Friday, June 24, 2016
The Yiddish language is over 1,000 years old and incorporates German, Slavic, and Hebrew elements. The prevalent view claims Yiddish has a German origin, whereas the opposing view posits a Slavic origin with strong Iranian and weak Turkic substrata. One of the major difficulties in deciding between these hypotheses is the unknown geographical origin of Yiddish speaking Ashkenazic Jews (AJs). An analysis of 393 Ashkenazic, Iranian, and mountain Jews and over 600 non-Jewish genomes demonstrated that Greeks, Romans, Iranians, and Turks exhibit the highest genetic similarity with AJs. The Geographic Population Structure analysis localized most AJs along major primeval trade routes in northeastern Turkey adjacent to primeval villages with names that may be derived from “Ashkenaz.” Iranian and mountain Jews were localized along trade routes on the Turkey’s eastern border. Loss of maternal haplogroups was evident in non-Yiddish speaking AJs. Our results suggest that AJs originated from a Slavo-Iranian confederation, which the Jews call “Ashkenazic” (i.e., “Scythian”), though these Jews probably spoke Persian and/or Ossete. This is compatible with linguistic evidence suggesting that Yiddish is a Slavic language created by Irano-Turko-Slavic Jewish merchants along the Silk Roads as a cryptic trade language, spoken only by its originators to gain an advantage in trade. Later, in the 9th century, Yiddish underwent relexification by adopting a new vocabulary that consists of a minority of German and Hebrew and a majority of newly coined Germanoid and Hebroid elements that replaced most of the original Eastern Slavic and Sorbian vocabularies, while keeping the original grammars intact.
Huh. This is news to me.
The inorganic section of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colo. manipulated data on a variety of topics – including many related to the environment – from 1996 to 2014. The manipulation was caught in 2008, but continued another six years.
“It’s astounding that we spend $108 million on manipulated research and then the far-reaching effects that that would have,” Rep. Bruce Westerman said at a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. “We know how research multiples and affects different parts of our society and our economy and … if you’re working off of flawed data it definitely could be in a bad way.”
Dozens of American-trained dogs were killed by a Kuwaiti-based company last week, according to multiple reports, though there are conflicting explanations for the deaths.
An Instagram post by the Kuwait Animal Rescue Unit showed the dogs’ bodies piled on top of each other in a narrow hallway and called the action by Eastern Securities of Kuwait a “horrifying animal abuse/massacre.”
But while the inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can alter the lives of billions of people, history says presidential politics have a surprisingly small impact on your portfolio. “There’s no empirical evidence to suggest that who the President is, whether Republican or Democrat, should cause you to want to deviate from your investment strategy,” says Gregg Fisher of the investment firm Gerstein Fisher. The fact is, stocks generally rise over time no matter who’s in charge (see the chart below). After the silly season is over on Nov. 8, about half the country will be elated, and nearly half will be scared. And both groups, research shows, are likely to tweak their investments accordingly. That’s when things really get risky.
Don't do anything rash. Consider not doing anything.
If you're thinking of buying a home or refinancing, Brexit could be a good move for you.
While mortgage rates were expected to increase this year, they are instead at the lowest levels in three years as the Feds worried Brexit might become a reality.
Now that it is, those rates could plummet even lower.
WHAT'S TRUE: Two researchers (presumably graduate students) from Stanford University and Tilburg University co-authored a paper asserting they uncovered information suggesting widespread primary election fraud favoring Hillary Clinton had occurred across multiple states.
DALLAS (AP) — More than 30 people who attended an event with motivational speaker Tony Robbins have been treated for burns after Robbins encouraged them to walk on hot coals as a way of conquering their fears, Dallas fire officials said.
