DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for December, 2014

Africa Builds ‘Great Green Wall’ of Trees to Improve Farmlands

31st December 2014

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To mitigate this and other environmental issues affecting Africa such as land degradation, the effects of climate change, and a loss of biodiversity, Senegal is leading a 20-nation initiative known as the Great Green Wall. Most notably, this initiative involves erecting a wall of trees across the southern edge of the Sahara desert, which will be 14 km wide and 7,600 km long. When completed, it will be the largest horticultural feature in history. The initiative will also focus on establishing sustainable farming and livestock cultivation, and improving food security.

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Biochemists Are Turning Genetically Modified Yeast Into Perfume and Opioids

31st December 2014

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Yeast. Is there nothing it can’t do? Scoop it up from nature and it makes alcohol. Fiddle with the genes and you can coax it to produce gasoline. Useful, but such synbio projects tend not to be cost-effective. Now, though, biochemists are genetically modifying yeast and algae to produce stuff with good enough profit margins that you could find it in the grocery store (or on the street corner).

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New Solar Power Material Converts 90 Percent of Captured Light Into Heat

31st December 2014

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

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Gawker Outs Lena Dunham’s Alleged Republican Attacker—As a Democrat

31st December 2014

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Gawker‘s J.K. Trotter recently made the decision to publish the name of the person he now presumes to be Lena Dunham’s alleged rapist. That was irresponsible of him. Several journalists have dedicated considerable time to investigating the sexual assault that Dunham chronicled in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl; their reporting, and all information made available by Dunham in response, suggests that the attacker in the story may be a composite character based on her impressions of several dfferent people. Indeed, the person Gawker outed was not even a Republican activist—the key identifying detail attributed to the attacker in the memoir.

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

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Gawker Outs Lena Dunham’s Alleged Republican Attacker—As a Democrat

Paper Rights

31st December 2014

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Legally speaking, human rights have proliferated over the last 40 years. Only 20 human rights were listed by treaty in 1975. Today there are around 300, including the right to privacy, the right to freedom of movement, the right to join a trade union, and the right to an interpreter in official proceedings. With so many human rights recognized by so many countries, we clearly are moving toward a more just and humane world.

Or perhaps not. In his new, short, drily pessimistic book The Twilight of Human Rights Law, University of Chicago law professor Eric A. Posner meticulously, and with a touch of glee, pours cold water on the hopes of the international human rights regime.

Heh.

You might think that the solution here is to reduce the number of rights to a bare minimum—say, the rights to free speech, free elections, and fair trial. But such a reduction would never receive international assent, in part because it might actually be enforceable. With tons of human rights laws available, the United States can say that it needs to spy on its citizens, despite the right to privacy, because otherwise it will violate the right to security. China can say it needs to limit the right to free expression in order to ensure the right to development. One right is at least potentially legally meaningful. Hundreds aren’t.

Dress those windows! The world is watching!

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Paper Rights

Maps of Modern Cities Drawn in the Style of J.R.R. Tolkien

31st December 2014

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I found this link while re-reading the blog of Harry Connolly, one of my Recommended Writers, and it struck me as very interesting.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Maps of Modern Cities Drawn in the Style of J.R.R. Tolkien

Hype’s Premier Task

31st December 2014

Taki turns over a rock.

There is nothing more venomous than the hate-hype vipers, slithering far and wide, thus posing a danger nearly everywhere. Any speech they hate is “hate speech,” and any group they hate is a hate group. Given their totalitarian mentality, it is not surprising that they obsess over “hate crimes.” (A crime is by nature a hate crime, but these pedants insist on separating the two in order to score brownie points where P.C. is concerned.) If we continue down the way we’re now going, soon all speech and associations the P.C. Nazis deplore will be matters for the police to handle. Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 2 Comments »

Iran, Patron of Hamas

31st December 2014

Read it. And watch the video.

Mahmoud al-Zahar is a co-founder of Hamas and the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. He is said to be Khaled Mashal’s rival for the leadership of Hamas, now that the latter is running his Gaza fiefdom from exile in Doha.

The following BBC interview with Mahmoud al-Zahar was originally conducted in English, and then dubbed into Farsi. As far as I know, the English version was never made available by the Beeb.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Iran, Patron of Hamas

5 Most Egregious Examples of Government Waste This Year

31st December 2014

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Every year the federal government loses tens of billions of dollars to waste, fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, 2014 was no exception.

