Saturday assorted links

1. The culture that is West Palm Beach: “The loop of “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” is a temporary fix to keep homeless people off the patio.”

2. Federal Reserve comic books now on-line.

3. Why are women’s voices deeper today?

4. Alien beauty subverts world of fashion.

5. Could the Apollo moon landing be duplicated today?

6. “We are granting early access to our India local data series: 500k villages, 8000 towns, 4000 constituencies. 25 years of admin data on firms, public goods, consumption, labor, elections, demographics, forest cover, etc.. All hyperlocal.”  Link here.


3. Of course, Elizabeth Holmes is famous for her fake deep voice (so she would be taken seriously in tech). Our females down here in the South don't have deep voices. That's not to say what they say isn't fake, it's that they are more schooled in manipulation than the deep voiced women.

"Elizabeth Holmes is famous for her fake deep voice (so she would be taken seriously in tech). "

"Our females down here in the South don't have deep voices. That's not to say what they say isn't fake, it's that they are more schooled in manipulation than the deep voiced women."

You're contradicting yourself here. Holmes is one of the most famous manipulative women with her deep voice but then you say the women without deep voices are better at it.

I prefer manipulative people who haven't been caught!

Elizabeth Holmes manipulated investors by projecting confidence. Rayward is implying that Southern women manipulate men with artificially high and feminine voices. The difference comes down to audience and context, if we are to make a generous interpretation.

Holmes wanted to project power and confidence to get money.

The southern women using high pitched voices are trying to attract men as mates. Big difference.

I am moving to Georgia - those belles are on my mind.

Now let's talk about archetypes ...

My wife, while modestly beautiful, didn’t catch my attention until she did an in service on infection control. Her voice is deep with great timbre, articulation and an amazing command of the English language. She could have been talking about rat feces and I still would have gotten an erection.

That was very poetic, and I wish I had written it ..... but

Don't let your wife read it, though.

"Modestly beautiful" are not two words out of the millions of the words that we poets know about (billions in my case, but like Yogi Bear I am no ordinary bear) which you want to have your wife hear spoken about her.
Trust me.

Brah, go with “beautifully modest” over the reverse, trust me.

rem acu tetigisti

To be fair, most women - and most men - would be happy to be thought "attractive enough" by their spouses - it takes so little to make people happy!!!! - and my advice not to call one's female spouse "moderately beautiful" was directed not to everybody in general, but specifically to a person who was the sort of person who wrote a comment on a fascinating internet blog which was at least equal to the sort of comment which I would've been proud and happy to have written.

Life is complicated, and God loves us all, but we are all different from each other, you have seen great marvels that I have not seen, I have dreamed dreams that you could not imagine.
Or vice versa, and so on .....
Well, God loves us all, that is the important thing.

Or ....

I have seen great marvels that you have not seen, you have dreamed wonderful dreams that I could not imagine .....

the AIs of the future, bless their souls, will think of us kindly


of course you might care too I am not the only one

Yes I would underscore the distinction between “modest” and “moderate”. The wife is modest about her beauty, always understated, sharply dressed and humble about her absolutely knockout bosom. That’s probably a dated word from my generation, nevertheless a factor in her whole presentation, poise and a kind of spontaneity. She had me at “bubonic plague” as they say. Granted this was thirty years ago, but her voice remains the same, if not more enrolling, wise and confident.

Don’t know if it’s pitch or what, but I fell in love with a woman whose voice makes me feel so alive day after day. Perhaps from an audiology or linguistics angle, I can imagine that something like amplitude and frequency of a sound wave would impact the listeners level of engagement.

I applaud the leaden use of "females." Very Fenimore Cooper.

Whitttier was a very good poet too.

