Mike Beversluis

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is it just me

or do social scientists have a little more license with their paper titles than, cough, physical sciences?

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Dearth of taxes

Apparently, middle class federal income taxes are pretty low - I'm curious if the drop around 2000 is caused by mortgage interest deductions from the real-estate boom.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Invisible Person

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wealth and Poverty in London circa 1890

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Pantalones en el fuego

Are kids copying their parents when they lie?

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Tell me about it


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

[LMS] The kite runner

The kite runner, by Mark Forster (USA 2007)

There is both good and bad to say about this movie that tells a story of betrayal of a friendship and subsequent partial reparation. For the records, it is based on a novel (of the same name) by the Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini.

Briefly, and without too many spoilers, it is about the friendship between to children in Kabul, before the russian invasion; one of the two (Amir)is the son of a rich businessman, the other (Hassan) is the son of one the men at the service of the businessman.

It is, obviously, the rich kid that betrays the poor one. This is maybe a bit of a conventional thing, the things that develop because of the betrayal however are treated with keen attention; for example, it had never come into my mind that it could be the person who feels to be at fault the one that feels the need to push away from themselves the person whom they know to be indebted to; making recourse to grave additional dishonesties in order to achieve their end of getting rid of their moral creditor; in the movie this is shown with clarity and to me as a spectator it seemed even a natural consequence of shame and fear.

I point out that there are, moreover, some beautiful shots. For example the birthday party for Amir, and even more the panoramic shots over Kabul on the day of the city kite competition (the two friends in fact love crazily kite contests; and the game consists in cutting the line of the rival "kiter" using deft kite maneuvers).

I liked less other things. For example, the director feels the need to let us know that Talibans secretly smoked cigarettes: that's a believable fact, but gives the movie that slandering touch which I didn't feel the need of - I would have preferred that the smoking issue would be completely ignored, I am not lacking arguments against extremists.

I would say that, even if I by and large share in the political line implicit in the movie, I don't feel comfortable with attacks against political enemies that are carried out in a sort of sneaky way.

Form the aesthetical point of view I did not like much certain hsots of the kid running around the city, they seemed like two animation characters pasted on top of a semi-artificial backdrop. The same observation for same of the shots of the protagonist as a young adult in the devastated Kabul of the Taleban regime (post-Russian occupation). I add that the second aprt of the movie loses some of its rhythm and does not find the way to tell synthetically a series of events that yes are important but could be told in a shorter way in my opinion.

My conclusion is that despite the defects this is a work made with great care on a story that is worth listening to.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Law

The unintended consequences are always larger than the intended consequences.

UW study: Rules add $200,000 to Seattle house price

By Elizabeth Rhodes
Seattle Times business reporter

Backed by studies showing that middle-class Seattle residents can no longer afford the city's middle-class homes, consensus is growing that prices are too darned high. But why are they so high?

An intriguing new analysis by a University of Washington economics professor argues that home prices have, perhaps inadvertently, been driven up $200,000 by good intentions.

Between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a Seattle house rose from $221,000 to $447,800. Fully $200,000 of that increase was the result of land-use regulations, says Theo Eicher — twice the financial impact that regulation has had on other major U.S. cities.

"In a nationwide study, it can be shown that Seattle is one of the most regulated cities and a city whose housing prices are profoundly influenced by regulations," he says.

Unintended splits up into unanticipated and unwanted, which kinda depends on unwanted by whom. I suspect the people who got into the market before the "adjustment" only have to deal with property taxes. Which is different than trying to start out too. Although, not having to deal with 1970's interest rates is nice too. Also, they don't mention the fact that houses are larger, and not just the McMansions. All of that aside, it makes me want to live away from the coasts, which speaks to an eventual aging of the cities, a "down cycle", and some sort of regentrification, no?

Also, I wonder if the attention this will cause the studies authors is something they anticipated...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stranger in a strange land

In case this blog hasn't helped you out, Stuff White People Like.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Icy Weiner

Oh Noez! The Weinermobile is crashed!


Monday, February 11, 2008

I am not a paper cup

Neither is this: "I am not a paper cup"

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Ye Olde Eames Chaire

Forsooth and verily, it is neato: Vintage Eames Chair Order Form.

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How Americans Spend Their Money

Via the NYTimes, here's a graphic on, guess what, how Americans spend their money:

I didn't see an entry for gold fish, so I guess they fall under "food"

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Saturday, February 09, 2008


Ah, the glory days of 16MHz processors, 8-bit color, Hayes modems, dot-matrix printers, and 42MB hard drives: Old Computer Advertisements.

Sadly, I did not see any Wang Computer ads.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Random notes

First, congratulations to my friends Natalie and Jeroen on the birth of their son Lorenzo!

Second, anyone else know what the hell is going on with blogger? If you got here and didn't expect to, you'll know what I mean.

Third, my Peter Bruntwell CD, Normal for Edgewater, came in the mail today. At $.99, it is a stone-cold bargain. As the Amazon editorial staff put it;

What in the name of baseball and apple pie does a South London lad know about Americana music anyway? Apparently plenty, as is evident on the third album by singer-songwriter Peter Bruntnell, who could offer a hint or two to American artists looking to make a splash in the same, seemingly watered-down genre.
I love "You Won't Find Me," which you might give a listen to. Also, advice is worth what you paid for it.

Fourth, a guy gave an interview talk about working on a particle accelerator this week, but while making pre-talk conversation, I learned he had consulted on designing the keel for Larry Ellison's America's Cup boat (which lost), That's actually pretty cool, and I need to find a boat which needs some pit-pork this summer. Chesapeake, here I come!

Fifth, the physics of pinewood derby cars. I think his ideas are neat, but the men who take this seriously need to do a little self-reflection. They are one step away from pageant moms.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

That's not a telephoto lens

This is a telephoto lens: Canon 1200/5.6L. Crikey.


Politics is the ultimate bloodsport

5 nastiest U.S. Presidential Elections

Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames… female chastity violated… children writhing on the pike? GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION.

Not too much new under the sun, huh? FWIW (0), I predict McCain/Huckabee vs Clinton/Richardson, and the variance is way, way higher on that last one.

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Call me crazy, but that Depthscraper actually seems kinda cool. The mirror at the top is a little goofy. Also, Depthscraper is a little too metal. I'd go with Magnapenetrator, or maybe Tetonic Livingshaft, or go ahead and throw out decorum and call it Trumphole.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Schadenfreude 43

And the half-time show was alright.


Godfather 3

This guy's right, The Wire has jumped the shark, but he only noticed because it's about newspapers this year. Last year's foray into the inner-city schools was equally flawed, unless you like carrying the NEA's water. The Wire should have ended when Stringer Bell died in season three.

Also,"our" show? I guess that's a step up from "worst episode ever."


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Groundhog Day

Ah, man!

Also, I've watched Ground Hog Day about twenty times, which seems somehow appropriate, but I have never woken up to I Got You Babe. I can't even remember the last time I heard that song on the radio.

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They're Koi

Permanent Collection: Alexander Calder's Untitled @ The National Gallery of Art.


Put it to the test

Is it better to ask for forgiveness than for permission? UK Famer builds illegal castle behind haybale wall. NB, if the local villagers can knock down your castle, it's not much of a castle, is it?


Pim's Thai Recipies

Pad See Ew for beginners.