DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

‘Let me give you some advice.’

27th February 2015

Ammo Grrrll dishes it out.

I don’t care if you are a sane person who understands that there are two, and only two, “genders,” or more accurately, “sexes” (M & F), or if you are convinced that there are dozens of genders or none at all. It is – more or less – a free country except on college campuses, and you can believe what you want.

But if you are looking for advice on any particular topic, let me give you the benefit of some wisdom gleaned from my many decades upon this wacky planet.

If you want short, practical solutions to a problem at hand, ask a man.

If you want to just vent, or be listened to without even coming close to solving the problem, consult with a woman. In fact, there is substantial research claiming that that is precisely what women want when they ask a man about, say, a vexing issue at work. They just want him to listen; they do not want him to “solve” it. Further, it will even make the woman angry at the man if he tries to solve it. Talk about sandbagging someone!

This matches my experience as well.

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The Myth That Everyone Naturally Prefers Trains to Buses

25th February 2015

Read it.

For the study, Hensher and Mulley gave survey respondents the two images above, plus two others whose only difference was older-looking vehicle styles (one bus and one train), and asked them to rank the four images in terms of “which one you would like to travel in most.” They found that 55 percent chose the modern light rail image, and another 18 percent chose the older light rail. Only about 17 percent chose the modern BRT. Just 10 percent chose the classic old bus.

The responses varied slightly among individual cities—Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth—but only slightly. A majority of respondents ranked the modern light rail image first in every city except Sydney, where 49 percent gave it the top rating. The modern BRT got more first-place votes than the old bus across the board, but it never eclipsed 20 percent in any city.

What makes those findings more vexing is that every city involved in the survey is familiar with both modes. In other words, lack of awareness of BRT couldn’t explain the preference gap. Even in Brisbane and Adelaide, where BRT is more prevalent than light rail, the train earned top marks: 53 and 56 percent chose it first, respectively, to about 18 percent in each place for modern BRT.

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The Many Reasons to Homeschool

24th February 2015

Read it.

 

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What Happens in Vegas Is Filmed in Vegas

24th February 2015

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So this weekend, I went to Las Vegas for the first time. I’m not much of a gambler — I quit playing when they raise the minimums past $5 — but there’s enough of a theme-park aspect to the place that a few friends and I managed to have a terrific time. Two things immediately stand out to the libertarian visitor: In some ways, it has the most liberty of any place in the U.S. — and it also has the country’s most developed surveillance state.

And libertarians have no problem with it, because most of them aren’t government cameras.

Now for the creepy aspects: There are cameras everywhere. In the casinos, obviously, but also on the streetlights, the walls and every overhang. When I asked the cab driver whether there was much crime on the Strip, he laughed and pointed to the cameras. “No crime,” he said. “No point. Cameras everywhere.”

 

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The Red Meat, Eggs, Fat, and Salt Diet

24th February 2015

Read it.

I’m in.

Progressives tend to believe that government knows best. The unfolding fiasco over government nutrition misinformation should give them pause.

But, sadly, it won’t.

For years now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been recommending that “everyone age 2 and up should consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. Some groups of people should further limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, including adults age 51 or older, all African Americans, and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.” Recent studies now suggest that this advice is killing more people than it’s saving.

Your tax dollars at work.

Most of the government’s recommendations were derived from “consensus statements” based largely on the results of observational epidemiological studies. The new revisions tend to be based on prospective epidemiological studies and random controlled trials. Observational studies may be good at developing hypotheses, but they are mostly not a good basis for making behavioral recommendations and imposing regulations.

Hey, you can’t go against a consensus. That would make you a denier.

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The Great Medieval Water Myth

24th February 2015

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The idea that Medieval people drank beer or wine to avoid drinking bad water is so established that even some very serious scholars see no reason to document or defend it; they simply repeat it as a settled truth. In fact, if no one ever documents the idea, it is for a very simple reason: it’s not true.

Well, that’s not really the Great Medieval Water Myth, because people of the Middle Ages (and indeed up to the advent of knowledge of bacteria) had no concept of ‘bad water’ above what a child would have in the modern age, focusing on the smell and taste.

