Linky Friday #72

Sports and Culture:

[S1] A true badass, Bush I skydives to celebrate his 90th birthday.

[S2] The Guardian takes us inside the World Cup protests.

[S3] I’m missing something if Miss Indiana is plus-sized.

[S4] Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (The Mountain from Game of Thrones) deadlifts 994 pounds

[S5] Bob Mankoff’s latest column on the perfect cartoon

[S6] On the ascent of Sir Mix-a-Lot – I must admit: “Baby Got Back” has been stuck inside my head for a good chunk of my adult life.

[S7] The cult of Boba Fett – If George Lucas is reading this: please don’t ruin Boba Fett with a spin-off!

Art and Nature:

[A1] From James HanleyVertigo warning: beautiful photographs of spiral staircases

[A2] El Nino prediction for 2014. Could this save California from its drought?

[A3] Human faces evolved to be punched.

[A4] This is being called a miracle oil. Human physiology is far too complex to have me convinced.

[A5] Obama’s comments on combating climate change remind me of Obama’s comments on immigration reform, health care reform, drawing down wars abroad, etc. – audaciously hopeful and perhaps unlikely to result in any significant positive changes.

[A6] In the latest turn in the STAP cell controversy, scientists wonder did STAP cells ever even exist?

Economics and Politics:

[E1] From Mad Rocket ScientistReason article, but the original work was done by The Nation.

[E2] From James HanleyReihan Salam on why New York should not relax work requirements for welfare recipients

[E3] From James HanleyThe law in its majestic equality: Spikes to keep the wealthy from taking a nap in public.

[E4] Is our imported seafood the product of slave labor?

[E5] Estimated financial costs of autism are staggering.

[E6] Tea Party candidate wants to stone gay people to death.

[E7] Is it possible the Koch’s are just philanthropists? Or, philanthropists first and partisans second? Marybeth Gasman believes there will be strings attached to the latest Koch donation to the United Negro College Fund.

[E8] Scientists urge China to develop a sounder land management strategy.

War and Peace:

[W1] From Jonathan McLeodVice asks How Does a Child Turn Into a Bank Robber?

[W2] Al Gore on Edward Snowden

[W3] Watch Volkswagon’s very clever Hong Kong PSA against texting while driving.

[W4] Boko Haram, possibly the most evil organization in existence today.

[W5] D-Day – possibly the most important event in all of world history, and it was just a short time ago.

[W6] On the last US soldier executed for desertion, PVT Eddie Slovik.

[W7] Finally: dog poop

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94 thoughts on “Linky Friday #72

    • Sadly for Libertarians lots of Republicans, hawks, and So-cons like to call themselves libertarians. Alex Jones, a royal nutbag, describes himself as a libertarian. Part of the hostile reception libertarian ideas get among liberals is that many liberal actually only see SoCon or fringe paranoid “libertarians.”

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    • “E6: He called himself libertarian, so that proves that libertarians want to kill homosexuals.”

      Joke aside, it amuses me how many self-proclaimed libertarians out there want the not only want the federal government to make gay marriage illegal but to also crack down on homosexuality in general.

      That every single libertarian I know that *doesn’t* subscribes to this proclamation always declares the fact that so many of their tribe do as irrelevant is both a pretty enormous blind spot and a good example of the second biggest* stumbling block to the movement in general.

      * (The *first* biggest — which I expect to see in the threads below this should anyone respond — is the dismissive attitude that how libertarianism is presented to and perceived by the public is beneath the dignity of libertarians to actually deal with.)

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      • I would imagine libertarianism is pretty appealing in the notion of “Getting government out of my way” — you know, the red tape that inconveniences you. The taxes you don’t like. The services you don’t want or don’t use.

        Call it…shallow libertarianism. Libertarianism without all the hard work and thought. It’s pretty seductive, it looks a lot like conservatism, and there’s some good, easy to grab arguments there.

