09 Apr 2014

Mozilla

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09 Apr 2014

Thigh Holsters

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Thigh holsters, how to wear them? On the inside or the outside of the leg?

From Volk Net via Vanderleun.

08 Apr 2014

Ezra Klein and the Identity-Protective Cognition Syndrome

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Little Ezra Klein published on Sunday, in Vox, a must-read article making the intelligent point that political arguments are commonly not decided on the basis of facts and evidence, and that even intelligent people, when faced with information contrary to their preferred beliefs, tend to use their intellectual skills to manipulate or evade in favor of preserving their positions, rather than revising their own opinions on the basis of better arguments or the facts.

[T]here are some kinds of debates where people don’t want to find the right answer so much as they want to win the argument. Perhaps humans reason for purposes other than finding the truth — purposes like increasing their standing in their community, or ensuring they don’t piss off the leaders of their tribe. If this hypothesis proved true, then a smarter, better-educated citizenry wouldn’t put an end to these disagreements. It would just mean the participants are better equipped to argue for their own side.

Quite amusingly, Ezra then proceeds, quite unconsciously, to demonstrate the truth of all of this in the real world by selecting as examples of “identity-protective cognition” classic current left-right controversies like “climate change.” Ezra then proceeds to treat the left’s side of the argument as factual and decisive, diagnosing people on the other side, like Justice Antonin Scalia, as afflicted with delusional infatuation with identity precluding perception of the force and authority of the other side’s arguments.

Poor Ezra is hilariously oblivious to his own delusion-inducing investment in his identity as an elite member of the enlightened community of fashion, which his own belief system supposes inevitably knows the truth about matters of fact like Anthropogenic Climate Change and every issue of public policy.

Hat tip to Bull Dog.

08 Apr 2014

Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophers

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(click on image for complete comic)

Kant should avoid playing with those 20th century wet ends.

Hat tip to Leah Libresco.

07 Apr 2014

Knocking Down a Silo

,

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

07 Apr 2014

Mozilla

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07 Apr 2014

New “Game of Thrones” Season

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unknown


Leaf from the Morgan Bible, French, northern France, about 1250, MS. LUDWIG I 6.

The Getty:

Drama. Politics. Romance. Bloodshed. Dragons. Medieval Times.

These are not just descriptors of our illuminated manuscripts, but also celebratory words to commemorate the return of Game of Thrones!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through medieval masterpieces.

All Men Must Die.

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo.

——————————-

Ed West, at Breitbart, argues that “Game of Thrones” provides a better education in Medieval History than you’ll get at one of our PC universities these days.

Most historical fiction basically features a protagonist with 21st century values wearing a codpiece; I gave up on the Tudors when Cardinal Wolsey started giving a lecture on why we needed a ‘European community’. Most people in Britain think the EU is a pretty stupid idea today; in the 16th century it would have been inconceivable, even if Wolsey’s Treaty of London talked about ‘perpetual peace’ in Europe (a peace that was broken almost immediately, because that’s how things were).

Even the most sympathetic characters in Thrones, and I won’t give any spoilers for season four, end up doing some appalling things in the later books, not because they’re villains but because that’s the way the world was then, and how it is for much of humanity today. Bloody awful.

But there is a deeper implication for the success of Thrones; most people in England would be pretty ignorant about these historical parallels, because of the revolution in history teaching that took place in the dark, sexually weird decade that was the 1970s, part of a wider cultural revolution aimed at transforming western societies (and which has its parallel in the US).

Whereas my father’s generation would have learned about the kings of England at school, the bloody battles and usurpations, the poisonings, the tortures and the love affairs, and King Harold getting shot in the eye, by the time I was taught the subject the sort of questions we were asked went along the lines of ‘How would the social changes experienced during the 15th century have impacted on a female weaver living in Norfolk?’ Or ‘Look at Source A and Source B; what differences can you spot and why might that have been? Anyway, children, next term we’ll be reading about the Nazis. Again.’

06 Apr 2014

A Tour of British Accents

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06 Apr 2014

Scottish Dragon

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Mike Townend of Aberdeen, Scotland recently produced, and shared on the salmon fly tyers’ group on Facebook, what he called:

“A new family pet for my grand-daughter. It is a newly hatched wee Scottish dragon. Here are a couple of facts about it. It is over 16″ long with an over 12″ wing span and I would advise you once it is fully grown to lock up your beasties, this may become an animal and the hook is a 6/0 ever so slightly long.”

