Red Notice: A timely book to read…

July 20, 2018

One of the early advantages about retirement is finally having time to read books that have little or nothing to do with my courses…

First up: was Red Notice.  Recommended by my son, long before this week’s Russia events and reactions..

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This was an engaging read … and provides an interesting back-drop to the current Russia bruhaha…

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In a nutshell:

Browder was a brash, recently minted Stanford MBA who moved to Russia and built Hermitage Capital … a hedge fund that rose to prominence as the biggest foreign investor in Russian businesses.

Browder leveraged keen financial analysis to identify market anomalies and undervalued assets … and had brass balls, utilizing aggressive strategies against Russia’s oligarchs and Putin’s government.

Predictably, taking on Putin ended badly.

Browder – and most of his team- got out of Russia, avoiding incarceration and physical harm.

But, one of his lawyers – Sergei Magnitsky – was jailed by the Russians, tortured in an attempt to get him to turn on Browder, and eventually beaten to death.

Browder turned Magnitsky’s death into a human rights case against Russia … and was the driver behind the Magnitsky Act which banned the perpetrators from the U.S. – establishing a blueprint for other human rights violators.

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The biggest takeaways were Browder’s keen investment analyses … and his gross underestimation of Russian brutality against perceived enemies of the state.

No doubt about it … Putin is one mean & nasty dude…

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Update: For more detail, see today’s WSJ editorial Donald Trump, Meet Bill Browder

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Is Russia really “an oil and gas company masquerading as a country”?

July 19, 2018

That’s the characterization usually attributed to Se. Lindsey Graham.

Let’s drill down on that, starting with some GDP stats.

Russia’s GDP is only about $1.5 trillion.

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Let’s out that number in perspective…

Read the rest of this entry »

Rand Paul cuts to the chase re: meddling…

July 18, 2018

Though often annoying, Rand Paul is consistent on a couple of important issues (think privacy and non-intervention) … and has an ability to to hone in on pivotal conclusions.

This week — after the Trump-Putin meeting — Sen. Paul cut to the chase on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections…

Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback: Obama schools Romney that “Russia isn’t a threat”

July 17, 2018

President Trumps is getting blasted for his presser with Putin.

“Naïve,  Disgusting, Disgraceful. Treasonous.”

Just a minute guys…

Remember the 2012 Presidential debates?

A key moment was when President Obama ridiculed Gov. Romney’s knowledge of foreign affairs.

Given the current hysteria over Russia, the clip is a classic …  try to stay calm when you.watch it

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Here’s more that’ll should make you scream …

Read the rest of this entry »

NYT gets it half-right re: NATO

July 16, 2018

Have to admit, I had to do a double-take when I saw this non-Trump-bashing New York Times headline:

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More specifically, referring to NATO’s 2% defense spending guideline, the Times editorial read:

Now that the smoke has cleared from the NATO summit meeting, the most tangible result is apparent:

President Trump advanced President Barack Obama’s initiative to keep the allies on track to shoulder a more equitable share of NATO’s costs.

Hat tip to the Times for getting this one half-right.

Here’s the half that they didn’t get right…

Read the rest of this entry »

About Strzok’s “out of scope” polygraph…

July 13, 2018

Why aren’t lawmakers (and pundits) drilling down on this apparent smoking gun?
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One of the few points raised in the Strozk hearing yesterday that caught my attention emerged from Rep. Collins’ questioning.

Collins asked Strzok when he last passed a polygraph test.

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After some bantering and parsing, a couple of points were established:

1) Strzok said that he last took a polygraph 2 or 3 years ago

2) Strzok confirmed that he (and his superiors) were notified in January 2016 that his polygraph was “out of scope”

3) The FBI took no action based on the out of scope notification.

Hmm … aroused my curiosity.

Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together…

Read the rest of this entry »

Disruptive innovation: How the iPhone has shaped a new generation.

July 12, 2018

Researchers say that not all of the “shaping” has been good.

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Last year, when Apple celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone and launch of iPhone X, CEO Tim Cook boasted:

Having sold over one billion units and enabling millions of apps that have become essential to people’s daily routine …

The iPhone redefined how consumers live, work, communicate, and entertain.

