The Economist: America - A flagging [education] model.
“The country that has given the world so many ideas about how to run higher education could do with some new ones itself.” Note also that for-profit colleges are swiftly going the way of the dodo ... and rightfully so. Every ‘graduate’ of these schools I’ve run across has been unqualified. One in particular, the only skill s/he seemed to have acquired was an ability to make dreadful graphics in Powerpoint ... something Lynda.com could remedy for $25/mo, a significant savings over one of those ‘colleges’. Employers need to loosen up on their degree requirements and look at actual skills; I’m reminded of when airlines began requiring degrees of pilots. They lost a generation of some of the best stick-and-rudder flyers in history. Wouldn’t you rather have a Chuck Yeager flying you to your destination? No degree, likely no HS diploma either; unimpeachable skills.
ABC: US Drillers Scrambling to Thwart OPEC Threat.
“Drillers are finding they can back into wells drilled only a few years ago to re-frack them or inject specially tailored fluids to get oil flowing again. That can return a well in some cases to peak output, without the expense of drilling a new well.” Perhaps, but to cut costs, where are all those ‘specially tailored fluids’ being dumped/injected? Quadruple the watch on your drinking water sources, people.
OilPrice: Natural Gas Prices To Crash Unless Rig Count Falls Fast.
The Week: Why South by Southwest is a huge, exploitative scam.
SF Reporter: New Mexico Legislature Ends Session With No Capital Outlay Bill.
The Atlantic: Manual Labor, All Night Long - The Reality of Paying for College.
$10/hour. A travesty. I was making $8.00 an hour helping build prestressed concrete components to try to pay for school in 1979. Up at 3AM to be at work by 4 (the work was out in the open, these hours prevented heatstroke). Work until 1 PM. I was injured - all of my fingers were broken in an accident. Ended up having to take two semesters off (two trimesters) for them to heal. ‘Manual labor’ can help pay your way, sure. But the intangibles ...
ArtDaily: Study by Mexican anthropologist says elites’ clash led to Teotihuacan collapse.
NY Times: How the Obama and Republican Budgets Compare.
Ack ... I see the words ‘dynamic scoring’ again. I smell the stench of the Laffer Curve wafting.
National Journal: Jeb Bush’s Headwinds.
The Atlantic: Are Americans Over Their Economic Anxiety Yet?
“Disenchantment on jobs, wages, and living costs transcend almost all boundaries.” We did incrementally better this past year, but NM still isn’t seeing the performance of the two coasts.
NY Times: Glut of Oil Pushes U.S. Crude Prices to 6-Year Low.
NY Times: To Kill a Chicken.
I suspected it was bad, but not this horrifying. “Think about that. If a naughty boy pulls feathers out of a single chicken, he’s punished. But scald hundreds of thousands of chickens alive each year? That’s a business model.” My italics.
Wikipedia: Aldrich–Vreeland Act.
Oops. You can blame one of my distant relatives for the Federal Reserve ...
Youtube: Robin Hood in Reverse.
Bernie Sanders. Worth your time. “The economy’s doing so well!” Yah, sure.
LayerVault shuts down.
“Some folks may be wondering: Why? We will try to share our experience as best we can via post-mortems and blog posts, but the short answer is simple: we failed to make LayerVault financially viable, exhausted our existing capital reserves, and were unable to secure additional capital to sustain uninterrupted service. We ran out of money.” Shame.
The Atlantic: The Forgotten 1980s Rule That’s Hurting Poor Families’ Savings.
The deck is stacked. I can’t help but contrast this with the ‘work hard’ charity some tout so strongly. They want the poor to prove themselves by ‘working hard’ to pull themselves up. Oftentimes the bar is inhumane. A rich person has never in their lives worked as hard - or put up with as much red tape and flat-out bullshit - as some of the folks I know who have to rely on welfare to make ends meet.
Discovery Mag: Step Aside, Rockets – Ion Engines Are Future of Space Travel.
“With compact ion engines on board, satellites can raise themselves from low Earth orbit to their final geostationary orbit under their own power. This will save enormous amounts of fuel and allow the use of much smaller launch vehicles which will save a lot of money.”
Vox: A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with American health care.
“This is not a procedure where some hospitals are really great at lipid panels and some are terrible. There’s just not space for quality variation: you are running blood through a machine and pressing buttons. That’s it. And that all makes it a bit baffling why, in California, a lipid panel can cost anywhere between $10 and $10,000. In either case, it is the exact same test.” My italics. We’ve all heard stories like this. The other one I’ve heard: the cost of endoscopies varying hugely [with plenty of innuendo].
The Atlantic: Have Americans Officially Given Up on Washington?
“Changes on the national level haven’t affected me.” Hmmm. The ACA reached into our wallets and made Washington real in a way it hasn’t been in decades. And now the Common Core/PARCC tests, too. Young folks with families have their ears perked. So I don’t agree with this assessment - folks are going to be paying attention in ‘16, more than previous elections. When you reach into someone’s home finances, impose sudden change on their children, there’s going to be a backlash ... and children’s issues are a tried-and-true wedge for splitting off swing voters.
The Nation: A Broken Compensation System Is Leaving the Most Vulnerable Workers in Pain.
“The double injustice of paying for the physical suffering imposed by your employer is no accident; it’s calculated cruelty. The Workers’ Compensation system has been gradually eroded to limit employer liability, while disenfranchised, precarious workers often have little choice but to accept an inadequate award or none at all.” My italics.
Bloomberg: The Price of Oil Is About to Blow a Hole in Corporate Accounting.
“Using current prices instead of the SEC-prescribed $95 a barrel would erase $13.8 billion, or 61 percent, from the value of Continental’s oil and natural gas properties. It would also mean that 10 percent of the company’s reserves, the equivalent of 135 million barrels, would be too expensive to pump with prices where they are, the company said in the filing.” Question is, how will this ripple out into the general economy? We can already see a reduction in tourism from Texas and other drill-baby-drill areas since December.
Toronto Star to end paid digital subscriptions on April 1.
NY Times: Hermosa Beach, Calif., Voters Give Thumbs Down to Oil Drilling.
“As a result of the vote, Hermosa Beach now owes E&B $17.5 million to terminate the contract, under the terms of an agreement ending litigation with the firm.” Ouch. With oil prices so low, companies may pursue mineral rights litigation not to actually drill, but to simply minimize the red in their ledgers.
Slate: Baby boomers delaying retirement - It’s a myth, because retirement is bleaker than ever
Altered title for length. Read it.