DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

The First Rule of White Club

29th July 2015

Steve Sailer looks at the New James Baldwin.

America’s foremost public intellectual, Ta-Nehisi Coates, has published a new best-selling minibook, Between the World and Me, that’s interesting for what it reveals about a forbidden subject: the psychological damage done by pervasive black violence to soft, sensitive, bookish souls such as Coates. The Atlantic writer’s black radical parents forced the frightened child to grow up in Baltimore’s black community, where he lived in constant terror of the other boys. Any white person who wrote as intensely about how blacks scared him would be career-crucified out of his job, so it’s striking to read Coates recounting at length how horrible it is to live around poor blacks if you are a timid, retiring sort.

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Queer Theory Meets African Studies

29th July 2015

Steyn on Obama.

President Obama has wrapped up his tour of Africa. It was notable, insofar as that word can be applied to the trip, for his somewhat condescending and neo-colonial lecture to his hosts on the need to ease up on the old homophobia.

Certainly, Africa is not terribly gay-friendly. But nor are other parts of the planet. In his ardent wooing of Iran, for example, he doesn’t seem to have been perturbed in the least by his new best friends’ executions of homosexuals, anymore than he is by the brutalization of gays elsewhere in the Muslim world. You might deduce in his highly selective criticism a certain cowardice. I’ll bet the mullahs do.

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Genes Influence Academic Ability Across All Subjects, Latest Study Shows

29th July 2015

Read it.

An amazing admission by Voice of the Crust The Guardian. Some editor was asleep at the Narrative switch.

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Thought for the Day

28th July 2015

One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation.

— Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath

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Thinking Strategically

27th July 2015

Scott Adams.

The other day a smart, attractive, 27-year old, white woman told me it was hard to get a job in California because she is a woman.

That’s a victim.

Yup.

A few months ago I had a minor leg injury that looked like it would keep me from doing cardio for a few weeks. My first thought was that it was an opportunity to do more weight training on my upper body, which I wanted to do anyway.

That’s strategic thinking.  Every problem creates an opportunity.

Wisdom. Attend.

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The Simulated City vs the Urban Downtown

26th July 2015

Read it.

The simulated city carries none of urbanity’s institutional hardware: no visible governmental facilities, religious institutions, schools or civic centers clutter the street wall. The simulated city eschews manufacturing and offices, instead making itself the chief enterprise: a mecca of retail, dining, and entertainment. It has cherry-picked the good stuff from the old urban form, presenting a cosmetically perfect face without blemish or quirk, redolent in its synthetic beauty.

Unlike the shadow-world of Florida’s urban downtowns, riverwalks, boardwalks, and Main Streets, throngs of people crowd these places every day and every night. For all the hoopla about the reinvigorated city, Florida’s urban scene fails to deliver even a fraction of the sidewalk life that these places have. The simulated city is the powerhouse of the future.

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Just One All-Nighter Can Alter Your Genes, Possibly for Years to Come

25th July 2015

Read it.

It made me the man I am today.

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How Dumb Is Donald Trump?

25th July 2015

image

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‘Touch my plate and feel my fork.’ In an Age of Sharing, Diners Who Don’t.

25th July 2015

Read it.

The only person with which I share food is my wife — Texas is a community property state, and she’s entitled to half.

All of this is a little hard on people who, darn it, just want a bit of alone time with the food they actually ordered. For years, reluctant sharers only had to fend off the occasional fry filcher, or the girlfriend who virtuously passes on dessert — and then plants her fork in her companion’s crème brûlée. Now, whole menus are devoted to socialist portions.

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Revenge of the Radical Middle

25th July 2015

Read it.

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a presidential campaign in which the Republican Party, having lost its hold on the radical middle, is terrified of the electoral consequences. The supporters of Reagan and Perot, of Gingrich and Pat Buchanan, have found another aging billionaire in whom to place their fears and anxieties, their nostalgia and love of country, their disgust with the political and cultural elite, their trepidation at what our nation is becoming.

