The two most dangerous words in the English language today …

August 18, 2017

When it comes to human behavior, “studies show” are becoming “the two most dangerous words in the English language today.”

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According to Andy Kessler, writing in the WSJ

Many of the cited studies on human behavior are pure bunk.

For example:

The 270 researchers working under the auspices of the Center for Open Science spent four years trying to reproduce 100 leading psychology experiments.

They successfully replicated only 39 of the 100 psychology experiments.

A survey of 1,576 scientists published in Nature reported that “more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments … and more than half are unable to reproduce their own experiments.”

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What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

It takes more than a swig of ‘tussin …

August 17, 2017

The was a comedian on America’s Got Talent this week that reminded me of Chris Rock.

Chris Rock is a very funny guy.

His routine on the many uses of Robitussin (‘tussin, for short) is a comedy classic.

The ‘tussin skit sets the context for the rest of this post.

If you haven’t seen it – or want a refresher — click to view it now.

 

 

I always assumed that Rock was a naturally funny guy who just stoked up and unleashed a stream of top-of-mind consciousness on stage.

I was surprised to learn that Rock takes his craft very seriously and toils long and hard to test and fine-tune his material.

Here’s a glimpse at his recipe for success …

Read the rest of this entry »

NIST’s new password security rules beg a question …..

August 16, 2017

How long does it take to hack a 16-character password?

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Last week, NIST ((the National Institute of Standards and Technology) issued new guidelines for password security.

After a review, NIST concluded that its former rules — passwords to include upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters — made logins more complicated but didn’t materially improve online security.

Now, NIST is recommending using long, easy-to-remember phrases instead of relatively short strings of mixed letters, numbers and characters.

The rationale: the longer the string, the harder it is to crack.

For example some researchers concluded that it would only take 3 days to crack a password like “Tr0ub4dor&3” —  but over  550 years to crack the password “CorrectHorseBatteryStaple”

computer hacker

Oh really?

The story reminded me of a prior HomaFiles post that reported on a hacking test.

Hackers were given 1 hour to crack more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passwords.

Her are the (frightening) results …

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Does anybody remember blockbuster?

August 15, 2017

Are movie theaters heading for the same junk heap?

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According to the WSJ

Movie theaters are reeling from a very disappointing summer season.

The summer 2017 season has been defined by big-budget movies that failed to live up to their massive marketing campaigns.

A steady stream of lackluster major releases …  has depressed moviegoing in the U.S. and Canada, where admissions are down about 5% so far this year. Revenues are down 2.9%, with slightly higher ticket prices making up for some of the attendance drop.

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Theater chain execs attribute the decline to the lackluster movie releases.

But, investors are starting to wonder if the industry is being fundamentally disrupted …

Read the rest of this entry »

Who’s paying for the Medicaid expansion?

August 14, 2017

It’s a microcosm of a messy system.

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Let’s pit the question in context with a budget recap from the WSJ

As ObamaCare came on stream in 2014, spending on Medicaid in exploded.

Annual federal Medicaid outlays rose from $265 billion in 2013 to an estimated $378 billion this year, and they are expected to keep climbing to $439 billion on current trend by 2020.

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But, the projections above are premised “on the current trend.”

The CBO underestimated the “power of free” and enrollments continue to soar way past initial projections.

Further, the Medicaid blowout is likely to accelerate, as states that have so far refused the federal freebie accept that the expansion is here to stay and sign on.

So, who picks up the bill?

Read the rest of this entry »

Teachers with conservative views don’t make the cut.

August 11, 2017

Topic came up in recent chats, prompting this HomaFiles flashback…

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GREAT article in the WSJ from MSB’s own John Hasnas – MSB Professor of Policy & Ethics: The One Kind of Diversity Colleges Avoid

His central point: When recruiting faculty, universities seek diversity by gender, race and nationality … but, not ideology.

In many instances, conservatives and libertarians need not apply.

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That conclusion probably doesn’t surprise many of you who already see the elephant in the middle of the room.

But, Prof. Hasnas provides some texture and “inside scoop”

Here are a couple of highlight snippets from the article … Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re stressed out by your grade, just change it … say, what?

August 10, 2017

Here’s one from the “great moments in higher education” file.

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According to Inside Higher Education

Rick Watson — a business professor at the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business — included a “stress-reduction policy” in his course syllabus. syllabus

Under the policy, students could change their grades if they felt “unduly stressed” by the one they received, and leave group work at any time, without any explanation, if they felt stressed by the situation.

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Here is the complete stress-reduction policy ….

Read the rest of this entry »

GE’s Immelt on leadership …

August 9, 2017

On his last day as GE’s CEO, Jeff Immelt sent a message to all GE employees.

