Thursday, January 29, 2015
From Amie I first heard about Yitang Zhang, a solitary, part-time calculus teacher at the University of New Hampshire who received several prizes, including a MacArthur award in September, for solving a problem that had been open for more than a hundred and fifty years
Touching and cool.
So America’s most-famous snowbilly is out of the running for the 2016 Republican nomination. But what about all the other manifestly unqualified novices, jackasses, and publicity hounds that surface every four years when the GOP starts fishing for someone/anyone that can beat whatever sad sack of chum the Democrats toss in the water?
Sad but true: the stupid party.
Some observers of the Fed were complaining Wednesday that the FOMC statement should have rolled back plans for a mid-2015 rate increase. In their view, reduced rates of inflation observed currently, along with the strong dollar and weak nominal wage growth, should lead the Fed to postpone any rate increases. Such concerns are dead wrong. They reflect a deep misunderstanding of the time lags inherent in the removal of accommodative monetary policy, and confusion about the proper way to target inflation. Dovish critics are also wrong about how the Fed should respond to lower oil and gas prices, the strong dollar, and slow wage growth.
Prof. Calomiris is pretty reliable.
Mr. Mohammed, asked by the newspaper if he agreed with some Western reviews that labeled the movie racist, replied, “No, why? The sniper was killing terrorists, the only thing that bothered me was when he said he didn’t know anything about the Koran!”
Mr Pacifici, whose grandparents died in the camp, spent an hour outside in freezing conditions trying to alert someone to their predicament. The group then set off an alarm when they tried to escape through an open window, alerting the museum guard and several Polish police officers.
Mr Pacifici and the other members of the group were arrested and interrogated at Auschwitz until 2.30am.
It's a special place.
Earlier this week, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority directed Urban Outfitters to remove an underwear ad – claiming it was “irresponsible” and “harmful” because the model was so “unhealthily skinny” that girls might hate themselves if they saw it.
Note that the author reveals she has a thigh gap. Just sayin'.
ISIS originally set a deadline for the conclusion of negotiations on Wednesday but it was extended to sunset on Thursday. That deadline has come and gone, and no proof of life was provided to Jordanian officials. “There was no official statement from the Jordanian government that Ms. Rishawi was still in the country, but officials repeated their position that they required proof that Lieutenant [Moaz al] Kasasbeh was still alive,” The New York Times reported.
And the bloodthirsty vermin probably killed him already.
“We’ve now seen several cases that don’t have any symptoms at all, asymptomatic cases,” said human geneticist Dr. Anavaj Sakuntabhai. “These people may be the people who can spread the virus better, but we still don’t know that yet. A virus can change itself to less deadly, but more contagious and that’s something we are afraid of.”
You and me both.
Hindu nationalist outfits like the VHP, armed with claims that Indian Muslims and Christians are descendants of Hindu forbears who were tricked or forced into converting in the past, have stirred controversy in recent months by holding several large “re-conversion” ceremonies across the country.
“We don’t believe in conversion,” Sharma stipulates. “It is re-conversion. We are just aiming to bring them back home.”
Dig that crazy hat.
To sum up, the administration uses Tehran’s talking points to decry passage of a sanctions bill that would go into effect only if Iran refused to make a deal by June along the lines the administration itself outlined. It attacks the leadership of our democratic ally Israel (which it tried to undermine in cease-fire talks at the end of the Gaza war by adopting the plan of Hamas’s patron Qatar) and refuses to meet with its elected leader when he visits. To boot, the administration throws a fit that Congress invited him to speak — all to give Netanyahu’s opponents back home fodder for their election campaign. At least there is no doubt this is the most anti-Israel and immature White House in history.
By the by, Hillary Clinton has endorsed the administration’s approach to Iran. Does she agree with all of this “smart” diplomacy as well? At least the American people, who remain doggedly pro-Israel, will have a choice in 2016 between a third Obama term and a robustly pro-Israel GOP nominee (for there can be no other kind in an overwhelmingly pro-Israel party).
UPDATE: In a blow to the White House’s campaign against Netanyahu and the New York Times’ credibility, the Menendez-Kirk bill passed the Senate Banking Committee by an 18-4 vote with six Democrats.
January 29, 2015 Health insurance companies and hospitals mounted an aggressive defense of Obamacare's insurance subsidies Wednesday, warning the Supreme Court that eliminating the payments would be "grossly inequitable" to millions of Americans.
