Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Are American Defense Treaties Not Worth The Paper They Are Written On?

Under Obama, it certainly appears to be the case. The latest is the Administration's refusal to do anything about the Marshall Islands' registered freighter seized by Iranian pirates navy forces. This, even though the U.S. is by treaty obligated to defend the Marshall Islands, and, in fact, the Marshall Islands are fully dependent on the U.S. providing its defense.

"Behind Enemy Lines: Weapons of Vietnam's Covert Warriors"

An article at the American Rifleman by Maj. John L. Plaster discussing various weapons used by the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). Because the units weren't supposed to be operating in Laos or Cambodia, there had to be deniability of their association with the U.S. military. Accordingly, at least early on, they used weapons from other countries and/or considered obsolete. Later, after it was not uncommon for enemy troops to use captured American weapons, they SOG turned to using the M-16, XM-117 (CAR-15) and other modified U.S. weapons. The SOG also used a number of unusual weapons, including a gyrojet pistol. Anyway, an interesting read for those who like military history.

First They Came for Traditional Christians....

From the National Review:
Religious institutions could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status due to their beliefs about marriage if the Supreme Court holds that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, President Obama’s attorney acknowledged to the Supreme Court today [i.e., April 28].
The government wouldn't even have this stick with which to beat Christians if it wasn't for the awful events of 1913--a year to live in infamy. Paul Rosenberg described the events of that year as "The Blow That Killed America 100 Years Ago." He described three events that killed the United States--at least as a constitutional federal republic: (i) the 16th Amendment, allowing the Federal Government to impose an income tax; (ii) the 17th Amendment, which eliminated the representation of States in Congress by requiring the popular election of Senators (prior to that, Senators were chosen by each State's legislature), turning Senators into creatures of a strong central government; and (iii) establishment of the Federal Reserve System--i.e., privatization of the creation of money. Read the whole thing, and see also "Beware of Years That End in 13."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Obama's Grandmother on Pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca)

From the Saudi Gazette:
Paternal grandmother of U.S. President Barack Obama attended an exhibition detailing the life of the Prophet Mohammad at the end of a pilgrimage in the Saudi city of Makkah, local media reported Wednesday.

Sara Omar, who is in her 90s, arrived in Makkah - considered in Islam to be the holiest city - with her son and grandson Saeed and Mousa Obama.

Unlike the Hajj pilgrimage - a trip to the cities of Makkah and Madinah which every able-bodied Muslim is expected to undertake at least once in their lifetime - Umrah can be undertaken at any time of the year.

After finishing Umrah, Omar visited an exhibition about the life of the Prophet, commenting that it was a “good example” of what she called the moderate teachings of Islam.

18 Crazy Predictions the Enviro-Wackos Made in the 1970s

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
 --from Straight Line Logic

Well This Explains A Lot....

The Top Headlines About Barack Obamas Pot Smoking High School Choom Gang

Researchers discover that marijuana users may have false memories.
Sometimes, our brains can trick us into remembering things that never happened.

These memory 'mistakes' are seen more frequently in psychiatric disorders and old age – and now researchers have revealed why they are also more common in cannabis users.
Using neuroimaging, researchers discovered that the brains of heavy cannabis have a less active hippocampus compared with the general population.

This is part of the brain that is responsible for storing and retrieving memories.
The study was conducted by the Biomedical Research Institute of Hospital de Sant Pau and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Related Posts:  "Even Casual Use of Marijuana Can Cause Brain Abnormalities"

Related Articles: "What the Unearthed 1995 Video Tells Us about Obama" (discussing some of Obama's made up memories).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Preventing the Coming Ice Age With Geo-Engineering

S. Fred Singer briefly discusses ice ages, how they start, and some ideas on how to prevent the next big chill.

"Earth Day Co-Founder Killed, Composted Girl Friend"

From NBC News:
Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the "composted" body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk. 
* * * 
... When his girlfriend of five years, Helen "Holly" Maddux, moved to New York and broke up with him, Einhorn threatened that he would throw her left-behind personal belongings onto the street if she didn't come back to pick them up. 
And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again. When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned. 
It wasn't until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn's apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn's bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux's beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers. 
After his arrest, Einhorn jumped bail and spent decades evading authorities by hiding out in Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. After 23 years, he was finally extradited to the United States from France and put on trial. Taking the stand in his own defense, Einhorn claimed that his ex-girlfriend had been killed by CIA agents who framed him for the crime because he knew too much about the agency's paranormal military research. He was convicted of murdering Maddux and is currently serving a life sentence.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Evolution in Action

In The Atlantic is an article by Sophia Gilbert entitled "Why Women Aren't Having Children," purporting to challenge the belief that not having children is selfish. She writes:
Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.
Of course, one would be happy to let such people breed themselves out of existence if it weren't for the annoying fact that they still insist on dictating life to the rest of us, and leach off the labors of the children of others. But, I guess it proves Gilbert's point that she, and those she writes about in the article, are nothing more than parasites.

"The Kids Are Not Alright: A Lesbian’s Daughter Speaks Out"

Brandi Walton discusses why homosexual couples are not good for kids.

