Archive for April 2011
It’s in very bad shape indeed—a fact that’s obvious when banks foreclose on homes whose mortgages have already been paid. Here’s how things got so very bad—and how they can get worse. Hernando de Soto has a lot of experience in working out the roots of the financial difficulties of the third world, so he immediately recognizes when the same problems crop up in the developed nations. Well worth reading.
Very interesting article by Krista Conger on some recent research. It begins:
Type-2 diabetes is likely to have its roots in an autoimmune reaction deep within the body, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Toronto. The finding, coupled with a similar study by the same group in 2009, vaults the disorder into an entirely new, unexpected category that opens the door to novel potential therapies.
One possible therapy that proved effective in laboratory mice, . . .
Following Eddie’s suggestion, the soap with lid removed. Creed’s Green Irish Tweed is the fragrance favored by Cary Grant, FWIW, and the soap, though pricey, is extremely good. A very fine lather with the Simpson Emperor 3 Super, and then three smooth passes with the Feather stainless razor, still using a Feather blad of many shaves. Extremely smooth face, to which I applied a hearty splash of Acqua di Parma.
From the Creed site:
CREED Green Irish Tweed
As classic as a perfectly tailored tuxedo on Oscar night, CREED Green Irish Tweed is loyally worn by today’s Hollywood leading men who ask for it by name. A film colony legend like the stars who wear it, Green Irish Tweed has an invigorating freshness and pure masculinity that have made it not only one of the most artistic fragrances from Olivier CREED, but also one of the most successful.
Classification: Green / Woods / Classic
Characteristics: As refreshing as a walk through the Irish countryside, Green Irish Tweed is one of the signature scents of the House of CREED. Rich, fresh, green, spicy, sporty, original and unforgettable.
- Top Notes: French verbena, Florentine iris
- Middle Notes: Violet leaves
- Base Notes: Sandalwood from Mysore, ambergris
Interesting interview in which Justin Elliott of Salon talks with the Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay, who spent two years researching trutherism. From the interview:
Did you ever have success disabusing anyone of their conspiracy theory?
Not once. The reason is that when you debate a conspiracy theorist it’s like challenging an NFL football team to a game. Because conspiracy theorists have spent their lives memorizing every single detail necessary to win an argument. Even if you have the facts on your side in an abstract way, you’re not going to win an argument if you have to go look at Google or go to the library to rebut every single point. They have hundreds of little confusing bits of information that they can throw at you. Even if you bat away 99 of them, the 100th, if you don’t repute it immediately, they’ll say, “Ah ha! There’s an anomaly that you can’t explain.” The way they define the terms of the debate is that they just have to get you on one point, and then they have destroyed the validity of the conventional narrative.
The second thing is, it’s a cult. And you can’t disabuse a cult member of their beliefs, because it’s central to their identity. Hardcore conspiracy theorists are attached to their conspiracy theories with the same force of conviction that religious adherents are attached to their religions. You can’t rationally convince someone not to be a Christian or a Scientologist. That’s their identity, that’s who they are.
I blogged a few days ago on this general topic.
UPDATE: Here’s an earlier post (at Grist) that explains a major difference in how the two mindsets view explanations:
Those who refuse to accept things like global warming view the argument in favor of it as a house of cards: if you can find one incorrect assertion (pull out one card), the whole thing collapses. Scientists and others who accept the truth of global warming view the argument in favor of it as a jigsaw puzzle: even though some pieces are still missing, and some pieces might not quite fit, the overall picture is quite clear.
Of course, the conspiracy theorists don’t view their own arguments in this way. No matter how many errors you point out in their assertions, they never feel that the point(s) you refute are all that central. But if they find even one incorrect assertion in arguments against them, that invalidates everything: the entire body of knowledge can be dismissed because one scientist had an error in one paper. It’s how they think.
Fascinating article by Luke Mogelson in the NY Times Sunday Magazine on miscreants in the military.
I personally write chancery cursive, aka italic, and of course I believe that it’s highly readable—people generally view their handwriting as readable. But it appears that schools are throwing in the towel, and reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic now seems to have devolved to ‘rithmetic alone.
OTOH, it’s easier to frighten, manipulate, and trick an uneducated citizenry (take a look around), so perhaps limiting education to technical skills—and get rid of those damned liberal arts!—is make make an authoritarian government’s job easier. I mean the kind of government that will lock you in prison for years just to keep you out of the way, knowing that you have done nothing wrong.
I should point out that some schools are dropping the teaching of cursive because they want to prepare students for the 21st century and handwriting is not (in their view) a 21st century skill. But taking tests? Oh, that’s very important, so more and more of the school year is taken up with teaching to the test and then testing.
Look around and see what you think of the success of that approach. (Of course, the test companies think it’s great, and they say also that education is quite successful: look! the test scores are going up!
Thanks to TYD for the pointer.