Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon

Academica:

[A1] Mythical beasts!

[A2] Let’s be blunt.

[A3] It seems evident to me that the qualitative heft of a sentences, written or spoken, is best contemplated in stylistic terms as opposed to such mere pedestrian substance.

[A4] Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-How-Do-I-Say-4?

[A5] Stephen Akey discussed the imperiled English major as it valiantly makes its stand against market forces.

Labor:

siesta photo

Image by jordanfischer Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon

[L1] Marian Tupy looks at child labor in North Korea.

[L2] It’s been argued that the cheapest solution to homelessness has been to just five them houses. Maybe jobs, too. {Ed note: Originally had wrong link. Can’t find the intended one, but new link is about the same goings-on in New Mexico.}

[L3] Spain may have to skip the siesta.

[L4] A peek into Amazon’s interview process.

[L5] I may have already done this one, but if so it’s worth re-doing: Richard Scarry’s Busy Town, rebooted for the 21st Century.

Science:

[S1] This will end badly.

[S2] David Schmitt writes about how to evaluate sex differences with statistics.

[S3] Evidence is good. Too much evidence, though, maybe not.

[S4] NASA is concerned that we’re not prepared for a surprise comet or astroid. But if we were prepared, would it really be a surprise? (Kidding. This falls into the category of Things Too Bug to Consider.)

[S5] Timothy Caulfield hates science. Well, actually, he hates some of the hyping which he finds counterproductive.

Children:

family photo

Image by Kamaljith Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon

[C1] I, too, lament the end of the custom of children referring to adults by Mr and Mrs, but that ship has sailed. {A cackling response}

[C2] Ashley McGuire looks at whether stroller bans are anti-kid.

[C3] If parental time doesn’t matter when it comes to outcomes, is it a good use of political energy to push for parental leave? Maybe. Or maybe parental time does matter

[C4] Vicki Larson takes exception to our objection to the nuclear family.

Brains:

colors photo

Image by julie parsons Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon

[B1] Popular people have different brains.

[B2] The most memorable years are from 15 to 25. This seems… remarkably on target.

[B3] How advertisers creep into our brain.

[B4] Maybe Freud was right about dreams all along, and sex rules all in dreamland.

[B5] The mathematics and psychology of the lottery.

[B6] Mental Floss looks at the colors of things, and why they are that way, while Alexa Tsoulis-Reay looks at the profoundly color-blind.


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113 thoughts on “Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon

  1. A5: I am still not seeing it but I admit that going to an elite undergrad and knowing others that went to elite undergrads might color my prospective. There are people who become food servers or coffee slingers because they want the time to write. This is a conscious decision (albeit one that many parents might not want.) I guy I went to drama school with ended up working in advertising. A friend from undergrad has her own business writing marketing stuff for businesses and she is not what I would call a corporate person. She just bought a house. Another English major I knew in undergrad took enough science courses to get into medical school.

    I know people who librarians. Frankly, none of them are cut out for the business world. I am cut out for law but probably would not do so great at business.

    C1: When I was in undergrad, there were professors that wanted to be called Professor Last Name and there were professors that said “Mr. or Ms. Last Name was my father/mother. Call me by my first name.” A professor asking to be called Dr. Last Name was seen as wrong because Dr. was reserved for the medical profession. In Asia, it is common to call older non-relatives “Uncle or Auntie and then their first name.” I think it is strange to be called Uncle Dale by people who are not my niece or nephew.

    B2: Yep this makes perfect sense give or take a year or two. My most intense memories seem to be from the ages of 22-26 personally.

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    • My professor for honors calculus was from Louisiana. In the classroom he was Prof. Lewis and we were all Mr. or Ms. whatever. He was also my academic advisor and in his office it was Jim and Mike. When he lectured, he would stop in the middle of a proof and call on one of the students to provide the next step. For years after, I had nightmares about “Mr. Cain, what comes next?”

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    • “A professor asking to be called Dr. Last Name was seen as wrong because Dr. was reserved for the medical profession.”

      Obviously not members of my family, most of which taught at Cal… They tended to look down at physicians as interlopers in the sciences, technicians if you will.

