"I came here to drink milk and kick ass. And I've just finished my milk." - Moss, The IT Crowd

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Friday Palate Cleanser

The "shocking truth" behind Donald Trump's hair. (It really is kind of amazing.)

A fascinating, accessible explanation of how the human body works as an ecosystem.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her adventures. How is it that I had never heard about this person before?

A review that is probably much entertaining than the movie it is reviewing.

If I ever start a "Satire or Not?" website, this link will be going up. Satire, an elaborate trolling exercise, or simply the ramblings of a crazy person? Hard to say. All I know is, any essay which includes the sentence "Science has always had a monopoly on technology and breakthroughs, much to the disappointment of our Christian leaders, who if given the same access to these machines would have used them to prove God’s existence years ago" tickles my funny bone.

Let's finish with something beautiful.

Thought for the Day

"It is not within my power to prevent you from looking like a dicky-doo-dah."
- Inspector Raymond Fowler, The Thin Blue Line

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Aren't you proud the U.S. didn't vote for this resolution? (OK, that time I was being sarcastic.)

THIS is what our politicians are spending their time on? Really? Nice use of misdirection, guys. (Then again, I may be giving them too much credit for scheming to distract the public with wedge issues. It's equally likely that most of them just want an excuse to look at porn at work.)

Thought for the Day

"There are two things that are important in politics. The first thing is money, and I can't remember what the second one is."
- Mark Hanna

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Income inequality: Houston, we have a problem

Earlier this week I had an interesting conversation on Facebook about Vanity Fair's recent article on income inequality in the U.S., and I've been struggling for the last few days to put my thoughts into the form of a coherent essay. It's easy to look at income disparities and be shocked by them, but it's far more work to articulate what has gone awry in the underlying processes that have brought those disparities into being; the widespread deleterious effects of allowing those processes to continue unchecked; and what ought to be done to restore more balance to the situation. I've been reflecting on my beliefs about fairness and the proper role of government in income distribution, and... it's complicated. It's very difficult to find solutions to the problem of rising income inequality that satisfy all of my fundamental beliefs. I think it's essential that we start applying ourselves more seriously to this problem, though, if we want the United States to continue being a country of opportunity and innovation. Believe it or not, there are people near the top of the wealth pyramid who think so too.

Thought for the Day

"Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad."
- James Madison, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 13 May 1798

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thought for the Day


"I'm not an anarchist; there's just no system of government that I like."

"A system that doesn't involve pigs with their heads in the trough would be good."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thought for the Day

"In political and philosophical theories, as well as in persons, success discloses faults and infirmities which failure might have concealed from observation."
- John Stuart Mill

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thought for the Day

"The manufacturing aristocracy of our age first impoverishes and debases the men who serve it and then abandons them to be supported by the charity of the public."
- Alexis de Tocqueville

Unfortunately, de Tocqueville went awry in thinking that the "manufacturing aristocracy" was "one of the most confined and least dangerous"
ever to exist in the world. He did not foresee the extent to which this aristocracy would control mass media, public education, and campaign finance; or the necessity for political candidates to raise vast sums of money in order to use mass media for purposes of mounting credible political campaigns.