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Showing posts from April, 2009

Feed Mayonaisse to Live Tuna Fish!

So, on Facebook, I was discussing with Tennyson McCalla, who was bemoaning the move to put TSA personnel as bag inspectors on the New York City subways, how I had never encountered any searches anywhere in the four years that they have been going on there.

Then, today, I was getting on the subway to go to Yeshiva University (more on that next post) and I thought, 'You know who I do see all the time -- this group of Bolivians playing guitars and flutes that's in front of me right now.'

And then I had one of those 'Doh!' moments, and thought 'How obvious -- have the Bolivian musicians do the searches!'

I mean, they're already far more ubiquitous than the present inspectors, they're much friendlier than those TSA folks, they can entertain you, while they search you, with their colorful native ponchos and the haunting, mystical sounds of their ancient Andean melodies such as 'El Condor Pasa', and they will do the job just for tips!

Merely a Coincidence?

People who bought the Brill Razorcut 38 hand push lawn mower also bought plenty of books on Christianity. (Try putting it in your shopping cart yourself if this link doesn't work -- out of the 11 related products they offer me, 6 are books related to Christianity in some way.) Perhaps, in the end times, the Brill will come in handy... for mowing down some heathens?!

Those Nutty Germans

I was falling asleep last night reading Leo Strauss on Martin Heidegger, and after a page of stuff like "the being of being is in existential time but not of it", (I'm making that quote up, but that's what it seemed like to me at the time), and I wonder what makes them write like they do. It's as though they get in the grip of some idea, and get so excited they completely forget how to write. Now, they fact that they are in the grip of this idea means that they're often worth reading, but the fact that it made them forget how to write can make it excruciating.

Methodological Individualism

Danny Shahar makes an interesting post on methodological individualism.

Happy Charles Krauthammer Day!

I have to admit, the leftists are more clever than their right-wing opponents. It's too bad they don't know how market economies work.

This guy celebrates "Charles Krauthammer Day" (HT2 Brad DeLong) because back on April 22, 2003, Krauthammer said:
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We've had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven't found any, we will have a credibility problem. I don't have any doubt that we will locate them. I think it takes time. They've obviously been deeply hidden, and it will require that we get the information from people who know where they are.

If you're looking for anthrax and VX gas, which can be hidden in a basement or a closet, in a country the size of Germany, you can understand how in five weeks we might not have stumbled across them.

I understand that from the Austrian point of view, Americans appear rather naive. I can assure you that from the American point…

Just Sayin'...

that these are trendy phrases I've heard too often:

"How [fantastic/nice/scary/cool] is THAT?" -- Well, I don't know... perhaps you'll tell me.

"It is what it is." -- Yes, and so is everything else.

"Just sayin'..." -- Much like 'teh', it was funny once or twice, but now, the 500th time...

"Not so much." -- See note above.

Did US Execute Japanese Soldiers for Waterboarding American POWs?

I am reluctant to take anything from the Huffington Post at face value, but unless Begala is making all this up, it seems the "quit your liberal bellyachin'" pro-waterboarding hawks are in an awkward position. Apparently US judges hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American POWs during World War II. But then again, it's not really torture if you're doing it to spread your system of government all over the world, as opposed to imposing your form of government all over the world.

Secession Tiff

There's an interesting little flame war between various libertarians at The Liberty Papers on the issue of secession. The level of invective is amazing, as is the desire to score a point by making up whatever history will support one's views.

Let's start with Sandefur: "Excuse me, Congressman, but the United States did not 'secede' from Britain. The nation had a revolution."

Um, say what? The American colonists did not overthrow the government of the United Kingdom! They seceded from it. Has Sandefur not noticed that King George III was still right where he was at the beginning of the War for Independence -- on the throne?! That pretty much the same MPs were in Parliament? That there were now two nations were there had been one? (Of course, Sandefur is right in noting that the colonists did not view their secession as legal.) And, I'll note, Sandefur is way over the top in imputing neo-Confederate motivation to his opponents -- most of them, I think, si…

Reader Service Alert

It seems like it's a good idea to avoid Yaari, which apparently will continually spam everyone in your address book as soon as you sign up.

