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About this blog

Between the void and the invalid, Reason!

Entries in this blog

All Polls Are Wrong

All Polls Are Wrong

The phrase "all polls are wrong" was a cool hinge-point of argument last year, as the Trump train rolled on ... Yesterday a Democrat penned an interesting article at The Hill. It didn't say that "all polls are wrong," but that surveys of President Trump's popularity in the USA are flawed and in no way indicative. In other words ... Why the polls are still wrong.  Here's a few excerpts from the article: The Penn article also received some pushback, in this instance from Philip Bump o
The 5 O'Clock Club

The 5 O'Clock Club

My second test is also awful ... long, choppy, echoey, but I fear not [added February 2] _______________________________   I have been fussing with technical impediments for a few days -- with the end of the fuss a more-success-than-fail test of streaming video live from Chilliwack. It is still awful, laggy, popping here and there, distorting audio, skipping frames, refusing to play video so I can hear it ... but with some more fussing and rehearsal, and more script card
489 Days of Excitement (Democratic Party Presidential Candidates)

489 Days of Excitement (Democratic Party Presidential Candidates)

Three hundred and twenty-five days until the first chance Democratic electors have to select a candidate (beginning with the Iowa caucuses), plus the time between that caucus and the end of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin on July 16 2020. I'll be using this topic thread to note various peaks of excitement between now and then.  I don't think there will be much excitement on the Republican side -- since barring unforeseen circumstances, President Trump is assured th
Placeholder for GW/CC 'How I got here' thread

Placeholder for GW/CC 'How I got here' thread

[Edited January 2 2019 -- to remove or replace dead visual-links] Long ago Jonathan and I got some good traction out of a tangle of issues related to Global Warming slash Climate Change.  I think we are slated to renew or refresh our earlier exchanges.  I am going to poke in links to some he-said/he-saids from a few different threads at different times. One feature of the updated software is an automated 'sampling' of a link posted raw.  See below.  So this blog entry will be kind of a
"Anger Studies"

"Anger Studies"

The Real Roots of American Rage | The untold story of how anger became the dominant emotion in our politics and personal lives—and what we can do about it. Anger, Averill concluded, is one of the densest forms of communication. It conveys more information, more quickly, than almost any other type of emotion. And it does an excellent job of forcing us to listen to and confront problems we might otherwise avoid.   

william.scherk

william.scherk

"In the matter of Q"

"In the matter of Q"

I'd like to open a field of discussion for the QAnon phenomena.  Here is where I will post in already existing material presented at OL by members.  I'll take direction from comments and from poll answers.  What is Q / QAnon? Why should anyone on OL pay attention? Is skepticism justified? What are the main questions readers have in mind to guide discussion? No special rules or guidelines for this thread; the OL guidelines are good enough and will apply here. . 

william.scherk

william.scherk

What to learn about Russian goals when you don't really care [updated]

What to learn about Russian goals when you don't really care [updated]

One of the items I fish out of the general Russia Russia Russia hoopla is geopolitical strategy. In other words, setting aside the unproven allegations of the Trump-Russia 'collusion' grab-bag, and putting to one side the actual details of the "Russia hack" of the 2016 US presidential election -- leaving the residual "what is this administration's larger strategy with regard to Russia, its hopes and fears, its ambitions." This is no easy task. The election campaign revealed just a few rules

william.scherk

william.scherk

2018 Midterm Congressional Elections: 300 days of excitement

2018 Midterm Congressional Elections: 300 days of excitement

There are times when I miss the Objectivist Living stalwart "Adam Selene." I am definitely going to miss his wonkish, passionate opinions on the coming mid-terms. I put this blog entry up to have a place for OLers who are interested in tracking the campaigns, the shoddy and unconvincing polls, and the final night of returns.  With the disbanding of President Trump's "voter fraud" commission** we will have no executive guidance on where or how various states are vulnerable to rigging or other hin

william.scherk

william.scherk

Reading: "Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories"

Reading: "Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories"

I want to recommend a book I just started reading last night: "Suspicious Minds," by Rob Brotherton. As is usual, I read first the chapter that stuck out -- Chapter 5, The Paranoid Fringe. It takes a useful critical look at the seminal article by Richard Hofstadter -- "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" -- and also runs to ground a plausible origin of 'tinfoil hats.'  The book is written in a wry conversational tone, and is not on the surface a ''scholarly" read thick with endless foo

william.scherk

william.scherk

"How to pull a friend out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole"

"How to pull a friend out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole"

Mick West at Metabunk.org has published a book!  It's called "Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect."  The early reviews at Amazon.com are brutal. I publish a fair-use excerpt from the introduction to the book published last month at Salon: How to pull a friend out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole | It’s not a blue pill or a red pill, but a poison pill I've added highlights to parts of the excerpt that might be helpful to OLers st

william.scherk

william.scherk

How to disagree without being disagreeable

How to disagree without being disagreeable

I was thinking about some of the life-learning and wisdom of Nathaniel Branden, half-convinced in my mind that I was remembering a quote accurately, that Nathaniel Branden had written "disagree" and "disagreeable" much like I thought in the title of this entry. I did find a phrase, something like I remembered and put it in fuller context at bottrom. But first some thoughts from the departed. The natural inclination of a child is to take pleasure in the use of the mind no less than of t

william.scherk

william.scherk

Ayn Rand Interview on Conservatism and other Signs of the Times

Ayn Rand Interview on Conservatism and other Signs of the Times

This is the latest part of a series of videos uploaded recently by the Ayn Rand Institute, some of which are repackaged audio files (of which some are not always dated precisely).  A careful listener may hear the hint of approval she would have for a President Trump, who is said to have dined with her in 1977 ... just after her secret affair with Pierre Elliott Trudeau came to a sad end. Qui eu percipit accusata. Nam ex perpetua forensibus reprimique, mei sale mucius te. Ei postea sanc

william.scherk

william.scherk

"I do not ever get colds or flu; I have more Neandertal DNA than you."

