#Science says masks are the best thing that ever happened to children

Parking a warm saliva-soaked mask in front of a child’s mouth all day isn’t the most obvious way to protect children from exposure to bacteria and viruses. And “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children” (JAMA Pediatrics, June) heretically suggested that children might be better off with an unobstructed airway.

All is right with the world once more, however. The paper has been retracted by the editors. The only question is why humanity didn’t discover the healing power of full-time mask-wearing centuries ago.

Loosely related:

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Is the best way to #StopAsianHate to stop Asians from succeeding?

“Boston Overhauls Admissions to Exclusive Exam Schools” (New York Times, July 15):

After five and a half hours of emotional discussion on Wednesday night, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to overhaul admissions to the city’s three selective exam schools, opening the way for far greater representation of Black and Latino students.

The new admissions system will still weigh test results and grades, but, following a model pioneered in Chicago, it will also introduce ways to select applicants who come from poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Under the new system, the applicant pool will be divided into eight groups based on the socioeconomic conditions of their neighborhoods. The admissions team will consider applicants within each group, admitting the top students in each tier in roughly equal numbers.

The Groupthink aspect is interesting. The high quality schools had been operating for 100+ years in a particular way. Not a single committee member thought that continuing with the proven system made sense!

What kind of high-scoring young learner is this new policy designed to exclude?

Asian American students were 29.3 percent of Boston Latin School’s enrollment in 2020, despite making up 9 percent of students in the school’s district.

On the one hand, this might seem odd. Leaders who bravely place #StopAsianHate signs on their lawns and/or bravely tweet using the #StopAsianHate tag are trying to exclude Asians from elite schools. But perhaps there is no inconsistency. Suppose that the sign-gooder believes that the reason Asians are hated is because Asians are more successful than comparatively stupid and lazy white people. In that case, it would make sense for him/her/zir/them to place obstacles in Asians’ paths so that they can’t succeed as much. If Asians can’t get into the elite schools they won’t provoke as much envy and therefore the mission of #StopAsianHate will have been accomplished.

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If masks are optional, why are there under-nose masks?

I was in the Tysons Corner, Virginia shopping mall last week. Masks are no longer required in Virginia. Governor Blackface (he’s sorry about his past racism, but not sorry enough to resign and let a Black person take the governor job?) rescinded his mask order in May (see “Virginia drops mask mandates, but not everyone is quick to give them up” )(NBC)).

Some folks wandering the mall were, nonetheless, wearing masks. This didn’t surprise me, but I was surprised by the fact that quite a few of those who were masked were wearing their masks under their noses. If you’re part of the Talented Tenth who believe in masks forever, wouldn’t you also be careful to wear a mask correctly? (i.e., make sure all of the aerosol virus goes out the sides!)

The photo below, taken July 13, 2021, shows the chin diaper and under-nose styles in front of a store owned by my favorite American growth company (#StocksForTheLongRun!).

Over in the U.K., 40 percent want masks forever… (I wonder how many support under-nose masks forever…)

Meanwhile, Facebook tells me (July 15) that even the smallest person can be a pandemic-ending hero by adding a frame to his/her/zir/their profile picture:

Despite this energetic effort, the propaganda ministers in Washington, D.C. are not satisfied. NYT:

President Biden’s surgeon general on Thursday used his first formal advisory to the United States to deliver a broadside against tech and social media companies, which he accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of dangerous health misinformation — especially about Covid-19.

The official, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared health misinformation “an urgent threat to public health.”

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said that they had taken steps to crack down on misleading health information, in line with their coronavirus misinformation policies. All three said they had introduced features to point people to authoritative health sources on their platforms.

YouTube said in a statement that it welcomed many takeaways of the surgeon general’s report. Twitter said it agreed with the surgeon general’s society-wide approach and welcomed his partnership. A person with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said officials with the company met with the surgeon general’s office on Monday.

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Great Society history lesson III

Continuing our look at Great Society: A New History, a book that chronicles the biggest shift since the 1930s in Americans’ relationship to government. (See Great Society history lesson II also.)

