Eric Cantor: Tough Guy, Taking on the worst people: Graduate students

In a master stroke of entirely meaningless, chump-change budgetary politics, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor has instituted the YouCut program.

I’m not linking, and you can’t make me.

Representative Cantor has this idea in mind: using the entirely scientifical methodology of web polls, he will put the top-vote-getter up for cuts in the House budget.

What are these programs? Here’s one: the HUD Dissertation Fellowship Program. Here’s Cantor’s write-up:

HUD Program for Doctoral Dissertations ($1 million in savings)
Recently, taxpayers have financed research on media strategies for housing policy and the use of eminent domain for urban redevelopment. Why should families who are struggling to pay for their children’s college also being asked to fund stipends from the government for those who want to write their dissertation on certain government-preferred policies? At approximately $200,000 in grants per year, terminating this program would save $1 million over five years.

A million over 5 years!! That’ll clear up the deficit in no time. Swell! I don’t even know what he means by “government-preferred programs,” but I’m for cutting whatever the government prefers. You can have governments go around preferring things. Now you might think that if the government preferred that people study these things, the government would manage more than $225,000 a year to support it out of a $3.6 trillion budget, but that just goes to show you how ineffectual government is at the same time it’s evil.

The only problem: this write up doesn’t go far enough. He should have gone on to explain how these PhD students, having gotten their $15,000 cut of the big pork that is the HUD dissertation fellowship program, just fling that hard-working taxpayer money away on such fripperies as “food” and “rent.”

Keep up the good work, Chief Deficit Buster.

Note: this doesn’t mean the deficit doesn’t scare me. It does. That’s what makes this kind of rannygazoo all the more irritating.

The early technologies of globalization

Astrology, as practiced by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus, which taught people about geography, direction, and navigation. No, it’s not about your sign. Pictured is Ptolemy.

The lateen sail, which improved over square sails used by Roman and other dominant navies. The lateen sail allowed us to manipulate sails according to wind direction, rather than having to wait for a wind going the way we wanted to and having to sit around if that fickle wind changed on us. It allowed for translatlantic crossing, int particular, because with a triangle sail you could slide from Europe down towards the equator, pick up the trade winds; return by sliding up the east coast of the new world (now peopled by a strange tribe of individuals in suits with magic devices they click all the time) and catch the western trade winds.

The compass, which is apparent enough.