The rest of the article is devoted to vivisecting this straw man as if it were a Real Thing, so it’s pretty much pointless. It is, however, a good overview of writing about drinking during that period, so is not totally useless.

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A Tale of Two Cities

23rd February 2015

Steve Sailer looks at the oddity that it’s okay to dislike foreigners but only if they are rich.

Americans traditionally aspired to live in freestanding houses surrounded by lawns, houses whose size and worth were readily apparent to both the neighbors and the taxman: visual synecdoches for those Jeffersonian ideals.

In the older parts of the world, however, prudent patriarchs built opaque structures that presented only a blank wall and a door directly onto the street, leaving the poverty or luxury behind them a secret known only to those allowed in.

Part of the rise of shell companies as nominal owners of New York City luxury apartments is a not wholly unreasonable response to the fact that on December 8, 1980, practically everybody in America knew that John Lennon lived in The Dakota. But on December 9, 1980, he didn’t.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

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Man Bites Dog: CBS News Calls Gender Pay Gap “A Complete Myth”

23rd February 2015

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Uh-oh. Somebody exited the reservation.

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The Kitchen Bladesmith

22nd February 2015

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Kramer is one of 113 people in the world, and the only former chef, to be certified as a Master Bladesmith. To earn this title (which is conferred by the American Bladesmith Society, of Texarkana, Texas), Kramer underwent five years of practice and study, culminating in the manufacture, through hand-forging, of six knives. Five had to be of gallery-quality designs; the fifth was a roughly finished, fifteen-inch Bowie knife, which Kramer had to employ to accomplish four tasks, in this order: Cut through a one-inch thick piece of manila rope in a single swipe; chop through a two-by-four, twice; place the blade on one’s forearm and, with the belly of the blade that has done all this chopping, shave; and finally, lock the knife in a vice and bend it ninety degrees without having it crack. The combination of these challenges tests steel’s central but conflicting capabilities: its flexibility and its hardness. If tested thusly, my boning knife, despite being hand-made, would have snapped like a toothpick. – See more at: http://craftsmanship.net/the-kitchen-bladesmith/#sthash.e1F8V1fV.dpuf

A fascinating look at knives and the people who make them.

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Confessions of a Congressman

22nd February 2015

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1) Congress is not out of touch with folks back home
Congress is only a part-time job in Washington, DC. An hour after the last vote, almost everyone is on the airplane home. Congress votes fewer than 100 days a year, spending the rest of the time back home where we pander to their constituents’ short-term interests, not the long-term good of the nation. Anyone who is closer to your district than you are will replace you. Incumbents stick to their districts like Velcro.

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We Can Predict When People Are Going to Die From Their “DNA Clock”

22nd February 2015

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Well, not really. But it is interesting.

Scientists have discovered a human “biological clock” based on certain changes to genes, called DNA methylation. These are important for the expression and deactivation of genes, and therefore our development. By studying DNA methylation markers, the researchers found a way to predict lifespan. When people had a biological age greater than their actual age (you could be 50, but have the DNA of a typical 75-year-old), they could see they were more likely to die sooner than a person whose biological and real ages were similar.

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The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids

22nd February 2015

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As if this were a brand new idea that originated in Silicon Valley. But the Crust are realizing that the current system of government schools is failing, as all such similar government-run systems are failing, and they have to dress an idea in hipster clothes in order to make it more palatable.

A couple of weeks ago, I wandered into the hills north of the UC Berkeley campus and showed up at the door of a shambling Tudor that was filled with lumber and construction equipment. Samantha Matalone Cook, a work-at-home mom in flowing black pants and a nose ring, showed me around. Cook and her family had moved into the house in April and were in the middle of an ambitious renovation. “Sorry,” Cook said, “I didn’t tell you we were in a construction zone.” A construction zone, it turns out, that doubles as a classroom.

Case in point: Mention of the nose ring — to signal that this isn’t just some Baptist mom doing her barefoot-and-pregnant-in-the-kitchen thing, but rather One Of Us.

