February 8, 2018

Dilbert’s Scott Adams Explains How He Knew Trump Would ‘Win Bigly’

Filed under: Books, Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 7 Feb 2018

The cartoonist-turned-political-prognisticator talks about Trump, “master persuaders,” and winning arguments in a “world where facts don’t matter.”


In 2015, Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind the massively popular comic strip Dilbert, boldly predicted that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election.

“The reason I can see it coming is because I have studied this field of persuasion,” says Adams. “I saw this Trump character and he had the full tool set.” The 60-year-old Bay Area resident doesn’t agree with Trump on many political issues, but his prediction was enough for his to receive death threats from embittered Hillary Clinton supporters.

Adam’s new book, Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter, is both a detailed analysis of how Trump reframed political rhetoric during the 2016 campaign and a guide to how all of us can communicate more effectively and persuasively.

Adams sat down with Reason‘s Nick Gillespie in front of a live audience in San Francisco to talk about his book, his “extreme liberal” views, the popularity of his live broadcasts with followers via Twitter, and why Trump is a “master persuader.”

Cameras by Zach Weismueller, Paul Detrick, and Justin Monticello. Edited by Ian Keyser.

The revenge of the return of the bride of rent control

Filed under: Economics, Politics, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Megan McArdle on the unexpected return of one of the very worst economic policies known to mankind, or as our beloved Prime Minister would insist “peoplekind”:

According to the Wall Street Journal, rent control seems to be making a retro comeback. Most forms of intelligent life could be forgiven for asking why.

Serial experimentation with this policy has repeatedly shown the same result. Initially, tenants rejoice, and rent control looks like a victory for the poor over the landlord class. But the stifling of price signals leads to problems. Rent control starts by producing some sort of redistribution, because the people with low rents at the time that controls are imposed tend to be relatively low-income.

But then incomes rise, and rents don’t. People with higher incomes have more resources to pursue access to artificially cheap real estate: friends who work for management companies, “key fees” or simply incomes that promise landlords they won’t have to worry about collecting the rent. (One of my favorite New York City stories involves an acquaintance who made $175,000 a year, and applied for a rent-controlled apartment. He asked the women taking the application if his income was going to be a problem; she looked at the application and said, “No, I think that ought to be high enough.”)

So the promise of economic justice erodes over time, as lucky insiders come to dominate rent-controlled apartments, especially because having gotten their hands on an absurdly cheap apartment, said elites are loathe to move and free up space for others.

The longer the rent-control policies remain, the more these imbalances grow. The gap between the rent that is charged, and the rent that could be charged in a competitive market, widens. Deprived of the ability to make a profit, landlords skimp on maintenance and refuse to build new housing. If you loosen the law to incentivize renovation, or new building, this only creates new forms of dysfunction: discrimination against tenants who might stay longer than a few years (limiting the ability to raise rents); a decontrolled market that has to absorb all of the excess demand created by locking up so much of the housing market in rent-controlled leases that rarely turn over; even landlords who renovate too often, the better to raise the rent. This arrangement is very good for the people who happen to have gotten their hands on a rent-controlled apartment, and very bad for everyone else, especially newcomers to the city.

Canada wants to sell Leopard 1 Tanks!

Filed under: Cancon, Military, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 5 Feb 2018

Captain Scott Franklin, with the office of the Director Land Requirements, pointed out in a Jan. 23 article on the Army’s website that with the delivery of the new Leopard 2 Tank Mobility Implements in the fall of 2017, the last of the Army’s Leopard 1 tanks have been parked for good.

So what happens with those tanks?

Department of National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier explained to what might happen with the surplus Leopard 1s:

“The Department of National Defence has a formal process for disposing of surplus Canadian Armed Forces equipment. Once DND and the CAF has declared equipment surplus, a disposal plan is written that describes the preparatory steps that are to be performed, and describes the strategies for its removal from the DND system of record. The disposal plan assesses options, including retention, for alternate use within DND and the CAF (e.g. for training or display purposes), transfer to another Federal Government organization, sale, donation, or conversion to waste.

In the case of the Leopard 1 family of vehicles, there are 52 remaining Leopard 1C2 Main Battle Tanks, and 5 Leopard 1 Armoured Engineering Vehicles remaining. They will remain in place until a disposal mechanism is selected. They are currently distributed in Edmonton, Alberta; Montreal, Quebec; and Gagetown, New Brunswick. The first option would be to sell the tanks. Any revenue generating option for the government is encouraged. The tanks were listed for sale since 31 Aug 2015. While there is some interest currently, there are no firm buyers. The sale is open to approved foreign nations or approved Canadian industry. The second option is to use the tanks for alternative use (hard targets, monuments/artefacts). If tanks cannot be sold, alternative applications will be sought that may bring value to the government.

The last option would be to destroy the tanks. NO!

A virtual tour of the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society’s NEB&W layout

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

John McCluskey shared this link on one of my mailing lists, and it’s well worth the visit: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=e6d8iA5vGQ5. I visited the New England, Berkshire & Western layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic about twenty years ago, and the society has been busy working on it, so that while I recognize a lot of the scenes, they’ve clearly added to or upgraded them from my visit.

Stock Prep by Hand – Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Woodworking — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Popular Woodworking
Published on 2 Feb 2017

Learn how to process rough stock by hand and make it project ready – it’s not as difficult as you might think. (Excerpted from “Build a Hand-Crafted Bookcase,” by Christopher Schwarz – available at ShopWoodworking.com as a video download or DVD.)

QotD: Minimum prices for wine, a thought experiment

Filed under: Economics, Quotations, Wine — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Consider this hypothetical (which, given the poor quality of today’s punditry and publicly discussed economics, is not as far-fetched as it might at first seem): Ostensibly to help raise the incomes of hard-working vintners of low-quality wines – vintners many of whom have children to feed and sick parents to care for, and many of whom also are stuck in their jobs as owners of low-quality vineyards – Congress passes minimum-wine-price legislation: no wine may sell for any price less than $1.00 per fluid ounce. Roughly, that means that the minimum price of a standard-sized – 750ml – bottle of wine becomes $25.00. Armed officers of the state will use deadly force against anyone and everyone who insists on disobeying this diktat.

If proponents of the minimum wage are correct in their economics, then the only effect of this minimum-wine-price diktat will be distributional. Consumers – including retailers and restaurants buying from wholesalers – will continue to buy as much wine, and the same qualities of wine, that they bought before the diktat took effect. The only difference is that, with the diktat in place, owners of low-quality vineyards earn higher incomes, all of which are paid for by consumers who dip further into their own incomes and wealth to fund this transfer. Easy-peasy! Problem solved!

But who in their right mind would suppose that a minimum-wine-price diktat would play out in the manner described above? Who would not see that a wine buyer, obliged to pay at least $25 for a standard-size bottle of wine, will buy only higher-quality wines – wines that before the diktat took effect were fetching at least $25 per bottle (or some price close to that)? Many wine buyers who before the diktat were confronted with the choice of paying either $8.99 for a bottle of indifferent but drinkable chardonnay and $25.00 for a bottle of much more elegant and enjoyable chardonnay opted for the less-pricey bottles. They did so not because they prefer to drink chardonnay that is indifferent to chardonnay that is elegant – they in fact do not have this preference. Rather, they did so because the greater elegance of the pricier chardonnay was not to them worth its higher price. So the low-quality chardonnay found many willing buyers.

Don Boudreaux, “Quotation of the Day…”, Café Hayek, 2016-06-02.

Powered by WordPress