DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Switzerland Is ‘World’s Happiest’ Country in New Poll

25th April 2015

Rezd it.

I don’t doubt it a bit.

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Quotation of the Day

24th April 2015

‘Democracy, alas, is also a form of theology, and shows all the immemorial stigmata. Confounded by uncomfortable facts, it invariably tries to dispose of them by appeals to the higher sentiments of the human heart. An anti-democrat is not merely mistaken; he is also wicked, and the more plausible he is the more wicked he becomes.’

— H. L. Mencken

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Why Your Brain Hates Slowpokes

24th April 2015

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Not hard to tell: Because they are IN THE WAY. ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.’ expresses a basic human truth.

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Finding the Natural in Natural Flavors

24th April 2015

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Unless you grow or hunt all your own food, chances are you’ve encountered natural flavors in things you eat. According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, “natural flavor” is now the fourth most common ingredient in food after salt, water, and sugar.

I once saw a package of cigarettes with the caption ‘All Natural Ingredients’, which amused me greatly.

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It’s Complicated. But Hopeful.

23rd April 2015

Megan McArdle shares some history.

My grandfather worked as a grocery boy until he was 26 years old. He married my grandmother on Thanksgiving because that was the only day he could get off. Their honeymoon consisted of a weekend visiting relatives , during which they shared their nuptial bed with their host’s toddler. They came home to a room in his parents’ house—for which they paid monthly rent. Every time I hear that marriage is collapsing because the economy is so bad, I think of their story.

By the standards of today, my grandparents were living in wrenching poverty. Some of this, of course, involves technologies that didn’t exist—as a young couple in the 1930s my grandparents had less access to health care than the most  neglected homeless person in modern America, simply because most of the treatments we now have had not yet been invented. That is not the whole story, however. Many of the things we now have already existed; my grandparents simply couldn’t afford them.  With some exceptions, such as microwave ovens and computers, most of the modern miracles that transformed 20th century domestic life already existed in some form by 1939. But they were out of the financial reach of most people.

If America today discovered a young couple where the husband had to drop out of high school to help his father clean tons of unsold, rotted produce out of their farm’s silos, and now worked a low-wage, low-skilled job, was living in a single room with no central heating and a single bathroom to share for two families, who had no refrigerator and scrubbed their clothes by hand in a washtub, who had serious conversations in low voices over whether they should replace or mend torn clothes, who had to share a single elderly vehicle or make the eight-mile walk to town  … that family would be the subject of a three-part Pulitzer prizewinning series on Poverty in America.

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Thought for the Day

23rd April 2015

Frazz

You can always learn stuff from the comics.

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Have You Ever Changed Your Mind?

23rd April 2015

Diana Wales, writing at Scott Adams’ blog. Read the whole thing.

Humans are stubborn creatures. For most people, once they pick a side, their decision making is over – forever.  Any evidence that might indicate that maybe there is a better option is ignored or derided, unless they perceive obvious and significant personal benefits for making a change. And even then they might hold fast. I used to live in Chicago, and I knew some Cubs fans that were more likely to change their gender than their allegiance to the Cubbies, despite a century of disappointment.

But once in a great while, we’re confronted with something that makes us change our perspective on even our most cherished beliefs. Sometimes it’s something subtle, like a person against medical marijuana use until they see granny’s chronic arthritis pain relieved when she blissfully scarfs down brownies. And sometimes it’s traumatic, like a dog owner that believes their dog’s breed is unjustly maligned, right up until it eats their face off.

In classical Christian theology, this is called metanoia, usually (and inadequately) translated as repentance, and it is the goal toward which true Christians continually strive. The best description I’ve come up for it is the old hippie phrase ‘Turn your head around.’

For me, my religious beliefs changed when it occurred to me that the choice of one’s religion is almost entirely determined by what you were exposed to by your parents and community growing up. People very rarely thoroughly research multiple religions before choosing one, so it’s basically up to the luck of your birth. And if there’s one “right” religion and the others are wrong, then that implies that God sends billions of babies’ souls to be born into families and communities that will doom them. And for that to be true, it seemed to me that God would have to be a dick.

And the reason for this is a lack of education. The fact that there are many religions, all claiming to be ‘true’, is no more an argument against the validity of religion than the fact that there are many geometries, each ‘claiming to be true’ (i.e. demonstrably self-consistent), constitutes an argument that there isn’t one that actually matches what happens in our world.