You might not think so if you have not thought much about it

but he wrote tens of thousands of lines of "poetry"

For God's sake who among us would not be happy if one of our friends had written tens or thousands of lines of bad poetry but had nevertheless written one or two or more lines of real poetry, as poor old Whittier did

and to be fair, nobody cares if we have a friend , on the one hand, or do not have a friend, on the other hand, who wanted to be a poet and who never wrote a line of real poetry ........

the important things in life are friendship, not "poetry"
"being a poet" is not all that important

as God is my witness I have been a friend to people who could have been greater poets than Shakespeare but they were not, in the long run, because they simply wanted to be kind to people who needed their kindness

Pleasanton 1974
if you had seen what I have seen you would understand

be kind to someone who needs kindness

you are royalty if you understand

absolute royalty

lesser kings will envy you

I think the new normal entails less stress on silly stunts such as moon landings and the like and more stress on more useful research.

I think we have many problems on Earth. Tax-payers should not be expected to pay countless billions of dollars to do what has already been done decades ago. We have satellites, probes and rovers to explore another celestial bodies. There is no reason to put human beings in harm's way, much less spend innmanned spaceflight money and ingenuity that, surely, could be much better useful if used to take care of real problems of real people.

I know what I have to say is unpopular right now, with a bunch of morons claiming America has nothing to learn from other countries, but we could take a page from Brazil's approach to scientific investiment. Brazil's Minister of Education has vowed to slash investment in universities and has said he will assign priority funding for returns-generating areas such as medical research and physics. Brazil is not concerned with expensive cheap stunts such as moonwalks. Instead it plans to launch a satellite before next decade ends to enhance communications and weather studies. It seems a reasonable position, much more grounded on logic and common sense than the pie-in-the-sky schemes we have heard about lately.

Fooling no one.

I don't know what you mean, sir. I just pointed out that some countries clearly are investing the taxpayer's money more wisely than we have been doing.

I know what Ethan is alluding to but I think Mr. Hunter Sr is genuine. His English reads native. Thiago Ribeiro's English is easy to spot.

Good point. Syntax and word choice can be used as shibboleths and help to identify people trying to pass themselves off as native English-speakers.

Brazilian God King Bolsonaro, may he shower prosperity on us all, truly knows how to use the resources of the abundant land of Brazil. He has commissioned a satellite capable of blinding all of America’s pilots from space, simultaneously, with giant green lasers. God King Bolsonaro will use his PhDs in Space Physics, Reductive Optometry, and Freaking Magnets to aid in its construction.

God King Bolsonaro is also on track to eliminate income tax in Brazil. He is constructing the world’s largest banana farm, and it will singlehandedly fund our blessed government’s activities. Watch out for the next Economist headliner “Plant Bananas, Supplant Taxes. BRIC is Back”.

Far more is spent on silly stunts by taxpayers than NASA cost to go to the moon and Mars. Like playing the lotto, megamillions, going to the increasing number of casinos. NASCAR. Pro sports. Video gaming. Watching others play via twitch. Watching video on cable, OTA, OTT, youtube.

Most of the money spent pays workers, but they are considered unskilled, so they are paid low wages which means they push low wages down hill.

Going to the moon requires lots of workers, but fewer than the workers building nukes and methods for spreading the ten thousand around to destroy civilization.

But the workers paid to enable destroying civilization, and those working on going to the moon, were paid middle class wages which meant they paid other workers higher wages to deliver food, and other stuff, then they get paid today.

Milton Friedman objected because such spending drove demand for labor driving up wages which increased worker spending on houses, cars, boats, campers, cabins. Which in turn drove demand for more capital like roads, water, sewer, schools, to build more housing, which needed more cars, all of which needed more workers, driving up incomes, and more demand, ...

Not that he intended it, but Friedman and others got government spending shifted to "better" spending. The 1% of GDP to NASA was redirected to medical creating more demand for medical care, but less demand for common labor, eg factory workers, so medical workers get higher than middle class while factory and construction workers are forced to lower skilled, below middle class. The lower income shrinks the thing of living costs, food, clothing, but medical costs rise, so cutting food in half as share of GDP increases medical costs as share even if costs are constant, but medical research needs costs to rise. Thus medical costs have grown more rapidly since cutting "wasteful" spending on silly stunts like landing on the moon and building more than 10,000 nukes, plus bombers, hardened missile silos in the plains, short range missiles, then ICBMs.

I bet you want to pay half the taxes, half the living costs, but get paid twice as much. But cutting taxes and living costs in half requires cutting all incomes in half. Tanstaafl.

