## Student Loans

The government's recent takeover of student loans has been overshadowed by the rest of the health-insurance bill of which it was a part. On the one hand, Obama is right that the current system amounted to an absurd giveaway to banks. On the other hand, Obama's claim that this new legislation will somehow reduce the cost of college is absurd. Perhaps I've said it before, but when he makes claims like this, I find myself trying to decide if he really believes it or if he is lying as a means to an end. I'm tending toward the latter conclusion.

This post at The Corner sums up the situation well. Not surprising is that it was written by a guy at CATO.

I saw in a blog comment somewhere that people with student loans who work for the government will have their loans waived after 10 years. I am not sure if that made it to the final law. If so, I find it pretty disgusting. We seem more and more to have two classes of citizens.

## A tiny glimpse of silver

Lots of people have pointed out that for many employers, it will be cheaper for them to dump their employee's health insurance and pay the fines instead. Which means the link between your employer and your health insurance is about to be broken for a large number of people across the country.

Isn't that a good thing? Isn't making individuals responsible for purchasing their own insurance something conservatives and market experts have been hoping for for a long time?

Anyway, it's a tiny glimpse of silver lining.

Google should have done this long ago. Still, I salute them for doing the right thing now. Via the Corner
Two months after a series of suspicious China-based cyber-attacks, Google has stopped censoring Chinese search results, and google.com.cn now redirects to a Hong-Kong based site, google.com.hk.

Like they say, don't be evil.

## Words of Wisdom

It might be a good time to remember that the ends never justify the means. It was one of Nixon's mistakes. There are no ends, only means.

-Penn Jillette

## Never Paying the Piper

KJL writes in the Corner:

Congratulations, Democrats. Beginning now, you own the health-care system in America. Every hiccup. Every complaint. Every long line. All yours.

I don't think that it will hurt them. The Democrats have owned public education in urban areas for many decades. Have they been held accountable? Has it hurt them? No.

## Welcome!

Looks like National Healthcare has landed. I believe Kent Brockman said it best...

"Ladies and gentlemen, uh, we've just lost the picture, but what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has apparently been taken over- 'conquered' if you will- by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive Earthman or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves."

## Sorcery?

I understand AI's position...

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for "sorcery."

In a statement released Thursday, the international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

but if they let him go, and he turns someone into a toad, is AI going to take responsibility?

## Hypothesis Testing - II

A comment I posted on a blog:

[previous commenter] has a good point, and I see this sort of thing all the time in medical research. Do you think the life expectancy of people who drink Coke is *exactly* equal to the life expectancy of people who drink Pepsi? Exactly equal? Of course not. If you sample enough people, eventually you will detect a "statistically significant" difference. Then you can publish your paper saying e.g. "we found that people who drink Coke live significantly shorter lives than people who drink Pepsi!" Or, as it would appear in the newspaper and on tv: "Coke Kills!!"

## Hypothesis Testing

I think the way hypothesis testing is presented to students and justified makes no sense. Suppose we know that x has been drawn from a normal distribution with unit variance, and we want to test H_0: mu=0. Suppose x=2. Then they say “given H_0, the chance of seeing |x|>1.96 is less than 5%, so since x=2>1.96 we reject H_0.” Why does this make sense? Given H_0, the chance of seeing |x|<.01 is less than 5% too. Would you reject the null if our sample were x=0? No! So then they talk about x being “extreme,” i.e. far from the mean. What exactly does distance from the mean have to do with it? Suppose we knew that x was drawn from a uniform distribution on some interval [mu-1/2,mu+1/2], and again we wanted to test H0: mu=0. If x=.4999 would you reject? No, that makes no sense, because given H0, x=.4999 is no less likely than x=0. You could reject if x=.5001, but not if x is in the interval (-1/2,1/2). You could easily find an example of a bimodal distribution where the pdf at the mean is zero. Then you should reject if the sample is near the mean! Distance from the mean is not in general relevant.

I am being pedantic, but hypothesis testing works e.g. for the standard normal distribution f because if x>1.96, then f(x) is much less than values of f near x=0, not because of areas at the tails or distance from the mean.

## Corner Filter

I was just thinking... wouldn't it be nice to have a browser extention that allowed you to read NRO's "The Corner" without having to wade through KJL's endless abortion and Catholic-related posts?

## California Energy

Interesting article on California's energy policy.
In many countries, electric utilities struggle to keep up with demand, and often fail. The World Bank estimates that almost 1.5 billion men, women, and children lack reliable access to electricity. They want it, but they can't have it. In new-agey   California, it's the other way around. The centerpiece of California's energy policy is really the absence of energy.

The state is in serious trouble. Its leadership doesn't seem to understand that.

## Fess Parker

Fess Parker has died. His tv-star days were a bit before my time, but I remember we had a Disney album of his, "Pecos Bill," that I enjoyed a lot as a kid.

One of the songs "Hunter's Return" is a lullaby that I like and remember. I sang it about 1,000,000 times to soothe my daughter when she was a baby. So thanks to him for that.

Rest in Peace.

## Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Saw this last night...

"Gee, that's a bit high!" I thought.
The lastest...

What a difference a day makes. Coulda made some easy money. No guts no glory.

Why is everyone suddenly re-evaluating this?

## 3000 percent!

President Obama yesterday:

Now, so let me talk about the third thing, which is my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for families, for businesses, and for the federal government. So Americans buying comparable coverage to what they have today -- I already said this -- would see premiums fall by 14 to 20 percent -- that’s not my numbers, that’s what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says -- for Americans who get their insurance through the workplace. How many people are getting insurance through their jobs right now? Raise your hands. All right. Well, a lot of those folks, your employer it’s estimated would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent [sic], which means they could give you a raise. (Applause.)

## So, how deep is the state of California's problems?

My license tags on my car expired in January, but we only realized it today. As a result, I just had to spend 2 hours at the DMV and pay a 60% late penalty for my new tags.

According to a person at the DMV, they sent me two notices, one in mid-November, and another about two weeks ago. Neither my sister nor myself ever saw either of those notices. Now, I can see misplacing one of them, but not two of them.

So here's the question: is California in enough financial do-do, that they secretly stopped sending out the renewal notices in hopes that there will be lots of people like me who have to pay the 60% penalty?