Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gerrymandering and The House

Now even the Republicans admit it.  Aggressive gerrymandering gave them the majority in the House of Representatives.  So when will they acknowledge that their policies were repudiated by the majority of voters?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shrinking Deficit in Charts

There is no reason for Democrats to cave to Republican debt ceiling threats.  When they clamor for deficit reduction, they should be told that it's already been done.
The Center for American Progress calculates that President Obama and Congress have successfully enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, which began in September 2010. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Deficit Is 'Mostly Solved'

Contrary to the hand wringer, our deficit problem is mostly solved.   It becomes more clear every day that despite being used as justification to dismantle social programs, the long-term deficit continues to recede as a real problem.

Japan embraces stimulus

In a big way.  Just as Japan has been a poster child for how NOT to handle a liquidity trap in the past, it may now become a poster child for how to do it right.

Replacing the mouse

At the CES, there was exhibited a new gestural interface that, someday, may make the venerable mouse quaint and obsolete.  It tracks the motion of your fingers very precisely.

America's Real Criminal Element

Studies show that cleaning up lead may be the most effective crime-fighting strategy.

Klippert proposes arming teachers

Once again, our locally elected village idiot signs on to yet another terrible idea.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Social Security Is Irrelevant to the Deficit

Since Social Security is funded by its own taxes and has its own trust fund, making cuts to it does nothing for the federal deficit.  So let's just not go there.

Retract the study

The key study on cancer and GM crops has been shown to be seriously flawed.  But the debate on the subject is so furious that logic and science fall victim to other agendas.

Why Republicans Can’t Propose Spending Cuts

This sums it up nicely.
Reporters are presenting this as a kind of negotiating problem, based on each side’s desire for the other to stick its neck out first. But it actually reflects a much more fundamental problem than that. Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program.

Seeing through walls inexpensively

Engineers have made low-cost terahertz chips. With these, it's possible to have smartphone sized devices that can construct images of objects through several types of materials.  The technology has implications in law enforcement, homeland security, and even medicine.

Was life inevitable?


In mapping the chemical pathways to life's emergence, the researchers touch on a more existential question: How likely was it for life to have developed at all? Extraordinarily so, says Braakman. "Metabolism appears to be an 'attractor state' within organic chemistry, where it was likely to be selected regardless of earlier stages of chemical evolution" in the chaotic, high-energy conditions of prebiotic Earth, he says.
Can it happen elsewhere? Possibly, even probably, he says. Rocky planets usually have cores chemically similar to ours, so if a planet is volcanically (and perhaps tectonically) active and has an ocean, it will probably have hydrothermal vents that spew chemicals, creating the potential conditions for life, Braakman says. In fact, the physics of star and planet formation make the chances of such conditions pretty reasonable.
We should expect to find life in lots of places.

IMF faces reality

IMF's chief economist admits that austerity demands were a bad idea.