Outsource This

The 'Irrationality" of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

If you search the net a bit you can find many claims for the "irrationality" of relativity and quantum mechanics. I've just picked two at random here, but there are thousands like this:

"Near the origin of relativity is the claim that the velocity of light is determined by the receiving point. Effect supposedly precedes cause. Everyone knows something cannot be caused after it occurs. That claim is not allowed anyplace."
-- Here.

"The Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA) is devoted mainly to broad-ranging, fully open-minded criticism, at the most fundamental levels , of the often irrational and unrealistic doctrines of modern physics and cosmology; and to the ultimate replacement of these doctrines by much sounder ideas developed with full respect for evidence, logic, and objectivity."
-- (The group's site is down right now, so no link!)

Now, certain "Austrians" have, quite detrimentally to the greater acceptance of Austrian economics, linked s…

MNR, Cult Founder

You know how you can tell something is a cult? When people start talking about 'deviations' that make people 'unacceptable'.

I Didn't Start the Flame War!

Congratulations Are in Order

Bob's new book is out, and is number 90 on Amazon.com as of this writing.

And People Wonder Why Libertarianism Isn't More Popular?!

Benjamin Friedman over at Cato writes, with his head a foot up his arse:

"As Peter Van Doren pointed out to me the other day, the right way to think about this problem is that pirates are imposing a tax on shipping in their area."

Right, Benjamin and Peter -- and "the right way" -- and notice, this is THE right way, and any other view is sentimental claptrap! -- to look at rape is that rapists are just "imposing a tax" on women walking through the park at night.

And then there's this revelation"

"The reason ships are being hijacked along the Somali coast is because there are still ships sailing down the Somali coast."

I think I'm getting the hang of this! The reason women are raped in parks at night is that those durned broads keep on a' walkin' through 'em! They must be asking for it, or something!

Machlup Redux

Since I mentioned Fritz Machlup a couple of posts down, it occurs to me that I might relate to you how a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless unless he chooses to reveal his identity in the comments section) is nagged by the idea that he killed this great social theorist. It seems that my friend slipped a paper he wrote under Machlup's door one evening, and the next day Fritz was found dead. My friend's worry is that Machlup took one look at his paper and decided, 'Well, if this is the sort of thing I have to look forward to from here on out, it's about time for me to call it quits!'

Glenn Greenwald on Hypocritical Right Wingers

Since I just blogged about hypocritical left wingers (when it comes to the police state), in fairness I'll link to this funny Glenn Greenwald column in which he rips all the people complaining about the Department of Homeland Security...who were cheerleading its creation during the Bush years.

I especially liked that Greenwald specifically exempted "the small faction of Ron-Paul/Bruce-Fein/Bob-Barr conservatives who stayed true to their limited-government principles during the Bush era."

Anthony Gregory: The Waco Butchers Are Back

This is a thoroughly depressing article. But he's right. An excerpt:
Over the last eight years, muckraking liberal journalists dissected every word and deed of the Bush regime, but under Clinton very few were bothered about the unambiguously atrocious nature of the federal raid at Waco. They did not care that Lon Horiuchi, the sniper who murdered Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge in August 1992, had been brought to Waco. They were not jumping up and down about Janet Reno using internationally banned chemical warfare on American children. They did not condemn the FBI for using explosives in addition to flammable gas and then lying about it. They were not concerned what it meant for the militarization of law enforcement, and did not ask why David Koresh, who had befriended federal agents, was friendly with local law enforcement, and had opened the Davidian home up for inspection, was simply not arrested when he was jogging or visiting the bar. The liberals did not wonder why the excuse fo…

Still Annoying, Fifty Years Later

The late, great Fritz Machlup wrote an essay on how annoying he found it to see the word 'methodology' (the study of methods) used when what was meant was the simpler, less pretentious 'method' (how something was done). I just ran across an article on the price of General Tso's chicken in Brooklyn where the author talks about the 'methodology' of his survey -- of Chinese restaurant prices!

