DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Thought for the Day

14th May 2017

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Flow of Refugees Slows to a Trickle

13th May 2017

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News reports indicate that illegal immigration has dropped sharply since President Trump’s inauguration, even though no progress has been made in building the wall. Similarly, it appears that the flow of refugees has declined, even though the president’s travel orders, including his reduced ceiling on refugee admissions, has been tied up in the courts by partisan judges.

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How a Basket on Wheels Revolutionized Grocery Shopping

13th May 2017

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Few inventions have so profoundly shaped consumer habits. With the exception of the automobile, the shopping cart is the most commonly used “vehicle” in the world: some 25 million grace grocery stores across the U.S. alone. It has played a major role in enriching the forces of capitalism, increasing our buying output, and transforming the nature of the supermarket — and for its role, it has been dubbed the “greatest development in the history of merchandising.”

Shopping carts, without which modern civilization would crumble.

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Source: The Trumps Have Selected Barron’s New School

12th May 2017

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Nope, the Trumps aren’t going with St. Albans or Sidwell Friends.

So he won’t have to write an essay apologizing for his White Privilege, as Chelsea Clinton is reported to have done.

They could always homeschool him; I’m sure they could get somebody at the White House for that.

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Wag the Dog

12th May 2017

Rush Limbaugh has a new theory, that whereas the DemLegHump Media were until recently the willing accomplices and lackeys of the Democrat party, now the situation is reversed — the DLH Media are calling the shots, and the Democrats are trailing along as spear-carriers.

He bases this on the fact that the Democrats have been losing non-Presidential elections so badly and so widely during Obama’s tenure to the point where they have no actual power outside of their political machines in the major metropolitan behavioral sinks.

Hence any power that the Left has these days is as a result of the control of public information at the hands of — wait for it — the DemLegHump Media. They are the people leading the ‘resistance’ to Trump and his program (if you can call it that), they are the ones constructing the ‘memes’ (which they hope will ‘go viral’), they are the ones composing the ‘talking points’ and determining what spin gets put on the stories that they deem worthy of reporting. In this view, Rachel Madow has more power than Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi.

It’s an attractive premise.

This gives added weight to Rush’s famous montages, where he will put together a series of short bites from TV news reports where the presenters each use nearly the exact same phrase over and over again on a certain day to pound home what they hope will be the public impression of something happening in Washington.

Keep an ear out for it.

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Thought for the Day

12th May 2017

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Maximum-Wage Legislation

12th May 2017

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, looks at wages.

Why is it that purported market imperfections are almost always the sort that allegedly justify government intervention against the perceived interests of employers or sellers?  If markets are imperfect, those imperfections should not be overwhelmingly biased against employees or consumers.  Sometimes – often, indeed – the imperfections should work in favor of employees and consumers.

Consider, for example, allegations of asymmetric information or other ‘imperfections’ that are said to create monopsony power in labor market.  These ‘imperfections’ are used by some economists to justify minimum-wage legislation, on the grounds that these ‘imperfections’ cause market-determined wages to be too low (that is, below the value of workers’ marginal products).

But if market imperfections exist with such regularity and certainty to justify government intervention, why  are these imperfections presumed always to work against workers?  Why don’t imperfections often lead to wages that are too high (that is, above the value of workers’ marginal products)?  I can think of no reasons why market imperfections are always or even usually biased against workers rather than in workers’ favor – especially today when unemployed workers are entitled to government handouts while most bankrupted employers (say, the restaurants that went belly-up because they paid their waiters and dishwashers too much) get no government relief.  And why presume that employers of low-skilled workers can monitor with sufficient clarity the performance of workers to ensure that workers are not shirking so chronically that employers are not overpaying their workers?  Perhaps – because of ‘asymmetric information’ – many employers can’t monitor workers so clearly.  Or perhaps employers are more poorly informed than are workers about pay and employment conditions elsewhere, thereby giving workers a bargaining advantage over employers.

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This Kit Could Help You Survive the First 24h After Society Collapses

11th May 2017

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A word to the wise….

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The Firing of James Comey: An Insider’s View

11th May 2017

Paul Rahe passes on what a former student told him.

