DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for October, 2013

Dungeons & Developers

31st October 2013

Check it out.

I am not making this up.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Dungeons & Developers

The Devil You Know: Inside the World of a Psychopathic Scientist

31st October 2013

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James Fallon is a happily married father of three, an award-winning neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, the founder of several successful biotech companies, and a scientific advisor to the US Department of Defense. He is also a psychopath.

In 2005, after decades of studying the brain scans of psychopathic killers, Fallon made a startling discovery when examining his own PET scan as part of a separate research project. His brain, Fallon discovered, looked precisely like those of the cold-blooded murderers he’d spent the last 20 years scrutinizing. And after analyzing his DNA, Fallon later uncovered that his genetic profile contained several genes strongly linked to violent, psychopathic behaviors.

Not something you come across every day.

Posted in Think about it. | 3 Comments »

In Delville Wood

31st October 2013

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All the British survivors have gone now (the men, that is. Just possibly there are bereaved women still alive, but nobody seems to ask about them.) In a hundred years, most things fall silent or shrivel into peculiar objects in display cases. The Crimean War began in 1854; in 1954, it was to me no more than a distant pageant of men with uncommon facial hair, pillbox hats and frogged tunics. By the time British troops went back into Afghanistan after 9/11, nobody in this country felt that the Second Boer War (1899-1902) was ‘relevant’ to what was happening. But the Great War, which ought to be in every sense history, keeps on speaking to us.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on In Delville Wood

The Launch of the Freedom Academy

31st October 2013

Victor Davis Hanson announces a new video lecture series.

Beginning with the first lecture series, the Odyssey of Western Civilization, I will guide viewers on a 2,500-year journey across the landscape of Western civilization, from its origins in the Greek city-states to its most affluent and free expression in modern America. The second series, The Western Story, explores the many connections between the classical Greek and Roman worlds and the present era, and how our contemporary experiences are explicable through the knowledge of our classical culture and civilization. My final series, History in the News, also correlates the present with the present by showing how present controversies are best understood through drawing on historical precedents.

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The Folly of Resentment

31st October 2013

Theodore Dalrymple cuts to the chase.

There is one group of people whom it is morally permissible to hate, and of whom in these times of speech codes it is allowed or even obligatory to speak hatefully: namely, the rich. This is rather odd when one thinks of it, for economic resentment was ultimately responsible for more deaths in the last century than racial hatred. Yet to be a racist is to put yourself outside the pale of decent society; to be an economic egalitarian is to establish your generosity of spirit and profound sense of justice.

Still, hatred of the rich, which people do not hesitate to express as if it were a virtue to do so, rests fundamentally on two human connected emotions, both of them unattractive: envy and resentment. It also rests on the primitive notion of an economy as being a cake of a fixed size to be sliced up according to some plan, just or unjust as the case may be. On this view, a crumb in one man’s mouth is a crumb taken from another man. Poverty is the result, therefore, of wealth: which is true enough if you define poverty as being a certain percentage of the average or median income, as is all too often done. If you define poverty as the lack of subsistence or even physical ease, it is quite otherwise.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on The Folly of Resentment

Entangled Toy Universe Shows Time May Be an Illusion

31st October 2013

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Time is an illusion – at least in a toy model of the universe made of two particles of light. The experiment shows that what we perceive as the passage of time might emerge from the strange property of quantum entanglementMovie Camera. The finding could assist in solving the long-standing problem of how to unify modern physics.

Physicists have two ways of describing reality, quantum mechanics for the small world of particles and general relativity for the larger world of planets and black holes. But the two theories do not get along: attempts to combine their equations into a unified theory produce seemingly nonsensical answers. One early attempt in the 1960s was the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, which managed to quantise general relativity – by leaving out time altogether.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Entangled Toy Universe Shows Time May Be an Illusion

Obamacare Enrollment So Difficult It Gets Its Own Grad Course

31st October 2013

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The University of Texas at Austin’s spring 2014 course offerings include a graduate course on navigating Obamacare exchange enrollment. The university’s LBJ School of Public Affairs will give aspiring PhD students academic credit for examining the Obamacare enrollment process.

