Archive for February, 2015
28 Feb 2015

Iowahawk on Net Neutrality

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Tweet74

Tweet75

28 Feb 2015

.44 Magnum Versus Balloons

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28 Feb 2015

Net Neutrality

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netregs

27 Feb 2015

Regionalisms

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io9:

In Sweden, they say “yes,” by inhaling air into the mouth.

One reader adds that they do it in Northern Ireland, too.

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In the neighborhood of my Allegheny foothills Pennsylvania farm, there is PA Dutch influence on speech: “That field needs mowed.” And there is the Scots Irish habit of adding a superfluous repetitive confirmatory clause, “So there is.”

27 Feb 2015

What Colors Are This Dress?

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Dress

Everybody on Tumblr seems to be arguing today about the color of the above dress. Buzzfeed

I don’t see what the argument is all about, it looks perfectly obvious to me, but my wife likes this kind of thing so I felt obliged to blog it.

The Dress That Broke the Internet

Gizmodo solved it.

27 Feb 2015

East Meets West

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DragonTeapot

Miyata Nobukiyo: Dragon Teapot, c.1876, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

A well-modeled oriental dragon and Hokusai-style waves ornamenting a teapot with chaste, classical Adam lines.

When the Imperial Government banned the carrying of swords in 1876, makers of tsuba (Japanese sword guards), like Miyata Nobukiyo (Goto School, 1817-1884) found themselves obliged to apply their skills, formerly used to ornament the weapons of aristocratic warriors, to luxury products designed for Western sale.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

27 Feb 2015

Drinking in Lithuania

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Zane Lamprey, back in the 2006-2010 era, was presenter of a drinking program called Three Sheets which ran on the Travel Channel and some other obscure cable networks.

All the clowning and low comedy is actively annoying, but persons of Lithuanian descent like me will find the survey of Lithuanian beverages and drinking customs worth a watch.

26 Feb 2015

Islamic State Destroying Antiquities at Mosul and at Nineveh

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ArtifactDestruction

Conflict Antiquities has numerous images, demonstrating one more reason why the civilized world should not tolerate the activities or the existence of this insane regime.

WingedLionDestroyed

26 Feb 2015

The Unknown President

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ObamaWorship

Monica Crowley explains exactly why Mayor Giuliani’s expression of doubt about Obama’s love of America hit such a mainstream media nerve.

The issue raised by Mr. Giuliani’s comment is not whether or to what extent Mr. Obama loves his country. It is also not about Mr. Obama’s patriotism or lack thereof.

The real point is as true as it is frightening: Six years into Mr. Obama’s presidency, the man is still a stranger.

That’s what Mr. Giuliani was really getting at when he said, “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America . He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With one pointed barb, Mr. Giuliani reminded us that even well into the middle of Mr. Obama’s second term, we still know so little about him.

Starting with his first major speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the mainstream media fell head over heels for him. When he announced a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2007, that same media became John Cusack’s character in “Say Anything,” hoisting a boombox of love toward his window. And once he became president, they all but declared that they wanted to have his baby.

As a result of their stalkerish obsession, the media never vetted Mr. Obama. While they have made sport of rummaging through Republican candidates’ garbage, college records and past romantic relationships, they refused to do even rudimentary investigative work into Mr. Obama’s background, education, family, friends and professional associates. Digging into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s college years is called “vetting.” Digging into Mr. Obama’s college years is called “racism.”

They still refuse to do it. His college and law school records remain sealed, his “career” as a community organizer remains murky, his family background and early childhood in Indonesia remain murkier, and details about his ideological education from Communists such as Frank Marshall Davis and radicals such as Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright remain largely unexplored.

It’s no wonder that questions about Mr. Obama’s very essence are still being kicked around. No one — Mr. Obama first and foremost — has ever answered them.

After all, he set out to become what he called a “symbol of possibility.” Such “symbols” didn’t engage in such pedestrian activities as full disclosure.

26 Feb 2015

Camille Paglia Interviewed

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CamillePaglia1

Really intelligent leftists, like Camille Paglia, have an alarming tendency to talk exactly like conservatives.

In your view, what’s wrong with American feminism today, and what can it do to improve?

