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A bedbug infestation has been found on New York City subway trains.

These days, a train might not be the only thing you'll catch.


"So," Jane asked the detective she had hired.

"Did you trail my husband?"

"Yes ma'am. I did. I followed him to a bar, to an out-of-the-way restaurant and then to an apartment."

A big smile crossed Jane's face. "Aha! I've got him!" she said gloating. "Is there any doubt what he was doing?"

"No ma'am." replied the sleuth, "It's pretty clear that he was following you."


I saw a book in the self-help section on how to boost my confidence.

I was afraid to buy it.


The lawyer says to the wealthy art collector tycoon: "I have some good news and, I have some bad news”.

The tycoon replies: "I’ve had an awful day, let's hear the good news first”.

The lawyer says: “Your wife invested $5,000 in two pictures today that she figures are worth a minimum of $2 million”.

The tycoon replies enthusiastically: “Well done, very good news indeed! You've just made my day; now what’s the bad news?”

The lawyer answers: “The pictures are of you screwing your secretary”.


I wish I were telepathic.

Not just to read people's minds, which would be cool.

But to cut down on my cellular phone bill.

Issue of the Times;
Why Are Some Countries Rich While Others Are Poor?

In A Farewell To Alms, economist Gregory Clark attempts to present the reasons for the industrial revolution taking place and why all of the world’s countries were not equally affected by it. Two hundred years after the industrial revolution, some countries see untold wealth while others are actually living worse off than before it took place. He looks into the economic answers to this problem. The book starts off by examining how life was for the common man before the industrial revolution (the Malthusian era). During this time, any increase in population would mean a direct decrease in living standards. This check prevented runaway population growth.
Any increase in birth rates in the Malthusian world drives down real incomes. Conversely anything which limits birth rates drives up real income . Since life expectancy at birth in the Malthusian era was just the inverse of the birth rate, as long as birth rates remained high, life expectancy had to be low. Preindustrial society could thus raise both material living standards and life expectancy by limiting births.
This Malthusian world thus exhibits a counterintuitive logic. Anything that raised the death rate schedule— war, disorder, disease, poor sanitary practices, or abandoning breast feeding— increased material living standards. Anything that reduced the death rate schedule —advances in medical technology, better personal hygiene, improved public sanitation, public provision for harvest failures, peace and order— reduced material living standards.
Technological advancement during the Malthusian era would result in more people, but not necessarily higher income for those people.
In the preindustrial world sporadic technological advance produced people, not wealth.
Since preindustrial living standards were determined solely by fertility and mortality, the only way living standards could be higher in 1800 would be if either mortality rates were greater at a given real income or fertility was lower.
More people can live on lower incomes than in the past, especially thanks to medical advances, so population explosions can co-exist with abject poverty. The income needed to merely survive today is much lower than in the past, so there is no “punishment” for having a lot of children even if you can’t afford it (the likelihood is high that they will all survive). In the past, only the rich could have many children, but now we’re seeing an inverse situation where poor people pop them out while rich people delay birth.
If the great majority of income was spent on food then there was also little surplus for producing “culture” in terms of buildings, clothing, objects, entertainments, and spectacles. As long as the Malthusian Trap dominated, the great priority of all societies was food production.
…between 10,000 BC and AD 1800, real living conditions probably declined with the arrival of settled agriculture because of the longer work hours of these societies. The Neolithic Revolution did not bring more leisure, it brought more work for no greater material reward.
To keep birth rates low and living standards high, many cultures invented various social customs that limited births—a sort of societal birth control. Modern medicinal birth control simply duplicates what was already going on in the Malthusian era, so attributing low birth rates to birth control or feminism, for example, fails to look into the complete history. Birth rates already declined greatly before the pill was introduced. Modern life introduced by the industrial revolution is argued to be the biggest contributor to birth decline.
Could the rich of the preindustrial world actually have wanted fewer children, but been unable to achieve that desire because of a lack of effective contraception? No. Figure 14.6 shows that most of the decline toward levels of gross fertility characteristic of modern developed economies had been accomplished in England (and indeed elsewhere in Europe) by the 1920s, long before modern condoms, hormonal contraceptive pills, legalized abortion, or vasectomies.
In these societies violence was a way of gaining more resources and hence more reproductive success. Thus Napoleon Chagnon, in a famous study of the warlike Yanomamo society, found that a major predictor of reproductive success was having killed someone. Male Yanomamo sired more children at a given age if they had murdered someone than if they had not.
…in the preindustrial era cities such as London were deadly places in which the population could not reproduce itself and had to be constantly replenished by rural migrants. Nearly 60 percent of London testators left no son. Thus the craft, merchant, legal, and administrative classes of London were constantly restocked by socially mobile recruits from the countryside.
The New World after the Neolithic Revolution offered economic success to a different kind of agent than had been typical in hunter -gatherer society: Those with patience, who could wait to enjoy greater consumption in the future. Those who liked to work long hours. And those who could perform formal calculations in a world of many types of inputs and outputs— of what crop to profitably produce, how many inputs to devote to it, what land to profitably invest in.
The industrial revolution completely changed how human societies live, with aftershocks that are still taking place today. The author tries to explain why this happened.
