Sunday assorted links


1. I guess I find these results unsurprising. The direction I would go with this morning is that we should spend more energy finding solutions which are compatible with the population of desires, rather than claiming any one desire (cough) trumps all.

Facts are different things. They can be right, wrong, or uncertain. The fraction of facts that are flat wrong have no place justifying desires or policy.

"Facts are different things. They can be right, wrong, or uncertain."

....and this survey of "economists" certainly falls in the mystical realm of uncertainty.

This specific University of Nebraska/ILO survey methodology defined "Economists" as PhD faculty listed in PhD-granting economics departments in 18 EU nations, in 2013-2014. That's a very narrow definition of "economists" from which to draw broad conclusions of that profession.

Worse, 83% of those European economists sampled did NOT respond to the survey; none of those that did respond answered the full survey questions, with many answering only one of the questions.
Thus, the researchers knew nothing about the views of the overwhelming majority of economists
surveyed-- much less the general population of economists.
But why would such blatant absence of facts hinder a prestigious piece of university 'research' ?

If you are determined to publish rubbish why not just make it up? So much simpler.

More data is available!

"But some evidence suggests that ideology seeps into economists’ work."
oh, really?

4.- No, learning to program is getting easier: Any little kid can find programming videogames that teach all the basic skills: The more advanced ones should count as college credit. I've met quite a few middle schoolers that aren't that far, programmig wise, from what your average new grad used to be able to do.

That said, learning enough to program professionally has gotten harder, as the tools of today are far more sophisticated than even 10 years ago. There's also the small fact that before we all had to worry about was a single computer, with a single processor, with probably a single execution thread, while today so much work involves distributed systems, networks that fail, and coordination problems that a new grad 10 or 20 years ago didn't really have to care about very much.

I can see the case being made. I started with assembly language and real time executives and very much smaller systems. When your whole world is 64k it is not hard to be conversant with all of it.

It isn't hard for a kid today to get hands on a Raspberry Pi, but they are never going to have that tiny whole system experience to put it in context.

Maybe the hardy few who will tinker with Arduino far enough to read the device driver code.

I started programming 55 years ago. Machine language with punched cards. Then I used assembly language and thought I had died and gone to heaven, it was so much easier. Followed by a series of common languages that are barely known today. I don't think "programming" has gotten harder I think that the systems and interfaces have gotten more complex AND most programmers today have very little understanding of machine or assembly language so to them everything is a "black box". You don't "need" to understand machine language to program but it can be useful to understand the why of what the higher level language does and does not do.

Eeee, poonched cards! We 'ad to use paper tape. Right booger it were.

Luxury! We used to mark our instructions on a brass rod with a cardboard chisel, and when our dad came home he would thrash us with his belt!

If you try to tell the kids of today that, they won't believe you!

Only 48 years of computer geeking here. I agree 100% with you.

Programming is pretty much still the same. But the system environment is way more complex.

You guys were lucky.! Ada and I had to use Jacquard loom punch cards while shoveling coal into our steam driven Analytical Engine.

I learned to program 42 years ago, in the second-to-last class required to punch a deck of cards and run it on the CDC 6400. I don't miss cards, but I'm glad I had that experience. That was also the only time I did batch computing. By the way, if you can't figure out how to turn the keypunch machine on, the power switch is near your right knee.

I'd say programming has largely stayed the same, but the libraries have grown in complexity far beyond anything we had in those days. Sometimes you can get along just by learning the top-level API's, and that is the intent. But to really understand an API, you need to need to dig down into the lower layers and read the source code. Also, many API's these days require multitasking and mailboxes, so your application is communicating with independent tasks. This creates a whole world of new possibilities for race conditions. Even something as simple as a Bluetooth interface can require that. We've come a long way from the simplicity of an RS-232 interface using a DL11. On the other hand, it's been a long time since programmers were expected to be able to study gate-level circuit diagrams to understand how some interface works.

I think this is right. 15 years ago I learned a decent amount of C++ (what they taught) but never did anything useful with it. Now I know far less about any particular language, and the big picture of how everything works together is opaque indeed. But there's much more worth tinkering with and which is feasible to do for an amateur.

For one: Tyler could easily address his loud videos problem!

