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Thursday, October 02, 2014

A new spin on "Homeschool or Die"

Dallas parents are pulling their kids out of school rather than risk further exposure to Ebola:
Parents rushed to get their children from school Wednesday after learning that five students may have had contact with the Ebola patient in a Dallas hospital, as Gov. Rick Perry and other leaders reassured the public that there is no cause for alarm. The patient, identified by The Associated Press as Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20 to visit family. Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said county officials suspect that 12 to 18 people may have had contact with Duncan.

“Right now, the base number is 18 people, and that could increase,” he said. Thompson said more details are expected by Thursday afternoon. The number includes five students at four schools, Dallas school district Superintendent Mike Miles said.

“This case is serious,” Perry said during a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Duncan is being treated. “Rest assured that our system is working as it should. Professionals on every level on the chain of command know what to do to minimize this potential risk to the people of Texas and of this country.”
They've already permitted foreigners from a land where the virus is out of control to not only enter the state, but mingle freely with a) sick people at a hospital and b) schoolchildren, but everyone is supposed to trust that they know what to do?

I don't think so.

Liberians could see their family members if their family members were repatriated. Wasn't the whole idea of Liberia to send Africans back to Africa? Why is the USA reimporting Africans in the first place?

The fury of the American public if white schoolchildren start dying of Ebola is not going to be pretty. Perhaps there is no cause for alarm, one hopes there is no caue for alarm, but so far, the noises out of the politicians smack more of frightened people worried about the public's reaction if it knew the truth of the situation than of people in control of the situation. I expect we'll find out soon enough.

Regardless, all travel from West Africa needs to be halted now. It should have been halted six weeks ago. Air France, British Airways, and Emirates stopped all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone back in early August. Congressman Alan Grayson called for a travel ban from Liberia and other infected countries in July! So, why is anyone from West Africa still being permitted to enter the USA?

From ZEROHEDGE: Now that Ebola is officially in the US on an uncontrolled basis, the two questions on everyone's lips are i) who will get sick next and ii) how bad could it get? We don't know the answer to question #1 just yet, but when it comes to the second one, a press release three weeks ago from Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer and seller of a "comprehensive line of safety garments and accessories for the industrial protective clothing market" may provide some insight into just how bad the US State Department thinks it may get. Because when the US government buys 160,000 hazmat suits specifically designed against Ebola, just ahead of the worst Ebola epidemic in history making US landfall, one wonders: what do they know that we don't?

And then there is this from the CDC: "Because we still do not know exactly how people are infected with Ebola, few primary prevention measures have been established and no vaccine exists." 

UPDATE: The magic of diversity and geographical translocation in action.
Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance. “His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place,” resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said on Wednesday, describing the chaotic scene before the man was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he is in serious condition. 

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This explains so much

Atheist eye candy? It's not that she's got an ugly face or anything, but her body does appear to serve as evidence that it was nothing more than the result of time, random mutations, and large quantities of doughnuts rather than the aesthetic talents of a Creator.

I'd send her a copy of The Irrational Atheist, but I'm afraid that doing so is considered tantamount to forcing women into sex slavery these days.

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Shut them up twice as hard

Since academic freedom does not prevent a professor from being denied a tenured position due to his anti-semitic statements, there is no reason not to put pressure on universities to begin cracking down hard on any expression of anti-Christian views by university professors:
Steven Salaita, who was set to begin teaching at the University of Illinois this fall, says he was simply speaking his mind when he tweeted out messages during Israel’s military conflict in Gaza earlier this year. But the school deemed the tweets offensive and pulled its offer of a tenured position in its American Indian studies program.

“We believe that our classrooms ought to be a place where opinions, regardless of their origin or their perspective, ought to be able to be offered freely and students not feel intimidated or unable to express their opinion and that’s what led us to the decision,” said University of Illinois President Robert Easter.
Every single Christian at the University of Illinois should begin compiling a list of offensive anti-Christian statements by members of the university faculty and demand that all of the responsible professors be fired. After all, Christian students should not feel intimidated or unable to express their opinions in the classroom.

Freedom of speech and expression are now dead in America. So, it's time for Christians to stop playing by the old rules and start flexing their demographic muscle at the expense of all the various minorities who demanded the rules be changed.

To paraphrase Breitbart, shut them up twice as hard.

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Brave women warriors

What was that again about women being capable of front-line combat?
The man who scaled the White House fence and was able to run through the front doors made it farther into the building than was previously reported, CBS News has learned. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson is scheduled to answer questions about the incident when she appears at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday morning.

The man, 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez, ran unobstructed for 70 yards across the front lawn of the White House before entering through the North Portico. On the way, he brushed by a Secret Service officer with a drawn gun, sources tell CBS News' Bill Plante.

Gonzalez then proceeded to run through the entrance hall to the cross hall of the White House, past the staircase that leads up to the first family's residence. He was confronted by a female Secret Service agent, who he overpowered, and made it all the way to the East Room, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CBS News, citing whistleblowers.
If trained, armed Secret Service agents aren't able to deal with unarmed lunatics, what chance do they have against battle-hardened ISIS soldiers and elite Spetsnaz special forces?

