Screeching toward the end of the week…
NR's Phi Beta Cons blog provides a post headlined
noting a higher
education trendlet: students searching for, and universities offering,
"esoteric and niche
fields" of study. Second paragraph:
Well, [students] won’t have to look far for such programs. From “Adventure Education” to a dual major in “EcoGastronomy”—yes it’s a program for environmentally-friendly eating—the list of highly-specific university programs has been growing in recent years. And while these disciplines may sound innovative and exciting, the reality checks that ivory tower over-specialization bump into may tell the story better.
I normally wouldn't quote that, but the second link in that paragraph goes back to the University Near Here. (The first link goes to another member of the University System of Near Here, Plymouth State University.)
It's so exciting to have one's employer served up as a Bad Example to a wide readership.
It's interesting what you can surmise from the results of Googling a word.
For example, when I Google "ecogastronomy",
what the results tell me is: "a made-up self-important word that's desperately
trying to sell itself to the rest of the world." Most of the top results
refer to UNH's program, indicating that the rest of the world
may not be that interested.
Pun Salad recently
examined the decision of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
to remove the column of George F. Will, replacing it with that of
Michael Gerson. Gerson seems to be trying his best to convince
everyone that was a very bad idea, as in this
column bemoaning the expansion of legal weed and gambling. And
those pesky libertarians are part of the problem!
The ideological alliance behind these changes is among the strangest in U.S. politics. Libertarians seek to lift governmental restraints on consensual acts. State governments seek sources of revenue without the political inconvenience of requesting broad tax increases. Both find common ground in encouraging and exploiting the weaknesses and addictions of citizens. (And business interests and their lobbyists, of course, find new ways to profit from reliable vices.)
At best, Gerson has half an idea here: sin taxes bring in revenue that doesn't have to come from the average taxpayer. But the charge that libertarians want to encourage and exploit "the weaknesses and addictions of citizens" is thoughtless and baseless slander.
I wouldn't have found that on my own, having given up on Gerson long ago. But I do read Jacob Sullum and he offered up a quick rebuttal: "Michael Gerson Explains Why Libertarians Should Want to Ban Everything".
By Gerson's logic, a true libertarian would want to criminalize as much commercial activity as possible, the better to starve the beast. The less there is to tax, the smaller government will be, so when all peaceful transactions are banned, we will be living in a libertarian paradise.
A commenter to Sullum ("John") is also good: "Gerson is a curious breed of moron. It is not that there isn't an element of truth to what he says. It is that he takes that element and manages to derive epically stupid claims."
MST3K has been gone since 1999, but
Michael J Nelson can still make me laugh:
When a Buzzfeed writer dies he's forced to click on a "You won't believe what happens next" thumbnail of himself. Then he goes to Hell.— Michael J Nelson (@michaeljnelson) July 15, 2014