        But the problem with shallow libertarianism is…it’s shallow. You’re not committed to libertarianism, come what may. You haven’t thought it through — so when the down-sides come (and there are down sides to EVERYTHING), you just…throw it away.

        There’s a lot of the FYIGM attitude there, and it really does give libertarians a bad name. And I do think a lot of libertarians, people who have done the hard thinking and accept the tradeoffs and thing it’s the best way (morally, pragmatically, philosophically, whatever) — get tarred by that brush.

        Not that it makes it any better, but it undoubtedly frustrates those who aren’t libertarians too. It’s makes libertarianism feel like a moving target, a sort of real life No True Scotsman problem. (Then again, Democrats ARE a real life NTS problem — herding cats, etc).

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      • I don’t know that I agree.

        I’ve said this a lot over the past few years, but my time here agh the League/OT has changed my view of libertarianism for the better — primarily because the people I have met here are very much not FYIGM. Jason, for example, is a guy that I have come to think of as having almost identical goals to my more liberal ones; we just don’t always entirely agree on the best roads to get us there.

        In my head, I divide libertinism into two strains: serious and bumper-sticker. I have zero respect for the bumper-sticker, obviously. My main criticism of the serious strain is that it is Utopian. And not even in the way they are normally criticized as being Utopian, but more for the point I made above.

        Whenever it’s pointed out to serious Libertarians that bumper-sticker libertarians are louder and(possibly) in greater numbers and that it’s hurting them in the public sphere — and that perhaps they should should do something about that — the response I always get is along the lines of, “we’re not about ever making changes in public policy; we’re about communicating a vision that won’t ever be implemented.”

        To which my internal not-intended-to-be-snarky response is, “well then, what the hell good are you?”

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      • I’ll agree with Tod that my long time here has improved my opinion of libertarianism in general. I never had a really negative view of it, but being part of and reading many of the debates has greatly fleshed out the different strains of libertarian thought.

        One of my desires when i came here, so long ago i had a coal fired computer) was to find interesting conservative types to talk with. There were plenty of libertarians here and at least, usually, when a libertarian uses the word socialism they actually know what it means which is more than i can say for most conservatives.. I would agree about the bumper sticker vs. serious dichotomy.

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      • There’s a lot of the FYIGM attitude there, and it really does give libertarians a bad name.

        And there are a lot of Democrats out there who are just looking for handouts, or who just resent those who are more successful than they are.

        I submit that neither of these facts is particularly relevant to the merits of the respective political philosophies. Most people subscribe to the political philosophies they do for stupid or ignoble reasons. To judge an idea based on the virtues of its adherents is the very definition of ad hominem.

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      • Right, because between following a political philosophy to its logical conclusions or jettisoning principle and going after what you really want, people always do the former, so it’s safe to ignore the latter.

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      • To judge an idea based on the virtues of its adherents is the very definition of ad hominem
        So what’s it called when you say “Hey, this political idealogy? A lot of people grab onto it without knowing crap about it, and give it a bad name, tarring people who really DO know about it and have a deep understanding?”

        Because it’s hard to see how I made an ad hominem argument when I was explicitly bashing people who labeled themselves “libertarian” without having anything but the shallowest understanding of it and a ready willingness to jettison any bits that conflicted with their own desires. You know, FYIGM folks and “I wants freedom for me, but not from them gays” folks.

        People I explicitly called “shallow” because all they took from libertarianism was a label and justifications for their own desires rather than a coherent worldview?

        so quick to attack you don’t even read?

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      • I think what Morat’s saying here is entirely fair.

        As for that Tea Party asshat, as uncomfortable as I generally am about defining other people’s ideology for them, I think if you’re on-board with the use of violence against anyone who hasn’t harmed anyone else, you’ve got precious little claim to being much of a libertarian.

        There does seem to be a type that seed libertarianism as primarily about not using government to help others, without much interest in, or even recognition of, the not-using-government-to-harm-others element. I’m not fond of those monkeyfishers.