"What It Would Take to Prove Global Warming"

An article by Robert Tracinski at The Federalist. He lists three things:

  1. A clear understanding of the climate record, rather than a cobbled together mess of dubiously adjusted modern measurements and "proxy" measurements standing in for real temperature data;
  2. A full understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms; and,
  3. The ability to make forecasting models with a track record of accurate predictions over the very long term rather than the current models which have been shown to be wrong, and tweaked on an ad hoc basis to cover up their deficiencies. 

You May Not Be Interested In the Cultural War...

... but it is interested in you. On December 23, 2014, Robert Tracinski penned an op-ed at The Federalist entitled "Confessions Of A Reluctant Culture Warrior." In it, Tracinski noted his ambivalence about gay marriage, but, notwithstanding, he has been forced into the trenches of the cultural war. He writes:
But this year, I discovered that while I might not be interested in the culture war, the culture war is interested in me. It’s interested in all of us.

This is the year when we were served noticed that we won’t be allowed to stand on the sidelines, because we will not be allowed to think differently from the left.
* * *

 So this was the year when we learned that we can’t sit out the “culture war,” because they’re bringing it to us, and every niggling little aspect of our lives will now be redesigned to make us more tractable.
Ben Domenech makes the same point in his piece, "The End of Tolerance And Enforced Morality," wherein he writes:
The notable thing about Culture War 4.0 is its consistent rejection of tolerance in favor of government enforced morality. Remember your Muad’Dib: “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.” The peaceful tolerance for those who are different now extends too far, for it encompasses people who do not abide by or fully appreciate gay marriages. The people must be brought to heel, and the new morality enforced by government over their religious objections.
We are only a short step from the thought-police and thought-crimes, such as prevail in so many European countries, such as Leslie Loftis relates:
When we lived in London, I attended a Tuesday morning women’s Bible study. The United Kingdom has gone further down the road of cultural assumptions against Christians than the United States, so one morning our discussion turned to wearing crosses. The British and Scottish women found it difficult, like walking about while wearing a dunce cap. There, only true believers wear a cross. While U.K. society accepts cultural Christianity, such as going to church on Christmas and Easter, actual believing is just not right.
The left will reunite State and Religion, but it will be their Religion, not yours.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Surveillance Cameras Show Illegal Aliens Crossing Border--Some Bringing Weapons

Photos and story at the Daily Mail. Note: these are not guns heading south into Mexico; they are guns coming north into the U.S.

The Purpose of Gay Marriage is to Make Marriage Irrelevant

Daniel Greenfield writes about "The Deconstruction of Marriage," observing:
The deconstruction of marriage is not a mere matter of front page photos of men kissing. It began with the deconstruction of the family. Gay marriage is only one small stop on a tour that includes rising divorce rates, falling childbirth rates and the abandonment of responsibility by twenty and even thirty-somethings. 
Each step on the tour takes apart the definition and structure of marriage until there is nothing left. Gay marriage is not inclusive, it is yet another attempt at eliminating marriage as a social institution by deconstructing it until it no longer exists. 
There are two ways to destroy a thing. You can either run it at while swinging a hammer with both hands or you can attack its structure until it no longer means anything.
The left hasn't gone all out by outlawing marriage, instead it has deconstructed it, taking apart each of its assumptions, from the economic to the cooperative to the emotional to the social, until it no longer means anything at all. Until there is no way to distinguish marriage from a temporary liaison between members of uncertain sexes for reasons that due to their vagueness cannot be held to have any solemn and meaningful purpose.
* * *

Every aspect of marriage is deconstructed and then eliminated until it no longer means anything. And once marriage is no longer a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, but a ceremony with no deeper meaning than most modern ceremonies, then the deconstruction and destruction will be complete. 
The deconstruction of marriage eroded it as an enduring institution and then as an exclusive institution and finally as a meaningful institution. The trendy folk who claim to be holding off on getting married until gay marriage is enacted are not eager for marriage equality, they are using it as an excuse for an ongoing rejection of marriage.  
Gay marriage was never the issue. It was always marriage. 
In the world that the deconstructionists are striving to build, there will be marriage, but it will mean nothing. Like a greeting card holiday, it will be an event, but not an institution. An old ritual with no further meaning. An egotistical exercise in attention-seeking and self-celebration with no deeper purpose. It will be a display every bit as hollow as the churches and synagogues it takes place in. 
Greenfield explains that the deconstruction of marriage is just part of the larger attempt to deconstruct gender and family. First, destroy the separate gender roles, then marriage, and then gender, so that gender becomes meaningless--like a costume one puts one or takes off at will. He notes that the same thing happens to voting rights: let anyone vote as many times as they want, and the act of voting becomes meaningless.
The left's deconstruction of social institutions is not a quest for equality, but for destruction. As long as the institutions that preceded it exist, it will go on deconstructing them until there is nothing left but a blank canvas, an unthinking anarchy, on which it can impose its perfect and ideal conception of how everyone should live. 
Equality is merely a pretext for deconstruction. Change the parameters of a thing and it ceases to function. Redefine it and expand it and it no longer means anything at all. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but if you change 'rose' to mean anything that sticks out of the ground, then the entire notion of what is being discussed has gone and cannot be reclaimed without also reclaiming language. 
The left's social deconstruction program is a war of ideas and concepts. Claims of equality are used to expand institutions and ways of living until they are so broad as to encompass everything and nothing. And once a thing encompasses everything, once a rose represents everything rising out of the ground, then it also represents nothing at all. 
* * *
As Orwell understood in 1984, tyranny is essentially about definitions. It is hard to fight for freedom if you lack the word. It is hard to maintain a marriage if the idea no longer exists. ...
The left's greatest trick is making things mean the opposite of what they do. Stealing is sharing. Crime is justice. Property is theft. Each deconstruction is accompanied by an inversion so that a thing, once examined, comes to seem the opposite of what it is, and once that is done, it no longer has the old innate value, but a new enlightened one. 
To deconstruct man, you deconstruct his beliefs and then his way of living. You deconstruct freedom until it means slavery. You deconstruct peace until it means war. You deconstruct property until it means theft. And you deconstruct marriage until it means a physical relationship between any group of people for any duration. And that is the opposite of what marriage is.
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Does Iran Already Have Nuclear Weapons?

