Quotulatiousness

June 16, 2017

Italian Mountain Warfare – The Espionage Act I THE GREAT WAR Week 151

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 15 Jun 2017

WW1 Flying Event: http://bit.ly/TGWStowMaries

The US entry into the war had raised some pretty unrealistic expectations among the Allies. When General Pershing arrived in Britain, King George personally told him how he looked forward to the 50,000 US airplanes soon in the air. At the same time the Italians start an offensive in the Trentino and attack Mount Ortigara.

Coyote Blog going dark? Say it ain’t so!

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 05:00

Sadly, it appears that Warren Meyer is thinking of closing down his excellent blog:

I am not sure I am able to continue blogging in the current environment. When I began blogging over 12 years ago, it was to report on my various adventures in trying to run a small business. It soon morphed into a platform for me to think out loud about various policy issues. For example, while I didn’t really understand this when I started, it became a platform for me to think through mistakes I made in my initial enthusiasm for the Iraq War. You can see me in the early years evolve from a kind of knee-jerk global warming absolute denier to a lukewarmer with much more understanding of the underlying science. I think of myself as an intellectual (though one who cannot spell or proof-read) who likes to discuss policy.

But I am not sure this is the time for that. The world seems to be moving away from intellectualism. I say this not because Trump voters were somehow rejecting intellectualism, but because intellectuals themselves seem to be rejecting it. They act like children, they are turning universities into totalitarian monocultures, and they compete with each other to craft mindless 140-character “gotchas” on Twitter. I challenge you to even find a forum today for intellectual exchange between people who disagree with one another. In politics, Trump clearly rejects intellectualism but for whatever reasons, the Democratic opposition has as well.

We have a tribal war going on in this country that has officially gone beyond any real policy issues. While the US and the Soviet Union had real differences in philosophy and approach, most of their confrontations were in proxy wars which bore little resemblance to these values. That is what politics are now — a series of proxy wars. We spend several days focusing attention on Jeff Sessions, but spend pretty much zero time talking about real issues like approaches to the drug war, and police accountability, and sentencing reform. Instead all we can focus on is the political proxy war of this stupid Russia hacking story. Obama’s birth certificate and Hillary’s servers and Russian hacking and Trump’s real estate sales — all we fight are proxy wars.

And like most tribal warfare, the two tribes are incredibly similar. I have called them the Coke and Pepsi party for years. Go talk to the the rank and file and sure, one group may like Nascar and barbecue while the other likes Phish concerts and kale, but you will see them asking for the same sorts of things out of government. Take the minimum wage, a traditional blue tribe issue. In Arizona, a heavily red state (we have a super-majority in the legislature of the red team), a $10 minimum wage referendum passed by nearly 60% of the vote last year. The members of the two tribes absolutely hate each other, but they support the same laws. I guess I should be happy they don’t get together, since as a libertarian I think many of these things they want are bad ideas.

I frequently link to Coyote Blog, as I find his analysis of issues to be though-provoking and often well worth sharing — despite his addiction to the archaic, pre-digital age “two spaces after a period” typing tic. I’ll be sorry to see him go.

“Who knew, either, that there was so much hate within the left?”

Filed under: Britain, Media, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Julie Burchill on her relatively recent discovery of the depths of hate members of the left have for the rest of us:

Growing up in a communist household, I thought ‘Tory’ was a curse word till I was a teenager. My father was the kindest and, yes, most noble of men — maybe the fact that his socialism was a product of being genuinely working class, rather than a pose struck to impress/shame others, had something to do with it — but I had no idea until Brexit of the bigotry that lurks within the Brotherhood of Man. We are often reminded of the ‘hatred’ the referendum and recent election ‘stirred up’ in our society — warned off democracy by those who would control us for our own good, as if we were wayward children eyeing the biscuit tin. What these sorrowing sad-sacks fail to add is the hate comes largely from their side. Too much democracy has merely flushed the poison out. Brexit did indeed unleash hate — but the hate it unleashed was not that of the British for foreigners but rather of the liberals for the masses.

It sounds strange coming from someone who has made a lovely life out of peddling vitriol for pleasure and profit, but I’ve been amazed — and not a little amused, comparing their swivel-eyed social media savagery with their mollycoddling manifestos — at the level of nastiness that the Great and the Good (or, as I think of them, our Betters and Wetters) have displayed over the past year. During my entire career of evil, from 17-year-old enfant terrible to 57-year-old grande dame, I only recall wishing death on one person — well, two: the Eurythmics. But my dad, when he shouted ‘Tory!’ at the TV, was content to leave it at that.

What my dad didn’t do, unlike Alastair Campbell, was compare those who thought differently from him to jihadists. He wouldn’t, unlike Julian Barnes, have wanted those who thought differently from him ‘punished’ by an unelected club of bureaucrats. Unlike Ian McEwan, he didn’t look forward to a time when those who’d voted differently from him were ‘freshly in their graves’. He wouldn’t, as Paddy Ashdown did, have referred to those who disagreed with him as ‘Brownshirts’.

