Cartoon of the day

From the New Yorker’s FB feed– love this:

I think I like the ones on the top right.

Infographic of the day

This is very cool via Planet Money— per capita GDP in proportion:

GDP per Capita (PPP)

Ummm, wow– Norway!  If you go to the page, you can also see GDP period, no per capita.  Really puts the US in perspective (and the comparison really shows the impact of China having such a huge population).

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo of the day:

Photo: Scientists collecting samples from a giant redwood tree

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

This Month in Photo of the Day: Adventure and Exploration Photos

Partway up a 350-foot tree, botanist Marie Antoine (at right) passes a slender core sample of its wood—750 years of redwood biography—to canopy ecologist Giacomo Renzullo. Research now shows that the older such trees get, the more wood they put on.

I’m a typical poor parent

The Times has an interesting article today on kids’ use of electonic gadgets.  As I read it, the kids were playing away on the Ipads (Alex was actually at an educational site, but I don’t think he was interested in the education).  Anyway, as to the headline:

In the 1990s, the term “digital divide” emerged to describe technology’s haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families.

Those efforts have indeed shrunk the divide. But they have created an unintended side effect, one that is surprising and troubling to researchers and policy makers and that the government now wants to fix.

As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.

Well, I guess I need to work on my ability to monitor.

Romney and Trump

Mitt Romney has many failings, but he’s clearly a smart politician.  Thus, one really has to question what he’s thinking choosing to associate himself with Donald Trump at this time.  Chris Cilliza has a nice piece that concludes the ledger on this clearly comes out on the net cost side:

All of this Trump talk begs a simple question: Why is Romney associating himself with a man who is the public face of the debunked idea that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and, perhaps more importantly, a man whose sole principle in life is self-promotion?…

The argument forwarded by defenders of the Romney-Trump alliance is centered on two ideas: money and the base.

On the money front, these defenders argue that Trump’s celebrity brings in a different kind of donor — including precious small dollar givers — that Romney might not otherwise attract. (The fact that the donation point — $3 — is so low is indicative of the belief within Romney finance world that Trump does have appeal among these small dollar donors.)

In regards to the base, Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody laid out the argument this way:

“Associating with Donald Trump gives Mitt Romney a way of being brash without being brash. Trump is popular with a certain portion of the GOP, the portion that Romney doesn’t connect with. Trump’s bravado is not necessarily a bad thing for Romney because it connects him to a flamethrower and his audience without having to throw the flames himself.”

True enough — on both fronts…

In terms of money, does anyone really think that Romney is going to have trouble raising the cash he needs to be competitive with President Obama?

When it comes to speaking directly to the base, it’s absolutely true that Trump’s brashness is more appealing than Romney’s stuffed-shirt business pragmatism.

But, poll after poll suggests that the conservative base of the party quickly aligned behind Romney once it became clear he was the nominee. The simple reality is that while Romney makes very few conservative hearts go pitter patter, the base of the Republican party so dislikes/distrusts President Obama that they are going to be with whoever offers an alternative to the current occupant of the White House.  [emphasis mine]

Romney’s task is not then primarily to unify his base but rather to reach out to independents. And, polling suggests Trump won’t help in that regard.

Okay, Romney’s not going to win or lose the election on Donald Trump, but really strikes me that aligning himself with Trump is not a good idea.  Though, I’m happy for Romney to have plenty more not good ideas over the next few months.

God’s Will

You know, there’s a lot of stuff in the bible people really shouldn’t take literally.  From today’s Post:

Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw.

Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them.

He and other adherents cited Mark 16:17-18 as the reason for their practice: “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

And if they so trust God, why just stop with rattlesnakes.  It’s pretty clear from the verse above that Wolford should have been drinking drano, bleach, cyanide, etc.   I also recall a verse in the bible about not putting God to the test.  So much for that one.

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