DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Female Concealed Carry Up 793 Percent in El Paso County, Colorado

22nd November 2014

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Women are finally realizing that being armed is the great equalizer.

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Here’s Why Women in Combat Units is a Bad Idea

21st November 2014

Anna Simons, Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, lays it on the line.

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Quote of the Day

20th November 2014

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An IDE, or “Integrated Development Environment” will turn you stupid. They are the worst tools if you want to be a good programmer because they hide what’s going on from you, and your job is to know what’s going on.

Hear, hear.

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Yet Another Study Shows US Satire Programs Do a Better Job Informing Viewers Than Actual News Outlets

20th November 2014

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By now it’s sadly clear that the nation’s satirical news programs do a significantly better job at reporting the news than most of the nation’s actual news outlets, despite a fraction of the budget and experience. John Oliver’s recent analysis of Miss America scholarship claims, for example, contained more original reporting in a fifteen minute segment than most Apple regurgitation blogs manage to stumble through in an entire year’s worth of gadget lust. Not only are satirists now doing a better job unearthing the truth, they’re doing a better job explaining complex issues.

Not really much of a surprise.

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How the Fed Got Huge

20th November 2014

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Before he became chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke agreed with the free market economist Milton Friedman that central bank policy played a key role in making the Great Depression the most severe in U.S. history. But the two parted ways on the reason why. And that disagreement goes a long way toward explaining why the financial crisis of 2007-2009 has brought not just a dramatic increase in the powers and activities of the Federal Reserve but a fundamental transformation of its role within the economy.

Friedman viewed banking panics as monetary shocks, in which the checking accounts and other deposits at failing banks wink out of existence, causing a sudden fall in the total money supply. In contrast, Bernanke treats panics as shocks to the flow of savings, causing the failure of firms whose continued existence is crucial for the allocation of credit. Such disparate diagnoses dictate significantly different cures.

If the danger from bank panics is primarily a collapse of the money supply, then the proper response is a general injection of money by the central bank. The survival of particular financial institutions is of secondary significance. On the other hand, if the danger comes from key financial institutions failing and choking off credit, then the proper response is bailing them out.

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How Much Would (Did) It Cost to Build the Death Star?

20th November 2014

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Slow news day.

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Boehner’s Office Lists 22 Times Obama Argued Against Executive Amnesty

20th November 2014

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But that was yesterday … and yesterday’s gone….

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When I Think Back on All The Stuff I Learned in School

19th November 2014

Sarah Hoyt understands the dialectic.

I know that schools purport to teach you the skills to survive in the modern world. They actually teach you the schools to survive in the nineteenth century. But here what they don’t teach you that gets passed on and that I’ve run into trouble with (as have other people) in self directed professions:

  • You have more in common with people your age than with anyone else. People born within nine months of you have everything in common with you. This has got us to think in generations, which is stupid. To the extent boomers are as portrayed and to the extent that some of them discriminate against past and future generations, it’s the idea that there’s some magical bond between people within x years or each other. (This is mostly seen among leftists who view people as widgets, anyway.) Do I need to tell you there isn’t? The internet should prove that. And yet it was a shock to me to find that most of my friends are either ten years older or ten to twenty years younger than I. I find myself thinking “What is wrong with me?” Of course, nothing is. I’m just not complying with the educational-industrial complex version of it.

  • Performing to set task. I’m actually very bad at it. I think it’s a version of standing up to recite for the teacher. When I’m under contract my mind freezes. Back when there was no indie I could force myself to sort of perform, but it wasn’t my best work. Now… let’s say when these two books are delivered, I hope Toni will let me go on a loose rein. I will still deliver books to Baen, probably twice a year. But if she doesn’t want them, I can bring them out myself, and that allows me to work “loose”

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The Most Republican and Democratic Names, in Charts

18th November 2014

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Just in case you were w0ndering. I know I was.

I think we can safely say that Antwoin and DeShawn  and Le[whatever]a are Democrat names.

