Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Single-Click Double Click Stuck Problem
On my Dell computer, running XP, the mouse single-click was stuck acting like a double click and opening files. Redoing the setting in Control Panel didn't help. I checked Geeks to Go and it suggested trying a different mouse, which did work. I was using a Dell mouse.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Bailout Political Pressure
It seems we already have an example of a bank that felt pressured to make bad loans from fear of losing government support. From the American Spectator:
Bank of America was the victim of a concerted shake-down operation that could be replicated around the country. Banks apparently now are expected to give money away to failed borrowers. This could become federal policy when Barack Obama, who supported this new example of Chicago blackmail, becomes president.
Theft by Princeton
Princeton seems to have been stealing from the Robertson Foundation on a large scale. The Robertson heirs sued, and in a settlement they have been given 40 million dollars in legal fees and 50 million has been put into a new foundation. The complaint is worth recording. Of interest too is this statement about other abuses by Princeton, from page 16:
In 2002 and 2003, a Princeton employee named Jessie Washington conducted an investigation of donations to the University's Office of Religious Life and concluded:...2/20/03 Washington memo to Kalmbach and McDonough. Her Summary of Findings states:
During my review of endowment accounts for the office of religious life, I discovered many problems with the management of the university's endowed funds. ... (T)hese problems affect every unit in the University that relies on endowment income.
I believe: 1) funding allocations are not in alignment with their intended purpose, i.e. the donors wishes have been ignored; 2) money intended for religious life -17- 925226.1 11/11/04 has been knowingly withheld;...
As one example, a $5,000 gift to maintain a chapel organ was used instead, according to a handwritten note, "to relieve general funds." Id. at Example 2. Another handwritten note states: "Dept. is not to know."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Questions for Theorists
From the hiring side: The problem I see with many pure theorists (i.e. those who do not use any data) is the lack of connection between the research and any real-world issues. A lot of job applicants to my department and graduate students in my department have a difficult time answering (a) why is this relevant/important?, and (b) how would I know if you were wrong? If you are a theorist, you'll do yourself a favor if you can answer those questions.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Senate Vote on the General Motors Bailout
From a place I forgot to link:
Voting "yes" were 40 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 independents.
Voting "no" were 4 Democrats and 31 Republicans.
Baucus, Mont.; Lincoln, Ark.; Reid, Nev.; Tester, Mont.
... Republicans Yes
Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Collins, Maine; Dole, N.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Lugar, Ind.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.
... Others Yes
Lieberman, Conn.; Sanders, Vt.
Commas and Adjectives
Which version is best?
1. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some, “small”, consumers buy just one good while other, “large”, consumers buy two.versus
2. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some, “small” consumers buy just one good while other, “large” consumers buy two.versus
3. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some “small” consumers buy just one good while other “large” consumers buy two.
I like version 1, because it replicates the pauses I would make when speaking. I don't know which the grammarians would choose.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A Good Photo
A post at Baylyblog inspired me to commment thusly:
'm glad Baylyblog is doing its bit to try to bring civility to the Web. Anonymity isn't the only reason the Web has so much rudeness. The other reason is that we tolerate rudeness. We don't have to. If someone sends me a web comment that would cause me to punch him, admonish him, or walk away from him if it were said to me in person, why should I tolerate it any more just because it is on a computer? The blogger at least has the ability to delete the comment. It is like painting over grafitti. And as with graffiti, it not only reduces the amount of ugliness in the world; it reduces the temptation for the sinner.
"Torture" in Germany
In October 2002 (from the WSJ):
Also in October 2002, interrogators at Guantanamo Bay asked for permission to use similar methods on al Qaeda terrorist Mohammed al-Qahtani. The Pentagon said no.
"Deputy Police Chief Daschner fears that Jakob's life may be in danger. In a memorandum, he writes: "We need to ascertain without delay where the boy is being held. While respecting the principle of proportionality, the police have an obligation to take all measures in their power to save the child's life."...
n the interrogation room, Ennigkeit tells Gäfgen that a "special officer" is on his way. If Gäfgen does not tell Ennigkeit where the boy is, the "special officer" will "make him feel pain that he will not forget." On Gäfgen's own account, the formula is still more menacing: the officer "will make you feel pain like you have never felt before." "Nobody can help you here," Ennigkeit tells him, according to Gäfgen's testimony. "We can do whatever we want with you." On Gäfgen's account, moreover, Ennigkeit already begins to rough him up: shaking him so violently that his head bangs against the wall and hitting him in the chest hard enough to leave a bruise over his collarbone....
In June 2005, the child-murderer and law student Magnus Gäfgen lodged a complaint against Germany with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In his complaint, Gäfgen accused Germany of having violated his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and, more specifically, of having violated the prohibition on torture contained in Article 3 of the Convention.
