Oct 022014

Another in the series of findings that suggest a balanced economy leads to better economic results from an article I wrote for YC Magazine and posted here.

Short summary — conventional “neoclassical” economic theory predicts that government policies of austerity should best cure a recession while preventing inflation. Five years of actual results suggest this is false — countries whose policies led to larger deliberate stimulus and larger safety net payments have recovered faster from recession. Continue reading »

Apr 202014

On April 18, 2014, the NPR show On The Media produced a theme show that focused on Robots and Artificial Intelligence. You can listen to or download the entire podcast here.

The segment I found most interesting and potentially disruptive was a 14-minute interview with Jerry Kaplan of Stanford University titled Engineering Intelligence (link to the segment podcast here.) The segment made several key points. Continue reading »

Apr 022014

Years ago I took time to create several short “videos” that combine still photos and actual  videos with sound. The software made use of  “The Ken Burns effect,” a type of panning and zooming effect used in video production from still imagery. Presumably introducing “motion” in still photos can make the production feel less like a slide show, putting fewer people to sleep. Continue reading »

Jan 202014

I highly recommend a posting by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, the Senior Religion Editor at The Huffington Post. He provides some thoughtful religious  questions with some answers Martin Luther King gave in his writings, in Seven Ways to Be Sure You Are a Martin Luther King Jr. Kind of Christian.

Below I extracted two of Raushenbush’s questions that really struck me and gave sample answers from MLK’s writings and speeches that the post suggests. But read his full post; these are great questions to meditate on during (and after) MLK Day. Continue reading »

Jun 202013

In April 2013 I assembled and posted on yorkdems.com a long blog giving an overview of Sasha Issenberg’s Sept. 2012 book The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. In that blog I also included links to more recent updates to the Nov. 2012 Presidential election, and to other works on Getting Out the Vote (GOTV).

Follow this link to an overview of Issenberg’s “The Victory Lab” at yorkdems.com. It gives a summary of what we know about increasing voter turnout and improving the chances of winning in swing districts.


Jul 272012

We recently visited Eastern Europe. In Berlin we saw the “Typography of Terror” exhibit, in Poland we toured the Auschwitz Death Camp and the new exhibit at the “Schindler’s List” factory, in Prague we viewed with sorrow the Jewish Museum collection that the Nazi’s forced Jewish religious leaders to assemble and curate as “a tribute to a vanished race” before sending most off to be murdered at Auschwitz. Continue reading »

May 292012

A recent study of the speeches of US Congress members and Senators found that the typical level-of-difficulty in those speeches has dropped by more than a full grade level over the past seven years.  (For the study results, click here.)  The lowest grade levels were among the newer, more conservative members.  Of interest to South Carolina District 5 voters, our new Representative John (Mick) Mulvaney had the lowest average reading level score of all 535 members – an average level of 8th grade (7.95 grade level).  Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of Presidential candidate Ron Paul (at 8.04), virtually tied the congressman.
Continue reading »

May 292012

BOTTOM LINE: Correlation between State-level SAT average scores and test scores of representative students is almost ZERO. Knowing the state SAT average tells you virtually NOTHING about the quality of state education.

An old saying among South Carolina educators – thank heavens for Mississippi.  No matter the issue — test scores, teacher salaries, class size — Mississippi was always worst.

But the 2011 combined SAT scores (created by adding the math-reading-writing average for each state) show Mississippi at 1,660 points, South Carolina at 1,436 points and second from the bottom!  Once again, a big fail!??  Below is a sample of eleven states.  See the problem!  (Click here for the original state-by-state data).

Continue reading »