by AndrewMc | 10/16/2009 12:01:00 PM


Four to six years of college, tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and whaddaya get? Nothing.





Bright, eager—and unwanted. While unemployment is ravaging just about every part of the global workforce, the most enduring harm is being done to young people who can't grab onto the first rung of the career ladder.

Affected are a range of young people, from high school dropouts, to college grads, to newly minted lawyers and MBAs across the developed world from Britain to Japan. One indication: In the U.S., the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds has climbed to more than 18%, from 13% a year ago.


Thanks, George Bush and the Republicans, for the largest unregulated transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the wealthy, ever.

Great job with the economy!

More ramblings below . . .




I'd say "must read," but that's stating the obvious when it comes to fivethirtyeight.com.







OK, raise your hand if you remember all the hullabaloo when the Virginia Military Institute was forced to admit women beginning in 1997. I had just moved from Virginia the year before, when the case was decided by the Supreme Court.

The howling that came from graduates of VMI was enough to make one think that if women set foot on VMI's campus, the entire structure of the U.S. military, indeed the very fabric of the nation's soul, would be torn asunder.

Now we learn that:

[W]hat has followed, the school's current leaders say, is unexpected academic progress. Admission decisions are more selective than a decade ago. SAT scores are up. A rejuvenated faculty is building a national reputation for undergraduate research.


I hate it when that happens.






This is an interesting perspective on this past Sunday's National Equality March:

In the weeks leading up to the National Equality March -- held in Washington this past Sunday -- I found myself in the awkward position, for a straight person, of defending same-sex marriage rights to gay people who hated the whole idea with a passion.

Half the pleasure of being gay, explained my irritated interlocutors, is running wild. Maybe more than half.





I know, I know, we're supposed to just move on. The Bush Administration is over, done with. But the hits just keep coming. And once someone tells me how the current Republican party is any different from the Bush administration, then I'll let it go. [Hint: They're not.] Until then, one more fsckup:

The Bush administration Environmental Protection Agency actually reached the conclusion back in 2008 that climate change was a threat to humans. They just decided not to let anyone know about it.





I bought a one-terabyte hard drive last year, intending to use it for storage and backup. For someone who still has some floppy disks [soft floppies] lying around, that's a mind-bogglingly gigantic amount of storage space. Nevertheless, I'm using it, and the nice thing about it is that it's enough space. That is, while I've used a nice chunk of it, I'm also not at all worried about running out. I've never really been in that position before.

Facebook uses one petabyte just to store users' pictures. And now, companies are complaining that universities are ill-equipped to handle the increased data that's flowing into our world.

The amount of data is really just staggering.





This story (free registration required) makes my ramblings from last week even funnier:

Gone are the hot breakfasts in most dorms and the pastries at Widener Library. Varsity athletes are no longer guaranteed free sweat suits, and just this week came the jarring news that professors will go without cookies at faculty meetings.

By Harvard standards, these are hard times. Not Dickensian hard times, but with the value of its endowment down by almost 30 percent, the world’s richest university is learning to live with less.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard’s largest division, has cut about $75 million from its budget in recent months and is planning more. With the cuts extending beyond hiring and salary freezes to measures that affect what students eat, where they study and other parts of their daily routine, the euphoria of fall in Harvard Yard is dampened.

Pardon me while I dry some tears.

I'm really tired of reading stories about how hard this Great Recession is on the privileged, elite, upper-crust. Give me a break.

I will say, though, that everyone seems to be piling on now:

Harvard University is known for providing its undergraduates with an unexpectedly high number of graduate assistants as teachers rather than professors because, apparently, the profs are too busy with more important things than teaching.

Now those poor kids can’t get a hot breakfast, a near tragedy that has just become the subject of numerous media accounts. Why is this, at a school where tuition is $33,696 for undergraduates this year and the total package (including room, board and student services fee) is $48,868?




The Beer of the Week is:

Meantime Brewing I had originally planned only to highlight American-made beer, and even within that I had planned to stick to so-called craft beer. But then I came across a beer place on Topsail Island in North Carolina that had a selection of a few hundred beers.

It reminded me of a couple of things. The first was that it's always amazing what you find in out-of-the-way places. The second was how much I liked Meantime beers. Not all of them. Once again, I had reviewed a few of these beers for my class: The Coffee Porter, Red Ale, and Chocolate Stout.

While I hadn't much liked the first two, the Chocolate Stout was incredible. But the place on Topsail had the Meantime Coffee Porter, so I figured I'd try it again. Oddly, this was much better in a bottle thousands of miles away than it was on tap a few miles from the brewery. Good stuff.

One cool thing about the Meantime Brewery is that it sits at on the Greenwich line. And they give coordinates for finding the pubs that carry their beer. It's a cool little gimmick.

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