Sorry about that. I know that a lot of people come by here looking for free ice cream, and I haven't been delivering.
That doesn't mean, however, that I've not been paying attention. I currently have a list of no less than 31 links to stuff under the heading of "topics for blog posts," and probably half of those are for one single überpost.
Part of me doesn't have the urge, but some other part does.
I've got some errands to run today, and some other things to take care of, but I thought I'd throw up a couple of things just to keep your attention. First up, the Quote of the Day from 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, commenting on the book Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America by Walter Olson:
Every year I hire as law clerks some of the best and brightest law students in the country, and spend a year wringing out of them all the wrong-headed ideas their law professors taught them. Now I know why.My stack of books hasn't gotten significantly shorter (I keep adding to it), but this one may need to go on it. If you're interested, here's a podcast with the author of the book.
Second, the subject of our failed education system comes up again in a piece at Shrinkwrapped, Oh No, Are Kidz Can't Lurn. I've covered this topic before (most recently here) - colleges forced to mandate "remedial" classes for incoming freshmen who are completely unprepared for the academic demands of a university. It used to be that a high school diploma meant you were ready to enter the workforce. Now all it means is that you attended enough classes to not be kicked out for truancy. (Do they still do that? Kick out students for truancy?)
The City University of New York has found that three-quarters of incoming freshmen are unprepared. That's 75% of the successful graduates of primary and secondary school systems. At least in Arizona it's only a third.
I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. Then put Dr. Sugata Mitra in charge of rebuilding.
And finally, a word about "unintended consequences." Hybrid cars that require batteries made from materials mined in remote locations without environmental restriction; fluorescent lightbulbs that contain toxic mercury, don't last anywhere near as long as advertised, and require hazmat disposal; "low-flow" toilets that use only one gallon per flush, but have to be flushed three or four times if you want the bowl clean for the next use. Well, the New York Times has discovered the concept now, and in an opinion piece by John Tierney uses "the rebound effect" to lobby for higher taxes rather than "energy efficiency" mandates.
I think he must be a fan of Cass Sunstein and his "Nudge" theory of behavior modification through taxation. Regardless, it was an interesting thing to see in the NYT, the admission:
"Efficiency mandates have become feel-good mantras that politicians invoke," Mr. (Sam) Kazman (of the Competitive Enterprise Institute) said. "The results of these mandates have ranged from costly fiascos, such as once-dependable top-loading washers that no longer wash, to higher fatalities in cars downsized by fuel-efficiency rules. If the technologies were so good, they wouldn't need to be imposed on us by law."Not quite another QotD, but close.
No matter what laws are enacted, people are going to find ways to use energy more efficiently — that's the story of civilization. But don't count on them using less energy, no matter how dirty their clothes get.