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Thought for the Day

18th November 2014

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Marc Andreeson Interview

18th November 2014

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Shall we? Let’s launch right into it. I think the critique that Silicon Valley companies are deliberately, systematically discriminatory is incorrect, and there are two reasons to believe that that’s the case. No. 1, these companies are like the United Nations internally. All the diversity studies say that the engineering population is like 70 percent white and Asian. Let’s dig into that for a second. First, apparently Asian doesn’t count as diverse. And then “white”: When you actually go in these companies, what you find is it’s American people, but it’s also Russians, and Eastern Europeans, and French, and German, and British. And then there are the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Indonesians, and Vietnamese. All these different countries, all these different cultures. To believe in a systematic pattern of discrimination, you’d have to believe that we’re discriminatory toward certain people without being discriminatory at all toward an extremely broad range of ethnicities and religions. Because of Pakistanis, we’re seeing a higher-than-ever proportion of Muslim employees in a lot of our companies.

No. 2, our companies are desperate for talent. Desperate. Our companies are dying for talent. They’re like lying on the beach gasping because they can’t get enough talented people in for these jobs. The motivation to go find talent wherever it is is unbelievably high.

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‘I feel your pain’

18th November 2014

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Compassion is the liberal’s answer to the question of the best life and the best society. Compassion is the last pillar on which liberals can build a political community, because it doesn’t require any shared notions or beliefs: “They rely on what they take to be our natural empathy to forge a togetherness. This dispensation doesn’t depend on any grand theory, and liberals reject both premodern and totalitarian versions of philosophical unity. They notionally reject certainty itself,” though do so with an alarmingly high degree of certitude.

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Study: 57% of NHL Free Agents Went to Teams with Lower Taxes

17th November 2014

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They’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they’re not spoons, either.

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This University Teaches You No Skills—Just a New Way to Think

17th November 2014

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Ben Nelson says the primary purpose of a university isn’t to prepare students for a career. It’s to prepare them for life. And he now has $70 million to prove his point.

Nelson is the founder and CEO of a new experiment in higher education called Minerva Project. He says when it comes to learning, job training is the easy part. With the emergence of online courses, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to acquire the hard skills you need to land a job. “Why would you spend a quarter of a million dollars and four years to learn to code in Python?” he says. “If that’s the role of universities, you’d have to be insane to go to universities.”

Uh, Ben? If you’ve got a job opening and the choice is between somebody who can code in Python and somebody with a Yale degree who can code in Python, which one is going to get hired? This conceit of ‘college is there to teach you how to think’ is obvious BS to anybody who has been to college — including Yale.

The places that really do teach you how to think are law schools — where, ironically, they’re supposed to be teaching you the legal equivalent of coding in Python, but typically don’t. Go figure.

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Things You Didn’t Know About Pepsi

17th November 2014

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Think all cola is the same? Think again. Throughout the twentieth century, soda consumers around the world have formed fierce loyalties in the so-called Cola Wars. Pepsi’s sales may come in second to those of Coca-Cola, its largest competitor, but Pepsi’s notably sweeter, more citrus-y taste continues to dominate in blind taste tests, including our own at The Daily Meal.

Damned straight.

Soda experts say that Pepsi is sweeter, and more lemon-flavored, than its competitors’ cola.

Unlike Coke, which tastes like something one would use to take rust off of lawn furniture. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that….)

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The Progressives’ War on Suburbia

17th November 2014

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You are a political party, and you want to secure the electoral majority. But what happens, as is occurring to the Democrats, when the damned electorate that just won’t live the way—in dense cities and apartments—that  you have deemed is best for them?

This gap between party ideology and demographic reality has led to a disconnect that not only devastated the Democrats this year, but could hurt them in the decades to come. University of Washington demographer Richard Morrill notes that the vast majority of the 153 million Americans who live in  metropolitan areas with populations of more than 500,000  live in the lower-density suburban places Democrats think they should not. Only 60 million live in core cities.

