Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

A few odds and ends this morning:

The stock market continued its sell-off yesterday.  Uncertainty over the unsettled state of the world?  Nobody should be surprised.

Speaking of which:

What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?  Thumbnail:  Kill lots of Jews.

Iraq’s Religious Minorities are Being Slaughtered and ISIS Just Captured the Last Town Giving Them Shelter.

Europe Divided over Immigration, Work Ethics.

This from PJMedia’s Roger Simon:  Welcome To The 1930s.  Money quote:

A decade ago, I was in Paris to research a novel I never wrote and was taken to the bainlieu, witnessing firsthand Muslim neighborhoods seething with more hate than anything I had seen on trips to Cairo or even Jenin. The initials NTMJ were scrawled everywhere (short for “nique ta mere, juif” – fuck your mother, Jew). I was aware that “juif” in those Paris suburbs had become a curse word for anything from a broken Silver Bearfountain pen to a lost subway pass.

Compare those sentiments to what is happening in the Middle East today.

Granted no historical comparison is perfect; as Mark Twain pointed out, history may not repeat, but it often rhymes.  Since September 11, 2001, I’ve been wondering if we were witnessing the first shots of WW3.

I’m still wondering.

This is John Galt Speaking.

Wesley Mouch Eric Holder Sues Police Department for Treating Women as Equals.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Excerpt:

Facepalm-bearThe Pennsylvania State Police are being sued by Eric “The Extortionist” Holder for alleged sexual discrimination. No, the Penn police didn’t do anything as egregious as force women to pay for their own birth-control; but apparently it was enough to persuade the DOJ to file a lawsuit. The offense: Women are being held to the same standards as their male counterparts!

Apparently, requiring all candidates to pass the same standard physical fitness test is sexist. See, women are having a tough time passing the test – and this is obviously by design.

So, to match the least competent President of my lifetime, we have the least competent Attorney General of my lifetime.

Interesting times, True Believers.  Interesting times.

Animal’s Daily News

Excellent!
Excellent!

This just in from the pages of Reason.com:  The Courts Advance Concealed Guns.  Excerpt:

Gun-control advocates are learning the downside of getting their way. Recently, a federal judge struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on the carrying of concealed handguns. Anti-gun forces have been losing in legislatures for a long time. Now they are finding that even where they win, they lose.

Washington used to have the strictest gun laws in America. Besides the prohibition of concealed guns, all firearms had to be registered and handgun ownership was forbidden.

Violent Crime Rates by Gender
Violent Crime Rates by Gender

The restrictions had no evident effect on crime: In the 1990s, the nation’s capital was known as the murder capital. But they invited a legal challenge—a historic one, as it happened. In 2008, the Supreme Court invalidated the city’s handgun ban as a violation of the Second Amendment.

More crime rates by gender.
More crime rates by gender.

It has been just the last few years that the courts in general have seemed to remember that the Second Amendment exists, and what the plain language of that amendment actually means – and that realization has blown up in the faces of would-be gun banners.  (It would be nice if judges, especially at the Imperial level, would remember some of the other amendments – the Fourth and Tenth, for example.)

Interestingly, all during the time the courts have been striking down restrictive gun law after restrictive gun law, violent crime rates have been dropping (see the charts above.)

It’s almost as though potentially violent thugs might be deterred by the thought of armed resistance.  Amazing, eh?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Monday again – will the stock market continue last week’s plunge?  Two items of interest:

3 Warning Signs Predict 20% Stock Tumble.

Why It’s Too Early to Call The Bottom.

The stock market has, over the last few years, been somewhat unaccountably robust.  Why?  Interest rates, in part; there is nowhere else to put your savings to get any kind of return, since the Fed has kept interest rates in the basement – artificially, I might add, and probably counter to market forces.

The crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were caused by government interference in the economy, beginning with the Smoot-Hawley Act.  The crash of 2008 was caused by the Imperial Federal government’s interfering in housing markets.

