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Home country: USA
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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,666

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Environmental Scientist

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Toon: "Everybody Saw That"


Breast milk jewelry? It's the latest mommy keepsake

Strands from baby’s first haircut. The first tooth. Tiny footprints sunk into clay. Some parents even tuck away the dried stump of the umbilical cord or the stick pregnancy test as a touching memento marking the milestones of their kids.

The latest? Breast milk jewelry.

Few issues polarize mothers more than breast-feeding, and all things related to breast-feeding, so wearing processed breast milk around the neck or in a bracelet has ignited some passions.

The jewelry, on sale at the handmade marketplace Etsy, is definitely not for writer Ashley McCann, 34, in Naples, Fla. She nursed both her boys, 6 and 9, and loved it, but she feels some sort of line has been crossed.


McDonald's burger bought in Utah in 1999 looks exactly the same as the day it was first flipped

If you need another reason to kick the junk food habit this should do it.
A Utah man has unearthed a McDonald's hamburger he bought in 1999 - and the sandwich looks exactly the same as the day it was first flipped.

David Whipple kept the fast food meal for a month to show friends how the preservative-packed hamburger would keep its composure.

But he forgot about it, finding it two years later in his coat pocket and then he decided to continue the bizarre experiment.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313276/McDonalds-burger-bought-Utah-1999-looks-exactly-the-day-flipped.html

UC Santa Cruz police confiscate 2-pound joint from 4/20 party

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A video posted to the Internet shows police on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus confiscating what is described as a 2-pound marijuana joint Saturday.

According to various accounts on the Internet, the incident happened at an annual event that marks April 20, or 4/20, numbers which have become associated with smoking marijauna.

According to the website LiveLeak.com, the officers took the giant joint because it violated the weight limit set for carrying pot, which is one ounce.


Tweaking GDP statistics won’t hide the fact that Americans are doing worse

By Matt Phillips

Uncle Sam is about to rewrite US economic history stretching all the way back to 1929.

With a statistical flick of the switch starting in July, the US government will increase the size of the world’s largest economy by about 3%. How? The agency that tallies up US GDP is going to be changing the way it counts spending on research and development. Here’s the short version, from the Financial Times, which published a solid story on the change (paywall).

At present, R&D counts as a cost of doing business, so the final output of Apple iPads is included in GDP but the research done to create them is not. R&D will now count as an investment, adding a bit more than 2 per cent to the measured size of the economy.

Over at the Washington Post, Neil Irwin explains it this way:

Now BEA will treat research and development and creation of artistic works as longer-term investments, not unlike factories, equipment, or software. On a purely technical level, this should more precisely match GDP in any one quarter to the actual economic value the nation generates in that span. In the old system, the value of the economic output of a Star Wars movie would only show up in GDP over decades to come, in the form of personal consumption expenditures like movie tickets and DVD sales.

So should you care?

Unless you’re one of the people on Wall Street or in academia whose professional reputation rests on how closely they can guess where GDP growth will be each quarter, probably not. In fact, if you’re interested in figuring out anything meaningful about the economy, like, say, how the people in it are actually doing, GDP is a pretty awful measure.


Openly gay kicker tries out for the NFL

by Cyd Zeigler | April 23, 2013

It had been months since Alan Gendreau put on a pair of cleats and stood three yards behind a football. The former Middle Tennessee State placekicker had all but left the game behind when he graduated a year ago.

Yet there he was on a Saturday morning in early April lining up for a kick, the sun beating down on the bright green field as the wind swirled around him. A half-hearted attempt to make it to the NFL was in his past; the crush of a disappointing senior season, punctuating a stellar college career, had been put in his distant memory. Now with renewed purpose, Gendreau had made a potentially game-changing decision: It’s time for him to shoot for the stars again.

After a brief instruction on how I should hold the ball for him, Gendreau looked up from his backward steps and focused downfield.

"I always focus on a spot past the goal post," he said as he readied for his first kick. "Gotta aim further than I’m trying to go."

With a deep breath, arms outstretched, and one last stare past the goal posts 40 yards away, he took three steps toward the ball and let his foot fly. The connection lifted the ball soaring, passing through the uprights and finally hitting the track 20 yards past the field, bouncing high over the distant fence.



North Carolina Man Tied to Gun Left in NYC Hotel Lobby


A security-camera image apparently of Bobby Glen Jackson in the screening lane at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on April 15. The police say Mr. Jackson hid a gun in a hotel lobby after learning that he would not be able to take it into the memorial.

The man who inadvertently set off a sweeping police investigation when he hid his pistol under a cushion in a World Trade Center hotel lobby — minutes before the Boston Marathon bombing — was a tourist simply in a hurry to stow it and get back to his tour group, a relative said on Monday.

