January 22, 2018

Day 7 Cuban Missile Crisis – USA announces a blockade on Cuba

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 16 Nov 2017

On October 22, 1962 the world is shocked to find out that the US and the USSR are facing off with nuclear arms in the Caribbean. In the world’s first televised announcement of an international military crisis, US President John F. Kennedy sets off panic and sudden fear of a third world war, with nuclear arms involved.

Khosrau Anushirawan: On Top of the World – Extra History – #5

Filed under: History, Middle East, Religion — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Extra Credits
Published on 20 Jan 2018

Plague had brought an end to Khosrau’s war against Justinian, but Justinian’s nephew soon reignited the rivalry. Khosrau was at the peak of his political power and eager to crush this young upstart personally… but old age had also crept up on him.

NFC Championship game – Vikings at Eagles … well, that happened

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

For the first couple of drives, it really did look like the Vikings would earn their first ticket to a Super Bowl in decades, but it didn’t last long. Turnovers on the offensive side of the ball and some real head-scratching missed tackles on the defensive side meant that the Eagles could do very little wrong and ended up with a 38-7 win to seal the NFC title.


Rowan Atkinson Stand Up – 1989

Filed under: Britain, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Just For Laughs
Published on 6 Jan 2016

Rowan Atkinson, actor and comedian best known for his work as Mr. Bean, brings his hilarious physical comedy to the 1989 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.

Just For Laughs is the world’s premiere destination for stand-up comedy. Founded in 1983, JFL produces the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy event every July in Montreal, as well as annual festivals in Toronto and Sydney.

QotD: Expecting far too much from Economics 101

Filed under: Economics, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

James Kwak is the latest to take up the point that Economics 101 isn’t all that good as a basis for designing public policy. To which the answer is, well, yes, of course. Why is anyone in the least bit surprised at this? We don’t use people with two semesters of college French as translators either. Introductory college courses are introductory college courses: that they provide an introduction to a subject and not full access to the deeper secrets of the profession is a surprise to whom? Well, obviously, apparently some rather large number of people but why there’s all this pearl clutching over it being true about economics and economics only is the mystery I suppose


What worries me far more about this discussion is this. Sure, it’s entirely obvious that we shouldn’t be designing public policy on the basis of what econ 101 tells us. But all too many people take that to mean that we should be designing public policy in entire violation of what econ 101 tells us. That the introductory course is not complete, does not contain all of the subtlety of all of the arguments is entirely true. But that doesn’t mean that those basic concepts are wrong, nor that they should be tossed on the bonfire of political wishes either. And that, sadly, is what all too many do. We see it all the time: econ 101 isn’t complete therefore the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs. Econ 101 isn’t everything so therefore trade is a bad idea. As economists agree econ 101 doesn’t describe everything therefore my pet idea in violation of basic principles is right.

That to me is where the danger is: not that people are incorrect in agreeing that there’s more to it than just that introductory class, but that people incorrectly assume that because that is so they can reject what that first class is telling us about the basic of the subject.

Tim Worstall, “Yes, Of Course Economics 101 Is Useless At Designing Public Policy”, Forbes, 2016-05-14.

January 21, 2018

Day 6 Cuban Missile Crisis – Mr. President did you say blockade, or invade Cuba?

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 13 Nov 2017

On October 21 1962, politicians and military in both the US and in the USSR seem to have contradictory views on what to do next. The questions on the table; blockade AND invade Cuba, or just a quarantine? Should the Soviet local commanders on Cuba get to play with the little nukes as they like, or rather wait for permission? When it’s only the world as we know it that’s at stake…

Central Powers Occupation Of Italy I THE GREAT WAR On The Road

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 20 Jan 2018

Visit the Museum: http://bit.ly/MuseiVittorioVeneto

Indy takes a tour through the Museo della Battaglia Vittorio Veneto and explores the Central Powers occupation of Northern Italy and the set up for the famous Battle of Vittorio Veneto.

