DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for June, 2013

Swedish Eco-Tourism Graduate Wonders Why She Is Unemployed

30th June 2013

Read it.

Hey, me too.

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | 1 Comment »

The Grocery Store of the Future

30th June 2013

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Agropolis is a marvel of a grocery store. Blushing tomatoes and crunchy emerald-hued cucumbers grow hydroponically in-store, and customers simply pluck what they desire right off the plant. Crisp butter lettuces mature in aeroponic setups suspended in air, without soil, fed only by mist and fertilizer. Aquaculture tanks filled with live tilapia feed nutrients back into the system.

The only problem with this wondrous market? Agropolis doesn’t actually exist. Rather, it’s a prototype presented by a group of researchers last year at NEXT: Nordic Exceptional Trendshop, a futurist conference and exhibition in Denmark. As Rand Hindi, one of the project’s creators, explains, “Agropolis offers a unique experience where consumers can pick their own food fresh out of the growing medium. It couldn’t be any fresher.” And as anyone who has shopped at a local grocery store knows, finding excellent produce is no easy task. Even during peak summer months at first-rate supermarkets like Whole Foods, the selection is often disappointing. Why is this, and what’s to be done?

Posted in News You Can Use. | 2 Comments »

What 70 IQ looks like

30th June 2013

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     One thing that’s remarkable about the testimony of Rachel Jeantel is that it puts on display a black whom one would simply never see under the standard media unspoken rules. Any depiction of a black who came across as so deeply ignorant, frankly stupid, transparently hostile, and flagrantly dishonest would be met with accusations of racism because it is so unflattering. One sees such blacks turning up in youtube videos of course, but I’m not sure I’ve seen any such in the media, even in news reports of crimes, which, I’m sure, are likewise sanitized for public view.

Of course not. It wouldn’t fit The Narrative.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on What 70 IQ looks like

African Diplomat Used Slave on U.S. Soil for Years

30th June 2013

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The diplomat had reportedly been operating at high levels of government. Alan Mzengi was found to be liable for a $1 million civil judgement for forcing a young woman to live and work against her will as a domestic servant on U.S. soil. The judgement came in 2008 after the woman escaped from four years of slavery. She had been kept against her will by the diplomat and forced to be a domestic servant for no pay.

The diplomat fled back to Tanzania in order to avoid consequences for forcibly enslaving the African woman. The Tanzanian president then allowed the slave “owner” to function as an advisor and suffer no legal consequence at home, according to the Washington Post.

Which won’t affect the next fulmination by the Congressional Black Caucus concerning all those Southern Racists Who Would Have Slavery Back In A Second If They Could.

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | Comments Off on African Diplomat Used Slave on U.S. Soil for Years

Affirmative Action: Who Does it Help, Who Does it Hurt?

30th June 2013

Megan McArdle actually looks at the data.

One of the oddest facts about college admissions is that everyone seems to be aware that colleges have imposed restrictive admissions quotas to keep Asians underrepresented in their student bodies, akin to the “Jewish quotas” which used to exist at Ivy League schools until the 1950s.  But no one seems particularly bothered about systemic, institutionalized racial discrimination against a large group of Americans.  I’m not even aware of any concerted effort by Asian community groups to shame universities into stopping this.

That’s because Asians are hard workers who just get on with business, not a bunch of whiners. Fashionable minorities take note.

The best argument against affirmative action is presented in Mismatch, by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor.  The subtitle says it all:  How Affirmative Action Hurts Students Its Intended to Help and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.   Their argument goes something like this:  the pool of black and hispanic applicants to college is substantially smaller than the representation of those groups in the population, and since they are more likely to come from inadequate high schools, they come into college, on average, with lower test scores and preparation than the average white college applicant.  Racial preferences are used to pull the representation towards (but not up to) the population share of these two groups.  (There are other preferences for pacific islanders and Native Americans, but the small size of these populations makes these preferences fairly uncontroversial, and also, hard to study).