I don’t know how Muslims and Jews arrange these things, but just calling yourself a Christian isn’t enough to make you one. As the classic tale of the Jewish mother expresses it: ‘To you, you’re a pilot. Maybe even to me you’re a pilot. But to a pilot are you a pilot?’ Christianity isn’t just a religion; it’s a church, an ekklesia, an organized body with a founder, a founding date, an official structure, a hierarchy of authority, and a continuous existence from that day to this. One can no more legitimately be a real Christian merely by mouthing slogans and reading a book than one can legitimately be a real Marine or a real Boy Scout by wearing the uniform and reading the Manual — you have to belong to the official organization. Just saying ‘In my heart, I’m a Musketeer!’ is admirably but misses the gold ring.

This is where Diana’s mis-education leads her astray, thinking that if there is a ‘right’ religion, then anybody outside of that religion is ‘doomed’. You don’t have to be a Christian to be saved. Orthodox Christians have a great maxim about this: ‘We know where the Holy Spirit is. We do not know where the Holy Spirit is not.’

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A Five-Step Guide to Not Being Stupid

23rd April 2015

Read it.

Even the smartest people can be fools.

Ain’t that the truth.

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Happy Earth Day

22nd April 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be careful not to step in the diversity.

 

 

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News Flash: North Korea Wins Earth Day for Record 45th Year in a Row!

22nd April 2015

Read it.

The picture worth a thousand words.

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A Source of Humiliation

22nd April 2015

Antiplanner speaks for all right-thinking people.

So what’s so humiliating about Japan’s maglev? As an American, the humiliating thing is that there are other Americans who fall for the argument that because some other country is wasting a hundred billion dollars on a transportation system that goes half as fast as America’s planes, we should waste at least that much money here. That only goes to demonstrate the failure of America’s educational system to help people gain the analytical skills they need to avoid being taken by con artists.

Ponder the fact that a stupid person’s vote counts just the same as yours. Be thankful that things aren’t as bad as they could be.

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Quotation of the Day

21st April 2015

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist:

Examples of labor-saving technology that were created before the Industrial Revolution include the wheel, the lever, the pulley, the bucket, the barrel, the knife, the domesticated ox and horse, the fishing net, and moveable type.  Examples of such technology created after that revolution are even more numerous; they include the harnessing of electricity, the internal-combustion engine, the assembly line, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, refrigeration, and, of course, today’s many IT marvels.  Yet history knows no example of the introduction of labor-saving technology that caused permanent and widespread increases in involuntary human idleness.  And at least since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, all advances in such technology in market economies have been followed by improvements in the living standards of the masses – including (contrary to Ms. Tufekci’s suggestion) those advances introduced during the past few decades.

I certainly hope he’s right.

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Why Did Sweden, of All Places, Abolish Its Century-Old Inheritance Tax?

21st April 2015

Read it.

Perhaps they realized it was a really bad idea. That’s just a guess, of course.

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Help, help. I’m Being Microaggressed

21st April 2015

Sarah Hoyt ‘splains it all to you.

Since Hillary Clinton announced, the feminists of the United States have undoubtedly been getting set to be outraged at things. We’ll see dozens of new wars on women, but we’ll have to check the news routinely to find out what they are because women are so oppressed in the United States that it takes whole academic departments and quite a lot of grant money to find examples of it. I figure this may be a good time, then, to talk about one of my personal pet-peeve memes, the microaggression.

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Is This a Great Country, or What?

21st April 2015

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Speaking of consumption, any traveler along Interstate 40 or the old Route 66 knows about the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, which has the legendary contest where you get a 72-ounce steak for free if you can eat it (and all the sides dishes too) in under an hour.  A shockingly high number of people have accomplished this feat.  But none greater than the 120-lb California woman who last week succeeded in eating three of the Big Texan’s 72-ounce steaks—in 20 minutes.

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Five Answers Liberals Never Give Us

21st April 2015

Freeberg nails it once again. A slice:

The nonsensical complaint: A grievance, from or on behalf of some designated-oppressed-group, and something passive-voice. Women are “seen” in such-and-such a way, gay people are “seen” like this or black people are “seen” like that. Or, men and women are expected to be such-and-such a way by “society.”

Question that cannot be answered: If this complaint were restated in active-voice, what would be the subject? Who’s doing the seeing? Who’s doing this expecting?

