Monday, November 16, 2009

Seen around and about... 

[] The "butterfly effect" in action -- or here, the mosquito effect:
History Matters: If you paid a $4 poll tax in 1910, your great-grandchild gets a polio vaccine today
Mosquitoes caused the poll tax in 1910.

[] Monkey economics. Topics: Rewards to education and "human vervet capital" ... monopoly profits ... loss of monopoly profits due to competition ...

[] Betting on the health plan at Intrade: "A federal government run health insurance plan to be approved before midnight ET 31 Dec 2009" -- now down to 5%, at this writing. (More precisely: "You can buy this at 6.4 ... sell at 4.5").

[] Ramirez cartoon.

[] What is US citizenship worth? To most, apparently less than $675.
Currently, citizenship application and processing fees in the US are $675 per person ... [and] were increased by 69% in July 2007.

The number of US citizenship applications from legal residents dropped by 50 percent in the two years after the price increase. As a result, the Federal agency handling citizenship applications still runs a budget deficit, suggesting to some bureaucrats that the price needs to be raised again.
Clearly demonstrating: (1) The value of citizenship is less than $675 to the 50 percent who stopped applying for it; and (2) The governmental bureaucratic attitude of "if it doesn't work do more of it, especially if it costs people money".

[] "Congress Approves $500 Billion For Monument To Human Folly" . It seems as reasonable as any other part of the spending stimulus -- in fact, particularly appropriate.