Posted: August 30, 2015 Filed under: Education, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: Civil Rights, Deadly Force, Football Stadium, Gun rights, High School Football, Legal Insurrection, public safety, Self-defense, Texas, West Texas
A little tiny school in remote west Texas.
This is posted on their high school football stadium.
Posted: August 18, 2015 Filed under: Education, History, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: After America, Apollo 11, Apollo program, Bill Whittle, media, Moon landing, news, PJTV, video
Bill Whittle overheard a young-man spouting off that the moon landing was faked, which made him wonder… how did Americans become so stupid?
Posted: August 9, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Education, Think Tank | Tags: Barrier to Entry, Big Government, cronyism, Employment, License Fees, License to Work, Occupational Licensing, Regulations, Regulatory State, San Francisco
A Case Study of How Regulation Harms Poor People
License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing is the first national study to measure how burdensome occupational licensing laws are for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The report documents the license requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations—such as barber, massage therapist and preschool teacher—across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It finds that occupational licensing is not only widespread, but also overly burdensome and frequently irrational.
On average, these licenses force aspiring workers to spend nine months in education or training, pass one exam and pay more than $200 in fees. One third of the licenses take more than a year to earn. At least one exam is required for 79 of the occupations.
Barriers like these make it harder for people to find jobs and build new businesses that create jobs, particularly minorities, those of lesser means and those with less education.
License to Work recommends reducing or removing needless licensing barriers. The report’s rankings of states and occupations by severity of licensure burdens make it easy to compare laws and identify those most in need of reform.
A Case Study of How Regulation Harms Poor People
h/t International Liberty
Posted: August 7, 2015 Filed under: Education, Think Tank, Art & Culture | Tags: United States, Associated Press, London, Catholic Church, William Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, A Wrinkle in Time, 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (novel), Abbess, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Ancient Greek, Society of Jesus, Christian republic, Guarani dialects, Jesuit Reductions, Paraguay, Asunción
Indoctrinating students isn’t the same as teaching them. Homer and Shakespeare have much to tell us about how to think and how to live.
John Agresto writes: I was a few minutes early for class. Father Alexander, my high-school sophomore-homeroom teacher, was standing outside the room, cigarette in his mouth, leaning on the doorjamb. “Morning, Father.”
His response was to put his arm across the door. “Agresto,” he said, “I have a question I’ve been thinking about and maybe you can help me.”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“Do you think a person in this day and age can be called well educated who’s never read the ‘Iliad’?” I hadn’t read the “Iliad,” and am not even sure I had heard of it. “Hmmm. Maybe, I don’t see why not. Maybe if he knows other really good stuff . . .” His response was swift. “OK, Agresto, that proves it. You’re even a bigger damn fool than I thought you were.”
I grew up in a fairly poor Brooklyn family that didn’t think that much about education. My father was a day laborer in construction—pouring cement, mostly. He thought I should work on the docks. Start by running sandwiches for the guys, he told me. Join the union. Work your way up. There’s good money on the docks. And you’ll always have a job. He had nothing against school, except that if bad times came, working the docks was safer.
I also grew up in a house almost without books. All I remember is an encyclopedia we got from coupons at the grocery store and a set of the “Book of Knowledge” from my cousin Judy. Once in a while I’d head over to the public library and borrow something—a book on tropical fish, a stamp catalog, a book by someone called Levi on pigeons. It never dawned on me to look at what else there was. Who read that stuff anyway?
So now I’m a professor and former university president who grew up without much real childhood reading until eighth grade, two or three years before the “Iliad” question. Sister Mary Gerald asked me one day if I read outside of class. I told her about the pigeon book and the stamp catalog. No, she asked, had I ever read any literature?
