DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Our Bond With Dogs May Go Back More Than 27,000 Years

24th May 2015

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Now, there‘s a scary thought.

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The End of Farming

23rd May 2015

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Modern biotechnology could put dairy farms out of business. And not just dairy, but lots of other farms as well, including those that produce meat, leather, and even staple starches. In fact, the amount of land devoted to agriculture could shrink by 80 percent in the next few decades.

Modern agribusiness has converted traditional farming into something that resembles a factory without walls or a roof as it is possible to get. It’s only a matter of time and technology  before they close the circle.

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A Puzzler

23rd May 2015

Warren Obama spat copy

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Giant Sinkhole Forms at Entrance of Missouri Golf Course

23rd May 2015

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This is God telling you not to play golf.

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11-Year-Old Tanishq Abraham Graduates From California College

22nd May 2015

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Judging from current trends, we can expect to hear, sometime in the next five years, than he has blown himself up in Ramadi or Fallujah.

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The 7-11 for Robot Subs: Underwater Plug and Stay Hubs

22nd May 2015

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Think it’s hard to find a place to charge your smartphone at the airport? Try finding a power outlet in the ocean.

Imagine you’re a robotic Navy mini-sub whose batteries are running low after a long mission monitoring, say, traffic around Chinese artificial islands in the South Pacific. Currently, you’d have to recharge at a land base or a surface ship. The former keeps you close to friendly shores while the latter gives away your presence. But if Navy program manager Mike Wardlaw makes it work, sometime in the early 2020s the Navy will start deploying unmanned, underwater pods where robots can recharge undetected — and securely upload the intelligence they’ve gathered to Navy networks.

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The Astrolabe: Medieval Multi-Tool of Navigation

22nd May 2015

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No doubt soon to be an app on the Apple Watch.

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The College of Lost Arts

21st May 2015

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It took a while—the first class graduated in 2009—but today the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) is the only school in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in traditional building trades.

Which, of course, completely inverts the basic function of a university degree, as it grew from medieval roots. But nobody cares about history these days, except to plunder it for clever-sounding words that they can ‘repurpose’ to serve their own agenda.

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On Legitimate Government

21st May 2015

David Warren has some interesting things to say.

My own development as a political thinker was tragically stunted by employment as a political pundit. No class of writers knows less about politics than they. In order to write at all in this genre, one must pretend to take seriously an entire political order that is preposterous, peopled by the mentally and emotionally disturbed, and ruled by power-hungry maniacs, until one’s own last mooring is shot. The madness is compounded by complete ignorance of what is going on, since no one not himself up to his ears in the actual exercise of political power can possibly understand what is in play. And, those up to their ears are drowning.

Where to the old Christian view, rights followed from duties in the same man, to our post-Christian view the arbitrary rights of one man translate to duties for unaccounted others. (My right to a free lunch translates to your duty to pay for it, &c.) In this sense, all modern political thinking is in its nature totalitarian.

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Study: ‘Underinsured’ Population Has Doubled to 31 Million

21st May 2015

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One-quarter of people with healthcare coverage are paying so much for deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that they are considered underinsured, according to a new study.

So, in Crustian, ‘underinsured’ means ‘less insurance than we think they ought to have’. Good to know.

I thought that Obamacare was going to fix that?

Like the ‘poor’, the ‘underinsured’ we have always with us.

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The Browning of America

20th May 2015

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“We believe our diversity, our differences, when joined together by a common set of ideals, makes us stronger, makes us more creative, makes us different,” Barack Obama pronounced at a citizenship ceremony last Fourth of July. Until half a century ago most serious historians would have called such an opinion ignorant or naïve. Ethnic diversity implies cultural diversity—if it did not, ethnic diversity would soon disappear. Cultural diversity means division, division means weakness, and weakness means, eventually, unfreedom. Such, at least, is the traditional view, and history appears to vindicate it.
The motto E pluribus unum is a sign that the founders saw diversity as a challenge to be mastered, not a resource to be tapped. – See more at: http://www.claremont.org/article/the-browning-of-america/#.VVxk8uc0pap

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Will Robots Take Our Jobs?

