Friday, October 02, 2015

Umpqua Community College (OR) Shooter Targeted Christians

What the hell does one even say about this?
   We have to figure out how to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are crazy and/or evil. This is madness.
   Apparently this lunatic was spouting off on 4chan very recently. Nobody took him seriously, of course, so, as is their wont, faux egged him on as a way of making fun of him. That will obviously be misinterpreted/spun by the media as actually egging him on. 
   I've sometimes conjectured that one difference between people who grew up with the internet and people who didn't is that most of the latter think that words matter, whereas at least some significant chunk of the former think something like: words don't matter. Or, I don't know, maybe it's just that words on the internet don't matter... This would explain why so many young whippersnappers think that it's absurd for people to get upset by things said on the web. I don't know. But I do know that a lot of time and panic will be expended on Wolf Blitzer & co. breathlessly talking about the mysterious hacker 4chan urging the murderer to murder. Incidentally, there's also that case going on about a kid's gf urging him to commit suicide...though she seemed more serious...though perhaps not totally serious...  Actually, of course, words do matter. Though working out the details of that point isn't all that easy.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Two Monks Inventing Paintings

(via Reddit)

Oxford Student Union Bans Free Speech Magazine...


(h/t S. rex)

Is It Becoming More Common For Liberals To Advocate Open Borders?

   I've long contended that much of what liberals say about immigration is on a trajectory toward advocacy of open borders. I quit reading Crooked Timber years go, when it--or so it seemed to me--became a liberal echo chamber. You can still find interesting stuff on there sometimes, and a better person than myself would be better at panning for gold amid the ostentatiously scramble metaphors...
   I do think that there's a decent moral case to be made for open borders. But I also think that the position is nutty. To my shame, I've never thought about it in much detail. Who knows which way I'll swing if I ever do think hard about it...  One vague concern I have is that open borders arguments typically sound to me like arguments that also entail that we should all have what we might call open doors. That is, roughly, they sound like arguments that would also lead to the conclusion that we cannot justify excluding others who are less-well-off than ourselves from our private property. And arguments that nations are roughly tribal seem to me to be applicable to families. Such arguments do make a certain amount of sense. But my gut says that you don't have to go very far down that trajectory before things become insane... Again, that's a gut-reaction to a set of arguments I have not thought about with any care.
   At any rate, I once conceded in an argument around here that I had been wrong to suggest that many liberals were tacitly committed to an open-borders position. I can't shake the impression, however, that I was wrong to concede that. There still does seem to me to be a tendency on the far-ish left to see border control as inherently unjust.

NRO: Obama Submits To Dominant Males

   Is it just me or is there an awful lot of this kind of thing over on the right? I don't mean just the ODS / frantic spinning out of any anti-Obama tall tale they can imagine... And I don't mean the ad hoc pseudo-scientism (in this case anthropologism)... I mean the weird stories about dominance and submission among dudes in the context of foreign policy...especially when Putin is involved. In the link above, we see two fever-swamp themes come together: Democrats as submissive wimps and Putin as "alpha male." I don't think I know anybody who thinks or talks like this about humans in real life, though I do see such stuff on the interwebs. Do folks over on the right really tend to think like this? Or is it just more feverish, opportunistic anti-Obama nonsense? The latter is weird but familiar...the former is downright bizarre and grotesque. The conservatives' man crush on Putin was weird enough before this latest turn...
   Another weird thing about all of this seems pretty consistent on the right: the view that macho posturing is a sign of strength, while a calm, cool disinterest in any of that stuff is a sign of weakness. Which is exactly the opposite of the truth in my experience. Is there some deep psychological difference between conservatives and others on this score? I'd say that the simplest explanation is that it's all just bullshitting aimed at denigrating Obama. But it wouldn't be astonishing if it were something more than that.
   Of course the NRO is typically a pretty nutty place, so one expects frequent nutty--and occasionally very nutty--stories. But for my money one of the creepiest things is the consistent wingnuttery in the comments. Here's a patently cracked article, and I find no comments pointing that out. Nobody? Really? That's some unusually groupy group-think right there...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's National Blasphemy Day...

link Jesus can eat my shorts.

(via Inside Carolina)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Flying Hellfish Were Onto Something; Or, The Return of the Tontine?

Benghazi BENGHAZI BBEENNGGHHAAZZII!!!!!!!: Now WORSE THAN WATERGATE!!!!!!11 (But Not Worse Than Whitewatergate)

[rubs temples in ostentatious indication of disgust]
[provides link without comment]
[moves on and tries to think happy thoughts]

Birthers Blame HRC For Birtherism

Ah, birthers... sigh 
   I really don't think the U.S. gets nearly enough credit for running a credible democracy despite the fact that so many of us are flat-out batshit crazy. I actually consider it quite an accomplishment.

   Anyhoo...  Turns out that the birthers are now claiming that Hillary kicked off birtherism... Which is funny given that this would make her kind of a hero by birther lights... Personally, I would have gone for Adam Weishaupt...but that's just me...
  Anyway: no.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Warwick University Student Union Blocks Speech By "Inflammatory" Anti-Sharia Activist

link (via Leiter reports)
Decision reversed.

Is The Latest Big Sexual Assault Survey More Hype Than Science?

Stuart Taylor at the Washington Post.
This is pretty damning:
Then, to resolve any doubt that the respondents were far from representative of the nation’s college students, consider the facts buried in Tables 3-2 and 6-1 of the AAU survey.
These tables indicate that about 2.2 percent of female respondents said they had reported to their schools that they had been penetrated without consent (including rape) since entering college. If extrapolated to the roughly 10 million female college student population nationwide, this would come to about 220,000 student reports to universities alleging forced sex over (to be conservative) five years, or about 44,000 reports per year. But this would be almost nine times the total number of students (just over 5,000) who reported sexual assaults of any kind to their universities in 2013, the most recent data available, according to the reports that universities must submit to the federal government under the Clery Act.
[Feminist Philosophers, of course, is not happy with Taylor's piece, though I don't see that the criticisms are very good. Quibbling about Clery Act reporting is not going to explain away the problem described above.]

Flowing Water On Mars


Friday, September 25, 2015

David Harsanyi: Liberals Are Done Debating

There's just no denying that there's a fair bit of truth in there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Blind Expert" Test Indicates That There Has Been No Global Warming "Hiatus"

   Interesting method.
   It's downright bizarre how quickly my students jump for the conclusion that objectivity is completely unattainable.. Even the crappiest, most patently invalid arguments will convince them almost instantaneously--and they're often loathe to give up that conclusion (if it is in fact, a conclusion...) once it's in place... But, of course, we have all sorts of methods for injecting objectivity into our inquires. Blinding ourselves to certain information is one of the most effective types of methods we've developed for increasing our degree of objectivity. Pretty interesting method discussed in that article. I'm kind of surprised no one's tried that sort of thing before. (Or maybe they have?)

(h/t S. rex)