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Cooking Patterns

22nd February 2015

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A recipe is basically a fixed set of actions and ingredients, while cooking techniques are just the possible actions. If we invent cooking patterns – an abstraction on top of each ingredient / action pair – we could have more understanding of the dish we are preparing while keeping the flexibility in ingredient and technique choice.

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A Massive Data Dive Proves That Languages and Genes Evolve Together

22nd February 2015

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As human populations disperse, the separation leads to changes both in genes and in language. So if we look at human DNA and languages over time, we should find that they differ along similar geographic lines.

It’s an intuitive theory, but difficult to prove. That is, until researchers decided to match large collections of geographic, linguistic, and genetic data on hundreds of human populations worldwide.

A new study (PDF), published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quantifies the complicated relationship between these three factors. Researchers compared the geographic presence of two things in human populations across the world: alleles (trait-defining stretches of DNA) and phonemes (the distinct units of sound that make up spoken language).

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White Identitarianism

22nd February 2015

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, goes slumming.

A couple of years ago on this site I wondered “Why Isn’t Racism Cool?” Why, I asked, has the state ideology of the West not generated its antithesis, as historical trends are supposed to do? The Kultursmog of white ethnomasochism and xenophilia, of “diversity” and “hate,” of open borders and “no such thing as race,” is at least as stifling—and, in its underlying premises, at least as questionable—as the gray-flannel Organization Man conformism of the 1950s. So where, I asked, are our beatniks and hippies?

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Monotasking: The Forgotten Skill You (and I) Need to Re-Claim, ASAP

22nd February 2015

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We talked about how we both felt plagued by this weird new thing, and then it hit me. “We’ve become–had to become–professional multitaskers, and it’s almost as if we’ve retrained our brains,” I said. “Now we can’t focus for any length of time on one thing even when that’s our choice.”

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The Economic Way of Thinking About Health Care

22nd February 2015

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People often make pronouncements that have profound economic implications without knowing it. They care about ends and are content to leave the means to others. That’s irresponsible, the intellectual equivalent, as I’ve said before, to drunk driving.

Health insurance, whatever it is, does not grow wild and abundant in nature or fall from the sky like manna. It constitutes a command over goods and services—that is, over the products of human effort in conjunction with scarce resources. When government provides health insurance through subsidies or Medicare or Medicaid, it presides over the disposal of the fruits of other people’s labor. Government personnel decide who gets what, even though they had no hand in producing the resources they “redistribute.”

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The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature

21st February 2015

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The time has come to rethink wilderness.

This will seem a heretical claim to many environmentalists, since the idea of wilderness has for decades been a fundamental tenet—indeed, a passion—of the environmental movement, especially in the United States. For many Americans wilderness stands as the last remaining place where civilization, that all too human disease, has not fully infected the earth. It is an island in the polluted sea of urban-industrial modernity, the one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness. Seen in this way, wilderness presents itself as the best antidote to our human selves, a refuge we must somehow recover if we hope to save the planet. As Henry David Thoreau once famously declared, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” (1)

But is it? The more one knows of its peculiar history, the more one realizes that wilderness is not quite what it seems. Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, it is quite profoundly a human creation—indeed, the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history. It is not a pristine sanctuary where the last remnant of an untouched, endangered, but still transcendent nature can for at least a little while longer be encountered without the contaminating taint of civilization. Instead, it’s a product of that civilization, and could hardly be contaminated by the very stuff of which it is made. Wilderness hides its unnaturalness behind a mask that is all the more beguiling because it seems so natural. As we gaze into the mirror it holds up for us, we too easily imagine that what we behold is Nature when in fact we see the reflection of our own unexamined longings and desires. For this reason, we mistake ourselves when we suppose that wilderness can be the solution to our culture’s problematic relationships with the nonhuman world, for wilderness is itself no small part of the problem.

