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It Was A Bright Cold Day In April

Here’s your frisson du jour.

Service Notice

I’ve been using the hosting service Bluehost for eleven years now, and until recently I’ve been thrilled with their service, and have recommended them often to other bloggers. Lately, though, they’ve been scaling up, and downtime’s increased. Worse, their tech support, which used to be prompt and helpful, has been all but unreachable lately. We’ve […]

New Wave

It’s a big day in physics: researchers using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have confirmed the existence and propagation of ripples in spacetime caused by the movement of massive objects. The observation of such waves is a posthumous triumph for Albert Einstein, who first predicted their existence a century ago this year. While I’m […]

Today’s Assignment

With the presidential campaign now at cruising speed, I thought it might be helpful to offer some readings and reflections on the nature of democracy itself: what it really is, what it isn’t, and how it really works. Really, if you want to understand this contraption, what you ought to read is a book that […]

Sherp

I. Want. This.

Not So Fast

Here’s a heartening item: Supreme Court freezes Obama plan to limit carbon emissions We read: The court granted a stay request from more than two dozen states, utilities and coal miners who said the Environmental Protection Agency was overstepping its powers… The stay means that questions about the legality of the program will remain after […]

Toxoprogmosis

About three years ago I wrote a brief item about Toxoplasma gondii, which is a cat-borne parasite that causes behavioral aberrations in mice — and appears to do the same in humans too. The article I originally linked to is here, and today I’ll add a link to another article, here. At the time, however, […]

Res Ipsa Schmipsa

“Evidence is fact that discriminates between one theory and another. Facts do not “speak for themselves.” They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.” — Thomas Sowell, A Conflict Of Visions Related content from Sphere

Yeah, Yeah

The other day our President, Barack Hussein Obama, took time out of his busy schedule to visit a Baltimore mosque. There he delivered an obsequious panegyric about the glorious role of Islam in America’s history. (If there is a major, or even mid-tier, religion that has in fact played a lesser role in America’s founding, […]

Gone Away, Is The Bluebird

Snow in Wellfleet today. The view out our front door this afternoon:  

Skinless And Boneless

I’ve just read the testimony that Border Patrol agent Brandon Judd gave to the House Judiciary committee today. Some longish excerpts: In the late 1990s as a young Border Patrol Agent, I witnessed first-hand how adept these criminal cartels were at exploiting our policies. While I was working in the Buttercup Dunes in the remote […]

Bob Elliott, 1923-2016

Bob Elliott, the surviving member of the great comedy duo Bob & Ray, has died. He was 92. Nobody much younger than I am will even know who these people were. It’s the curse of the old that only they know, as the great mill of history grinds the past into dust, what has been […]

Duck Song

Among the most entertaining accounts on Twitter over the past year or so has been the reactionary heckler known to his audience as “The Duck” (@jokeocracy). With Twitter apparently getting ready to crack down on dissident-right accounts, the Duck decided to go out in blazing style, and spent a recent Sunday trolling mainstream, in particular […]

How’s The Water, Frogs?

From CNN: The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that the acting administrator for the Transportation Security Administration would be reassigned, following a report that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover team conducted at dozens of airports. According to a report based on an internal investigation, […]

Misc.

Sorry — the little grey cells are resting tonight, so all I have is a few small items. ‣   The State Department recently announced that it would not be releasing some of the emails taken from the private, unsecured server Hillary Clinton kept in her bathroom in Chappaqua, because they are too secret. Former […]

Plug

Readers will be aware that I’m recovering, slowly, from having my left knee replaced. (It’ll be three weeks tomorrow since the surgery.) The operation was actually a redo of the original job, last March, which turned out to have been botched. Total knee replacement is major surgery — it inflicts a grievous wound, and the […]

Confess!

