Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. This is in cartoon form, but a serious point is made. What do you suggest to fix this educational gap?
  2. Yes, premise 1 seems false.
  3. Tebow furor, an extreme example.
  4. Undercurrents in Iran, a film noted.
  5. What to eat while doing LSD on bike (LSD -> Long Steady Distance, not the hallucinogen).
  6. Memories … .
  7. ePaper and the better nightlight.
  8. Not the normal headline.
  9. Tea Party/OWS totalitarian version … noted here and here.
  10. Cuteness.
  11. This will have dire consequences.
  12. Right after you ban talking in cars too.
  13. Sleaze to the end.
  14. Government spending and a study.
  15. Porn must be very popular in Egypt … or something like that.
  16. Never beaten athletic team.

9 Responses to Thursday Highlights

  1. 1.This is in cartoon form, but a serious point is made. What do you suggest to fix this educational gap?

    What is there to ‘fix’? The market consistently pays more for an educated person than a non-educated one. This trend has only become more solid over the last few decades. Yet we are told there’s an ‘education problem’.

    Sounds like their’s either a market problem….where for some reason the market insists on paying more for something that YOU and others insist isn’t worth more (the worker with more education) or there’s a mystery/explanation problem in trying to figure out what exactly the market is seeing in education that we have trouble seeing.

  2. 12.Right after you ban talking in cars too.

    I assume whatever studies this was based on compared a typical cell phone using driver to a typical non-cell phone using driver. Your typical non-cell driver probably typically talks in the car so if the two accident rates are statistically different then its not talking that’s the problem but talking on the cell. Which I can believe pretty easily because I know for a fact I’m a worse driver on the cell than off it, regardless of ‘hands free’.

    Curious where we get our outrage from isn’t it? Today this proposal feels like the ultimate in nanny-statism. Yet 25 years ago talking on the phone in your car was a luxury that bordered on nearly absurd. Maybe something James Bond would need to do or a very important ‘master of the universe’ like Gordon Gekko.

  3. Boonton,
    The carton was remarking how what you are taught in school is often too abstract, it doesn’t match what you do at the job. In the example a student is taught about how an engine operates but has no experience driving an actual truck (for which she/he was ostensibly trained). When we’ve hired programmers from school, they often have little to no experience actually writing and debugging code. The know “about” code and “about” theorems and such (NP/not-NP and so on) but very little experience debugging operational programs.

    This is the problem that I saw referred to in the cartoon. It has nothing to do with markets and payment.

    Regarding #12, do you think having kids under the age of 4 in the car for whom you are responsible is less or more distracting than none. Should it be illegal for the drive to talk to a passenger, after all, you are probably a worse driver when having a conversation? It isn’t about outrage. It’s about the ever encroaching nanny state.

  4. My co-worker’s husband works as a car hauler, he owns his own truck and gets paid to haul new cars to dealerships. He struggles with bookkeping, tracking his expenses and judging whether job offers ‘pay off’ when he factors in his numerous expenses. Learning to operate the clutch was probably something he mastered the first week driving the truck and probably something that could not be taught in a school setting.

    Regarding #12, do you think having kids under the age of 4 in the car for whom you are responsible is less or more distracting than none. Should it be illegal for the drive to talk to a passenger, after all, you are probably a worse driver when having a conversation? It isn’t about outrage. It’s about the ever encroaching nanny state.

    This sounds good, until you think about how stupid it really is. The ‘nanny state’ is one protecting you from your own foolishness. Hurtling a ton of steel and plastic down a highway at 60+ mph is not about you ruining your appetite for dinner by eating too many candy bars. And as for encroaching, as I pointed out 30 years ago if you said people shouldn’t use a phone while driving, they would hardly have disagreed. If we passed a law then prohibiting driving with phone in use no one would have objected. It only feels like an encroachment because we’ve gotten so used to it. But that’s not a very helpful view of liberty….simply having the freedom to things you’re used to having. People who live in countries where its illegal to criticize the church and/or state get used to their confines.

