Recent Articles

The failure of mandated disclosures aimed at consumers

| May 17, 2014 | Reply

Who takes the time to read all of the disclosures that comes with software and products? Not most of us. A new book reviewed by Bloomberg says that this is not only ineffective, but harmful.

[I]s mandatory disclosure really that beneficial? During the housing bubble, having to sign 50 documents stuffed with financial disclosures didn’t stop people from taking out ill-advised subprime loans on overpriced houses. An alarming number of female college students are still attacked on campuses despite the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which imposes stiff crime reporting obligations on school administrators. And disclosure forms in routine transactions, from getting a car fixed to signing for a FedEx package, have become meaningless annoyances. A new book, More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure, takes the critique one step further: It argues that mandatory disclosures aren’t just useless but outright harmful in many cases.

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My bad: It turns out that burning coal is a GREAT idea

| May 15, 2014 | 3 Replies

I didn’t know that burning coal was such a great idea until I saw this billboard in St. Louis. Orwell is probably already dizzy from spinning in his grave, but here we go again.

Coal Billboard

Here’s a link to the work of the corporate spinmeisters.

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Urbex favorite church collapses – the joy and sorrow of urban exploration

Urbex favorite church collapses – the joy and sorrow of urban exploration

| May 11, 2014 | Reply

I’ve come to enjoy urban exploration over the past year. Today I learned that a favorite urban exploration spot in St. Louis, the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in north St. Louis, has completely collapsed. That is the first photo of this group, which I took back in August 2013.

IMG_4975 Bethlehem Church

It’s so very sad to hear that a beautiful structure has imploded, even if the economic reality pointed in that direction. It was obvious that this was going to happen, but I was hoping to photograph it again before that happened. I learned about the death of Bethlehem from a friend who lives and breathes urbex. This afternoon we explored an old factory in southeast Missouri (St. Joe’s-Part of Missouri Mines Park area). That is where the remainder of these photos were taken.

IMG_6179_80_81_fused St Joes lead HDR

IMG_6158_59_60_fused St Joes lead HDR [More . . . ]

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Should your job even exist?

| May 10, 2014 | 1 Reply

I’ve often wondered how most of us in the United State would fare if we were forced to stand up and justify our jobs, one by one. We can do without most of the stuff in high-priced malls. We can do without casinos and all of the thousands of people they employ. Wall Street banks “make” only about the amount that they take in from federal government welfare, year after year. We could do away with all of these, and many many more.

Should your job even exist? David Graeber explains that people with make-work jobs envy those with real jobs:

All my life, there’s people, you meet them at parties, you run into them, you ask them what they do, and they kind of look sheepish and don’t want to admit it, you know? They say, well, it’s not really very interesting. It’s like, well, I’m a human resource consultant; I work at a computer firm where I fill out forms of a certain kind to make it faster for somebody else to do this, or I’m a middle man among seven layers of middlemen in this sort of outsourcing… They’re always embarrassed; they don’t look like they do anything. All those people out there who have these jobs that you don’t think they’re really doing anything, they must be suffering, they must know that their jobs are essentially made up. Imagine going to work every day knowing you’re not really doing anything. What must that do to someone’s soul?
Why America’s favorite anarchist thinks most American workers are slaves

How could you have dignity in labor if you secretly believe your job shouldn’t exist? But, of course, you’re not going to tell your boss that. So I thought, you know, there must be enormous moral and spiritual damage done to our society. And then I thought, well, maybe that explains some other things, like why is it there’s this deep, popular resentment against people who have real jobs? They can get people so angry at auto-workers, just because they make 30 bucks an hour, which is like nowhere near what corporate lawyers make, but nobody seems to resent them. They get angry at the auto-workers; they get angry at teachers. They don’t get angry at school administrators, who actually make more money. Most of the problems people blame on teachers, and I think on some level, that’s resentment: all these people with meaningless jobs are saying, but, you guys get to teach kids, you get to make cars; that’s real work. We don’t get to do real work; you want benefits, too? That’s not reasonable. . . . It’s envy of people who get to have meaningful jobs that actually produce something.

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Plot idea regarding global warming

| May 8, 2014 | Reply

plot idea

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Mayday: Our government is going down in flames

| May 7, 2014 | Reply

Are you tired of merely complaining about government corruption? Here’s your chance to do something. I just donated a significant amount of money to the SuperPac Kickstart campaign created by Lawrence Lessig, a tireless leader in the election reform movement. Listen to his 5-minute presentation and then ask yourself, “Isn’t this what I’ve been waiting for?” Please . . . PLEASE listen to this message and consider joining this movement. This approach has real potential to change the way Washington works. You’ll need to get past the dark irony that it will take money to beat money. The battle cry is “Mayday”–our government is going down in flames. Become a proud player in this effort.

Mayday PAC Launch from lessig on Vimeo.

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Music from 1979

| May 4, 2014 | Reply

It was back in 1979, a day when Joni Mitchell performed with Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius Don Alias , Lyle Mays and Michael Brecker. This was sweet music indeed.

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Personal qualities not measured by tests

| May 4, 2014 | Reply

Here is a well constructed list that those who do well on SAT tests should carefully review.

CREATIVITY
CRITICAL THINKING
RESILIENCE
MOTIVATION
PERSISTENCE
CURIOSITY
QUESTION ASKING
HUMOR
ENDURANCE
RELIABILITY
ENTHUSIASUM
CIVIC-MINDEDNESS
SELF-AWARENESS
SELF-DISCIPLINE
EMPATHY
LEADERSHIP
COMPASSION
COURAGE
SENSE OF BEAUTY
SENSE OF WONDER
RESOURCEFULNESS
SPONTANEITY
HUMILITY

Paul Tough, who wrote How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, would add “grit.”

Personal qualities not measured by tests - list

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America’s Class Hierarchy

| May 4, 2014 | Reply

According to Freedom Infonet, American now has nine classes in its caste system. This description is depressing, because I suspect it is accurate.

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