Thursday, May 26, 2011


One thing that having Obama as President and the tea party win a few elections seems to have done, is bring out more Republicans who aren't pansies. Under Bush, it seemed to be the policy of the Republicans to scream "the sky is falling, we must take away freedom to protect you!"

Now I seem to be seeing more stand up for reason. Texas put up a good fight bringing attention to the abuses of the TSA. Unfortunately they got bullied out of making a real stand, but it gives me hope that people on the right are starting to actually mean it again when they say they stand for small government.

Forbes this week has some articles I am really glad to see:

Kill the Un-american Patriot Act

Abolish the TSA

Unfortunately the Democrats are stepping up to give in to the fear. The Patriot Act just passed the Senate, and it is doubtful the house has the guts to eliminate a Bush era program.

I think I will try to push the idea of questioning the masculinity of anyone who supports these programs though. Really, making millions of Americans take off their shoes when no one has ever been killed by a shoe bomber. That is a pretty wimpy thing to do. As is pushing additional security for airports after nearly a decade devoid of airport terrorism in America. Rather than "land of the free and the home of the brave" we really seem to be degenerating into a land of people who will give up freedom any time someone tells us that there is some tiny risk we could be protected from.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Things made of fish

I downloaded about 500 fish pictures off of Wikipedia, then used them to make random mosaics. Some of them are pretty neat, many would be really quite impressive if you actually printed up five hundred or so photos and covered a wall with them.

It is tough to get the balance right, too small of fish and it just looks like a photo, too big of fish and it just looks like fish.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do cheap, educated people exist near where I work?

City, median home price, percent of population over 25 with at least a bachelors degree

Fontana, $191,000, 10.3%
Pomona, 212,000, 12.8
Ontario, 217,000, 10.5
South San Jose Hills, 224,000, 8.0
Baldwin Park, 252,000, 9
Azuza, 262,000, 14.2
Pico Rivera, 280,000, 7.1
Chino, 285,000, 13
El Monte, 295,000, 7.1
Rancho Cucamonga, 297,000, 23.3
Corona, 316,000, 22
Covina, 323,000, 18.8
West Covina, 345,000, 21.9
Anaheim, 350,000, 19.6
Upland, 368,700, 26.7
Rosemead, 369,000, 12.9
Glendora, 372,000, 25.7
San Dimas, 384,000, 28.4
Fullerton, 409,000, 31.3
Orange, 412,000, 28
Rowland Heights, 413,000, 33.3
Alhambra, 423,000, 27.5
Hacienda Heights, 433,000, 30.7
Chino Hills, 438,000, 37.6
Diamond Bar, 441,000, 42.3
Placentia, 446,000, 31.3
Brea, 451,000, 33.5
Claremont, 464,000, 52.4
San Gabriel, 497,000, 24.6
Pasadena, 506,000, 41,3
Walnut, 532,000, 41.9
Yorba Linda, 574,000, 41.5

It is pretty impressive how few reasonably priced, well educated, areas there are. Corona, Rancho Cuchamonga and West Covina seem like the areas which do best in this respect. Fullerton and Diamond bar hold up fairly well too as being more educated than similarly priced regions. I am not sure I believe the education numbers for Rosemead. They might be out of date, it certainly did seem like an area that was doing alright. Maybe I am just falling for a stereotype though and that is where the uneducated Asians live.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Costa Rica

I just bought plane tickets to Costa Rica. I will be staying in a little town called San Vito, near the Panama Border. Having never been outside the United States and Canada, I have no idea what I am getting myself into. Should make for an interesting trip though.

Housing is a zero sum game.

I am always surprised how rarely articles actually mention that falling home prices are good for a great many Americans. For most of us housing is a zero sum game. Every penny home prices fall is another penny saved by young Americans like me. Therefore I always get happy seeing that rare article which points out that yes, in fact the popping of the housing bubble is a huge inter-generational shift in wealth from the old to the young.

In time this saving of money by young people will prop up the economy. When young people pay less for homes, we don't just save the money. It gets spent on goods and services. Just as dramatic is the situation in the commercial market, if rents fall for businesses than more will be able to keep their doors open. A business idea which would have been prohibitively expensive when land prices are high, might very well be practical once those prices fall.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The war on drugs killed education

I have long suspected that the reason state colleges are more expensive today, despite us paying more in taxes, is the war on drugs. I just ran into a quote in the LA Times which supports this thesis:

In 1990, Linscheid said, the Cal State budget and the state prison budget were roughly the same. Today, the state prison budget is only about 10% less than the Cal State, UC and community college budgets combined. Meanwhile, the number of inmates has shot up from 25,000 to 175,000 over the last 20 years, thanks largely to law-and-order initiatives backed by the prison guards union."

College professors and prison guards make similar salaries, but the return on investment Californians have recieved from the war on drugs has been far lower.