DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Planned Alan Turing Memorial Dorkwad-Gaywad Alliance Craters as Slate’s Gay Avengers Turn on “Imitation Game” Writer for Claiming Straight Weird Kids Are Victims Too

24th February 2015

Steve Sailer reports on the fundamental connectedness of all things.

I’m serious about the intent of the movie being to engineer a nerd-gay alliance. The screenwriter of The Imitation Game, Graham Moore, is the son of Democratic political operative Susan Sher, who was Mrs. Obama’s chief-of-staff and is now a bagwoman fundraiser for the Obama Library, so Moore has a good Chicago political head on his shoulders. The screenwriter comes more from the nerd side of the divide (Moore is apparently an effeminate heterosexual). His first book, The Sherlockian, was an updated Sherlock Holmes mystery; and his movie minimizes the gay stuff (which would have to have been about an aging toff with a taste for teenage rough trade) in favor of Benedict Cumberbatch doing his Sherlock-as-supercilious-nerd impression again.

So, everything was working according to Moore’s plan to build Clintonian bridges between the geeks and the gays until the screenwriter got up to give his Oscar acceptance speech. But he implied that being a “weird” kid in high school, like he was, is comparable in victimism Pokemon points to being a gay kid in high school, and all hell broke loose with the Designated Gay Avengers at Slate.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

Beef Producers Say Obama Is Trying to Kill Their Industry

24th February 2015

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Hey, it’s what he does.

A panel of nutrition experts recruited by the Obama administration to craft the newest dietary guidelines suggested last week that the government should consider the environment when deciding what people should eat.

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

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Obama Administration Has Already Handed Out Millions of Illegal Work Permits

23rd February 2015

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A federal court has ruled that the Obama administration’s plan to issue work permits to illegal immigrants is–this is not exactly a surprise–illegal. But the Democrats are undeterred. Today, for the fourth time, they filibustered funding for the Department of Homeland Security, insisting that if Obama’s illegal program isn’t funded, the entire DHS must be shut down.

In the meantime, it has come to light that the Obama administration has been handing out illegal work permits for years. The Center for Immigration Studies has received documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act request that indicate millions of such illegal work permits have been issued since 2009. Here is the CIS report in its entirety:

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Want to Understand the Conflict in Ukraine? Compare It to Ireland

23rd February 2015

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A clue might be found in the view that prevails in the US Congress, where Ukraine is seen as the latest former Soviet republic trying to break free from an overbearing imperium that refuses to let go – a view that is propelling President Obama to supply Kiev with weapons. The parallel I have in mind is Ireland, or rather – to be specific – the evolution of relations between Great Britain and Ireland over the past century or so, that has left Northern Ireland with the status it is today.

This is how it works. For Russia read Great Britain; for Ukraine read Ireland, and for the ‘pro-Russia rebels’ read the unionists of what is now Northern Ireland. If you turn a map of the island of Ireland on its side, you have something like a miniature version of Ukraine. This is, of course, no more than frivolous coincidence. But the ‘rebel’ region of Ukraine, as it stands today, is about the same, proportionally, in area and population, as Northern Ireland is to the Republic.

Like the north-eastern counties of Ireland, this part of eastern Ukraine has long held the greatest concentration of heavy industry in a largely agricultural land. Like what is now Northern Ireland, eastern Ukraine’s economic ties with its far-bigger neighbour are much closer than those of the rest of the country. Its cultural affinity – which in eastern Ukraine is partly religious (Orthodoxy), and partly a matter of looking east rather than west – is also much greater with Russia than it is with, say Poland, or erstwhile Austro-Hungary, which is the direction western, and increasingly central,  Ukraine, chooses to face. Compare Northern Ireland, with its Protestantism and its close ties of kinship across the water.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

A Tale of Two Cities

23rd February 2015

Steve Sailer looks at the oddity that it’s okay to dislike foreigners but only if they are rich.

Americans traditionally aspired to live in freestanding houses surrounded by lawns, houses whose size and worth were readily apparent to both the neighbors and the taxman: visual synecdoches for those Jeffersonian ideals.

In the older parts of the world, however, prudent patriarchs built opaque structures that presented only a blank wall and a door directly onto the street, leaving the poverty or luxury behind them a secret known only to those allowed in.

