06 May, 2021

Forced to Choose Between Trump’s “Big Lie” and Liz Cheney, the House G.O.P. Chooses the Lie


Cheney’s rupture with the House Republican Conference has become all but final in recent days, but it has been months in the making. Edelman revealed that Cheney herself secretly orchestrated an unprecedented op-ed in the Washington Post by all ten living former Defense Secretaries, including her father, warning against Trump’s efforts to politicize the military. The congresswoman not only recruited her father but personally asked others, including Trump’s first Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, to participate. “She was the one who generated it, because she was so worried about what Trump might do,” Edelman said. “It speaks to the degree that she was concerned about the threat to our democracy that Trump represented.” The Post op-ed appeared on January 3rd, just three days before the insurrection at the Capitol.

04 May, 2021

What Substack Is Really Doing to the Media


A key to understanding Substack’s impact on the news is to recognize that the kind of journalism that tends to thrive there—so far, at least for the most part—is not actually news. It’s commentary and analysis, aimed at the chattering classes.

Leading newsletters such as Heather Cox Richardson’s Letter From an American, Roxane Gay’s the Audacity, and Scott Alexander’s Astral Codex Ten are wildly diverse in their perspectives and subject matter. But one thing they have in common is that they’ve never covered a city council meeting or rushed out to a crime scene to get the scoop. “I haven’t seen one of these independent Substacks that comes close to replicating what most news organizations spend most of their resources doing,” said Bill Grueskin, a professor at Columbia Journalism School and former senior editor at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

02 May, 2021

Opinion: Howard University’s removal of classics is a spiritual catastrophe


Academia’s continual campaign to disregard or neglect the classics is a sign of spiritual decay, moral decline and a deep intellectual narrowness running amok in American culture. Those who commit this terrible act treat Western civilization as either irrelevant and not worthy of prioritization or as harmful and worthy only of condemnation.

Sadly, in our culture’s conception, the crimes of the West have become so central that it’s hard to keep track of the best of the West. We must be vigilant and draw the distinction between Western civilization and philosophy on the one hand, and Western crimes on the other. The crimes spring from certain philosophies and certain aspects of the civilization, not all of them.

How Tech Loses Out over at Companies, Countries and Continents


And over time, over the past 21 years even , I have seen these telecommunication companies develop. We all remember Bell Labs, and in the Netherlands, KPN Neherlab, when telecommunications companies were innovators, and they were the first to do many things, and when they did actual research.

And over the past 20 years, I’ve seen the extremely sad decline of all these communications companies into branding and financing bureaus, and this has impacted my own business, because I used to sell software, and now I sell services, because no one can buy my software anymore, because none of these telecommunications companies are technical companies anymore.

I spend a lot of time thinking about that, why? Why is that going on? And why is it bad? And that brings me to the central question of this presentation.

In any organization, in any company, in any group, any country and even any continent, what level of technical capability, do we need to retain? How technical do we need to stay to remain viable as a company or a country or a continent? And is there a point of no return?

If you outsource too much? Is there a point where you cannot go back and relearn how actually making things work?

29 April, 2021

How A University Of Iowa Reply-all Email Became Ground Zero For The Cancel Culture Wars


Members of the Action UIowa Task Force asked to attend the Oversight Committee hearing, but lawmakers refused. In the first hearing, Rep. Kaufmann lashed out about the task force’s protest. “Because they weren’t successful in silencing you, because they weren’t successful in punishing you for expressing your opinion, they’re going to use their First Amendment rights to trample on yours?” he asked Brase, rhetorically. “Excuse my French, but that’s total shit.” In the second hearing, he declared without any apparent sense of irony that the protest—a protected form of free speech—amounted to an “intimidation” of conservative students.

I asked Kaufmann why he hadn’t invited any members of the task force to the hearing. “It wasn’t about them,” he said. Then why had he shared misinformation about the students protesting? He hung up.

22 April, 2021

u/willingly-ignorant on light


[Light is neither a particle nor a wave.] It's something that we don't have a word for and that doesn't exist in a way that we can sense directly. But this unnamed thing happens to acts in a way similar to a wave in some situations and like a particle in others.