ESR responds to Megan McArdle’s column on disempowered women

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

A couple of days ago, I linked to one of Megan McArdle’s columns that discussed the oddity that modern day women often feel themselves to have even less agency in their own lives than their mothers or grandmothers did. ESR left a comment at Bloomberg View and then expanded on that comment on his own blog:

It’s not complicated, Megan. You actually got most of it already, but I don’t think you quite grasp how comprehensive the trap is yet. Younger women feel powerless because they live in a dating environment where sexual license has gone from an option to a minimum bid.

I’m not speaking as a prude or moralist here, but as a…well, the technical term is ‘praxeologist’ but few people know it so I’ll settle for “micro-economist”. The leading edge of the sexual revolution give women options they didn’t have before; its completion has taken away many of the choices they used to have by trapping them in a sexual-competition race for the bottom.

“Grace” behaved as she did because she doesn’t have a realistic option to hold out for romance before sex; women who do that put themselves at high risk of not getting second dates, there are too many others willing to play by the new rules. So she has to do sex instead and hope lightning strikes.

Couple this with the fact that as women get on average more educated there are fewer hypergamically-eligible males at every SES, and you have the jaws of a vicious vise. It’s especially hard on high-status women and low-status men. The main beneficiaries are high-status men, who often behave like entitled assholes because the new rules tilt the playing field in their favor even more than the old ones did.

(That last is not aimed at Ansari, who seems to me to have behaved quite like a gentleman, acceding to every request “Grace” actually made. It’s not his fault he couldn’t read her mind.)

I don’t have a fix for this problem. As you imply, if women were able to coordinate a retreat to withholding early sex they would regain some of their lost bargaining power, but I don’t see any realistic possibility of this today. The problem is that the refuseniks from such an agreement trying to form, and the defectors after it formed, would be rewarded with more sex with high-status men, which is exactly what every player on the female side is instinctively wired to want.

Sun Tzu – The Art of War l HISTORY OF CHINA

Filed under: Books, China, History, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 8 Aug 2015

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a book on military strategies written around 500 BC, between the collapse of the Zhou dynasty and the rise of the first emperor of imperial China. Today Tzu’s guidelines are still as applicable as ever. They are still being read by military commanders, politicians and businesspeople all over the world. Also known as “Master Sun’s Military Methods”, the book explains basics like the “Strategy of Attack”, “Moving the Army” and even “Employing Spies” in 13 short chapters, restricting itself to general principles rather than detailed instructions of strategy and tactics. Learn all about this timeless and influential military masterpiece on IT’S HISTORY.

QotD: When to stop reading an article

Filed under: Media, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

I read full-time to edit The Browser, and I abandon a hundred articles for every one that I finish. I generally stop if I hit “eponymous”, or “toxic”, or “trigger warning”, or “make no mistake”. Summary labelling of anything in an article as “complex” means that the writer does not understand or cannot explain the material. I don’t often read beyond headlines that use the words “surprising”, “secret”, “really”, “not” or “… and why it matters”. Any headline ending in a question mark is a bad sign. I know writers don’t usually write their own headlines, but the headline represents a best effort to say what is useful in the article by a sympathetic person who has been paid to read it.

Robert Cottrell, quoted by Tyler Cowen, “When does Robert Cottrell just stop reading? (from the comments)”, Marginal Revolution, 2016-05-19.

January 20, 2018

Looking toward the NFC Championship game on Sunday

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

This Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings go to Philadelphia’s Linkin Park Lincoln Financial Field to play the Eagles for the chance to go to Super Bowl LII. Neither team has ever won a Super Bowl title, and both fanbases are feeling the pressure of “destiny” for this year. The Vikings are the first-ever team to advance to the Conference Championship with hopes of playing the big game in their home stadium. Everyone expects this game to be decided more by the ferocious defences than by any heroics on the offensive side of the ball. At The Daily Norseman, Ted Glover explains why “destiny” is a poor basis on which to predict an outcome of a football game:

What do the Vikes need to do to come home with one more game to play?

Destiny. That’s a dangerous word, and it’s used a lot right now, by both the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles. After the Minneapolis Miracle, it’s hard not to think there’s something special going on in Minnesota right now, yet the Eagles have continued winning without Carson Wentz, and dispatched the defending NFC Champions last week. Both franchises have storied yet unfulfilled histories, and both fan bases firmly believe fate and destiny is on their side this time:

Destiny and fate aren’t going to bring home a win on Sunday, though. Solid, fundamental football will, and if the Vikings are going to get to the Super Bowl, here’s what they’re going to need to do.

