August Linkdump

Various unrelated links of general coolness.  Looking over this, I see that a lot of links come from Marginal Revolution (a social science and economics blog).

A philosophic debate about progressivism vs. libertarianism. Arnold Kling tries to describe progressivism. Tyler Cowen tries to elaborate in a less pejorative wayMatt Yglesias tries to explain libertarianism (and how it’s supposed to work). Mark Thompson analyzes libertarian principles by looking at quotes from Monty Python.

From a commenter on a blogpost about cross country comparisons:

All the wingers I know hold three immutable beliefs:

1) They believe everyone below them in society is immoral, lazy, contemptible and undeserving of anything they have.

2) They believe everyone above them is moral, industrious, admirable and deserving of everything they have.

3) They greatly overestimate their position in this food chain.

Speaking of health care, I keep forgetting to blog this although I’ve mentioned it on facebook several times. Here’s a comparison of European health care with American health care

Progressivefox on how I lost my health insurance at my hair stylist:

Your ex comes by to pick up your son and tells you that the municipality he works for’s administrator told him in absolute shock that the insurance company slapped a million dollar surcharge on the municipality’s insurance policy, and said it would go on yearly until you are off, but since you had exercised your right to COBRA it would “do no good” if your ex was gone. The administrator said he was so shocked and offended that he went to ALL the other carriers possible, and one by one they all gave him back a “no bid” with the proviso that they would welcome the opportunity to bid…just as soon as that leukemia patient’s COBRA rights expire. So barring leaving all the municipality’s employees naked of insurance they were absolutely trapped.

Matt Yglesias on the false use of the word “rationing" when talking about health care:

Similarly, your kid is entitled to go to a public school. They’ll teach him reading and writing and some science and history and probably Spanish or French or some such. But in the vast majority of places, you can’t have your kid taught Japanese at taxpayer expense. Again, though, we don’t live in a dystopian universe of “language rationing” in which it’s impossible to learn Japanese, you’d just have to pay someone else to do it. We of course could ban the market in private foreign language instruction, but it’s not clear why we would do that, and the existence of public sector provision of Spanish language instruction doesn’t in any sense imply a ban on the teaching of other foreign languages. What’s more, even if you’re incredibly troubled by the fact that today’s poor children don’t have the chance to learn Japanese in public school it’s still the case that eliminating public schools and lowering taxes isn’t going to leave those kids any better off. They still won’t know Japanese and now they also won’t be able to read.

David Goldhill proposes an alternate way to provide insurance: require  catastrophic insurance for  everybody and HSA’s for ordinary procedures. I don’t agree with the prescription, but he has a lot of interesting ideas in this article.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson analyzes how the media is providing inadequate coverage of health care legislation by focusing on town hall meetings.

BILL MOYERS: So the protests seem to be making some people more sympathetic to the protesters?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: And potentially the press then picks that up, polls, finds that sympathy, creates a structure that suggests that health care reform initiatives are losing support. Now polls have driven press coverage which says "Obama on the defensive. Obama struggling to explain. Obama trying," when, in fact, the dynamic under that has been created by a news structure that decided to cover this in a certain way, to do polling in a certain way. And those two things played into the process to make it more difficult for the discussion to actually happen about the substance of what’s going on.
So it’s exactly right. So we have the protests, the media coverage, especially the 24-hour news cycle, follows the protests and the town meetings. Then the polls poll about the media coverage of the protests. And we create almost an alternative reality about what is occurring out there.
When you look at the real polls about where the public actually is, what you see is there’s been a little bit of a tick down in public support and people are getting a little anxious as they follow the media coverage. But still the majority of the American people are for moving forward with this.
And we have seen more people begin to say, "Gee, I’m not so sure that this is good for me and my family," but it’s still a small number. It’s only 20, 22 percent who say, "I’m a little bit worried about this." And a much bigger number say, "I still think this is good for me and my family." And then you’ve got a group in the middle who’s not so sure. And everyone’s fighting for that group on both sides.

Gummy Bear song video. Wildly popular among children. (Found from a list of top 10 search terms by children).

Google video has episodes of Sifl and Olly (a 20 minute puppet  show on MTV in the 1990s). Here’s episode 1. If you go on a watching marathon,  watch only the clips which are 20 minutes.

Various essays about the role of sexual fantasies.

List of the words most commonly looked up on the New York Times site.

A commenter explains why “Google is the #1 search term on other search engines.

Many users get confused between the search bar and the address bar. Also, if the URL is invalid ("google"), Internet Explorer will use the default search engine (often Google) to search for the invalid URL, then redirect the user to a search page. The user ends up where s/he intended to be, so this behavior doesn’t change and becomes ingrained.

The end result is, yes, that Google users end up googling for Google. The top search term on Bing and Yahoo is "Google", unsurprisingly, and the top term on Google is "Yahoo". The second term on Google is now "Google", edging out the former top contender "sex".

˙ɟʇn sǝʌןoʌuı ʇı :ʇuıɥ ˙uʍop ǝpısdn ʇxǝʇ ɹnoʎ ǝʞɐɯ oʇ uoıʇɐɔıןddɐ qǝʍ ןooɔ

I have been very busy with various things over the past few weeks. Sorry I haven’t had much time to blog regularly.

Also, I’ve been watching Lost on my Roku. Can’t get enough of it!






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