URLs du Jour


  • Pun Salad is trying, and failing, to imagine the New York Times as a serious newspaper. A recent tweet:

    Yes, that's the NYT making a reference to their June 12, 2020 article, J.K. Rowling's Fans Imagine Harry Potter World Without Her. Why would they do that? Because of her unacceptably science-based views on transgenderism.

    If you read that, I suggest you also read Ms. Rowling's (June 10 2020, two days before the NYT article) essay describing why she's said the things she's said. And then decide who's saner, she or her ex-fans.

  • Crypto made me do it. Slashdot has a funny headline: 'Crypto Ruined My Life': the Mental Health Crisis Hitting Bitcoin Investors. It's based on a vice.com article. Excerpt:

    Countless people have watched thousands of pounds disappear before their eyes.... Many crypto-investors are ordinary people taking a risk with their life savings rather than elite traders who can swallow sudden losses. A recent CNBC survey of 750 crypto investors found that a third actually knew very little about what they were investing in. The question is: What happens to these people when they lose big...? It seems like this fast-growing investor community is generating its own fast-growing mental health crisis....


    Let's see: you sink a lot of your money into a risky investment, apparently either (a) without realizing that it is a risky investment; or (b) maybe not even understanding the concept of "risky investment".

    I'd speculate that crying "crypto ruined my life" is inaccurate; you ruined your life.

    And I'd further speculate that maybe that "mental health crisis" merely reveals a pre-existing condition.

  • Isn't it pretty to think so? Arnold Kling writes on The Convergence Assumption. First quoting James Miller:

    […] we indulge the myth that there is no such thing as a gifted child. As the New York Times reports, California’s school reforms are built around this conceit explicitly. Everyone of common sense knows that this conceit is untrue. But if you find yourself ideologically compelled to profess belief in it (as many progressives are), you will also be required to profess belief in the blank-slate notion that, since everyone has equal natural talent at math, then any group-based statistical variations (say, between Asians and whites at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, for instance) must be rooted in discrimination or privilege (and so should not be accepted).

    Arnold observes:

    What I call the convergence assumption is the assumption that everyone is fundamentally the same, so that it is more natural to expect people to develop the same skills and adopt the same values than for divergence to persist. Miller is accusing progressives of holding the convergence assumption, but are any of us innocent of it? It might be that people tend to converge on the convergence assumption.

    For example, when I recently wrote that progress comes from experimentation, evaluation, and evolution, I got pushback from a reader. He argued that the value systems of Hispanics and Africans are sufficiently different from Western values that the United States could lose its ability to maintain order while engaging in experiments. He claims that we have reached the point where we no longer seek to assimilate other cultures into our own, and we are in the process of watching our culture and institutions fade as a result.

    I used to be a fervent believer in America as a "melting pot". That belief could be in trouble.

    [Headline reference explained if necessary.]

  • Better ways are good. Bjørn Lomborg is preaching to my choir, but that's OK: We need a better way to fight climate change

    Fossil fuels still deliver the vast majority of energy. The European Union puts climate at the top of its political agenda, yet more than 80% of its primary energy needs are met by fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. Despite endless environmental talk, solar and wind contribute only about 3% of Europe’s total energy.

    Making a transition from fossil fuels to green energy is costly. Solar and wind can only deliver electricity, which accounts for less than a fifth of total energy consumption. Moreover, as Europe is learning, leaning on unreliable sources like wind leaves households vulnerable: Wind speeds were unusually low for most of 2021, causing much of Europe’s current energy pain.

    He recommends R&D. Specifically spending more money on R&D. But shoving money at a problem doesn't necessarily solve it.

    I'm still pulling for artificial photosynthesis for carbon capture.

  • Checking the news feed… Nope, no invasion as I type. But Kevin D. Williamson makes a good point, irrespective of What's Happening Right Now: There Is No ‘Ukraine Crisis’. Instead, it's a "Russia Crisis".

    The Biden administration is threatening Moscow — and Vladimir Putin personally — with purportedly unprecedented economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine.

    Why wait? We should impose the sanctions now.

    For one thing, Russia already has invaded Ukraine. Russian forces poured into the country and took over a part of it in 2014, sparking a still-active conflict that has killed thousands of people. There are Russian troops in Ukraine right now, contrary to Moscow’s denials. Russian cyberattacks already are under way. President Joe Biden says the Russians already are involved in “false flag” operations to secure for themselves a pretext for another invasion.

    The war has already started. Now, it is time for us to decide what, if anything, we are going to do about it.

    I'm very weak on anything having to do with foreign policy; it's a quagmire of unpredictability and unforeseen consequences. But KDW is pretty convincing, as always.