I chalked it up as marketing hype, but then …

Then I started reading a  book (coincidence?) called iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.

The author is Jean Twenge, a psychology prof with a specialty in “generational differences” who is credited with coining the newest generation “iGen”.

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Amazon link

Prof Twenge agrees with Cook’s basic claim that the iPhone has redefined life.

But, she argues, not all of the redefinition is positive … specifically highlighting the decline in in-person social interaction and a sharp rise in mental health issues among iGens.

Let’s start at the beginning ….

Read the rest of this entry »

The elephant in NATO’s room…

July 11, 2018

Heavy dependence on Russian oil.
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NATO’s primary mission is to keep it’s member countries safe … mostly from Russia, right?

But, as we posted yesterday, key NATO nations (think: Germany) are hesitant to spend 2% of their GDP on defense … and are largely dependent on U.S. troops to protect NATO’s eastern flank and police the rest of the world.

Given that Russia is a lot closer to Europe than to the U.S. … why aren’t European nations more energized to defend themselves more aggressively and more visibly against the Russians?

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The answer can be summed up in one word…

Read the rest of this entry »

All you need to know about NATO funding…

July 10, 2018

Trump is right about the NATO reliance on the U.S.

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Lot of chatter in the run-up to this week’s NATO meeting.

Trump says that the U.S. piggybanks of NATO’s funding.

MSM fact-checkers say that Trump is way off base.

So, who is right?

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I did some digging and here’s what I found…

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Tonite: Trump’s SCOTUS pick

July 9, 2018

Regardless, the end of “legislating from the bench” … at least for a couple of decades
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Tonight, President Trump will announce his nomination for the Supreme Court.

The left is understandably in panic mode … but, in my opinion, for the wrong reasons.

News reports say that Trump has narrowed the field to 4 candidates.

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Here’s my rundown … and my grand conclusion…

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy? Sad? Excited? … Facebook can tell.

July 6, 2018

And, has been caught doing just that.

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It always amazes me what people post on Facebook. Their daily activities, their deepest emotions – you name it.

By now, every Facebook user should know that FB sifts through their content – posts, pictures, links, emojis – to determine, for example, what topics are hot; what people are doing; which brands people are buying, recommending, trashing or considering; whether users are feeling happy, sad, scared, excited.

The latter is called “sentiment analysis” using computer algorithms to take users’ “emotional pulse”.

Of course, FB promises that they’ll protect users’ privacy and would never even consider divulging that information to outsiders, say, advertisers or political campaigns.

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Bad news for believers: FB was caught “sharing” sentiment analysis data.

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According to USA Today

Documents leaked to a newspaper, The Australian, indicate that Facebook executives prepared a report for one of the country’s top banks.

The report described how Facebook gleans psychological insights into the mood shifts of millions of young people in Australia and New Zealand by monitoring their status updates and photos.

The 23-page report showed Facebook’s ability to detect when users as young as 14 are feeling emotions such as defeat, stress, anxiety or being overwhelmed … and. other information on young people’s emotional well-being such as when they exhibit “nervous-excitement” are “conquering fears“.

FB claimed that it can track how emotions fluctuate during the week.

Anticipatory emotions are more likely to be expressed early in the week.

Reflective emotions increase on the weekend.

Monday-Thursday is about building confidence.

The weekend is for broadcasting achievements.

At a relatively benign level, advertisers can use that information to target ads to certain age groups … and they can time them to run on a certain day.

That’s apparently what FB got caught doing – revealing anonymous and aggregated data – to a potential advertising client.

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Let’s go a step further…

According to the article: “Facebook has also come under heavy scrutiny in the past for secretly conducting research that manipulated the emotions of users by altering what they see in their News Feed without their consent.”

So, it doesn’t take much creativity to imagine the collection and dissemination of individuals’ sentiment data that could be used to target advertising to specific individuals at specific times – say, when they’re feeling down and are vulnerable to buying certain products geared to giving them a pick-me-up, say, some new clothes, a fancy car or miracle drug.

Pretty unnerving, right?

Of course, FB assures users that it would never consider divulging that sort of data.

