DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for November, 2009

Virtopsy: autopsy without the scalpel

25th November 2009

Read it.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

US use sea lions in terrorism fight

25th November 2009

Read it.

A great idea. I don’t know of any Muslim sea lions.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

The Muppets do Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody

25th November 2009

Read it. And watch the video.

Because there is nothing new under the sun … the best we can do is mash up good parts of the past.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

Obama’s “Christian” grandmother in Mecca for Hajj

25th November 2009

Read it.

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

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

The Climate-Change Scandal

25th November 2009

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, ponders the relationship between politics and science.

Does the political connection corrupt science? Yes it does, though in different ways in different areas of science. It has the biggest corrupting effect on the softest science — things like GW, where the data is indecisive enough (it seems to me) to be open to easy political manipulation. Politics also corrupts the human sciences, suppressing research in areas where it’s feared results will crash up against what Bill Buckley called “the prevailing structure of taboos”:  widespread entrenched beliefs and emotions — in psychometry, for example, or population genetics. It’s much less corrupting elsewhere. I doubt if planetary astronomers, or entomologists, or paleontologists, care much what politicians think or do, or what the regnant social fad tells people they should believe (or pretend to believe) if they wish to avoid losing caste.

Ideals matter, though, and this one is peculiar to science. You will never — I guarantee it! — hear an imam say: “Can we really be sure that Muhammed was the Messenger of God? Will new discoveries overthrow this idea and replace it with some other theology?” Nor will you ever hear a Marxist economist begin a sentence with: “If some day the Labor Theory of Value is replaced by a better theory, . . .”

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Christian extremists behead two Russian officials — no, wait…

25th November 2009

Read it.

Funny how, when these things happen, it’s always Muslims who do them. Guess the morally-equivalent-Christian-extremists are on vacation or something.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Anti-Roma wall through Slovak village provokes outcry

25th November 2009

Read it.

“It’s discrimination, the mayor should have used the money to build houses for us instead,” Kucharova, a 25-year-old Roma, said.

Note the preferred use of public money on the part of an alleged victim.

“The fence doesn’t prevent the Roma from coming to the village,” he said. “It just prevents them from entering private gardens and stealing. It wasn’t just petty theft, especially in autumn.

“People don’t grow vegetables in their gardens any more, there’s no use – everything gets stolen.”

Note that there was a time – presumably before the Roma arrived – when there wasn’t a theft problem. Now there is. How are public authorities supposed to handle that? This would seem a minimally-invasive action, to borrow a medical phrase.

“The children have been stealing apples from the gardens but what can we do – they are just children,” admitted the 21-year-old Roma mother of one.

Do other, non-Roma children have the same problem?

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Urban agriculture, the next cool thing

25th November 2009

Read it.

Can re-education camps be far behind?

Believe it or not, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, ground zero for New York hipsters, is crawling with youthful agrarians – that is, young people whose passion is farming and food. As one Brooklyn food journalist puts it, “Every person you pass has read Michael Pollan, every person has thought about joining a raw milk club, and if they haven’t made ricotta, they want to.”

Not that any of them want to move upstate and milk cows, oh no. The SWPL impulse always bottoms out before it reaches the stage of actually doing something.

Ponder now twenty-somethings are all passionate about stuff that their parents spent their twenties trying to get the government to over-regulate.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Silly Signs

25th November 2009

Check it out.

Some of which aren’t really all that silly, when you think about it. The first one, for example.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

The Myth of Hearts and Minds

25th November 2009

Read it.

Hearts and Minds is a wonderful name for a teen romance novel, but I’ve always thought it to be a poor name for a counterinsurgency concept. The idea of winning the hearts and minds of the population carries the connotation that there is somehow a magic formula that will turn the population from willing puppets of the insurgency into enthusiastic supporters of the national government. The reality is that the key to defeating an insurgency is in shaping the human terrain so that the host nation can conduct governance and economic development in conditions approaching normalcy.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

TV Presenter On Death Row For Witchcraft

25th November 2009

Read it.

Ali Sibat is not even a Saudi national. The Lebanese citizen was only visiting Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage when he was arrested in Medina last year.

Your future under Islam. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Man mauled after trying to have picnic with bear in Swiss zoo

25th November 2009

Darwin Award candidate.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off

Happy Thanksgiving

25th November 2009

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

–President George Washington, 3 October 1789

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | 1 Comment »

Angry Mob Play Set

25th November 2009

Read it.

