A Quick Look at Leftist Looney-Tunes vs Facts

Perhaps the Wicked Witches of the Left prune up and die when confronted with reality. The one you see here, complaining about the education “cuts” looks as though that is her imminent fate.

By the way, all that federal money poured into poverty areas for basic literacy? Ain’t worth a devil’s dime. Several of our schools in this county and a number of those in surrounding areas have failed yet again to pass the SOLs – basic Standards of Learning tests for their grades. The teachers are forced to “teach to the SOLs”.

These kids don’t have books in their homes – but they have whatever the latest game technology there is. They zone out through these boring “lessons”.

A hint to educators: build games that actually have learning content in them. That’s what the Baron did for our son, using a primitive Atari…or was it a Tandon? Whatever, the fB loved “Big Math”. I think there were explosions for the right answers. [Those noises had stopped by the time he was learning Statistics, though].

Education needs to move into the 20th century, and soon. Or even better, back to the 19th. Sadly, those who elect to “major” in elementary education in college are among the bottom scorers when it comes to their own university testing. Their SATs are low.

Diapers Are a Human “Right”. Really.

Somehow our Founding Fathers left this enumerated ‘right’ off the list.

Oleg, from The People’s Cube has a wealth of material on his website. News you won’t find elsewhere.

In the post I’m mirroring here, he describes how socialism improves upon greedy capitalism and why we should all be concerned about a new crisis identified by the White House. Be sure to click on the link provided by Oleg. Despite how it might look, this really is a .gov page.

Oleg’s life in the uber-Kingdom of Socialisme, the USSR, provided him with a nuanced understanding of how these things work. Thus, this post, “Why Socialists Need Capitalism”, is rich with detail about life in the old USSR. Well, the detail may be ‘rich’ but the experience was up-close deprivation. Fortunately, since news from the outside world was so wisely limited, the average person hadn’t much information on exactly how deprived he or she was.

Oleg’s life in the U.S. is proof there’s an upside to immigration. Too bad we don’t get more Olegs while being flooded by Omars. Perhaps those in charge can’t tell the difference?

Oh, by the way: might the mathematicians among us be willing to flesh out Oleg’s equations below? He was disappointed that no one from the American Thinker commentariat was able to do so.

Have you heard of the shocking and terrifying diaper gap that is now dividing this nation? It is said to be so dire that the White House is urging immediate government assistance to buy baby diapers. Philosophically, this puts disposable plastic consumer products in the category of inalienable rights guaranteed by the government: among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Diapers.

When I lived in the USSR, our Soviet Constitution also guaranteed that our basic needs be provided to us by the caring socialist government. As a result, most basic items were in shortage, let alone such luxury items as coffee or toilet paper. Needless to say, we never even heard of disposable diapers. For our three children, we used pieces of cloth which we washed regularly. We didn’t complain or feel disadvantaged because — I repeat — we had no idea there was such a thing as disposable diapers. Those only existed in the decadent West, where greedy corporations created such a product to boost their capitalist profits. But we were blocked from this information by the Iron Curtain, and what we didn’t know couldn’t hurt us.

Now I live in America, where the decadent capitalist diapers are about to become a basic “human right” guaranteed by the federal government.

About twenty years ago no one used cell phones because they hadn’t yet been created by greedy capitalist corporations, who have since covered the planet with a network of cellular towers. Now free cell phones — known as Obamaphones — have become a “human right” guaranteed by the government.

Internet service didn’t exist either, until greedy capitalist corporations surrounded the world with cables and satellites. Now Internet service has become a “human right” provided by the U.S. government to the needy.

Condoms, birth control pills, and other modern contraceptives also didn’t exist until they were invented, researched, and mass-produced by greedy capitalist corporations. Now they have become a basic “human right” guaranteed and provided by the government.

Vaccines for Ebola and other exotic diseases didn’t exist until they were developed by greedy capitalist corporations and almost immediately declared a “human right” for anyone in the Third World.

Healthcare with all its modern diagnostic equipment, appliances, treatments, and a vast array of pharmaceuticals, from Tylenol to Viagra, also didn’t exist until greedy capitalist corporations…

And so on and so forth.

Capitalism just keeps churning out all these new products, which our increasingly socialist government then declares “human rights” and taxes these very producers in order to provide their products to the people for free.

Some call it harmonious coexistence, but there’s a catch. The more the socialist government expands its functions by guaranteeing an ever expanding number of “human rights,” the more it needs to tax capitalist producers, which undercuts their ability to develop, manufacture, and market new products. Once they reach a tipping point when capitalism is no longer viable, this will also end the propagation of “human rights” in the form of new goods and services.

Socialism conserves the stage in which the society existed at the time it was overtaken.