We’ve written often (for example, here) about the unbroken ideological and doctrinal thread connecting the Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay Colony with the modern, secular religion of the Left. The “mission into the wilderness” continues unabated, its outward forms unaltered. All that changes is the temporal object of the mission: the MacGuffin varies from picture […]

Circling The Drain

I meant to comment on this when it happened a few days ago: Rome’s nude statues covered up ahead of Rouhani visit In further concession to Iranian president, official dinner with Italian PM does not include wine on the menu What a craven, flabby, neutered thing our civilization has become. This is what ACID syndrome […]

What Say You, Tea Leaves?

It’s been almost a year — it was February 28th, 2015 — since I predicted that Hillary Clinton would not be the Democratic nominee. (Readers can find the historic vaticination — upon which I immediately staked a bottle of whisky in a wager with our commenter ‘The One Eyed Man’ — in the comment-thread here.) […]

Rules Of Order

Here’s an extended meditation on that modern Sisyphus, Wile E. Coyote, and on the genius of his creator, Chuck Jones.

Hoplology 101

Here’s another clarifying and informative piece by Sean Davis on firearms: 14 Things Everyone Should Understand About Guns. (I say “another” above because we’ve linked to Mr. Davis’s articles, such as this one, before.) Related content from Sphere

The Thucydides Trap

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes wrote the following about why humans fight: ‘So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh men invade for gain; the second for safety; and the third for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters […]

Old School

My boy Nick just sent me a link to a YouTube channel that you might find interesting. (I did.) Here.

Gyre, Widening

I have to say: it would be hard to imagine a livelier political season, or one more fitting for these times. Over on the left, Hillary Clinton is watching it all slip away all over again — this time to a pallid, septuagenarian Marxist from Vermont. (I’ve had many wonderful blessings in my life, but […]

Open Thread 12, Etc.

I’m still way too fuzzy to write, so just a couple of links: First, an amusing little allegory posted at Gates of Vienna (with a h/t to Bill Keezer; I’ve been offline a lot this week, and hadn’t visited GoV in a few days). Second, I think a recent podcast by John D. on the […]

If Looks Could Kill

You just might have to watch this more than once.

Floating Metaphor Captured in Gulf

The big story over the past week has been the news from Iran: the ransoming of our hostages, the fat payoff for the nuclear deal (but I repeat myself), and the humiliating capture by Iran of riverine patrol boats allegedly adrift in the Gulf. Normally I’d really be digging in on this one, but it’s […]

The Kindness of Strangers

Just got a package from Amazon containing a CD by the rock band Clutch. I have no idea who sent it to me, but I do get the occasional item in the mail from readers (mostly books). Anyway, thanks, whoever you are. This is not exactly the sort of thing I usually listen to, but […]

Service Notice

OK, off for knee-revision surgery at 4:30. Back in harness before too long, I expect. At the very least I’ll post something, just as “proof of life”, as soon as I am able. If not, carry on! The barbarians are at the gates. Update, January 13th: I’m back home, but completely knackered. It was a […]

David Bowie, 1947-2016

I was shocked and saddened to read this morning that David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. He was one of the greatest artists of my age. He touched nothing that he did not adorn. I consider myself enormously fortunate to have had a slight personal acquaintance with Mr. Bowie. (I met him […]

Dead Man Walking

I don’t know if you’ve been following this crazy Sean-Penn-El-Chapo story, but what an incredible dope Sean Penn is: The Man Who Got El Chapo Arrested. He will now have every neck-tattooed La Santa Muerte gang-banger south of the Rio Grande hunting him down until the end of his days. I reckon that at this […]

An Onomastic Oversight

In a post a few months ago, while developing a metaphor involving collapsing stars, I commented on the vulnerabilities of the load-bearing structures that support a civilization’s weight: Given that what gives a culture its form is essentially ‘memetic’ — an aggregation of ideas, lore, mythos, history, music, religion, duties, obligations, affinities, and aversions shared […]

Many Roads. One Summit?