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    • What struck me about the English major piece is the implicit acceptance that your undergrad major is training for your career. I find this belief both regrettable and pragmatically untrue. There are vast swaths of careers that demand, rightly or wrongly, a bachelor’s degree, but don’t care much what major. My advice to the kids is if you know what you want to do, and it is a career that demands a specific degree, then sure, do that major. But if you don’t know what you want to do (which is true of most 18-year-olds) then major is something that interests you. Of course most undergrads aren’t really interested in much beyond drinking and screwing, and there inexplicably is no major in that. Those guys go for the bullshit least-work-required degrees and come out of the process in debt and having learned nothing, but with their ticket punched. They’re getting what they want out of the process, so that is their business. But I am saddened by the kids who want a real education, but are scared away from it.

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      • I really didn’t see the English major piece as implicitly accepting a college degree was training for a career. If anything, I thought it was arguing the opposite.

        Of course most undergrads aren’t really interested in much beyond drinking and screwing, and there inexplicably is no major in that.

        I’d change “most” to “some.” I don’t buy that it’s true of “most,” although all my evidence is anecdotal.

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      • I largely agree. However, it seems that more and more people are switching to “pragmatic” majors especially in the wake of rising student debt and income inequality. Someone made this comparison a few years ago on LGM, in the 1960s if Cousin Bill told you he was majoring in business he was seen as kind of dull. In 2016, if Cousin Bill says he is majoring in Film and History, he is seen as indulgent and spoiled.

        You can see this even in the highest levels of university education too. I think you have to look at weirdo colleges like the SLACs to see people sincerely pursuing their interests and the techie schools like MIT and CalTech. No one goes to Oberlin, Smith, Reed, or CalTech just cause.

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        • You can see this even in the highest levels of university education too. I think you have to look at weirdo colleges like the SLACs to see people sincerely pursuing their interests….

          As opposed to humanities majors at state schools who are obviously totes insincere about their interest in the subject.

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            • Yesterday I got my annual 20-page glossy report from the Math Dept at my undergraduate school. They reached a new high for the number of declared math majors this year. 1,700 high school seniors from across Nebraska took part in the Math Day program the department runs each year. I was one of the three undergraduates who tried to start Math Day many years ago, only to fail because we couldn’t convince anyone at the University to provide the modest funding we needed.

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              • Honestly tho, a solid background and math or physics (or similar) is going to set you up pretty well in the current job market. You won’t likely end up doing pure math or physics, cuz society is only willing to pay for so many people to do those things —

                — and maybe that might be worth fixing, for anyone who has the chops to get an advanced degree in these topics. I dunno. I’ve seen this debate become stupid and tedious. On the other hand, of all the ways for a society to waste money, taking long shots on analytical geniuses seems a pretty good one —

                But I digress.

                Anyway, sure, we only need so many people struggling to churn out new theorems at the boundaries of topology. On the other hand, there is this weird analog between topology and pure logic — witness the current interest in homotopy type theory or (in general) anything having to do with toposes (topoi? topi-topi-topis? Plurals are fun!).

                There was a time when Alan Turing’s research was esoteric nonsense, never mind Alonzo Church. Now this stuff is foundational in advanced Comp Sci, and sure, I won’t write “yes hire” on your report just cuz you know lambda calculus, but if you want to excel in this space, it’s a thing worth knowing. Certainly there is a strong overlap between “math guru” and “person who does well at {my employer}.”

                That said, I personally split my time between pure and applied math. For each moment I spend figuring out wedge products and Clifford Algebras, I spend a few thinking about network flow algorithms or non-smooth optimization.

                But then, my mind jumps back and forth across the spaces all the time, pretty effortlessly.

                Computer science is math. Math is computer science. It is all one thing, one set of deep patterns behind it all.

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    • I know people who librarians. Frankly, none of them are cut out for the business world. I am cut out for law but probably would not do so great at business.

