I’m Jewish by birth, agnostic by choice, and I have a strong interest in Jediism and Greek Mythology.
President Obama recently referred to
“… the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation…”
Well, message boards and article comment sections all over the internet are flying with all sorts of criticism of Obama’s claim. Sadly, many of these people are claiming that Muslims have contributed nothing whatsoever to this great country of ours.
But the fact is that Obama does have a valid point.
Fracking in Williston, North Dakota, drives unemployment rate to less than 1%, so Wal-Mart offers $17.40 an hour
A Wal-Mart in Williston, North Dakota is offering starting salaries of $17.40 per hour.
The reason that this particular Wal-Mart is offering $17.40 an hour has nothing to do with unions, social justice, compassion, or any other such thing.
Instead, it’s simple supply and demand.
In particular, the article says that fracking has made it possible to access oil which had previously been unobtainable. This has driven the unemployment rate to less than 1% in the city where this Wal-Mart is located.
This presents an interesting situation for anyone who favors higher wages while simultaneously opposing fracking, i.e, a large percentage of people on the political left. Tradeoffs are a common part of life, and I am interested in hearing what other people think of this situation.
The Daily Signal reports:
Why One Walmart in North Dakota Is Paying $17.40 an Hour
A Walmart store in Williston, N.D., is offering to pay entry-level workers as much as $17.40 per hour…
… the historic oil boom in North Dakota has provided real, sustained growth in wages and lowered unemployment in North Dakota to 2.6 percent—the lowest statewide rate in the nation—and to less than 1 percent in Williston, which is near the oil fields in the western part of the state.
Those jobs are safe for the foreseeable future, too. Last year, a study conducted by the United States Geological Service estimated conservatively that 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil sit beneath North Dakota. Scientists have long known about these oil reserves, but two miles of solid rock precluded development. Recent advances in hydraulic fracturing and smart drilling technology have made production possible and triggered the present economic boom.
Israel has made the choice to turn its water shortages into surpluses by building lots of desalination plants. Desalination costs less than 40 cents per cubic meter, which is less than 1/6 penny per gallon. It’s so cheap that in addition to using desalinized water for residential uses, Israel also uses it for agriculture.
Meanwhile, California has chosen to have water shortages instead of building enough desalination plants.
Why did California make this choice?
drudgereport.com is run by Matt Drudge, who runs the website in his pajamas from his apartment. I’ve visited his website just about every day since the late 20th century. It runs very well. His website has gotten as many as 45 million hits per day.
On the first day of the Obamacare website, it had 5 million visitors. It could not handle that amount of traffic.
IT experts who had analyzed the data going to and from the Obamacare website said the reason that people could not use it was because it was launching the equivalent of a “denial of service attack” against itself. They said the website was sending and receiving massive amounts of unnecessary data back and forth between itself and users’ computers. The IT experts attributed this to bad programming, and said that adding more servers would not fix the problem.
When it comes to successful American internet companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, the French government wants the European Union to “level the playing field,” and thinks that government regulation is needed to “allow the emergence of alternatives in Europe to U.S. Web giants.”
American internet companies did not become successful due to an “uneven playing field,” or because of U.S. regulations that “allowed the emergence” of successful internet companies. Instead, American internet companies became successful because they created great websites that gave their customers what the customers wanted.
All the regulations in the world won’t give France a single successful internet company. Successful internet companies are created by entrepreneurs and programmers, not by government bureaucrats.
France calls for EU to regulate Web giants to counter dominance
France is pushing for the European Union to regulate global internet companies like Google, Amazon.com, and Facebook more aggressively, to counter their growing dominance over online commerce and services.
In an interview published by Liberation newspaper on Thursday, France’s minister for the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, said Europe needed new regulatory powers to intervene much earlier, to level the playing field in the internet economy and allow the emergence of alternatives in Europe to U.S. Web giants.
She said Europe needed to be able to act quickly, as soon as problems are identified, rather than getting tied up in lengthy and costly disputes that did nothing to help consumers.
“The current tools of competition law are totally unsuited to the fast-changing world of the Internet,” Pellerin said in the interview conducted in French. “To get out of this impasse, Europe needs a regulatory authority to act on an ex-ante basis, as soon as conflicts and abuse emerge on the part of internet platforms.”
Movie review: “Elysium” is implausible, because it’s based on a medical device manufacturer that does not employ any salespeople
Elysium has too many loud, noisy action scenes, and not enough calm, quiet, reflective scenes of thoughtful contemplation. It didn’t have any lines of dialogue that I can see myself wanting to quote in the future. None of the characters were particularly interesting. And if I was a child, I couldn’t see myself wanting to buy any of the action figures that might be based on this movie.
The machine that instantly cures cancer seems perfectly plausible. However, in the entire movie, we never find out the name of the corporation that manufactures this machine. And apparently, there is no team of trained salespeople traveling all over the world trying to sell this machine to hospitals in big cities. And that brings up the most unrealistic thing about this movie: Since when has there ever been a medical device manufacturer that did not employ any salespeople?
In this movie, there is no Bill Gates-type character who donates huge amounts of his own money to help the poor get medical care. In this movie, there are no rich people who massage their supersized egos by having entire hospital wings named in honor of their massive donations.
While it’s easy for me to imagine that a bunch of rich people would want to live in their own private space station, there’s no way that every rich person would want to live there – there would always be some holdouts who preferred to remain on earth. But in this movie, there are no holdouts.
If they wanted to make a point about poor people not being able to afford health care, the following would have been a lot more realistic: a poor person gets cancer. They go to the hospital, where one of these machines instantly cures their cancer. Then they get a ridiculously large bill that they could never possibly afford to pay. They lose their house. Their life savings is wiped out. They declare bankruptcy. That would be realistic.
But the idea that on the entire earth, there wouldn’t be even one hospital that had one of these machines, is completely ridiculous.
The Telegraph reports:
Fridges could be switched off without owner’s consent to reduce strain on power stations
Fridges, washing machines and other electrical goods could be switched off automatically in British homes without the owners’ consent under EU proposals to help power stations meet demand for electricity.
White goods such as electric ovens would be affected by the proposals to fit all new appliances with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for power.
The measures proposed by the UK’s National Grid, along with its counterparts in 34 European countries, to install the controversial devices are backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies.
They are pushing for the move because green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts
The EU has set a target that 20 per cent of all electricity will be generated from green sources by 2012, but these are unreliable, making the task more difficult.
This would be a huge step backwards. The existence of electric refrigerators is one of the things that separates a first world country from a third world country. Nuclear power works even when the wind isn’t blowing, and is my personal preference for electricity generation. Giving the government the ability to turn people’s refrigerators off at will would be giving the government too much intrusion into people’s lives. It could also lead to spoilage and food poisoning.
It’s not just our imagination – pop music really has been getting worse and worse. And now we have a scientific study that proves it.
According to the laws of physics, the total quantity of mass and energy is fixed. Therefore, we cannot “create” new mass or energy, and we cannot “use up” the mass and energy that we already have.
But there is something else that we can do – we can invent, build, and use technology to increase our standard of living. For example, petroleum was worthless until someone with a brain invented a way to use it, at which point the petroleum became a valuable resource. Likewise, today we take rocks that used to be worthless, and turn them into computer chips that are worth trillions of dollars.
In recent years, the environmental movement in Germany has persuaded the country to shut down one third if its nuclear power generating capacity.