Thursday, 28 July 2011

08:40 – Heads-down work all day yesterday on the biology book. Or as heads-down as it gets with a 5-month-old puppy pestering me constantly.

The front matter and introductory chapters are complete, as are the Group I sessions on Mastering Microscope Skills. Group II, on The Chemistry of Life, is nearly complete. Over-complete, in fact. It currently runs about 55 manuscript pages, and will have to be trimmed back. Group III, on Life Processes, is well in progress, as is Group XIV on Ecology, and I have many other individual lab sessions also in progress that will be assigned to other groups. Things are starting to come together.


Congress and Obama continue the debt dance, with both sides pretending that there are actual budget cuts on the table, when in fact the argument is all about whether the budget and deficit will be increased by a huge amount or by an even huger amount. What they really need to be doing is zero-based budgeting, or at the very least budgeting based on a milestone year. I’d suggest 1990 or even 2000. Start with that and then discuss how much should be cut from the spending levels that year. Alternatively, they might consider setting a spending limit as a percentage of GDP. Currently, spending is about 25%, with revenues at only 15% of GDP. In the first year, they should cut taxes to put revenues at 10% of GDP, with spending at, say, 5% of GDP. In later years, they could reduce those numbers to more reasonable levels, until the federal debt is eliminated and federal revenues and spending are at, say, 0.5% of GDP. And even that would be much too much.