And just think, the people overseeing these jokers are responsible for dealing with the Ebola crisis....

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Kindle format at Castalia

It's only Wednesday, but we've already had a busy week at Castalia House, as over 50 people signed up for the New Book Release mailing list, we finished getting all 4,500 pages of the nine-volume The Empire's Corps series by Christopher G. Nuttall online, we acquired a new Associate, and we added a Kindle-compatible format, MOBI, to most of the books being sold at the Castalia Store. So, after making your purchase, you can choose between EPUB and MOBI format, which means that Kindle users now have the option to buy directly from Castalia as well as from Amazon.

We have also created an Astronomy Homeschool Bundle, which includes all four books for the Astronomy & Astrophysics course as well as the Castalia Classic novel First on the Moon, for the price of $49.99. This is not only one of the best homeschooling curricula available, it is is arguably the best homeschooling deal you will find anywhere. Unfortunately, we can't offer a complete Selenoth or Quantum Mortis bundle yet, due to Amazon's Kindle Select policies, but we may do so in the future.

There is still a lot to do, as we still have yet to get the various translations on the Castalia Store and figure out how to transform the Chinese translation of QM:AMD into a recognizable ebook format. (If you have any ideas about this, do share them.) As for the image above, it is by our newest artist, and as you have probably already surmised, it will be featured on one of our forthcoming 4GW-related books.

As for our new Associate, we are pleased to be able to offer Sci Phi Journal #1 for sale on the Castalia Store. Among other things, it features a new John C. Wright novelette entitled The Ideal Machine. A complete review of the new journal by Daniel Enness can be found here.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ebola in the USA

Apparently travel to and from West Africa is more important than keeping Ebola out of the country:
A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

The person, whose identity was not released, left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.

At that time, the person did not have symptoms. "But four or five days later," that person began to show symptoms, Frieden said. The person was hospitalized and isolated Sunday at a hospital in Texas.
Fabulous. One hopes this will work out better than the failure to quarantine those with AIDS did.

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Competitive asset-stripping

Russia calls the globalist bluff:
Russian courts could get the green light to seize foreign assets on Russian territory under a draft law intended as a response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The draft, which was submitted to parliament on Wednesday by a pro-Kremlin deputy, would also allow state compensation for an individual whose property is seized in foreign jurisdictions.
Italian authorities this week seized property worth about 30 million euros ($40 million) belonging to companies controlled by Arkady Rotenberg, an ally of President Vladimir Putin targeted by the U.S. and European Union sanctions.
The draft law, published on a parliamentary database, would allow for compensation for Russian citizens who suffer because of an "unlawful court act" in a foreign jurisdiction and clear the way to foreign state assets in Russia being seized, even if they are subject to international immunity.
Asset-stripping sanctions aren't going to be very effective if the Russians simply compensate those whose assets are stripped by taking them from Western companies with Russian assets. This could have some interesting knock-on effects in the NBA.

And isn't it remarkable how the sanctity of free trade is so readily disrupted when something is at stake besides the livelihoods and standards of living of the working and middle classes?

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Gladwell gets it wrong... again

The 10,000 hours rule is determined to be considerably exaggerated:
Recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece. In the first study to convincingly make this point, the cognitive psychologists Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli found that chess players differed greatly in the amount of deliberate practice they needed to reach a given skill level in chess. For example, the number of hours of deliberate practice to first reach “master” status (a very high level of skill) ranged from 728 hours to 16,120 hours. This means that one player needed 22 times more deliberate practice than another player to become a master.               

A recent meta-analysis by Case Western Reserve University psychologist Brooke Macnamara and her colleagues (including the first author of this article for Slate) came to the same conclusion. We searched through more than 9,000 potentially relevant publications and ultimately identified 88 studies that collected measures of activities interpretable as deliberate practice and reported their relationships to corresponding measures of skill. (Analyzing a set of studies can reveal an average correlation between two variables that is statistically more precise than the result of any individual study.) With very few exceptions, deliberate practice correlated positively with skill. In other words, people who reported practicing a lot tended to perform better than those who reported practicing less. But the correlations were far from perfect: Deliberate practice left more of the variation in skill unexplained than it explained. For example, deliberate practice explained 26 percent of the variation for games such as chess, 21 percent for music, and 18 percent for sports. So, deliberate practice did not explain all, nearly all, or even most of the performance variation in these fields. In concrete terms, what this evidence means is that racking up a lot of deliberate practice is no guarantee that you’ll become an expert. Other factors matter.
To put it bluntly, it's bullshit. You will NEVER rise to the top of any skill-related activity through nothing more than determination and practice. I have played far more than 10,000 hours of soccer in my life, and while I am an effective club veteran's team player, I still don't have one-tenth the soccer ability that some of the club juniors had by the age of 13.