Yeah, right.

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Connecting dots

In a prior post, we reported on a study that concluded time on Facebook can be hazardous to your mental health.

For details see Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

So, being on Facebook can make you emotionally vulnerable.

Facebook can determine when you’re vulnerable.

Facebook can sell that info to advertisers.

But, FB assures us that it won’t sell that data.

Whew … that’s a relief.

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Are you a maximizer or satisficer?

July 5, 2018

Interesting piece from the WSJ

Psychology researchers have studied how people make decisions and concluded there are two basic styles.

“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing.

“Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).

“Maximizers are people who want the very best.

Satisficers are people who want good enough,”

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Take the quick test below to see if you’re a maximizer or satisficer…. and see what the implications are.. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 4th of July !

July 4, 2018

Take a moment to remember how lucky we are …

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Great Moments in Education: Proud Americans

July 3, 2018

Recently, two  of my grandkids — Maddie & Ryne — “graduated” from pre-school and are ready to start kindergarten in the fall.

Both graduation ceremonies were awesome.

I love the pomp & circumstances that elevate the importance of education.

At Ryne’s ceremony, the parental crowd broke into applause when the kids presented their rendition of “Proud to Be An American”.

Very appropriate to the July 4th run-up.

If your battery needs charging, click the pic below to view a 15-second snippet.

There’s still hope ..

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Dilbert asks: “Who wants a dangerous man in the White House?”

July 2, 2018

Well, not actually Dilbert … rather Dilbert’s author Scott Adams.

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With all of the MSM “Trump is a wild & crazy guy” hysteria … coupled with the apparent progress on the NOKO scene … I was reminded of a prior (and once again timely) post.

During the Presidential campaign, Adams hit the nail on the head on his Dilbert blog, …

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Adams observed that, during the campaign, , Hillary’s constant refrain that we can’t have a loose cannon in the White House.

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Adam’s cut to the chase on on “Dangerous Trump”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Thank you, Senator Harry Reid

June 29, 2018

The perils of being “too cute by half”
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Big week for the Supreme Court … leaves liberals in panic mode … and conservatives doing an end zone dance.

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First, Trump’s travel ban (version 3.0) was ruled to be within the Presidential authority to secure the nation.

Then, a  ruling that merchants need not violate their religious beliefs to serve everybody.  (The Red Hen Restaurant should be happy about that).

And finally, a ruling that government employee unions can’t make employees cough up money that gets laundered through to the DNC to elect bosses.

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So, what has that got to do with Harry Reid?

Read the rest of this entry »

Great moments in marketing: Trump gives a shout-out to “My Pillow”…

June 28, 2018

…. and the liberal media still doesn’t get “it”.
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Last night – at a rally in Fargo, North Dakota – during his intro-salutes to attending politicians and uber-supporters – Pres. Trump gave a shout-out to Mike Lindell – founder and CEO of a company called My Pillow.

The crowd roared … and the liberal blogosphere and MSM lit up: “undignified”, “beneath the office”, “shameless marketing on behalf of a supporter”, etc.

The clip (below) is worth viewing for sheer entertainment value.

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And, here’s what the hysterians are missing…

Read the rest of this entry »

Quiz time: Where are the controversial immigrants coming from?

June 27, 2018

Emotions are running high … and polarized positions are hardening.

Seems like a good time for a map test, right?

Where are the controversial immigrants coming from?

I’ll give you a hint: Central America via Mexico.

Can you name the countries?

Better yet, can you spot them on a map?

Below is a map of Central America with  countries tagged A to F.

Take out a piece of paper, write down the letters and the county names.

Don’t just “imagine” the names … write them down.

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Here are the answers…

Read the rest of this entry »

University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

June 26, 2018

While I was beaching, my MBA alma mater – the University of Chicago recently announced that it will no longer require its American undergraduate applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores.

“The new policy is meant to help even the playing field for students coming from low-income and underrepresented communities.”

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The intent is certainly commendable, but the policy strikes me as problematic…

Read the rest of this entry »

What I learned at the beach…

June 25, 2018

Easing back into the “real” world with a couple of takeaways from beach week…

1) While a dying breed, there are still families.  It’s fun being with your’s … and fun watching other families have fun … especially multi-generational families (<= grandparent bias).