Excellent BearThe next great crash will also be caused by Imperial interference.  You probably didn’t read it here first (if you’ve ever read any of Thomas Sowell’s books on economics, you most assuredly didn’t read it here first) but just watch.

It’s going to be roundly interesting to see what the markets do today.

Rule Five Friday

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (1)Robert Stacy McCain on hyper-curiosity, an affliction shared by yr. obdt.  Excerpt:

When something catches my attention, it is my habit to research the topic within an inch of its life, pursuing random footnotes and the biographical details of the authors of the works cited in the bibliography, in order to satisfy my maniacal desire to know.

Do not tell me your opinions. Tell me what you know — give me facts, quotes, something genuinely useful to me as knowledge.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (2)Mr. McCain describes the case of a “Vegetarian environmentalist animal-rights feminist” who, among other things, used her own menstrual blood to fertilize lettuce, which she then ate.

Eww.

Mr. McCain concludes the case study and contrasts the person in question with his own incessant curiosity by noting:

Am I the only one who notices how many young people seem to care more about their beliefs and attitudes than about knowledge?

That is to say, despite their intelligence, their sense of themselves is almost entirely about membership in an ideology/identity group — to which they give a cult-like loyalty — and they never pursue knowledge except to reinforce their own beliefs. This is not merely intellectual sloth, but deliberate self-imposed ignorance. They are determined to know nothing outside the confines of their own narcissistic identity bubble, and are therefore so ignorant that they have no concept of how much they don’t know.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (3)It is impossible to educate self-absorbed people who lack curiosity. “Checking out my vagina with a compact mirror” is a  perfect metaphor for the lives of this hopelessly ignorant generation.

Juxtaposition of image and story is, yes, deliberate.  Suck it, hyper-sensitives.

But consider this sentence:  “It is impossible to educate self-absorbed people who lack curiosity.”  Indeed, this has always been the case, and will always be the case.  And Mr. McCain is probably correct in his assessment, as we have observed in these 2014_08_01_Rule Five  (5)pages; the up-and-coming generation does seem horribly self-absorbed.  The rise of the “selfie” and the endless self-fellation offered by Facebook and the like are more likely symptoms than causes.

But the real crime is the lack of curiosity, and that is nothing new; when I was a young man in the Seventies I noticed it all too plainly among my peers, and I still note it in all too many of my fellow Baby Boomers today.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (6)Curiosity is above all else a sign of intelligence; it is perhaps the sign of intelligence.  The drive to know, the understanding of the difference between fact and opinion, the successful application of basic logic in discovery and problem-solving; how many people do you know that are really capable, really competent at these?

And how many people routinely critically examine their own opinions?  It’s easy to be critical of someone else’s viewpoint; far more challenging to be critical of your own.

But all these things have curiosity at their heart.  Mr. McCain is correct in bemoaning its loss.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (4)

Animal’s Daily News

PeTA-bearLet’s examine a couple of tidbits from the world of science this morning.

First up:  The Radical Plan To Eliminate Earth’s Predatory Species.  No, it’s not what you think; this dipshit actually wants to micromanage the ecosystem of an entire planet – this one, by the way – so as to stop predators from killing and eating other animals.  Money quote:  “I look forward to a future where all sentient beings enjoy life animated by gradients of bliss.”

I look forward to a future where all sentient humans stop wasting valuable time dreaming up laughable horseshit.

Next, and possibly excluding the nutbar mentioned above and most members of Congress, scientists appear to be closing in on what consciousness actually is.  Excerpt:

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

Derp BearOr, in the case of Paris Hilton (or Joe Biden, if you prefer) like a five-year old playing “Chopsticks” on a toy piano.

But I digress.

Is it a tremendous leap to intuit that, once we fully understand consciousness, we might be able to duplicate it?  Could this be the first step towards a sentient, self-aware Artificial Intelligence (AI?)

Rampant speculation, I grant you.  But interesting all the same.