#4 - I have to agree - learning programming has gotten far easier. The opiner of the slashdot monologue seems to be suffering from the same sort of idiocy that many Linux enthusiasts used to espouse, pre-Ubuntu. Namely, if the end user didn't want to learn how to program, they didn't deserve to use the OS. Blind foolishness, ignoring that many users have no need to learn how to build the machine from a breadboard, a few transistors, and a little solder. Not that I think it matters, but I first learned programming using time-sharing teletype terminals and Basic. Then I went to university, where they were using Fortran and punch cards. As a result, I never had anything but scorn for that as a learning experience. For those among you who managed to hang in there and learn something in spite of those hurdles, you have my thanks for helping to create a computing experience that does not have to tolerate such methods.


Also add in that modern languages and frameworks have increasingly moved to higher levels of abstraction. The minimum IQ threshold to understand what's going on has also moved on. Compared to twenty years ago, Java has generics and lambdas, C++11/14/17 has lambdas, rvalue algebras, constexprs, and variable templates. Python has replaced perl, and in its place relies a lot more heavily on list comprehension, decorators, and functional programming. R has replaced Fortran, and introduced way more complex vector and functional primitives. Javascript is everywhere, and a lot of it is written in a highly functional way. Haskell hasn't caught on as a mainstream language, but its influence is everywhere.

In short programming in the past looked a lot more similar to culinary recipes. You tell them machine, first do then, then do that, finally finish by mixing together those two things in this way. Nowadays programming looks a lot closer to abstract math. Define this set, define this function as the composition of these three sub-functions, permute those elements using this endofunctor.

Do you really think python is a step up in required IQ from Java and C? I'm new to coding and just started learning python a few months ago, but it seems like it's extremely dumbed down and accessible compared to the older languages. List comprehension is super easy once you practice with it a bit, and even if you can't do list comprehension you can always just do loops.

4. All his reasons are not making programming more difficult. It's just making being a user simpler. This just means less people who have what it takes to program a computer can use one, so programming will seem more difficult to the computer user base who are no longer just nerds.

If anything it has gotten easier with more readable and user-friendly languages like Python. It's a more complex environment in some ways, with the proliferation of frameworks, but in trade-off, many modern programmers don't even need to know how the machine works to do their jobs.

100% agree, the article mostly describes how using computers got easier. Also there are websites where you can put in small bits of course (a couple dozen lines or so) to see what they do, making getting started even easier.

He, you, are missing the point of computers, and programming, then and now.

Then it was learning to code to get hardware to do mechanical stuff.

Today, kids are taught programming to get hardware to do mechanical stuff.

Then, the first lesson might have been blinking console lights.
Today it is making the robot move forward, turn, move, turn, move.

Programming computers to control a factory is only slightly easier, and programming hundreds of computers to control a car is easier because so many problems then have multiple academic solutions to start from and build on.

Increased difficultly is only due to greatly increased problem complexity.

And no programming of real value is done by one or even five people.

"And no programming of real value is done by one or even five people."

That seems laughably myopic. Of course, it's coming from MulpLand.

Yes, the guy who doesn't even know how things worked when he wasn't a senile old coot is probably not the best source for describing the world of 2018

I teach college students to program. They have never programmed before. They don't even know what a filepath is, which is pathetic since they are glued to "screens". 1. They don't really want to do the hard thinking. They want me to give them step by step instructions when what they need is to learn how to interchange parts. The steps are never the same twice, kids. 2. Technology makes it easy to learn programming if you want to and have a little bit of guidance. 3. They barely know what a C drive is, which is perhaps what the OP was saying. But that's easy to learn. 4. and other such sites make it inexcusable to not know programming logic, assuming that you are willing to expend a bit of time and attention.

They don’t even know what a filepath is

One way that it was sort of easier to do 25+ years ago, since you had to know that to use a computer at all

> The French fertility rate has begun to slide

> For all births in France, the average age of the mother has increased by nearly a year in the past decade, to over 30. As women (and men) study longer, and take time to find stable jobs ...

The managerial class has done a great job at getting the middle class to sacrifice having families so that they can dedicate themselves more fully to the office for the 12-18 year period between completing their graduate/professional training and getting tossed from their "up or out" firms/faculties/.