The idea of reparations is not a new one…

In 1963 the Urban League’s Whitney M. Young had proposed a Marshall Plan for black Americans, including direct payments to poor families to lift them over the poverty line. Thomas Sowell, a graduate student, was concentrating on his PhD, an essay on the pre-Keynesian economist Jean-Baptiste Say. But Young’s idea irked Sowell so much that he’d written a letter to the New York Times. The reaction to such a Marshall Plan, Sowell wrote, or to any other offer, would be the same from black Americans as it was from whites. “People who have been trying for years to tell others that Negroes are basically no different from anybody else,” Sowell said, “should not themselves lose sight of the fact that Negroes are just like everybody else in wanting something for nothing.”

White people loved higher minimum wages just as much back then as they do now:

Black and white youth unemployment had run about the same until the middle of the 1950s, 8 to 11 percent. But when Congress raised the federal minimum wage by a third in 1956, unemployment rose far higher among black teenagers than among whites, to 25 percent. … the economist Milton Friedman was reaching a conclusion: those who were supposed to benefit from a minimum wage were nearly always actually hurt, as “the intended beneficiaries are not employed at all.” Friedman the following year would slam the minimum wage as “the most anti-Negro law on our statute books.”

Then as now, government handouts ideally are about the same as the median wage:

But the newly generous War on Poverty welfare benefits actually encouraged men not to work, adding to the ranks of unemployed. With the average family welfare check between $ 177 and $ 238 a month, and wages at $ 220, the commission concluded that “the financial incentive to find work may be either negative or non-existent.”

(See “The $600 Unemployment Booster Shot, State by State” (NYT) and “Work Versus Welfare” (CATO, 2013))

Certainly there shouldn’t be a housing shortage in the U.S. at this point…

But the scaling and the speedups were also evident at home, in the new HUD building, and a nationwide building program. For housing, Johnson promised $7.5 billion, more than nine times the poverty program’s annual budget that first year. The American people were, Johnson said, “strong enough to pursue our goals in the rest of the world while still building a Great Society here at home.” In 1966, everything could be, had to be, big. Even before Watts, Washington had made up its collective mind to put its formidable shoulder into a second Great Society drive, housing. Since Watts, that commitment had only hardened. The Administration would supplement, and sometimes steamroller, its flawed program, community action, with construction. Nobody could disapprove of infrastructure improvement, politicians told one another.

And we should have all of the infrastructure that we need too. at least in the cities that Big Government favors:

Johnson laid out his second Great Society in his State of the Union address in January. The president would support construction everywhere. More than $ 2 billion of the funds would go to rebuilding cities. The president would also follow the Reuther plan for Demonstration Cities, “and rebuild completely, on a scale never before attempted, entire central and slum areas.” Working together with private enterprise—this time, Johnson did not emphasize municipal governments—the federal government would rebuild areas of up to 100,000 people. Johnson would add shops, parks, and hospitals around the new housing. In the same speech, the president asked Congress to pass legislation funding rent assistance. Taken together, the results, the president hoped, would be something similar to what his old community action drive had sought: “a flourishing community where our people can come to live the good life.” This whole second project would resemble something like what the United States had done in rebuilding Europe under the Marshall Plan. Eager to make Detroit the star of the new campaign, Reuther rounded up support in Michigan. Reuther wrote to Mayor Cavanagh to encourage him: “Detroit can become an exciting and shining model of a 20th century city in the Great Society.” Reuther promised Cavanagh that they could work together in a new institution, the Detroit Citizens Development Authority.

Without the gold standard, a democracy will always vote itself into insolvency or hyperinflation, according to Alan Greenspan, 1960s version:

Greenspan wrote that American overspending wasn’t strength or a wartime phenomenon; it was predictable. A welfare state, which was what the United States had become, always overcommitted. “The welfare statists,” Greenspan said, were always “quick to recognize that if they wished to retain power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e. they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds. . . . Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”

Not every Black American meekly agrees with white saviors:

On January 18, 1968, the day after the State of the Union, Mrs. Johnson received a reminder that many Americans could not agree. The First Lady hosted a “Women Do-ers” lunch at the White House, with fifty guests. Among them was the black star Eartha Kitt, whom Americans knew as an actress, singer, activist, and star on Batman, where Kitt played Catwoman. Johnson himself entered mid-lunch to address the group. The president spoke about expanding Social Security. Kitt spoke up, too, speaking not about entitlements, but noting that “because taxes are so heavy, both parents have to work.” Johnson was taken aback, and announced he had just seen through the passage of a Social Security bill that allotted millions for day care. A “non sequitur” was how Kitt characterized Johnson’s reply. Kitt so intimidated the president that he fled the room, saying such questions were “something for women to discuss here.”

