September 2016 Archives
Apparently roller coasters can help sufferers pass moderate-sized kidney stones. This is a fantastic discovery: theme park tickets are cheaper than visits to the doctor, and roller coasters are more fun than surgery!
The research, led by Michigan State University, was prompted by the case of a patient suffering from kidney stones who reported passing a stone after each of three consecutive rides on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Disney World in Florida.
Scientists then used 3D printer to create an anatomical model of a kidney filled with urine and three kidney stones of differing size.
The device was placed aboard a front seat on the same Disney World attraction, where over numerous rides it showed a stone passage rate of 16 per cent, while a ride on the back seat yielded a rate of 63 per cent.
Hopefully Obamacare will begin covering this treatment soon.
Hillary and the media have a shared goal: defeat Trump. Do they pass each other notes and hold conference calls to coordinate their attacks on Trump? That's just a crazy conspiracy theory! Oh wait...
Over the weekend, several major American newspapers printed a variation of the same article pointing out instances, ion their view, when Donald Trump has lied to the American people during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Hillary posts pages of "documented Trump lies" and holds a conference call with members of the media detailing the same theme [on Friday] and within 48 hours [on Sunday] major publications print articles following along with Hillary's prescribed narrative.
Hillary and the media are on the same side. Are they "coordinating"? Yes -- at the very least they watch each other for cues about how to advance against their common opponent. But sometimes they send each other notes or pick up the phone. Does this obvious coordination help or hinder Hillary?
"Trump has all the right enemies" in the eyes of his supporters says @mikeallen— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) September 26, 2016
As Glenn Reynolds writes, "You want police to only shoot people when it's absolutely necessary, regardless of their race." Absolutely right.
The vast majority of our police want to do the right thing and succeed at doing the right thing, day in and day out, in a very tough job. We should all be thankful for that.
Law enforcement officials (including the police, prosecutors, judges, prison guards, and others) are entrusted with an enormous amount of power, and the general citizenry has a right to expect that power to be wielded fairly and without discrimination.
Over the last several months, the phrase "white lives matter" has been derided by many as a willfully obtuse (and usually racist) response to the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly in light of the disproportionate number of African-Americans shot by police.
But one group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders is stepping up to question a deputy's shooting of an unarmed, white, homeless man in Castaic -- because it just might be the right thing to do.
"We can't only be advocates when black people are killed by police unjustly," says Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope.
Ali is organizing a coalition of civil rights groups, including Project Islamic Hope, the National Action Network and the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable, which will call on state Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an investigation of Tuesday's shooting.
"They shot this homeless man for nothing," Ali said of how witnesses have described the shooting. "He was unarmed and they killed him. I found out he was white later on. It doesn't matter to me."
Just as we expect our law enforcement officials to enforce the law without bias, we citizens should do our best to rise above racial and religious perspectives. That doesn't mean those perspectives are invalid, but they often aren't helpful for solving a problem. When we divide ourselves and stoke grievances we distract everyone and make it harder to accomplish meaningful, lasting improvements in our society. We all -- citizens and law enforcement -- need to focus on our shared goals: liberty and justice.
Twitter has suspended the account of @Instapundit, a.k.a. Glenn Reynolds, for recommending that people trapped by rioters use their cars to escape and protect their own lives. Here's the offending tweet:
Perhaps Professor Reynolds should have written "keep driving", or something less intemperate. Of course it would be illegal and immoral to use deadly force against a peaceful protester, but the protests in Charlotte have been quite violent.
It's both lawful and moral to use deadly force to protect your life and property.
Trump extends his lead to 5 points in this Rasmussen poll of likely voters. It's not hard to see why, when you consider the popularity of his positions. These positions are anathema to American elites of both parties, which is precisely why Trump has managed to insert himself so successfully into the national conversation.
Most voters oppose Obama's plan to bring more Middle Eastern and African refugees to this country next year and view that decision as an increased danger to U.S. national security. Clinton supports the president's policy.
Voters, on the other hand, strongly support Trump's plan for temporarily restricting immigration from countries with a history of terrorism and for testing to screen out newcomers who don't share America's values.
It's obviously fine for President Obama to campaign for Hillary and to express a strong preference for her victory in November, but he crosses the line when he meets with world leaders and denigrates Trump as unfit for office. Lots of people say that, lots of people believe it, but President Obama has a responsibility to the office and to America not to undermine a potential successor. Even if Obama is right, if Trump wins the election he will be the next President, and he'll have a tough enough job without this condemnation hanging over his head.
On many occasions, Obama has been explicit about the fact that his words are intended specifically about Trump. He's said questions about the GOP nominee come up in every meeting with a foreign leader, and he's emphatically declared Trump to be unfit to inhabit his role as commander in chief.
