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The Canadian government gave $8M to a terrorist in a court settlement. These creatures dare to sue, and the governments pay. We live in an upside-down world, indeed. :(


whocares1970: (Default)
Let me quote:

<< One day, a few years ago, when my girls were small, I read them Mary Poppins, the notably bizarre but durably beloved 1934 fantasy by P. L. Travers. Things were going along just fine, with Mary arriving on the east wind to kick off a series of magical adventures for her charges. Then we got to chapter six - "Bad Tuesday."

This chapter revolves around Mary's remarkable compass, which not only tells way to north, south, east, and west, but also sends Mary and the kids there. Mary barks "North!" and they find themselves at the North Pole conversing with a polar bear. The command of "South!" lands them in a steamy jungle where they eat bananas with a hyacinth macaw. "East!" takes them to China and a panda bear, while "West!" brings them to a beach where they encounter a seaweed-serving dolphin.

It was the dolphin that did it. Maybe the exotic specificity of "hyacinth macaw" should have made me wonder, but it was the dolphin, environmentalism's poster mammal, that jerked my gearshift from doting mother to PC-detector. Was it possible, was it plausible, that P. L. Travers - a British subject born at the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, the high point of the British empire - would choose a polar bear, a hyacinth macaw, a panda bear, and a dolphin to represent the four corners of the earth? Not bloody likely. (Later, I learned that the panda didn't even appear in the West until Ruth Harkness brought a cub named Su Lin out of China in 1936, two years after Mary Poppins was first published.) Another hand, contemporary and clumsy, was at work, as indicated by the note to be found in the 1997 edition's table of contents: "Chapter Six (Revised version)." A quick dip into the local library fished up a suitably old unreconstructed copy of Mary Poppins, which revealed what drove modern-day editors to rewrite the thing.

Turns out, Mary's original spin around the globe took her and the children not to visit animals of different species, but human beings of different races. To the north, in the original chapter six, Mary & Co. rub noses with "an eskimo man...his round brown face surrounded by a bonnet of white fur."This, of course, was not a face of Inuit rights advocates were going to love. His "eskimo wife" goes on to make an offer whose generosity would be lost on PETA: "Let me get you some fur coats. We've just been skinning a couple of Polar Bears." In a southern desert, a black-skinned family offers, gulp, watermelon to the parched travelers - not only ballistically "incorrect," but also botanically improbable. ("My, but dem's very white babies," the mother, her tiny "picaninny" in her arms, tells Mary.) To the east, they encounter a punctilious Chinese Mandarin, whom P. L. Travers has dressed in a kimono - which, of course, is a Japanese costume, not to mention a fashion don't for Asian activists. To the west, they meet Chief Sun-at-Noonday: "'My wigwam awaits you,' he said in a grave, friendly voice. 'We are just frying a reindeer for supper.'" (Diana West, "The Death of the Grown-Up. How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization") >>

Diana then goes on to discuss the significance of this rewrite, but I would like to point out a different issue. After the Donald Trump's victory last November, certain "progressively"-leaning bookstores filled with hastily printed copies of George Orwell's "1984". The obvious significance is that the anti-utopian world is what Orwell depicted is what Trump and his followers are building here. In fact, when my oldest sun was studying "1984" in school circa 2005, it was kinda obvious from the teaching that that world was being built by Dubya and the rest of the Republicans. And yet it is the "progressives" that edit not only our history, but also works of the literary arts to suit their agenda.

Meanwhile, Astrid Lindgren's books are burned in Sweden.

And some books like the beloved Dr. Seuss's "If I Ran the Zoo" are no longer reprinted for being politically "incorrect" (and articles are published describing how bad it is), while the good doctor's "brand" name is used to crank out very different works. (You can still buy the original "If I ran the Zoo" or read it online: https://www.scribd.com/doc/139350028/1950-If-I-Ran-the-Zoo-Dr-Seuss).

What can I say? "1984" is the book, indeed.
whocares1970: (Default)

<< Democratic state officials already are refusing to cooperate with the voter fraud investigation ordered by President Trump...

“I have no intention of honoring this request. Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia,” Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe countered in a statement Thursday, claiming the commission is based on the “specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November.”...

McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and longtime Clinton family ally, said, “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.”
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla struck a similar chord, saying in a statement he would “not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally.”