20th May 2015

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Robots are nothing new. Industrial robots have been employed in manufacturing for about as long as polyester has been belabored in fashion. But unlike synthetic fibers, synthetic laborers have gotten much better over time. Digital employees consistently become cheaper, smarter, and more prevalent with each doubling of the number of transistors crammed into microprocessors. At their most salient, robots look a lot more like Kiva’s dumb and deferent deliverybots shuttling packages along Amazon warehouse floors than Neill Blomkamp’s charming CHAPPiE. But let’s not be crass humanoid supremacists, here. Digital workers are much more than mere metal reflections of ourselves.

My job, no; I have yet to see a robot that can create a star-schema data model from the nebulous blatherings of business users.

Your job — who knows?

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Why You Need to Be Using the Oxford Comma

19th May 2015

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Aside, of course, from the plain fact that God intended you to do so.

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Thought for the Day

19th May 2015

Dilbert Is Not Anti Social - Dilbert by Scott Adams

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Iran to Saudis: We’re Going to Land This Ship No Matter What

18th May 2015

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Great. Let the Muslims fight each other for a change.

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The Ozone Hole Could Become History

17th May 2015

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One less thing for the enviro-Nazis to bitch about.

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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: Apple Watch Edition

16th May 2015

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The Watch has major in-practice downsides though, the mother of which I’ll call The Douchebag Factor. By virtue of the product’s newness, and its cost, it’s hard to wear the Apple Watch in public without feeling like that girl, the designer-handbag girl, the “I spent $400 to read my texts three seconds sooner” girl. The Watch is still rare enough to earn glances and even questions on the subway, and I found it hard to not be constantly aware of it shouting “I am a shameless consumer!” from my wrist.

The Douchebag Factor is equally prominent in social settings, even if you have the kind of friends who are sympathetic to one’s need to test drive new gadgetry over beers. Because the Apple Watch inherently combines two of the rudest things you can do among friends—check your watch and look at your phone—and suggests that you do them incessantly.

Anything that gets the SWPLs bickering with each other has my support. (The fact that I own Apple stock has absolutely nothing to do with it, of course.)

 

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Want to Sabotage Bad Laws? Healthy Contempt is More Important Than Legal Strategy.

14th May 2015

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Wisdom. Attend.

People will not obey laws that they think are stupid. Prohibition was the rub-your-nose-in-it proof of that. Multiplying bad laws merely brings law as a concept into disrepute, and undermines the Rule of Law that we all depend on.

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The Hunt for the Right Wing Snipe

12th May 2015

Kathy Shaidle is surprised that the Peter Pan Party refuses to grow up.

Meanwhile, south of the border: Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are many things, good and bad, but she isn’t “stupid” and he isn’t “loud.” But to leftists, right-wingers are all stupid and loud, and Coulter and Limbaugh are the only ones whose names they know. Think of the three-year-old who points at every animal and yells “moo!”

For almost 25 years, five days a week for three hours a day, Rush Limbaugh has monologued, mostly guest-less, on live radio to a national audience. Think about it: If he doesn’t really “believe that stuff,” then he’s arguably more deserving of that $40 million a year because let’s see you do that.

These scoffers think their reflexive, paranoid “dot connecting” makes them sound worldly, when just the opposite is true. Remember: Conspiracy theories are History for stupid people.

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Thought for the Day

11th May 2015

‘It was long ago observed that the plain people, under democracy, never vote for anything, but always against something. The fact explains, in large measure, the tendency of democratic states to pass over statesmen of genuine imagination and sound ability in favor of colorless mediocrities.’

— H. L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy

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HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY

10th May 2015

Mothers Day Meme copy

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

10th May 2015

Over the Hills and Far Away (old style)

Over the Hills and Far Away (new style)

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Science Versus “Scientism”

10th May 2015

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I’ve decided I’m going to call myself an “Islamoskeptic,” because it neatly combines two left-wing, debate-stifling epithets at one stroke. If you criticize Islam, you’re an “Islamophobe”—the moral equivalent of a racist, so shut up we don’t have to listen to you any more. And if you align at all with climate skepticism and criticize any aspect of climate change orthodoxy, you’re met with the shutdown term of “science denier.” Both terms represent gross abuses of reason.