There is no question that one will improve with practice. But one does not achieve superlative mastery through practice alone. Talent matters, and it matters more in certain activities. No amount of practice will make the average individual into a mediocre sprinter; sprinters are born, not made. Nor will 10,000 hours of practice turn a 5'7" man into an NBA center or a plodding wordsmith into Shakespeare.

Moreover, the entire concept is fundamentally based on a questionable foundation. Recall that the Swede and his colleagues asked various musicians at a single German academy to estimate how much time they'd spent practicing their instruments since the time they began playing it as children. That wasn't science, that didn't even rise to the level of credible polling.

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The myth of austerity

The Geneva Report observes that the global economy is more awash in debt than during the financial crisis of 2008:
Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever. Global debt-to-GDP is still growing, breaking new highs. Figure 1 shows the evolution of total debt (excluding the financial sector) for our global sample (advanced economies plus major emerging market economies). While there was a pause during 2008-09, the rise of the global debt-GDP ratio recommenced in 2010-2011.  Data in the report also show that debt-type external financing (leverage) continues to dominate equity-type financing (stock market capitalisation).
The chart they provide on global debt-to-GDP makes it perfectly clear how much worse the debt situation has gotten. There is actually 20 percent more global debt-to-GDP during this period of supposed "deleveraging" than there was when the crisis began.

There is definitely some funny business going on in the economic statistics. As you may know, I track the Fed's L1 report, and I noticed an anomaly in the most recent report. Whereas the non-financial corporate credit sector was reported at an all-time high of $9.6 trillion in Q1-2014, in Q2 it rapidly declined to $7.4 trillion. But this decline was eliminated from the past data through historical revisions, thus hiding what would otherwise be a bigger decline in total credit market debt outstanding ($1,860 billion) than we saw from Q1-2009 through Q1-2010 ($948 billion).

This suggests that the inevitable transformation from credit disinflation to credit deflation may have already begun.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

"A universal and immutable rule"

I don't quite see how blatantly lying about readily observable human behavior and presenting a completely illogical argument is going to help Jeffrey Goldberg convince anyone that prejudice springs, ex nihilo, out of the irrationality of the human mind.
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.

Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt  “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.

It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice. Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza? It's passing strange, then, that European anti-semitism should randomly happen to have flared up at the very moment that Israel launched its Gaza offensive. And isn't it astonishing to be informed that that absolutely no prejudices are the result of rational responses?

Goldberg is a more cartoonish example of an anti-Jewish stereotype of a perfidious Jew speaking with forked tongue than most anti-Semites could produce. His behavior is sufficiently dishonest to generate a perfectly rational distrust of anything he says; it is not a manifestation of irrational hatred to disbelieve an obvious liar.

The amusing thing is that his position can be shown to be obviously nonsensical by simply looking at Jewish prejudices. Israelis quite reasonably point to historical Arab behavior to justify their anti-Palestinian prejudices and policies and Jews frequently point to medieval Christian behavior to justify their anti-Christian biases, so how is it even theoretically possible to claim that Jews do not cause any anti-Semitism? Are they not human? Do they not act? Are they not independent moral agents? Is it truly not even possible that their every act does not meet with universal approval?

The fact is that some prejudices are entirely rational and the logical result of the behavior of those who share identifiable characteristics with the targets of prejudice. The woman who is raped tends to fear men. The white man who was beaten up by blacks at school tends to dislike Africans. A Palestinian whose house was bombed by Israelis is likely to be anti-semitic. These are not manifestations of irrational hatred, they are perfectly rational and understandable prejudices with causes based in human action.

The fact that some prejudices may be irrational does not mean that they all necessarily are, and it is unfortunate that Jeffrey Goldberg should further fan the flames of anti-semitism by providing those who hate Jews with such an egregious example of Jewish intellectual dishonesty.

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Castalia mailing list

I've tended to assume in the past that whatever I post here will reach all of Castalia House's readers, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no longer the case. So, it's been suggested that we start a mailing list which will let people know whenever we have a new release out.

I was a little hesitant about the idea, because I often find myself added to mailing lists in which I have no interest, so I didn't want to do it unless we could offer some material benefit to those on the mailing list. After some consultation with a few of our Authors and Associates, I believe we have come up with a reasonable solution of potential benefit to everyone involved.

Here is the plan. We will email the entire list when we have a new release. This may be what we consider to be a major release such as SOMEWHITHER by John C. Wright, or a minor release, such as a new Castalia Classic, a new foreign language translation, or a new set of Associate works.

In the case of a minor release, it's just a notification. But when we have a major release, anyone from the mailing list who buys the new release within three days of the email announcement will, in addition to the book purchased, receive a second book of his choice free from the list of five books that are on offer for that particular new release. So, if you're on the mailing list, you'll receive two books for the price of one if you buy a new book upon release.

If you've purchased a book directly from the Castalia Store, then you're already on the mailing list, which is good to go. (We will, of course, provide an unsubscribe option for those customers who don't want to be on it.) If you haven't bought a book directly from the Castalia Store but would like to be on the mailing list, please send me an email with LIST in the subject. We're not going to spam anyone or sell the list, just announce new releases. Keep in mind that the Castalia Store sells books in DRM-free EPUB format, so if your primary ereader is Kindle and you don't know how to convert ebook formats, or don't want to bother, you should continue buying your books from Amazon. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't be on the list if you simply want to be informed whenever we have a new release out.

