Friday: Hili dialogue

July 7, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on the tail end of the work week: Friday, July 7, 2023, and National Strawberry Sundae Day.


And two birthdays today! First, Bongo, Ringo (h/t: Matthew). (Paul is two years younger.)

And Robert Heinlein.  Reader Rick sent a Thought of the Day from Heinlein:

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. -Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (7 Jul 1907-1988)

It’s also World Chocolate Day, National Dive Bar Day, National Macaroni Day, and Tell the Truth Day.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 7 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT has seven pieces on what colleges should do to fix their admissions in the face of the Supreme Court’s abolition of race-based admissions. Here’s the list (click to go to it):

Natasha Warikoo, who wrote the article on ditching merit, sees another way to admit students: their potential to better society:

If we stop thinking about college admissions as a system of individual reward, what should take its place? This depends on the goals of a university, requiring each one to answer a challenging question: What is our purpose, and how can we select students to best further that purpose?

Thankfully, most colleges already have done some thinking around that. Their mission statements show that most see contributing to society as a key goal. For example, Brown’s website tells us that the university’s mission is “to serve the community, the nation and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.” Many universities describe their goal as preparing the leaders of tomorrow. Harvard says its mission is “to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society.”

Our society is a diverse one, and its success requires diverse leaders and diverse teams in the work force; they appear to make better decisions and, some have even claimed, are seen as more legitimate. So an admissions process driven by these schools’ missions requires admitting a diverse student body, something that affirmative action was trying to help accomplish. But beyond racial diversity, centering mission means that colleges should also consider the kinds of contributions an applicant is likely to make in the future. And beyond the individual, they should consider how a group of students will enter into a variety of fields and make a positive impact in our shared social world.

This means viewing admission as looking ahead rather than behind, toward potential future impact rather than past accomplishments. How might we evaluate the potential for an applicant to push the world forward in different ways? In part by considering a broad range of skills, interests and experiences.

If you think that an ethnically diverse student body will go on to produce a better society, then you automatically have your justification for diversity.  Somehow, though, I still can’t buy it, as it doesn’t comport what I, personally, got out of college.  I am but one person, but my college experience was a process of learning how to look at art, literature, philosophy, and, yes, biology, in a way that made me want to keep learning about it—for the rest of my life. I wasn’t being prepared to be a citizen; I was being prepared to be a lifelong learner. And I thought that was what college was supposed to do: teach you to want to learn, for that gave you a lifelong curiosity that you could feed by feeding your brain with all kinds of stuff. If I didn’t have that—and perhaps that’s unique to small liberal-arts colleges like William & Mary, filled with great teachers—I would be a drone, concentrating only on biology with no desire to read or look at art.

The upshot is that I’m not down with seeing college as a prep school for fixing society. And can you imagine what that mindset would lead to? Wokeness, of course, for depending how you think society should be “improved,” you’ll have drastically different views from others about how college should work.

*Yesterday was the hottest day on Earth since records have been kept, but we may be in for even hotter!

The planet’s temperature spiked on Tuesday to its hottest day in decades and likely centuries, and Wednesday could become the third straight day Earth unofficially marks a record-breaking high. It’s the latest in a series of climate-change extremes that alarm but don’t surprise scientists.

The globe’s average temperature reached 62.9 degrees Fahrenheit (17.18 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, a common tool based on satellite data, observations, and computer simulations and used by climate scientists for a glimpse of the world’s condition. On Monday, the average temperature was 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17.01 degrees Celsius), setting a record that lasted only 24 hours.

The planet’s temperature spiked on Tuesday to its hottest day in decades and likely centuries, and Wednesday could become the third straight day Earth unofficially marks a record-breaking high. It’s the latest in a series of climate-change extremes that alarm but don’t surprise scientists.

The globe’s average temperature reached 62.9 degrees Fahrenheit (17.18 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, a common tool based on satellite data, observations, and computer simulations and used by climate scientists for a glimpse of the world’s condition. On Monday, the average temperature was 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17.01 degrees Celsius), setting a record that lasted only 24 hours.

