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Are Nigerian Christian Lives Not Worth Mentioning?

 

I couldn’t even find a mention of what is going on in Nigeria to the Christians there on any of the mainstream media websites. I am fascinated that a lone gunman kills worshipers at a mosque in New Zealand and there is a national conversation about violence against Muslims in the United States. But the premeditated hunting of Christians in Nigeria isn’t even worth a blurb? I typed in “Nigeria” at the CNN website and the first thing that came up was “Greta Thunberg inspires global climate protest.”

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An Unsung Hero of the Theranos Saga: Rupert Murdoch

 

Last night HBO aired a new documentary about the Theranos scandal. Couple this with one of the most popular podcasts of all time and a best-selling book (one of the best I read last year, I highly recommend it), it’s clear that Americans can’t get enough of the story.

From the book jacket, here’s a cliff-notes version of the tale:

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Corporations as Nations

 

Science fiction often predicts future technologies, quandaries, or at least identifies a general direction of development. These days, the genre is most often associated with off-Earth adventures, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Another common theme has elicited fewer comparisons to reality in mainstream press: government by mega-corporations.

We limited-government conservatives and libertarians recognize the problems and dangers of regulatory capture. We know that over-regulation of industries can lead to revolving doors and cozy deals that give the largest corporations unjust advantages over smaller companies.

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SCOTUS Backs Trump on Immigration Issue

 

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal officials can detain immigrants at any time for possible deportation after they have served their time in the US for other crimes. The 5-4 decision reversed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said officials have to detain these immigrants immediately or they are exempt from ever being detained.

This ruling had the classic conservative-liberal split, with Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas siding with Trump in the majority. Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

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Transgender Curriculum for Kindergarten

 

Our schools have been corrupted in many ways that are difficult to fathom: U.S. History has been distorted, English composition has been bastardized, standards continue to be lowered to accommodate the worst students. And now we are brainwashing students as early as kindergarten, saying that transgender students are normal. How did we arrive at this place?

We often point to the Leftist agenda for these changes in education. Just to give you an idea of how sophisticated these efforts are, we can look at Washington State, where the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has established new requirements. This summary gives you the highlights, from K-12. In the case of the OSPI, parents were not notified of these changes.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Jason Riley On “False Black Power?”

 

What is “false black power?” According to Jason Riley, author of False Black Power?, it is political clout, whereas true black power is human capital and culture. Riley and I dive into the arguments in Riley’s new book, the history of African Americans in the United States, and welfare inequality in black communities.

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Unexpected Gifts: I Got A B+ In English

 

Toward the end of my senior year in high school, I was riding pretty high. I’d gotten into the college I wanted to accept me. Grades were good, sports were complete (I hadn’t played a spring sport so that I could have a little me time as I closed out my high school career). My parents were happy that I was headed in the right direction and not determined to become a derelict (which they weren’t so certain of, a few short years before). I achieved a high enough score on my AP exams that I’d be able to skip a couple of courses in a school with a notoriously inflexible first-year syllabus. Skipping those classes would give me some academic flexibility in the out-years. Too, I’d gotten a 5 on the AP English exam, which had been my favorite class that year. English was always my favorite class, for three reasons.

I grew up without television, which meant my choice was books or nada. So my brother and I read books voraciously.

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A Return to Economic Liberty

 

Earlier this month, I delivered the opening address to the Federalist Society’s National Student Symposium dedicated this year to the topic of the “Resurgence of Economic Liberty.” Economic liberty refers to the ability of individuals to sell their goods and services, or to buy goods and services from others, on whatever terms and conditions they choose. This regime of freedom of contract assumes that voluntary trade is mutually beneficial, and that its externalities are typically positive: the increased wealth and happiness of the trading partners increases the opportunities for trade for others. The theory of economic liberty does not allow the threat or use of force. Nor does the theory tolerate acts of monopolization. At the peak of laissez-faire, both of these practices were rigidly prohibited. Notably, both the antitrust law and the law of rate regulation were appropriately part of the laissez-faire system.

Economic liberty was constitutionally protected until the New Deal. One major landmark of that period was Lochner v. New Yorkthe now much-reviled 1905 Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York law that limited the hours employees in some bakeries could work to ten hours per day and no more than sixty hours per week. The court held that the law did not protect the “health or safety, morals or general welfare” of the employers and employees, and infringed on their economic liberties, which were protected by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Unrealized Dreams

 

I walk slowly, leaning forward, as I approach the cabin. It sits in a clearing, where there are just enough trees to frame it, and few enough to allow the sun to regularly touch its natural beauty. As I get to the front door, I pause, unlock it and push the door open.