Whereupon she pulled out something called “Penrod and Sam,” by a guy named Booth Tarkington. She said I should read it. I did. I can’t say that “Penrod and Sam” is great literature, but it changed a small bit of my neighborhood. Penrod had a club. So my friends and I put together a club. Penrod’s club had a flag; we had a flag. Penrod would climb trees and spy on the surroundings. We had to be content with climbing on cyclone fences.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
Who would have thought there was a new way of having adventures, learned from a book? A book, by the way, of things that had never happened. Something had pierced the predictable regularity of everyday street life. And that something was a work of someone’s imagination.
So I started to read, and with the appetite of a man who finally realized he was hungry. I became a reader of fairly passionate likes and dislikes. Dickens was fine, though he could have gotten to the point sooner. O. Henry, Stevenson and later Tolkien, Lewis, Swift. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 5, 2015 Filed under: Education, Entertainment, Mediasphere
Meet Maratus personatus aka ‘blueface’.
Peacock spiders are awesome creatures. They’re cute, furry, and colorful. They’re phenomenal dancers. And scientist Jürgen Otto (previously featured here) just discovered a new one! Meet Maratus personatus aka “blueface”, a tiny Australian native peacock spider (only 3 to 5 mm long) who wears a vivid blue mask that makes him look like an itty-bitty superhero.
“…unlike other peacock spiders, the male M. personatus does not have a fan-like abdomen that it extends while trying to court females. Instead, it relies on its blue mask and the characteristic white banding around it to lure lady spiders.”
And don’t forget their irresistible dancing. What lady peacock spider could resist these moves:
Maratus personatus from Cape Riche near Albany in southwestern Western Australia. You can download its scientific description by clicking on 127.1 in Peckhamia
Head over to New Scientist to learn more about this awesome arachnid and visit Jürgen Otto’s YouTube channel for more dancing spider videos.
Posted: August 5, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Comics, Education, Science & Technology | Tags: Atoms, Book Cover, Books, design, Illustration, Textbook, typography, vintage
Posted: August 3, 2015 Filed under: Education, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Bill of Rights, Hillary Clinton, Mark Dice, media, news, The Pantsuit Report, U.S. Constitution, video
Posted: July 31, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Education, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Cato Institute, Chicago School, Free market, Individual Freedom, Libertarian, Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize, Public policy
Today is the birthday of prominent free-market economist Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science.
Friedman, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 94, was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics.
Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom.
Friedman’s ideas on economic freedom hugely influenced both the Reagan administration and the Thatcher government in the early 1980s, revolutionized establishment economic thinking across the globe, and have been employed extensively by emerging economies for decades.
In the picture above, Friedman is all smiles with Cato Institute founder, Ed Crane and Vice President for Monetary Studies, Jim Dorn.
Learn more about Milton Friedman and his ties to Cato…
Posted: July 30, 2015 Filed under: Education, Global, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation | Tags: Blue moon, Calendar, Earth, Eastern Time Zone, Farmers' Almanac, Full moon, Lunar month, Moon, Sky & Telescope
On Friday, much of the world will have the opportunity to observe a Blue Moon: A somewhat rare occurrence that doesn’t have anything to do with the moon’s color.
During most years, the Earth experiences 12 full moons, one in each month. But some years, such as 2015, have 13 full moons, and one of those “extra” lunar displays gets the label of Blue Moon.
“The full moon appears to last for at least the length of one night, but technically speaking, it is an instantaneous event: It occurs when the sun, Earth and moon fall close to a straight line. It takes place at the same instant everywhere in the world, whether the moon is above or below the horizon.”
The lunar or synodic month (full moon to full moon) averages 29.530589 days, which is shorter than every calendar month in the year except for February. Those extra one-half or one-and-one-half days accumulate over the year, causing some years to have 13 full moons rather than 12.
[Video: What’s a Blue Moon, Is It REALLY Blue?]
To see what I mean, here is a list of full-moon dates in 2015: Jan. 5, Feb. 3, March 5, April 4, May 4, June 2, July 2, July 31, Aug. 29, Sept. 28, Oct. 27, Nov. 25 and Dec. 25. In 2016, the first full moon falls on Jan. 23, and each calendar month has only one full moon.
