Saturday Afternoon Links

Gordo explains why labor shortages caused by the insufficient immigration are bad for everyone:

The nativists would have you believe that this is good news. They reason that the labor shortages will drive up wages and lift millions of unskilled workers into the middle class, and they favor tight restrictions on legal as well as illegal immigration. However, the labor shortages have been with us since the 1990s, and real wages for unskilled workers have been stagnant for five years.

For example, Tucson’s construction industry has suffered a chronic labor shortage for decades. Yet the wages for construction workers in Tucson are almost 20% below the national average. It’s this paradox that defeats the arguments of those who would close our borders: a shortage of labor does not lead to higher wages; it leads to inefficiencies that stagnate wages.

Go read the rest. Then go read the rest of Gordo’s posts, and stick around to read his new ones as they’re posted.

Hat-tip to Brent: there’s a fairly easy way to break into cars with keyless entry pads, based on a nifty technique from directed graph theory called de Bruijn sequences.

A little experimentation will reveal that, if the code is 11357, and you type 5113579, the door will still open! This means that with 7 characters we managed to try out 3 sequences – 51135, 11357, and 13579. After the inital 4 numbers (which sort of primed the pump) every digit tries one new sequence. Since there are 55 length 5 sequences of characters from an alphabet of size 5, we know that we’ll need to try 3125 sequences total. With our intuition from above, we would hope that we could find a sequence of size 4 + 3125 (priming the pump, followed by one new sequence every keypress). It turns out that a mathematician named de Bruijn has already done all of the hard work for us on this one, and all of the relevant math can found under the names de Bruijn sequence and de Bruijn graph. But I’m not going to talk about math any further here. Right now, I am going to give you a sequence of minimal length that, when you enter it into a car’s numeric keypad, is guaranteed to unlock the doors of said car. It is exactly 3129 keypresses long, which should take you around 20 minutes to go through.

Tara has two outrage pieces about the Tripoli Six, six medical workers in Libya who got imprisoned and tortured and are about to be executed on a false charge of infecting children with HIV.

The more I read about this, the worse it gets. In addition to the links I mentioned yesterday, Laurie Garrett mentioned she’s been covering this for years. One example is this piece from this past June.

One of the newly charged Bulgarians, Smilian Tachev, an engineer, told Bulgarian journalists last month that he was originally arrested in Benghazi at the same time as the nurses and doctor, and during 174 days of captivity witnessed gruesome torture of the health care workers. “The nurses were beaten with many-stranded wire, for a long time and painfully,” Tachev said. “Then they were made to run, crawl, stand on one leg with their hands stretched up. When they collapsed totally, they were dragged somewhere and brought back in a helpless state.” Tachev witnessed the use of probes to force unidentified objects down the women’s throats, electrocution, and dogs loosed on the screaming victims.

After you get outraged, think of something to do. Then be a good radical and don’t do it…

2 Responses to Saturday Afternoon Links

  1. SLC says:

    Attached is a link to a number of presentations made at a conference at Yale last week. I would particularly note the presentation by Ken Miller who apparently has somewhat modified his previous approach to contrasting theism with philosophical naturalism.

    http://www.yale.edu/terrylecture/thisyear.html

  2. SLC says:

    Re Mr. Packard

    It would appear that employers in Tucson are of the opinion that the law of supply and demand has been repealed. Maybe they should try to increase the supply (i.e. pay more) in the expectation that the demand might be satisfied.

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