Cubans still drive American cars from the 1950s, North Koreans still dress in the fashions of the same bygone era, and in the USSR I grew up in a government-owned house that was taken from the rich and given to the needy in 1920s and remained without indoor plumbing or running water and with ancient electrical wiring until it was condemned and demolished in 1986.

Continue reading

Sunny’s Baaack!

One of my favorite satirists was is a young woman named Sunny. She disappeared a while ago, much to my disappointment. And now, after making, producing and raising a baby, she has returned. Motherhood hasn’t changed her inimitable style, though she may be a bit more bleepy than used to be the case. Or maybe it’s the subject matter…

She’s got them White Privilege Blues. That means she’s frustrated trying to ‘reason’ with people who don’t use reason to make their arguments:

I’m glad she hasn’t lost her satirical edge, but her work is certainly more of an uphill battle than it was even in the relatively short time she was away from the screen procreating.

You go, girl! Please make another one just like the one you mentioned. Yes, you may wait a year or two, but, please! we desperately need more Sunnys in the world.

Moving the Earth

Spring Fundraiser 2015, DayTwo

Today is the second day of our quarterly fundraiser. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re pushing extra hard this week, due to straitened financial circumstances arising (mostly) from a series of domestic plumbing disasters.

I recognize that we’re not the only ones experiencing hard times. Plenty of others, including some of our donors, are facing the same sort of squeeze. That makes it especially heartening when someone who barely has two nickels to rub together is willing to drop one of them into our tip cup. It serves as encouragement for Dymphna and me to persevere in our chosen vocation.

Tip jarAnd those nickels add up. A couple of years ago I learned the word “crowdfunding” when a commenter identified it as the process we use to finance this blog.

When the crowd becomes large enough, all those little bits form a big enough pile to pay for computers, DSL, hosting fees, etc., and leave enough left over to save up for plumbing catastrophes like the one we faced last week.

So we owe this crowd a great debt of gratitude. Many thanks to everyone who chose to chip in.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The theme of this week’s fundraiser is “Stories”, which gives us a chance to run off at the mouth (or keyboard) about whatever strikes our fancy.

I’ve got an old gladstone full of hippie stories from my misspent youth, but most of them are too dissolute or ribald to relate in a family space such as this one. Besides, when you come right down to it, they’re generally pretty stupid. They just don’t seem as entertaining after three decades or so of being straight.

The true story below is an exception. It’s an uplifting tale of youthful exuberance and applied science with a happy ending. Who could ask for more?

In the winter of 1975-76 two of my friends (who are now married) were living together in the wilds of West Virginia, and four or five of us suburban hippies would drive up to visit them on weekends. You know, to get back to the land, groove on Mother Nature, etc. etc. And maybe drink a couple of bottles of wine and play charades in front of the fireplace in the evenings.

One Sunday morning six of us — four guys and two girls — piled into a car and headed to the nearest town for brunch and caffeine. We had no thoughts about church in those days, but some of the local residents did. On our way down one of the narrow lanes we encountered three middle-aged ladies who had dropped a rear wheel into a ditch while backing out of their driveway on the way to church. It was a rear-wheel drive car, and they were just sitting there, futilely spinning the other wheel in an attempt to get moving.

Continue reading

Whole Human Math

We could subtitle this ‘joke’ to read: “Why We Home-Schooled Our Son”.

[Saxon makes wonderful Math books]

This came from our contributor JLH to the Baron, as a distraction from his computer woes…
…if you’ve heard the joke already, just pass it on:

1. Teaching Math In the 1950s (when I was in school)

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

2. Teaching Math In the 1970s

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?

3. Teaching Math In the 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?Yes or No

4. Teaching Math In The 1990s

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.

5. Teaching Math In 2000s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20.

What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question:

How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s OK. See the box of recycled tissues on your desk).

Like gag me, dude. See #6 for the real future.
Continue reading

What I Did on my Vacation

Or, The Transparent Woman

I just returned from forty-eight hours of involuntary vacation.

My old reliable computer crashed on Tuesday afternoon, and had to be treated for many hours by a knowledgeable technician. After the issue with the hardware was resolved, there was imaging, configuring, installation of new software, and other activities, some of which were entirely mysterious to me.

Everything seems to be running smoothly again now, thank the Lord. I’m reconnected to my auxiliary brain and can perform routine tasks rapidly, without much thought — which would not be possible on other computers in the house, even if I could see those teeny-weeny little screens.

However, I could do enough on one of Dymphna’s machines to keep abreast of what was happening. I even hijacked it early yesterday morning to do my mandatory April Fools’ post — it was the tenth annual one, so I couldn’t in all conscience let it slide by. But sustained work on that machine is too hard on my eyes, so I waited until my customary computer was back in service to resume my normal daily tasks.