By uncanny coincidence, EU referendum day in the U.K. coincided with the U.S. Supreme Court decision that halts President Obama’s program of executive amnesty for young illegal immigrants and their parents, an estimated 5 million people. American policymakers—like their U.K. and EU counterparts—have taken for granted that an open global economy implies (and even requires) the mass migration of people. Yet this same mass migration is generating populist, nativist reactions that threaten that same open economy: The anti-EU vote in the U.K., the Donald Trump campaign for president in the United States.
Is it possible that leaders and elites had it all wrong? If they’re to save the open global economy, maybe they need to protect their populations better against globalization’s most unwelcome consequences—of which mass migration is the very least welcome of them all?
If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come. Merkel’s catastrophically negative example is one that perhaps should be avoided by U.S. politicians who seek to avert Trump-style populism in the United States. Instead, the politician who most directly opposes Donald Trump—presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—is doubling down on Merkelism.
True, and Obama didn't help. It's hard not to approve the Brit's decision. At least emotionally.
Department Of Education Panel Recommends Suspension Of ABA's Power To Accredit Law Schools Due To Its 'Lack Of Attention To Student Achievement'
In stunning news, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) voted on Wednesday to recommend that the U.S. Department of Education suspend for one year the ABA's power to accredit new law schools due to the ABA's "lack of attention to student achievement":
Thursday, June 23, 2016
But narcissists aren’t just attractive to themselves. They are, at least superficially, attractive to other people; that’s why they’re overrepresented in fields where being at the center of attention is an asset, like entertainment, entrepreneurship, or politics. They also they have more sexual partners. And as a new study of speed dating led by Emanuel Jauk of the University of Graz, in Austria, finds, people rate them as more attractive and more dateable.
Maybe that's just Austrians.
President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to overhaul U.S. immigration policy for millions of foreign nationals living in the U.S. came close to crashing down Thursday in a Supreme Court decision so brief that it was barely mentioned by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. If the policy is not yet entirely doomed, it could be after it is formally returned to a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, who is sure to be guided by an appeals court ruling that already has said, in essence, that the government probably will lose.
LONDON — Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West.
With all but a handful of the country’s cities and towns reporting Friday morning, the Leave campaign held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead. The BBC called the race for the Leave campaign shortly before 4:45 a.m., with 13.1 million votes having been counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million in favor of remaining.
I'd say I'm not surprised but I am.
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, results from Thursday's landmark referendum showed, an outcome that sets the country on an uncertain path and deals the largest setback to European efforts to forge greater unity since World War Two.
Semi-retired president: This Supreme Court immigration ruling takes us further from the country we aspire to be « Hot Air
There’s nothing this guy enjoys more than telling Americans “who we are” and what we believe in, even when there’s statistical evidence to doubt that he’s right.
And the country we aspire to be has a lot more Democrats. It was Glenn's line I think: the elite looked at our electorate and decided to import a new one.
The steady decline of confidence in institutions that began with Watergate and Vietnam is due to real failures of the elite leadership class. These failures undermined confidence not just in capacity to do good but in capability to represent interests. The list is familiar to you by now: Impeachment. 9/11. Iraq. Katrina. Congressional corruption. Financial meltdown. Failed stimulus. Obamacare. Stagnant wages. Diminished hopes. But oh, the party establishment was doing good? These middlemen Rauch puts on a pedestal – they were responding and managing and running things well? No. They were looking out for the interests of people other than those they were elected to serve. They were responding to the donor class and to the party leadership – the very people Rauch views as responsible balances against the populist tendencies of the electorate.
RTWT if this seems interesting.
Leave won in Sunderland by 22%, while Newcastle voted for Remain by a margin of 1% - tighter than predicted - and there were Leave wins in Swindon and Broxbourne.
A full picture is not expected to emerge for two or three hours as counting continues around the country.
Legislation by tantrum. That's what the Democratic sit-in in the chamber of the
U.S. House of Representativesamounts to. You don't get what you want, as devoutly as you believe it to be the right thing entitles you bust to up all the toys in the sand box.
It's worked before.
