Sunday, January 25, 2004

I hadn't seen this one in a while, and there have been a couple of additions since it last graced my inbox, so I thought it was worth sharing with the world again:

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl
took my $2 and I was digging for my changed when I pulled 8 cents from my
pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3
pennies, while looking at the screen on her register.
I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters,
but she hailed the manager for help.

While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this? Please read more about the "history of teaching
math":

Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5
of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.. His cost of production is
4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970
A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set of "M" of money. The
cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100
dots representing the elements of the set "M." The set "C," the cost of
production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set "C" as
a subset of set "M." Answer this question: What is the cardinality of the
set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80
and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990
By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you
think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after
answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the
logger cut down the trees. (There are no wrong answers)

Teaching Math In 2000
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is
$120. How does Arthur Anderson determine that his profit margin is $60?

Teaching Math In 2005
El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de production...

11:06 AM 1 comments
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Poliblog has The Pre-NH Toast-O-Meter up today and it is an excellent read. Things have definitely shifted. New Hamshire ought to be most intriguing...

12:12 PM 0 comments
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Heh. Lee Harris, over at TCS, provides a rather new way of looking at Howard Dean's gutteral reaction to his Iowa loss:

We should keep this in mind whenever we reflect on the seemingly irrational method by which we as a people select the man to fill the most important office in the world. For the real purpose behind the superficially bizarre rituals of an American election -- caucuses, primaries, televised debates, concession speeches -- is not to provide an exercise in democracy; it is to test the inner resources and character of the candidates, and to do this by exposing them to a grueling series of artificially induced crises that simulate those that he will ultimately have to face as president. The American electoral process is, in a way, like the simulated testing done by the manufacturers of automobile tires -- we want to know which ones are reliable before we put them on our cars, rather than afterwards, and that is why the American people tend to respond so harshly to those candidates who fail to make the grade during this our national period of candidate testing.


Never thought of it that way, but it makes some sense. Being President is grueling and challenging. If you can't take the challenge and maintain the endurance to get through the sometimes nonsensical electoral process, how are you going to handle the job itself?

I guess this makes me feel better about the whole process.

On another Howard Dean note, Duck Hunt #7 is up at The American Mind, a decent source for all things Dean. Howard Dean. As opposed to the good Dean. Just as you might want Viking Pundit if John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking candidate, is your torment of choice. By the way, did you know he served in Vietnam?

5:57 AM 0 comments
Monday, January 12, 2004

Jay Solo has an interesting--and wickedly funny--post up today about the problem of finding WMD in a country the size of California. Point being that when Rummy and company keep pointing out that Iraq is the size of California, what they're trying to say is that it's really damned big.

Go check out the post. And welcome Han Duo's Silence to the blogroll.

8:43 PM 0 comments
Friday, January 09, 2004

Aubrey Turner discusses some excellent ideas on how to make the vote and citizenship more meaningful.

It doesn't get any better or more basic than intimating that the founders were smart enough to avoid some of the problems we've created by unraveling their wisdom. Even if their wisdom did grow from a balance of bitter debate over the role of government and the balance between state and federal power and roles. With the individual ultimately being the core sovereign, lest we forget that little detail. Oh wait, most of us already have.

The vote used to be based on property ownership. Aubrey discusses going back to that, but extending it to a more modern definition of productive citizenship. Since that might be hard to measure, let's go with unproductiveness, which is easy to determine. If you benefit from government largesse, you give up voting for the duration. When you become no longer dependent, you get the vote back.

See, the problem is that as time went on, the country grew in the politician's reliance on buying voters off with their own money (or that of others who paid more). Since anyone may vote, that means people who are already dependent can vote the status quo or more. This is not to say people would uniformly refuse to vote for policies that would provide assistance. It's just that people receiving assistance currently would not have an active stake.

And yes, let's stick to real punishment for real crimes, and ditch all the other "crimes" for the absurd overgrowth of government and reduction of sense that they tend to be.

It has even been argued that giving women the vote was a Bad Thing. Not sure I agree, but the argument is intriguing. It goes that women will vote instinctively to benefit their kids and families at the expense of anyone and everyone else, and at least once they are mothers, will lose at least some of what rationality they might have applied to politics. In short, they make the ideal voters to be bought by the politicians who support getting elected over supporting and defending the constitution, all it says and means, and all it implies without explicitly stating.

