URLs du Jour

2018-05-07

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 13:14 returns to good advice:

    14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
        turning a person from the snares of death.

    I can't argue with that. But isn't the issue distinguishing the "wise" from the pretentious twits and charlatans?


  • At NRO, George F. Will asks the musical question: Are We Trapped in a Debt Spiral?

    From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, “carnaptious,” that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let’s think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on ten-year Treasury bonds recently rose briefly to 3 percent, and soon may move above this. This is more than evidence of the economy’s strength. It also is a harbinger of a coming day when the great driver of the national debt will be . . . the national debt. Pour a Scotch and read on.

    The economy’s growth, which slowed in 2018’s first quarter, is not brisk; it still is not even the 3 percent that is the low end of presidential boasting. At the end of this month, the economy will amble into the tenth year of the expansion that began in June 2009. This month is its 108th, making it almost twice as long as the average expansion (58 months) since 1945. Unless Mr. I Alone Can Fix It has banished the business cycle forever — modesty would not have prevented him from mentioning this — a contraction is somewhere in America’s future. It might begin in fiscal conditions resembling today’s because this is now normal: trillion-dollar annual budget deficits while the economy is at full employment. (The 3.9 percent unemployment rate is impressive, even give the decades-long decline in the work-force-participation rate, which today is 62.8 percent.)

    The upcoming elections don't augur well for restoring fiscal sanity, either. But maybe a miracle will happen.


  • At Reason, Baylen Linnekin explains Why a Bad GMO Law Makes Good GMO Regulations Impossible.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this week finally released long awaited proposed rules for labeling genetically modified foods, or GMOs. But for the last year or so, it seemed like these rules would never come up for public discussion.

    Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced last month that the agency would likely miss the July deadline for introducing the final rules mandated under a controversial 2016 law, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act.

    Baylen notes that Act is "a bad law, and likely unworkable." Unsurprising, given Wikipedia description of its sausage-making legislative history (references elided):

    Public Law 114-216 was passed after previous attempts to introduce a national GMO labeling bill had failed. It was fast-tracked without debate or committee review. The original bill S. 764 - “A bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for other purposes” - had nothing to do with food and stalled after having passed the Senate. Hollowed out of its content it was replaced with a bill to defund This bill was then replaced with a bill creating to outlaw state-level GMO labeling and setting a voluntary GMO labeling bill. When this bill failed, the S. 764 husk was used to rush through the present bill, just in time before the Vermont GMO food labeling requirement would have been activated on July 1.

    Activists are upset that the law limits their ability to scare the crap out of consumers about GMOs.


  • Although your blogger isn't particularly religious, like Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard, he enjoys The Sharp Sting of the Babylon Bee

    One of the most successful new media outlets in America does nothing but publish fake news. If that seems like a bad thing, it should be noted that the website in question is even more dedicated to spreading the Good News. Adam Ford, the founder and only full-time employee of the Babylon Bee, a Christian satire website, is clearly surprised at his success. “On the first of March, we celebrated two years in existence, and a couple of days later I noticed we had passed 100 million page views,” Ford tells The Weekly Standard. The Bee’s social media presence—it now has over 400,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter—has grown quickly too. “All of this was totally organic. We’ve never run an ad, never boosted a post, never spent a dollar on spreading the word. And we’ve had no outside funding. Our growth has been totally driven by the content.”

    If you’re one of the shrinking number of people to have never encountered an article from the Babylon Bee, the publication could be described as something like a Christian (largely Protestant) version of the Onion. With such headlines as “Treasure In Heaven Revealed To Be Bitcoin,” “Satan Sprinkles A Few More Stegosaurus Bones Across Nation To Test Christians’ Faith,” and “Opinion: My God Is An Imaginary Deification Of My Idiotic And Contradictory Personal Opinions,” you can see where the site gets some of its conceptual inspiration.

    Particularly amusing is the obliviousness of fact-checking sites like Snopes, who rated the story “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication” as false.


  • So I was looking for documentation about my iPod's "shuffle" algorithm. Is it really random? I didn't find that, but LifeHacker apparently thought my interest indicated that I might find their video useful: Watch This If You Get Too High:

    Gee, thanks, I guess. Spoiler: drink some water, get fresh air, watch some undemanding sitcoms. Which is pretty much what I do anyway. Dude.