Showing posts from April 16, 2017

Today's Trumpery


Is the F-35 a Trillion-Dollar Mistake?

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[Interesting piece, not just on the many technical flaws of the F35, but also on both the huge sunk cost effect of the project and the extent to which the production and maintenance of the plane is mired in pork barrel politics. *RON*]

Paul Barrett, Bloomberg, 4 April 2017

Trump criticized the cost of America’s warplane of the future, but what he’s not saying is that it might be hackable and leave soldiers vulnerable.

A pointy-beaked F-35B Lightning II idles noisily on a runway at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in southern Maryland. Suddenly the plane roars to life and sprints a mere 300 feet before abruptly lifting off and soaring into a cloudless, late-winter sky over Chesapeake Bay. A while later it zooms back into view, slows to a hover over the runway like a helicopter, then drops straight down to the concrete, where it lands with a gentle bounce.

A U.S. Marine Corps test pilot is manning the controls. If he were Air Force or Navy, his versi…

Elites Want More Competition for Everyone Except Themselves

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[Anti-competition drives income inequality. Maybe this is no surprise, but it's important that these things be documented empirically. Also, an interesting analysis concerning high tech. *RON*]
Jonathan Rothwell, Evonomics, originally published here on 2 April 2017.
The spectacular economic rise of the top 1 percent is now common knowledge, thanks in large part to the work of Thomas Piketty and his collaborators. The top 1 percent of U.S. residents now earn 21 percent of total national income, up from 10 percent in 1979.

Curbing this inequality requires a clear understanding of its causes. Three of the standard explanations—capital shares, skills, and technology—are myths. The real cause of elite inequality is the lack of open access and market competition in elite investment and labor markets. To bring the elite down to size, we need to make them compete.

Myth 1: Capital vs. labor share

In his recent and otherwise valuable book, Saving Capita…

Traces of Genetic Trauma Can Be Tweaked

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[Mice, as usual, but still positive news. The behavior of traumatized mice changed for the better when they were exposed to positive experiences, as did the behavior of their offspring. "Epigenetic marks can be corrected in sperm cells by this positive experience." *RON*]

Erika Beras, Scientific American, 15 April 2017

60 Second Science Podcast, subscribe: Apple iTunes

Trauma can be passed down to offspring due to epigenetic changes in DNA. But positive experiences seem able to correct that. Erika Beras reports.

In recent years researchers have learned that trauma can be inherited—passed down due to changes in DNA, what’s known as epigenetics. But researchers recently uncovered a new wrinkle to the story:

“The effects of trauma which can be transmitted to the offspring can be reversed by a positive experience.”

That’s Isabelle Mansuy, professor of neuroepigenetics at the University of Zurich.

She and colleagues studied newborn male mice an…

Indigenous leader invites Brian Pallister to try living on reserve

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[Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson says experience would expose premier to realities of poor housing, roads, food. See also: Manitoba 'the most racist provincial government in Canada': Grand Chief. *RON*]
Laura Glowacki, CBC News, 15 April 2017
The grand chief for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak is inviting Premier Brian Pallister to live on reserve for a month to learn what life is really like for Manitoba's remote Indigenous communities.

Sheila North Wilson is standing by earlier comments she made about systemic ignorance and racism at the provincial level and says Manitoba has a lot of learning to do to combat myths about Indigenous peoples.
"That invitation is open for him and anyone else that wants to experience what it's like to live on reserve," said North Wilson.

CBC has reached out to the premier's office for reaction to North Wilson's request and will update if we hear back.

Her invitation follows a statement…

A Very Brief History of Federal Cash Transfers: Canada 1867 to 2017

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[On Canada's 150th, "While the provinces often lament that they require more funding from Ottawa, it remains that at present, both as a share of federal spending and in real per capita terms, federal cash transfers are as high as they have ever been." (Though there was quite a drop in real per capita spending under Harper.) *RON*]
Livio Di Matteo, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, 15 April 2017

This is a post in celebration of Canada’s 150th and similar in time span to my previous one on housing supply and dwelling starts. Canada is a federation and a key feature of its operation is a system of intergovernmental transfers between its fiscal tiers. Indeed, transfers and regional equity are enshrined in Section 36 of the 1982 Constitution Act and Section 36(2) reads: “Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to pr…