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2) I can live without Diet Coke and TV news

Read the rest of this entry »

Beach Week …

June 18, 2018

Taking a break … back next week.

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Bethany Beach, Delaware

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IG lost the forest in the trees!

June 15, 2018

… and, I haven’t heard pundits argue the case either.
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I’ll give IG Horowitz the benefit of the doubt re: his team’s investigation and conclusions.

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click to read the report

But, there was, in my opinion, a glaring omission…

Read the rest of this entry »

Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without.

June 14, 2018

From the summer reading pile.  I read ’em so you don’t have to …

Rath argues that “vital friends” play one or more of 8 roles.

Which of the role(s) do you play?  Which do each of your vital friends play?

Read the rest of this entry »

IHOP decides to kickass on burger chains… say, what?

June 13, 2018

Changing name to IHOB … or are they?
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Just in case you the news got drowned out by the NOKO Summit …

IHOP announced that the company was rebranding … from P is for pancakes to B is for burgers.

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Marketing brilliance or pure folly?

Here’s my take …

Read the rest of this entry »

NOKO Summit: Rodman steals the show.

June 12, 2018

One of the most amazing interviews I’ve ever seen
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Last night, I was flipping channels to see both sides of the NOKO analysis.

When I clicked to CNN, my reaction was “what the hell?”

There was Chris Cuomo interviewing Dennis Rodman – who was bedecked in a ‘Make America Great Again’ and sporting a PotCoin.com t-shirt.

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I put down the remote, figuring the interview would provide some comic relief to the looping partisan analyses I’d been hearing.

That’s not what I got.

I doubt that it was what Cuomo expected either.

My bet: the CNN storyline was supposed to be that Trump was relying on “The Worm” – Rodman’s NBA nickname – for diplomatic advice … demonstrating how shallow and unprepared Trump was for the talks.

That’s not the way things turned out.

Here are some highlights…

Read the rest of this entry »

Hack alert: Don’t be so quick to “unsubscribe” …

June 11, 2018

The obvious became evident to me …

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Last week, we whined about nuisance phone calls and recommended that everybody let all unidentified calls go unanswered … with an opportunity to go to voicemail, of course.

No voicemail … not important or urgent … and probably a robot.

I forgot to mention that there’s an internet variant of the pesky robocalls….

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Everybody gets more email solicitations than they want, right?

So, how to stop them?

Easy answer: click the Federally required “unsubscribe” link.

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Err, not so fast … might cause a problem bigger than an overflowing email box …

How so?

Read the rest of this entry »

About those pesky robocalls …

June 8, 2018

There’s a simple, low cost solution.
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Yesterday, we whined about the high and increasing number of nuisance calls – most using robocall technology.

According to YouMail – a company that tracks robocall activity – Americans are now getting almost 3.5 billion (with a “b”) robocalls each month … “equaling roughly 10.4 calls per person affected”.

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What to do besides yelling at the phone?

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Shocker: Number of robocalls annoyingly high (and still increasing)…

June 7, 2018

Which calls annoy you the most? “Sally from cardholder services”, “Selected for a free vacation”, “Detected a virus on your computer”, “Clean your air ducts” … or, something else.

Hard not to notice that the “do not call list” is an emasculated relic.

According to YouMail – a company that tracks robocall activity – Americans are now getting almost 3.5 billion (with a “b”) robocalls each month … “equaling roughly 10.4 calls per person affected”.

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Why the surging numbers?

Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t blame me !

June 6, 2018

This year: Social Security’s first deficit.
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Let me get this straight …

On Monday, I announce my retirement.

On Tuesday, the Social Security Trust Fund – the lockbox that doesn’t have a lock – announces that Social Security will run a deficit this year… 3 years ahead of last year’s future projection.

According to the WSJ:

The Social Security program’s costs will exceed its income this year for the first time since 1982, forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits.

That is, outflows (payments to 61.5 million people like me) – will exceed inflows (taxes collected from current workers and their employers … and, interest earned on the trust’s assets).