Animal’s Hump Day News

2014_07_30_Hump Day
Happy Hump Day!

So,it seems Microsoft is giving up on their latest Charlie-Fox OS – Windows 8 – and starting from scratch.  Excerpt:

Microsoft attempted something different and daring with Windows 8. It introduced a whole new interface and means of interaction with your PC that was identical to a smartphone or tablet. It threw out the “Start” menu and mouse-driven interface people had used for decades in favor of a touch-driven interface with tiles, some of which received active information updates.

And people hated it.

“They tried to get their entire audience to jump from a UI [user interface] they were comfortable with to a brand new one with a serious learning curve,” California-based Creative Strategies tech analyst and president Tim Bajarin said. “Had they done a more transitionary product, especially keeping the Start button, I don’t think the impact and perception would have been as bad.”

Then again, it may have been just as bad.

Microsoft seems to feel the need to bring out a total sack-o-crap version of Windows ever few years.  Since Windows 3.1, a fairly stable, decent platform that wasn’t really an OS as it ran over DOS, they have brought out:

  1. Windows 95 – innovative, a bit kludgey but reasonably stable and easy to use.
  2. Windows 98 – improved on 95 in almost every way, a stable, steady platform.
  3. Windows ME – a disastrously horrible piece of shit, the less said about it the better.
  4. Windows XP – wonderful, solid, stable, with vastly improved networking capability – and great staying power, only having been dropped from official MS support in the last few weeks.
  5. Windows Vista – see Windows ME.
  6. Windows 7 – a great improvement over the hose-up that was Vista, with the whiz-bang of Vista and the stability of XP.
  7. Windows 8 – well, read the linked article.
Hump Day Redux.
Hump Day Redux.

All of our personal laptop and desktop computers at the moment are running 7, and Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. like it.  We only days ago upgraded from Office 2007 to Office 360, and while I see almost no difference ergonomically – menus and such seem to be all the same – the wisdom of the cloud-based subscription model remains to be seen.

No company can forever hold the vast majority of market share that Microsoft has held in computer operating systems.  It’s beginning to look like there is room in the market for a serious competitor.  Who?  What?  A Unix-based OS, like Linux?  Something entirely new?  It’s going to be an interesting few years in computer tech.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearThanks once again to Robert Stacy and Wombat-socho for the Rule Five links!

 This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Why Is The World Becoming Such a Nasty Place?  Excerpt:

The U.S. looks at the current global violence and then looks away, after a call for a “pivot” or a flash card calling for Boko Haram to give back the girls it has enslaved. Our generation’s version of the bad memories of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive is Iraq and Afghanistan. Like our grandparents of the 1930s, we feel that the dead lost abroad in the most recent wars were not worth it — and so ignore the gathering war clouds on the present horizon, as if ignoring them means they must disappear.

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place.  The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.

Sad-BearIf one was to use one word to describe the United States’ foreign policy at the moment, that word would be “impotent.”

And why?

As Dr. Hanson points out, we have an amateur-hour President with no executive experience, a Kelly Girl in the Imperial Mansion.  But Barack Obama is a symptom, not a cause; a symptom of a country whose people are increasingly willing to put up with:

  • The surrender of essential liberties in exchange for the illusion of economic security in the form of government benefits.
  • The weakening of America on the world stage and the increasingly skeptical view of American power held by our enemies – and our allies.
  • The cheapening of our currency by the increasing audacity with which the Imperial Federal government prints fiat dollars.
  • The obscene explosion of Imperial debt.

And so on.

As said, Barack Obama is a symptom.  He is a symptom of the ultimate triumph of style over substance, the elected “leader” of a nation with a plurality of citizens who can name the latest Kardashian fuck-buddy but not their own Congressman.  He is the elected “leader” of a nation so enthralled with electing our first black President that we ushered in eight years – not four, but eight – of a self-besotted incompetent with a list of personal accomplishments the size of a postage stamp.

Were I a religious man, I might say “God help us all.”

 

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.