At U.T. Austin, of course, the blue pustule on the butt of Texas.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on Obamacare Enrollment So Difficult It Gets Its Own Grad Course

Walmart and Food Stamps

31st October 2013

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People tend to think of food stamps as being money in the pockets of poor hungry people, but it turns out the money ends up in the pockets of the owners of Walmart, i.e., the Walton family, who are some of America’s richest. It’s somewhat similar to how Pell Grant money, billed as aid to poor college students, winds up in the pockets of relatively well-off professors. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it isn’t often mentioned in the political debates over spending on these programs.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Walmart and Food Stamps

Confessions of a Drone Warrior

31st October 2013

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You may ask: Why is a fashion magazine like GQ publishing handwringers about Air Force drone operators?

Answer: A Voice of the Crust exists to push the Narrative, and it’s all connected.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Confessions of a Drone Warrior

The Richest Person in Every State

31st October 2013

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Bet: Nine out of ten of them is a Democrat.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on The Richest Person in Every State

The Printer That Can Print a 2,500 Square Foot House in 20 Hours.

31st October 2013

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We have the technology. (Good luck getting it past the building code inspector, though.)

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on The Printer That Can Print a 2,500 Square Foot House in 20 Hours.

The ‘Intentional Poor’ — SWPL Fantasy

31st October 2013

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Of course, no matter how bad the job market is, there are clear distinctions between those who have the privilege to opt for poverty and those who are poor through no choice of their own. If things get rough, Price has a career to fall back on.  Banjo can return to his childhood bedroom, where he stayed before hitting the road. Corey’s young charges aren’t stuck in high-crime neighborhoods with subpar schools and services like most of America’s poor. And people who choose poverty are often free to make exceptions; despite his otherwise modest lifestyle, Price pays $53 a month for a cell phone and owns both an iPad and a MacBook Air.

So it’s all just pretend, sort of an extended vacation camping trip.

The demographics of  these two groups are also starkly different: The pockets of people who choose poverty are nearly all white, experts say, while around half of the impoverished in the U.S. are black and Hispanic.

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

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | Comments Off on The ‘Intentional Poor’ — SWPL Fantasy

For Who the Bell Tolls: One Man’s Quest for Grammatical Perfection, by David Marsh

31st October 2013

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With admirable clarity, Marsh goes on to explain the gerund and subjunctive, the difference between comparing to and comparing with, and the correct use of “whom”, avoidance of which has given this book its deliberately teeth-grating title. Cleverly, Marsh here inverts the usual reasons for understanding conventions. You need to know the rule for “whom” not because you should use “whom” whenever appropriate (because it will sometimes sound pompous), but because you need absolutely to avoid using “whom” when it should actually be “who”, since that will sound both pompous and stupid.

This is a book that I plan to buy.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on For Who the Bell Tolls: One Man’s Quest for Grammatical Perfection, by David Marsh

Jan Schakowsky Gets Her Wish

31st October 2013

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The big insurance companies themselves are doing fine–they just jack up their rates to cover all the new patients and benefits, passing the costs along to their customers, who no longer have a choice but to buy (and to taxpayers, who will foot the bill for new subsidies). It’s the consumers’ side of the industry that has been gutted. We cannot choose a product we like the most, but must bear one we hate the least.

When “progressives” think about “industry,” they conjure images of fat, greedy barons; groaning, suffering workers; and and dirty, polluting smokestacks. They never think of the consumers who are made happier by what industry produces. They view selling a product to a customer who needs or wants it as a form of “abuse,” which is how Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) described the individual insurance market on Wednesday.

At bottom, they have contempt for consumers, because they cannot imagine that any purchase really happens of the customer’s own free will. They refuse to accept that a family might feel happier if it can buy bare-bones insurance that allows it to pay other bills, rather than bells-and-whistles insurance that forces it to make lifestyle changes, to go into debt or to become dependent on state assistance programs like Medicaid.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on Jan Schakowsky Gets Her Wish

Progressive Government Fails

31st October 2013

Daniel Henninger puts the boot in.

