Monday, March 31, 2008

Wow, This Is What Passes As News...

She must be scared!

CNN: 50 Cent No Longer Supports Clinton

Living Together Before Marriage: Maybe Not Bad?

I'd often heard that there was a variety of studies that showed that couples that lived together before marriage (in the US, that is) had higher divorce rates than those who waited until marriage to shack up. Cohabitation before marriage has long happened at a higher rate in Europe than in here, and there didn't seem to be as much negative correlation there as is found here.

A post I saw yesterday (I think at Marginal Revolution) points to a new study that says that while there was ample statistical evidence backing premarital cohabitation being a bad thing, its effect has lessened with time. In fact, it says that in the most recent data available, there no longer seems to be a negative affect to shacking up early!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Talk About Weird...

This takes the cake as the weirdest story I've seen in a while: FIA chief Max Mosley embroiled in S&M sex scandal

For example:
The video reportedly depicts Mosley engaging the services of five prostitutes in London to stage a perverse reenactment of a Nazi concentration camp in which Mosley plays both victim and oppressor, alternately receiving lashes from a dominatrix and barking orders in German to the prostitutes dressed in pseudo-Auschwitz uniforms.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Liberal / Conversative Charity Gap: Austin Mention

George Will had an article yesterday about differences in charitable donation rates between liberal-heavy regions and conservative-heavy regions. He used our very own Austin as the main thread in his story. I'm not sure if it is because it is a liberal island in a sea of red, or if he just happened to have some quotes and data for it specifically. I'm sure you can guess which side gives more (or maybe you can't?), but here is an Austin-specific snippet:

Reviewing Brooks' book in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that Austin -- it voted 56 percent for Kerry while he was getting just 38 percent statewide -- is ranked by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 48th out of America's 50 largest cities in per capita charitable giving.

There is a lot more in the article, expanding this to talk about patterns seen nationwide.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obamanomics Commentary in Today's WSJ

While the article was meant to summarize the economic content of a speech he just gave, it was the sidebar graphic that was the most interesting:

While Obama has the most worrisome voting record, the first two bullet points in Hillary's list should scare anyone (well, anyone who isn't currently the holder of an inflating interest-only mortgage).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Affirmative Action Around The World

I finished this book just this past weekend, during my flight back from Tokyo. It was a pretty quick read (or maybe it just seemed that way when trapped in an airplane for so many hours?), and I enjoyed it.

It is a mix of history and opinion (albeit heavily fact-supported opinion), grouped into chapters that dive deeply into affirmative action programs (original motivations as well as results to date) in several countries: India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the US.

I was already familiar with a bunch of the data on the US situation (results as well as the data immediately leading up to its implementation), but I knew much less about affirmative action programs in the other countries mentioned. Read the book for the full story, but nearly every case involved plenty of:
  • Good intentions gone awry
  • Programs meant to be temporary far outliving the originally-envisioned duration
  • Everyone completely disregarding the law of unintended consequences
Some of the countries have had a worse time of it than others, but the facts don't paint the results too well in any of the studied countries.The actual book is only about 170 pages (with an additional 30 pages of notes beyond that), and so is quick to check out..

2408WFP: Pulled The Trigger

The Sony G500 CRT that I bought refurbished off of uBid in probably 2000 or 2001 (Nick bought one at the time, too) had been going downhill in recent months: when coming back from power save mode, it would take several minutes to fade to full brightness. Just as annoying, the image would jiggle until reaching full brightness (at which point it would lock).

It was a good monitor in its day, but it didn't owe me anything at this point. Plus, it is huge: I had to keep it on the corner of an L shaped desk, as it was so deep that I could not fit the monitor and the keyboard on a non-corner section.

I wanted to finally get a nice flat panel. Given that I'd likely have it for years, I thought it would be justified to get something nicer than the super-discount-of-the-week TN-based unit. The Dell 240x series has always been well regarded, and so I was looking at the 2407 and 2407-HC (the wide gamut version of the 2407). They apparently have some ghosting issues, however. I had friends with 2405's, but nobody with a 2407. Dell then announced a 2408 at CES in January, so I thought I'd wait until it went up for sale and the reviews started pouring in.

It's taken a while, but it finally became generally available in the past few weeks. It's an S-PVA panel (like the previous 240x units), with some evolutionary improvements in its capabilities (spec sheet here). The forum posts that started popping up were generally pretty positive: it seemed very well rounded, with a lack of the obvious ghosting some found in the 2407-HC. The one complaint is that it has pretty substantial display lag (40-50 ms), but this won't bother a non-gamer like me.

I finally decided to get one after finding the first large review heavy on quantitatives here. I ordered it while in Japan, and it showed up even before I got back. Despite picking free 3-5 day shipping, it was delivered at my house the following day. I'm typing on it now. Next up: figuring out if my Latitude D620 is actually limited to only 1600x1200 on DVI, as its specs seem to suggest (1600x1200 DVI, 2048x1536 analog). This would be annoying, as this panel's target resolution is 1920x1200 (driving that via analog now).

Back From Japan

I got to see cool things, like this!

The rest of the pictures are in this new gallery.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Buy a Plane, Buy a Companion?

The WSJ has an article on how the boom in wealth in recent times has led to a whole new tier of escort pricing (all of this in conjunction with the Spitzer story). Maybe the most interesting bit is some info towards the end of the article on the prevalence of purchased sex among the super rich:

According to a survey by Russ Alan Prince, president of Connecticut-based wealth-research firm Prince & Associates, in his book “The Sky’s The Limit,” a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. He surveyed 661 people who owned private jets. It found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer's 'Kristen'

It looks like they may have a sort-of-masked photo of Eliot Spitzer's girl here.

UPDATE: Even the NYT has outed Ms. Dupre, complete with pictures from her MySpace page!