Endless Curiosity

February 28, 2009

Republicans clueless about Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 2:13 pm

It’s fascinating the way that the Republicans complain about Obama and the recovery plan, saying that it won’t create jobs. Like they have a clue.

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February 27, 2009

Obama’s Speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 5:37 am

Ok, now I regret it, I didn’t watch the speech. A friend sent me a link to an opinion piece by Peggy Noonan in the WSJ which I thought was pretty amazing. A Republican speechwriter praising a Democratic President. The article was titled Obama Dons the Presidential Cloak, and start with “A mysterious thing happened in that speech Tuesday night. By the end of it Barack Obama had become president.”

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February 26, 2009

Ignorant or Dishonest?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 1:00 pm

I received an email from a friend that contained a “letter” making the rounds – A Letter from a Granddad.

The letter starts something like this: Dear Susan, The election of Obama comes down to this. Your grandmother and I, your mother, and other productive, wage-earning tax payers will have their taxes increased and that means less income left over. Less income means we will have to cut back on basic purchases, gifts and handouts.

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February 24, 2009

How did we get into this Mess?

Filed under: Economics, Republicans — Alec @ 5:52 am

This financial recession/depression is going to last a long time. I’m sure the stimulus will help, but most people are running scared at this point, thinking more about saving money in case they lose their job than going out and spending money. And of course, spending money is what is needed.

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February 23, 2009

Cool women drivers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 7:48 pm

Here are some amazing videos of women drivers (or so the video says). Some obviously are, but some drivers you never see. One amazing segment is of a woman trying to park a car, until a man in frustration parks it for her. Not that I have anything against women drivers you understand – some of my best friends are women.

Oscars 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — nicolarose @ 2:28 pm

Hello All! I’m very glad to be a new blogger…

Hope everyone watched the Oscars (Academy Awards) last night. As a fan of all the award shows, regardless if I’ve seen any of the nominated movies or not (and apparently last night I hadn’t seen many of them), they always interest me. The fashion is what’s more important, although I guess the show itself is alright.

Last night had a few good moments (Robert Pattinson anyone?!) like Ben Stiller acting as Joaquin Phoenix while presenting with Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz asking if anyone has ever fainted on stage, and Kate Winslet calling out to her dad in the audience.

Although by far the best part of last night was being allowed to have an excuse for knowing all the gossip. This meant not feeling guilty when someone asked me a question about who gets to be in attendance, who Ben Stiller was acting as, what would happen to Heath’s Oscar if he won, and of course who was who and what they were wearing!

For a list of the winners- Click Here!

But more importantly, for all the fashion-Click Here!

February 22, 2009

My daughter, the new blogger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 5:04 pm

My daughter has been complaining that I don’t post about interesting things like the woman who gave birth to 8 babies. So I offered her the opportunity to blog here. I’m sure the number of readers of this blog will now skyrocket.

February 21, 2009

There is no Market, there is no Invisible Hand

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 6:10 pm

There is no Market and there is no Invisible Hand.

There are only people trying to make money.
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The Size of Our World

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 5:52 pm

I came across this great graphic showing the size of the Earth relative to the other planets, then the planets relative to the Sun, and the Sun relative to other stars.

February 17, 2009

Why couldn’t we have grown-ups in charge?

Filed under: Economics, Republicans — Alec @ 1:21 pm

From Juan Cole: “As Alan Greenspan recently admitted, his conviction that bankers would not steal from us because it would be bad for the bank was naive; I guess that is what comes of never growing out of Ayn Rand when you move into your twenties and later.”

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February 16, 2009

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 5:00 pm

Word has it that Obama is going to set up a task force to “reform” Social Security. I hope not. Any “reform” is likely to play into Republican hands, and Republicans have never hidden their desire to kill Social Security.

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February 15, 2009

Conference on World Affairs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 9:25 am

I’m sitting here with about 120 people putting together the program for the 2009 Conference on World Affairs at CU Boulder. Reading through the topics that our 100 or so panelists want to talk about, I’d like to hear pretty much all of them talk. That’s always the problem with the Conference – there are too many fascinating panels to attend. That’s also the great thing about the Conference – there are so many fascinating panels to attend.

It will be held April 6-10 and information about the panels and panelists is online. Although there’s no schedule up yet since that’s what we are working on now. Keep checking back. In a few weeks printed programs will be available. Pick one up and then attend as many panels as you can. They are great.

February 14, 2009

More About…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 6:28 am

I went to hear Gary Marcus speak on what a kluge the human brain is. He’s a great speaker and it was a fascinating talk. The talk was sponsored by The Humanist and the Council for Secular Humanism. While I was there I picked up their respective magazines. I was reading Free Inquiry, the magazine of the latter organization, and came across two things that pertain to previous posts here.