Around 1800, in northwestern Europe and North America, man’s long sojourn in the Malthusian world ended. The iron link between population and living standards, through which any increase in population caused an immediate decline in wages, was decisively broken. Between 1770 and 1860, for example, English population tripled. Yet real incomes, instead of plummeting, rose. A new era dawned.
The model reveals that there is one simple and decisive factor driving modern growth. Growth is generated overwhelmingly by investments in expanding the stock of production knowledge in societies.
Thus, despite all the complexities of economies since the Industrial Revolution, the persistent growth we have witnessed since 1800 can be the result of only two changes: more capital per worker and greater efficiency of the production process. At the proximate level all modern growth in income per person is that simple!
Enhanced production of knowledge capital, seemingly starting around 1800, generated great external benefits throughout the economy. This increased the measured efficiency of the economy, and with it the stock of physical and human capital. Thus the path to explaining the vital event in the economic history of the world, the Industrial Revolution, is clear. All we need explain is why in the millennia before 1800 there was in all societies—warlike, peaceful, monotheist, polytheist— such limited investment in the expansion of useful knowledge, and why this circumstance changed for the first time in Britain sometime around 1800. Then we will understand the history of mankind.
The British population tripled in 120 years but their farm output didn’t increase since land was limited, so they had to import food. To import food you need a product to export. In this case it was manufactured goods. Britain quickly became the workshop of the world.
The classic Industrial Revolution, with its reliance on coal and iron, was the first step toward an economy that relied less and less on current sustained production through plants and animals, and more on mining stores of energy and minerals.
In one word, the industrial revolution created massive wealth because of efficiency:
In a world where capital flowed easily between economies, capital itself responded to differences in country efficiency levels. Inefficient countries ended up with small capital stocks and efficient ones large amounts of capital. And efficiency differences explain almost all variations between countries in income levels.
Differences in efficiency could stem from discrepancies in access to the latest technologies, from economies of scale, or from failures to utilize imported technologies appropriately.
Poor economies since the Industrial Revolution have been characterized mainly by inefficiency in production. Their problem, however, was typically not in gaining access to new technologies. The problem, it turns out, was in using these new technologies effectively.
The book finally arrives to the money shot in answering why some countries are poor and some are rich: the rich countries have the greatest efficiency in maximizing output per worker based on the same inputs.
[Poor countries] were inefficient in the use of labor, not in the use of capital. Even though they were using the same machines as the high-wage economies, they employed many more workers per machine, without obtaining any additional output from the machines. Thus in ring spinning one worker in the northern United States tended 900 spindles, while one worker in China tended only 170. On plain looms a worker in the northern United States managed eight looms at a time, in China only one or two.
Poor countries used the same technology as rich ones. They achieved the same levels of output per unit of capital. But in doing so they employed so much more labor per machine that they lost most of the labor cost advantages with which they began.
Thus the crucial variable in explaining the success or failure of economies in the years 1800– 2000 is the efficiency of the production process within the economy. Inefficiencies in poor countries took a very specific form: the employment of extra production workers per machine without any corresponding gain in output per unit of capital.
So now you’re probably wondering why is the labor in Africa or Pakistan worse than the labor in Britain or America. In the past, “labor quality” was looked into as the reason, which to me seems like a politically correct euphemism for intelligence.
Although the disparities in performance across countries remained unchanged, the “labor quality” explanation disappeared from the economics literature after World War II. Most economists now attribute the poor performance of industry in underdeveloped economies not to labor problems but to a generalized failure by management to productively employ all the inputs in production— capital and raw materials as well as labor.
The nineteenth-century view blamed these on the quality of workers, whereas the twentieth-century view tried to say the problem lay in managerial failings. But since many western managers were exported to work in foreign countries, there is little evidence that the management theory explains the wide disparity in efficiency levels. So we have this amusing let down:
Regarding the underlying cause of the differences in labor quality, there is no satisfactory theory.
The difference in wealth between nations is due to efficiency, which the author gives compelling evidence for. The difference in efficiency can only be due to labor quality, but we have no academic answer as to why the labor is different.
Another interesting piece of knowledge you’ll learn here is that technological and knowledge decline has happened many times in human history where a society has simply lost a capability that the previous generations had. Don’t ever assume that progress happens on a straight upward line, and we can argue that today we’re seeing a cultural decline where collective progressive beliefs become further estranged from scientific reality.
One major complaint I have is that this book is dry and academic, meant for college students. It’s a good book to read before going to bed because it’ll put you to sleep, but at the same time it gives great information in explaining how the wealth of societies came about. The end was unsatisfying, as it will leave you with unanswered questions, but thankfully it answers a few along the way. If you were victim to an American public school education, you probably think that the industrial revolution happened solely because of the steam engine. This book will rid you of such a primitive notion.