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I know there may be a temptation to accuse me of being the straw that broke the camel’s back, but ….

Read the rest of this entry »

FBI lovers: A gift that keeps giving …

June 5, 2018

What’s more important: character or performance?
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One of the news cycle items over the weekend was an article in The Hill by John Solomon:

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The foundation of the article was a fact-based timeline of the Russia-Russia investigation that largely debunks the story the DOJ-FBI have been peddling.

Even I am getting pretty bored by that stuff.

But, buried in the article were a couple incidental text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – the now infamous FBI lovers (and card-carrying Trump haters)….

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s official: I’m retired !

June 4, 2018

After more than 20 years teaching at Georgetown,  the word “emeritus” has been added to my title … I’ve learned that emeritus means “honored retiree”.

Whew!  I had always thought that it was something much more ominous.

I don’t golf (yet) … and after my stints in consulting, I’ve had all of the travel that I need.

So why retire?

Five main reasons:

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My motivation: I want to spend as much time as I can with my 5 awesome grandkids.

Frosting on the retirement cake:  more time with my 1 awesome wife Kathy, 2 awesome sons, 2 awesome daughters-in-law, and our 1 occasionally awesome dog Daisy.

Not to worry.

I plan to keep blogging on HomaFiles … to keep me reading, thinking and writing … and, to stay connected with loyal HomaFIles readers.

For now, my email stays the same: Ken.Homa@Georgetown.edu or the shorter homak@Georgetown.edu

Pass the word and stay in touch

Ken

Pundits have it wrong …

June 1, 2018

Trey Gowdy isn’t turning on President Trump … he’s doing him a favor.
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First, a disclosure: I’m a big Trey Gowdy fan.

Since I’m a fan of Forensic Files, I oft see reruns of him putting bad guys away.

These days he seems to know the law and be able to cut to the chase.

To that point, the National Review has proclaimed him to be “the voice of responsibility and reason.”

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Let’s start with Gowdy’s frequently looped remarks on CBS This Morning …

Read the rest of this entry »

In praise of math, logic, and Latin … say, what?

May 31, 2018

Classical educators argued that these disciplines are the building blocks of reasoning, problem-solving and critical thinking.

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The courses that I teach contain a heavy dose of problem-solving skills.

Early on, I assert my belief that that problem-solving skills can be taught – and, more importantly, learned – and set about to prove the point.

 

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I’ve been doing some summer reading on the topic of reasoning & problem-solving and learned:

“For twenty-six hundred years many philosophers and educators have been confident that reasoning could be taught.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Mastering math … or anything else.

May 30, 2018

Some insights on the science & practice of learning.

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Interesting article buried in a weekend edition of the WSJ: “How a Polymath Mastered Math—and So Can You”

The subject polymath (a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning) is Prof. Barbara Oakley.

To make her long story short, she was a self-proclaimed horrible math student in high school, dove back into math in her mid-20s, and is now an engineering professor..

“Her progression from desultory student to respected scholar led her to a sideline in the study of learning itself.”

She is the author of ‘A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)’ and ‘Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential’.

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Here are a few snippets from the article …

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Yes, the flight attendant really is checking you out …

May 29, 2018

Not for dating eligibility … for other good reasons.
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A couple of  Flight Secrets Revealed caught my eye…

The first is obvious once it’s stated:

When you walk onto the plane you’re greeted by a flight attendant, right?

Usually,  it’s with an obligatory warm smile and an equally obligatory  “welcome aboard”.

Did you ever sense that the flight attendant was checking you out?

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News flash, he or she was checking you out, but not because you’re hot …

Read the rest of this entry »

On this Memorial Day …

May 28, 2018

 Remember all who gave their lives on our behalf
   … and thank those who are serving us now. 

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In praise of hard copies and writing things down …

May 25, 2018

Ran across an article by Eric McNulty —  the CEO of LinkedIn:  Journaling Can Boost Your Leadership Skills .

As the title suggests, he was advising busy managers to to take some time each day  to record their deep thoughts in a journal.

Seems like a reasonable idea … but that’s not what caught my attention.