NASA, national parks, militarization, or sports fever drive paying more workers more which means workers spend more, driving up GDP. The wealth needs to spread around. NASA and military spending needed votes bought by spreading the new jobs around. FDR spread around CCC projects and jobs so most communities had both jobs not handouts, plus long lasting recreation assets.

Elon Musk is focused on silly stunts: fast electric cars, no fossil fuels, and going to Mars. But that focus has created lots of jobs, and lots of sales, which excite investors to trust him, and others to go faster on silly stunts: Jeff Bezos, Branson, and kids building cubesats in competitions to get free rides to orbit.

The light sail on Falcon Heavy is a crowd funded project with DoD assist of integrating it into the 24 dozen others on the government military contract qualification launch. Silly stunt that will pave the way for getting science probes to the outer solar system faster than the 40 years for pioneer I and II.

And the silly Iridum stunt that helped bankrupt Motorola is so critical SpaceX has replaced the originals with much more functional ones. But SpaceX and Amazon are planning to deliver 4000-20000 satellites doing Iridium even better, and higher return on investment.

The big difference is Bezos and Musk are not spreading the jobs around.

"Like playing the lotto, megamillions, going to the increasing number of casinos. NASCAR. Pro sports. Video gaming. Watching others play via twitch. Watching video on cable, OTA, OTT, youtube."

I believe in letting people use their money as they see fit. From the public budget, I think we should be much stricter. We can't waste money our schools and hospitals badly need because some bureaucrats wat to play Buck Rogers.

"Going to the moon requires lots of workers, but fewer than the workers building nukes and methods for spreading the ten thousand around to destroy civilization.

But the workers paid to enable destroying civilization, and those working on going to the moon, were paid middle class wages which meant they paid other workers higher wages to deliver food, and other stuff, then they get paid today."

I am pretty sure we can figure out good reasons to pay workers good wages. Investing in actual research instead of crazy boondoggles could help to revive America's industrial sector, bringing back good jobs Red China stole from us with IP theft, currency manipulation and other dirty tricks.

"But that focus has created lots of jobs, and lots of sales, which excite investors to trust him, and others to go faster on silly stunts: Jeff Bezos, Branson, and kids building cubesats in competitions to get free rides to orbit."

So that is it. We must waste on space money we desperately need on Earth. I would rather have the money invested to make America more competitive and American's lives better. Americans used to build things, and we can build things again if we invest money on Earth instead of playing make belief. Earth is room enough.

That's a pretty good story actually. I don't know the actual numbers, but it "feels" like there are fewer mechanical, chemical, electrical, and civil engineers employed, as a percentage of the population, than the 1960s.

Military and aerospace engineering drove demand for engineers and technicians. Aerospace in SoCal collapsed in the early 90s. Same in some areas around Boston.

Spending on scientific research across the board is a good thing, worth taxing to accomplish. The welfare state, not so much.

Ironically, as the space program was reaching it's peak the "Great Society" was just starting to ramp up spending. Throw in open borders and you get a welfare state.

One more thing, I think climate "science" is breathing all the oxygen in the room. How many people do we need running AOC models? If the science is settled, let's move on and invest more $ in the "S" in STEM. Full disclosure, I am an "M" guy, so let's not forget the "M". 😁

#5 The issue isn't that Apollo couldn't be redone today- it surely could since all the technology used is well documented right down to the specific screws used. I think the real barrier is that the risks involved wouldn't be easily countenanced by any management you put in charge of such a recreation.

I am not even sure you could get an American version of the Soyuz launched here- that is why we outsource it to the Russians today. I don't think it a coincidence that the Space Shuttle program was discontinued after the second loss- that second loss proved an unacceptable risk involved.

Well, the fact that 2 out of 4 shuttles remained may have something to do with it, since the empirical data showed that the chance of a total loss was really about 1 in 50.

Imagine an airline flying passengers and freight worth a few hundred million dollars with that sort of safety record.

It is replies like this that make you look like a fucking moron, Prior. It was failures out of missions attempted that is the correct metric- not the failures out of the number of shuttles built.

