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2021-01-20

TOMMOROW (January 20, 2021)
This is the third in a series of essays (YesterdayTodayTomorrow) that describe the transition of the presidency during the last two weeks.

I watched the inauguration of Joseph Biden to the presidency of the United States today with tears of joy in my eyes. I don't remember  ever having been affected so emotionally by an inauguration ceremony. And my memory of these ceremonies goes back to that of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

All of the speeches and all of the participants reflected the theme of unity under the umbrella of multiculturalism: a scene that we have rarely ever witnessed on a national stage. Of course, given Mike Pompeo's recent statement to the effect that the United States should not tolerate multiculturalism, "It's not who we are.", the inauguration must have been difficult for him to watch: good.

But as for the goal of unifying a divided political electorate: . . .
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2021-01-17

CORRECTIONS
Having wintered over at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in 1965-66 (Bartol Research Foundation — Junior Physicist — Cosmic Ray Program), and having had plenty of time to read during the dark winter months, I have a few corrections to make to Ms Foreman's description of the historical figures that played a role in Antarctic exploration.

Ms Foreman describes Robert Falcon Scott as "the British explorer". Scott was anything but . . .
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2021-01-07

TODAY (January 9, 2021)
I wrote a piece the other day allowing that the absence of an armed force capable of preventing what we saw happen at the United States Capitol on 6 January was the best choice we could have made based on the outcomes of all the other possible choices. I stand by my position as the actual outcome has demonstrated.  

None of the choices available were what we might call "acceptable" from a humane point of view, but . . .
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2021-01-07

YESTERDAY (January 6, 2021)
If you aren't living under a stone, yesterday you watched a mob storm the Capitol building in Washington, D.C, and disrupt the proceedings to confirm the results of November's presidential election. Unprecedented was the fact that this riot was instigated by the outgoing president of the United States, Donald Trump, who will be leaving office in less than two weeks. Remarkably the people comprising this mob were there under his invitation and direction to "take back their government".

What a shock for them; there was nothing to take but empty rooms . . .
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2020-12-27

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND INEQUALITY
I applaud the efforts of Melanie Moses and Kathy Powers to describe the potential inequities in vaccine distribution to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to non-white populations. Unfortunately a design for distributing the vaccine, featuring a correctly biased plan of distribution, would occupy more time than actually distributing the vaccine to the entire population of the United States.

The primary reasons for people of color being more adversely affected by the SARS-Cov-2 virus are...
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2020 -12-10

WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MEAN TO FALL BEHIND IN SCHOOL
It means, for example, that some education bureaucrats, somewhere, have decided that by the fifth grade a student should be able read at the fifth grade level. Problem is, any definition of  a fifth grade reading level is completely arbitrary.  Our brains don't work like that. When a kid is capable of reading, they will read. When I started school  in the first grade they handed me a Dick and Jane reader. On the first (maybe the second or third) page were the words: "See Spot run". That sentence took up the whole page along with a drawing of a black and white Cocker Spaniel running.
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2020-11-29
CONFIRMS MY THINKING AND EXPERIENCE AS I GROW OLDER
Over the past several years I have had the misfortune to require health care for several problems, some of a serious nature. Most, if not all,  of the initial diagnoses were flat out wrong. What's more, as I sought treatment from different physicians, each of them proposed that the nature of my problems arose from disorders in which they specialized. Reading this article simply confirmed my suspicion that the medical profession relies more on pattern recognition than on critical thinking. There exists a tremendous bias based on their professional experience: they have seen this problem before, they have treated it in this manner, and the problem was resolved. Period.
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2020-11-24

WHY GENERALISTS TRIUMPH IN A SPECIALIZED WORLD
Intro: Is the subtitle of a book by David Epstein titled "Range". Epstein's book  covers this theme in depth with many examples to show how people with broad interests find it much easier to excel at their activities of choice, even more so than people who have spent their whole lives specializing in just one. This is a must read if you are raising kids and one of your goals for them is to be really good at "something". One of the most important criteria for "success" in this aspiration is to let the student do the choosing. Our job as parents is to expose them to as much of the world as we possibly can so that they have a plethora of activities to choose from. ... (read more)

   
2020-11-21 POLITICAL GAME THEORY
Intro: What is the best winning political strategy for Republican members of Congress right now? The question each of them needs to answer for themselves  is: How should I respond to Trump's current behavior in light of his loss to Joe Biden in the presidential election? There are a few possibilities, none of them have good outcomes, so the members are forced to choose the outcome which has the least negative consequences... (read more)
   
2020-11-15

Dear Reader,

Wecome to this site. We have been around for a number of years, but have not been actively updating this site for the past four. That is about to change.

We have moved to a new server type under the auspices of the same provider. This means that some of the old code is bound to break. We will be fixing that in the coming weeks, so if you see some odd typographical errors, or encounter inactive links, be assured that we will be addressing these problems within the next few weeks.

For those of you who are technically inclined we will be using CSS based formating instead of the ad hoc approach we got from the authoring tools that we used in the past. Most of the improvements, however, will be invisible to the reader.

As far as content goes, we will be adding a lot more "Exposition" under the page heading of "Commentary". Most of our commentary has appeared on Facebook as of late, and that will now appear here in lieu of Facebook posts.

We will be setting up an associated WordPress site for reader comments in the coming weeks. The "Comments" section on this site has been inactivated for some time due to a plethora of spam.

We hope that you enjoy reading what we have to offer as much as we enjoy writng it.

Warmest regards,

Garrett