Daily Archives: April 4, 2017

Tina Turner Elton John & Cher — Proud Mary


Andrew Sullivan on “intersectionality”

Why Evolution Is True

by Greg Mayer

Most WEIT readers will be familiar with Andrew Sullivan, the conservative, gay, Catholic ur-blogger, with whom we’ve had occasion to both agree and disagree over the years. As Jerry noted, Andrew recently returned to regular writing at New York Magazine, posting a weekly “diary”, as he’s referred to it, each posting consisting of several, often unrelated, topics. It’s kind of like a blog, except he puts each day’s posts up all together, once a week.

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew, inspired by the fracas at Middlebury College, wrote about “intersectionality“. Jerry has alluded to this notion as well, although not by that name, in his critiques of the fractured and contradictory goals of at least the early versions of the March for Science.

So, what is “intersectionality”? Here’s Andrew’s characterization:

“Intersectionality” is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy…

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Idaho’s $4.3 million solar road generates enough power to run ONE microwave 

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Credit: citymetric.com
And that’s on a good day. To call it a failed experiment would be an understatement.

An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March, reports The Daily Caller. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

On March 29th, the solar road panels generated 0.26 kWh, or less electricity than a single plasma television consumes. On March 31st, the panels generated 1.06 kWh, enough to barely power a single microwave.

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Lea Raible and Leah Trueblood: The Swiss System of Referendums and the Impossibility of Direct Democracy

UK Constitutional Law Association

The referendums in the United Kingdom of 2011, 2014, and 2016 have sparked a debate about the merits of direct democracy. In this debate references to the system of referendums in Switzerland take one of two forms: either as (i) a sui generis case of no relevance or (ii) a demonstration of the virtues of referendums and direct democracy simpliciter. The aim of this post is to challenge both of these approaches. We argue instead that the Swiss system demonstrates that it is necessary for referendums to be integrated into representative processes in order for their use to be consonant with other democratic values. The differences between liberal democracy in the UK and Switzerland are of degree rather than kind, and the Swiss experience helps to answer the questions of how, when, and why referendums may be justifiably used in liberal democracies, including the UK.

  1. The Swiss System of…

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Productivity and bad bosses

This literature implies persistent, know but unexploded opportunities for pure profit from managerial takeovers.

There is a great battle in the 1970s between George Stigler and the developer of the X-inefficiency concept over whether these opportunities were real or not.

The concept was developed for this time and motion studies of factories in the Third World where there were vast differences between the productivity of competing firms in the same industry. Some had first world productivity, others had Third World productivity

A good argument against x-inefficiency is De Alessi, L. “Property Rights, Transaction Costs, and X-Efficiency: An Essay in Economic Theory”. American Economic Review (March 1983).

The puzzlingly large productivity differences across firms even in narrowly defined industries producing standard products lead to doubts about the efficiency of some firms, often the smaller firms in an industry. Some firms produce half as much output from the same measured inputs as rivals and still survive in competition (Syverson 2011).

This diversity reflects inter-firm differences in managerial ability, organisational practices, choice of technology, the age of the business and its capital, location, workforce skills, intangible assets and changes in demand and productivity that are idiosyncratic to each individual firm (Stigler 1958, 1976, 1987; De Alessi 1983).

Small and large firms can survive in direct competition because of different trade-offs they make between hierarchy, location, product ranges, production flexibility and pace of growth (Audretsch, Prince and Thurik 1998; Audretsch and Mahmood 1994; Stigler 1939, 1983, 1987; Jovanovic 1982; Chappell, Mayer and Shughart 1993; Das, Chappell and Shughart 1993).

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

The speech by Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane last month was another valiant attempt to get to the bottom of the productivity puzzle. Why did productivity decline after the recession and why has that decline been particularly sharp in the UK?