It is immigration—its universally celebrated benefits and its barely acknowledged costs—that is the third rail of U.S. politics, with repercussions from the border to Eric Cantor’s district in 2014 to courtrooms and the Republican debate stage today. Trump didn’t step on the third rail; he embraced it, he won’t let go of it, and in so doing he’s become electric. Republicans, Democrats, journalists, corporations all want to define themselves against him, and their flaunting of their moral superiority only feeds the media monster, only makes Trump more attractive to the dispossessed, alienated, radical middle.

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Progressives as Regressives

25th July 2015

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, nails it.

As Thomas Sowell points out (I believe in Intellectuals and Society, where he notes that the 1920s was one of the most economically progressive decades in American history), “Progressives” often oppose genuine progress – such as the lower distribution costs, lower product prices, higher product quality, greater product selection, and better employment opportunities opened up by innovations in retailing.  The only sort of change that “Progressives” consistently celebrate as “progress” is a progressive increase in the role of government – specifically, an increase in the scope and depth of government’s intervention into the economic affairs of ordinary people.  Such an increase in government power is considered by “Progressives” to be “progressive” even if (as is often the case) the goals and the effects of the use of such government power are to resist the forces of creative destruction or to otherwise stymie economic progress that is not directed or controlled by the state.

Note another feature of “Progressives’” frequent opposition to innovations in retailing: it is opposition to what in accuracy should be called “shared prosperity.”  When the likes of Wal-Mart devises innovative means of creating and taking advantage of economies of scale in distribution, or Home Depot imports for resale in the U.S. more lower-cost goods assembled abroad, the benefits of these lower costs (and, also typically, of higher qualities) are shared with millions of consumers throughout America (and wherever else these firms have stores) in the form of lower prices and wider product selection.  Such a widespread sharing of prosperity was certainly a consequence of the spread of mail-order innovators, such as Sears, in the late nineteenth century and of supermarkets, such as A&P, in the twentieth century – all despite the hysteria at those times over the demise of local merchants and over the alleged permanent loss of jobs that such retailing innovations were said to cause.

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What Makes ‘progressives’ Happy

25th July 2015

Sonic Harm has a few thoughts on the subject.

Whether it ‘works’ or not, it ‘should make many progressives happy’. Why? Because it will ‘raise some money from the wealthy’.

This is exactly right and a good description of what it means to be ‘progressive': who cares about the actual real practical effects, what they want to do – all they want to do – is to tax the weatlhy, to ‘raise some money from’ them. If a policy does that, and nothing else, it ‘makes progressives happy’.

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Thought for the Day, Black Lives Matter Edition

24th July 2015

They ought to have a high-school course on not talking back to a man with a gun. It might save more lives than driving lessons.

— Matt Helm, The Shadowers

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The Cities Americans Are Ditching

23rd July 2015

Screenshot 2015-07-23 13.02.34

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Thought for the Day

23rd July 2015

The main gain of modern man has been the weakening of governments.  Unfortunately, that process is now reversed, not only in Europe, but also in America.  There is a constant accession of government authority and power.  It works inevitably toward the disadvantage of the only sort of man who is really worth hell room, to wit, the man who practices some useful trade in a competent manner, makes a decent living at it, pays his own way, and asks only to be let alone.  He is now a pariah in all so-called civilized countries.

— H. L. Mencken, Minority Report

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Robots Step Into New Planting, Harvesting Roles

22nd July 2015

Read it.

A 14-arm, automated harvester recently wheeled through rows of strawberry plants here, illustrating an emerging solution to one of the produce industry’s most pressing problems: a shortfall of farmhands.

Harnessing high-powered computing, color sensors and small metal baskets attached to the robotic arms, the machine gently plucked ripe strawberries from below deep-green leaves, while mostly ignoring unripe fruit nearby.

