Jihadi Hates Holiday Travel

When the flight to Detroit started boarding, the concierge told me to keep quiet and he would take care of the check-in. The US State Department agent asked to see my passport, and the concierge explained that I was a Somali refugee. So she looks at her computer screen and says, “um, I'm afraid there's a problem, this passenger's name is on a watch list.” Oh, great. Looks like my dad is playing Mr. Buzzkill again, just because I took that semester off from Oxford to go backpacking in Yemen. So I showed her my official State Department visa.

So I'm like, “honey, do I look like I'm a US military veteran?”

“No.”

“Do I look like I'm some sort of right wing anti-tax teabagger?”

“No.”

“Do I look like anybody else on the DHS terrorism danger list?”

“No, but…”

“Then I suggest that unless you want a nasty anti-discrimination lawsuit on your hands, you'd best give me an aisle seat. With extended legroom.”

That shut her up.

via iowahawk: Man, Do I Hate Holiday Travel. Read the whoel thing; hilarious and insightful.

The truth about airplane security measures. – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims. Our civil aviation is only the most psychologically frightening symbol of a plethora of potential targets. The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about “endless war,” accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high.

via The truth about airplane security measures. – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine.

Logical Fallacy vs Bayesian Reasoning

Most fallacies aren’t really fallacies when you reinterpret them as Bayesian reasons to give an idea more credence rather than iron-clad syllogisms. Without the “argument from authority” and the “ad hominem fallacy”, you would either never get lunch or you’d give all your money to Nigerian spammers.

via Climate Change and Argumentative Fallacies.

Married (Happily) With Issues

In psychiatry, the term “good-enough mother” describes the parent who loves her child well enough for him to grow into an emotionally healthy adult. The goal is mental health, defined as the fortitude and flexibility to live one’s own life — not happiness. This is a crucial distinction. Similarly the “good-enough marriage” is characterized by its capacity to allow spouses to keep growing, to afford them the strength and bravery required to face the world.

via Married (Happily) With Issues – NYTimes.com.

On Breaking Up Big Banks

As to libertarians, certainly in a world with no deposit insurance or government guarantees I could argue against government interference in the structure of private banks. But banks are not private in this country. They are quasi-public institutions (and if you read Niall Ferguson you might conclude that large banks have always been quasi-public institutions). There is a synergy between big banks and big government. Jefferson and Jackson were right. So breaking up big banks fits in with breaking up big government. Which is why we won't see the Progressive elite breaking up big banks.

via The Harvard-Goldman Filter, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Single-Solver Problems

My theory—call it the “Oakley effect”—is that really smart people often don’t know how to accept and react constructively to criticism. (A neuroscientist might say they “have underdeveloped neurocircuitry for integrating negatively valenced stimuli.”) This is because smart people are whizzes at problems that only need one person to figure out. Indeed, people are evaluated from kindergarten through college prep SATs on the basis of such “single solver” problems. If you are often or nearly always right with these kinds of problems, your increased confidence in your own abilities would be accompanied by an inadvertent decrease in your capacity to deal with criticism. After all, your experience would have shown that your critics were usually wrong.

But most large-scale societal issues are not single solver problems. They are so richly complex that no single person can faultlessly teach him or herself all the key concepts, which are often both contradictory and important. Yes, smart people have an advantage in dealing with such problems, because they’ve got natural brain-power that allows them to hold many factors in mind at once, bringing formidable problem-solving skills to bear. But smart people have a natural disadvantage, too: they’re not used to changing their thinking in response to criticism when they get things wrong.

In fact, natural smarties—the intellectual elite—often don’t seem to learn the art of soliciting the criticism necessary to grasp the core issues of a complex problem, and then making vital adaptations as a result. Instead, they fall in naturally with people who admire, rather than are critical, of their thinking. This further strengthens their conviction they are right even as it distances them from people of very different backgrounds who grasp very different, but no less crucial aspects of complex problems. That’s why the intellectual elite is often branded by those from other groups as out of touch.

via Kiss my APA! | Psychology Today.