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Here’s my key points extract from Immelt’s remarks

Learning is a part of the DNA for all good leaders.

At GE, I never stopped learning.

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Here are some of the lessons Immelt said that he learned:

Read the rest of this entry »

How many medical schools are there?

August 8, 2017

… and how many medical degrees are granted each year?

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Let’s start with the last question first…

Currently, U.S. medical schools graduate almost 19,000 students each year.

Most healthcare pundits agree that – while the number has been increasing over recent years – too few are being graduated to forestall an anticipated doctor shortage.

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Note that since 1960, there have been 3 distinct periods: growth from 1960 to 1982, flatline from 1982 and resumed growth from 2006.

Here’s a short history of medical school openings and admissions …

Read the rest of this entry »

Polygraphs won’t catch leakers … say, what?

August 7, 2017

Last week, AG Sessions announced a stepped-up effort to catch and prosecute leakers.

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The ACLU quickly hit the presses, arguing action against leakers was a threat against free speech and freedom of the press.

Say, what?

We’re talking about classified government information, boys.

Then, things heated up when Kelly Ann Conway hinted that suspected leakers might be subjected to polygraph testing.

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Conway’s remarks unleashed a rash of anti-polygraph rants:

  • It won’t work … other Presidents have tried and leaks continued
  • It’s not admissible in court … so the DOJ won’t be able to prosecute.
  • It’s bad HR policy … destroys the employer-employee bond on trust

Here are some things for the critics to consider …

Read the rest of this entry »

How many doctors are women?

August 4, 2017

…. and, how old is the pool of active doctors?

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Even though Congress is punting on healthcare (or maybe because Congress is punting on healthcare), I decided to to get better informed on the topic.

Of course, I like to start with the numbers.

Where better to start, than with the “ 2016 Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States”

Note: Unless noted to the contrary, all data reported below is from this census .

Today, let’s look at physician demographics ….

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An aging pool of doctors

The average age Active Licensed Physicians is just a bit over 50 years old.

Older doctors (over 60 years old) are the biggest age group … and their percentage of the overall mix has been increasing.

Bottom line: the pool of doctors is aging as baby boomer doctors “mature”.

 

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How do the numbers break out by gender?

Read the rest of this entry »

CNN: “Speaking English” limits immigration to people from Great Britain & Australia … say, what?

August 3, 2017

Let’s connect a couple of dots today …

In case you missed it, abrasive Trump policy wonk Stephen Miller got into a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta.

Miller was briefing the press on President Trump’s RAISE Act, which would move critical skills immigrants to the head of the line and require that immigrants learn English before they come to the United States.

Acosta challenged the English language requirement and asked:

“Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”

Miller’s response:

“I have to honestly say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English”.

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The 2nd dot:

I’m into infographics these days and, earlier this week, a friend sent me a great one.

Initially, I was just intrigued by the infograhic’s structure and style.

Suddenly, its content has taken on a higher relevance.

Below is a the featured component of the infographic — a cool pie chart that proportionately depicts the “world’s most spoken languages”.

English is the modestly sized yellow section in the top left corner.

Point to CNN’s Acosta, right?

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Not so fast, mes amis.

Let’s look at a couple of other parts of the full  infographic ….

Read the rest of this entry »

How many doctors are there in the U.S.?

August 2, 2017

… and how many got their degrees from U.S. schools?

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Even though Congress is punting on healthcare (or maybe because Congress is punting on healthcare), I decided to to get better informed on the topic.

Of course, I like to start with the numbers.

Where better to start, than with the “ 2016 Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States”

Note: Unless noted to the contrary, all data reported below is from this census.

Here are some of my takeaways ….

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There are about 950,000 active licensed physicians (ALPs) in the U.S.

Doing the arithmetic, that works out to about 350 people per doctor … or, reversing the stat, about 295 doctors per 100,000 of population.

The number of doctors per 100,000 of population is relative even across states, with one glaring exception … that might explain our crack Congress is content dragging their heels on real healthcare reform.


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Let’s dig a little deeper into the numbers ….

 

Read the rest of this entry »

President acts Russian … names more than 30 “Czars”

August 1, 2017

Why hasn’t this gotten any attention recently?

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Dems and their media buddies keep hammering Trump for being too cozy with Russia.

The slightest innuendo or chance encounter (think: Trump chats with Putin at formal G20 dinner”) gets blown up into a faux cause celebre that quickly evaporates.

Imagine for a moment if President Trump were to circumvent the Senate’s “advise & consent” rules by appointing people to his administration who play high-level cabinet-like roles … but aren’t subject to Senate approval.

The screaming would be deafening.