Do you deliberately act this stupid, or are you just born that way?

NASA can't do it anymore - it has turned into a sluggish bureaucracy. It can do global warming, sensitivity training, making Muslims feel comfortable.

NASA used to have balls - you know what that means.

NASA had solid funding from pols who knew high taxes were a good thing.

Yeah, I know, cheaper is better which is why you tell everyone to pay you less, and you charge less and less so your income keeps falling to make you rich...

I support taxes to find science in general and NASA in particular, if NASA is up to the task. It hasn't been the NASA that solved the Apollo 13 problem for a very long time.

Your whole tax rant has nothing to do with me - a case of mistaken identity.

The 20+ souls who Winter-over at the South Pole station (run by the National Science Foundation) are required to accept some harsh risks. Winter evacuation is almost impossible; no trauma care for emergency surgery. You may die from an untreated serious injury or sickness.

A few years ago, the emasculated clowns at NASA wanted to leave the $100 Billion ISS unmanned due to safety issues with emergency Russian rescue launches. (An unmanned ISS is much more prone to de-orbiting emergencies).

The gung-ho culture of the space race is dead. If today's NASA were a military branch, the mindset of today's Astronuts and their managers would be equal to that of supply ship cooks. Those with a Special Forces or SEAL mindset would resign or put a gun in their mouth.

The shuttle disasters were a good excuse to end a failed program. If NASA was making enough money from the satellite launch business to easily replace the shuttles then the deaths just would have just been a cost of business.

It may well be described as a failure, but after we closed it, we have been dependent on the Russians to send Americans into space. How much longer do we have to do that?

If you had told any American in 1969 that the US space program would spend a decade dependent on Soyuz rockets to reach a space station, no one would have believed you.

Comrade, please don’t send us up there again.

It may well be described as a failure,

Given that the engineering never met any of its original design goals, then the system went and killed three times as many people in spaceflight as all other spacecraft in history combined, what else could you call it?

Granted, it was the only manned space vehicle NASA actually managed to design and get into space after von Braun retired, but that just speaks to the utter incompetence demonstrated by NASA since.

but after we closed it, we have been dependent on the Russians to send Americans into space. How much longer do we have to do that?

Until somebody other than NASA builds an American rocket. So, at this point, four months to sixteen months or so. SpaceX might not make its currently penciled-in November 15th launch, but they're getting there.

If you told me in 1969 the Cold War would be over and the United States would use a low cost and reliable Soviet rocket to get humans to the international space station while using its advanced technology to explore the solar system with robots and space telescopes to explore the universe I would have thought that sounded cool.

Although I probably would have suggested changing the year to 1999 to make it sound more believable.

3 birth control pills? Obesity?

Male hearing loss due to age typically is a decrease in sensitivity to the frequency of women's voices.

It's at least partially vountary

True that. Generally, women have nothing useful to say. Why not tune out the blather?

Yeah that “blather” is about how small your dick is.

If you can forget the standard PC common places, like "we clearly still have a long way to go before we eliminate those prejudices" , it is a pretty good article describing a well-done experiment together with a convincing explanation of the results. I would have liked a description of the same experiments on a control group of men, though, but either this experiment was not done or the journalist forgot to mention it.

I'll be honest. I initially skipped the portions of the article that talked about the research studies, because whenever the popular press gets its claws on a scientific study, they 1) completely over-estimate its significance because it confirms their prior biases and 2) completely misrepresent its results.

After reading your comment, I decided to give the articles a chance. The first one, by Pemberton, is the one I believe you're talking about. It's a paper from 1998 in the Journal of Voice (current impact factor of 1.5). They don't state the number of subjects in the abstract, but that was kind of typical in 1998. Getting the paper, we see that they had 28 subjects. That's it. They matched modern subjects to those 28 and looked at the frequency of the voices. The mean frequency in 1945 was 229 Hz (SD 12.3 HZ) and the one from 1993 was 206 Hz (SD=13.6 Hz). They found a statistical difference with p=0.000 (I guess an artifact of the computers back in 1998). The numbers are within 2 SD of each other, which for most practical things where you make actual interventions (e.g., bone mineral density, bone age, etc.) we consider meaningless noise, but we can easily publish when the p=0.000.

