No? OK.
‘Cause here it is again! Man, I love YouTube.
Now, I was going to try to head off any needling about the geekiness of having ever watched this show with the defense that I have only ever seen it because it came on right after… Doctor Who.
Indiana state police said that after a mother was arrested for drunken driving, the three relatives who came to pick up her 1-year-old son also had all been drinking. A state trooper stopped a minivan for speeding early Saturday on U.S. 30 in Schererville in northwestern Indiana. He arrested the 24-year-old woman on a drunken driving charges.
The boy’s father arrived later to pick him up, but officers determined he was intoxicated and also arrested him on a drunken driving charge.
Police said the boy’s grandparents then arrived. Both of them also had been drinking, state police said, but the grandmother who was driving was not over the legal limit, so officers escorted them home with the child.
Something tells me that this kid has inherited the alcoholism gene.
There’s a nice article on the joys (and benefits) of eating fat over at a site called Table Matters. (h/t Blowhards.)
Lard is also natural. “Tub of lard” is now a derogatory phrase, but I wish I had one. Pork fat, fat back, bacon, lard, and leaf lard (for that flaky pie crust) are all good fats containing approximately 11 percent polyunsaturated fat. Wrap almost anything in bacon and voila — ecstasy. It is not for nothing that pork belly is the cutting-edge chef’s new favorite.
Goose, duck, even chicken fat are also good (with between 11 and 13 percent polyunsaturated fat). What makes a terrine de foie gras transporting? Fat. Pork rillettes? Fat. A duck deprived of its fat would fall flat. Cook potatoes in duck or goose fat and you’ll never want them any other way.
However, the article disappointingly ends with this old canard:
… in the end, it’s calories that make you fat. Too many in and not enough expended. We may be a nation of fatties, but it is not because of an overindulgence in glorious gorgeous fat: It’s overindulgence in general. Eat a little less; eat much better.