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      • We had a similar problem with Occupy. That is, if you don’t define yourself, someone else will.

        Occupy refused to define themselves, refused to exclude those who didn’t fit, refused to enforce a party line. So they ended up being defined by the guy who crapped on a police car, and the guys raping women in the bushes.

        I criticize liberals a lot for the tendency to want to turn politics into a dorm room political debate, preferably one with esoteric jargon and sophisticated references.

        Its not that deep thinking and nuance and dense analysis are bad- but politics is literally the art of persuasion, of getting others to agree with you and want to be a part of your tribe.

        Its also the art of persuading the drooling weirdos that your group isn’t a hospitable place.

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      • That is, if you don’t define yourself, someone else will.

        I’m not sure that’s actually a problem.

        I mean, I can understand how it is inconvenient, but unless you’re just an individual sitting there on the porch mouthin’ off and not expecting anybody to listen to you (like me), when you want to form some sort of movement there has to be some sort of core something there to move.

        Otherwise you’re not movementing anything. You’re just being a blowhard, but you’re pretending other people ought to listen to you.

        (which was sorta my problem with Occupy)

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  1. W5-No D- Day was not the most important event. It was certainly one of the bigger events in WW2 and that is about it. The Soviets turned the tide of the war in Stalingrad and Kursk. The Soviets were going to beat the Nazi’s, by mid 44 that was clear. The question was how long and how bloody. Our entry into France was important but there were plenty of other days that were crucial to how long it would take us to get to the Rhine and beyond. And the Wapo article buries it, i think, but there were plenty of Canucks and Brits who landed on D-day. It wasn’t just us.

    S3-plus size???? womens clothing sizes are insane.

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    • Yes. Literally. There have been efficiency studies done on better sizing, which could get most women into a very small amount of sizes. But damned to that, they figure women wont’ buy ’em. (Newsflash: I will! I also wear cop shorts — which stand as some of the few articles of women’s clothing that actually got redesigned after the customers started complaining).

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    • It was definitely important that the English-speaking contingent of the Allies took back Western Europe. But I agree with you that D-Day probably wasn’t the most important event in the war. I’d think the attack on Pearl Harbor or the German betrayal of the USSR were more important.

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    • Right, World War II was won in Russia, and mostly fought there as well (as much as 80% of the Wehrmacht was in that theater, along with Romanians, Estonian conscripts, and even Italians). A big assist goes to the Brits for winning the Battle of Britain and keeping an army bogged down in North Africa, keeping the Western theater alive, and even to the Americans for tossing the Germans out of North Africa and then knocking Italy out of the fight, with the Brits, but D-Day was the first move of the Western endgame (the Eastern endgame, the main endgame, was already underway), not the turning of the tide. The tide was irreversibly turned by 1944.

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      • All those letters from Stalin to FDR. “When are you going to engage?” The war wasn’t over when the US got involved, but it Germany was already decimated and it was more of a mop-up operation than anything else.

        Remind me again how many casualties we had? I’m not trying to denigrate the sacrifice by reminding us all of that, by the way. Just trying to remind folks that Russia was the reason we’re not speaking German right now. Not the US.

        As a sidenote, there’s an interesting question about why Germany turned away from London to focus on the eastern expansion early in the war. I’ve never heard a good answer to it. (Except for conspiracy theories.)

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      • I think the answer is twofold. One, Russia had more men than everybody else and was less likely to make peace than anybody else. Two, they had oil Germany could access. To Germany, the stakes ware always going to be higher to the East than they were to the West.

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      • Hitler hated the Soviets and wanted their land. That was the living space he wanted. He didn’t want to fight the Brits particularly. The Germans were never prepared for a sea invasion of Britain. Oh they did some prep but never were really ready to invade. Once they lost the Battle of Britain, they had no option to force the Brits to surrender, no great desire to take it and wanted Russia. Russia had land and resources.