Let us try to understand clearly what is happening now with the Obama presidency. On display to everyone watching this week is not merely the failure of a federal website or a software program or Ms. Sebelius’s management skills. This is the failure of the very idea of progressive government. Not liberal government. Progressive government.

That battle a few weeks ago over the government shutdown was a familiar Beltway spectacle. But what is happening this week to ObamaCare and the political class that created it is historic. Forty years from now, the millennials who in 2008 and 2012 believed in and voted for the progressive ideal—limitless, mandated, state-led goodness—can tell their grandchildren they watched it fall apart in 2013. This is the glitch that failed.

American progressivism is politics by cramdown. Ask Jamie Dimon. Ask the coal miners the EPA is putting out of business. Ask the union workers waiting for jobs on the Keystone XL pipeline. Ask Boeing in South Carolina or the harmless tea party groups from towns no one has ever heard of that were shut down by the IRS, or the 20,000 inner-city parents and students who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest obliteration of their charter schools by New York’s progressive mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Progressive Government Fails

The Obamacare Whiners

31st October 2013

Rich Lowry kicks some left-wing butt.

Henry Waxman made a plea at the end of Wednesday’s House hearing grilling of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The California Democrat and liberal lion asked Republicans to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats to improve Obamacare.

Yes, Henry Waxman, who has made a career of ideological witch hunts and smash-mouth partisanship, wants a cease-fire over Obamacare, or so he says.

He just wants somebody else to whitewash his fence.

They insisted on this particular law, at this particular time. They own it. They own every canceled policy, every rate increase, every unintended consequence and every unpopular intended consequence. It is theirs, lock, stock and two smoking barrels.

But they can’t stop whining.

Hey, it’s what they do.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on The Obamacare Whiners

Smokeless Fire? Japan’s Incineration Innovation

31st October 2013

Read it. And watch the video.

Much of what we throw out gets incinerated, adding to Asia’s air-pollution burden—but a small, smokeless incinerator is making its way around the region.

Of course, since it produces carbon dioxide rather than airborne pollutants, the Greenhouse Gases crowd will be bitching and moaning about it, but that always happens.

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Spread of H7N9 Bird Flu Nearly Stopped by Shutting Down Live Poultry Markets

31st October 2013

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More locovore tribulation.

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Cops PULL OVER Google Glass Driver, Ticket Her for Wearing Techno-Goggles

31st October 2013

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Certain types of device are specifically excluded from the rules – chiefly GPS screens, media players, satellite radio systems, and display panels that are built into the car. Whether Glass, which projects images into your eyes, can be counted among these – it’s perfectly capable of displaying GPS information, for example – is something lawyers will have to figure out.

The future is here, it’s just locked away by government gatekeepers.

You may remember the Segway….

 

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EU researchers Create Prototype for a Server-Free Future Internet

31st October 2013

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The way the internet currently works, content is mostly delivered to client devices such as PCs and smartphones from powerful computers called servers, which are generally housed in data centers. This represents a centralization of computing power and storage that some argue is becoming outdated, what with the beefy processors and (sometimes) capacious storage devices we carry around in our pockets these days.

The Cambridge University prototype would represent a dramatic revamp of that way of doing things. Part of a wider EU-funded project called Pursuit, the putative protocol operates more like the popular filesharing mechanism BitTorrent, in that users share information directly with one another, rather than through a server. Simplistically put, Person B might receive content from Person A’s device, then become a source for that data so Person C could then download it, and so on.

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The Sinkhole That Swallowed a Swamp

31st October 2013

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John Boudreaux, the local official coordinating the containment of the sinkhole and the accompanying methane gas leaks, is the one who shot the video. He’s hoping all the attention will inspire help from the federal government, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Waiting has become a theme in Bayou Corne.