But the middle class seems all too happy to sign-up for that bargain. If you work out the numbers, if you have a savings rate of around 50%, you can retire after only working for about 10 years. So someone who graduates from college at age 22 and begins working immediately could retire at age 32, and if they start having kids at that age, they should have plenty of time to have at least 3 kids, spacing them two years apart. Revealed preferences.

"If you work out the numbers, if you have a savings rate of around 50%, you can retire after only working for about 10 years. "

That doesn't seem correct.

Assuming realistic numbers,

Tax Rate of 20% and Savings Rate of 50% = Net Savings rate of 40%

Assuming 5% real growth (probably should be 4%), you'll end up with 528% of your average wage. If you then draw 4% per year, you are living on 21% of your inflation adjusted salary. Whereas, previously you were living on 40% of it.

Also, you are ignoring the fact that the first 10 years of your career are the least productive and correspondingly the lowest paid.

Mathematically speaking, I was wrong. If you make 50,000 a year and put away 25,000 a year, after 17 years at an 8% nominal return, you would have around $850,000 saved. 4% of $800k is $34. Assuming that inflation is around 2% over that period, the expenses of that individual should be around $34k. So assuming someone coming right out of school with no debt, and a nominal rate of return of 8% and savings of 50% of gross income, it would take that individual 17 years to reach a point where they can cover their living expenses while adhering to the 4%. Of course you are right that professionals wages do tend to go up as they get more experience (usually for about the first 10 year of their career). So if the individual uses their raises to increase their savings rate, they should be able to retire sooner. Additionally, two can live more cheaply than one, so married couples should be able to save even more. It is correct that the dollar value of the opportunity cost of leaving your career after the first 10 or 15 years is high, but the whole point is to have FU money (ie enough money to never rely upon employment for your livelihood). If money is more important than freedom, than fine. As I said, for most people their revealed preference is that they prefer working for wages and consumerism to saving and having independence.

Also, the tax numbers are too high as well. With a 50K gross income, you first subtract 12k for the standard deduction. Then, subtract out another 18k for contributions to a 401(k). Already the person's taxable income is down to 20k. Finally, subtract another 5k for individual IRA contributions. So for federal income tax purposes, the individual only has 15k of taxable income, which puts their marginal dollar of income in the 12% tax bracket. For simplicity's sake, lets assume a state income tax of 5% on the same 15k. So 17% of 15k is $2,250 of income tax liability. Add to this the 7.65% for Medicare and Social Security ($3,825), and you get total taxes of 6k, for a total tax rate of 12% of gross income. So the individual saving 50% of their income in this scenario would have 6k in taxes, 25k in savings, and 19k to spend on living expenses. In an expensive metro, that would be pretty difficult to do. But in a typical metro, 19k is certainly enough for food housing, transportation, insurance, etc.

#1 a stunning indictment of affirmative action in admission.

#4 insanity. All browsers have a very rich development environment. Free languages ship with awe inspiring libraries, and have expressiveness that coders 20 years could only dream of. Further, libraries can be downloaded that would have earned a noble prize just 15 years ago. Rich IDEs can be downloaded for free. The source code of whole operating systems can be downloaded, for free, in the blink of an eye. YouTube is rife with videos at every level. Stackoverflow + google has made almost all common programming issues shallow. This could be the most idiotic comment ever made on the internet.

Yeah. How can economics PHDs believe that government command and control can be generally superior to market allocation or that rising minimum wages will not affect unemployment? It's like being an English major that can't read a newspaper.

The interesting thing is than men + women return approximately the median answer of 3. Neutral. Neither group goes whole hog for 1 or 5. So everything is good. The fact of the matter is that the US revealed preference is 3. Sometimes we like market solutions and sometimes we don't.

So you call political outcomes as being "revealed preference". Ok. First in the US, aprox. 95% of all goods are privately produced, only education at the lower levels is a good produced by the government and education at lower levels is produced by the government due to reasons besides economics: its fundamentally based on the idea that citizens of a democracy should be educated. The US doesn't have control and command in any aspect of it's economy: An economic sector under true command and control wouldn't have prices and hence would only involve calculation in kind. Even public education obtains its inputs through markets hence why we can calculate it's cost while even public companies are operating in markets selling outputs and buying inputs. Even the Soviet Union didn't do calculations in kind as such conceptualized form of economy is impossible to exist.