Part of the rise of shell companies as nominal owners of New York City luxury apartments is a not wholly unreasonable response to the fact that on December 8, 1980, practically everybody in America knew that John Lennon lived in The Dakota. But on December 9, 1980, he didn’t.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Low-Fat Diet Advice Was Based on Undercooked Science

23rd February 2015

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Undercooked? Then, obviously, what they need is some Global Warming!

 

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

The Dangers of Oil by Rail

23rd February 2015

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As President Obama readies his veto pen for a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline, the primary alternative to the controversial infrastructure project is sending trains laden with volatile crude through cities and small towns across the country. Despite having access to the world’s most extensive pipeline network, producers have had to turn to trains to transport booming crude output to refineries. But as we saw last week in West Virginia, more oil trains means more fiery derailments.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Children Aren’t Worth Very Much—That’s Why We No Longer Make Many

23rd February 2015

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A basic truth of the modern world, which is why you don’t hear much from the Malthusians and Zero Population Growth chicken-littles these days.

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been characterized by a massive decline in fertility, beginning in rich western countries and spreading all over the world. It is a transformation that is still underway in poor countries today.

Except that it’s not a decline in fertility — people are just as fertile now as ever, if not more so — but a decline in people exercising their fertility … which they can more easily do because of improved baby-prevention technologies and the feminist cult of abortion-on-demand.

In the modern world, children are an economic drain, not an economic benefit; rather like a very expensive pet. Only where children are an economic benefit, such as qualifying single women to claim government benefits and establish their own households, do we see levels of childbearing that compare with historical norms.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Man Bites Dog: CBS News Calls Gender Pay Gap “A Complete Myth”

23rd February 2015

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Uh-oh. Somebody exited the reservation.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Wisconsin Prof Offers Extra Credit for Attending Anti-Walker Budget Protests

23rd February 2015

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Hey, they’re learning how to be Tools of the Crust. That’s educational.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Thought for the Day

23rd February 2015

Perry 1 copy

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | No Comments »

Five Myths About Net Neutrality

23rd February 2015

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Recall all those bullshit taxes and fees that get tacked onto your phone bill? If ISPs are regulated as common carriers, those (or one like them) will get tacked onto your Internet bill as well. “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help … ourselves to your money”.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

LA School Officials Admit iPad Plan Was Unaffordable and Distracting

23rd February 2015

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Ramon Cortines, the new superintendent, recently admitted that the district’s billion-dollar idea to buy every single student an iPad, Chromebook, or laptop was never affordable or practical in any sense—and in fact clashed with more urgent priorities, like procuring suitable textbooks and rebuilding infrastructure.

Yeah, that was a winner: Giving a $600 device to kids whose reaction would be “I wonder how much I can hock this for?”

Prediction: Nobody loses his job, nobody goes to jail. Your tax dollars at work.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

A Smoking Gun in the Kremlin?

23rd February 2015

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Dmitry Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, the scrappy investigative journal that is perhaps best known in the West for regularly publishing pieces by the late Anna Politkovskaya, says he has in his possession a strategy document drafted and accepted by the Kremlin which outlines in broad strokes just what Russia’s long game in Ukraine may be….

He said the overall strategy included plans on how to break Ukraine into automonmous sectors, immediately attaching now war-torn southeastern Ukraine to Moscow’s tax union, with a longer term plan for annexation.

The plan suggested “the main thrust should be Crimea and the Kharkhiv region, with the aim of initiating the annexation of the eastern regions.”

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Suicide Bombing by Young Female Kills Six in Nigerian Market

23rd February 2015

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A suicide bomber described by witnesses as a young female detonated at a market checkpoint in Nigeria on Sunday, killing herself and five other people.

 

Posted in Living with Islam. | 2 Comments »

As Office Space Shrinks, So Does Privacy for Workers

23rd February 2015

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The average amount of space per office worker in North America dropped to 176 square feet in 2012, from 225 in 2010, according to CoreNet Global, a commercial real estate association. Though more recent figures are not available, real estate experts say there is no doubt that workers are being shoehorned into even less space.

This means that everyone will get to hear those loud calls about how long your mother-in-law will be staying or why the $1,500 medical bill the collection agency insists you owe should really be covered by insurance.