As will become even more obvious in the lame duck years, the political obsessions of the Obama Democrats largely mirror those of the cities: climate change, gay marriage, feminism, amnesty for the undocumented, and racial redress. These may sometimes be worthy causes, but they don’t address basic issues that effect suburbanites, such as stagnant middle class wages, poor roads, high housing prices, or underperforming schools. None of these concerns elicit much passion among the party’s true believers.

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YourLanguageSucks

16th November 2014

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Chapter and verse on why your favorite programming language stinks on ice.

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What Is a Social Justice Warrior (SJW)?

16th November 2014

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Social justice warriors believe in an extreme left-wing ideology that combines feminism, progressivism, and political correctness into a totalitarian system that attempts to censor speech and promote fringe lifestyles while actively discriminating against men, particularly white men. They are the internet activist arm of Western progressivism that acts as a vigilante group to ensure compliance and homogeny of far left thought.

The true definition of SJW is up for debate, but most generally it has become a catch-all term that describes feminists and liberals who actively try to solve the perceived social injustices of modern society by organizing in online communities to disseminate propaganda, censor speech, and punish individuals by getting them terminated from their employment. They have also been successful at positioning themselves in the upper echelons of universities, media organizations, and tech companies.

 

 

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The Future of the Book

16th November 2014

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An excellent essay in The Economist, which does a lot of that.

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Right and Left Joined Forces in Fight to Legalize Home Schooling

16th November 2014

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Farris and his wife — a certified teacher who he says “had to unlearn all the stuff she’d been taught” in order to educate their kids — are two pioneers of the home-schooling movement as we know it today. Farris fought many of the most prominent home-school battles through the 1980s, when it was illegal to home-school children in many states; he founded the Christian Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983, and his family became a model for home schoolers across the U.S.

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The Masterful Marketing of the Heimlich Maneuver

16th November 2014

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Sometimes there’s no ‘science’ behind things that actually just work.

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Meet Your New Boss, Mr. Algorithm

16th November 2014

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We all know the story about algorithms and work the past few years. Service jobs across the country are increasingly being managed with the help of mathematical models of customer demand, revolutionizing everything from taxi driving to food delivery, home cleaning, and laundromats. I have argued that the increased autonomy and flexibility of these jobs means that algorithms are taking over unions as the primary driver of workers’ rights in the 21st century.

But now, startups are starting to move up the corporate ladder, using algorithms to improve and disrupt professions that up until recently have seemed almost completely insulated from the efficiencies of computation.

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On the Origin of Celebrity

16th November 2014

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For all primates, no matter how rich the ecosystem, resources are finite and competition can be fierce. Numerous primate species have evolved dominance hierarchies, which ritualize unequal resource distribution. Take savanna baboons, a species I have studied in Africa for 30 years. They live in groups of dozens of animals, and the most defining fact of life for a baboon is his or her rank in a sex-specific dominance hierarchy. Social status is always on a baboon’s mind. Even when going about their daily business, baboons are frequently glancing at dominant individuals.

Why is rank so important to a baboon? For one thing, a stable dominance system is a huge social convenience—it insures bloody teeth and claws don’t reign each time a potential conflict arises. Instead, everyone knows his or her place, and if, say, something to eat is discovered, a dominant individual typically needs to do nothing more than glare at a subordinate to get the prize. The dominance ranking system also influences who a baboon mates with, whose genes are going to be passed on in their offspring. It greatly influences who a baboon will form a coalitional partnership with. After all, who’d you want to have your back in a fight—the schlub of a low-ranking baboon snoozing by the bushes, or the alpha male who’s been on the cover of Baboon magazine?

This is the reality that ‘progressives’ deny.

We literally view those with high status as bigger than life. A 2009 study led by Georgetown psychology professor Abigail A. Marsh shows that people who express dominance are perceived as being taller than they are. And we overgeneralize the expertise of the famous. Actors who play doctors get asked for medical advice. Dennis Rodman discusses Korean geopolitics, Tom Cruise spouts Scientology drivel about the sins of psychiatry, and Jenny McCarthy, whose fame comes more from her Playboy appearances than from her epidemiology training, convinces people to not vaccinate their babies because of pseudoscience about autism. People have probably died because of that.