He added, “California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach.” >>

And yet - Democrats have been pushing, and pushing, and pushing for more investigation of the ridiculous claims about Trump and Russia. In this case, they want to keep going, just in case something _might_ show up.

whocares1970: (Default)
Some time ago, NASA published an article telling us that astrology is a non-scientific garbage because the time that the Sun spends in line with the actual constellations named the same way as the zodiacal signs differs from the time that it is said to be in those signs astrologically. And that those times are different now that they were thousands of years ago when astrology first emerged. And that there are actually thirteen signs and not twelve. And that the Sun spends different amounts of time in front of different constellations. All that is correct, and yet this argument is about as valid as the Soviet propaganda one that said that there's no God because astronauts went "up there" and saw no God above the clouds. Of course, the vast majority of the popular "horoscopes" are total garbage, but this does not mean that astrology as such is as well. And the people at NASA simply did not bother to familiarize themselves with the basic principles of astrology.

So, here is a couple of words about those basic principles. Astrology deals with cycles and their interactions. The main cycle is in the Earth - Sun relationship, and thus is about the four seasons. Each season, like everything in the world, has three stages - being born and developing, being mature and maintained, being aging and eventually dissolved and gone. These stages correspond to the cardinal, fixed, and mutable astrological signs, respectively. Each season gets three signs - a cardinal, a fixed, and a mutable. Spring starts on the spring equinox, with the _astrological_ (not astronomical!) cardinal sign of Aries, goes through a fixed sign of Taurus, and then eventually dissolves (in preparation for the coming summer) during the mutable sign of Gemini. Then the summer starts on the summer solstice, etc.

Again, these astrological signs correspond to certain ranges in the Earth - Sun relative positions (and thus the seasons and the predominant flows of certain energies). Their correspondence to the particular constellations does not have to be exact. In the first approximation, one can say that the constellations on the sky could be drawn completely randomly, just for the convenience of following the process. Just like the dial of a clock could be arranged and decorated in any way, and the movement of the clock's arms does not _define_ or _cause_ time to go forward but rather provides a way of following the passage of time.

In reality, the change of the direction of the Earth's axis with respect to the constellations does matter in astrology, but this is a finer issue that is signified by saying that the Mankind is living in the Age of Pisces, the Age of Aquarius, etc. But that is a different story. The main annual solar cycle relates to the seasonal Earth - Sun relations and does NOT change from year to year.

Here is link to the the NASA article:
whocares1970: (Default)
Ну вoт, пoжaлуйстa, стaтья в "Aтлaнтике":

"The New McCarthyism of Donald Trump"

Стaтья 2015 гoдa, нo, пoжaлуй, этим oнa дaже ценнее.

whocares1970: (Default)
Я, пoхoже, нaшёл спoсoб зaстaвить oстaнoвиться и зaдумaться левых, кoтoрые гoвoрят, чтo нужнo прoдoлжaть рaсследoвaние Трaмпa и Рoссии и кoпaть, кoпaть и ещё рaз кoпaть. Речь, рaзумеется, o тeх левых, кoтoрые вooбще мoгут зaдумaться. Нужнo прoстo скaзaть, чтo рaсследoвaние влияния Рoссии нa нaшу пoлитику, кoнечнo, нужнo. И чтo этим зaнимaлся беднягa МaкКaрти, кoтoрoгo левые же и съели. Тaкaя aнaлoгия и тaкoе имя вызывaют у них сooтветствующий рефлеx.
whocares1970: (Default)
<< “Pulling out of the Paris Agreement would be a massive step back for racial justice, and an assault on communities of color across the U.S.,” ACLU warned in a Twitter post Thursday. >>


What the "climate change" and other hot topic left-wing activists really care about is not the title issues as such but their applications to "social justice". They state this explicitly more and more often. And the "social justice" becomes less "economic justice" and more "racial justice" these days. In the very simple terms, their ideology is "America has to pay (in a very broad sense)" and/or "The "majority culture" has to pay". Well, sometimes they do not even use the "majority culture" euphemism.
whocares1970: (Default)
<< After days of drama and suspense, President Trump announced Thursday that his administration will exit the Paris climate agreement. "So we're getting out," Trump said. "The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States." >>