On June 30, 2008, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Gäfgen's complaint and cleared Germany of the charge of tolerating torture."
Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, perhaps it is time for American interrogators to revise their practices to bring them into line with European ones.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Can Pornographers Be Prosecuted for Paying for Sex?
Will There be Lawyers in Heaven?
A few weeks ago, I was struck by a line in Abraham Kuyper's "Lectures on Calvinism" (1898), one of the great (and accessible!) modern Protestant works on politics and law. In a world without sin, Kuyper wrote, "every rule and ordinance and law would drop away, even as all control and assertion of the power of the magistrate would disappear." Heaven, he suggests, is no place for law or lawyers.
We lawyers come in for a lot of abuse, much of it justified, but I'm not so sure our work will disappear in heaven. The conclusion that law and thus lawyers will be unnecessary seems to assume that in heaven we will be all seeing and all knowing, and all complexity will simply disappear. I'm not sure where that assumption comes from; it doesn't seem especially consistent with the hints of heaven, with all its richness and diversity, that we get in the Bible. The absence of sin doesn't necessarily mean the absence of complexity, and where there is complexity law and lawyers seem to have a role to play. (Professor Skeel)
Can we think of examples of situations where people of good will would find lawyers useful? Here's one. Suppose two people are making an agreement about who will do which tasks before they meet again. A lawyer is useful for making sure they've covered all contingencies and that they really understand each other. "Contracts" are useful even if nobody expects a court to have to enforce them, just to clarify meaning, and ordinary people aren't all that good at making clear agreements.
Any other examples?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Blagojevich Bribes the Tribune with State Money
...Intercepted calls allegedly show that Blagojevich directed Harris to inform Tribune Owner and an associate, identified as Tribune Financial Advisor, that state financial assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board were fired, primarily because Blagojevich viewed them as driving discussion of his possible impeachment. In a November 4 phone call, Blagojevich allegedly told Harris that he should say to Tribune Financial Advisor, Cubs Chairman and Tribune Owner, "our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get 'em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support."
On November 6, the day of a Tribune editorial critical of Blagojevich , Harris told Blagojevich that he told Tribune Financial Advisor the previous day that things "look like they could move ahead fine but, you know, there is a risk that all of this is going to get derailed by your own editorial page." Harris also told Blagojevich that he was meeting with Tribune Financial Advisor on November 10.
In a November 11 intercepted call, Harris allegedly told Blagojevich that Tribune Financial Advisor talked to Tribune Owner and Tribune Owner "got the message and is very sensitive to the issue." Harris told Blagojevich that according to Tribune Financial Advisor, there would be "certain corporate reorganizations and budget cuts coming and, reading between the lines, he's going after that section." Blagojevich allegedly responded. "Oh. That's fantastic." After further discussion, Blagojevich said, "Wow. Okay, keep our fingers crossed. You're the man. Good job, John."
In a further conversation on November 21, Harris told Blagojevich that he had singled out to Tribune Financial Advisor the Tribune's deputy editorial page editor, John McCormick, "as somebody who was the most biased and unfair." After hearing that Tribune Financial Advisor had assured Harris that the Tribune would be making changes affecting the editorial board, Blagojevich allegedly had a series of conversations with Chicago Cubs representatives regarding efforts to provide state financing for Wrigley Field. ...
Trackback in Blogger
Child Services, the Prosecutor, and the Bloomington Planned Parenthood Case
Maybe this is just jurisdictional. I am wondering whether this case is different from, say, a pedophile who is caught by someone posing to be a 13-year-old on the Internet.
The Indiana Department of Child Services will take no legal action against the employee who was suspended from Bloomington’s Planned Parenthood on Wednesday.
The employee was suspended without pay after an online video was released of her advising a woman posing as a 13-year-old girl to cross state lines to get an abortion without parental consent. When the woman posing as a 13-year-old girl said the man who got her pregnant was 31 years old, she agreed not to report what would, if it were true, be statutory rape.
Steve Vaughn, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, said child services does not plan to do anything to the employee because there was not an actual minor involved in the incident.
...The county prosecutor’s office could also file charges, but no one from the office could be reached for comment by press time.
Monday, December 8, 2008
David Frum on Christmas
Vice in the Netherlands
Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.
The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the so-called "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.
"I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals" said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.
Wide Tires Are Bad on Snow
From Clayton Cramer:
The source of the C5's problems with traction on snow and ice is the combination of rear wheel drive and very, very wide tires. As the tires get wider, the amount of force per square inch declines. There's roughly 700-750 pounds of force per rear tire--and with the standard tires of the Corvette, this spread over an enormously wide piece of rubber. My measurements suggest that the contact patch is about 30-40 square inches--so roughly 19 psi of pressure. At a certain point, the down force is so little that the tires simply have no hope of getting any grip on either snow or ice.
