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wasoxygen's profile

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Missed this post earlier, but I'm in the neighborhood and would enjoy saying hello. With weather-dependent baseball and soccer schedules, and open houses on Sunday, I am not good at making advance commitment, but if you're willing to play by ear, I could maybe drop in wherever you are.

NRA headquarters is just down the road, and the museum (open Sunday 9:30 to 5) is worth a visit. You can also shoot at the range after passing a rules safety test, $20 per hour for a lane, $15 for each additional person. It will be open 8 to 6 Sunday (reserved after 6).

The cafe is closed weekends, but there is a slew of ethnic restaurants a mile south in Fairfax Center.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 19, 2017

He was gaining fast on the jogger and paid no mind to the pigeon.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 19, 2017

Anyone lose a dog? A brown dog was running westbound with evident joy on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail this morning. I assumed it was with the woman and leashed white dog, but soon encountered some concerned dog walkers wondering about the loose dog.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Clean Air Act: the best regulation

Yes, I thought that name sounded familiar when I saw it in headlines. An image search for "Neil Gorsuch outdoors" returns a million photos of him wearing jacket and tie walking down corridors or standing behind a lectern. But he's a really nice guy!

It occurred to me that I had never noticed EPA offices in downtown D.C., and just discovered that their spacious campus is tucked between two awkward neighbors.

thenewgreen, when should I make that reservation at Central?

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Clean Air Act: the best regulation

Thanks! I hope there are not too many errors, but some probably slipped in. I wasn't able to corroborate all the facts and relied on the magazine article more than I would like.

I also feel like I left half of the best material out. Herbert Needleman is a pediatrician and might be considered something of an activist. He told some great stories to an interviewer, starting with his own experience working at DuPont's Deepwater plant. He saw workers who worked with TEL, they just sat and stared into space. When he said he carried his cigarettes in a plastic case, my sense of irony wanted him to say it was to keep them free of lead, but it was to keep them dry from "like 13 pounds" of sweat he lost daily. He said "anything with a nervous system" should not work in such a place.

Later, he measured lead in children by having kids contribute teeth they had lost. They were to receive a solid silver half dollar in exchange.

    I discovered that some of the dentists were giving the kids two quarters and keeping the half dollars. I spoke at a community meeting and I said, “How’d you like that Kennedy half dollar?” And [the kids] said, “What do you mean? I got two quarters.” This was my first experience with the corrupting power of cash in science.

Seeing Like a State looks quite interesting after reading Scott Alexander's review.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: You can always go around

Did you see the one from inside a 737 cockpit? The pilot does acrobatic flying in his spare time: "I'm always saying that airline pilot gets his salary for one landing per month... this is the day I earned mine."

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Piketty’s Crumbs

I am doing my level best but don't follow your side. The patronizing tone doesn't help; can we focus on the subject instead of my rhetorical skills?

When Piketty writes "The poorer half of the population are as poor today as they were in the past" I think a typical reader would get the impression that the material welfare of the poor has not improved.

But I agree with you, based on my reading of that chapter Piketty is not measuring material welfare. He is interested in share of total wealth. And he uses a moving yardstick, comparing the poor of the past to the rich of that era, and today's poor with today's rich.

The article points out that, despite this description of static share of wealth (which I do not see disputed) there are good reasons to celebrate improvement in material welfare, like highways and ambulances and A/C and penicillin, and also cable TV and Facebook.

rd95 summed up this list as merely "convenience in entertainment and leisure," in my view, a clear instance of straw man. I didn't want to irritate him by citing logical fallacies; bringing "ad hominem" and the rest never helps a discussion. But, regrettably, he seems disgruntled anyway. I would love to investigate all the issues he mentions, "privacy, clean water, working plumbing and electricity, fair rent rates, safe neighborhoods, and on and on and on" and see what the data show the trends are. We might start with the photo in the article depicting the family of 13 living in a converted chicken coop. I expect that the trends are generally positive and beneficial to people at all income levels.

Piketty might agree with all this, I don't know. If it's true that many poor are materially better off now than before, by absolute measures, I think we should celebrate that and look for ways to continue and expand the trend, and not worry so much about relative measures.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Piketty’s Crumbs

I haven't read Piketty, but Google Books allowed me to read a few pages to make sure that quote wasn't taken out of context.

So I agree that "None of this is false," but I question the value of measuring welfare by asking what percentage of the total someone holds, rather than more direct measures of life quality, like food, shelter, and health.

I also agree that wealth naturally accumulates unless checked by policy. That is precisely why "The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline."

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Piketty’s Crumbs

How about the air conditioning, that helps us sleep well and be alert at work? The penicillin and ambulance services, which reduce the consequences of health problems? The poor spend money on entertainment and leisure as well. More options, and more affordable options, benefit everyone.

If the poorer half today do in fact hold "5 percent of total wealth" and this is the same percentage as 1910, they are not "as poor today" as then, they are far wealthier because total wealth has grown. But "the rich get richer, the poor get richer" doesn't sell as many books.

From my perspective, Hubski is a dynamic hotbed of provocative discussion. But for several months, this has happened almost entirely in personal correspondence and not in public.

I would prefer to be more open, but a tiny number of vocal users tend to spice their intellectual disagreement with doses of condescension, mockery, and name-calling. While I recognize that these aspects do not diminish the strength of their ideas, it is sufficiently annoying that I prefer to keep out of public discussions.

Among the thousands of words I have excreted into public dialog, I hope very few of them were antagonistic toward another person, unsparing as I may have been in criticizing their ideas. I keep in touch with a couple of other former users, both scrupulously polite, who have quit the site after encountering needless hostility toward their non-Hubski-mainstream views. And I find myself always wishing that my favorite non-conforming users would expand more, rather than keeping to short, throwaway comments.

I don't think moderation can fix this, though I am still partial to my proposal. There is a kind of Gresham's Law in any open forum by which the bad (vitriol) drives out the good (civility). Nevertheless, Hubski is the best public discussion forum ever conceived.

    And that's just the costs, not counting the social good of a lot fewer sick people.

I don't get the impression that EPA shortchanged themselves counting savings. Table 13.1 shows 184,000 annual deaths avoided thanks to particulate matter reduction, each one valued at $4.8 million. That's a social good (a big one!) and over 21 years adds up to $18 trillion, the majority of the central estimate of savings if my math is correct.

The EPA report includes dollar estimates for improvements in IQ points in children, missed work days, restricted activity days, shortness of breath in children, "household soiling damage," visibility impairment, and agricultural yields.

I haven't gotten the feeling that they are exaggerating these (necessarily highly theoretical) numbers, but I do feel that they are counting whatever they can.

    The 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped spur an avalanche of water pollution control activities, resulting in the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA).

The Clean Water Act, you recall, figured in our conversation about phosphorus.

    Summing up:

    Late 1960's: Eutrophication is perceived as a significant environmental concern.

    1964-1970: Detergent manufacturers recognize the need to remove phosphorus from detergents and spend considerable resources developing NTA, a safe alternative.

    1970: The government tells detergent manufacturers to stop using NTA.

    1972: The Clean Water Act and local laws restrict the use of phosphorus in detergent.

    1980: The government says NTA is okay after all.

    Is it obvious that the government even did more good than harm by getting involved with this issue?

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