Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for October 2013

Thomas Friedman learns nothing in China

Thomas Friedman writes (currently the most-emailed article at the NY Times):

I’ve traveled here with Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, and the leaders of the Teach for All programs modeled on Teach for America that are operating in 32 countries. We’re visiting some of the highest- and lowest-performing schools in China to try to uncover The Secret — how is it that Shanghai’s public secondary schools topped the world charts in the 2009 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) exams.

The most important reason, ignored by Friedman because he is an HBD-denialist, is that Chinese children in Shanghai have genetically higher IQs than American children.

The second most important reason, only alluded to, is that Chinese have more widespread middle-class values. Even stupid Chinese people respect teachers and the importance of education. In contrast, a commenter to the article writes about his experience as a teacher in America:

1. I often don’t hear from many parents until April or May, if at all. They do not return notes, emails, or phone calls, nor do they attend parent-teacher conferences.

2. On most days, the only homework I assign is to read a novel for 20 minutes. Only half of the students will do that. I don’t assign any other homework because doing so is an exercise in futility. If I assign homework regularly, many of the kids earn zeroes and fail the class, and then the parents and administrators come to me wanting to know how and why I am failing the kids, what I am doing wrong, and how I am going to improve.

The teacher also mentions a problem of American schools which is always worth pointing out again, which is that we refuse to group students by ability;

In one of my language arts classes I have one 6th grade boy reading at the 12th grade level and one 6th grade boy reading at the 2nd grade level. I am expected to develop separate and equal lesson plans for each boy, as well as for all of the kids in the middle.

I also suspect that the Chinese schools have more strict discipline for problem students than what the American teacher describes:

5. Kids can do whatever they want. My school has no detention. Suspension is a vacation and expulsion is illegal. Almost nobody fails a grade, despite bad performance.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 24, 2013 at 7:15 AM

Posted in Education

I miss Lawrence Auster

He would have had something to say about the 14-year-old youth murdering his pretty young (liberal do-gooder?) teacher, after presumably raping her.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Posted in Crime

NY Times editorial about education

The NY Times Editorial Board decries the fact that adults in other countries have higher test scores than Americans.

They blame public education, but the problem is that liberals have all the wrong answers with respect to public education. There are two things that are holding us behind. One is that we have a dysgenic immigration policy, and this dates back to colonial times when a large number of immigrants were brought here not because they were expected to become intelligent and well-behaved citizens, but because greedy plantation owners wanted to use them as slave labor.

I bet that no country in the world does a better job than the United States at getting children with genetically low IQs to score higher than you’d expect on reading and math tests. Unfortunately, our education policy cares nothing for teaching children with genetically high IQs to their full potential. For example, many a Chinese immigrant has told me that the math we teach in college is the math they learned in high school back in China.

Liberals, who are obsessed with gaps, create education policy that purposely holds back smart children in order to lower the gap between the smart children and children from demographic groups that don’t do well on tests.

We also have a college admissions policy that elevates leadership and athletic ability over academic ability, which partially explains why Chinese students are learning calculus while American students are learning how to play better basketball, baseball and football. Of course, the college admissions policies are controlled by liberals. There are hardly any conservatives with any meaningful policy input at any of our top colleges and universities.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Posted in Education

iPad Air and capitalism

It looks like a nice improvement over the previous iPad. For the same price, you get a lighter and thinner iPad, with a twice as powerful processor, and free software.

For this we should thank Samsung. Why Samsung? Because without competition, which Apple faces from Samsung, big corporations become complacent. The competition factor is probably increased because Samsung is a Korean company, and it’s harder for an American company to cooperate with a Korean company.

It was different for the auto industry in the 1960s. The “big three” car companies were all based in the same metropolitan area in Michigan and they had a cooperative oligopoly and consequently there was no innovation and quality declined.

Luckily for consumers, Japanese car companies gave the American companies a big kick in the butt, resulting in higher quality cars with newer technology. But that was not an example of the benefits of laissez-faire capitalism at all. Under the American laissez-faire approach, the big three acted much like a monopoly of one, and they were put to shame by Japanese companies which were heavily directed by the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI). Thus we can thank the government of Japan for better cars.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Posted in Economics

Another gap discovered!

As reported by the NY Times:

The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Posted in Biology

Pay people to use social media?

I’ve previously suggested that the government pay people to play World of Warcraft or to participate in sports leagues. But only nerdy males like World of Warcraft, and sports is mostly enjoyed by young men.

I think that participating in social media could be an activity for which we could pay people. (And remember, the purpose for this is to give people “meaning” in life and force them to do something which seems like work in order to receive their share of the bounty of a post-scarcity economy.)

Even stupid people seem to enjoy using social media.The stupid girl who testified in the Zimmerman trial participated in Twitter, despite the fact that she was functionally illiterate. Instagram would also be a good example of a social media that we could pay people to participate in. The government could give away free camera-phones so people can take photos. We are already partway there because Obama is already giving away free cell phones.

People would be graded based on their participation in the social media community, based on adherence to good middle-class values (participants would be penalized in welfare benefits if, for example, they post a photo of their penis) and how well they boost the self-esteem of other participants.

Of course, based on the Obamacare website fiasco, we assume that normal government contractors couldn’t pull of a sophisticated grading system required for this. This needs to be outsourced to a company with real expertise, such as Google.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 22, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Posted in Economics

Post-scarcity economics and evolution

The human brain evolved to deal with scarcity. From the beginning of the Neolithic era until modern times, humans produced barely enough food to feed everyone who needed to be fed, and famines were something that occurred probably at least once per generation, so people who didn’t get the importance of owning resources would die instead of passing on their genes.