. . . Even though the dataset used for the unofficial record goes back only to 1979, Kapnick said that given other data, the world is likely seeing the hottest day in “several hundred years that we’ve experienced.”

. . .With many places seeing temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), the new average temperatures might not seem very hot. But Tuesday’s global high was nearly 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (a full degree Celsius) higher than the 1979-2000 average, which already tops the 20th- and 19th-century averages.

High-temperature records were surpassed this week in Quebec and Peru. Beijing reported nine straight days last week when the temperature exceeded 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Cities across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon, to Tampa, Florida, have been hovering at all-time highs, said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

And that reminds me of a song:

*Apparently the leader of the Wagner group, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, is not in Belarus, as reported earlier, but is actually in . . . . Russia! \

The mercenary leader Yevgeny V. Prigozhin is in Russia, the leader of Belarus said on Thursday, adding to the questions swirling around Mr. Prigozhin’s fate nearly two weeks after he called off his stunning armed rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership.

In a rare interview session with reporters at Independence Palace, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus said that Mr. Prigozhin was in the Russian city of St. Petersburg as of Thursday morning, in contrast with statements he made days after the mutiny, when he said that the head of the Wagner paramilitary forces had arrived in Belarus. None of Mr. Lukashenko’s claims could be verified, and Mr. Prigozhin has not been seen in public since the rebellion nearly two weeks ago.

Mr. Prigozhin was “not on the territory of Belarus,” Mr. Lukashenko said, and nor were Wagner troops, who he said remained in their “permanent camps,” believed to be in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.

Note that Lukashenko’s claims weren’t verified, so Prigozhin may be anywhere. . . even in your basement!

Mr. Lukashenko also signaled that at least some of Wagner’s fighting force — which was instrumental in Russia’s capture of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut this spring — could stay intact. He called the group Russia’s “most powerful unit,” although he said that “the main question of where Wagner will be deployed and what will it do — it doesn’t depend on me; it depends on the leadership of Russia.”

The Belarusian autocrat intervened late last month in the armed mutiny led by Mr. Prigozhin, striking a deal with the Wagner leader that saw him stand down and withdraw his forces in exchange for amnesty for his fighters, and safe passage to Belarus for himself.

Mr. Lukashenko said that he had spoken to Mr. Prigozhin on Wednesday, and that Wagner would continue to “fulfill its duties to Russia for as long as it can.” He said Mr. Prigozhin was “a free man, but what will happen later, I don’t know.”

He said he did not expect that Mr. Putin would seek immediate vengeance for the failed mutiny. “If you think that Putin is so malicious and vindictive that he will ‘kill’ Prigozhin tomorrow — no, this will not happen,” he said.

Yes it will. Of course it will!  But the Washington Post isn’t so sure:

Prigozhin’s continued presence in Russia was confirmed by a St. Petersburg businessman, who said the Wagner boss had returned home to reclaim money and weapons seized by the Russian security services.

“It’s not the end of Prigozhin,” the businessman said, speaking Wednesday on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “They returned all his money to him. More than this, today they even gave back to him his honorary pistol, the Glock, and another weapon. He came to take it himself.”

Prigozhin, however, could still be vulnerable to new criminal cases if Putin fears he looks weak amid a barrage of criticism in Russia for dropping the insurgency charges. Putin, while refusing to say Prigozhin’s name, has publicly raised a question of financial crimes in connection with numerous contracts that Prigozhin’s businesses had with the government.

I still think that Prigozhin is toast.

*Abe Greenwald, struck by the continuing violent demonstrations in France over a police shooting, as well as by similar protests elsewhere, posits a cause in his Free Press piece, “The fury in France—and across the world.” Why is it happening?

It’s tempting to point to the seismic events of 2020—the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd—as the catalyst for this increased instability. But the rise goes back further. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “Mass protests increased annually by an average of 11.5 percent from 2009 to 2019 across all regions of the world.” The upheavals of 2020 only exacerbated a growing trend. In the U.S., recall that Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Women’s March all managed to seize our attention before we ever heard the word Covid.