I should give a detailed example what a fully government provided education would look like:

Teachers would be compulsorily drafted to teach while all furniture, books, notebooks and pencils would be provided by the state owned factories which would run using compulsory labor as well as all the construction material to build schools. All the required inputs for pencils, books, notebooks, furniture, construction materials would also need to be provided by stated owned factories, mines, farms, etc, using compulsory labor and all the tools and equipment used by these factories, mines and farms would need to be provided by other government owned facilities, all run using compulsory labor.

Compulsory labor is obviously a defining element of true government provided services since labor is the main input of production and voluntary labor (wage labor) is labor purchased on the market using money for laborers to buy stuff in the market.

The Soviet Union during the early 1920s approached a true command and control economy actually. Its economy collapsed (naturally) though so Lenin's reforms turned the Soviet Union into a welfare state market economy characterized by the fact it's largest firms were government owned. The Soviet economy still performed calculations using prices and it's data is actually complete enough to construct detailed estimates of it's GDP in let's say 1940, when it was 253.9 billion rubles in 1937 prices, of which 39.9 billion rubles were spent on fixed capital formation, 10.2 billion rubles on inventory, 43.9 billion rubles on "defense" and we even know the value added by sector (19.3 billion rubles in transport and communication, 69.9 billion rubles in agriculture, etc) or even the production cost of let's say, a T-34 tank (which was 250,000 rubles in 1941).

Is that 95% calculated imputing cost of k12, rather than say "twelve plus years of our lives?"

Similarly, how to we calculate the "life fraction" of most people's contributions to Social Security?

It's complicated.

Another associated interpretation based on how they describe the data is that the more experience you have in the field and the more you know about economics, the more free market oriented you are. I guess science wins this one, despite any methodological issues related to using a limited survey. :)

#4 is pretty embarrasingly wrong. For exmaple, you can download Anaconda, code Python in Spyder IDE for free and have access to enormously rich packages (libraries). There are tons of resources on the web to help you solve any bugs or problems you have. That's just one example - there are many, many more. It may be true that doing full stack devleopment or data science requires more skills than Z80 assembly language programming did 40 yrs ago, but that's not an apples to apples kind of comparison.

You just told your programming student to go to the library.

Does the Feynman example also apply languages? Is C+ more important than Latin in a historical context? What of the Yucca mountain? Is nuclear waste more important than man learning to live with sheep 10,000 years ago? Why do people think half-life matters. Entropy does not matter. Why did Harry Reid take money from the people he said could bury the waste in the Yucca mountain over "his dead body." Entropy is dead.

clockwork, that is one of your best comments ever.

I know the answer to each of those questions I think but when I say accurate things outrage is incurrred. Incurrred, believe it or not~

Does the Feyman example also apply languages? Feyman was wrong.

Is C plus more important than Latin in a historical context. No.

What of the Yucca mountain? Exactly.

Is nuclear waste more important than man learning to live with sheep 10,000 years ago. Yes. Knowledge and aristocracy and the ability to live a decent life and treat others as we would wish ourselves to be treated is evanescent. Every one knows that.

Why do people think half-life matters? I think you were not being focused with this question, but:
Because MPAI (and not in the direction you implied).

Entropy does not matter. No, it does not, my young friend, and thank you for pointing this out: it takes almost the smallest most evanescent effort on the part of a conscious being - a cockroach beloved of another cockroach is way above that low bar, for example - to make entropy a mere useless thing of the winds (the winds: so many of them have each of us seen but who remembers one from another unless there was an angelic moment accompanying any wind)- imagine what a human can do to entropy, after they have looked each other eye to eye.

Harry Reid reminds me of that dumb kid whose parents never expected to have a dumb kid. We all said, he won't be dumb all of his life. Well .... Harry Reid was a disgrace to his state, a disgrace to the religion that he claimed to belong to, and in general a disgrace to humankind, but most of us are like that. When compared to the even worse Harry Reid he could have been - well, from that point of view, maybe his parents should still be proud. (For the record, I don't box - I fight, when I have to, but I don't "box".)

Entropy is dead. Your entropy might be dead, my young friend, but My entropy - to the extent that I am willing, with concern for animals and for my fellow humans, to recognize its value - my entropy is not dead. And it will never be. God's goodness is infinite. Some day everyone will understand that they knew that even before they were born. Not today, most likely, but some day. Proverbs 8, my young English friend, Proverbs 8.