And, imagine if Trump were to call the process-circumventing appointees “Czars”.

Russia !  Russia !!!  Russia !!!!

Clear evidence of collusion: Impeach for treason.

 

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Only problem with the story: Trump hasn’t done it, but Obama did … to a gleeful, encouraging press that argued “he had no choice but to do it.”

For a trip down memory lane, here’s a list of Obama’s Czars….

Read the rest of this entry »

Trump threatens to make Congress live by the laws they pass ….

July 31, 2017

Starting with Congressional ObamaCare carve-outs.

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It’s no secret that I get annoyed every time Congress passes legislation that provides that it doesn’t apply to them.

See Should lawmakers (and regulators) have to eat their own cooking?

So, I was delighted when President Trump tweeted over the weekend:

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly … BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

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Here’s the back story …

Read the rest of this entry »

Laughs: AGT presents the “Singing Trump”

July 28, 2017

You have to trust me on this one …

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Yeah, I’m still watching America’s Got Talent .

I watch it so that you don’t have to … except for the highlights that I dish to loyal readers.

Here’s a hilarious one for you, whether you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump …

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The back story:

When the Singing Trump walked on stage for his first audition, the crowd booed loudly … remember, it is an NBC show.

Australian “Mel B.” – former Spice Girl and now an AGT judge – joined the booing and gave him a disqualifying ‘red X’ as soon as he started his act.  Politically motivated?

The other judges passed him on to the next round.

This time, crowd was friendlier and Mel B. said

“I have to eat my words and apologize. You’re just like ‘him’ and you entertained us with the best 2 Backstreet Boys songs ever.”

End the week with a smile (and maybe a laugh).

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click to view

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#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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To fix healthcare, the GOP has to nuke the legislative filibuster …

July 27, 2017

The past couple of weeks of Repeal & Replace has been annoying along several dimensions.

Foremost, all of the chatter has been about health insurance, not healthcare … just fiddling with who is going to get stuck paying … moving nickels around.

Woefully little talk about how to improve healthcare delivery.

That’s not surprising since the Senate’s fillibuster rules require 60 votes to pass any legislative action.

Keep in mind that Obama had 60 Senate votes in 2009 and 2010 … thanks to the DOJ sidelining Ted Stevens and Al Franken pulling a narrow upset in a disputed election.

Today, there are 48 Dems who reliably vote in lemming-like lockstep against anything the GOP proposes.

Even if centrist Dems were to band together with moderate GOPs,  the middle-of-the-roaders wouldn’t have enough votes to get a sensible proposal enacted.  It would be squashed by either the ultra-conservatives or the ultra-liberals.

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So, the GOP-controlled Senate has its hands tied … it has to work through the “reconciliation” process which, by definition, just moves nickels around.

I think its time for McConnell to go nuclear…

Read the rest of this entry »

Technology throws educators another curve ball …

July 26, 2017

Now, students can access an inventory of exam answers.

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In a prior post Why Johnny can’t write … we reported that high school teachers are assigning fewer writing assignments … in part, because many students simply Google the topic and plagiarize much of their work.

And, they can do so with a high degree of impunity, knowing that teachers and administrators will look the other way rather than go through the aggravation of prosecuting a case of academic dishonesty.

OK, that’s essays and term papers.

But, tests that students take should be relatively clean, right?

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Not so fast, cheating on tests has always been around, but now it’s going high tech …

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Forever, teachers have provided students will sample test questions and libraried past exams.

Students have passed the word to fellow students about tests – how hard? what topics? what questions?

Now there’s a high tech turbo-charger.

In the old days, students might try to slip a note to a fellow test-taker with answers.

Not a prevalent problem since the process was easily detected with documented evidence – the captured note.

Teachers now report that some students will use their cell phones to take a photo of their answers and instant message them to a classmate across the room.

Hit delete and the electronic evidence is gone.

Try to ban cell phones and hear a chorus of “But, it’s my calculator, I need it.”

Now it’s not just a few renegades in class sharing answers.

The process is escalating thanks to technology.

For example, there’s company called QEDed .”

“QEDed is a mobile app that allows you to share your questions and answers from same name courses such as Econ 101, Calculus 101 with schoolmates and new friends around the world.”

Sounds innocuous enough, right?

Here’s a nightmare scenario for teachers:

In real-time student test takers access a QEDed-like site and search for a similar question.

Ouch.

Of course, a defense mechanism might be having students surrender their electronic devices as they enter the test room.

Yeah, right.

Let me know how that goes …

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#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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Pareto is alive and well … and haunting the U.S. healthcare system.

