Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bin travelin'

Sorry for not posting, but I've been travelling a bit in the U.S. on business. As always, it's a pleasure to be here (Southern California), although the weather has not been very cooperative (cloudy and cool).

With a patchy net connection, I've indulged in watching local TV. All the advertising by lawyers never ceases to amaze me or any other foreigner for that matter. According to this article, it totals around 500 million a year, most of it spent on television. That's about 499 million more than lawyers spend in the rest of the world.

And speaking of being overlawyered, on a visit to a residential compound I asked an employee what kind of people lived there (I was thinking along the lines of singles/married couples with kids). With a straight face, he stated that he couldn't answer for legal reasons (apparently some sort of non-discrimination statute).

Yet, you can find very, very detailed data that breaks down enrollment by ethnic/racial group and their respective standarized test scores.

So, you can't ask about what neighbors you'll have (something you can easily find out just by hanging out a while), but you can precisely tell who your children will study with. That's weird and wonderful America for you.