Thursday, November 19, 2015

The new look for 2016

Naughty monk. You heard it here first.


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Meth and prohibition

Meanwhile, families in Oregon and Mississippi now have to schedule an appointment with a doctor to get cold medicine. That likely means time off from work and a co-pay for an office visit. This would seem like a pretty significant burden on, say, a low-income family with three or four allergy-laden kids. Other cold and allergy sufferers just face increasingly difficult barriers to relief. And there have been several reports over the years of people who certainly don’t appear to be drug manufacturers getting arrested and prosecuted for mistakenly buying more than their allotted share of pseudoephedrine.
The attempt at prohibition seems to be corrupting everything around it.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Monkeying around

Very important for upper body strength, it turns out.
To understand my assertion we have to start at the very earliest stage, birth. Newborn babies have incredible hand strength; many can hold their full weight from the very first days. This is not unique to homo sapiens but is true of all primates as the baby must be able to cling to the mother while she travels. The big difference between other primates and modern parents is that we tend to treat babies as weaklings, carrying them everywhere, pushing them in strollers, and buckling them tightly into their car seats. As a result of the needless and ill-conceived over-parenting, the children’s normal physical abilities begin to atrophy.
Fascinating. I wish I had developed said upper body strength.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Trigger warnings are anti-science

They just makes people worse psychologically. Fascinating.
But vindictive protectiveness teaches students to think in a very different way. It prepares them poorly for professional life, which often demands intellectual engagement with people and ideas one might find uncongenial or wrong. The harm may be more immediate, too. A campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety. The new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically.

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Planning and parenthood

Parenthood is possibly one of the areas that is most stricken by this mania for planning. In our present culture we generally assume that pregnancies are supposed to be planned and that an unplanned pregnancy is a kind of personal failure, even a catastrophe. I’m not talking here about situations where having a child is a genuine trial – where there are factors like extreme poverty, lack of a stable relationship, serious health risks or rape involved. I’m talking about people in stable families with a stable incomes and reasonable accommodations.
It turns out that, the less helicopter parenting you do, the better everyone is.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Penn Station? Why build a new one, when we don't need the old one!

Thinking outside the box.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Market Diner, soon to close

There's another one up the street, but it's not as good. Alas.

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That's some ambiguous law

The fundamental mistake in Mount Laurel was to leave intact the local zoning laws that kept out low income residents, and instead force the township to come up with positive programs to create exceptions to its basic zoning wall—which it did, after a fashion, by rear guard actions that included designating for the new housing a wetland located behind an industrial park far removed from water and sewer connections. Ultimately, when affordable housing was built in Mount Laurel, few members of minority groups wanted to stray so far from their home base. Local widows occupied a large number of the units.

The sad truth is that this unbroken level of failure will be taken to a new level by HUD’s Final Rule. Yet HUD is unable to explain how the huge conditions attached to its grants will build a single unit of new housing for anyone anywhere. What is needed is a complete reorientation in approach that starts from the proposition that it is far easier and more sensible to remove barriers to entry than it is to subsidize forced entry by judicial decree once those local barriers are allowed to remain in place. Indeed, the only winners out of HUD’s new initiative are government administrators, lawyers, and pro-housing activist groups that salivate at the prospect of hauling the next Westchester County into court.
I never really understood how zoning was compatible with property rights. I guess the disaster extends further than I thought.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Will you be on the side of truth or fads

In 1790, when Edmund Burke wrote his classic essay, Reflections on the Revolution in France, the reactions were not positive. He was not popular among the London elites, to say the least. As L.G. Mitchell recounts, “Burke was rejected right across the political spectrum.” Not only did radicals such as Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft “dislike the book,” but the members of his own Whig party disowned it: Charles James Fox considered the Reflections “to be in very bad taste” and the future Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger found only “rhapsodies in which there is much to admire and nothing to agree with.”

Yet Burke, the reform-minded statesman, decided to stand against the proclamations of the French Revolution. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity—who would want to be against that? Burke, apparently. And he prophesied the coming Terror and the rise of Napoleon, because he refused to give in to the tyrannical dictates of eighteenth-century deified Reason.
Burke was right, and Reason was wrong. One suspects it will happen again.

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