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11.28.2005
  Thanksgiving in Disneyland
 
11.23.2005
  Haven't they heard of the Precautionary Principle in Europe?
Increased demand for Biodiesel is increasing the demand for its inputs. What are its inputs? Rainforests.

Its not biodiversity that makes rainforests useful in the production of biodiesel. Its the land under all that biodiversity that is useful for planting soybean plants and such. Result? More rainforests are being cleared to meet the demand for biodiesel.

Why is there increased demand? The UK and EU are subsidizing biofuels.

This shows how empty the Precautionary Principle is... With environmental issues, how do you know if taking action or not taking action is on the side of precaution? In some cases its obvious. If you're pumping radioactive waste into baby pools, stop. If a technology is found to make a hybred SUV just as expensive as your gas guzzeler, switch. But in most cases its not so cut in dry. It's hard to tell what the unintended consequences will be of action or inaction.

Certainly, if the EU can't get it right, no one will be able to.

UPDATE: Env-Econ has a write-up of this issue.
 
  Genocide
This just in... 1/16th of my gene's were killed by the other 15/16th, hundreds of years before I was born!
One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.

I don't like to call people names, but what a tool! Moral progress in this country will be indicated by the removal of the meaningless division of people into arbitrary races.

Curious, if "Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide," then what does someone that has Native American genes and white genes that only migrated to this country after the "genocide" celebrate on Thanksgiving?

Solution! I'll only gorge myself 15/16ths of the way... 1/16 of me will be fasting. (I hope its not the part that likes pumpkin pie, because that part really loves pumpkin pie.)
 
11.21.2005
  Dilbert has a blog...
... its a good blog. How do I know its a good blog? Because he says the same things that I do. Allow me to quote myself:
...a note to the defenders of evolution: there's a fine line between legit criticism of evolution and wacko/nut job criticism. I think your tone in this debate turns off lay-people because in attacking the latter, you appear to be attacking the former. It feels like you're making evolution sacrosanct, impervious to criticism. Let us peer into your world. Show us how you investigate inconsistencies or vagaries in the theory. Instruct us on how one thinks critically about evolution. Please don't lecture us about how wrong ID'ers are and how they are whack-jobs. We know this. Instead, show us the beauty of your subject and in the light of its beauty, the crazy talk will become self-evident.


The only problem I have with Scott Adam's blog is that he says it better than I do and with much, much more humor:
Let me say very clearly here that I’m not denying the EXISTENCE of slam-dunk credible evidence for evolution. What I’m denying is the existence of credible PEOPLE to inform me of this evidence.

The people who purport to have evidence of evolution do a spectacular job of making themselves non-credible. And since I don’t have any relevant scientific knowledge myself, nor direct access to the data, everything I know has to come from non-credible types. To me, it’s like hiring a serial cannibal as a babysitter based on the fact that he PROMISES not to eat your kids despite having eaten all the other kids on the block. It might be a fact that he’s telling the truth. The problem is that he’s not credible. (The other problem is that he eats your kids.)
 
  Xmas wish list
My froogle wishlist is here and my here are the books I want to read/own.
 
11.20.2005
  Testing, testing, testing
Testing the blog reading speed of Google Reader.
 
11.17.2005
  Grrr... why won't some guys just let me hate them?
If he wasn't so good, I'd hate strongly dislike (my mother taught me better) Prof. DeLong. Apparently, they pay professors pretty well down Interstate 80 at Cal Berkeley.

Writing from his huge villa on the hillside (three miles northwest of my 3400 square foot villa in the canyon) Hal Varian endorses the Tax Reform Commission's attempt to cut back on the home mortgage deduction. He is, of course, right:

Economic Scene: Certainly the panel's least popular suggestion is to limit the mortgage interest deduction. Under current law, homeowners can deduct interest on mortgages of up to $1.1 million... the panel proposed that this cap be significantly reduced and that the deduction be replaced with a 15 percent tax credit.

A change of this sort would probably have a significant impact on housing values.... But many economists would argue that the panel's proposal does not go far enough.... The truth of the matter is that housing is highly subsidized in this country and we would probably be better off if the tax treatment of housing were brought more into line with that of other assets. How is housing subsidized? Let me count the ways... the mortgage interest deduction... the deduction for property taxes... the capital gains exclusion... the deduction for points on mortgage loans... the deduction of up to $100,000 on home equity loans... home office deductions... homeowners are not taxed on the implicit rent they receive from their housing investment....

An excessive subsidy on one asset means that less will be invested in other assets. The money put into building those huge villas on the hillside could have been put into factories, office buildings and schools.... Given the huge subsidies to housing, it is likely that we as a country have overinvested in this area....

[T]his is unlikely to happen anytime soon.... The housing tax subsidy has been built into housing prices... cutting back could lead to painful capital losses on home values. If you give a lollipop to a baby, it may make him smile, but you will pay dearly for that smile if you try to take the candy away...

 
11.15.2005
  The President on Japanese Democracy
As you embraced democracy, you adapted it to your own needs and circumstances. So Japanese democracy is different from American democracy. You have a prime minister, not a president. Your constitution allows for a monarchy that is a source of national pride. Japan is a good example of how a free society can reflect a country's unique culture and history while guaranteeing the universal freedoms that are the foundation of all genuine democracies.

--President George W. Bush, Kyoto, Japan on 11/16/05
 
11.14.2005
  Ok, these guys aren't fans of Diamond
These guys accuse Jared Diamond of not being scientific in his latest book Collapse. Did anyone suppose he was being scientific?
 
11.08.2005
  What she said
"Jane Galt" on abortion:
There's a belief among more radical pro-choicers which I truly do not emotionally understand: that anything that makes women feel bad about having an abortion, from telling an unwilling spouse to having protesters shout that she should reconsider, should be discouraged By Any Means Necessary. Intertwined with this is an assumption that we shouldn't try in any way to discourage women from having an abortion once they've gotten pregnant.

That's pretty repellant to me. I think that abortion should be legal, but I also think that it should be a last resort, and I'm all for the government using any non-coercive methods it can to encourage women to carry their pregnancy to term, including things that will make them feel bad about aborting. I think, for example, that sonograms should be mandatory before termination, I'm in favor of waiting periods and parental notification laws, and I'm agnostic on spousal notification.
 
11.03.2005
  War... what is this one good for?
Oh, sorry. Mentioned 9/11. That's not permitted. Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11. Iraq is about Halliburton and oil, just as the invasion of Sicily in World War II was about cannoli and Chianti.
 
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