I did not hear about the firing of James Comey until I read an email this morning — sent by a former student who, having worked for years at the Department of Justice, is now retired. Here is what he told me:

Based on a career spent working with the FBI as a Justice Dep’t lawyer, and on the reasons that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave in this memo, I believe firing James Comey as FBI Director was the right thing to do. A lot of folks would’ve cheered if DAG Sally Yates and President Barack Obama had done this last July or October – as perhaps they should’ve.

Yup.

Comey’s firing is just the latest shift in the balance between DOJ and the FBI. Just as our gov’t rests on civilian control of the military, our law enforcement agencies are subject to the prosecution decisions of local, state, and federal gov’t lawyers. All are in turn subject to the courts. And it is long-standing, written DOJ policy that the FBI does not decide who is (or is not) to be prosecuted. Nor is the Bureau to speak to the press about DOJ’s exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, unless authorized by DOJ. Comey repeatedly broke those rules, and has repeatedly refused to admit his mistakes.

Exactly so.

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Gay Activists Leave Venezuela Because People Are Too Starving to Care About LGBTQ Activism

10th May 2017

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Funny how descending into Third World status reveals how much of a First World problem trendy sexual confusion activism is.

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The Comey Firing

10th May 2017

Scott Adams brings the heat.

What do Bernie Sanders’ hair and CNN have in common today? They are both saying, “Comey” every time you look at them.

And that’s about as serious as this situation deserves.

President Trump’s official reason for the Comey firing has to do with a loss of confidence over his handling of the Clinton email investigation. The beauty of that official explanation (true or not) is that it is making heads explode with Democrats and the Opposition Media. How dare President Trump fire the person we publicly demanded he fire!

Indeed.

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Muscle Enzyme Explains Weight Gain in Middle Age

9th May 2017

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An NIH-led team recently discovered that the normal process of aging causes levels of an enzyme called DNA-PK to rise in animals as they approach middle age. While the enzyme is known for its role in DNA repair, their studies show it also slows down metabolism, making it more difficult to burn fat. To see if reducing DNA-PK levels might rev up the metabolism, the researchers turned to middle-aged mice. They found that a drug-like compound that blocked DNA-PK activity cut weight gain in the mice by a whopping 40 percent!

Where is FDR when you really need him? A few months in a Democrat internment camp will get rid of that spare tire.

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The Blinders are Still in Place

9th May 2017

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Publishing, not politics. Feel free to skip.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a line in the proverbial sand when it comes to how much I will pay for an e-book. It’s a line that I will very rarely cross. I’ll admit I will rarely even get close to the line. That price, for me, is $9.99. It used to be lower but I had to change that when Baen finally got into Amazon. I groused, like a lot of others, because that move meant Baen now charged more. However, there are several Baen authors I will pay that much for instead of waiting for the price to come down. But paying $15 for an e-book when the publisher won’t even admit I own the book? Nope, not gonna happen. I will wait for the price to come down or, if it doesn’t, I will borrow it from the library.

The problem is that doesn’t really hurt the publisher but it does hurt the author. I hate that part but there isn’t much more I can do to voice my displeasure — not that the Big 5 listen.

My local public library charges $2.50 for interlibrary loan, so that’s pretty much my limit on e-books.

I have about 3,0o0 PDFs on my 2TB library drive. Yeah, it’s not as convenient as Kindle, but my Kindle library has 1,141 books in it, so I’m good.

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Lena Dunham’s Weight Loss Tips Get Political: ‘Marching Your A** Off’

9th May 2017

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And she’s got a lot of ass to work on. I don’t think marching helps ugly, though.

I know for sure it can’t fix stupid.

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Thought for the Day

9th May 2017

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New Studies Suggest Everything We Thought We Knew About Salt Could Be Completely Wrong

9th May 2017

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But there’s a Consensus! Are you anti-Science?

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The True Meaning of the Hipster Beard, According to an Evolutionary Biologist

8th May 2017

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

A wise man once told me ‘Never trust a man who is too lazy to shave’ and I’ve never had any reason to doubt it.