Both industries have a lot on the line as the court prepares to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit that aims to cut off the Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies in most of the country.
In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, health insurers said a ruling against the subsidies would have widespread and severe ripple effects, potentially throwing states' entire insurance markets into chaos.
“It’s a tale of two economies,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage in Seattle that operates in 25 states. “There is a high-end market that is absolutely booming. And then there’s everyone in the middle class. They don’t have much hope of wage growth.”
The question for those of us with kids the question is how to hook them into the wealthier group.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
"I haven't been able to pay it off and although it's always at the back of my mind, I have no regrets. Yes, I will never be able to forget that I owe so much money, but it was worth it for the sex. It's always worth it."
Just keep telling yourself that.
My guess is that Mr. Tsipras will find a face-saving way to buckle, and Greece will continue to stagger along. The most painful outcome, but perhaps also the best, would be a forced Greek exit from the eurozone that serves as a dramatic warning to the rest of Europe’s lackluster reformers about what happens to countries that take their economics lessons from the op-ed page of the New York Times.
Oh that's cruel.
“If you train yourself to breathe a little bit slower it can have long-term health benefits,” said Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Deep breathing activates a relaxation response, he said, “potentially decreasing inflammation, improving heart health, boosting your immune system and maybe even improving longevity,”
I found not practicing law good for my breathing.
I’m glad Chait has suddenly decided that speech policing is a terrible idea. He’s only a couple hundred years behind the times, but better late than never, I suppose. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s all that sincere about it. In fact, I think he just opposes speech codes when they’re used against him or his fellow travelers. And the reason I think that is because I’ve actually read what Jonathan Chait has written about people on the right who disagree with him. It’s one thing for Jonathan Chait to oppose the practice of using speech codes against Jonathan Chait and his friends, and another thing entirely for Chait to oppose speech codes used against his political opponents.
Columbia never used to shut down at all, New York City never used to shut down the transit system, and the states never used to shut down all roadways. Until the past decade or so people tried to go about their business here in the winter, taking action to shut things down only once snow had arrived and was causing a problem. The US has now become a nation of hysterics, with media-driven hype frightening everyone about everything, and public officials desperately taking action to protect the citizenry from imaginary threats.
Symptoms of crumudgeonly conservatism are evident.
Lecherous Nuns And Priests, Murder Plots and Coverups: Meet The Mother Superior of Catholic Scandals - The Daily Beast
Nuns using visions of God to persuade novices to have sex, threesomes with priests, the poisoning of a fat German princess, a prominent theologian shacking up with a vicaress, young nuns murdered, fetuses removed from an abbess, and cardinals, the Jesuit superior general, and the pope all enthralled by a beautiful and charismatic fraudulent saint—it’s enough to put The Decameron to shame.
The hard-to-believe story that contains all of these juicy nuggets—the 1858 scandal at the convent of Sant’Ambrogio in Rome—is the subject of Hubert Wolf’s rigorous and stunning new book, The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal. Translated by Ruth Martin, it is a hybrid of high and low perfect for the modern reader—racy and yet simultaneously erudite.
Cars are running out of screens. The dashboard is a jumble of numbers, icons, indicator lights, and gauges. In some vehicles, the display built into the center console is bigger than our televisions in certain rooms at home. But drivers' and passengers' appetite for more information isn't subsiding, so the dashboard and entertainment console are about to get a companion: the windshield.
It's going to be awhile for me. I'm putting a new transmission in my 2005 Suburban. I'm doing it for the planet.
But I think our love affair with the Hershey's bar goes beyond that. For starters, it’s got a texture that’s just right — smooth and milky. A chocolate bar that doesn’t challenge the tongue, but invites you to enjoy bite after bite. And you’ve got to love the way the bar breaks apart into perfect rectangular segments, as if it’s meant to be enjoyed in small pieces across a long day. You’ve also got to love the bar’s packaging — a statement in simplicity, if ever there was one. The Hershey's bar didn’t need an Andy Warhol to turn it into an icon. It just is one.
Meh. I don't agree. They're way too sweet and cloying. Better if they're cold though.