And the lamentations of the Europeans and Obama are music to my ear.


whocares1970: (Default)
<< Stepping back from a campaign promise, President Donald Trump on Thursday decided not to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, at least for the next six months. >>

My usual statement: Trump said many nice things during the election campaign, but he cannot be trusted, and it was clear from the very beginning. Nevertheless, he is by far better than Hillary, Sanders, and Obama.
whocares1970: (Default)
"This isn't random or light. Somebody made a mistake. Somebody made a BIG goddamn mistake!" (Starship Troopers)

"Minority" students at Evergreen State College (Washington) decided to run a "Day of Absence" when white students and faculty would be kicked out of the campus for a day:
<< ...many wanted to see all the white students and professors vacate the college in order to create a safe space for those who remained. >>

"Safe space", for crying out loud! They call this "safe space"!

One professor (a liberal himself) was not afraid to lay out his objections. Then protests started. These so called students attacked the professor and demanded that he would resign. As far as I understand, he asked the police to come to his rescue, but the administration told the police to stand down, and so the professor was informed that he is not safe on campus anymore, and he then had to hold his classes at other locations. Think about that - the police no longer protects people from racially motivated aggression!


Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. Particulars vary from place to place, and it does not always get violent, but the narrative of the so called "white privilege" (or sometimes the "majority privilege") has become very common lately, with students and faculty called for "training" on such things, some of those sessions being mandatory. As somebody who has spent a quarter of a century on college campuses, I can say that the atmosphere has become MUCH more divisive and oppressive lately, with these trends institutionalized and encouraged (or even lead) by college/university administrators. This is not random or light, indeed.
whocares1970: (Default)
<< White women's burrito shop is forced to close after being hounded with accusations it was 'culturally appropriating Mexican food and jobs'
For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo. >>

Then the attacks started, because these ladies happen to be white.

<< 'The problem with Kooks burritos is that these women have no passion or respect for the culture from which they stole'
'This week in white nonsense, two white women—Kali Wilgus and Liz 'LC' Connely—decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico... The owners of Kooks Burritos all but admitted in an interview with Willamette Week that they colonized this style of food'.
The piece went on to claim getting the weekend taco truck closed was a 'victory' in Portland - a city it accused of having 'underlying racism'.

'These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise.' >>

I wonder what would happen if somebody turns the argument around and tells aliens coming to this country that they should not be in America if they do not have respect and passion for the American culture.

whocares1970: (Default)

<< A Virginia-based federal appeals court blocked the Trump administration's controversial travel ban ...

“We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s promised Muslim ban," the court said. >>

WTF? Since when does somebody have to convince a court of their innocence?!?! Moreover, since when do the courts judge intentions of actions rather than whether the actions contain something illegal?!?!


BTW, this is very much related to the position of people like Josh Marshall and David Frum, who lament the fact that investigations of Trump will be looking for crimes that he did not commit, and thus he will remain unpunished for politics that is not illegal but is not liked by the left. These people really want law and order to be a tool for persecution of their political opponents:

"The simple point is that the most important ‘bad acts’ may well not be crimes.That means not only is no one punished but far, far more important, we would never know what happened."


whocares1970: (Default)
Emmanuel Macron, the new French president-elect, a childless 39-year old man married to his high school teacher. He wants open borders. He says that there is no French culture as such, that it must embrace and include every other culture. He has already made his speech to the American people (see below).

Well, I just hope that our left do accept his invitation en masse.

whocares1970: (Default)
Ну чтo, вaш Трaмп, кaк и предскaзывaлoсь, oбычнoе бoлтливoе чмo. Пoследнее дoкaзaтельствo - бюджетный stopgap. Стoилo кoпья лoмaть, если oн прoдoлжaет трaтить тaк же, кaк и Oбaмa (нет, не тaк же, кoе чтo, чтo oн пooбещaл пoрезaть - дaже бoльше) , никaкoй стенки, ничегo не будет сделaннo с sanctuary cities, etc.
whocares1970: (Default)

There are many things I would like to point out, but here is one rather bipartisan issue that has been around for a while. The picture below shows the growth of federal research funding (in constant dollars, so inflation is not a concern here). You can see that the funding has essentially tripled since the mid-1970s. And the biggest jump happened during the late Clinton and early Bush years.


