Archive for September, 2009

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8.3 Magnitude Rumbler

September 29, 2009

Big one in Samoa.  Early reports from the NY Times and Huffington Post (with video from MSNBC).

Update: video and photos of the devastation.

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Moral Mindlessness

September 29, 2009

Newsflash: Liberal people tend to vote liberally, whereas conservative people vote conservatively.

Where to begin with this tautologous talk by Jonathan Haidt?

It’s fascinating, in its own way. It confirms everything we already knew. Tautologies are fun like that. His foundations of morality, in particular, are a laugh riot.  First, why the pairings?  They make no sense.

Consider:

  1. Harm/care: yeah, harm and care should be paired, because lord knows there’s no harm in caring; or that harm is done only through lack of caring.  Witness, this guy.
  2. Fairness/reciprocity: how’s that asymmetry working out for your fairness doctrine, bro?
  3. In-group/loyalty: WTF is “in-group”? He made this up.  And why not be loyal to difference?  People are loyal to kings and gods because kings and gods are special, not because they’re just like everyone else.
  4. Authority/respect: Huh?  Where to start? I thought we were supposed to respect authority.  Or alternatively, my authority over you permits me to disrespect you, just as a king or god might disrespect the serfs.
  5. Purity/sanctity: Yes, pure white, pure black, pure mulatto.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Mooed Down

September 29, 2009

Lovely: More Cows, More Milk, More Headaches.

Desperate to drive up prices by stemming the gusher of unwanted milk, a dairy industry group, the National Milk Producers Federation, has been paying farmers to send herds to slaughter. Since January the program has culled about 230,000 cows nationwide.

Yes, more headaches.

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Good Read

September 29, 2009

Debunking the myths on medicine in other parts of the world:

The Healing of America

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Worser and Worser

September 28, 2009

From the ugly-future files, I bring you Krugman’s latest missive.

Pretty much in tune with what most of us who are paying attention already know.  We’re in trouble.  The predictions are dire.  Expect more sandstorms.  Except that, and here’s where I disagree, it ain’t laziness or inconvenience that’s driving this train.  It’s the sheer wickedness of the problem.   Unlike health care, which should be a moral no-brainer, but which has been hijacked by ideologues, the problems that give rise to climate change are complicated to their core.  They start with assignment of responsibility.  How the hell can it be wrong for me to do what is plainly right for me (namely, buying a lot of great and flashy stuff so that my kids can live the best life possible)?  I’m working on a paper on this topic, among others, right now.  And I should be spending more time on that paper, and not this blog (right now).

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Touching the Void

September 28, 2009

Gawker brings us Safire’s finest moment: the invention of counterfactual speech writing.  A beautiful eulogy.  Inspiring to millions.

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Angst, maybe. Eco, not so much.

September 28, 2009

What exactly is so ecologically angst-inducing about discovering that some toy you’ve purchased for your child contains lead paint?  The angst stems from newfound knowledge that what you once liked and thought would be good for you, isn’t so good for you.  The same kind of angst might stem from learning that Twinkies are filled more with creamy evilness than tasty goodness, which is true.

http://happydays.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/the-age-of-eco-angst/