        While Germany was losing and destined to lose by June 44. However if we hadn’t invaded it may have taken the Russians 2, 3 or maybe even 5 more years to beat the Germans. The Germans has lost the war but they weren’t defeated. Meaning they had plenty of fight, arms and, most importantly, hatred and fear of the Soviets.

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      • Those Russian advances were made using Russian, American, and British tanks, don’t forget. For a stretch between the North African and Normandy campaigns, the biggest ground battles were taking place in Russia, and all those Allies’ factories and farms were supporting the cause.

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      • And US oil fields. Roughly 80% of Allied oil production came from the US (and another 11% from the Soviet Union). Critical tech in the form of cold-weather fuels and lubricants that the Soviets got access to were US developments. If the US had been an oil-poor country, the Allies likely don’t win.

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      • Pinky, Michael Cain,

        No one’s denying that the US played a role – a decisive role – in WW2. But identifying the necessary conditions under which the war was finally won doesn’t justify attributing to the US all the victory nonsense we Murcins typically do.

        Burt, greg,

        It always struck me that the Hitler’s abrupt shift in focus from the western to the eastern front was the result of much more than either a dislike of the soviets or a desire to acquire those specific resources or lands. Maybe Shirer has poisoned my thinking about this, but the suddenness of that move coupled with the lack of planning surrounding it strike me as requiring a more specific explanation.

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      • By late 44 the Germans were fielding teens 16 and under and men over 40 in fighting units. They were running out of manpower. Nothing could save them from that. Without fighting in the West in 44 their manpower lasts longer. But they still run out of fighting age men in the next couple or few years. Some of their good tech and advanced designs would have helped. But Soviet equipment was very good by the end of the war. Without Normandy the war in Europe goes on longer but the Soviets win and all of Europe becomes communist except for the UK and Ireland.

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    • Russia probably wouldn’t have done so well if we hadn’t given them ~20% of their air force, two-thirds of their supply trucks, and about 99% of their locomotives. The last two especially were sort of necessary to have any real reaction time. Not to mention all the food and raw materials.

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      • Yeah, the U.S.’s full entry into the war was integral. Don’t forget that the Nazis came close to defeating the Soviets in ’42, and Britain was relying on U.S. supplies by ’41. With the U.S. in the war, the Germans couldn’t fight Britain to a stalemate in Africa, and they couldn’t hold on to Italy. Losing Italy put the Western allies close to Austria and Southern Germany, put all of Central Europe at risk, and meant a large force on the flank of their French defenses. They only had a fifth of their troops covering an area from Greece and the Balkans to the Atlantic, and couldn’t possibly have defended a full scale offensive at any point in the Western theater.

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  2. I didn’t see a “Science” header, and I didn’t have time to write up anything more detailed; but pioneering and prolific chemist Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin passed away recently at 88.

    Whatever your feelings on the War on Drugs, or the idea of cognitive liberty (and reading about Shulgin might at least make you consider your views in those arenas), he was an interesting fellow with a boundless curiosity, and by all accounts a mensch; sort of a real-life Walter White who tried to use his powers for good, who created and self-tested hundreds of novel psychoactive compounds, and kept meticulous records of their composition and effects.

    One day we may reap the full benefits of the tireless efforts of this veritable Columbus of chemistry, and his voyages across uncharted inner seas.

    NYT Shulgin obit.

    An older NYT piece on Shulgin.

    Shulgin’s Wikipedia entry.

    Dirty Pictures, a Shulgin doc.

    Hamilton Morris/Vice interview with Shulgin, one of his last.

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  3. W4-Boko Haram is considered out there and crazy by other Islamists. When your intellectual allies, who aren’t exactly known for being adverse to spectacular acts of violence themselves, think you are evil than you probably are. Boko Haram’s acts are so extreme that they are almost cartoonish in nature but the results are deadly and decidedly not funny.

