A Radioactive Apartment Building in Taiwan . . .

. . . could dramatically change how the costs and benefits of pollution regulations  are calculated (albeit via a long and winding path). Continue reading A Radioactive Apartment Building in Taiwan . . .


The Gender Pay Gap . . .

. . . is another example of the Woman as Victim narrative that so incensed me about the #MeToo movement (link).

My recent post on Jordan Peterson (link) linked to a video (link) where he agreed that there was a pay gap between men and women, but it was the result of individual choices and not because of systemic discrimination. There was also a recent study about the pay differences between male and female Uber drivers (link: Thanks Gerry!) that found a 7% difference but concluded that it was based on differences in men’s and women’s behaviour. On the other hand, the recent issue of Macleans (link) decried the fact that women earn 26% less than men and urged that Something Be Done! Continue reading The Gender Pay Gap . . .

Economics . . .

. . . has always intrigued me even though I took a devastatingly dull senior-level Economics course in university which almost killed all my intellectual curiosity about the subject. But time has passed and the scars have mostly healed, and so when someone recommended the book Popular Economics by John Tamny , I thought it might be worthwhile to give it another shot. I really enjoyed it! Here is a link to a good review. It resonated with me because its key message aligned with my view of the world, that governments produces little of value and any money that they collect would have had a more beneficial effect on society if it had been left in the hands of the people that actually earned it. Continue reading Economics . . .

Jordan Peterson . . .

. . . is world-famous! And he’s Canadian! What’s up with that!?

Jordan Peterson is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto whose research interests include the psychology of religious and ideological belief (link). Not that different from thousands of other academics, and not the most straightforward path to world-wide fame, yet he has been called “the stupid man’s smart person” by one journalist (link) and “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now” (link) by another. His unexpected rise to fame started with his opposition to Bill C-16, which has the potential to compel Canadians to use certain language (like the gender-neutral neologisms zie, zim, zir, zis, zieself when referring to transgenders). Again, not the fast track to fame and fortune! Continue reading Jordan Peterson . . .

The Rally against Islamophobia . . .

. . . in Ottawa on February 18, 2018 was my first protest. I had never been to one and yet I had opinions about them (it’s not the first time I have had an opinion without evidence, and it won’t be the last). Part of the human condition I suppose. In any case, here was an opportunity to see how closely my opinions about protests matched their reality.

Continue reading The Rally against Islamophobia . . .

The Mpemba Effect . . .

. . . . is incredibly counter-intuitive.

First, some context. The following chart shows the cooling behaviour that most people would expect from two identical containers of water that start at different temperatures; the cooler sample (the blue line) would reach zero degrees first (Time #1) and turn to ice (Time #2) before the warmer sample (the red line).


The Mpemba effect says that sometimes the warmer water freezes first! Continue reading The Mpemba Effect . . .

Crunching the numbers of the 1984 Election

In a previous blog post I took exception to the media’s characterization of the Liberal victory in the 2015 federal election as ‘stunning’ and ‘decisive’ (link). It occurred to me afterwards that it would be interesting to compare this Liberal victory with the Conservative victory of 1984, which the media also characterized as ‘stunning’ (link).

Spoiler: The Conservative victory in 1984 was seventeen times more stunning and decisive than the Liberal victory in 2015!

Continue reading Crunching the numbers of the 1984 Election