How Accurate are Michigan Revenue Estimates?

Revenue forecasting is an important component of state budgeting. Without accurate predictions of incoming revenues, states could either allocate more than their available resources or underfund priorities when money is available. As a safeguard, Michigan’s system asks the House, Senate, and Executive Branch to reach consensus on revenue projections. How accurate are the state consensus …

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Harvard Overseer Election

Harvard Overseer ballots have been mailed. Please vote for the Free Harvard, Fair Harvard ticket! Earlier posts here. Below is my candidate statement. Stephen Hsu is Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He oversees roughly $600 million in annual research expenditures on a campus of 50,000 …

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Cultivated sweet potatoes contain Agrobacterium inserted T-DNA that is absent in wild sweet potato relatives. A natural GMO?

Genetic modification (GM) of food crops is a very hot topic in today’s society. When researchers discovered that certain bacteria had the ability to transfer their own DNA into plant genomes, the applications seemed endless. By taking advantage of this transfer DNA (T-DNA) mechanism, scientists can selectively transfer specific genes into the target plant to …

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What Does Choice Have To Do With It?

A major plank of most education reform agendas is the issue of “school choice.” Reformers claim that school choice gives parents the power to move their children to “better schools,” and gives children a better chance of success. But what if unfettered, unregulated school choice didn’t improve academic achievement, and was really a scam designed …

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Resilience and caring for someone with dementia

  Creative commons license miz_ginevera https://www.flickr.com/photos/ginevra/4603670503 Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a tough situation.  Most of us are pretty resilient. That doesn’t mean we don’t experience stress, sadness, anxiety and a host of other emotions when something bad happens, but over time we adapt.  This is particularly important when we’re faced with …

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Time for a Leap?

Time for a leap, that was the message last night from Naomi Klein as she spoke at Michigan State University. In addressing both the seeming conflicting euphoria and dismay that followed the recent Paris Climate Agreement she summarized it as: on the Euphoria side that the world had agreed to a plan to keep climate …

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This is for PZ Myers

Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codex), Garrett Jones (Hive Mind), and Razib Khan (GNXP) alerted me (via Twitter) of this post by PZ Myers. Myers is both confused and insulting in his blog post, but I’ll refrain from ad hominem attacks, and just focus on the science. Myers seems to think that humans with much better …

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Students Weigh in on Hot Topics Facing Michigan

MSU’s Michigan Government Semester Program students have been interning in Lansing and studying public policy issues this semester. Click below to read their papers on important issues facing the state, hosted by the Michigan Policy Network: High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing: Impact and Regulation (link is external) Marina Carabellese Legislative Plans for Detroit Public Schools   (link …

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EPR and Bell for pedestrians

My old friend Mark Alford (WUSTL) was on campus last week for the inaugural meeting of the FRIB-TA (Facility for Rare Ion Beams Theory Alliance). Over beers he told me he had come up with a pedagogical way to explain Bell’s inequality in a single picture. Here it is. Ghostly action at a distance: a …

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Independent Streams (Week of April 4th)

Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research (inspired by John Kingdon (link is external)). Problems: Flint’s switch to river water left residents holding the tab (link is external). IPPSR Affiliates Eric Scorsone and Josh Sapotchine are quoted on their Flint research. Labor participation, wages ticking up in Michigan (link is external). SOSS Director …

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What we can learn about education from Finland

For all of the money spent by the corporate education reformers we’d expect to see massive improvements in student learning, school facilities, and education policy. Instead, charter schools have been a mostly unsuccessful “experiment” that has diverted billions of dollars from public schools struggling to maintain safe facilities and adequate programs for students. Standardized testing …

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Chinchilla

So a couple of weeks back we did a blog about chin warmers, which, I should say right up front, was just a lame idea I had to talk about a yummy chilly-day meal we cooked up from adzuki beans and course-ground cornmeal. I allowed the blog to veer off onto a tangent about charcoal …

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Tale of the Loose Cable

Friday I used my laptop (Acer Aspire V5-131, Linux Mint 17.3) at a coffee shop with no problems. Saturday it wouldn’t boot. The specific error message was: Broadcom UNDI PXE2.1 v15.0.1 <blah blah blah> PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable PXE-M0F: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM No bootable device — insert boot disk and press any …

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Jonathan Haidt and Tyler Cowen

Highly recommended: a great conversation (transcript) between Tyler Cowen and NYU psychology professor Johnathan Haidt. More Haidt. The transformation of the Academy and the two universities: COWEN: But is it at least possibly the case that we’re seeing the greatest threat to intellectual diversity in some of the areas which matter least, and when the …

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