The problem with the ‘civil rights’ movement in this country is that it’s run by people to whom not getting into Harvard is like not getting to go to college at all.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Affirmative Action: Who Does it Help, Who Does it Hurt?

Mark Zuckerberg Leads 700 Facebook Employees in SF Gay Pride

30th June 2013

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Yet another reason to avoid Facebook, a leading indicator of the degeneration of our times.

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Global Warming Caused by CFCs, Not Carbon Dioxide, Researcher Claims in Controversial Study

30th June 2013

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This guys is obviously unaware that There Is A Consensus. He’d better get with the program.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Global Warming Caused by CFCs, Not Carbon Dioxide, Researcher Claims in Controversial Study

Quote of the Day

30th June 2013

‘The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind.’ — Thomas Paine , Common Sense

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Quote of the Day

3D-Printed ‘Cortex’ Cast Concept Puts a Modern Spin on Bone Fracture Treatment

30th June 2013

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To anyone that’s ever broken a bone, the negatives of traditional plaster casts are familiar: they’re cumbersome, heavy, and can get rather smelly. Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill is looking to change all that with his Cortex cast. A mere concept for now, Evill says the cast — which is specifically fitted to each wearer based on X-rays of the fractured bone and a 3D scan of its surrounding limb — introduces many benefits. First and foremost, you’d be able to wear a longsleeve shirt over the lightweight, ventilated nylon cast. The open design is also shower-friendly, unlike bulky plaster casts.

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

30th June 2013

Down Under

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The Fallacy of Human Freedom

29th June 2013

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“The overthrow of the ancien régime in France, the Tsars in Russia, the Shah of Iran, Saddam in Iraq and Mubarak in Egypt may have produced benefits for many people,” writes Gray, “but increased freedom was not among them. Mass killing, attacks on minorities, torture on a larger scale, another kind of tyranny, often more cruel than the one that was overthrown—these have been the results. To think of humans as freedom-loving, you must be ready to view nearly all of history as a mistake.”

This sort of realism is ‘progressives’ deny, and why they keep getting the rest of us into scrapes, like Bullwinkle having another go at the hat — ‘This time for sure!’

Such thinking puts Gray severely at odds with the predominant sentiment of modern Western man—indeed, essentially with the foundation of Western thought since at least the French Encyclopedists of the mid-eighteenth century, who paved the way for the transformation of France between 1715 and 1789. These romantics—Diderot, Baron d’Holbach, Helvétius and Voltaire, among others—harbored ultimate confidence that reason would triumph over prejudice, that knowledge would prevail over ignorance, that “progress” would lift mankind to ever-higher levels of consciousness and purity. In short, they foresaw an ongoing transformation of human nature for the good.

And they were wrong–with results as you see them: 12 million dead from Hitler, 20 million from Lenin and Stalin, 30 million from Mao … and that doesn’t include the small fry like Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Ruhollah Khomeini, and Saddam Hussein.

The noted British historian J. B. Bury (1861–1927) captured the power of this intellectual development when he wrote, “This doctrine of the possibility of indefinitely moulding the characters of men by laws and institutions . . . laid a foundation on which the theory of the perfectibility of humanity could be raised. It marked, therefore, an important stage in the development of the doctrine of Progress.”

And we’ve all been suffering since.

We must pause here over this doctrine of progress. It may be the most powerful idea ever conceived in Western thought—emphasizing Western thought because the idea has had little resonance in other cultures or civilizations. It is the thesis that mankind has advanced slowly but inexorably over the centuries from a state of cultural backwardness, blindness and folly to ever more elevated stages of enlightenment and civilization—and that this human progression will continue indefinitely into the future. “No single idea,” wrote the American intellectual Robert Nisbet in 1980, “has been more important than, perhaps as important as, the idea of progress in Western civilization.” The U.S. historian Charles A. Beard once wrote that the emergence of the progress idea constituted “a discovery as important as the human mind has ever made, with implications for mankind that almost transcend imagination.” And Bury, who wrote a book on the subject, called it “the great transforming conception, which enables history to define her scope.”