After the great victory won by my insurgent, pro-sex, pro-fashion wing of feminism in the 1990s, American and British feminism has amazingly collapsed backward again into whining, narcissistic victimology. As in the hoary old days of Gloria Steinem and her Stalinist cohorts, we are endlessly subjected to the hackneyed scenario of history as a toxic wasteland of vicious male oppression and gruesome female suffering. College campuses are hysterically portrayed as rape extravaganzas where women are helpless fluffs with no control over their own choices and behavior. I am an equal opportunity feminist: that is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women’s advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women, which I reject as demeaning and infantilizing. My principal demand (as I have been repeating for nearly 25 years) is for colleges to confine themselves to education and to cease their tyrannical surveillance of students’ social lives. If a real crime is committed, it must be reported to the police. College officials and committees have neither the expertise nor the legal right to be conducting investigations into he said/she said campus dating fiascos. Too many of today’s young feminists seem to want hovering, paternalistic authority figures to protect and soothe them, an attitude I regard as servile, reactionary and glaringly bourgeois. The world can never be made totally safe for anyone, male or female: there will always be sociopaths and psychotics impervious to social controls. I call my system “street-smart feminism”: there is no substitute for wary vigilance and personal responsibility.

Briefly put, what is post-structuralism and what is your opinion of it?

Post-structuralism is a system of literary and social analysis that flared up and vanished in France in the 1960s but that became anachronistically entrenched in British and American academe from the 1970s on. Based on the outmoded linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and promoted by the idolized Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault, it absurdly asserts that we experience or process reality only through language and that, because language is inherently unstable, nothing can be known. By undermining meaning, history and personal will, post-structuralism has done incalculable damage to education and contemporary thought. It is a laborious, circuitously self-referential gimmick that always ends up with the same monotonous result. I spent six months writing a long attack on academic post-structuralism for the classics journal Arion in 1991, “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf” (reprinted in my first essay collection, Sex, Art, and American Culture). Post-structuralism has destroyed two generations of graduate students, who were forced to mouth its ugly jargon and empty platitudes for their foolish faculty elders. And the end result is that humanities departments everywhere, having abandoned their proper mission of defending and celebrating art, have become humiliatingly marginalized in both reputation and impact.

25 Feb 2015

“Liberalism Fills the Missing Space Once Inhabited By Religion and the Family”

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Eric Fischl, The Old Man’s Boat and the Old Man’s Dog, 1982. –Our time’s version of The Raft of the Medusa.

And Dan Greenfield argues that it really does not do a terribly good job.

Liberalism has become a revolt against the middle class that its grandparents struggled to reach, a rejection of their “materialism” while substituting the “ethical materialism” of liberalism in its place that envisions a much smaller upper and middle class that derives its wealth and power not from hard work in the private sector, but highly profitable social justice volunteerism in the public sector.

An American Dream of universal prosperity has been pitted against the left’s dream of a benevolent feudal system in which the few will be very well paid to oversee the income equality of the many.

25 Feb 2015

The Cursing Stone of Carlisle

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CursingStone1
CursingStone2

In 1525, the Archbishop of Glasgow Gavin Dunbar issued a very sternly worded curse to a large group of robbers and highwaymen who operated along the English-Scottish border,

