Archive for August, 2007

Build up our future for our children (in Iraq and S. Africa)

1/5 of Americans can’t locate the US on a map?  Pushaw, we’re building a future for our children!  Thank you very much South Carolina.

Ami needs to include this in his stupid Americans montage.

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You’ve been erased – “Seam Carving”

Check this out – image resizing an manipulation based on the “energy” of a pixel:

Watch the whole thing – it gets better at the end.

Broader Sense of “We”

that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it.
Aristotle 

Continuing our conversation about the US system of education and the No Child Left Behind Act: Does the America system of education suffer from the Tragedy of the Commons?  Furthermore, are we re-segregating into micro-segments in the long tail, becoming a divided society lacking common concerns?   A couple observations that support this pessimistic view:

  • A bridge falls down because no one wants to pay more in taxes to support our ailing infrastructure
  • Karl Rove leaves a legacy of divisive politics that tear down (Swift Boat) candidates instead of electing them

Gregory Rodriguez writes in the Los Angeles Times that people in the most diverse areas are the most likely to withdraw — even from those with whom they have much in common.  For instance, interracial trust is relatively high in homogenous South Dakota and relatively low in wildly diverse Los Angeles.  But it’s not just people from other races we don’t trust.

It turns out that in the most-diverse places in the country, Americans tend to distrust everyone, those who do look like them and those who don’t. Diversity, therefore, does not result in increased conflict or increased accommodation, but in good old-fashioned anomie and social isolation.

Rodriguez continues, “we may indeed find some sense of togetherness and common purpose in a truly broad, overarching identity called American. Maybe once we achieve that, we’ll volunteer more, vote more and be more willing to pay to fix our bridges.”  

On a separate but related note, I checked on voter turnout and it’s not as bad as I thought.  The United States Elections Project writes: Statistics on voter turnout presented here show that the much-lamented decline in voter participation is an artifact of the way in which it is measured.  The most typical way to calculate the turnout rate is to divide the number of votes by what is called the “voting-age population” which consists of everyone age 18 and older residing in the United States.  This includes persons ineligible to vote, mainly non-citizens and ineligible felons, and excludes overseas eligible voters.  When turnout rates are calculated for those eligible to vote, a new picture of turnout emerges, which exhibits no decline since 1972. 

Presidential Turnout Rates for Voting-Age Population (VAP) and Eligible Population (VEP)

voter-turnout.gif

To our friends, neighbors, and family…

The literary fight club members would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the friends, neighbors, and families of those who were involved in last night’s collapse of the St. Anthony Bridge in Minneapolis, MN – the place we call home.

While we speculate as to what caused this tradegy and try to figure out how it could have been prevented – let’s take a second to remember how lucky we all are to be alive and to have the good fortune to live in one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

While you let that thought soak in… take a few minutes to read the comments from NY Times readers on the day’s events.  Enjoy today.

Anyone Else Worried? The WSJ Becomes “Fair & Imbalanced”

In a world controlled by the fewer and fewer “major” media companies… I am truly worried about the acquisition of Dow Jones & Co (e.g. The WSJ) by News Corp… creator of the Fox News Channel, which is anything but “Fair & Balanced.”  Were is a young capitalist to turn for his daily news feed?  Blogs?


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