"At a Higher Rate"

Just how bad is Alaska? Well, like everything, women are hardest hit. (Probably minorities too, but the article doesn't treat that.)
A newly issued Alaska State Legislature report held some grim findings about women living in the Last Frontier: They earn less than men, were imprisoned at a higher rate during the past 10 years, and have a suicide rate that’s twice the national average, among other problems, including homelessness and a lack of health care.
I don't mean to make light of the genuine problems mentioned here, but I was really shocked to learn that women were imprisoned at a higher rate than men these last ten years. Given the relative rates at which men and women are imprisoned, that would not just be an outlier, it would be so shocking as to demand explanation.

So I delved a bit into the article and found the explanation, which is this bit from the fifth paragraph:
As for crime and imprisonment, the number of women going to prison in Alaska is growing: In 2007, women made up 6.5 percent of Alaska’s prison population, but that number had jumped to nearly 11 percent in 2011.
Oh, I see. Not "at a higher rate than men," but at a higher rate than previously.

A friend of mine who teaches logic was telling me about how he hadn't had time to plan anything at all for his lecture, so he had winged it. The lecture was supposed to go for an hour, but he finished after 45 minutes. To the delight of the students, he said he was going to let them go early that day: "After all," he said, "we got through everything I'd planned, and I only expected to get through half of it."

Hegel on the State

A striking quote in a section of the Philosophy of Right.
We should desire to have in the state nothing except what is an expression of rationality. The state is the world which mind has made for itself; its march, therefore, is on lines that are fixed and absolute. How often we talk of the wisdom of God in nature! But we are not to assume for that reason that the physical world of nature is a loftier thing than the world of mind. As high as mind stands above nature, so high does the state stand above physical life. Man must therefore venerate the state as a secular deity, and observe that if it is difficult to comprehend nature, it is infinitely harder to understand the state
It is not too much to say that the more I understand Hegel, the more I understand how we got in this mess. The problem is more with those who followed him than with the man himself, but the errors of our age grew out of ground he cultivated.

A Question I Never Thought to Ask

Here's a fellow who wants you to know that your reading choices really ought to align with your fashion choices.
Why do you dress the way you do, instead of in, say, boot-cut jeans and Affliction T-shirts?

There's a certain type of character your clothing presents. I drink Scotch, play classical music, read philosophy, smoke a pipe, and these things drive a particular persona. You don't want to read Kant while wearing Aeropostale.
I've always had a form-follows-function approach to these issues. I wear a motorcycle jacket because I ride motorcycles. I often wear cowboy boots because I sometimes ride horses, and the cowboy boot's design is entirely structured by issues like the shape of the stirrup and the need for stiff leather to resist thorns. I wear a hat when it is raining, but because I now go everywhere on motorcycles, I have given up the old Stetsons for hats that can be stowed in the saddlebag when riding.

How surprising to learn that I've been going about it all wrong. I would promise to rethink my errors, except that I don't think I have it in me. A man's got to know his limitations.

How to deal with the government

Some satisfying suggestions from Coyote Blog.  H/t Popehat, which suggests that the trick to dealing with a butthead in an organization is to find the adult in the room.

Our quiet little community is having trouble with a game warden who apparently doesn't have enough work to do making sure people don't keep undersized fish or shoot whooping cranes because they mistake them for sandhill cranes in an area where you can't shoot those, either.  This fellow's mission in life for the last few years has been to end the scourge of golf-carts on sleepy little low-speed public roads on our tiny peninsula.  He never actually writes tickets, believing (reasonably) that he would only be embarrassed if the residents took the matter before a local judge.  The citizens are beginning to talk together about standing on their rights and insisting that he either write them a ticket or stop harassing them.

The game warden has no support for his golf-cart jihad among local law enforcement or county officials, but he is a state employee who needn't care what they think, and apparently his superiors in the state administration are unconcerned by suggestions received from both citizens and local officials.  Now, however, the county commissioners have gone so far as to ask the state legislature to change the transportation code to permit golf carts in the rural areas of our county, a proposal that apparently is going to work just fine.  It probably will drive the game warden crazy, but maybe he can find some frozen raspberries to obsess over.  Possibly the local schools will let him arrest children who chew poptarts into the shapes of guns.


It's not true, as some say, that our schools have lost the ability to inculcate knowledge.

"Do Not Become The Market In An Illiquid Derivative"

I think this is a smart article (one in a series over the last week) about the London Whale.

Harden Your Hearts

Da Tech Guy titles a post about the Cyprus situation "Amazing what you can do to an unarmed populace." (H/t: InstaPundit.)

Maybe it is, but if you're going to make that stick, you'd better begin to think seriously about what will be required. We haven't begun to see this kind of thing here, but we will as we deal with our unspeakably huge fiscal crises.

Tex was saying the other day that any culture encodes lessons greater than its living members understand, so that living out the cultural mores is a way of aligning yourself with many wise and ancient lessons. Here's a part of our culture that is relevant. Start listening to the old songs. Learn the words. It will help you think about the costs, and just how much you are prepared to cede before you draw the kind of line he is talking about.

Be wise.

Rare and heavy

Or maybe not so rare any more.  It's hard to maintain a monopoly; someone always responds to crazy high prices by redoubling efforts to find a new supply, or a substitute.  China has been doing a fairly good job of cornering the market in rare earths since the 1990s, leading buyers in the rest of the world to charge that they cracked down on exports in order to induce other countries to locate their factories in China, where the Chinese would steal their technology.  Not all rare earths are really that rare, but the heaviest (and perhaps most useful) ones have proved elusive until recently.  However, Japan has just announced a huge find in deep seabeds off its shore.
Rare earth metals are the salt of life for the hi-tech revolution, used in iPads, plasma TVs, lasers, and catalytic converters for car engines.  Dysprosium is crucial because it is the strongest magnet in the world but also remains stable at very high temperatures.  Neodymium is used in hybrid cars, and terbium cuts power use for low-energy lightbulbs by 40pc. 
The metals are also used in precision-guided weapons, missiles such as the Hellfire, military avionics, satellites, and night-vision equipment.  America's M1A2 Abrams tank and the Aegis Spy-1 radar both rely on samarium. 
Washington was caught badly off guard when China started restricting supplies.  The US defence and energy departments have now made it an urgent priority to find other sources, but warn that it may take up to a decade to rebuild the supply-chain.  The US Magnetic Materials Association said America had drifted into a "silent crisis."
In other news, Japan is becoming increasingly nervous about Chinese saber-rattling.  Since World War II, Japan ostensibly has forsworn military solutions to international problems, while China seems to have no problem with them.

On the Jews

It's Holy Week. How much beef do we have with the Jews?

The standard answers are "A great deal" and "Not much." I'll consider any argument from the company.