A cylinder will role like a sphere in one direction but not roll like a cube in the other. That doesn't make it a sphere and a cube at the same time. It makes it something different.

20 April, 2021

u/craftmacaro on animal testing


So, we love animals. None of us WANT to hurt them. We got INTO this field because we all want to understand them in order to help keep them around for future generations.

That said... My job requires me to do a few things that require me to basically turn off my emotions and concentrate on the research... It’s only possible to postpone though and I always question everything about why I’m doing this, how to minimize suffering, and whether there is any other way. Even when the answer is that it’s required it still keeps me up at night and one experiment from undergrad still makes me cry at least once a year and really question whether that one experiment made me a bad person. 

Damian Lewis Honors Late Wife Helen McCrory in Heartbreaking Tribute


She has been utterly heroic in her illness. Funny, of course — generous, brave, uncomplaining, constantly reminding us all of how lucky we’ve been, how blessed we are. Her generosity has extended to encouraging us three to live. Live fully, take opportunities, have adventures. Only a couple of weeks ago she said to us from her bed, “I want Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them, you must all love again, love isn’t possessive, but you know, Damian, try at least to get though the funeral without snogging someone.”

Already I miss her. She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine. In life, too, we had to rise to meet her. But her greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to “normalise” her death. She’s shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy. I’m staggered by her. She’s been a meteor in our life.

18 April, 2021

u/alice-in-canada-land on race


Whiteness is a social construct, not an inherent genetic trait.

One of the problems with the polarized way we talk about the history of racism is that it swallows subtleties. The reality is that no one is white. We're all human beings, and we all come in varying shades and hues of brown; from pale and pink-ish to a deep brown that looks navy blue in the shadows, and many olive and peachy and cinnamon tints in between.

"White" is an invented concept, and it the definition has varied to includes different groups over the few hundred years it's been in use. The Irish used to be very much on the outside of "white". As were Italians and Spaniards, and Poles, and others we easily assume are "white" today, when we have a broad skin-shade based understanding of the (fake) divisions between "races".

In fact, the English used many of the same tactics of colonization against the Irish and the Scots as they later did against Indigenous peoples on this land. Including pushing them off their lands and away from their traditional food sources; starving them by withholding other foods, while also extracting foods and profits from their lands; forcibly 'schooling' their children, and beating their languages and cultures out of them. Oh, and the English were aided and abetted in these efforts by a church that purported to care while sharing in the exploitation...

...does that sound familiar?

It's true that the Irish and Scots in many ways were co-opted into colonization, having moved to this land by the hundreds of thousands, fleeing English occupation, and it's true that they sort of gained 'whiteness' when they arrived on these shores. 

BidenBucks Is Beeple Is Bitcoin In a system rigged by the rich, outsiders have to make their own volatility.


Imagine a great little restaurant that goes out of business. You think, Well, that’s a shame. Yeah. It’s a shame for the current 50-year-old owners. But it also means that the real estate and the supplies — dishes, the stove — go down in cost, and it gives a 28-year-old, a recent graduate of a Brooklyn culinary academy, her shot at owning a restaurant. Closures mean layoffs, of course. But new ventures quickly take up the slack. And in an empathetic — or even sane — system, direct payments to anyone affected could carry them through the transition.

In the 2008 financial crisis, we did stimulus, but stocks were allowed to fall. We basically said, “All right, we’re going into a massive recession, but what we need to do is make sure it’s not a depression.” Now, with COVID, that’s not enough. We decided that not only is a depression not tolerable but recessions aren’t tolerable. We threw trillions at the problem — so much stimulus that the markets went up.

Assets have never been higher because we keep printing money and doing more stimulus. Yet as a percentage of GDP, wages have tanked. How do young people make money? Wages. And then who owns assets? Old rich people. So all we said is, “Okay, people who get the majority of their income through wages, i.e., young people, get screwed. And people who have the majority of their earnings or wealth in assets like real estate and stocks do really well.”