Wednesday Links

That’s all for now, God bless, back soon.

Sunday Suggestions

Still staying very busy — here’s a few interesting links accrued over the past few weeks:

  • Big Insurance strikes again: UnitedHealth gets fined.
  • Proof of God: Jen over at Et tu? has a powerful story about her journey from atheism to faith. Here’s one of her recent posts on the knowledge of God’s existence: On having proof.
  • Imperialism revisited: David Warren ruffles our preconceptions, yet again: The Tour of Years
  • And you thought you were buying tools, not getting tooled: Sears.com: Join the Community — Get Spyware
  • The new atheists have no clothes: And the person who pointed out their natty nakedness was none other than Nietzsche: Atheism and Violence
  • Toxic ideas: If you’re interested in global terrorism and security issues, there’s two sites to check on a regular basis: John Robb’s Global Guerrillas, and Schneier on Security. While our politicians blather on about “change” and “new ideas” in ostrich-like fashion, some very old ideas are in ascendancy, as the global community devolves into anarchic tribalism, empowered by technology and global communications. Robb talks about the rapidity of movement in toxic ideas and ideology in Pandora’s Box; here’s Schneier on security vs. privacy
  • The futility of pursuing happiness: What do you do when the Dodgers fail to call?
  • That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless. Back soon with more about grace.

Monday Links

  • Talk about bad PMS…: Cutting Off Her Own Testicles in Prison. His trapped inner female must’ve been really pissy that day. Just another amazing abuse of the legal system — he’s suing the Department of Corrections. Not for the squeamish, e.g.:
     

    The lawsuit says Brewis castrated himself in his cell using his fingernails … It took five hours, involved “extreme mental suffering,” and “a whole roll of toilet paper was used to absorb all of the blood,” the lawsuit says.

    Suggestion for the attorney who took this case: we’d like you to feel your plaintiff’s pain…. please, let me help…

  • Best laugh of the week: over at Maggies Farm. George Carlin’s New Rules. Here’s a taste:
     

    New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn’t make you Spiritual. It’s right above the crack of your a ** . And it translates to ‘beef with broccoli.’ The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren’t pregnant. You’re not spiritual. You’re just high.

  • He was just looking for lost balls: Bremerton golf range manager accused of videotaping in restrooms.
  • Internet crime is big business: Cracking open the cybercrime economy. More here: The Google of Online Crime? This does not bode well for the future of the internet, at least in its current incarnation.
  • Online Word Processors reviewed: 13 Free Web-Based Word Processors
  • Call 1-800-Not-Sane to volunteer for this study: Why Time Seems to Slow Down in Emergencies:
     

    Scientists had volunteers dive backward with no ropes attached, into a special net that helped break their fall. They reached 70 mph during the roughly three-second, 150-foot drop.

That’s all for now, take care and God bless.

Monday Links


Here’s some links to start your week off on a good note — no ifs, ands, or buts about it:

  • The problem of evil: How can an all-good, all-powerful God permit evil? Here’s a nice review of this theological dilemma: A Brief Primer on the Problem of Evil
  • The essence of poetry: How do you express something inexpressible? T. S. Eliot: Things That Can Just Barely Be Said
  • Christianity and Knowledge: Christianity often gets placed in the upstairs “values” room (right next to the “feelings” room), far above the downstairs “science and facts” room where truth and knowledge reside. But is Christianity in fact a source of knowledge rather than just subjective “values”? Check this out: Christianity as a Knowledge Tradition. Key paragraph:
     

    The empty self is narcissistic, inordinately individualistic, self-absorbed, infantile, passive, and motivated by instant gratification. The empty self experiences a loss of personal significance and worth, as well as a chronic emotional hunger and emptiness. The empty self satiates itself with consumer goods, calories, experiences, politicians, romantic partners, and empathetic therapists. The empty self does not value learning for its own sake, is unwilling to defer gratification under the demands of discipline, and prefers visual stimulation to abstract thought. Applied to education, a classroom of empty selves will reinforce a view of education in which learning exists to make the student happy, to satisfy his/her emotional hunger, and to fulfill his/her own plans for success.

    Moreover, with the secular relativization of truth, knowledge and reason outside the hard sciences, secularism has contributed to the absolutization of desire satisfaction. With truth and reason dethroned as guides for life, something had to take its place. And the heir to the throne is the absolute importance of satisfying one \'s desire. Secularism helps to prop up this value in the culture by its denial of truth and reason in matters of worldview, along with its promulgation of a naïve and destructive notion of tolerance.

    Now, lest you think he is overstating his case — check this out for an excellent example of the empty self: God, where’s my big fat plasma?. Ahh, those happy-go-lucky, benign secularists — all Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot really wanted was a big-screen TV…

  • Deconstructing the deconstructionists: History of marriage in Western law and culture: Keeping Marriage Public

That’s all for now — God bless, back soon.

Sunday Suggestions

  • Octopus vs. Shark: guess who wins?
     
