Friday, March 29, 2013

Tiny Door In A Tree Not Such A Mystery

Californians are mystified by a tiny door in a tree in Golden Gate Park.

The tiny door in a tree really is not that big of a mystery.  In fact, there is a tiny door in a tree in my neighborhood, but the idea originated, as far as I am aware, in Minnesota, where, behind the Lake Harriet Elf Door, resides Mr. Little Guy, a local legend.  Mr. Little Guy receives little notes, letters, and small gifts from children, who deposit them inside the door in the tree, and Mr. Little Guy writes a little note in response to each and every letter writer.

You can get your very own “Fairy Door” to install in a tree and begin your very own legend, with just a touch of mystery for the kids.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 03:05 PM
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Monday, March 25, 2013


I’m up to my ears in rehab, at the moment, so posting will be intermittent for a time.  Not the Amy Winehouse type of rehab, though, I’m rehabbing a house.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 06:54 AM
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stanford University - Limited Resources, Financial and Otherwise

I read, this morning, that Stanford University has cancelled the quite popular class “Moral Foundations of Capitalism” due to “limited resources,” both financial and human.

I guess the hiring of Stanford’s atheist chaplain was considered a better use of limited financial and human resources, since, I guess, atheists need ministering to also.

From the Stanford Review, “Moral Foundations of Capitalism” class cancelled, linked via InstaPundit.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/21 at 06:55 AM
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Magnificent Chicken Comparison

Slate’s photo blog has a series of chicken photos posted under the heading These Are the Most Magnificent Chickens You’ll Ever See, and I must say that the chickens photographed are quite magnificent, but I don’t think the chickens are the most magnificent chickens you’ll ever see.  I think some of the most magnificent chickens you’ll ever see are chickens which are raised for their hackles, which are prized in the world of fly fishing and fly tying.

Here are a few examples.

Backyard chickens, Houdan cockerel, nice cape hackle, American gamefowl.

Link to magnificent chickens via Small Dead Animals.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/20 at 08:13 AM
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Black Market Is The Only Truly Free Market

Rick Newman has an interesting little article up at USNews titled The New Underground Economy within which he notes that consumer spending; according to government statistics which are suspect in and of themselves; seems to be holding up quite well considering overall economic conditions.  This may be due, Newman and others suggest, to the underground economy, where cash is king.  I’d like to see the underground economy continue to grow.

Here’s a link to a story on San Antonio’s underground economy, which I noted in 2009.

Linked via Sondrakistan, with a nod to “go galt” in comments for the title to this post.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/19 at 04:21 PM
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“Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD)”

Joseph Heinrich, a professor in both the departments of psychology and economics at the University of British Columbia, along with his colleagues Steven J. Heine and Ara Norenzayan, whom both are professors in the psychology department, have published a paper titled The Weirdest People in the World (pdf of 58 pgs.).

The title to this post, in large part, explains whom are the weirdest people in the world, Westerners, at least according to the published paper.  At the pinnacle of this weirdness, naturally, would be Americans, those individuals renowned for their self-reliance (well, at least Americans used to be renowned for this), can-do attitudes, the damn the torpedoes full speed ahead and let’s get it done thinking.

What Heinrich and his colleagues theorize about in their paper is stated in this short abstract.

Broad claims about human psychology and behavior based on narrow samples from Western societies are regularly published.  Are such species-generalizing claims justified?  This review suggests not only substantial variability in experimental results across populations in basic domains, but that the standard subject are unusual compared with the rest of the species—outliers.  The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, spatial reasoning, moral reasoning, thinking-styles, and self-concepts.  This suggests (1) caution in addressing questions of human nature from this slice of humanity, and (2) that understanding human psychology will require broader subject pools.  We close by proposing ways to address these challenges.

Heinrich’s paper is interesting; if somewhat erroneous in its conclusions and methodologies; reading, but it will take some time to read through.  The paper also is appended with an impressive list of references, but for some reason does not include a reference to Ludwig von Mises’ opus, Human Action - A Treatise on Economics, which, one would think, based on Heinrich’s abstract, goals, and discipline, would have been consulted, at a minimum, for guidance.

For an interesting take on Heinrich’s paper, you can read Pacific Standard’s article which is titled We Aren’t the World.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/19 at 12:48 PM
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Mere Matters of Human Importance - Masters

“As a plain, practical man of the world, I don’t think that the Prime Minister (or any other government figurehead - ed.) matters at all.  As a mere matter of human importance, I should say he hardly exists at all.  Do you suppose if he and the other public men were shot dead tomorrow, there wouldn’t be other people to stand up and say that every avenue was being explored, or that the Government had the matter under the gravest consideration?  The masters of the modern world don’t matter.  Even the real masters don’t matter much.  Hardly anybody you ever read about in a newspaper matters at all.”

