The fax machine was invented in 1843 and fully automated in 1881. I feel like the engineers of those days must be laughing at us for needing digital technology to transmit information.
Someone checks to see if any papers by the joke paper-generator software SCIgen have actually made it into publication; finds 120 of them in various scientific fields. On the one hand, it’s mostly small conferences in China and the like. On the other, it’s getting a lot harder to make fun of those Sokal people.
The troubled relationships between atheism and conservativism. Both the president of the American Atheists and the director of the Secular Coalition of America identify as conservatives. But a lot of atheists object to any conservative in a leadership position. And American Atheists got their booth kicked out of the Conservative Political Action Conference as an “attack on God Himself.” Also, I should feel bad for being amused that CPAC is being held in the Gaylord National Convention Center.
Apple unveils memorial to
hideous alien centipede Steve Jobs. Something less than a fitting tribute to a man known for the aesthetic excellence of his products.
IMF takes the stand that inequality is damaging to economic growth. But, they ask, is the cure worse than the disease?. And then they conclude ‘no’ and say countries should redistribute money. +1 unexpected.
Object-level versus meta-level political thinking in one picture. Well, mostly just object-level.
Empiricism! Half of the police officers in a medium-sized town were randomly assigned to wear body cameras that recorded their actions. Number of complaints against officers dropped 88%, and police officers were 60% less likely to use force. Which is confusing, as both of those numbers are greater than 50%, suggesting that there must have been some change among the cameraless officers as well. Spillover effects or fundamental problem with the experiment? Full study here.
Science Based Medicine, which is about as conservative and establishment as you’re going to get, writes about dieting, and declares that diets should not make you hungry, fat is not the enemy, and willpower is not the problem. Probably safe to say these ideas are now officially mainstream.
The Book of Revelations declares that a bunch of people will be killed by a star named Wormwood. On one level, it’s quite interesting that “Chernobyl” may be Ukrainian for “wormwood”. On a higher level, it’s even more interesting that different interpreters have read the same prophecy as referring to the Chernobyl meltdown, the emperor Constantine, Pelagius’ denial of original sin, and the rise of Attila the Hun. This does not speak well for the quality of the prophecy interpretation industry.
Included because I’ll include anything if it has a clever enough name: There Is No American Meritocracy As Long As People Are Naming Their Kids Truffles. Libertarianish blogger rejects the idea of American society being fair or a pure meritocracy (okay, with you so far) but also of solving the problem by throwing welfare money at it (still sooooorta with you) and so concludes that the solution must be more early childhood interventions. I’m still kind of with her, but her own article mostly concludes that the problem is intrinsic to the culture of poor groups (like naming their kids Truffles) so I’m not sure why she thinks ‘eliminating homophobia’ and ‘knocking down shitty public schools’ and all the other things she’s proposing are the solutions.
Why I Can’t Stand Asian Musicians Who Play Beethoven – this article is approximately what I think of everyone who uses the word “appropriation”.
Muslim scholars look for the most Islamically governed country in the world, decide upon New Zealand. Hint: THEY MAYBE SORT OF REDEFINED ISLAM AS LIBERALISM.
Add Courage Wolf to Calming Manatee and you get Calmage Wolfatee!
Politics makes strange bedfellows. Giant corporations were a big player in Arizona’s decision to veto right-to-discriminate-against-gays laws. In response, the American Conservative decides Karl Marx was a pretty smart guy.
There is a moderately serious movement to build a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast to counterbalance the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. I am torn between thinking it is a symbolically appropriate gimmick, and thinking we probably have better things to spend money on than symbolically appropriate gimmicks. But the design (a pair of clasped hands) is absolutely awful and breaks the parallelism with SoL, so forget about it.
In rem are a form of legal case in which the defendant is property rather than an individual. This can lead to some very humorous case names, like Quantity of Books vs. Kansas, United States vs. Approximately 64,695 Pounds Of Shark Fins, and United States vs. 11 1/4 Dozen Packages of Articles Labeled In Part “Mrs. Moffat’s Shoo-Fly Powders for Drunkenness.
Interview with Charles Koch CTRL-F “your political views” if you want to skip through interminable business stuff. He seems like a kind, intelligent, reasonable person, just like everybody else who is ruining the world.