This is the great intellectual STD from which all of modern society now suffers.

Gray rejects it utterly. In doing so, he rejects all of modern liberal humanism. “The evidence of science and history,” he writes, “is that humans are only ever partly and intermittently rational, but for modern humanists the solution is simple: human beings must in future be more reasonable. These enthusiasts for reason have not noticed that the idea that humans may one day be more rational requires a greater leap of faith than anything in religion.” In an earlier work, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, he was more blunt: “Outside of science, progress is simply a myth.”

I like him already.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on The Fallacy of Human Freedom

15-Year-Old Girl Invents Flashlight Powered by the Heat of Your Hand

29th June 2013

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A 15-year-old high school junior from Victoria, British Columbia, Ann Makosinski, created a hollow flashlight powered by the holder’s body heat for the Google Science Fair. The invention made her one of 15 finalists, who will travel to Mountain View, California for a prize ceremony held this coming September. Google will choose one winner each out of three age groups, then from that will decide on the final winner, who will receive a grand prize of $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

 

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Economics Is a Lost Field

29th June 2013

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 Economists are divided on both fiscal and monetary policy, the most important economic issues of the day. The divide is on the direction of policy, not on some detail. A field cannot be more lost than to be clueless on its most important issues. This is the equivalent of Lewis and Clark disagreeing on whether they are going to the Mississippi or the Pacific. When you don’t know east from west, you are lost.

The problem with the field of economics, as currently manifested, is that it is entangled with politics, and that makes it messy. Things would be far more straightforward if they reverted to the old name of ‘political economy’ and made that connection more explicit.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Economics Is a Lost Field

Endgame Syria

29th June 2013

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Endgame Syria is a free interactive exploration of events unfolding in Syria today. Rejected by Apple’s App Store but now on PC, Endgame:Syria is a newsgame; a simulation that uses interactivity to explore a real world event. The original version was developed in around two weeks, this updated version allows users to explore the options open to the Syrian rebels as they push the ongoing conflict to its endgame. Each choice the user makes has consequences – the types of military units you may deploy, the political paths you choose to tread. Not only does each choice impact the current situation but your choices may also impact the final outcome. Users can play and replay events to see how different choices on the ground might lead to different outcomes. There is more info, links and sources data on the game’s site. Will you choose to accept peace at any cost? Can you win the war and the peace that follows? Find out in Endgame Syria.[emphasis added]

Oh, guess what, Political Correctness isn’t just a government problem. Every Hollywood movie that attempts to deal with terrorism can’t have Muslim jihadists as the villains, because it would ignite a political firestorm even if the ‘progressives’ in charge of the movie business could bring themselves to do it; and now game developers can’t deal with controversial subjects in Apple-platform games because the New Age metrosexuals in charge in Cupertino won’t allow it.

Rawlings previously produced strategy title Endgame: Syria that used game mechanics to explore that nation’s civil war. Endgame: Syria drew some criticism for using real-life current events in a game, and Apple blocked its release on the iOS App Store. The studio was able to get it back on the App Store after removing the references to real places and governments. Rawlings feels that this is an unfair double standard.

No shit. I remember the halcyon days when I was a Lifetime Subscriber to Strategy & Tactics magazine, where it seemed as if every issue had a new game that focused on a tense situation ‘ripped from the headlines’. But that was The Good Old Days, and Jim Dunnigan buckled under to nobody.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Endgame Syria

Inventing the Working Class

29th June 2013

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What would The Working Class be without Karl Marx? Not much, apparently.

Karl Marx, writes Jonathan Sperber in this splendid new biography, was “a true and loyal friend, but a vehement and hateful enemy”. To be in his small circle was to feel part of something historic, but also to be exposed to constant critical scrutiny. Once he feared for his political reputation, Marx let no politesse hold him back.

Sounds a lot like Ayn Rand.