If you have any suggestions for improving this mailing list, please feel free to share your ideas here.

Since we're on the subject of Castalia House, the blog now features a short interview that I did as part of a college student's research paper, JartStar offers observations on cover design, Jeffro continues his literary spelunking into Appendix N with a book that might make for a great Castalia Classic, and Mascaro reviews the first book in THE THEOGONY by one of Castalia's Associates.

Before the end of the year, we expect to publish at least four more books, two by William S. Lind, one by John C. Wright, and the aforementioned anthology of military science fiction.

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Baghdad falling

Baghdad stands on the brink as we observe 4th Generation Warfare in action:
Fierce fighting has been reported on the outskirts of Baghdad where ISIS militants are attempting to seize control of the Iraqi capital - despite ongoing Western airstrikes against the terror group.

The fighting is taking place just one mile to the west of the city, with government forces desperately trying to hold off the militants, who allegedly killed up to 1,000 soldiers during clashes yesterday.

ISIS have held a number of towns and villages close to the Iraqi capital since earlier in the year, when government troops melted away following a lightning advance in the west of the country - enabling the terrorist group to seize further swaths of territory for their so-called caliphate.
Once ISIS takes Baghdad, I think it will be time to drop the "so-called" from the description of the caliphate. I'm far from only one who expected a new caliphate to arise in the Middle East, but I am a little astonished at the speed with which it has risen and filled the vaccuum left by the ill-considered American conquest of Ba'athist Iraq. Consider William Lind's predictions back in 2004:
An article in the Friday, March 29 Washington Post pointed to the long-expected opening of Phase III of America's war with Iraq. Phase I was the jousting contest, the formal "war" between America's and Iraq's armies that ended with the fall of Baghdad. Phase II was the War of National Liberation waged by the Baath Party and fought guerilla-style. Phase III, which is likely to prove the decisive phase, is true Fourth Generation war, war waged by a wide variety of non-state Iraqi and other Islamic forces for objectives and motives that reach far beyond politics.

The Post article, "Iraq Attacks Blamed on Islamic Extremists," contains the following revealing paragraph:

In the intelligence operations room at the 1st Armored Division's headquarters (in Baghdad), wall-mounted charts identifying and linking insurgents depict the changing battlefield. Last fall the organizational chart of Baathist fighters and leaders stretched for 10 feet, while charts listing known Islamic radicals took up a few pieces of paper. Now, the chart of Iraqi religious extremists dominates the room, while the poster depicting Baathist activity has shrunk to half of its previous size.

The article goes on to quote a U.S. intelligence officer as adding, "There is no single organization that's behind all this. It's far more decentralized than that."

Welcome to Phase III. The remaining Ba'athists will of course continue their War of National Liberation, and Fourth Generation elements have been active from the outset. But the situation map in the 1st Armored Division's headquarters reveals the "tipping point": Fourth Generation war is now the dominant form of war against the Americans in Iraq.
And with the fall of Baghdad, Phase III of America's war with Iraq will be complete and mark America's defeat by the very 4th Generation elements of whom Lind warned ten years ago.

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The vanishing black hole

Laura Mersini-Houghton is taking the "women ruin everything" mantra a little too far in literally destroying huge swaths of science fiction, albeit not in the usual manner:
Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren't bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don't exist.

By merging two seemingly conflicting theories, Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in the College of Arts and Sciences, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place. The work not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe.

"I'm still not over the shock," said Mersini-Houghton. "We've been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about."

For decades, black holes were thought to form when a massive star collapses under its own gravity to a single point in space – imagine the Earth being squished into a ball the size of a peanut – called a singularity. So the story went, an invisible membrane known as the event horizon surrounds the singularity and crossing this horizon means that you could never cross back. It's the point where a black hole's gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape it.

The reason black holes are so bizarre is that it pits two fundamental theories of the universe against each other. Einstein's theory of gravity predicts the formation of black holes but a fundamental law of quantum theory states that no information from the universe can ever disappear. Efforts to combine these two theories lead to mathematical nonsense, and became known as the information loss paradox.

In 1974, Stephen Hawking used quantum mechanics to show that black holes emit radiation. Since then, scientists have detected fingerprints in the cosmos that are consistent with this radiation, identifying an ever-increasing list of the universe's black holes.

But now Mersini-Houghton describes an entirely new scenario. She and Hawking both agree that as a star collapses under its own gravity, it produces Hawking radiation. However, in her new work, Mersini-Houghton shows that by giving off this radiation, the star also sheds mass. So much so that as it shrinks it no longer has the density to become a black hole.

Before a black hole can form, the dying star swells one last time and then explodes. A singularity never forms and neither does an event horizon. The take home message of her work is clear: there is no such thing as a black hole.
Well, this is a little embarrassing now, isn't it? How reliable can we consider the science that was used to show that nonexistent entitities emit radiation? I shall be very interested to see what Stickwick makes of this. And if singularities never form, what are the philosophical implications of this for the technocult of the Singularity and the rise of posthumanity?

