From May, 2013

Tumbling ‘Round the Intertubes–May 27, 2013

1. The Urban Dictionary makes it to the courtroom. 2. A Franco-American Memorial Day commemoration. 3. Yes. Let’s. 4. Since this links to a spoiler FAQ, you obviously should not read it if you want to avoid spoilers. But you should read it if (a) you don’t care about avoiding spoilers; and (b) you want to laugh so hard that you pull a gut muscle or several.

Some Good Economic News, for a Change

We have been so used to bad economic tidings ever since the onset of the financial crisis that it is hard to remember what good news reads/sounds/looks/smells like. But courtesy of Tyler Cowen, we have some cause for optimism: THE state of the economy is far from ideal, but some very definite positives are brewing. It’s not just that we are continuing to recover from a deep recession; we are also seeing signs that America’s long-term future may be looking up, too.The case for optimism is hardly open-and-shut. The economy’s problems include high unemployment, mediocre productivity gains and stagnant or slow-growing…

Reforming the D.S.M.

I am no expert on mental health issues, so I don’t know whether objections to the D.S.M. are all that valid, but this article struck me as being very interesting: When Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, came out swinging with his critiques of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a couple of weeks ago, longtime critics of psychiatry were shocked and gratified. Insel announced that that the D.S.M.’s diagnostic categories lacked validity, that they were not “based on any objective measures,” and that, “unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS,” which…

Quote of the Day

So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiasm and faith is the condition of acting greatly. To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long…

The State of Play Leading Up to the Iranian Presidential Election

As noted before, the notion that there is anything resembling democracy in Iran is nothing short of laughable. More can be found here on how the election has quickly turned into a farce. The BBC informs us–in what is, perhaps, the understatement of the year–that “[b]y the standards of democratic countries, presidential elections in Iran are neither free nor fair,” something anyone not living under a rock since 1979 already knew. Human Rights Watch has more: Serious electoral flaws and human rights abuses by the Iranian government undermine any meaningful prospect of free and fair elections on June 14, 2013. Dozens of political activists…

On Correlation

We’ve really got to stop thinking that it necessarily constitutes causation. And yes, I know that it’s tempting to think that the decline of market share for Internet Explorer can lead to a lessening in homicidal tendencies. (Hat tip: William Easterly, via social media.)

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

To wit: Benjamin Srigley saw several pit bulls attacking an 11-year-old boy, so he ran into his home, retrieved his handgun, ran back, and shot one of the dogs. A bicycle policeman arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and shot the other two dogs. Here comes the twist: This incident happened in Washington, D.C., and even though the Supreme Court declared the city’s gun control regulations unconstitutional in 2008, the city government is still quite hostile to gun ownership. How hostile? Well, prosecutors offered Srigley a “deal”: pay a $1,000 fine and they would drop criminal charges against him. Turns out Srigley had…

Quote of the Day

He may not be crudely scientistic, but it is true that these days Dennett spends more time around scientists than other philosophers. “I find the discoveries in those fields mind candy, just delicious,” he says. “If I go to a scientific conference I come away with a bunch of new things to think about. If I go to a philosophy conference I may come away just having learned four more wrinkles in the debate about something philosophers have been thinking about for all my life.” But Dennett also maintains that we need philosophy to protect us from scientific overreach. “The history of…