"I do not ever get colds or flu; I have more Neandertal DNA than you."

My homespun header sung to the tune of something from Paint Your Wagons, I think. The headline at Phys.org is "Modern humans inherited viral defenses from Neanderthals." Click and go, but someone go first for Peter and give him an all-clear, thanks. We sometimes talk about viral things and sometime talk about Neanderthal and sometimes we talk about Neaderthal and Rand.  This is my half-assed attempt to knit together a proper blog post. Since I can't socialize the means of content-prod

william.scherk

william.scherk

Ayn Rand Institute Binswanger lectures on emotion on Youtube

Ayn Rand Institute Binswanger lectures on emotion on Youtube

Well worth a listen are two recently-uploaded visual-radio pieces from ARI's Youtube channel.  I wish a few of our founding-people regulars were still around to masticate this lecture. My first impression was that Binswanger is both precise and sloppy:  the lack of 'show notes' or references makes it cloudy where exactly he is relying upon someone else's work. He implicitly invokes both Plutchik and Ekman, but does not say their names, rubbishing one, but basing his next ten minutes on the other

william.scherk

william.scherk

Sessions, leaks, security, Manafort and 'false news.'

Sessions, leaks, security, Manafort and 'false news.'

Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks."  Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism. The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on th

william.scherk

william.scherk

Mixed Martial Arts:  Tucker Carlson vs Amy Peikoff

Mixed Martial Arts: Tucker Carlson vs Amy Peikoff

Peter Taylor left a crumb trail to an entertaining video from FoxNews' ratings juggernaut Tucker Carlson's show.  Featuring the Objectivist lawyer and scholar Amy Peikoff.  Veddy interesting ... "I must say, you seem like a logical atheist ..." sez the man with the Beatles haircut. [ ...] [... see below for the video missing above: Atheist and Haircut] From the "Friendly Atheist" ...  

william.scherk

william.scherk

Reading: Dark Oasis

Reading: Dark Oasis

There is a reading festival in Chilliwack, including a lottery-style draw for fabulous prizes, accorded to a pool of readers.  You fill out a little reading report and you may be rewarded with ... weekly-distributed prizes, all around fifty bucks value, from Arts Centre/Playhouse events to Plants. Anyway, there was another little promotion going on when we visited the main library: local, small-press "Chilliwack"-keyed books aka "Local Indie Authors." I picked up .. Dark Oasis, A Self-Made

william.scherk

william.scherk

Fire, Cognition, Fury, Persuasion [Updated]

Fire, Cognition, Fury, Persuasion [Updated]

President Trump, in his inimitable fashion, has pushed back against one of the central themes of Michael Wolff's breathless work of gossip, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. The theme -- fanciful, false, 'fake' or not -- is that Trump's White House was staffed with more than a few folks who view the man in the Oval Office as unfit for the job, lacking the qualities of mind that one should expect. This is not a new theme. Here is an article in Statnews last year that tried (a

william.scherk

william.scherk

Watching: 'Linguistics Are How You Win: Everyone Must Hear the Term "Moral Panic"'

Watching: 'Linguistics Are How You Win: Everyone Must Hear the Term "Moral Panic"'

Tarl Warwick (such a nice Lovecraftian name) aka Styxhexenhammer666 is someone I pay attention to, so that I can at the very least understand various arguments made.  He is quite assured before the camera**, which still impresses me), and can run on for at least ten minutes, even if not colouring within the lines of his topic.  Here he hews fairly strictly to the concept of Moral Panic and raises some questions that readers/watchers/listeners here can either analyze, scoff at, or nap through.  

william.scherk

william.scherk

World Press Freedom Index

World Press Freedom Index

A depressing report from the folks at Reporters without Borders.  It contains all the data undergirding the index,  which lets you dig into the specifics.  We are probably (Canadians and Americans) thinking we have nothing to envy in other nations, in terms of press freedom, but the methodology suggests no -- we don't even crack the top ten. The way I look at it is ... an open society cannot function without press/media freedom -- including full freedom to report without the need to 'obey g

william.scherk

william.scherk

Reading:  Freud, the Making of an Illusion

Reading: Freud, the Making of an Illusion

I've mentioned the author Frederick Crews a few times on OL** ... and now I am ploughing steadily through his book "Freud, the Making of an Illusion."   It's the kind of book people reserve the word 'magisterial' for, so far.  The subject is Freud's story-telling, in essence, and the divergence from the actualities. Crew is the first to exploit the new availability of previously censored or suppressed materials.  He has previously rubbished mythic Freud in some earlier work referred to by the

william.scherk

william.scherk

Compliment Clinic

Compliment Clinic

My blog item on the Best Days of the Presidency attracted some slightly off-topic wonderfulness. I have removed that ish-ness from that thread to populate this topic thread.      

william.scherk

william.scherk