Monthly Archives: February 2010

He’s Getting Cross

As you all know, the global-warming community has been under a great deal of pressure lately. Its Pontifex Maximus, Albert A. Gore, published a lengthy riposte in the Times today. You can read it here. It is about what you would expect: a reminder that even if the scientific claims of the global-warming industry are […]

Are We Not Men?

Here’s a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: The sovereign extends his arms over the whole society; he covers its surface with a web of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls are unable to emerge in order to rise above the crowd; it […]

Bob & Doug, We Hardly Knew Ye

After working all day, teaching class this evening, staying after to practice a little Iron Wire, trudging home in a blizzard, and shoveling the walk and stoop, I’m whipped. So for tonight, then, here’s a pungent little rant about the sorry state of my former homeland, from Mark Steyn. Related content from Sphere

Ought From Naught

In a post over at VFR, Lawrence Auster comments on an essay by Stanley Fish in which Professor Fish remarks on the inability of pure “secular” reason, bereft of normative bedrock in the Divine, to provide any “oughts”. This is catnip to Mr. Auster, who is, despite having various admirable qualities, a crusading anti-Darwinist. The […]

No Hurry

lich: southern dialectal survival of O.E. lic “body, dead body, corpse,” cognate with O.Fris. lik, Du. lijk, O.H.G. lih, Ger. leiche “dead body,” O.N. lik, Dan. lig, Goth. leik, from P.Gmc. *likow. Related content from Sphere

I Want One

As far as nifty gadgets go, it would be hard to top the computerized anti-mosquito laser cannon we showed you a few days ago. But a German tinkerer has certainly come up with an impressive little toy. Video here. Related content from Sphere

Diversity: In For A Penny, In For A Pound

There’s a lively chat going on over at Mangan’s about how people react to the growing body of data about the diversity of various human groups with regard to IQ and general intelligence. That such differences actually do exist is at this point uncontroversial amongst those who study psychometrics, but it is of course a […]

A People’s History Of Purim

A week from tomorrow begins the Jewish festival of Purim, which celebrates the success of the Jews living under the ancient Persian Empire in reversing a plot to annihilate them. The tale is told in the Book of Esther, also known as the Megillah. Summing up briefly: During a feast, a drunken King Ahasuerus [likely […]

No-Fly Zone

Having got home rather late from teaching class, I’ll leave you this evening with a brief but truly uplifting item: about the implementation, finally, of a technological fantasy I’ve been entertaining for decades. Seriously, this is outstanding. Have a look here. Related content from Sphere

Made In The Shade

I’ve been so busy of late spewing vile, reactionary, hate-filled, racist poison (or simple common sense, depending upon your point of view), that I have neglected another topic of critical import and urgency: butt-ugly deep-sea fishes. No longer. Tonight I invite you to contemplate the stupefyingly unlovely Psychrolutes marcidus, known to bathypiscophiles the world over […]

Doug Fieger, 1952-2010

We note with sadness the death, at age 57, of Doug Fieger, leader of the New Wave rock band The Knack, who had an enormous hit back in 1979 with the song “My Sharona”. I got to know Doug (and even met Sharona!) back in 1981, when I assisted in the mixing of the band’s […]

Trouble In Paradise

In an article just published in Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria argues that sympathy for al-Qaeda, and for the most extreme forms of terrorist jihad, is diminishing throughout much of the Muslim world — due in large part to al-Qaeda’s violent excesses against Muslims themselves, particularly in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Certainly the relentless campaign by the […]

Some Bling For Bing

It’s TED Time again. Most of the current talks haven’t been posted as videos yet, but a few of them have. Here’s one that shows what Microsoft is working on for Bing Maps. Related content from Sphere

Stay Loose

When singers sing, or players of string or wind instruments sound a note, they almost always apply some vibrato — that familar effect in which the pitch is varied slightly, and rapidly — if the note is to be held for long. It is particularly unusual (in modern times at least) to hear singers who […]


In the essay linked to in our previous post, historian Gerard Alexander discussed the opinion, common amongst liberal critics, that Republicans lack the temperament, or perhaps even the basic intelligence and necessary habits of thought, for focused, critical examination of complex social, political, and philosophical issues. We are pleased tonight to offer a devastating counterexample, […]

