Small Hours Links

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the proliferation of expressions beside “links.”

Gordo has a post-mortem of my interview with Katie. Surprisingly, he doesn’t think I came off bad; clearly, it indicates that he’s delusional. His take on the disagreement I had with Katie about living the movement is,

As an individual, I can “live” my antipoverty agenda by selling everything I own and giving the money to the poor. A middle class person might temporarily lift a half dozen people out of poverty this way. But the sacrifice is so great, and the payoff so small, that few people will be willing to do this. In the end, you can’t make much of a dent in poverty if you demand that everyone make profound changes in their lives in order to participate at all.

Instead, one could advocate an expansion of the welfare state. The expansion that American welfare state underwent in the 1960s had the effect of reducing poverty by 2/3, with relatively little sacrifice on the part of any individual.

On the other hand, listening to the interview, and checking that I indeed sound really bad in it, I’ve found a good piece of schadenfreude about Katie. Quoting Michael Moore, I said, “Recycling is like going to church – you do it once a week so that you can go back to living a life of sin.” Katie stellarly rebutted, “I’m talking about recycling as, you know, you do it every day.”

Amanda attacks the idea that women who are highly educated have trouble finding husbands. Miranda of Sex and the City may intimidate people with her Harvard degree, but in the real world, she’d be desirable to enough men that she’d never have any trouble finding a husband she could love.

Truly, I love this cliche of popular culture, the girls that are afraid that they won’t be able to catch a man, with the unspoken assumption that any fool will do. Can’t handle the fact that you went to Princeton? Well, good thing women never, ever have standards.

However, after establishing that she supports female desperation if necessary, Vanderkam then gives us hope: Such desperation is not necessary! See, apparently the whole myth that educated women can’t get married is not true at all.

GrrlScientist is back on the block, with not just interesting if silly quizzes and cynical dictionaries, but also thought-provoking posts about climate change, poverty, and birds. Now she has a post quoting John McCain who, true to his maverick image, said,

“I think I’d just commit suicide,” McCain told reporters, to accompanying laughter from Republicans standing with him. “I don’t want to face that eventuality because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

PZ fisks a stupid article claiming that since much of the genetic variation between humans and chimps is on the Y chromosome, it follows that the success of homo sapiens is due to aggressive male behavior.

No monogamy gene. No sports fan gene. No hyperactive remote control button pressing gene. Why, there isn’t any simple correspondence between any gene and stereotypical behaviors anywhere—it’s as if behavior is an emergent property of the interactions of many genes throughout the genome and the environment, rather than a facile mapping of a complex phenotype to a short stretch of nucleotides.

Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns, and Money notes that “Evidence cannot discredit revolutionary doctrine, as the revolutionaries simply interpret new evidence in whatever way they see fit,” and proceeds to show that the military doctrine of air power is worthless.

I won’t bore you with additional quotes, as General Dunlap launches from this into simple fantasy, asserting against all evidence that US ground forces had no major impact on the collapse of Iraqi forces, that attempts to develop a counter-insurgency strategy to fight in Iraq amount to “fighting the last war”, and that developing an Arabic linguistic capability is useless.

Echidne reports about new anti-abortion ads, which try to argue that abortion is just a way of sterilizing black people but end up depicting black people stereotypically.

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background. “The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual’s right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don’t they want our lives?”

Actually, in the US black babies are terminated at a little over double the rate of white babies. The USA’s white infant mortality is 5.5, while its black infant mortality is 12. But the US has the best health care in the world – every opportunistic politician says so, so it must be true.

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