Archive for August, 2010


Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 by a4synapse

HT: The Daily Dish

Clean People Feel Morally Superior

Yuck!  It seems obvious, given our obsession with soap, deodorant, etc.:  We need to be better than you.  There’s a place for clean and orderly.  But if dirty, messy are less judgmental, then I have to say I might prefer the less well-groomed. A WIRED summary of the study is here.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Not really.

And this from Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: 3 Women on the Supreme Court (source here)

Social scientists contend that the difference is more than just cosmetic. They cite a 2006 study by the Wellesley Centers for Women that found three to be the magic number when it came to the impact of having women on corporate boards: After the third woman is seated, boards reach a tipping point at which the group as a whole begins to function differently. According to Sumru Erkut, one of the authors of that study, the small group as a whole becomes more collaborative and more open to different perspectives. In no small part, she writes, that’s because once a critical mass of three women is achieved on a board, it’s more likely that all of the women will be heard. In other words, it’s not that females bring any kind of unitary women’s perspective to the board—there’s precious little evidence that women think fundamentally differently from men about business or law—but that if you seat enough women, the question of whether women deserve the seat finally goes away. And women claim they are finally able to speak openly when they don’t feel their own voice is meant to be the voice of all women.

Three is a magic number.  We knew that.

Au Courant

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 by a4synapse

From this moment’s Huffington Post (noonish, 14 August 2010)

On this day in 1914, the archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, touching off World War I.

In contrast, today’s headlines from the HuffPo:

Why Petraeus Can’t Make The Sale: Hard to say why, except that the only consequences worse than what has happened to nations that invade Afghanistan is what seems to happen when Afghanistan is left to its own devices.  I think we should stay.

4 Dead, 8 Wounded in Buffalo Restaurant Shooting: No one has any idea what happened, except for the bodies.  I think the NRA deserves the blame for this.

Dr. Laura and the N-word Rant: Really, has no one realized how clueless she is yet?  Why does anyone listen to talk radio?  She must feel that she’s Chris Rock.  I think she’s poisonous.

Detroit has come back from the dead: Despite all the hand-wringing and cries of socialism.  The strategy worked; it’s even possible that the government may make some money on the deal.

Luxury Store hires bedbug-hunting beagle: This should gladden the hearts of beagle-lovers everywhere.  Bedbugs make me feel icky.

Obama says that the GOP is trying to destroy Social Security: He’s right.  It’s been part of the Republican agenda since the 1930’s.

Obama Defends Ground Zero Mosque: Along with Mayor Bloomberg; in contrast with Charles Krauthammer, who was spouting some stuff about ‘sacredness’, a notion which is not enshrined in the constitution.

High-Speed Rail and New Ideas – How about some Funding?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 by a4synapse

Someone requested new environmental studies for the northeast rail corridor, and additional funding hinges on the findings of that study.  That will take, oh, ten years?  In the meantime, some students at Penn have put together a proposal to revamp the whole idea of high speed rail in the most heavily traveled corridor.  Details here.  Estimated cost $98 billion.  Estimated benefit: $168 billion.  I don’t think that benefit estimate includes how many cars this will take off the road, how many fewer planes will make the trip.  How many fewer accidents will occur.  But, Boston to Washington in 3-1/2 hours?  I think that’s a great idea.

The New Proletariat

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 by a4synapse

Interesting piece in the Financial Times about what is happening to middle-class Americans and their aspirations.  Here.  Incomes are flat and most feel that their children will not do as well as they have.  The price of an education has climbed out of the reach of most.

Then we have David Stockman (former enfant terrible of the Reagan Administration) who says flat out that Republicans and their article of faith that taxes should be cut no matter what, also known as ‘starve the beast’.  Here.

So, what’s a proletariat to do?  Begin by voting in their best interests: ignore the culture wars and stop worrying about whether an immigrant will take away jobs.