Quotulatiousness

April 28, 2017

Words & Numbers: Actually, Life is Pretty Awesome

Filed under: Economics, Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 26 Apr 2017

This week, James and Antony take a brief departure from talking about the growing national debt, and our absurd tax system to discuss the numerous ways in which more economic and personal freedom has made people wealthier, more equal, and better off all over the world. We’re actually living in pretty amazing times.

Read more:
https://fee.org/articles/actually-life-is-pretty-awesome/

The 2017 NFL draft

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

As I say every year around this time, because I don’t follow college football, it’s difficult for me to get particularly excited about this or that draft prospect for my favourite team. I see some names pop up in mock drafts by the various fan sites, and I certainly read the enthusiastic paeans to the skills of this running back or that offensive tackle. This year, there’s been a hugely popular online draft simulator at http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/, which offers a basic (free) version that anyone can use and a premium simulation that also allows trades.

It’s actually so easy to use that I figured it was worth displaying my draft ignorance to the world in my very first mock draft:

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What is a parallel universe? | Doctor Who Special | James May Q&A | Head Squeeze

Filed under: Science, Space — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 22 Nov 2013

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the very first episode of Doctor Who James has a very special video on what exactly a parallel universe is!

Some physicists believe that in a parallel universe all of our mistakes have been corrected. Rather than taking a take away for one in a cold miserable flat, we are, in a parallel universe, living with our one true love having the best life ever. Outside our own universe, the theory goes, that there are an infinite number of other universes.

However maybe we don’t have to travel beyond our universe to find a parallel. The Schrodinger’s Cat paradox basically is that a cat in a box with a device that can kill at random exists in both alive and dead states. More info on Schrodinger’s Cat here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/google-doodle/10237347/Schrodingers-Cat-explained.html

Thanks to Alyssa Ann for her portrait of Jeremy Clarkson: http://alyssamenold.com/

QotD: Tenure

Filed under: Quotations, Randomness, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

What about tenure? We can imagine an alternate universe where academia is populated with various PhDs on equal footing. Since there would be a glut, their salaries would be very low to start, but low salaries would mean easy employment, and colleges would find a lot of room for them to do one-on-one tutoring, or low-level research, or something like that. Eventually some of them would become a bit more prestigious in their fields and could demand higher salaries from hiring institutions, and a few superstars like Nobel Prize winners and the like could demand millions. At no point would there ever be anything called a “tenure track”. It seems like the main difference between this universe and our own is that tradition plus the reasonable desire of professors to be free from political interference has created this dichotomous variable called “tenure” and caused it to replace the continuous variable of salary as the prize for success. In favor of that theory, top professors seem weirdly underpaid compared to eg top athletes or top artists, even though I would expect having one of the world’s top scientists or historians to be a big draw for a school. According to the List Of Highest Paid Professors, only five professors in the US make more than a million dollars a year, and all of those are professors of lucrative medical subspecialties or of finance, who presumably are being paid that much to compensate them for teaching instead of participating in the high-paying professions they are otherwise qualified for.

Scott Alexander, “Non-Dual Awareness”, Slate Star Codex, 2015-07-28.

April 27, 2017

Report that the Vikings will not pick up Teddy Bridgewater’s fifth-year option

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Tomasson says it’s unlikely that the Vikings will pick up the fifth-year option on Teddy Bridgewater’s rookie deal, potentially ending his Vikings tenure at the end of the 2017 season:

The Vikings are unlikely to pick up quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s fifth-year option for 2018, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean 2017 would be his final season with the team.

ESPN first reported Wednesday that the Vikings are not expected to invoke the $12.198 million option by Tuesday’s deadline. Bridgewater suffered a serious knee injury last August that has put his 2017 season is in jeopardy.

“The injury guarantee makes it tough to do,” a source told ESPN.

If Minnesota declines the option, Bridgewater still could end up under contract for 2018. OvertheCap.com and NFL Media reported that if Bridgewater is on the physically unable to perform list throughout 2017, he would remain on the books for 2018 at his same base salary of $1.354 million.

The sides could reach a deal at some point in which Bridgewater’s 2018 contract figure is somewhere between $1.354 million and $12.198 million.

Bridgewater has been with the Vikings since offseason workouts began April 17 at Winter Park. “He’s been in here working as hard as anyone, fighting his way back,” said general manager Rick Spielman.

Declining Bridgewater’s option would indicate that Minnesota regards Sam Bradford most likely its quarterback of the future. If so, Bradford, who will make $18 million in the final year of his deal in 2017, could be in line for an extension before the season starts.

Bradford said Tuesday he doesn’t know of any contract talks between his agent and the Vikings. Spielman said he won’t comment on any player contracts.

For the record, while I like and appreciate Sam Bradford, I’m a fully paid-up member of the Bridgewater Underground, and I really hope that Teddy will fully recover and be able to resume his career sooner rather than later. Head coach Mike Zimmer was quoted as saying “I want Teddy, I don’t want him going somewhere else.” Well spoken, coach!