Then again, as disappointing as it may be to be informed that black holes are bound to disappear from the science fiction of the future and go the way of Martians, steamy Venusian colonies inhabited by green-skinned babes, and other now-abandoned SF tropes, perhaps a fundamental reimagination of the fabric of space time will lead to some interesting new concepts with which we can play.

UPDATE: Astrophysicist Brian Koberlein says Ms Mersini-Houghton is wrong, black holes do exist, and women should stay out of science and remain in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, where they belong. Or something more or less to that effect in Yes, Virginia, There Are Black Holes.

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Horizontality and the keeper's friend

Last weekend, I had a great game and Ender's was merely passable. This weekend, things were reversed as I had a frustrating game and he did very well. After last week's two-goal performance, I had high expectations when I saw that the other team's goalie was older and not very good. I knew they had a decent defense anchored by a fast Portuguese sweeper, but I also knew I could score on them since I had a goal and an assist in both previous games against them.

But various factors conspired to deny me. The first chance blown was when a rebound bounced wide rather than to me waiting for it in the center, the second when a beautiful pass from the other striker was ruined by a stealthy two-handed push in the back from the sweeper that knocked me off balance just as the ball arrived. The third was a phantom offsides call, the fourth when instead of simply passing the ball forward, our attacking midfielder decided to shoot the ball wide, and the fifth when I had a clear run on the left side of goal, but badly scuffed the shot under pressure from the sweeper. We'd dominated the run of play, but nevertheless the score was tied at 3-3 when our captain replaced me 15 minutes into the second half. As I feared, that promptly shut down our attack, as we no longer had anyone on the field to stretch it horizontally or vertically. We spent the last half hour under constant pressure and wound up losing 5-3.

I know it probably confuses the guys to repeatedly observe that taking off a lesser player for a better one reliably provides negative results, but it all comes down to geometry. It's not just that I have more speed, but also that if I am the attacker further away from the ball, I move out wide when we attack, which usually draws two defenders after me. The outside defender has to stay with me, and since they know I can beat him, the inside defender also has to cheat 10-15 meters in that direction as well. Not only do we get whatever opportunities are created when the ball is passed my way, but more importantly, taking 1.5 defenders out of the equation creates the space our midfielders need to bring up the ball and attack.

For example, there is a very good reason that an important aspect of the Barcelona tika-taka approach often involved one wing standing literally on the left chalk and the other on the extreme right side of the field. When you've got Lionel Messi in the middle, the single most useful thing you can do if you are not Messi is to pull a defender wide with you and leave the man room to operate. Fortunately, one of our new attackers has good speed, so I think I can teach him to do what I'm doing and we can stop playing a half-court game when I'm not on the field.

Ender and his defense started their game in a very shaky manner. They very nearly gave up a goal in the first minute, and the opponents had a pair of attackers with enough speed to make the defenders visibly nervous. One nominal backpass from the right defender (who subsequently had a very good game) was more akin to a shot than a pass; Ender had to volley it clear as it bounced. However, I was coaching from behind the goal and pointed out to Ender that they were attacking pretty much the same way every time up their left, so he blunted its effect by aggressively coming out of goal to intercept passes into the box, or, on one occasion, stuffing an attacker one-on-one at the top of the box. He also made a fantastic diving save on a low ground shot towards the right post after a corner, then pushed another shot onto the near post when the left defender was beaten. He did a nice job of intercepting a corner kick by leaping up and slapping it away before an attacker could get a head on it, and then was fortuitously bailed out by the crossbar on a free kick that was too high for him.

After ten minutes of Ender and the defense withstanding moderately heavy pressure, the star player finally did his patented "run through four defenders and pass off to an open man" for the first goal against the run of play. That shook the other team, and a second goal on the first corner kick they gave up - which, to Ender's amusement, I correctly called in advance - broke them entirely. It was 3-0 at halftime and Ender didn't have much to do in the second half as his team put in five more goals. Then, as is usual in such situations, the defenders got greedy to score and lazy about getting back, thereby leading to two goals that he had no serious chance of stopping, both from inside the 6-meter box. They ruined his chance at a clean sheet, but his team put in one more goal to close out the game at 9-2. It looked like an easy win after the fact, but as I pointed out after the game, if they had scored one or two of those early chances, the game might well have gone the other way.

One amusing note. The one girl on the team, who has played with these boys for years, is hopelessly overmatched but hard-working and uncomplaining, scored two goals as a result of her perfect positioning at the far post. It's funny to watch her play, because she knows exactly what to do whenever she gets the ball: immediately pass it to the star player. The moment the ball is heading her way, he accelerates towards her and she will find him and pass it to him even if he's got three opponents around him. After she scored the first time, all the guys mobbed her and the star, who had cross the ball to her, nearly knocked her down by enthusiastically pounding her on the back. The truth is that the boys don't mind girls playing with them at all so long as they play hard and play on the boys' terms without any expectations of special treatment.