The problem is that the savings by putting everyone in one big room is easy to quantify, and the loss of productivity and morale is not.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Happy Chinese New Year From China’s New Aircraft Carrier

23rd February 2015

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China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has a 14,700 square meters flight deck that allows a wide array of uses. But it’s a safe bet that a setting for a music video was not on the radar screen of either its original Ukrainian builders of recent US Office of Naval Intelligence threat analyses.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Vanderbilt Law Professor Under Fire For Anti-Israel Rant

23rd February 2015

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A Vanderbilt law professor is facing backlash from the pro-Israel community after launching a campaign to shut down a rally supporting the Jewish state and opposing global terrorism, according to emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The rally, scheduled to take place this weekend in Nashville, is being organized by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), a pro-Israel organization that fights anti-Semitism.

After the group sent out an announcement about the event, Vanderbilt law professor Edward Rubin responded with a scathing email to rally organizers letting them know that he is an “an opponent of Israel” and “not a member of an international Jewish conspiracy,” according to a copy of the message sent by Rubin from his official Vanderbilt address.

In the message, Rubin lashes out at Israel and vows to shut down the pro-Israel rally by contacting the local mayor’s office.

“I want to let you know that I have become an opponent of Israel,” Rubin writes. “The reason is that Israel’s Prime Minister has chosen to inject himself into American politics as a supporter of the Republican Party and a lackey of [billionaire] Sheldon Adelson.”

“He is thus acting in opposition to everything I believe in: social justice, environmental protection, and basic human rights,” says Rubin, who describes himself in the message as “a strongly Jewish-identified American, and the son-in-law of an Auschwitz survivor.”

“I have always regarded Israel as important, but I am not a member of an international Jewish conspiracy: I am an American. Israel is trying to destroy my country, I no longer care about its welfare. I am a law professor, and I will contact the Mayor’s Office on Monday to see if there is any way that your demonstration can be prevented.”

I think I’m right, therefore you may not speak. That certainly doesn’t fit my definition of ‘an American’. Perhaps he needs to study up on the subject.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

The Affordable Care Act Isn’t So Affordable for the Chronically Ill

23rd February 2015

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Human growth hormone is a specialty drug, a category of pharmaceuticals that includes medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia and HIV. As the name would suggest, specialty drugs aren’t cheap. There are no generic alternatives.

As such, insurance companies treat specialty drugs differently. Instead of having a flat co-payment, consumers pay co-insurance, which is a percentage of the price the insurer has negotiated with the drug’s manufacturer. Our co-insurance is 30 percent.

So specialty drugs have always been expensive, and co-insurance is not new. But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act turned a cost problem into a bona fide cost crisis – pricing middle-class families out of an already heavily regulated market, sometimes forcing people to seek alternatives in Canada or Mexico, and leaving many patients to suffer.

Obamacare’s critics – many on the left as well as the right – weren’t wrong when they complained that the law would be a gift to insurance companies. Although the law capped out-of-pocket medical expenses, specialty drugs were exempt. But that only perverted an already distorted marketplace, encouraging insurers to raise consumer costs while narrowing their choices.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Terror Apologist Named to Federal Anti-Terror Post

23rd February 2015

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President Obama is appointing an openly terrorist-sympathizing Muslim to head a government office dedicated to countering Islamic State propaganda.

In April, Rashad Hussain will take over as director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, a small office within the U.S. Department of State that Obama plans to make bigger. A new component called the Information Coordination Cell will be added to the expanded center and will reportedly be staffed by intelligence analysts. It will have a staff of around 80 people and will coordinate with other government agencies.

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Obama’s Multipronged Assault on Truth and Reality

23rd February 2015

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President Obama is fond of invoking the term “narrative,” so it’s worth considering several instances in which he invokes exactly the wrong narrative–the wrong frame–around events.

The most obvious is the president’s repeated insistence that militant Islam is utterly disconnected from the Islamic faith.

