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Other News, Articles, Or Links Of Interest

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  • Mon, May 23, 2011 - 08:20am



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    Other News, Articles, Or Links Of Interest

Not necessarily 3E or Crash Course-related links, but possibly tangentially-related articles of interest.

Why Would-Be Engineers End Up As English Majors (article and video)
"Undergraduates across the country are choosing to leave science, technology, engineering and math programs before they graduate with those degrees. Many students in those STEM fields struggle to complete their degrees in four years, or drop out, according to a 2010 University of California, Los Angeles, study."

Confronting The Coming American Worker Shortage
"With the job market inching toward recovery, most of America's collective attention is set squarely on there here and now. But signs of a coming shortage of skilled American workers have begun to draw concern from leaders in the public and private sectors, and for good reason. So dire are the predictions about the unprepared American worker that a group of executives from major companies appealed directly to state governors earlier this month, urging them to set higher standards for student proficiency in science and mathematics."

[removed per publisher request]

Are Our Children Getting Weaker?
"Children are getting weaker as they spend more time indoors on the computer rather than outside according to a recently published study in Acta Paediatrica."

Getting Around: Fuel Use Of Various Modes Of Transportation
"How many gallons of fuel per passenger does it take to cover a distance of 350 miles?"

Carpooling Quietly Booms In San Francisco
"Every weekday, between 6:00 and 9:30 in the morning, a stream of cars and a line of pedestrian commuters converge at a Safeway supermarket in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, California. Without a single raised thumb, the individual passengers fill the empty seats in the waiting vehicles. Once a car has three people, it jumps onto the nearby Highway 24, bound for the Bay Bridge. Thirty minutes later, the Rockridge cars drop off their passengers in San Francisco. Once in the city, riders walk to work or hop on city buses. It's unregulated, efficient carpooling with total strangers."

What Is Slugging?
"Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as "Instant Carpooling" or "Casual Carpooling". It's unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off locations. It has thousands of vehicles at its disposal, moves thousands of commuters daily, and the best part, it’s FREE!"

Mom Tries To Kill Kids, Self, Before "Tribulation" Comes
Some people sold their homes, cashed out their retirement savings, ran up their credit cards. This mom tried to kill her kids and herself.

How Do You Eat Safely In China?
Regulations can be onerous, or they can be controlled by corporations and made ineffective. But how about no regulation nor oversight at all?

Judge Orders 25-Year-Old Man To Leave Home And Find Job
"The man from Andalusia in southern Spain had taken the court action demanding a monthly allowance of $588 after his parents stopped giving him his spending money unless he tried to find a job."

Italian Father Ordered To Pay Allowance To 32-Year-Old 'Big Baby' (similar news from earlier this year)
"Millions of adult Italians who refuse to give up the comforts of their parents' home have found a champion in a judge who ordered a father to carry on paying a living allowance to his 32-year-old student daughter."

Secrets Of A Mind-Gamer (enhancing ordinary memory to extraordinary levels by focused exercise)
"Even as late as the 14th century, there might be just several dozen copies of any given text in existence, and those copies might well be chained to a desk or a lectern in some library, which, if it contained a hundred other books, would have been considered particularly well stocked. If you were a scholar, you knew that there was a reasonable likelihood you would never see a particular text again, so a high premium was placed on remembering what you read."

After the Prosthetic Society
"In any realistic future, a lot of old skills are likely to be in high demand again. Professions that involve doing useful things with one's hands, brains, and a relatively simple toolkit are high on my list of hot career tracks in the 21st century. Some completely forgotten arts may see revivals; the old Art of Memory, a Renaissance system of mnemonic methods that allowed people to file and retrieve huge amounts of information at will, may be worth a second look when the energy cost of making and powering a Palm Pilot soars out of sight."

Ars Memorativa: The Art Of Memory, Part I and Part II
"In Roman schools of rhetoric, this approach to memory was refined into a precise and practical system. Students were taught to memorize the insides of large buildings according to certain rules, dividing the space into specific loci or "places" and marking every fifth and tenth locus with special signs. Facts to be remembered were converted into striking visual images and placed, one after another, in these loci; when needed, the rhetorician needed only to stroll in his imagination through the same building, noticing the images in order and recalling their meanings. At a more advanced level, images could be created for individual words or sentences, so that large passages of text could be stored in the memory in the same way. Roman rhetoricians using these methods reached dizzying levels of mnemonic skill; one famous practitioner of the Art was recorded to have sat through a day-long auction and, at its end, repeated from memory the item, purchaser and price for every sale of the day."