At the Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates explains that there’s still a chance that Teddy’s option would be picked up … but in 2018, not this year:

Basically, when a contract is “tolled,” it rolls over into the next season. This means that, if Bridgewater spends the entire 2017 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list … and he’d almost undoubtedly start Training Camp there, at the very least … then Teddy Bridgewater would still have one year on his contract with the Vikings when we reach the start of the 2018 league year. The Vikings would then have another chance to decide whether they wanted to pick up his fifth-year option (which would actually then be a sixth-year option) at the price of around $12 million.

Perhaps this is the plan with Bridgewater, then … to have him inactive for the entire 2017 season so that the team can make a decision on him vs. Sam Bradford at the start of the 2018 league year. There’s no point in rushing him back before he’s ready, and if another year off for #5 will ensure the best chance for him to come back and lead the Vikings’ offense, then I absolutely wouldn’t be against that sort of thing at all.

But this new information from Ian Rapoport does help to put today’s earlier news in a bit of a different perspective.

Our Channel And The YouTube Adpocalypse I THE GREAT WAR

Filed under: Business, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 26 Apr 2017

Our Patreon: http://patreon.com/thegreatwar
Our Merch Store: https://shop.spreadshirt.net/thegreatwar/

A good explanation how YouTube Ads work by CGP Grey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW0eUrUiyxo

In light of the news surrounding YouTube and their ad policy we got a lot of comments asking how and if all this affects our show and production. We want to make a few things clear and also underline how you can support us.

» HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOUR CHANNEL?
You can support us by sharing our videos with your friends and spreading the word about our work.You can also support us financially on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thegreatwar

You can also buy our merchandise in our online shop: http://shop.spreadshirt.de/thegreatwar/

Patreon is a platform for creators like us, that enables us to get monthly financial support from the community in exchange for cool perks.

“Richard Florida has a new book [that] advises cities on what to do about problems that result from advice he gave them in his previous books”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Chris Selley hits this one out of the ballpark:

Gadabout urbanist Richard Florida has a new book: The New Urban Crisis. It advises cities on what to do about problems that result from advice he gave them in his previous books, notably The Rise of the Creative Class. Stuff your downtown core full of creative types and you shall prosper, the University of Toronto professor advised, and many cities listened. Now some face a “crisis of their own success,” he told a Toronto breakfast crowd at the Urban Land Institute’s Electric Cities Symposium: the blue-collar types who make the creative class’s artisanal baked goods and mind their children have been “pushed” ever further into the suburbs. Economic and geographic inequality results, and Rob Ford/Donald Trump/Brexit-style resentment can build.

Florida’s many critics have long warned this was a flaw in his vision. But now Florida says he finds it “terrifying,” so he’s off on another book tour.

If I sound a bit peevish, it’s because I find him rather insufferable. Critics have poked holes in much of his research, but much more of it strikes me as overly complex analysis and measurement of fairly basic, intuitive phenomena that are common to dynamic and not-so-dynamic cities. While the remarkable urban revivals in recent decades in New York and Pittsburgh, and nascent ones in Detroit and Newark, are all very interesting, I’ve never understood what they have to teach us about Canadian cities. Their cores never “hollowed out” in the first place, necessitating wholesale renewal. When I listen to Florida talk, I hear Lyle Lanley trying to sell Springfield a monorail.

In any event, his prescriptions for the GTA are not exactly visionary: more transit, more affordable housing, densification over NIMBYism and more decision-making autonomy for cities. “The key today is shifting power from provinces to cities,” Florida writes in a Canadian-focused paper linked to the new book. That made it all the more galling to watch his post-speech “fireside chat” with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose tires he pumped well beyond their recommended PSI.

“You know this. It’s in your blood,” Florida gushed of her urbanist bona fides.

Well, let’s see. Wynne can certainly claim to have committed many billions in taxpayer money to transit projects. But if there were awards for NIMBYism, Wynne would have one for the nine-figure cancellation of two unpopular gas-fired power plants, during an election campaign of which she was co-chair; and perhaps another for her party’s shameless politicking on transit in Scarborough.

Jack Dee’s Encounter with an ex-SAS Officer – Live at the Apollo – BBC

Filed under: Britain, Humour, Military — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Uploaded on 7 Mar 2008

British comedian Jack Dee explains why you should never surprise an ex-SAS officer in a pub.

QotD: Canada the (self-imagined) “moral superpower” … the military midget

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… Canada has no influence whatever in the world. It is unique in this condition among G7 countries, because it has a monstrously inadequate defence capability and takes no serious initiatives in the Western alliance or in international organizations.

Canadians seem to imagine that influence can be had in distant corners of the world just by being virtuous and altruistic and disinterested. That is not how international relations work. The powers that have the money and the applicable military strength have the influence, although those elements may be reinforced if a country or its leader is able to espouse a noble or popular cause with great persuasiveness. This last was the case in the Second World War, where Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Adolf Hitler were all, in their different ways, inspiring public speakers who could whip up the enthusiasm of their peoples. Churchill and Roosevelt stirred the masses of the whole world who loved and sought freedom. There are no world leaders now with any appreciable ability to stir world opinion, and influence in different theatres is measured exclusively in military and economic strength, unless there is a colossal moral imbalance between contending parties. Even where such a moral imbalance exists, as in the contest between civilized and terrorism-supporting countries, the advantage is not easily asserted.

