Monthly Archives: March 2016

It Was a Bright Cold Day In April

Here’s the latest really cool thing that you absolutely must have. It just stands in your room, listening to everything you say, and transmitting it over the Internet to… someplace. It’s only $129, and it’s “always getting smarter”! Crisp Dolby Sound! Everybody’s going to want one. Don’t be left out! Related content from Sphere

Nice Work If You Can Get It

And, as the old song goes, you can get it if you try. Story here. This should be instructive! (Economics 101: If you subsidize something, you get more of it.) P.S. Nick Land comments here. Related content from Sphere

Livin’ the Dream

In the excerpt we posted the other day from Sir Henry Maine’s Popular Government, the author explains that the chief feature of what we call Democracy is that it is an upside-down monarchy, in which, somehow, the multitude is sovereign. But how, wonders Sir Henry, can a multitude express its will? In what sense can […]

Yarvin On Moldbug

Curtis Yarvin, perhaps better known to some of you as ‘Mencius Moldbug’, is, in real life, a computer scientist, and, as far as I can tell, rather a gifted one. (For a while I shied away from using his real name, in order to protect his identity, but I think that cat is thoroughly and […]

Open Thread 13

Haven’t had one of these for a while. Ask me anything, propose a topic, chat amongst yourselves. Whatever you like.

Philippic, or Jeremaiad?

Some of each, I suppose. I’m talking about W. Lewis Amselem’s latest on Islam over at Diplomad 2.0. It is good strong stuff. We read: All religions, of course, have odd and cruel features in their old texts. Islam, however, is unique among major religions for never having had an enlightenment. It has undergone a […]

It Ain’t Necessarily So

I’ve had absolutely nothing interesting or original to say for several days now. (This happens sometimes; even Rachmaninoff had almost nothing at all to say from 1897 to 1901.) So tonight I’m offering some excerpts from Sir Henry Sumner Maine’s Popular Government, published in 1885. I’ve mentioned this book several times before. As “red pills” […]

Tay Tweets

I am not making this up: apparently Microsoft put a Twitter chat-bot online as part of an artificial-intelligence project, and after a few hours of online interaction it had turned into a Nazi. Microsoft has since deleted its tweets, but some more of them are here. The bot, called Tay, has now been taken down […]

Buchanan on “Radical” Islam

The word “radical” — from the Latin radix, meaning “root” — is generally applied to someone who wishes to change a system down to its very roots. When it comes to what we in the West call “radical” Islam, however, the word would be much better understood to mean precisely the opposite: a system of […]

Four Faiths

I’ve just run across a glum and deeply reactionary essay by Gregory Hood, written in November of 2014, on the spiritual exhaustion of the West, and the durable appeal of Islam. It examines four possible foundations for the future of our civilization: Christianity, paganism, techno-liberalism, and submission to Islam. Some excerpts: To most people, being […]

Coincidence?

Yesterday my server was down for several hours. This hardly ever used to happen, but lately I’ve had a lot of little outages, and my hosting company’s technical support (the company is Bluehost) has also been outsourced to India. It used to be that when I opened a live chat with tech support I would […]

Our Progressive Religion

We hear a lot about “virtue-signalling” these days. The term is new, but the idea is not: its influence on American behavior is as old as the Puritan settlements of New England, from which it spread across the North, into our academic and cultural institutions, and became, in increasingly secular form, the chief feature of […]

Commentus Interruptus

We had another outage today. Both this website and my email server were down for hours. (My hosting company, Bluehost, isn’t what it used to be, and I think I’m going to have to start shopping around for another service.) Apologies to all. Related content from Sphere

… So Shall Ye Reap

Jihad has struck the Continent again, this time in the capital city of the tolerant and progressive European Union. (Violent instability is centripetal, the analysts say. It has arrived.) I’ll say it again: to allow mass immigration of Muslims is the stupidest and most irreversibly self-destructive thing that any Western nation can do. (The depth […]

Me Me Me Me Me Me

Here’s our Gentleman-In-Chief getting off the plane today in Cuba:   Notice anything?

As Ye Sow

Here’s a good one that’s been making the rounds today: Glenn Harlan Reynolds on How David Brooks Created Donald Trump. Money quote: When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Also, you may have noticed that our current president […]

Spring Has Sprung

“The grass has riz…” That’s the beginning of a bit of English doggerel I learned at my dad’s knee. According to EarthSky.org, spring (which arrived last night at 12:30 a.m. Eastern time) came earlier this year than it has since 1896. The reason? The March equinox can come on March 19, 20 or 21. And […]

Home Stretch

“Coming down the stretch, it’s Cankles out in front — but wait, here comes Rule Of Law! Rule of Law pouring it on now! It’s anybody’s race!…” “Come on, Rule of Law! Move yer bloomin’ arse!!” With thanks to the indefatigable JK, here’s more on the Clinton investigation. Related content from Sphere

Diplomad on Conservatism

With a hat-tip to several readers who emailed me with the link, here’s a thoughtful essay by Lewis Amselem.