Federal auditors issued plenty of scathing reports this year flagging programs and projects that were inefficient or wasteful. They also identified numerous costly instances of wrongdoing by federal employees.

Drawing on much of our reporting throughout the year, The Fiscal Times identified 5 of the most egregious examples of government waste in 2014.

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Google Got It Wrong. The Open-Office Trend Is Destroying the Workplace.

30th December 2014

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And it doesn’t matter a damn, because the people who decide whether or not employees use open offices are all people who have private offices, so they don’t have to suffer along with the peons.

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Mystery of the Missing Illegals

30th December 2014

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The Obama administration’s preferred method of dealing with the illegals was release pending administrative hearings. How are the hearings going?

At NRO, Mark Krikorian notes that the investigative unit at Houston’s KPRC decided to find out (video below). The Daily Signal’s Natalie Johnson also picks up the story. Krikorian jumps to the story’s major finding” “Looking at the completed cases of people who snuck over the border and were released over a three-month period, the reporter found that more than 90 percent of them didn’t show up for their immigration hearings and joined the illegal population.”

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Can’t Find Enough (Excellent) Programmers Here

30th December 2014

Freeberg at his best. This whole essay is worth carving on a wall somewhere. Most of it is an extended fisking of a recent essay by Paul Graham regarding the utter necessity of expanding the number of H1-B visas that allow places like Google and Facebook to skim the cream of foreign tech schools and bring them home to the U.S. like safari trophies. My favorite:

4. What Congress is being asked to do, by these tech firms, is to assist them as they give up hope in the country. You can say the situation is not that simple, but you’d be wrong. And this is a significant point, since Congress is the country. This country has a legacy of inventing new things, thinking up new ideas, then making them happen. If that’s nothing more now than an echo in the ash bin of history and the snapshot of the present is some approximate reverse of that, the concerned patriot should be asking why. If his attention is not focused there, he forfeits any claim of concern about the country’s future.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off on Can’t Find Enough (Excellent) Programmers Here

Somalia: Arms Intended for Government May Be Going to Islamic Extremists

30th December 2014

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

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Somalia: Arms Intended for Government May Be Going to Islamic Extremists

Soldiers Relocate Hawaii Wedding So That Obama Can Play Golf

30th December 2014

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Sometimes it is good to be the king.

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The Palmer Method of Business Writing and the Future of Cursive

29th December 2014

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This is the method the nuns taught me in school. Of course, I eventually traded up.

I learned how to type in high school, and it’s the single most useful skill I took into adulthood.

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Learning How to Use Tools

29th December 2014

The Other McCain does a little venting.

When Jake Brewer complains about “noise” on the Internet, he doesn’t mean that he is unable to find what he wants online. No, he is an educated person, very sophisticated in his use of Internet tools, and has no problem accessing the information he seeks. What Jake Brewer is complaining about is that the online audience he wants to reach with his message — whom he presumes to be less educated and less sophisticated than himself — is distracted by “noise,” which he defines as information less important than the message Jake Brewer is sending.

Guess what, Jake? It’s called democracy. Idiots who spend all day sending each other cute puppy videos on Facebook? Democracy.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Learning How to Use Tools

Here Are 10 Outrageous ‘Zero Tolerance’ Follies of 2014

29th December 2014

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Are your children safe at school? That depends on if you’re worried about bullies or administrators.

Ain’t that the truth. The problem with the government providing the schools is that it makes governance of the schools a political process rather than a market process, and so puts everyone’s posterity under the thumb of the mob — and just because people drive a Mercedes and live in a million-dollar house doesn’t make them any wiser than a tree stump.

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Forcing the Changes

29th December 2014

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Yes, apparently because there have been IIRC 250 deaths (since 1980) in the US which have fallen away to 1 per year… Nanny needs to pass new regulations, which will, inevitably be expensive, onerous and um… put the price of Christmas lights up. Maybe make it impossible for Joe Sixpack to waste his money on pleasing the kiddies. Now, the chances Joe will be struck by lightning and die are (on this year’s stats) 26 times higher than your chances of death-by-Christmas lights. With even the chances of death by lightning at 26/about 350 000 000, make the odds on a Darwin-award Christmas Decorator about as likely as a Hugo Awards going to anyone but yet another set of outspoken PC far leftists SJW this year (yes, they’re approaching infinite improbability). Yet, most certainly the regulations have only a slightly lower chance of occurring than the usual situation in the ‘It’s absolutely fair and un-politically unbiased’ Hugo awards.