It’s certainly true that Marx needs to be understood in his nineteenth century context. It is also true that, as an intellectual, he must be rooted in the canon of political thought his century inherited. As Sperber neatly puts it, Marx’s “communist aspirations” derived from “ideas about abolishing distinctions between individuals and civil society”. These ideas were far from novel.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Inventing the Working Class

USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

29th June 2013

Baltimore Pit Beef.

Fracture: Glass Photos

Whisk: Home Cooking Made Easy

Squatty Potty. I am not making this up.

NeverWet

RiffUp

SmartHeadlight

9 surprising foods that fight pain

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

The Abolition of Racial and Ethnic Preferences

29th June 2013

Steve Sailer sums up.

It’s bizarre that immigrant groups—who chose to come to America, warts and all—are recipients of affirmative action. Indeed, it’s so inexplicable that virtually nobody attempts to explicate it. Even more strangely, opponents of ethnic preferences have largely failed to attack this indefensible salient. (Likewise, the quotas angle goes almost unmentioned in the immigration “debate” such as it is.)

The more cunning colleges have figured out that the solution to their “black lack” is to give affirmative action to “African Americans” who aren’t very black and/or aren’t very American. (Barack Obama is the very model of the modern affirmative-action admittee.) In 2004, black Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier estimated that only one-third of black Harvard undergraduates were (like Michelle Obama) descended from American slaves through all four grandparents.

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | Comments Off on The Abolition of Racial and Ethnic Preferences

Birdwatchers Flock to See Rare Bird, Then Watch It Killed by Wind Turbine

29th June 2013

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Hows that ‘eco-friendly’ wind power scheme working out for you guys?

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The Future of Solar and Wind Powered Shipping

28th June 2013

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People like to build solar whatnots, even if they don’t make much practical sense. Solar cars. Solar planes. This week I stepped aboard the world’s largest solar-powered ship, a 100-metric-ton catamaran that, last year, motored around the world without using any fuel. Now it’s being used for a scientific expedition—the fact that it doesn’t emit exhaust gases makes it good for collecting data about the ocean and atmosphere.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on The Future of Solar and Wind Powered Shipping

‘Lawyers Said Bush Couldn’t Spy on Americans. He Did It Anyway.’

28th June 2013

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So he actually is a Democrat after all. Somehow I always suspected as much.

Most of the damage to the Republican party is from RINOs like Bush. (Bloomberg, are you listenin’?)

Of course, the reason they’re wringing their hands of this NOW is because they’re trying to distract from the tyrannous activities of The Magic Negro. Who knows? It might even work.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on ‘Lawyers Said Bush Couldn’t Spy on Americans. He Did It Anyway.’

Ice Mass the Size of Greenland Overlooked in Climate Models

28th June 2013

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But there’s a consensus!

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Ice Mass the Size of Greenland Overlooked in Climate Models

Metrosexual Angst: ‘You Just Broke Your Child. Congratulations.’

28th June 2013

Read it.

I am not making this up.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

ISLAMOCOPIA FRIDAY

28th June 2013

Nigeria: Muslims murder two Christians and destroy churches in four villages

Attacks on media reported at Islamist “no violence” rally

11 foreign tourists shot dead in Pakistan, police say

Muslim hate preacher calls for jihad in Syria, then heads for London vacation

Spain arrests eight Muslims recruiting jihadists for Syria

Pennsylvania: Muslim threatens to kill his mother because she served him pork

Ottawa Muslims Call for Sharia-Based Restrictions on Freedom of Speech

Gang Rape in Broad Daylight in Bergen

Pakistan: Taliban kidnap teenage boy who converted from Islam to Christianity

Canada: Progressive Muslims group rallies against jihad terrorism, draws 24 people

German mosques raising money for jihad terror group Hizballah

Islamic jihadists in Gaza fire six rockets into Israel

Egypt: Muslim mob of 3,000 led by clerics torches Shia homes, murders four Shias

France: Six Muslims arrested for “planning to commit terrorist acts targeting well-known figures”

Syrian rebel commander: “Islam must be the single source of authority of the state”

Iraq: Sunni Muslims explode 10 car bombs, killing 39 on eve of Shi’ite celebration

German police foil Muslim jihad plot to use remote controlled aircraft filled with explosives as guided missiles

Iraq: Islamic jihadists open fire on church in Baghdad, wounding two

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on ISLAMOCOPIA FRIDAY

What’s Really ‘Immoral’ About Student Loans

28th June 2013

Instapundit blows the whistle.

