URLs du Jour

2018-04-13

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 14:27 claims advantages for a certain attitude toward the Deity:

    27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
        turning a person from the snares of death.

    The Bible refers to the fear of God a lot. It's a good thing. Unsurprisingly—OK, somewhat surprisingly—there's a Wikipedia page on the topic, in case you're confused about what that entails.


  • Reason's Matt Welch blows the First Amendment whistle on senators defying their oath to support and defend the Constitution: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren Want the FCC to Revoke Sinclair's Broadcast Licenses.

    How stupid is the panic over Sinclair Broadcast Group's hamfisted, "must-run" promotional video decrying "fake news"? This stupid: Yesterday 12 senators, including reported presidential aspirants Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), officially requested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "investigate Sinclair's news activities to determine if it conforms to the public interest." If such an inquiry were to uncover "distorted news reports," the senators reckoned, that "could disqualify Sinclair from holding its existing licenses" and put the kibosh to its proposed purchase of Tribune Co. television stations.

    FCC Chair Ajit Pai easily shot down this attempt at unconstitutional thuggery.

    I am (slightly) relieved that neither New Hampshire senator signed the letter (linked above). However, I'm (again, slightly) disturbed by Massachusetts senator Edward J. Markey's signature. It appears he hasn't changed it since his fourth-grade penmanship class.


  • And is this irony? I can never tell: CFPB Hacked Hundreds of Times, Risking Sensitive U.S. Financial Data.

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, confirmed on Wednesday that it had been struck by at least 240 hack attacks and another 800 suspected hacks, jeopardizing mortgage information, Social Security numbers, and personal banking information of scores of Americans, according to congressional testimony.

    To repeat, "CFPB" stands for "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau". And its idea of "protection" extends to sloppily putting nearly every American's sensitive data at risk.

    But (fearless prediction) there won't be anywhere near the outrage directed at the CFPB that was aimed at (say) Equifax last year. Incompetence and misfeasance from government agencies is measured on a different scale than that in the private sector.

    Also see the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill, brought to you by the Environmental Protection Agency.


  • KC Johnson relays the latest news in Laura Kipnis's legal troubles. Her crime: Unwanted Candor.

    Amid a national debate about due process and fairness in campus Title IX adjudications, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently observed, “there’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know: everyone deserves a fair hearing.” Few academics have more powerfully made these criticisms than Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, whose 2015 Chronicle of Higher Education essay lambasting Title IX’s application to campus sexual-assault and harassment allegations prompted a university Title IX investigation—against Kipnis herself. Though Kipnis was exonerated, the investigation was a form of punishment, since professors normally aren’t questioned by lawyers hired by their school as the result of publishing in their area of expertise. The experience prompted Kipnis to write Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, which explores how Title IX has come to threaten the rights not only of accused students but also of faculty.

    One of the Title IX rights-threateners, Lauren Ledyon-Hardy, is suing Kipnis, and (incredibly) this lawsuit has been greenlighted by U.S. District Court Judge (and Obama appointee) Jack Blakey.

    Pun Salad wrote extensively about Laura Kipnis last year: here, here, here, here, a look at her book here, here, and here. I wish her good luck and a speedy deliverance from her legal harrassment.


  • I don't read the Onion much any more, but this is pretty good: Nabisco Snack Physicists Develop Highly Unstable Quadriscuits. Especially recommended if you follow the quantum computing news. I won't quote anything except the punchline: "Ellison added that the snack’s existence cannot be explained by classical Fig Newtonian physics."