[…]

But we are almost entirely dependent on the United States for our own defence. When President Roosevelt said at Queen’s University in Kingston in 1938 that the U.S. would protect Canada from foreign invasion, Mackenzie King accepted the responsibility of assuring that invaders could not reach the U.S. through Canada. Since the Mulroney era, we have just been freeloaders. If we want to be taken seriously, we have to make a difference in the Western alliance, which the Trump administration has set out to revitalize. As I have written here before, a defence build-up: high-tech, increased numbers, and adult education, is a win-double, an added cubit to our national stature influence (and pride), and the best possible form of public-sector economic stimulus. It is frustrating that successive governments of both major parties have not seen these obvious truths. Strength, not amiable piety, creates national influence.

Conrad Black, “Being nice gets Canada liked. But we won’t be respected until we pull our weight”, National Post, 2017-04-14.

April 26, 2017

The End of Play: Why Kids Need Unstructured Time

Filed under: Education, Health, Liberty — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 25 Apr 2017

“School has become an abnormal setting for children,” says Peter Gray, a professor of psychology at Boston College. “Instead of admitting that, we say the children are abnormal.”

Boston College Psychology Professor Peter Gray says that a cultural shift towards a more interventionist approach to child rearing is having dire consequences for the well-being of kids. “Over the same period of time that there has been a gradual decline in play,” he told Reason‘s Nick Gillespie, “there are well documented, gradual, but ultimately huge increases in a variety of mental disorders in childhood — especially depression and anxiety.”

Gray believes that social media is one saving grace. “[Kids] can’t get together in the real world…[without] adult supervisors,” he says, “but they can online.”

For more on Gray’s work, follow his blog at Psychology Today.

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Jim Epstein. Music by Broke for Free.

Former Viking Adrian Peterson to sign with New Orleans Saints

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Former league MVP to sign (a much smaller) deal with the New Orleans Saints for the 2017 season. Minnesota declined his option for this year partly because it carried an $18 million pricetag — significantly more than any other running back in the league. Chris Tomasson reports for the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Adrian Peterson finally has a new team.

The running back, who became a free agent March 9 after 10 seasons with the Vikings, told ESPN on Tuesday morning he will sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Peterson won’t have to wait long to run into his old team. The Saints open the season on Monday Night Football at Minnesota.

NFL Media reported on Monday that Peterson was close to deal with New Orleans. Peterson on Tuesday morning confirmed that, and gave ESPN contract details.

Peterson said his deal will be for one year with an option for a second year. He said he will make $3.5 million in guaranteed money in 2017, with $2.5 million being a signing bonus and $1 million guaranteed base salary. He said his 2018 option would include $3.5 million in non-guaranteed salary, with $2.4 million of it possible in roster bonsuses.

“I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints,” Peterson told ESPN. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings.

The NFL’s marketing department quickly fired up their copy of Photoshop to show AP in his new colours:

French cleat follow-up

Filed under: Humour, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 2 Mar 2013

Answering a few questions from yesterday’s video on my main channel:
[French cleat storage system for hand tools]

QotD: The modern vice is “ostentatious class disdain”

Filed under: Media, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Yet Another Example… of our current practice of making important policy decisions based upon little except the learned habit of ostentatious class disdain.

You notice that at this late date, with a major policy campaign against the dreaded Semi. Automatic. Weapon., that most of these guys still haven’t bothered to discover what a semi-automatic is?

That’s a learned habit. They are signalling to other members of their class (or the class they aspire to) that they consider such knowledge base, the sort of thing known by the dirty callous-handed illiterates of the rabble and certainly not by the Lords of Intellect.

I mean, it’s like a recipe for ‘Possum Stew. To even know the thing would reduce you in status. Knowledge about guns is something the lower classes have; the criminal class, the agrarian workers (the peasantry), the lesser Servitor Classes of policemen and armed guards and military betas.

What could possibly explain such ignorance at this point, except a calculated, learned ignorance of the habits of one’s putative lessers?

Ace, “The Unburstable Bubble of Willful Ignorance of the International Self-Purported Elites”, Ace of Spades H.Q., 2013-01-09.

April 25, 2017

German Trade Submarines – Beutepanzer Upgrades – Dan Carlin I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 24 Apr 2017

Check out Dan Carlin’s Podcast about WW1: http://bit.ly/DanCarlinArmageddon

It’s Chair of Wisdom Time again and this week we talk about German Trade Submarines (Deutschland class), Beutepanzer upgrades and Dan Carlin’s Blueprint for Armageddon series.

Shopping for capers

Filed under: Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

An old post at a seemingly abandoned Tumblr site called F*k You, Broccoli is called “Capers, Satan’s little BBs” (NSFW tag is for language, so it’s below the fold):

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