In the student-loan world, there’s immorality to spare—not in the still historically low interest rates, but in the principal of the thing. Student debt, which recently surpassed the trillion-dollar level in the U.S., is now a major burden on graduates, a burden that is often not offset by increased earnings from a college degree in say, race and gender issues, rather than engineering.

Now here’s where the real immorality kicks in. The skyrocketing cost of a college education is a classic unintended consequence of government intervention. Colleges have responded to the availability of easy federal money by doing what subsidized industries generally do: Raising prices to capture the subsidy. Sold as a tool to help students cope with rising college costs, student loans have instead been a major contributor to the problem.

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Untouched Treasure, Remains From Ancient South American Empire Discovered

28th June 2013

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Archaeologists uncovered a 1,200-year-old “temple of the dead” burial chamber filled with precious gold and silver artifacts and the remains of 63 individuals in Peru.

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First World Silly: Memorial to Honor 50,000 Bumble Bees That Died in Oregon Parking Lot

28th June 2013

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Next: Funerals for anchovies. ‘Their deaths were so pointless, because nobody every orders anchovies….’

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off on First World Silly: Memorial to Honor 50,000 Bumble Bees That Died in Oregon Parking Lot

Parents of Missing College Student Lauren Spierer Sue 3 Men Last Seen With Her

28th June 2013

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Proof? We don’t need no stinking proof.

Consider: Were the student male, and the erstwhile companions female, would this suit have been brought? Of course not.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Parents of Missing College Student Lauren Spierer Sue 3 Men Last Seen With Her

UK May Approve Creating Babies With DNA From 3 People

28th June 2013

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The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on to their babies defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation. About one in 200 children is born every year in Britain with a mitochondrial disorder.

For a woman with faulty mitochondria, scientists take only the healthy genetic material from her egg or embryo. They then transfer that into a donor egg or embryo that still has its healthy mitochondria but has had the rest of its key DNA removed. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on UK May Approve Creating Babies With DNA From 3 People

Meet the Slimy, Gelatinous Sea Creature That Could Someday Produce Biofuel

27th June 2013

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Yellowish tubes that feed on microorganisms, tunicates are the only animal known to produce cellulose. Cellulose breaks down into sugars that can produce bioethanol. Tunicate are also 60 percent protein when dried and a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, making them a sought-after addition to salmon feed. They can produce 100 times more protein per 10 square feet than any land-based protein source.

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How Wireless Medical Implants Will Change Medicine

27th June 2013

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In the future, patients and doctors will monitor health with data collected constantly inside the body and beamed directly to their mobile device or computer.

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Nonexistent Frogs and Endangered Private Property Rights

27th June 2013

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St. Tammany Parish, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, is one of the highest-growth parishes (counties) in Louisiana. The Poitevent family is the largest landowner in the parish.

As it turns out, 1,500 acres of the family holdings are considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be critical habitat for an endangered species: the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa), a/k/a the Mississippi gopher frog, declared endangered in 2001. The Poitevents are suing the feds to prevent their land from being permanently ruled off-limits for development. Today a federal judge allowed the Center for Biological Diversity and the Gulf Restoration Network, two private environmental groups, to join in the suit.

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Yes, You Will Be Made to Care

27th June 2013

Erick Erickson blows the whistle.

You will be made to care about gay marriage. You may think it does not affect you or will not affect you or you can support it and leave well enough alone, but you cannot. The secular left and aggressive gay rights activists will not allow you to.

