Some good blogging going on. Here are a few I liked from the past few weeks.
STAY IN YOUR CAR! Blogger M.G. at Those Who Can See explores the analogy of urban America as a safari park.
Safari safety guide:
“Always stay in your car when driving in a game park. Only get out at designated ‘hides’ and follow the rules that will be posted. I have personally known of several fatalities that have occurred because a hapless tourist has wandered out of his vehicle, camera in hand, to get a closer shot of an elephant or lion. It may sound silly, but it happens.”
As the Zimmerman case has shown, haplessly wandering outside of one's vehicle around deadly wildlife can indeed be risky.
True fate of the Ugly Duckling. Every non-native Chinese-language learner notices how many idioms and proverbs there are warning of the danger of not conforming: “Light a fire against the wind and you’ll get burned” (???????), “The outlying shoots [i.e. in a bamboo grove] are the first to get broken off” (???????), “The leading bird [in a flight of birds] gets shot” (?????), “Death comes without sickness when a thousand people point” (????????), “The tall tree catches the wind” (????), etc., etc., etc. (You usually hear “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” in this context, but Chinese friends tell me that one’s actually Japanese.)
Well, the Offbeat China blog has a much longer and, to my mind, rather disturbing specimen.
More on Dads and Cads. If Olympic medals were awarded for Not Suffering Fools Gladly, Greg Cochran (co-author with Henry Harpending of this classic in popularization of the human sciences) would have a couple of golds on his mantelshelf; but there’s no doubt Greg has one of the most interesting minds in America.
Here he looks at dadding from the nutritional angle.
(A few weeks ago Greg posted witty comments on this 12-year-old National Geographic piece about Gypsies, the specter currently haunting Europe. It reminded me how infuriating to the people of Romania must be the current fad of calling Gypsies “Roma.” Romania has a lot of Gypsies, but most Romanians—29 out of 30—are not Gypsies. Only a dwindling minority of non-Romanians now know this. Can’t we go back to calling Gypsies “Gypsies”? Or would that just infuriate Egyptians?)
Does inbreeding make a population dumber? No, says a research study that’s been bouncing around the human-science blogs, not at least if it’s English and Welsh people doing the inbreeding. hbd*chick begs to differ.
Hatefacts go down the memory hole. Steve Sailer commented on the astonishing admission in President Obama’s Friday speech that “there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent.”
A commenter named "David" posted this, remarking on the disappearance of certain Bureau of Justice Statistics tables.
I’ve noticed that the (in)famous table 42 of the National Crime Victimization Survey (race of victim by perceived race of attacker) has gone missing. At least, I can't find it.
That moved me to comment:
The 2008 table is still there (scroll down on this PDF), but if the corresponding table has been published for later years, I can't find it.
Something must have happened in 2008 to change the data analysis methodology. What can it have been? 2008? . . . No, can't think of anything.
Can multi-racial society work? From back in February, but well worth bookmarking, AlfredWClark at Occam’s Razor offers a summary of the track records of multiracial societies.
The works of giants crumble. Daniel Greenfield at the Sultan Knish blog has an angrily elegiac piece commemorating the first moon landing, which took place 44 years ago yesterday.
No one who was born after 1935 has walked on the moon. That period is swiftly becoming a historical relic. A thing that men did who lived long ago. A great work of other times like the building of dams and fleets, the winning of wars and the expansion of frontiers.
Those are things that the men of back then did. Those are not things that we do anymore.
Creation just happened! Finally, raising our eyes from these clayey concerns, the anonymous blogger at Outside In wonders at how extraordinary it is that we are so close in time to the Big Bang:
The unit of Planck time—corresponding to the passage of a photon across a Planck length—is about 5.4 x 10-44 seconds . . . The difference between a second and the age of the universe is smaller that that between a second and a Planck Time tick by nearly 27 orders of magnitude. In other words, if a Planck Time-sensitive questioner asked “When did the Big Bang happen?” and you answered “Just now”—in clock time—you’d be almost exactly right . . .
The take-away: the principle of Isotropy holds that we should not find ourselves anywhere special in the universe, and yet we do—right at the beginning. More implausibly still, we are located at the very beginning of an infinity (although anthropic selection might crop this down to merely preposterous improbability).
Existence is a funny old business, no doubt about it.