26 thoughts on “Pre-Halloween Open Forum!

  1. Anyone wonder if they education establishment needs to spend a little more time screening out pedophiles? In California, it is estimated that over 400,000 students would be molested before graduation. I’m not sure what that means (why can’t we find journalists that are good with numbers), but I think it means that 400,000 students in ONE YEAR’s graduating class would have been molested before they graduated meaning 400,000 students are actively being molested each year in California.


    How saturated in pedophilia does your school have to be before everyone agrees the incident in Hazard, Ky can take place in front of everyone?



  2. This was in the news today. I am a customer of ATT. The ethical part of it is when do you stop being a customer? There’s been many companies recently who have presented policies and treated their employees in a manner I disagree with. Do you wait and hear the rest of the story? Call? Drop them at first offense? Give them another chance? I personally don’t want companies to have stances. I want them to provide me a good or service to the best of their ability and that be their only policy. Not say a word about the rest. Apparently I’m in a minority because companies can’t seem to shut it and feel “obligated” to take stances.

  3. What about the ethics of math illiteracy? President Biden said he wanted to hire 87,000 IRS agents to monitor the nation’s bank accounts for tax evasion. He claimed this would lead to a massive increase in the amount of taxes paid.

    87,000 IRS agents at ~$90,000/year (from glassdoor) + $45,000 in benefits (conservative estimate) = $12 billion

    Now, these 87,000 agents need secretarial staff, multiple levels of management, building space, electricity, water, photocopy paper, IT staff, etc. So lets quadruple it and call it about $50 billion/year.

    This proposal is estimated to generate $46 billion in additional revenue a year.

    So, what was the purpose of this? It may not even fund the new employees they will hire. Have you seen this presented anywhere?
    This was a simple guesstimation that anyone with a calculator could do. How many people did it? Many people argued against this program, but I didn’t see one person work through the numbers to determine that it would probably increase the deficit while taxing the public even more heavily.

    • Besides, this is the assumption that there’s a LOT of “rich cheats” out there, ahem perhaps it’s a reflection of DC. I just don’t think there are.

      • I tend to agree. Most people with a lot of money have accountants specifically to make sure they owe as little as possible entirely within the law. There might be a handful of black market millionaires out there, but most “tax cheats” are middle or lower class folks who are not reporting tips, doing odd jobs or freelance gigs under the table, fudging charitable contributions or “green” upgrades, etc. Still illegal, but not something that’s going to pay the salary of an IRS employee, let alone an army of them.

    • Everyone is bad at things like this.

      I have a story from one of my previous finance management experiences; the CEO had a conversation with a salesman (all the really frustrating stories start that way) and was convinced that we should buy into a new time accounting system (timeclocks) for clerks. We had a system, but it wasn’t good at tracking timeliness, so there was a chance that hourly paid employees were in late or out early and stealing time.

      I agreed it was a possibility, a likelihood even, but the reality is that the timeclocks to track them cost $5000 plus install, had a software subscription, and it would take management time to create, validate and approve time card punches and variances. Basically: How many 5 minute intervals at $20 an hour do you have to catch before you even start to break even on the startup costs?

      Did the explanation that this would cost the company money and time deter him? Naaaaaah: Five years later we’re on a Time and Attendance system (although I took petty pleasure in steering the product decision away from the original salesman’s brand), and I’ve calculated based on the first five years that the break even year is probably around 2028 if we don’t have to replace the hardware (which we’ll obviously have to do at some point). Another great example is every retail CAMACC system in every retail outlet ever. Even if you want to argue they’re a deterrent, put fake cameras up and save yourself $20,000.

      Which is a really long way to say: You’re right. People should consider the costs of their new, great ideas, because actually catching theft is often more expensive than the cost of the actual theft . But why do we do it? I think it’s a moral question, people get a rush out of catching thieves, about punishing people doing bad things, about being right… And they’ll pay for the privilege of doing it. Either that, or they’re dumb. Never underestimate dumb.

    • There was an editorial in the WSJ a few weeks ago.
      They didn’t run through calculations but they basically said this sort of thing had been done before.
      Historically such plans have trouble paying for themselves, let alone generating scads of money.
      You demonstrate just why.

    • Tools cannot be ethical. Programs are incapable of having ethics. Only the people who created these softwares have the capacity to make ethical decisions. These programs are designed to brute force a specific problem. They’re not artificial intelligence.

  4. Wait. I thought “No” meant “No!” Why does this op-ed get to redescribe what happened in Virginia to a school age girl sexually assaulted in school bathroom? The op-ed’s author, Michelle Goldberg, tells a tale of what seems to be a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship gone askew, especially because the girl is the daughter of a “middle-aged plumber”. I guess that makes a big difference, right? If your father is a middle-aged plumber (read that as: right-wing, racist, blue collar douchebag), then the daughter deserves what she gets and probably led the poor, misguided trans-wannabe astray, right? Goldberg doubles down by describing the incident as:

    “The boy, however, expected sex and refused to accept the girl’s refusal.”

    I guess refusal to accept . . . what, her refusal? . . . means the girl wasn’t sexually assaulted? Does that mean anything to anyone?

    Read her op-ed, assuming you can get behind the paywall. It’s enlightening.

    I suspect Michelle Goldberg didn’t give Cavanaugh the same presumption of innocence.


    • It’s telling that she refuses to address the fact that the school lied about the sexual assault. It’s ALSO telling that none of the comments pointing this out are among the “NYT Picks” in the comment section.

    • The thing I think she’s missing is that this is that the story is only a story because the boy in question was wearing the skirt. Oh don’t get me wrong, she said that conservatives are only paying attention to this story because of the shirt, mistakenly calling the genderfluid kid a trans kid. So she knows the boy was wearing a skirt, but she seems to have missed that it’s probable that without the skirt, this would have just been prosecuted as a rape. Schools, particularly recently, haven’t had much difficulty vigorously seeking justice, perhaps even overly vigorously, for women and girls claiming sexual assault. So what’s the difference here?

      It’s that the boy had a skirt.

      I understand that it’s possible that the administrators of Loudoun County schools might just be really slow to the uptake on sexual assault generally, and even had the boy not been wearing a skirt, they still might have acted exactly like they did… At least at the beginning. But by the time of the school board meeting where Ziegler lied about sexual assaults in county bathrooms, and absolutely by the time that the boy had attacked a second girl, the fact is that the school officials were in full on spin-mode. Again… This kind of defense isn’t common.

      And regardless of why the story became national news, the fact is that it is national news. The fact is that Zeigler lied at that school board meeting. The fact is that he failed to properly report either of the sexual assaults in 2021 to the state authorities. The fact is that Scott Smith was called a liar at that school board meeting. The fact is that boy was convicted on Monday. And the most salacious of the details of this episode could have been avoided if the school had just treated a rape the same way we would expect them to treat any other accusation of rape…

      The story is that they didn’t.

      The story is why they didn’t.

      And until they give a better explanation, it really does seem coincidental that the rapist in this case was queer, the authorities lied about it in a conversation around queer issues, and that they seemed more interested in covering up the issue than solving it. If they want to clear up why they were covering for a rapist, why they enrolled him in a second school without adequate protection for the students around him, why they made the decisions they did at the time they made them…. Well, they can do that.

      I won’t hold my breath.

  5. In yesterday’s Real Clear Science there is an article by Chris French in The Skeptic titled “Exploding Head Syndrome Is Terrible”. But it gets the symptoms all wrong. It mentioned nothing about EHS being when Jack is reading the New York Times but instead it says that it is “characterised by the subjective experience of abrupt, loud sounds just as one is drifting off to sleep or emerging from sleep”.

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