Of course, this makes being an Orthodox Christian somewhat dicey, but hey, life is full of hardship.

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The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius

7th May 2017

Freeberg discusses how the Children of the Sixties are showing their age.

I very often use the term “this stuff we today call ‘liberalism’,” along with “liberalism as we know it today.” These are simply embellishments to phrasing, to make the meaning more precise when it seems like I have the luxury of doing so; the rest of the time I just call it “liberalism,” which is a betrayal against proper definition. After all, the luxury of precision may be gone for awhile, but one’s obligations as a writer remain. Now & then, to avoid flouting the far weightier obligation of not-boring-the-reader, one must use shorthand; one must hope the reader will “get it.” Liberalism is supposed to mean power to the people. It has classically meant free market capitalism, and civil liberties under rule of law. Hopefully, where I’ve failed some writing duties, I’ve succeeded in others, for here in the first paragraph even the casual reader can spot the problem. Liberalism, as we know it today, is most certainly not about these things.

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Scientists Reverse Ageing in Mammals and Predict Human Trials Within 10 Years

7th May 2017

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Using a new technique which takes adult cells back to their embryonic form, US researchers at the Salk Institute in California, showed it was possible to reverse ageing in mice, allowing the animals to not only look younger, but live for 30 per cent longer.

The technique involves stimulating four genes which are particularly active during development in the womb. It was also found to work to turn the clock back on human skin cells in the lab, making them look and behave younger.

Scientists hope to eventually create a drug which can mimic the effect of the found genes which could be taken to slow down, and even reverse the ageing process. They say it will take around 10 years to get to human trials.

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Preventing Hand Fatigue During Long Writing Sessions

7th May 2017

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Good advice. It took me years to get rid of the bad penmanship habits I picked up in elementary school.

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Syrian refugees in Canada Name Their baby Justin Trudeau

7th May 2017

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What? Not Barack Obama? That’s raaaaaaacist!

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North Korea Detains Second US Citizen In Two Weeks

7th May 2017

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By the phrasing of the headline you can tell that these are actually Koreans who are U.S. citizens only by an odd quirk of fate. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

What person of normal intelligence would go to North Korea? These are people from he shallow end of the gene pool, of whom we are well rid.

Think of it as evolution in action.

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What You Need to Know About Search and Seizure but Were Afraid to Ask

6th May 2017

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Democrats are people who believe that all your Stuff belongs to the government, of which on a good day when they are feeling mellow they will allow you to keep a portion.

The corollary of this is that occasionally they come to take some more of your Stuff (and you to jail if you object to it).

This is an introduction to what you might be able to do under those circumstances.

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Thought for the Day

6th May 2017

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Thought for the Day

6th May 2017

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Why Are There So Many 17th Century Paintings of Monkeys Getting Drunk?

4th May 2017

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Really, if you were a monkey in the 17th century, what would you do?

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Artist Builds Wooden Giants for ‘Sculpture Treasure Hunt’ Near Copenhagen

4th May 2017

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It must be nice not to have to work for a living.

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Situational Awareness

4th May 2017

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It’s not just for spec ops any more.

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Your Air Conditioning Habit Makes Summer Smog Worse

4th May 2017

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Ask me whether I give a shit.

‘Popular Science’ has decided to bag the Science and go all-in on the Popular.

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Pre-Bribing a President

3rd May 2017

Scott Adams shows you what’s behind the curtain.

Here’s how a pre-bribe works.

When a president leaves office, you offer the ex-president an enormous speaking fee. Let’s say $400,000. The ex-president does the speech and banks the money. The ex-president has no power at that point, so the speaking fee can’t be seen as a bribe because there is no quid pro quo.

But what about the president that is in office while this happens? Do you think the current president notices when the the prior president gets a $400,000 payday for an hour of work?

It would be hard to miss.

So let’s say the company that hired the ex-president asks for a meeting with the current president. Do you think the company gets that meeting? And do you think the current president bends over backwards to get them whatever they need?

He does if he wants a $400,000 payday after leaving office. That’s a pre-bribe.

Totally legal.

