Sunday, September 9, 2012

Around the blogs

There's another bumper harvest of other bloggers' work tonight.

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To begin, Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog links to a story in the Chicago Tribune concerning the NFL's liability for concussive and other head injuries.  It's profoundly disturbing from a medical point of view, and reinforces my opinion that parents who care about their kids shouldn't be allowing them to get into American football until they're old enough to understand the risks and make an informed decision.  Go read the whole thing.  This is scary stuff!

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Rev. Paul, writing from Alaska, brings us a fishing story of a different kind.  It's a lovely warm-and-fuzzy tale.

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Washington's Blog points out that Iceland appears to have got it right during the economic crisis by allowing its financial institutions to fail, rather than bail them out at taxpayer expense, and prosecuting those guilty of misconduct.  It's a useful 'lesson learned' - but one unlikely to be adopted by the Fed, which is led and staffed by those who used to work for the very banks that the Fed bailed out (and will probably return to them once their terms at the Fed are over).  Can you say 'fiscal incest'?  I thought you could . . .

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I'm sure many readers (particularly those who remember the 'hippie scene' of the 1960's and 1970's) are familiar with the prose poem 'Desiderata'.  It became almost an article of faith among the 'flower power' generation.

I wasn't aware, until I read about it at Meine Kleine Fabrik, that National Lampoon had made a parody of the original poem, amusingly entitled 'Deteriorata'.  The revised chorus runs:

You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
Whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.

You can read the whole thing at M.K.F., and also listen to a recording if you're so inclined.

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Borepatch brings us 'A parable on Governmental (In) Competence', in which he links to an excellent piece titled 'Hysterical Incompetence' on the blog The Warrior's Path.  It begins:

One of the things I most despise in this world is rushing to judgement. I spent a lot of years in the public eye and on more than one occasion was the subject of Monday morning quarterbacking for things I felt I'd done correctly. In that light I like to take the let's wait and see attitude. Mostly anyway. But sometimes I see something so egregious that it bears comment without the entire story yet being known. I believe the NYPD shooting outside the Empire State Building is one such instance.

There's more at the link.

I enjoyed the linked article, and spent some time reading more at The Warrior's Path, a blog with which I wasn't familiar.  I found another article dealing with California's ridiculous 'nanny state' laws, rules and regulations (about which we've commented before).  It's also worth reading.  I can see I may become a frequent visitor over there.

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Bob at The Eagle's Nest reports on the acquisition of a new personal hygiene tool.  I share his problem of a fused spine, which causes difficulty in cleaning one's nether regions, so his solution interested me.  It should also be of interest to any readers with similar health problems.  It's not one I - or most men, I guess - would have thought of, but hey, if it works, why not?

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Alan at Snarkybytes makes the very good point that our employment situation is undergoing a permanent change.  Here's an excerpt.

Since the Industrial Revolution there has been a steady process of human labor replacement in various industries. Human labor is fairly imprecise, unreliable and expensive. Machines are precise, reliable and relatively inexpensive. When a machine, computer or robot is developed that can do a job previously done by human labor in an industry, the people doing those jobs become unemployed. We see the process most often in the manufacturing sector but it happens everywhere. Computers have practically eliminated secretarial/clerical work. Automated systems are replacing manual labor in warehouses. Self checkout machines in stores replace human checkers. Looking forward we can see pilot-less airplanes and driver-less trucks and cars. (They exist today, it’s just a matter of time.) The standard answer to the problem of displaced workers is that they will retrain and get new jobs.

While a person of any intelligence level can do unskilled labor, a person of low intelligence can’t do any job. For the 1/6th of the population in the US that are in the under 85 IQ “low skilled” category, the jobs they can do will continue to disappear and no amount of retraining will make them qualify for the new high skilled (high intelligence) jobs. As technology progresses the structural unemployment line will move to the right on the IQ distribution, gradually easing more and more of the population into permanent unemployment.

There's more at the link.  Worthwhile reading, particularly for younger people looking to build their careers.

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Grits For Breakfast reports on a 'scam charity' that's been taken over by the state of Texas after fraudulently raising funds and bilking donors.  This sort of thing is a huge problem, particularly in charities that employ telephone fund-raising operations.  Go read the article for some interesting (and infuriating) insights into how it's done, and how much money is spent on fund-raising operations as opposed to actually reaching those in need.  I've long since decided never to give money to any charity unless and until I've learned (and verified!) how much of the funds it raises go to the causes it espouses, versus how much is spent on fund-raising and administrative costs.  If more than 20% of funds raised are absorbed by such overhead costs, I usually won't give them a cent.

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Roberta X had me shaking my head in awed amusement the other week.  She wrote about Maytag Farms, and linked to an article about the Maytag Toy Racers, of which I'd never heard before.  That linked site proved to have a fascinating series of articles about old farm tools and products that were completely new to me, and I spent a couple of hours paging through them (electronically speaking, of course).  Articles about wrench collecting, hog ringers and corn shock tiers were particularly interesting.  I'd never heard of any of this stuff!  Very interesting to an immigrant and farming neophyte like myself.

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The doctor who writes at Musings Of A Dinosaur has two interesting articles on fitness and weight loss:

She doesn't pay any attention to popular fads, but gives straightforward advice that works.  Useful reading.  In similar vein, an article titled 'Dieting vs. Exercise for Weight Loss' at the New York Times' Well Blogs provided useful information.

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While on the subject of doctors, Dr. Grumpy reminisces about 'Back-To-School Reruns'.  Here's an excerpt.

Be prepared. Normally there are 5-10 other quiet business-type people in there. NOT THIS WEEK! Holy Crap! An African street bazaar is an orderly affair compared to this! Deranged parents running on caffeine! Kids running amok! Store clerks running for their lives! And all the crazed parents are trying to read off a list, push a cart, yell at kids, text, and scream into a cell phone at the same time. Bring a water bottle, food, a map, a cattle prod, and a flashlight. A card with your blood type, hospital preference, and next of kin is also a good idea.

He's in fine form, isn't he?

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Another blog that's new to me, 'Historia futura praedicit' (or 'History predicts the future'), has an interesting look at our civil infrastructure.  Some are making alarmed noises about it being ready to collapse, and demanding an investment of trillions of dollars in upgrades.  The author points out some of the fallacies in their arguments.  Useful and informative reading.

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Last for this week, but by no means least, Blue Ice Aviation's blog reports on a storm in Alaska and how those exposed to it survived it.  It includes a video report.  It's a useful reminder of how essential such air services are up in the Frozen North, and how Mother Nature can and will kill you in a heartbeat if you're not prepared for whatever she may throw at you.

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That's all from 'Around The Blogs' for this week.  More soon!



Rev. Paul said...

Our mutual friend Jenny says, "Alaska can turn 'stupid' into 'dead' faster than anyplace else." She's right, and one doesn't even need to be stupid; just negligent (which may amount to the same thing, up here).

Oh, and thanks for the link, sir.

Peter said...

I'll not contradict Jenny - but I will point out that Africa can do it at least as fast!

(How do I know this? Trust me. I know this.)