Archive for August, 2016
28 Aug 2016

From Twitter

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Tweet192

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

27 Aug 2016

50 Years On

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Yale2020
The Yale Class of 2020 arrived yesterday.

I felt older than dirt yesterday, when I (a member of the Yale Class of 1970, which arrived in New Haven in early September, 1966) got to read, via the Yale News:

(emphasis added)

Members of the Yale College Class of 2020 will arrive on campus today, taking part in one of the university’s most beloved traditions: freshman move-in day. The 1,373 new freshmen traveled from all 50 states and 50 different foreign countries to New Haven, where Yale President Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway, the deans and heads of the 12 residential colleges, and hundreds of student volunteers will officially welcome the newest members of the Yale community. …

More than 12% of the class attended high school abroad, and more than 60% of students from the United States attended a public high school [Up a whopping 2% in 50 years! –JDZ].

Students in the class speak more than 60 different languages, and 36% of freshmen speak a language other than English at home. Their hometowns range in size from fewer than 200 to more than 10 million. More than 200 freshmen are eligible for a federal Pell grant for low-income students, and 52 will receive a new Yale College Start-up Fund as part of the new $2 million undergraduate financial aid initiative announced last December. …

The Class of 2020 will include more U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group (43%), more students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college (15%), more international students (12%), and more students who are planning to major in a science or engineering field (46%) than any previous class in the university’s history. The class was selected from Yale’s largest-ever freshman applicant pool, which saw record numbers of applications in all of the above groups. A detailed profile of the Class of 2020 is available on the undergraduate admissions website, admissions.yale.edu. …

[T]he new freshmen all share an impressive record of academic success, extracurricular accomplishment, and community engagement, said Quinlan, noting that admitted students have reached some of the highest possible levels of achievement in the performing arts, scientific research, creative writing, global and community-based service leadership, athletics, entrepreneurship, technology, and political activism.

Members of the freshman class hold patents and run their own businesses. Their scientific pursuits have earned recognition from Intel, FIRST Robotics, the Siemens Foundation, Google, and Apple. They have performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. They have designed software that thousands of people use around the world. Their activism has spurred the creation of new academic courses, new laws, and new international organizations. Their writing has reached thousands of people through international publications and prestigious award programs. They have won state, regional, and national athletic competitions. Many have balanced their academic and extracurricular pursuits with extensive paid work experiences and caregiving responsibilities to support their families.

Yale 1970 differed from Yale 2020 in being about a third smaller. Our class was made up of 1025 “male leaders.” No coeducation yet back then.

But Yale was no less boastful back then about Yale’s commitment to meritocracy:

[T]he Class of 1970, arrived on campus in the fall of 1966. It was composed of 58 percent public school students, the highest percentage of high school students of any class in Yale history, and a jump from 52 percent the previous year. The class drew on more public schools than any other class (478), but also more private schools (196).

For the first time, the rate of matriculation of financial aid applicants was higher than for non-financial aid applicants. Financial aid jumped to nearly $1 million, 30 percent above what it had been the year before; gift aid from the University increased by almost 50 percent. The class included more minorities of every kind. …

The Class of 1970 entered with the highest SAT scores in Yale’s history; a student who scored its mean SAT verbal mark of 697 would have been in the 90th percentile of the Class of 1961, and the 75th percentile of the Class of 1966. Put in a national context, half of the incoming freshmen scored in the top 1 percent nationally on the verbal SAT. These SAT marks were higher than those scored by the incoming class at Harvard, also a first for Yale. By year’s end, the Class of 1970 would score an average mark of 81, another school record. [Grades were numerical and very stingy back then. -JDZ]

How else were things different?

I expect you would have seen a lot fewer freshman moving in dressed in short pants.

There were a lot fewer African Americans, and those who were admitted got in much more on the up-and-up. Totally blatant Affirmative Action had yet to arrive. There were basically no Asians or Hispanics or Amerindians at all. A 43% class composition today of self-identified whiny minorities vulnerable to trigger warnings and looking for safe spaces, lest somebody fail to protect them from uncomplimentary Halloween costumes, strikes me as very possibly excessively large.