Such tasks have long required the trained discernment and backbreaking effort of tens of thousands of relatively low-paid workers. But technological advances are making it possible for robots to handle the job, just as a shrinking supply of available fruit pickers has made the technology more financially attractive.

“This is the least desirable job in the entire company,” she said. With machines, “there are no complaints whatsoever. The robots don’t have workers’ compensation, they don’t take breaks.”

Winter is coming.

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How to Hire Better Cops

22nd July 2015

Steve Sailer has the answer.

With the Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley being shouted down at a progressive convention for not abasing themselves fully enough to a Black Lives Matter rent-a-mob, it’s worth taking a look at what some cities could quite feasibly do to hire better policemen.

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The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds

21st July 2015

Diplomacy, of course.

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Donald Trump’s Six Biggest Gaffes of the Presidential Campaign…So Far

20th July 2015

Read it.

And yet he’s ahead in the polls. Perhaps he knows something that Kiran Moodley (‘editorial video manager at The Independent’) doesn’t.

‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

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‘Finding Zero’: A Long Journey for Naught

20th July 2015

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“Finding Zero” is Dr. Aczel’s story of his quest for the origins of the most elusive of numbers: zero. It is zero, Dr. Aczel points out, that makes our place-value number system possible. Without it, there is no way to distinguish among 48, 480 and 4,080. Zero is indispensable for our familiar arithmetical operations, and it is half of the binary language of modern computers.

And yet, even though we can hardly imagine life without it, Europeans had no concept of zero until the 13th century, when they referred to it as and Indian or Arabic numeral. Where then did this epoch-making concept originate?

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The Happy Meal Fallacy

20th July 2015

Alex Tabarrok uses an analogy.

Some restaurants offer burgers without fries and a drink. These restaurants cater to low-income people who enjoy fries and drinks but can’t always afford them. To rectify this sad situation a presidential candidate proposes The Happy Meal Act. Under the Act, burgers must be sold with fries and a drink. “Burgers by themselves are not a complete, nutritious meal,” the politician argues, concluding with the uplifting campaign slogan, “Everyone deserves a Happy Meal!”

But will the Happy Meal Act make people happy? If burgers must come with fries and a drink, restaurants will increase the price of a “burger.” Even though everyone likes fries and a drink they may not like the added benefits by as much as the increase in the price of the meal. Indeed, this must the case since consumers could have bought the meal before the Act but chose not to. Requiring firms to sell benefits that customers value less than their cost makes both firms and customers worse off.

The Happy Meal Fallacy is fairly obvious when it comes to happy meals but now let’s consider the debate over the gig economy and the hiring of employees versus contractors. Employees are entitled to benefits that contractors are not. Thus the standard conclusion is that classifying workers as contractors “is great for employers but potentially terrible for workers.” Wrong. Employees get their wages with fries and a drink while contractors get wages only. Would a law requiring firms to provide all workers with fries and a drink help workers?

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Thought for the Day

20th July 2015

The only way that democracy can be made bearable is by developing and cherishing a class of men sufficiently honest and disinterested to challenge the prevailing quacks.  No such class has ever appeared in strength in the United States.  Thus the business of harassing the quacks devolves upon the newspapers.  When they fail in their duty, which is usually, we are at the quacks’ mercy.

— H. L. Mencken, Minority Report

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Scott Walker: ‘I Don’t Know’ If [sic] Being Gay a Choice

20th July 2015

Read it. And watch the video.

In a weekend interview with Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker about whether the Boy Scouts should allow gay troop leaders, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Walker, “Do you think being gay is a choice?”

“I don’t have an opinion on every single issue out there. To me, that’s, I don’t know,” Walker answered. “I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Whoa – an honest politician. That gets my vote.

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

19th July 2015

Got My Mind Set On You

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Thought for the Day

18th July 2015

Racist? copy

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

17th July 2015

Free Speech

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Nobel-winning Physicist Who Backed Obama: Prez ‘Dead Wrong’ on Global Warming

17th July 2015

Read it.