“I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without. I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home; I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house; I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds; their crops, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock; their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare. May all the malevolent wishes and curses ever known, since the beginning of the world, to this hour, light on them. May the malediction of God, that fell upon Lucifer and all his fellows, that cast them from the high Heaven to the deep hell, light upon them.May the fire and the sword that stopped Adam from the gates of Paradise, stop them from the glory of Heaven, until they forebear, and make amends. May the evil that fell upon cursed Cain, when he slew his brother Abel, needlessly, fall on them for the needless slaughter that they commit daily.May the malediction that fell upon all the world, man and beast, and all that ever took life, when all were drowned by the flood of Noah, except Noah and his ark, fall upon them and drown them, man and beast, and make this realm free of them, for their wicked sins. May the thunder and lightning which rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah and all the lands surrounding them, and burned them for their vile sins, rain down upon them and burn them for their open sins.May the evil and confusion that fell on the Gigantis for their opression and pride in building the Tower of Babylon, confound them and all their works, for their open callous disregard and oppression. May all the plagues that fell upon Pharaoh and his people of Egypt, their lands, crops and cattle, fall upon them, their equipment, their places, their lands, their crops and livestock.May the waters of the Tweed and other waters which they use, drown them, as the Red Sea drowned King Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, preserving God’s people of Israel.May the earth open, split and cleave, and swallow them straight to hell, as it swallowed cursed Dathan and Abiron, who disobeyed Moses and the command of God. May the wild fire that reduced Thore and his followers to two-hundred-fifty in number, and others from 14,000 to 7,000 at anys, usurping against Moses and Aaron, servants of God, suddenly burn and consume them daily, for opposing the commands of God and Holy Church. May the malediction that suddenly fell upon fair Absalom, riding through the wood against his father, King David, when the branches of a tree knocked him from his horse and hanged him by the hair, fall upon these untrue Scotsmen and hang them the same way, that all the world may see. May the malediction that fell upon Nebuchadnezzar’s lieutenant, Holofernes, making war and savagery upon true Christian men; the malediction that fell upon Judas, Pilate, Herod, and the Jews that crucified Our Lord; and all the plagues and troubles that fell on the city of Jerusalem therefore, and upon Simon Magus for his treachery, bloody Nero, Ditius Magcensius, Olibrius, Julianus Apostita and the rest of the cruel tyrants who slew and murdered Christ’s holy servants, fall upon them for their cruel tyranny and murder of Christian people. And may all the vengeance that ever was taken since the world began, for open sins, and all the plagues and pestilence that ever fell on man or beast, fall on them for their openly evil ways, senseless slaughter and shedding of innocent blood. I sever and part them from the church of God, and deliver them immediately to the devil of hell, as the Apostle Paul delivered Corinth. I bar the entrance of all places they come to, for divine service and ministration of the sacraments of holy church, except the sacrament of infant baptism, only; and I forbid all churchmen to hear their confession or to absolve them of their sins, until they are first humbled by this curse. I forbid all Christian men or women to have any company with them, eating, drinking, speaking, praying, lying, going, standing, or in any other deed-doing, under the pain of deadly sin. I discharge all bonds, acts, contracts, oaths, made to them by any persons, out of loyalty, kindness, or personal duty, so long as they sustain this cursing, by which no man will be bound to them, and this will be binding on all men.I take from them, and cast down all the good deeds that ever they did, or shall do, until they rise from this cursing. I declare them excluded from all matins, masses, evening prayers, funerals or other prayers, on book or bead; of all pigrimages and alms deeds done, or to be done in holy church or be Christian people, while this curse is in effect. And, finally, I condemn them perpetually to the deep pit of hell, there to remain with Lucifer and all his fellows, and their bodies to the gallows of Burrow moor, first to be hanged, then ripped and torn by dogs, swine, and other wild beasts, abominable to all the world.And their candle goes from your sight, as may their souls go from the face of God, and their good reputation from the world, until they forebear their open sins, aforesaid, and rise from this terrible cursing and make satisfaction and penance.

In 2001, as part of Carlisle’s millennium celebrations local artist Gordon Young carved 383 words of the curse into a 7.5 ton granite boulder. The floor of the display where it is kept features the names of the families the curse was directed towards. Since then, local livestock herds have been wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease, a devastating flood has struck the city, factories have closed, and the Carlisle United soccer team dropped a league.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

25 Feb 2015

How Accurate Was Artillery During the American Civil War?

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Pretty darned accurate.

Whitworth breechloading rifle

24 Feb 2015

Does Obama Love America?

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ObamaAnthem

John Steele Gordon also has his doubts.

The president is on record as saying he’s a Christian and so most people simply accept the assertion. To be sure, it’s not exactly unprecedented for people to say things that aren’t true (ask Brian Williams), and one can only wonder how many of the tenets of the Nicene Creed Obama actually takes seriously. But because we are not given the power to see into other men’s souls, we accept his assertion and move on.

But has he ever said he loves this country? Perhaps, especially as a prelude to criticizing it for some lapse from perfection, but I don’t know of an instance. He is very much on record as denying American exceptionalism, which is pretty startling for the head of state of a country as exceptional as this country actually is (a topic for another post).

He has openly expressed his contempt for tens of millions of his fellow citizens who are not part of the liberal intellectual and financial establishment, mocking them for clinging to “God and guns,” which is a pretty startling statement for a Christian.

And he is the only head of state in all human history, as far as I know, and I know a fair amount about history, whose core foreign-policy operative principle has been to diminish the power and influence of the country he heads. He wants to lead from behind if we lead at all, and he clearly thinks that America is more often a part of the problem than a part of the solution.

So perhaps he loves this country and perhaps he doesn’t. He reminds me of the sort of parents who say they love their children, but only criticize them, while holding other children up as examples to be emulated. Parents like this, when their children are grown-up, wonder why they never come to visit them. They don’t understand that love is a two-way street. As someone who aspires to be a “world transformative figure,” Obama might want to consider that. But I doubt he will.

Read the whole thing.

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