Over at Maverick Philosopher, Bill Vallicella has taken on the question, raised by a disciplinary action at Wheaton College, of whether Christians and Muslims worship the “same God”. I’m not a religious believer myself, but over the past decade or so the naive atheism of my earlier years has withered away to a sympathetic agnosticism, […]

Friday Miscellany

Sorry for another grab-bag post, but even with all that’s going on in the U.S. and abroad I just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do much writing at the moment. (It may not be until I’ve recovered a bit from Monday’s surgery that things will get back to normal around here.) I’m also so fatigued […]

Still Here

Sorry about the quiet spell here, readers. Our lovely daughter (newly betrothed!) has been visiting us from Vienna over the “hols”, and it’s been good to disconnect from the wider world for a couple of weeks. I’m sorry to say, also, that another hiatus is coming up soon. Some of you may remember that I […]

Happy New Year!

Here comes 2016. Buckle up! Thanks again to all of you for reading and commenting.

This & That

This intercalary week is always a good time for a change of pace, and with all that’s been going on in the local physical world, I’ve hardly glanced at the computer for the past few days. (It’s been nice.) Even better, I’ve managed to pay almost no attention at all to the news. Finding myself […]

Service Notice

On a little holiday break with family. Back soon. Also, sorry about the outage yesterday (if any of you noticed).

A Ghost of Christmas Past

It being Christmas Eve, earlier this evening I found myself humming the “Christmastime Is Here” song from the old Charlie Brown Christmas special. (The show originally aired in 1965, when I was nine, and Vince Guaraldi’s beautiful score has stayed with me ever since.) The tune got me thinking about the show itself, which is […]

Headlights On For Safety

I’ve written before about the transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom. His work is concerned with the long-term prospects of the human race, with particular interest in the future of artificial intelligence, and its perils. In these pages we’ve mentioned his suggestion that we might already be living in a computer simulation (see here and here), as […]

Build This

Here is “The Khaleesi“, a proposed skyscraper for West 57th Street in Manhattan. A tower for our times, I think.

We Are The Enemy

Headline at Salon today: White men must be stopped: The very future of mankind depends on it Salon is not a “fringe” publication. (Would that it were.) Apparently it has no qualms about declaring race war. As Saul Alinsky said in his Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Comparisons […]

Graveyard Of Empires

Today we learned that six U.S. soldiers were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber in Afghanistan. In today’s NightWatch newsletter, analyst John McCreary wrote: Afghanistan: The deputy governor of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan said that the Taliban seized the police headquarters in Sangin District center, with fighting continuing. Deputy governor Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar warned […]

Geometry

Tomorrow we come to the solstice again, where the great wheel of the seasons pauses, for an instant, at top dead center. I went for a walk at sunset this evening. It was very still. I’ll be sixty in the spring. How strange it is to be a line, in a circular world. Related content […]

Peace On WhoseTerms?

With a hat-tip to our friend Jeffery Hodges, here is a reminder that if Islam is a “religion of peace”, it is only the peace of submission, of surrender, of captivity. Related content from Sphere

Stockholm Syndrome

Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist describes the situation in her homeland — which for most of my lifetime was the holotype and exemplar of the advanced, peacable modern Western nation — as it sinks into darkness and disorder, thanks to its mass importation of wholly alien, mostly Muslim, immigrants. Swedish citizens, […]

Speed Bump

Self-driving cars, like 3-D printing, are a promising technology with quite a way to go before achieving their transformative potential. (See our post on one of the ethical questions they raise, here.) An item published yesterday at Bloomberg Business describes a hard problem the people designing them must face: how fast should the cars go? […]

Separated At Birth?

Just saying…  

Homer Nods

It’s amazing how hard it is to proofread your own stuff. I just saw a glaring typo in the first line of a recent post; it sat there for more than a day before I spotted it. (If you didn’t see it, too late; it’s fixed.) It ruined the whole flow of the line, and […]

Just You Wait

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this stuff is going to be big. Call your broker.