Saturday, May 1, 2010


…for all their support and cultural cachet, the majority of the 5,000 or so charter schools nationwide appear to be no better, and in many cases worse, than local public schools when measured by achievement on standardized tests, according to experts citing years of research. Last year one of the most comprehensive studies, by researchers from Stanford University, found that fewer than one-fifth of charter schools nationally offered a better education than comparable local schools, almost half offered an equivalent education and more than a third, 37 percent, were “significantly worse.”
I think the charter school debate has been unfairly judged as decisively pro-charter school when the evidence is decidedly more ambiguous.

A nice discussion in the comments section of Civil War vs. Napoleonic War infantry tactics.

The banks are whining in the UK too:
Britain's biggest banks are trying to convince the leaders of the G20 that new rules forcing them to hold billions more pounds of capital could push the UK back into recession.
The warning of the impact on the economy is contained in a preliminary report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was commissioned by the banking industry to assess the damage the new regulations could cause to an economy that grew by just 0.2% between January and March.
The report is intended to be completed in time for the G20 meeting in Canada in June and currently shows that two full percentage points could be sliced off economic growth as a result of a package of measures that forces banks to build up bigger capital cushions, and hold liquid assets such as government bonds that can be sold easily in the event of a crisis.
If this is true, we ought to be really worried about the exposure British banks have to various PIIGS; they might catch the swine flu (har har, the joke was there and I took it.)

We have no more research breakthroughs? (Not entirely convincing)

Google is starting “Google Ventures,” apparently, which is a smart thing for a company with tons of liquid capital and a long time frame. I wonder if Google will have an option to buy the companies they invest in, or whether it’ll be more of a free-for-all? And how would you feel if you’re trying to buy a Google-backed startup and Google doesn’t want it?

WSJ on the Volcker rule.

More bee alarmism.

On the bubble in China’s second-tier real estate.

Support for a bank tax.

Joseph Stiglitz on Keynes.

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