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Nice Ivy League Degree. Now if You Want a Job, Go to Code School

8th May 2015

Read it.

And heed it.

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No, the Rich Don’t ‘Want to Pay More Taxes’

7th May 2015

Sonic Harm pulls back the curtain.

Lion notes that the rich prefer (D)s (which is true) then suggests it’s a puzzle that (R)s should be so low-tax since that (supposedly) helps the rich.

But this is misguided. The primary taxes that the (D)s clamor to be neverendingly increased (and which (R)s have to fight to prevent being increased) are income taxes. Rich people don’t pay no stinkin’ “income taxes”. So when Mr. Richie Progressive says “I want taxes to be raised” he’s not talking about a tax incidence that will be felt much by him personally. He’s talking about raising tax on other, orders-of-magnitude-poorer people than himself: the middle- and upper-middle classes, mostly.

One might object that Richie Progressive (sometimes) also claims to want the capital-gains tax to be increased. Perhaps this is true, but doesn’t change the point. R. Progressive, Esq. is confident his financial planners will find appropriate tax-shielded vehicles and structures, do the appropriate tax-loss harvesting, and all that. So he knows that in practice a headline “X% increase” in that tax rate won’t actually be felt by him as a X% increase, if at all. So, whatever.

Rich people want to increase taxes that will prevent almost-rich people from taking that final step and becoming a threat by increasing demand for the luxe goods that rich people view as their right. What good is a Gulfstream or a meal at Per Se if Joe Schmoe from Topeka can afford one too?

And again, in practice the tax policies pushed by (D)s would largely mean raising taxes on other, poorer people than Richie Progressive, so it’s win-win! He gets to keep down would-be nouveau-riche at the same time, by placing obstacles in their path to social advancement. This helps ensconce him and his good-for-nothing kids’ place in perma-richness. What’s not to like?

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Tesla’s Battery Put in the Shade by Current and Cheaper Kit

7th May 2015

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Courtesy of Bloomberg, the world gets an idea of what the retail from-the-installer price of the battery might look like (rather than the wholesale price the ‘leccy car maker announced last week).

The Elon Musk-led system seller SolarCity, Bloomberg reports, will ship an installed 10 kWh Powerwall for US$7,140 (ouch outright purchase) or $US5,000 plus a nine-year lease.

To match a 16 kW generator that sells in the US for just US$3,699, the reporter works out, would require around US$45,000 worth of Powerwalls on the lease deal.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance doesn’t imagine the Powerwall making a dent in European markets like Germany, where the economics of solar power are well-understood. Its take is that “the economics of an average home with rooftop solar are not significantly enhanced by including the Tesla battery”.

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Survey: Hillary Clinton Is Favorite Candidate of Millionaires

7th May 2015

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Yeah, no surprises there.

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The Gaystapo and Islam

6th May 2015

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Here’s where it gets really weird — if you’re a stickler for logical consistency. Islamists are well-known for their condemnation and punishment of homosexuality. But it is safe to say that persons who are sympathetic to Islam and willing to overlook such “peccadillos” as the stoning to death of queers (and unfaithful female spouses) constitute a large fraction of the Gaystapo.

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Thought for the Day

6th May 2015

Non Sequitur

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Here Are 8 Modern Kitchens Trying Their Best to Blend Into Castles

5th May 2015

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First you have to forget everything you learned in Fancy Pants Modern Architecture School.

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Satellite Global Temperature Trend Revised Significantly Downward

4th May 2015

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Funny how that works.

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More Trees Than There Were 100 Years Ago? It’s true!

2nd May 2015

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And quit swallowing eco-Nazi lies. (Yeah, Greenpeace, I’m lookin’ at YOU.)

