Not the conversation he expected, is it?

When he was campaigning for election, Barack Obama said the country needed to have a “conversation about race.”  In the wake of the Martin-Zimmerman tragedy, we’re getting it, but I don’t think it’s the I-talk-you-shut-up-and-listen conversation he imagined.  Black folks are disenchanted, and some white folks are tired of shutting up.  The President may have triggered a serious gunnysacking, one that could cost him re-election.

Update (7 April).  Derbyshire’s widely discussed article got him bounced from National Review.  Contrary to Dan Rielhl’s observations, things like this tend to support Derbyshire’s contentions.  And of course, right on cue, the usual suspects generate a rumor about the Neo-Nazis showing up (from Detroit, no less!).  Some conversation!


Gotta be a coincidence, 31 March, 1 April…

Wow, I almost missed it!  Tonight is the Greenies’ April Fool’s Eve celebration, EARTH HOUR, wherein folks indulge in a pointless demonstration of energy conservation by sitting in the cold and dark at 8:30 pm* for A WHOLE HOUR, like some kind of stoner mook who took too many downers.  I’d be more inclined to get on board if they were showing solidarity with these folks

instead of some fuzy-headed idea of Saving the Planet from Big Energy.

Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson coined the ultimate Earth Hour motto: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

* OK, at my house the sun doesn’t set until 7:52pm.  You didn’t think a bunch of limousine liberals were going to sit in really dark dark, did you?

Tip from Michelle Malkin, who’s often in Dutch, but never in the dark.

Bayesian Gaydar

Sanjay Srivastava describes The Precisely Fuzzy Science of Gaydar: “…, a quick calculation tells us that for a randomly-selected member of the population, if your gaydar says “GAY” there is a 9% chance that you are right. Eerily accurate? Not so much. If you rely too much on your gaydar, you are going to make a lot of dumb mistakes.”

Tip from Andrew Gelman.

Love the message, hate the graphic

Meg McLain tells a great story about the relative risk of being killed by terrorists in the US.  Unfortunately, she comes up with this baffling graphic which appears to use the sort of number scales beloved of President Obama’s budget speechwriters:

Sure, there’s a scale problem, when the multipliers range from 6 to 17,600, but generations of scientists and engineers have handled that with a logarithmic scale:

This still doesn’t give the compressed range that MM’s chart shows.  Aha!  Perhaps she’s using the little-known log-log scale (beloved by statisticians who deal with generalized linear models)–let’s see:

Pretty close.  But how would any reasonable person expect a layperson to understand this exotic measurement scale?

Tip from the Knowledge Problem.  And from Thnik Again!

Update (28 September).  In her comments section, Dr Kiesling admonishes me not to “go all Tufte” and tosses out the phrase “mathematically pedant.”    How flattering!  I bet LK was the kind of girl who slugged guys in junior high to get their attention.

9-11 Memorials

I’m ducking most of them.  Ten years on, that dreadful day is still burned in my memory, the greatest shock since the assassination of President Kennedy.  We owe a lifetime of thanks for the lost heroes of that day, a lifetime of tears for the victims, and a lifetime of burning hatred for the perverted culture that attacked us.  We also owe it to ourselves to start dismantling the Police State that too many “leaders”–right AND left–eagerly erected in the days after September 11.  Because those bastards, in the legislatures and on the street, are doing exactly what the terrorists wanted them to do, destroying our culture and our polity.

Update (11 September). Randy Barnett called bullshit on the Police State back in the day:

Rather than provide for training and encouraging persons to be able to defend themselves — and to exercise their training responsibly — powerful lobbying groups have and will continue to advocate passivity and disarmament. The vociferous anti-self-defense, anti-gun crusaders of the past decades will not give up now. Instead they will shift our focus to restrictions on American liberties that will be ineffective against future attacks. Friday on Fox, Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephart was asked whether additional means we have previously eschewed should be employed to capture and combat foreign terrorists. His reply was appalling. Now was the time, he replied, to consider adopting a national identity card and that we would have to consider how much information such “smart” cards would contain.

Deine papieren, bitte?