G.K. Chesterton, The Father Brown Omnibus, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, Copyright 1935 By G.K. Chesterton, The Quick One pgs. 846 - 847

Posted by John Venlet on 03/19 at 11:19 AM
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Banking Virus Warning

The current banking virus, wherein depositors see their savings struck down, did not originate in Cyprus.  The banking virus was first detected in Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland and France, and the virus has now been detected in New Zeeland.

The National Government are pushing a Cyprus-style solution to bank failure in New Zealand which will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts, the Green Party said today…

“While the details are still to be finalised, nearly all depositors will see their savings reduced by the same proportions…”

National planning Cyprus-style solution for New Zealand

Instead of depositors being shaken down to fund irresponsible banking executives, I think it may becoming time for individuals throughout the world to kill the banking virus by shaking the foundations of government.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/19 at 10:17 AM
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Monday, March 18, 2013

One Company To Rule Them All

Do you know of any company in America where for a mere few billion, you could become the CEO of a company whose shareholders would be forced to sit back and watch for four years while you run up trillion dollar deficits and parcel out billions to your friends? Without going to jail or being marched out in handcuffs. A company that will allow you to indulge yourself, travel anywhere at company expense, live the good life, and only work when you feel like it. That will legally indemnify you against all shareholder lawsuits, while allowing you to dispose not only of their investments, but of their personal property in any way you see fit.

There is only one such company. It’s called the United States Government. (bold by ed.)

From a Daniel Greenfield post titled Government Money.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/18 at 01:51 PM
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Friday, March 15, 2013

“Sacred Mystery” or Elephant in the Room

Sacred mystery: Blockbuster ratings for ‘The Bible’ confound Hollywood

More Than 9 in 10 Americans Continue to Believe in God

Posted by John Venlet on 03/15 at 02:50 PM
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Revolutionary and Respectable Man

It is not the revolutionary man but the respectable man who would commit any crime—to save his respectability.

G.K. Chesterton, The Father Brown Omnibus, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, Copyright 1935 By G.K. Chesterton, The Secret of Flambeau, pg. 806

Posted by John Venlet on 03/15 at 09:43 AM
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Final Cut

...Any fool with two eyes that have not had their pupils poked out with red hot needles can see that the only way this particular government is ever going to be cut is when somebody or something cuts its throat.

Cut It.  Out.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/15 at 07:32 AM
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Higgs Boson String Along

Currently front and center at Drudge is the bold headline, PHYSICISTS: WE’VE FOUND ‘GOD PARTICLE’, i.e. the elusive Higgs boson.

Drudge’s link takes you to a MyWay news article headlined Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson, within which one reads the following.

Joe Incandela, who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve several thousand scientists, said in a statement that “it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.”

My understanding is that the Higgs boson is one particular particle, rather than particles which would require specific identification as “to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.”

UPDATE - More Higgs Boson Silly String (03.15.2013):  From a ScienceNOW article titled Higgs Boson Positively Identified.

Although not yet entirely conclusive,...

I’m wondering how one arrives at a “positive” identification of the Higgs boson when the data is “not yet entirely conclusive.”

As to my noting the world being strung along in regards to the Higgs boson, and said particle being a specific single particle, the ScienceNOW article also addresses this issue.

Once the LHC comes back on, one of the first things that researchers will look for is other Higgs bosons. The standard model includes only one of them. But more-elaborate theories—such as one known as supersymmetry, which posits a more massive partner for every known particle—suggest there could be several. “Why would there be only one Higgs?” Dawson says. “Why wouldn’t there be two, three, whatever? There’s no reason to preclude it.” Dawson says that she won’t be willing to give up on the hope for something new until the LHC has collected about a tenth of the aimed-for data set, sometime around 2020.

The search could go on forever.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/14 at 08:13 AM
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kids and Their Toys

When I was kid, in the 1960s, the toys I most often played with were Tonka trucks.  The variety of toys has changed much, over the interceding years, but kids still have their favorites.

Here’s a link to a series of photographs taken by Gabriele Galimberti of kids with their toys, some with more than others.  It’s titled Toy Stories.

Thanks to my friend and former submarine mate, Matt, for pointing me to it.

Here’s a short article on the project also.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/13 at 12:36 PM
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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Is and Appropriate Lost in Translation

I’m wondering why Democrats have such problems with the English language.  Bill Clinton had trouble with the definition of the word “is.”  Today I read that Eric Holder has a problem with the definition of the word “appropriate”.  Holder seems to think that the word appropriate means no.

“Let me be clear: Translate my ‘appropriate’ to ‘no.’ I thought I was saying no, all right? No,” Mr. Holder said.

Quote obtained from a Washington Times piece noting the end of Rand Paul’s filibuster.

After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster

Posted by John Venlet on 03/07 at 08:29 AM
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