“My estimate for just gas removal is three to five years from now, and we’ve been in this event for a year,” says Boudreaux, who’s been at the site every day by 8AM since the sinkhole showed up. “It’s quite frustrating, the amount of time it’s taken to get things accomplished.”

Worthy of remark is the blithe assumption on the part of all that if the Federal government doesn’t do something, nothing will get done. That’s the Obamanation for you.

The sinkhole is now 25 acres at the surface, more than 350 feet deep at its lowest point, and expected to double in size. It’s mostly dormant, except for occasional earthquakes and “burping,” in which large bubbles of air, oil, and gas erupt at the surface. Every now and then it sucks down a few trees from the surrounding swamp.

Sounds like a great setting for a Stephen King novel. Still no evidence that it’s any business of the government at all, much less the Federal government.

While it hasn’t actually swallowed any property — as far as massive sinkholes go, it’s pretty tame — it has caused methane to leak into a nearby aquifer. The fear is that the highly combustible gas will collect in a crevice or enclosed space and then ignite.

So there isn’t really any danger, everybody is just afraid that there might be some danger someday somehow somewhere. So the taxpayers have to pay for ‘fixing’ it. Welcome to the Obamanation.

Even after recruiting a team of international researchers to study the sinkhole, local officials still don’t know exactly what caused it or what it will do next. Scientists are using 3D seismic imaging, a mapping technique similar to sonar, to produce mangled-looking images of the subterranean topography. Just these maps take six weeks to set up and several months to process.

So they don’t really know anything about it, except that the Federal government must Do Something, and that taxpayers have to pay for it. Welcome to the Obamanation.

Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Texas sit atop large salt deposits shaped like domes. The easiest way to mine the salt is to dig out a cavern, pump water through, and suck it back out as brine. The salt is then extracted and sold for use in household petrochemical products such as PVC pipe, CDs, and bleach.

So the people who do that would appear to be responsible for fixing any problems that might arise. Still no evidence that it’s any business of the Federal government.

But two years later, something happened. “Our employees came to work and looked out, and the swamp had disappeared,” says Sonny Cranch, the crisis public relations specialist hired by Texas Brine.

And was replaced by — a pond. I’m sure there’s a significant difference, there, but I can’t think of it right now.

Texas Brine is now being sued by the state of Louisiana to recoup the $8 million it has spent responding to the sinkhole, most of which went to hiring scientists to figure out what’s going on. The company is also the target of a class action suit.

So they’re suing the company that did what any normal person would have thought was the right thing to do, mainly to get them to pay for the state government poking around for they don’t know what, and without any allegation that they, you know, like broke the law or anything. There’s the Obamanation red in tooth and claw.

No one feels the pain of waiting more than the residents of Bayou Corne, who saw their quiet, tight-knit community turn into the 24-hour sinkhole show. The residents who stayed — and many who left — don’t go a day without thinking about the sinkhole.

So charge admission. These people must be illegal immigrants — they have no clue as to how Real Americans react to a crisis.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on The Sinkhole That Swallowed a Swamp

How Will You Save This Article For Later?

31st October 2013

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Maybe you still use old fashioned browser bookmarks to save links you like–if that’s the case, we’re here to take pity. There are easier ways of managing your reading queue, so as we were deciding which tools to use in our own newsroom, we figured we’d put together this run-down for our readers to check out as well.

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Best Microscope Photos of the Year

31st October 2013

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More than 2,000 images from 80 different countries were entered in the 39th annual competition. The panel of judges that combed through all of them to find the best ones included scientists, journalists and microscope experts. The photos were judged on their originality, the information they conveyed, the technical skills that created them and their visual impact.

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Muslim Cleric Issues Fatwa Forbidding Travel to Mars

31st October 2013

Read it.

Just in case you might be thinking about going there.

Posted in Dystopia Watch, Living with Islam. | 1 Comment »

Employment in America: WTF Is Going On?

31st October 2013

Nick Corcodilos is not afraid to ask the hard questions.