Why we don’t get an answer: Because then the mission of reform would become finite rather than infinite. The subject would become an object. The mission of reform would also become testable, because the reform would have to do with changing the state of an object, and it would have to do with actually fixing a problem, like catching the shark in Jaws. And, it would be practical to ask bothersome questions like “Well, have you got it done yet, or don’t you?”

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And They All Think Just the Same

21st April 2015

Gates of Vienna is having a fundraiser. They’re good people; go give them some money.

Little Folkies

Little folkies on the hillside, little folkies made of ticky tacky
Little folkies, little folkies, little folkies, all the same
There’s a white one, and a white one, and a white one, and a white one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and they all think just the same.

All the people who are folkies all know how to say “diversity”
But they all think in boxes, little boxes, all the same.
And there’s artists, and there’s journalists and there’s teachers of social sciences
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and they all think just the same.

They believe the TV newscast and the newspaper editorials
But they never believe conservatives so they can’t be taken in.
Now they don’t all wear gray ponytails and they don’t all wear Birkenstocks
But they wear them on the inside in the boxes in their brains

And the houses look like summer camp and they all buy organically
And they don’t have any children, except okay, maybe one.
There’s a Green one and a Pink one, an old Red one and a Rainbow one,
But they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and they all think just the same.

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Fast Food Workers: You Don’t Deserve $15 an Hour to Flip Burgers, and That’s OK

21st April 2015

Read it.

Instead, I want to talk to those of you who actually consider yourselves entitled to close to a $29,000 a year full-time salary for doing a job that requires no skill, no expertise and no education; those who think a fry cook ought to earn an entry-level income similar to a dental assistant; those who insist the guy putting the lettuce on my Big Mac ought to make more than the emergency medical technician who saves lives for a living; those who believe you should automatically be able to “live comfortably,” as if “comfort” is a human right.

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Australia’s Answer to People Smugglers

20th April 2015

Watch it.

Gotta love Australians.

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“Europe’s Duty on Migrants”

20th April 2015

Steve Sailer has some ideas on the subject.

The population of the African continent in 2013 was 1,111,000,000, so one million migrants would be less than one out of a thousand. In other words, there are lots more where those came from. By the way, the UN forecasts that the population of Africa by the end of the century will be nearly four billion.

A simple reform would be to modernize the refugee application system to the 21st Century and run it solely over the Internet. You can apply from your local Internet cafe in your own country, and if you are Einstein, Solzhenitsyn, or Coetzee, you get in. If you aren’t, too bad, stay home. If you show up without your application being already approved, you get a year in a work camp and a one way ticket home.

This would stop the drownings quick.

The current refugee system is like if you showed up at Harvard in person and demanded they let you be a student, so they say, well, we’ll take a couple of semesters to process your application, so in the meantime here’s the Harvard course catalog!

Funny how Harvard doesn’t work that way.

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Thought for the Day

19th April 2015

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Gender Pay Gap Narrows When Fringe Benefits Are Included

19th April 2015

Read it.

If you look at men and women while controlling for these differences, and then include the fringe benefits their different jobs pay, you find that benefits lower the pay gap, not increase it. A moment’s thought explains why: women are more likely than men to work in the public or non-profit sectors and these sectors tend to pay more generous benefits, relative to salaries, than private sector positions.

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The Surprisingly Simple Way Utah Solved Chronic Homelessness and Saved Millions

19th April 2015

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Makes you wonder why the states run by Democrats never thought of it.

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Subway Station Toilets: A Surprisingly Accurate Indicator of Urban Civilisation

18th April 2015

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Forget personal freedom, it’s the toilets that are the important thing.

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Being Fat In Middle Age Reduces Risk Of Developing Dementia, Researchers Say

18th April 2015

Read it.

Got it covered.

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How Dogs Stole Our Hearts

18th April 2015

Read it.

If you think of your dog as your “fur baby,” science has your back. New research shows that when our canine pals stare into our eyes, they activate the same hormonal response that bonds us to human infants. The study—the first to show this hormonal bonding effect between humans and another species—may help explain how dogs became our companions thousands of years ago.

“It’s an incredible finding that suggests that dogs have hijacked the human bonding system,” says Brian Hare, an expert on canine cognition at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who was not involved in the work. Hare says the discovery might lead to a better understanding of why service dogs are so helpful for people with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. “A finding of this magnitude will need to be replicated because it potentially has such far-reaching implications.”