Robert Gore, writing at Straight Line Logic, raises the possibility that the reason that the Iranians have seemingly caved on their nuclear program may be because they already have nuclear bombs.

The Double Standards in Police Shootings

The Guardian reported recently that the officer that shot Walter Scott in the back was laughing after the shooting. People on an adrenaline high sometimes act goofy, so the fact that he laughed seems to be of little relevance. What bothers me is this:

 Patrolman Michael Slager made the remarks during a discussion with a senior officer after fatally shooting Scott in North Charleston on 5 April. A recording of their conversation was obtained by the Guardian. 
“By the time you get home, it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened,” the senior officer said. “You know, once the adrenaline quits pumping.” 
* * *  
The senior officer told Slager during the conversation to go home and relax, assuring him that he would not have to answer questions about the shooting for days.
In other words, because Slager was a cop, he was given an opportunity that non-law enforcement don't have: the time and luxury to think through your story and get the facts straight before being questioned. Instead of being hauled "downtown" for questioning, he is told he will have 3 days to formulate an explanation for what he did and why.

New Horizons Takes First Color Photo of Pluto and Charon

Gallery Image
Pluto and Charon
More at Wired and NBC News.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Cultural War--Time to Play Nice?

The author Peter Grant has expressed dismay over the politicization of the Hugo Awards this year ("The Hugo Awards controversy: a personal response" and "So much for sanity and civility . . ."). He is referring to the Sad Puppies campaign which encouraged people to vote for a slate of authors that wrote science fiction rather than Social Justice Warrior rote.

While I understand Grant's concern that the Hugo Awards process has been poisoned, it was not the Sad Puppies campaign that did it. Like many other sectors that self-selects from the Ivy League, the top publishing houses had become infected by social justice warriors. There was a de-facto black list against authors that were conservative or libertarian. And this bias toward the political correct extended into the Hugo Awards, where prominent SJWs would advance their own slate of acceptable votes. Perhaps inspired by Gamer Gate, Sad Puppies was an attempt to push back the SJWs.

And it worked. Authors supported by Sad Puppies swept the Hugo Awards. Beaten at their own game, the SJWs have turned on the spigots of their liberal hatred of any who dare challenge them, resorting to all sorts of lies and ad hominum attacks.

Grant is concerned that the politicization of the Hugos will undermine the prestige and legitimacy of the award. I think he is missing the broader point, though, that it was already losing that respect and legitimacy among the readership. It was yet another mechanism whereby the SJWs could advance the interests of other SJWs, and had nothing to do with the merits of the author or the art. The SJWs had already politicized the process of Hugo nominations and awards, and Sad Puppies was an attempt to save the awards.

Always being on the defensive and playing nice has not worked very well. Perhaps it is time to go on the offensive.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I call B.S.: "Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single"

Unfortunately, for women, intelligence many times hinders our travels and keeps us from the promise land. Because, for all you bright and educated women out there, what you feel is real… intelligent women are more likely to be single. 
* * *
 The popular saying “ignorance is bliss” doesn’t exactly cover the broad spectrum of woes women feel as they sit alone Friday nights with no one to discuss Nietzsche or read lines from Proust with.
* * *  
But why is this? Why don’t men want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them? When did the aversion to strong and intelligent women become a code orange? When did everyone just want to go to the Bahamas and lie around? 
In an article by “The Wire,” financial reporter, John Carney, gives one explanation for this phenomenon, deducing, “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.’” 
Basically, they want someone who isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first. 
They want a woman who is dumb enough to make them a priority and, unfortunately, for all those sane, rational and intelligent women out there, there’s a hefty number of these women out there. 
There are plenty of women who will give up their lives for men, who will refuse to challenge them, fight them and refuse to see them as their equals, but their saviors.
I call "B.S." on her article. My own personal experience from my university days was that I hated dating unintelligent women because they were so mentally painful to be around.

But I don't call "B.S." on her article simply because of my background, but because her claim is not borne out by the research. The article Martin cites is "Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women?" from March 3, 2011. The article mentions that studies have shown that men marry less intelligent women, but it does not reference the studies--not the dates of the study, the source, anything.

