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.

Spicing Up the Kitchen

Ellen Bennett is the Marie Kondo of kitchen organization.  She has lots of clever ideas, my favorite one is this:

ellen-bennett-spice-drawer
I’m only two dozen bottles away from my own personal Spicetopia!

I found a good quick-drying paint marker at my favorite art supply store yesterday, and started labeling.  It works!

Update (30 July 2019):  Two caveats: (1) them little bottles ain’t cheap, so it’ll take a while to put together a nice set like those in the picture, and (2) if you’re labeling a glass container destined for the refrigerator, make the label long enough to completely wrap around and stick to itself, else condensation will eventually slide the label right off.

Caught in the Draft

In December of 1969, the Selective Service held a lottery to determine the order in which young men would be called up for the Draft.  My number was a low 53, and that set the course for much of my adult life.  Turns out, the odds were against me.

DraftLotteryNumbers

draft-rank-by-month

  • Want to run more analyses? This article from the Journal of Statistics Education shows the way.

 

Paper or Plastic?

The Governor of Tennessee is fixin’ to stop the ban-plastic-shopping-bags nonsense in his state.  I’ve see this no-plastic crapola in several visits to Colorado, and it’s just a greenie smokescreen that allows grocery chains to charge an extra dime (per bag!) to squeeze the poor and sandbag out-of-towners.  No penguins, polar bears, or fuzzy bunnies are saved.

I visited a local Sprouts yesterday, where they showed how reasonable folks steer their customers away from plastic.  They offer the alternative of sturdy brown paper bags with attached handles, which make them much more useful at home.  And, when they do go into the trash, the ant and termites with decompose them completely.  Win-win-win.

Raised by wolves

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is back, reinstated, in C. J. Box’s latest thriller

CJBoxWolfPack

This one’s a breakneck thriller; a week of non-stop action that catches up Joe and nearly everyone around him.

C. J. Box is one of the few best-selling authors who is skeptical about overreach by the Federal authorities.  In a conversation between a game warden and two FBI agents, we get this

“Are you threatening me?” she [the game warden] asked.  She said it calmly but it felt like shout.

“We don’t threaten,” Pollock [an FBI agent] said. “We don’t need to.”

“We’re the FBI,” Sandburg said unnecessarily.

….

He said, “If you lie to us about anything, we can put you in federal prison.”

Pollock grinned.  He said, “have you heard of Martha Stewart? Scooter Libby?  Bernie Madoff?  Michael Flynn? All of them went down for lying to FBI agents.”

“You didn’t even take notes…”

“We don’t have to,” Sandburg said. “We heard you, If need be, we’ll write up what’s known as an FD-302.  What is that, you ask?  An FD-302 is a form that summarizes our conversation here and what our impression are of this exchange We’ll write up the fact that you lied to us.  The 302 will be the basis when we testify in court that you willfully withheld information from us that was easily verifiable.”

Box gets in another dig a bit later in the story

“Right now, as we speak,” she [a senior FBI official] continued, “the Department of Justice has indicted four of five Sinaloan-affiliated gangsters…It’s imperative you realize where we’re coming from and why we place such importance on the issue.”

Reed [the local sheriff] sniffed and said, “And here I thought you guys in DC spent all your time rigging presidential elections.”

Lots of good guys, bad guys, assholes, and really, really bad guys.  I don’t do spoilers, but some folks get just what they deserve.