But that hardly exhausts the examples of false narratives employed by the president. As this exchange between Fox’s Ed Henry and White House press secretary Josh Earnest demonstrates, in its statement the White House avoided saying that the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by members of ISIS were Christian, even though that was the reason they were beheaded. At the same time the president suggested that the murder of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina was because they were Muslim, when in fact that wasn’t by any means clear when the White House issued its statement. (The shooting appears to have involved a long-standing dispute over parking.) So when Christian faith is a factor in a massacre, it’s denied, and when there’s no evidence that the Islamic faith was a factor in a killing, it’s nevertheless asserted.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Sanrio to Release a Hello Kitty Toilet Seat

23rd February 2015

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Because pooping is the first thing anyone thinks of when they hear the words Hello Kitty, Sanrio has decided to release a fairly sophisticated toilet seat in the character’s likeness.

Well. There it is.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | 1 Comment »

When Saudi-backed Terrorists Come Home to Roost

23rd February 2015

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In a move reminiscent of ancient history, Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall”—a combined fence and ditch—to separate itself from the Islamic State to the north in Iraq.

The irony here is that those Muslims that Saudi Arabia is trying to keep out are the very same Muslims most nurtured and influenced by a Saudi — or “Wahhabi,” or “Salafi” — worldview.

Put differently, Saudi Arabia is again appreciating how jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who support it. “Holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels” — whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam — but also justifies fighting “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

Silicon Valley Adulteress Sues for $16 Million

23rd February 2015

Steve Sailer looks at the sordid underbelly of the Crustian Narrative.

As I’ve been pointing out for a couple of years, we constantly read news stories out of Silicon Valley about male chauvinist brogrammers oppressing women whose only dream in life since they were little girls has been to code. And yet, upon inspection of the details, another word often comes to mind: adventuress.

Keep in mind that Ms. Pao broke it off after Mr. Nazre failed to divorce Mrs. Nazre. You might think that Ms. Pao’s predation upon Mrs. Nazre’s marriage might be an issue, but that’s missing the point, which is that John Doerr is a deep-pocketed rich white man and therefore must pay. Woman v. woman conflicts, while fascinating to other women, don’t fit well within the dominant feminist legal and media frameworks, so they are of no serious interest.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

The Kitchen Bladesmith

22nd February 2015

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Kramer is one of 113 people in the world, and the only former chef, to be certified as a Master Bladesmith. To earn this title (which is conferred by the American Bladesmith Society, of Texarkana, Texas), Kramer underwent five years of practice and study, culminating in the manufacture, through hand-forging, of six knives. Five had to be of gallery-quality designs; the fifth was a roughly finished, fifteen-inch Bowie knife, which Kramer had to employ to accomplish four tasks, in this order: Cut through a one-inch thick piece of manila rope in a single swipe; chop through a two-by-four, twice; place the blade on one’s forearm and, with the belly of the blade that has done all this chopping, shave; and finally, lock the knife in a vice and bend it ninety degrees without having it crack. The combination of these challenges tests steel’s central but conflicting capabilities: its flexibility and its hardness. If tested thusly, my boning knife, despite being hand-made, would have snapped like a toothpick. – See more at: http://craftsmanship.net/the-kitchen-bladesmith/#sthash.e1F8V1fV.dpuf

A fascinating look at knives and the people who make them.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Confessions of a Congressman

22nd February 2015

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1) Congress is not out of touch with folks back home
Congress is only a part-time job in Washington, DC. An hour after the last vote, almost everyone is on the airplane home. Congress votes fewer than 100 days a year, spending the rest of the time back home where we pander to their constituents’ short-term interests, not the long-term good of the nation. Anyone who is closer to your district than you are will replace you. Incumbents stick to their districts like Velcro.

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Paranoid Technology for Paranoid Times

22nd February 2015

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“You’re never without an alibi.”

That’s the tagline of the new smartphone app Alibi, whose splash page is filled with a jerky, lo-fi video of a protest, putting the visitor in the midst of a whirl of yelling policemen, chanting participants, and omnipresent journalists snapping photos. It consciously evokes a kind of paranoia from the outset. Where am I, what kind of an alibi do I need, and how is this technology going to help me get one?

Founded by Jeff Myers and Ryan Salla, the app passively records audio, video, and location data on Android smartphones (it’s not yet available on iOS, and seems unlikely to be in the future given Apple’s store policies of not letting politically controversial tools into their system), and saves the previous hour of information on-demand, so a user always has proof of where they were and who they were with—just in case it becomes necessary. Given the recent killings of Michael Brown and many others in ambiguous violent contexts, Alibi is being pitched as a kind of preventative measure. “If there’s an instance of police brutality and someone has this on, that would be the best scenario,” Myers says.

