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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links
- “Fixing” The Gays
- A Million Millionaires (In Singapore?!)
- Wages Down, Hours Up
- Google Chrome, Meet Google+
- Waiting For Superman?
- USA Makes It To Finals In World Cup
- Paul McCarthey at 69
- A Few Good Links
Live Wire Rewinds
From The Daily Beast: “If there was any doubt that he was lying, it disappeared on Friday, when The Nation broke news of an investigation by Truth Wins Out, a group devoted to combating the ex-gay movement. “Undeniably, 100 percent, the Bachmann clinic practices reparative therapy, which tries to cure gay people of their homosexuality,” says Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out’s founder.[…]Responding to queries about Bachmann’s clinic from reporters—myself among them—Besen recently put out a call for former Bachmann patients, and a young man named Andrew Ramirez responded. As Ramirez told The Nation, after he came out in 2004, the summer before his senior year, his evangelical stepfather had dragged him to Bachmann & Associates. There, a therapist told him he should renounce his sexual orientation. “He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” said Ramirez.[…]To prove that reparative therapy continues at Bachmann’s clinic to this day, Truth Wins Out sent a 26-year-old staffer, John Becker, to pose as a patient there. Armed with hidden cameras, Becker attended five sessions with therapist Timothy Wiertzema, who assured him that it’s possible to rid himself of same-sex attractions. “I think it’s possible to be totally free of them,” Wiertzema says in a transcript of the sessions provided to The Daily Beast. “[I]t’s happened to a number of people. I don’t know how many, but…that’s for sure.”” The full story.
- Bullying of Gay Student at FPC Leads to Teacher’s Public Apology and Policy Change
- Volusia Schools Joining Flagler in Protecting LGBT Sexual Identity Against Bullying
- Defense of Marriage Act: A Crack in the Crock
- PolitiFact on Origins of Being Gay
From the blog of economist Scott Sumner: “According to a study reported in the Financial Times, more than 15% of Singapore households are millionaires. No other country comes close (#2 Switzerland has less than 10% millionaires.) Singapore will soon have a million millionaires, out of a population totaling a mere 5 million. I expect the number of Singaporean millionaires to rise sharply in the next few decades. Recall that Singapore only recently became a very rich country (in income terms.) Given its high saving rates, the younger generation will get to a million dollars much quicker than the older generation. I’d guess that roughly half of Singaporeans in their 50s and 60s will be millionaires by 2040. And the younger generation at that time will hope and expect to get there someday.[…]About 4.5% of US households are millionaires. That number should be much higher, and would be higher with more pro-saving fiscal policies. The relatively low ratio in the US helps explain many of our political problems. The average 401k balance in America is pathetically low. Many low saving Americans need social insurance; others are resentful of the rich and support anti-market policies. Unless we are able change this dynamic we don’t have a bright future.” The complete post.
One comment: One thing Sumner leaves out of his post is the actual reason there are so many millionaires. It’s actually quite simple. Singapore’s Central Provident Fund, a program that is basically combines Medicare and Social Security, has an employer/employee combined contribution rate of 35.5%. It would be interesting to see how Americans would react to taxes going up if they knew they could retire as millionaires.
From the Wall Street Journal: “Among two-parent families, median earnings did rise by an inflation-adjusted 23% from 1975 to 2009. But the parents’ combined hours worked increased by 26% during the same period–accounting for most of the income gains. The median income for two-parent families rose to $70,000 in 2009, for working 3,500 hours a year on average, compared with working about 2,800 hours in 1975 to earn $56,600 (in 2009 dollars). “If the current patterns of wage decline and wage stagnation for many American families continue, one way they will try to adjust to that is increasing the number of hours worked,” said Michael Greenstone, a MIT economist who directs the Hamilton Project. Median wages for men in two-parent families, adjusted for inflation, declined 7% over the 35-year period, putting them at $46,400 a year in 2009, the latest year for which such data are available, the research found. Women, meanwhile, entered the labor market and increased the overall number of hours worked by each family — earning enough to more than offset the men’s wage drop. “The long-run decline in wage opportunities has put lots of pressure on families,” Mr. Greenstone said. “People are adjusting, but they’re adjusting in ways that we might not like very much. All of that points away from a vision of the American dream where each generation is doing better than the last.”” The full piece.