July 25, 2017

According to the National Health Care Management Association analysis of  2008 healthcare spending:

  • The top 1 percent of the population was responsible for 20.2 percent of spending.
  • The top 5 percent of the population accounted for almost half (47.5 percent) of all health care spending.
  • ABout 60% of the top 5 percent (and top 1 percent) are 55 and older; about 40% is 65 and over
  • The top 10 percent of the population accounted for 63.6 percent of all spending.
  • 15.6 percent of the civilian, non-institutionalized population had no health care spending at all in 2008
  • The half of the population with the lowest spending accounted for only 3.1 percent of all expenditures.

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>> Latest Posts

Wonder why it’s so hard to untangle ObamaCare?

July 24, 2017

Here’s a (scary) chart that puts the program in context.

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Seriously, here’s a graphic of the ObamaCare organization structure and processes …

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Here’s a link to enlarged version and another to a summary that decodes the chart and lists some of the bill’s key provisions.

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Take a quick glance at the flowchart and ask yourself: ”Think this will work?”

The bill’s laundry list special interest provisions caught my eye…

Read the rest of this entry »

In praise of the “child’s mind” …

July 21, 2017

One of my current summer reads is “Presentation Zen” …

Theme of the book is that great slide presentations contain appropriate content arranged in the most efficient, graceful manner without superfluous decoration.

In Zen-speak, the key principles are: Restraint in preparation. Simplicity in design. Naturalness in delivery.

Now, to today’s point …

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Recently, one friend said of another friend : He’s like an “infant-adult”.

Nothing derogatory intended.

Just observing that the guys seemed to derive a “wow” from practically every experience.

That makes life a lot more enjoyable (I think).

And, it’s very Zen-like.

According to the book, Zen teachings often speak of the “beginner’s mind” or “child’s mind.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Johnny can’t write …

July 20, 2017

Chatting with faculty colleagues, there seems to be a consensus that writing skills among MBA students have been declining.

I’m not talking about flowery prose and precise grammar.

I’m talking about logical argumentation … being able to explain why something is happening and what to do about it.

My hypothesis was that colleges aren’t requiring students to take courses (or demonstrate proficiency) in, say, critical thinking or logic … and that college students today aren’t required to write many papers that hone their thinking and writing skills.

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Testing my hypothesis on a middle school math teacher-friend, I got a rude awakening …

Read the rest of this entry »

Remember how we got into this ObamaCare mess?

July 19, 2017

It was DOJ action that changed the course of our nation in 2008 — giving us, for example, ObamaCare.

Flashback to 2008 … you know, the year that Barack Obama was elected.

Well, the DOJ didn’t indict Sen. John McCain for anything … nor did it overtly pave the way for Obama’s election.

But  the DOJ did tilt the legislative scales in a defining way.

Who did they indict?

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The DOJ indicted Alaska’s Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history. He was indicted during his 2008 re-election campaign.

What were the charges, what were the implications, and how was the case ultimately resolved?

Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re one of the 155 million people on employee-based health insurance plans …

July 18, 2017

Here’s the main reason why YOUR health insurance premiums have gone up.

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All the repeal & replace attention seems to be on the 20 million people who are getting insurance via Extended Medicaid or ObamaCare Exchanges.

Virtually no light is being shined on the vast majority of folks who are covered by employer plans.

Case-in-point: the soaring premiums being paid by employees … hardly the $2,500 reduction that was promised.

Here’s one of the reasons that premiums have gone up not down …

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Most people – probably bordering on all – would agree that people with pre-existing conditions should be able to get health insurance.

I accept that as a non-debatable point.

But, I got curious about the economics of so-called “guaranteed coverage”… i.e. how much does it cost, and who pays for it?

Specifically, for folks covered by employer plans, how much of their increase in health insurance premiums over the past couple of years is attributable to guaranteed coverage?

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Let’s take a whack at the numbers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Finally, I can answer my cell without carrying it around the house.

July 17, 2017

Link-2-cell may be America’s best kept secret.

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For years, I’ve wondered why somebody hadn’t invented a way for my charging cell phone to ring in distant points of my home.

I was willing to sprint to the phone to answer it … but I didn’t want to carry it around … and I couldn’t hear the ring tone when I was in rooms across the house.

When I whined to a tech-savvy friend, he told me that I wasn’t thinking boldly enough  … that a technology called Link-2-Cell was already in the market … and it did more than just ring across the house.

 

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Here’s the scoop …

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I finally chucked my landline.

Make that: I kinda chucked my landline … porting from a classic Verizon copper line to an Xfinity VOIP connection.

I know: that’s no big deal … and it’s still old school to maintain any kind of landline.

Stay tuned … here’s where the story gets interesting.