      I know we’re just talking anecdotes here, but I suppose it depends on what one means by “business.” Speaking only for myself, the part about working at a library I like best is the way in which it’s more or less a 9 to 5 job (at my library and for my position at least…..other types of libraries or other positions might be very different) and more “corporate” than the typical job one finds in academia. Long story short: I think I would do well as a mid-level to lower-level cog in a large corporation and so in that sense good at “business.” (By “well” I mean able to survive a long career without getting too depressed about it but with maintaining a sense of perspective that the job is not the only thing there is in life.) I’d do much worse as a manager or as the owner of my own business, however.

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    • In Asia, it is common to call older non-relatives “Uncle or Auntie and then their first name.” I think it is strange to be called Uncle Dale by people who are not my niece or nephew.

      I don’t think this is particularly rare in the US, either. When speaking to me, my parents often referred to a few of their closest friends as my “Uncle Jim” or what-have-you, and I’m fairly certain I’ve seen other examples of this.

      Apparently this is called fictive kinship.

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  2. C1: I have worked in schools as Mr. [first name], Mr. [last name], and [first name]. I prefer the last one. And isn’t the ultimate form of respect calling someone that which they prefer to be called?

    As a child, I defaulted to Mr./Mrs./Ms. unless/until instructed otherwise. One friend’s dad — who was a total burnt out hippy — once responded, “Mr. Finklestein????” and corrected me to his first name. So be it. I will teach my boys a similar approach.

    But the idea that any particular convention is inherently more respectful is silly. My students respect me because of how I carry myself and the relationships I form with them, not because of how they address me.

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    • It depends on what you mean by respectful. Respect used to be a means and method of enforcing social hierarchy. There was an elaborate protocol about who called who what in order to reinforce people’s place in the social hierarchy based on age, gender, race, and class. It was a much less formal time. Calling somebody what they want to be called isn’t respectful under that definition because it doesn’t reinforce hierarchy.

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  3. C2: “People arch their eyebrows when they see me coming down a narrow aisle of the local organic store with the Bob.”

    Sigh. Because the Bob is a massive jogging stroller! I own one. I use it for long walks, often in the city. But I don’t take it to the museum or if I’ll be riding the subway. Madness. I have an umbrella stroller for tight spaces. Is two strollers excess? A form of privilege? Maybe. But if you can afford only one, isn’t the super convenient, much cheaper, but slightly more labor intensive umbrella the way to go?

    I’ve never seen a “No Strollers” sign. But I have found places where I identified a stroller as a major inconvenience. Usually I’ll tuck it away outside the door. Whose going to steal a stroller? Remove any valuables and buy a bike lock if theft worries you.

    I’m on record lamenting anti-child policies in environments where we should welcome children. But not EVERY environment is primarily intended for children and — like it or not — parenthood requires sacrifice. And what this person describes is less anti-child and more her own sense of entitlement being resisted.

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  4. You cackling response? It led to what I would call straight venom, because of course everything bad in life is a libs fault right?

    That pretty much the whole tone. Oh, and that the libs she knows are too dumb to see that it is their own fault for changing things, those idiots.

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  5. [C5] I, like , have taught my children to default to Mr. and Mrs, but to revert to the addressed person’s preferred name if prompted. Not many of my friends will offer the first, so I have to conclude that my circle was the first alt-right. Kidding aside, this is how English does formal address, much like the French vous/tu. Familiarity allows the latter, but the former is where you start.

    Edit: the linked article, among its rants, rails against children calling their parents by their first names. When my daughter was about 3 she started calling me by mine. My brother was aghast, but I knew it was something she would quickly dispense with once the forbidden fruit was demonstrated to be not so forbidden.

    Editorial notes: L2 and S4 contain typos: “five” and “Bug”, respectively.

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  6. Second link in B6 goes to something about radiation at the fear thereof. Which is too bad as I am guessing that the article was about achromatopsia. Basically the lenses of the eyes cannot transmit the colors via light to the brain, cannot remember if it is the rods or cones that do this. You end up seeing in black and white, which is considered legally blind.

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    • It seems simple enough to me Jay.

      An ISIS attack would mean that the perps have received direct support from ISIS itself; for instance ISIS provided money, manpower or expertise to prosecute the attack.

      An non-ISIS attack would be the definition of attacks that occur in the absence of the aforementioned ISIS involvement.