I run entropy through its paces not vice versa

From a more amusing writer:

"Wouldn't that get a little monotonous, just Akron, cold beer, and poor poor thing for two weeks"?

Harvey, who had nothing against Akron (Harvey the Pooka, I am quoting here) also, in his time, considered, in a deep way, the question of who is the master: Entropy or Those we Love.

I run entropy through its paces not vice versa.

But I could not say "Maples are my favorite trees" how unkind to all the other trees, all of them my favorites!
Somewhere I lost the capacity to feel disgust for the occasional cockroach, and I studied the ways and byways of that little animal, and I learned this:

a cockroach beloved of another cockroach, or even a cockroach with the aspiration to be beloved of another cockroach (cor ad cor loquitur!!!) is more than a match for entropy at the highest of its tides ... Sausalito, Monterey Bay, Amador Valley, Carmel, the pottery that sold of so much at that store in Carmel in 1975, with the tempered red background and the slate/ebony figures of beloved characters from a story even the oldest of us were not old enough to have heard, marching or just walking or just being pictured around the central circular panels of the vase , with that impressive portrayal of red (sunset red?) and charcoal black (the second day of creation?) .... I remember

the past is not yours

the future is not yet in your power

you only have the present to do good for those you care about


(first three lies of this comment are direct quotes of A. Liguori, quoted from a book he wrote when my great grandfather's mother-in-law lived a couple towns away - (a couple towns over being defined as) again and again, but still only a town away, again and again, and the next town over, again - life is short, time is shorter, the present "is what it is" - word)


just messing with you c. orange - did you really think the first three lines were the first three lies?

Remember that not everybody cares. Think and consider all the advice you are given.

One more time, my young English friend.

"The past is not yours"

"the future is not yet in your power"

"You only have the present to do good for those you care about".

Good luck, my young friend. No charge. You couldn't afford it anyway. Have fun in Akron. Tell them what you learned tonight

Look, I appreciate the sentiment but the Earth is molded by facticity. A tree is not a tree because a bristlecone is older than a redwood. In Vegas, the first American sign shop was invented and the idea of programmatic advertising or what's called full-immersion messaging was created. If you take the signs from Vegas what are you left with?

Coincidentally, I wondered today if I should write a few paragraphs about the world as it would be if - for example - those who feel stalled in their careers, their wives unhappy with the sluggish finances, the children not as cooperative as one would hope, the mortgage paid this month but probably next month ----and, weary, I fell asleep and dreamed I was in the second year of dental school and had not, to date, learned a single thing about how to do what dentists do - approach a patient with information about the procedure, perform the procedure, thought it (the procedure) out. prepared the tools (because it is a difficult job, God bless the dentists, where would we be without them).

Clocky my young friend such would be the world where some better Vegas was as fun to be at for all, none of us friendless, in a present time where happiness was shared:signs or no signs. I imagine the pastel colors of the desert in spring at sunrise would be more evident than they are now (cactus green, sandstone orange in the rising sun, creosote deep long-lived green, the glint of silver and black waterfowl in the skies, flying from south to north - I remember).

Who has not said this to a friend: "the past is not yours"

who would not like to say this to a friend: "the future is not yet in your power"

and who does not agree, in those moments where we care (although the harder working we are the less often, true, we have time to reflect: but God sorts it out) : "you only have the present to do good"

165 + just saying although that does not matter and correct that matters

as always no charge

#4 - If all he is saying that it used to be impossible to use a computer without knowing lots of stuff about programming it is true and banal. Also true that being a professional today demands a much higher level of knowledge, as in many fields. But learning to program at any given level is far easier today than it used to be. Stack Overlow all by itself has made coding an order of magnitude less frustrating. For me Stack Overflow ushered in a new era.

Having spanned early bare metal programming to modern cloud applications I don't buy that top flight programming today is easier or harder than it ever was. Top flight programming maxes out available IQ. A constant no matter the available framework.

Now, rather than worrying about how many cycles your interrupt service routines are stealing, you worry that some package isn't playing nice with the garbage collector, or whatever.

As I say above I think the key to this article is whether it is easier or harder to gain an intuition for running systems, when you start by running code segments in a complex and opaque environment.