No Respect

Once again it’s been a busy few days, with little time for brooding and writing. For now, then, here’s an essay that has been making the rounds for a week or so: Why Are Liberals So Condescending? It’s by one Gerard Alexander, who teaches politics at the University of Virginia. In it he identifies, and […]

Oh Well

Well, whatever Iran had planned for today appears to have been a bit of a fizzle, at least as far as a “blow” to the West is concerned; indeed even the link I posted yesterday appears to be down. Any heavy blows were apparently reserved for the political opposition, and delivered by the Basiji. Don’t […]

Stay Tuned

Tomorrow, February 11th, is the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. According to this item at Iran’s Press TV website, the Dear Leader — no, wait a minute, I mean the Supreme Leader; I always get these totalitarian Axis Of Evil types muddled up — has an anniversary present to give us. Should be […]


Many years ago I read a haunting short story (I believe it was called As Never Was, by P. Schuyler Miller), about a curious possible aspect of time-travel. In the story, which I recall only vaguely, there was a museum that sheltered a celebrated artifact: a strange and marvelous knife that had been brought back […]

It’s Turtles All The Way Down

An article in today’s New York Times describes frustration amongst black activists over what they see as insufficiently preferential treatment from the President. Here’s an example: On Capitol Hill, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed irritation that Mr. Obama has not created programs tailored specifically to African-Americans, who are suffering disproportionately in the […]


Iran is playing a very dangerous game at the moment, and they are raising the stakes simultaneously on several of their wagers. First, they have now announced that they are planning, despite recent conciliatory remarks, to proceed with the enrichment of nuclear fuel to near-weapons-grade levels (well, 20 percent isn’t 90, but it will mean […]

First They Came For Geert

In Holland, the parliamentarian Geert Wilders is on trial for speaking his mind about the acute existential threat posed to European culture by Islam. Mr. Wilders — who believes, correctly, that Islam is at its core an explicitly totalizing and expansionist ideological system that is utterly incompatible with fundamental Western principles, and therefore should not […]


In the Andaman Islands are several small and long-isolated human populations, including one that is, as far as I know, the most isolated human group of them all: the few hundred people living on North Sentinel Island. One of these populations, as of last week, no longer exists. The last of the Bo-speaking subtribes of […]

Who’s Your Daddy?

I have had very little interest in all the fuss about the circumstances of President Obama’s birth. I’m certainly not hoping, as some people seem to be, to have the man pitched out of office on a Constitutional technicality; if nothing else I hardly think it’s in anyone’s interest to have Joe Biden running the […]

Are We Alone?

Recent correspondence has called back to my attention a perfunctory little post from last April, which despite its brevity led to one of our longer and more entertaining comment-threads. Here. Related content from Sphere

The Peasants Are Revolting

A commenter here recently said: “Wake me up if Charles Krauthammer ever gets anything right.” Coffee?

Wilders Trial On Hold

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Kafkaesque trial of Geert Wilders has been postponed while the schedule is worked out for the testimony of the few witnesses he will be allowed to call. It appears the trial will not resume until July at the earliest. A discussion of all this is underway at […]

A Fair Trial? Prospects Dhimming

Yesterday the judge in the free-speech trial of Geert Wilders ruled that only three of the eighteen witnesses Mr. Wilders had hoped to call to testify about the true nature of Islam will be permitted to appear, and must do so behind closed doors. There may now be a long delay while these appearances — […]

I’m Feeling The Love

Roger Kimball shares a few thoughts about Howard Zinn. Here.

New Word

Thoughtopsy: in which you try to determine what the hell you could possibly have been thinking.

A Little Sensitivity, Please

Hats off to Sarah Palin. While others are bickering about trivial superficialities — health care, the economy, and other inconsequential distractions — Ms. Palin has seized upon an issue of genuine substance: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s characterization of certain Senate liberals as “f***ing retarded”. Now some will say that this is a […]

Ask. Tell.

The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been in the news lately. President Obama wants it repealed. I agree, though I disagree with him as to why.