      You could perhaps qualify a non-ISIS attack as being ISIS inspired if ISIS doesn’t provide direct support but the perp gives credit to ISIS through pledges or other supportive statements.

      ISIS can and will claim credit for all attacks that they become aware of if they think they can even somewhat plausibly do so. Thus statements from ISIS aren’t a solid indicator though if ISIS, in claiming credit, references details on the attack that were not generally known that might suggest that the attack is more the former than the latter kind.

      ISIS attacks have significantly different policy implications than Non-ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks. There’s a lot more “what went wrong” questions to be asked in the former than the latter kind.

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      • I think the above is a good decision tree; but we should at least acknowledge that we’re also seeing (possibly) an extreme evolution of the al Qaeda decentralized model. What I’d keep an eye on is whether there is eventual remuneration to the families (or designees) of the successful perpetrators.

        A pay-go for successful franchise ops? If that’s not happening now, I expect it in the offing… it’s already happened in the past through more “traditional” structures. The more things change…

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        • It’s an interesting idea but I suspect that if such a thing was tried it’d be a financial sucking wound and a PR disaster to whatever affiliate tried to pay out to incent the attacks. Too hard to validate, no centralized authority* to vet and an entire seething internet of poor people eager to flood the channels with requests for compensation.

          *And if you set up some central authority to vet it then the western intelligence agencies air-mail over a cake** with a bomb in it as an office opening present.
          **They might even leave out the cake.

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            • Eschatological rewards is the current model, you know that. Marchmaine was musing on what would happen if someone tried to tag on filthy material lucre(tm) on in addition to the existing eschatological rewards system.

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          • And yet when anonymous folks would commit terrorist acts in the name of such groups as the Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front and then folks issued communiques in their name claiming responsibility most folks would take them at their word that these groups were responsible without requiring ID cards of decoder rings. How come the proof for ISIS is higher than these groups?

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            • Probably because it doesn’t matter. No one’s interested in bombing Portland when an ALF fruit loop vandalizes a medical research lab nor in invading Texas when a religious nut bag shoots up an abortion clinic. Nor, for that matter, does the ALF or some Christian pro-life organization get much benefit from claiming responsibility when such a thing does happen; quite the contrary in the latter case.

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              • Probably because it doesn’t matter.

                Doesn’t matter to whom? If they destroyed your livelihood or ruined your business I think you’d care. Your statement seems to regard such terrorism with a surprising nonchalance.

                As for the high bar required for ISIS involvement it seems to me it is a convenient loophole so that liberals can downplay ISIS and do nothing.

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                • It matters plenty to people and especially to the people involved. It doesn’t matter on a governmental policy level. Vandalizing medical labs, shooting up abortion clinics etc are already illegal and the legal and temporal response structures to react to such domestic attacks are in place and work about as well as they can be expected to.

                  Also, all the examples you give are domestic terrorism. There’s no bar to clear because neither Christian fundies nor left wing lunatics plot such violence from places abroad. ISIS attacks can potentially be either domestic terror attacks or attacks originating from outside the country.

                  In the former case there isn’t really much of a policy response short of turning off the internet or instituting some kind of dystopian surveillance state. In the latter case there are potentially policy responses that you can institute to make such attacks less likely to happen ranging from firing some ministers to changing immigration standards to blowing up some buildings/people elsewhere to the conservative favorite of wetting yourself and sending thousands of other peoples kids off to die chasing some camel humping peasants around the hills in the near east.

                  Since the active responses (and especially the conservative favorite) are expensive in blood and treasure it’s generally a good idea to be sure it’d actually potentially be helpful before indulging in it.

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                  • It doesn’t matter on a governmental policy level.

                    Don’t libs tell us that ISIS doesn’t really matter because it isn’t an existential threat to this country? If so, then how are they any different than ELF or ALF. Interesting as the international/domestic split is, it doesn’t address the question of why we believe one groups’ statements and not another. To be consistent we should take both groups at their word.

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                    • We can take ISIS at their word all we like but people are using “Was this an ISIS attack?” as shorthand for whether the attack was domestic vs. international.