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Acting Against their Interests: our Nation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 6:03 am

Well, the invasion of Iraq is an obvious example, but I don’t even want to go there. So let’s look at Afghanistan instead. Of what interest is Afghanistan to us? It has nothing we want. Sure, it harbored Bin Laden but that was 8 years ago and we weren’t paying attention. President Bush was told in his Daily Brief on August 6, 2001 that Bin Laden was determined to strike in the U.S. And the FBI was warned about Arabs who were learning to fly commercial jets but were not interested in learning how to land them. But that was then.

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February 13, 2009

Compound Interest and the Population Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 6:01 am

If in 1492 Christopher Columbus had placed a single penny in a 6 percent interest-bearing account and instructed someone to remove the interest every year for safekeeping, when he retired 515 years later in 2007, his retirement fund would be worth 32 cents.

But if he had placed the same penny in the same interest-bearing account but left the earned interest to compound — earning interest upon the interest — his retirement fund in 2007 would be worth $107,775,640,215.56 (almost $108 billion). That is from a single penny deposited!

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February 12, 2009

Higher Home Ownership Implies Higher Unemployment

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 7:55 pm

Here’s a fascinating tidbit which is contrary to what you might think: the higher the home ownership in an area, the higher the unemployment.

The economist Andrew Oswald has demonstrated that in both the United States and Europe, those places with higher homeownership rates also suffer from higher unemployment. Homeownership, Oswald found, is a more important predictor of unemployment than rates of unionization or the generosity of welfare benefits. Too often, it ties people to declining or blighted locations, and forces them into work—if they can find it—that is a poor match for their interests and abilities.

This is part of a long article in the March issue of The Atlantic called How the Crash will Reshape America.

Darwin – 200 today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 2:09 pm

Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. Amazingly, this many years  after Darwin’s birth, evolution is still rejected by much of the world.

Richard Dawkins describes evolution as “a big idea, arguably the most powerful idea ever.” Daniel Dennett calls evolution “the greatest idea ever to occur to a human mind.”

But in last year in this country a Gallup poll found that only 14% of people agreed with the proposition that “humans developed over millions of years”. Things are looking up though as only 9% agreed in 1982.

Here’s a great little easy-to-read article about Darwin.

Do you make less than $1.6 million a year?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 1:34 pm

You loser.

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February 11, 2009

The Stimulus Package Explained

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 9:36 pm

Just in case you were not sure what the stimulus plan involves, a cartoon from the Economist explains all.

stimulus-plan

Perhaps you think that Congress is not allocating stimulus package money very well? A web site called ReadTheStimulus.org offers you the opportunity to look for and flag examples of pork, or handouts that you don’t believe will help stimulate the economy.

Evolution in our own Back Yard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 8:35 am

Gary Marcus has an opinion piece article in the Wall Street Journal today:
Forget About Survival of the ‘Fittest’: Evolution usually makes do with ‘good enough.’

Marcus will be speaking at CU Boulder this Friday (February 13) at 6 p.m. in the Wolf Law School building (on Kittredge Loop Dr., off Regent Drive). The talk will be about his book, Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind.

February 10, 2009

More about God and Insecurity

Filed under: God — Alec @ 6:02 pm

I was reading a New Scientist article that ties in neatly with my Feb 7th post, Belief in God and the Struggle For Existence.

If you didn’t read it, the post is basically about the fact that belief in god or gods is related to how insecure people feel in their lives. (Not on an individual level, but on a societal level – the Law of Large Numbers applies).

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Acting Against their Interests: The Religious Right

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 12:52 pm

Personally, I don’t understand the Religious Right. Well, actually I think I do, and it’s got nothing to do with their professed beliefs.

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February 9, 2009

Info Porn – Information as Entertainment

Filed under: Psychology — Alec @ 9:01 pm

If you are like me, you find all sorts of ways to waste time on the Internet. I usually throw my newspapers away unread, but can spend huge amounts of time online, reading news, and especially reading blogs. The trouble is that information isn’t knowledge, and it certainly isn’t wisdom. And when you spend lots of time on the Internet, it’s often information as entertainment. Or in my case, information as avoidance 🙂

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For those days when life seems overwhelming

Filed under: Psychology — Alec @ 9:00 pm

If you’ve ever felt that you have it tough,  that life has dealt you a bad hand, watch this video. It’s absolutely incredible. Some of the kids in the audience had tears in their eyes – so did I.

