Finished Cell by Stephen King. Bit of a return to form: not as bloated as his other late-period books. It's basically a zombie-apocalypse variant: this time a mysterious pulse turns every mobile phone user into a zombie. The plot is mainly the usual flight from the city, but the evolution of the zombies keeps things interesting. The book also keeps a nice balance between horror and humour.
Weaknesses: ending's a bit weak and the details of zombification and some of the anti-zombie measures are fairly absurd. Overall, worth a look.
What I'm Reading 2
Read another comic: Batman Year 100 has an aging Batman operating in a surveillance state in 2039. Not bad, with the grizzled Batman nicely drawn. Plot a bit predictable though.
Also found it slightly irritating that the characters mention that Batman has been operating for a hundred years, but don't give any explanation of how, whether there have been multiple Batmen or what.
Another day, another coffee machine.
Accidentally smashed the jug of the last one with a high-velocity sandwich paste jar, and the spare part is still listed as unavailable. Meant to try something clever, but ended up just getting bored and buying another one.
Firmly shutting the stable door, this time I bought a 3-year extended warranty with it, and got the Russell Hobbs Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Maker model with a stainless steel coffee jug.
Feels somewhat more solid and should hopefully be more Shipham's-proof, though some of the fiddly catches still seem a bit frail. Has a timer which I haven't tried using, which unfortunately means there's a digital clock, so you either have to let it flash or never unplug it.
Coffee tastes OK, with no initial plasticky taste, and is hot enough.
Downsides: if you keep it switched off, it takes an annoying few seconds to boot up when you switch it on. I don't really want my coffee machine to have to boot up. It seems to have a hotplate too, which means I'd like to switch it off when I've finished.
For example, suppose that the GMU economist spends $10 per day in cash, takes 10 minutes to go get cash out of his ATM, has a value of time equal to $60 an hour, and earns 5 percent annual interest on balances held at his bank. From this information, the Baumol-Tobin model yields a very specific prediction: The prof should take out $1200 from his bank three times a year and hold an average of $600 in his wallet. (See the textbook for the equations that back up this inference.)Web: Sociobiological musings
Most people hold much less money on average and go to the ATM much more often than the model predicts for their parameter values. This is a puzzle.
(This is hastily written, needs revision and backup).
Bad Science on the Girls prefer pink story.
Chris Woolston: Is There Anything Good About Men? Long article, goes a bit beyond the usual sociobiological bollocks, though still pretty unprovable. Suggests that male and female abilities don't differ, but motivations do.
The problem with all this stuff is that it's not really evidence-based, and there are too many complex social trends going on.
Thirty years ago, you could have looked at say physicists and biologists, noticed that both scientific fields are male-dominated, and concluded that men are sociobiologically programmed to strive to strive for the upper fields of science. Hence, both fields are naturally male-dominated.
Now, however, the biological sciences are pretty balanced, while physics remains male-dominated.
Now it's easy enough to follow up with any number of sociobiological just-so stories to explain that. But there could equally well be cultural or social factors behind it.
For instance, maybe women tend to avoid entering at the bottom fields that are male dominated, maybe rationally avoiding the risk that they will not be able to progress their careers due to bias, or their working lives will be made unpleasant. However in some circumstances there are lateral crossovers from related fields (medicine, pharmacy, zoology) which allow them to enter by stages, without such career risk, or in crossover groups that are not male-dominated. That field can then attract enough females to become a mixed field.
So without any evidence-based way to tell the difference, this stuff tends to just confirm any existing bias. If people start to believe it, it just locks in the current cultural state as immutable laws of biology.
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