URLs du Jour

2017-02-17

Today we have Proverbs 29:15:

A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

Note the ugly, but non-sexist language. It's the "New International Version", which biblehub.com puts at the top of its verse listings. Let's scan down to King James instead:

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Ah, there you go.

  • Sad news for fans of the Monopoly Thimble:

    Hasbro announced Thursday that it is removing the thimble game piece from Monopoly after it did not garner enough votes in a contest that will determine the eight tokens in an updated version of the board game. The thimble had been part of the game since its introduction in 1935 but apparently did not translate well to a modern era in which far fewer people sew their own clothes.

    At least people who need to use the Thimble can use a real thimble instead of relying on Hasbro to provide one. The previous retired token was the Iron. Numerous fans tried to use a real iron as a replacement, but that proved impractical for game play.

    An article on Monopoly token history is here. Our Getty Image du Jour is the Horse & Rider token, also retired.

    I had a computer version of Monopoly that animated the Horse & Rider token very imaginatively; now that programming effort is lost in time, like tears in rain.

  • Which brings us to Virginia Postrel's review of a new Steven Johnson book, Wonderland: "When Play Drives Progress". Johnson's book is full of insightful yarns:

    In his chapter on spices, for example, he pronounces Doritos "true citizens of the world." Corn, he explains, "was originally domesticated as maize in Mexico; soybeans first took root as an ancient East Asian crop; sunflowers were mostly native to North America; cheddar cheese was first crafted in England, while Romano comes from Italy. The milk in buttermilk and other cheeses dates back to the first cows that were domesticated for milk in Southwest Asia ten thousand years ago. No one knows for sure where onions first originated, but they are likely as old as agriculture itself. While we think of tomatoes as staples of the cuisines of Spain and Italy, the tomato plant first grew in the Andes of South America. Sugarcane hails from Southeast Asia, garlic came from Central Asia, and red and green pepper were native to Central and South America. An entire planet's worth of flavors converge every time you savor the tangy, sharp taste of that Doritos chip." The quest for new and pleasurable tastes, he argues, drove exploration and trade, drawing the world together.

    Ms. Postrel's review is so good, I almost think I don't need to read the book.

  • A sign that a new sheriff's in town is provided by this Slashdot post: "FCC Chairman Wants It To Be Easier To Listen To Free FM Radio On Your Smartphone"

    Now that's not a bad idea: you can imagine a number of dire scenarios where being able to get an FM signal would be useful. And in years past, you could bet an "FCC Chairman wants" observation would eventually be followed by an iron-fist FCC rule. But, hallelujah, new FCC chair Ajit Pai is quoted:

    Although Pai thinks smartphones should have the FM chip turned on, he doesn't think the government should mandate it: "As a believer in free markets and the rule of law, I cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips. I don't believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it's best to sort this issue out in the marketplace."

    Let me be the first to utter: Ajit Pai for President!

  • At NR, Julie Kelly wants you to know: "A Climate Scientist Is Smeared for Blowing the Whistle on ‘Corrected’ Data"

    Less than 72 hours after a federal whistleblower exposed shocking misconduct at a key U.S. climate agency, the CEO of the nation’s top scientific group was already dismissing the matter as no biggie. On February 7, Rush Holt, head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), told a congressional committee that allegations made by a high-level climate scientist were simply an “internal dispute between two factions” and insisted that the matter was “not the making of a big scandal.” (This was moments after Holt lectured the committee that science is “a set of principles dedicated to discovery,” and that it requires “humility in the face of evidence.” Who knew?)

    Ms Kelly tells a sordid tale of hopelessly politicized agenda-driven climate science.

  • At Reason, Veronique de Rugy outlines: "Why Trump Should Reject Calls for a Carbon Tax".

    This is an important issue, and it is important to do it right rather than act based on knee-jerk reactions as is typically done in Washington. Unintended consequences, such as chasing high-carbon activity into markets with fewer controls, would most likely reduce the impact of a carbon tax even further. The intended consequence of raising the costs of energy on Americans would be bad enough, and it wouldn't be justified by the offered benefits. Let's hope President Trump can see through the arguments of these carbon tax petitioners.

    Whiny self-interested note: after decades of paying income taxes, it would be pretty galling for low-income retirees (like me) to be slapped with a massive shift into sales taxes. A carbon tax would be one example; a VAT another.

  • Tim Carney has the unintentionally revealing story of the day: "Elizabeth Warren brags that financial giants are on her side in regulation fight". That's entirely accurate: big firms tend to love the anticompetitive side effects of burdensome regulations. Why?

    The largest firms in any field are always most able to shoulder the costs of regulation. That's why Philip Morris supported Obama's regulation of tobacco, Mattel supported Obama's regulation of toys, Monsanto supported regulation of genetically modified foods, Costco and Walmart have supported hikes in minimum wage and mandates that employers provide health insurance.

    Gosh, if only there was a word for the economic system where nominally private firms were allowed to flourish as long as they served the will of their political masters…


Last Modified 2017-02-17 8:47 AM EST