When Nixon takes over, the machinery put in place by Johnson hums at an accelerated pace.

Despite the historically low unemployment rate, federal welfare payments were exploding. In one of the first of a number of long, careful memos that Moynihan penned to his future boss, he offered New York City as an example. New York’s welfare payments alone amounted to $ 2 billion, double the once huge-sounding initial budget for the War on Poverty. Nationally, spending for the old welfare system had risen by half in just two years, and spending for the disabled was up by 26 percent in the same period.

The Democrats have to top whatever the Republicans promise:

Rather than going along with Nixon, McGovern, perhaps already thinking of the presidential race in 1972, was readying his own plan, payments of $ 600 per child for all families below the middle class, a program that would cost multiples of the Nixon scheme. Hubert Humphrey, momentarily shocked, noted that the McGovern plan would place close to half of the United States on welfare. A new lobby, social workers, also made its objections known. President Kennedy’s and Moynihan’s Executive Order 10988 long ago had transformed once weak public-sector unions into titans. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of those newly powerful unions, counted thirty thousand social workers among its members. Now social workers rose up in blunt defense: “This legislation threatens to eliminate the jobs of our people,” said the union spokesman.

The book describes the importance of Goldberg v. Kelly, a case that turned handouts into “entitlements” akin to a property right.

How about three weeks to flatten the curve turning into 16 months of restrictions? Is that new?

Pete Peterson had supported the temporary income tax, but when, later, Connally and Nixon advocated keeping the tax in place through the 1972 election year, Peterson was, by his own description, “aghast.” Doubly infuriating was that Nixon broke a promise, by making something he’d labeled “temporary” seemingly permanent. Herb Stein, the most reflective in the group, wrote several essays about Camp David. “Even now, I am amazed to think of how little we looked ahead during that exciting weekend at Camp David when we (the president, really) made those big decisions,” he wrote in 1996. “We were going to freeze wages and prices for ninety days. What would happen after the ninety days? I don’t remember any discussion of that.” As it turned out, Stein noted, some of the freezes lasted more like a thousand days.

As with a lot of history books, this work is interesting for showing the reader how little has changed. Americans still have the same issues, e.g., some people don’t want to work at all and others have a level of skill that is not high enough to command what we would call a “living wage.” The arguments on all sides are more or less the same as today (remember that universal basic income was tried in 1970; see Long-term effects of short-term free cash (guaranteed minimum income experiments)).

Probably the biggest change from the 1960s is immigration. The architects of our welfare state imagined that the U.S. had a fixed supply of uneducated badly housed poor people. The $billions in tax dollars would lift each of those people out of poverty via education and job training, fresh public housing, new infrastructure, etc. After that had been accomplished, there wouldn’t be any more poor people. It didn’t occur to them that 1 million low-skill people, destined to be poor in an economy for which they lacked the job and language skills, would walk across the border each year. Certainly they didn’t imagine that their creation of the welfare state itself would attract low-skill migrants, for whom the welfare state removes all risk of migration (if employers don’t want a migrant or the migrant does not enjoy working, public housing, health care, food stamps, etc. are all there as an alternative to work).

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Great Society history lesson II

Now that at least 80 million Americans are on what used to be called “welfare” (see “Pandemic Swells Medicaid Enrollment to 80 Million People, a ‘High-Water Mark’”), perhaps it is time to revisit Great Society: A New History which describes the origin of the no-longer-called-welfare program on which nearly 25 percent of Americans now rely. (Previous post: Bitcoin has plenty of runway if we look back to the 1960s and 70s and the Great Society)

What’s the history of the program?

The costs of the previous legislation Johnson had pushed Mills into had already far outrun the projections. Budget officials had predicted that Medicaid, for example, would cost less than $ 400 million in fiscal 1967. Instead it had cost $ 1.1 billion.

Compare to $613 billion in Medicaid spending in 2019 (cms.gov). which presumably is now closer to $800

Why do Californians love bigger government so much?

