Guinea worm is almost eradicated*

*And other good news. 

It’s really easy to focus on all the things that are “getting worse”.  Like, the number of hours per day dedicated to reading about one of the Kardashians, or the stupidity of Trump’s tweets.  But this article takes the long view on a number of important measurements, in the US and WW.  Things like world hunger, homicides rates, and poverty are getting better.  It’s not a comprehensive list, but if you think things are going to “hell in a handbasket”, first take a look at the stats in the article.  And smile.


You are who you hate

Interesting comment in issue 872 of the Editor’s Letter in The Week magazine:  “For much of the electorate, politics is a ritualized display of tribal identity, not a mere choice of policies.  You are who you hate.”

IMO, it’s in the self-interest of our political parties (tribes) to drive ever harder wedges between one another, because the #1 function of a tribe is to out-compete other tribes.  It’s hard-wired into our genes from our primate ancestors.

George Washington warned against the formation of political parties and urged the nation to choose leaders for reasons that transcended partisan politics.  Hmmm.


Median home prices near me – ouch

The median home price in San Jose, the nearest big city, is $1M.  That’s way more than LA, NY, and even SF.  It’s the highest in the US.  How can young families afford it?  They can’t of course.  And rents are likewise sky-high.

This article in Kiplinger lists the median home prices for the top 100 US metro areas.  Even the median price, $800K, in the little burg I’m near, Santa Cruz, is a lot higher than anywhere else in the US.  This 950 sq ft home in Santa Cruz recently sold for a little over $800K, the median price in Santa Cruz.  In my hometown of Garden City, MI, it would be around $80K, a tenth of Santa Cruz.  I’m speechless.136 Wendell St, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060




What we COULD do to reduce the gun problem

Blaming AR15s for gun violence is like blaming the texting feature of phones for the carnage on our roads caused by distracted driving.  Should we outlaw texting?

People all too easily turn to guns to solve problems.  Where did they learn this?  Answer:  popular media.  The people in Hollywood who want to ban guns make billions on glorifying gun violence.  What can we do? We could censor popular media; who currently have no self-censorship.  What else could we do but won’t?

  • We could make it harder for people convicted of ANY violent crimes to get guns
  • We could aggressively punish violent transgressors instead of wrist slaps, even if it means building more jails.
  • We could jail therapists who don’t “out” the nut jobs they know are a danger to others
  • We could stop threatening the 2nd amendment so gun owners don’t have to take extreme positions and instead, work with everyone else on the problem
  • We could legalize drugs and kill the revenue source of gun-using gangs and BTW, save the lives of countless innocent people in Latin America
  • We could shift tax dollars from things like drug enforcement and incarceration to education.  This would help build a strong economy so people get good jobs and have hope.
  • We could identify at-risk individuals through schools and the military, and offer/ force counseling
  • We could admit that suicides are not a gun problem, it’s a people problem
  • We could punish every parent who’s found guilty of making guns available (unsupervised) to kids.  A few examples would solve most of this part of the problem.

I’m sure there are dozens of other things we could do, after careful and bi-partisan study.

California is the Poorest State

In a Feb 18 article by CALmatters on the “California Dream”, Matt Levin observes that if you factor in cost-of-living, California has the highest poverty rate in the U.S.  Stated another way, California is the poorest state in the country.  Poorer than states like Louisiana or Mississippi.  The article mostly blames the cost of housing.  In 1969, the average California home price was 3X the average annual income of younger Californians; today, it’s 7X.  At the same time, we have the wealthiest citizens, and some cities with the highest per capita income.

Image result for poorest state
Back in 2005, I was trying to be funny.  It’s not funny anymore.

CSU Drops Algebra Requirement – Halleujah

I’m so impressed that the California State University system dropped the algebra requirement.  Impressed … because it’s more forward thinking than I normally give our established academicians credit for.  In his book “In Defense of the American Teen“, author Ryan Teves makes a compelling argument to give young people a basic education, then allow them to pursue their passions. Forcing people who do not want or need algebra is just plain stupid.  So I say “congratulations CSU!”  Keep innovating and keep your curriculum relevant!  You are in the business of serving students, not academic dinosaurs. celebrate

Next, let’s try to get the people in charge of K-12 out of the dark ages.