Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Clips

Wednesday Clips

  • Beloit College gets its annual moment in the sun as it publishes its "Mindset List" to remind old foger professors just how young the incoming freshman class is so they can update their pop culture references.

    This year's list seems more out of touch than past years, and fills too many spaces with variations on the fall of the Soviet Union. And Cobain goes unmentioned.

  • The Economist looks at the downside of the death of the land line:
    Landlines are the platform for many public services, such as emergency response. And taxes on landlines are the basis of the complex system of subsidies to ensure universal service, meaning an affordable phone line for all.

    The phone network is thus not just a technical infrastructure, but a socioeconomic one. The more Americans abandon it to go mobile-only or make phone calls over the internet, the more fragile it becomes: its high fixed costs have to be spread over ever fewer subscribers. If the telephone network in New York State were a stand-alone business, it would already be in bankruptcy.

  • Without acknowledging the many rational people of faith, Johann Hari blames the religious mindset, or perhaps the fundamentalist mindset, for the birthers and deathers:
    They are taught from a young age that it is good to have "faith" -- which is, by definition, a belief without any evidence to back it up. You don't have "faith" Australia exists, or fire burns: you have evidence. You only need "faith" to believe the untrue or unprovable. Indeed, they are taught that faith is the highest aspiration and most noble cause. Is it any surprise this then percolates into their political views? Faith-based thinking spreads and contaminates the rational.

    This kind of mania can't be co-opted: it can only by over-ruled. Sometimes in politics you will have enemies, and they must be democratically defeated. The political system cannot be gummed up by a need to reach out to the maddest people with the maddest fears.

  • Closer to home, we only have one Iowa City council candidate. Am I gonna have to do this myself?
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