URLs du Jour

2018-06-16

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  • Proverbs 12:27 is a precious puzzler:

    27 The lazy do not roast any game,
        but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

    The NIV translator notes about "roast": "The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain." Let's look at the always-amusing "Message" translation:

    27 A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done.

    I'm not sure that's right either. Let's resort to good old King James:

    27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

    OK, that's fine with me. Taking it super-metaphorically: the diligent see a project through to its end, while the lazy drop off the track somewhere along the way, and wind up the poorer for it. How's that?


  • Well, you can't argue with science. Especially since: We’re all getting dumber, says science.

    Researchers at Norway’s Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research now have scientific proof of something we’ve long suspsected—we’re all getting dumber.

    In their paper, “Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused,” which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg report that IQ scores have been steadily dropping since the 1970s.

    Before you say: "Mike Judge saw this coming in Idiocracy", note that the researchers chalk the decline up to environmental factors, not that smart people are having fewer kids.

    Or my theory, that I've mentioned before: smart people leave Norway.


  • Speaking of smartness, Philip Greenspun looks at a new book: Losing the Nobel Prize (our Amazon Product du Jour). For all the current hoopla about STEM education:

    Battle is an apt metaphor for what we scientists do. There is a fierce competition that begins the day you declare yourself a physics major. First, among your fellow undergraduates, you spar for top ranking in your class. This leads to the next battle: becoming a graduate student at a top school. Then, you toil for six to eight years to earn a postdoc job at another top school. And finally, you hope, comes a coveted faculty job, which can become permanent if you are privileged enough to get tenure. Along the way, the number of peers in your group diminishes by a factor of ten at each stage, from hundreds of undergraduates to just one faculty job becoming available every few years in your field. Then the competition really begins, for you compete against fellow gladiators honed in battle just as you are. You compete for the scarcest resource in science: money. Surprisingly, not by brains alone does science progress; funding is its true lifeblood. Cosmology’s primary funding agency is the National Science Foundation. But the NSF proposal success rate is currently only about 20%, across all fields of physics and math: the lowest it has been in over a decade.

    As a onetime physics major myself, I stepped off that treadmill about ten years after I got on it. It didn't seem like a wise decision at the time, just a realistic one, but things basically worked themselves out.

    But this makes today's Proverb … whoa, kind of harsh, dude.


  • At Reason, David Harsanyi notes Trump's Awful Embrace of 'Fair Trade'.

    "Fair trade," once used predominately by progressives, is a neologism without meaning. It allows a person to oppose complex agreements for a litany of reasons. The word "fair" is elastic and ambiguous, which is why it's so popular with adolescents.

    The billions of people in developing nations who work tedious menial labor jobs probably don't find it "fair" that Americans use the savings we gain from their work to build our unprecedented wealth. Is it fair that some countries sit atop vast amounts of fossil fuels or prime farmlands while others sit on arid or barren land?

    Let's hope trade doesn't get "fair" for us any time soon.

    It's (grimly) amusing to see all the previous advocates of "fair" trade pirouetting to an anti-Trump-tariff position. Not too amusing to see a lot of Republicans embracing Trump's awfulness.


  • Just plain amusing is Steven Hayward's Power Line post, full of merry fun-poking at Food Justice??

    One of the central affectations of the modern left is the irrepressible practice of attaching a modifier to the noun “justice.” Apparently, seeking to achieve plain old ordinary justice is not enough, even though Plato should have taught us in The Republic that simple justice is difficult enough to attain without any special adjectives. But the left is all about “social justice” (is there such a thing as “anti-social justice”?), and, lately, “climate justice”—the phrase appears in the Paris Climate Accord. What does it mean: everyone is entitled to the same climate?

    Add to this “food justice.” Okay, maybe this could mean that everyone should be assured of basic nutrition, food being a daily necessity for all human beings. But that would be wrong, of course.

    Steven posts a picture of a slide present at a recent talk on "black veganism", which is just as mired in the bafflegab of modern identity politics as you might expect.

    If you didn't think "black veganism" was a thing, googling the term will bring you to surprising conclusion: it's a thing. A stupid thing, but still. For example, this page echoes some things seen at Power Line:

    Black veganism investigates the root and scope of colonial thought.[…]

    Black veganism forces us to consider the ways the idea of race extends beyond human bodies.[…]

    Black veganism scrutinizes how “animal characteristics” are negatively attributed to both nonhuman animals and non-whites.[…]

    Sure it does. But all this talk about food is making me hungry.


  • And the Google LFOD alert rang loudly for a local politico's announcement: Gov. Sununu files for re-election. But the LFOD deployment was reserved for NH GOP chair Jeannie Forrester's press release:

    For over a decade under Democratic Governors, our state lost sight of what Live Free or Die means by focusing on growing the burden of government not shrinking it, eliminating opportunity not increasing it, and putting the best interest of all Granite Staters last not first. Eighteen months ago Granite Staters decided the time had come to make a change and elected Governor Chris Sununu.

    True fact: Gov. Sununu won the Lydia’s House of Hope 2017 Lebanese Cook-Off:


  • And sad news for dads from the Babylon Bee for what you thought was gonna be your day tomorrow: Father’s Day Updated To ‘Toxic Masculinity Awareness Day’

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a special session called to order Friday, Congress voted unanimously to do a complete overhaul of Father’s Day, renaming the holiday “Toxic Masculinity Awareness Day” and redefining the day’s meaning to encourage citizens to heap shame and disgust on all fathers, current or potential.

    Well, shoot.