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The Clime’s Speech

21st February 2015

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(Phys.org)—Human speech is not typically thought to adapt to the environment, and a standard assumption in linguistics is that sound systems are in fact immune to ecological effects. Recently, however, scientists at University of Miami and several Max Planck Institutes in Germany and The Netherlands have, in a single study, predicted that complex tone patterns should not evolve in arid climates by reviewing laryngology data on the negative effects of aridity on vocal cord movement, and – by analyzing climatic and phonological data on over 3,700 languages – found support for their prediction.

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Why Arabs Lose Wars

21st February 2015

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Arabic-speaking armies have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s.1 Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers.2 Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds.3 The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre.4 And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors—economic, ideological, technical—but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.

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Have a Scientific Problem? Steal an Answer From Nature

21st February 2015

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Before understanding how we steal from nature, it’s important to know why we would want to. Under some circumstances, evolution through natural selection can lead to optimal solutions to particular engineering problems faced by organisms. What this means is that, given a well-defined problem under a stable set of constraints, a series of minor adjustments acted upon by selective pressure can, over the course of millions of generations, produce something very close to the best possible solution. There is simply no way, given the materials at hand and the constraints of biology and physics, to produce a significantly better performing apparatus for the task. This is what we term “optimality.”

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Solar Power Towers Are ‘Vaporizing’ Birds

20th February 2015

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No mess to clean up. No wonder they call it ‘clean’ energy.

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The Upside of Waiting in Line

20th February 2015

Tyler Cowen makes some lemonade.

The next time you are waiting in line, take consolation in the fact that otherwise you might not have heard of the opportunity in the first place. If we see a line at a club, restaurant or movie, we figure something interesting is going on there, and so lines have become a driver of publicity.

Income inequality also may be encouraging sellers to use lines to better segment the market. The rich line-jump by buying Museum of Modern Art memberships, to see special exhibits before they open, while others line up. Restaurateurs give regular customers prime tables, especially if they are good tippers and order expensive wines, while others can’t get a reservation after 5:30 or before 11 p.m. This may seem unfair, but it extracts higher prices from those able to pay the most for New York’s cultural institutions and restaurants. In fact, the inconvenience of the line helps sell the more expensive line-jumping package to those who don’t have the time or the patience to wait.

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Patient, Print Thyself

19th February 2015

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Do-it-yourself 3-D printing is good for more than a hobby: it can also allow ordinary Americans to get medical supplies and devices at low prices. The New York Times reports on the increasing popularity of 3-D printed prosthetic limbs for children. With one in every 1,000 children born with missing fingers (post-birth accidents only augment those numbers), there’s a big demand for prosthetics, but traditional ways of getting one are expensive….

Perhaps the answer to high health care prices caused by government interference in the health markets is for people to do it themselves.

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India Clears $8 billion Warships Project to Counter Chinese Navy

19th February 2015

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Maybe they know something we don’t — or, more accurately, maybe they see clearly something that our government is ignoring.

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The Democrats: The Party of the Elite College Education

18th February 2015

Forbes dishes the dirt.

Democrats are supposedly the party of the poor and oppressed, mightily concerned about the distribution of income and the concentration of wealth – right? And Republicans are the party of business and the affluent, more concerned about expanding income, including that of the rich and wealthy, right? If these characterizations are correct, you would expect the political leaders for the Democrats to come from humble educational backgrounds befitting their allegedly populists beliefs.  You would expect Republican leaders to be graduates of our nation’s academically gated communities, the highly selective rich private schools where even today most students come from affluent backgrounds.

In reality, this is all wrong – badly so. Republican political leaders come from far more humble educational backgrounds than their Democratic counterparts. And, for all their talk about income equality, the Democratic leadership has historically protected and expanded educational inequality through its actions, widening the gap between the rich and poor colleges, those considered distinguished and those considered ordinary.

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Announcing a New Term: “Harfing”

18th February 2015

Steven Hayward at Powerline proposes a useful new term.

The term “Fisking” apparently originated with someone’s takedown of a really bad column by British journalist Robert Fisk about 10 years back.  I never read anything by Fisk, but this is what the Urban Dictionary says:

The word is derived from articles written by Robert Fisk that were easily refuted, and refers to a point-by-point debunking of lies and/or idiocies. 