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | No Comments »

Essential Oils Might Be the New Antibiotics

22nd February 2015

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Essential oils often evoke thoughts of scented candles and day spas, but their benefits beyond relaxation are less well-known. Essential oils are ultimately just plant extracts—and those are used in countless cleaning and personal-care products, and are the main ingredient in some pest-control products and some over-the-counter medications, like Vick’s VapoRub and some lice sprays. They’re used in the food industry because of their preservative potency against food-borne pathogens—thanks to their antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Various oils have also been shown to effectively treat a wide range of common health issues such as nausea and migraines, and a rapidly growing body of research is finding that they are powerful enough to kill human cancer cells of the breast, colon, mouth, skin, and more.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

We Can Predict When People Are Going to Die From Their “DNA Clock”

22nd February 2015

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Well, not really. But it is interesting.

Scientists have discovered a human “biological clock” based on certain changes to genes, called DNA methylation. These are important for the expression and deactivation of genes, and therefore our development. By studying DNA methylation markers, the researchers found a way to predict lifespan. When people had a biological age greater than their actual age (you could be 50, but have the DNA of a typical 75-year-old), they could see they were more likely to die sooner than a person whose biological and real ages were similar.

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Terrorist Threat to Mall of America

22nd February 2015

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Al-Shabab, the Somalian terrorist group loosely affiliated with al Qaeda, carried out an attack on a shopping mall in Kenya in 2013. Al-Shabab has now released a video that urges its followers in North America and the United Kingdom to execute similar terrorist attacks, including a specific call for an attack on the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The mall bans guns, so that rules out the most obvious precaution that shoppers could take.

And so are complicit in their own destruction. I won’t go so far as to say that they deserve it, but Own Damned Fault about covers it.

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

Can Brain-Training Apps Make You Smarter?

22nd February 2015

Check it out.

The nice thing is that they are free.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | No Comments »

The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids

22nd February 2015

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As if this were a brand new idea that originated in Silicon Valley. But the Crust are realizing that the current system of government schools is failing, as all such similar government-run systems are failing, and they have to dress an idea in hipster clothes in order to make it more palatable.

A couple of weeks ago, I wandered into the hills north of the UC Berkeley campus and showed up at the door of a shambling Tudor that was filled with lumber and construction equipment. Samantha Matalone Cook, a work-at-home mom in flowing black pants and a nose ring, showed me around. Cook and her family had moved into the house in April and were in the middle of an ambitious renovation. “Sorry,” Cook said, “I didn’t tell you we were in a construction zone.” A construction zone, it turns out, that doubles as a classroom.

Case in point: Mention of the nose ring — to signal that this isn’t just some Baptist mom doing her barefoot-and-pregnant-in-the-kitchen thing, but rather One Of Us.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist

22nd February 2015

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(That’s when they’re not indoctrinating kids for a world that cannot ever exist.)

We “learn,” and after this we “do.” We go to school and then we go to work.

This approach does not map very well to personal and professional success in America today. Learning and doing have become inseparable in the face of conditions that invite us to discover.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Cooking Patterns

22nd February 2015

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A recipe is basically a fixed set of actions and ingredients, while cooking techniques are just the possible actions. If we invent cooking patterns – an abstraction on top of each ingredient / action pair – we could have more understanding of the dish we are preparing while keeping the flexibility in ingredient and technique choice.

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A Massive Data Dive Proves That Languages and Genes Evolve Together

22nd February 2015

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As human populations disperse, the separation leads to changes both in genes and in language. So if we look at human DNA and languages over time, we should find that they differ along similar geographic lines.

It’s an intuitive theory, but difficult to prove. That is, until researchers decided to match large collections of geographic, linguistic, and genetic data on hundreds of human populations worldwide.

A new study (PDF), published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quantifies the complicated relationship between these three factors. Researchers compared the geographic presence of two things in human populations across the world: alleles (trait-defining stretches of DNA) and phonemes (the distinct units of sound that make up spoken language).

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

How Green and Peaceful Really Is Greenpeace?

22nd February 2015

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Hint: not much.