We certainly had nothing like a third of the class coming from non-English-speaking homes.

We had, we thought, pretty good geographical distribution from all over the United States, but nothing like 12% of foreigners. When, one wonders, did Yale acquire such a major and distinct responsibility for supplying international leadership?

Looking at the detailed 2020 Class profile, I see that 13% are legacies. I am smiling reading that, because the 1999 “Birth of a New Institution” article was bragging that Inky Clark reduced legacy admissions (for my own era) to between “14.5 percent and 12 percent.”

1970 vs. 2020:

58% public school vs. 60% public school

“between 12 and 14.5% legacies” vs. 13% legacies

La plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

27 Aug 2016

World’s Oldest Revolver, 1636 not 1597

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You are thinking “the Colt Patterson of 1836,” aren’t you?

This video and stories all over the Internet attribute this 8-shot very early flintlock revolver on the basis of the maker’s mark to Hans Stopler of Nuremburg, who apparently began working in 1597. They then date the weapon to 1597, despite the plaque listing its owner as Georg von Reichwein dated 1636.

1636 is early enough for me, making the date of the production of the first revolver an even 200 years before Samuel Colt’s Patterson model.

Hat tip to Guns America.

26 Aug 2016

Oh, Well!

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InTrumpWeTrust

Tweet191

26 Aug 2016

C.S. Lewis’s Reading List

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CSLewis

Intellectual Takeout:

Brenton Dickieson has done something kind of cool.

He has taken C.S. Lewis’ book An Experiment in Criticism—in which Lewis attempts to answer the question “what makes a great book?”—and listed in chronological order all of the great books that Lewis references.

The list serves not only as a window into the knowledge-base of one of the great authors of our time, but also as a reading program for those interested in preserving a Western tradition that is in danger of being forgotten.

26 Aug 2016

Top Ten Signs Your Child May Be Alt-Right

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Pepes

If you find any of these signs, take immediate steps.

26 Aug 2016

Possible Crusader-Era Hand Grenade

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CrusaderGrenade
Centuries-old hand grenade found in the sea just off the coast of Northern Israel.

Fox News:

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16th century, experts say.

Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume.

The oldest items found in the sea by Mazliah are a toggle pin and the head of a knife from the Middle Bronze, which date back more than 3,500 years. Ayala Lester, a curator at the Israel Antiquities Authority, explained that other items, such as two mortars, two pestles and candlestick fragments, date to the 11th-century Fatimid period. “The items were apparently manufactured in Syria and were brought to Israel,” she said, in a statement. “The finds are evidence of the metal trade that was conducted during this period.”

26 Aug 2016

The Community of Fashion and the Democrat Party

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ObamaMarthasVinyard
Obama & admirers on Martha’s Vinyard

From Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? (March 15, 2016):

I am thinking here of the summertime residents on Martha’s Vinyard –the sorts of people to whom the politicians listen with patience and understanding. No one treats this group as though they have “nowhere else to go”; on the contrary, for them, the political process works wonderfully. It is responsive to their concerns, its representatives are respectful, and the party as a whole treats them with a gratifying deference.

For them, the Democrats deliver in all the conventional ways: generous subsidies for the right kinds of businesses, a favorable regulatory climate, and legal protection for their innovations. Hillary Clinton’s State Department basically declared access to certain Silicon Valley servers to be a human right.

Then there are the psychic deliverables –the flattery, for starters. To members of the liberal class, the Democratic Party offers constant reminders that the technocratic order whose upper ranks they inhabit is rational and fair –that whether they work in software or derivative securities they are a deserving elite; creative, tolerant, enlightened. Though it is less tangible, the moral absolution in which Democrats deal is just as important. It seems to put their favorite constituents on the right side of every question, the right side of progress itself. It allows them to understand the war of our two parties as a kind of cosmic struggle between good and evil— a struggle in which they are on the side of light and justice, of course…. And what is rightest and most inspiring about it is the Democrats’ prime directive: to defeat the Republicans, that unthinkable brutish Other. There are no complexities to make this mission morally difficult; to the liberal class, it is simple. The Democratic Party is all that stands between the Oval Office and whomever the radicalized GOP ultimately chooses to nominate for the presidency. Compared to that sacred duty, all other issues fade into insignificance…. The Democrats posture as the ‘party of the people’ even as they dedicate themselves ever more resolutely to serving and glorifying the professional class. Worse: they combine self-righteousness and class privilege in a way that Americans find stomach-turning. And every two years, they simply assume that being non-Republican is sufficient to rally the voters of the nation to their standard….”