The man, Bobby Glen Jackson, 59, was arrested on Saturday in Fayetteville, N.C., and was scheduled to be brought to New York City on Monday to face charges of criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, the police said. Mr. Jackson owns a pressure-washing business in Fayetteville and does security work, which is why he owns a pistol, said the relative, who asked to remain anonymous.

“He’s not perfect by any means, but he’s a good man,” the relative said. “He’s a God-fearing man. If what had happened there had happened here, and it hadn’t been times like now, everything would be O.K., because everybody would know him.”

As I wrote in Saturday’s Crime Scene column, around 2 p.m. last Monday a man entered the lobby of the World Center Hotel and tucked a pistol under a seat cushion in the lobby. A woman discovered the gun when she sat on it a short while later, and a manager alerted police officers outside. The hotel is directly beside the entrance to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, where security is heavy and firearms are forbidden.


Nanny Dogs Strike Again!

Two toddlers attacked by pit bull in Riverside

April 23, 2013, 7:25 a.m.
Two young boys were in the hospital Tuesday after being attacked by a pit bull in Riverside.

Officials said the boys -- 1 and 2 years old -- were playing in the fenced backyard of family friends when the friends' family dog attacked.

Both boys were rushed to the emergency room, officials said.
The 8-year-old pit bull was quarantined and will be transferred to a humane facility, officials said.


Krugman kicking some austerian ass this morning!

3 new posts:

Building A Mystery
Jared Bernstein shakes his head at what he calls “weirdness” at the Washington Post, citing an editorial and a commentary by Robert Samuelson. I second his views, but I’d like to point out something else about Samuelson’s piece.

What Samuelson does is to throw up his hands and declare that we just don’t understand what’s going on in the macroeconomy. How does he know this? He talks to several people who declare themselves deeply puzzled by events — notably, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi and Allan Meltzer.

But it’s no mystery why Bini Smaghi and Meltzer would find it all very puzzling — they personally got everything wrong. Bini Smaghi spent years sneering at anyone suggesting that Greece might need to write off some of its debts. Meltzer has been predicting runaway inflation for four years.

Some of us don’t find the macro developments puzzling at all; we applied basic IS-LM macro, understood from the beginning that monetary policy would have little traction, warned that austerity policies would have major negative effects. Basic textbook macro has in fact worked fine. And so you might think that Samuelson would ask the people who got it wrong why they got it wrong, and whether it might not be because they had the wrong framework while the Keynesians were closer to the truth.

But no; he acts as if these people are the authorities, and their personal predictive failures demonstrate that nobody can get it right.

Oh, and it goes without saying that these “experts” have not reconsidered their views at all.


Trap Denial
OK, probably going on too much about this, but I want to return briefly to the issue of puzzled economists, specifically Allan Meltzer.

Four years ago Meltzer and I effectively had a debate about the effects of the rapidly expanding Fed balance sheet. He (and others) warned of inflation ahead; I (and others) said that we were in a liquidity trap, so that the Fed’s bond purchases would basically just sit there.

So here we are four years later, the huge expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet has not, in fact, led to inflation. And Meltzer is puzzled by the fact that all those bond purchases just sat there:

Since late 2007, the Fed has pumped more than $2 trillion into the U.S. economy by buying bonds. Economist Allan Meltzer asked:
“Why is there such a weak response to such an enormous amount of stimulus, especially monetary stimulus?” The answer, he said, is that the obstacles to faster economic growth are not mainly monetary. Instead, they lie mostly with business decisions to invest and hire; these, he argued, are discouraged by the Obama administration’s policies to raise taxes or, through Obamacare’s mandate to buy health insurance for workers, to increase the cost of hiring.

He made a monetary prediction; I made a monetary prediction; his prediction was wrong. Therefore, it must be because of Obamacare!


A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Folly

As I have been writing a lot lately, the clean little secret of the global economic crisis is that standard economic theory actually performed pretty well.

It’s true that few anticipated the severity of the 2008 crisis — but that wasn’t a deep failure of theory, it was a failure of observation. We actually had a pretty good understanding of bank runs; we just failed to notice that traditional banks were a much smaller share of the system than before, and that unregulated, unguaranteed shadow banks had become so important. Once that realization hit, as Gary Gorton (pdf) has documented, standard bank-run theory made perfectly good sense of the story.

And the aftermath of the crisis — persistent low interest rates despite high deficits, impotence of monetary policy, major negative impacts of fiscal austerity — may not have been what most economists or government agencies predicted, but it’s what they should have predicted; Econ 101 macroeconomics, as I often point out, has worked pretty well.

Even the euro area crisis made and makes a lot of sense in terms of standard optimum currency area theory.

The point is that radical new theories haven’t been needed at all; off-the-shelf economics, tools we already had, provided plenty of guidance.



Tuesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest










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