Implied Dissent

Friday, December 31, 2004

Another disaster waiting to happen

I think I linked to an article on this a while ago, but it seems like it bears repeating. My question is: If we know the rock is a major disaster waiting to happen, and could happen at any time, why don't we blow it up? Or do something along those lines? I don't know a lot about this sort of thing, but it seems to me it would be pretty easy to get rid of the threat now. That's one proactive national defense initiative I would get behind.

What is science?

An interesting post on the topic, lingering heavily on evolution. I'm not sure if I agree with the definition at the end, but I'm thinking about it now.

Person of the Year

It's me! (via Catallarchy)


When you put it that way, Pinkston kinda sounds good (via SGW)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

More healthcare

Sowell makes a great comparison.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Shoveling coal for Satan

Silber on media and certain libertarians' treatment of the Iraq war and the run-up to it.


The Globe names Epstein Bostonian of the Year. Works for me.

Not that there's anything wrong with it...

But these are some of the gayest album covers ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The worst songs of the year

I respectfully disagree, Maddox. Well, except for maybe Miracle Drug. And about the pretentiousness. And the excessive hero-worship. Otherwise, the album is quite good. Perhaps not on a level with The Joshua Tree, let alone Achtung Baby, but good nonetheless.

Back to healthcare again

I'm not sure if this is encouraging or discouraging, but I do hope many hospitals and doctors take note of it.


Sowell on 'safe' medicine. He is absolutely right about everything in this column. It got me thinking about Iraq and TWOT, since Sowell seems to be a supporter of Bush's foreign policy on the whole. Putting aside (deontological-type) moral arguments, where I disagree with the invasion of Iraq is that it produced small benefits relative to the costs. Ignoring the money, ignoring the soldiers' lives lost, invading and staying in Iraq is playing with fire. It could turn out ok, though I'm skeptical, but if we keep doing this sort of thing, it will burn us. Full-fledged civil war (as opposed to the half-fledged civil war currently there), blowback (instead of just insurgents attacking the troops), and so on. Saddam wasn't someone to turn your back on, but he also wasn't that big a deal. The cure is worse than the disease, and one man is making the decisions for all of us. I don't know how to deal with the last problem, but it only makes the others more pressing.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Translating Biggy (via Makeout City)


In the wake of the disaster in SE Asia, a gentle reminder (in my words) to deal with the problem, not the symptoms. Price controls just mask the problems temporarily.
This sort of thing makes me glad to live in the US. We're just as susceptible to being hit by natural disasters as anyone else is, but our wealth enables us to deal with these situations much more easily. They probably cost us a lot more money (because we have more of it to destroy), but many fewer people lose their lives. I'll gladly take that deal.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Movie theatre economics

Moviegeek explains (via the Door). It is interesting stuff, but I disagree with the analysis of why popcorn is so expensive, they've reversed cause and effect. I say theatres accept crappy deals on movies because they will make a lot of money from concessions, they say they charge a lot of money because they get crappy deals on movies. Ask yourself, would a theatre be likely to lower its prices if the deals improved?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Science day

A possible wrinkle in gravity.
Is it possible to evolve an eye, and how fast would it happen? Yes, and not too long. (both via the Door)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Guess what?

I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more cowbell!


Glen Whitman is an unusual fellow, but he does help clarify certain issues in his own way.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Is autism like being left-handed, or is it like spina bifida? Interesting controversy about how we treat people with autism, or, as many of them prefer, autistics (via MR). I was close to saying the pro-autism crowd has some valid points but is mostly crazy, until I read Kit Weintraub's concerns about her son....

Friday, December 17, 2004

More on Soc Sec

Luskin responds to Kinsley.

Bad fiction

only it's true (via MR)

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Taking the Kevin Bacon game to new levels.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

same old same old

Michael Kinsley presents some arguments against Social Security 'privatization'. Arnold Kling responds. Unlike a lot of opponents of 'privatization', Kinsley does at least make some seemingly plausible arguments, and there is some truth to some of them. But they are at their core just warmed over Keynesian economics. Kling does a better job than I would in articulating where Kinsley in on the right track and where is off, so read him.

It was a dark and stormy night

The winners for worst openings to (fake) novels (via Balko).
A sample:
Keith's popularity as the first openly gay daredevil was rising quickly; in fact, it was said he ate danger for breakfast, followed by a light brunch of lemon scones, quiche, and the occasional Mimosa, and then he was back to eating danger.

When Cinderella saw that the Prince had sent the Duke to find the woman of his dreams, like some rich schoolboy who pays the smartest kid in the class to do his homework, or worse, like someone who has been on welfare so long that he has trouble doing any kind of work, she suddenly realized the spoiled nature of the King's son and stealthily slid the slipper back into her pocket.

The legend about Padre Castillo's gold being buried deep in the Blackwolf Hills had lain untold for centuries and will continue to do so for this story is not about hidden treasure, nor is it set in any mountainous terrain whatsoever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A and T

From Alex Tabarrok, an interesting perspective on prison.
From Tyler Cowen, reason to be careful this Christmas.

Good federal legislation?

There's a bill that's expected to signed into law soon to criminalize peeping tom uses of picture phones. My first reaction was to agree with Radley that this was needless federalization of a crime, but it didn't take much reading of the article to see he's having a bit of a kneejerk libertarian reaction. Assuming the article is accurate and that the bill is written with the proper narrowness, it would only apply on federal property, so we are talking about a legitimate area of federal legislation. See, I do sometimes favor adding new laws, at least with those caveats mentioned.

Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Or do.

So, Pedro Martinez is going to be a Met next year. The Red Sox were absolutely right to not match the deal NY offered. I won't say it's impossible that Pedro will be worth it, but it's unlikely. He's a fairly small guy who's seen his effectiveness sharply decline. He's still good, but is unlikely to be great again, and is likely to end up on the disabled list a few times. I could understand the deal if the Mets were close and Pedro might put them over the top, but they suck. If they play their cards right they'll be good in 2007, when Pedro probably will be throwing around 150 innings with an era over 4. Not bad, but not worth anywhere close to his paycheck.
As for Pedro, I can't really blame him for taking that much more money than the Sox were willing to offer. He doesn't have any personal connection against the Mets, so for him it makes sense even if there's only one team I'd hate to see him on more (hint, they also play in NY). What bugs me is his whole prima donna-osity. Going back to the Sox after NY offered him the fourth guaranteed year and having his agent tell management
Pedro [is] hurt and angry. Why would one team be willing to give him four years but the Red Sox wouldn't? Why [won't] the Red Sox show him the respect [he's] earned after all these years?

I mean, really, get over yourself. After reading that, I say good riddance.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Global warming

A different take on what to do about it.

Hooray for Yiddish!

Learn to speak Yiddish with Dick and Jane (via the Door)

No, fuck you

Got to say this is one of the worst examples of mud-slinging and guilt by association I've seen (via Matt Yglesias). How about either making an argument for or against changing Social Security, or trying to understand a little of Chile's history? Pinochet was really awful in many ways, and I'm glad I don't have to deal with a president like him, but that's not the end of the story.

How to encourage evolution theory

Use the theory.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


If you can't trust, whom can you trust?

What's the problem?

I currently plan my budget week to week. Maybe I should take a longer view, such as two weeks, or maybe even four. Some people look at my numbers and tell me that I'm headed for a financial problem in six months and say I should adjust my plans accordingly. This is just silly. There's no financial problem now. Whether or not a problem ever arises and what the nature of that problem is depends in large part on something (winning the lottery) that no one has any idea how to predict. So why try to predict it? If it does, in fact, appear to be true in the January or February or May that making the numbers balance requires a change, then that would be an excellent time to change them. Why try to make guesses now?


That's how it works.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Civil war?

Tom Palmer takes on Rockwell and Raimondo mainly over Ukraine.

Slaying myths

Boudreaux tellls us why foreign subsidies are...good for us.

Friday, December 10, 2004

How to combat creationism

Give it some rope to hang itself.


Whitman suggests a way out of the box James Buchanan presented the other day. Sounds intriguing, but, as they say, the devil's in the details.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

It'll be anarchy!

Rethinking street design (via MR). Some of the ideas I need to see to know if I support them, but there is some very interesting stuff here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Not getting the joke

The New Yorker talks to Kazakhstan's press secretary about Borat, of Ali G fame.


Jim Buchanan articulates something I've thought but haven't been able to say exactly right. It (the situation articulated, not my inability to state it well) is related to hero worship, I think.

Social Security

A bit high on the insult quotient, but a good piece overall on reforming Social Security.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The theory of everything

Or maybe it's nothing. Anyway, the NY Times has a nice article on string theory. Could someone explain to me something? How can strings be the building blocks of the universe if they can (they think) snap? If they can snap, they're divisible, hence not the smallest unit. I'm sure there's a good explanation for this, but I don't see it. Actually, I'm not sure that there's a good explanation, but if there is, please let me know.

More Creationism

In case he was unclear the first time, Boudreaux explains some more.

Understanding equality

Roderick Long explains the unknown ideal.

A modest proposal

How about drug testing of all Representatives and Senators? If they fail a test, they're suspended for 4 weeks and subject to random testing and have to periodically check in with a designated official. Fail a second time, and they're suspended for a year. Fail a third time and they're kicked out of Congress for good. We have to think of the children!


Obviously anyone who disagrees with Bush is against America.

Monday, December 06, 2004


Relax (via Volokh). Be sure to check out the buttons, too.

Why they hate us

There are, of course, a lot of reasons. You can't really treat a group of one billion people as a monolithic entity. Different people have different reasons, and many don't hate. But there are a few leading causes that are rarely seriously discussed.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Those whacky French

I found this short history of French antipathy towards America interesting.
BTW, probably no more posts this weekend.
Also, I'm looking for a new apartment, either with or without roommates, in the Boston area. I'd like to be in Central Square, but that's not a deal breaker. If any of you know of a place that'll be available in January or sooner, please let me know.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Fried Rice

Condi, that is.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A reminder

Bush sucks. He should be impeached. But, there are worse people out there.

The seen vs the unseen

Transitioning to a Social Security system with 'private' accounts would entail large costs. But so would doing nothing, it just doesn't show up in the same way. That's not proof we should 'privatize' Social Security, but it needs to be part of the discussion.


It turns out my brother is a drug addict. Sad. (via Catallarchy)


There are probably good arguments against legalizing medical marijuana. This guy apparently decided to see if he could use none of them to make his case.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The modern creationists

Not the literal modern creationists, but of the economic sort. On the first link be sure to wait for it to talk to you, it's amazing. Then explore the rest of the site, it will blow your mind. I know P-Money posted this recently, but I want to make sure it's not missed.
Plus, blonde economics.

Tough choices

Michael Williams explores euthanasia.


Fuck Yeah! (via Andrew Sullivan)