Quote of the Times;
"Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force." – Jung

Link of the Times;
If you ever get pulled over by a police officer and he says, "Where's the fire?" just say, "At my house!", then speed off.

But remember to call ahead and have someone start a fire at your house, or you'll end up in mighty big trouble.


Britain's Prince George is said to be walking.

In no time at all, he'll be talking and will no longer have to walk. Just say, "Would you get me... "


OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea – US Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Kilgore “loves the smell of toner in the morning.”
Kilgore, assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing’s Logistics Readiness Squadron, is regarded by colleagues and superiors alike as a “reckless desk jockey,” often completing his assigned tasks at the expense of hundreds of toner cartridges.
According to Senior Airman Charles “Chef” Yates, the “brash, eccentric office cowboy” puts on several pots of coffee each day, precisely at 0745, 1045 and 1415, all the while humming “Ride of the Valkyries.”
Sources also disclosed that the operatic anthem underscores Kilgore’s daily bowel movement at 0910.
“I thought [Kilgore] was a little odd when he cornered me and asked if I liked to web surf,” said Yates. “I knew he was bat-shit insane when he kicked over his chair at the last Cyber Awareness Training brief and shouted, ‘You can either web surf, or you can fight!’ before charging out, yelling, ‘To the Keurig!’”
Kilgore, who has bumper stickers that say “We Are the ADMINfantry!” and “Charlie Don’t Collate” prominently displayed on his desk, claims to have engaged tens of thousands of reports, memoranda, and FOUO documents at the office’s Xerox WorkCentre 3615/DN. He also claims he can “field strip” and reassemble the machine blindfolded in under seven minutes.
“How many copies have I made? There were those six thousand that I know about for sure,” he said.

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey are headed for divorce.

Mariah is now free to do what she's already been doing.


Grandpa was celebrating his 100th birthday and everybody complimented him on how athletic and well-preserved he appeared.

"Gentlemen, I will tell you the secret of my success," he cackled. "I have been in the open air day after day for some 75 years now."

The celebrants were impressed and asked how he managed to keep up his rigorous fitness regime.

"Well, you see my wife and I were married 75 years ago. On our wedding night, we made a solemn pledge. Whenever we had a fight, the one who was proved wrong would go outside and take a walk."

Issue of the Times;
Obama’s Next Useless Subsidy by James E. Miller

As if the country weren’t full of enough petulant, overgrown children.

President Obama’s new proposal to offer “free” community college for two years to anyone “willing to work for it” is more of the same trite welfare nonsense that further belittles an already feeble nation. The president’s plan comes at the opening of a new Congress where Republicans are, at last, in charge. It’s not that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will pass anything that actually shrinks the size of D.C. The most any cynical conservative person can hope for is that they’ll stop the worst of the executive overreach and act as a bulwark against harebrained progressive schemes. And there is nothing more asinine than the government picking up the tab for community college. The president’s “free college” proposal requires congressional authorization, which means it hopefully will get the thumbs down from Republicans. But since the party of Lincoln is so laughably inept at preventing the government’s growth, there is a slight chance the proposal could become law. Should government-provided college become the norm in America (more so than it already is), it may well corrode the sliver of self-responsibility still left in the country’s young adult population.