One may argue that the world becomes increasingly technologically advanced, more research money is needed, etc. Let's see though what this funding increase did to the US universities. As somebody who has been in the field all this time, I could witness a significant transformation. Basically, the increased amount of available federal research funding made universities shift their main focus for faculty members toward research. Not that grants were non-existent before, but there used to be more of a balance between research and teaching for tenured/tenure-track professors. And now the quality of faculty is measured almost exclusively on the basis of external research funding. Yes, there are still quite a few professors from older generations who are quite dedicated to quality teaching. But any new hires are evaluated not even on the basis of their research capabilities but on the basis of fundability of their research. Teaching can become an issue only if a candidate is so poor in this area that he or she would obviously cause many critical complains from the students. Some senior endowed professors are even hired with an explicit (though not broadly advertised) agreement that they would teach a very limited number of undergraduate courses or no such courses at all. And significant external research funding is the main essential requirement for promotion or already tenured faculty.

Yes, universities still tend to give some recognition to outstanding teachers, and those divisions of university administrations that deal specifically with undergraduate students are still concerned with the quality of teaching, but departments as such are much more concerned with the externally funded research. To speak bluntly, they view teaching as an overhead to their work. And even many colleges and universities that have been focused mainly on undergraduate teaching historically have started betting on external funding more and more in the last couple of decades.

When you have a small talk with somebody and mention that you are a university professor, they would usually ask, "What do you teach?" Many of my colleagues are offended by this (though they would not show this to their vis-a-vis), because they consider themselves researchers and not teachers. Undergraduate teaching is delivered increasingly by non-tenure track (adjunct, temporary) faculty. And, even though a professor teaching a couple of large freshmen-level classes, brings more money to his or her university than their well-funded research-minded colleague, the level of recognition (including promotion, salary, etc) is still much higher for the latter.

This is quite natural. Undergraduate students/candidates sill apply for admission, thus their tuition payments are taken for granted by universities, and the external research funding is an extra that university feel free to pursue, re-allocating their efforts to hiring researchers. There is now a generation or two of faculty who came to their positions with this new mindset. Do not get me wrong, I strongly believe that creative scientific work is crucial for a university faculty who is to teach not only a bunch of facts but also a certain mindset. And I have received more than one NIH grant during my carrier. But balance is important. Universities that disregard undergraduate teaching is a nonsense. And remember, the government can increase funding three-fold, but it cannot increase the number of able researchers the same way, thus much money becomes wasted. Moreover, as it always happens, this excess money breeds all sorts of parasites, political and otherwise. Thus all the pseudo-science topics, the highly politicized climate research, etc (I do not want spend too much time for discussing those here). The quality of undergraduate education declines, especially in STEM areas. Professors need more and more graduate students - not as future academicians, but as hired hands in the lab - and universities have to rely on foreign students more and more, as the supply of able and willing American candidates dwindles and remains available only to the universities with the highest reputation (that is often not entirely deserved, as a graduate student at places like Harvard can be a part of a 40-people lab, where the members do not even have much interaction with the PI professor). BTW, overproduction of PhD's who are not really well-developed and capable scholars is yet another issue these days, but let's not digress too much.

Moreover, university scientists develop a tremendous sense of entitlement, viewing the increased research funding as somehow being their right, regardless of the practical output of their research. There have been some drive to require more practical results lately, but the overblown system reacts largely by increasing the ability of those who influence distribution of funds to pick and chose those whose research topics they personally favor.

To summarize, the amount of federal funding available to universities has grown to levels that cannot be digested with good _real_ scientific productivity (the quantity skyrockets, but the quality does not) and that made the universities shift their focus away from their mission of teaching students toward - not even excellent research but research-related money-milking.

All right, enough for now.

whocares1970: (Default)
Ну чтo, друзья мoи? Пoхoже, Трaмп тaки oдин из тeх, ктo пoлaгaет, чтo Aссaд - aтo ужaс-ужaс-ужaс, a ислaмисты - этo демoкрaтия и зaмечaтельнo. Стaндaртнaя aмерикaнскaя идея, чтo влaсть и системa - этo всегдa плoхo, a тoлпa - этo зaшибись.
whocares1970: (Default)
It is very relevant today, too.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


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