You can judge how great the study was, and whether it can be used to form a hypothesis that "greater gender equality explains the long-term vocal shift." I think it's an interesting paper, and I don't fault the authors for getting its results out there, but I don't think it's solid evidence for a change. I also don't think n=28 allows you to control for many confounding variables.

So, we have a paper from 1998 in a low-tier journal that has been cited a total of 7 times since then being used to inform the hypotheses of the PC warriors of the BBC about #equality.

funny how that doesn't stop the bbc from confidently asserting causality!
per the bbc
"Women today speak at a deeper pitch than their mothers or grandmothers would have done, thanks to the changing power dynamics between men and women"

#1 - "unfair to chase people away" - except some fraction (not all) of the homeless population, by design or misfortune, are the ultimate freeloaders. At some point (one Seattle has apparently started to reach) the behavoirs of the troublesome homeless must be channeled into paths the rest of us can tolerate.
(And of course treating the ills and mitigating the economic misfortunes that afflict many of them is an excellant public good.)

"(And of course treating the ills and mitigating the economic misfortunes that afflict many of them is an excellant public good.)"

That's not what public good means. 'Public Good' isn't the same as 'good for the public'.

We used to have laws against vagrancy and could get rid of free-loading drug addicts. We used to be able to put dangerous insane people in asylums where they could be kept away from civilized people and families.

Now, we have to rely on silly tricks like this to keep some public spaces free of drug addicts and human poop, but still have to deal with idiots telling us we're being mean.

The PC crowd has enabled "homelessness" (drug and alcohol abuse).

That said, mental illness is a tough but to crack. Once a mentally ill child hits 18 they can refuse their meds and disappear into the homeless encampments. I feel a deep sorrow for all involved - parents, the mentally ill, and their friends and family. For them, it is a tragedy and a disaster.

Yes, I can understand how having to deal with Windows could drive one to drink.

2. Wait, isn't the proper term graphic novels?

Nah. If the Fed produced them, they're comic books.

5. I definitely think we could, if the funding is there (and it wouldn't be break-the-bank level funding - an additional $5-10 billion/year would be more than enough). It's at least theoretically easier to build rockets now than it was back then, and they actually have managed to resurrect the F-1 engine on the Saturn V with modern technology.

The hardest part is probably the lander. Even with good funding, it would probably take several years to make before it would be flight-ready. Landing on the Moon and bringing the astronauts back is just a really tight constraint on developing a lander, unless you refuel it on the Moon's surface.

By the Eagles, of all groups - "...we haven't had that spirit here since 1969."

The moon is a natural vacuum, so it shouldn't be too difficult to centrifuge things up to lunar escape velocity and fling them into a recovery trajectory. It's just a little difficult to do that with people. But if you want lunar material, it could be obtained that way.

Man, I wish the moon would come over and clean my rugs for once.

5. What about other countries?

5. Don't give the democrats anymore ideas....

#3 Reading this article from the BBC ( of course) reminds me of listening to NPR while driving - I count how many seconds it takes until I hear the first signal of a PC topic - feminism, racism, news from Africa ( who really cares?), power, global warming, the patriarchy, immigration, ...., ugh! I then turn it off and listen to an audiobook. Right now I am listening to John Brockman's "Life ...".

It used to be news, weather, sports.

Now it’s Trump patriarchy Trump global warming bias prejudice oppression.

#3 octave is a social construct

Men's voices are deeper too. Have you heard radio shows from the 30s?

BBC. Typical

No octave is an operational definition in this case, a unit of measurement.

Women are bigger today. I would assume bigger people would tend to have deeper voices.

Yes, I was going to suggest the same thing. There's a ton of research that says that larger animals make lower sounds (e.g. rats laugh at pitches too high for humans to hear and elephants rumble at pitches too low for humans to hear).

OTOH this article seems to say that within each human sex, there's low correlation between body size and "fundamental frequency".