Notice that they’re all white. I guess People Of Color™ don’t get involved in mobs. (Outside of major cities, that is.)

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

“Climategate” and the Social Validation of Knowledge

25th November 2009

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Recent evidence that prominent climate scientists have tried to intimidate academic journals into not publishing papers submitted by “climate change” skeptics have caused a major brouhaha in the ongoing political battle over global warming. At least some of the scientists in question certainly seem to have put ideology above the search for truth. The effort to keep skeptical articles out of academic journals also raises the issue of whether the academic “consensus” supporting global warming theory is genuine, or a product of systematic exclusion of dissenting voices.

Ponder the fact that the people who most loudly support the notion of Global Warming are also the people who most proudly claim to be part of a ‘reality-based community’. You can’t make this stuff up.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Western culture wasn’t always considered comical or contemptible.

25th November 2009

Read it.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Bioethicists Save Organ Donation by Tweaking the Definition of Death

25th November 2009

Read it.

Raise your hand if this bothers you.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Awesome By Proxy: Addicted to Fake Achievement

25th November 2009

Read it.

Say you take a person with a performance orientation (“Paul”) and a person with a mastery orientation (“Matt”). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved.

Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there’s still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

‘One of my favorite professors in college was a self-confessed liar.’

25th November 2009

Read it.

“Now I know some of you have already heard of me, but for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar, let me explain how I teach. Between today until the class right before finals, it is my intention to work into each of my lectures … one lie. Your job, as students, among other things, is to try and catch me in the Lie of the Day.”

Most law professors use the same trick, although inadvertently.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

WakeMate Helps You Kiss Groggy Mornings Goodbye

25th November 2009

Read it.

Being rousted out of bed for a couple of months by an E-7 with an affection for great noise early in the morning works pretty well, too, and doesn’t require batteries. Grogginess really isn’t an option.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Enviro-profs clash with Greenpeace advice

25th November 2009

Read it.

One interesting conclusion of the research is that “food miles” are a largely pointless measure. Far more important than the distance food has travelled before being eaten is the means of travel used.

This directly contradicts the advice offered by Greenpeace, for instance, which says “choose line-caught fish wherever possible”.

Ah, yes, the eternal conflict between science and religion.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Billionaire floats eco dream on sailing soda bottles

25th November 2009

Read it.

Whatever floats your boat….

Ponder the fact that most of the world’s fashionable wacky ideas are underwritten by people who inherited money from more productive ancestors. Perhaps massive inheritance taxes aren’t such a bad idea after all.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist

24th November 2009

Read it.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Malignant Turks refuse to play Israeli national anthem for Israeli chess tournament winner, who stands defiant

24th November 2009

Read it.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

The Incompatibility of Political Islam With Our Society

24th November 2009

Read it.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

The War on Success

24th November 2009

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The latest battle in the administration’s war against success is the shakedown on executive pay put forth by Obama’s pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg. The much anticipated move follows the bullying of the AIG producers, as well as the Chrysler and GM bondholders last spring. In the case of the upcoming pay cuts, salaries are expected to be slashed as much as 90 percent on average and total compensation will drop by about 50 percent, underscoring an enormous decrease in the amount that many executives will be receiving this year. In other words, the pay cuts will continue until performance improves.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Scholar: Christians Fighting More Than Iraqi State

24th November 2009

Read it.

Archbishop Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil, procurator of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate in Rome, presented this analysis at a press meeting organized at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

The prelate, 71, said that in Iraq’s social system, Christians have no supports to defend themselves, thus becoming easy victims of common criminals or terrorist groups.

He said their situation can be called a “religious persecution” caused by a social system that is inspired by a view of the Quran, according to which Islam and its followers must dominate and regard believers of other religions as citizens with fewer rights.

Islam requires that Muslims rule and that all others be ruled. Anyone who doesn’t understand that about Islam doesn’t understand Islam. Unfortunately, that appears to include a number of Muslims. Even more unfortunately, that appears to include an even greater number of supposedly intelligent government officials.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Hitachi Starboard FX-77GII Interactive Whiteboard

24th November 2009

This could be huge.

Imagine a professor walking a class through a discussion, then being able to download a slideshow of everything that went on at the board to a web site or even directly to students’ laptops at the end of class.

This is a great time to be alive.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

War Is the Health of the Taxman

24th November 2009

Read it.