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Thought for the Day

3rd May 2017

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Apparently Slingshots Are Really Cool Now and Nobody Told Me

3rd May 2017

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Well, once adults riding bicycles became a thing, I suppose this was inevitable.

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Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

3rd May 2017

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It is if you’re hungry.

Most people have been perpetually reminded since childhood that breakfast is a must. But in recent years, nutritionists and scientists have called this crucial eating time into question. And despite a plethora of research, the scientific community still hasn’t come to a solid conclusion as to when the best time to eat your first meal of the day really is.

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Using Persuasion to Create Assets Out of Nothing

2nd May 2017

Scott Adams explains it all to you.

By holding out the possibility of meeting with Kim Jung-un, President Trump has conjured out of thin air a virtual “asset” that he can use for negotiating with North Korea. I’m sure the North Korean leader would like the international respect and recognition that such a meeting would confer. Best of all, Jung-un could use that future meeting as evidence for his citizens that he stared-down America and negotiated a great deal in which we remove some of our military assets while they end their nuclear weapons program. Or something like that.

The point is that President Trump created this “asset” out of nothing but persuasion. Now Kim Jung-un has something to gain, and something to lose. And that option simply didn’t exist a week ago.

Do you think this was a unique situation?

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Thought for the Day

2nd May 2017

Dems Then and Now

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Global Temperatures Plunge in April – “the Pause” Returns

1st May 2017

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AlGore must have held another fund-raiser.

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Thought for the Day

1st May 2017

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The Rise of the Artificially Intelligent Hedge Fund

1st May 2017

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According to Hodjat, the system grabs unused computer power from “millions” of computer processors inside data centers, Internet cafes, and computer gaming centers operated by various companies in Asia and elsewhere. Its software engine, meanwhile, is based on evolutionary computation—the same genetics-inspired technique that plays into Aidyia’s system.

In the simplest terms, this means it creates a large and random collection of digital stock traders and tests their performance on historical stock data. After picking the best performers, it then uses their “genes” to create a new set of superior traders. And the process repeats. Eventually, the system homes in on a digital trader that can successfully operate on its own. “Over thousands of generations, trillions and trillions of ‘beings’ compete and thrive or die,” Blondeau says, “and eventually, you get a population of smart traders you can actually deploy.”

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How an AI Algorithm Learned to Write Political Speeches

1st May 2017

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When it comes to political speeches, great ones are few and far between. But ordinary political speeches, those given in U.S. congressional floor debates, for example, are numerous.

They are also remarkably similar. These speeches tend to follow a standard format, repeat similar arguments, and even use the same phrases to indicate a particular political affiliation or opinion. It’s almost as if there is some kind of algorithm that determines their content.

That raises an interesting question. Is it possible for a machine to write these kinds of political speeches automatically?

Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Valentin Kassarnig at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has created an artificial intelligence machine that has learned how to write political speeches that are remarkably similar to real speeches.

I always suspected that Rachel Madow was a robot.

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The Gentiles Who Act Like Jews

1st May 2017

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They call themselves Righteous Noahides: non-Jews who believe in Orthodox Judaism. According to Jewish theology, there are laws that Jews must obey, the 613 mitzvot, but then there are seven laws for children of Noah—everyone else in the world. They are: Do not deny God; do not blaspheme; do not murder; do not engage in incest, adultery, pederasty, or bestiality; do not steal; do not eat of a live animal; and establish courts.

Noahidism now encompasses communities around the world, especially in Great Britain, the Philippines, Latin America, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States. According to Rabbi Michael Schulman, who runs Noahide website AskNoah.org, the Philippines may have the most developed community, with well over 1,000 adults and their children living in a collection of agricultural towns. They run Hebrew schools, community meetings, and even a national summit.

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The Man Who Invented Identity Politics for the New Right

1st May 2017

New York Magazine profile of Steve Sailer.

The Trump strategy looked an awful lot like the Sailer Strategy: the divisive but influential idea that the GOP could run up the electoral score by winning over working-class whites on issues like immigration, first proposed by the conservative writer Steve Sailer in 2000, and summarily rejected by establishment Republicans at the time.