And, in fact, recent research shows the opposite. Taking education as a proxy for intelligence, educated men prefer marrying educated women--the more educated the man, generally the more educated his wife. Christen Whelan notes that the research showing that men marry down when it comes to intelligence (including the British study mentioned by Martin) is suspect, at best. She writes:
Sex and power are often linked, but most sociological theories (and media headlines) predict that it is women who will flock to high-powered men and find them the most attractive, whereas men will be drawn to docile and subordinate women. Yet a 2005 article in the American Journal of Sociology, overlooked by the media, reports just the opposite: High-status and powerful women are rated as more attractive. Based on a study of interpersonal relationships in 60 different communities nationwide, the author concludes that women in positions of power are sexier to men than are more subordinate women. 
Research by Megan Sweeney, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, adds another data point to the good news plot: Higher-earning women marry at higher rates. Among white women, a $10,000-per-year increase in salary can mean a 7 percent increase in the likelihood that she will marry within a year. For black women, that same salary bump increases the likelihood of marriage by more than 8 percent. 
And the trend only improves. Economist Elaina Rose at the University of Washington studies the relationship between marriage rates and education level, and how the two have affected each other over time. By looking at U.S. Census records going back several decades, Rose has tracked the diminishing marriage “success penalty.” Twenty-five years ago, a woman with a graduate degree was 13.5 percent less likely to have ever married at age 40 to 44 than a woman with only a high school diploma. In percentage terms that’s a big number. By the 2000 Census, that penalty had largely disappeared.
This 2012 article from the Chicago Tribune reported:
 "They marry later, but they catch up," said England. "By age 40, 75 percent of college-educated women are married, compared to 70 percent of those who attend high school or some college and 60 percent of those who did not complete high school." 
This represents a gradual shift from previous generations, said England, when fewer female college graduates married. 
"Before the 1950s, you still had the image of the college-educated spinster," said England. "Women chose between education and family. Many women went to college only to get their MRSs. Now, women choose to have both education and marriage." 
"I got my education and established my career, while dating my husband long-distance. Then, I got married," said Rautiokoski, a materials scientist who lives with her husband, Timo, on the city's Northwest Side. "My mom, on the other hand, got married at age 18, then went to college while she had four kids at home." 
Although most of the women in the study are white, the shift is more dramatic among the black participants. 
"Overall, black women are less likely to marry than white women are," said England. "For black women, a college education means they are even more likely to marry."
(See also this 2010 CNN article). Educated women are also more likely to stay married. (See also this article from Live Science). In fact, this assortative mating of the educated and wealthy to one another is now blamed for income inequality. For instance:

  • "Income inequality has gotten worse in past decades in part because college-educated, high-earning men and women are more likely to marry each other, rather than get hitched to partners with divergent education or wage levels." -- from "One Cause of Inequality: More Rich Marrying One Another," The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 27, 2014).
  • "Marriage has changed, because women's opportunities have changed. Women graduate more, they work more, and they earn more than they used to. These are all good things. But marriage has also changed, because people want new things from it. Men don't want a homemaker, and women don't want a provider. Men and women both want a partner, someone who can help with their emotional and financial needs. So they wait until they've settled into their careers to tie the knot, and they try to find someone who's doing the same. This is also a good thing." -- from "How When Harry Met Sally Explains Inequality," The Atlantic (Feb. 3, 2014).
  • "Back in the 1940s, college-educated women were the least likely to be married. The opposite is true now. As of 2011, around 60 percent of women with a college degrees were married, compared to less than 50 percent of those with a high school degree or below, the analysis found." -- from "Marriage as a 'luxury good': The class divide in who gets married and divorced," Today (Oct. 26, 2013).
  • "Nowadays, successful men are more likely to marry successful women. This is a good thing. It reflects the fact that there are more high-flying women. Male doctors in the 1960s married nurses because there were few female doctors. Now there are plenty. Yet assortative mating (the tendency of similar people to marry each other) aggravates inequality between households—two married lawyers are much richer than a single mother who stacks shelves." -- from "Assortative mating: Sex, brains and inequality," The Economist (Feb. 8, 2014).
It is doubtful that men ever willingly married someone of significantly different intelligence. You can't use education as a proxy for intelligence from a time when most women did not attend college. But women were relied upon to run the household, and what man would turn such an important duty over to a dim-wit?

So, if Martin's basic premise is incorrect, what is the problem? I would suggest that it is a certain type of "intelligent" women who don't get married. Martin uses the term "strong and intelligent women," which is just a code phrase for women that are bitchy and toxic. No one wants to marry someone that is going to challenge them at every turn. It is one thing to discuss Nietzsche, and another to turn every conversation into a debate. So, if Martin's "intelligent women" are still single, there is probably a very good reason for it--and the human gene pool is probably the better off.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Buchanan: "The Long Retreat in the Culture War"

Pat Buchanan, writing in the American Conservative, discusses the long retreat of religiosity from the public sphere. Some of his comments:
... the process has been steadily proceeding for generations. 
First comes a call for tolerance for those who believe and behave differently. Then comes a plea for acceptance. Next comes a demand for codifying in law a right to engage in actions formerly regarded as debased or criminal. Finally comes a demand to punish any and all who persist in their public conduct or their private business in defying the new moral order. 
And so it goes with revolutions. On the assumption of power, revolutionaries become more intolerant than those they dispossessed. 
The French Revolution was many times more terrible than the Bourbon monarchy. The Russian Revolution made the Romanovs look benign. Fidel Castro’s criminality exceeded anything dreamt of by Fulgencio Batista. 
* * * 
The GOP simply cannot stand up to media denunciations as intolerant bigots, especially if the corporations upon which they depend threaten economic reprisals. 
With the Democratic Party irretrievably lost, and the Republican Party moving to neutrality in the culture wars, traditionalists should probably take comfort in the counsel, “Put not your trust in princes.” 
When that father and daughter at Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., said their religious beliefs forbade them from catering a same-sex wedding, they were subjected to a hailstorm of hate, but were also showered with $840,000 from folks who admired their moral courage. 
Religious folks who do not believe in collaborating with what they think is wrong should go forth and do likewise. 
Courage as well as cowardice is contagious.
Reminds me of  Alexander Pope's comment:
“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How Did the Moon Form?

