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Showing posts from March, 2021

The Irrationality of Metric

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  Officially Canada is 100% metric, but in reality our heights are in feet, we weigh ourselves in pounds, but we buy our steaks in kilograms and put liters in our gas tanks.  There are several good reasons to use imperial measure and some bad ones. The best reason for imperial is that we share many products with our imperialist cousins, the excitable states.  Most of the stuff we buy,  food weights or volumes, cooking temperatures, building products are manufactured, measured and sold in feet, inches, gallons, quarts, liquid ounces or in Canada as awkward conversions to metric no one uses, such as a 3.78 liter one US gallon can of paint.    A bad reason to use imperial might be old fartism, of which I could be guilty.  When I learned to measure it was in imperial, but stick with me a for a moment.  When the 18th century enlightenment era philosophes (bored French rich people) contemplated ridding society of archaic measuring standards, such as the length of some long dead king's f

How America became Un-Great

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Charles Murray, a political scientist, is worried about social breakdown of the USA.  He has authored numerous books and articles criticizing social welfare policy and people who score low on IQ tests, especially if they weren't white.  Murray uses census and survey data to show what should by now be obvious to everyone familiar with the USA. Some people are doing spectacularly well, and a large number are seemingly locked into a downward mobility spiral from which there appears to be no escape.  This time he confines his observations to the white population to avoid muddying the waters with race, unlike a previous book, The Bell Curve . Murray attributes the  decline of the white working class to the breakdown of the two parent family, laziness, failure to attend church regularly and dishonesty, as in not respecting the law.  Distressingly, Murray notes that working class IQ and SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) scores are getting lower. The upper middle class is also complici