One of the US government’s anti-Castro plots was to fake the Second Coming using pyrotechnics and then have Illusory Jesus demand that the Cubans overthrow their government. This totally would have worked in Oz The Great And Powerful.
So we already know that the average person can’t taste the difference between a $10 and a $10,000 bottle of wine. But what about coffee? Experts try a blind taste test of some prestigious and less prestigious brands.
Afghanistan’s first female mayor proves critics wrong. A really inspirational story – sort of: “She is now referred to as “Mr Mayor” by her community, a title that conveys respect in a country not known for women’s rights.” Also interesting for its take on the perverse incentives involved at only throwing money at Afghan regions that have terrorists.
One of the cutest marriage proposals ever: Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study
The conventional wisdom is that you’re liberal in college but once you get exposed to the real world you become conservative. Here’s a story of the opposite. It is possible that the real world is horrible, and whether this makes you more liberal or conservative depends on whether you have more real-world exposure to the free market or to the government?
The election of a new Pope is a good time to notice that, despite the narrative of Catholic decline, the Church is larger than ever both in absolute numbers and percent share of the population. And the number of priests is starting to increase again, even in Western countries.
It’s also a good time to remember interesting saints, like St. Christina The Astonishing. But my personal favorite is (the apocryphal) St. Expeditus, who depending on your version of history may be a Roman legionary, a voodoo demon, or a comical misinterpretation of a packaging label (and who is also the patron saint of people trying to fight procrastination). As for non-Christian saints, it’s hard to beat the story of Gang Bing.
You know those outrageous multimillion dollar contracts basketball players get? Well, within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.
rightists are more likely to buy name brand, leftists more likely to buy generic. Makes sense in light of some of our recent discussions about mental underpinnings of political ideology.
Paleo has taken a couple of big hits lately. Biology professor Marlene Zuk has written a book called Paleofantasy, arguing that the paleo diet doesn’t make sense because humans evolve quickly enough to adapt to dietary changes associated with civilization. I haven’t read this yet, but I’m hoping it’s the same argument as in “The Ten Thousand Year Explosion”, except aimed against low-status fringe groups instead of at popular sacred cows. That way I can kind of triangulate what an unbiased academic community thinks of the ideas involved by averaging the reaction to both books.
The other big hit is a study finding that mummies had clogged arteries, including those from hunter-gatherer tribes. First I want to wait to see if this result gets picked apart/anti-replicated. After that, well, it’s confusing for the paleo people, but really it should be at least a little confusing for everyone. Empirically hunter-gatherer groups don’t seem to get heart attacks, so what is the difference between their clogged arteries and ours?
Probably the best news of the year so far totally lost in the excitement: China will be closing down its forced labor camps.
A St. Patrick’s Day fact: our word “shenanigans” comes from the Irish for “I play the fox”.
Syria declares jihad on jihad, initiating what may be the first meta-jihad in history.
The Iranians are upset because Ahmadinejad hugged Hugo Chavez’s mother at his funeral, thus violating Islamic laws against men touching unrelated women. I declare meta-jihad against anyone who declares jihad on him over this.
So now maybe we know how reservatrol and red wine work? Also within: a really interesting example of the methodological complexity of modern biochemical research.
I should work this into a future article on Reaction, but here’s a taster: happiness has been increasing over the past sixty years in most first world countries, including the United States.
And more good news: “wonder material” graphene may lead to cheap desalinization. Given that a lot of the grimmest predictions for the 21st century involved big conflicts over water, if this panned out it would be almost fusion-power-level good. Unfortunately, this only increases my suspicion that we can solve all environmental problems by being terrible thoughtless fools and waiting for science to come up with a clever patch for our irresponsibility.