  • Mon, May 23, 2011 - 12:42pm



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    Thanks Poet!If you have the

Thanks Poet!

If you have the time, This would be a great extra for the site – “tangentially-related articles of interest.”

The first article that caught my eye was: How Do You Eat Safely In China?

Probably the best and most consistent piece of advice I have gotten is to diversify your diet. “Rotate your poisons,” a food safety expert advised me

Good grief… I’d like to try and keep Gulf shrimp off my rotation of poisons. Then again, their advice was to avoid seafood altogether. 🙁

But if you check the food labels closely, you’ll see an awful lot of food in U.S. markets is from China, as this comment states:

Blame America’s Ultra-Wealthy, who in order to increase their profit margins, have worked to eliminate food safety laws in the USA and have begun to import chinese food products into the USA.
Been to a dollar store lately?  Read the labels!  Chinese food is everywhere!  I would not be suprised if it was radioactive, contaminated with lead, or full of bacteria.  The chinese simply don’t care, they’re greedier than the american wealthy overlords.


For some good laughs, I read the comments on this article “Raise Ceiling but Beware of ‘Debt Bomb’: Prince Alwaleed” (http://classic.cnbc.com/id/43106795/)

versionist | May 20, 2011 08:50 AM  ET
Oh thank God we have the Saudi prince’s opinion on the matter. How about the Saudi’s lower their terrorist ceiling?


Oresme | May 20, 2011 08:54 AM  ET

China told Obama to reform healthcare and now Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia is telling Obama to raise taxes !!

OMG….. the US is indeed in a deep hole.

Only a global war or something to that effect can save the US and the dollar.

What about a global war on terror ? a trip to Mars ? building a city on the moon.

And that’s only on the first page!

  • Mon, May 23, 2011 - 02:57pm



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    Thanks Poet,I gave up the

Thanks Poet,

I gave up the Daily inDigestion when Davos stopped compiling it, but I found a couple links of interest in your post. Thanks for taking the time to share them. 


  • Mon, May 23, 2011 - 04:08pm



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    Fast Food Jobs And Your Kids

Fascinating article on what’s happening behind the scenes at Taco Bell and other fast food drive-thrus. Unwritten: Why your kids need to study harder in school – even if working there part-time during high school might be an exercise in character-development..

Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-Thru (emphasis mine)
With me on the line are Carmen Franco, 60, and Ricardo Alvarez, 36. The best Food Champions can prepare about 100 burritos, tacos, chalupas, and gorditas in less than half an hour, and they have the 78-item menu memorized. Franco and Alvarez are a precise and frighteningly fast team. Ten orders at a time are displayed on a screen above the line, five drive-thrus and five walk-ins. Franco is a blur of motion as she slips out wrapping paper and tortillas, stirs, scoops, and taps, then slides the items down the line while looking up at the screen. The top Food Champions have an ability to scan through the next five orders and identify those that require more preparation steps, such as Grilled Stuffed Burritos and Crunchwrap Supremes, and set those up before returning to simpler tacos and burritos. When Alvarez is bogged down, Franco slips around him and slides Crunchwrap Supremes into their boxes. For this adroit time management and manual dexterity, Taco Bell starts its workers at $8.50 an hour, $1.25 more than minimum wage.


  • Tue, May 24, 2011 - 09:15am



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Thanks for the encouragement!


Two Illinois Charity Hospitals Seek State’s Permission To Close
Safety net hospitals have closed in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York in recent years. Of the 15 hospitals that shut down in New York City last decade, five were safety net hospitals; another filed for bankruptcy.

The Fight Over Fracking: Josh Fox vs. Big Gas (Rolling Stone magazine, on gas drilling “fracking”)
…On the eve of the first anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, a well operated by Chesapeake Energy, the country’s second-biggest gas producer, malfunctioned in the rural northeastern Pennsylvania township of Leroy. Tens of thousands of gallons of toxic drilling waste flowed into the local environment, threatening fishing streams and forcing the evacuation of nearby residents. The spill dramatically illustrated the downside of the controversial technology described in Fox’s Oscar-nominated film: hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ the process by which raw natural gas is extracted from shale rock sediment and brought to surface.