Two wins in two games as the starter, with three goals allowed per game, isn't bad at this level. The regular goalie will be back in two weeks, but Ender appears to have secured his place as next year's starter in the interim. I think he'll be entirely content to return to his role as backup goalie and substitute defender for the rest of the season. The new coach clearly appreciates his multi-positional utility, and it's nice to see that someone who knows what he is doing is finally in charge.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

No need to be a whiny bitch

I was contacted about contributing to a forthcoming anthology this week. When I informed the anthologist that while I was willing to contribute to it, I was not of the particular persuasion being featured, the anthologist explained that she had been misinformed about me and politely disinvited me.

I did not write her an angry email explaining why the anthology needed more diversity. I am not going to launch an organization or a YouTube channel dedicated to increasing the diversity of her anthology. I am not going to angrily denounce the absence of people like me from the collection or complain about her insufficient inclusivity or her failure to implement a program of outreach to Native American authors.

This is how civilized adults who respect the basic human right of free association behave. Blacks, women, and homosexuals would do well to take note. If an editor doesn't want your work for one reason or another, it's not something that justifies taking offense, let alone an angry political campaign aimed at destroying the editor's ability to perform his core function, which is selecting the authors he wishes to publish. This is true even if you are being rejected simply because of who, or what, you are.

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VPFL Week 3

75 Mounds View Meerkats (2-1)
47 FavreDollar Footlongs (1-2)

64 Greenfield Grizzlies (3-0)
36 KING (0-3)

82 Bane Cornshuckers (2-1)
74 Boot Hill Bogs (0-3)

67 Texas Chili Eaters (3-0)
58 RR Redbeards (2-1)

78 Gilbert Gamma Rays (2-1)
60 Clerical Errs (0-3)

Also, do NOT talk to Steve Smith. Do not make eye contact with him. If he happens to approach, hold very still, remain very quiet, and hope he goes away.

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"Those who hate you will rule over you"

I fail to see how encouraging African aliens to rule over white Americans is going to reduce racial strife. Or work any better than it has in Zimbabwe.
Kulane, a 32-year-old graduate of St. John’s University, is one of two Somali council candidates this year, marking the first time that Somali-American citizens have filed for city election here. A third is running for school board. By all accounts, it’s a significant step in this central Minnesota town of about 65,000, which has had a history of cultural tension with the immigrant group.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Stephen Philion, professor of sociology at St. Cloud State University and chair of the nonprofit Greater Minnesota Worker Center. “They’ve organized the way that other [immigrant] groups previously have organized. Now they’re looking for a seat at the table … They’re a group that should no longer be taken as outsiders. They are St. Cloud.”

Philion said the racial hostility they faced may have had unintended consequences of giving the Somali community “a greater sense of commitment to fighting for political power.”

Kulane, who has lived in the city’s Ward 1 since 2006, is careful not to campaign on issues of diversity.... The racial strife dates to as early as 2002, a few years after Somalis began moving to the area in greater numbers.
A significant step to be sure. But not for the better. I wonder how it is that people from a notoriously failed state are suddenly deemed worthy of political leadership in the United States due to nothing more than the miracle of geographic translocation. And keep in mind that for the most part, alien refugees are the losers of the wars in their homelands; the USA is actually the recipient of the least capable parties. They were outsmarted by barbarian warlords running a Third World failed state, they've done nothing but live off welfare ever since, and now they're going to run things in the West?

Then again, if the people of Saint Cloud are dumb enough to a) permit themselves to be invaded by Somalis and b) actually elect them to positions of leadership, they will deserve to dwell in the New Mogadishu that will result.

It's increasingly looking like we may not make it until 2033 before the violence starts. If one can't escape the alien invasion in St. Cloud, Minnesota, then it can no longer be escaped and five decades of retreat from the inner cities has ceased to be an option. Considering that Americans were willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people to keep French children from growing up in German-occupied France, I cannot imagine what they will be willing to do in order to prevent their children and grandchildren from growing up in African-occupied America.

The Baby Boomers won't do anything, of course, because they collectively don't give a damn about succeeding generations. But GenX does and will.

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The cults of faux science

Jenkins, Thiele, and Douthat need not worry. There is no deficit of cults these days, they simply tend to sell themselves in the "science" market rather than the "religion" market. As Steve Sailer observes correctly, this is hardly new:
Today, for example, it seems obvious that Freudianism was a cult, but it was treated with immense respect in post-WWII America. Vladimir Nabokov had the aristocratic self-assurance to scoff publicly and repeatedly at Freud, but how many other men of reputation dared?

For example, few called Stephen Jay Gould a cult leader, but the man who told his followers — “Say it five times before breakfast tomorrow; more important, understand it as the center of a network of implication: ‘Human equality is a contingent fact of history’” — can perhaps be understood as the type of soothsayer who tries to hijack the prestige of science for his own anti-scientific purposes in the tradition of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, and L. Ron Hubbard.
Indeed, how can one possibly look at either the global climate change cult or the "marriage equality" cult or the magic geography cult or the politically correct pinkshirts and conclude that people are any less disinclined to believe in bizarre and obvious nonsense than 100 or 200 years ago? To say nothing of Keynesianism, which is quite literally nothing more than Freudian concepts applied to economics.