Dave Freer is a dyspeptic science-fiction writer, in case you couldn’t tell. (He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, so you can tell he’s pretty sound.)

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Gun Trouble

29th December 2014

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Not all the problems with the M16 can be blamed on the Army. Buried in the M16’s, and now the M4’s, operating system is a flaw that no amount of militarizing and tinkering has ever erased. Stoner’s gun cycles cartridges from the magazine into the chamber using gas pressure vented off as the bullet passes through the barrel. Gases traveling down a very narrow aluminum tube produce an intense “puff” that throws the bolt assembly to the rear, making the bolt assembly a freely moving object in the body of the rifle. Any dust or dirt or residue from the cartridge might cause the bolt assembly, and thus the rifle, to jam.

In contrast, the Soviet AK-47 cycles rounds using a solid operating rod attached to the bolt assembly. The gas action of the AK-47 throws the rod and the bolt assembly back as one unit, and the solid attachment means that mud or dust will not prevent the gun from functioning. Fearing the deadly consequences of a “failure to feed” in a fight, some top-tier Special Operations units like Delta Force and SEAL Team Six use a more modern and effective rifle with a more reliable operating-rod mechanism. But front-line Army and Marine riflemen still fire weapons much more likely to jam than the AK?47. Failure to feed affects every aspect of a fight. A Russian infantryman can fire about 140 rounds a minute without stopping. The M4 fires at roughly half that rate.

[Modified to remove an embarrassing remark that I ought to have known better than to make. We have good commenters here.]

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 5 Comments »

The 14 Most Annoying People of 2014

29th December 2014

Jim Goad is delightfully dyspeptic today.

Public discourse—if you can call it that—has devolved into a ghastly assembly line of vapidity, vanity, shaming, shamelessness, stunted thinking, and arrested emotional development. We are served up the same puke-worthy dish daily—a smarm casserole baked in snark, fricasseed in smugness, and sautéed in intellectual cowardice.

Sometimes I wish you all had one face so I could vomit on it.

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Schizo Mo in Fresno

29th December 2014

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On Christmas Day someone vandalized a mosque in Fresno. The police and the media immediately labeled the incident a “hate crime” against Muslims, before they even had time to dust the doorknobs or check the surveillance cameras at the mosque.

Yesterday they had to start walking their stories back when it emerged that the confessed perpetrator of the vicious Islamophobic attack was one Asif Mohammad Khan, giving the crime a Mohammed Coefficient of 100%.

When everyone thought the evil vandal liked Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer, they were looking at a hate crime. When he turned out to be a practicing Muslim who was also a fan of Osama and Hitler, the police and the media fell all over themselves to point out that he was a loony.

Not only that, he was a victim of bullies, which gives him at least two pair in politically correct poker. Maybe tomorrow we’ll find out he’s gay, making it a full house. Throw in the fact that he’s brown, and you’re looking at a royal flush.

Victor Davis Hanson focuses on the reactions of the local Side Crust:

The police authorities almost immediately, and without waiting for the full evidence to be collected, declared the minor burglary and damage the apparent dividend of illiberal dark forces. The chief of police, without compelling evidence, and without explaining why a secular medical building was also trashed in the spree, rushed to hold a press conference. He declared the broken window and moderate trashing of the center’s interior, not just a “hate crime,” but in fact a “brazen hate crime.”

What next followed was Fresno’s comic version of what now is normal race and gender news. Almost immediately it was learned that there was a video of the suspected perpetrator in mediis rebus. Mr. Asif Mohammad Khan was a Muslim, with a record of mental disturbances, and had attended the center. He claimed that he had vandalized the buildings as part of payback to other center attendees who, he claimed, had bullied him — and reportedly was known to be an admirer of Osama bin Laden. The “brazen” hate crime and the atmosphere of intolerance vanished with the local morning fog. The FBI, of course, is still “investigating” a possible “hate crime.” But they too will quietly go away in short order.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Schizo Mo in Fresno

Twelve Virtues of Rationality

28th December 2014

Read it.

