Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Philosophers David Bourget and David Chalmers have conducted a worldwide survey to gauge where members of their field stand on a variety of philosophical topics, including a priori knowledge, moral judgment, free will... and the metaphysical possibility of zombies*.
The idea came to Wilczek while he was preparing a class lecture in 2010. “I was thinking about the classification of crystals, and then it just occurred to me that it’s natural to think about space and time together,” he said. “So if you think about crystals in space, it’s very natural also to think about the classification of crystalline behavior in time.”
Sometimes I get ideas while preparing lectures but they usually don't involve crystals, time or anything that profound. Often they involve something fried, roasted or pickled. --ts
Monday, April 29, 2013
In recent weeks, there have been increasing expressions of concern from surprising quarters about the implementation of ObamaCare. Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, called it a "train wreck." A Democratic colleague, West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller, described the massive Affordable Care Act as "beyond comprehension." Henry Chao, the government's chief technical officer in charge of putting in place the insurance exchanges mandated by the law, was quoted in the Congressional Quarterly as saying "I'm pretty nervous . . . Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience."
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Rebellious Republicans say immigration bill will hurt, not help, GOP in future elections - The Washington Post
Jason Pontin has written a perceptive analysis of a timeless question: what changes in law need to be adopted in order to account for technological advances (see “Free Speech in the Era of Its Technological Amplification”)?
Republicans have been in a funk ever since Obama’s re-election. I’m the first to agree that there’s a deeper problem, but it’s got more to do with under-thirties and what education and the culture are doing to them than with anything a path to citizenship will fix. The ill-designed and ill-considered bill is being pushed on the country by snake-bit Republican pols who’ve made a fundamentally mistaken judgment about how to solve the problem.
They’re acting out of desperation, and what we’ve gotten from that is a disaster of a bill. Well it’s got to stop. Republicans need to snap out of it, wake up, and kill this bill. Circumstances have changed. Obama lost on the sequester and lost on gun control. The left is tearing itself apart on energy issues and making a fool of itself on terrorism. There’s no need for conservatives to go along with nonsense like this bill. It’s time to stop the surrender. This spirit of capitulation ends here, ends now.
If only it were true. Well, here's hoping. It's too bad because I like the immigrants I know. Among other things, they are hard working, harder working than I am. But it seems logical that most of them, maybe as much as 70 percent or so, will vote Democratic. I heard Glenn Reynolds put it well the other day -- the political class doesn't like the electorate it has, so it's trying to import a new one. Well put. Of course, in libertarian heaven, it would be different. Then we could have open borders. But for those of you who haven't noticed, we don't live in libertarian heaven. Marco Rubio -- has anybody noticed this? His role in the Groupo de los Ocho seems to be predicted by a discount rate of about 25 percent. In other words, about the years after 2016, he ain't worried! He's a young man in a hurry. But the rest of us are going to be around, and our kids too. The left seems to think it's Nativism. Not so. I would gladly trade most of the current Democratic party for a bunch of new citizens straight from Hong Kong. All of this is so tiresome. It wouldn't be an issue if what we call our fundamental rights weren't up for grabs every time Congress took a vote.--ts
Friday, April 26, 2013
We reminisced about all the places we’d been, all the crazy days and wild nights, all the history we’d seen — first hand. Just before we said our goodbyes, I asked her if she’d miss covering President Obama.
“Not at all. He’s an inch deep. Bush is a bottomless chasm, a deep, mysterious, emotional, profound man. Obama is all surface — shallow, obvious, robotic, and, frankly, not nearly as smart as he thinks. Bush was the one.”
Her words, so succinct, have stuck with me ever since. By the way, she’s a hardcore Democrat.