 

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As a teacher, I’ve had to adapt approaches to leverage the ways that students process information … especially as the world goes all-digital.

One of my conclusions: digital provides many benefits, but also seems to restrict our capability “go deep”, to “connect the dots” and to draw insights.

Why might that be true?

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive biases: Falling for false expertise …

May 24, 2018

People don’t naturally know who they should listen to.
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Worse yet, in a majority of instances when a reliable expert is identified, people end up following somebody else’s advice.

That’s what Univ. of Utah’s management professor Bryan Bonner concludes.

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Bonner observes that rather than identifying advisers with actual competence, people habitually fall for spurious “proxies of expertise”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Life in the digital age …

May 23, 2018

Quick: Name the last book you read.

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That’s the simple question Jimmy Kimmel asked people on the street.

The results are predictable … most choked on the question.

You can view the 2-minute clip below … or just take my word for it.

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What  the heck is going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Starbucks “open door” policy …

May 22, 2018

Street people win the latte lotto.
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Yep, the Starbucks cafe manager made a big mistake calling the cops on the 2 non-customers who were hanging out … an especially big mistake since the guys were African American.

Immediately, Starbucks launched an internal program to re-sensitize its employees.  That’s good.

But, in a stunning over-reaction, the company announced a new policy:

No purchase necessary to hang out or use the restrooms.

 

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Post-announcement, the intuitively obvious unintended consequences became quickly evident …

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Was an “informant” tasked to probe Clinton campaigners, too?

May 21, 2018

That’s one of two questions that I have about “spygate”

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I’ve gotten great amusement from the evolution of the spying-on-Trump story …

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First, the FBI/CIA denied that that they planted a spy on the Trump campaign … “no way, Trump is crazy”.

Then there were a flurry of stories indicating that a spy was indeed engaged … “but don’t release his name”

Then the positioning: “that would be a good thing” … “done to protect Trump” … from what?

Finally, the name of the spy-who-wasn’t was leaked … some professor with a long history working with the FBI & CIA.

But, he wasn’t a “spy”, he was a “tasked informant”.

OK, that parsing should make everybody feel better, right?

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Laurel’or ‘Yanny’? ‘MS-13’ or ‘All’?

May 18, 2018

There’s an interesting parallel, and a lesson for all.
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This week, the internet (and most news shows) were ablaze with the question “Do you hear ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’?”

In a nutshell, a 1-word audio loop is played … some folks hear the word ‘Yanny’, some hear ‘Laurel’.

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Click here if you haven’t heard the audio clip.
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What’s up with that?

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NYT: “Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think”

May 17, 2018

… and even “Comedians are beginning to catch on”
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Yesterday, we posted results of a study that calibrated the lean-to-left at U.S. colleges.

The summary conclusion: 90% of faculty that self-declare a political affiliation are Democrat and almost 40% of liberal arts colleges are, for all practical purposes, Republican-free.

See Shocker: Vast majority of faculty at elite colleges are Democrats…

And, it’s commonly accepted that (I think) that Trump hating dominates the media and entertainment.

Nonetheless, Trump’s base of supporters remains loyal … and recently, the Democrats lead on the so-called “generic ballot” has shrunk by almost two-third to low single digits on average … and equal within the margin of error on some surveys.

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How can that be?

Read the rest of this entry »

Shocker: Vast majority of faculty at elite colleges are Democrats…

May 16, 2018

Just how “vast” may surprise you. … there are even “clean sweeps” at some colleges
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Everybody knows that college faculties lean left.

To calibrate the incidence and intensity of the lean-to-the-left, Prof. Mitchell Langbert of Brooklyn College conducted a study and recently posted his findings with the National Association of Scholars.

Prof. Langbert surveyed  8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.–holding professors from 51 of U.S. News’ 66 top ranked liberal arts colleges.

Langbert’s top line findings: 40% of faculty self-report to be independents … the 60% who identify with a party are split 90% Democratic,10% Republican.

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Yep, about what you might expect.

But, things get more interesting when you drill down on the data …

Read the rest of this entry »

Stop right there, professor … proof of citizenship, please !

May 15, 2018

Yep, it happened again.