It's a little surprising that no one ever notices the link between Freud and Keynes, but this is most likely because it seems almost no one besides me ever seems to bother actually going back to read the original source, The General Theory of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money rather than a) an Austrian critique or b) a Neo-Keynesian extrapolation.

Even those few who get it, such as the author of "Keynes on the Relation of the Capitalist “Vulgar Passions” to Financial Crises" (PDF), don't seem to trace the Freud-Keynes link back to its source. Consider:

"It is shown that, generally speaking, the actual level of output and employment depends, not on the capacity to produce or on the pre-existing level of incomes,
but on the current decisions to produce which depend in turn on current decisions to invest and on present expectations of current and prospective consumption. Moreover, as soon as we know the propensity to consume and to save (as I call it), that is to say the result for the community as a whole of the individual psychological inclinations as to how to dispose of given incomes, we can calculate what level of incomes, and therefore what level of output and employment, is in profit-equilibrium with a given level of new investment; out of which develops the doctrine of the Multiplier....

The fundamental psychological law, upon which we are entitled to depend with great confidence both a priori from our knowledge of human nature and from the detailed facts of experience, is that men are disposed, as a rule and on the average, to increase their consumption as their income increases, but not by as much as the increase in their income."


Keynesianism is nothing more than applied Freudianism. And considering the spread of its current influence, combined with the tens of millions of adherents to other, equally ridiculous false sciences, it should be clear that there is no deficit of cults these days, they just don't have the common decency to give themselves ridiculous appellations and keep a safe distance away from sane people anymore.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

The lie of democracy

Spain opposes democratic self-determination:
The president of Spain's powerful northeastern region of Catalonia on Saturday formally called an independence referendum, the latest secession push in Europe and one of the most serious challenges to the Spanish state in recent years. Catalan leader Artur Mas signed the decree to call the referendum in a solemn ceremony in the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, flanked by most of the region's political leaders who support the vote....

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was flying back from a state visit to China when Mas made his declaration. He has repeatedly said Spain's constitution doesn't allow referendums on sovereignty that don't include all Spaniards, and experts say the Constitutional Court is almost certain to declare the vote illegal.
This is why it is impossible to take people who claim to support democracy seriously. Whether it is the proper definition of marriage or independence that is on the table, when push actually comes to shove, they usually find a way to invalidate the very Will of the People upon which their very legitimacy rests.

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Ethnic cleansing in Europe

The Muslims are already actively engaging in it.
In the Bury Park area of Luton, Muslims have been accused of “ethnic cleansing” by harassing non-Muslims to the point that many of them move out of Muslim neighborhoods. In the West Midlands, two Christian preachers have been accused of “hate crimes” for handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. In Leytonstone in east London, the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen heckled the former Home Secretary John Reid by saying: “How dare you come to a Muslim area.”

In France, large swaths of Muslim neighborhoods are now considered “no-go” zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. A complete list of the ZUS can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.

Muslim immigrants are taking control of other parts of France too. In Paris and other French cities with high Muslim populations, such as Lyons, Marseilles and Toulouse, thousands of Muslims are closing off streets and sidewalks (and by extension, are closing down local businesses and trapping non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices) to accommodate overflowing crowds for Friday prayers. Some mosques have also begun broadcasting sermons and chants of “Allahu Akbar” via loudspeakers into the streets.

The weekly spectacles, which have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and which have been denounced as an “occupation without tanks or soldiers,” have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.

In the Belgian capital of Brussels (which is 20% Muslim), several immigrant neighborhoods have become “no-go” zones for police officers, who frequently are pelted with rocks by Muslim youth. In the Kuregem district of Brussels, which often resembles an urban war zone, police are forced to patrol the area with two police cars: one car to carry out the patrols and another car to prevent the first car from being attacked. In the Molenbeek district of Brussels, police have been ordered not to drink coffee or eat a sandwich in public during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

In Germany, Chief Police Commissioner Bernhard Witthaut, in an August 1 interview with the newspaper Der Westen, revealed that Muslim immigrants are imposing “no-go” zones in cities across Germany at an alarming rate.

The interviewer asked Witthaut: “Are there urban areas – for example in the Ruhr – districts and housing blocks that are “no-go areas,” meaning that they can no longer be secured by the police?” Witthaut replied: “Every police commissioner and interior minister will deny it. But of course we know where we can go with the police car and where, even initially, only with the personnel carrier. The reason is that our colleagues can no longer feel safe there in twos, and have to fear becoming the victim of a crime themselves. We know that these areas exist. Even worse: in these areas crimes no longer result in charges. They are left ‘to themselves.’ Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.”
If you think it will not happen in the USA, think again. There are already 7 million Muslims in America, more than the 6 million in German, the 4 million in France, or the 3 million in the UK.