Ivar Giaever, a scientist who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics, challenged Mr. Obama in a July 1 speech at the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany.

“I say this to Obama: ‘Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong.’ He’s dead wrong,” Mr. Giaever said in a video of his 30-minute speech posted on the website Climate Depot, which first reported the story.

But the Science Is Settled! I read it in the New York Times!

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Because We Don’t Want Them

17th July 2015

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“Why can’t America have great trains?” asks East Coast writer Simon Van Zuylen-Wood in the National Journal. The simple answer is, “Because we don’t want them.” The slightly longer answer is, “because the fastest trains are slower than flying; the most frequent trains are less convenient than driving; and trains are almost always more expensive than either flying or driving.”

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How We Got Duped Into Believing Milk Is Necessary for Healthy Bone

17th July 2015

Read it.

AH: We’ve had school milk programs and milk in schools since the beginning of the century. During World War II, we needed to boost milk production in order to make processed dairy products to send to soldiers overseas. But farmers weren’t producing enough to meet this demand because they weren’t getting paid enough. So the government decided, “Great, we’ll create demand for milk by giving milk to our kids, and that way we’ll have a demand for the fluid milk and we can make the processed products we need for soldiers.”

So war was part of it. Convenience is also part of it. As people moved to the city and women started working away from home, cow’s milk became seen as a convenient way to give babies nutrition if women weren’t able to be home breastfeeding all the time. And as the dairy industry grows, farmers have an incentive to try to boost demand with government subsidies of dairy.

I can’t say which one of these many different forces did it, but it’s just a combination that has led to this health halo around milk. I think what’s more troubling is how deeply ingrained the idea has become and how inaccurate many of our assumptions about milk are.

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The Big Mac index

16th July 2015

Read it.

THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2015 was $4.79; in China it was only $2.74 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time.

Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.

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High Street Shops Enjoy Huge Sale Spike After Thieves Destroy Welsh Town’s Parking Meters

16th July 2015

Read it.

A Welsh town is enjoying a huge spike in sales after all four central parking meters were destroyed.

Retailers in Cardigan, a coastal town in Wales popular with tourists, have claimed profits spiked by as much as 50 per cent after thieves smashed the town’s four parking meters.

“It demonstrates what we’ve been saying for years: if you have lower parking fees, or even no fees, then people will come into town,”  Martin Radley, current chairman of Cardigan Traders told the MailOnline.

A better demonstration of how taxes destroy commerce is hard to imagine.

Markets work, even when you don’t want them to.

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Dylann Roof’s Past Reveals Trouble at Home and School

16th July 2015

Read it.

In other words, he wasn’t Just Another Redneck Racist, but a nutcase from the get-go.

(Actual journalism from the New York Times … I can  hear the pigs flying even as we speak….)

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Chaplain–Medic Massacre Day

16th July 2015

Read it.

The Chaplain–Medic massacre was a war crime that took place in the Korean War on July 16, 1950, on a mountain above the village of Tunam, South Korea. Thirty unarmed, critically wounded United States Army soldiers and an unarmed chaplain were killed by members of the North Korean army during the Battle of Taejon.

These people have nuclear weapons because of ‘deals’ made by Democrat Presidents. Remember that when you read about Obama’s ‘deal’ with Iran.

 

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Law Firm Imposes Ban on Hiring Ivy League Graduates

15th July 2015

Read it.

Adam Leitman Bailey, a Manhattan attorney who runs a real estate firm, says he looks to hire law school graduates who have grit, ambition and a resolve to succeed in the legal profession.

Considering some of the dreck they teach in the Ivy League these days, that’s probably a good idea.

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Thought for the Day

15th July 2015

Lileks.