From TechCrunch: “The latest builds of Chrome (version 14 in the Canary channel) feature a new, experimental profile switching and creation icon. This ability to tie a Google account to Chrome has been around for a little while, and it’s a vital part of Chrome OS, but given the new graphical layout of the feature, it’s clear that Google intends to make this much more useful and compelling.[…]That all sounds simple and great. But again, don’t overlook the underlying power here. Google has granted Chrome the ability to offer all Google users a fully logged-in experience as they browse the web. Right now, they’re doing the basics, but down the line, they could easily flip the switch on more powerful features. Perhaps Chrome will gain full Google+ integration (a toolbar across Google sites? Please. How about one across the entire web!)? Or how about a Google single sign-on? Or how about a deeply integrated ad network?[…]Facebook is Google’s biggest challenge on the web, and Chrome gives them something that Facebook does not have: a browser. Now, Facebook is undoubtedly working on one (I have no real info here beyond common sense — it would be insane if they weren’t working on one) and they’ve already been doing some partnerships in the space. With Connect, Facebook has been all about offering up a logged-in Facebook experience across the web. But Connect is tricky. Site owners need to implement it. What if a user could do simply in their own browser?” The full column.
From The Economist: “When the laser was invented in 1960, it was famously described as “a solution in search of a problem”. Technophiles were impressed with the achievement of making millions of photons march in lockstep, but unable to see any real-world uses for it. Fifty years later, lasers are a staple in everything from astronomy, surgery and DVD players to cutting sheet metal. Now a group of scientists led by Seok-Hyun Yun at Harvard Medical School have upped the ante on technically-neat but not-obviously-useful research, and created a laser from a biological cell (full details available from Nature Photonics).[…]Dr Yun’s team genetically engineered a human embryonic kidney cell to produce GFP, then placed it between two tiny mirrors to form a miniscule optical cavity 0.02mm across. When they shone pulses of light at the cell, it duly produced a “beautiful green” laser beam detectable with the naked eye.[…]Of course, Babbage would love to be proved wrong. And the achievement does score well in the jaw-dropping department. So much so, in fact, that the researchers might have been better advised to fall back on that traditional justification invoked by scientists who truly cannot think of immediate applications for their work (particularly popular among proponents of human spaceflight, for instance). This is to appeal to the ‘inspiring’ qualities of the work, and argue that it will leave schoolchildren gobsmacked and infused with a passion for science. The idea of generating laser beams from one’s own body seems to fit the bill.” The complete article.
A question: Some ridicule those who read comics featuring people with “superpowers.” How will society react when obtaining such abilities is actually feasible?
From Time: “In the 79th minute of America’s World Cup semifinal against France, with the game tied 1-1 and France having applied heavy pressure on the U.S. defense — for a few minutes, a French go-ahead goal seemed inevitable — Wambach headed in a beautiful corner-kick, courtesy of the foot of Lauren Cheney, to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Three minutes later, Alex Morgan, who at 22 is the youngest player on the U.S. team, chipped in an insurance goal, giving the U.S. a 3-1 win, and its first trip to the World Cup final since 1999, the glory year.[…]Going into this semifinal, the Americans needed to avoid a letdown. Sunday’s win was so magical, so emotionally draining — would the U.S. have anything left? The U.S., however, was supremely conditioned. For example Megan Rapinoe, who checked into the game in the 66th minute, offered a notable spark.[…]The U.S. will face either Japan or Sweden, who also square off today, in Sunday’s final. That game will draw huge ratings. After the drama of these last two games, it’s official. America has fallen hard for women’s soccer — and Wambach’s noggin.” The full story.
From The Times: “At 69, Mr. McCartney is not saying goodbye but touring stadiums and playing marathon concerts. Friday’s set ran two-and-a-half hours, with Mr. McCartney constantly onstage, and it had 35 songs, not counting a few additional excerpts. He played half a dozen instruments (though he didn’t show off his drumming), sang with only a few scrapes in the voice that’s familiar worldwide, and looked like he was having a boyish romp as he navigated what endure as some of rock’s oddest hits. His hair grew more tousled with every song. […] His concerts now are a gentle reminder of his survival and vitality. He paid tribute to John Lennon — with his lovely, imagined afterlife conversation, “Here Today” — and to George Harrison, starting out Mr. Harrison’s “Something” by playing it on a ukulele Mr. Harrison gave him. […] Mr. McCartney has a trouper’s ability to make the routine look and sound spontaneous. His voice reveled in the songs, hinting at little improvisatory variations; after them, he raised his instruments overhead in a mixture of exuberance and pride in musical craftsmanship.” The full story.
–Edited by Kyle Russell