Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Buck Stops Nowhere

In a new article, Sam Harris argues that common notions of free will are incoherent, and are almost certainly at odds with reality. (I think so too.) The problem is that no account of causality leaves room for free will—thoughts, moods, and desires of every sort simply spring into view—and move us, or fail to […]

Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya…

Big news for Wolverines fans: Tressel’s out at Ohio State. Story here.

Wild Kingdom

It’s a quiet holiday weekend, and I’ve nothing much to write about. The only major news from here on Hiram Hill is that a fox going by the name of Wily Willy seems to have taken up residence under our deck. He’s an elusive critter, but earlier today I did manage to whip out my […]


We’ve decamped for a few days to the woods near Wellfleet Harbor, and on this warm late-May evening there are some huge insects storming the screens at the doors and windows. June-bugs, I figured they must be, and wanting to know a little more I Googled junebugs Cape Cod. Here’s what I found. Massachusetts has […]

We Try To Please

Ah, the Shaggs — a pebble in our shoe, a nagging reminder of the dimensionless infinitude of Man (or in this case, three teenage girls). Our friend Jeffery Hodges cracks open the door for a little peek. Related content from Sphere

Beta Test

Lawrence Auster, in a post commenting on the idiotic and occasionally dangerous fad known as “planking” (in which people take photos of themselves stretched out horizontally in odd locations), suggests that plankers deserve a Darwin Award. So far, so good, and I quite agree. But Mr. Auster, who has an intellectually unfortunate antipathy to Darwinism, […]

Stuff To Read

For tonight, four foreign-affairs items: First: A transcript of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Second: When Vladimir Putin had to step aside in 2008 to honor Russia’s term-limit laws, he selected his chief of staff, Dmitry Medvedev, to keep his seat warm. Now Mr. Putin, eligible to run again in 2012, wants it back — […]

A Mighty Wind

I’ve been busy mixing at the moment, and completely out of touch, with no time for following up on matters blogospheric (comment-thread rebuttals, etc.). Back in harness shortly, insh’Allah. One thing I have seen is the utter devastation in Joplin, MO — and tonight I heard a meteorologist saying something like: “those were little tornadoes, […]

Droit de Seigneur

Mark Steyn weighs in on the DSK affair. A morsel: As the developed world drowns under the weight of Big Government, the gilded princelings of statism will hunker down in their interior courtyards and guard their privileges ever more zealously. Once in a while, as in that Manhattan hotel suite, a chance encounter between the […]

Bist Meshugeh?

If you missed it: here’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, explaining reality yesterday after his conversation with the President.

Barry, Bibi, Geography

Given the tone of President Obama’s Middle East speech yesterday, I expect it will be a very lively sit-down with Benjamin Netanyahu today. Awaiting reports. There was a lot to comment on (e.g. the speech’s thematic Bush-era neoconservatism, the call for “1967” borders, the lack of any mention whatsoever of either Islam or Saudi Arabia, […]


A couple of days ago, David Brooks wrote a column about the evolution of morality by group selection, an idea that is finally gaining broader acceptance. I’m glad to see that happening; the group-selection model provides such a solid foundation for an evolutionary account of the origins of religion and morality that I was persuaded […]


Here’s rock-climber Dean Potter, relaxing at Yosemite.

At The Breaking Point

I meant to post this link from STRATFOR a week or so ago, when it first landed in my inbox (but better late than never): a short, sharp summary of the strategic relationship between the US and Pakistan. Here. Related content from Sphere

Forever Young

Biologists use the term “neoteny” to describe the retention of juvenile characteristics in an organism’s adult form. Humans exhibit neoteny in many of the morphological features that distinguish us from our primate cousins: our big heads, big brains, small jaws, thin skulls, small teeth, and lack of body hair. Thinking back the other day on […]


From James Taranto, on l’affaire Strauss-Kahn: What’s the difference between an orthodox Marxist and a French Socialist? The French guy thinks the state should seize the means of reproduction.


Here you have it, from Stephen Hawking: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Related content from Sphere

Charm, Beauty, And Friendly Service

I’ve had no time for writing much of anything today, so for tonight here’s an amusing relic from a bygone age of the world: the 1968 Playboy Club Bunny Manual. Related content from Sphere

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Ah, the Arab Spring — that sweet season, so long overdue, in which secular democracy began at last to bloom in the Muslim nations of the Middle East, ending a long dark winter of tyranny, tribalism and theocratic oppression. Observers here in the West swooned at the sight of all those brave young people, their […]

The Whole Internet Thing

Although there’s plenty in the political news to comment on (for example, President Obama’s immigration speech, and his telling businesses to “step up” and hire more workers), I just haven’t any time this week. We do, however, have a prescient item by the late Douglas Adams, sent my way by my friend Howard Robinson. Here. […]

Moebius Gears

The Sound And The Fury

Tonight, two items from Christopher Hitchens, who is, thankfully, still with us. One of the things I’ve always admired most about Mr. Hitchens (apart from his razor-sharp intellect, his quick wit, his willingness to change his mind publicly when reason dictates, his debating skills, and his formidable prose style) is his marvellous speaking voice — […]

Service Notice

Due to the demands of the workplace and a flurry of evening activities, I’ll not have much time for blogging this week, and things may be fairly quiet around here. Related content from Sphere

Now What?

Between a drumming gig in the wilds of rural New Jersey yesterday, and Mother’s Day doings today, it’s been one of those busy weekends. So for tonight, an analyst’s report sent our way by the indefatigable JK: Osama bin Laden’s Death: Implications and Considerations. I haven’t had time yet to read it through myself, but […]

The Proof

Well, predictably enough, the conspiracy theorists are out in force, alleging that the OBL operation was a hoax. Fortunately, our network of embedded USN sources has sent us, by clandestine channels, incontrovertible evidence straight from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson (that’s CVN-70, to you InfoDiss readers). This should, I think, put matters to […]

From The Mailbag

This just in, from a reader:

Works For Me

When it comes to thinking about human consciousness and reason, people divide, broadly speaking, into two camps: those who see consciousness and reason as primary features of reality, and those who see them as emerging from the activity of suitably configured physical systems (in particular, human brains). For those in the first camp, consciousness is […]

We’re Good

This just in, from my old friend Dave Pauley.

Me, Me, Me

From President Obama’s address on the death of Osama bin Laden: …[S]hortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his […]

Reeling Shadows

While everyone is concentrating on the details of the death of Osama bin Laden, and on what his extinction will mean for the War on Terror, the more interesting question is what will happen in Pakistan. Don’t be surprised if all hell breaks loose. Our relationship with Pakistan is excruciatingly difficult. As a “secular democracy”, […]

Got Him

New York City thanks you, SEAL Team Six. This will sharpen everything. Osama bin Laden has been such a potent symbol of American impotence that his death will be a jolt of electricity. We’ll see far-reaching effects, I think, quite out of proportion to any tactical, or even strategic, effect his death will have. The […]