So we need a similar term for debunking the serial nonsense of the Obama Administration. Fortunately an obvious term comes to mind: “Harfing.”  After you know who.  Helps that it rhymes with a certain act of retching that is also symbolically accurate for the kind of nonsense Marie Harf (and the ironically named “Josh Earnest,” if that is his real name) peddle on a daily basis.  I mean really—who knew that “Allahu akbar” means “We want jobs!”  Glad we have Harf around to explain it to us.  So maybe we can get the headline—at least here on Power Line—”More Harfing from the White House Today.”  Almost as good as “More Mush from the Wimp.”

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The Top Ten Percent Pay More Than Their Fair Share

17th February 2015

Freeberg reminds us of some inconvenient truth.

These days you really have to live in a cave, or something, in order not to see it. The conflict isn’t between right-wingers and left-wingers arguing about how they should sit in the French Parliament relative to King Louis XVI. The argument is, and has been for awhile, about who should have a greater influence on the direction in which the country is taken: Those who believe next year should yield more bountiful rewards than this year did, or those who don’t believe in that and want everything “equal,” which really means, miserable.

I guess my counter-question would have to be something like: How can anyone pay attention these days, and not see all this?

And that is my question as well.

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Danish “Archer” Demonstrates Gullibility of Audience

17th February 2015

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There’s this video, which at least a dozen people have forwarded to me, is circulating the Internet at the moment purporting to “demolish every Hollywood myth” about archery and “prove that Hollywood archery is not historical.” Since apparently hundreds of sites have uncritically repeated its many preposterous and unsupportable claims, with the result that many people have asked me about it, I thought I should offer a detailed analysis.

The question really comes down to three separate categories; (1) the claims made in the narration; (2) the trick shots shown, and (3) Andersen’s actual archery ability.

I must admit I was impressed by Andersen.

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NomadHouse

16th February 2015

Check it out.

A network of houses around the world for nomads to live and work together

This seriously creeps me out.

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The 10 Most Badass Roman War Heroes

15th February 2015

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Sometimes the old ways are best.

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Is Teaching About Instruction? or Selection?

15th February 2015

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We propose a co-immunity theory of teaching, where attempts by a teacher to alter student neuronal structure to accommodate cultural ideas and practices is sort of a reverse to the function of the immune system, which exists to preserve the physical self, while teaching episodes are designed to alter the mental self.

An even more basic view is to look at ‘schooling’ as a means of sorting students by IQ — the farther you get, the higher your intelligence, so schooling credentials are a certification of intelligence more than a guarantee of specific knowledge.

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Quotation of the Day

15th February 2015

Italian cultural critic and semiotician Umberto Eco made the connection between the metaphors of religion and technology in a famous essay in which he described “a new underground religious war which is modifying the modern world.” Eco’s tongue-in-cheek metaphor goes like this: The Apple Macintosh computer is Catholic and Microsoft Windows/DOS is Protestant.

Macintosh is Catholic because it is -counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach–if not the kingdom of Heaven–the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. “Everyone has a right to salvation.”

The DOS machine is Protestant because “it allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.” His analysis also includes the improvements made by Microsoft to upgrade DOS to Windows. Eco notes, “Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, tur there is always the possibility of a retum to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions: When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to.”

— Brett T Robinson, Appletopia: Media Technology and the Religious Imagination of Steve Jobs

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‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams Illustrates Why ‘Goals Are for Losers and Passion Is Overrated

15th February 2015

Check it out.

I’m with Scott on this one. Every good thing that has ever happened to me is because of a system, not a goal.

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DailyDirt: Eat This, Don’t Eat That…

14th February 2015

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The American Heart Association and the US govt have been recommending low cholesterol, low saturated-fat diets for over 50 years. However, mounting evidence is removing foods high in cholesterol from the “bad” food lists — and maybe someday foods with saturated fat won’t be perceived as unhealthy either.

Think about that the next time some whiner drones on about how All Right-Thinking Scientists Agree About Global Warming.

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What Century Do You Belong In?

14th February 2015

Take the test.

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Wanted: A Better Shower Controller

14th February 2015

David Friedman speaks for all right-thinking people.