You must either fully embrace it or be shunned. You may think it does not affect your marriage, your life, or anything else, but you will be made to care — you will not be allowed to accept that others can disagree on the issue due to their orthodox faith. The slow march toward the destruction of the marital institution now picks up pace with Anthony Kennedy’s decision in Windsor. What is, at its heart, a tax case, became a vehicle for Kennedy to declare malicious intent on the preservation of marriage.

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Elderly Japanese Man Sues Public TV Network for Overusing English

27th June 2013

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To a surprising degree, the Japanese language is littered with foreign loan words, many of them English. Terms ranging from “internet” to the quotidian “rice,” and everything in between, get shoehorned into the native syllabary, turning “compliance” into the tongue-twisting “conpuraiansu.” Many, including the country’s Ministry of Education, have recognized the increase in foreign vernacular as a problem, but one 71-year-old man from Gifu Prefecture has had enough. He’s suing the national broadcaster NHK for “undue mental distress” because he can’t understand what people are saying on TV.

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Biblical History Comes Alive With New Augmented Reality App Architip

27th June 2013

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No matter what you’re thinking, there’s an app for that.

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Joss Whedon, Jerk, Proves Clarence Thomas Right

26th June 2013

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Former Roseanne writer Joss Whedon is very upset with Clarence Thomas for his failure to support affirmative action:

Clarence Thomas is against affirmative action. There isn’t a hashtag big enough to contain the irony.

Let me unpack this for you: Joss Whedon, a wealthy white liberal, thinks it’s ironic that Clarence Thomas, a black conservative who is the grandson of a sharecropper and grew up in the Jim Crow south yet managed to work his way to the nation’s highest court, isn’t grateful for the handouts that Joss and his ilk have given him. Doesn’t that uppity idiot realize that he only serves at the pleasure of those, like Mistuh Whedon, who deigned to give him a helping hand? Surely he doesn’t think he earned that spot on the Supreme Court. He couldn’t be that clueless, could he?

In a supreme bit of irony, Whedon managed to validate every single negative thing that Clarence Thomas has ever written about affirmative action. And he did it in fewer than 140 characters! Now that’s economy.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Joss Whedon, Jerk, Proves Clarence Thomas Right

Everything You Want to Know About Asteroid Mining

26th June 2013

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Have you given much thought to the vast amount of material out in space? It turns out there is plenty of amazing stuff in the hundreds of asteroids that pass near Earth every year, and one startup working on getting those materials back down planetside.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

700,000-Year-Old Horse Genome Shatters Record for Sequencing of Ancient DNA

26th June 2013

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By piecing together the genetic information locked inside a frozen, fossilized bone, scientists have deciphered the complete genome of an extinct prehistoric horse that roamed the Yukon more than 700,000 years ago. The work rewrites the evolutionary history of the horse and smashes the previous record for the oldest complete genome ever sequenced. In doing so, it redefines how far back in time scientists can travel using DNA sequences as their guide.

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Minimally-Invasive Eye-Surgery on the Horizon as Magnetically-Guided Microbots Move Toward Clinical Trials

26th June 2013

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Unlike larger robots, microrobots for applications in the body are too small to carry batteries and motors. To address this challenge, we power and control robots made of magnetic materials using external magnetic fields. Developed at ETH Zurich’s  Multi-Scale Robotics Lab (MSRL), the OctoMag is a magnetic manipulation system that uses electromagnetic coils to wirelessly guide microrobots for ophthalmic surgery. The OctoMag is capable of generating magnetic forces and torques in three dimensions, and is physically restricted to a single hemisphere to allow easy access for patients and physicians. Using an early OctoMag prototype, ex-vivo experiments were performed in pig eyes to study the navigation tasks required for retinal surgery. Following these experiments, a next-generation system was built to accomodate a small animal head, allowing for in-vivo trials. With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a microrobot with a diameter of 285 µm (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbit, demonstrating the feasibility of using this technology in surgical applications.