Mike’s dragon is a tour-de-force of fly-tying and a spectacular exhibition piece. I don’t expect a lot of people could compete with either Mike’s tying or his materials collection. This dragon has got enough rare and exotic materials in it that it would have to cost like a used car.

06 Apr 2014

Abel Davis (14 February 1925 — 30 September 2013)

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Abel Davis riding an event course on Solvay.

Catching up with my back issues of Chronicle of the Horse, I found in the December 16, 2013 issue the obituary of another great sportsman.

Money quote:

“When his cardiologist advised him to quit polo, Mr. Davis took up three-day eventing at Goose Downs Farm (N.M.). ‘I think his doctor only agreed because he didn’t know what three-day eventing was,’ said Audrey Hays, his second wife.”

Horseman Abel Davis died at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque on Sept. 30 due to complications from a chronic spinal cord injury. He was 88.

Mr. Davis was born on Feb. 14, 1925, to Gen. Abel Davis and Marjorie Mayer Davis in Glencoe, Ill.

At 18, Mr. Davis was drafted into the 14th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. He served in World War II, and on Jan. 1, 1945, he was shot five times during the Battle of the Bulge. He received a Purple Heart and spent 1½ years recovering in Virginia hospitals.
Mr. Davis’ first job was selling “Big Yank” overalls. He moved to Chicago, where he started one of the first direct mail businesses in the country, National Business Lists, and raised four children with his wife of 46 years, Susan Frank.

He spent free time foxhunting and skiing with his family in Aspen, Colo., and moved permanently to Tesuque, N.M., after he sold the business in 1968.

Together with Philip Naumberg, Jim Alley and Jim Ritchie, he established the Santa Fe Polo Grounds (later renamed the Santa Fe Horse Park and now called the Santa Fe Equestrian Center).

When his cardiologist advised him to quit polo, Mr. Davis took up three-day eventing at Goose Downs Farm (N.M.). “I think his doctor only agreed because he didn’t know what three-day eventing was,” said Audrey Hays, his second wife.

At 75, Mr. Davis achieved his goal of competing preliminary with his mount, Sir Francis Drake.

In addition, he was a whipper-in for the Juan Tomás Hounds (N.M.) for 20 years.

At 80, he broke his neck in a jumping accident, but he still took dressage lessons after recovering.

“After they made him, they broke the mold,” said Audrey. “He marched to the beat of his own drum. He bought all of his horses young and green and brought them up himself. There was no way you could tell him to get off his horse when he was older.”
He was a founding member of the Tesuque Volunteer Fire Department and an avid animal lover, who was known for his pack of red Dobermans.

Mr. Davis was preceded in death by his wife, Susan, and daughter, Leslie Davis. He is survived by his second wife, Audrey; his daughter Patricia Willson and her husband, Rich, of Albuquerque; his daughter Lauren Davis and her husband, Charles Stathacos, of Croton, N.Y.; his son Jad Davis and his wife, Sarah, of Santa Fe, N.M.; his son-in-law Bill Lazar and his wife, Lynn Rosen, of Bozeman, Mont.; and four grandchildren.

05 Apr 2014

A Thought Experiment

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imagine life is a novel

and a group of especially obnoxious characters declare they are smarter, nobler, and kinder than everyone else, and are foreordained to rule, lifted on the wave of history.

How do you think it ends?

From Happy Acres via Vanderleun.

05 Apr 2014

Rather Pretty Car

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c.1957 Maserati 450S Costin-Zagato Coupe (Maserati Factory) | Gelatin Silver Print: Jesse Alexander

Wikipedia:

Maserati 450S (built 1956-1958) were nine racing cars made by Maserati of Italy, and used in FIA’s endurance World Sportscar Championship racing.

[The automobile in the above photo must be] Chassis #4501 [which] had a 4.2-litre V8, based on the prototype raced at 1956 Mille Miglia and 1956 Swedish Grand Prix. A clutch failure after a very promising start in the Buenos Aires 1000 km by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio prevented the car from commencing the season with a win. The car was redesigned to a coupe drawn by Frank Costin of England, constructed by Zagato, and raced once again by Stirling Moss at Le Mans where it failed to finish. Later, the car was restored by Medardo Fantuzzi of Maserati (new chassis #4512); later by Faralli & Mazzanti.