According to this article from the Huffington Post, it was formed by a collision with a "sister" planet to the Earth, that was formed about a similar distance from the Sun, explaining why the Moon's composition is so similar to the Earth's.

The Greatest Gun Salesman Ever

The Washington Times reports:
The American firearms industry is as healthy as ever, seeing an unprecedented surge that has sent production of guns soaring to more than 10.8 million manufactured in 2013 alone — double the total of just three years earlier. 
The 2013 surge — the latest for which the government has figures — came in the first full year after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, signaling that the push for stricter gun controls, strongly backed by President Obama, did little to chill the industry despite the passage of stricter laws in states such as New York, Maryland, Connecticut and California. 
Indeed, interest in guns appears to be at an all-time high in California, which shattered its previous record for gun-purchase background checks last month, with nearly 200,000 processed, suggesting a vibrant firearms market in the country’s most populous state.

A Call for Re-Education

Frank Bruni, writing in the New York Times, condemns those who believe, per the Bible, that homosexual relationships are a sin. He concludes:
So our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to and can indeed jettison, much as they’ve jettisoned other aspects of their faith’s history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity.
* * *
 And it’s a vital message because of something that Indiana demonstrated anew: Religion is going to be the final holdout and most stubborn refuge for homophobia. It will give license to discrimination. It will cause gay and lesbian teenagers in fundamentalist households to agonize needlessly: Am I broken? Am I damned?
* * *
 Gold told me that church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.” 
His commandment is worthy — and warranted. All of us, no matter our religious traditions, should know better than to tell gay people that they’re an offense.
His article is an interesting read in logical errors and inconsistencies,  the most grievous being the intentional conflation of being a homosexual, engaging in homosexual conduct, and gay marriage. For instance, he suggests that the florists and bakers that don't want to be forced to participate in a gay wedding hate homosexuals. However, those florists and bakers have sold products to gay customers--it is the act of assisting in the wedding to which they object. Bruni's argument is that it is impossible to "hate the sin but love the sinner." Thus, he agrees that Christians must be forced to change their beliefs concerning homosexuality as a sin. With that attitude, can his support of reeducation camps be far behind?

Global Warming Alert--18 Freighters Stuck in Great Lakes Ice

From the Daily Mail:
The biggest ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes in decades is backing up important shipping deliveries with 18 freighters currently wedged in the ice, unable to move. 
Extraordinary aerial photographs taken above Whitefish Bay on eastern Lake Superior, Ontario, show some of the freighters lined up across a frozen expanse. 
They are carrying a variety of goods from Canadian grain to US iron and steel but are being hampered by slabs of ice as big as pick-up trucks, it’s been reported.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why Only Cops Should Have Guns--Training Accident and Back Shooter

Two stories today's post in this series:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Scientists Claim Primordial DNA May Have Spontaneously Appeared 4 Billion Years Ago (Updated)

From the Daily Mail article:
Many origin-of-life researchers say that RNA chains are too specialised to have been created as a product of random chemical reactions. 
The new study, however, claims to provide an alternative theory by arguing primordial DNA-like fragments evolved in this way instead. 
The researchers found the self-assembly of DNA fragments just a few nanometres in length have the ability to drive the formation of chemical bonds. 
These connect together short DNA chains to form long ones, without the need for a separate biological process. 
'Our observations are suggestive of what may have happened on the early Earth when the first DNA-like molecular fragments appeared,' said CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark, a study co-author. 
The study suggests that the way in which DNA emerged in the early Earth lies in its structural properties and its ability to self-organise. 
In the pre-RNA world, the spontaneous self-assembly of fragments of nucleic acids – the building block of life - may have acted as a template for their chemical self-assembly. 
'The new findings show that in the presence of appropriate chemical conditions, the spontaneous self-assembly of small DNA fragments into stacks of short duplexes greatly favours their binding into longer polymers, thereby providing a pre-RNA route to the RNA world,' added Professor Clark.
If true, this would mean that life should be common throughout the universe.

Update (4/9/2015): reports:
For the first time, astronomers have discovered complex organic molecules, the basic building blocks for life, in a disk of gas and dust surrounding an alien star. 
To the researchers' surprise, the organics found around a young star called MWC 480 are not only surviving but thriving in quantities slightly higher than those thought to have existed in the early solar system. The prolific amount of material reveals that Earth's solar system is not the only one to contain these complex molecules, suggesting that the ingredients required for life to evolve may exist throughout the universe. 

Words of Warning ...