The abiding defect of modern times.

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Thinking About Soylent: Are We Really That Interested in Saving Time?

16th November 2014

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More than money, Soylent saves time. It’s not just preparing, cooking and eating food that you can cut out of your life. You don’t have to shop for food or wait to be served in restaurants. Some of those who’ve experimented with the meal-free lifestyle say it saves them at least an hour every day, effectively adding another day to the week. If like many people you feel you’re always harassed and busy, this must seem an enormous benefit. Yet it’s far from clear that free time is what consumers of Soylent truly want.

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The Suffrage of the Insufferable

16th November 2014

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One of the arguments of my friend’s book is that idolatry of elective democracy as the political and ethical summum bonum inevitably leads to an absence of any sense of limitation in the political class. As he points out, the founding fathers of the American republic were decidedly not democrats, and indeed feared democracy as an inevitable gravedigger of freedom; but We the people (meaning the few of us here assembled) did not find a formula for limiting the power of We the people, because no such formula exists. As the doctor in Macbeth says, “Therein the patient/ Must minister to himself”: in other words, if a man has no inner sense of limitation, no mere constitution is going to restrain him.

Modern politicians, having been given the mandate of heaven (vox populi vox Dei), do not accept limitations of their authority or their moral competence, even if, in practice, only a third or even a quarter of the eligible voters have voted for them. Procedural correctness is all that is necessary for such a man to feel justified in pursuing his own moral enthusiasms at other people’s expense.

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The Great Immigration Betrayal

16th November 2014

Ross Douthat turns over a rock.

First, we now have a clear sense of the legal arguments that will be used to justify the kind of move Obama himself previously described as a betrayal of our political order. They are, as expected, lawyerly in the worst sense, persuasive only if abstracted from any sense of precedent or proportion or political normality.

Second, we now have a clearer sense of just how anti-democratically this president may be willing to proceed.

Ross Douthat got a gig writing at the New York Times, presumably because nobody bought the idea anymore that David Brooks is really a conservative.

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Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible—Move to Des Moines

15th November 2014

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Anything to get you away from the coasts, where all you do is elect Democrats and cause trouble.

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GamerGate: How the Media Gave Away America

14th November 2014

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After Tuesday, I don’t know that I can call myself a liberal anymore.

It’s not that I don’t want to call myself a liberal. After all, as I understand liberal ideals, I still believe in most of them, if not all of them.  No, I guess I’m not a liberal anymore because Bustle, The Verge, Salon, Polygon, Kotaku, Gamasutra, The Mary Sue, The NY Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and others spent the last 2 months telling me I’m no longer wanted as an unashamed, voting liberal.  They did this based on my primary hobby and the Y chromosome I was born with.  They did this after some of them told me I was dead or needed to die for the crime of holding my primary hobby as a part of my identity.  They did this because some people I don’t know made threats against people I’d never heard of before; subsequently, I was told I needed to die because of my Y chromosome and my hobby.

One of the clichés of politics is that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. Here we see that notion made flesh and dwelling amongst us.

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Table Settings at the Cannibal Feast

14th November 2014

Sara Hoyt reminds us of certain Eternal Truths.

Revolutions like the US, which changed governance but didn’t presume to change the way people worked, in their minds and hearts, don’t turn into cannibal feasts. OTOH revolutions like the French, where people descended/aspired to changing the names of the weekdays and the months, in order to construct a completely different humanity, inevitably end up in a pile of blood-soaked corpses.

But the SJWs believe it does. They believe someone who is born with more victim cards, even if the person was in fact born very wealthy and never experienced a day’s hardship, immediately can judge them and tell them when they’re exhibiting “privilege” which is a taint that attaches to other seemingly arbitrary characteristics, no matter how poor or downtrodden people born with them are.

“SJW” means “Social Justice Warrior” and you know who they are.

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10 Black Things Liberals Just Don’t Understand

14th November 2014

Gavin McInnes responds to the New York Times.

