Tulip subsidies


But the solution isn’t universal tulip subsidies. Higher education is in a bubble much like the old tulip bubble. In the past forty years, the price of college has dectupled (quadrupled when adjusting for inflation). It used to be easy to pay for college with a summer job; now it is impossible. At the same time, the unemployment rate of people without college degrees is twice that of people who have them. Things are clearly very bad and Senator Sanders is right to be concerned.

~ Scott Alexander

Don’t be distracted by the Sanders reference. This article stands just fine three years later.

It raises what I think is a really good idea: What if employers were NOT allowed to ask about post-primary education degrees? So just as an employer cannot judge you based on your skin color, they could not judge you based on some letters and a school name. INSTEAD, they would have to judge you based on your ability. Suddenly, the only value in those letters and the school name [to the potential student] would be the TRUE VALUE AND QUALITY of the education. At the same time, anyone who can match that quality of skill/knowledge — regardless where they got it — would be equally considered.

Make. This. Happen.

On depression


Unfortunately, the “chemical imbalance” theory continues to be the dominant paradigm for understanding depression nearly 30 years after this profound discovery, despite the weak correlation between serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and depressive symptoms.

~ Chris Kresser

I’m sure I have nothing useful to add on the topic of Depression– being not a doctor, psychologist, etc.

But I can raise my voice because I believe I understand the personal experience of depression. It sucks. Talk to someone.



One of the most unfortunate tendencies of an adolescent culture is the impulse to fit everything into black and white narratives. Narratives themselves aren’t the issue; in fact, psychologists say that being able to view your life as a story is a key component to mental health and happiness. And as we’ll come to see, being able to imagine yourself as an actor in that story – a kind of hero’s journey – is one of the most important ways of achieving an awesome adulthood. No, it’s not narratives per se that are problematic, but ones that are overly simplistic and one-dimensional.

~ Brett McKay

The entire piece is good, and it goes in a certain direction: It’s attempting to provide guidance and direction to young men as they transition (or try to transition… or try to NOT transition…) from childhood to adulthood.

The take-away for me was a meta-lesson that applies from the adult point of view: I should not judge young men-to-be by my adult standards. Adolescents who are trying to create their story– trying to navigate their journey– are going to do things and act certain ways. That’s not a problem, nor is anything wrong. It’s part of a natural and normal story arc. The question and judgement from me should be, can I help? Can I be of guidance? Can I at least be an example, either through my level of adulting, or through my overt efforts at reaching higher levels of adulting?




By the President of the United States of America:


Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation
was issued by the President of the United States, containing,
among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as
slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people
whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall
be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive
government of the United States, including the military and naval
authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such
persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any
of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

“That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid,
by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any,
in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in
rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State
or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith
represented in the Congress of the United States by members
chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified
voters of such States shall have participated shall, in the
absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive
evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then
in rebellion against the United States.”

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United
States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-In-Chief
of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed
rebellion against the authority and government of the United States,
and as a fit and necessary war measure for supressing said
rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in
accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the
full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned,
order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the
people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against
the United States the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
Palquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans,
including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the
forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the
counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Morthhampton, Elizabeth City, York,
Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and
Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left
precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do
order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said
designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall
be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities thereof, will
recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to
abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and
I recommend to them that, in all case when allowed, they labor
faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known that such persons of
suitable condition will be received into the armed service of
the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and
other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke
the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor
of Almighty God.

Solar minimum #24


Fun fact: a similar dearth of sunspots was documented during the 1645-1715 period referred to as the Maunder Minimum. During this time, crops failed and the Thames River in London froze, making “frost fairs” along its frozen shores possible. Ironically, the Maunder Minimum also began just a few decades after the dawn of the age of telescopic astronomy. During this time, the idea of “spots on the Sun” was regulated to a controversial, and almost mythical status in mainstream astronomy.

~ Fraser Cain

Does anyone else know the meme of the sound of a needle being pulled off of a record? …that “low screeching tearing rrrr r r r r rRRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRIP sound”?

Yeah, that’s what my brain did when I realized there was a modern era Dr Who episode about them investigating a mystery during a frost fair ON the frozen Thames.

Wait, that was actually a thing…

Violins are meant to sing. Literally sing.


Another finding suggests that Geminiani was onto something. All of the violins included in the study displayed some sonic overlap with the sung vowels. But in the 1570 Amati and the 1560 da Salo, “every violin note appears to carry some degree of human vowel character,” Tai et. al. write in the paper. “This may have been one of the … goals implemented by Amati” when he was inventing and perfecting his design: to make the violin literally sing.

I don’t know why this struck me as amazing. I mean, sure, violins sound amazing, and playing them is subtly difficult. But the idea that someone sat down — in the 1500 — and said, “How do I make an instrument that sounds like a human voice singing.” Mind blown.

That royal road to the physical and mental derangement of mankind


And here I would like to add a word of warning to those I am trying to help, for a study of the letters in which the writers tell of experiencing difficulty in understanding, show signs of having been written after a quick reading rather than a close and careful study of the subject matter. I read recently an article suggesting that people should practise reading quickly, although the habit of too quick reading in which understanding becomes dominated by speed — that royal road to the physical and mental derangement of mankind — is an only too common failing today. This is only one example of the habit of too quick reaction to stimuli in general, and to its prevalence may be traced most of the misunderstandings, misconception and misdirecrion of effort manifested by the great majority of people today in conducting matters relating to the body politic.

~ F Matthias Alexander, in the 1941 preface to new edition of “The Use of the Self”

There is nothing new under the sun.