The most irksome example of such a tax is the 3 percent levy Americans pay on telephone services, which they also paid on long-distance charges until 2006. That tax was a temporary emergency levy on the rich adopted in 1898 to pay for the Spanish-American War. At the time, a telephone was a very high-end item — something that only businesses and the wealthy might have. The Spanish-American War lasted four months (We won! Cuba libre!), but the tax is now into its second century. And the only reason it was partly repealed in 2006 is that Uncle Sam lost a lawsuit challenging its collection as illegal (on baroquely complicated technical grounds having to do with changes in the way long-distance bills are collected). In 2009, when people of very modest means own iPhones, nobody would think that the mere possession of an old Bakelite rotary landline set qualifies a family as belonging to the gentry, but many of the poorest Americans still pay this tax for the luxury of access to 911 services and the occasional chat with Grandma. Damn the Monroe Doctrine.

Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!’ And taxes aren’t far behind.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Solving Whose Problem?

24th November 2009

Thomas Sowell has some advice for those who haven’t been paying attention.

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

Many of the things the government does that may seem stupid are not stupid at all, from the standpoint of the elected officials or bureaucrats who do these things.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Another new oil formation in N.D.?

24th November 2009

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A crude-bearing cache known as the Birdbear, beneath North Dakota’s already booming oil patch, can be tapped using new technology that would expand horizontal drilling to parts of the state that have never seen it, geologists believe.

That whole ‘peak oil’ thing just keeps getting closer and closer, doesn’t it? Guess we’ll have to cut back or something.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

New analysis points to ancient Martian ocean, river valleys

24th November 2009

Read it.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Combat games disrespect war laws, report claims

24th November 2009

Read it.

A study of 20 titles, including many from the Call of Duty and Tom Clancy series, carried out by Pro Juvenile – an organisation which aims to protect kids from unlimited videogame violence – and Trial, which fights to prevent people who commit war crimes getting away with it, found that most of the games contained “elements that violate… international standards”.

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

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Why Sweden Hates America

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

ACORN Dumped Sensitive Documents as Probe Began, Private Investigator Says

23rd November 2009

Read it.

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

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Taqiyya: Why Iran can’t be trusted

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Mamoun Fandy doesn’t discuss the Koranic roots of taqiyya (3:28; 16:106), which make this something that is sometimes used by Sunnis as well as Shi’ites, and he seems to continue to be a bit naive about trusting Iran, but this is nevertheless an unusually full discussion of a concept that the mainstream media usually ignores or denies outright.

Say what you will about Christianity, it never encourages people to lie as Islam does.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

UC Tuition: The Revolt of the Will-Haves

23rd November 2009

Read it.

The children of the bureaucracy — and those who aspire to join them — are pissed that they can’t make the common people pay for their education.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Couple arrested over ‘theft’ for refusing to tip in restaurant

23rd November 2009

Read it.

I thought that rude staff were the hallmark of a first-class restaurant?

A spokesman for the Lehigh Pub said the restaurant menu makes it clear parties of six or more have a mandatory 18 per cent gratuity.

Uh, guys, if it’s mandatory, it’s not a gratuity, it’s a service surcharge. I’d love to be the lawyer on this one.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Rhodes Scholars and the Business World

23rd November 2009

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On the weekend that next year’s Rhodes Scholars are announced, Elliot Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust and executive vice president of the Aspen Institute, writes in the Washington Post that he is greatly disappointed that a few Rhodes Scholars have gone into business.

Well, I mean, really, trade is just so inexpressibly vulgar, you know.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Moneychangers in the temple: Islam as a parody of Judaism

23rd November 2009

Hajj guiding: an ancient family business

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Soft Despotism with Paul Rahe

23rd November 2009

Watch it.

I knew Paul slightly when he was a graduate student at Yale and I was an undergraduate — we hung out with the same people, the ‘ancient history/classics table’ in Silliman — and he is what my wife characterizes as ‘scary smart’. This series will be well worth savoring.

Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge series is always fascinating, and I highly recommend that you bookmark it and check it every week.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

The Battle of Presidio

23rd November 2009

Read it.

The Obama administration says the answer to that question, or at least part of the answer, is the Chihuahuan Desert. Send illegals across the border at San Diego, immigration authorities have argued, and they’ll just hit a couple of happy hours in Tijuana before coming right back across to the United States. But get them on the other side of a vast and inhospitable desert, and the heat and the cactuses and the coachwhip snakes will do what the U.S. Border Patrol cannot: Keep Mexicans in Mexico.