Here’s how human resources departments across America “recruit.” They put impossible mixes of keywords about jobs into a computer. They press a button and pay billions of dollars for a chance that Prince Charming might materialize on their computer displays. When the prince fails to appear, they pay to play another day. (Last year, companies polled said 1.3% of their hires came from Monster.com and 1.2% from CareerBuilider. Source: CareerXroads.)

Meanwhile, in the real world, over 25 million people — many of them immensely talented and capable of riding a fast learning curve without falling off — are ready to work.

Employers need to get off their butts, remove the Taleo straps from around their necks, and go outside to actually find, meet, recruit, cajole, seduce, and convince good workers to come work for them.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Employment in America: WTF Is Going On?

Why Halloween Sucks

31st October 2013

Why Halloween Sucks

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Why Halloween Sucks

Faking Sincerity

31st October 2013

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, take a look at a modern shibboleth.

“Sincere” is from Latin sincerus, which means clean, pure, or sound—the real thing. Thence the word wandered into medieval Romance languages: Middle French sincérité, recorded in 1237. The ancient and medieval senses, however, applied to inanimate things: gems, wine, doctrine. It was the Reformation that decisively coupled outward show to private conscience to give us the modern notion of sincerity.

The problem with a community dedicated to sincerity is that impostors will quickly learn the appropriate outward show. As the old showbiz adage has it: “Sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” (I have a feeling that one’s a favorite with political consultants, too.) La Rochefoucauld noted in 1665 that: “What usually passes for sincerity is only an artful pretense designed to win the confidence of others.”

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Faking Sincerity

David Coleman Is Redesigning the SAT. Does He Know What He’s Doing?

31st October 2013

Steve Sailer has doubts.

 Coleman’s philosophy basically appears to be the same as every other educational reformer: Be Like Me. Coleman is a bright, cultured former McKinsey consultant, and thus his Common Core write-up would be a good outline for the home schooling of David Coleman Jr.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much evidence that he knows much at all about, say, psychometrics.

The point of having standardized college admission tests is to fill in the obvious shortcoming of just using high school GPA. Making the SAT more like high school seems pointless. If we are all supposed to be into “critical thinking,” maybe we should make high school more like the old SAT?

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on David Coleman Is Redesigning the SAT. Does He Know What He’s Doing?

‘Extortion’: Lawmakers Bagging Big Bucks Using Secret Self-Loan Scheme

31st October 2013

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A little-known campaign loophole allows members of Congress to make high-interest personal loans to their own campaigns and then never pay them off—a scheme that generates passive streams of profit worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And why not? They’re not in this business for their health, you know.

“What if the problem is not bribery… but extortion?” asks Schweizer. “What if the Permanent Political Class in Washington, made up of individuals from both political parties, is using its coercive public power to not only stay in office but to threaten others and to extract wealth, and in the bargain pick up private benefits for themselves, their friends, and their families?”

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

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on ‘Extortion’: Lawmakers Bagging Big Bucks Using Secret Self-Loan Scheme

Bankrupt Solar Panel Firm Took Stimulus Money, Left Toxic Mess, Says Report

31st October 2013

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A Colorado-based solar company that got hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees before going belly-up didn’t just empty taxpayers’ wallets – it left behind a toxic mess of carcinogens, broken glass and contaminated water, according to a new report.

The Abound Solar plant, which got $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010, when the Obama administration sought to use stimulus funds to promote green energy, filed for bankruptcy two years later. Now its Longmont, Colo., facility sits unoccupied, its 37,000 square feet littered with hazardous waste, broken glass and contaminated water. The Northern Colorado Business Report estimates it will cost up to $3.7 million to clean and repair the building so it can again be leased.

