Critical Section


Sunday,  03/30/08  10:59 AM

Sorry for the gap; Friday night I was busy eating, getting ready for the ride yesterday, and last night I was busy eating, recovering from the ride.  Or something... 

Anyway here's what's happening, and yes I am feeling feisty today:

differential birth ratesThe Economist presents bad news from California.  Check out the chart at right.  Now this is actually mislabeled; it is presented as differential birth rates among unmarried women of different races, but really it reflects differential birth rates between unmarried women of different economic classes (nobody has shown that unmarried birth rates between, say, inner-city blacks and whites are that different).  We can all agree this is bad (for the women and their kids, and for our society), so what can be done?

AsI have argued before, the main influence on people's decisions to have children is economic.  (The Economist article suggests a societal influence, but if "traditional" values are giving way to more "modern" values; but where do these values come from?)  We need to make it harder for unmarried women to have kids.  Which means we have to reduce child welfare.  It is that simple.

Is the Al Gore solution realistic?  I don't think so.  Although having voted for him eight years ago, I would consider doing so again; certainly over Clinton or Obama.  He would give the Democrats a credible candidate.  I thought Obama was a credible candidate, but this Wright / church thing has him fatally wounded.  Not because of what he did or didn't do, but because of what he hasn't said since.

Meanwhile I am reading more about Condi Rice as John McCain's VP candidate.  I liked the idea from the start, and it is wearing well.  With McCain at 72 (admittedly an apparently robust 72) he had better choose someone who could conceivably be President, like Rice...  Her experiences certainly emphasizes both Clinton's and Obama's lack thereof.

Good for Google: they're hosting Fitna.  "What Google does now will be an interesting test for a company that claims 'do no evil' as its company mantra. The video is hosted in the US, and we presume with part or full support of the creators of the film negating any copyright considerations, so ultimately it will be up to Google to decide between free speech and global jihad."  This cat is out of the bad, and it is not going back in.

Meanwhile U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon condemns the film, and claims "The right of free expression is not at stake here".  What a sad tool.

telling stories on mapsThis is excellent: Telling Stories on Maps.  Interesting how iconic the Google Maps look has become, in such a short time...

Jeff Atwood: I�Unicode.  A great rant about Unicode, UTF-8, and the problems of developing software in a world with more than 128 text characters.  Brings to mind Joel Spolsky's classic: The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!).

 

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