Category: ramblings

  • Flags of Freedom

    Flags of Freedom

  • Regarding >> “America has a simple ideology”: how one of Russia’s top US experts tries to explain America – Vox

    A couple of observations: What might underlie this Russian perception — which I think is over the top — is something far more threatening to the Russian psyche than the idea that America is scheming and plotting to topple them.  Far worse indeed is the truth, which is that since the end of the Cold…

  • On riots, protests, and the legitimacy of violence (short)

    For everyone who has counseled the citizens of Baltimore (and Ferguson and…) that “violence is not the answer” and that it would be better if everyone just protested peacefully: 1) As has now been documented extensively, the protests were by and large peaceful — and even more by and large, ignored by the national media.…

  • One sentence can pull you out of an entirely fine essay

    I actually agree with most of what Fareed Zakaria writes in his Washington Post op-ed “Why America’s Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous“.  We need balanced, robust, well-rounded education, not narrow business-driven training.  It will take many different vantages points to see solutions to the problems we face in this hardest century of human history.  Students…

  • What is a library?

    What is a library?

    I am far from the first to ask this question in an increasingly-electronic age, and I am sure that my answer will be far from unique.  But my wife and I have batted the question around a couple of times and I wanted to get my thoughts down.  The proximate cause of our discussion was…

  • Happy Tax Day!

    And I mean that non-ironically.  I don’t like paying taxes, but I am proud to do it.  Taxes are not only necessary to maintain the way of life we value.  They are a direct investment in the very concept of civilization.   Taxes are the explicit statement that we are a community and we have…

  • Art and Design, Fail

    I’ve been doing a little reading on the art of design and the failure of art as design.  (For example, see this piece about how objects for human use should be designed for, you know, humans.)  That led me to the International Push/Pull Pictogram Design Competition, tasked with designing exactly what it says: a non-verbal…

  • Miracles and Wonder

    Miracles and Wonder

    I just received the Kingston 64 GB USB flash drive shown above.  It holds (duh) 64 gigabytes of data.  I’ve included a US quarter for size comparisons. My first computer was a Commodore-64, for which I had the venerable C1541 floppy disk drive. That used 5.25″ floppy disks — which were actually floppy, you could…

  • The buzz about the loop

    So Elon Musk has revealed his great new intercity transit idea, the HyperLoop.    It would seem the emphasis should be on the first syllable — to wit, HYPE — but I’ll leave engineering analyses to those far more qualified than I.  My impression is that Musk offers vaporware that over-promises and under-delivers, that will…

  • The defining feature of modern Republicanism

    It’s not small-government. It’s not anti-tax screeds or culture war crusades. It’s not being pro-big business or pro-gun. It’s not being anti-choice or anti-gay. It’s not suport of “traditional marriages” or of non-traditional “special interrogation”. It’s not being pro-Gitmo or anti-drone or pro-Keystone or anti-FEMA. It’s not even being sexist or being racist. It’s a…