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Cultural Psychology: How Islam Managed to Stay Medieval for 1,400 Years

30th October 2013

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While almost all other cultures changed from primitive and medieval to democratic and egalitarian societies, one culture managed to keep even its most brutal and backward traditions and values for 1,400 years until today. Still today, the majority of Muslims prefer to live by values that can be traced all the way back to the desert tribes in which the founder of their religion lived. Getting to know life in Muslim families and societies is like traveling back in time to the time of Muhammad. Here one finds shocking laws and traditions that are obviously criminal and inhumane — but for some reason accepted — in our otherwise humanistic culture.

While non-Muslim scientists invent new fantastic medicines and technologies daily, discover the most amazing things about the universe, its building blocks and inhabitants, and Western voters and politicians have created the most humane, rich and free societies in world history, most Islamic countries are still amputating limbs for theft, stoning women and homosexuals, heavily inbred, denying people free speech and democracy, and contributing absolutely nothing when it comes to science, human rights or peace.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Cultural Psychology: How Islam Managed to Stay Medieval for 1,400 Years

Liberal Theology Prof Wants You to Know Christianity is Scarier Than Halloween

30th October 2013

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Note that each of these is a distortion of a Protestant distortion of a Roman Catholic distortion of true Christian theology.

To call this person a Professor of Theology is like calling an astrologer an astrophycist.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off on Liberal Theology Prof Wants You to Know Christianity is Scarier Than Halloween

And Then the Machines Came for the Doctors

30th October 2013

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But a funny thing is going to happen when the machines start taking the jobs of doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, managers and professors. We’re not quite there yet, but the day is coming very soon when many of what had traditionally been considered untouchable jobs will be done just as effectively or better by machines. Diagnostics and radiology will be handled by machine, with basic examination and nursing work the most common medical professions. Humans won’t be needed for legal services beyond the courtroom and mediation room itself, computer programs will pick investments better than any human, employee evaluation and workforce structuring will be better assessed by analytics than by any middle manager, and mass online education programs will render teachers and professors little more than test proctors and homework readers. None of which assumes the actual intelligent robotic AI of science fiction, which is a whole other story and is also likely coming sooner than we think. Some people see this as utopia, some as dystopia. But either way, it’s coming and coming soon.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on And Then the Machines Came for the Doctors

How the Chicken Conquered the World

30th October 2013

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Chicken is the ubiquitous food of our era, crossing multiple cultural boundaries with ease. With its mild taste and uniform texture, chicken presents an intriguingly blank canvas for the flavor palette of almost any cuisine. A generation of Britons is coming of age in the belief that chicken tikka masala is the national dish, and the same thing is happening in China with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long after the time when most families had a few hens running around the yard that could be grabbed and turned into dinner, chicken remains a nostalgic, evocative dish for most Americans. When author Jack Canfield was looking for a metaphor for psychological comfort, he didn’t call it “Clam Chowder for the Soul.”

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If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It

30th October 2013

Read it. And watch the video.

Someone has collected video clips of all of Obama’s lies in one place.

As Jimmy Carter was the worst President of the 20th century, Obama will go down in history as the worst of the 21st.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It

Obama’s Kangaroo Court Now in Session: Senate Confirms Another Union Lawyer as NLRB Prosecutor

30th October 2013

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Ever since July, when Republicans caved in to Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” threat, GOP resistance to Barack Obama’s appointments to agencies like the National Labor Relations Board (as well as others) has been virtually non-existent.

A day after Sen. Lindsey Graham’s empty threat to block appointments until his questions about Benghazi were answered, the Senate voted to confirm controversial union lawyer Richard Griffin as the general counsel of the NLRB.

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10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda

30th October 2013

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1. It tastes like crap.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on 10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda

Archaeologists Recover 5 Cannons From Wreck of Blackbeard’s Ship

30th October 2013

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Archaeologists have recovered five more cannons from the wreck Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, off the coast of North Carolina.

State underwater archeologists on Monday raised the largest of the guns, weighing in at about 3,000 pounds.The other four weigh about 2,000 pounds, the Carteret County News-Times reported.