So what’s going on? Why are Western populations now so primed to explode? If you’re exercised over a given political or social cause, you’ll see that cause as the explanation. But are all these causes coincidentally coming to a head at the same time? Are Western countries staring at once into the multiple abysses of racism, state-sanctioned brutality, and economic adversity?

. . . I’d argue just the opposite. The West has made such extraordinary—indeed, historically unique—progress in reducing suffering on a large scale that we’re now left grasping for new ideals and new aspirations to fulfill. This is not to say that everything is perfect. But the current penchant for protests and riots is profoundly out of proportion with the relatively small-scale challenges we still face.

We’ve stuffed ourselves to the gills with the good things that we’ve created. But we are still human beings—the one species on the planet that yearns for meaning. And we don’t know where to turn next. In a different age, many would turn to their faith. But in the West, religion has been on a steep decline that crosses the rising rate of mass protests in an X pattern. So aimless activists protest and riot and embrace causes that they hope will bring needed shape to their moral lives.

Now if anything sounds like an ad hoc explanation, it’s that one. We’re rioting because we’ve given up religion? If that’s the case, the rioting should be more severe in atheistic countries, like Sweden, Denmark, or Iceland. And it should be less severe in more religious countries like the U.S.  Drawn to this article by curiosity, I leave it with disappointment.

*Musk vs. Zusk: As you undoubtedly know, Mark Zuckerberg has created an alternative to Twitter called “Thread”, a site that’s linked to twitter and is multifunctional. The WSJ explains:

Threads is Meta’s latest social-media app, and this one directly takes on Twitter with short missives you can share with followers. It lets you post text, photos, links and videos.

Thanks to some serious Twitter copying and pasting, Threads is simple to use. Download the iOS or Android app and you’ll be prompted to log in with your Instagram account and fill out your Threads profile. You can choose to keep following the same people you follow on Instagram or pick just some of them—or none at all.

The Home tab includes a feed of posts. Tap the button with an abstract-looking paper and pen to compose a new Thread, and tap the paper clip icon to add a photo or video. You can mention other people by using the @ symbol in front of their usernames and “repost.”

The app is available in more than 100 countries, though not in the European Union.

. . . You can’t join Threads without an Instagram account, but the new service operates as its own app. Do we really need another app on our phones? Nope, but here we are.

. . . . If you really don’t want to download another app, you can access the service from the website, similar to how you can use Instagram in a browser. Hayes said there are no plans right now for a dedicated Mac or Windows app.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, on Thursday said that because Threads is powered by Instagram, it’s currently one account. “But we’re looking into a way to delete your Threads account separately,” he said on Threads.

There’s more info about how to use it, and a similar “how to” article at the AP.

I don’t have an Instagram account (there’s one in my name, but I didn’t start it), and I can’t be arsed to care a lot about this, but the kids do, and more power to them. I tend to stick with Twitter because of inertia: I’m used to it, use it mostly to put up links to post at this site, and hate getting involved in Twitter battles.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we see a rare bout of affection by Hili:

Hili: I’m not sure.
A: Neither am I.
Hili: And that’s why I like you.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie jestem pewna.
Ja: Ja też nie.
Hili: I za to cię lubię.


From David:

From Meanwhile in Canada:

From The Cat House on the King’s:

From Masih, a 12-year-old girl shot in the back by Iranian authorities. And this is real child-killing:

This tweet, which I found, is actually showing mating behavior in red-eared sliders, with the smaller male stimulating the female. We see this occasionally in Botany Pond:

More on the Palestinians killed in Jenin,  I believe that the first tweet is a response to the second.

From Malcolm, THE SPHERE:

From Simon. This of course refers to Trump’s t.v. interview where he admitted that he showed around confidential documents (“just a bunch of papers”)

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl gassed at two:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a religious medieval cat that at least looks somewhat like a cat:

I remember this, though the linked tweet doesn’t seem to exist. I’ve put a video of the incident above:

Here’s a video of Randi “overdosing”:

A tweet from Matthew in March:

And this is “Buzz Aldrin mad”:


32 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On time for the first time in a few days…

    On this day
    1456 – A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her execution.

