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The Economics of War

I have always imagined civil wars being fought by two armies built on differing ideology. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has built an army based on economics. I can only imagine the dialogue at night:
man 1: So what do you do for a living?
man 2: I am part of the insurgency killing the afghan soldiers for the Taliban.
man1: Oh, so you don’t like the way the country is transforming?
man2: Oh no it’s great – the Taliban just pays better.

The Taliban has found a way to recruit fighters that is less about winning hearts and minds and more about the enduring appeal of cold hard cash.
They are paying fighters up to $12 (6.50 Euros) a day to fight the fledgling Afghan National Army, which pays only $4 a day to its soldiers in the field, according to military officials.

Read More -> / World / Asia-Pacific – Taliban goes for cash over ideology

Using wages to fight illegal immigration

Michael Dukakis and Daniel J. B. Mitchell wrote an op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times advocating a raise in the minimum wage. Their argument is that a wage in the $8 realm will entice more Americans to work in the lower-end jobs. They also assert that it will force workplaces with sub-standard conditions to clean up their act.

They get one part right: unemployment will increase as a result. But I don’t get the whole argument about employers cleaning up their act. If they are currently employing illegals at sub-minimum wage levels and providing an unsafe workplace, will raising the minimum wage not further incent them to hire illegals? Why would a shady employer pay an American $8 an hour and spend a million dollars providing benefits and improving safety when he’s already got a crew of Mexicans that will accept $4 an hour?

I agree that building a big wall isn’t the best answer and I applaud these two for putting forth more ideas into our awareness set. The answer to our growing problem is out there and we need to all put our thinking caps on to find it.
Read more -> Raise Wages, Not Walls – New York Times

Are iPods Lightning Attractors?

I don’t think that is the message that this article was trying to convey, but the news media seems to have spun it that way. Recent research shows that people talking on the phone or using headphones are at an increased risk of death from a lightning strike. There is a phenomenon called ‘flashover’ where the skin protects your internals from the electricity and channels the force to the ground. If you’ve got metal held up to some part of your body, that protective force seems to be broken.

But what are the odds of being struck by lightning?? 576,000 to 1. Your odds are better of dating a supermodel (88,000 to 1) or being cosidered possessed by Satan (7,000 to 1). You can check these out for yourself here (I’d feel better if it was a national statistics bureau, but several of these others seemed in line with what I believed reality to be).
So listen to your iPod and talk on the phone at your own risk during thunderstorms. You’re not more likely to be struck, but you’re apparently more likely to die as a result.

Read More -> Injury from lightning strike while using mobile phone — BMJ

Peachtree Road Race Photos

Photos from the 2006 Peachtree Road Race are available here. I think I’ll probably buy one, but am debating over which one to get. The photography was good – the subject matter (me) needed improvement. To my defense, it was really freakin’ hot and humid out there…

Today I had a traning run of over 17 miles. The temperature was in the low to mid 70’s and humidity was not a factor. Too bad July 4th weather wasn’t like this.

I am not sure what or where the next race will be. There is a triathlon coming up at Lake Lanier in October that I would like to do. I will complete my MBA 3 weeks from now after 2 solid years of full-time employment and full-time school attendance. After that I should have a lot more time to train!

ptree06.bmpAnother photo finish

Support for the War

Yeah yeah yeah, so it’s July 5th and I’m a day late in posting this.
BUT – would you have supported the revolutionary war? Seriously – think about it. There were just a bunch of white guys sitting in a room crafting a letter to the king of England that basically told him to piss off. Would you have thought that was a good move?
My guess is probably not.