There were about a thousand emails waiting for me when I logged in a while ago. Although many of those were spam, it will still be a while before I catch up on the backlog.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

While I was waiting for repairs to be completed, I fired up my even older computer. That one is too ancient and sclerotic to access the internet, but it can still perform other tasks surprisingly well. It doesn’t have any recent software installed on it, so the lack of clutter in RAM makes it perform at a decent speed.

It was my auxiliary brain for ten years before I migrated to the new (but now old) computer. All my custom image-processing code is still on the older machine — twenty years of carefully written VB code that makes and modifies bitmap images of my own design.

I set up a new series of images and processed a number of them yesterday and this morning. Two of those are included with this post.

These are mathematical constructs, so they originally didn’t have meaningful file names — just nonsense words followed by the number of the design. When I showed them to Dymphna, she insisted on naming them according to her own impressions of what they look like. To me they resemble curtains, but she named the top one “Transparent Woman” and the bottom one “Fluid Rainbows”.

For any geeks who may be interested in the mathematics used to produce the images, a brief technical description is below the jump.

Continue reading

The Gold Bar as Big as the Ritz

I started building the graphic for this post in the summer of 2013, but abandoned it because working on it was too hard on my eyes. I came across the work-in-progress yesterday when I was doing housecleaning on this computer, and decided to finish it, since my eyes are much better now.

I had also saved a page with all my calculations involving the national debt, which at that time was estimated at $16 trillion. It’s roughly $18 trillion now — a 12.5% increase in just two years. In the same period of time, the price of gold has dropped by $100 an ounce. It was about $1,300/oz when I did the earlier calculations, and it’s hovering right around $1,200/oz this evening. Which seems counterintuitive to me, but then so does a lot of the other economic news these days.

I’ve redone all the calculations, finished the graphic, and am rushing everything into print before the debt clock and the gold markets make it obsolete again.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Let’s suppose the United States had to pay off its accumulated debt in gold. How much gold would that be, based on today’s market prices?

A standard gold bar that weighs a kilogram measures 80mm × 40mm × 18mm, or 3.15″ × 1.58″ × 0.71″.

The spot price of gold is about $1,200 per ounce, which is $19,200 per pound, or $38,400,000 per ton.
A ton is approximately 907 kilos, so there would be 907 one-kilogram bars in a stack of gold weighing a ton.

The national debt is over $18,000,000,000,000 and climbing rapidly, but I’ll peg it at $18 trillion, just to make the calculations easier.

When I looked into how much gold would be needed to add up to $18 trillion, the scale of the resulting graphic would have been too exaggerated to make visual sense — the astronaut standing next to the gold bar would have been too tiny to be recognizable in a normal-sized image. The calculations below are based on paying off one quarter of the national debt, or $4,500,000,000,000 ($4.5 trillion).

To determine the number of tons of gold needed for the payoff, we divide $4,500,000,000,000 by $38,400,000 per ton, arriving at an approximate figure of 117,188 tons. At 907 kilos per ton, 106,310,712 one-kilo gold bars are required.

The bars in the resulting pile would be stacked 474 long, 474 wide, and 474 high. Using the dimensions of each individual bar as given above, the rectangular solid formed by the whole pile would be 37.9m × 19m × 8.5m, or 124 feet long, 62 feet wide, and 28 feet high.

That’s as big as a McMansion, but remember: it represents only 25% of the national debt. Four of those piles taken together would be as big as the Ritz.

Continue reading

Happy e-Day!

Most people are aware that Pi Day is celebrated on March 14, the calendrical day that most closely corresponds to the number π, which is approximately equal to 3.14159265.

Far fewer people know that today, February 7, is e-Day. That is, the day that corresponds to Euler’s constant, the base of natural or Naperian logarithms, which is commonly written as e.

e = 2.7182818 (approximately). If we use a bi-digital interpretation of the decimal portion of the number, as is done to calculate Pi Day, e-Day would be February 71, which might prove difficult to celebrate, even in a Leap Year.

However, even though it is considered heretical by certain orthodox mathematical sects to do so, if we take the 7 by itself as the significant digit (the uni-digital interpretation), e-Day becomes February 7. Choosing that date gives us a week to recover before the rigors of St. Valentine’s Day.

The rest of the digits might be read in several different ways. If we were to read them as a decimal fraction of the day, then they would represent 0.182818 × 24 hours, or 4.387632 hours, that is, about 4:23 am.

That’s a little earlier than most people want to get up for their e-Day celebrations. So I suggest reading the rest of the digits as 18:28:18, that is, 18 seconds after 6:28 pm. That’s right at dinnertime, which is much better.

Watch the clock! At eighteen seconds past 6:28 tonight, before digging into the Chateaubriand, everyone should raise a champagne glass and toast John Napier of Merchiston for his contributions to mathematics.