The First Sign Of Corruption

At the heart of the Left’s indulgence of political corruption lies the mistaken conviction that “public service” transforms politicians into exemplars of civic virtue, or that political office attracts a large percentage of such civic-minded individuals. In reality, the political class is even more greedy and selfish than wealthy businessmen… because they spend much of their time in the company of such wealthy men, and believe themselves entitled to riches and luxuries.

The mythic ideal of Cincinnatus, the selfless citizen-legislator who reluctantly leaves his farm to serve the Republic, is incompatible with the combination of endless incumbency and gigantic amounts of government power. We are foolish to place our trust in a system that requires an impossible level of virtue from politicians to function as designed. A limited government can better protect the economic health of its citizens by policing corruption from the private sector, under the direction of term-limited representatives who will never become worth the risk of buying off. The larger government becomes, the more its arrogant ruling class believe themselves worthy of royal treatment… and the more justified they feel about lying to the public for their own good. That is why the climate change elite gathered in Copenhagen this week is outraged that anyone would dare question their right to save a foolish world from itself, by lying through its teeth in a bid to seize power.

via The Greenroom » Forum Archive » The First Sign Of Corruption.

Call Girls Out-Class Mistresses

A mistress is fundamentally riskier than a call girl because her idea of one-upmanship is getting the man in trouble with his wife or primary partner, to break up his main relationship. This wasn't as likely in the good old days, when mistresses and prostitutes had more in common—but Jamie and Jaimee are modern women. These are not your grandfather's mistresses. That's why, perhaps, they feel entitled to sell their stories to the tabloids.

A call girl's idea of one-upmanship—which is far more beneficial to the men she sees—is being more discreet than the next girl. If she does a better job of protecting her customer's marriage than anyone else, that's a point of professional pride.

via Call Girls Out-Class Mistresses – The Daily Beast.

Fast Facts About Climategate

* The consensus is not scientific as much as it is political.

What we find out from the emails is that Jones and a number of others were using underhanded manipulations to suppress scientific publications that disagreed with the CO2-caused AGW theory. There is no scientific consensus if all the science isn’t being considered.

* There’s a difference between “global warming,” “anthropogenic (caused by humans) global warming,” and “anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2.”

*

* The Climategate files don’t call global warming into question, but they make some of the science of anthropogenic global warming more suspect, and they make it clear that “forcings” other than CO2 have not been fairly considered.

* There has clearly been significant warming in the last 400 years — since the “Little Ice Age”. That’s how we know it was the Little Ice Age.

* There is good reason to believe that humans may be accounting for some warming — and some cooling, for that matter. But we don’t know how much.

* The case for all or most of the warming being due to CO2 was not as unquestionable as it was presented to be, and from the Climategate files we know that even that case was being slanted significantly.

* There is more than one “smoking gun” email (see here, here, here, here, here, and more)

* … but the program codes are much more significant than the emails

* … and the program codes will be yielding new surprises for a while to come.

via Pajamas Media » Fast Facts About Climategate.

Protectionism == Stupid

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is upset that Adidas will shift its manufacturing of National Basketball Association jerseys from New York to Thailand, and he menacingly calls upon the N.B.A. to terminate its contract with Adidas (”Sen. Schumer rips Adidas for outsourcing of NBA jerseys,” Dec. 2).

I wonder where Mr. Schumer’s business suits are made. All in the U.S.? What about his shoes? His neckties? His underwear? The watch on his wrist? How about the coffee he drinks? The flowers he buys for his wife in January? Are these all made in America?

I don’t know Mr. Schumer personally, but I’ll bet my pension that his everyday consumption consists of countless products containing such large quantities of non-American inputs and labor that, were Mr. Schumer to rid his existence of these foreign contributions to his living standard, he would soon find himself dark-ages ignorant and appallingly impoverished.

via Personal Foul.