Monthly Archives: October 2009

Nothing To See Here

Not tonight, anyway. So make your way straight over to The Joy of Curmudgeonry, where our friend the estimable Deogolwulf has just published a formidable essay on the auto-genocide of the West. Here. Related content from Sphere

Know When To Fold ‘Em

On the front page of today’s Times there’s a photo from Pakistan: Hillary Clinton — the West’s most powerful diplomat, an inspiration to women everywhere, and an essential symbol and embodiment of Western liberty, strength, and confidence — in a Muslim headscarf. Again. Oh well, at least it will be a few years before she […]

Whence The Conservative?

Well, our theme for this week notwithstanding, this is certainly anything but “shameless filler”: Bill Vallicella, over at his website Maverick Philosopher, has presented some pithy excerpts from Michael Oakeshott’s essay On Being Conservative, in support of his thesis that conservatism is first a matter of temperament and inveterate disposition, and only thereafter a matter […]

“He’s Becoming Ordinary”

Over at Der Spiegel Online is an interview with Charles Krauthammer, in which he assesses Barack Obama’s stewardship, to date, of our nation’s affairs. I find little to disagree with. Here are some excerpts. Related content from Sphere

Justice Is Served

Heading wearily home on the subway late this evening, I skimmed an item in today’s Times — Waiter, There’s A Gavel In My Soup — in which the author Gay Talese described finding himself at the table next to Chief Justice John Roberts’s last Saturday evening at a cozy little Upper East Side restaurant. As […]

Tiny Dancer

With deadlines looming over me once again at work, I’m frazzled. It looks like it’s going to be another Shameless Filler Week here at waka waka waka. Our Muse tonight is Terpsichore, as we present a video clip — sent our way by the lovely Nina — in which we meet Elvyna, a p’tite jeune […]

Rimshot, Please

After eleven hours of heavy lifting at the office, I’m afraid the little grey cells have now called it a day, and a meaty post is simply not in the cards. But readers will know by now that having nothing of any interest whatsoever to say rarely keeps me from posting — and tonight is […]

Face Facts

It’s been a busy weekend, and I’ve had no time for writing. For tonight, then, a curiosity: the effect of visual contrast on gender recognition. Here.

Meating Of The Minds

An item in today’s Physorg newsletter describes some remarkable neurological research: scientists at CalTech, by showing pictures to test subjects while monitoring brain activity, have managed to associate individual neurons in the medial temporal lobe with specific perceptions. We read: Dr. Moran Cerf of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and colleagues conducted their […]

Could Be Worse

Life is hard, but at least it’s short.

Man Bites God

Over at CNN today we learn that the Coalition of Reason, an association of godless heathens, has purchased some advertising space in Gotham’s subway system. Their ads will point out the plain empirical fact that it is possible for people to be good without religion. What’s telling about this is not the story itself, but […]


Over at Mangan’s today, Dennis reports on pressure being applied to the journal Medical Hypotheses (and its editor Bruce Charlton) in an attempt to suppress a controversial paper on AIDS. Here. Related content from Sphere


The model of the modern mind, it seems, is one that can attend to many things at once, effortlessly picking up new tasks as completed ones are dropped. This new-and-improved kind of mind features an agile attention that is almost entirely without inertia, dancing nimbly upon flickering streams of incoming data without fatigue or failure. […]

Back From the Future

Time travel is a persistently tantalizing idea, and has been a recurring theme in literature and other cultural media since at least as far back as the Mahabarata. Today it lives at the very edge of scientific plausibility: never entirely ruled out, but subject to persuasive objections. One of the most problematic is the “grandfather […]

Picture Postcard

We’ve been off the air for a couple of days, having holed up in Wellfleet for a long weekend. The weekend after Columbus Day is when the town hosts its annual Oysterfest, a two-day celebration of our renowned local mollusc. As you can see from the schedule of events, there are concerts, lectures, exhibitions and […]


We’ve been traveling all evening, so just a brief item for tonight: a giant, glowing ribbon at the outer limits of our solar system. Here.


We certainly have plenty of things to worry about already, I think most of you would would agree. To name just a few, we have an ancient clash of civilizations, with hot wars on two fronts and fanatical terrorists scheming in every shadowy corner of the globe; paranoid despots, who hate us, armed with nuclear […]

Thy Rod And Thy Staff Shall Comfort Me

A friend at work just sent this awkward logo my way…

Baby Steps

National Geographic recently added a new feature to its website: a zoomable map du jour. I particularly enjoyed today’s offering, depicting 50 years of space exploration. Here.

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone

Here, with a hat tip to Dymphna at Gates of Vienna, are some video clips that should be of interest to all: Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant testifying before the Canadian Parliament’s Justice and Human Rights Committee, as part of an inquiry into the inquisitorial powers of the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding censorship of […]

Pulling The Plug On Grandma

Lovely. It won’t happen here, of course.

Peace Prize Be Upon Him

A commenter on our recent post about President Obama’s Nobel Prize disapproved of my saying that Mr. Obama had made, in his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, “fawning salaams and obeisances before Islam”. At the time of the speech I had refrained from dwelling on this, preferring instead to compliment Mr. Obama on an […]

You Cannot Be Serious

Continuing his ascent toward globe-girdling Godhead, Barack Obama has now been given the Nobel Peace Prize. The Peace Prize is already little more than a political and cultural absurdity, a rubber-stamp of leftist adulation — but this award, in which the Nobel Committee shows all the dignity and sober judgment of a bunch of teenage […]

So Sorry

When we enumerate those few qualities that, despite Man’s infinite capacity for folly and cruelty, reveal nevertheless a transcendent spark that sets us apart from the beasts, chief among them, perhaps, is our astonishing ability at times to create, even as we groan upon the rack, works of art of timeless and ennobling beauty. We […]

Great Circle

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of time wondering why Saturn’s moon Iapetus is dark on one side. Well, here’s your answer.

Tar Baby

President Obama is grappling with a momentous and extremely difficult choice in Afghanistan. It is a grim situation, and there are really no good options; there is also no consensus amongst his advisers, or the punditry at large, about what we ought to do. Reader JK, who always has his ear to the ground, has […]


With thanks to my colleague Eugene Dushlin for sending this my way, here’s a delightful video clip featuring some very nimble guitar-playing.

…And The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen

According to the New York Times, the city’s Education Department has now banned bake sales. Here. (Hat tip: The Stiletto.)

Atheists In The Trenches

Over at Maverick Philosopher Bill Vallicella cites, with apparent approbation, an essay by the atheist author Julian Baggini that criticizes the agenda of “New Atheism”, exemplified by the “Four Horsemen” Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens, as misbegotten and counterproductive. What Bill does not link to is a piquant response, at the same website, by the […]

Sent Packing

I see that Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics has been rejected. Lord knows why President Obama thought it was appropriate to the dignity of his august office to go, hat in hand, to Copenhagen to petition the IOC on behalf of his hometown; his failure to carry the day is now an embarrassment he, […]

Maybe We’ll Win After All

With talent like this, how can America lose? (Hat tip to Matt Pierson.) Related content from Sphere

Can’t Touch This

Anybody who had the patience to wade through yesterday’s far too long-winded post (do forgive me for having such a low-rent editorial staff) knows that I have religion on my mind lately. In that post I mentioned, as I have often done in the past, the magnificent defensive arsenal of highly evolved religions. I ran […]

Is Secularism Maladaptive?

In the paper the other day there was an item about Pope Benedict’s recent remarks to the people of the Czech Republic. The Pope, speaking to one of the most secular societies on Earth, sought earnestly to persuade them of the dangers of a society without God. On a superficial level this is easy enough […]