The Cool Just Keeps on Comin’

Remember this guy?

CoolMongolianWolfHunter

Turns out he’s got competition from this guy.

Owen-Baggett

Tip from American Digest.

Update:  And here’s a Texan who spent 10 years getting the US Constitution amended; that’s cool the hard way.

Update:  Let’s not forget this old fart

ChuckYeagerTweet

who broke the sound barrier gimmicking the controls of his Bell X-1 with a piece of broomstick.

It Takes More Than a Beard

So it’s not just me who thinks the current craze for men’s beards is just so much bullshit.  Writing in the Washington Examiner, Suzanne Venker says “Looking masculine is one thing, being masculine is another”.

Will these beards help attract women? Absolutely. But unless men learn to develop and proudly own their masculine core, the lack of shaving will be all for naught because it’s just a ruse.

Looking masculine is great. But being masculine? That’s a home run.

To top it off, most bearded males are sloppy groomers, suggesting they’re lightweights from the get-go.  Think I’m wrong?  Consider this hapless mook:

TrailerParkRoyals

Tip from the Instapundit.

Tsoo Tsoon to be a Tsunami

Andrew Gillen at the Texas Public Policy Foundation says “Two Tsunamis are About to Hit Higher Education,” when :..the Department of Education released post graduate earnings and debt data broken down by college program — which will have a revolutionary impact on higher education.”

A bit of poking around on the web gets you to the TPPF webpage College Earnings and Debt, which ranks hundreds of degree programs by median student debt and after-graduation income.  It’s a nice interactive database, where you can compare programs among multiple colleges, or for a single college.

GIllen touts this information (he calls it the Gainful Employment Equivalent) as a game-changer for selecting college degree programs.

For years we’ve asked students to make one of life’s most important decisions essentially blindfolded. We’ve told them a college degree is the surest path to success but have given them little guidance on where to go to college or what major to choose once they get there. As a result, too many students leave with a mountain of debt and a credential that isn’t worth much on the labor market. The new data will help equip students — and their parents — with the information necessary to avoid these costly mistakes in several ways.

…the data will help students avoid risky programs within generally non-risky fields or colleges. Of the universities in the top 5 of the US News and World report college rankings, Harvard and Yale both had one program fail, and Columbia has 10 programs that fail. Helping students avoid these financial bad apples will help all students by keeping the pressure on individual academic programs, not allowing them to coast on a college’s (or field’s) reputation.

GEE-UTSA
Best Value Degree Programs at my school, UTSA (OPEID 010115)

Hey, the data is impressive, but don’t expect revolutionary change in our established preschool-to-penury pipeline.  The institutional inertia and 20th Century received wisdom that A College Degree Equals Success will pooh-pooh the idea of value shopping for a college degree.

Methodologically, the database has some glaring deficiencies, some of which will be remedied over time, as more data becomes available*:

  • it’s only one year’s worth of data*
  • it’s based solely on students who received federal financial aid*
  • some degree programs have zero information*
  • the statistics presented (median debt and debt-to-earnings ratio) are presented without any error estimates, rendering the summaries a bit sketchy.  Hey TPPF hackers, can you spell b-o-o-t-s-t-r-a-p?

Still, this is great first effort, and I look forward to refinements in the GEE summaries.  But don’t expect a tsunami.

Tip from the Instapundit, where most commenters respond with variations of “Well, duh.”

 

Fresh-O-Matic!

Just read this delightful article about steamed hoagies, and recalled using a Fresh-O-Matic steamer.  Right out of high school, starting in University, I started a  weekend gig as a prep guy in a Mom and Pop hamburger stand in Big Bear, California.  The owners patiently showed me the ropes, and over two years built me up into a virtuoso burger flipping short-order cook.

Fresh-O-Matic

One of our go-to gadgets was the Fresh-O-Matic steamer, good for frozen buns, a quick order of hot dogs, and the occasional pastrami on white.  In retrospect, I’m baffled at the banality of 60s and 70s California cuisine–we’d never have thought of steaming a whole hoagie.

Tip from the Instapundit, who’s seen a steamed sandwich or two.

“Don’t worry, it’s harmless”

…is what the marijuana crowd has been telling us since I was a toddler in the Eisenhower Administration.  Well, if the States are a Laboratory for Democracy, I’d say that the Marijuana Experiment is crashing from the “unexpected” side effects.

Peter Hitchens, writing in The Spectator comments

Marijuana has been the beneficiary of one of the slickest, most sustained advertising campaigns in human history. Not only do millions believe it is some sort of medicine. Most people, even law enforcers, describe it as a ‘soft’ drug. This is an absurdity. Lifelong mental illness is not a ‘soft’ outcome.

Why, it’s almost as if it were a big scam, and Big Dope didn’t give a sh*t about their customers.  Pointers to the real dope shows up in Rod Dreher’s review of Alex Berenson’s new book Tell Your Children.

Tip from Ed Driscoll writing at the Instapundit.  Read the comments to see a microcosm of all the self-serving arguments about marijuana.

Counting is DIFFICULT

Eleven million? or 22 million? A new Yale/MIT study estimates the illegal alien population in the US somewhere in the range of 16.5 to 29.1 million (for us statisticians, that’s 22.8 ± 6.3 million). That’s a margin of error larger than the entire population of Los Angeles (3.99 million).  Worse yet, this estimate suggests that the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey report of 11 million is a seriously low-ball estimate. The Center for Immigration Studies is in the low-ball camp, but their argumentum ab auctoritate seems a bit shrill, and unwilling to admit to the possibility of systematic bias in previous estimates.

QuantosMojados

Not that counting is as easy as it appears.  I regularly open my basic statistics classes with an audience-participation version of the classic Bouba-Kiki experiment, and collect response data by having two or more student volunteers count hands.  Invariably, the student counts are not all the same.  The confusion provides a “teaching moment” illustrating that the simplest measurement method is prone to variation.

Don’t believe me?  If you’re a Windows computer user, download the freebie version of Wildlife Counts, and see how well you can count a static population of animals in a short time.

WildlifeCountsTrainer

Jeez, it’s like it’s all a giant scam or something

Michael Moore has turned his documentary gaze towards alternative energy, and–surprise, surprise!–found that it’s not the Save the Planet Panacea everyone says it is.

“It turned out the wakeup call was about our own side,” [Moore’s film director] Gibbs said in a phone interview. “It was kind of crushing to discover that the things I believed in weren’t real, first of all, and then to discover not only are the solar panels and wind turbines not going to save us … but (also) that there is this whole dark side of the corporate money … It dawned on me that these technologies were just another profit center.”

Alternative energy critics have been saying the stuff for years.  Mikey, you’re late to the party.