    Now for your objections…the purpose of cars is to transport people. Not to provide a space for people to browse the internet, argue with their co-workers, or check their email. Now children under 4 need to be transported to various places and the best way we have so far is with vehicles. If someone invents a Star Trek transporter device that can move 4 yr olds to where they have to be moved with absolutely perfect safety compared to cars then I’d be willing to consider a law saying 4 yr olds can no longer travel in cars. If you can show how replying to my comments while you’re driving a 4 yr old in a car enhances safety I’m willing to have an exemption from the law written for you.

  5. Boonton,

    I’d wager that neither any realistic application of bookkeeping nor how to double clutch were trait at school. And that is the point, that the gulf between what is taught in school and what is found at the job is very large. What I’m not seeing is he point that you are drawing from your references to secondary school pay and market. Why do you think schools and the school system is very sensitive to market forces.

    Just because a frog will jump out of boiling water and not when slowly heated to a boil doesn’t mean the latter is OK. The general question is why can a driver talk in a car, right? Lots of legal behavior is more dangerous than talking on a headset. It seems to me, if you wish to make talking on a headset illegal then you should also make anything else that is more dangerous also illegal, like driving with children not muscles and in straitjackets. Recall that “open carry in bars” when allowed leads to no increase in gun violence. Lots of things are illegal for no reason related to saftey. Since safety isn’t your real concern …. What is?

  6. I’d wager that neither any realistic application of bookkeeping nor how to double clutch were trait at school. And that is the point, that the gulf between what is taught in school and what is found at the job is very large. What I’m not seeing is he point that you are drawing from your references to secondary school pay and market. Why do you think schools and the school system is very sensitive to market forces.

    The question is the reverse. If school doesn’t prepare you for the job very well, why do jobs insist on paying more for schooled workers than unschooled ones? Two possible types of answers. One is that the market doesn’t work. That conclusion will have to lead to more questions. The other is that the market does work and it judges school, more often than not, to be useful. You ask how can that be if school isn’t doing a great job at teaching clutches or bookkeeping. If that’s the case then it would seem there’s something else about schools that must be adding value.

    The general question is why can a driver talk in a car, right? Lots of legal behavior is more dangerous than talking on a headset. It seems to me, if you wish to make talking on a headset illegal then you should also make anything else that is more dangerous also illegal, like driving with children not muscles and in straitjackets.

    This leads to the question of how do we know something is more dangeorus or not? You seem like you’re answering that question with your imagination. But what you imagin a complex system does is likely to be wrong in many cases.

    I presume the studies behind this idea looked at crash rates of cell phone users versus non-cell phone users. If non-cell users crash less than cell users, then what is your basis for ‘talking to people in the car’ or ‘driving with kids’? Do people who don’t talk on the phone in cars lack children or fellow passengers at a rate much greater than cell phone users? If not then it would seem that cell phone use is a greater danger. It’s also much more practical to lessen than trying to find a way for no child to ever be driven anywhere until he turns 15 yrs old.

    Recall that “open carry in bars” when allowed leads to no increase in gun violence. Lots of things are illegal for no reason related to saftey. Since safety isn’t your real concern

    kind of illustrates the danger of using your imagination versus looking at data. It’s easy to imagine how people with guns in bars will lead to violence. But then in real life maybe it won’t. Yet your counter here is essentially the same nonesense….but perhaps even worse. You’re like a person who would demand ‘open carry’ by prisoners in prison on the grounds that even plastic knives from the mess call can be used to kill people too, but since we’re not going to stop feeding people in jail we might as well let them have guns too.

  7. An interesting follow up to the education question. While returning veterns have a higher rate of unemployment than the general population, they do over longer periods of time have lower rates of unemployment. Why should the market find veterns more valuable as workers?

    Again ‘skill sets’ are not really the answer here. Many military skill sets are even more removed from the work world than school is. Weapons, combat skills, chain of command and military jargon have little direct application to most jobs that are not from Blackwater or like outfits. So I would suspect the market views specific skill sets as not very valuable compared to getting the right type of person. The right type of person will quickly pick up using a clutch. The wrong type of person is much less likely to be helpful to you….maybe at best if he happens to know the exact skills you need for the job he can be useful.

    The market is probably viewing both education and military service as either instilling ‘right typeness’ into people are acting as a filter, removing ‘wrong typeness’ leaving a more pure subset of the population.