Taking a shower this morning I was struck, not for the first time, by how badly designed the mechanism for controlling the temperature is. Turn it a little to the right and the shower is uncomfortably hot. Turn it just a little back to the left and it is uncomfortably cold.
What is going on is pretty clear. The controller maps its position to the amount of hot water in the mix in a roughly linear fashion. All the way to the left is straight cold, all the way to the right is straight hot, any intermediate position is a proportional mix.
In practice, almost nobody wants a cold shower or, unless the temperature of the hot water is pretty low, a straight hot shower. What almost everyone wants is a mix within a fairly limited range—say from .6 hot to .8 hot—with the exact range varying both with the temperature of the hot and the cold water and the preferences of the person taking the shower.

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When Arts Die, They Turn Into Hobbies

13th February 2015

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Poetry in the twenty-first century is like pottery, woodworking, or the making of carrot carnations. Sophisticated verse was never a major art, and having lost even a small non-practitioner audience, it has lost its status as a minor art. At hobbyist conventions, celebrated practitioners of a craft address an audience made up of other practitioners of the craft, who will then go home and work at the art themselves. Poetry has more residual cultural prestige than carrot carnation making and other hobbies, but that is only because most of the poet-hobbyists are professors with MFAs, while there are no professors of table-setting.

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Modern Politics Explained

12th February 2015

Unshelved strip for 2/10/2015

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America Needs The Texas Economy To Keep On Rolling

12th February 2015

Joel Kotkin lays out some inconvenient truth.

It is unlikely that the American economy can sustain a healthy rate of growth without the kind of production-based strength that has powered Texas, as well as Ohio, North Dakota and Louisiana. De-industrializing states like California or New York may enjoy asset bubbles that benefit the wealthy and generate “knowledge workers” jobs for the well-educated (nationwide, professional and business services employment rose by 196,000 from October 2007 through October 2014), but they cannot do much to provide opportunities for the majority of the population.

By their nature, industries like manufacturing, energy, and housing have been primary creators of opportunities for the middle and working classes. Up until now, energy  has been a consistent job-gainer since the recession, adding  199,000 positions from October 2007 through October 2014, says Dan Hamilton, an economist at California Lutheran University. Manufacturing has not recovered all the jobs lost in the recession, but last year it added 170,000 new positions through October. Construction, another sector that was hard-hit in the recession, grew by 213,000 jobs last year through October. The recovery of these industries has been critical to reducing unemployment and bringing the first glimmer of hope to many, particularly in the long suffering Great Lakes.

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If You Were Curious …

12th February 2015

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, answers some frequently asked questions.

Someone—I think it was the late Larry Auster—said that there is no such thing as a right. There is a left, and it’s been pretty consistently the same across time and space, in all countries and at all times, at any rate since the French Revolution.

There is nothing that solid and consistent on the other side, only an anti-left with many factions, some of them wildly different from each other: libertarians, traditionalists, nationalists, Randian atheists, evangelical Christians …

My vague feeling is: sell libertarianism, buy nationalism. I’m not much of a stock-picker, though.

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Why We Worry About Islamist Violence and Not Progressive Atheist Violence

12th February 2015

Read it.

Guy looks like Leon the replicant from BladeRunner.

There is no doubt that the press calculates its interest in killers’ backgrounds in a peculiarly inconsistent manner. Had the shooter been a Christian, a Republican, and a member of the NRA, we would today be hearing about the evident rise in “right-wing hatred.” Had he been an admirer of any of the many personae non gratae on whom America’s civil strife is typically blamed, MSNBC would by now have written an opera, and Markos Moulitsas would have begun work on a second volume of his preposterous little book. But two wrongs do not make a right, and there really is no need for those who are vexed by this double standard to inflict it upon innocent people on the other side. Atheism is not to blame; the killer is. Progressivism is not to blame; the killer is. Hopefully, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye will sleep well tonight.

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Why Does This Detroit Man Have to Walk 21 Miles to Get Back and Forth from Work Everyday? Because the Government Runs the Buses.