4. Programming is a lot less fun, and dare I say less cool, than it used to be. That's largely because the bar has been shifted much higher.

Thirty years ago you could fire up your Commodore 64 and quickly start doing things that would impress your friends / parents / teachers. Even connecting to the internet in the early days was faintly exciting. Today you can spend all weekend writing a game of Pong on the Raspberry Pi, and your kids will just shrug their shoulders and go back to playing Call Of Duty WWII.

Beyond that, it's fairly logical to expect that programming has become more difficult, just as medicine or law have become more difficult: there's simply more to learn.

For medicine it would be useful if they unlearned some of the baseless beliefs of their profession.

just as medicine or law have become more difficult: there’s simply more to learn.

There's 'more to learn' in law because of the accretion of carve-outs for rent-seekers.

2. The French fertility rate has begun to slide (The Economist).

George Soros knows a bunch of perfectly good French people in third world countries. Hundreds of millions, enough perfectly good French people to replace the whole lot. He has the do-re-me to ship them over.

1. Male and female economists have different political opinions (The Economist).

There goes the science in economic science.

>Male and female economists have different political opinions

Really? Are you sure? I can never tell if this site is satire or not.

But for fun, I will take you seriously. This analysis is correct. Male economists range all the way from "Lefty" to "Fringe Lefty," while the female ones are more concentrated from "Fringe Lefty" to "Stalin Went Way Too Easy On People."

And hey -- I understand why you are all statists. It's not like you're ever going to get a job from anyone other than The State.

Oh, those KGB economists oppressing me...

In which TPM reveals he doesn't know that corporations hire scads of economists.

I find it very hard to believe that George Stigler said that.

Gary Becker said that at one time there was a bias for male graduate students because female candidates tended to leave the field after a few years. Why give a slot to a candidate who would be less likely to commit their life to the field, all else being equal. But, Becker said, that had changed over the years.

#4 As others noted, it not harder to start programming than it was 20 years before.

The problem is that it is relatively easy these days to use computers to create amazing content (e.g. mods for popular games). All without programming. On the other hand, programming anything remotely close to that is hard. There are some great environments (Hour of Code, MIT Scratch), that allow you to build something but there is a huge barrier to do something more complicated.

The core complaint seems to be that there's no trivial-to-start language and simple-to-start text-editor SDE. Worth pointing out that that's a Windows problem. Every Mac comes with Python and vim already installed. My Linux laptop came with Python and vim as part of the base install. Every Raspberry Pi system I've set up -- beyond a Zero, at least -- came with Python and vim. All of them made it pretty darned easy to get into a terminal window. If what they want is some version of "print 'Hello World'", Windows seems to be substantially harder than the others.

VBscript is great for ‘Hello World'”

PowerShell is underrated, even ignored.

2. I don't doubt that curious MR readers wish to know about the fertility of the French, but here's an upshot article on the fertility of our own:

I wonder if fertility rates are correlated with the fact that American marriage rates are lower than they were during the Great Depression.

4. Anybody that uses Excel is programming, they probably just don't know it.

Dear, lil' f, nobody, s heads ...

paulie knows how to get the girls with song

Jean Dreze is someone that could have served humanity better in his native Belgium. NREGA, RTI, NFSA have all been disasters. The rural employment scheme (NREGA) is essentially paying villagers to dig ditches and mud roads that wash away every year during the monsoons. It was entirely intended as a handout to win elections which it did for the Congress party in 2009. It is a very expensive program that throws away money which xould have been spend in imparting skills or building real roads and rails.

The Right to information (RTI) act was meant to release government data and stuff that are hidden away from the public. The intention being that this will increase transparency, reduce corruption and the like. What happened instead has been that most such information has been locked up with the 'Information officers' acting as gate-keepers. Worse, the people who go after such information have been marked as targets and many of them killed. Instead of automatically releasing all documents (except some national security ones) after a period of time like some other countries do, RTI has increased secrecy. It gets worse. Some people have also figured out a way to torture many schools and other private enterprises using the law, dragging them to court over trivial issues.