    1585 – The Treaty of Nemours abolishes tolerance to Protestants in France.

    1834 – In New York City, four nights of rioting against abolitionists began.

    1863 – The United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.

    1865 – Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.

    1907 – Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. staged his first Follies on the roof of the New York Theater in New York City.

    1911 – The United States, UK, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.

    1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.

    1930 – Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser begins construction of Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam).

    1937 – The Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Lugou Bridge) provides the Imperial Japanese Army with a pretext for starting the Second Sino-Japanese War (China-Japan War).

    1937 – The Peel Commission Report recommends the partition of Palestine, which was the first formal recommendation for partition in the history of Palestine.

    1941 – The US occupation of Iceland replaces the UK’s occupation.

    1959 – Venus occults the star Regulus. This rare event is used to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere.

    1980 – Institution of sharia law in Iran.

    1981 – US President Ronald Reagan nominates Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    1985 – Boris Becker becomes the youngest male player ever to win Wimbledon at age 17.

    1992 – The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

    2003 – NASA Opportunity rover, MER-B or Mars Exploration Rover–B, was launched into space aboard a Delta II rocket.

    2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injuring over 700 others.

    2007 – The first Live Earth benefit concert was held in 11 locations around the world.

    2019 – The United States women’s national soccer team defeated the Netherlands 2–0 at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Lyon, France.

    2022 – Boris Johnson announces his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party following days of pressure from the Members of Parliament (MPs) during the July 2022 United Kingdom government crisis.

    1860 – Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (d. 1911).

    1861 – Nettie Stevens, American geneticist (d. 1912).

    1869 – Rachel Caroline Eaton, American academic (d. 1938).

    1899 – George Cukor, American director and producer (d. 1983).

    1907 – Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction writer and screenwriter (d. 1988).

    1913 – Pinetop Perkins, American singer and pianist (d. 2011).

    1919 – Jon Pertwee, English actor (d. 1996).

    1940 – Ringo Starr, English singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor.

    1944 – Ian Wilmut, English-Scottish embryologist and academic. [Best known as the leader of the research group that in 1996 first cloned a mammal from an adult somatic cell, a Finnish Dorset lamb named Dolly.]

    1945 – Helô Pinheiro, inspiration for the song “The Girl from Ipanema”.

    Being brave / Lets no one off the grave.
    Death is no different whined at than withstood.

    1568 – William Turner, British ornithologist and botanist (b. 1508).

    1816 – Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Irish playwright and poet (b. 1751).

    1890 – Henri Nestlé, German businessman, founded Nestlé (b. 1814).

    1930 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (b. 1859).

    1973 – Veronica Lake, American actress (b. 1922).

    2001 – Fred Neil, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1936).

    2006 – Syd Barrett, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1946).

    2006 – John Money, New Zealand-American psychologist and author (b. 1921).

    2007 – Anne McLaren, British scientist (b. 1927). [Her work helped lead to human in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and she received many honours for her contributions to science, including election as fellow of the Royal Society.]

    2021 – Robert Downey Sr., American actor and director. Father of Robert Downey Jr. (b. 1936).

    2021 – Dilip Kumar, Indian film actor (b. 1922).

  2. Giving some context to the 17 degree average world temperature nUmber: David Christian, in his “Maps of Time” book provides a chart of average world temperature estimates over 4.6B years, showing hothouse and snowball Earths. Seeing more recent (geological time) oscillations is instructive and Christian asserts that 14degrees C is the break point between having ice (glaciation) and no ice on Earth. Recent averages are very close to that number…maybe slightly above…and we see accelerating glacial/ice cap melt. I think that this number adds considerable understanding to the otherwise abstract debate on capping world temperature increase. 17 C is way above 14C. Christian’s data are from the late AnthonyJ McMichael’s “Planetary Overload”, which I have not yet accessed…too expensive!