The expression “once in a blue moon” has a long history of being used to describe rare events; but it was also used in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac to describe the third full moon in a season that has four (normally, a three-month season will only have three full moons).
In 1946, Sky & Telescope magazine published an article that misinterpreted the older definition, defining a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a calendar month. This has become the most recent and perhaps most widely accepted definition of a Blue Moon. And hence, the full moon on July 31 is referred to as a Blue Moon, because it was preceded by the full moon on July 2. By this definition, a Blue Moon occurs roughly once every 2.7 years. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 29, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Education, Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Abuja, Adam Smith, American Revolutionary War, ASC Pty Ltd, Barack Obama, Cato Institute, Director-general, Federal government of the United States, United States, Yale University
Most Americans think that the federal government is incompetent and wasteful. What causes all the failures? A new study from Cato scholar Chris Edwards examines views on government failure, and outlines five key sources of federal failure. Edwards concludes that the only way to substantially reduce failure is to downsize the federal government: “Political and bureaucratic incentives and the huge size of the federal government are causing endemic failure. The causes of federal failure are deeply structural, and they will not be solved by appointing more competent officials or putting a different party in charge.”
“Why the Federal Government Fails,” by Chris Edwards
Posted: July 20, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Education, Japan | Tags: Dexterity, Hospital, Intern, Surgery, Sushi
Want to intern at a leading hospital in Japan? 20 students have taken a speical test, in which they are expected to prove their dexteiry by making teeny tiny sushi with a surgical knife and a pair of tweezers.
Posted: July 16, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Entertainment, Humor | Tags: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Dedication, George Washington University, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Rutgers University, Santa Barbara, satire, Student, The New Republic, University of California
Alexis Stigmore had to endure 40 harrowing minutes of class in a distressed state, forced to look at the world through the eyes of a set of people she disagreed with. Now there is a safe space dedicated in her honor.
LYNNFIELD, MA—In an effort to provide sanctuary for Lynnfield College students exposed to perspectives different from their own, a new campus safe space was dedicated Wednesday in honor of Alexis Stigmore, a 2009 graduate who felt kind of weird in class one time.
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn.”
Addressing students at the dedication ceremony, parents Arnold and Cassie Stigmore noted that while the college had adequate facilities to assist victims of discrimination, abuse, and post-traumatic stress, it had until now offered no comparable safe space for students, like their beloved daughter, who encounter an academic viewpoint that gives them an uncomfortable feeling.
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again.”
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn,” said Arnold Stigmore, standing outside the $2 million space that reportedly features soothing music, neutral-colored walls, oversized floor cushions, fun board games, and a variety of snacks. “God forbid any of you, in your years at this institution, are ever confronted with an opinion you do not share. But if you are, you will have a refuge on this campus.”
“As a parent, I’ll always wish I could have been there for her in that lecture hall, protecting her from those unwelcome concepts.”
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 14, 2015 Filed under: Education, Reading Room, Religion, Think Tank | Tags: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, Controversy, God, Golden Rule, Great Comet, Honor killing, Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Moral sense theory, morality, Nazi Germany, Nazism, Ukraine, Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defence, Ukrainian nationalism
Are professional ethicists good people? According to our research, not especially. So what is the point of learning ethics?
Eric Schwitzgebel writes: None of the classic questions of philosophy are beyond a seven-year-old’s understanding. If God exists, why do bad things happen? How do you know there’s still a world on the other side of that closed door? Are we just made of material stuff that will turn into mud when we die? If you could get away with killing and robbing people just for fun, would you? The questions are natural. It’s the answers that are hard.
“Shouldn’t regularly thinking about ethics have some sort of influence on one’s own behaviour? Doesn’t it seem that it would? To my surprise, few professional ethicists seem to have given the question much thought.”