  8. Boonton,
    On education, you’re sliding around the matter. A few weeks ago Isegoria linked the to a remark (which I linked) about education in the secondary market not being about the skills needed for the job but a flag to secondary things, like the character and willingness to not-so-much-fun stuff and so on, which has real world applications. The question might be, if a school were to offer both, i.e., demonstrate that to pass one required those secondary skills and taught real-world skill sets that match what employers/jobs require, why wouldn’t that be better?

    The problem isn’t that the market doesn’t work, but that the market is absent in the school system. A school that produced both proof of secondary character traits and got you ready to go would likely be found to get its kids to jobs much better. But there is no market forcing professors and schools to teach to the reality of the job market (presuming of course the notion that they even know much about it). That’s the market failure.

    I presume the studies behind this idea looked at crash rates of cell phone users versus non-cell phone users. If non-cell users crash less than cell users, then what is your basis for ‘talking to people in the car’ or ‘driving with kids’? Do people who don’t talk on the phone in cars lack children or fellow passengers at a rate much greater than cell phone users? If not then it would seem that cell phone use is a greater danger. It’s also much more practical to lessen than trying to find a way for no child to ever be driven anywhere until he turns 15 yrs old.

    Here’s my question, if one behavior is less dangerous than other things which are allowed (driving with kids vs driving while talking to a passenger vs driving while talking on a headset (in likely decreasing order of danger/distraction) … what proxy are you after to ban the least dangerous of these things? And if you’re in a situation where it is impractical or unwarranted to ban the most … why bother banning the least?

    And don’t forget that cited example accident noted “texting” while driving which seems to me a lot more problematic than talking on a cordless headset.

  9. Mark

    A few weeks ago Isegoria linked the to a remark (which I linked) about education in the secondary market not being about the skills needed for the job but a flag to secondary things, like the character and willingness to not-so-much-fun stuff and so on, which has real world applications.

    It seems kind of odd to think that people go into debt totally tens of thousands of dollars just to ‘certify’ that they are willing to endure boring things for several hours a day. Certainly an innovative market could uncover some cheaper way to signal that. But maybe part of the value school is adding isn’t that it ‘signals’ this but creates this. It forces you to ‘sit down and be quiet’ for a while thereby cultivating and enhancing those skills. Of course its an added bonus that you pick up some useful knowledge along the way. You have to not only ‘sit down and be quiet’ at work but more often than not you have to be able to fit in as well. Some common culture is created by the shared experience of, say, rememebering how horribly boring HS geometry was.

    The problem isn’t that the market doesn’t work, but that the market is absent in the school system. A school that produced both proof of secondary character traits and got you ready to go would likely be found to get its kids to jobs much better.

    Not really sure how you can argue this when college is a privatizationers dream world. I mean you have no ‘public college’ system. State colleges have to compete with all other colleges for students and students have the entire country and world of colleges to choose from, not just whatever is nearest their town. You go a step beyond even vouchers by making most kids incur debt to finance their college, thereby putting a huge incentive on them to choose education to ‘get into the job market’. If you say this has been a failure then we should double our efforts to keep you’re failed ‘reform’ ideas away from the rest of education.

    Here’s my question, if one behavior is less dangerous than other things which are allowed (driving with kids vs driving while talking to a passenger vs driving while talking on a headset (in likely decreasing order of danger/distraction) … what proxy are you after to ban the least dangerous of these things?

    Are you really an engineer? At no point you never had to comprehend cost benefit analysis? Let’s say for the sake of argument that something that would be very, very, hard to ban happens to be more dangerous than, say DWI. Suppose I can demonstrate that driving within 5 minutes of having a really massive argument with your wife….I mean a really massive throwing dishes against the wall stomping out of the house blow up argument…is twice as dangerous as driving drunk. By your reasoning we should not ban drunk driving unless and until we find a way to finance a sit in marital inspector to prevent pre-makeupsex driving.

    And don’t forget that cited example accident noted “texting” while driving which seems to me a lot more problematic than talking on a cordless headset

    I hate to say I’ve texted while driving, but I agree it should be illegal and if I’m nailed in a moment of weakness, well that’s on me. I’ve heard that even driving with a handsfree headset still reduces the driver to the level of a drunk driver. If you think the statistics are flawed I’m willing to hear the argument but if that’s the case then they should ban it.

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