Dogs are already renowned for their ability to interact with humans. It’s not just the walks and the Frisbee catching; canines seem to understand us in a way that no other animal does. Point at an object, for example, and a dog will look at where you’re pointing—an intuitive reading of our intentions (“I’m trying to show you something”) that confounds our closest relatives: chimpanzees. People and dogs also look into each other’s eyes while interacting—a sign of understanding and affection that dogs’ closest relatives, wolves, interpret as hostility.

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Professional Hunter Trampled to Death By Elephant He Was Hoping to Slay

17th April 2015

Read it.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

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One of New York’s Weirdest Apartments Looks Like a Hobbit Hole and Nobody Wants It

17th April 2015

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This is an apartment in West Chelsea in Manhattan that was listed last year for $4.15 million, then again for $3.55 million, and just recently for $3.37 million? Why does nobody seem to want it, you may ask. Well, maybe it’s the price, or maybe it’s the location, or maybe it’s the fact that the apartment appears to have been designed for a cosmopolitan hobbit. Curving stone walls with a fireplace in front of some sort of shiny plastic floor covering? Sure, why not.

Even Bilbo didn’t have that kind of cash.

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Creative Workspaces

17th April 2015

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Privacy is imperative because political workspaces are radically different from those of writers. The chief requirement of any email server or device for example, is that it must be able to disappear. The primary tool that public figures use is what might be called the moveable stage. The moveable stage is designed to provide a highly controlled viewpoint of the celebrity to convey the intended effect. In place of a laptop computer sending data into the Cloud,  politicians like Hillary have a portable movie set to broadcast messages to the media universe.

Like the peripatetic software developer who today works from Mexico and the day after tomorrow from Southern Italy,  modern politicians now work on location, broadcasting their screeds from the Temple of Hercules or the Brandenberg Gate. They orate before fake styrofoam Greek pillars or from the Chipotle restaurant in the company of “plain folks”.

Plain folks are the only people who actually live in the real world.  And they pay dearly for this misfortune. The degree to which the creators of memes and ideas now influence the world would have shocked Percy Shelley who extravagantly claimed that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”.   Never in his wildest dreams could he have foreseen that workers in the realms of “reason and imagination” could gain such power. Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter who majored in creative writing,  is  a deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration.

Perhaps this is dangerous.  Poetry and imagination were meant to give us a glimpse into possibilities but never to provide quotidian reality.  Formerly we delved into books to visit castles in the air, but we walked out the door to go to work. It’s sad to think that crummy walk-up apartment in New York with a laptop on a mattress now should be essentially equivalent to a high windy tower in Italy, or the back of a garbage truck as a workplace.  One hankers for the days when there were actual nymphs and spirits in the woods with whom we could talk and whose cellphones we didn’t confiscate.  But perhaps those days are gone, and even the nymphs speak into their lapels.  The world is the poorer for it.

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The World Is Bigger Than You Think

16th April 2015

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A lot people think that rising human population poses a threat to society because, logically, there is a limited amount of dry land on earth, and so living space and farmland must “run out” eventually.

Obvious, intuitive, and wrong. It’s wrong because, while it’s true that Earth is not growing, the supply of land is not fixed. From an economic perspective, the resource “land” doesn’t mean “dirt above sea level.” Land’s capacity can change and expand in all sorts of ways, depending on its use and value.

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What LeBron Can Teach You About Economics

15th April 2015

Read it.

In his first chapter, Tamny argues that taxes are merely “a price placed on work” by the government. To demonstrate how, he doesn’t start with an economist or a chart, but instead with Keith Richards, the lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones. Richards explained that the band decided to leave England because of the high taxes: “We didn’t know if we would make it, but if we didn’t try, what would we do? Sit in England and they’d give us a penny out of every pound we earned.”

Progressive taxes (in England, the United States, and everywhere) are more of an impediment to people who are trying to become wealthy than to those who are already wealthy.

And what happens with all the money the government rakes in? Largely, it is squandered by politicians who want to buy popularity. Rock musicians make wiser use of money — the money they’ve earned — than do politicians who dip into the vast pot of tax dollars taken by force.

Emphasis added – what I’ve been saying for years. The reason why rich people are always saying that their taxes are too low is an attempt to persuade you that the taxes of people who are not yet as rich as they are (but are trying to be) are too low – after all, if a rich person thinks that the government deserves more of his money, nothing stops him from just writing a check … which, of course, the never do.