The value of the private sector’s relationship with the government seemed especially obvious in the Western state that Americans regarded as the land of the future, California. For many Californians, the government was their job. More active-duty military and civilian Defense Department employees were stationed in California than in any other state. The presence of Pentagon money in California wasn’t merely large, it was overwhelming. 4 In one year, 1959, the Defense Department was awarding more than $ 3 billion in contracts to four aerospace firms in Los Angeles.

The author reminds us of the good old days of computing, before we got everything from Taiwan chip fabs:

In the mid-1950s, GE was a far richer company than IBM. General Electric had the resources necessary to get into computers, the computer fans reckoned, whatever Cordiner said. A clutch of engineers did manage to land a successful contract with the Bank of America for an innovative check sorter, the first computer system for banking applications, a testimony to the gumption of GE professionals and, ironically, to Cordiner’s own culture of department autonomy. California was the home of Bank of America, and also the home of the GE group that won the contract. The machines would serve the Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas. But California was a state where GE could endure the same troubles with organized labor as it did out East. GE internal reports noted that the company was looking to avoid the Golden State’s “punitive labor legislation.” GE based production of the project’s computer, weight 23,000 pounds, in Phoenix.

Unions can play an important role in expanding government for all:

Building a union that could beat the automakers at the negotiation table sounded like enough work, but Reuther also, early on, decided he wanted more. Reuther was falling in love with Northern Europe’s social democracies, countries where democratic government supplied health care and good schools, and even, Reuther noticed, funded time at worker spas for workers to recover from strenuous labor. It seemed to Reuther there was no reason America could not replicate the Scandinavian model. In the 1940s, Lem Boulware spoke at a graduation at Harvard University, making an early case for Boulwarism. During the same years Reuther gave the commencement address at Howard University, the historically black college in Washington. At Howard, Reuther said that U.S. unions needed to deliver better housing and medical aid to all Americans, not just union members. Otherwise, unions weren’t worth much. “The test of democratic trade unionism in a democratic society,” Reuther said, “is its willingness to lead the fight for the welfare of the whole community.”

The unions did beat the Detroit automakers, of course, but Detroit didn’t end up quite as prosperous as President Lyndon Johnson expected.

It was Detroit in particular that was, Johnson said [in May 1964], “the herald of hope in America. Prosperity in America must begin here in Detroit.” … If labor and industry would stick by his side, the president said, “the sky is the limit, and the sky is bright today.”

In the past, presidents had striven for abundance, Johnson noted. Now the country had abundance. The challenge of the next half century was proving “whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life.” Some corners of the country were still poor. The Great Society, therefore, required, as Johnson had said before, an “end to poverty.”

See also Decline of Detroit (Wikipedia): “The population of the city has fallen from a high of 1,850,000 in 1950 to 680,000 in 2015 … Local crime rates are among the highest in the United States … and vast areas of the city are in a state of severe urban decay.” And Detroit bankruptcy (Wikipedia): “The city of Detroit, Michigan, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt, estimated at $18–20 billion…”

The central planners didn’t do a great job after World War II, but we can rely on them today…

Harrington took a frank position on the shame of urban renewal, in which unions had been complicit. After World War II, the unions had joined the federal government in a great plan to rebuild the cities. The bulldozers obliterated the slums, but also evicted entire black communities like Paradise Valley. This was not “urban renewal,” it was “Negro removal,” as the writer James Baldwin said. Two-thirds of the families displaced by urban renewal were black. Harrington argued that when the heavy equipment, whether Dwight Eisenhower’s in the past or new presidents’ in the 1960s, arrived at so-called slum neighborhoods, it crushed untold value. Old slums hadn’t merely been slums; they had been starting points: “there was community, there was aspiration.” New communities did not come to life in the new projects. The projects were cages that became graveyards. Harrington noted that the new housing that supplanted old tenements created “a new type of slum,” which isolated black families in ghettos. Harrington had seen the new type of slum firsthand in his hometown, St. Louis, where black families had been moved out of the Mill Creek areas to one of the largest of the urban renewal public housing projects in the country, Pruitt-Igoe.

Presidents Biden and Harris might be highly successful at transforming the U.S. via legislation:

And Johnson also could count some advantages of his own. First, there was his long record in the Senate, which gave him unparalleled experience as the shepherd of legislation. Roosevelt, a mere governor with a famous name, had had nothing like that. There was also the aching advantage of tragedy: Kennedy’s death would make Congress eager to pass Kennedy’s tax law and Kennedy’s languishing civil rights bill.