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Here’s What Happens to Asylum-Seekers Who Stay in Airport Limbo Indefinitely

26th June 2013

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

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‘Make Gun Companies Pay Blood Money’

26th June 2013

More drivel from the New York Times.

 GUN manufacturers have gone to great lengths to avoid any moral responsibility or legal accountability for the social costs of gun violence — the deaths and injuries of innocent victims, families torn apart, public resources spent on gun-related crime and medical expenses incurred.

Similarly, socialists have gone to great lengths to avoid any moral responsibility or legal accountability for the social costs of their totalitarian beliefs — the deaths and injuries of innocent victims, families torn apart, public resources wasted on socialism-related crime and poverty incurred. Oh, wait — the authors are law professors. Well, that’s even worse than being socialist.

But there is a simple and direct way to make them accountable for the harm their products cause. For every gun sold, those who manufacture or import it should pay a tax. The money should then be used to create a compensation fund for innocent victims of gun violence.

Funny, I don’t see the criminals who actually use guns to commit crimes being brought under this rubric of ‘accountable for the harm these products cause’. I guess they were just holding the thing when it decided to go off by itself. Pesky things, those guns; you never know when they’re going to take it into their heads to shoot somebody.

This proposal is based on a fundamentally conservative principle — that those who cause injury should be made to “internalize” the cost of their activity by paying for it.

So you’re a fan of more prisons, stop-and-frisk programs, and mandatory minimum sentences for gun-related crimes? And the death penalty for people who use a gun to kill somebody else? (Somehow I don’t think so….)

Now, gun manufacturers and sellers are mostly protected from lawsuits by federal law.

Primarily to keep them from being subject to lawfare by people like, well, you two.

 As it happens, a model for this approach already exists. Under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, those injured by vaccines are eligible for compensation from a fund financed by an excise tax on the sale of every dose of vaccine. In creating this no-fault system in the 1980s, Congress sought to provide care for those injured by vaccines while protecting manufacturers from undue litigation.

No, Congress thought to stick it to the people with deep pockets when bad things happen to people who claim to have been injured by vaccines, without resort to those pesky formalities otherwise required by the law like having to prove that a certain manufacturer actually provided the vaccine that supposedly caused the injury, and indeed without resort to having to prove that the vaccine in question actually caused the injury in the first place. My torts professor used to deal with these cases on what he called Fuddlehead Friday, since he knew we were all just waiting for the weekend; perhaps understandably, most of these cases came from the California Supreme Court.

Guns, of course, are not essential for public health. But Congress has made painfully clear that it values the largely unfettered ownership of guns and their manufacture — despite the social costs of the violence that results when guns work as designed.

No, they’ve made it clear that they’ve actually read the Constitution — which, oddly enough, these ‘law professors’ appear to have dodged.

 Some of the victims of recent mass shootings — including the massacres at Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Conn., and Virginia Tech, as well as those who survived the 9/11 attack — have recently banded together to ask Congress to enact a National Compassion Fund, to make sure that charitable donations get to their victims rather than being swallowed up in administrative costs.

Oh, sure, passing the money through the Federal government is a sure cure for funds being eaten up in administrative costs. I really wonder what planet these people are from.

 Gun makers know that their products are lethal, and sometimes used illegally. They know that some of their dealers’ sales practices contribute to guns’ falling into criminal hands. They know that each year a significant number of innocent people will be killed or maimed by the use of guns. But quite often, the shooters themselves cannot be held fully or even partially accountable, financially, because they are unknown, destitute or dead.

So we’ll look under the lamp post because the light is better there. Sure, that makes perfect sense.

But why stop there?

Next up will be a tax on automobile manufacturers because of all the deaths and injuries caused by drunk drivers and illegal immigrants who can’t be bothered to carry insurance.

And how about all those uninsured people getting injured and killed? Hey, a tax on the insurance companies sounds like a lovely idea!