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The Valley and the Upstarts: The Cities Creating the Most Tech Jobs

15th April 2015

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At the top of our list is a group of cities that have long been identified with tech growth. Our No. 1 city, Austin, Texas, boasts the strongest expansion in tech sector employment of any of the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas from 2004 to 2014, 73.9%,  as well as 36.4% growth in STEM jobs, the fourth-highest growth rate in the country. Coming in a close second is Raleigh, N.C.,  part of the renowned Research Triangle region, home to outposts of multinationals like Bayer, BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM and Cisco. The Raleigh metro area posted a 39% increase in STEM jobs from 2004-14, the fastest growth in the nation, albeit from a smaller base than many of the other biggest metro areas.

This is what happens when geeks have adult supervision, i.e. a state government that refuses to enact their groovy-granola fetishes into law and restricts them to what they do well.

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Grand Theft Lincoln

14th April 2015

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On this 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn performs a public service today rebutting the relentless liberal/“Progressive” attempts to pry Lincoln from the Republican Party and claim that Lincoln, were he alive today, would surely be a Progressive Democrat:

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Is ‘Social Justice Warrior’ a Pejorative?

14th April 2015

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If it isn’t, it ought to be. (Roper: “That’s an ugly word.” More: “It’s an ugly thing.”)

While the “war on women” is a lie, “social justice warrior” describes the average leftie exactly, and it deftly exposes their most egregious conceit, that they are all non-violent activists that just want peace and justice.

I can understand that the average social justice warrior would prefer to be called a “social justice advocate” or maybe just an “activist,” losing the “social justice” part. That’s because “social justice” has an odor to it.

This is nothing new. Once upon a time “communist” was a wonder word. Then it got a bad odor, and lefties started to call themselves “socialist,” and when socialist went bad they became “social democrats.” In the U.S., the bright young things of the 1890s called themselves “Progressives.” But by 1920 the word had a bad odor and so Progressives rebranded themselves as “liberals.” That lasted for about half a century until the day that Republican politicians discovered that an easy way to win elections was to chant “liberal, liberal, liberal” at their Democratic opponents. So the Soros-funded lefties of the 2000s called themselves “progressives.”

This is such a wuss-fest.

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The Good Life – How a 70s Sitcom Became a Tory Lodestar

14th April 2015

Read it. (Called Good Neighbors in the U.S.)

It’s that niceness which made The Good Life the comedic Aunt Sally of the 1980s (you wouldn’t be seen dead watching it during the Thatcher years — not in my university hall of residence, at least), yet it’s that same unaffected warmth which makes it so watchable today. The Young Ones, so of its time, now feels terribly dated. Conversely, as Bob Larbey observed, the only thing in The Good Life that’s dated is Paul Eddington’s trousers. I came round to The Good Life in the end (it’s called growing up) and so did a few million po-faced students like me. My wife watched it on DVD through both her pregnancies. It kept her sane and happy. Maybe we should have called our children Tom and Barbara (or maybe Margo and Jerry).

It was one of the most delightful shows on TV in any era. Paul Eddington went on to Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, Dame Penelope Keith went on to To The Manor Born, Richard Briers was hanged for looting in Branagh’s Henry V, and Felicity Kendal remained the Platonic Ideal of scrumptious — so everything turned out for the best.

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Not Your Father’s Liberal Professor: The Triumph of the Left on Campus

14th April 2015

Read it.

In April of 2012, the National Association of Scholars released a report titled “A Crisis of Competence,” which they had prepared for the board of regents of the University of California. The report, as the title suggests, argues that the politicization of higher education has had devastating effects on the quality of that education.

The National Association of Scholars describes itself as “a network of scholars and citizens united by our commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education,” while their detractors characterize them as a right-wing or conservative think tank. This fact, of course, supports their thesis about the politics of contemporary academia, but it’s important to keep in mind the objectives of the NAS while reading the report. The language therein is assertive, often even polemical, but the quantity of the evidence they gather with which to support their thesis ought to convince all but the most partisan that this isn’t a crassly partisan report.

The entire document deserves a read, because it discusses in detail how the takeover of American schools by the Left has resulted in a “crisis of competence” in education. One of the most interesting sections, however, details the nature and extent of the Left’s triumph:

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Sure, Just Give A Robot A Sword

13th April 2015

Read it.