I am not sure I see it as being that bad, especially if we teach our daughters well. But then, that would require getting them out of government indoctrination centers and into home or good private schooling...

I do agree that popular election of senators should never have come about, and was a vicious slap in the face of the principles and balance on which this country was founded. Representatives represent the people, in proportion to the population. Senators represent the states, in equal say each, regardless of size, kind of like the U.N. with its one country, one vote setup for the general assembly.

Anyway, Aubrey was inspired by this post by Michele. Why let them vote? It seems a no brainer to me.

9:33 PM 0 comments

You may not be aware that MIAs from former wars are still being located and reclassified as Killed in Action. This morning, the Department of Defense announced identification of two more servicemen missing from Vietnam.

You may also not be aware that there are approximately 88,000 servicemembers missing in action from prior conflicts, and that 1,871 of them are from the Vietnam War.

Food for thought.

Read the story.

11:28 AM 0 comments
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Greyhawk recently posted a list of ten "forgotten" military posts he'd made. Needless to say, it's all good stuff and worth your time, but this post in particular caught my eye. I was unaware that Burkett had received this award, and I am very, very glad to hear it. The man deserves that and more for the work he's done over the last 18 years.

This is a topic I am passionate about. You see, several years ago my father (a Vietnam-era draftee) told me about a book called Stolen Valor, and I promptly bought it for him for his birthday, not realizing that it was going to be a revolutionary read for me in many ways.

My father's a lot like me--or, perhaps, I am like my father--in that when he discovers something fascinating, he feels compelled to share it. That's why, after several phone calls where he told me at length about Burkett's research, I was hopelessly intrigued enough to read the book, and it forever changed my image of not just the Vietnam era, but of the military itself.

Vietnam--and Vietnam era--veterans have had the honor due them stripped away in much of the public mind by the mechanisms Burkett exposes. This is a travesty that continues to be perpetrated even today by media outlets and politicians who object to America's use of force under most circumstances. It is of perhaps greater importance than ever that we view the era through a lens free of distortion, since it is being used by those who oppose the war we are now invoved in as a justification for inaction.

I'll happily argue with you until we are both blue in the face over whether Vietnam accomplished anything (I happen to believe that it did, but that is a post for another evening). Allowing the image of the Vietnam veteran as a drug-using baby-killing homeless mentally ill waste product of an unjust war to continue, however, is a terrible injustice, and an insult to all of those who served honorably.

We owe it to ourselves and to the nation to arm ourselves with facts, and facts are what Burkett brings to the table. So go read Greyhawk's post, then go read Stolen Valor. Both will fascinate and surprise you and are well worth the time you'll spend pondering them.

8:54 PM 0 comments
Friday, January 02, 2004

There are predictions all over the place in honor of the new year, so we thought it would be fun to roundup links to various prediction posts in one place.

Rob Sama uses the classic quatrain format.

Stephen Green presents 50 things that will happen.

Dean Esmay makes some hopeful predictions and invites audience participation.

Chan Eddy is humble in his predictions.

Here are some pathetic predictions.

Drumwaster started with a list and went on to make an additional standalone prediction.

Scrappleface has headlines from 2004.

Unigolyn has 30 intriguing predictions. Can't imagine which woman VP he speaks of in number three, but sure hope Condi runs for President in 2008.

That's all the prediction posts we could locate for one day. More later? Perhaps.

12:45 AM 0 comments
Thursday, January 01, 2004

Exactly. It's so funny how people speak of establishing "democracies" in errant places such as the Middle Least, when we are ourselves a republic. Mike is absolutely correct that this is superior.

It's easy to wonder even how many American politicians have conveniently forgotten or never coherently understood this little detail. It makes all the difference in the world. We should remind people of this, and what it means, early and often. Among those who have forgotten what we are stand anyone calling for popular election of Presidents, and anyone failing to call for repeal of popular election of senators.

10:44 PM 0 comments

Damn holidays! You get a clever idea for a blog, then life intrudes. Heh is traveling. Indeed is, well, traveling too. Who wants to use dialup on the road?

"Content" will resume soon. In the meantime, a happy new year to all.

3:13 AM 0 comments