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  4. S3: BMI lists a lot of people as being overweight who are by all appearances on the fit looking side. She very well could be plus sized by strict BMI standards.

    A1: Whenever I see a duplex or triplex apartment, they usually seem to have narrow spiral staircases. I always fear falling down one and breaking my neck.

    A2: We are hoping it does. Fun fact: Leland Stanford needed to borrow a rowboat to get to his swearing in as governor of CA because of heavy rains/flooding. CA seems to go through a draught/flood cycle.

    E1: The types of perks and salary for a uni president are an interesting issue but they can often be scandalous as students are punished with higher tuition and debt. This week there was a story about how CUNY pays its Prez over half a million a year and gives him a very expensive apartment rent-free. He is expected to hold many fundraising parties in the apartment but the story also said that an art professor was lectured by administrators for wanting to take his class on a field trip. I suppose the professor could have just told his students to go to the museum on their free time but the class visit was probably a good idea.

    E3: These have been around for a while. I dislike them.

    E6: Andrew Sullivan noted that the GOP/Tea Party response to gay marriage victories is to double down and go even further to the right. This is problematic for many reasons. One it shows that they just don’t get it and are sailing away to irrevenancy anymore. It is a sign of going for short term gains/last hurrahs over anything else. The bigger problem is a potential increase in LGBT attacks.

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  5. Whoah, that libertarian point paper proposing that marijuana legalization advocates ally with LGBT civil rights advocates *really* got misread.

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  6. W5: D-Day was not even in the top 3 most important moments in that war, much less in history! It was a very important moment, because it ushered in the end-phase of the war (a war that had been raging on 2 continents for, at that point, 5 years) and hastened the liberation of much of Europe, but it was by no means the decisive moment of the war, as the British pilots who essentially destroyed the German airforce, the Russians who stopped the Germans in Stalingrad and outside of Moscow, and the Americans and Brits who drove them out of North Africa (and Sicily and much of Italy) will tell you. The scale of the invasion, and the sheer audacity of landing in that place, under those conditions, makes it very easy to overestimate its importance in the grand scale of that war, which, by that point, had all but defeated the Germans.

    Look at what was happening on the Eastern Front at that time. We faced a minority of the German military might in Normandy and established a beachhead and slowly pushed the German army inland, while the Soviets were destroying, destroying, not one, but two Germany army groups. Not divisions, not armies, but army groups (Army Group Centre in Operation Bagration and Army Group South in the Lvov-Sandomir Offensive). I wonder which event people in Russia see as more important historically?

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    • I’m actually surprised Putin was at the D-Day celebration. Victory in Europe day is a huge BFD in Russia (to such an extent that dissing it caused a row with Estonia a few years before either the Georgia or Ukrainian contretemps), but I never remember them sending a delegation to D-day commemorations before.

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  7. E6: In all fairness, he never said he *wanted* gay people to be stoned to death — he just said that it was “right” to stone them to death, and suggested we probably should do so. So he’s clearly a very tolerant guy whose words are being twisted by the MSM.

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  8. E4 – Is there any imported product that doesn’t have migrant worker employment shenanigans on its front end? The article says that there are 270,000 people working in Thailand’s fishing industry. The US has 3 million migrant workers in its agricultural industry, or nearly twice as many per capita.

    And both countries are amateurs when compared to the amount of (de facto) slave labor that will be going into the production of the 2022 World Cup.

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    • What a precarious path to the championship.

      Round 1: Went down 3-0 including 2 blowouts, and then won 4 in a row (fourth team ever to come back from down 3-0).

      Round 2: Another seven game series. This time, they went down 3-2 and edged out game 6 2-1 before winning game 7 handily.

      Round 3: Another seven game series. They actually went ahead 3-1 before losing two 1-point games to tie it up, and won game 7 in overtime.

      Finals: They won 4-1, though it took double overtime to clinch it.

      I think the Kings’ role models were the 2012 Giants.

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