Don’t read this if you ever have an urge to go into politics.

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CUNY Newpaper Editor Defends Call for Violent Protests

28th December 2014

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“CUNY” stands for “City University of New York”. Yes, their educations are paid for by taxpayers.

Editor-in-chief of the City Univeristy of New York (CUNY) graduate school student paper Gordon Barnes defended his call for violent protests in response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both killed while resisting police arrest. “I advocate a social revolution,” Barnes told the NY Post, “One in which people are equal, have equal access and equal means. History tells us violence would be necessary for there to be substantial and lasting social change.”

Needless to say, he is not a Person of Pallor.

We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.’ — Lenin

I guess he didn’t know that it would eventually turn into ‘the rope that they pay us to take’.

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CLICHÉS OF PROGRESSIVISM #37 – If FDR’s New Deal Didn’t End the Depression, Then It Was World War II That Did

28th December 2014

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Let’s be blunt. If the recipe for economic recovery is putting tens of millions of people in defense plants or military marches, then having them make or drop bombs on our enemies overseas, the value of world peace is called into question. In truth, building tanks and feeding soldiers—necessary as it was to winning the war—became a crushing financial burden. We merely traded debt for unemployment. The expense of funding World War II hiked the national debt from $49 billion in 1941 to almost $260 billion in 1945. In other words, the war had only postponed the issue of recovery.

Roosevelt’s death in the last year of the war prevented him from unveiling his New Deal revival. But President Harry Truman was on board for most of the new reforms. In the months after the end of the war Truman gave major speeches showcasing a full employment bill—with jobs and spending to be triggered if people failed to find work in the private sector. He also endorsed a national health care program and a federal housing program.

But 1946 was very different from 1933. In 1933 large Democratic majorities in Congress and public support gave FDR his New Deal, but stagnation and unemployment persisted. By contrast, Truman had only a small Democratic majority—and no majority at all if you subtract the more conservative southern Democrats. Plus, the failure of FDR’s New Deal left fewer Americans cheering for an encore.

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New Word: Wanna-conomy

28th December 2014

Freeberg nails it again.

Years ago I had learned, along with many other people interested in the subject I suspect, that the forces at work in an economy are supply and demand. My learning was that they are like at opposite ends of a seesaw. If one is in ascension then the other will be in a state of descent, both of these have some effect on the price of a product or service, and eventually things will stabilize — supply, demand and price. If we’re looking at a commodity on the stock exchange, then this search for supply/demand/price stabilization will be renewed daily. Also, an abundance of the one will intensify the power exerted by the other: If many people are demanding a certain item, and there is a limited number of suppliers of it, then the price will go up. If there are many suppliers and only limited demand, conversely the price will go down. This results in signaling. An “economy,” when you study it awhile and think about it awhile, turns out to be nothing more than a network of those signals. Because of this signaling, the tendency is toward benefit for all because the supply will respond to the signals; people will labor toward creating whatever it is that other people need. They’ll move their vocations around, away from the products and services declining in price due to this signaling, toward the products and services that are becoming more precious, so that abundances are relaxed and scarcities are cured.

My new word describes, essentially, a newer economy in which this circuit is being shorted because the whims of the suppliers are unnaturally affecting the nature of demand. Retail consumer technology has devolved to become a good example of this. When a new phone comes out and people line up around the block to get hold of it, there is no tug-of-war between supply and demand because the supply is the demand. Apple made something; I want whatever it is. Have no clue what it does. I just want it.

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Eleanor Roosevelt Had a Carry Permit, So Why Can’t You?

28th December 2014

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And she was a batshit-crazy socialist, so what’s your excuse?

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Pluralism in Turkey: A Fairy Tale

28th December 2014

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Davutoglu’s Putin-Medvedev-style master, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is notorious for his Sunni supremacist (and anti-Alevi) views. During his election campaign in 2011, he reminded tens of thousands of party fans at rallies in seven different cities that his political rival and main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, was an Alevi. “You know, he is an Alevi,” Erdogan told crowds in a cynical way while thousands booed “the Alevi Kilicdaroglu.” In that election, Erdogan’s votes in all seven cities rose from the previous election.

