URLs du Jour


  • Oy.

    We are apparently going to need a new word for "invidious race-based stereotyping".

    Ed Driscoll has a good post at Instapundit commenting on the change. A comment I liked, credited to Noam Blum: ADL now stands for "The Anti-Definition League".

  • Because a President can only do so much to drive the economy into a ditch. George F. Will records: Biden proposes saddling an already struggling Federal Reserve with two political activists

    Today’s Federal Reserve illustrates this axiom: When a government entity cannot, or would rather not, adequately perform its primary function, or when it feels that its primary function is insufficiently grand, the agency will expand its mission, thereby distracting attention from its core inadequacy.

    Next Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold confirmation hearings for two presidential nominees to the Federal Reserve Board — Lisa Cook, to a seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, to be vice chair of the Board for bank supervision and regulation. Both would ratify the current Fed’s penchant for mission creep — actually, mission gallop. The Senate should tell both to express their abundant political passions through more suitable institutions.

    Click through for the many, many ways Cook and Raskin are ill-suited for controlling a major driver of the American economy.

  • The first thing we do, lets… Fire the Statisticians!

    No, that's not what Kevin D. Williamson is actually advocating:

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish caudillo, is surely a typical politician of our times — our very, very, very stupid times. Faced with high inflation caused in part by his illiterate crackpot regime’s loosey-goosey monetary policy, he ordered an even loosier-goosier policy, cutting interest rates even further on the theory that high interest rates are just a bankers’ plot against him — and by “bankers” you can go ahead and just say “Jews,” which is what the Erdogan regime habitually does.

    The unsurprising result is record-high inflation. And when his government’s chief statistician produced statistics attesting to the collapse of the Turkish lira, Erdogan — who has the heart of a tyrant and the brain of a not especially bright wombat — responded by firing the statistician.

    That’ll show ’em!

    OK, just one more excerpt:

    Among the greatest and saltiest of these anti-elitists is Senator Elizabeth Warren, the phony Cherokee princess who holds forth on the plight of the dispossessed from her Cambridge manor while negotiating tax cuts for rich metropolitan property owners such as herself. Do you know the expression, “That’s the least you could do!” That was Professor Warren’s job description at Harvard: She did the least she could do, teaching only one class and collecting a paycheck in excess of $400,000 for doing so. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is who is here to tell us that the problem with inflation isn’t daft Democratic policies but — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — greed, in the form of “price gouging” enabled by “concentrated corporate power.”

    It's not an NRPlus article, so you really have no excuse for not Reading The Whole Thing.

    [Headline reference explained, if necessary, here.]

  • Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, commies gotta commie. Randal O'Toole has (apparently) started up his own blog, The Antiplanner. This sample article is informative, but also kind of a hoot: Marxists for High-Speed Rail.

    American high-speed rail advocates must be thrilled that Marxist-communists, as represented by The International magazine, have endorsed high-speed trains in the United States, which they describe as “trains against capitalism.” To build high-speed rail, the article says, we must “return to the path blazed by the Soviet Union, and make use of its tools: central planning and public spending.” Because these tools worked so well there!

    The article praises the Soviet Union for building “one of the greatest systems of railways the world has ever seen.” This reminds me of a statement by University of Washington Russian Studies professor Daniel Chirot,” who once said that, by 1980, the Soviet Union had built the “finest nineteenth-century industrial economy the world has ever seen” (I’m quoting from memory but you get the idea).

    It's … um, impressive, I guess … to see unabashed nostalgia for the USSR. As you might guess, Randal rebuts the sentimentality for the old Evil Empire.

  • "Why is a laser beam like a goldfish?" Via GeekPress, ominous news from Time magazine: Artificial Intelligence Can Now Craft Original Jokes—And That's No Laughing Matter.

    Don’t you hate it,” says Jon the Robot, gesturing with tiny articulated arms at an expectant crowd, “when you’re trying to solve inverse kinematics equations to pick up a cup and then you get ‘Error 453, no solution found’?” The crowd laughs. “Don’t you hate that?”

    An experiment billed as a comedy act, Jon is the brainchild of Naomi Fitter, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University. The tiny android performs when a handler (who must also hold the mic) presses a button, then tells the same jokes in the same order, like a grizzled veteran comic at a down-market Vegas casino.

    But the robot’s act is more human than it might first appear. Jon is learning how to respond to its audience—it can now vary the timing of its delivery based on the length of the audience’s laughter, and append different responses to jokes based on the level of noise in the room. It can deliver one line if a joke gets a roar of laughter (“Please tell the booking agents how funny that joke was”) and another if there are crickets (“Sorry about that. I think I got caught in a loop. Please tell the booking agents that you like me … that you like me … that you like me”).

    Mike, insert a funny quip about how an AI could only improve Saturday Night Live here.

    [Heinlein fans will recognize the riddle in the headline, and realize why I thought it was appropriate. If necessary, some context and the punchline here.]

Last Modified 2022-02-02 7:28 AM EDT