Unfortunately, this has become an annual event.  A summer initiation of sorts.

Once again, I was detained for questioning by government officials.

No, it wasn’t by rogue TSA agents targeting an alleged conservative blogger.

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Once again. I was suspected of crossing the border to illegally access government-provided services.

Here’s the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

Quiz time: How’s your Mideast knowledge?

May 14, 2018

The Middle East is always in the news, right?

You know, the chemical weapons in Syria, the Iran nuclear “deal”, the U.S. embassy moving to Jerusalem.

Over the weekend, one of the TV pundits argued that Americans favored staying in the Iran deal by a margin of 2 to 1.

Hmmm, I thought,

Wonder how many of those pro-deal Americans could headline what’s in the Iranian deal that makes it so attractive?

Or, on a more basic level, how many could even pick out Iran on a Mideast map?

Which leads us to today’s quiz.

Below is a map of the Mideast with countries tagged A to O.

Take out a piece of paper, write down the letters and the county names.

Don’t just “imagine” the names … write them down.

image

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Here are the answers ….

Read the rest of this entry »

#14 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change …

May 11, 2018

Reason #14 – Climate change zealots are piss-poor marketers
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For the record: I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.
========
Below is a post recapping  my prior 13 Reasons Why I’m Lukewarm to Climate Change

Let’s move on …
=========

Reason #14 – Climate change zealots are piss-poor marketers

Politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scientists and the media have warned Americans for decades that the Earth is headed toward climate catastrophe.

image

But, as a recent WSJ opinion piece observed:

But, surveys consistently show that less than half of U.S. adults are “deeply concerned” or “very worried” about climate issues.

If, as zealots insist, climate change is the “most urgent threat facing our entire species,” why do a large percentage of Americans not share his fear?

Climate crusaders tend to lay fault with nonbelievers’ intransigence.

But this is its own form of denial and masks the real reason: poor salesmanship.

I agree.

In fact, as early as June 2017 we were dishing advice to climate change advocates.

Our advice back in 2017:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to “fighting pollution” — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocrisy

(4)  Keep an open mind … sorry guys, the science isn’t really settled yet

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Comparably, the WSJ opinionator builds upon these themes.

His central premise: “The promotional efforts of the climate catastrophists have lacked the cornerstones of effective persuasion: clarity, credibility, and empathy.”

More specifically, here are a few snippets;

On branding:

Successful advocacy campaigns use lucid names to frame and sell their issues—“living wage,” “welfare queen” or “death tax.”

Climate can be confounding;

And, swapping between “climate change” and “global warming” confuses the public.

They’re both a far cry from “Remember the Alamo!”

On credible spokespeople:

Bold statements about complex systems are always more plausible when they are made by people with impeccable credentials.

According to Pew, only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change.

As a Harvard sophomore, Al Gore received a D in a natural-sciences course.

Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out of high school in 11th grade.

Tom Steyer’s  hedge fund invested hundreds of millions of dollars in coal mining.

More generally, “climategate” and questions about the integrity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate data have all fueled public suspicion.

According to Pew, only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change.

On dissenters:

While the prosecution may feel it has a winning case, the jury’s verdict is what counts.

Labeling dissenting jurors “deniers”— an insidious association with Holocaust denial — is a losing courtroom strategy.

Most people are naturally disinclined to obsess daily about a phenomenon that started long before they were born and won’t reach fruition until long after they die.

Calling skeptics “anti-science” is counterproductive, especially since skepticism is the essence of the scientific method.

The WSJ author advises climate activists that they will attract more supporters to their cause if  they …

  1. Pick a name (that resonates) and stick with it
  2. Create a clear call to action
  3. Enlist a convincing spokesman with a small carbon footprint
  4. Tone down the alarmism
  5. Fix your computer models
  6. Listen to the doubters, don’t lambaste them.

Hmmm ….