The Ethanol Scam (Rolling Stone magazine, on ethanol)
…We will plunge after ‘solutions’ that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.

Coal’s Toxic Sludge (Rolling Stone magazine, on coal sludge)
…Coal releases monstrous quantities of deadly compounds and gases – and it all has to go somewhere. The worst of the waste – heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and mercury, all of which are highly toxic – are concentrated in the ash that’s left over after coal is burned or in the dirty sludge that’s scrubbed from smokestacks. Each year, coal plants in the U.S. churn out nearly 140 million tons of coal ash – more than 900 pounds for every American – generating the country’s second-largest stream of industrial waste, surpassed only by mining. If you piled all the coal ash on a single football field, it would create a toxic mountain more than 20 miles high.

The Great Recession’s Lost Generation
The brutal job market brought on by the recession has been hard on everyone, but especially devastating on the youngest members of the labor force. About 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession…

Four Reasons Why You Still Need A College Degree
…Corporations, large or small, automatically reject resumes that don’t have a college degree on them. This isn’t really a matter of standing policy so much as the fact that everybody in the entire company probably has a degree. I spent five years holding down jobs that really should have been done by computers or outsourced to India at this point. A lot of what I was doing didn’t require higher brain function, forget higher education, but without that degree, I never would have gotten in the door. There’s a reason for that: All the people fulminating about ‘common sense’ and ‘education isn’t knowledge’ don’t realize that public schools are so spotty they’re just no guarantee of quality. Anybody can probably name at least five guys from their high school who never should have been allowed to graduate.

What the Mayan Elders are Saying About 2012
Carlos Barrios: ‘Anthropologists visit the temple sites and read the inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination. Other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed.’
‘We are no longer in the World of the Fourth Sun, but we are not yet in the World of the Fifth Sun. This is the time in-between, the time of transition. As we pass through transition there is a colossal, global convergence of environmental destruction, social chaos, war, and ongoing Earth Changes.’


  • Sat, May 28, 2011 - 01:30am



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    Chinese Prisoners – Hard Labor By Day, Gold Farming By Night

Just a little surreal with the online aspect…

China Used Prisoners In Lucrative Internet Gaming Work
As a prisoner at the Jixi labour camp, Liu Dali would slog through tough days breaking rocks and digging trenches in the open cast coalmines of north-east China. By night, he would slay demons, battle goblins and cast spells.Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money.

I wonder exactly how much Blizzard or other companies crack down on subscription-paying gold farmers…

That said, on a general note, there are hundreds of prison factories in China. While it is illegal to send prison-made goods to the U.S., third-party companies in China often act as a go-between to “launder” the goods and sell them to American companies. It is also not illegal to for European companies to import prison-made goods from China.

Once the goods are in the open market, all that matters to the buyer is the price, not the terrible human cost behind it: unsafe working conditions, hazardous materials handling without protections, beatings for not meeting quota, etc.

Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but the articles I found tended to be rather dated (mostly from the 1990s). Is it a priority for the U.S. mass media to report on this?

Get Serious About Chinese Prison Labor (July 21, 1993) <—
It’s illegal for American companies to import goods made by prison labor. But according to human rights groups, China continues to make products for the export market in its prison factories, and U.S. companies continue to buy them.


  • Sun, May 29, 2011 - 11:19am



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    What’s It Worth? The Economic Value Of College Majors (And More)

Only about half of recent college graduates are even working full time…

Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy
A new nationally representative survey of 571 graduates from four-year colleges and universities from the classes of 2006 through 2010 documents the difficulties young people encountered as they entered a volatile labor market that eventually plunged into a deep recession. While graduates are satisfied with their decision to complete a four-year degree, a large percentage reports they are struggling to find full-time, permanent jobs with benefits that will lead to fulfilling careers. Fifty-three percent of the graduates in the survey are working full time… Just under half of the graduates say they still rely on their parents for financial help. Nearly one in four graduates report that they still live with their parents.

Rather than using self-reported survey results usually filled out by the few recent college grads who found really nice jobs and massaged by colleges and departments, Georgetown University researchers used actual census data. This is much more realistic.

