Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hark, A Vagrant

Very cool. Just keep scrolling back to your heart's content.

The Trouble With "Privilege"

I've made a lot of these points myself, and I still think they're right. But THIS guy does it better/more systematically.

I'll admit, a lot of my antipathy toward the term/concept is linked to the fact that the people who use it are so very wrong about so very much... But worse (for me): the people who use it are just annoying. Like "problematic," "privilege" has simply become a mantra used by extremely passionate--but, IMHO, not terribly thoughtful--very, very, lefty types. And I am as averse to far lefties as I am to far righties. I do think that there's a point buried in the concept...but it's not worth stretching to try to excavate it, IMO, when so much is wrong with the way the concept is typically deployed.

The GOP Double Standard: Tax Breaks Without Offsets

It's not that some of these breaks aren't's that whole double standard thing on the deficit...

"Smart Guns" and Big Crazy

Holy crap.

In brief: the NRA and its minions are freaking out about attempts to market a "smart gun" that can only be fired by the person wearing a watch synced to the gun. This out-freaking by said minions includes threatening people working for the company.

Um...why? Apparently because smart guns are the first step in taking all our guns...somehow...

Cheetahs Rule / Nobody Cares About This %#@$ing Mite

This one

Fastest for its size != fastest. Suck it, mite.

Plus, cheetahs are super cool and mites DROOL. Nobody likes you, mite, and nobody cares and even if you could run eleventy-billion miles per hour cheetahs are still something something something than you will ever be!!!111

In conclusion: cheetahs are still the best

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Obama's Getting Fed Up With The Chickenhawks

"Not All Men": The Birth of a Sophistry, and The Long, Slow Death of Feminism

Wow, these people are despicable.

If you've had to spend any time around hard-left feminists, you know that it's not terribly uncommon for them to attribute the bad characteristics of the worst subset of men to all men. I'm the kind of retrograde pig that insists on pointing out this error in the most egregious cases. This response is so hated that it's now spawned the newest crazy fad in far-left feminism--a movement given to crazy fads--freaking out in response to such points. Most recently I was in an online discussion (at the sadly ever-more-politically-crazy Metafilter...) in which someone claimed that "men" were socialized to view women as objects (or some such). I pointed out that this wasn't true--that I certainly hadn't been, and, in fact, didn't know anybody who had. The response was, basically NOT ALL MEN! NOT ALL MEN! HAHA I CAN'T BELIEVE HE DID THE NOT ALL MEN THING!!!1111  You can probably imagine the rough nature of my response...

Of course this out-freaking is utterly irrational. Not only is it a crazed sophistry in defense of falsehood and sexism, but--in case that doesn't move you--it violates one of the soundest bits of advice from old-school feminism. That is: rational, pre-freakout, egalitarian feminism. Roughly: throttle back on the universal generalizations about either sex. Some such universal generalizations are true, of course...but fewer than you think.

Internet echo chambers tend to breed craziness, and political extremism breeds craziness, and infection by the toxic sludge of postmodernism and poststructuralism breeds craziness, and, sadly, all of these things have come together to drive a vocal segment of contemporary feminism over the edge. This latest attempt to provide some kind of generic, institutionalized rhetorical cover to those who want to make patently false generalizations about males is just a particularly clear sign that extremist internet feminism has gone off the rails. I'd kind of like to see sane feminists call bullshit on this stuff...but I'm kinda not holding my breath. Though I'll add: the more tolerant sane feminists become of this kind of nuttiness, the less sane feminism overall becomes, and the more the entire movement becomes radicalized and irrationalized. There is, after all, a reason that the vast majority of Americans identify as egalitarians about sex, but do not identify as feminists...

Bob McDonnell Begins Adjuncting At Liberty University


In the "Jesse Helms School of Government" no less...

You really just can't make this shit up.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paleontologists Discover Oldest Known Pterodactlyoid

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Russian Armored Column Heading for Ukraine?


Can't vouch for this. Just passing it on from Metafilter.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MeFi Roundup of Climate Change Links

Decarbonization etc.

Reading the comments at MeFi is not always a good idea...  There are not-infrequently interesting and insightful...but it's largely a smug, semi-rational left-wing echo I often just stick to the links...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sean Hannity Has Still Not Made Good On His Promise To Be Waterboarded

As Reddit reminds us...

Wow. A blowhard, a chickenshit and a liar...

Of course, in the interim, it has become irrefutable that waterboarding is torture. Hell, I don't even blame him for not going through it really...but if he's not going to make good on his promise, then he needs to admit that the reason is that he now realizes that it's torture, and he doesn't want to be tortured.

Or course people like Hannity rarely admit that they are wrong...