The NYT describes the woes of a small California pension due differences between actuaries and economists.
The two competing ways of valuing a pension fund are often called the actuarial approach (which is geared toward helping employers plan stable annual budgets, as opposed to measuring assets and liabilities), and the market approach, which reflects more hard-nosed math.
The market value of a pension reflects the full cost today of providing a steady, guaranteed income for life -- and it's large. Alarmingly large, in fact. This is one reason most states and cities don't let the market numbers see the light of day. ...
The market-based numbers are "close to the truth of the liability," Professor Sharpe said. But most elected officials want the smaller numbers, and actuaries provide what their clients want. "Somebody just should have stopped this whole charade," he said.
In short: the actuaries justify low numbers that please their clients (the governments who administer the pensions) while the economists warn that the pensions are vastly underfunded.
Mega McArdle gives a good description of discount rates.
A discount rate is a way of accounting for the fact that dollars in the future are not quite the same as dollars you have right now.
You know this, don't you? Imagine I offered to give you a dollar right now, or a dollar a year from now. You don't have to think hard about that decision, because you know instinctively that the dollar that's right there, able to be instantly transferred into your sweaty little hand, is much more valuable. It can, in fact, be easily transformed into a dollar a year from now, by the simple expedient of sticking it in a drawer and waiting. It can also, however, be spent before then. It has all the good stuff offered by a dollar later, plus some option value.
Even if you're sure you don't want to spend it in the next year, however, a dollar later is not as good as a dollar now, because it's riskier. That dollar I'm holding now can be taken now, and then you will definitely have it. If you're counting on getting a dollar from me a year from now, well, maybe I'll die, or forget, or go bankrupt.
The point is that if you're valuing assets, and some of your assets are dollars you actually have, and others are dollars that someone has promised to give to you at some point in the future, you should value the dollars you have in your possession more highly than dollars you're supposed to get later.
Zero Hedge (yeah, I know, not always the most temperate source) has an excellent report about how David Brock is laundering money through Media Matters and various "charities" to enrich himself. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for the Democrat-dominated "non-profit" sector -- if you think Brock is the only one doing this, you're delusional.
The Left's web of "charities" is intentionally incestuous and opaque for the purpose of graft, from the Clinton Global Initiative on down. Is it any wonder that they're freaking out about the possibility of a Republican president who isn't hesitant about smashing the status quo? It's hard to imagine a Trump presidency letting this all slide as "business as usual", no matter what President Bush ignored a decade ago.
Say, for example, you donate $1,062,857 to Media Matters for America. This is how David Brock would have used your charitable donation in 2014:
Media Matters would receive your $1,062,857 donation
- The Bonner Group would earn a $132,857 commission
- Media Matters would retain $930,000
Next, Media Matters would give what's left of your entire donation, $930,000, to the Franklin Education Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $116,250 commission
- The Franklin Education Forum would retain $813,750
The Franklin Education Forum would then forward the remaining $813,750 to The Franklin Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $101,718 commission
- The Franklin Forum would retain $712,031
In the end, Brock's solicitor would have pocketed $350,825, almost a third of your initial donation! That's a far cry from the advertised 12.5% commission.
As bizarre as that scenario may sound, this is exactly what David Brock did in 2014.
In a display of raw physical prowess, Donald Trump repeatedly lifts a baby over his head. Ok, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but my first thought when I read this story was I bet Hillary couldn't lift a baby over her head like that.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lifted 18-month-old Tristan Murphy after his speech outlining a new childcare policy on Tuesday night in Aston, Pennsylvania.
Andrew C. McCarthy says it well: Relations between governments are best handled through diplomacy, not legal proceedings.
Why, when the Republican-controlled Congress is finally willing to fight President Obama to the point of forcing and potentially overriding a veto, do they pick an issue on which Obama is right?
In a grandstanding exhibition, Congress has enacted legislation that would enable private litigants -- the most sympathetic imaginable, the families of 9/11 victims -- to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Obviously, even if it is sued successfully, the Saudi government is never actually going to pay any judgments. More to the point, legislation of this kind will spur other countries to enact laws allowing their citizens to sue the United States -- and maybe even criminal laws allowing the arrest of current and former American government officials (including military personnel) -- for actions taken in defense of our country and pursuit of our interests.
Since we have interests throughout the world and a military that acts globally (and lethally), our nation has far more to lose than most nations by playing this game. Consequently, while I get the populist zeitgeist, it is disappointing to see people who ought to know better claiming that a veto would represent Obama's prioritizing of Saudi interests over American interests. It would do nothing of the sort.
This is beyond parody: upon realizing that its systems were hacked, the DNC sent out a single new password to people by email.
- Why send out a new password using email that you know has already been hacked?
