We are at a particularly contentious point in American politics. In all of it, there is a lot of finger-pointing. We blame the party bosses, the media, big money, lobbyists, extremists, and our own elected officials. Oh, and partisan politics: the worst bastards that every walked the Earth are our beloved fellow American sitting across … [Read more…]
In high school it was a great surprise for me to discover that the United States is overwhelmingly protestant. Living in Cajun country, I had simply assumed that most of the country was Roman Catholic. There are so many fascinating quirks and oddities that living in a ‘foreign’ culture offers. There are the differences of … [Read more…]
In one of the recent presidential debates, a panelist asked Ben Carson what he would do about ‘grey’ drugs, life-saving medicines that have recently seen astronomical price inflation. My ears perked up. For some time I have wondered about how we might resolve the tension, and where the balance point lies, between the considerations of … [Read more…]
One of the problems I see in so much of human activity is that we tend to conflate value with perfection. Too often, we think that ‘good’ means ‘flawless.’ I see this in medicine and biology, where some of my colleagues speak in hushed tones about the earlier scholars who generated fundamental ideas. It’s hero … [Read more…]
In previous posts we have been looking at functional definitions of liberal and conservative: not which is right or wrong, but when they are right or wrong. Part of our problem is hammer thinking: when you’re a hammer the whole world looks like a nail or worse, it looks like a game of ideological Whack-A-Mole. … [Read more…]
For the sake of conversation, let’s say the human brain is like an automobile, and there are three basic models: the Corvette, the Silverado, or the amphibious Max IV 6-wheeler ATV. You get to choose. The Corvette is the sexiest, the social elite; as a mind, it’s the equivalent of, say, Carrie Fisher, easily one of … [Read more…]
New Orleans Mardi Gras is a massive IED, always a half-Kelvin away from detonation. The policemen know that everyone in the crowd is in constant danger from a potential riot, and strict control has to be maintained.
So will normal police procedures work in such a situation? And do we really want to find out?
Free speech does not permit us to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre; but what if we are only yelling ‘Firetrap!’? Free Speech Limits I have noted before that anger sells. I have no data, but I would guess that anger also sells any merchandise which accompanies the anger; that, while the carny is pushing … [Read more…]