Could Leticia Van de Putte Turn TX Purple?

Maybe...  A little bit purpler, at least...

Monday, April 21, 2014

ALEC and the Koch Brothers Target Green Energy

Obviously, solar power is the biggest threat our nation currently faces...

New Chronology

No written history prior to 800 A.D.?

Totally crazy, of course...but pretty damn amusing.

The SCP Foundation

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Is Oculus Rift Sexist?

Believe it or not, this question is less uninteresting than you might think...

Three-Point Landings

Friday, April 18, 2014

Colored Entrance (pic)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Death of College Debate, "White Privilege" Edition

Friday, April 11, 2014

So Far as U.S. Public Policy Goes: Nobody Cares What You Think Unless You're Rich


We're on a trajectory to have a fair approximation of a plutocracy soon enough.

Social Security Administration and Treasury Department Stealing Money From People "To Pay Parents' SS Debt"?


Apparently the idea is that they are taking money from the oldest sibling if they think that children indirectly benefited from illicit benefits their parents got.

That sounds like an extremely thin justification to me.

Three Independent Experts Refute Willingham's Claims About North Carolina Athletes

We been bombarded with claims about UNC athletes in the media. CNN's yellow journalism in particular has been laughably irresponsible, recycling the same unsupported claims from Willingham over and over and over, to make each incarnation of the same story seem like some new revelation of wrong-doing.

It's been pretty well-known on the Carolina boards for some time now that Willingham's credentials are paper thin (she has only one presentation and no publications in the relevant areas in eleven years). In recent weeks it's also become clear that her claims are radically exaggerated--and it's become hard to resist the conclusion that she is dogmatically pursuing a jihad against Carolina athletics. Even when unequivocally called out on misrepresentations, she refuses to admit error but, instead, dodges the criticism and goes on the attack again.

Today the university released a report from three independent experts who, working independently of each other, each concluded that Willingham's claims are unsupported by the data.

College athletics needs reform. There's no doubt about it. And the AFAM scandal at Carolina was just godawful. But a rabid campaign to smear UNC athletics isn't warranted, and isn't doing anything to fix the problem.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is The ACA Kicking An Unexpectedly Large Amount Of Ass?

But there's one stunning number in the Rand survey that we haven't seen before: the dramatic surge in people who have employer insurance (ESI). According to Rand, 8.2 million people—7.2 million of them previously uninsured—have gotten employer insurance since mid-2013.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown

MeFi link

R. Rorty:

"Much of the seventeenth century's notion of what it was to be a 'philosopher,' and much of the Enlightenment's notion of what it was to be 'rational,' turns on Galileo's being absolutely right and the church's being absolutely wrong."


Monday, April 07, 2014

The Great Filter and Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe

I had roughly this idea myself a few years ago:  The Great Filter.

Not 1996, though...  Probably closer to 2004. Ah well.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mysteriously Intact T. Rex Soft Tissue Explained?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

What's The Best College Hoops Program Of The Last 50 Years

Why...this looks about right...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Larison: Why Jeb Bush Still Won't Be The Next Republican Nominee

It isn’t surprising that Bush’s hawkish rhetoric appealed to the Republican donor crowd that he was addressing, but I still don’t see how anyone with the baggage associated with the name Bush and weighed down by the failures of the last Bush administration is likely to win the party’s nomination or general election. We’re supposed to think that the voters won’t judge the next Bush according to the failures of the last one, but that overlooks how family dynasty politics works. We know how much undeserved credit George W. Bush received from the media and the public because he was the son of the former president, and because he surrounded himself with former members of his father’s administration. When a family dynasty has become tainted by massive failure as the Bushes have, that is bound to affect the way that people perceive other members of the same family.

Torture Didn't Work And The CIA Lied About It

Drum on the Senate report.

GibberishWatch: Donna Haraway: A Cyborg Manifesto

I couldn't find anything in here that was not complete nonsense.

But, then, I gave up pretty quickly. I've got plenty of stuff to read that actually makes sense.

This is the sort of stuff, to steal Searle's line, that gives bullshit a bad name.

Fallacies On Parade: Suey Park / #CancelColbert Edition


In the first four paragraphs, we get two straw men, an ad hominem, and a bit of buzzword bingo ("the Other," "colonialism").

No need to go any farther. 

Bad theories make people stupid.

Even if you're lucky enough to be blessed with good wetware (and that remains to be seen with respect to Park), it won't help if you're running shitty software. And bad theories are shitty software. Seeing the world through the lens of a bad theory is like running a stupidity emulator. Maybe Park isn't really stupid...but even if not, you certainly can't tell it from this article...

Ebola On The Move In Africa


(via Metafilter)