    1. To be clear: I accept that the world is warming and I accept that more carbon dioxide means higher temperatures, but I would like to see a more balanced approach to the subject. Water vapour is usually the dominant “greenhouse” gas. What carbon dioxide . does when it becomes proportionately more important is to raise the lower temperatures: at night, in winter, and at higher latitudes. Since the daily temperature quoted is the mean of the maximum and the minimum readings, the record days quoted could just as well reflect a higher minimum, but we are never told that. It would undermine the message. Since an order of magnitude more people die from extreme cold rather than extreme heat, overall warming might be beneficial in respect of this.
      Records mean nothing in themselves. A set of completely random numbers, taken sequentially, almost always shows “records” as the sequence goes on. Try it and see.

      1. Some thoughts:


        I’m not seeing a “record”.

        2. I wonder what has a stronger emotional response : hot day or cold day.

        3. Night temperature increase – soon it is day. Day means sun means temperature increase. So I’m not following that. The energy has to go somewhere… so it goes up…

        1. 1) Take the random number set as a sequence. Plot the highest number so far in sequence. A few “records”, highest value so far, almost always appear. In n numbers, there is only a 1/n chance of the highest coming first. Try it.
          Incidently, Bonferroni’s principle applies: there are many opportunities for records.
          2) What does emotion have to do with reality? News media thrive on emotion, particularly fear, which is why they report such things as records without any qualifying context.
          3) The stored energy overnight does not go anywhere. Whatever it is stored in acts as a sink.

  3. I cannot say what is causing all the protests and rioting in France. It could be they do not like their leader. It could be for some of the same reasons causing it here. They got pretty worked up over the change in retirement age. Means nothing here as we do not have any retirement age. Many people today cannot retire at any age. Pensions are a thing of the past unless you work for the government. I say the main catalyst today is that little thing every breathing person carries around all day or sits in front of staring at all day. It’s the internet and all those platforms the super rich guys have you looking at all day long. It is a great place to manufacture a riot, a protest, even an insurrection. Most people won’t even get dressed in the morning until they check their platforms to see what they should be doing. There is no time to watch TV or read a book because life only exist on line. They get on line to see what protest they need to join today. Who is following the followers…

  4. I sent PCC(E) a note about YouTube confirming that Jordan Peterson’s interview with Helen Joyce violated “hate speech”, so the video was removed permanently.

    Thing is, there’s plenty of Helen Joyce interviews that are still up, like Michael Shermer’s, Coleman Hughes (I think), Peter Boghossian – so why only punish Jordan Peterson?

    There must have been a really unsafe … video.

    Also – I got to listen to some of the talk yesterday on Skeptical Inquirer – splendid presentation.

      1. Indeed, I watched immediately after learning Peterson’s was unsafe.

        Must be a conspiracy of dark web conspiracy theorists trying to indoctrinate me by making Boghossian rich.

        Coleman – one view comin’ your way!


  5. In a rare interview session with reporters at Independence Palace, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus said that Mr. Prigozhin was in the Russian city of St. Petersburg as of Thursday morning, in contrast with statements he made days after the mutiny, when he said that the head of the Wagner paramilitary forces had arrived in Belarus.

    The BBC’s Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg questioned Lukashenko yesterday during that session. Alarmingly, Lukashenko talked about using the Russian nukes stored in Belarus himself. When he was asked how he could do that since they aren’t his weapons he said that wasn’t a problem because the Ukrainians are using weapons from other countries:

  6. “I wasn’t being prepared to be a citizen; I was being prepared to be a lifelong learner.” Perfect.

    1. The conservative writer Thomas Sowell once pointed out that many colleges promise to teach “leadership,” adding “in other words, how to boss everyone else around.”

  7. Regarding university admissions and the proposal to ‘Move on from Meritocracy’, in the UK there have been very big changes over the past 50y in the demographics of the student population. Considering Cambridge, 50y ago the Male:Female ratio was 7:1 (the ratio of unattached M to unattached F was about 100:1, but that’s another story). It changed to become close to 1:1 in less than 20y I think. As far as I know the biggest factor in the change was actively encouraging women to apply (many were reticent) and I never heard that there was any drop in standards. There has been a similar change in class: the proportion of students from private schools has dropped by a factor of two, and again encouraging working class pupils to apply was a big factor, and again standards didn’t drop.

