A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Math Is Hard

Teresa Ghilarducci, at the New School for Social Research, describes a trip to North Carolina, which left a colleague "shell shocked." The colleague asked: "How can it be legal to have so much poverty in such a wealthy state?"

Aside from the intriguing notion of ending  poverty by simply passing a law making it illegal -- what an idea!  We could do the same with gun violence -- there is the following observation. 
According to Kids Count, New Hampshire has the lowest rate of child poverty, at 11 percent. Ranked worst is Mississippi, where a third of children are poor. But Mississippi is poor over all; it has the lowest median income in the nation. And New Hampshire is rich; its median income is the third highest. I get that. So the child poverty numbers may say more about income than about the management of the state budgets.
But let's look at North Carolina. It is the 39th richest state, and yet it ranks 12th for the percentage of children living in poverty--only 11 states fare worse.

There are fifty states.  The 39th richest state is the same as the 12th poorest state.  And NC ranks 12th in the percentage of The Children™ living in poverty. 
h/t WSJ Best of the Web


  1. Mr. Flynn,

    This post really isn't the place for my comment, but I figure you won't mind since I come with effusive praise for your work! I've been following your blog and your comments over at Feser's place (and in a couple of other places where you pop up to defend traditional Catholic/Christian morality and theology) and last year I finally took the plunge at my local Barnes and Noble and bought Eifelheim. I could barely put it down -- one of the best books (much less science fiction books) I had read all year (although it was kind of ironic that I wasn't really a big fan of the scenes set in modern times as I understand your original short-story was based only on those scenes -- I was much more interested in what was going on in that medieval German village!)

    Anyway, since I loved it so much I decided I needed to read something else by you and since my local Barnes and Noble didn't have The January Dancer I bought Up Jim River. I like it very much (and find it hard to put down) but I also find myself wondering if my reading comprehension is harder on me because I didn't read the first "Spiral Arm" book. Do you explain the universe in that book a little better? I'm picking up on what I need to know, but there is also a lot of background I wish I knew. I guess I'll have to break down and order The January Dancer from Amazon -- normally I'm an old-fashioned guy who likes to hold the book in my hands before I buy it :-)

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I've become a big fan and I can picture Up Jim River as an epic film series or big budget TV show. It is that good. Keep up the good work.

    1. I'm flattered. The January Dancer explains a bit more about the high speed tunnel system and certain characters introduced there do star turns in Up Jim River, but it is not absolutely necessary for the subsequent books. The very opening scene in UJR comes off of a situation in TJD.

      We can only hope some big time producer can picture that epic film, too.

  2. To be fair to Ghilarducci's readership, a number of them did note that in the subsequent discussion.

  3. I am reminded of the following timeless Dilbert classic:


Whoa, What's This?

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