Select Findings From What’s It Worth? The Economic Value Of College Majors (Georgetown University study)
What’s It Worth demonstrates just how critical the choice of undergraduate major is to a student’s potential earnings. While everyone who attends college can expect a significant return on their investment, different undergraduate majors lead to markedly different careers – and significantly different wages. In one of the most extreme examples, for instance, the report finds that Counseling Psychology
majors make median earnings of $29,000 per year, compared to $120,000 for Petroleum Engineering majors.

http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/whatsitworth-select.pdf (Select Findings, 16 pages)
http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/whatsitworth-complete.pdf (Complete Report, 182 pages)

The following 4 articles all pull data from the Georgetown study (above).

The Value Of Your College Major: By The Numbers
The question of whether college is really worth the rising cost (and the inevitable student-loan debt) has been hotly debated in recent months. The answer, according to new research out of Georgetown University, largely depends on whether students choose a lucrative major. The study used census data to compare earnings across 171 college majors, which were then grouped into 15 more general categories.

College Students Deserve To Know What Degrees Will Pay
The typical lifetime earnings of engineering and computer science majors are 50 percent higher than those of humanities majors, according to an analysis by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.


Oh, the Humanities! College Grads With ‘Fluffy’ Majors Make Way Less Money
A new study indicates that—shocker!—college students majoring in subjects such as social work, visual and performing arts, and theology can expect to make far less money than workers who majored in engineering, computer science, or business. Grads with degrees in the humanities, arts, education, and psychology tend to earn less upon getting out of college, and they also earn less over the course of their working lives. Basically, they just plain earn less.

Study Tells Students What Their Major Is Worth
The choice of undergraduate major in college is strongly tied to a student’s future earnings, with the highest-paying majors providing salaries of about 300 percent more than the lowest-paying, according to a study released Tuesday… Based on first-of-its-kind Census data, the report by Georgetown University in Washington also found that majors are highly segregated by race and gender.

On to elementary through high school and how it’s always about the money and the entrenched interests. Not the students’ success. Really horrid. Really.

The Failure Of American Schools
If the forces behind reform seem scattered and weak, those defending the status quo – the unions, the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the vendors – are well organized and well financed. Having spent eight years trying to ignite a revolution in New York City’s schools under Bloomberg’s leadership, I am convinced that without a major realignment of political forces, we won’t get the dramatic improvements our children need.
Texas and California, for example, have very similar demographics. Nevertheless, even though Texas spends slightly less per pupil than does California, it outperforms California on all four national tests, across demographic groups. The gap is around a year’s worth of learning. That’s big. And the gaps are even bigger when we compare similar demographic groups in large urban districts. Low-income black students in Boston or New York, for example, are several years ahead of those in Detroit or Los Angeles on the national exams.

On a related note… Here’s something from the National Inflation Association. Great video, but please do take it with a grain of salt. They’re trying to push the idea that a college education is worthless. That’s not really true at all. It is worth something – just have to be careful about keeping costs down and maximizing what you get out of it.

College Conspiracy

College education is the largest scam in U.S. history!

On to other things… How about movie theatres? Higher priced movie tickets, much lower quality screenings…

How Movie Theaters Are Shortchanging You
As an article in The Boston Globe this week notes, some new 3D projectors may darken the picture by anywhere from 55 to 85 percent when screening 2D movies. So you may be seeing as little as 15 percent of the movie you paid for. Of course, this is just one way that the supposed upgrade of theaters has actually led to a downgrade in the quality of the movie-going experience.

Oddly enough, Belarus isn’t on the list below. Maybe because it was only compiled on May 25.

The 21 Countries Most Likely to Default
We’ve ranked the top 21 countries by Monday’s intraday credit default swap (CDS) price, or the cost to insure each country’s debt. It isn’t a perfect ranking of what country is likely to default first, or when, but it does show a growing consensus from market participants that the crises in these states is getting worse.

A Defiant ‘Spanish Revolution’ (44 pictures of demonstrations in Spain)
Since May 15, residents of many cities around Spain have been demonstrating against the country’s ongoing financial crisis, its politicians, and its bankers. The spontaneous protests are the largest since the country plunged into recession in 2008, and they’re made up mainly of young people who have set up camps in main squares across the country. Called “los indignados” (the indignant), the May 15 Movement, or simply 15-M, they are fueled by frustration with austerity measures, apparent indifference from politicians, and serious joblessness. Spain’s unemployment rate for those under 25 stood at 43.5 percent as of February — the highest youth unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union.