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | 1 Comment »

It’s the Fertility, Stupid

26th June 2013

Read it.

Sarah Palin can’t raise your taxes. She can’t send your children to war. Yet almost five years after her failed bid to occupy Number One Observatory Circle, Palin’s Pavlovian effect on rabid liberals (and not a few conservatives) is only slightly diminished.

I don’t quite understand this phenomenon….

Posted in Think about it. | 3 Comments »

U.S. Spends More, Gets Less in Education

26th June 2013

Read it.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent an average of $15,171 in 2010 on each student when college or vocational training was factored in—the highest in the world. The average for each elementary student was $11,000 per elementary student and more than $12,000 for each high school student. Switzerland spent $14,922 per student, Mexico averaged $2,993, and the average OECD nation spent $9,313.

The survey showed that brand-new and experienced teachers in the United States had higher salaries than most of their foreign equivalents. As a percentage of the economy, U.S. spending on education was higher than the average; the U.S. spent 7.3 percent of its economy while the average was 6.3 percent.

But all of the money spent does not guarantee success; U.S. fourth-graders ranked 11th in the world in math in 2011; U.S. eighth-graders ranked ninth. Among 15 year-olds in 2009, the math literacy rate was 31st in the world—lower than the international average—while they were 23rd in science.

Can you say ‘teacher unions’? I’m sure you can. As with any other field of human endeavor, the existence of unions corresponds to a low-quality product, and the proliferation of unions marks the lowering of that quality over time.

Oh, and aren’t government employees all unionzed now? Hmmm….

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on U.S. Spends More, Gets Less in Education

Boffins Create Tabletop ANTIMATTER GUN

26th June 2013

Read it.

It generally takes a decent-sized particle accelerator to produce antimatter, but a team of physicists working at the University of Michigan says they’ve developed a table-top system that can create short bursts of positrons – anti-electrons.

We have the the technology, heh heh heh….

Never fear, however: as the image below shows, a mere lump of Teflon is sufficient to absorb the positrons, so the setup doesn’t actually risk the earth-shattering kaboom of a matter-antimatter annihilation.

Well, shucks.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Boffins Create Tabletop ANTIMATTER GUN

Fairy Circle Mystery Solved by Computational Modelling

26th June 2013

Read it.

And another bit of magic exits the world….

Plant biologists know these circles are stable having watched them over periods of decades. So these structures are clearly no accident. Indeed, exactly why fairy circles appear is something of a mystery. In particular, nobody has been able to explain why the patches are circular and not some other shape.

That changes today thanks to the work of Cristian Fernandez-Oto at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium and a few pals who have used computer simulations to show that fairy circles are emergent patterns that occur naturally when plants compete for water in arid conditions.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on Fairy Circle Mystery Solved by Computational Modelling

Prey on Words

25th June 2013

Bob has all the good stuff.

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

Flower Children

25th June 2013

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

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

Obama Orders EPA to Regulate Power Plants in Wide-Ranging Climate Plan

25th June 2013

Read it.

Makes no mention of, or apology for, the tons of jobs that will be lost through increased government regulations.

Avoids any discussion of the increase in the power of the state to interfere in people’s lives.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

How Silicon Valley Perfected Ice Cream

25th June 2013

Read it.

 With some engineering help, Fisher, 34, has developed a machine that uses liquid nitrogen, two interlocking helical-shaped scrapers and some smart software to make on-demand portions of ice cream in 60 to 90 seconds. And it is stunningly good.

We have the technology.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on How Silicon Valley Perfected Ice Cream

University Reinstates ‘Stomp Jesus’ Professor

25th June 2013

Read it.

Of course. It’s not like he insulted Mohammed or something serious like that.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on University Reinstates ‘Stomp Jesus’ Professor

Quote of the Day

25th June 2013

Lileks.

Behold the list of things I do not wish to do: yea verily, biking to work is prominent among them. Fine if you do; hats off and applause and all that, but I like driving to work.

Preach it, brother.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Quote of the Day