What are the parallels to today? Biden was in the Senate for decades and the U.S. is only now beginning to recover from the tragedy of rule by Donald Trump. Another parallel to today:

Moynihan noticed an irony. Whether a program’s beneficiaries were black or white, its planners were white. Blacks were scarcely present in all the work undertaken for the disadvantaged. Indeed, Moynihan later wrote, “at no time did any Negro have any role of any consequence in the drafting of the poverty program.”

The Great Society programs were supposed to get cheaper over time, as Americans realized that it was far better to work than to consume entitlement benefits:

At the August 20 signing ceremony, Johnson took further pains. The president told the public that the Economic Opportunity Act did not represent a “a handout or a dole.” He continued: “We know—we learned long ago—that answer is no answer. The measure before me this morning for signature offers the answer that its title implies. The answer is opportunity.” Spending now would bring savings later. Johnson promised the voters that this law would reduce the costs of “crime, welfare, of health and of police protection.” The act would yield a new era, and “the days of the dole in our country are numbered.” America would remember the 20 percent in poverty, the “forgotten fifth.”

Even today’s haters at the WSJ loved these ideas:

The Wall Street Journal characterized the law as “an opportunity to eradicate poverty, not opiate it.”

(Can we give them credit for prescience regarding opioids?)

Was President Johnson right about increased spending on government handouts cutting the cost of the police? Urban Institute: “From 1977 to 2018, in 2018 inflation-adjusted dollars, state and local government spending on police increased from $43 billion to $119 billion, an increase of 175 percent. Over the same period, real corrections expenditures increased from $18 billion to $81 billion, an increase of 350 percent.”

Ronald Reagan tried to talk Americans out of the idea that the path to salvation started with a much bigger government.

Reagan targeted the Office of Economic Opportunity. “Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add $ 1 billion to the $ 45 billion we’re spending . . . do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic?” Reagan also assailed the new camps being built for young workers. Room and board for each young person cost $ 4,700. Harvard tuition at $ 2,700 was less than that. Reagan took his jab at the college, and at Johnson’s misty affection for a humanities education: “I’m not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.” … America, Reagan said, was at a key moment—the country must choose whether it was a collectivist nation or a free one. The title of Reagan’s speech was “A Time for Choosing.” In early November the nation chose. It elected Johnson with an overwhelming majority.

We had faith then and have faith now!

To be continued…

More: Read Great Society: A New History

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Victimhood Certification Industry

Here’s a form recently received as part of getting set up to be paid by a private corporation.

Some highlights…

We embrace the minority, women, small business and LGBT businesses we partner with in the mutual goal of delivering superior quality and service to our customers while assuring future growth for both parties. We are required by a number of our customers to report our Diversity spend dollars.

The next page:

This is the part that caught my eye.

Suppliers must submit current and renewal MBE/WBE/LGBT/DOBE certificates

The victimhood certification enterprises must be engaged regularly (annually?) to renew victimhood certificates. This is an annuity!

Separately, I wonder how the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) determines that a business owner or shareholder is truly LGBTQIA+ and how their process is superior to self-certification as LGBTQIA+. Will there be a Barbra Streisand (2016: “I’ll move to Australia or Canada if Trump is president”) quiz for the would-be LGBTQIA+ person, as in the movie In & Out?

Peter: What was Barbra Streisand’s eighth album?

Howard: Color Me Barbra.

Peter: Stud!

Howard: Everybody knows that!

Peter: Everybody where? The little gay bar on the prairie?

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What will rural American taxpayers get in return for spending on infrastructure?

In my view, the biggest financial implication of the Biden/Harris victory is the transfer of funds from rural Americans to urban Americans. Big Government spends nearly all of its money in cities so a bigger government accelerates the process of looting from rural Americans to enrich those who live in cities, e.g., with free public housing, improved transportation systems, fancier hospitals, etc.

“Over budget and behind schedule: Why the Bay Area can’t get big transportation projects right” (San Jose Mercury News, June 27, 2021) has some interesting data:

In 1998, Caltrans estimated that a new eastern span of the Bay Bridge would cost $1.4 billion and take four years to build. The actual cost was $6.4 billion; plagued by design controversies, brittle steel rods and more, the project lasted 11 years.

The Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco cost nearly twice as much as its initial budget and opened two years behind schedule — then had to close for another nine months to repair cracked steel beams that were not built to code.

Construction has not yet begun on the project extending BART service through downtown San Jose, but its price tag has risen twice over the last three years, to $6.9 billion, while its projected opening date has slipped by three to four years.

Now, with lawmakers in Washington announcing a deal for a huge increase in federal infrastructure spending, and officials in the Bay Area eyeing the next big round of “mega-projects” — including a second transbay BART tube, the extension of Caltrain service into downtown San Francisco and a long list of other plans that by one estimate could total $100 billion — there is mounting pressure to get our act together.

The high cost of transportation projects is not unique to the Bay Area. It’s a nationwide problem, with the United States frequently spending far more per mile of new subway construction, for instance, than other countries around the world.

Take the six-mile, four-station South Bay BART extension, for instance. The design for its 4.7-mile tunnel beneath downtown San Jose is based on a construction method pioneered in Barcelona that was meant to lower costs and minimize disruptions at street level during construction.

The Spanish project cost less than $250 million per mile, according to SPUR. The BART extension is set to cost well over $1 billion per mile.

The rest of the article isn’t so interesting. After decades of failure, it is obvious that Americans can reorganize government so that we will do everything efficiently going forward. (If it is that easy, why not reorganize ourselves to be able to build integrated circuits with competitive quality and price compared to what the Taiwanese are able to do? Then we wouldn’t have a chip shortage shutting down our car factories.)

I find it fascinating that so many Americans are still so enthusiastic about infrastructure spending when building infrastructure is one of the things that we are worst at. Even when urban dwellers can stick rural Americans with the bill, one would think that they’d prefer instead to loot out the rural Americans in some other way that would deliver greater benefits to city residents.

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The one actual Black guy talks to the white diversity say-gooders

A friend is the One Black Guy at a Maskachusetts tech company. The white say-gooders in management describe their heartfelt yearning for more diversity at the company. Business is great now that so many non-online things have been rendered illegal by state governors. Thus, it is time to hire some entry-level programmers. Management described plans to recruit from elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. One Black Guy: “If we’re serious about making this company more diverse, why not hire someone from Bunker Hill [Community College] who might turn out to be great? It’s only an entry-level job and we can’t know whether someone from Harvard is actually going to do well.” This suggestion turned out not to be helpful…

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Has anyone tried a book scanning service for Kondoization or pre-move preparation?

We have a lot of books that aren’t quite important enough to pack and move from Maskachusetts to the Florida Free State, but that don’t seem ready for the dumpster. For example, some rarely used dessert cookbooks (they were great when I was a 16-year-old and could eat 6,000 calories per day! Note that Maida Heatter lived to 102, dying shortly before coronapanic.) Also, the textbooks that I was using at the same time as these dessert cookbooks. What if one day I want to look at an intro calculus text that doesn’t approach integration from a social justice point of view nor remind the reader that Taylor series were developed by a woman (if Brook Taylor identified as a “man”, why did he/she/ze/they call him/her/zir/them-self “Brook”?)?

Paging through these tomes with Adobe Scan on one’s phone would be tedious indeed. There are, however, some companies that specialize in inexpensive scanning of books. In a process that should delight Marie Kondo, the physical book is destroyed in the process (Kondo doesn’t have anything to say on the subject of digital clutter). The binding is cut so that the freed pages can be automatically fed into a scanner. 1dollarscan.com seems impossibly cheap. At 300 DPI, they say that they charge $1 for every 100 pages and the price triplesfor 600 DPI. OCR is an extra $1/100 pages. As is changing the PDF file name(!). So a 400-page cookbook at 300 DPI could be only $4 (OCR it yourself if you’re an Acrobat Pro subscriber; open it up and then change the filename).

USPS has pretty low rates for shipping books (“Media Mail”). I’m wondering if it would make sense to send 50 percent of our library to the dumpster, 30 percent to a destructive book scanning service, and 20 percent to the Florida Free State where the books can serve as a background to people staring at phones.

Readers: Has anyone tried 1DollarScan or a competitor?

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