* Citizenvestor: Kickstarter for Municipal Projects. So if your municipality has public services planned but no way of paying for them, it can see how badly residents really want the service.
* Here’s another silly sentence alert: the NSF’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers” program says that it supports “the research and development of innovative models for engaging K-12 students in authentic experiences that build their capacity to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future.” How many grant programs are designed to support inauthentic experiences? And what’s the difference between an “authentic” experience and an experience that isn’t? (I’m also guessing the writers haven’t read Andrew Potter’s The Authenticity Hoax: How We Get Lost Finding Ourselves.)
* One of my favorite federal programs has just returned for another round: “Grants to Manufacturers of Certain Worsted Wool Fabrics.” There’s $5 million available. If there are any manufacturers of certain worsted wool fabrics among our readership, please, give us a call at 800.540.8906. (Even weirder than the program itself is the sub-agency administering the grant: the Administration for Children and Families. What do worsted wool fabrics have to do with children and families?)
* The Grant Program I’d Love to See, from “Confessions of a Community College Dean.”
* Someone found us by searching for “how hard is it to become a grant writer.” The short answer is “very.” The longer answer can be found in many posts on this blog (here is a decent place to start), and the answer also depends on the existing writing skills and nonprofit / government knowledge of the person asking the question.
* Sex? Not my kid! A new book explores parental delusions about their teens’ sexuality. Notice this: “[S]exual threats are seen [by parents] as ever present — from someone else’s sex-crazed kid, someone else’s corruptive parental influence, someone else’s perversion. Rarely do parents attribute the risk to their own child’s sexual desire or agency. Surprise, surprise.”
* “Low Transfer of Learning: The Glass Is Half Full,” which ends with this: “Instead of bemoaning American workers’ mediocre literacy and numeracy, we should be grateful that millions of Americans who learn little in school still manage to learn useful trades on the job. Seriously.”
* What OxyContin Addicts in West Virginia Tell Us About the War on Drugs, which substance abuse treatment providers probably already know.
* Someone called us and wanted to know about grants for a faith-based restaurant that was structured as a business. We were perplexed: what’s a faith-based restaurant? Does that mean the food is likely to be better or worse than a standard restaurant? Regardless, we were confused, because we’ve never heard of a faith-based restaurant before.
* “The Brooklyn bookshop saving out-of-print sci-fi, one e-book at a time: The genre enthusiasts are working with rights holders to preserve great books.”
* Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok announce Marginal Revolution University. I admire the spirit of the enterprise but am somewhat skeptical of its likely impact.
… while the poverty rate has barely declined over the past 45 years according to official measures, that’s because the official measure—which looks at pre-tax pre-transfer income—by definition rules out the beneficial impact of most public policy solutions. If you look at income after taxes and transfers you see that the shape of American public policy has become much friendlier to the poor during this period. If you look at consumption measures—which can help capture the value of the in-kind provision of services—there’s even more improvement.
* “Hard Unemployment Truths About ‘Soft’ Skills: Finding qualified applicants for high-tech jobs would be great. So would finding someone who can answer the phone.” I am somewhat skeptical about these stories for a number of reasons: they involve dubious statistics from self-interested trade groups (“Manpower Group’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey” or “A survey in April of human-resources professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management”), and none of the “representatives from major American manufacturing companies” quoted in the article are saying what they’re paying. “What exactly are the skills you can’t find?” usually means, “What are the skills you can’t find at a given price?” I would love to find an expert masseuse for $12 / hour, but guess what? I can’t, and neither can anyone else, because that’s not the market-clearing price.
* What Does it Mean to Be Poor?: The consumption of the poor is much higher than their incomes. Is poverty falling, or not? The answer is often, “It depends and how you measure and what you’re measuring.” In material terms—which the right likes to focus on—the poor are arguably doing better than ever. In health, public safety, and living experience terms—which the left likes to focus on—the poor are doing pretty poorly. This is also more of a class than income-based issue, despite me using income signifiers / descriptors her.
* Life Expectancy Shrinks for Less-Educated Whites in U.S.. Compare this to Charles Murray’s Coming Apart; The State of White America, 1960–2010 See also Intangible Dividend of Antipoverty Effort: Happiness.