Liberals love blacks but they love them like a fantasy football team, not like human beings. Black poverty is the crux of the leftist argument. The ethos goes: if you’re a Democrat, you want to help the impoverished African-Americans. If you’re a Republican, you want them to be attacked by German shepherds. As far as actual black culture goes, liberals are disappointed that they aren’t all wearing corduroy blazers with elbow patches and listening to NPR.

Nicholas Kristof, eat your heart out.

One of the reasons white, middle-class liberals are so out of touch when it comes to their favorite race is they don’t go near them. They don’t send their kids to remotely urban schools and they make sure their homes are as far away from the loveable Negro as possible. Sure, they have a black friend, but it’s a mulatto girl who grew up white and champions her black power beliefs because her white friends enjoy it. Liberals’ black friends don’t really have black friends themselves because they’re freaks. In black America, watching Doctor Who is like being Doctor Who.

Playing golf with Obama is about as close as they’re willing to stretch.

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Grimm Brothers’ Fairytales Have Blood and Horror Restored in New Translation

13th November 2014

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Or you could watch “Grimm” on ABC.

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Is This the Political Map of the Future?

13th November 2014

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It looks almost entirely red, except for some pinpoints of blue in major metropolitan areas and a few blue blotches here and there — in Minnesota, northern New Mexico and Arizona, western New England, along the Pacific Coast.

But it does tell us something about the geographic and cultural isolation of the core groups of the Democratic Party: gentry liberals and blacks.

The Overclass and the Underclass, two essential components of the Crust.

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How to Distort Income Inequality

13th November 2014

Phil Gramm and Michael Solon, Real Economists, point out that the poor aren’t actually all that poor after all.

What the hockey-stick portrayal of global temperatures did in bringing a sense of crisis to the issue of global warming is now being replicated in the controversy over income inequality, thanks to a now-famous study by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, professors of economics at the Paris School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. Whether the issue is climate change or income inequality, however, problems with the underlying data significantly distort the debate.

And now, thanks to a new study in the Southern Economic Journal, we know what the picture looks like when the missing data are filled in. Economists Philip Armour and Richard V. Burkhauser of Cornell University and Jeff Larrimore of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation expanded the Piketty-Saez income measure using census data to account for all public and private in-kind benefits, taxes, Social Security payments and household size.

The result is dramatic. The bottom quintile of Americans experienced a 31% increase in income from 1979 to 2007 instead of a 33% decline that is found using a Piketty-Saez market-income measure alone. The income of the second quintile, often referred to as the working class, rose by 32%, not 0.7%. The income of the middle quintile, America’s middle class, increased by 37%, not 2.2%.

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The Mathematician Who Proved Why Hipsters All Look Alike

13th November 2014

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Jonathan Touboul is a mathematician and a neuroscientist. He holds a PhD in math from France’s prestigious École Polytechnique, where he won a prize for his thesis on how to simulate neurons in the brain. He publishes papers with titles like “Pulsatile localized dynamics in delayed neural-field equations in arbitrary dimension” and “The propagation of chaos in neural fields.”

Recently, though, Touboul has been thinking about hipsters. Specifically, why hipsters all seem to dress alike. In his line of work, there are neurons that also behave like hipsters. They fire when every neuron around them is quiet; or they fall silent when every neuron around them is chattering.

Because he is a mathematician, Touboul began to look for a way to explore this idea using equations. In other words, he constructed a mathematical model. His key insight is that people (and neurons) do not instantly perceive what is mainstream. There’s a delay. And in situations where the delay is large enough, the contrarians can inadvertently synchronize with each other.

“In wanting to oppose the trends, there actually emerges some sort of hipster loop,” Touboul said.

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U. Michigan Students Pledge to “Shut the Campus Down” if Minority Enrollment Doesn’t Increase

13th November 2014

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Considering what they’re apparently be taught, shutting the University down sounds like a win for the students, their parents, and the taxpayers of Michigan.

Oh, and minorities, too.

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Father Asks Obama to Use Executive Order to Bring Son Slain by Illegal Alien Back to Life

13th November 2014

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After all, he is the Magic Negro, n’est pas?

