Video Friday

Let’s start with Bill Whittle on Putin (Hint: he’s not a friend of freedom)

 

And Andrew Klavan explains income redistribution

 

Simplified a bit, he doesn’t account for the huge overhead involved but, he is correct.

Bill Whittle again on Robin Williams and 20 other very important people who died that day.

 

A few days ago, Sean Hannity interviewed PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s here

 

And this, just to round out the day

Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures – NYTimes.com

English: Headline of the New York Times June-2...

English: Headline of the New York Times June-29-1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is quite interesting, in a ‘I told you so’ sort of way. It seems that the big media companies are finding it quite difficult to make a profit printing newspapers. from the New York Times

A year ago last week, it seemed as if print newspapers might be on the verge of a comeback, or at least on the brink of, well, survival.

Jeff Bezos, an avatar of digital innovation as the founder of Amazon, came out of nowhere and plunked down $250 million for The Washington Post. His vote of confidence in the future of print and serious news was seen by some — including me — as a sign that an era of “optimism or potential” for the industry was getting underway.
Turns out, not so much — quite the opposite, really. The Washington Post seems fine, but recently, in just over a week, three of the biggest players in American newspapers — Gannett, Tribune Company and E. W. Scripps, companies built on print franchises that expanded into television — dumped those properties like yesterday’s news in a series of spinoffs.
The recent flurry of divestitures scanned as one of those movies about global warming where icebergs calve huge chunks into churning waters.
The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street. For decades, investors wanted newspaper companies to become bigger and diversify, so they bought more newspapers and developed television divisions. Now print is too much of a drag on earnings, so media companies are dividing back up and print is

being kicked to the curb.

Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures – NYTimes.com.

Well, yeah, I don’t doubt much of what he says here, and American companies are far too focused on the quarterly bottom line. But they brought the problems on themselves, in large measure.

First, their product is horrendously overpriced-even the Wall Street Journal, which I grew up reading has priced itself out of what I think it to be worth, and it was always a premium product. The main problem is that the print media has become the twenty-first century version of the buggy whip–they’ve been rendered obsolete, mostly by the internet, and its various news service. Not entirely, of course, when I travel, I’ll often buy a print version of the Journal, if I don’t have wi-fi available. I’m glad it’s there but I won’t mourn when it too goes away. Progress, you know.

It also strikes me that if a paper was to provide something other than a conventional liberal slant (on the news pages) it might do better. I, and I suspect others, would spend the time to read the news, as opposed to the Democratic Party propaganda line of the day. To lend point to that, how many of us now read the online Daily Telegraph, or should I say The Torygraph, in preference to all domestic papers? Yeah, that’s what I thought. There’s that funny old term that conservative rant about, and have ever since Adam Smith wrote the book called the market.

Competition–It’s what’s for dinner

In addition, the media’s relentless pursuit of progressive education is starting to bite it on the backside, if people can’t read effectively, they’re unlikely to buy a newspaper, unless, I suppose, they need a lining for their birdcage.

And so, to use terms the NYT is familiar with, “Nothing to see here, move along”.

Creative destruction at its finest

Computer Programming in the Curriculum? K-12? Really?

flath-departmentThis is interesting, apparently starting next fall every student in Great Britain, from K through 12 will start to learn coding. I see the point, of course, but I think this may well be misguided.

There is no question that Britain like the States needs many, many people who know how to craft code, as you’ll note in one of the linked articles, coding is mostly developing into a trade, like being a practical nurse, or hitting close to home, an electrician. And that’s why I think this level of instruction is exactly wrong. You see, not everybody coding needs a CompuSci degree, that is serious overkill, in the same way that requiring an electrical engineering degree is for being an electrician.

Some classroom theory is good, I think, and lots of practical experience, which is why electricians have an apprenticeship. Yes, that also has problems that we’ve never solved, but that’s a whole other series of articles. The best electricians will collect a fair knowledge of the theory and practice of the work, but in the main, most will do what the print says, in many ways, that’s the difference between an electrician like me, who mostly works as a control technician, a heavily computerized field, and the electrician that does residential wiring.

But taking an hour a day out of every school day from kindergarten through high school wouldn’t have made me any better (or worse). It’s all about the interest. In truth, I can do the work of almost any traditional electrical engineer, I just can’t sign off on it, nor do I get paid as well. That’s fine, that was my choice.

Coding is, I think, similar, some one has to lay out the system and choose how to accomplish the mission, others, usually with quite a lot less experience can do the job, and the senior can solve problems along the way, and check out the final project. That’s how physical construction works, and building software is similar.

But the real problem with what the Brits are talking about is this. Software changes fast. So fast, that it’s likely that what you learn as a junior will be obsolete by the time you graduate. So what use is what you learned in 1st grade? That is not to say that some exposure to something in the field in the primary grades is not a good idea, it’s a trade but, it’s also a language (actually many languages). we all know that it is easier to learn languages when you are quite young, so maybe the right way to do this would be to teach something very common, that has been around for a while, say ‘C’ or HTML in about second and/ or third grade.

