On the incoherence of Ted Cruz
Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.
For some reason, grade inflation seems to be (once again) a hot topic. Larry Summers weighs in, with a brief headlined "If we really valued excellence, we would single it out." I've already suggested a couple of reasons why I think that people who are concerned about grade inflation might be a bit overwrought. So what does Summers add to the discussion?
I think that the pervasiveness of top grades in American higher education is shameful. How can a society that inflates the grades of its students and assigns the top standard to average performance be surprised when its corporate leaders inflate their earnings, its generals inflate their body counts, or its political leaders inflate their achievements?
Fifty years ago, Harvard sent acceptance letters to 20 percent of roughly 6,700 applicants to the Class of 1969. By 2006, that figure had dropped to 9.7 percent for the class of 2010 and since then has continued on a downward trend overall, reaching a record-low 5.3 percent acceptance rate earlier this month.
Paul Campos has an interesting post at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, in which he discusses the changes in (inflations) adjusted tuition, endowment and annual giving revenue for Columbia's law school. I thought it would be interesting to put the distribution of revenues in percentage terms, and revenue per enrolled student.
% from Endowment
Revenue per Enrolled
This is a comment I posted on a blog elsewhere.
Charles Stross finds his publishers wanting him to write a "space opera" (think a multi-volume, thematically-connected episode of Star Trek, or a multi-volume "hobbits in space." He has been thinking about the pitfalls to be avoided in developing the institutional and physical structure of such a work (and, it seems to me implicitly says such works can't be coherently constructed). I decided not to read through the 500+ comments already on his blog post (he has a huge and literate following), but wanted to add this.
1. Much faster-than-light travel and communications.
2. Extremely robust social/political/economic institutions.Why? Simple. Planets are a long way apart; the closest likely habitable planets to us are 4+ light-years away, the second closest more like 13 l.y. For commercial purposes, there needs to be a way to finesse the extremely long time it would take for beings on Planet A to place an order with beings on Planet B and have that order delivered. With out closest possible neighbors, we're talking around 10 years, even with communications and travel at (or near) the speed of light. Transactions times in the decades are perhaps more plausible.
An article in VOX discussing the causes of the relative strength the US economy in 2015 lists three factors:
But as this data from the Brookings Institution shows, things started to change in mid-2014. After years of shedding employees, state and local governments started hiring again.