May 2, 2017

Re-Release of Bill Nye’s 1996 ‘Probability’ Episode Deletes Male-Female Determination Segment

On Thursday, Julia Seymour at NewsBusters noted that in his new, ridiculously hyped Netflix series, so-called “Science Guy” Bill Nye “preached gender fluidity as ‘forward thinking.’” In what can hardly be a coincidence, Daniel Payne at the Federalist.com reports that “someone cut from a re-release of the episode” a 76-second segment from Nye’s original 1996 program on “Probability” explaining how a child’s sex is determined at conception.

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Opening the Bidding for 2Q17 GDP … (Update: April Auto Sales Weak, Especially for Traditional ‘Big Three’)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:27 pm

… we have the Atlanta Fed at an annualized 4.3 percent.

The current consensus seen at the link is 2.7 percent.

I see three things which support the kind of improvement the Atlanta Fed sees coming:

  • a repeat or improvement in fixed nonresidential investment, aka business investment, which would be a nice continuation of what we finally saw in the first quarter.
  • an increase in inventories, which I think would be an optimistic overreaction to how the economy is really doing.
  • a big increase in personal consumption expenditures, which is showing limited signs of taking shape. Additionally, I think the first quarter’s very low initial figures in this area will be revised up and will take away some of what might otherwise be a dramatic second-quarter improvement.

Update, 5:30 p.m.: Moody’s opening estimate for 2Q17 is an annualized 3.8 percent.

Update 2, 5:35 p.m.: April vehicle sales were down year-over-year by 4.7 percent. It would be tempting to completely pass that off as being a result of fewer selling days (26 vs. 27), and that Easter was in March last year and April this year, but I’m not buying that.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that high-dollar light truck sales, which made up 61 percent of all sales, barely declined (-0.05 percent, rounded to -0.1 percent). The bleeding was all in car sales, which dropped by 11 percent. So the total revenue loss is probably closer to 3 percent compared to the unit volume decline of 4.7 percent.

Americans’ preference for SUVs and light trucks is obvious, and as long as gas prices remain tolerable, that’s not going to change. If we start seeing significant overall declines in that category, watch out.

Update 3, 5:55 p.m.: To be clear, though, the situations at the various manufacturers vary widely.

Looking at major changes in light trucks, General Motors saw a 5,800-unit decline vs. April of last year; Ford, -2,900; Chrysler, -5,100; Honda, -2,100.

That combined decline of almost 16,000 units was offset by gains at Toyota (+2,300), Nissan (+5,400, or 11 percent), Hyundai (+4,600, or 31 percent), Mazda (+4,200, or 40 percent).

Those are pretty big swings away from the traditional U.S. Big Three to the Japanese and Korean makers. If sustained, what we’ve traditionally described as “Detroit” in the auto business will be facing some serious difficulties.

For example, GM dealers, with 936,000 unsold vehicles, need 100 days sales to sell off those cars at current sales rates. The industry standard is supposed to be 60 days.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050217)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Mexican beauty queen makes ‘radical’ move to religious life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Mexico City:

Apr 30, 2017 / 03:02 am

Esmeralda Solís Gonzáles is a young Mexican woman who was crowned last year as a beauty queen in her native town – and now she’s joined the Poor Clare Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament.

Twenty-year old Gonzáles has watched her story go viral over the last week on social media over a post on the Miss Mexico Facebook page.

Esmaralda was born April 12, 1997 in Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco State, to a Catholic family. She currently resides at the convent of the Poor Clare Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament of Cuernavaca in Morelos State, after leaving her career as a nutritionist.

“You really don’t know what religious life is until you’re within it. So far I have been able to see from another perspective what the world is and what it offers you,” Esmeralda told CNA.

“I was very happy with everything I had, but it does not compare with the happiness that God now places in my heart.”

The young postulant met the Poor Clare Missionaries some five years ago at 14, when her concern for a religious vocation “was awakening” through “vocational days, missions and camps.”

In addition, she pointed out how it was hardly a month after this process of discernment concluded when on March 2017 she gave her first yes to her vocation on the Feast of the Annunciation.

“God’s timing is perfect. During this time (of discernment) he allowed me to have some experiences such as being a beauty queen, and other experiences, which forever left their mark and which allowed me to learn a lot for what was to come later.” …

Go here for the rest of the story