The Narrative require the insertion of ‘divisive’ there, as if the Democrats haven’t been doing ‘divisive’ since the Sixties.

Now, 17 years and four presidential cycles later, Sailer, once made a pariah by mainstream conservatives, has quietly become one of the most influential thinkers on the American right.

Speaking Truth To Power will do that for you.

New York Magazine, of course, being a Voice of the Crust, doesn’t cite any of its sources, but Steve has filled in those lacunae in his piece here.

Steve always has something interesting to say, and it’s usually politically incorrect.

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Exclusive, ‘It Was An Invasion’: How Hungary Managed to Erase Illegal Immigration in Just a Few Months

30th April 2017

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Hint: Fences.

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Intelligence and Uncertainty

30th April 2017

Severian does a deep dive.

Measurable, easily observed differences in IQ, and their near-certain correlation with certain kinds of behavior, drive Lefties nuts, and it’s always fun to get science’s BFFs frothing at the mouth about how this one particular science doesn’t count (see also: Global Warming, basic economics, anything else that falls under “math is hard”).  But a lot of it isn’t, and so we see “our” smart guys being just as dumb as theirs.

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Thought for the Day: Reminder for the Dimwitted

30th April 2017

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Salt Life

30th April 2017

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Go ahead, salt it. You know you want to.

To figure out exactly where to get the seawater, Father Andrew tasted water from hundreds of different locations, tracking changes in flavor over time and temperature and season, all of which affect the mineral content of the ocean, he says. If there is a vein of copper or iron somewhere in the seabed floor, that will affect the flavor of the water around it. And that mineral-rich plume of water will move. It will meander. “And that’s part of the trick,” he says. Choosing the best water “requires tasting, trigonometry, and mostly patience.”

No, I have no idea what they mean by ‘Roman Orthodox Catholic monk’. I suspect that neither do they.

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Thought for the Day

30th April 2017

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Washington State’s Orchards See a Game-Changer in a Robot That Picks Apples

30th April 2017

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Back to Michoacan for you, Manuel.

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Dow’s Rally From Election to Trump’s First 100 Days Is a Postwar Record – MarketWatch

29th April 2017

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That Trump — what a failure. He ought to just go home and let Hillary take over the Obama legacy of destroying the economy and making everybody but the Crust poorer and poorer.

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No, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Not ‘Unexpectedly Timely’

29th April 2017

Megan McArdle isn’t buying it.

My quarrel is not with the politics of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” nor with its realism. Expecting plausibility from dystopian fiction is like expecting haute cuisine from a highway service area. Of the dystopian fiction I’ve read, only “1984” comes even remotely close to feeling real, and that’s because Orwell was working from two vivid contemporaneous examples, from which he lifted freely.

America hasn’t had a unified theocratic tradition since the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the descendants of those Puritans are now pouring their fervent moralism into buying Priuses and complaining about Trump. The closest modern equivalent, the statewide hegemony of the Latter-day Saints in Utah, doesn’t look very much like The Handmaid’s Tale, and hasn’t the faintest prayer of co-opting the rest of the nation’s fractured religious traditionalists, many of whom do not even consider the Mormons to be Christian. And even if some movement did, somehow, gather a Mormon-like critical mass, Trump is hardly likely to be its avatar; our most religious red state was also the one where Trump had the greatest trouble.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying implausibilities on a screen or page. But there is something very wrong with hysterically declaring that those things are reality. That risks confusion so we will not notice the real dystopia rising — or the rest of the world will be too tired of our cries to hear any warnings we shout.

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Resisting the Habits of the Algorithmic Mind

29th April 2017

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Algorithms, we are told, “rule our world.” They are ubiquitous. They lurk in the shadows, shaping our lives without our consent. They may revoke your driver’s license, determine whether you get your next job, or cause the stock market to crash. More worrisome still, they can also be the arbiters of lethal violence. No wonder one scholar has dubbed 2015 “the year we get creeped out by algorithms.” While some worry about the power of algorithms, other think we are in danger of overstating their significance or misunderstanding their nature. Some have even complained that we are treating algorithms like gods whose fickle, inscrutable wills control our destinies.

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