Obama’s proposal contains the loaded term “free,” so right away the plan comes off as a costless way to help out high school graduates. The government has already socialized the handling of student loans. Surely, it can’t be a huge jump to provide “free” tuition for the lowest rung on the university ladder. But nothing that comes out of the Mordor that is the District is actually free. Obama’s plan will cost an estimated $60 billion. Admittedly, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $18 trillion in national debt. Even so, you don’t dig yourself out of a financial hole by promising to extend credit to give away more freebies. For the left, fiscal responsibility is one of those archaic ideas that has its roots in white, oppressive patriarchy.

The problems with the president’s new social scheme don’t end with the price tag. The “free college” initiative is being marketed as a benefit to the middle class when, in reality, it’s aimed at the worst performers in school. Anyone bright enough to pass high school can find a way to have college paid for, either through loans or scholarships. Reihan Salam of National Review points out that community college is virtually free already for the low and middle classes. Using statistics from College Board, he writes that in the 2011-2012 school year, “net tuition and fees were $0 for students from households earning $60,000 or less while it was $2,051 for students from households earning over $106,000.” If the president’s plan becomes law, it won’t exactly lift the middle class to new and unimaginable heights.

Uselessness aside, I suspect there is something greater behind Obama’s push for more universal education. Given the current low price of community college tuition, the program is demonstrably aimed at pleasing the sensibilities of liberal voters. Obama-backers won’t receive any support through the program, but they will feel good about generating one more form of welfare. As George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen estimates, the marginal impact of free community college will be minimal at most. Once again, the possible success rate of a government program is overestimated, which is a disservice to the public.
As immature and illiberal as college curricula already are, the idea of sending more impressionable youths to any form of university is idiotic. The state of higher education in America is in dire straits. The traditions that have long defined a well-rounded education have been eroded over the last few decades, with more and more emphasis placed on accumulating high marks and resume boosters. Stanford scholar Franco Moretti recently proposed a radical emphasis on “quantitative reading” by colleges, to replace actual absorption of classic texts. Contemplation on normative and moral goals is being replaced with a pseudoscientific push to turn human beings into cold, calculating machines.

The Obama Administration is already emphasizing that students will receive funding only if they attend schools that either provide transferable credit or job training. I’ve never understood why conservatives and liberals put strong emphasis on college leading to employment. Job training doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree; it requires discipline and sticking with employment no matter how crummy. You can learn persistence by getting a job right out of high school. Today’s top universities are no longer churning out thoughtful graduates who go into adult life with a worldly view on things. They are spitting out overachievers who are so afraid of failure they can barely function in normal life. Recently in New Republic, former Yale professor William Deresiewicz documented the alarming trend of college graduates who have zero skills at coping with life’s twists and turns. Current undergraduates show severely low levels of emotional well-being. They, Deresiewicz said, possess “toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation.” If the top universities in the country are producing graduates with the maturity level of a middle school geek, how in the world is universal community college going to help America’s competitiveness?

By and large, contemporary higher ed is a rip-off. I graduated from a state university in 2011 with a bunch of mediocre, C-average kids who skated through school. Before that, I blazed through community college, paying most of my way by working at a local theme park. Both required little intellectual dexterity. I learned early on that you only need to show up to every class to virtually guarantee a passing grade. Anyone with 8th-grade writing skills can graduate base level university if they remember to set their alarm after coming home from a frat party.
Anyone who thinks the key to American prosperity is more college graduates ought to have their own university degree revoked. We don’t need more bachelor’s degrees. We need fewer special snowflakes that drift through school and fall apart in the real world. We need young adults that know both success and failure, joy and heartbreak; who can struggle on when times are hard. No university can teach students to be grateful for the privileged lives they lead. Places of learning can only provide the foundation to better understand the highs and lows that come with being a person. And they are far from the only place that can serve as that conduit.

In between fake rape accusations and speech suppression, universities are no longer places of learning. They are a means to put off being an adult for four years while pissing away work experience on an increasingly worthless piece of paper. They swaddle young folks in a cocoon of politically-correct warm feelings. When these students emerge into the cutthroat job environment, the safety blanket that protected them from “trigger warnings” and offensive material will be gone. All that’s left will be the raw, uncaring world which college failed to prepare them for.

And President Obama wants to create more of these sorry people?

Quote of the Times;
"I have come to realize that my theories explain the degeneration of a great civilization; they do not prevent it. I set out to be a reformer, but only became the historian of decline." - von Mises

Link of the Times;
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And someone shot a duck.

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