The less said about the food security act ('right to food') the better. India does worse than North Korea according to one recent index. Instead of investing in farmers, their skills and equipment, the transport networks and the rest which will increase productivity, raise their incomes and bring down prices, the focus has always been on giving consumers cheap food most of which is pilfered by those who can afford to buy them at market rates anyway. But its a vote getter so makes far more sense than doing actual good. Cheap farm produce and low productivity necessarily means poor farmers and that is what happens. The Indian solution is again to waive off all the debt the farners have amassed, usually around the time of elections. Hey look! Everyone is happy!

The entire 'rights' framework that Jean Dreze and his Indian fellow-travellers has inflicted over the past decade has been an unmitigated disaster.

he just keeps knockin' out of the park

and off them, swing meets the baseball, they go
~micky mantle -- #7

white guy with big fore arms, liked beer -- and if you wanted somebody to hit lights at the top of the stadium (in right field), he was the guy ...

billy martin, had problems, but they hung out

lil f's, i play a song, u stfu & listen

you'll remember us \someday

u r lucky, i talk 2u

bubba won the tournament, #`0, ...

that's number 10, lefty

sometimes, late at night, a big chirps up? --u stfu & listen

lil' ck skrs, ill, beat the s out of, ,with song's like this all night

lil' ck skrs, ill talk 2u, when i want 2talk 2u

& u will stfu & listen

u wish, lil' f o's, u couild hear song like that, when it happened, lil f o's

i was there, & i m here 4u

went to grafflin elementary school ...

paulie steps in, with good lookin' women, always, at his side

just the way it went, lil' shitto f's

a big, spills the beans, and let's you know how attractive the surroundings were

dear lil f o's, i speak 2u, every once in awhile

where's the delete button?

i downloaded a picture of Gödel's headstone -- and they got the dates wrong, wtf?

well you know, adele was a few years older than me, was catholic, and had been married b4

& i only eat food cooked by adele, u lil' f o piece of s

u lil', p p s, y i talk 2u?, i have no idea

i m down here bhind this furnace, adjusting this mechanical apparatus, 4maximum efficiency

he only ate adele's food, adele passed on, he stopped eating -- is that not romantic? lil f o pp s's?

was a snappy dresser. knew how to dandy

Re: programming.

In "the good old days," real programming tools cost money. That is, if you had a Commodore 64 and wanted to program in C instead of legacy Microsoft Basic, you'd have to pay real money to buy a C compiler and a system on which to run it.

Whereas today there is a plethora of free programming tools; for example, free versions of Microsoft's Visual Studio and the tool chain used to build an Andriod app. In addition to all the open-source stuff. As well as many online, free-of-charge tutorials in just about anything.

What's changed is the nature of programming. Affordable systems used to be severely constrained by hardware resources. And because there weren't zillions of free apps already available to do just about anything, if you wanted a program to do some simple task the easiest way to obtain it just might be to write it. In Microsoft Basic, perhaps.

Today everyone expects software to at least have a nice GUI and to do something that's useful and not obvious. In C64 days people might be impressed if you wrote something that accomplished a simple task, or perhaps wrote a simple game with crude graphics. Today you'll have to do a whole lot more to impress anyone.

Nonetheless, it seems obvious that there are far more free-to-use programming tools available than ever, as well as plenty of online help.

BTW, Microsoft offers something it calls "Small Basic" that is intended to be easy to use yet more compatible with contemporary programming. You can find it at

#4 - Learning how to program has never been easier, more affordable, or more accessible. (As such, it is so embarrassing that people are pretending that the barriers for entry are so overwhelming for girls.)

HOWEVER, there are two challenges.
1. There's a Bernie Sanders problem: So many choices. Learning any one technology is easy to handle. Figuring out which one to tackle and which of its associated technologies to learn can be overwhelming, even to an experienced programmer.
2. People aren't programming computers, they're programming web browsers. After all these years, programming web browsers is STILL a mess. The ever-changing hodgepodge of technologies and techniques required to do everything you need on the web as a professional is mind blowing. As the years progressed, desktop and server programming became more cohesive. Web development keeps trying, but then seems to reinvent itself all over again and start from scratch.

1. Not particularly surprising but for #5 "Labor market opportunities are unequal" you would thing both numbers would be higher. Obviously labor market opportunities aren't universally equal for everyone everywhere. Even if everything *about* unequal market opportunities isn't explained by prejudice, it's hard to claim that various kinds of bias don't exist.

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