#5...According to Trump acolytes, Trump could do it. Hell, Trump could build it and fly it, just ask him. Make it a one-way trip, and I'll contribute a few bucks myself

If you join him I will contribute also.

It's a generous offer, but I can't travel. Unlike Trump, I don't mind people making fun of me or disagreeing with me.

Me neither. You can make fun of me all you want. I am an easy target! :)

Agreed. We both are.

My wife and I attended W Palm Beach a year ago, for a nurses conference she was attending. I was struck by the cars. I hadn't realized that all the luxury brands were producing SUVs: Bentley, Maserati, Porche, many others. Every one sparkling clean. I sweated as I parallel parked my rental Ford Fusion between two Porches. We noticed the brown-skinned crews meticulously maintaining the grounds of the luxury condos. In search of a grocery store I ventured a bit west of downtown and found a supermarket. My Anglo arrival introduced a novel ethnic identity there. Completely different crowd than the people shopping the downtown galleries and eateries. Wealth inequality on extravagant display.

The land of the old rich Jews and their Latino servants.

BS. I was shopping there about 3 months ago. Plenty of Anglos pushing their own carts. There were a lot of nice cars though.

>3. Why are women’s voices deeper today?

Patriarchal oppression, I'm guessing.

Unless it's supposed to be a good thing? Then probably Roe v Wade, or Michelle Obama.

OT: looking for a doctor or similar to geld me. I will pay cash! Leave your email here.

5. NASA's manned spaceflight organization can't, because NASA's manned spaceflight organization is utterly incompetent.

Since Von Braun retired, they screwed up Skylab, missed all design goals with the Shuttle, killed three times as many people as every other spaceflight organization in the world combined, and failed to develop a Shuttle successor program to a successful vehicle at least four times.

On the other hand, if you cancelled SLS, put five years of the SLS budget into a prize fund earmarked to be awarded to a private party if it was first to land men on the Moon and return them to Earth by 2025, and abolished NASA's oversight on manned spaceflight, it would certainly happen, and the victor would probably reap an obscene profit in the process.

People on the ground count. This Soviet launch pad accident killed 43 in 1980:

There was another in 1960 that killed more than twice as many people, but that could be regarded as a military accident.

Yes, I did fail to specifically stick in the words "in manned spaceflight" after the word "people".

I will fully grant that the part of NASA that does unmanned launches of satellites for Earth orbit is okay. I'll note that it's also been able to develop new vehicles over time. So, too, the people at JPL doing robotic missions; they're solid enough.

But that doesn't change the fact that "NASA's manned spaceflight organization is utterly incompetent."

#5) Fifty years later, has anyone yet come up with a rational reason for the moon landing? This question is not meant as a snarky criticism but rather a sincere question. I think Tyler suggested that the answer was, "No," a while ago when he said something along the lines of, "C'mon, the moon landing was awesome." The moon landing seems to be something that, at an intuitive level, just "feels" like it was obviously good to do, yet no one can seem to explain why, even though most people seem naturally mood-affiliated to want to find a good explanation.

Even the purported Cold War propaganda value seems questionable when subjected to scrutiny. A smart Soviet propagandist could point out that the US needed to resort to government central planning to win the space race. The best rejoinder that I can think of would be that capitalism produced such riches that the US could afford to waste vast sums on what was arguably merely a grand, glorious photo op. That would indeed be a good argument in favor of capitalism over communism but not such a good justification for the moon landing itself.

I think this is a strange question, if it is meant to suggest that the reason is to be found in some singular technology that might have grown out of the effort, or if the moon had turned out to be waist-deep in *manganese nodules*, or there'd been an immediate gain in our chances of surviving an asteroid strike or something. I am too primitive to know what y'all are looking for.

The moon launch is easily "justified" as a natural continuation of the human need to conjure a way to keep on trucking in the face of existential despair and an understanding of our precariousness that has only increased since. "Is God Dead?" was 1966, I looked it up. As heaven no longer cut it - people (well, a vanguard of people) needed the heavens to give them that hope, even if infinitesimally small and shaky, that there might be a future for the species. The alternative is too difficult to blithely accept. That there has been a greater general grasp of the Earth's tendency to be alternately nurturing and hostile to specific forms of life over the last billion years, and that it's not all good until the sun heats up a billion years hence, might make the hope seem feebler, childish, but on another point of view it might make it more critical.