The way that chains work, and studded tires, is by concentrating the roughly 750 pounds of force per tire into a relatively tiny area--perhaps as little as three square inches for chains--so 250 psi, or a square inch for studs (so 750 psi). That's enough to break a hole in the surface of the ice, and allow you to move forward. Ditto for brakes.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
"Beyond the planet of the crazygirls"
A Colorful Hilbert Something or Other
A Global Warming Graph
Sometime I've got to get round to understanding global warming. This is a good graph of the time trend. What we need is not just a theory to explain the recent warming (which has now leveled off, it seems) but the cooling periods, e.g. 1880-1910. Otherwise, whatever causes the earlier cooling-- and it was not carbon dioxide-- might be causing the recent warming.
Labels: global warming
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture"
That “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” issued by the Pew Research Center last February continues to be sliced and diced by various analysts, including Robert Benne, who writes in The Cresset, a magazine published by Valparaiso University. “Continuing the list of surprises about Catholicism,” Benne writes, “ten percent of all Protestants are former Catholics but eight percent of Catholics are former Protestants. ... “The big difference,” he says, “is that they aim at the weakest Catholics while we aim at the strongest evangelicals.” The claim is that evangelicals who are more theologically versed and religiously committed are more open to Catholicism, while Catholics who become evangelicals were, for whatever reason, alienated from Christianity. Put differently, religiously serious evangelicals are more likely to become Catholic, while religiously lapsed Catholics are more likely to become evangelicals. ... Some while back, I spoke at an Episcopal parish in the Northeast and afterward had dinner with the members of the vestry. Ten of the fourteen members present were former Catholics, and seven of them said they would be Catholics today if it were not for their divorces that prevented them from receiving Holy Communion. The pastor of an evangelical megachurch who says more than half his members are former Catholics tells me, with a smile, “I hope you guys don’t change your rules on divorce and remarriage.”
The Miktex Tex Processing Freeware Program
This is a post from 2005 that I'll copy here, with the old comments as part of the post.
The free Miktex (http://www.miktex.org/) looks to be an excellent latex and tex Windows processor program. I’ve been using SWP, and putting figures in looks to work better in Miktex. Miktex gets PDF’s right, which my version of SWP does not always do, and it processes straight from myfile.tex to myfile.pdf. On the other hand, it has some problems, noted below, which make it unhandier to use.
(1) I have a suggestion for the standard installation instructions: say more about the Windows command prompt. I haven’t used it for years, though I happened to remember it was in Accessories. Also, the user should know that he can change the default directory in teh command prompt to wherever he keeps his tex input files– say, d:/smith/latex-input, using the Properties (reachable by right clicking the command prompt).
(2) The command prompt requires you to type in all your commands, which is burdensome if they are long, e.g.,
You can’t copy and paste in the usual way with CTRL-C and CTRL-V. What you can do, though is to copy to the clipboard with CTRL-C and then paste by rightclicking on the Command Prompt program and choosing PASTE.
I will put a comment line like this at the start of my tex files:
% pdflatex chap07_MoralHazard.tex
then I can copy all but the % part and paste it into the command prompt, and it will process chap07_MoralHazard.tex and write to chap07_MoralHazard.pdf
(3) Something better would be a graphic interface to replace the command prompt. I don’t know how to write such an interface, but here is what it would be: It would be simple: just a window in which the user could do two things:
1. Browse and choose a tex file to process, e.g., myfilewithalongname.tex, instead of having to type in the full name in the command prompt, and instead of having to have it in the command prompt’s directory.
2. Issue the processing command— most simply “latex myfilewithalongname.tex”, or “pdflatex”, or others that might be useful. There should be two to five choices, and the user would check the box of the command he wants to use.
The command would take the file from (1) and put the output in the same directory as the input.
The interface could be fancier, but that covers what the user needs every single time he uses Miktex, and it would save a lot of tricky typing.
(4) Miktex is fouled up by carriage returns, even ones that are not hard breaks. Thus, before I tex my files using it I need to strip off all the carriage returns, thus making all my equations, nicely separated into separate lines for visibility, into unreadable paragraphs. The solution, from Alan, the commentor below, is to make sure my input file is in UTF-8 Ascii, not ANSI. What I do in Textpad is (a) make sure it is set to UTF-8 as the standard encoding, (b) copy the entire file, and then close the file, (c) open a new file and paste what I copied, (d) save the new file with the old file’s name, on top of it. That converts from the ANSI coding I initially had to the UTF-8.
(5) The command which takes us straight from myfile.tex to the output myfile.pdf produces pdf files which are not crystal clear on the screen. The commands
latex -job-name=chap07_MoralHazard temp.tex dvips -Ppdf chap07_MoralHazard.dvi
do better, but then I can’t use JPG files in my input.
(7) Will I switch from SWP to Miktex? Money is not really a concern for me, but usability is. I’ll try it for a while and see.