No more desktops?

In Slate, Farhad Manjoo suggests that desktops are on the path of the dodo and will represent no more than 18% of the computer market in just 5 years.

Forecast: Share of US Consumer PC Sales By Form Factor, 2008 to 2015.

I love desktops.  Am I totally out of it and a hopeless dinosaur?  Obviously portable computers are great and have their place, but I go to work and happily use a desktop at my office and when I’m home, I happily use one of our two desktops.  All of which feature great keyboards and nice big monitors.  Am I so wrong and unusual  in strongly preferring that?  I don’t doubt, as Manjoo suggests that the power advantage of desktops will be increasingly obsolete, but as long as I can a better keyboard, monitor, and sound (I love to listen to music while computing), I think I’ll be a desktop man.

Carbon Cap & Trade is cheap

It’s pretty clear that real energy policy that actually puts a price on carbon, thereby addressing the externality issue, is dead.  This is a real shame, as despite all the demagoguing, pricing carbon is actually really cheap.  The average household is looking at $.40 per day.  That’s not exactly the economy-destroying apocalypse that Republicans like to talk about.  Kevin Drum’s got a nice post making all these points.  The following was the key take-home for me:

On the emissions front, the APA would have a dramatic effect: US emissions would be cut nearly in half by 2030 compared to doing nothing. That’s an enormous impact.

But how much would it cost? The answer is: almost nothing. According to EPA’s models, if we do nothing, consumption of goods and services in the United States will increase 74.1% by 2030. If APA is passed, consumption will increase 73.4%.

That’s it. We can cut carbon emissions nearly in half, and the net cost will be a decrease in consumption of 0.7% in 2030. [emphasis mine] EPA figures this comes to an average annual cost of $146 per household. That’s 40 cents a day per family.

How crazy and broken is our political system where we cannot do something so clearly sensible that has such an incredibly minimal cost?  Ugh.

Stupid immigration policy

Matt Yglesias had a post on immigration policy I liked so much, I’m just going to borrow it almost wholesale (and add my own bit, so don’t stop):

A judge in Baltimore ruled that Hervé Fonkou Takoulo of Cameroon is not a legitimate candidate for political asylum. That’s why he’s got to go. But asylum aside, Takoulo is also a 2008 graduate of Stony Brook University with credentials that apparently got him job offers in the engineering field, offers he had to decline since he lacks proper documentation. He’s not a terrorist. He’s not a criminal. He’s a bright 34 year-old guy from Africa who went to college and wants to do useful work in exchange for money. How does it help me for my tax dollars to be spent trying to deport him? How does it help you?

It’s all well and good to say that immigration laws need to be enforced, but our immigration laws also ought to make sense. We should be eager to get as many law-abiding, English-speaking college graduates as possible into our country. The fact that the United States of America is the kind of place that Takoulo wants to live is a great strength of our country, and we ought to be taking advantage of it.

Yeah… that.  Say what you will about all the low-skilled Mexican immigrants, etc., it is crazy to make it so hard for highly-skilled, highly-educated, English-speaking, persons to become permanent residents.  These are exactly the type of people who drive economic growth and are a huge net benefit to our country and society.  We have a friend from Canada here on a work visa and if his company goes belly-up, which it well might, this highly educated (PhD in Physiology), highly motivated and entrepreneurial man and his family will have to go back to Canada.  How is that good for America?  Damn I hate stupid policy.

It’s not easy being dad

In honor of Father’s day, the Times ran a story arguing that now dads are just as stressed out as moms in trying to find a work-life balance.  In some ways, its actually even harder for men, because employers generally don’t expect them to actually care about their families to the degree that women do.

The research highlights the singular challenges of fathers. Men are typically the primary breadwinner, but they also increasingly report a desire to spend more time with their children. To do so, they must first navigate a workplace that is often reluctant to give them time off for family reasons. And they must negotiate with a wife who may not always recognize their contributions at home.

Part of this, is the changing nature of the American workforce:

It doesn’t help that work eats up more time. In 1970, about two-thirds of married couples had a spouse at home (usually the wife). But today, only 40 percent of families have a stay-at-home spouse to handle domestic demands during the workday. Couples now work a combined average of 63 hours a week, up from just 52.5 in 1970.

Though, count my vote for women still having it significantly harder.  I think this statistic is telling:

Men may be stressed out, but try telling that to their wives. Although men do more vacuuming and dishwashing than their fathers did, they still lag behind women when it comes to housework. When both husband and wife work outside the home, the woman spends about 28 hours a week on housework. Her husband can claim only about 16 hours

And, I think the real rub is somewhat buried at the bottom of the article:

Then again, some contributions may be unrecognized by the other partner. For instance, a father may prepare school lunches half the time, so he thinks he’s sharing that chore. But he doesn’t factor in the time his wife spent shopping for the ingredients, planning healthy, appetizing menus and emptying and cleaning the lunchboxes every day.

“Women remain psychologically responsible, and that’s a burden,” said Dr. Galinsky. “That psychological responsibility adds to the sense of feeling like you’re doing more, even though it may be somewhat invisible.”

When Laurel Elder and I did our own survey of parental involvement, we did our best to measure this sense of psychological responsibility with questions about which parent plans for activities, health meals, health concerns, etc.  From my own experience, that’s where a lot of the parental action is really at.  In our case, we have 2 of 3 kids who require high-intensity parenting (2 IEP’s, many specialist doctors visits) and Kim takes primary psychological responsibility for Alex and I do for David (Evan’s just easy, though Kim’s the primary on him, too).  I think that’s actually the most important sharing of responsibility we do, as in many ways that is the most burdensome part of being a parent.

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