... from Kurt Schlichter in an op-ed at Townhall entitled "Liberals May Regret Their New Rules." Schlichter's thesis is that "[y]ou cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind." After some preliminary comments, he writes:
Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media. 
* * * 
Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious. 
* * * 
When you block all normal means of dissent, whether by ignoring the political will of you[r] opponents or using the media to mock and abuse them, you build up the pressure. In 30+ years as an active conservative, I’ve never heard people so angry, so frustrated, so fed up. These emotions are supposed to be dissipated by normal political processes. But liberals are bottling them up. And they will blow. It’s only a matter of how. 
Liberals need to understand the reality that rarely penetrates their bubble. Non-liberal Americans (it’s more than just conservatives who are under the liberal establishment’s heel) are the majority of this country. They hold power in many states and regions in unprecedented majorities. And these attacks focus on what they hold dearest – their religion, their families and their freedom. 
What is the end game, liberals? Do you expect these people you despise to just take it? Do you think they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, I guess we better comply?” Do you even know any real Americans? Do you think you’ll somehow be able to force them into obedience – for what is government power but force – after someone finally says “Enough?” 
... there are an awful lot of people willing to fight and die for their religion and our Constitution. 
And let’s be blunt – these are the people with most of the guns and the training to use them. That’s the reality of the rule of force. I’ve seen it – it’s there behind me in that photo [of Kosovo]. 
Now, this will no doubt draw the lie that I am somehow advocating violence. ... 
I’m not advocating violence – I am warning liberals that they are setting the conditions for violence. 
And that better worry them, for the coastal elites are uniquely unsuited to a world where force rules instead of law. The Serbs were, at least, a warrior people. The soft boys and girls who brought us helicopter parenting, “trigger warnings” and coffee cups with diversity slogans are not. 
I know the endgame of discarding the rule of law for short-term advantage because I stood in its ruins. Liberals think this free society just sort of happened, that they can poke and tear at its fabric and things will just go on as before. But they won’t. So at the end of the day, if you want a society governed by the rule of force, you better pray that you’re on the side with the guns and those who know how to use them.
 Read the whole thing.

"Will Yemen Hostilities Spill Into Saudi Arabia?"

An article at The American Interest. It notes that the Eastern Shi'a dominated provinces of Saudi Arabia have been restive the last few years, and adds:
A Shi’a revolt in Saudi Arabia could have major consequences. The Shi’a-majority Eastern province also happens to be where much of Saudi Arabia’s oil is found. 
Beyond that fact, a fight in Saudi Arabia could pull more countries into the war in Yemen—most notably Pakistan. Pakistan’s Defense Minister admitted today that Saudi Arabia had asked for warships, planes, and troops to help in Yemen. Thus far, mindful of the sensitivities of its own Shi’a minority, and of its relationship with neighboring Iran, Pakistan has been unwilling to commit fully, saying it will only send troops to help defend Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity. If conflict spreads to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan will find it difficult to maintain its delicate balancing act.
(H/t Instapundit)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Context Matters: A Better Libertarian Approach to Antidiscrimination Law"

An article by David Bernstein at the Cato Institute.

I disagree with Bernstein's suggestion that repealing anti-discrimination laws, without overall government reform, should be suspect. The problem with that approach is that you will never get overall reform. You have to start somewhere, and reform of anti-discrimination laws are as good a place to start as another.

Like many other government initiatives that started with good intentions, as the need for such legislation has disappeared, the result has been an increased concentration on minor or inconsequential matters in order to justify continued existence of government bureaucracies and plaintiff's attorneys. At one time, the issue was that people have access to jobs (or not be driven out of a job by constant, degrading, harassment), housing, etc., because of whatever characteristic that was the subject of the legislation, to where, now, a single off-color joke, or question of why blacks can use the "n-word" but whites cannot, are now subject to anti-discrimination enforcement. Even being nice will could land you in hot-water; for instance, suggesting that a handicapped person may be more comfortable in a ground floor apartment instead of an apartment requiring him or her to walk up stairs is now unlawful "steering".

Part of the problem is that we no longer live with the original 1964 Civil Rights Act. Under the original Act, in order to prove discrimination, the motive for an action had to primarily be for purpose of discrimination. Now, discrimination only needs to be a motivating factor. So, under the original law, an employer could only be held liable for discrimination in firing an employee if the termination was because of the employee's protected class--if there was another valid reason to terminate, there was no actionable discrimination. Now, if the employee is fired for theft, but some supervisor 6 months earlier said something about the person's national origin, that would be enough to find discrimination.

Another problem is that there is no consequences for bringing an unjustified suit, encouraging "shake-down" suits and suits for trivial matters. Although the Act supposedly provides that the losing party is responsible to pay attorney's fees to the winning party, court decisions have actually made it all but impossible for defendants to collect attorney's fees. Since a plaintiff can bring a suit essentially for free, there is little incentive for not bringing suit; whereas, because even a finding of nominal damages ($1) can garner an award of attorney's fees, and plaintiff's attorneys have little check on what they can claim as a "reasonable" hourly rate or the number of hours that they claim, there is significant appeal for a plaintiff's attorney to do so.

There are many more ills resulting from the current state of anti-discrimination laws, which may be the subject of a future post. But we increasingly live in a society where ant-discrimination laws have outlived their usefulness, and "mission creep" has made them more invasive and counter-productive than ever.