Sea and Sky

We had some dramatic weather around the Outer Cape yesterday. Here are a few photos from the bluff above Maguire Landing in Wellfleet:         And here are some shots taken a little later on from High Head, overlooking North Truro, Pilgrim Lake, and Provincetown:       Here are two views of […]

Data Rot

Our pal Kevin Kim posted an item last week about the shuttering of Barnes & Noble’s Nook operation. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about — and it warms my heart that there may in fact be some of you out there — the Nook is Barnes & Noble’s electronic-book […]

Yikes!

C’mon, FBI!

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain

The big thing about this election is how strongly both the Democrat and Republican bases have pulled to the outside of their respective parties. On the Democrat side we have Bernie Sanders threatening to block the party’s coronation of Hillary Clinton (if the FBI, or her poor health, doesn’t get there first). Heading into today’s […]

I would use this Ring…

In yesterday’s post about the encryption controversy, I wrote: My own feeling is that, death-by-government having had a vastly higher body count over the past century or so than even the bloodiest wars (and astronomically higher than any act of terrorism), we should choose to protect our privacy. Just in case. A commenter argued for […]

The American Nations, 2016

With yet another hat-tip to hbd*chick, here’s a very interesting item from “Jayman” on Trump, democracy and demographics.

Well, Right

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment. Why is this so hard for so many people to understand? Related content from Sphere

Tales From Decrypt

By now you have all heard of the DOJ’s effort to force Apple to unlock a phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack. Here again we have an example of technology advancing far too quickly for our sluggish political institutions to keep up. Codes and ciphers are as old […]

Who? Whom?

The Washington Post asks: Trump has lit a fire. Can it be contained? This isn’t arson. It is the inevitable combustion of an oil-soaked pyre exposed to a continuous shower of sparks. The Post should be asking: who built that pyre? It’s been long in the making, and its existence is due neither to accident […]

Make Much of Time

I was remiss not to have noted here the death of the great George Martin, who left us, earlier this week, at the age of 90. He was a visionary artist, and by all accounts a gentleman. The Beatles would not have been what they were without him. Now he is joined in death by […]

Truth And Consequences

With a hat-tip to our e-pal hbd*chick (whose blog you should be reading), here’s an article called The Bermuda Triangle of Science. It’s about a dangerous place where careers go to vanish. Related content from Sphere

View From The Right

Nick Steves has posted this week’s reactionary roundup. He gave ‘Best of the Week’ to this essay by Mark Christensen, and it seems a good choice. In the essay, Mr. Christensen quotes Mencius Moldbug: All schools of libertarianism, whether Rothbardian or Randian or (nearly-stillborn) Nozickian, rest on the idea of limited government. Note the intrinsic […]

If You Don’t Mind…

Questions for mind-body dualists: 1) What features of mental life, if any, are instantiated in the physical body? Memory? Intelligence? Learned cognitive skills? To put this another way, what aspects of mind besides pure conscious awareness require a metaphysical explanation? 2) If any aspects of mind beyond pure awareness have do a non-physical basis, then […]

Merciful and Mighty

There’s a good article by Mark Yuray, over at Social Matter, on making a career out of secular holiness. A longish excerpt: More than 1 million illegal Middle Eastern and African migrants entered Germany in 2015, with the invitation of the German government. This year, hundreds of thousands have already arrived and a 1-2 million […]

“This Deal…”

Hot Air reports on a little wrinkle in the Iran deal. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Islamic Republic might even be about to walk out on the thing altogether. Well, on the bright side, at least they got all that money they’ve been wanting for so long before the whole thing fell apart. […]

It’s a Black Thing

Here.

I Kid You Not

Feminist glaciology. Not a parody. Here.

Festering Europa

Gates of Vienna has posted two video clips taken from a discussion panel at the latest CPAC conference. The subject was the fate of Europe. (At this point it might well be a post-mortem; Europe has already gone far beyond the “tipping point”, and is now, barring a full-on revolt by its indigenous peoples, nothing […]

People, Get Ready

The evidence that most human traits are highly heritable — not just obvious physical traits, mind you, but cognitive and behavioral qualities and dispositions as well — is accumulating rapidly, and will soon be overwhelming. (In scientific terms it already is, but what is about to be overwhelmed is the nurturist and culturist dogma that […]

Live and Learn

A recent post by our friend Bill Vallicella exposes the philosophical ineptitude of militant atheists such as, in this case, Richard Dawkins. Here his target is the hidden axiom scientists (and I use the term in the sense of “those who practice scientism”) must rely on in order to deny the possible role of a […]

Rise and Fall

I’ve lived in the same brownstone building in Park Slope, Brooklyn, since March of 1982. (Geological notes about the area here.) When the lovely Nina and I first moved here, it was a sketchy neighborhood, having fallen into serious decline during the city’s general depression of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The neighborhood’s gracious architecture was […]

Melting Pot? No, Just Melting

You’ve heard all about Donald Trump’s shocking notion to secure our borders, I’m sure. Have you heard about the recent chicanery by the Justice Department regarding voter-ID laws in four American states? In brief, here’s what happened: the good people of Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, and Alabama, exercising their states’ right under the Constitution, decided to […]

Don Ho, Call Your Office

Here is something I had not heard about until today: it appears that water infused with tiny bubbles (and I mean really tiny, with diameters near the wavelength of visible light), has many useful properties. My first glimpse of this was here. I’m curious to learn more. Here’s a remarkable statement (my emphasis): Some studies […]