(Don’t mean to be taking so much from the Pharyngula blog but man this is awesome)
Sean, do you need directions to this Barnes & Noble?
I promise my new job isn’t catorgorizing books at B&N.
This is a bit old but very interesting. My buddy Hitch went to Lebanon and got beat up by some fascist thugs. Read his account here.
Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced. Telling my two companions to hold on for a second, I flourish my trusty felt-tip and begin to write some offensive words on the offending poster. I say “begin” because I have barely gotten to the letter k in a well-known transitive verb when I am grabbed by my shirt collar by a venomous little thug, his face glittering with hysterical malice. With his other hand, he is speed-dialing for backup on his cell phone. As always with episodes of violence, things seem to slow down and quicken up at the same time: the eruption of mayhem in broad daylight happening with the speed of lightning yet somehow held in freeze-frame. It becomes evident, as the backup arrives, that this gang wants to take me away.
Much appreciated. Thank you. I am feeling much better.
I’m not completely convinced; but it is an intriguing idea with what seems like a lot of merit. What is it? Moving entirely to a cashless economy. Wired magazine argues that we have the technology and infrastructure to transition to an e-money economic system.
Unfortunately, the world’s governments remain stuck in the past. To maintain our stock of hard currency, the US Treasury creates hundreds of billions of dollars worth of new bills and coins each year. And that ain’t money for nothing: The cost to taxpayers in 2008 alone was $848 million, more than two-thirds of which was spent minting coins that many people regard as a nuisance. (The process also used up more than 14,823 tons of zinc, 23,879 tons of copper, and 2,514 tons of nickel.) In an era when books, movies, music, and newsprint are transmuting from atoms to bits, money remains irritatingly analog. Physical currency is a bulky, germ-smeared, carbon-intensive, expensive medium of exchange. Let’s dump it.(HT: Freakonomics)
Back on April 26, I added a post on the absurdity of race-based hiring. I directed you “loyal” readers to check out George Will’s column discussing the Ricci case where non-black candidates who passed the promotion test weren’t promoted because no black candidates had passed. Well guess who ruled on that case: Barack Obama’s supreme court nominee Judge Sotomayor. Now, I haven’t made up my mind on her yet but it was a troubling ruling. Of course, I’m no legal expert and I’ve read reasonable defenses which argue that she was just following the law in this case. I just happen to passionately reject affirmative action as a positive policy.
Unfortunately, affirmative action has devolved into this discriminatory practice. Originally, John F. Kennedy called for “affirmative action to ensure that the applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin.” In other words, there would be no discrimination – “positive” or negative. Reflect on that for a moment: “applicants are employed […] without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin.”Clark’s social engineer Lynn Olson says she wants to “ensure a fair and equitable recruitment process;” yet, in a fashion reminiscent of Animal Farm, she practices a process that is equitable for some, but more equitable for others. This fundamentally illiberal process assumes these selected groups cannot succeed without special help. Of course, that incorrect assumption reeks of condescension.[...][D]ubiously Rea [the student critical of my first piece] claims, while failing to produce any evidence whatsoever, “affirmative action […] begins to correct some injustices that have wrought inequality.” Proponents too frequently rely on assertions rather than evidence. As Mark Twain put it, “evidence is the bones of an opinion,” and Rea’s “cannot stand up.”