Defense in case of woman accused of poisoning son with salt faces uphill battle, legal experts say | Fox News
The boy's sodium levels rose to a dangerous point with no medical explanation, prosecutors said, leading to a swollen brain, seizures and death. They believe his single mother, who was sharing his hospital room at Westchester Medical Center, administered salt through a feeding tube into Garnett's stomach.
LWJ tells me Munchhausen patients are the worst.
From here the speech tapers off into jeremiads about global warming, though that phrase has been abandoned by the eco-terrorists in favor of the blancmange “climate change,” since there has been no appreciable warming in 75 years, though the president claimed otherwise. And then, mercifully, it ended, after an hour sprinkled with acoustically painful invocations of “folks,” “kids,” and “mom” (he’s the president, not Mr. Rogers). The State of the Union cannot be good when its twice-chosen leader summarizes it in such an orgy of claptrap. As Tex Ritter used to sing, during his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee in 1970, “God bless America, again.”
It's Conrad Black but still all true.
Last autumn, I argued in National Review (“Apocalypse Soonish”) that the real intellectual achievement of the climate-change alarmists has been to improve on the marketing model of the traditional fundamentalist-wacko/UFO-cult/Mayan-calendar-lunatic operation by eliminating its greatest weakness: the expiration date. When your UFO cult predicts that the world will unquestionably come to an end on December 21, 1954, then you start to look sort of silly by Christmas.
Kevin Williamson is on a bit of roll lately.
This morning I got to the Starbucks payment window (whatever youcallit) and was informed that the lady in front of me, driving a Mercedes SUV, was paying for my drink and apologized for cutting me off. If I'd known she was going to do that, I would have gotten another grande quad whole milk latte and a morning bun to boot. But it was a win-win because she didn't even really cut me off. It was more of a tie.
Sharp-eared listeners have been pointing out the melodic similarities between Sam Smith’s breakout solo hit “Stay With Me” and Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” since the former dropped last spring. Apparently one of them was Petty himselfU.K. paper The Sun reports that the classic rocker and Smith settled a lawsuit out of court last fall that gives Petty and his “I Won’t Back Down” songwriting partner, ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, 12.5 percent of the royalties from “Stay With Me.”
And thus justice is served and an annoying di*@head gets his comeuppance.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Nestled in a quiet forest in Belize, a deep aquamarine pool holds ruins from a time when the ancient Maya turned to a "drought cult," archaeologists suggest, and hurried sacrifices to a water god to try to stave off the fall of their civilization.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, found that some sleep aids and anti-allergy pills contain "anticholinergic" blocking effects, which, if taken in large doses, can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Anticholinergic drugs block acetylcholine, a chemical transmitter in the nervous system that Alzheimer's patients often lack.
For the past few weeks I've been stimulatin' my brain using a tCDS kit. This is a sort of mild electronic stimulation that is used experimenntally to treat depression and has been used by DARPA to increase one's ability to learn new stuff. I'm using it mostly out of curiosity and also because with increasing age I both reach a state of saturation, in terms of learning more stuff, sooner, and well as being aware of having little time to learn everything I want to learn. So far I would say I am moderately satisfied with my experience. It is definitely not a life transforming experience. It is more like discovering a new kind of coffee or other stimulant you can introduce into your life. Since I'm limited as to how much coffee I can, or should anyway, drink, I was in the market for a new stimulant.
It is hard to tell how much of the effect I perceive is a placebo effect, of course. It doesn't feel like a placebo effect, but then they never do. I have noticed the transitory flashes of light when the sponges are near my eyes and I feel a tingling or stinging sensation when the current begins. LWJ doesn't really approve of this experimentation, but she's not resisting. I've been using the 2.0 ma setting, the maximum permitted by natural law or something.
There's a new product supposedly coming out in 2015 called Thync. I'm looking forward to giving it a try.
A 38-year-old Southern California woman has been charged with having sex with her daughter’s teenage ex-boyfriend, police said.
Escondido police arrested Fereshta Angel Williams of Deer Springs on charges of having sex with a minor more than three years younger, two counts of oral copulation of a minor and one count of trying to dissuade a witness.
Funny, she doesn't look like etc., etc.
I bet he's really traumatized.
Now, though, some damage has been done. Netanyahu will come and speak to Congress and make his case — the one he has made time and time again — for additional sanctions on Iran. But if, in the end, action needs to be taken against Iran, Israel will need the support of all Americans. He has, with his impetuousness and contempt, made that harder to get.
