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Jaime Espinoza

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Member since: Wed May 14, 2014, 04:49 PM
Number of posts: 703

Journal Archives

Standard measure of layoffs at one of the lowest points in over 40 years



There is a lot of confusion about the initial claims metric. It has nothing to do with unemployment benefits eligibility or expiration.it is not a rate but a raw number and as such should all things being equal increase as population does. It is merely a single sided measure of job losses in quantity, and of course must be balanced against those who gained jobs in the same week. Anything below 350,000 is generally considered a positive datum. It has dipped below 300,000 just a handful of times in the last decades notably during the Clinton miracle of the 90s. It is back there now. With a much higher population.
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Thu Sep 25, 2014, 05:26 PM (13 replies)

Tell a joke in 10 words or fewer...

Peter, release me from this cross ......feeeeeeet fiiiiiirst you bastaaaaaaard!!
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A blind man walks into a bar...and a table.
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PMS should be called ovary acting.
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Never believe an atom - they make up everything.
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"I left an electron behind."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive."
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I hate those Russian dolls.....so full of themselves.
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Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 04:31 PM (37 replies)

Whither human evolution

Kind of riffing off the Daily Fail misrepresentation and musing on human evolution.

Only an idiot thinks we are immune from the technical process of evolution. We see changes in allele population over time just like any species.

That however doesn't stop us from being in a unique position vis a vis natural selection. The whole point of the theory is that if slightly different random attributes increase the chance of survival and propagation even a tiny bit, the percentage of those attributes will increase over time and eventually dominate, hence the different finch beaks of Darwin fame for example; in fact hence every morphological change in history.

But where are the human attributes that generate these adavantages? In other species, either survival or propagation is often very rare, and tiny changes can make a difference. Humans have incredibly low infant mortality and extremely high chances of reproduction. We artificially create our own environments and deploy medical technology to drastically reduce mortality. What will cause a random variation to dominate the species? Tall and short people both reproduce (the increase in average height is due to nutritional advances not natural selection). Ugly and handsome people. Intelligent and stupid people (Idiocracy makes a real point strangely, but these are cultural factors not natural selection and we are in no danger of seeing intelligence fade away completely due to mores). Naturally resistant and medically treated people both reproduce even in the face of the most virulent pathogens.

Ephemera like color and physiognomy are irrelevant. Despite the parochial whining of Quiverfull loons, the eventual caramelization of humanity means bugger all to the species taxonomically speaking. All races and ethnicities can freely interbreed.

I confess I am at a loss to see how natural selection can effect speciation as long as humans have a reasonably high level of technology. I don't see the inevitable eventual depletion of oil reserves changing that. We have other energy sources that only expense crowds out now. Upheaval? Certainly, but not speciation. Superbugs? Possible I guess but only if the mortality rate is so incredibly close to 100% and so concentrated in OECD countries that it effectively wipes out the control of technology. K-T type events? Possible again but more likely to do a reset to less complex lifeforms rather than push H. sapiens to a different evolutionary niche (and what niche? Ash-breathing temperature resistant scavengers?)

So how and where do you lot think we are likely to go in another few million years?
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 12:26 PM (2 replies)

One more anti-EV FUD lie put to rest

We were all told this thing would never get big money investment partners.....

http://www.businessinsider.com/report-tesla-signs-deal-with-panasonic-on-gigafactory-2014-7
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:17 PM (7 replies)

If it's the greatest invention......

Everybody finishes the sentence "greatest invention since..." with the same words; "sliced bread".

One of my favorite little trivia topics (I'm involved in a lot of trivia competitions and the like so it's not as weird a topic as you might think) is to ask people who invented it. I have never received a correct answer yet. Strange that every person in the English speaking world is familiar with the phrase, but more people know who invented the hovercraft than sliced bread

Obviously people have been slicing bread for centuries, but automatically sliced by the bakery loaves are surprisingly recent for such a fairly simple concept. After all putting high gage wires on a frame is not a complex issue, although admittedly the original slicer also wrapped the bread. It was only in 1928 that the inventor managed to convince a bakery it would be a good business idea, and 2 years later that it became a major success with the much-maligned Wonder Bread.


The name by the way is Otto Rohwedder.
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Thu Jul 3, 2014, 01:43 PM (4 replies)

What was the last word you had to look up?

I read a lot and have for decades, from pulp fantasy to postmodernist essays. I play Scrabble at a fairly good albeit not world class level. Also, I have a decent grasp of Latin and Greek and a smattering of other ancient languages which are the roots of many of our words. I'm no genius by any means, but my vocabulary is not a small one. So it's rare indeed these days I come across a word I need to look up. It happened just yesterday though. The one that stumped me was "welkin" meaning the firmament of the sky.

I can even remember the last one I looked up a couple of weeks ago, although I could get close enough to the gist from Latin. A "sodality" is a fraternal club or group, often religious in nature.

Two fairly short, non-technical words that had somehow escaped an avid reader for 40 years before this month. Before those I think it had been years since I came across one.

So what strange but non-technical words were new to you lately?
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 10:27 AM (11 replies)

Who would you hate for an in-law?

The most frequent choice may surprise some, but I could have predicted its massive lead with quite stunning accuracy.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/13/pew_report_on_political_polarization_americans_will_accept_a_variety_of.html
Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:20 PM (3 replies)

Is it really a surprise that poverty causes violence?

I hate to continue a locked thread, especially a racebaiting one, but the last response of the person who originally seemed to be accusing black folks of being inherently homicidal or some such nonsense surprised me greatly.

When I pointed out that the great majority of the difference disappeared when corrected for socioeconomic factors, I expected if anything the usual know-nothing bluster about bootstraps. Instead the response was an attempted "gotcha" as if he had "caught" me in an inappropriate suggestion that poverty causes violence.

Moving away as I should from the personal, I'm somewhat surprised that this could be questioned. This is a sincere wonder, not in any way a feigned gotcha or trap.

Why would poverty, mixed as I established with its concomitant lack of education and opportunity NOT cause a greater propensity to violence? Remember generalizations are not universal. It would be absurd to infer that I claim all pooor folks are violent or that no rich people are. This discussion should be about correlation, not spurious imaginary truisms.


Let's consider for a moment. Contrast A and B in various cases.

A doesn't have enough to eat. B is well fed. Both see me, an easy target for mugging, with a sack of groceries. Who is more likely to hit me over the head and take it?

A lives in an unheated room in a leaking tiny apartment. B lives in a comfy McMansion. Who is likely to be deterred from crime by the threat of being put in a small, but heated and dry prison cell?

A went, briefly, to a gang-infested poorly served school where teachers stayed only long enough to get a better gig, with few books, fewer amenities and no positive role models. B went to a private college prep school. Who is more likely to value immediate gratification over education?

A has few employment opportunities where he lives, and all of them are menial minimum wage jobs. B has a degree, a network of colleagues, and a wide range of cushy job opportunities. Who is more likely to seek the high risk but reasonable reward life of violent crime?

Posted by Jaime Espinoza | Fri Jun 13, 2014, 02:59 PM (17 replies)
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