Saturday, April 30, 2016

The "Unhealthy Hegemony" of Extroverts

"More generally, the ability to focus on a single task for an extended period is a talent that's underappreciated—especially by extroverts, who continue to exercise an unhealthy hegemony over most workplaces".

Kevin Drum

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bullwhipping Phd

Via Scholarly Kitchen, this video.

Gaining and Losing Employment

The Times  reports that there was a decrease in tomato picker/processors in CA from 45,000 to 5,000 handling 5 times the tonnage between 1950 and now.  It also reports that making Greek yogurt, specifically Chobani, has increased employment from 0 to 2,000 over the last 15 years.

And finally, FiveThirty Eight reports an increase in statistical analysts from 44 in 2099 to 156 now.  The number of scouts has also increased from 124 to 153.

I'm not sure whether food processing counts as manufacturing?  Given the proliferation of food products on grocery store shelves, you'd think that area at least would have seen big growth over the last 50 years. 

I Was Wrong

See my political prediction here. 

It's obvious now my Republican prediction is wrong.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pocahontas and Martha Washington

What do the two women share?  The distinction of preceding Harriet Tubman as women on US currency.

But the Confederates honored Lucy Pickens first.  And private banks  had images of slaves on their bills.

Cyber security for Farmers?

FBI says farmers vulnerable to hacking of digitized data. 

I'm not sure what the motivation would be.  The piece discusses the possible theft of bulk data for use in market manipulation and such.  That's possible I suppose, perhaps particularly at the state and corporation level, but I'd think it unlikely.  What other motivation: ransom, as has happened with hospitals.  I don't think farm-level data is that crucial or time sensitive. 

I know the ag lobby has put in legal provisions requiring FSA to keep secret some data, but that's more anti-EWG measures than anything else.

Call me cynical, but the cyber-security/industrial complex has an interest in alarming everyone they can, so they can sell their services. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cover Crops

I feels as if I've mentioned this before, but anyway.

Tamar Haspel has an article in the Post on changes in "big ag", which affect the environment, such as "no-till". She focuses on cover crops, noting that sometimes they pay off financially, but often they don't. Also, farmers who rent are less motivated to use cover crops on the rented ground.

I'll quote my comment:

"Once upon a time, there was a program called the Agricultural Conservation Program. It included cost sharing for various conservation practices, including winter cover crops. Then into this idyllic picture came a President, elected by the people. This President refused to spend the money Congress appropriated for the program, thinking it was a waste of money. After much toing and froing, and a few lawsuits IIRC, Congress and the President compromise by calling the program a new name and by killing some of the conservation practices, including the cover crop practice." 

The toing and froing was partly over whether the President had the authority not to spend the money.  IIRC the Supreme Court eventually said no.

The President was Nixon.

Personal Note

In 75 years I can't ever remember seeing another person's genitalia in a bathroom, nor do I think anyone has seen mine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monarchs: Planting Milkweed Isn't the Answer?

We Americans like the simple technological solutions to problems.  (We American analysts like to over-generalize.)

Recently people have been planting milkweed to help the endangered monarch butterfly.

Now comes a report (from my alma mater) which says it's not so simple. Looks like the true causes are going to be harder to fix: lack of nectar in fall, weather, fragmentation of habitat.  Can't see a Kickstarter campaign developing around these.

[Hat tip: Tamar Haspel retweet of Brad Plumer.]

Influence of the Past

The Post had  a piece the other day on a school in Alabama with only an aged T-1 line to support their Internet usage.  Upgrading is complicated because two different companies provide service in the area and a river isolates the school.

A Vox report on how Amazon's same-day service  reflects past discrimination.  Its availability is based on the number of Prime customers in an area, which in turn reflects past housing patterns.

These are instances of how the past weighs on the present, or how "them that has gets".