For the best part of half a century Greenpeace’s constant campaigning on environmental issues has been an almost unmitigated success. Its effectiveness has brought it both astonishing wealth and almost unimpeded access to decision-makers. During this time, it has had what amounts to a free pass from the media, its claims and methods rarely questioned by credulous environmental correspondents.

But are the wheels finally coming off? Looking back over the last few years it’s easy to get that impression: an organisation that once seemed untouchable has found itself having to answer some very sharp questions about the way it behaves and operates.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

White Identitarianism

22nd February 2015

John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, goes slumming.

A couple of years ago on this site I wondered “Why Isn’t Racism Cool?” Why, I asked, has the state ideology of the West not generated its antithesis, as historical trends are supposed to do? The Kultursmog of white ethnomasochism and xenophilia, of “diversity” and “hate,” of open borders and “no such thing as race,” is at least as stifling—and, in its underlying premises, at least as questionable—as the gray-flannel Organization Man conformism of the 1950s. So where, I asked, are our beatniks and hippies?

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

America a House Divided Over Race

22nd February 2015

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Here’s the real tragedy: Some 50 years after the passage of sweeping nationwide civil rights legislation, the institutionalization of affirmative action and billions poured into addressing urban poverty, many African American youth remain well outside the mainstream, unmoored to the economy and far too liable to get into confrontations with law enforcement. This is clearly connected with such factors as the preponderance among African Americans of 70 percent single-female-headed households, nearly half of which are poor.

Hmm, here’s a thought: Perhaps it was the ‘ sweeping nationwide civil rights legislation, the institutionalization of affirmative action and billions poured into addressing urban poverty’ that caused this bad situation? Just maybe?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

The Progressive Ideas Behind the Lack of Free Speech on Campus

22nd February 2015

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Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic? A recent panel for Smith College alumnae aimed at “challenging the ideological echo chamber” elicited this ominous “trigger/content warning” when a transcript appeared in the campus newspaper: “Racism/racial slurs, ableist slurs, antisemitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence, references to antisemitic violence.”

No one on this panel, in which I participated, trafficked in slurs. So what prompted the warning?

Speech police today, thought police tomorrow.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Some Minorities Are More Equal Than Others?

22nd February 2015

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If you break into admission statistics to elite colleges and universities you discover a pattern of “disparate impact” (as the civil rights term of art goes) against Asians. It appears Asians are being actively discriminated against just as Jews were for decades.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

More Taxes Equal More Pork

22nd February 2015

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

The interstates were successful because they provided transportation that is faster, cheaper (because it saves fuel), more convenient, and safer than before.

For the past two decades or so, however, much of our transportation spending has focused on infrastructure that is slower, more expensive, less convenient, and often more dangerous than before. Too many cities have given up on trying to relieve congestion. Instead, they have allowed it to grow while they spend transportation dollars (nearly all paid by auto users) on other forms of travel such as rail transit.

A very simple test can determine whether any particular transportation project will be faster, cheaper, more convenient, and/or safer than before: Will the users themselves pay for it? Users will pay for real improvements in transportation; they won’t pay for slower, more expensive, less convenient, and more dangerous transportation.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

For the Best U.S. Architecture Per Square Mile, Head to Dallas

22nd February 2015

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Looking at cities by density of design, Dallas has both New York and Chicago beat.

That’s right, the Big D. If you look past the nation’s tallest and most spectacular designs and focus on the sheer concentration of great design, you’ll find that there is no place that packs in better design than the city’s Arts District. While this standard doesn’t quite rise to the rigor of objectivity, it is juried. Dallas, it turns out, is host to the densest design district in the country.

Six different Pritzker Prize-winning architects have designed signature buildings in the Arts District, all within an area that’s smaller than a square mile. All of the designers have won other prestigious awards, including Japan’s Praemium Imperiale, the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Gold Medal. Dallas’ superior six includes one architect who’s been knighted by France, one who’s been knighted by England, and one who’s been named a senator for life in Italy.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | No Comments »

Monotasking: The Forgotten Skill You (and I) Need to Re-Claim, ASAP

22nd February 2015

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We talked about how we both felt plagued by this weird new thing, and then it hit me. “We’ve become–had to become–professional multitaskers, and it’s almost as if we’ve retrained our brains,” I said. “Now we can’t focus for any length of time on one thing even when that’s our choice.”