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Crappy Compensation Just One (Big) Reason Doctors May Spurn Your Obamacare Coverage

29th October 2013

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

How long before they in effect conscript doctors, as the National Health Service does in Britain?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Crappy Compensation Just One (Big) Reason Doctors May Spurn Your Obamacare Coverage

‘On a given day, this administration makes the ’62 Mets look good.’

29th October 2013

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When ancient Voices of the Crust like Cohen start deserting the ship, it’s pretty clear that it’s sinking.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on ‘On a given day, this administration makes the ’62 Mets look good.’

15 Years Ago, Congress Kept Mickey Mouse Out of the Public Domain. Will They Do It Again?

29th October 2013

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For most of history, a great character or story or song has passed from its original creator into the public domain. Shakespeare and Charles Dickens and Beethoven are long dead, but Macbeth and Oliver Twist and the Fifth Symphony are part of our shared cultural heritage, free to be used or re-invented by anyone on the planet who is so inclined. But 15 years ago this Sunday, President Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which retroactively extended copyright protection. As a result, the great creative output of the 20th century, from Superman to “Gone With the Wind” to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” were locked down for an extra 20 years.

It was a windfall to the families and corporations that owned these lucrative copyrights. But it meant these iconic works would be off-limits to those who wanted to reuse or reinvent them without permission. And hundreds of thousands of lesser-known works aren’t available at all, because there’s no cost-effective way to obtain permission to republish them.

The copyright extension Clinton signed will expire in five years. Copyright holders like the Disney Corp. and the Gershwin estate have a strong incentive to try to extend copyright extension yet further into the future. But with the emergence of the Internet as a political organizing tool, opponents of copyright extension will be much better prepared. The question for the coming legislative battle on copyright is who will prevail: those who would profit from continuing to lock up the great works of the 20th century, or those who believe Bugs Bunny should be as freely available for reuse as Little Red Riding Hood.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on 15 Years Ago, Congress Kept Mickey Mouse Out of the Public Domain. Will They Do It Again?

A Black Box in Your Car? Some See a Source of Tax Revenue

29th October 2013

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Of course, ‘some’ see everything as a source of tax revenue. Barack Obama is one. Most Democrats are in this ‘some’.

The devices would track every mile you drive —possibly including your location — and the government would use the data to draw up a tax bill.

Once you make a system the accuracy of which penalizes people, the people whom it penalizes will devote their time and considerable ingenuity to gaming the system so as to avoid the penalty. This is a universal constant of human nature that the ‘some’ never seem to comprehend. Honest people will pay, and dishonest people will not. Do we really want a system that rewards dishonesty and penalizes dishonesty? Well, want it or not, that’s what we’re going to get.

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Your Headphones Could Be Used to Measure Your Pulse

29th October 2013

Read it.

If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

As your arteries pump blood, it causes tiny movements in your eardrum at a frequency of about 1Hz. Using the earphones’ speaker as a microphone, the software can detect and interpret this movement to determine your pulse rate.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

Health Care Rights and Responsibilities

29th October 2013

Read it.

What happens when health care is thought to be a fundamental right?

Hint: We’re all fucked, especially health care providers, who now officially become slaves.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on Health Care Rights and Responsibilities

An Empirical Conclusion

29th October 2013

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist, lays out some inconvenient truth.

Specifically, Mr. the Aaron objects to my claim that, because there are no government-enforced prohibitions on the hiring of low-skilled workers, anyone who truly believes that monopsony power in this labor market exists should start a company that uses low-skilled workers.  Mr. the Aaron calls my claim “not practical” and “comical.”  But I stand by my claim.  The researcher who found genuine monopsony power would, by starting his or her own company, earn profits and directly improve the economic lot of low-skilled workers.  The reason, again, is that the exercise of monopsony power by existing employers keeps the prevailing wage lower than the value of what workers produce, at the margin, for their employers.

