Saturday, September 27, 2008

Graphic evidence that silly season in academia may be almost over.

Check it out.

An excerpt:

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find young people today very refreshing. Let's look at 18 year-olds -- the impressionable college freshmen, who could be infected by their dopey professors. If they begin freshman year just 1 year after the theory's peak, the idea is still very popular, so they'll get infected. If we allow, say 5 years of cooling off and decay, professors won't talk about it so much, or will be use a less strident tone of voice, so that only the students who were destined to latch on to some stupid theory will get infected. Depending on the trend, this makes the safe cohort born in 1975 at the oldest (for Marxism), or 1989 at the youngest (for social constructionism). And obviously even among safe cohorts, some are safer than others -- people my age (27) may not go in for Marxism much, but have heard of it or taken it seriously at some point (even if to argue against it intellectually). But 18 year-olds today weren't even born when Marxism had already started to die.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In the lion's den...

Hindus attack Christians in Orissa state in India:

Gangs of Hindu extremists have been attacking Christians, looting and setting fire to their homes and places of worship and social care. This violence is now extending to other states, causing great concern to Salvation Army leadership.

The Salvation Army boys' home in Paburia housed 40 young boys who study in a nearby government school. The boys, from six to 15 years old, lived at the home because of poverty and other family reasons. After the Sunday meeting on 24 August, a group of 2,000-3,000 people entered the compound shouting slogans. Each person carried a weapon of some description.

As the mob destroyed the home, officer-in-charge Major Paul Kumar Sahani took his wife and family, gathered the boys together and ran to the forest. From a vantage point they saw the home and all their possessions destroyed by fire. All the houses owned by Christians in the area were torched and a number of people were killed.

More here and here. A stunned Indian Christian reacts here.

Mark your calendars...

The Archimedes Palimpsest is releasing a trove of digital images and other data this coming month. Link includes videos.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fuming at federal bailouts of the financial sector

The markets will settle down and maybe even rally once they know what to expect. Federal oversight *koff*bungling*koff* is nothing to make them stand up and cheer, but with that scenario at least they’ll know what to expect.

But still and all, I’m mightily upset that my sound investments are getting bounced around in the wake of this meltdown; and also that thrifty, debt-free little me is being handed this gift-wrapped stinker to pay off via taxes. It burns me up, that I’m (happily) driving a ten year old near-jalopy and living in a 50 year old brick ranch, all paid for, and now I’ve got to bail out people who couldn’t face life after 30 without a McMansion and new Volvo that they couldn’t afford to their names.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stephen Barr sneaks the anthropic "principle" into news of the Large Hadron Collider

Here we go again... Okay, so why are things in the universe just so, arranged so that living creatures such as ourselves can appear and thrive? If (insert a chemical process or physical property) were otherwise, then we probably wouldn't be here. In this piece, it's the predicted strength of the predicted Higgs field/boson.

I have usually found such arguments unpersuasive and unappealing. Think of the deep sea geothermal vents and the little eco-systems which surround them. Would anyone suggest that those vents arose to support those tubeworms, anenomes, and crabs? No, it's obviously the reverse. As much as I believe in the lordship of the Almighty, and as much as I believe that I am an organ with which the universe beholds itself, I believe that the same state of affairs obtains in the broader cosmos. We were prepared for our niche, not our niche for us.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A new pundit aggregator

New to me, at least. Into the blogroll wit' ye!

Now they know how we feel, at least a little

The Pals are losing their industry--maybe their only industry?--to cheaper factories in China.

"Before they started importing from China we had 15 machines running 20 hours a day. Now we only use four, and we only work eight hours," Hirbawi says above the roar of the looms inside a dark, mostly unused warehouse.

Remember, you baby-bombers: the devil finds work for idle hands.