That’s the part that brings you up short: all you can do is go on record, which in the end has the same impact as having your name on the passenger manifest of the Titanic. There is no point arguing with people whose worldview is based on their own dismay at having been dropped, against their will, in the society that’s seven-to-eleven years away from the imminent Utopia; the only problem they seem to have are things that aren’t problems, and even then their braying and snarking is just conspicuous signaling of Virtuous Positions. Every conversation is the equivalent of slamming down those 4+ Uno cards over and over and over.

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‘Not Just Lyme Disease Anymore': 7 New Reasons To Fear Ticks This Summer

14th July 2015

Read it.

Good reasons to stay indoors like a civilized person.

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Was the Civil Rights Movement Really Necessary?

14th July 2015

Read it.

To this day, my biggest movie beef can be distilled to one inelegant, juvenile question:

“Why don’t they just kill That Guy?”

“That Guy.” His names are legion: Kasper Gutman. Darth Vader. The Sheriff of Nottingham. Mr. Potter (although Uncle Billy needed killing even more). Whoever the head guy is in all the Hunger Games flicks I’ve never seen because I’d be yelling, “You have BOWS AND ARROWS, ferchrissakes!” from the back of the theater.

Did you grow up when I did, when in every other movie, That Guy was the Evil Southern Sheriff Who Ran the Whole Town? There was no escape from his suffocating power and influence, his ominous chortle, and his giant belly (which took up a third of the drive-in screen). He decided who voted, who won, who went to jail, and who got off scot-free. And, of course, he was a Klansman or something like it.

If any genre was guaranteed to trigger my party-pooping protestations, it was this one. Think about it: Almost every character in these hicksploitation flicks is already heavily armed and surely knows of some holler where That Guy’s admittedly corpulent corpse could still be stashed undiscovered.

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Thought for the Day

13th July 2015

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Privi-Lege

13th July 2015

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, has the same diskile for the misuse of this term that i do.

The etymology of the word “privilege” is obvious if you think about it: “privi” – private; “lege” – legislation.  Private legislation.  (“Special privileges” is, therefore, a pleonasm.)  A person who is truly privileged, therefore, is a person who benefits from a special use of government force wielded in his or her favor.  This use of force is not generalizable beyond the individual (or small, closed group) for whom the privilege is created.  A genuine privilege is a benefit that government bestows on only an individual or on a small select group with the intention of benefiting that individual or members of that small group even if such benefits come at the greater expense of the general public.

 

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Sebastian Junger Knows Why Young Men Go to War

11th July 2015

Read it.

Junger argues that Americans are enamored with war, even when they say they don’t believe in it. He also thinks young men in the west no longer have a sense of what it means to be a man—and some of them go to war to find out.

When young men in America turn 18, they suddenly find themselves in the adult world with little direction. Some go to college, some find full-time work and others join the military.

War gives young males a chance to find a peer group and purpose to their lives. That’s important in a society where a lot of young men don’t have either.

Exactly so.

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Maybe That Bear Was Tryin to Tell Us Something

11th July 2015

Lileks.

When the grizzly at the Minnesota Zoo picked up a rock and smashed the glass that stood between him and having kid-kabob for lunch, maybe he was telling us something.

Reference: Minnesota Zoo bear slams rock into glass pane, shattering it ‘like a windshield’

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Claire Cain Miller on the Robot Menace

11th July 2015

Read it.

Claire Cain Miller is a representative promoter/consumer of the conventional wisdom (e.g., she pushed Ellen Pao). So, it’s worth noting how she begins her piece by assuming that human frailty and evil must be behind the disparate outcomes of algorithms. Progressives assume they are on the side of Science and Rationality, which have proven that all people are identical, so when robots discover differences, it must be due to Wreckers.

Progressives are at heart conspiracy theorists. They believe in data that agrees with their preconceived notions; when it doesn’t, it’s because of the machinations of Emmanuel Goldstein evil people, especially right-wing evil people (than which no people are, or can be, more evil).

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Does Affordable Housing Perpetuate Racial Segregation?

11th July 2015

Read it.