It’s a great theory, with one glaring flaw: It assumes that the Mexican authorities are going to transport deportees across the desert and back to their hometowns in the interior. Mexico is not going to do that. Mexico is a corrupt and oligarchic backwater, and illegal immigration is its main anti-poverty program. Anybody who has even a passing familiarity with the Mexican federal law-enforcement authorities knows better than to expect them to behave responsibly. And it’s not just negligence — Mexico actively encourages its poorest citizens to break north and send remittances (about $25 billion last year) south. Mexico exports its poor to the United States because it’s a lot cheaper than trying to care for them itself and, while the Mexican government has a woefully inadequate infrastructure for providing basic social services, it has a pretty good infrastructure, both formal and informal, for shunting its unwanted poor into the United States. It even issues its own identification card to illegals, the matricula consular, which is accepted as valid ID by some U.S. government agencies. The idea that deportees are going to get out of those Wackenhut buses convoying them down to Presidio and be taken inland by some putative El Wackenhut is preposterous.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

William Shakespeare’s plays were written by Earl of Oxford, claims German scholar

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Of course, nobody will believe it, because Oxford was the product of an ancient noble family while Shakespeare came out of nowhere and went straight back. The latter fits the modern egalitarian narrative better.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Cultural Genocide Against Christians

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Look at the Muslim areas of the Middle East. The vast majority of that was once Christian, and is now Muslim through aggressive war (‘jihad’). Everything but Islam is being suppressed there. And that’s what they have in mind for the rest of the world. Just in case you need reminding.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Obama adminstration appoints Muslims to key Homeland Security posts — but… they’re “moderates,” aren’t they?

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Sure. And if you believe that one, they’ll tell you another one.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Taliban attempt to erase Pakistan’s Buddhist heritage

23rd November 2009

Read it.

Cultural genocide is a consequence of jihadist warfare, as the supremacist impulse to impose Islamic law cannot tolerate any competition, especially from the non-Islamic past, or time of jahiliyyah. Ensuring submission requires extinguishing a populace’s attachment to — or curiosity about — its prior existence, unless it can be subsumed in a narrative leading inevitably to Islam.

As in any totalitarian system, the Memory Hole is prominent in the Islamic tool-kit.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Obama versus Bob the Builder

23rd November 2009

An Informative Chart.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Who Created Major Hasan?

23rd November 2009

Robert Wright, in the New York Times, seems to think that, as Mick Jagger was fond of singing, ‘Well, after all/it was you and me.’ This has been a beloved meme of the Blame America First crowd since the sixties. (Funny, you’d think that, if this country sucked as bad as all that, they’d go somewhere else. Sweden, say.)

One reason killing terrorists can spread terrorism is that various technologies — notably the Internet and increasingly pervasive video — help emotionally powerful messages reach receptive audiences. When American wars kill lots of Muslims, inevitably including some civilians, incendiary images magically find their way to the people who will be most inflamed by them.

By this logic, leaving them alone would reduce terrorism. This is an idea so absurd that only an intellectual could believe it, to use Orwell’s phrase. What the left can’t see, because it would undercut their entire worldview, is that Islam is founded and predicated on terrorism against non-Muslims; it’s not just Methodism with prayer-rugs. The left cannot admit that it is possible for people to exist who don’t just want to get along. This is their blind-spot with respect to communism, and this is their blind-spot with respect to Islam. ‘None so blind as they who will not see.’

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

Civilian trials set back the war on terror

23rd November 2009

Andy McCarthy points out the dangers.

The prosecution team I led in 1995 convicted the notorious Blind Sheikh and 11 others for conspiring to wage a terrorist war that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and attempting (unsuccessfully) to attack New York City landmarks. Consequently, some observers seem puzzled that I’m a vocal critic of civilian trials for our terrorist enemies. But they are confusing litigation success with national-security success. So is the Obama administration in deciding to transfer Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 plotters to federal court in Manhattan.

Now, our enemies will be given a full-blown civilian trial with all the rights of the American citizens they are sworn to kill. They will get a year or more to sift through our national defense secrets. They will have wide latitude to turn the case into a trial of the Bush administration – publicizing information about anti-terrorism tactics that leftist lawyers will exploit in their quest for war crimes prosecutions in foreign courts against current and former U.S. officials.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Barack Obama: the politics of hypocrisy and cynicism

23rd November 2009

Read it.

It’s getting pretty bad when even the British notice.

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