                      And yes, even ISIS sponsored international attacks at their very worst are entirely incapable of presenting an existential threat to us unless we listen to conservatives and destroy ourselves over it (and on top of that everyone would have soaked pants).

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                          • No, they aren’t the only two options by any means. I’ve never said they are either.

                            Though that was essentially the argument put forth by the Obama admin about the Iran deal. Either we make the deal or it will mean war. Funny how I don’t remember folks calling them out on such a BS argument then.

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                            • We didn’t call him out on it, because he never said that.

                              But aside from the dodge, what IS the official conservative line on how to handle terrorism?

                              I know it involves copious use of the word “tough”, and sprinkles of “Churchilian Resolve” and, if it is Victor Davis Hanson doing the talking, references to sweaty oiled Spartan warriors, but can you summarize it for us?

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                            • No, they aren’t the only two options by any means. I’ve never said they are either.

                              I’m not putting words in your mouth. I’m accusing you of putting words in other people’s mouths.

                              Though that was essentially the argument put forth by the Obama admin about the Iran deal. Either we make the deal or it will mean war. Funny how I don’t remember folks calling them out on such a BS argument then.
                              . . .
                              Second, I said that was essentially their argument.

                              You argue like you’re playing to an invisible crowd that’s really impressed when you take the weakest possible interpretation of somebody’s position, spin it a bit, then find something hypocritical looking about something related. I assure you there are no invisible judges giving you points when you do that. It’s just us here. If you’re confused about what somebody’s position is, you could just ask for clarification.

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                                • Well, as you know, in the specific case of Iran seeking a nuclear weapon and advancing rapidly towards acquiring one the options Obama faced at the time were to (a) work out an agreement with Iran, (b) accept that Iran would develop a bomb or (c) resort to a physical attack to prevent Iran from developing the bomb which would have been an act of war. Since conservatives and liberals alike generally agreed that option b was unconscionable that left options A and C. Basically exactly as Obama said in the article. Prior to the agreement Iran was months away from a bomb… now, a year and a half later Iran has not only no bomb but is also further from obtaining a nuclear bomb than it has been in years. Oddly conservatives still think the Iran deal was terrible.

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                                • So we’ve gone from this:

                                  So we accept that it is an ISIS attack and do nothing?

                                  To what Ben Rhodes said about Iran. I could go down the list of things that are wrong with this (e.g. sometimes there are only two choices and sometimes there aren’t, or Iran and ISIS aren’t really the same thing just because they’re both in the Middle East), but why? I could type for hours and I’d get a one-sentence reply, maybe two if you were ambitious enough to throw out another barely analogous issue to jump between.

                                  If you want to unpack why the two issues are really the same and there’s no intellectually consistent way to treat them differently, that would be interesting. But I’m not holding my breath. I think you’re just conflating them to muddy the water and score points…somewhere.

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                                  • Yes, yes, we all know you are just too smart to engage me so you declare your self the victor so you can showoff for others here. Bravo, well played.

                                    I guess them admitting that they framed the argument as the deal or war isn’t good enough for you. Sorry.

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                                    • What is there to engage, really? You spin your opponent’s position as “Let’s do nothing about ISIS.” When people object, you bring in Obama’s position on Iran as some sort of act of hypocrisy, which is your standard MO. You won’t make an argument about why they’re the same. You just throw it out there rather than addressing the fact that you started out arguing against a straw man.

                                      Here’s my issue: You say the person you don’t like says X and then you destroy X because X is pretty stupid. I would bet good money that if somebody said, “Summarize that guy’s position well enough that he would agree with you and have nothing to add or correct and I’ll give you $500,” you’d almost certainly say something other than X. If you can’t be bothered to accurately summarize what you’re arguing against, how can anybody be bothered to engage?

                                      So here’s the question: Is “ISIS doesn’t really matter” really the position you think you’re arguing against? If that $500 was on the table, is that the summary you’d give?

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          • In the days of distributed finance and block-chain crypto currencies? I don’t want to game it out too far, but honestly the next step in the franchise model is to explain how to set-up your earthly rewards (in addition to your eschatological ends).