Survive the initial wave of emotion. In the aftermath of the Saints game Minneapolis Miracle, a lot of folks asked me who I would have rather the Vikes played, Atlanta or Philadelphia. My answer was and still is Atlanta. Matt Ryan is better than Nick Foles, but the rest of the Falcons team isn’t as good as Philly, and Atlanta would have been a home game. Lincoln Financial Field is going to be a madhouse, and the energy level will be off the charts. The Eagles are 7-1 at home this year, and have scored first five times.

My big worry with this game is that the Eagles will feed off of that, jump out to a quick lead, and then the Vikings will start pressing. Things will then compound and steamroll, and we’ll be in for a long day. Minnesota’s 6-2 road record is impressive, but consider: their two losses came at the hands of two playoff teams, Pittsburgh and Carolina. In both games the home team jumped out to quick leads, and the Vikings could never dig themselves out of a hole.

In all eight of their road games this year, the home team scored first in six of them, and that is something the Vikings must avoid at all cost on Sunday.

But the flip side to that if the Vikings can survive that wave, and maybe get an early lead in Philly, it’s really going to affect that crowd. Look, in some ways, these two fanbases are kindred spirits in terms of their team’s fatalism and belief in being cursed. We don’t boo Santa or throw batteries at him like Philly Fan, but if Minnesota can go up say 10-0 or 14-0 early, that crowd is going to get uneasy. If the crowd can get taken out of the game, they could even start to turn on the home team the later the game gets. That could be an advantage for the Vikings and it might make Philly press, and hopefully things will start snowballing in the wrong direction for them.


Prediction: Last week, I felt supremely confident that the Vikings would handle their business against the Saints, and do it by a fairly comfortable margin. At halftime, I felt like a genius. With 10 seconds left in the game, I was questioning every life decision that brought me to that point in Vikings fandom.

The last time I had that much of an emotional swing in that compressed amount of time was in Afghanistan, in 2001. I’m 100% serious. Now granted, the emotions I felt were kinda sort different (abject misery to pure bliss in 10 seconds vs. stark raving terror, the most relieved I’ve ever been X1000 that I’m still alive, then utter fury at those bastards so let’s bring the bad attitude right f***ng now boys in about half a second), and I never want to go through that kind of swing again.

I won’t avoid it this week either, at least I don’t think so. This game is going to be a nail biter, the two best teams and the two best defenses going toe to toe for three hours. It’s going to come down to the last possession, and someone will make a play we’re going to talk about for years.

Vikes win, 16-13.

Skol. Let’s Bring It Home.

My crystal ball has been cloudy for most of the season, which is why I’m only at number 27 of 98 in the DN Pick ‘Em NFL pool, but I see the outcome a tiny bit higher-scoring at Minnesota 17, Philadelphia 14. I desperately hope we’re both right about the winning team this time around.

Day 5 Cuban Missile Crisis – President Kennedy Considers War

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 9 Nov 2017

On Saturday October 20th, 1962, US President John F Kennedy moves to side more with the hawks advising a forceful response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meanwhile in Moscow, the Soviets now believe that they deterred the Americans from using force.

Lindsay Shepherd discovered “that not only are critiques of social justice not taught, they aren’t even to be acknowledged”

Filed under: Cancon, Education, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In Quillette, Uri Harris writes about the trainwreck Jordan B. Peterson interview on UK Channel 4 with Cathy Newman, where Newman appeared to be unable to engage with his arguments, as though she was previously unaware of their existence. Harris also briefly touches on the background to the WLU kerfuffle with Lindsay Shepherd which I think explains a lot about how that incident was triggered:

When Lindsay Shepherd was reprimanded last year by three Wilfrid Laurier faculty members for showing her class a video clip from a televised debate on gender pronouns, Shepherd’s professor Nathan Rambukkana wrote an apology drawing attention to his teaching style. He wrote: “[T]here is the question of teaching from a social justice perspective, which my course does attempt to do.”

