An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come

Garrison Keillor closes the news from Lake Wobegon with the sentence:

“Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

Like a lot of you, that is the society I grew up in, and to a large extent still live in. As I’ll bet you all know, it’s three lies for the price of one. Sure we tend to think our town is different, but it’s not really, we all know weak women, ugly men, and below average children. Today we’re going to talk about the children, and Common Core.

You see the thing is exactly half (± 1) of the children are above average, the other half are below average (again ±1). By definition, that’s what average means. it doesn’t mean they are better or worse, more or less equal, or anything beyond what is being measured. All it means is that by whatever measure we are using half are above average and half are below. Note that I’m talking about objective standards here that we can measure, preferably with a test. What you end up with is this:


That’s from Wikipedia Commons, and I make no claims for accuracy but, it does seem reasonable. The thing is it is a statistical distribution, and that makes it pretty limited, because everybody is different. Me, for example, I know what my IQ is, and based on that I’m an exception in four of the six lists. That’s probably true (more or less) for most of us. It’s like the metrics on our blogs, we have some idea of what brings in readers but every article we post is different.

My real point with this though is that bell-shaped line at the top, in a significantly large survey size, that is the distribution you will find. Probably for any of the lines in the chart.

And that is the problem with Common Core. It presupposes that all children are the same, with the same goals in life, and the same abilities. And it just ain’t so. Read more of this post


NSA center meltdown

datae7bb042b489f453fbae484a360d60a66-e1381253354182Did you see this the other day? Wise electricians and electrical designer start taking measures for power quality in an installation the size of a storefront, especially if it has a fair amount of data processing and fluorescent lighting. Ballasts, power supplies, and motors do funny things to electricity. It’s a field we call ‘Power Quality‘. It’s one of the fastest growing areas in my business. And it’s a very difficult field as well. On the scale of this installation it must be a nightmare. So while I’m not particularly sympathetic to the mission of the installation (to put it quite mildly). I’m very sympathetic to the guys trying to make this work, dependably.

From the Daily Caller

Persistent electrical surges at a National Security Agency hub has delayed the center’s opening for over a year.

The center, located in Bluffdale, Utah, has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery since the problems began, The Wall Street Journal reports. The center has experienced 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months. The subsequent fiery explosions have melted metal and caused circuits to fail. According to reports, each time there’s a circuit explosion, it costs over $100,000 to fix.

The Utah facility is a huge project, spanning more than one million square feet of country and costing $1.4 billion in construction alone. The Cray supercomputers, costing $500,000 a piece, will also eventually reside there. While the causes for the surges are still unknown, the project officials are divided as to whether proposed solutions will work. Plans to turn on some of its computers this week have been delayed.

Read more:

Why Pope Francis is wrong about capitalism | The Daily Caller

English: Watt's steam engine at the lobby of t...

English: Watt’s steam engine at the lobby of the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineering of Madrid (part of the UPM). es:user:Ecemaml took it from Enciclopedia Libre Español: Máquina de vapor situada en el vestíbulo de la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales de la UPM (Madrid) Obtenida de la Enciclopedia Libre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


OK, first things first, I get the impression in the comments from the Daily Caller that there is some controversy over the translation, I don’t speak the language so I can be fooled.


In any case, this is a good concise, and cogent article on why capitalism is the appropriate economic system for Christians. There is a big caveat that I didn’t think the author hit hard enough, and that is when we talk of capitalism, we are talking about free market capitalismnot crony-capitalism or any of the other perversions we see these days. Whenever the government intervenes in a market, it distorts that market. In certain cases it may be worth it because of the purpose of government, it is justified, but for things like social welfare it is a very inefficient, and sluggish system.


This is by  Rod Martin the CEO, The Martin Organization, writing in the Daily Caller.


Last week, Pope Francis gave his first major speech on economics. In it, he demanded more government control over the economy, decried the gap between the rich and poor, and called on the world’s leaders to end “the tyranny of money.”

We should all be concerned about the plight of the poor. Unfortunately, the pope’s comments miss the mark in several key ways.

1. Nothing in human history has done as much to alleviate human poverty as free-market capitalism. This shouldn’t even be a controversial statement. Before the Industrial Revolution, the entire world lived in far worse poverty than the pope’s slum-dwelling parishioners in (socialist) Argentina did when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Moreover, humans had lived in that level of extreme poverty since at least Noah’s flood.

Were there redistribution schemes in ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, and ancient China? Of course, and they are well documented. Did they lift anyone out of primitivism? No, they did not.

To give just one example of how capitalism reduces suffering: Capitalism has eliminated famine from most of the world. The steps by which it did this were not obvious, and were entirely profit-driven. Someone invented a steam engine. Someone figured out how to attach steam engines to boats and trains. Some other people put up their hard-earned capital to invest in building boats and trains. Someone else thought of using new technology to can food. Someone built warehouses. None of this was done for charity. But one day there was a famine, and so someone shipped trainloads of canned goods to the starving people. It took the genius of the market to conquer want.

We can tell similar stories about everything from polio to tooth brushes. But the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. The poorest in capitalist countries live better — in all the ways that count most — than kings did just a century or two ago. Though rare even in the early 20th century, indoor plumbing is now almost universal in much of the world, and there are more cell phones than toilets. African children living in huts take courses on iPhones. The poorest illegal alien can walk into any emergency room in America — before Obamacare — and be treated with state-of-the-art equipment no one could have paid for just five years ago, for free.

Socialism produced none of this. Indeed, socialism feeds off the wealth and ingenuity of others. The pope should not rail against what free markets haven’t yet done without first thanking God for what they have done.

2. Capitalism is the societal fulfillment of the Golden Rule. For those who missed Sunday school, Jesus taught people to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No economic system realizes this principle as thoroughly as capitalism.

Read more:


Here is the takeaway, other than the valid things government does, which extends not much beyond defense, especially on the Federal level, very little is done by the government that couldn’t be done far better by private enterprise or traditional charities.



Will Ralston’s Lingerie Football League Have Better Officials than the NFL?


I wasn’t going to address the mess in the game on Monday since nearly everybody else has but, this is just too ridiculous for words, the NFL would be well advised to get this settled before somebody gets badly hurt, they’ve already hurt the credibility of the league badly. From The Objective Conservative.

We couldn’t pass up a relevant article from the Daily Caller given the controversy over the Packers Seahawk game the other night.    Apparently some of the replacement officials in the NFL aren’t competent enough to officiate in the Lingerie League…..

Refs fired from Lingerie Football League still officiating NFL games
 by Sarah Hofmann

“If you think getting fired as a referee for the Lingerie Football League means you’ve lost the best job imaginable, have no fear — you can always get a job officiating NFLgames.

The LFL had been keeping silent about the replacement referees in the NFL until early Tuesday morning.

In August, Deadspin reached out to the league for comment about a rumor that some of the refs had been fired. After the controversial Packers versus Seahawks outcome Monday night, the league responded and took the opportunity to jab the NFL as well:
“Because of the LFL’s perception it is that much more critical for us to hire officiating crews that are competent, not only for the credibility of our game but to keep our athletes safer. Due to several on-field incompetent officiating we chose to part ways with with a couple crews which apparently are now officiating in the NFL. We have a lot of respect for our officials but we felt the officiating was not in line with our expectations……….”

Objective Conservative: Will Ralston’s Lingerie Football League Have Better Officials than the NFL?.


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