My dad left school at 14. He had no privilege. Yet he knew more and was capable of far more decent behaviour than these privileged, highly educated men. He was from the working class, so he knew better than to dismiss the working class for thinking that they deserve something better than sleeping six to a room and working weekends for the minimum wage. If he’d seen the tax-avoiding multi-millionaire Bob Geldof and his boatful of Remainer mates mocking a flotilla of men worried about making a living under EU rules, he’d have known which one was the ship of fools.

Canada’s oldest wind farm shutting down but “if there is an incentive, we’d jump all over that”

Filed under: Business, Cancon, Government — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The owner of the oldest operating wind farm in Alberta is desperately hoping for a big government subsidy to replace the old wind turbines at their Cowley Ridge facility:

The oldest commercial wind power facility in Canada has been shut down and faces demolition after 23 years of transforming brisk southern Alberta breezes into electricity — and its owner says building a replacement depends on the next moves of the provincial NDP government.

TransAlta Corp. said Tuesday the blades on 57 turbines at its Cowley Ridge facility near Pincher Creek have already been halted and the towers are to be toppled and recycled for scrap metal this spring. The company inherited the now-obsolete facility, built between 1993 and 1994, as part of its $1.6-billion hostile takeover of Calgary-based Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. in 2009.

“TransAlta is very interested in repowering this site. Unfortunately, right now, it’s not economically feasible,” Wayne Oliver, operations supervisor for TransAlta’s wind operations in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod, said in an interview.

“We’re anxiously waiting to see what incentives might come from our new government. . . . Alberta is an open market and the wholesale price when it’s windy is quite low, so there’s just not the return on investment in today’s situation. So, if there is an incentive, we’d jump all over that.”

In February, TransAlta president and chief executive Dawn Farrell said the company’s plans to invest in hydroelectric, wind, solar and natural gas cogeneration facilities in Alberta were on hold until the details of the province’s climate-change plans are known.

What You Need to Know About Glue | WOODWORKING BASICS

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 22 Apr 2016

Gluing is an essential part of woodworking. Here are the basics to get you started. Please read the full article for more info ►► http://bit.ly/Gluing

Near the end of the video, he mentions the glue I’ve been using pretty much exclusively since I got started in woodworking: Weldbond. It works as well as he says, and as a result, I don’t have much experience using other glues for woodworking projects.

QotD: Cultural decline markers

Filed under: Education, History, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

In response to my previous post noting that the Flynn effect turns out to be a mirage, at least two respondents have suggested that average IQ has actually been falling, and have pointed to the alleged dumbing-down of politics and popular culture in the last fifty years.

I think both those respondents and the psychometricians are correct. That is, it seems to me that during my lifetime I’ve seen evidence that average IQ has risen a little, but that other traits involved in the “smart or stupid” judgment have eroded.

On the one hand, I’ve previously described the emergence of geek culture, which I take among other things as evidence that there are more bright and imaginative individuals around than there were when I was a kid. Enough of us, now, to claim a substantial slice of turf in the cultural marketplace. This good news is reinforced for me be the explosive growth of the hacker community, which today is easily a hundred times the size it was in, say, 1975 — and far larger than I ever dreamed it would be then.

On the other hand, when I compare Americans today to the country of my childhood there are ways the present comes off rather badly. We are more obese, we have shorter attention spans, our divorce rate has skyrocketed. All these and other indicators tell me that we have (on average) lost a significant part of our capacity to exert self-discipline, defer gratification, and honor contracts when the going gets tough.

To sum up, we’re brighter than we used to be, but lazier. We have more capacity, but we use less of it. Physically and mentally we are self-indulgent, flabby, unwilling to wake up from the consumer-culture dream of entitlement. We pursue happiness by means ever more elaborate and frenetic, diminishing returns long since having set in. When reality hands us a wake-up call like 9/11, too many of us react with denial and fantasy.

This is, of course, not a new complaint. Juvenal, Horace, and Petronius Arbiter wrote much the same indictment of their popular culture at the height of the Roman Empire. They were smart enough to understand, nigh on two millennia ago, that this is what happens to elites who have it easy, who aren’t tested and winnowed by war and famine and plague and poverty.

But there are important differences. One is that while decadence used to be an exclusive problem of the upper crust, we are all aristocrats now. More importantly, where the Romans believed that decadence in individuals and societies was inevitable, we know (because we’ve kept records) that as individuals we are taller, stronger, healthier, longer-lived and more intelligent than our ancestors — that, in fact, we have reaped large gains merely within the last century.

We have more capacity, but we use less of it. And, really, is it any surprise? Our schools are abandoning truth for left-wing bullshit about multiculturalism and right-wing bullshit about “intelligent design”. Our politics has become a wasteland of rhetorical assassinations in which nobody but the fringe crazies believe even their own slogans any more. Our cultural environment has become inward-turned, obsessed with petty intramural squabbles, clogged with cant. Juvenal would find it all quite familiar.

Eric S. Raymond, “People Getting Brighter, Culture Getting Dimmer”, Armed and Dangerous, 2005-08-28.

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