Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It Must Be Out There SOMEWHERE: Hening's Laws of Virginia, Vol. 3

I have managed to find PDFs of Hening's Laws of Virginia, volumes 1-2, 4-13.  There is a marvelous HTML version of all of Hening's Laws of Virginia out there, and it is really useful -- but primarily because of the nature of the project that I am doing (and yes, it is gun-related), I really need the original images, not someone's HTML-ized version of the text for volume 3.

I have been surprised at how difficult it is to actually find the various volumes in one place, and with one search string.  The publication date is going to be 1819 to 1823 or so.

Brain Structure Changes & Casual Marijuana Use

Reported by April 15, 2014 Fox News:
For the first time ever, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures....
Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation.  They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.
According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.
It has long been a stereotype of potheads that they are not terribly motivated:
Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.
I am sure that this will all end well.

The List Is Getting Longer

It used to be that the triumvirate of the let was "racism, sexism, and classism."  The list is getting longer:
Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/14/oberlin-backs-down-trigger-warnings-professors-who-teach-sensitive-material#ixzz2yzNryei1 Inside Higher Ed 
What in the heck is "cissexism"?

Another part of the proposed (but thankfully, not implemented) "trigger" policy at Oberlin College includes this amazing statement:
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read. However, it may trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide, and more.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/14/oberlin-backs-down-trigger-warnings-professors-who-teach-sensitive-material#ixzz2yzO8i4bI Inside Higher Ed  
Unless you have a parasite, I find it most unlikely that anyone at Oberlin College today has experienced "colonialism."

UPDATE: I am so glad that I have such educated readers to explain things like "cissexism" to me:
Trans-gender refers to people who do not identify with their bodies -- an apparent male who identifies as female, for example.
The problem is that the opposite phenomenon -- the person who identifies with the outward appearance of his body -- never had a word, which made it unjustifiably "normal". Thus, the word cis-gender.
You're cis-gender, Clayton. We have to fight against you, because you are privileged and you oppress others.

Good News Direct Flights Boise To Houston

I mentioned a while back that the Texas Bar Association invited me down to speak about the history of Stand Your Ground laws in September.  And just in time.  From April 15, 2014 Idaho Statesman:
 — After a rough stretch when the Boise Airport's list of nonstop destinations shrank by at least six, airlines seem to be putting their faith in the Treasure Valley once more.
Tuesday, the airport announced it will add nonstop service to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Service will begin Aug. 20. SkyWest Airlines will operate the flights using 70-seat jets that feature seating in United First and United Economy, as well as Economy Plus extra-legroom seats, according to the airport's announcement.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/04/15/3135617/boise-gets-new-non-stop-to-houston.html?sp=/99/101/102/#storylink=cpy

Another Mass Stabbing: Five Dead

Police Chief Rick Hanson confirmed the suspect arrested in what he called the "worst mass murder in Calgary's history" is the son of a veteran Calgary police officer.
Hanson said the suspect in the five stabbing deaths was an invited guest at the party. The man arrived at the home, "obtained a large knife" and began attacking individuals at the party.
Four men and a woman were killed -- three men were found dead when police arrived, while two others, a man and a woman succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
A person determined to kill doesn't need a gun to do a lot of damage.  If you have strangers in our house, it might be good to make sure that nothing dangerous is within reach.  If you are at the point where you have to carry a gun in your home, reconsider your guest list.

You Get Inked Horribly That Way

Great moments in spell checker assisted student papers: "You never want to force someone to stand in front of a firing squid."

Floating Rate Notes

One of the great annoyances of the current situation is that if you stay in cash or very short-term instruments, you get about as close to a 0% yield as you can imagine.  If you buy bonds with maturities longer than a couple of years (that is, bonds with yields much above 0%), there is a very real danger that when interest rates start to rise, the value of those bonds will fall.  They may fall quite dramatically, as everyone fights to sell their low-yield bonds.  (Good time to be in cash; bad time to be in bonds.)

There is an alternative, which I need to explore: floating rate notes.  I actually have some experience with floating rate notes.  Some years back, I bought a bunch of Sallie Mae bonds that were floating rate.  Sallie Mae is the Student Loan Marketing Corporation, one of those quasi-governmental entities.  The plus side was that if interest rates rose, you were not at much risk on the capital value of the bonds, because the interest payment that you receive would rise as interest rates rose.  The downside?  If interest rates fell, so did the semiannual interest payments that you received -- and even more painful, the value of the bonds also fell.  This was a somewhat painful experience when interest rates were even lower than today.

Still, there is some merit to looking at floating rate notes when it is hard to see how interest rates could drop much lower, but it does seem likely that one of these days, interest rates will rise again.  When that happens, floating rate notes will not only give more interest, but likely hold their capital value, unless fixed rate bonds.  As a strategy for improving short-term yield without putting too much capital at risk, this looks attractive.  Now I just need to talk to the Bond Desk at Schwab, and see what is available, and to what rates these bonds are tied.