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A Tragedy of Manners

12th November 2014

Sarah Hoyt reflects.

I came to understand, particularly through changing cultures, that manners are more than a senseless form.  They are things people do to let each other know that they belong – that they are part of the group.

Humans are a social animal.  Little meaningless rituals are built in to us, as a way of saying “I belong in the nest, don’t throw me out.”  Also, while manners are slightly different in each country (for instance, I think Americans would think I was out of my raving mind if I asked “Do I have permission to enter this room” – except in SFF, where they’d probably stake me through the heart.  While Portuguese would find it bizarre for a shop attendant to thank them for buying something.) they are also not entirely meaningless.  They are things that get automated, at a trained-in level, so you don’t have to think about it and don’t unwittingly offend someone.  I could be dead tired, for instance, or in the hospital, but if someone does some minor favor for me, I’m going to say “Thank you” out of automated reflex.  And that thank you lets the other person – no matter how tired or dead on their feet THEY are – know their action was seen and appreciated.

As Heinlein put it, it makes things run smoother.  In the same way, I might not be aware of the shopper coming out of the store behind me, both arms loaded with parcels.  But I am aware someone is behind me, and at this point it is a reflex to hold the door open so they pass.  When I’m the one on the receiving end of this kindness, that manners-reflex is much appreciated.

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Building Mood, molecule by Molecule

11th November 2014

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I arrived at the National Institute for Research in Agronomy in Paris at nine o’clock in the morning. Founded in the 19th century to study the chemistry of fertilisers for agriculture, it occupies a handsome yellow brick edifice in the quiet environs of the fifth arrondissement, not far from the Botanical Gardens of the Jardin des Plantes with its venerable museums of natural history, paleontology, entomology, minerals and evolution. I was there to meet Hervé This, the scientist who has been at the forefront of the new scientific discipline of molecular gastronomy that has changed the way chefs cook—turning mousses into gels and foams, determining the precise temperatures that denature meat proteins, understanding the complexities of the perception of taste itself. Now he is pushing the very idea of what food is to a new frontier. Having deconstructed cooking into chemical and physical principles, he wants to reconstruct flavour itself. He had finished his morning meeting with his PhD students and was attending to emails.

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Thought for the Day

11th November 2014

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Shut Up and Eat

10th November 2014

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Once upon a time, food was about where you came from. Now, for many of us, it is about where we want to go—about who we want to be, how we choose to live. Food has always been expressive of identity, but today those identities are more flexible and fluid; they change over time, and respond to different pressures. Some aspects of this are ridiculous: the pickle craze, the báhn-mì boom, the ramps revolution, compulsory kale. Is northern Thai still hot? Has offal gone away yet? Is Copenhagen over? The intersection of food and fashion is silly, just as the intersection of fashion and anything else is silly. Underlying it, however, is that sense of food as an expression of an identity that’s defined, in some crucial sense, by conscious choice. For most people throughout history, that wasn’t true. The apparent silliness and superficiality of food fashions and trends touches on something deep: our ability to choose who we want to be.

Not so long ago, food was food. (I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with people in the industry, debating some point backward and forward, that end with someone shrugging and saying, “It’s just food.”) That’s not true anymore. Food is now politics and ethics as much as it is sustenance. People feel pressure to shop and eat responsibly, healthfully, sustainably. At least, that’s the impression you get from what’s written and said about food culture—that it’s a form of surrogate politics. To some, it’s not even surrogate politics; it’s the real deal, politics at its most urgent and consequential. Alice Waters presents the case beautifully: “Eating is a political act, but in the way the ancient Greeks used the word ‘political’—not just to mean having to do with voting in an election, but to mean ‘of, or pertaining to, all our interactions with other people’—from the family to the school, to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world. Every single choice we make about food matters, at every level. The right choice saves the world.”