  • Pay for performance zinged: Pay for performance is a freight train headed toward American medicine. The Brits have been trying something similar — with not-unexpected poor results. Over at DB’s Medical Rants, DB nails the core problem with these “quality” initiatives, quoting from a British journal: Understanding quality – the British experience

    The whole initiative is based on reductive linear reasoning that views the body as a machine and assumes that a standardised treatment will produce an equally standard unit of beneficial outcome. However, any practising clinician knows that the same treatment applied to two people with the same diagnosis can produce very different outcomes. Complexity theory suggests that the body is more usefully regarded as a complex adaptive system, characterised by rich interactions between multiple components that produce unpredictable outcomes. This analogy makes much more sense of clinical experience. Psychological states and social contexts exert measurable effects on the functioning of the body. Standardised treatments ignore all of this.

  • Excellent writing: if you find great pleasure in reading superb writers, as I do, you should make Sippican Cottage a regular stop.Try this one out for a taste-test — especially his description of a woodpile at the edge of the woods: Not Even A Concierge Can Save You Now. Gorgeous prose.
  • Gagdad Bob has his mojo workin’: The Perpetual War on History
  • Five-Second Rule Tested: You know the “five-second rule” – you drop that delectable goody on the floor, and it’s OK to eat if you grab it within 5 seconds. Here’s the scientific evidence on whether or not this is a good idea: Rethinking the Five-Second Rule
  • Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound: In the the early days of the mega-rock bands (Cream, Hendrix, the Dead, Zeppelin, etc), it’s easy to forget that concert sound systems were primitive or non-existent. The Grateful Dead developed a sound system as impressive to see as to hear: An Insider’s Look at the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound (HT: Maggie’s Farm)

That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Thursday Links

Here’s a smattering of links for your Thursday enjoyment:

  • The Backstreet Boys never had a smarter fan:
  • The original Frankenstein movie: A little late for Halloween, but here’s betting you haven’t seen this version of the classic movie:More background on Frankenstein here.
  • Don’t give this gal any lip: Woman arrested after she bites off ex-boyfriend’s lip.
  • A toxic witches’ brew: Take one part liberalism’s utopian dreams detached from the reality of human nature (and reality in general); add one part ideology-crazed homeless advocates; mix thoroughly with a bevy of ACLU lawyers; add a dash of liberal judges; The result? A human hell-hole called Skid Row: The Reclamation of Skid Row. Must-read City Journal article.
  • That’s all for now, God bless.

Wednesday Links


Been crazy busy the past several weeks, so I’m a bit behind on posts. Here’s some recent links worth checking out:
 

  • Arnold Kling on Health Economics: Well Treated: The Road to McMedicine

    I had wanted to do a more detailed post on this essay, but just haven’t had time. Arnold Kling’s a smart guy, and has a very solid, common-sense approach to economics. His tendency in medical economics is to treat it like any other retail or service industry: just find out what works, and implement those standards, using the lowest-cost provider possible. This won’t work for many reasons, a few of which are: a) the decisions you make about your health are not approached the same way as your decisions about buying a car — there is no transparency, so you cannot accurate judge the quality of the product as a consumer, and people are not coldly rational about things which affect their health and well-being (think: alternative medicine); b) the problem domain is extraordinarily complex, and not easily reducible to black and white “best practice” recommendations (think: is estrogen replacement therapy good or bad for women? We’ve been back and forth on this a dozen times, with huge studies, for thirty years, still no hard answers); and c) the lawyers: it may be entirely rational to omit a CT scan for a low-risk medical problem — but every physician knows if he ends up in court he will lose the lawsuit if he didn’t order it. This is one of the many elephants in the living room Kling never seems to consider.
     

  • Booze, sex, and rock & roll: Two out of three, anyway: must-read essay on the role of alcohol, sexuality, and Christianity:
     

    At the bottom of it all, I think human beings drink because we want to be known, and because we are afraid of being known. We drink because we want to know, and because we are afraid to know.

    Alcohol, shame, nakedness, and grace (HT: Evangelical Outpost)

  • Grow a brain: Gagdad Bob strikes again. Here a taste of his delectable madness:
     

    To quote Arthur Koestler,

    “[T]he evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is also the only example of evolution producing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn how to put to proper use — if he ever does.”

    And luxury is an apt word, for it is a kind of extravagant light placed in the middle of nowhere, like a brain inside Paris Hilton. How did it get there? Why does she have it? She’ll never use it. It will just sit there idly, like a huge inwhoritance she’ll never touch. How could natural selection produce a bunch of nothings capable of knowing the Absolute but individuals capable of knowing absolutely nothing?

     

  • It’s For The Children™: QandO gets down to details on SCHIP, the recently-vetoed Trojan horse of universal government health care coverage: SCHIP – The Numbers
  • Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ribbon Writing: Van der Leun at his best — writing just doesn’t get much better than this. Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains

That’s all for now. Take care, and God bless.

Thursday Links

A little photography for your enjoyment –the above shot I grabbed earlier this month, of the moon rising over the Cascade Mountains. It was, as I recall, the night of the recent lunar eclipse.

Been rather busy of late, but here’s some links you might enjoy:

Back soon — God bless.