Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jay Nordlinger:
There are four versions of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. . . . Earlier this month, one version of The Scream sold at auction for $120 million. The seller said that the painting “serves as a warning about climate change.”

Ladies and gentlemen, is it just me, or has the world gone stark-raving mad, where the climate is concerned? I mean, just bonkers.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tide commercial:

New and improved Tide commercial:

I love that he didn't overdo it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two on crows: "6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think," from Cracked; and "Frequently Asked Questions About Crows," by Dr. Kevin J. McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. From the latter:
Crows do have one endearing characteristic that is apparently not shared by other birds. They will get to know people as individuals. While you can get chickadees to eat out of your hand, any old hand will do, and I suspect that the chickadees do not know you as an individual. Crows will! If you toss them peanuts (I recommend unsalted, in the shell) on a regular basis, they will wait and watch for you. Not just any person, but you. If you do this often enough, they will follow you down the street to get more. I have made a point of getting on the good side of a number of crow families around Ithaca. Some will follow my car down the street, and if I don't notice them and toss them peanuts they will dash across the windshield to let me know they are there. Some of these crows recognize me far from their home territories, way out of context. (It did, however, take some of them a long time to learn to recognize my new car.) So indulge yourself and makes some personal friends with the crows. That is the preferred relationship, because they also are happy to turn this talent of recognition to the darker side, and treat you as an enemy. (Again, not just all people, but YOU.) Because I climb to crow nests to band young birds, many crows in Ithaca know me and hate me. Whenever they notice me in their territory they will come over and yell at me. They will follow me around and keep yelling for as long as I am there. Believe me, it's better to be on their good side than their bad side!
A few crows have been squabbling outside my house this weekend. I went searching the Web to see if anyone likes the noise they make, because I sure don't. I think Dr. McGowan may qualify.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

David P. Goldman:
The southern Europeans want a nanny state, but they don’t want to pay taxes. They want Germany to pay their taxes for them.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some science items via ScienceDaily's (free) newsletter:
For the first time scientists have succeeded in taking skin cells from heart failure patients and reprogramming them to transform into healthy, new heart muscle cells that are capable of integrating with existing heart tissue.



A new study by civil engineers at MIT shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation's roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent -- a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion at today's oil prices.



Rapid DNA sequencing may soon become a routine part of each individual's medical record, providing enormous information previously sequestered in the human genome's 3 billion nucleotide bases.



When mice on a high-fat diet are restricted to eating for eight hours per day, they eat just as much as those who can eat around the clock, yet they are protected against obesity and other metabolic ills, the new study shows.
Daniel Casey, who played Sergeant Gavin Troy in the first twenty-nine episodes of Midsomer Murders:
John [Nettles, star of the series] and I got on really well, from the first day really. The first scene we shot, we had to drive up in a car outside a murder scene, stop, get out, have a bit of a chat and walk in the house. I drove up, I stopped, I got out, said my line... and all I could hear was shouting from inside the car. I’d parked about an inch from a wall and John couldn’t open the door. He was saying ‘ambitious little swine, isn’t he?!’

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From Joshua Davis at Wired, a gripping story of cousinly envy and cultural spite: "The Stalking of Korean Hip Hop Superstar Daniel Lee."

Later: Here's the most recent information I can find on the defamation trial. The commenters seem to be strongly with Lee.

(Edited since originally posted.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I just submitted this comment on an article about same-sex marriage:
One commenter keeps asking, e.g., "How is 2 men/women getting married going to affect anyone else's marriage in any way?"

I've seen this question before, and the answer's always seemed to me obvious. A straight young man who sees two men marrying is less inclined to marry. Straight young men (hereinafter SYM) generally want to be not-gay. That gay men like something makes SYM dislike it and seek to avoid being identified with it. You can consider that reaction shallow or primitive, but it's endemic among SYM. (I don't know single young women's reaction to seeing two women marry.)

It's like when you notice some doofus wearing clothes you were considering buying. Suddenly they hold less appeal.
Later: Another commenter reminds me that John Derbyshire made the same point (far better) in a 2003 column. Worth (re)reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

I find John Derbyshire's controversial column typically excellent, and most of the commentary on it disappointing. In response to writers lamenting the prejudice and danger innocent blacks face from bigoted whites, Derbyshire warns his children of the prejudice and danger innocent whites face from bigoted blacks. If his piece is unacceptable why aren't the others? Where's the condemnation of, for instance, Darryl E. Owens?

Derbyshire offers a few further thoughts here. Here's an interview from soon after the ruckus began. And here's the text of an address he gave this year on the future of race relations. It is, as his work tends to be, learned, lucid and generous of spirit.