I’m Not Pavlov’s Dog!
AHM: Like this?
The federal government is hiring what it calls a "Behavioral Insights Team" that will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior,… Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.
The document praises subtle policies to change behavior that have already been implemented in England, which already has a "Behavioral Insights Team."
Remind me again why we fought that pesky Revolution?
[Richard] Thaler [a professor from the University of Chicago], who is also an adviser to the British Behavioral Insights Team, said that his research also supports automatically enrolling people in retirement savings plans.
Aha! Here comes the REAL reason for the “nudge squad”—money.
"Many people have struggled to save enough to provide for an adequate retirement. ... Two simple design changes can dramatically improve the situation ... automatic enrollment (default people into the plan with the option to easily opt out) and automatic escalation, where workers can sign up to have their contributions increased annually," he said.
In case anyone’s forgotten—which they probably have—that’s what your Social Security deduction was supposed to be—your (mandatorily-deducted) retirement fund. ‘Course those big-brained gumment types decided they needed all that money to help pay for their special programs and yanked it outta’ that “lockbox” account. Now they’re tryin’ to do it again! How long before they grab the new fund?
And how dumb do you think we are?!
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posted by Harrison at 7:30 PM
Sunday, July 28, 2013
I’m not endorsin’ the product, just the ad people who made this happen.
And in case you’re interested, here’s the official Rube Goldberg site, along with a sample of his cartoons.
Dug up at BoingBoing
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posted by Harrison at 9:20 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
What I’ve Learned on Twitter
Brandon Harker returned last week after an 8-month deployment to Afghanistan. He was excited to see Oakley, his 2-year-old purebred yellow Labrador retriever.
Harker had asked a friend to take care of Oakley while he was deployed. When he contacted the friend to pick him up, he was told the dog had been given away.
He turned to social media to find his dog and was contacted by numerous people who said they’d seen Oakley listed for sale in February on Craigslist. Harker has been calling local veterinarians and shelters, hoping for word on his dog since Oakley is micro-chipped and registered.
Here’s his own Craigslist posting.
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posted by Harrison at 10:14 AM
Friday, July 12, 2013
Be More Dog
I could almost like this cat.
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posted by Harrison at 4:23 PM
Squirrel Terrorism Continues
Squirrel is caught eating chunks out of Florida family's car
A crazy car-eating squirrel with an appetite for destruction has been terrorizing a south Florida family.
The hungry critter — dubbed Munchy — has been biting fist-sized chunks of metal out of Nora Ziegler's SUV. It's already ripped two 6-inch panels out of her Toyota Sequoia and seems intent on eating more. […]
Cops were stumped and told her to remain vigilant, speculating that "someone was coming after her."
But she soon busted the culprit red-handed as she put out the trash one night.
Ziegler said she couldn't believe her eyes as she watched the squirrel, which was hanging by its teeth and gnawing away at the metal.
Relieved that she wasn't being targeted by hoodlums, she's now deciding what to do about the rampaging rodent.
What is it with Florida cops? If someone was comin’ after the poor woman, what good would they be? And what if she ended up shootin’ the squirrel when she discovered he was up to no good? Would EPA or PETA start rabble rousin’ until she was arrested and tried for third-degree animal cruelty for squirrelicide?
‘Round here she wouldn’t have to decide. We canines have our own version of Stand Your Ground involving lots ‘n lots of very sharp teeth.
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posted by Harrison at 3:10 PM
Thursday, July 04, 2013
The Glorious Fourth
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Thirty Minutes that Changed Our Country
Over 12,000 Confederates, led by Major General George Pickett, Major General Isaac R. Trimble, and Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew, marched in parade ground order across this open ground into the teeth of the Union artillery and musket fire.
A modern-day photo of the "copse of trees" taken from the start of the Confederate advance
This is part of Confederate General James Longstreet’s eyewitness* account:
“The officers saluted as they passed, their stern smiles expressing confidence. General Pickett, a graceful horseman, sat lightly in the saddle, his brown locks flowing quite over his shoulders. Pettigrew's division spread their steps and quickly rectified the alignment, and the grand march moved bravely on. […]
"Confederate batteries put their fire over the heads of the men as they moved down the slope, and continued to draw the fire of the enemy until the smoke lifted and drifted to the rear, when every gun was turned upon the infantry columns. The [Union] batteries that had been drawn off were replaced by others that were fresh. Soldiers and officers began to fall, some to rise no more, others to find their way to the hospital tents. Single files were cut here and there, then the gaps increased, and an occasional shot tore wider openings, but, closing the gaps as quickly as made, the march moved on. . .”
*This eyewitness account was originally published in: Longstreet, James, From Manassas to Appomattox (1896), republished in Hart, Albert Bushnell (ed.) American History told by Contemporaries vol. 4 (1928); Reardon, Carol, Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory (1997); Sears, Stephen W., Gettysburg (2003).
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posted by Harrison at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Happy Independence Day!
"On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare that the 13 American colonies were independent states and no longer part of the British Empire. The next day, John Adams predicted in a letter to his wife, Abigail,
"The second day of July, 1776, will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
Okay, so Adams was a little off. The Fourth was the day Congress voted to issue the document.
And for the history-challenged out there, Jefferson only wrote the first draft, then it went into a conference committee for editin’ and compromise until everyone was happy (‘cept Jefferson, who saw his condemnation of the slave trade removed). After that, Congress printed up copies of the declaration and mailed them to local press and state governments so they could convince the rest of the country that thumbin’ their nose at King George III was a good idea. (Things haven’t changed much over the years, have they?)
But—no one signed it until August 2.
"The famous signatures weren't included, and there was a good reason: they hadn't been affixed to the document yet. In fact, the historic parchment version of the Declaration wouldn't even come into existence until sometime after July 19, when Congress voted that the official declaration should be "engrossed on parchment" and "signed by every member of Congress." According to records, that happened on August 2, with out-of-town stragglers adding their names over weeks and months after that. Of the roughly 50 people who voted for independence on July 2, only 42 were still in office on August 2 to sign the Declaration of Independence, so the eight new members signed, too, even though they hadn't voted for it."
Read the whole article here.
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posted by Harrison at 9:00 AM