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I also bought a Panasonic Link-2-cell phone system (base station plus 5 handsets on sale at Costco for $85).

It looks like a standard Panasonic cordless phone set-up.

Of course, I can plug my Xfinity VOIP line into the base station … and it works just like an old fashioned landline system

But, it’s much more than that..

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Here’s the cool part:

I can link my cell phone (and my wife’s) to the base station via Bluetooth … just like they connect to our cars’ hands-free systems.

As long as the cells are within Bluetooth range of the base station, any incoming cell phone calls get routed to all 5 of the handsets.

Our ring tones play through the remote handsets (so we know which phone is getting the call)

… and we can simply pick up any of the handsets to answer the call.

When we’re at home, we can just charge our cells in their usual place … and our house phone system magically transforms to a cell-based distributed phone system.

That is quite cool.

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P.S.  A landline isn’t required … the system can be used as just a cell call router.

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#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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In praise of gridlock …

July 14, 2017

And, why I don’t care if Trump gets impeached.

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I had a few very interesting conversations over the past week or two.

They revolved around a couple of linked topics:

1) Buyer’s remose

2) Congressional gridlock

3) Impeachment

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For what it’s worth, here’s how I come out on these topics …

Read the rest of this entry »

Will liberal arts majors inherit the world?

July 13, 2017

A strong argument … but the data contradicts.

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One of my summer reads is a book called “The fuzzy and the techie” by Scott Hartley –formerly of Google & Facebook, now a venture capitalist.

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Hartley’s basic premise is that, almost by definition, liberal arts majors acquire fundamental thinking and communication skills, such as critical thinking, logical argumentation, and complex problem solving.

Sounds good, but here’s the rub …

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World …

July 12, 2017

Casually chatting with a friend about the benefits (and liabilities) of a liberal arts degree, I  mentioned  a book called A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World.

As a hard core left-brainer, I take this one personally.

But, to be fair & balanced …

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Here’s the crux of the book …

The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers.

But, the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.

We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age …

… to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.

Why the shift?

Because any kind of work that be reduced to repeatable rules and defined processes can be automated or shipped off-shore – even so-called knowledge work

Survival in the Conceptual Age requires thinking skills utilizing the right-side of the brain.

Specifically, “high concept” involves the capacity to:

  • detect patterns and opportunities
  • create artistic and emotional beauty
  • craft a satisfying narrative

…. and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new and distinctive.

Amazon link

What’s required to to succeed in Conceptual Age?

Read the rest of this entry »

Should chess be taught in schools?

July 11, 2017

Chess players are smarter – DNA or training?

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Interesting article from the American Council of Science and Health …

A group of researchers examined people who do and do not play chess.

The question: are chess players smarter than non-chess players?

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Here’s what the researchers found …

Read the rest of this entry »

Want to estimate somebody’s IQ?

July 10, 2017

Ask them what their college major was.

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As the American Council of Science and Health puts it:

Though we don’t like to admit it, intelligence and IQ matter.

Creative people tend to have higher IQs.

Expertise, in any area, generally requires a higher IQ.

One research study concluded that a degree in math or physics takes an IQ of at least 120.

Taking the converse of that last point a step further, an analysis by Quartz indicates that a person’s college major serves as a good proxy for intellectual aptitude.

The Quartz analysis wasn’t able to determine the average IQ by college major, but it was able to triangulate from several cognitive metrics that all converged on a similar pattern.

So, extrapolating to IQ from a metric like SAT or GRE scores isn’t a big leap.

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Let’s drill down on the findings …

Read the rest of this entry »

Should lawmakers (and regulators) have to eat their own cooking?

July 7, 2017

Might induce some genuine empathy and motivate some constructive action.

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According to The Atlantic …

As a presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter criticized “exclusive private schools that allow the children of the political and economic elite to avoid public schools that are considered dangerous or inferior.”

When he assumed office in 1977, he did something remarkable:

He enrolled his 9-year-old daughter, Amy, in a predominantly black Washington, D.C., public school.

Amy became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend a public school since 1906.

She still is.

Gotta give the man credit for walking the talk.

Former President Obama?

Not so much …

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A Dept. of Education study found that students in the nation’s capital that were provided with vouchers allowing them to attend private school made “statistically significant gains in achievement.”

Despite that finding, then President Obama curtailed the program … and turned around and enrolled his daughters in Sidwell Friends – the swank private school of choice for the DC elite.

So, it wasn’t at all surprising that several sources found that many of the Democratic Senators who voted against school voucher advocate Betsy DeVos –- opt out of the public school system and send their off-spring to private schools.

