Archive for February, 2009

Random Links IV

Posted in Links on 20090228 by Avenging Sword

Foreclosure Benefits, Reduxhttp://angrybear.blogspot.com/2009/02/foreclosures-are-not-problem-those-who.html

PC Run Amokhttp://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1047979

Morality in Warhttp://pajamasmedia.com/2007/08/christianity_good_islam_bad.php

I’m no longer quite sure his assessment of Islam is correct; but his take on the (possibly hindering) influence of Christian ethics is interesting.  As someone who long ago rejected just war doctrine, and more generally the application of moral principles to foreign policy, I found that notable.

Hetracil:

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/family_planning.php

http://juliansanchez.com/notes/archives/2007/12/hetracil_for_real_this_time.php

http://www.juliansanchez.com/notes/archives/2005/11/ask_your_doctor_about_hetracil.php

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/gay-by-choice.html

A while back, I ran across the “gay germ theory” (i.e., that homosexuality is the result of infection by a pathogen), and found myself speculating on what the social implications might be if 1) such a theory were proven true; and 2) a reliable way of killing said pathogen could be found.  Then, years later, I read these posts….

Illiberal Democracy:

http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2003/01/13/democracy/

http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Chua/

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=5771

Echoes of Zakaria’s “Illiberal Democracy“, not to mention the Federalist’s “tyranny of the majority”.  Race & ethnicity merely spices things up.

Carbon Tax and Tariffshttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/business/16view.html

…Which could be an interesting way of preventing mass offshoring (and hence job losses) in response to the imposition of energy taxes in the US.  Worth comparing with #9 in Pournelle’s take on tariffs.

Another take on Hadithahttp://pajamasmedia.com/blog/post_234/

Barbarian Mindsetshttp://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1117&p=community&a=6

When I first read this, I wondered if it was a parody.  I have a special dark place in my heart for “men” who do such things.

And speaking of male scumbagshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/25/AR2007112501720_pf.html

Why homeownership is not an unmitigated goodhttp://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/real-estate

Racial complexitieshttp://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/jena6

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/points/stories/DN-dreher_10edi.ART0.State.Edition1.452f78f.html

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/desmond-tutu-on-race-in-america/

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/black-white-conversations-were-afraid-to-have/

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/transcending-race-and-dellusional-conservatives/

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/conservative-delusions-about-race-part-ii/

Postmodern Dating File, Settling Editionhttp://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200803/single-marry

Risk Mismanagementhttp://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/1118

Humorhttp://www.abyssandapex.com/200710-wikihistory.html

Courtesy of a good and dear friend.

Legal Layoffs: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202428296289

Legal profession meets the Great Recession.

Random Links III

Posted in Links on 20090221 by Avenging Sword

Splitting States:

http://www.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=1134

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/04/the_great_state.html

I occasionally wonder if this would be such a bad thing.

World War III in 1957:

http://www.johnreilly.info/ww3.htm

http://johnreilly.info/ww3a.htm

Compare with:  http://www.changingthetimes.net/samples/coldwar/an_alternate_suez_outcome.htm (’56 Suez crisis goes nuclear)

Mortgage Backed Securities Explained:

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/04/mbs-for-ubernerds-i-gse-pass-throughs.html

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/04/mbs-for-ubernerds-ii-remics-dogs-tails.html

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/05/mbs-for-ubernerds-iii-credit-risk.html

Everything you ever wanted to know about those mortgage securities that’ve been gumming up the works.

Geopolitics of Mexican Immigrationhttp://junkpolitics.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/04/04/george-friedman-of-stratfor-on-mexican-immigration.html

…and the costs:  http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_2_do_we_want.html, http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_1_mexifornia.html

…and the possible dangers:  http://www.miamiherald.com/news/columnists/andres_oppenheimer/story/295183.html

…and why the fourth link, re “Hispanic Intifada”, would be a _very_ dumb move for amnesty advocates:  http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjAxMTcwZDlkNjY2NmJlNzZmNGYyMjM0Yzk3ZDQ3YmY=

Immigration & Home Values:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/points/stories/DN-hubbell_03edi.ART.State.Edition1.3e597bc.html

http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2007/05/home-and-illegal-immigration.html

Why campaign finance reform is a dumb ideahttp://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/734501.html

Civil-Military Gap:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/09/AR2007110901569_pf.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0108/p09s01-coop.html

I still sometimes wonder if we’re really at war.

(OTOH, see also this:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/14/AR2008031403388_pf.html)

Synthetic Stem Cells:

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/1120/1

Why you shouldn’t go to law schoolhttp://lawandletters.blogspot.com/2007/11/why-you-shouldnt-go-to-law-school.html

Misguided Idealistshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/01/AR2007110102675_pf.html

…Which is what you get for pursuing useless degrees instead of doing something productive, e.g., a degree in a technical or professional field.  Talk about misappropriation of talent.

Fishing for Submarineshttp://www.defencetalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-1517.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/aug/11/thisweekssciencequestions

Related:  Torpedo nets:  http://www.gwpda.org/naval/nets.htm

Something to consider when seeking to defend our harbors against, e.g., a nuclear torpedo fired from offshore, or covert nuclear bombing of the same via submersibles carrying a nuke & a suicide crew.

Security & profiling: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/08/23/what_israeli_security_could_teach_us/

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879148913&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

Whence Palestinian Refugeeshttp://volokh.com/posts/1196317155.shtml

Why the gold standard is a dumb idea: http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/theres_gold_in_them_thar_stand.php

“That’s one hell of a security breach!”