Only three weeks before Davutoglu’s speech, a professional German-Turkish footballer, Deniz Naki, announced that he decided to leave his club and Turkey following a religious and racist attack. Naki, who in the past was the victim of abuses and insults for being a Kurdish Alevi and carrying a tattoo revealing his faith, had been attacked by unknown assailants in Ankara and suffered minor injuries. “This is the first warning,” the assailants told him. The footballer said he now feared to go out alone in Ankara and had decided to leave Turkey for Germany.

Tolerance in Islam is an aberration, not a virtue.

Posted in Living with Islam. | 1 Comment »

HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

28th December 2014

Black (K)night

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Thank SCOTUS for Credential Inflation

28th December 2014

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In Griggs, the Court deferred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) interpretation of section 703(h) of the Civil Rights Act (CRA), which permitted employers to use a “professionally designed ability test” so long as the test was not “designed, intended or used to discriminate…” The EEOC, which enforced the CRA, had promulgated a broad interpretation of that provision, making it illegal for a test to have a “disparate impact” on minorities. For example, if an employee aptitude test disproportionately weeded out black applicants, it would be considered illegal.

As Leef makes clear, the end result of the Griggs decision was that employers became paranoid about using aptitude tests, for fear of potential litigation costs. Instead, they began to use the college diploma as the new employee screening device. “We probably have a college ‘bubble’ just from the effects of easy federal college aid and the push by politicians for educational attainment, but by making employee testing legally dangerous, the Griggs decision helped inflate it,” he writes.

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Apologize to Muslims, Infidel Boy!

28th December 2014

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Yves Francoeur, the president of the police union in Montreal, has gotten himself in trouble for publicly pointing out certain facts about mosques and Muslims that everyone knows, but no one is allowed to talk about.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Apologize to Muslims, Infidel Boy!

Bill Gates: People Don’t Realize How Many Jobs Will Soon Be Replaced By Software Bots

27th December 2014

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Just in case you were feeling happy.

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Rational and Irrational Thought: The Thinking That IQ Tests Miss

27th December 2014

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No doubt you know several folks with perfectly respectable IQs who repeatedly make poor decisions.

Every Democrat in Congress.

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What If Obesity Is Nobody’s Fault?

27th December 2014

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A lot of Nosy Parker progressives will lose their purpose in life. (I’m lookin’ at you, Michelle….)

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Thumb Typing Is Changing Our Brains

27th December 2014

Read it.

You have been warned.

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The Progressive Crack-Up, Silicon Valley Edition

27th December 2014

Steve Sailer turns over a rock.

For years I’ve been pointing out that two bulwarks of Democratic Party campaign fundraising and prestige, Silicon Valley and Hollywood, don’t have to play by the Diversity rules that most of the rest of American business is supposed to play by.

Every few years since the 1990s, Jesse Jackson would try to shake down the Tech Industry and he’d be laughed out of town. Silicon Valley and Hollywood were too liberal, too rich, too powerful, too successful in the global marketplace (America can only wish we had as big a share of jetliners, much less cars, as Silicon Valley and Hollywood have of their respective markets) to let Jesse Jackson throw a wrench in the works.

But 2014 was the year in which liberal ideology overwhelmed liberal hypocrisy.

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Demolished: The End of Chicago’s Public Housing

27th December 2014

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Well, that grand government program worked out about as well as any grand government program.

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Are You Certain You Don’t Want to Consider Homeschooling Your Kids?

27th December 2014

The Other McCain focuses our attention.

If you think it’s a good idea to send your children to public schools, you probably aren’t really paying attention to what’s happening in public schools and who is in charge of public schools.

Sending your child to a government school is, in my view, prima facie evidence of child abuse.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 2 Comments »

Consistancy and Social Cues among the Herbivores

27th December 2014

John C. Wright waxes philosophical.

I have previously expressed doubt about the R/K theory of Anonymous Conservative that Conservatives exhibit typical carnivorous behavior of pack-hunting animals like wolves (including such things as having few young and lavishing resources on training each one) and Progressives exhibit herbivorous behavior (including such things as having many young and devoting little or no care to them). However, as time passes, I confess the explanatory power of the theory makes it more and more attractive.

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Average Carbon Dioxide Concentration Map

27th December 2014

Check it out.

Note that the biggest generators of carbon dioxide are the rain forests and several patches of ocean. Yeah, China’s bad, but not as bad as Brazil, and anybody who claims that Brazil has industrial air pollution to match China’s is smoking and not sharing.

