Friday, September 2, 2016
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Fred Reed takes a reasoned look at the coming future of genetic manipulation, evolution on the quick.
"A crucial point: A great deal of behavior is unmistakably genetic. Babies nurse, toddlers of two raise hell, teenagers rebel and copulate, men of thirty get into bar fights and women don’t."
He asks, but doesn't answer, the question:
"Do we redesign ourselves, or don’t we?"
I'm thinking that genie is already out of the bottle. You?
During a recent conversation, my daughter crowned an argument by reciting a popular saying.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
“Perhaps,” I replied.
“But isn’t it also insane to do the same thing over and over and expect the same results?”
-Tom Asacker, as excerpted from here
............to me, if the guardrail manufacturers weren't so good at demanding we erect more and more guardrails:
"Instead, the humans among us can benefit from realizing that in fact, we're deeply incompetent at making certain kinds of decisions, that well-funded marketers are working overtime to confuse and deceive us, and that cultural guardrails not only help us avoid pitfalls, but give us the reinforcements we need to get back to productive work and healthy lives."
-Seth Godin, as excerpted from this surprising post
"Anyway, I was thinking about this in the case of Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback currently employed by the 49ers but expected by many to be released (ie fired) in the coming weeks. Last weekend he stirred up controversy when he refused to stand for the national anthem to protest treatment of blacks in America. Personally, I barely noticed, as I am not a big fan of enforced loyalty oaths and patriotic rituals, finding these to historically be markers of unfree societies. For these sorts of rituals to have any meaning at all, they have to be voluntary, which means that Kaepernick has every right to not participate, and everyone else has every right to criticize him for doing so, and I have the right to ignore it all as tedious virtue-signalling."
-Warren Meyer, as excerpted from here
While we are touching the subject, another interesting column on standing for the National Anthem may be found here
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
..............................................of Fred Rogers:
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
“Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
“When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem." Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
“It's very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It's easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.”
................and sees the shadow of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger hiding in the corner. Spengler often loses me, but still, I love the way he writes:
"Horses rear in terror at the mention of her name. She gazes at her dead lover's grandson with a perverse lust that would grow fungus on a billiard ball."
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
But I don’t generally trust people who place all of the credit or all of the blame on a single variable when we’re working with complex adaptive systems. It’s never that easy.
-Ben Carlson, as excerpted from here
Monday, August 29, 2016
..................................the Anthropocene Epoch was upon us.
Faithful readers will know that while pessimism sells books and makes for punchy headlines, optimism has always been the correct bet.
Kris Kristofferson....................................Loving Her Was Easier
I have seen the mornin' burnin' golden on the mountain in the skies
Achin' with the feelin' of the freedom of an eagle when she flies
Turnin' on the world the way she smiled upon my soul as I lay dyin'
Healin' as the colors in the sunshine and the shadows of her eyes
Wakin' in the mornin' to the feelin' of her fingers on my skin
Wipin' out the traces of the people and the places that I've been
Teachin' me that yesterday was somethin' that I'd never thought of trying'
Talkin' of tomorrow and the money love and time we had to spend
Lovin' her was easier than anything I'll ever do again
Comin' close together with a feelin' that I've never known before in my time
She ain't ashamed to be a woman or afraid to be a friend
I don't know the answer to the easy way she opened every door in my mind
But dreamin' was as easy as believin' it was never gonna end
And lovin' her was easier than anything I'll ever do again
Sunday, August 28, 2016
That's is correct. $1.60 to fill the car up. Not $1.60 per gallon, $1.60 for 14.707 gallons. Perhaps an explanation is due: a month or so I got something in the mail from a credit card company. I've had their card for ages, but rarely use it. Their advertisement suggested riches awaited me if I would but use their card. (You should know, faithful reader, that we pay our credit card balances off in full promptly when the bills arrive. No credit card interest rates at this house, but please don't tell them that.) So, trusting to the fates, for the past month their card has been the only one I've used. If they keep this up, it will likely be the only one I ever use. Stay tuned.
Colliding galaxies..........................and you thought global warming was a problem.................
Explanation: Will either of these galaxies survive? In what might be dubbed as a semi-final round in a galactic elimination tournament, the two spirals of NGC 7318 are colliding. The featured picture was created from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. When galaxies crash into each other, many things may happen including gravitational distortion, gas condensing to produce new episodes of star formation, and ultimately the two galaxies combining into one. Since these two galaxies are part of Stephan's Quintet, a final round of battling galaxies will likely occur over the next few billion years with the eventual result of many scattered stars and one large galaxy. Quite possibly, the remaining galaxy will not be easily identified with any of its initial galactic components. Stephan's Quintet was the first identified galaxy group, lies about 300 million light years away, and is visible through a moderately-sized telescope toward the constellation of the Winged Horse (Pegasus).
The challenge is to get people to admit what they do not know. A non-economist who is quite ignorant is only dangerous if he or she tries to engineer the economy. Most economists, believing that they can engineer the economy, are dangerous.
-as excerpted from this Arnold Kling post
Yes: the distinction between good and bad angels. For the former tell the truth, even when we don’t want to hear it, and they intend our happiness. But the latter tell us lies, and do not intend our happiness. That is why it is so important, why it is even in one’s personal interest, to distinguish the former from the latter.
-David Warren, from this post "On discernment"
That God of the clergymen, He is for me as dead as a doornail. But am I an atheist for all that? The clergymen consider me as such - be it so; but I love, and how could I feel love if I did not live, and if others did not live, and then, if we live, there is something mysterious in that. Now call that God, or human nature or whatever you like, but there is something which I cannot define systematically, though it is very much alive and very real, and see, that is God, or as good as God. To believe in God for me is to feel that there is a God, not a dead one, or a stuffed one, but a living one, who with irresistible force urges us toward aimer encore; that is my opinion.
-Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to brother Theo van Gogh, December 1881
Ed note: aimer encore = love again
We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped
the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.
The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours
is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know
more about war than we know about peace, more about killing
than we know about living. If we continue to develop our
technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may
prove to be our executioner.
-General Omar Bradley, 11/11/48