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Bad Book Week

10th November 2014

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For those of you who don’t have a librarian or professional activist in your life, Banned Book Week (a combination of words which allows for no tasteful acronym) is an annual program sponsored by the American Library Association that “celebrates the freedom to read” by discussing attempts to “censor or ban books.”  To be fair, this organization and many of the bloggers and journalists who write about the occasion do from time to time discuss historical examples of actual censorship. However, their main focus is on more recent events, primarily examples of people challenging a book’s presence on a library’s shelf or on their child’s school reading list. You see, this too is censorship and a threat to our freedom, according to the ALA.

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Poppies Everywhere

10th November 2014

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Remembrance Day has been observed in the United Kingdom, and throughout the Commonwealth, since 1919. It was originally intended to honor those killed in the Great War, and has since been expanded to recognize British and other Commonwealth soldiers who have died in subsequent conflicts. Armistice Day is November 11, but in England, the main observance takes place on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to November 11.

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Chill of An Early Winter

10th November 2014

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Of course, the average voter has no idea what temperatures were in central England in the early 18th century. Apart from the science, there is another reason why global warming alarmism has flopped: the weather hasn’t cooperated. Back in the 1970s, when temperatures were falling, the left-wing climate alarmists told us that another Ice Age was coming. Their claims seemed plausible because most Americans felt the cold. When alarmists switched to global warming, because temperatures happened to rise a bit starting in the 1980s, their claims similarly seemed plausible. But current claims of catastrophic warming are belied by common experience.

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Broken Sleep

9th November 2014

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Sleep patterns of the past might surprise us today. While we might think that our circadian rhythm should wake us only as the sun rises, many animals and insects do not sleep in one uninterrupted block but in chunks of several hours at a time or in two distinct segments. Ekirch believes that humans, left to sleep naturally, would not sleep in a consolidated block either.

His arguments are based on 16 years of research during which he studied hundreds of historical documents from ancient to modern times, including diaries, court records, medical books and literature. He identified countless references to ‘first’ and ‘second’ sleeps in English. Other languages also describe this pattern, for example, premier sommeil in French, primo sonno in Italian and primo somno in Latin. It was the ordinariness of the allusions to segmented sleeping that led Ekirch to conclude this pattern was once common, an everyday cycle of sleeping and waking.

Before electric lighting, night was associated with crime and fear – people stayed inside and went early to bed. The time of their first sleep varied with season and social class, but usually commenced a couple of hours after dusk and lasted for three or four hours until, in the middle of the night, people naturally woke up. Prior to electric lighting, wealthier households often had other forms of artificial light – for instance, gas lamps – and in turn went to bed later. Interestingly, Ekirch found less reference to segmented sleep in personal papers from such households.

I have seen this mentioned in studies of monastic life, which leads me to believe that getting up at oh-dark-thirty to sing Matins wasn’t the chore I had assumed it to be.

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Domino’s Becomes a Tech Company That Happens to Make Pizza

9th November 2014

Read it.

In recent years, the company has gotten noticeably good at something that wasn’t always its focus — developing technology products to get pizzas to people more easily.

Yeah, well, it’s still Domino’s pizza….

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Ohio Bowling Alley Worker Crushed to Death in Pin-Setting Machine

9th November 2014

Read it.

There’s a country song just waiting to be written.

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Thought for the Day

8th November 2014

Vote Democrat 2 copy

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Thought for the Day

6th November 2014

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Politics: The Theater of the Absurd

5th November 2014

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, explains it all to you.

The typical voter devotes more time to learning how to program his TV’s remote control than how to assess how each candidate’s likely actions while in office will affect society. Voters’ inattentiveness to the substance of public-policy questions is rational: If public policies will be whatever they will be regardless of how, or even if, you vote, why spend your valuable time learning the details of public-policy issues? Better that you spend that time learning about matters that you can individually control.

Most voters are therefore rationally uninterested in the substantive details of public policies. So, voters instead pay attention only to the most superficial aspects of political questions. And politicians — whose expertise is in campaigning and winning elections — cater to this disinterest by serving up only brainless campaign ads.

Can’t say he’s wrong.

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Tape Measure Falls 50 Stories, Killing Man at Construction Site

5th November 2014

Read it.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

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