11th February 2015

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The real cause of Robertson’s plight is more straightforward: The government does a terrible job of getting federal transit dollars to those who need them most, while at the same time constraining private initiatives that could make Detroit far more commutable without costing taxpayers a dime.

Robertson used to own a car, but after it broke down he didn’t replace it primarily because he couldn’t afford insurance. That’s no surprise, given that Detroit’s car insurance premiums are 165 percent the U.S. average, or the highest in the nation.

Why is basic liability coverage so costly? Michigan is the only state that doesn’t cap personal injury claims related to car accidents, and its no-fault insurance law means that drivers are responsible for their passengers’ medical costs whether they’re to blame for an accident or not.

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Quotation of the Day

11th February 2015

It remains impossible, as it was in the Eighteenth Century, to separate the democratic idea from the theory that there is a mystical merit, an esoteric and ineradicable rectitude, in the man at the bottom of the scale–that inferiority, by some strange magic, becomes a sort of superiority–nay, the superiority of superiorities. Everywhere on earth, save where the enlightenment of the modern age is confessedly in transient eclipse, the movement is toward the completer and even more enamored enfranchisement of the lower orders. Down there, one hears, lies a deep, illimitable reservoir of righteousness and wisdom, unpolluted by the corruption of privilege. What baffles statesmen is to be solved by the people instantly and by a sort of seraphic intuition. Their yearnings are pure; they alone are capable of a perfect patriotism; in them is the only hope of peace and happiness on this lugubrious ball. The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy!

— H. L. Mencken

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What I Learned in 40 Years of Doing Intelligence Analysis for US Foreign Policymakers

11th February 2015

Martin Peterson lets us take a peek behind the curtain.

I want to focus on three broad topics: understanding the customer, the importance of a service mentality, and the six things Ilearned in doing and studying intelligence analysis during my career in the DI. While these experiences are drawn from work in the CIA, I believe the principles apply across the Intelligence Community (IC).

For sufficiently expansive values of the term ‘community’. (I’m afraid I’m with Condor on this one.)

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Up in Arms

11th February 2015

Read it.

The battle lines of today’s debates over gun control, stand-your-ground laws, and other violence-related issues were drawn centuries ago by america’s early settlers.

The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Isles—and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain—each with its own religious, political, and ethnographic traits. For generations, these Euro-American cultures developed in isolation from one another, consolidating their cherished religious and political principles and fundamental values, and expanding across the eastern half of the continent in nearly exclusive settlement bands. Throughout the colonial period and the Early Republic, they saw themselves as competitors—for land, capital, and other settlers—and even as enemies, taking opposing sides in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way

Yet another cultural deconstruction of the country, much like The Nine Nations of North America, although this guy has eleven.

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Things You Can Do With a Cafeteria Tray

11th February 2015

Read it.

You’d be amazed.

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Most Americans Want a House in the Suburbs

10th February 2015

Read it.

Most Americans are happy with their commutes and would be willing to trade off even longer commutes in order to live in more desirable housing, according to a survey by YouGov. Moreover, the detailed results indicate that these preferences are almost as strong among 18-29 year olds as among older age classes. YouGov describes itself as a “market research and data company.”

The numbers suggest that anecdotes indicating that large numbers of Millennials want to use transit and live close to jobs aren’t supported by the facts. Among other things, the survey found that differences in commuting and other preferences between Democrats and Republicans are greater than between people in their 20s and people in their 50s.

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Time to Shoot Down Myths about the Crusades, the Inquisition & the War on Women

9th February 2015

Read it.

Most of what Obama and his ilk ‘know’ about the Crusades and the Inquisition ain’t so.

Were the Crusaders plunderers and butchers, distorting Christianity, as the popular view claims? No. Scholar Thomas F. Madden — historian of the Crusades and director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of St. Louis — has waged his own one-man crusade since 9/11 to debunk the popular myths about Catholic Church-sponsored “atrocities” of the 12th to 16th centuries.

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Tolerance

8th February 2015

Thomas at Politics & Prosperity has an excellent fisking of Bryan Caplan on the subect.

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