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The Most Diverse Cities Are Often Most Segregated

2nd May 2015

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This ought to come as no surprise. ‘Diversity’ is a code-word for ‘people not like us’, and most people (‘progressive’ mythology to the contrary notwithstanding) don’t really want to live near people that are greatly different from themselves. Even for SWPLs, a neighborhood full of ‘them’ is a nice place to visit but they wouldn’t (truth be told) want to live there.

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Can 3D-Printed Rhino Horns Stop Poachers?

2nd May 2015

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As is usual with such rhetorical questions in media headlines, the answer is ‘Probably not’.

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Thought for the Day

1st May 2015

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Are You Sitting Down for This? Japan Just Opened a Groovy Gallery for High-Tech Toilets

30th April 2015

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Whenever I read a science fiction book that includes aliens, I put it down if they aren’t at least as weird as the Japanese.

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Science’s Significant Stats Problem

29th April 2015

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Thoughtful experts have been pointing out serious flaws in standard statistical methods for decades. In recent years, the depth of the problem has become more apparent and more well-documented. One recent paper found an appallingly low chance that certain neuroscience studies could correctly identify an effect from statistical data. Reviews of genetics research show that the statistics linking diseases to genes are wrong far more often than they’re right. Pharmaceutical companies find that test results favoring new drugs typically disappear when the tests are repeated.

In fact, in almost all research fields, studies often draw erroneous conclusions. Sometimes the errors arise because statistical tests are misused, misinterpreted, or misunderstood. And sometimes sloppiness, outright incompetence, or possibly fraud is to blame. But even research conducted strictly by the book frequently fails because of faulty statistical methods that have been embedded in the scientific process.

I would not mind seeing statistics replace calculus as the ‘next step’ for people entering college and wanting to take post-high-school math.

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Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

29th April 2015

Tim Urban chronicles another chapter in the ongoing saga of the Special Snowflakes.

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs.  A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

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Apple Watch Wrist Detection Failing With Some Tattoos, Users Complain

28th April 2015

Read it.

Good.

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Thought for the Day

28th April 2015

Non Sequitur

Ordinarily Wiley Miller is a dependable Voice of the Crust but every now and then it apparently gets too much.

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Could Automation Be Labor Unions’ Death Knell?

26th April 2015

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Computers are getting smarter and stronger while employees, with their health insurance, pensions, and vacation time are becoming increasingly expensive. The writing is on the wall; plenty of jobs, at least as performed by humans, aren’t long for this world.

Of course, no one knows exactly how automation will shake up the worker economy, but there will almost certainly be winners and losers. IT and creative jobs will proliferate while administrative, factory, and service employment will largely go the way of the dodo.

And for labor unions, that may very well mean that the bell tolls for thee. While unions have generally been in decline for some time, automation may prove to be the proverbial dagger through the heart.

Labor unions are predicated on a situation where workers have no economic leverage because they are in jobs that anybody who is literate and numerate and has an above-room-temperature IQ can do, so the supply always vastly exceeds the demand. Unions attempt to compensate for a lack of economic power by involving political power, be it strikes, picketing, thug violence, or governmental capture. Robots don’t vote and they always do what they’re told; no workers to organize, no union. It’s just that simple.

Of course, unions will attempt to ‘organize’ the workers who are left, but it’s questionable how effective that would be. Despite the attempts by tech firms to import cheap coders from overseas, most ‘knowledge workers’ don’t see themselves and commodity labor — somebody can’t just walk in off the street and after a week’s training do a web site or a smartphone app (although plenty have tried). Thus unions have focused on the remaining commodity labor ares, such as services, government employees, and (sadly, but it’s true) education. It will be interesting to see how long that long retreat can be maintained.

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American Politics Explained

25th April 2015

hillary's turn copy

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Say Yes to Ice Cream-Flavored Beer

25th April 2015

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Last week, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s and Colorado brewer New Belgium announced they would collaborate to create a new Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, billed as “an ice cream infused craft beer.”

A more SWPL product it’s hard to imagine.

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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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