As I step inside, the smell of wood greets me. I look around to admire its simplicity and intimacy. On the left is a settee adjacent to one comfortable chair, my favorite, where I curl up to read. Farther back in the room is a doorway that leads to my small bedroom with enough room for a bed, a side table piled with books and a shelf with trinkets from my travels. I glance against the back wall, and there is a basic bathroom, and then to the right, a kitchen with a miniature refrigerator. A wood-burning stove rests on a platform near the south wall, with a stack of wood ready to be consumed. Colorful curtains of an olden style grace the windows; they are usually open, but closed at night to keep out the cold winter nights. And a large woven rug rests in the center of the room.

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Don’t Let Terrorists Ruin the Internet

 

As of late Friday, it was still incredibly easy to access video of the New Zealand terror attack. Only a bit of searching found it still available on Facebook, where the massacre was first live-streamed before going viral on other social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube. The gunman wanted amplification, and he got it. It was even easier to find the shooter’s rant, infused with white supremacy and deep familiarity with the online world and associated subcultures.

Not that tech companies aren’t trying to counter it. Indeed, they have every incentive to — both in the name of human decency and as companies already under tremendous pressure for inadequate content moderation. But a fast as the videos are pulled down, they are reuploaded. The platforms, despite cutting-edge AI and thousands of human moderators, are again proving “no match for the speed of their users; new artificial-intelligence tools created to scrub such platforms of terrorist content could not defeat human cunning and impulse to gawk,” writes Charlie Warzel in The New York Times.

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Jeb Miffed There’s No Bush as Prez

 

Jeb Bush thought America should have three consecutive Republican Presidents from the same immediate family. Think about that.

In his “defense,” he may have known, either consciously or unconsciously, that if nominated, he would lose. I’m not ruling that out as a possibility seeing him and his family in light of transpired events.

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If I’m Ever Arrested, I Hope It’s For Something Like This

 

I’m 64 years old. I’ve never been much of a drinker, but I’ll cop to having been a bit sloshed a few times in my life, most of them in the distant past. As I get older though, the stuff has more of an effect on me, which is why it’s probably a good thing that I don’t imbibe all that often. Because I do like the taste of good Scotch, and fine Rye. Usually, when I have a nightcap, I’m at home, and I follow it shortly thereafter by making a beeline for bed, where I enjoy a good night’s sleep and wake up none the worse for wear. If I’m out somewhere, I try not to make too much of an [expletive] of myself, and if worst comes to worst, I trust to kind and discreet friends to look after me and see me home. So far so good. Mostly.

But when I saw this story on one of the websites I peruse occasionally in pursuit of “good news” stories, or funny news clips, I laughed out loud: Drunk Woman With Suitcase Full of Cats Arrested in Stafford.

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How to Build a Computer 29: Electron Microscopy

 

For the next couple of posts, we’ll be sauntering through the science of measurement. To put it simply, computer bits are really, really small. So as you wander through the world of building them how do you know you’ve made the thing right? Well, let’s start simple. You can just look at ’em. I could go on a great big tear about optical microscopy which is still an important subject, and relevant. The problem with it is that I just don’t find the subject very interesting. Still, you get some neat images.

This is my fingerprint, photographed on the background of one of them hard drive platters I ripped out of that drive in the video. FBI please ignore.

To understand why you need the electron microscope it helps to spend some time with an optical microscope. The majority of the time I spent looking at parts I spent looking through an optical microscope, not on the SEM. Largely because Chem Lab owned the SEM, and they get all fidgety when someone else touches their stuff. Briefly though, I think I can demonstrate the usefulness of an electron microscope with two images.

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St. Patrick and the Decline of Christendom for Drink and Money

 
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Gaming the System

 

This past week, we were treated to a phenomenal story about lawnmower parents illegally gaming the various mechanisms necessary to achieve entrance to the college of their dreams. This isn’t a story about that. This is a story about those who successfully (and legally) gamed the system.

In the middle of the 1990s (about 1996), the USAF held a promotion board to decide which Captains should be promoted to Major. These promotion boards are generally held annually and include Captains who have been previously passed over for Major. In an amazing development, hundreds of Air Force pilots wrote the promotion board to ask to not be promoted.

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My Conservatism Ruined My Career as an Entrepreneur

 

When I moved from Compton, California, to Eugene, Oregon, in 1961 to attend the University of Oregon, I thought I had found the city of my dreams.

My hometown of Compton (”Straight Outta”) was an ugly piece of work even back then. It was a city of used car lots, a slum area or two, some tough muthers roaming the streets, and bars on the windows of the downtown stores.