The Origin of Those Silly Quotes?

We all have heard thew numerous complaints about people using quotation marks for emphasis. But I was just struck by a plausible notion of how this started. I was looking at a sign that included some trade-marked phrase, e.g., try new Tried Detergent with miracle "super-whitening doodads". I occurred to me that people could have seen this use, and, not understanding the quotes indicated a trade-marked phrase, have thought that they were there for emphasis.

Any thoughts?

Dawkins Versus Socrates

‘We are survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.' -- Richard Dawkins

I paraphrase Socrates:
'Should I say I am now sitting here because my body is blindly programmed by its genes... [But this] should fail to mention the real causes, which are, that the Athenians decided it was best to condemn me, and therefore I have decided that it was best for me to sit here and that it is right for me to stay and undergo whatever penalty they order. For, by God, I fancy these genes of mine would have been in Megara or Boeotia long ago, carried thither by an opinion of what was best, if I did not think it was better and nobler to endure any penalty the city may inflict...'

What's the Difference Between a Pirate and an Emperor?

I think the answer is the headwear. (HT2LRC)

The Dawkins Trick

Here's how to be a superstar in the world of Darwinist extremism, like Richard Dawkins: You write 50 pages of shocking text taking a metaphor like 'the selfish gene' quite literally. Then, you slip in one sentence saying something to the effect that, 'Of course, this is all just a metaphor!' Then you go back to writing as if it were literally true for another 50 pages.

It is as though one kept insisting that snow is black, very, very dark, reflects no light, and so on, and then paused once in a while and wrote, 'Of course, I know that snow is really white!' Calling snow black is not a metaphor, it's a simple falsehood. And so is calling genes 'selfish'.

Furthermore, 'Dawkins’s crude, cheap, blurred genetics is not just an expository device. It is the kingpin of his crude, cheap, blurred psychology'. (Mary Midgley)

Animal Cooperation

"No one who has heard of evolution has any business to suppose, as Hobbes excusably did, that calculating prudence is the root of all social behaviour. Now that we know how complex the social life of other species can become when their intelligence does not make calculation possible, we know that there is no such single root. Ethological comparison strongly confirms, what an unprejudiced view of the human scene has always suggested, that motivation is complex. There is no short cut to understanding it. In each case we have to look at the detailed evidence." -- Mary Midgley

So how in the world could someone, post-evolution, write this?
"Society is concerted action, cooperation. Society is the outcome of conscious and purposeful behavior... Within the frame of social cooperation there can emerge between members of society feelings of sympathy and friendship and a sense of belonging together... However, they are not, as some have asserted, the agents that have brought about …

Q: What do you call someone...

who, despite having Coeliac disease, continues to eat bread?


A: A gluten for punishment.

The Pygmies...

Mystery mails

I regularly, these days, receive mails with no subject and no body. Does anyone know what the purpose of such mails might be?

We Have Named the Enemy (Abstractly)

I was listening to NPR and they were discussing how the military was having trouble getting equipment to its troops in a certain region in Afghanistan. The correspondent said something like, "Supplying the troops has been made more difficult by..." And here I thought, "Whoa, are they going to admit that they are meeting fierce resistance from rebels?"

But instead she finished the sentence, "...the deteriorating security situation."

Awww, what a fake out. It sounds serious if your military is being hampered by actual enemies who are sabotaging supply lines. But if it's just a deteriorating situation, no biggie...

More Evidence of Just How Smart Dem Critters Is!

This one from Roderick Long.

My favourite quote from the comments:

"Researchers in Tokyo report that elephants are able to do math and scored 87 percent in basic math tests.

"It's bad enough our students can't compete with Asian students, now we can't even compete with Asian elephants."