Posts tagged ‘harvard’

Fighting the "Hegemonic Modern Human Rights Discourse"

Kudos to Harvard, for bravely standing up against the defenders of human rights when no one else is willing too.  From the Harvard Islamic chaplain, who further expresses the great wisdom he sees in executing apostates from Islam.  Good to see that Harvard hasn't gotten any saner since I left.

Postscript:  This is the faculty that claimed moral superiority over Lawrence Summers?  I can see what's coming next -- its wrong to question why women are under-represented in science, because we should just stone them all instead.

via maggies farm

In Search of the Good Life

Tim Harford Via TJIC:

Superficially, it seems that many people seek sunny climes,
especially now that air conditioning is available. For example,
long-run population growth in the "Sunbelt" "” the US South - is often
attributed to a demand for, well, sun.

Harvard economists Ed Glaeser and Kristina Tobio think
otherwise. They argue that before 1980, the boom in the South was
thanks to the region's growing productivity. After 1980, population
continued to grow, but house prices lagged behind those elsewhere in
the US, suggesting that the driving force was not high demand but
permissive planning rules. Certainly balmy California, with its tighter
restrictions on building, did not enjoy the same population growth.

All of this tends to suggest that people don't value sunshine quite as much as is supposed.

I have pretty convincing anecdotal evidence that the first part, at least, is true.  I worked for a large manufacturing corporation called Emerson Electric (no relation to the electronics company).  They are one of the few Fortune 50 companies not at all coy to admit that they move factories around the world chasing lower wages.  They had an epiphany decades ago, when in their planning, they assumed the move overseas was always a trade-off of wages for productivity... until they visited at motor plant in Brazil that had first world automation and productivity combined with third world wages.  That got their attention.  To their credit, they have pushed this further and further, such that not only are their factory workers in Mexico, but their plant superintendents and skilled workers and even their engineers are now Mexican too.

Anyway, if you listen to the company tell this story, phase 1 of the story was not a move to Mexico or Asia but to the south.  They must have moved probably 50 manufacturing plants over a decade from the northeast to the south during the sixties and seventies. 

This constant movement seems to be a natural life-cycle of locations as they grow wealthy.  Poorer regions eagerly welcome newcomers who may bring jobs and prosperity.  But, once the prosperity is there, the prosperous in town begin using government and other institutions to try to lock in their gains.  Corporations use government to fight new competitors.  Wealthy homeowners pass zoning to keep home prices high and rising.  Unions tend to increase and lock in gains for current workers at the expense of new workers.  A kind of culture of hostility emerges to any new job that makes less than $54,000 a year, any house that costs less than $400,000, and any immigrant who doesn't have a pale face.

Hold off on the Funeral for Special Relativity

Harvard physicist LuboÅ¡ Motl throws some cold water on recent claims to have broken the speed of light.  He argues:

Two years ago or so, Robert Helling
explained what these experiments are all about. As far as I can say,
there is nothing new about Nimtz's findings or observations and not
much interesting about them either. He's been doing the very same
things for decades.

He builds a setup in which the maximum
of a wave moves faster than light (although you need amplifiers to find
where the maximum is at the end). That's of course possible. In fact,
it's very easy. You can make such things with normal classical
electromagnetic waves as long as you have a layer of material where
they exponentially drop. In analogy with Schrödinger's equation, you
may realize that tunneling can be very fast.

microscopically, no signal or information is moving superluminally and
nothing is violated about special relativity whatsoever because all
these waves perfectly satisfy Maxwell's equations where the speed of
light is safely bounded. Nimtz must know that, I think, so his behavior
seems dishonest to me.

BMOC, Chapters 1 and 2

As a way to celebrate the holidays and perhaps compensate for a more relaxed pace of blogging for a while, I am beginning a serialization of my new novel BMOC.  If there is interest, I will keep it going for a while.  So, lets get started.  Enjoy!  (You didn't really feel like doing any real work today, did you?).   By the way, for you prospective business school students, though it may seem un-serious, embodies my best advice for you.  Chapters 3 and 4 continue here.

chapter one

Gladstone, multi-millionaire CEO of the M Group, looked around the
room at his fellow conspirators and longed for the piranha

Continue reading ‘BMOC, Chapters 1 and 2’ »