Nothing stirs the passions of Democrats these days quite like the prospect of gutting the Constitution. In an unprecedented act of pretend political bravery, House members held a catered sit-in, demanding Republicans allow a vote to strip away protections of Second, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. It was quite the scene.
The United States seems to be recovering a large chunk of the civility obliterated in the tumult of the 1960s and ’70s, suggesting (as do global historical data) that human-on-human violence is predominantly a product of culture, not technology. The U.S. homicide rate more than doubled from 1963-1973 and remained high for the next 20 years. In 1973, the rate was 9.4 per 100,000 people; in 1993 it was 9.5. Although we will need more time before we can know for sure, this spike in homicides appears to have been an historical aberration. Since 1993, the homicide rate has collapsed and it now hovers around its 1962-63 level.
As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change.
Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country.
What's more important! The right to guns or the right to dance?!!
I certainly received many many emails from gun owners who legitimately quibbled with some of my conclusions. But the majority of email senders trained their laser sights on my masculinity — often in graphic terms that would sound more appropriate in a magazine about erectile dysfunction or an ad for Depends.
Not only are AR-15's really, really scary, but the people who own them are not very nice.
A Dallas-area man forgot about his 6-month-old daughter as she sat sweltering in a hot minivan for four hours Tuesday, and when he remembered her, he tried putting the unresponsive child in a refrigerator to revive her before she died, police said.
It's actually not a terrible idea, at least if it's a dog.
The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Obama’s immigration executive actions, in a tie decision that delivers a win to states challenging his plan to give a deportation reprieve to millions of illegal immigrants.
The justices' one-sentence opinion on Thursday marks a major setback for the administration, effectively killing the plan for the duration of Obama's presidency.
In his new book, What A Fish Knows: The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins, Balcombe presents evidence that fish have a conscious awareness — or "sentience" — that allows them to experience pain, recognize individual humans and have memory. He argues that humans should consider the moral implications of how we catch and farm fish.
This is old news to me, as I have watched whatever the sequel to Finding Nemo is called. I can't remember the name of the little blue tang who is the hero.
There are now more non-military government employees who carry guns than there are U.S. Marines, according to a new report.
Open the Books, a taxpayer watchdog group, released a study Wednesday that finds domestic government agencies continue to grow their stockpiles of military-style weapons, as Democrats sat on the House floor calling for more restrictions on what guns American citizens can buy.
The pound’s performance has been directly tied to poll results about whether Britain will vote to remain in or leave the European Union, with markets taking hits when the Leave camp is shown in the lead. The most recent poll results that showed Remain pulling slightly ahead may have inspired confidence and boosted the U.K. currency, Reuters reports.
Like all skillful demagoguery, Trump’s speech on Wednesday interwove truth and falsehood into a plausible-seeming picture meant to reinforce listeners’ underlying beliefs. In May, Morning Consult polled people with an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton about why they didn’t like her. Fifty-eight percent said she was too liberal, while 22 percent said she was too conservative. But 82 percent of Hillary-averse voters said she was corrupt, and 88 percent said she was untrustworthy. These are the beliefs that unite her foes across the political spectrum. It’s why Trump, with his devious talent for derisive nicknames, was smart to dub her “Crooked Hillary.”
Too bad they both can't lose.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I've been reading the first few chapters of Rebel Yell, a really good so far biography of the estimable Stonewall Jackson. It's by S.C. Gwynne, the same guy who wrote Empire of the Summer Moon, a very good book about the Commanches. The details about Jackson's life so far are fascinating, but in particular I did not know how important was the public reaction to John Brown's raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry. Evidently, the euphoric reaction in the North to his violent high jinks convinced many in the South, Jackson included, that seccession was their only prudent option. They read many in the North as welcoming and encouraging a violent uprising of the slaves against their masters, which would of course have meant the slaughter of their women and children, something they could not view with equanimity.