            Sure, we have a pretty good stranglehold on international finance; but there are some number of defectors who already exist and/or who might be willing to turn a blind eye.

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            • Yep, I’m not saying it’s impossible and I’d certainly not say that delivering the money would be impossible but neither block chain crypto currencies nor distributed finance will help Al’Queda 2025 if every time there’s an attack four thousands Mohammed Abdulla Jaffars show up on the internet claiming that was their nephew that smote the infidel and would you kindly blockchain the dukats to my paypal account. Followed by those same four thousand Mohammed Abdulla Jaffars weeping about how the nefarious Al’Queda 2025 refused to shell out the dukats for my dear nephew what’his’name’s valiant sacrifice.

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              • Well of course that; what I’ll be looking for in the future waves of “how to declare allegiance to ISIS and collect your stuff” are the ways to put your half of the verification code in the message.

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                • For sure, but we’re getting really close to mercenary work here and it seems to me that if mercenary attacks were financially feasible then ISIS would already have employed them. So something seems to be the impeding mercenary terror attack circuit.

                  My personal guess would be that terror attacks have such a high mortality/capture rate for the perps that ISIS simply can’t offer enough material lucre to make it happen. Terror suicide attacks themselves seem to require a considerable level of personal derangement to get off the ground and I have a suspicion that material compensation considerations just don’t mesh well with that kind of lunacy.

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      • Behind the issue of whether it is a “terror” attack or merely a deranged person, is the dangling unspoken question of “how do we respond?”

        The GWB approach was to mobilize for full scale war. The Obama response was a more nuanced flexible response of targeted assassinations and strikes. As uncomfortable as I am with the fact that this is done almost solely by the executive, I think its the right approach.

        Responding with warmaking hasn’t seemed to work, and the chaos and instability of screaming “WAR!” only gives the groups the result they wanted all along.

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            • Not entirely… more like the Drone program doesn’t seem to change the interest calculus of terror in ways that it once did (if it did). The fact that it might also be a new source of inspiration would be a following problem.

              An obvious counter would be that its working wonders, but we just don’t have the actual metrics. That might be true, but I’d put that up there with the whole problem of secret wars.

              Plus, abandoning the economics analogy, if decapitating the decentralized structure of al qaeda and affilliates is only making it more decentralized (a la my comment above) what does it matter if the plans are ex post facto attributed to the people you are trying to decapitate?

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              • Isn’t this another version of “wanna know why Trump won?”

                I mean, in the 1930s, the European people were faced with a series of crises, and responded by empowering really ugly and evil people.

                But as I read it, historians didn’t sit around asking, “wow, those conventional European politicians failed to come up with a more popular alternative than ‘lets kill the Jews’!”

                You seem to be arguing that “we” should come up with a sly proposal that will coopt the messages of hate and intolerance, and swing the mob over to “our” side, without them even knowing it.

                Which has been shown to be worse than fighting a losing battle.

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                • You seem to be arguing that “we” should come up with a sly proposal that will coopt the messages of hate and intolerance, and swing the mob over to “our” side, without them even knowing it.

                  At this point, I’d settle for something like “huh, as it turns out, there is a fire burning and pointing out that the people who are noticing are Nazis doesn’t seem to be working… maybe we should do something else.”

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  7. L3 – Is just bad journalism; I can only assume that all the “middle-bits” that explain the story got cut, but I suspect that they ran the story they want to tell.

    L5 – I was just reading Busytown to my 2-year old last night (oh my goodness are there toooo many pages in those books) and I was just reflecting on how a good 50% of the work described is gone, or altered beyond recognition. I wondered if it could be updated, and if we’d want it if it was. The link was great, answered both questions: yes, and no.

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  8. A1 – The writeup about the barnacle goose sounds wrong.

    “They were considered to be so strange during the Middle Ages that Pope Innocent III banned Catholics from eating of these geese during Lent.”

    Catholics weren’t permitted to eat meat during Lent. I’d be willing to bet that the Lenten issue wasn’t the strangeness of the barnacle goose, but whether a bird grown from a tree counted as a meat.

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