- Why do multiple people get the same password?
This picture of a gaggle of journalists waiting for Hillary is hilarious and embarrassing. Just look at the eager anticipation on their faces. It's obvious to everyone by now that the media loves Hillary and hates Trump, no matter what either of them say or do.
Glenn Reynolds argues that President Trump and the Democrat-aligned civil service will check each others' abuses. This seems logical to me. The big question is: how can America restore a non-partisan civil service?
The reason, of course, is that the civil service, though supposedly professional and nonpartisan, has become a Democratic Party monoculture. Federal employees overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, donate to Democrats, and, by all appearances, cover for Democrats as a routine part of doing their job.
So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service's behavior, that's got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he'll get a lot of pushback -- and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump's appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don't get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he'll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get -- or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.
So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump -- he's the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.
I hope that Trump and the Republican Party continue their engagement with African Americans, no matter what happens in November. The Democrats have dominated black political life for decades without doing much of anything to help the community other than lip service.
What, after all, does Hillary Clinton offer the black community? Does she promise to make our public schools better by demanding greater teacher accountability? Will she push to reverse decades of damage done by tenure and other rules that put union workers first and kids second? Does she promise to expand charter schools, so those tens of thousands of wait-listed African-American kids get a shot at the American dream? No, she does not. Hillary owes the teachers' unions, which promise to get out the vote and which have donated millions to her campaign.
Does Hillary promise to secure our borders and reduce the number of illegal immigrants vying for entry-level jobs? Does she embrace the new "gig" economy that attempts to circumvent the morass of red tape driving so many small businesses under? Does she back the law enforcement efforts that keep low-income urban communities safe? The answers are a uniform "no."
What Hillary Clinton offers African-Americans is four more years of Obama's policies, which Sean "Diddy" Combs, among others, have rightly described as failing the black community. Combs recently said that under Obama, blacks have been "a little bit short-changed" and that African-Americans should not automatically line up behind Clinton. "Hillary Clinton, you know, I hope she starts to talk to the black community directly. ... It really makes me feel, you know, almost hurt that our issues are not addressed, and we're such a big part of the voting bloc." Combs has recently opened a charter school in Harlem; no wonder he's not a Hillary fan.
As Instapundit is fond of pointing out, America's urban centers have been controlled by Democrats for decades -- why not give Republicans a chance to turn things around?
President Obama isn't solely at fault for the systematic collapse of American foreign policy over the past eight years, but there sure have been a lot of failures.
The Era of Hope and Change has been one prolonged act of suicide. If anyone had said that Obama would manage to alienate Israel and the Philippines, lose Turkey, pay Iran a hundred billion dollars, preside over the loss of a won war in Afghanistan, lose billions of dollars in military equipment to ISIS, watch a consulate burn, restart the Cold War with Russia, cause Japan to re-arm and go the knife's edge with China would you have believed it? If someone had told you in 2008 millions of refugees would be heading for Europe and that the UK would leave the EU after Obama went there to campaign for them to remain would you not have laughed?
It would sure be exciting if these space tests of the EmDrive work.
The EmDrive, a hypothetical miracle propulsion system for outer space, has been sparking heated arguments for years. Now, Guido Fetta plans to settle the argument about reactionless space drives for once and for all by sending one into space to prove that it really generates thrust without exhaust.
Even if mainstream scientists say this is impossible.
Fetta is CEO of Cannae Inc, and inventor of the Cannae Drive. His creation is related to the EmDrive first demonstrated by British engineer Roger Shawyer in 2003. Both are closed systems filled with microwaves with no exhaust, yet which the inventors claim do produce thrust. There is no accepted theory of how this might work. Shawyer claims that relativistic effects produce different radiation pressures at the two ends of the drive, leading to a net force. Fetta pursues a similar idea involving Lorentz (electromagnetic) forces. NASA researchers have suggested that the drive is actually pushing against "quantum vacuum virtual plasma" of particles that shift in and out of existence.
Most physicists believe these far-out systems cannot work and that their potential benefits, such as getting to Mars in ten weeks, are illusory. After all, the law of conservation of momentum says that a rocket cannot accelerate forward without some form of exhaust ejected backwards. Yet the drumbeat goes on. Just last month, Jose Rodal claimed on the NASA Spaceflight forum that a NASA paper, "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum" has finally been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, but this cannot be confirmed yet.
I'm not sure what to say about this, so I'll just link to it and you can make up your own mind: Cal State LA offers segregated housing for black students.
California State University Los Angeles recently rolled out segregated housing for black students. ...
Cal State LA joins UConn, UC Davis and Berkeley in offering segregated housing dedicated to black students. While these housing options are technically open to all students, they're billed and used as arrangements in which black students can live with one another.