Thus post-scarcity concepts, such as the fact that there’s plenty of food to go around so maybe the government should just give it away to everybody for free, can cause a negative emotional reaction in some people because our instinct-driven animal brains aren’t evolved enough to process it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 21, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Posted in Biology, Economics

Same-sex marriage in New Jersey

A commenter linked to an article about how Christie is withdrawing his appeal of the New Jersey same-sex marriage ruling.

The state Supreme Court was pretty clear that they intended to uphold the ruling of the lower court, therefore Christie withdrew the appeal. There’s now no point in appealing except to make some sort of protest statement. Christie, the politician, probably figures that he’s done all he can do to placate Republican primary voters and additional protest will hurt him in general elections. Christie is planning ahead to win the 2016 presidential election, and not just win the Republican primary.

This is a reminder once again how liberal judges are able to advance a liberal agenda that liberals are unable to advance through the legislative process. Thirty years ago, no one could have imagined that judges across the land would be ruling that homosexuals have a constitutional right (whether state constitution or federal constitution) to marry someone of the same sex. So what will liberal judges be doing thirty years hence?

I point out again that if a Democrat is president for the next eight years after Obama, then there’s a good chance that he or she will get to appoint replacements for Justices Kennedy and Scalia, and the result would be a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court majority. In as little as ten years, we may start to find out what else liberals have in store for us.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Posted in Law, Politics

Christie and Giuliani

Some commenters pointed out that once upon a time, I predicted Giuliani would win the Republican nomination in 2008, so how can I be trusted with my prediction that Christie will win this time?

I’ve gotten a lot better at predicting stuff since seven years ago. This is partly the result of all the negative criticism I constantly get in comments. “Lion, you are STUPID for predicting that Giuliani would win.” Negative criticism causes one’s skills to increase at the same time that it causes one’s self esteem to decrease. It’s the opposite of the pedagogical method popular in mainstream K-12 education. But there are still a few old-school law professors who believe in self-esteem-lowering.

Another mistake I made back then was that I was too emotionally invested in the outcome. I wanted Giuliani to win. I care less now about what happens, I guess because as one grows older one grows less idealistic and more crotchety.

Commenters have said that Christie can’t win the nomination because he’s from the northeast, but that’s obviously not true because Romney was the governor of Massachusetts. And if we turn back the clock a little, George H.W. Bush was an upper-class New Englander.

Commenters have said that Christie can’t win the nomination because he’s not conservative enough. And here is where there is an important distinction between Christie and Giuliani. I think now that a candidate cannot win the Republican nomination if he states that he’s pro-choice. This is stupid of Republican voters, but if everyone were smart then I’d have nothing to blog about. So Giuliani failed this litmus test, but Christie passes. Christie says he is pro-life, and that’s the only thing that’s required. Romney was pro-choice before he was pro-life, but saying he was pro-life was enough for him to win the nomination.

The abortion issue aside, history shows that being too conservative is more harmful to a candidate’s chances of winning the Republican nomination than being a moderate. In 2008, McCain was cast as the more moderate candidate and he won. In 2012, Romney morphed from being conservative in 2008 to being more moderate in 2012, and thus he beat off the more conservative challengers.

Giuliani also turned out to be a poor debater. Christie, on the other hand, is one of the best debaters, and he has a debating style which will appeal very much to white proles, who are the core of the Republican party that he needs to attract. At the same time, because Christie is from New Jersey and is well liked by the national media (for a Republican), he will appeal more to upper-middle-class Republican voters.

History also teaches us that people don’t appear out of nowhere and suddenly win the Republican nomination. Only candidates who are nationally known well before the campaign cycle begins ever win. This doesn’t leave us with many likely choices for who might win instead of Christie. Rubio will lose to Christie because Rubio lacks gravitas and will be spanked by Christie in debates, and I don’t think that Rubio will be attractive to white proles.

I would also like to believe that Rubio being a creationist, and lying about the history of his family coming to America, and being pro-immigration will all hurt him, but that could just be me being emotional about things.

* * *

So the first commenter writes: “If anybody with equal ideological appeal runs against him, then Christie will lose because he’s fat.”

If anything, Christie being fat will help him win the vote of white proles. Christie looks like the guy they work with. Romney lost the white prole vote because he looks likes the guy who fired the guy they work with.

* * *

Also Christie has an edge over Rubio because governors have the advantage over senators when running for President.

And this goes back to the supposed point that there haven’t been any fat presidents since Taft. How many really fat governors are there? Christie is probably the fattest governor in the United States right now. The reason why there are so few fat presidential nominees is because there are so few fat governors.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Posted in Politics

Another big day in the stock market

The collective wisdom of the market is really happy that Republicans were unable to derail Obamacare. Now that everything is back on track, stock prices are soaring. Who says Obamacare is bad for the rich? (The rich are the ones who own stocks, so they are the ones benefiting from the run-up in stock prices.)

And from And from today’s Wall Street Journal:

The budget stalemate that had the U.S. flirting with default has left business and the Republican Party, longtime political allies, at a crossroads.

In interviews with representatives of companies large and small, executives predicted a change in how business would approach politics. They didn’t foresee a new alignment with Democrats but forecast backing challengers to tea-party conservatives in GOP primaries, increasing political engagement with centrist Republicans and, for some, disengaging with politics altogether.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 17, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Posted in News

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