Via Ratak Mondosico.

04 Apr 2014

Even Some Lefties Are Outraged by Mozilla CEO’s Ouster for Thought-Crime

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Mozilla to Brendan Eich: “But don’t do it here!”

New York Times:

In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.

On Thursday, Brendan Eich, who has helped develop some of the web’s most important technologies, resigned under pressure as chief executive of Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, just two weeks after taking the job. The reason? In 2008, he donated $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a California measure that banned same-sex marriage.
Brendan Eich, creator of the JavaScript programming language, was appointed Mozilla’s chief executive on March 24. MozillaBrendan Eich, creator of the JavaScript programming language, was appointed Mozilla’s chief executive on March 24.

Once Mr. Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public, the reaction was swift, with a level of disapproval that the company feared was becoming a threat to its reputation and business. …

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act,” wrote Mitchell Baker, the executive chairwoman of Mozilla. “We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

—————————-

Rather astonishingly, a couple of prominent commentators on the left came out solidly in defense of liberal (in the classical liberal sense) values.

Andrew Sullivan (who I think is often dead wrong) was courageously right on this one.

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Andrew deserves one of his own Yglesias awards.

—————————-

Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan’s former employee, now at the Atlantic, was equally forthrightly on the good side this time.

[N]o one had any reason to worry that Eich, a longtime executive at the company, would do anything that would negatively affect gay Mozilla employees. In fact, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, his longtime business partner who now defends the need for his resignation, said this about discovering that he gave money to the Proposition 8 campaign: “That was shocking to me, because I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness.” It’s almost as if that donation illuminated exactly nothing about how he’d perform his professional duties.

But no matter.

Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society.

Consider an issue like abortion, which divides the country in a particularly intense way, with opponents earnestly regarding it as the murder of an innocent baby and many abortion-rights supporters earnestly believing that a fetus is not a human life, and that outlawing it is a horrific assault on a woman’s bodily autonomy. The political debate over abortion is likely to continue long past all of our deaths. Would American society be better off if stakeholders in various corporations began to investigate leadership’s political activities on abortion and to lobby for the termination of anyone who took what they regard to be the immoral, damaging position?

It isn’t difficult to see the wisdom in inculcating the norm that the political and the professional are separate realms, for following it makes so many people and institutions better off in a diverse, pluralistic society. The contrary approach would certainly have a chilling effect on political speech and civic participation, as does Mozilla’s behavior toward Eich.

Its implications are particularly worrisome because whatever you think of gay marriage, the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo. There is very likely hypocrisy at work too. Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would’ve argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO’s ability to do his job? They’d have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they’re averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.

Most vexing of all is Mozilla’s attempt to present this forced resignation as if it is consistent with an embrace of diversity and openness. Its public statements have been an embarrassment of illogic, as I suspect the authors of those statements well know. “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech,” the company wrote. “Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

This is a mess.

—————————-

The hell of it is: Google is just as PC totalitarian as Mozilla. This blog was suspended by Google from its advertising program one day, abruptly, and with no prior notice, for having published, years earlier, examples of cartoons criticizing Islamic religious attitudes by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Google’s cryptic communications indicated that I was expected to purge from this blog every potentially controversial item critical of Islam which Google might object to, and then beg them to take me back. I sent Google an email inviting them to kiss my ass.

I’m seriously thinking of going Linux on my next PC.

04 Apr 2014

Mechanics Illustrated Scoops MSM

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Dragonmaster Chow carries a Smith & Wesson .45.

Glenn Reynolds was amused the other day when he found the gun-running scandal involving Democrat State Senator Leeland Yee (who represents San Francisco & San Mateo County and who was, when the scandal broke, running for Secretary of State) was getting coverage from Popular Mechanics, while being studiously ignored by CNN.


Esquire magazine
picked up the Popular Mechanics “Leeland Yee-supplied guns” feature, but the MSM is generally ignoring all this, classifying the matter as merely “local news.”

Leeland Yee was honored in 2006 by the Brady Campaign
for “gun violence prevention” for his co-athoring a bill requiring semiautomatic handguns (not sold covertly by State Senator Yee) to include ballistics identification microstamping.

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