"'Greedy Speculators' Don't Cause Inflation, But Greedy Princes Do"

An article by Jerry Bower at Forbes that not only gives a simple explanation of inflation, but also takes a different perspective on why Galileo butted heads with religious authorities, but Copernicus did not. From the article:

It is a basic fact of economics that price inflation is caused by excess monetary expansion. It is a fact in the same sense that the idea that the earth revolves around the sun is a fact, in that it is simply the only way to explain the data without reverting to massive distortions in order to save appearances.

In fact, the same man solved both problems: Nicholas Copernicus had a day job and it was not looking up at the stars: it was looking down at our earth-bound economy. Copernicus worked for his uncle in what we would now call economic development when he took up work on his heliocentric theory in his free time.
Copernicus identified what is known as the quantity theory of money, showing that it is government officials debasing currency through excess money creation which drove price increases. Not greedy merchants. Not debauched, impious consumers. Not lack of respect for the law. In fact, the law in the sense of the government is what lay behind price inflation.  Copernicus discovered Gresham’s law before Gresham: the law that says people tend to hoard sound currencies at times when other currencies are being debased. It’s not the phenomenon of greedy speculators behind this principle; it is the phenomenon of greedy princes.

The alleged advances of the ‘new’ Keynesian economics were really a move backwards to pre-Copernican Aristotle, who never understood the effects and functions of the interest rate in a market system. Both geocentric and spender-vendor-centric models of astronomy and economics, respectively, depend on surface observations of effects and not on deeper exploration of cause and effect. I understand that it ‘looks like’ price hikes are caused by the people who sell goods and services, not by debasing Polish officials, in the same way that I understand that it looks like the sun goes around the earth. I also understand that in both cases, surface observation is in some sense ‘empirical’, but it is not really science.

Copernicus’ Treatise on Money (less well known as On the Coinage of Money) was in many ways as revolutionary as his On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres, and probably more poorly received. This may shock modern readers who look  at the late middle ages through the lens of chronological chauvinism and see a morality play of good sciences vs. bad religion. But all of that fails to explain why Copernicus was not persecuted; his books were not banned by Church or State. Modern historiography has undone the war between science and religion narrative when applied at least to geo-centrism, at least to anyone who is paying attention. Copernicus was a loyal servant of the Church which treated his ideas with respect. Galileo’s persecution a century later cannot be understood apart from his particularly vitriolic personality and related political factors.
A better hermeneutic through which to view the disputes of that era is not science vs. religion, but evidence vs. tradition. Both the renaissance and the reformation shared a common commitment to ‘ad fonts,’ i.e. ‘to the sources.’ The source might be empirical data for the new scientist, or the actual text of Scripture to the reformer. The enemy was neither science, nor religion: the enemy was the dead hand of unchallenged tradition upheld by established academic elites and enforced by bureaucratic power. The enforced orthodoxy in matters of astronomy was in both cases the same man, Aristotle, his astronomy codified as the Ptolemaic system and his economics codified in usury laws and just price theory. 
Is it any surprise therefore that not just Copernicus, but his intellectual successor Galileo, challenged both orthodoxies? That’s right, Galileo’s famous Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems did not just attack geo-centrism, but also just price theory. It identified and then resolved the old medieval puzzle of the diamond/water paradox. Why do markets pay more for a cup of diamonds, than they do for a cup of water? Because we are insufficiently philosophical to recognize the greater value of the water? No, it’s because water is far more abundant than diamonds and so the marginal value of an additional cup of diamonds exceed the marginal value of an additional cup of water. It’s not the buyers are insufficiently philosophical; it’s that philosophers were insufficiently practical to understand real world economics from the vantage point of their armchairs. And, yes, I am saying that Galileo invented marginal utility 200 years before the Austrian economic revolution.

Friday, April 3, 2015

"An Engineered Drought"

Victor Davis Hanson describes how environmentalists and politicians blocked the construction of water projects that would have alleviated California's current drought.


Breitbart reports that the FBI has solved the 1990 theft of over $500 million worth of masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  The two career criminals who committed the historic crime were George Reissfelder (49 at the time), and Lenny DiMuzio (42 at the time). Both were dead within a year of the heist: "DiMuzio was murdered in a gangland hit and Reissfelder died of a drug overdose that some investigators consider suspicious."

What is interesting is that John Kerry, our current Secretary of State, had previously represented Reissfelder as to the appeal of a murder conviction for a 1966 murder. Kerry was successful in getting Reissfelder released in 1982.