What could go wrong?

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Writing Perl in Latin

12th April 2015

Read it.

Compared to other languages (both modern and ancient), English has a comparatively weak lexical structure. Much of the grammatical load of an English sentence is carried by positional cues. A statement such as “The boy gave the dog the food” only makes sense because of the convention that the subject precedes the verb, which precedes the indirect object, which precedes the direct object. Changing the order — “The food gave the boy the dog” — changes the meaning.

Most programming languages use similar positional grammatical cues. The operation $maximum = $next is very different in meaning from $next = $maximum. Likewise, the function call push @my_assets, @your_money is not the same as push @your_money, @my_assets.

Generally speaking, older natural languages have richer lexical structures (such as inflexions for noun number and case) and therefore rely less on word order. For example, in Latin the statements Puer dedit cani escam and Escam dedit puer cani both mean “The boy gave the dog the food”. Indeed, the more usual word order would be reverse Polish, with the verb coming last: Puer cani escam dedit.

This flexibility is possible because Latin uses inflexion, not position, to denote lexical roles. The lack of a suffix denotes that the boy (puer) is the subject; the -i ending indicates that the dog (cani) is the indirect object; whilst the -am ending indicates that the food (escam) is the direct object.

To say “The food gave the boy the dog”, one might write: Puero canem esca dedit. Here, the -o ending denotes that the boy is now the indirect object, the -em ending indicates that the dog has become the direct object, whilst the -a ending indicates that the food is the subject.

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DARVO

12th April 2015

Read it.

Have you ever marveled at how your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex is able to do and say the most hurtful, underhanded and contemptible things and then portray herself as the innocent victim? Have you ever wondered how she is able to convincingly accuse others, usually her victims, of the abusive behaviors and attitudes of which she is actually guilty? Wonder no more, the answer may be DARVO.

Dr Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD of the University of Oregon identified DARVO in the 1990s at the tail end of the repressed sexual abuse memories hysteria. In spite of its dubious origins, DARVO is a helpful concept with broader applications than Dr Freyd seems to have originally intended. Freyd writes about DARVO in conjunction with her work on betrayal trauma, which I discuss on the original Shrink4Men blog. According to Dr Freyd’s webpage:

“DARVO refers to a reaction that perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.”

DARVO seems to be a combination of projection, denial, lying, blame shifting and gaslighting. Dr Freyd notes that other observers have identified the same phenomena using different terms. My male clients experience this behavior when they try to hold the abusive women in their lives accountable. It also seems to be common behavior in most predators, bullies, high-conflict individuals and/or abusive personality-disordered individuals. DARVO especially seems to occur in high-conflict divorce and/or custody cases.

A better description of the ‘progressive’ mentality I’ve never seen.

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The Insiders: The Democratic Whackjob Survey

12th April 2015

Read it.

Sometimes someone from the Filling sneaks into the Washington Post.

Yesterday, in a somewhat useful exercise, my Democratic friend and sometimes sparring partner Carter Eskew compiled a “Republican Nutcase Check List” for Republican presidential candidates to take. (If you want to see how you’d rank, you can take that survey here.) With his quiz as motivation, and in the same spirit, I wrote a corresponding checklist for Democrats in general, given that their presidential candidate bench is so weak.

In order to slant his test and present Republicans as Democrats want them to be, Carter had to scour some remote corners of the country in search of narrow positions and specific incidents. Here, I’ll stick pretty close to what passes for “mainstream” Democratic positions in our nation’s capital.

This is called the Democratic Whackjob Survey, and I propose that all Democrats take it. There are eight questions and the answers will be tallied to give you a score on the whack-o-meter.

If you answered “yes” to 8 out of the above, you’re a whackjob who’s probably permanently in a purple haze, camped out in a public park with a Unibomber-inspired protest sign nearby. And if you are not currently working for the Obama administration, working on a Democratic voter-registration campaign or doing commentary on MSNBC, you should look into those opportunities.

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Woolly Mammoth Revival

11th April 2015

Read it.

I have this image of Jimmy Swaggart shouting at a bunch of hairy elephants in a huge tent. But that’s me.

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Is Suburbia Crashing? Suburban Traffic Myths Refuted

11th April 2015

Read it.

Traffic crashes are a cause of ill health, impaired living or curtailed lifespan. Does city growth, in its sprawl-type outward expansion, increase the incidence of fatal and injurious crashes? This factor is the latest addition to numerous attempts to pin a correlation or causality linking traffic accidents with any number of causes.