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Passenger Tossed After Flipping Out Over Staff’s ‘Merry Christmas’

27th December 2014

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Once on the plane, he was warmly greeted by a flight attendant who also wished him a “merry Christmas.” That was the last straw.

“Don’t say, ‘Merry Christmas!'” the man raged before lecturing the attendants and the pilot about their faux pas. He was eventually led of the plane to a round of applause from passengers.

Good to see bad manners get its true reward.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on Passenger Tossed After Flipping Out Over Staff’s ‘Merry Christmas’

USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

27th December 2014

Darn Tough Socks.

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Death of a Berlin Welfare Recipient and ISIS Minister

26th December 2014

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In Berlin, Reda Seyam was a very diligent Mohammedan: As welfare recipient he sired one child after another (after all, the unbelievers paid out plenty of booty for them); and on top of that, he then named one of the children “Jihad”, or “holy war” (photo above). As well, the completely idiotic Berlin Superior Court awarded him the right to do it. Wonderful, so he is allowed quite officially to raise fighters who will later be obliged to wage war against us and subjugate us. But Reda Seyam will no longer bring Jihadists into the world, for now he has ridden off to the 72 virgins.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off on Death of a Berlin Welfare Recipient and ISIS Minister

The Chinese Army Gets a Smart Grenade Launcher for Christmas

26th December 2014

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What makes the system so appealing is how it combines the rapid fire action of an assault rifle with a programmable, multipurpose 20mm grenade launcher. While the computerized targeting system, underslung assault rifle and the 20 mm “smart” grenade launcher gives the ZH-05 a passing resemblance the cancelled American XM-29 and South Korean K-11 smart grenade launchers, it’s actually a whole different beast. For starters, the ZH-05 weighs at about 5 kg, compared to the K-11, which weighs 7.2kg. The ZH-05 uses a simple digital camera for targeting, though it would be a simple matter to switch in a night vision capable infrared scope. A 5.8mm assault rifle is based off of the QBZ-03 assault rifle, while the grenade launcher has a 700m range.

What did we get? More bullshit from Obama.

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Meet the New Boss — Same as the Old Boss

26th December 2014

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And, surprise, surprise, the social mobility of communist China, including the Mao years, and the previous nationalist years, is very similar to that of England (and to all the other countries in the list.) Maybe you are thinking that, yes, of course, there was an elite in communist China, there is one everywhere—but surely they would be different names and people from those that formed the pre-communist elite. After all, as Clark and Cummins note, a million mainland Chinese fled to Taiwan when the communists defeated the opposing Nationalists—most of them members of the elite. Under the communist agrarian reform in the late 1940s and early 1950s the land owned by the landlord class was seized and redistributed—amounting to 43% of all the land in China; in the process, 800,000 landlords were executed. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, about 10 million of the relatives of former landlords, businessmen, and apparent bourgeois were killed during the Cultural Revolution. All in all, the communists killed about 60 million people on the excuse that they were bourgeois. This included teachers, intellectuals, professionals and anybody that sniffed at being a member of the previous elites. Large numbers of students in the urban regions were sent to the countryside and denied education—to facilitate the equalization of society.

Surprisingly, he did not. The authors identified 13 surnames that appear with unusual frequency in the Qin examination system—the Chinese test to identify who will become a member of the highest elite in the country, the state bureaucracy. They selected them from more than 50,000 successful candidates (the most successful) in the Yuan, Ming, and Qin dynasties, starting in 221 BCE (we are talking China). These surnames are overrepresented in the modern imperial era and in modern Chinese elites—the high officials in the Nationalist government from 1912 to the triumph of the communists in 1949; professors at the ten most prestigious universities in the country in 2012; chairs of the boards of companies listed in 2006 as having assets of $1.5 million and above; and members of the (still communist) central government administration in 2010.

The intergenerational correlation of status between the Nationalist period (just before the Communists escalated power) and 2006 (that is, covering almost thirty years of Maoism and then the current variety of communism) was 0.9 for professors in 2006, 0.8 for company board chairs and 0.74 for central government officials. This means that if you predict that the surname of a member of the elite in 1912-1949 would still be a member of the central government elite in 2006, you would be right in 74% of the cases in each generation. Other names come and go, but these ones stay. That is staying power. And it happened under a communist regime that killed scores of millions of people suspected of being members of the elite.