While it might, he says, be convenient to blame a financial services sector for over inflating UK productivity before the recession and knocking the stuffing out of it afterwards, this is only part of the story:

It is sometimes asserted that, without the collapse in financial services output associated with the financial crisis, the UK’s productivity performance would have held up. It is certainly true that financial sector productivity was probably over-stated in the run-up to the crisis.44 Nonetheless, the subsequent sharp fall in financial services productivity is plainly not the whole story. Of the 1.7 percentage point fall in the UK’s productivity growth since 2008, less than a third can…

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BBC still won’t call Munich Olympics massacre perpetrators terrorists

BBC Watch

In 2014 the BBC described the terrorists responsible for the murders of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games as “militants”.

Harari art textIn 2015 the same terrorists were rebranded as “Palestinian extremists” and a “Palestinian extremist group”.

This week in history MunichIn a filmed report which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on August 2nd 2016, the terrorists are described as “militants”.

Munich massacre memorialThe same euphemistic term is used in a written report by Jonathan Josephs which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page the following day. 

Munich massacre writtenOnce again the ‘values’ behind the BBC’s supposed avoidance of “value judgements” are on display.

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We Won Climate Battles, but Are Not Winning the Climate War: Here’s Why.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” Lee Iacocca

In his essay, “Reflections on Mark Steyn’s ‘A Disgrace to the Profession’ about Dr. Michael Mann” Rick Wallace wrote,

Tim Ball, Fred Singer and others have been countering the AGW meme for a few decades, but to little avail.

He is correct. Yes, there is a slight increase in the number of skeptics as evidenced by the increased readership at WUWT, but it is a fraction of even total Internet users. Even those who read and comment on WUWT articles on the site often say they are not scientists or don’t fully understand the topic. Others demonstrate their lack of knowledge and understanding without the caveats.

Wallace continues,

But why is this? Why haven’t their voices carried? And, conversely, why was The Team so successful…

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Two People Die in Separate Eating Competitions in Connecticut and Colorado


caitlin-nelson-facebook-3image1_1491240579424_9136742_ver1.0We have previously discussed (and here and here and )the liability issues associated with eating competitions.  This week we have see two deaths in pancake eating and doughnut eating competitions.  Caitline Nelson, 20, died at a fraternity and sorority event at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.  Travis Malouff, 42, died in a giant donut competition in Denver, Colorado.

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The New Zealand Initiative’s manifesto

croaking cassandra

I mentioned yesterday that the New Zealand Initiative had released its Manifesto 2017: What the next New Zealand government should do.   When I sat down and read it I came away with mixed feelings.   There are quite of lot of specifics I agree with, which shouldn’t be a surprise: the Initiative is variously described as pro-business, neo-liberal (both, for different reasons, unhelpful descriptions –  they are generally pro-market rather than pro-business) or just plain “right wing”.  And I was summed up a few weeks ago by one journalist as being on the ‘dryish right of the spectrum’, which sounded roughly correct.   We have our (large) differences over New Zealand immigration policy, and I’m a conservative while they often tend towards a libertarian view of the world, but there is often a lot of overlap in the sorts of policies we would favour.   In fact in some areas I think they are far too trusting of…

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Seven Reasons Why You Really Don’t Want to Have Measles


In light of the current measles epidemics spreading in Europe, I wanted to visit some of the main concerns with the disease, and the reasons we very fervently want to put a stop to its spread. Seven reasons to make sure you protect yourself and your children from measles:

7 Reasons You Don't Want to Get Measles

  1. Diarrhea, ear infection, and hearing loss. Common measles complications.
  2. Pneumonia. Occurs in about 1 in 20 children, most common cause of death from measles in young children.
  3. Encephalitis (swelling of the brain). About 1 out of every 1,000. Can lead to convulsions, deafness, or intellectual disability.
  4. Death. Estimated between 1-10 in every 5,000 cases of measles, or up to 1 in 10   where adequate nutrition and health care are lacking.
  5. Immune amnesia. Measles is associated with two years of increased susceptibility to, and mortality from other infectious disease. Studies suggest measles causes ‘immune amnesia’, wiping out previously developed immune memories.
  6. Delayed…

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