The Anti-Discrimination Center, a Manhattan-based non-profit, filed a lawsuit in federal court this week, claiming that New York City’s affordable housing program perpetuates “entrenched segregation.”

The lawsuit takes issue with a common policy in which affordable housing developers set aside 50 percent of the apartments in a new development for prospective tenants already living in the community district. This means access is “effectively prioritized for white residents” who already reside in neighborhoods with the best schools and amenities and “limited for African-American and Latino New Yorkers who do not,” according to the lawsuit.

One of the chief complaints against ‘gentrification’ is that it pushes out existing residents. This has sparked violent confrontations in, for example, San Francisco.

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The Literary History of Duels, Those Absurdly Formal Fights to the Death

11th July 2015

Read it.

As we know from countless historical novels, movies and costume dramas, the steps toward a duel are highly codified, starting with a real or imagined insult to a lady or one’s personal honor. After the insufferable affront comes the challenge, often accompanied by the “soufflet” or slap, the icy presentation of one’s card, and a demand for satisfaction, soon followed by the choice of weapons and the naming of seconds. Come the evening before the actual “rencontre,” at least one of the duelists, either racked with fearful misgivings or maintaining a languid sang-froid, will have settled his affairs so that he can spend what may be his last hours composing a letter to a beloved wife or mistress.

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When (and Why) Good Muslim Neighbors Turn Bad

11th July 2015

Read it.

Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers: and whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions. – Koran 3:28

Days ago, after the Islamic State [IS] entered the Syrian city of Hassakè, prompting a mass exodus of Christians, a familiar but often overlooked scene, took place: many otherwise “normal” Muslims joined ranks with IS, instantly turning on their longtime Christian neighbors.

This is the third category of Muslims that lurks between “moderates” and “radicals”: “sleepers,” Muslims who appear “moderate” but who are merely waiting for circumstances to turn to Islam’s advantage before they join the jihad; Muslims who are waiting for the rewards of jihad to become greater than the risks.

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Bernie Sanders Needs a Slogan

10th July 2015

Read it.

How about — “Socialism: It’s Not Just For Old Rich White Guys Any More”.

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The Real Value of $100 in Each State

10th July 2015

Read it.

As you might expect, your money goes farther in Red States.

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Harbingers of Failure

10th July 2015

Read it (PDF).

We show that some customers, whom we call ‘Harbingers’ of failure, systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail – the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. Firms can identify these customers either through past purchases of new products that failed, or through past purchases of existing products that few other customers purchase. We discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process. Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success.

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God Help Us All

10th July 2015

Richard Fernandez is on a roll today.

It appears that the world is having an outbreak of stupidity. In the imebecile olympics, America may well emerge best off by ironically being the least competent at being incompetent.  For example it is distracted right now by the problem of hauling down a 150 year old flag from a defeated government from several state capitols.  Someone said on Twitter that when he boarded an airplane in Paris everyone was preoccupied with the Greek exit, but when he alighted in Atlanta everyone was talking about Donald Trump. This lack of focus may allow the others to pull ahead in the race to the bottom.

Reverting to paper may actually improve security.  Consider why this might be so.

The great benefit of paper clearance forms (and one might add, paper ballots) is that it limits the ability of bureaucrats to play games with data.  The lower tech medium puts the kibosh on all the plans, mandates and improvements they are just dying to implement. All that gender stuff is hard to implement when you’re faced with a stack of paper reaching to the ceiling, besides making the information harder to leak, misuse or steal.  It disempowers the bureaucrats.

The fact that reverting to lower tech may actually improve security suggests that lack of money isn’t the problem, nor are the shortcomings of computer hardware. The biggest shortage plaguing the elites today is a deficit of intelligence. They are a menace to themselves and to the public; and are not even smart enough to know how dumb they are.

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Will This Wetsuit Keep Away Sharks?

9th July 2015

Read it.

And will it work on Wall Street?

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