The advice sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Recap: 13 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …

May 11, 2018

I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

==========

For the record, here are the 13 reasons that I’m a lukewarmer … with links to the prior posts:

1.   Unsettling science   From “Ice Age” to  “Global Warming”  to “18-year Pause” to“Climate Change”.

2.   Expired doomsday predictions   By 2016, NYC would be swamped, Polar bears would be extinct, etc.

3.  The “97% of scientists” baloney   Oft-repeated doesn’t make it true – here’s the real story

4.  Dinking with the data   Temperature data “adjusted” by the NOAA eliminated the 18-year pause and bolstered the global warming case

5.  Temperature readings – plus or minus   Bottom line: thermometers weren’t very precise in the old days … and still have wide variances

6.  What’s the earth’s temperature?   It depends on the mix of reporting locations and an array of factors at each of them

7.  The Climategate Emails   Climate scientists were exposed hiding exculpatory data for political purposes

8.  Low on American’s worry list   Folks will nod that it’s probably getting warmer, but have more urgent matters to worry about (like keeping their jobs or getting healthcare)

9.  Seen a Volt recently?   Obama vowed a million EVs by now – where are the “believers”?

10. Letting the perps walk   For all practical purposes, the Paris Accords gave the world’s worst polluters – India & China – a free pass.

11. Celebs who “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”   In the aftermath of a flood or hurricane, you can count on celebrities coming forth to bellow “I told you so”  …. even if the facts and the science say otherwise.  You see, science – and its relevance – is always malleable to the cause..

12. When is weather “climate”… and when is it just “weather”?   The short answer: hot spells are “climate”; cold spells are just dismissed as “weather”.

13. The “moral license” that “believers” carry in their wallets.  A rationale for the classic “do as I say, not as I do”

=============

And, my advice to climate change advocates:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to fighting pollution — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocrisy

(4)  Keep an open mind … sorry guys, the science isn’t really settled yet

==========
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

#13 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

May 10, 2018

Reason #13 – The “moral license” that “believers” carry in their wallets
=========
For the record: I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.
========
Below is a post recapping  my prior 12 Reasons Why I’m Lukewarm to Climate Change

Let’s move on …
=========

Reason #13 – The “moral license” that “believers” carry in their wallets

It’s oft-noted that most climate change celebrities dart around in private jets and gas guzzling SUVs … … and Al Gore’s mega-mansion(s) consume more energy than most suburban neighborhoods.

image

Guess what:  climate change hypocrisy is prevalent … and there’s a scientific reason why “believers’ don’t walk the talk.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap: 12 reasons why I’m lukewarm to climate change … and some advice to “believers”

May 10, 2018

I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

==========

For the record, here are the 12 reasons that I’m a lukewarmer … with links to the prior posts:

1.   Unsettling science   From “Ice Age” to  “Global Warming”  to “18-year Pause” to“Climate Change”.

2.   Expired doomsday predictions   By 2016, NYC would be swamped, Polar bears would be extinct, etc.

3.  The “97% of scientists” baloney   Oft-repeated doesn’t make it true – here’s the real story

4.  Dinking with the data   Temperature data “adjusted” by the NOAA eliminated the 18-year pause and bolstered the global warming case

5.  Temperature readings – plus or minus   Bottom line: thermometers weren’t very precise in the old days … and still have wide variances

6.  What’s the earth’s temperature?   It depends on the mix of reporting locations and an array of factors at each of them

7.  The Climategate Emails   Climate scientists were exposed hiding exculpatory data for political purposes

8.  Low on American’s worry list   Folks will nod that it’s probably getting warmer, but have more urgent matters to worry about (like keeping their jobs or getting healthcare)

9.  Seen a Volt recently?   Obama vowed a million EVs by now – where are the “believers”?

10. Letting the perps walk   For all practical purposes, the Paris Accords gave the world’s worst polluters – India & China – a free pass.

11. Celebs who “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”   In the aftermath of a flood or hurricane, you can count on celebrities coming forth to bellow “I told you so”  …. even if the facts and the science say otherwise.  You see, science – and its relevance – is always malleable to the cause..

12. When is weather “climate”… and when is it just “weather”?   The short answer: hot spells are “climate”; cold spells are just dismissed as “weather”.

=============

And, my advice to climate change advocates:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to fighting pollution — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocrisy

(4)  Keep an open mind … sorry guys, the science isn’t really settled yet

==========

#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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