“[T]hese data make clear that the United States not only lacks the ability to properly screen individuals prior to their arrival, but also that our nation has an unprecedented assimilation problem,” Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told President Obama in a June 14 letter, obtained by FoxNews.com.
In the 1990s, Subaru’s unique selling point was that the company increasingly made all-wheel drive standard on all its cars. When the company’s marketers went searching for people willing to pay a premium for all-wheel drive, they identified four core groups who were responsible for half of the company’s American sales: teachers and educators, health-care professionals, IT professionals, and outdoorsy types.
Then they discovered a fifth: lesbians.
Lesbians, really? Well, we got a Forester for our oldest, which is now ours again as he is in Ukraine teaching English and learning something, I hope. I backed into the Subie so now its front door is caved in, but it's ugly, not undriveable. Its electronics seem permanently on the fritz. We took it in once to get fixed; after that I gave up. I'd rate it as OK, I guess, but not enthusiastically. I'm contemplating getting an Outback when my Suburban finally dies. It currently is a 2 wheel, not a 4 wheel drive as designed, as it needs an expensive repair for the 4 wheel to work, and I don't really need that. I'm hoping civil order does not break down before we get a new vehicle. I'm going to try to get it to 300,000 just for the novelty of it, and also because all the carbon it produces helps the forests. We've had Fords and Chevys, which are sh*tty, but at least everybody knows how to fix them. The Honda van was OK. Volvos saved my wife's life probably, but then they got too expensive.
NEW YORK -- Donald Trump continued his presidential campaign reset Wednesday with an uncharacteristically prepared and cohesive speech hitting his party members’ common adversary -- Hillary Clinton.
In his remarks, he called the presumptive Democratic nominee a “world-class liar” and possibly “the most corrupt person to ever seek the presidency” while pitching himself to certain segments of her base.
Yet, while public attention is focused on the GOP’s deathbed vigil, another equally consequential trend is unfolding largely under the radar: California Democrats, far from enjoying a frictionless ascendancy, are finding themselves sharply divided along racial lines. The breakneck demographic shifts in the state over the past few decades partly explain the tension. In 1990, California was more than 57 percent white, while Latinos made up just over a quarter of the state’s population. By 2014, however, Latinos had surpassed whites as the state’s largest ethnic group. At the same time, the state’s Asian population (the nation’s largest) had grown to 14.4 percent, more than double the number of California’s African-Americans. In a minority-majority state dominated by a party that practices identity politics, each group now finds itself in a zero-sum competition for a handful of positions at the commanding heights of Golden State politics.
We have the same Protestant work ethic as the Germans. We enjoy the same things, such as brass bands, rambling and driving German cars. We both consider the sausage the height of culinary sophistication. We prefer beer to wine. And guess which country has taken over from Germany as having the worst reputation for reserving sun loungers with towels? That’s right, us, according to a survey for Travel Supermarket. Imitation? Flattery?
When Russia next moves its tanks to the border, we should take it seriously. It has a lot of tanks (although less than Pakistan). But we should also remember that this is not a world power. By most indicators, it’s not even a middle power. Russia is a soccer hooligan: poor, drunk, and frustrated it can’t win anymore. It can only throw beer bottles from the bleachers.
The pound trimmed earlier gains in London afternoon trade on Wednesday after a fresh Brexit poll showed the "leave" camp was in the lead by one point.
I guess we'll find out how accurate this polling is. I suspect the British people will vote Remain mostly because those who want to exit probably won't go to the polls.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
But the study, published in Biological Conservation, wasn’t the first time that the dead bodies of roadkilled animals have helped science. They are useful for collecting DNA samples, for measuring toxic buildup in animals, and for studying anatomy, just to name a few examples.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will host a fundraiser with House Speaker Paul Ryan next week as the iPhone maker tries to strengthen its relationships with key Republicans — despite its decision to pull support for the GOP convention because of its distaste for Donald Trump.