Posted in Random on 20090216 by Avenging Sword

Reading this article bought to mind this exchange, from an episode of the short-lived TV series “Crusade“:

Capt. Gideon: According to reports, our subject downloaded all the important knowledge of his race onto a series of high compression data crystals and then…took off….

Max Eilerson: That’s one hell of a security breach!

Over the years, the Congressional Research Service – Congress’s own in-house think tank – has produced thousands of reports on a wide variety of topics. Although these oft-sought-after publications are technically in the public domain, public access to them has thus far been limited by Congressional & CRS policy. Well, apparently last week some kind soul finally tired of such limitations, and handed over the entire corpus of such CRS reports to Wikileaks…which promptly dumped them onto the ‘Net.

I am truly impressed.

(HT: Angry Bear)

Random Links II

Posted in Links on 20090214 by Avenging Sword

Why foreclosures are a good thing:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/111898/output/print

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2008/09/the_case_agains_1.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123336541474235541.html

http://www.housingwire.com/2009/02/02/former-reo-broker-let-the-foreclosures-roll/

So long as housing remains overvalued, foreclosures serve a valuable social function by bringing house prices down to affordable levels.

 Financial Crisis Overview: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4240

There’s more to it, of course, but he does hit on many of the high points.

 Nascent Warriors: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/08/AR2008040802044_pf.html

I wonder how they’d fare in real combat.

 Euro Demise?:

Pro: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/0421/034_print.html

Con: http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/729

Sprawl Done Right: http://real-estate-and-urban.blogspot.com/2008/04/chinese-think-they-can-learn-from-us.html

I tend to agree; hence my support for oil tariffs (to raise gas prices) & toll roads, as ways of internalizing commuting externalities.

 High food prices vs. biotech taboos: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/business/21crop.html

Civilizations have the morality & ethics that they can afford.

 Postmodern Dating File, Male Hearing Impairment Edition: http://www.physorg.com/news128095723.html

 Teller and Classification:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2003/09/091003.html

https://www.llnl.gov/str/Science.html

I’m indebted to David Brin for pointing this out. IIRC, he, too, was surprised to discover this.

 Criminalization of Policy Differences: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Barack_on_torture.html

I wonder how the Republic would have fared if Dewey had won in ’48, and promptly prosecuted Truman for ordering & condoning war crimes (perhaps employing the Yameshita “command responsibility” doctrine). If a public official is prosecuted for policy decisions that, while perhaps technically illegal, nevertheless enjoy considerable popular support (of a plurality, if not necessarily a majority), then the effect is the same as criminalizing policy differences. There may be instances where it may be prudent to forbear prosecuting certain criminal offenses for the sake of social peace. Post-Civil-War amnesties come to mind.

 Fehrenbach on Religion & Assimilation: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/columnists/trfehrenbach/stories/MYSA040608.03O.Fehrenbach.1cf5b37.html

 Economic Warfare: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/08spring/chang.htm

 Urban Futures: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/23/AR2008042302930.html

For whatever “Near Future” scenarios (and science-fiction set therein) tend to catch my interest.

 Day care & misbehavior: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/econ-childcare-0502.html

 Postmodern Dating File, Friend Zone Edition: http://www.trueu.org/dorms/womenshall/A000000890.cfm

 Murray on Education (Again): http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-age-of-educational-romanticism-3835

I would find an IQ-based meritocracy much easier to swallow if it was well understood, at all levels of society, that socioeconomic success did not necessarily make one a better man. I.e., that attainment of such success was the result, not only of (praise-worthy) striving on the part of an individual, but also of how our society & economy is structured.

Random Links

Posted in Links on 20090213 by Avenging Sword

I’m considering a quasi-return to the blogosphere, mainly via posts like this.  I.e., largely devoid of content, and mainly comprising links to interesting articles I stumbled across while trawling then ‘Net. 

 

Synopsis of an interesting new book, “Heroes & Cowards”: 

http://volokh.com/posts/chain_1231548252.shtml

 

Shifting away from a credit-based economy: 

http://www.interfluidity.com/posts/1232166069.shtml

…plus some mini-posts further expanding on the above post (hoisted from the comments thread thereof): 

http://interfluidity.powerblogs.com/posts/1232166069.shtml#1726

http://interfluidity.powerblogs.com/posts/1232166069.shtml#1727

http://interfluidity.powerblogs.com/posts/1232166069.shtml#1732

http://interfluidity.powerblogs.com/posts/1232166069.shtml#1735

 

Postmodern Dating file, Infidelity edition: 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16410-high-hormone-levels-in-women-linked-to-unfaithfulness.html

 

Wondering if the economic crisis will implode Latvia’s polity: 

http://fistfulofeuros.net/afem/demographics/the-long-and-difficult-road-to-wage-cuts-as-an-alternative-to-devaluation/

 

Subprime Student loans: 

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0202/060_print.html

[Slight caveat:  I see stories like this on a regular basis, and find myself wondering how representative they are of student borrowers at large.  What I’d really like to see is a study divvying up student borrowers by the starting pay (expected & actual) of their various post-college occupations, and giving the debt load for each subset.] 

 

Current recession compared with the early ’80s: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/business/economy/21leonhardt.html

 [Maybe we’re not yet doomed.]

 

Living with high IQ: 

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/how-being-gifted-means-being-different/

http://theupsidedownworld.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/who-me-gifted/

 

Criminalization of Political Differences: 

http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2009/01/20/endangering_american_democracy_to_go_after_bush

 [Interesting to compare with this post…written over two years prior.] 

 

More later.  Perhaps.