Examples of Liberal Fascism

The New Players in the Cultural Wars

Whether you like it or not, you are part of the Cultural War. But notwithstanding the tone of the cited article, it is not a simple bi-polar, left versus right, type of conflict. The Left will also be fighting some of its staunchest allies and favorite victim groups. For instance, in the 2008 vote for Proposition 8 (to block gay marriage) in California, 70% of blacks supported the Proposition. But there is another group that will increasingly make its political weight felt--Muslim immigrants and converts. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, writing at Time, observes:
According to estimates by the Pew Research Center, the Muslim population of the United States is set to increase from around 2.6 million today to 6.2 million in 2030, mainly as a result of immigration, as well as above-average birth rates. Although in relative terms this will still represent less than 2 percent of the total U.S. population (1.7 percent, to be precise, compared with around 0.8 percent today), in absolute terms that will be a larger population than in any West European country except France. Between now and 2030, the Muslim population of the United States will be growing faster than that of any EU member state (with two exceptions where the absolute numbers are tiny: Ireland and Finland). The annual growth rate will be more than double that of France. 
As an immigrant of Somali origin, I have no objection to other people coming to America to seek a better life for themselves and their families. My concern is with the attitudes many of these new Muslim Americans will bring with them – and with our capacity for changing those attitudes. 
Approximately two fifths of Muslim immigrants between now and 2030 will be from just three countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iraq. Another Pew study – of opinion in the Muslim world – shows just how many people in these countries hold views that most Americans would regard as extreme. (Data on opinion are unavailable for the other two big “sender” countries, Somalia and Iran.) 
Three quarters of Pakistanis and more than two fifths of Bangladeshis and Iraqis think that those, like me, who leave Islam should suffer the death penalty. More than 80 percent of Pakistanis and two thirds of Bangladeshis and Iraqis regard sharia law as the revealed word of God. Only tiny fractions would be comfortable if their daughters married Christians. Only a minority regards honor killings of women as never justified. A quarter of Bangladeshis and one in eight Pakistanis think that suicide bombings in defense of Islam are often or sometimes justified. 
People with views such as these pose a threat to us all, not because those who hold them will all turn to terrorism. Most will not. But such attitudes imply a readiness to turn a blind eye to the use of violence and intimidation tactics against, say, apostates and dissidents – and a clear aversion to the hard-won achievements of Western feminists and campaigners for minority rights.
She notes that, unlike Europe, conversion will play a more significant role in increasing Muslim populations in the United States.

Does anyone think that such people will be so sanguine as Christians at being forced to provide services or goods to people they don't like.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Whence the Power to Enforce Anti-Discrimination Laws

Discrimination lawsuits have been in the news lately, and I find them appalling, probably because I am not politically correct. The Constitution says Public Service should be available to all, and lawsuits to enforce it are in order, but I have never understood why I have a duty to serve you in my privately owned place of business. If I want only red-haired male customers, why should I not have the right to do so? Why have you a right to force me to sell you goods and services? I have the same view on employment. If I want only Korean employees, why should I not be allowed that? Perhaps it would be a bad idea, economically, but what gives you the right to send armed men to force me to hire you? Again I am not discussing public employment or services; I mean private businesses. 
A free country would not be concerned with these matters. ....
Of course this is saying that private business owners have a right to discriminate, to be prejudiced, in their choices of employees and customers; and we don’t permit that, because that is racist or sexist or some such: and of course it can be racist rather than merely weird or unconventional – but that is a consequence of freedom. 
I would have thought people are free to associate with whom they wish, sell their property to whom they wish, employ whom they wish, so long as they do so in their private lives, not as public officials. The courts log ago ruled that discriminatory restrictive covenants in real estate deeds were contrary to public policy and would not be enforced. That is fair and proper. But whence comes the obligation to sell your house to anyone: registered sex offender, single parent, handicapped person, public drunk, notorious Lothario, blue-eyed blonde, Irishman, Polack, Gypsy, cross-eyed person—and to send armed public lawmen to enforce your obligation to sell to them? 
But, you say, it is unfair to discriminate! You can’t refuse to rent to someone because she is Jewish, or Black! The law lets me send lawyers to harass you, reduce you to poverty as the enrich themselves and me, and I shall do so. You can’t be racist! Anti-Semite! 
Now you might be able to infer some kind of residual sovereignty in the States that allows them to do this simply because kings, dukes, and lords once could do such things; but surely it is not in the Constitution to allow the Federal government to do it? No rational interpretation of the Reconstruction amendments gives that power to the general government, and it’s really difficult to find it in the States. 
Yes: discrimination hurts. Those who are discriminated against dislike it. But those who want to discriminate and are not allowed to dislike that, also. But, you say, they are bigots and deserve castigation, and I am free to castigate them. I will leave the rest of this paragraph as an exercise to the reader.

The eVolo Magazine Awards

The eVolo Magazine Skyscraper Competition was established in 2006 to recognise 'outstanding ideas for vertical living'. The first place in this year's contest was awarded to a team of Polish designers for its project Essence Skyscraper (shown). The main body of the building is divided into 11 natural landscapes including open floor plans, water floors, fish tanks lifted up to 98 feet (30 metres) above ground, and jungle areas

The Daily Mail reports on winners and intriguing entries for this year's eVolo Magazine awards, which give awards to concepts related to vertical living (i.e., skyscrapers) and the environment. The winner, shown above, was submitted by a team of Polish designers. Called the Essence Skyscraper, "[t]he main body of the building is divided into 11 natural landscapes including open floor plans, water floors, fish tanks lifted up to 98 feet (30 metres) above ground, and jungle areas."

Juxtaposition This: The Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama says:
President Barack Obama characterized an 'historic' international pact made today as a 'good deal' that will 'cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.' 
Still the US leader cautioned, 'Our work is not yet done. A deal has not yet been signed.'
'Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,' he said.
Obama lauded his administration in the Rose Garden speech, namely Secretary of State John Kerry, for uniting the global community in negotiations with Iran and posited that the political framework under discussion could prevent another war in the Middle East.
Thomas Sowell writes:
Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may -- probably will -- be the most catastrophic decision in human history. And it can certainly change human history, irrevocably, for the worse.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Tonight let’s talk about dope deals"

An article at Knuckledraggin My Life Away. (Note: the article contains strong language; although the article is probably safe for work, the rest of the site is NSFW).