Eight years ago, I’d just begun a series of empirical studies on the moral behaviour of professional ethicists. My son Davy, then seven years old, was in his booster seat in the back of my car. ‘What do you think, Davy?’ I asked. ‘People who think a lot about what’s fair and about being nice – do they behave any better than other people? Are they more likely to be fair? Are they more likely to be nice?’
Davy didn’t respond right away. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror.
“Ethicists do not behave better. But neither, overall, do they seem to behave worse.”
‘The kids who always talk about being fair and sharing,’ I recall him saying, ‘mostly just want you to be fair to them and share with them.’
[Read the full text of Eric Schwitzgebel’s article here, at Aeon]
When I meet an ethicist for the first time – by ‘ethicist’, I mean a professor of philosophy who specialises in teaching and researching ethics – it’s my habit to ask whether ethicists behave any differently to other types of professor. Most say no.
I’ll probe further: why not? Shouldn’t regularly thinking about ethics have some sort of influence on one’s own behaviour? Doesn’t it seem that it would?
[Order Eric Schwitzgebel’s book “Perplexities of Consciousness” (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology) from Amazon.com]
To my surprise, few professional ethicists seem to have given the question much thought. They’ll toss out responses that strike me as flip or are easily rebutted, and then they’ll have little to add when asked to clarify. They’ll say that academic ethics is all about abstract problems and bizarre puzzle cases, with no bearing on day-to-day life – a claim easily shown to be false by a few examples: Aristotle on virtue, Kant on lying, Singer on charitable donation. They’ll say: ‘What, do you expect epistemologists to have more knowledge? Do you expect doctors to be less likely to smoke?’ I’ll reply that the empirical evidence does suggest that doctors are less likely to smoke than non-doctors of similar social and economic background. Maybe epistemologists don’t have more knowledge, but I’d hope that specialists in feminism would exhibit less sexist behaviour – and if they didn’t, that would be an interesting finding. I’ll suggest that relationships between professional specialisation and personal life might play out differently for different cases.
“We criticise Martin Heidegger for his Nazism, and we wonder how deeply connected his Nazism was to his other philosophical views. But we don’t feel the need to turn the mirror on ourselves.”
It seems odd to me that our profession has so little to say about this matter. We criticise Martin Heidegger for his Nazism, and we wonder how deeply connected his Nazism was to his other philosophical views. But we don’t feel the need to turn the mirror on ourselves.
“No clergyperson has ever expressed to me the view that clergy behave on average morally better than laypeople, despite all their immersion in religious teaching and ethical conversation. Maybe in part this is modesty on behalf of their profession.”
The same issues arise with clergy. In 2010, I was presenting some of my work at the Confucius Institute for Scotland. Afterward, I was approached by not one but two bishops. I asked them whether they
thought that clergy, on average, behaved better, the same or worse than laypeople.
‘About the same,’ said one.
‘Worse!’ said the other.
No clergyperson has ever expressed to me the view that clergy behave on average morally better than laypeople, despite all their immersion in religious teaching and ethical conversation. Maybe in part this is modesty on behalf of their profession. But in most of their voices, I also hear something that sounds like genuine disappointment, some remnant of the young adult who had headed off to seminary hoping it would be otherwise.
In a series of empirical studies – mostly in collaboration with the philosopher Joshua Rust of Stetson University – I have empirically explored the moral behaviour of ethics professors. As far as I’m aware, Josh and I are the only people ever to have done so in a systematic way.
Here are the measures we looked at: voting in public elections, calling one’s mother, eating the meat of mammals, donating to charity, littering, disruptive chatting and door-slamming during philosophy presentations, responding to student emails, attending conferences without paying registration fees, organ donation, blood donation, theft of library books, overall moral evaluation by one’s departmental peers based on personal impressions, honesty in responding to survey questions, and joining the Nazi party in 1930s Germany. Read the rest of this entry »