Hat tip to Althouse.

25 Aug 2016

Trump Flipflops on Immigration

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TrumpWarning

Personally, I prefer Trump’s position on immigration now that he has flipflopped, but Ann Coulter, poor girl!, is having kittens over it, and just two days after her very own pro-Trump campaign book was released.

InTrumpWeTrust

What do you suppose all the Trumpkins who stay on board are going to say when Trump starts revising his position on Gun Control? and when he announces his new and thoroughly-revised list of potential Supreme Court appointees?

25 Aug 2016

A Periodic Table of Literary Villains

25 Aug 2016

Fisherman’s Good Luck Charm Identified as $100 Million Pearl

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giantpearl

New York Post:

A fisherman in the Philippines is happy as a clam after discovering that a mammoth pearl he stashed away for 10 years under his bed is worth a cool $100 million.

The lucky angler, who has not been identified, discovered the 75-pound pearl — believed to be the biggest ever — in the sea off Palawan Island, the Mirror of the UK reported.

Unaware of the giant pearl’s value, he kept it as a good-luck piece under his bed until a fire in his home forced him to move. The superstitious fishermen then decided to hand it over to the tourism office in remote Puerto Princesa, city officials said.

A stunned tourism officer determined that the pearl, measuring a foot wide and 2.2 feet long, dwarfs the official current record holder — the $35 million, 14-pound Pearl of Allah, which in 1934 was also found off Palawan.

“The fisherman threw the anchor down and it got stuck on a rock during a storm,” tourism officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao explained. “He noticed that it was lodged on a shell and swam down to pull up the anchor, and also brought the shell with him.

“He didn’t know how much it was worth and kept it tucked away at home as a simple good-luck charm,” she added. …

Officials plan to keep the fisherman’s pearl in the Philippines in a bid to increase tourism to the area.

Giant clams, which rarely produce pearls, can grow as large as four feet in length and weigh 500 pounds. They’re typically found in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean.

24 Aug 2016

Somebody Had To Do It

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SmugglerRoad

BBC:

Alexander Laznenko of the Smolensk Region Border Agency tells Tass news agency that the smugglers used heavy earth-moving equipment at night to “widen and raise the gravel track, and put in more turning and passing points” — right under the noses of the local authorities.

Earlier this month, customs officers ambushed a convoy of nine lorries there laden with 175 tonnes of Greek and Polish fruit worth 13m roubles (£154,000; $200,000), but are none the wiser about who upgraded the road through the tiny Russian village of Klimenki.

Local administration chief Sergei Listopadov said villagers have come forward to say they saw crews working on the road earlier this year. He joked to RIA Novosti news agency that he’d like to write their mysterious benefactor a “letter of thanks” for improving a road that only a horse and cart could negotiate before.

But Mr Laznenko doesn’t see the funny side. He says customs officers have put the 4.5km (2.7 mile) track under constant surveillance but, as they do not have the authority to barricade or dig it up, they will have to rely on catching the smugglers out.

Russia announced a ban on food imports from the European Union last year, in retaliation for an EU trade embargo over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Since then, the number of lorries crossing legally from Belarus has increased dramatically in the last year to 73,000, all of which Russian customs have to inspect for banned foodstuffs, Mr Laznenko says.

Social media users tend to agree with Mr Listopadov, though. “At least someone is maintaining our roads,” one person writes, a sentiment echoed in many other comments on RIA Novosti’s site. Some even suggest the smugglers should form a party to stand in next month’s parliamentary elections on a “Let our lorry through, and we’ll fix your potholes” platform.

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