1. Netanyahu may be lining up with the Republicans. But Obama operatives are in Israel working for Bibi's defeat. Turnabout is fair play.
2. All this talk about what sort of precedent it sets, etc. etc. is ridiculous given that Israel faces an existential threat. They. don't. want. nukes. in. Iran. Obama is clearly on that road. He's trading off Israel's security for a transient political advantage.
3. Democrats ought to be thanking Bibi for throwing a wrench, to the extent he is, in Obama's plans, such as they are. He thinks he going to get American on the side of an emerging power in the middle East. But Iran's Republican Guard and the rest of the pro-nuke people are irredeemably anti-American. It's not like they're going to decide they like us once they have nukes.
4. This policy is probably not even the product of O's foreign policy thinking. Some hard lefty staffer(s) came up with it and Obama is sticking to it out of a childish petulance. But for the Israelis, it life and death.
5. Honestly, who cares what Obama thinks of it all? He's revealed what he thinks about the separation of powers.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have openly expressed my incredulity here that the Republican Party has not, as a national enterprise, attempted to incorporate Scott Walker’s blueprint,” the he said. “He’s shown how to beat the left. He has shown how to beat the unions. He has shown how to revive a state’s economy. He’s shown how to cut taxes and increase economic output. He has shown how to increase employment in the middle of an Obama economy. He has done all of this in a state like Wisconsin, big blue state.”
Yeah, I think Walker is the man.
But comedian Louis C.K., who, as a Boston native, identifies as a Patriots fan, isn’t upset at all, as he explained to David Letterman Monday night. Why? “It’s a stupid football game. Just deflate the balls, poke a guy in the eye or whatever. It’s football.”
At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.
PCness isn't much of an issue in the classes I teach. Possibly the left wing students are avoiding my classes anyway.
The fighting is picking up momentum along the entire front. On January 24th a barrage of rockets struck civilian neighbourhoods on the eastern edge of Mariupol, a strategic Ukrainian port city, killing 30 and wounding scores. One senior Ukrainian official described it as “genocide”. Alexander Zakharchenko, the Donetsk rebel leader, told an emotional crowd that the attack on Mariupol was “the best possible monument to all our dead”. Russia blamed Kiev for the deaths; hours after his first statement, a chastened Mr Zakharchenko walked back his bluster on Russian television. But analysis of the impact craters by experts from Human Rights Watch and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe suggests the rockets were fired from rebel-held areas.
The ANWR blockade also seems to be part of a larger strategy to starve the existing Trans-Alaska pipeline, the 800-mile system that carries oil south from state lands in Prudhoe Bay. ANWR occupies the land east of that pipeline. The Interior Department this week will release a five-year offshore drilling plan that puts vast parts of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas—the area to the north of the pipeline—out of bounds for drilling. This follows an Administration move in 2010 to close down nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA)—the area west of the pipeline.Advertisement
Monday, January 26, 2015
No one joins Facebook to be sad and lonely. But a new study from the University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross argues that that’s exactly how it makes us feel. Over two weeks, Kross and his colleagues sent text messages to eighty-two Ann Arbor residents five times per day. The researchers wanted to know a few things: how their subjects felt overall, how worried and lonely they were, how much they had used Facebook, and how often they had had direct interaction with others since the previous text message. Kross found that the more people used Facebook in the time between the two texts, the less happy they felt—and the more their overall satisfaction declined from the beginning of the study until its end. The data, he argues, shows that Facebook was making them unhappy.
I rarely use it and I feel pretty good.
The coordinates of the office of The Geographer of the National Geographic Society are 38° 54' 18" N, 77° 2' 12" W. You might say that Juan José Valdés, who currently holds that title, knows exactly where he stands.
But the scope of National Geographic's cartographic department, which celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year, encompasses not just those bearings, but also those of every mountain, river, lake, road, reef, fjord, island, inlet, glacier, ocean, planet, galaxy, and solar system—in short, any physical feature on land, on sea, or in space.
In Des Moines this past weekend, Sarah Palin gave a speech, and at long last the vultures began to circle. “A tragedy,” declared Joe Scarborough, on Morning Joe; “bizarro,” ajudged the London Times’ Toby Harnden; “an interminable ramble,” said Iowa professor Sam Clovis. These, alas were among the kinder adjectives.