URLs du Jour

2018-03-21

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 14:5 seems … kind of superficial:

    5 An honest witness does not deceive,
        but a false witness pours out lies.

    Still, a good reminder for all those involved in the Mueller investigation.


  • Back in the days when I attended professional conferences for computer system administrators, a must-hear speaker was Dan Geer. His talks were uniformly insightful, humorous, and useful.

    Theory: at some point, the conferences that the University Near Here could afford to send me to were no longer able to afford Dan Geer. So it's been a while since I've seen him in action.

    But here's the next-best thing: the Hoover Institution has published his latest essay: A Rubicon. I appreciate the density of the abstract, where every sentence is something to mull over:

    Optimality and efficiency work counter to robustness and resilience. Complexity hides interdependence, and interdependence is the source of black swan events. The benefits of digitalization are not transitive, but the risks are. Because single points of failure require militarization wherever they underlie gross societal dependencies, frank minimization of the number of such single points of failure is a national security obligation. Because cascade failure ignited by random faults is quenched by redundancy, whereas cascade failure ignited by sentient opponents is exacerbated by redundancy, (preservation of) uncorrelated operational mechanisms is likewise a national security obligation.

    It might help to brush up on what a "black swan event" is, ahead of time.


  • Elizabeth Warren's bitter clinging to her Native American heritage spurs Victor Davis Hanson to muse on the one-drop worldview of The Confederate Mind.

    But what if indeed the pink and blond Warren were found to have 1/32nd or even 1/16th Native American “blood”? Why would that artifact magically make her “Indian,” much less a victim of something or someone, or at least outfitted with a minority cachet?

    Does she have an idea of the absurdity of current progressive race obsessions and their creepy pedigrees? In wartime Western Europe, one of the justifications for making Jews wear yellow stars was that it was otherwise impossible to determine whether they were Jews at all, which of course made the entire Nazi edifice of supposed overt racial inferiority a nightmarish joke.

    "Creepy" is a good adjective to use for the underpinnings of the Progressive worldview.


  • In the Week, Shikha Dalmia notes that the creepiness sometimes degenerates into… The sad hysteria of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Case in point: their treatment of conservative feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers:

    The SPLC, which was formed in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement with the noble goals of seeking justice for victims of racial violence and fighting hate, recently published a piece in which it accused Sommers of giving a "mainstream and respectable face" to groups peddling "male supremacy."

    It was a single, throwaway line about Sommers in a much-longer report — but it prompted Portland's Lewis & Clark Law School's eagerly excitable students to declare her a "known fascist" and condemn the Federalist Society, the center-right outfit of legal scholars that had invited her to speak on campus, for perpetrating an "act of aggression." They hooted and heckled her, forcing her speech to be cut short.

    Let me (once again) quote the Underground Grammarian essay titled "The Answering of Kautski", which (in turn) quoted Lenin:

    Why should we bother to reply to Kautski? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There's no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautski is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything.

    An old quote (the UG essay is from 1997), but it's still on target. The SPLC and its disciples know that they need not debate, or even acknowledge, what Sommers is actually saying. She would reply to them, and they would have to reply to her reply, and so on. There's no end to that. It will be quite enough for them to announce that Sommers is a traitor to her sex, and everyone will understand everything.


  • Speaking of creepy — it seems to be a theme today — Ann Althouse reacts to a Nicholas Kristof essay in the NYT, which contains "an insult from cannibalism days on Easter Island": "The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth.". Kristof's essay is a tedious lecture on sustainability, the (allegedly bad) example of Easter Island. What sets Ann's teeth on edge: he led a tour for The New York Times Company to the island. Did the group paddle there, like Thor Heyerdahl? No.

    How on earth — a place we've all been — did Nicholas Kristof think he could get away with that sanctimony?! DO NOT LECTURE US! Let your example come first, and then you can talk. You flew to Easter Island — you led a tour, enticing others to fly to Easter Island — so obviously, you think nothing of your carbon footprint or the carbon footprint of all those other people who jetted out there with you. When your actions are so radically different from your words, I don't believe your words. The depredations of global warming may be coming, but I don't believe that you believe it.

    Kristof exempts himself and his high-income tour group from the rules he wants to impose on us peons.


  • I forgot to mention that we had a recent famous visitor to our fair state. But Inside Sources noticed, and it triggered our LFOD alert: President Trump Brings Big Government to the Granite State to Fight Opioid Addiction—And Republicans Cheer!

    Based on the enthusiastic response to President Donald Trump’s speech in New Hampshire, the era of small government is over. The crowd at Manchester Community College on Monday was in no mood for “Live Free Or Die” politics. Speaking to an invitation-only audience, President Trump pledged to use federal money, federal programs, and–the biggest “big government” idea of all—the federal death penalty to fight the opioid crisis that’s had such a devastating impact on New Hampshire.

    Of course, our complaisant GOP pols could not disagree. Our Democrat pols (Senators Shaheen and Hassan are quoted) disagree only in urging "more resources" (aka “more spending”) be dumped into NH from DC.

    My libertarian eyes roll.


  • Another LFOD alert sprang from a somewhat surprising source: Elon Musk. (A big-picture Instagram embed, scroll to the bottom…)

    Paid respects to Masada earlier today. Live free or die.

    A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

    Good for Elon. Almost makes me want to buy a Tesla. Maybe someone in state government could arrange for an honorary set of license plates for him.


Last Modified 2018-03-22 4:12 AM EDT