OK, maybe they really thought that DeVos wasn’t as qualified as Obama’s basketball buddy, Arne Duncan, who presided for 7 years over declining test scores and “failing schools” headlines.

Or, maybe their pro-choice inclinations don’t really extend beyond their family & friends when it comes to education.

As the USN&WR opined:

Education politics are big business in America, often pitting institutionalized interests like the NEA against parents and kids.

And, equally unfortunately, there are far too many people who are in a position to right the wrongs who are taking advantage of their ability to opt out of the discussion, at least as far as their own children are concerned.

Where education is concerned there’s one America for the elites, like members of Congress and the President, who send their children to private schools.

And, there’s one for everyone else, the regular people who are seeing the educational dreams they have for their children shattered on the altar of politics.

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So, what’s the answer?

Read the rest of this entry »

Mastering math … or anything else.

July 6, 2017

Some insights on the science & practice of learning.

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Interesting article buried in the  WSJ: “How a Polymath Mastered Math—and So Can You”

The subject polymath (a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning) is Prof. Barbara Oakley.

To make her long story short, she was a self-proclaimed horrible math student in high school, dove back into math in her mid-20s, and is now an engineering professor..

“Her progression from desultory student to respected scholar led her to a sideline in the study of learning itself.”

She is the author of ‘A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)’ and ‘Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential’.

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Here are a few snippets from the article …

Read the rest of this entry »

Latest honor: The Budweiser ‘Good Sport’ Award

July 5, 2017

Here it is on the Washington Nationals’ Jumbotron …

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And, besides being flashed to the crowd, here’s the bundle of loot that I got …

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 4th of July !

July 3, 2017

Take a moment to remember how lucky we are …

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Killer chart: OC’s middle class crunch …

June 30, 2017

Yesterday’s post recapped articles from the NYT and WSJ that made a common, largely unrecognized point:

The expansion of “free” and near-free healthcare to approximately 15 million currently uninsureds (out of about 45 million uninsured citizens) is – to a large extent – being funded by the working middle class.

Case in point: the net insurance premiums paid after subsidies on the Obama Exchanges.

Using the Kaiser Foundation subsidy calculator , I picked off the net premiums for single, non-smoking 25 year olds across a range of incomes … and calculated the net premium as a percentage of income.

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Here are the fundamental takeaways …

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Flashback: Even the NYT admitted that ObamaCare had losers, too …

June 29, 2017

And, those folks reside in the middle class !

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Since healthcare (err, make that “health insurance”) is front and center again, I thought I’d dust this one off:

Way back in 2013, the NY Times published an argument defining article titled; Don’t Dare Call the Health Law ‘Redistribution’

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I assumed that it would be a typical NYT pro-Obama pitch about how ObamaCare wasn’t a redistribution of wealth … that it was simply a well-intended effort to improve the wasn’t a redistribution of wealth … that it was simply a well-intended effort to improve the health care system by providing universal insurance coverage.

To the contrary.

The article put in black & white the “truth” that, at it’s core, ObamaCare is a wealth distribution scheme with both winners and losers.

OMG, they said it.

Not “like it, keep it with lower premiums” but “winners & losers”

Here are the killer quotes ….

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Has ObamaCare provided more healthcare?

June 28, 2017

Not really: it just covered more people with health insurance?

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In my consulting / problem-solving class, I emphasize asking the right question before starting to gather data, doing analyses, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Then, would someone please explain to me why the politcos (on both sides) obsess over health insurance coverage (how many people are covered) and largely ignore the quantity & quality healthcare that Americans are getting?

 

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Source: AAMC

My conclusion: More Americans now have health insurance, but healthcare hasn’t increased … it has just been re-distributed.

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One way to alleviate the shortage of doctors…

June 27, 2017

Grant med school grads provisional licenses.

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Very interesting idea reported by the Heritage Foundation

It widely accepted that the U.S. has a current shortage of doctors that is expected to balloon as the demand increases (aging population, expanded Medicaid, etc.).

Current estimates put the 2030 shortage between 40,000 and 105,000.

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Each year, US med schools crank out about 18,000 medical degrees. Source

Dictated by the AMA, before getting licensed, these grads need to go through formal residency programs at teaching hospitals.

Here’s the rub.

The residency programs are largely government funded, and there are spending caps.

Spending caps translate to enrollment caps.

So, each year, about 5,000 of the med school grads — more than 25%) — don’t get a residency slot.

No residency, no license.

Reportedly, these non-residentially certified med school grads either land in non-patient treating medical jobs (think “pharma”) or leave healthcare all together.

The usual response: just throw more tax dollars at the problem.

But, there are other options…

Addressing the problem, a few states have implemented a program that Heritage is now touting: provisional licenses.