Then because this all comes down to ‘1’ and ‘0’; ‘yes’ and ‘no'; IF ‘A’ THEN ‘B’ and so forth, in about junior high teach a very robust course in logic. And then in high school make these types of topical courses available.

This is not a basic curriculum necessity like English, or Math, or History that all students need a good grounding in. Some will be interested and willing to do the work, many will not. And while the special pleaders will say that one cannot live a life in the twenty-first century without being able to code-that is simply nonsense. You perhaps need to be able to logically lay out a block diagram of what you need a program to tell you, like you want the exhaust fan in the bathroom to operate with the light-or to operate separately, both are fine but they are different. Susie Homemaker doesn’t necessarily have to know how to wire it, that’s the electrician’s job.

But even as an electrician, the job has changed drastically over the last twenty years, what I learned say thirty years ago is not particularly useful or valid, except for some non-obvious and forensic purposes. What I learned ten years ago for controlling industrial machinery is useful only in service work now, everything has changed in new ones.

And this happens faster and faster. Schools are bureaucratic systems, even the good ones are. if they implement this, this fall with bleeding edge programs, they will be four years behind in five years. I don’t think it can be helped. Where schools are at their best is in teaching the basics we need to function in society. You know, ‘readin’ ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmatic’ and a few more, like science, music (whose importance is much underrated), civics, basic economics, and team sports (which are also underrated).

And this, of course,

Computer Programming Is a Trade; Lets Act Like It – WSJ. [Behind the Journal's permeable paywall]

More on Computer Programming: Starting Kids Early

The Theory and Practice of Freedom

Today would have been Milton Friedman’s 102d birthday. He was perhaps the least dismal practitioner of the dismal science. Why? because he believed in freedom, not slavery or dependence on anything but yourself.

Watching him over the years, in his erudite and good-humored presentations has shaped much of my economic world view. And so to celebrate a great man’s birthday, let’s share some of that.

I suspect you will be surprised how germane to today it seems. Enjoy!

On the rights of workers

On Energy

On Money and Inflation

And finally, and maybe most importantly

What is America?

 

 

“America Is The Land For Big Dreams.” – Chicks on the Right

University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daisy over at Chicks on the Right posted a letter from one of her readers the other day. It says some important things about how we built this country, and how we’ll keep it going as well. Susie and her family are what I know as real Americans. Not rich, not prestigious, and above all not afraid to get their hands dirty and work their butts off to get it done. What she may or may not know, is that a lot of us came up that exact way. And you know what, if you apply yourself there are no limits to what you can achieve, all you have to do is believe in your self, and work hard, and honestly. Here’s a start.

Yesterday, I posted about a “study” at the University of Notre Dame where some dude tried to demonize the Tea Party.  Again.  This time, the sociologist and a bunch of his buddies found out that Tea Party folks are educated, so they must be raaaaaaacists because theyre educated – which blows that whole “toothless hilljack backwards redneck” thing out of the water but, hey – whatever keeps yall occupied during work hours, sociology dudes at Notre Dame.

Alrighty then.

Anywho, we got a letter yesterday afternoon in response to that post, and Ill call the sender “Susie.”

Susie wrote:

I would like to just share a little personal response to this quote, “When you’ve had little exposure to people who haven’t had the same opportunities as you, you’re more likely to adopt a view that ‘really anybody who wanted to could have succeeded if they only did what I did,’” said McVeigh. “I really think the key here is education is widely understood to be a primary determinant of where you end up in life. … But as we know, not everybody has the same access to a high-quality education.”

First of all, I just have to say that the only reason they did this study has GOT to be because they were alarmed that so many well educated people are supportive of the Tea Party, and they had to find some excuse for this that would make them look better!

I am not a member of our local tea party, but my husband and I both support the cause! We are 24 & 26. We have two beautiful children, a dog and live in a beautiful century old house in the city. According to our society, we are living an alternative lifestyle since we have chosen to be responsible contributing members of society instead of partying away our 20s.[...]

via “America Is The Land For Big Dreams.” – Chicks on the Right.

Speaking for myself, I’m damned proud to share a country with Susie and her family.

I Am Become America; the Destroyer of Dreams

Or not, what will we choose?

In 1903 this happened

First_flight2

Those bicycle mechanics from Ohio flew about half the wingspan of a 747, and changed the world, forever.

66 years later, yesterday we, America, did this.

moonlanding

Later on, we left a car, like this:

That’s a good summary of my America

But 24 years to the day before that flag went up, a man, in Alamogordo, NM said this:

I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

He had just watched this

But, you know, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was wrong, at least so-far. The nuclear weapons program has not destroyed any worlds, in fact its very first result was to save at least two million casualties, half of them Japanese, it then went on to help prevent war between the US and USSR.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

And thus America’s course through the stormy 20th century.

But you know, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the day we landed on the moon. Other than the internet, what have we accomplished since?

Maybe this is why.

Think about it.

This is more like America

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