Poverty, the Welfare State, and the Failure of Centralized Government

September 24, 2015

Centralize everything in DC’s hands, if you want to achieve perfect mediocrity.

International Liberty

As we get deeper into an election season, many politicians feel compelled to discuss how to deal with poverty.  And some of them may even be serious about trying to improve the system.

This hopefully will lead to big-picture discussions of key issues, such as why the poverty rate stopped falling in the mid-1960s.

If so, it helps to look past the headline numbers and actually understand the scope of the problem.

Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute explains that the official poverty data from the Census Bureau overstates the number of poor people.

…the official poverty rate is a positive embarrassment today. The poverty rate manifestly cannot do the single thing it was intended for: to count the number of people in our country subsisting below a fixed and absolute “poverty line.” Among its many other shortcomings, this index implicitly assumes that a family’s annual reported income…

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Approximately 66% of global surface temperature data consists of estimated values

September 24, 2015

And yet we should take drastic and extreme economy and liberty-killing measures… based on guesswork. Right.

Watts Up With That?

Summary of GHCN Adjustment-Model Effects on Temperature Data

Guest essay by John Goetz

As the debate over whether or not this year will be the hottest year ever burns on, it is worth revisiting a large part of the data used to make this determination: GHCN v3.

The charts in this post use the dataset downloaded at approximately 2:00 PM on 9/23/2015 from the GHCN FTP Site.

The monthly GHCN V3 temperature record that is used by GISS undergoes an adjustment process after quality-control checks are done. The adjustments that are done are described at a high-level here.

The adjustments are somewhat controversial, because they take presumably raw and accurate data, run it through one or more mathematical models, and produce an estimate of what the temperature might have been given a set of conditions. For example, the time of observation adjustment (TOB) takes a raw data point…

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Germans with frickin’ laser beams…

September 24, 2015
Science fiction becomes reality

Science fiction becomes reality

Looks like we aren’t the only ones with the coolest toys:

During this week’s defense and security expo in London German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defense Electronics unveiled a new sea-based anti-drone laser system.

The system, unveiled at the Defense and Security Equipment Industry Expo in London, features four high energy lasers mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser Gatling gun, Popular Mechanics reported.

The four 20 kilowatt lasers fire simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition which combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.

According to the company, using superimposition there’s not limit to the amount of energy that can be focused on a target — just add more lasers.

The Gatling laser can reportedly shoot down a drone at 500 meters. Lasers can also detonate ammunition, explode artillery shells, blind the sensors of another ship, and even burn holes in smaller ships.

Remember when they laughed at Reagan for his “Star Wars” missile defense system that included energy beams? Not only are the Germans working on energy beam weapons (you can bet this will be extended to deal with battlefield rockets), but so are we, the Israelis (Iron Dome), the Russians, undoubtedly the Chinese, and many others. What was scoffed at as the stuff of comic books and science fiction movies just 30 years from now is swiftly becoming reality, and perhaps presaging the end of the “missile age.”

This technology is only going to get better.

But, come on. Who didn’t read “Germans” and “lasers” and immediately think of this (1):

Footnote:
(1) Well, if you’re above a certain age. But, if you haven’t seen Goldfinger, you need to rethink your life choices.