  8. “The upshot is that I’m not down with seeing college as a prep school for fixing society.”

    Agreed. There seems to be an assumption in some circles that the Ivy League and comparable institutions are—and should be— the gatekeepers to the national (and global) leadership class. Craft the student bodies; craft the future leadership of the country. Political, legal, and financial institutions; universities, media, and other cultural entities; large NGOs and professional associations—control them all with a certain like-minded class of people, and one needn’t worry much what the masses think.

    There needn’t be a puppet master behind the scenes seeking to “control” anything: pipeline + groupthink = problem. I do wonder whether there is a connection between this and the question of “Why are Western populations so primed to explode?”

  9. Of course, a lot of the NYT’s ideas for are about throwing money (somebody else’s) at the problem. Left unthought, Gee, maybe we could improve education in cities, and actually increase competitiveness? Or, maybe with test scores having dropped to a generational low, we should insist that Randi Weingarten stop worrying about disinformation and focus on education.

  10. From the “weather isn’t climate unless it is” desk, the hottest day ever. What a useless number. How many spots does that average and how long have we had meaningful data from them? Fifty years? Sixty?

    1. Well, from my comment #2 above, apparently scientists have been working on developing such worldwide temperature data and its meaning for many years. While still developing, anthropologists, geologists, and the like are giving more meaning to such numbers every year. They are certainly more than “useless”.

  11. “Fixing society” is not what college is for. But even if it were, selecting applicants on the basis of merit still makes sense. Applicants who seek and obtain knowledge, who know how to learn, and who express interest in the world around them are the ones who will be most capable of contributing to society, including solving its most pressing problems. Merit matters.

  12. Somebody drew my attention to the full quote from Robert A. Heinlein:

    It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

    1. +1

      Any idea the source writing?

      ‘Course, the precise definitions and boundaries between sect, cult, or religion need some explanation….

      Consider American Civil Religion – that can run in parallel with things as they are.

    2. The laws will have euphemistic names like “Equality Act” or “Patriot Act;” the actual intended effects of said acts will largely go unspoken. The opposition will be anyone with a proper intellectual or social pedigree who refuses to pour out libations, as well as all those who spread “hate” and “disinformation.” The education system will emphasize training “citizens” to do good in the world. The heretics, hiding behind claims of “rights” and “freedom,” will seldom be killed, locked-up, or driven into exile. They will, however, be denied major platforms for communication, cowed into silence, denied positions of power, and have their livelihoods put at risk. The loop will close when those heretics are also denied a say in how their children will be educated; the children will be taught to see the parents as purveyors of “hate” and “disinformation;” the parents will be seen as “unfit;” and the laws will seek further to “protect” the children and “our” way of life.

    3. When I was young, Heinlein was probably my favourite SF writer. Not all of his books stand up to re-reading (though anyone who knows only the original published version of Stranger in a Strange Land really should get hold of the full version, which is clearly a rather good anti-religion satire, which is quite the reverse of the greatly shortened 1961 version). All the same, all of us would benefit from remembering TANSTAAFL!

    4. There are but two ways of forming an opinion in science. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.
      Life-Line (p. 24)

  13. My, my. In the news today, WP. President Macron suggests the govt. might need the ability to block access to social media. The republicans and their judges would never allow that here. We believe in nothing but free speech regardless of the damage it can do.

  14. Those AI images freak me out.

    I think they are amazing. And if it were the result of time-consuming work by some digital artist, I think I’d be able to enjoy them with less reservation. But seeing as such images are (or will be soon) generated effortlessly by practically anyone, contemplating the implications sends shivers up my spine and I’m more disturbed than delighted by the images.

    1. No doubt. And it seems social media (since its inception) has created a more credulous humanity and thus world. Anti-enlightenment…as it goes.

  15. For all their good reporting, The Free Press has been getting quite religious lately. I’m starting to get a bit irritated.

  16. Somewhere in my house is a page of the Daily News, NYC daily, with the following headline of a story on education: “Housing, literarcy targeted by city”.

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