In short, monopsony power in labor markets keep workers underpaid.  With all those underpaid workers out there – and because there are no government-enforced prohibitions on starting companies that employ low-skilled workers – a true believer that monopsony power is a prevalent reality can profit by exploiting this pool of underpaid workers.  Yet they do not.  They remain in their faculty offices writing papers and issuing commentary.  I continue to insist that this inaction is sufficient evidence against the proposition that monopsony power prevails in the market for low-skilled workers – and, hence, conclusive evidence that the higher the minimum wage, the worse are the job prospects of low-skilled workers.

If an academic tells you that his research finds that the price of Acme Corp. stock – a stock traded, say, on the NYSE –  is too low, what would be the first question you ask this scholar?  The first question I would ask him is “How much of that stock are you buying?”  If the scholar tells me “none,” or looks at me befuddled as he explains that he’s an academic and not an investor, I would dismiss his research on this front.  That person, as I see him here, offers proof as good as it gets that he does not believe what he asserts.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on An Empirical Conclusion

Jane Brody Looks Down on You

29th October 2013

Read it.

After reading NY Times journalist Jane Brody’s condescendingly smug article about the benefits of living in a walkable neighborhood with short commutes, I wanted to know more about where she lives.

So I did some research and discovered that she owns a brownstone in Park Slope that’s valued, according to Zillow, at $2.85 million.

In the end I have to agree with the lesson from the article. If you can become rich enough to afford a $2.85 million home, you too can live in a really great location and smugly look down upon the poor people who can’t afford to live your lifestyle.

Somehow, I don’t think Obamacare will take us there….

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Jane Brody Looks Down on You

A School With No Teachers, Where Students Teach Themselves

29th October 2013

Read it.

Oh, the teachers’ unions will be SO pissed….

In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.

Living here for the next month are some of the 4,000 potential students who already made the first cut by passing cognitive skill tests online.

Now they have to clear another hurdle. They’re thrown together and challenged with computer problems for 15 hours a day. Only 800 students will get a place, says 42?s director, Nicolas Sadirac.

So much for the ‘No Child Left Behind’ concept….

“There’s no discrimination at this school, because getting in isn’t based on your education level or social status,” he says. “It’s a true melting pot.”

Gee, America used to be like that….

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off on A School With No Teachers, Where Students Teach Themselves

Homeland Security Agent Seizes Notes From a Reporter Who Wrote Critical Stories

29th October 2013

Read it.

The Washington Times is preparing a lawsuit after federal agents raided the Maryland home of award-winning investigative reporter Audrey Hudson and confiscated her notes.

The agents had a warrant, but it was for unregistered firearms suspected of belonging to her husband. Only after they left did Hudson realize that some of her notes, which included interviews with confidential sources, were missing. The notes pertained to her reporting on problems within the Department of Homeland Security’s federal air marshal service.

During the raid, a Homeland Security agent asked Hudson if she was the reporter who had written the air marshal stories for the Times.

How’s that Hope & Change thing workin’ out for ya?

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | 1 Comment »

United Negations

29th October 2013

Kathy Shaidle is delightfully dyspeptic today.

So has everyone finally recovered from United Nations Day?

October 24th seems to roll around faster every year. I almost forgot to order the “blue helmet”-shaped cake with cholera-shaped sprinkles and was late mailing out the novelty parking tickets with the comically huge fines you don’t really have to pay.

Costco started selling chocolate landmines right after Labor Day. The whole thing’s become way too commercial.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

The Camp of the Saints and the Golden Dawn

29th October 2013

Read it.

Over forty years ago, The Camp of the Saints predicted a Third World mass invasion of Europe, causing the downfall of Western civilization. This process was compressed in time so that what might take fifty years in real life took fifty days in the book. Also, the main bulk of illegal immigrants in the novel came from India. Today, while immigration to Europe comes from every corner of the planet, much of it comes from the Islamic world and Africa.

Apart from that, the novel was remarkably prescient in describing the dysfunctional mindset of the modern Western world. We have become so wedded to unsustainable humanitarian ideals that we are mentally incapable of defending our own continued national existence. When faced with millions of people coming from the global South, we simply raise a white flag and say that they are welcome to colonize our countries.

 

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