This Has Nothing To Do With Alan Greenspan | - Part 5

We’re Number One?

Via this AP story, something that will keep at least a few people from moving here, which would be a good thing considering that Gallatin County growth rate ranked 24th in nation.

Yes, it’s mostly about guns…

In Montana, with the highest rate, suicide prevention coordinator Karl Rosston acknowledges some frustration as the toll rises, including the recent deaths of several teenagers who used guns from their own homes.

One of Montana’s hardest-hit areas is the city of Butte and surrounding Silver Bow County, where, according to local health director Karen Sullivan, the rate of gun ownership is far above the national average.

Demographic Trends – No Joke

My guess is that a lot of people in the U.S. would like for the chart below, from this Pew Research study on demographic trends, to be some sort of a joke. It’s not.

Living in California a decade or more ago I recall when the White population there dropped below 50 percent and the headlines read “Whites now a minority”. This trend has continued and, last year, the headlines read “It’s official: Latinos now outnumber whites in California“. Absent some major cultural changes, expect more of the same.

There’s lots more in the report, such as two-parent households dropping from 87% to 69% over the last 50 years and, of course, major shrinkage of the middle class during that time.

Self Driving Cars and Stop Lights

It doesn’t appear as though flying cars are anywhere on the horizon, but self-driving cars seem to be in our not-too-distant future, perhaps finishing the job of killing the stop-light that round-abouts started here in the U.S. a while back.

Anyone with an engineering/software inclination should quickly understand how “slot-based intersections” (as detailed in this Vox story) could be designed and implemented, but it would require extraordinary safety measures, lots of testing, and, of course, no more human drivers.

Illusory Superiority

Having last sat for an exam in school in the 1980s, I’ve long wondered about 4.3 GPAs, off-the-chart SAT scores (that made my once impressive math score seem pedestrian), and a host of other grade inflation issues. Apparently others have as well, notably former Duke University professor Stuart Rojstaczer and Furman University professor Chris Healy who collected and analyzed some data as recounted in this story at the Washington Post.

Here’s the really unsettling part:

The authors attribute today’s inflation to the consumerization of higher education. That is, students pay more in tuition, and expect more in return — better service, better facilities and better grades. Or at least a leg up in employment and graduate school admissions through stronger transcripts.

But rising tuition may not be the sole driver of students’ expectations for better grades, given that high school grades have also risen in recent decades. And rather than some top-down directive from administrators, grade inflation also seems related to a steady creep of pressure on professors to give higher grades in exchange for better teaching evaluations.

Primaries Solved!

Not quite sure about the “Are women people?” part, but otherwise it looks fine.

From the suddenly very popular Twitter account of Chris Lay, a “moderately paranoid electronics designer” who is “usually out of town, working, or running”.

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