Archive for December, 2012

More on Adoptions

December 30, 2012

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From Charles Blow at NYT, but still no perspective on overall US adoptions.

Age Of Our Stuff

December 30, 2012

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From Business Insider from Business Week, our stuff is getting older. There’s no question about that, but question is where it goes from here. I be curious to see data from other countries.

Wonkblog Year in Graphs

December 29, 2012


Great series of graphs from The Washington Post. They asked their favorite “wonks” what charts or graphs were most meaningful to them in the past year. Chart above shows the Obama-Romney election and how increasing density meant increasing votership for Obama, decreasing for Romney.

More on Rising Costs of College

December 29, 2012

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From WSJ, further confirmation of the rising costs of college, with a focus on the University of Minnesota. My views:
– I’m left not fully believing that the U of M will solve this issue.
– WSJ analysis is ok, but a business would analyze this with more tables and a “Pareto” mindset.
– I find that the for profit and non-profit models are challenged in education. I wonder if part of the solution could be found in a hybrid model, like a utility or co-op.

Recovery – A Global Perspective

December 29, 2012

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From Floyd Norris at NYT, recovery definitely happening, but not certainly in Europe.

Murders in NYC

December 29, 2012

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From NYT, chief of police says cause is new strategies, like curbing domestic violence and monitoring social media….really? Also, vast majority of murders grew out of a dispute where two people knew each other.

US Adoptions

December 27, 2012

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From WSJ. While focus is on Russia potentially banning adoptions to the US, seems to me that the more significant data is about US overseas adoptions being cut by more than half in the past 7 years. Also, the overall number at less than 10,000 seems very small, but it doesn’t count domestic adoptions. I also wonder how these numbers compare to immigration, both legal and illegal. Data story waiting to be told.

Global Happiness Statistics

December 27, 2012

I’ve always been curious about happiness by country. Differences seem strikingly large. From CNN.

10 Most Happy Countries

Panama (85%)

Paraguay (85%)

El Salvador (84%)

Venezuela (84%)

Trinidad and Tobago (83%)

Thailand (83%)

Guatemala (82%)

Philippines (82%)

Ecuador (81%)

Costa Rica (81%)

10 least happy countries

Singapore (46%)

Armenia (49%)

Iraq (50%)

Georgia (52%)

Yemen (52%)

Serbia (52%)

Belarus (53%)

Lithuania (54%)

Madagascar (54%)

Afghanistan (55%)

The Myth of Meritocracy in American Education

December 27, 2012

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Fascinating article from American Conservative about admissions to the leading universities in America. Several memorable points:
– Asians have been under-represented in leading universities in the past twenty years. Asians are “the new Jews.” They’re striving and hungry, but not getting in because other ethnicities are getting in.
– Jews have been over-represented in the past twenty or so years relative to their demonstrated abilities, as shown by their National Merit Scholarship awards.
– Jews are over-represented as leaders of leading universities. Jews are also controllers of American media and the author alleges a connection between this leadership and the over-acceptance of Jews in leading universities.
– Wesleyan admissions policies denigrated, as were admissions officers in general.
– admission is based upon “leadership”, legacy, a liberal bias and connections, which often means parental potential to donate, as well as the personal interests of admissions officers, who are reflected as a low-paid, low-intellect group who might also be flight attendants (he loses me, and I’m sure others, with this sarcastic thread).
– author Ron Unz thinks an alternative admissions system would have an inner ring of admittances based upon pure academic ability and an outer ring based upon random lottery amongst a larger group who’ve met a academic hurdle.

Thanks to David Brooks for highlighting this article.

Rising College Applications

December 26, 2012

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From WSJ, colleges soliciting more applications to get better applicants and to improve their “selectivity”.