  • Sun, May 29, 2011 - 02:18pm


    Johnny Oxygen

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    Why Would-Be Engineers End Up As English Majors

Why Would-Be Engineers End Up As English Majors

I started out in mechanical engineering before switching to architecture. While I was in the engineering school I noticed that a remarkable amount of students dropped out in their third year. That kind of freaked me out so I asked some third year students what the deal was.

The general consensus was that after doing their internships at engineering firms they realized that they weren’t going to be doing anything creative but rather just sit and crunch numbers all day.

  • Sun, Jun 05, 2011 - 05:53pm



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    Power Theft, E. Coli, School Lunch, Exiles, Language, Inequality

I bet this kind of theft occurs in lots of crowded Third World cities…

World’s Greatest Power Thieves Keep 400 Million Indians In Dark (May 31, 2011)
“About one-third of the 174 gigawatts of electricity generated in India annually is either stolen or dissipates in the conductors and transmission equipment that form the country’s distribution grid, Power Secretary P. Uma Shankar said in an interview. That’s more than any other nation, according to a 2010 report by Deloitte LLP analysts that also estimated India’s losses at 32 percent. In China the rate was 8 percent.”

What We Can Learn From Germany’s Scary E. Coli Outbreak (June 3, 2011)
One particular reason the current outbreak in Germany is worrisome, as Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Robert Tauxe explained today in The New York Times, is its apparent resistance to 14 different antibiotic drugs. Tauxe asked the rhetorical question that should be on everyone’s mind: ‘Where has this organism been that it’s been exposed to so much antibiotics that it’s worth its while to be resistant?’

Speaking of food, our school kids don’t seem to be eating as well as our prisoners…

Infographic: School Cafeteria Food Vs. Prison Food (May 12, 2011)
Hopefully you haven’t gotten the chance to taste jailhouse cuisine, but if you’re a product of the American school system, you probably have childhood memories of standing in line for grey mashed potatoes, half-thawed mystery meat, and slimy canned peaches. How do the trays measure up?

Now if you want to see what the French do with their school lunches, watch the video. Wow!

France’s Gourmet School Lunches (September 26, 2010)
Sunday Morning’s Man in Paris David Turecamo explores France’s strict diet regimen within the school system’s gourmet lunch menu.

Saudi Arabia and France, where evil dictators go to retire…

Infographic: Where In The World Are Exiled Leaders? (May 26, 2011)
With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak now deposed and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi struggling to hold on to his own seat, we wonder where former exiled leaders slip away to after being ousted.

Being bilingual has more benefits than just the ability to speak and understand another language. If you’re bilingual, you’ll want to read this!

The Bilingual Advantage (May 30, 2011)
…Bilinguals showed Alzheimer’s symptoms five or six years later than those who spoke only one language. This didn’t mean that the bilinguals didn’t have Alzheimer’s. It meant that as the disease took root in their brains, they were able to continue functioning at a higher level. They could cope with the disease for longer… In terms of monolinguals and bilinguals, the big thing that we have found is that the connections are different. So we have monolinguals solving a problem, and they use X systems, but when bilinguals solve the same problem, they use others. One of the things we’ve seen is that on certain kinds of even nonverbal tests, bilingual people are faster. Why? Well, when we look in their brains through neuroimaging, it appears like they’re using a different kind of a network that might include language centers to solve a completely nonverbal problem. Their whole brain appears to rewire because of bilingualism.

Interesting opinion article about what growing income inequality can lead to, in some real world instances.

Our Fantasy Nation?
It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes. Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs. This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t imaginable, and criminals are never coddled. The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution. When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags….



  • Mon, Jun 06, 2011 - 02:22pm



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    Chinese Men Find Mortgages A Prerequisite For Marriage

I guess when there are many millions fewer women than men, the women can afford to be more picky.

The video provides a lot more information than the article itself.

Chinese Men Find Mortgages A Prerequisite For Marriage (May 23, 2011)
The difficulties Chinese men have finding partners is having a significant economic impact around the world as they hold back on spending in the hopes of saving sufficient money to attract a bride, as Justin Rowlatt reports. ‘If I don’t own my own home’, he explained to me, ‘no decent Chinese girl is ever going to consider marrying me.’


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