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Cost Disease

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Terrel L. Shields

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May 2, 2002
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Certified General Appraiser
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Arkansas
It seems in most things, throwing money at a problem rarely solves it. "Education" may reflect social mores rather than the quality of the educators. I know a teacher very well, retiring this year from teaching math and she is sick of the system, the paperwork, and the uncaring parents who send their children to school thinking that the parent has no responsibility to nurture that child. Nor do they proactively engage with the system to see that the student is learning and that the teachers are not dealing with discipline problems more than a third their time.

Our system is teaching bad science by hysteria and not the critical (skeptical) thinking required of the scientist. We think Bill Nye (trained as a mechanical engineer) is a "scientist". No, he is an entertainer and when he tried to defend evolution in a Ky showdown with proponents of "intelligent design" - a euphemism for creationism - he got his heinie handed to him and his ignorance was on display. I am sure more people went away convinced that evolution wasn't happening even in the face of DNA evidence to the contrary. Science is not a debate. Winning an argument isn't science. And scientists are made all the more goofy looking when they don't even understand the basics of statistics and how randomness plays a part in any data analysis.

Perhaps the worst of that is the idea that if 10,000 ppm of particulate matter will cause cancer, then only 1 ppm will cause 1 death in 10,000 people so exposed. Radon falls into that category as radon studies were based on uranium miners who were exposed to 60,000 ppm of radon but the "deaths" caused by radon were then extrapolated down to only a few ppm. The worst is with people who see two or three persons get a similar disease in a small area. This "cancer cluster" invariably is blamed on something. In a case here years ago, 2 high school students developed testicular cancer in the same year. Eventually the lawyers blamed arsenic found in a feed additive from Alabama (where natural arsenic is common) fed to chickens, then the chicken litter was spread on fields in the county. Chicken litter smells bad so this must be causing the cancer. The "expert" had her testimony thrown out under the Daubert Rule and the suit failed. But the local poultry companies were out a chunk of change for no reason, scientifically. And to this day, I bet you that the parents and kids affected will still blame the chicken companies.
 

Howard Klahr

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Oct 4, 2004
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Bill Nye (trained as a mechanical engineer)
net worth of $6.5 million - I don't think he really cares

Perhaps the worst of that is the idea that if 10,000 ppm of particulate matter will cause cancer, then only 1 ppm will cause 1 death in 10,000 people so exposed. Radon falls into that category as radon studies were based on uranium miners who were exposed to 60,000 ppm of radon but the "deaths" caused by radon were then extrapolated down to only a few ppm. The worst is with people who see two or three persons get a similar disease in a small area. This "cancer cluster" invariably is blamed on something. In a case here years ago, 2 high school students developed testicular cancer in the same year. Eventually the lawyers blamed arsenic found in a feed additive from Alabama (where natural arsenic is common) fed to chickens, then the chicken litter was spread on fields in the county. Chicken litter smells bad so this must be causing the cancer. The "expert" had her testimony thrown out under the Daubert Rule and the suit failed. But the local poultry companies were out a chunk of change for no reason, scientifically. And to this day, I bet you that the parents and kids affected will still blame the chicken companies.
What does this have to do with anything at all?

 

Restrain

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Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
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Florida
I hate it when he is cited as an expert. Just a talking head
 

WestMichiganCG

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Sep 4, 2014
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
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Michigan
That's an interesting article which seems to raise more questions than it answers.
 

Mark K

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Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Indiana
That's an interesting article which seems to raise more questions than it answers.


Exactly. He takes about 5,000 words to tell us the cost of living has gone up in the past 50 years but he doesn't know exactly why or what to do about it. He could have done that in a few hundred words.

Seems that the internet has allowed the average length of articles to increase much faster than the rate of inflation, with no apparent increase in value received.
 
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Michael S

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Mar 18, 2009
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
Interesting article. Thinking about something like the cost of education rising while outcomes have remained static, at least some part of that is just simple inflation. 40 years ago electricity might cost about $0.03 per kilowatt hour and now it costs about $0.12. The cost of construction for new schools has risen over the years as material and labor prices have increased. Teacher salaries have obviously gone up over time. I also wonder about population growth. When I was growing up there were 10 or 11 elementary schools in a city of about 25,000 that fed into two middle schools and one high school. Since then they’ve closed down a couple of those elementary schools due to smaller cohorts of children (even though population has continued to rise). The best numbers I can find show that school enrollment in 1970 was actually almost the same as today, around 50 million. All of those baby boomers were filling up the schools back then before it dropped in the 80s to about 40 million.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Re school enrollment. The numbers may be relatively static but location moves. Example is my current county. Loss of 2000 students, while enrollment is growing in the adjacent counties. Why? Jobs, pure and simple. Current population growth in my county is primarily retirees, no significant job growth. Compare this with DFW northern suburbs. They can't build schools fast enough. Again, because of job growth attracting younger families.
 
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