When I contacted Lindsay Shepherd earlier this month, she told me that she didn’t know Rambukkana taught from an explicitly “social justice” perspective. However, after going through the syllabus, she realised he had talked about it in his Week 2 lecture, and that the reading material that week also mentioned it. Yet even then, she said, she was unaware how loaded the term “social justice” is and how it often aligns with censorship and one-sidedness. Her response when I asked her whether she recognised various social justice terms was:

    My undergraduate degree is in Communication from Simon Fraser University, and the gist of my program was learning about power; mostly power as it manifests in media and media industries. I was very accustomed to talking about feminism, racism, and oppression. Less so the other terms you mention, which I only became more acquainted with in my graduate degree program, and many of them as a result of the Laurier incident — i.e. I was unaware of any substantial critique of intersectionality, gender theory, and critical theory, as we were only taught them from the “social justice perspective.”

Shepherd had lots of exposure to a social justice perspective, but only from within the perspective itself. She was taught social justice beliefs but had never been taught to critique those beliefs. When she came across a professor who did just that—Jordan Peterson—she found it interesting and new, even while disagreeing with him. (She later came to realise he may have been right about the legislation he was criticising.) So she shared a clip of the debate with her students, and only afterwards did she discover that not only are critiques of social justice not taught, they aren’t even to be acknowledged.

The methodology underpinning much of the social justice perspective is known as critical theory. What’s notable about critical theory is that it specifically distinguishes itself from ‘traditional’ theories through its emphasis on criticism. This makes the apparent unwillingness of its adherents to engage with criticism themselves especially noteworthy. When you explicitly emphasise your criticality and base your theory on a commitment to look beneath appearances and see things as they really are, you don’t get to be selectively critical.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Consummate Civil Servant

Filed under: Britain, Government, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 3 Feb 2017

From Yes Minister S03E06: “The Whisky Priest”

QotD: The modern English ruling class

Filed under: Britain, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The theme is to understand what has happened to England over the past 20 years. The people who rule us are not socialists in any meaningful sense. Nothing of what is happening to us can be explained in terms of the usual terms of debate used in the 20th century. What we have is a new ruling class. Its core is people whose legitimising ideology is cultural leftism, and who are imposing this via a police state at home and military force abroad. They have merged with a much older corporate elite. They have massively enlarged the military and police arms of the State. Until about 30 years ago, they were denouncing these three forces. But they have now spread their ideology to their former enemies, and thereby cleansed them of evil. They seek absolute and unaccountable power, and the consequent destruction of ancient liberties and intermediary institutions, by insisting on the absolute goodness of their legitimising ideology and the absolute evil of the various “hates” they are combating. They control business and education and the media, and politics and law and administration, and every medical bureaucracy. They are embedded in every main religion except Islam. They are absolutely supreme in every transnational bureaucracy.

As an aside, I suggest that the European Union is evil not because it is run by Frenchmen and Germans, or whatever. Let’s be reasonable – rule from Paris or Berlin would not in itself be catastrophic. It isn’t evil because our own liberal institutions are being destroyed – these have already been destroyed. It is evil because it is another place from which the new ruling class of the English world can exercise absolute and unaccountable power to reshape us as they desire.

A good British example of what is being done to us is the Stephen Lawrence circus. Two men faced 20 years of administrative and legal harassment and media vilification. They were finally brought to trial and convicted on the basis of what looks like fabricated evidence. One of them could only be tried after the very ancient protection against double jeopardy had been stripped out of the Common Law. Had this been done to Sinn Fein/IRA terrorists, there would – rightly – have been howls of outrage. In this case, the entire ruling class set up a squeal of delight. Nothing – certainly not due process or even common decency – can be allowed to stand in the way of crushing racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, or any other excuse for not joining in the Potemkin love feast of the new ruling class.

Other examples are the persecution of Emma West, the persecution of Christian hoteliers who won’t rent out rooms to homosexuals, refusal to let devout Christians foster children, denial of NHS treatment to people who live other than as directed, the attempted use of sporting associations to brainwash the white working classes. These really are all examples of the same war against bourgeois civilisation.

Sean Gabb, quoted in “Wayne John Sturgeon talks to Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance”, Sean Gabb, 2013-08-26.

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