February 7, 2009

Belief in God and the Struggle for Existence

Filed under: God — Alec @ 9:54 pm

One of the things talked about in the Economist article I mentioned in my previous post about Public Acceptance of Evolution is the idea put forth by Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman that “a belief in God is inversely correlated with the level of what might be described as the intensity of the struggle for existence.” I did a search to see what Paul and Zuckerman wrote, and found an interesting article. I’ve included paragraphs from the article below.

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Acting against their Interests: Republicans

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 4:40 pm

Not only has the current financial crisis shown the bankruptcy of the Republican mantra of tax cuts and less regulation, but it’s also devastated the savings and the purchasing power of tens millions of people in this country, or hundreds of millions of people around the world.

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Public acceptance of evolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 4:23 pm

Here’s an interesting chart showing public acceptance of evolution. The United States ranks just above Turkey, with less that 50 percent of people believing that evolution is true. God help us.

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February 6, 2009

Why do people act against their own interests?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 3:07 pm

I was pondering this question in the shower this morning. Everywhere I look I see people acting against their apparent interests, and I thought this would make a moderately interesting series of blog posts. So this is just a teaser 🙂

Renditioning Religion

Filed under: God — Alec @ 6:49 am

Yesterday I mentioned watching the movie Rendition, and the mixed emotions it generated in me. As I said, I hate the way that some people use religion as a reason to kill and maim others. There’s always a justification. God hates infidels and wants us to kill them. God hates gays and wants us to kill them. God hates (fill in the group you hate) and wants us to kill them.

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More on children and marriage

Filed under: Psychology — Alec @ 6:37 am

It seems that research on how children affect marriages is all the rage these days. A previous post of mine talked about Children and Marital Satisfaction. Now there’s a new article in the NY Times about the happiness of the married couples. Money quote:

Couples need time alone to renew their relationship. They also need to sustain supportive networks of friends and family. Couples who don’t, investing too much in their children and not enough in their marriage, may find that when the demands of child-rearing cease to organize their lives, they cannot recover the relationship that made them want to have children together in the first place.

February 5, 2009

Increase your sales of DVDs by 23,000%

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 5:36 pm

Apparently Monty Python has “started a YouTube channel with tons of their sketches streaming for free. The included links to their DVDs at Amazon. The result was a whopping 23,000% increase in sales.”

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Rendition: Power and Torture

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 12:04 pm

I watched the movie Rendition yesterday on DVD, and had a definite roller-coaster of emotions. Sometimes I despised the abuse of power shown by people such as Meryl Streep. Sometimes I despised the abuse of religion as shown by the people who organized the suicide bombers. Sometimes I despaired over the attitude that one American dead is worth moving mountains over but that tens or hundreds of non-Americans dead is an inconvenience or an irrelevancy.

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February 3, 2009

Ignorant and Free?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 2:06 pm

If you saw the movie Control Room, Josh Rushing was the Marine captain they interviewed who gave some very thoughtful answers. Even if you didn’t see the movie, Josh Rushing was still the Marine captain they interviewed who gave some very thoughtful answers 🙂

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February 2, 2009

Who is Dean Baker?

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 1:55 pm

So who is this Dean Baker that I refer to in some of my posts? He is a highly respected economist, at least to those people who also respect Paul Krugman.

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Let’s hear it for a shorter work week

Filed under: Economics — Alec @ 1:54 pm

Why should France have all the fun with its 35 hour work-week?

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Those Thieving Banks

Filed under: Economics, Uncategorized — Alec @ 1:53 pm

From the economist Dean Baker:

These executives bankrupted their banks and brought the economy down with them. They belong in an unemployment line not collecting multi-million dollar paychecks in their designer office suites.

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Party first, Country last

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 1:22 pm

As Bill Press points out in a 1/29 post titled GOP Stabs Obama in the Back, Republicans care more about their party than their country.

They can’t stand the idea that Obama might actually fix our ailing economy and get credit for it. They don’t want him to succeed. As right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh, the real leader of the Republican Party, recently declared: “I want him to fail.”

You gotta love these people. Or not.

February 1, 2009

The Neros

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 3:22 pm

Remember Nero? The Roman emperor who fiddled while Rome burned? It makes me thing of our Republican politicians, fiddling while the economy burns. In fact, fiddling is a good term because of the massive corruption that went on during the Bush Administration, with no-compete contracts, lobbyists writing bills, and the like. Anything to enrich their masters.

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Republican chutzpah

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 1:55 pm

Well, you have to give the Republicans credit. They may have caused the biggest recession since the Depression, fucked up the lives of millions of Americans, crippled the economies of much of the world, and shown the bankruptcy of their ideas, but they still think they know the answers.

“GOP leaders doubt stimulus bill will pass Senate” is the headline.

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