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Is there another Y2K on the horizon?

June 26, 2017

Oregon goes “non-binary”.

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Let’s connect a couple of dots today …

First, the White House recently announced  that it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies.

Included was an obscure rule that requires agencies to continue providing updates on their preparedness for a bug that afflicted many computer systems when the calendar turned on January 1, 2000 – more than 16 years ago.

Tech note: In the 1900’s, to save tape and disk space, most computer programs coded years in 2-digits, e.g. ‘1988’= ’88’.

But, coding ‘2000’ as ‘00’ would cause many problems since computers would think the ‘00’ would mean 1900, e.g  a baby born on January 1, 2000 would be 100 years old at birth.

Date-dependent programs were affected, and the fixes were both costly and time-consuming. But, the job got done!

 

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Seven of the 50 paperwork requirements that were eliminated dealt with the Y2K bug.

OMB estimates that the changes could save tens of thousands of man-hours across the federal government.

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The second story comes from the state of Oregon:

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Oregon became the first state to allow residents to identify as “nonbinary,” neither male nor female, on their driver licenses and identification cards.Beginning July 1, Oregonians will be able to choose “X” for sex Instead of “F” or “M” on their licenses and identification cards.

Most Oregonians favored the change.

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So, what’s the problem?

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Dilbert asks: “Who wants a dangerous man in the White House?”

June 23, 2017

Well, not actually Dilbert … rather Dilbert’s author Scott Adams.

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With all of the MSM “Trump is a bad person” hysteria … coupled with the Dems 4th straight special elections loss … I was reminded of a prior (and once again timely) post.

During the Presidential campaign, Adams hit the nail on the head on his Dilbert blog, …

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Adams observed that, during the campaign, , Hillary’s constant refrain that we can’t have a loose cannon in the White House.

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Adam’s cut to the chase on on “Dangerous Trump”:

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Will Mueller give Comey immunity?

June 22, 2017

May not be as wild as it sounds.

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Let’s connect some dots today …

MSM has been buzzing about Trump reportedly considering pardons for some of his “satellites” termination of Mueller as special investigator … and, Mueller shining a spotlight on the alleged obstruction of justice charges that Comey kinda lobbed into the mix.

Keep in mind that — well after the fact —  Comey provided sworn testimony that that his investigation had not been subjected to any obstruction. Period.

Then, after getting canned, he leaked his ‘file-to-the-memo’ to the New York Times.

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Strikes me, that Comey – as usual – was trying to be too cute by half and got himself into a bit of a bind.

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Re: Comey … WSJ got it right … in 2013!

June 21, 2017

Comey never has been a political….

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Prior to last July, Comey was branded as independent, high integrity and apolitical.

Apolitical?

While people seemed shocked these days, his stripes were clear years ago.

 

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The Wall Street Journal had the guy pegged right all along.

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Great moments in education … really

June 20, 2017

DC public school “graduates” pre-schoolers.

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Yes, I’m a doting grandfather.

My granddaughter Maddie has been attending pre-school at Hyde-Addison Elementary — a DC public school.

Not a a typical DC school since it’s located in Georgetown …

Evidence: Last week, a highly supportive parents’ group arranged for Maddie’s pre-school class to “graduate” in caps & gowns.

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My first reaction: It seems like a bit of overkill … but she sure looks cute.

Upon reflection, I think the parents at Hyde-Addison School have hit on a brilliant idea…

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Recap: The 10 reasons why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 19, 2017

I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

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For the record, here are the 10 reasons that I’m a lukewarmer … with links to the prior posts:

  1.   Unsettling science   From “Ice Age” to  “Global Warming”  to “18-year Pause” to“Climate Change”.

2.   Expired doomsday predictions   By 2016, NYC would be swamped, Polar bears would be extinct, etc.

3.  The “97% of scientists” baloney   Oft-repeated doesn’t make it true – here’s the real story

4.  Dinking with the data   Temperature data “adjusted” by the NOAA eliminated the 18-year pause and bolstered the global warming case

5.  Temperature readings – plus or minus   Bottom line: thermometers weren’t very precise in the old days … and still have wide variances

6.  What’s the earth’s temperature?   It depends on the mix of reporting locations and an array of factors at each of them

7.  The Climategate Emails   Climate scientists were exposed hiding exculpatory data for political purposes

8.  Low on American’s worry list   Folks will nod that it’s probably getting warmer, but have more urgent matters to worry about (like keeping their jobs or getting healthcare)

9.  Seen a Volt recently?   Obama vowed a million EVs by now – where are the “believers”?

10. Letting the perps walk   For all practical purposes, the Paris Accords gave the world’s worst polluters – India & China – a free pass.