I admit I can't imagine thinking that hope, or false hope, whatever, was too dearly bought, but along the lines of what I burbled above, I'd go with the the Easter candy spending comparison George Will used to make vis-à-vis spending on political campaigns.

$18.4 billion was spent on Easter candy in 2019, so like a 15th of total spending on the Apollo program?

And some not insubstantial fraction of that was spent on Tootsie Rolls, which is completely indefensible from any point of view.

"And some not insubstantial fraction of that was spent on Tootsie Rolls, which is completely indefensible from any point of view."

Naw, the truly indefensible candy is Necco Wafers, which look and taste like discs sliced from big sticks of chalk. Necco recently went out of business, but like Night of the Necco Dead, the wafers are rumored to see production restart soon.

In a fit of demented art, many years ago MIT created a Necco Garden on its campus, with giant Necco wafers. And holy sh*t, somebody at Penn State saw fit to resurrect that idea a few years ago, though on a much smaller scale and with what seem to be normal-sized Necco wafers:

I didn't know NECCO had gone out of business. People will just have to say what they need to say on Valentine's Day. I kind of like the wafers, especially the pink ones, but I admit the pale orange ones aren't very good.

There are worse candies than Tootsie Rolls - those hard peanut butter bars in the striped wrapper, circus peanuts - but I'm pretty sure they don't make 64 million of them EVERY DAY.

Oh yes, NECCO Sweethearts are an American institution. They seem to be made out of the same substance as NECCO wafers, but with Sweethearts the point is to give them to someone and read them, not to eat them.

MIT was (is?) located next door to NECCO's factory, so there was at least a geographic connection to justify the NECCO Garden idea, though it's like a Dali-esque surreal nightmare landscape. But the notion of reviving the idea, as if it were an American classic like reviving "Oklahoma!", is staggering.

The Penn State article has a link to the artist behind the NECCO Garden, Martha Schwartz. I notice that her website lists a "Bagel Garden" that she created in Boston and a "Splice Garden" that she created in Cambridge MA. But it omits the NECCO Garden. Some ideas were not meant to be commemorated.

" capitalism produced such riches that the US could afford to waste vast sums on what was arguably merely a grand, glorious photo op. " More to the point, capitalism supported an industrial infrastructure that could build such things.

In the 1960s many 3rd world nations were still eager to industrialize, and were looking East and West seeking a partner that would help them do so quickly.

Of course, that's because they saw that the wealthy nations were industrialized and they were not, and assumed industrialization was what made the difference. Whereas everyone knows better now: industrialization may be a good idea, but it's hardly a royal road to riches.

As for cost, Apollo cost somewhere between $20. billion and $25. billion, depending on what's included. The Vietnam War cost at least $111 billion.

Which was the better value?

3. And then there is the physics. Lower frequencies carry further than higher frequencies.

Aren't our voices getting lower in general? If you look at church singing, for example, we sing the same songs one or two steps below what they sang two generations ago. I can't imagine it's unrelated to our physical size, which is one obvious reason why Scandinavian voices would be lower than Japanese. I'm not at all convinced greater gender equality is such a strong influence.

The trend in singing may be due, in part, to the modern infrequency of singing properly. Voice is like any other muscle and you gain range if you train it. I wager the people of generations past spent much more time singing and were more often formally trained to at least some extent (even school choir makes a big difference). Anecdotally, I always sang soprano except for after a long break, when I had to sing a semester of alto while my voice got back into shape.

A reasonable guess, but there's also some interesting research showing that bilingual Japanese women speak lower when speaking English than when speaking Japanese.

2. Maybe the democrats and liberals could use this...

#3 I’m skeptical that moderns pitch out of their natural range. It seems more likely that women in generations past chose to pitch toward the higher end of their range since it was considered attractive, just like they used to wear makeup and do their hair just right, and so on.

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