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Archive: August 7, 2015

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the great debate

Friday,  08/07/15  12:50 PM

bench strengthSo, did you watch the great debate?  Or should I say, debates, because, weirdly, there were two of them?  I though it was great theater, for the first time in a long time I'm genuinely engaged with the Presidential race, trying to figure out who to support.

Longtime readers know, I'm actually more of a Democrat than a Republican (voted for Al Gore), but ever since the vast lurch to the left which started with John Kerry and has continued with Barack Obama, I just can't support Democratic candidates.

My first observation echos the Michael Ramirez cartoon at left; the GOP has a lot of bench strength.  I can't support all of these candidates - and of course, Donald Trump is an idiot - but there are a lot of good choices.  Watching the debate, you would have to conclude it's an impressive group of people.  Also a pretty diverse group, and a fairly young group.  Good stuff.

So ... who won?

I think besides the Republican Party itself, there were three winners:

  • Marco Rubio.  Even if you don't agree with him, he's good.  We could do much worse.
  • Ted Cruz.  The smartest guy in the room.  I'm afraid he might be slightly too arrogant, but how great would it be to have a smart President?
  • Carly Fiorina.  The clear winner of the "undercard", she's a strong contender.  She needed people to get to know her, and they did.

A fourth choice would be Ben Carson; he's an impressive guy (brain surgeon!) but I just don't see him as a politician.  Making the leap from business leader like Fiorina is easier.

[Update: after thinking about it, another victor last night was Fox.  They did a great job of asking tough questions.  Can you imagine MSNBC treating Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden that way?]

And ... who lost?

  • Donald Trump.  I guess there will always be a group rooting for him, the way you root for a train wreck, but he showed himself to be unserious*. 
  • Jeb Bush.  Nobody could figure out why he was riding so high in the polls, and after last night, he won't be anymore.
  • Scott Walker.  He's a likeable candidate and had a lot of momentum, but I think he failed to stand out in this distinguished company, and lost ground as a result.

This debate probably presages a shakeout where the candidates that were already off the radar and didn't do anything to improve will fall further back.  Rand Paul, Rick Perry, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, etc.

You might find this interesting: Camille Paglia rates the debaters (in the Hollywood Reporter).  A feminist liberals take on the GOP's slate.  I found her comments quite insightful, and it's especially important to understand how these candidates will appeal to potential undecided voters, not just how they're regarded preaching to their choir.

It will be a most interesting campaign.  Pass the popcorn!

* an observation about Trump: he is not going to be the Republican candidate, and I think after this becomes obvious to him he's going to drop out.  I was mildly worried that he'd be a divisive force as an independent candidate, but I can't really see him doing that; first, it would be expensive, and he doesn't have as much money as he says he does, and second, he would ultimately lose, and he hates losing.


Friday,  08/07/15  09:51 PM

Dream Theater in concertWant to be more productive?  Have a job that requires dedicated periods of concentration?  Then listen to music.  It's fun, and it works...

My current favorite Slacker channel: Masters of Metal.  YMMV!

Apple Music clocks more than 11M trial customers.  Which have so far collectively paid $0 for trying the service.  I can't get too excited, I've heard zero friends raving about the service.

First I passed on Apple Watch, and now Apple Music.  Hmmm...

Milton FriedmanPowerline celebrates Milton Friedman's birthday by linking his "20 best quotes".  They're all great, folksy wisdom from a solid thinker, well worth checking out.  You have to like #1:

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.

The NY Times editorializes: The Right Minimum Wage: $0.  "The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed."  That was in 1987.  Everyone has a right to change their mind, but those arguments are just as compelling today.

Related: Plunder and Deceit reaches #1 on Amazon's bestseller list.

Nuna and foxInteresting article by Laura Hudson in Boing Boing about the game Never Alone, which features an Alaska Native girl named Nuna and her pet arctic fox.  "Cook Inlet Tribal Council members weren't just asked to superficially consult; they became part of a greenlight committee that had equal numbers of E-Line employees and Natives, and worked together to address problems related to everything from concept art to personnel."  After watching the video, I wanted to play the game, which is amazing because I'm not really a gamer.

Also interesting, this post featured an image in webp format, the first time I've seen that.  My ancient version of Photoshop didn't know what to do with it, so I had to screen print and cut-and-paste.  My first reaction to a new image format is "who ordered that?" but I guess we mustn't stand in the way of progress :)

Vino veritasA great use of technology: Machine learning used to predict fine wine price moves.  I'll drink to that, but of course using it to make fine wine finer would be a higher and better use.

Of course they are: North Korea is creating a new time zone.  It is offset from South Korea, China, and Japan by ... 30 minutes.  That will certainly make things easier.

IBM buys Merge Healthcare to add medical images to WatsonWow: IBM are buying Merge Healthcare for $1B, to add medical images to Watson.  "When IBM set up its Watson health business in April, it began with a couple of smaller medical data acquisitions and industry partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Last week, IBM announced a partnership with CVS Health, the large pharmacy chain, to develop data-driven services to help people with chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease better manage their health."  This is probably the biggest visual search deal yet, and it's focused on medical imaging.  How interesting!

Also of note: the stock photo which accompanies the article (shown at right) is pretty dated; most Radiologists have PACS systems and can compare images side-by-side on a computer screen.



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