Monthly Archives: September 2013

The “Thermocline Of Truth”

This excellent metaphor comes to us (by way of Jim Geraghty) from blogger Bruce Webster, who coined it to describe a phenomenon that he observed, originally, while analyzing the ways in which large-scale software projects can fail. In this post, he notes that it applies also to the slow-motion catastrophe we call “Obamacare”. The post […]

A Visitor From The Antipodes

The lovely Nina and I met a very interesting gentleman today: Paul Sheehan, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald. (He has also served as that newspaper’s Washington correspondent, and its day editor.) Mr. Sheehan is an old friend of our friend Allen Kurzweil, and is in Wellfleet for a visit. This afternoon Allen, who […]

Like A Splinter In your Mind

Here is the opening of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, pp 25-26, 1986. (My emphasis.) For “openness”, you may substitute “non-discrimination”. There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put […]

And Now For Something Completely Different

One of my oldest and closest friends is a fellow by the name of Carl Sturken. We’ve been pals since the fifth grade. Carl is a fantastically (and eclectically) talented musician. We were bandmates in high school, and he went on (to no-one’s surprise) to a very successful career as a songwriter and record producer. […]

Head Start

Interesting item here: the human population may have undergone significant expansion far longer ago than we’ve thought up till now — not ten millennia ago, but sixty to eighty. How, I wonder, does this fit in with the “Toba bottleneck” theory, in which the entire breeding population of humans is thought to have crashed to […]

Project Westford

Here’s a Cold War scheme I’d never heard about, until our own JK sent me this link: a Saturn-like ring around the Earth, made of little copper wires.

How Can This Be?

For you chessplayers: a pretty puzzle, from Susan Polgar. Here.

Texting While Driving

Here’s the comedian Louis C.K., with some remarkably insightful remarks on the popularity of smart-phones and the human condition. Blaise Pascal said: “All of man’s misfortune comes from one thing, which is not knowing how to sit quietly in a room”. We would rather see, or do, almost anything rather than be forced to look […]


— Not of this Earth? — Steve Sailer on amnesty and fertility. — New book on the way about the Matthew Shepard story. — A great Burgess Shale website. Drill down for the animations. — Speaking of exotic fauna, longtime readers may remember our mentioning the tardigrade,here and here. Now, an amazing photo, here. — […]

Intrastate Income Inequality, 1977-2012

Cleverly displayed, using animated maps. Here.

Jim Geraghty On Gun Control And Mass Shootings

In his daily newsletter, Morning Jolt, political commentator Jim Geraghty posts a response to a question from NPR on “what kind of debates the country should have after a mass-shooting tragedy”. * I’m reproducing Mr. Geraghty’s answer in full, below, because I think it is forthright and sensible. Related content from Sphere

Step Right Up

Sam Harris has issued a $20,000 challenge to anyone who can refute his claim to have placed morality on a thoroughly scientific, Utilitarianist footing. (Not a merely descriptive footing, that is: a normative one: a beneficent blend of biology and Bentham.) I might have to take a go at this myself. See also Harris’s initial […]

Liberals vs. Liberty

Jonah Goldberg has posted a tart essay on the Left’s conceit that it is they, not conservatives, who stand on the side of personal liberty. We read: Alleged proof for this amusing myth (or pernicious lie; take your pick) comes in the form of liberal support for gay marriage and abortion rights, and opposition to […]

Carry On

Encouraging news from Illinois. Here.

P And ~P

A sine qua non for the modern liberal ideologue is a flair for living comfortably in a state of cognitive dissonance. This is made necessary by the internal contradictions of his worldview, and by its frequent, and calamitous, collisions with the social, political, economic, cultural, mathematical, and biological realities of the actual world. The California […]

A Moment Of Silence, Please

I note with real sorrow the passing of Ray Dolby, who gave my generation of recording engineers a priceless gift: quiet recordings on analog tape. That may not sound like much, but let me tell you, friends — it was. Related content from Sphere

Two Tweets

From Charles Cooke (@charlescwcooke): The Russian president just trolled an embarrassed United States in its paper of record on September 11th. Everything I love is dead. From Iowahawk: Putin now just basically doing donuts in Obama’s front yard. They’re talking, of course, about this. Related content from Sphere

This Thing All Things Devours

OK, enough about Syria. Here’s the video we’ve all been watching, a frame a day, in the mirror. Fantastic.

Paved With Good Intentions

Good point from Stanley Kurtz just now at the Corner: This speech was a close reflection of [U.N. ambassador Samantha] Power’s views. The overwhelming emphasis was on humanitarian goals, with a brief, secondary, and noticeably weak effort to buttress that case with talk about threats to our interests. Power’s core argument is that American foreign […]

The Goldilocks War

Some takeaways from the President’s speech just now: 1) Assad has achieved moral equivalence with Hitler, but we will leave him in power. 2) It is morally imperative that we use our incomparable military power to set an example here, so that despots the world over will never again dare to use gas to do […]

Peace In Our Time!

Hey, whaddya know. Looks like: a) Our “credibility”, and incontrovertible moral imperatives, don’t require us to bomb Syria after all; b) Our “incredibly small” strike — described as being equal, in its fearsomeness, to making Assad eat Cheerios with a fork instead of a spoon — might not be about to send its blunt and […]

Sunday Salmagundi

Sorry — no time for a post today. Some links: — Natural selection in action. — A Chinese guide to the West, c. 250 A.D. — Sheep and bull. — Japan is just… different. — Steve Sailer on American exceptionalism. — Postcard from Mars. — BHO vs. BHO, from VDH. — Murder in America. — […]

A Three Pipe Problem

Our friend Kevin Kim has just worked his way through all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventures, and has a comprehensive review. Go read it here.

Fools Rush In

Here’s retired general Robert H. Scales on a war the military doesn’t want: By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform. But I can justifiably share the sentiments of those inside the Pentagon and elsewhere who write the plans and develop strategies for fighting […]


That’s what prions are: ice-nine for the brain.

Fog Of War

I was all set to put up a link to today’s NightWatch analysis, but noticed that the indefatigable JK beat me to it in a comment on our previous post. Here it is again, nevertheless. I haven’t selected any excerpts to reproduce here — I urge all of you to follow the link and read […]

The Good Guys

Meet our new comrades. See here (cannibalism) and here (shelling a hospital with some sort of gas) and here (attacking Christians) and here (beheadings). Hop in, boys! We’re off to teach that cad Assad to fight like a gentleman.   Related content from Sphere

Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Electrified Razor-Wire Fence Shoulda Bit Ya

With a tip of the hat to a tweet by hbd* chick, here’s an idea from Israel: banning “remittances” by illegal aliens (or, as they call them in Zion, “infiltrators”): Interior Minister Gid’on Saar signed regulations, Monday, that make it illegal for someone who illegally infiltrated the country to send money out of the country. […]

Learning Disability

Industrial-grade unwisdom from the National Review: Any strike shouldn’t be a pinprick or necessarily a one-off but part of a broader, longer-term plan to topple Assad and defeats [sic] his allies. This means strengthening elements of the Syrian opposition we can trust, with arms and training; it means crafting and leading an international coalition committed […]

This And That

— Spiffy map-making from the Smithsonian. — The New York Times on the “dismal science“. — Fence-building bugs. — Derb takes on “Uncle” Tim Wise on the mathematics of race and crime. — And while we are at it: here’s Ron Unz on the same subject. — That STEM crisis you’re always hearing about doesn’t […]

Faint Heart Ne’er Won… Anything At All, Really

Mark Steyn: The problem with the American way of war is that, technologically, it can’t lose, but, in every other sense, it can’t win. Here.