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The sixth-most evil author

John C. Wright was not only voted the sixth-greatest living SF author, he was also named #6 on a list of evil authors, led by the evilly evil Orson Scott Card:
Though not as well known as Orson Scott Card, sci-fi author John C. Wright has been even more vocal about his distaste for homosexuality. After the SyFy Channel promised to be diverse in its portrayal of gay people, Wright took to LiveJournal with a shockingly homophobic post: “Why are you willing to tolerate sexual perversion but not racism? In a world with no standards, what makes a malfunction of love higher on your standard than a malfunction of hate? Is an irrational lust and longing to mimic the mating act with a sex with which one cannot mate, at its root, any more or less disconnected to reality than an irrational fear and hatred of a Negro?” He also compared being gay to bestiality, necrophilia, and the sexual abuse of children.
As the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil League of Evil, I can only approve, of course. I am also amused by all the great writers of the past that were omitted; if "distaste for homosexuality" is sufficient to land one on the list of evil bigots, then the greater part of the contributors to the Western literary canon will necessarily need to be included as well.

Of course, the Bible speaks on this in the Book of Isaiah: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

To put it bluntly, if you are not being labeled evil by the world these days, you should probably reflect upon what it is you are doing wrong. And with regards to homosexuality, it's hardly new. To assert that its increasing public acceptance is an indication of human progress is to demonstrate one's historical ignorance. As with an overabundance of credit, open and culturally permissible homosexuality is an indicator of late stage societal decadance. It's not a cause of rapid civilizational decline, but it is a warning sign that such a decline is in the works.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Systemic corruption at the Fed

The fact that the Federal Reserve is the primary culprit in the credit disaster that is the U.S. economy - the current credit demand gap is $30.2 trillion - is no secret to any regular reader of this blog. But the egregious way in which the Fed employees have blithely gone about breaking the law is a little startling:
That (ed: the public's glazed-eye look when you speak of financial reform) may very well change today, for today -- Friday, Sept. 26 --- the radio program "This American Life" will air a jaw-dropping story about Wall Street regulation, and the public will have no trouble at all understanding it.

The Fed encourages its employees to keep their heads down, to obey their managers and to appease the banks. That is, bank regulators failed to do their jobs properly not because they lacked the tools but because they were discouraged from using them. For instance, in one meeting a Goldman employee expressed the view that "once clients are wealthy enough certain consumer laws don't apply to them." After that meeting, Segarra turned to a fellow Fed regulator and said how surprised she was by that statement -- to which the regulator replied, "You didn't hear that."
The US economy is entirely corrupt and is run solely for the benefit of the bankers. This has always been the case, but it should have been entirely obvious to everyone after Ben Bernanke "rescued" the housing market by giving money to the banks rather than to the homeowners.

And Karl Denninger corrects the report, pointing out that bank regulators were not discouraged from using their regulatory tools, but were fired if they did their jobs and used them.

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Diversity in action

Multiculturalism and religious pluralism in Oklahoma works out about as well as one would expect:
Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside. He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.

Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant. Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”

At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife. Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.

The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.
A convert too. It would appear that diversity is a virus one can catch. Now that we've got Islamic beheadings from London to Oklahoma, it may be time to rethink the rejection of America as a Christian nation. Human nature observably abhors a religious vaccuum.

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Repatriation is off the table

With 41.3 million immigrants now having successfully invaded the USA, it now appears to be too late for repatriation:
The number of legal and illegal immigrants living in the United States reached an all-time high, at 41.3 million people, in 2013, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

The U.S. immigrant population has doubled since 1990, while the general population has risen just over 20 percent, and quadrupled since 1970, while the general population has risen just over 50 percent since then. The greatest increases over the last three years in the immigrant population over the last three years, between July 2010 and July 2013, came not from Latin America but from the Middle East, Asia, and the Caribbean.... Nearly one out of every six adults living in the U.S. in 2013 was an immigrant.   
Well, if repatriation is out, that leaves four possibilities:
  1. Peaceful coexistence forever
  2. A gradual amalgamation into a single new people
  3. Civil war and partition
  4. A return to a homogeneous nation through ethnic cleansing and mass slaughter
I leave it to the historically literate to present their cases for which of these four alternatives are most likely. As longtime readers are aware, my expectation is #3 in the year 2033.

As for those who try to pretend that mass immigration on this scale is not an invasion, note that this is 1.3 million more people than lived in all of England in 1931. The USA is materially more invaded and occupied than every single country that was occupied by the British Empire. The total population of France going into World War II was 41.7 million. The USA has been invaded by the equivalent of a major European power and the magic of geographical translocation has failed to transform them into white Christian Americans who regard the Constitution as law.

This is not going to end well. Not for anyone, not even the globalists who think everything is working to their long-term advantage.

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Technology making life better

For bankers, anyhow. And don't think this payment technology won't eventually be applied to medical systems:
Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.... Now used in about one-quarter of subprime auto loans nationwide, the devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline.
Brave New World indeed. They're really squeezing every last drop of credit out of the economy.

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