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Economic Way of Thinking About Health Care

22nd February 2015

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People often make pronouncements that have profound economic implications without knowing it. They care about ends and are content to leave the means to others. That’s irresponsible, the intellectual equivalent, as I’ve said before, to drunk driving.

Health insurance, whatever it is, does not grow wild and abundant in nature or fall from the sky like manna. It constitutes a command over goods and services—that is, over the products of human effort in conjunction with scarce resources. When government provides health insurance through subsidies or Medicare or Medicaid, it presides over the disposal of the fruits of other people’s labor. Government personnel decide who gets what, even though they had no hand in producing the resources they “redistribute.”

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The White Mosque Summit on Countering Kinetic Activism

22nd February 2015

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As we all know, “Violent Extremism” is a euphemism for “Islamic Terrorism”. However, “violent” is pejorative and inherently discriminatory, and “extremism” implies a value judgment that says “moderate” ideologies are in some way preferable and superior to “extremist” ones.

Therefore I propose that we replace the outmoded phrase “Violent Extremism” with “Kinetic Activism”, which remains value-neutral while still addressing the dangerous tendencies of certain ideological radicals who interpret core documents in ways that negatively impact their fellow humans of all races, creeds, colors, and sexual orientations.

This past week President Barack Hussein Obama (pbuh) convened a summit in Washington D.C. to address the pressing issue of kinetic activism. The second day of the summit opened with an Islamic prayer in Arabic. No other religious invocations were offered — neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Buddhist, nor Wiccan, nor Ásatruar. Only Muslim.

That makes sense, of course, since Mohammed was the final prophet of the only true religion, whose ministry made all previous avatars irrelevant. So let’s not quibble about the fact that a conclave of responsible theophostics chose to offer a prayer to Allah only, and nothing else. Those esteemed mantics have a legitimate claim to being the best of all people, beloved of Allah. They deserve their righteous privilege.

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Study Says the Poor Bear the Brunt of Sales Tax Hikes

22nd February 2015

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Hey, how can Democrats buy votes with free stuff if the underclass don’t need the money?

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

22nd February 2015

Let Me Be There

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The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature

21st February 2015

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The time has come to rethink wilderness.

This will seem a heretical claim to many environmentalists, since the idea of wilderness has for decades been a fundamental tenet—indeed, a passion—of the environmental movement, especially in the United States. For many Americans wilderness stands as the last remaining place where civilization, that all too human disease, has not fully infected the earth. It is an island in the polluted sea of urban-industrial modernity, the one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness. Seen in this way, wilderness presents itself as the best antidote to our human selves, a refuge we must somehow recover if we hope to save the planet. As Henry David Thoreau once famously declared, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” (1)

But is it? The more one knows of its peculiar history, the more one realizes that wilderness is not quite what it seems. Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, it is quite profoundly a human creation—indeed, the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history. It is not a pristine sanctuary where the last remnant of an untouched, endangered, but still transcendent nature can for at least a little while longer be encountered without the contaminating taint of civilization. Instead, it’s a product of that civilization, and could hardly be contaminated by the very stuff of which it is made. Wilderness hides its unnaturalness behind a mask that is all the more beguiling because it seems so natural. As we gaze into the mirror it holds up for us, we too easily imagine that what we behold is Nature when in fact we see the reflection of our own unexamined longings and desires. For this reason, we mistake ourselves when we suppose that wilderness can be the solution to our culture’s problematic relationships with the nonhuman world, for wilderness is itself no small part of the problem.

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The Clime’s Speech

21st February 2015

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(Phys.org)—Human speech is not typically thought to adapt to the environment, and a standard assumption in linguistics is that sound systems are in fact immune to ecological effects. Recently, however, scientists at University of Miami and several Max Planck Institutes in Germany and The Netherlands have, in a single study, predicted that complex tone patterns should not evolve in arid climates by reviewing laryngology data on the negative effects of aridity on vocal cord movement, and – by analyzing climatic and phonological data on over 3,700 languages – found support for their prediction.

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Why Arabs Lose Wars

21st February 2015

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Arabic-speaking armies have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s.1 Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers.2 Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds.3 The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre.4 And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors—economic, ideological, technical—but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.

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