I can think of no suburb that is as scary to drive through as Chicago, Boston, or New York.

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Thought for the Day

11th April 2015

Climate Change cave copy

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The Alinsky Way of Governing

11th April 2015

Read it.

Mr. Grijalva left a clue about how he operates in 2013 when the magazine In These Times asked about his legislative strategy. “I’m a Saul Alinsky guy,” he said, referring to the community organizer and activist who died in 1972, “that’s where I learned this stuff.”

What sort of stuff? Mr. Grijalva sent his letters not to the professors but to university presidents, without (at least in the case of Mr. Hayward) the professors’ knowledge. Mr. Hayward was not even employed by Pepperdine at the time of his congressional testimony in 2011.

But targeting institutions and their leaders is pure Alinsky; so are the scare tactics. Mr. Grijalva’s staff sent letters asking for information about the professors, with a March 16 due date—asking, for instance, if they had accepted funding from oil companies—using official congressional letterhead, and followed up with calls from Mr. Grijalva’s congressional office. This is a page from Alinsky’s book, in both senses of the word: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have,” reads one tip in his 1971 “Rules for Radicals.”

Yet adopting Alinsky’s tactics may not in this case fit with Alinsky’s philosophy. This is Alinsky with a twist. Despite myriad philosophical inconsistencies, “Rules for Radicals” is meant to empower the weaker against the stronger. Alinsky writes: “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Reminder: You don’t have to be a Little Guy to be a Radical, just as you don’t have to be poor to be a Democrat.

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Thought for the Day

9th April 2015

Be careful what you sue for, you just might get it.

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What’s So

8th April 2015

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, debunks a few common economic myths.

Josh Billings famously quipped, “The trouble ain’t what people don’t know; it’s what they know that ain’t so.” He was correct, especially as this keen observation applies to history.

Everyone knows, for example, that minimum-wage legislation is meant to help the working poor. A study of history, however, shows that this just ain’t so.

What is so is that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 — the legislation that created the national minimum wage in America — was designed to protect the higher wages of Northern textile workers, and the profits of Northern mill owners, from the intensifying competition unleashed by Southern textile mills in the Carolinas and Georgia.

Another historical myth is that Southern slavery harmed only the blacks who were enslaved. There’s no doubt that those who suffered most grievously from slavery were the slaves themselves. But slavery also inflicted great economic harm on non-slave-owning whites in the South.

Most obviously, slavery artificially reduced the supply of workers available to work in whatever factories and businesses might have been established by non-slave-owning whites. Therefore, these whites — who outnumbered slave-owning whites, even in the South — suffered reduced opportunities to launch their own businesses. In the South, chattel slavery stymied the single greatest force for widespread and sustained economic growth: market-directed entrepreneurship.

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Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research

8th April 2015

Read it.

But … but … but … there’s a consensus!

(My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.)

I take fish oil capsules every day because my doctor says it will help my cholesterol. ‘Help it to do what’ is never explained; it certainly has not helped it to go down. But hey, what can it hurt? That’s all I’m sayin’….

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Microbes Are Partly to Blame For Arctic’s Melting Permafrost

7th April 2015

Read it.

And no doubt they are racist, white, Republican, bigot, homophone microbes, at that.

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‘Bees are good,’ Obama Says as Children Scream

7th April 2015

Read it.

That sort of sums up the whole of the last six years.

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When Your Foes Are Cashing In on Your Outrage, Maybe Reconsider the Signaling

7th April 2015

Read it.

So some folks who have signaled their anger online that places like Memories Pizza have declared a right to discriminate are also angry that these businesses are now getting rewarded for it. That’s what happens with a culture war, folks. You send up your signals and they send up theirs, and on and on and on. People did not want Memories Pizza or Arlene’s Flowers to be punished for the principles they hold, and so they were willing to use their financial backing to counteract the actions of those who do want to punish them. Ignore this signal at your peril. Regardless of whether people want to see pizza parlors or bakeries or florists turning away gay couples getting married, there are enough of them offended by the idea of driving them out of business to counteract these shaming and boycotting efforts. And it goes both ways. How many gay or gay-friendly folks have made sure to do businesses with companies who supported them and had been targeted by the religious right back in the 1990s or so?

In other words, don’t start a pissing contest unless you’ve got the bigger dick.

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