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Unexpected Gifts – Sons

 

Today is my middle son’s 33rd birthday, the one I call Pipeliner because he is a pipeline engineer. I have three sons, born four and a half years apart. All of them are unexpected gifts. They were not unexpected in the sense of their arrival, we wanted all three. Rather, the unexpected gifts are the delightful surprises all three have provided.

My oldest is a genius, literally, he tested as such (it runs in the family, my two brothers are geniuses. I am not. That makes me the dumb one in the family.) He is even smart enough to understand the limitations of genius. (Too many smart people treat genius the way a bandit treats a firearm. They act as if all you have to do is wave it around and you get what you want, even when you do not use it.) It was an unexpected gift to have someone with whom I could engage intellectually over the dinner table.

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How Many Polar Bears Can Dance on the Tip of an Iceberg?

 
Photo Credit: Alan D. Wilson, October 2007, Polar Bears (Cubs), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is acting as the face for the Justice Democrats’ Green New Deal, Dianne Feinstein is confronted by terror-stricken children and their indoctrination handlers, women in first world countries are declaring that they will forgo child-bearing in the face of impending environmental collapse, Mayor DeBlasio is mandating “Meatless Monday” menus in NYC public schools in order to combat Climate Change… Wherever you turn, the Left have whipped up their Eco-Marxist rhetoric to an absolute froth. And I, for one, have had enough.

Admittedly, the Global Warming / Climate Change sham has been stuck in my craw since 2008 when I read the 2006 Monnet and Gleason paper “Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea.” This is the paper that Al Gore was most likely citing in his 2006 traveling eco-apocalypse road show “An Inconvenient Truth” when he claimed that, “a new scientific study shows that, for the first time, they’re finding polar bears that have actually drowned…” On reading the Monnett and Gleason paper, even as a layperson, I found the study’s methodology, and therefore Gore’s conclusions on the study, to be highly suspect:

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Unexpected Gifts: Sometimes There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

 

The summer Papa Toad and I traveled out to Oregon from New York, before we had kids, we lived out of our car. The back seat held most of our worldly possessions, including three plants that we brought successfully from New York to Oregon. I had the trunk packed perfectly so that our camping gear and climbing gear were easily accessible. With little savings and no jobs for three months, we lived frugally, camping or staying with friends along the way. After more than two months on the road, we were in beautiful Pinedale, WY. For a radical and fun change of pace, we decided to splurge in an uncharacteristic and shamelessly self-indulgent way and go out for lunch, spending money we didn’t have and putting it on our credit card. We knew that in a couple of weeks we would be gainfully employed again, and we were tired of cookstove camp fare.

We ordered appetizers. We ordered beers. We got dessert. We had cappuccinos. We ate and drank and had a great time. Papa Toad and I were enjoying ourselves mightily. The waitress was charming and made us laugh, the afternoon was filled with golden light and we were filled up to the brim with the pleasure of living.

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Purchasing Privilege

 

When the college admission scandal broke a couple of days ago, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. (I’m known for my brilliant predictions.) I thought, “We’re supposed to be offended because kids are getting into colleges that they would not normally qualify for? Call me when we dump affirmative action. Then, maybe I’ll get offended by this.” But this has been a huge story. It’s all my patients want to talk about on our office visits. So people clearly got more upset about this than I anticipated. I just couldn’t figure out why. So after giving it some thought, I have a theory. I’m still not sure I understand this, but hear me out…

Again, my confusion arises from the fact that we admit unqualified applicants all the time. Depending on the college, it can be 30-50% of the incoming class. The classic example is a black male college applicant. The qualifications he needs to get into, say, Stanford, are a lot different than the qualifications that would be needed for an Asian applicant. You might say, then, that black race is a qualification for college, just like a high SAT score or a high class ranking. That is objectively true, but I look at it slightly differently.

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Let Me Say This About That

 

I support the websites and podcasts that I like by, to the extent possible, buying stuff from their sponsors. Harry’s Shave, Casper mattresses (pillows), Quip. But I would have never bought a “weighted calming blanket.” Sounds like a gimmick. Doesn’t sound comfortable. Wouldn’t it be too hot to sleep in?

The Lovely And Talented Mrs. Mongo bought me one for Christmas. She did it because there are few people with as many and as big sleep dysfunctions as I have. Just trying to help. I kind of rolled my eyes–internally, after about 137 years of marriage, I’ve learned that ensuring the eye roll is solely internal is key to maintaining domestic tranquility–and kind of thought “yeah, whatever.”

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