Friday, 8/28/15

  1. Give your dog a credit card
  2. Hot bods and bots
  3. Is scientific ignorance the problem?
  4. 4 political types
  5. Whom the Lord loves, he promotes
  6. Krustianity in 140 characters

1

A 1998 survey showed that “more American teenagers can name three of the Three Stooges than can name the three branches of government (59% to 41%), know the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air than know the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (94.7% to 2.2%), know which city has the zip code “90210” than the city in which the US Constitution was written…” But perhaps all is still well. Maybe teenagers are getting smarter. Maybe they will vote for their betters. Maybe they will be too stoned to go to the polls. Maybe crowds are really smart if they are devoid of American teens.

The universal franchise, whereby every adult can vote who wishes to, is a ticket to the asylum. It is, to borrow a phrase from PJ O’Rourke, “like giving your dog a credit card.”

(Stephen Masty, Should We Stop Dumb People from Voting?)

2

This busts me up:

Ashley Madison posed as a dating site which enabled married people to have affairs, but in practice it had 37 million paying male customers and almost no active female customers, according to analysis of the leaked database. “Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created”. The men sent messages and got automatically generated responses ….

Yup. The schmucks whose canoodling urges are now unmasked are also unmasked as not too ight-bray, mistaking bots for hot bods.

3

Perhaps it isn’t ignorance that keeps ordinary, non-scientific Americans from accepting what scientists tell them; perhaps it’s their knowledge of and experience with realities which they rightfully judge to be more important than the objects accessible to modern science.

Take the recent movie Gravity. This film provided the most stunning widely-viewed visual depiction ever seen of outer space, perhaps the most widely intriguing object of modern science. The stars of the movie, though, were not the actual stars, but, rather, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Nor, moreover, were Bullock and Clooney of interest because of any of their scientifically-accessible features, such as the physical composition of their bodies, the chemical reactions going on inside them, or their medical health.

Bullock and Clooney were of interest because of their relationship with each other, their relationships with those they had left behind on Earth, and their relationships with themselves. They cared about each other. They experienced happiness, despair, hope, and love. When Clooney’s character was lost, much more had been lost than his physical-chemical existence; he even reappeared to save Bullock’s life after this scientifically-analyzable aspect of his existence was presumed to be long gone.

There is a reason why these elements of the movie were the most compelling ones to most viewers, and it’s not that most viewers are “naïve” and deficient in scientific education. Things like happiness and love are simply much more important to human life than astronomy and astrophysics, as “mind-blowing” as these undeniably are. People care much more about being happy, finding love, fighting for justice, and securing peace than they do about the chemical composition of the atmosphere—and they should. The scientific method can certainly tell us quite a bit about the physical, chemical, or otherwise material epiphenomena surrounding the things that are most important to our lives as human beings, but it can’t even begin to analyze or understand these things in themselves.

(Adam Seagrave)

4

As the late great political scientist Aaron Wildavsky taught us years ago there are four fundamental political types: egalitarians, individualists, social conservatives, and—the ones we forget about—what he called “fatalists.”

We tend to forget the fatalists because they tend not to vote. They view the world as foreign, chaotic, ephemeral, dangerous, on the edge of falling into bedlam. He used the analogy that their world is like a marble rolling unsteadily on a glass surface, rolling and pitching who knows where. Government has some control but is run by an untouchable, all-powerful elite acting in its own interest. Such a world can only be tamed by something enormously powerful and masterful, and only during a crisis. Then a strong central government supported by angry, patriotic nationalists and led by a popular Napoleon on his white horse can arrest the anarchy. Trump’s autobiography is titled Think Big and Kick Ass.

(Donald Devine) I had not heard of this taxonomy before. I think my social conservatism may have given way to fatalism – except I don’t think anybody, including Napoleon on a white horse sporting a dead weasel on his head, can stop it in any acceptable way.

5

How many Trump wannabes do you know? I stay as far as possible from them.

UPDATE: The Anti-Trump Cometh from Timothy Egan at the New York Times:

“Show me someone without an ego,” says Trump, “and I’ll show you a loser.” At least we know how he’ll address him.

6

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.