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And, my advice to climate change advocates:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to fighting pollution — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocricy

(4)  Show some respect for the opinions of lukewarmers (or even skeptics)

#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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#10 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 19, 2017

Reason #10- Letting the perps walk

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney  (4) Dinking with the data  (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus (6) What’s the earth’s temperature? (7) The Climategate Emails (8) Low on American’s worry list and (9) Seen a Volt recently?

Let’s move on…

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Reason #10 – Letting the perps walk

This one is pretty straightforward …

China has reached record-breaking levels of air pollution that the monitoring equipment can no longer keep track.

Unfortunately, air pollution isn’t just affecting China. Greenpeace states that India is now the world’s worst when it comes to air pollution.

The average India citizen is exposed to 5x as much air pollution as the average Chinese citizen. Source

Ouch!

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And, the revered Paris Accords won’t make things better any time soon…

Read the rest of this entry »

#9 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 16, 2017

Reason #9 – Seen a Volt lately?

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney  (4) Dinking with the data  (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus (6) What’s the earth’s temperature? (7) The Climategate Emails and (8) Low on American’s worry list

Let’s move on…

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Reason #9 – Seen a Volt lately?

In a prior post, we presented some survey data indicating that climate change is far down the list of things concerning average Americans.

Survey data is always subject to some interpretation, and surveys often contradict one another.

So, let’s look at some hard data.

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Flashback to 2008: former President Barack Obama set a goal of getting one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.

So, how’s it going?

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#8 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 15, 2017

Reason #8 – Low on American’s worry list

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney  (4) Dinking with the data  (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus (6) What’s the earth’s temperature? and (7) The Climategate emails

Let’s move on…

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Reason #8: Climate change is low on American’s worry list

According to a survey reported by tleft-leaning Brookings:

About 2/3’s of Americans think that they’ve read or heard solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer.

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OK, they say that they think the earth is getting warmer.

But here’s the rub:

Even if folks agree  that they’ve read or heard that the earth is warming, they don’t seem to care much.

Read the rest of this entry »

#7 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change …

June 14, 2017

Reason #7: The Climategate emails

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney  (4) Dinking with the data  (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus and (6) What’s the earth’s temperature?

Let’s move on…

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Reason #7: The Climategate emails

“Climategate” was a scandal involving the hacking of servers at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and subsequent public release of thousands of emails among scientists working to prove that humans are causing a global warming crisis.

Of course, climate zealots thought the scandal was the hacking.

Climate skeptics thought the scandal was the content of the emails.

Sound familiar?

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click for Amazon link

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The leaked emails were quite revealing…

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#6 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 13, 2017

Reason #6: What’s the earth’s temperature?

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney (4) Dinking with the data  and (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus

Let’s move on…

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Reason #6: What’s the earth’s temperature?

Climate “scientists” are confidently forecasting temperatures to to fractional degrees … 50 or 100 years out.

Contrast that to a local DC TV station which promotes a 3-degree forecast guarantee for the next day’s high temperature.

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That is, if the next day’s high temperature at a specific measurement location (think, Reagan Airport) falls within a specified 6-degree band (the forecast plus or minus 3 degrees), the weatherman lays claim to another successful forecast.

The success rate is about 90% … or conversely:

The weather guy misses about 10% of the time on a next day temperature forecast … despite a robust 6-degree forecast range.

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The Washington Post took an interesting swipe at the 3-degree guarantee:

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#5 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

June 12, 2017

Reason #5: Temperature readings – plus or minus.

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I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney and (4) Dinking with the data .

Let’s move on…

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Reason #5: Temperature readings – plus or minus.

Let’s start with a personal story….

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Last week I had an air conditioning problem that I isolated to the thermostat … specifically, the themometer’s digital thermometer.

For openers, I showed the HVAC repair guy my handy portable digital thermometer that was reading 73 degrees … and pointed to the thermostat which was reading 76 degrees.

He reached into his bag and pulled out “truth” … a fancy electronic gadget that measures temperatures precisely (or so the guy said).

Guess what … “truth” read 74 degrees.

OK, so which was the real temperature?

The guy’s response: “Best we hope for is getting these things within a couple of degrees of each other.”

Really?

We couldn’t get a $1,000 space-age thermostat, a personal digital thermometer (reading temps out to 1 decimal place) … and, of course, the HVAC guys “truth” meter to agree.

Hmmm.

Climate zealots are confidently reporting temperatures for back 100 years ago (when digital thermometers didn’t even exist).

And, they’re confidently forecasting temperatures out a hundred years from now within 1 degree Centigrade.

Think about that for a second …

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