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Houshi

26th December 2014

Read it. And watch the video.

Houshi Ryokan was founded around 1,300 years ago and it has always been managed by the same family since then. ?It is the oldest still running family business in the world.

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Investigation: “Factory Farms” Producing Massive Quantities of Organic Milk and Eggs

26th December 2014

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

In what has been called one of the largest fraud investigations in the history of the organic industry, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, announced filing formal legal complaints against 14 industrial livestock operations producing milk, meat and eggs being marketed, allegedly illegally, as organic.

After years of inaction by the USDA, Cornucopia contracted for aerial photography in nine states, from West Texas to New York and Maryland, over the past eight months. What they found confirmed earlier site visits: a systemic pattern of corporate agribusiness interests operating industrial-scale confinement livestock facilities providing no legitimate grazing, or even access to the outdoors, as required by federal organic regulations.

Dude, those regulations are there to punish the little guys, not the deep-pocket campaign donors. Selective enforcement is one of the oldest tools in the book of corrupt politicians, as our President doesn’t even bother to pretend any more.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off on Investigation: “Factory Farms” Producing Massive Quantities of Organic Milk and Eggs

Why So Many of the Health Articles You Read Are Junk

26th December 2014

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Misleading health news stories are surprisingly widespread. One survey by Gary Schwitzer, who runs the watchdog website HealthNewsReview, looked at 500 health stories published in large newspapers over two years. Many of the stories were awfully flawed, he found, overplaying the benefits and underplaying the harms of various treatments, exaggerating the prevalence of diseases, and leaving out discussion of alternative options.

And these stories are a real health hazard. Lots of people make decisions every day based on the things they read in the media. A number of studies have documented the ways media coverage influences people’s health choices, from whether to get screened for breast cancer or go in for a colonoscopy.

Ask any physician about the number of patients who have come into their offices, requesting some test or treatment based on something they saw in the media. I’ve heard from many of them. I’ve also heard from health ministers who say they rely solely on journalism to inform themselves about the latest science. I don’t need to tell you again about the alarming hold a certain TV doctor has on his audience — no matter how dubious his advice.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off on Why So Many of the Health Articles You Read Are Junk

Habits of Mind

26th December 2014

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The answer is so simple that we sometimes forget to give it, but it matters. We teach students to do research because it’s one powerful way to teach them to understand and appreciate the past on its own terms, while at the same time finding meaning in the past that is rooted in the student’s own intellect and perspective. Classrooms and assigned readings are necessary to provide context: everyone needs to have an outline in mind, if only to have something to take apart; and everyone needs to know how to create those outlines and query them constructively. Reading monographs and articles is vital, too. To get past the big, generalized stories, you have to see how professional scholars have formed arguments, debated one another, and refined theories in light of the evidence.

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How Exercise Changes Our DNA

26th December 2014

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Yet another reason to avoid exercise.

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Handwriting vs Typing: Is the Pen Still Mightier Than the Keyboard?

26th December 2014

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In the United States they have already made allowance for this state of affairs. Given that email and texting have replaced snail mail, and that students take notes on their laptops, “cursive” writing – in which the pen is not raised between each character – has been dropped from the Common Core Curriculum Standards, shared by all states. Since 2013 American children have been required to learn how to use a keyboard and write in print. But they will no longer need to worry about the up and down strokes involved in “joined-up” writing, less still the ornamental loops on capitals.

But experts on writing do not agree: pens and keyboards bring into play very different cognitive processes. “Handwriting is a complex task which requires various skills – feeling the pen and paper, moving the writing implement, and directing movement by thought,” says Edouard Gentaz, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Geneva. “Children take several years to master this precise motor exercise: you need to hold the scripting tool firmly while moving it in such a way as to leave a different mark for each letter.”

Operating a keyboard is not the same at all: all you have to do is press the right key. It is easy enough for children to learn very fast, but above all the movement is exactly the same whatever the letter. “It’s a big change,” says Roland Jouvent, head of adult psychiatry at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. “Handwriting is the result of a singular movement of the body, typing is not.”

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off on Handwriting vs Typing: Is the Pen Still Mightier Than the Keyboard?