The Campus Sex Police

Trump’s budget cuts funding for it. Good, except it will probably be restored by Congress. Devos needs to put the right people in place, and issue new guidance.

[Update a while later]

Related, sort of. Students are largely not learning to think in college. Because it’s more important to the universities to indoctrinate them, while taking their money and blighting their futures.

Mars

Another demonstration of how fundamentally unserious we are about it, and what a fraud NASA’s #JourneyToMars is:

“Right now we are unconsciously setting ourselves up for a very difficult Mars program in the 2020s, because of all these immediate needs,” Casey Dreier, director of space policy at the Planetary Society, tells The Verge. “We don’t want to have a problem where we’ve prepared these samples and then they just rot on the ground because we’re unable to commit to bringing them back.”

Dreier argues that, above all, the most immediate need is the development of a new Mars telecommunications orbiter. Any future spacecraft we send to the Red Planet is going to need a way to communicate with mission teams on Earth. Right now, NASA has three operational satellites orbiting Mars, but only two — the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey — are primarily used for telecommunications. And these vehicles are getting old. Both orbiters have been at Mars for more than a decade and have lasted much longer than the span of their primary missions. By the time spacecraft are sent to retrieve samples from Mars, these satellites may have broken down and have stopped functioning. There are other orbiters circling Mars, operated by NASA and other space agencies, but these satellites are primarily aimed at doing science, and their orbits make them ill-suited for telecommunications, according to the Planetary Society.

But we have a giant rocket and a capsule in development that we don’t need to get to Mars, so we have that going for us.

Public Speaking

This looks like a very useful development. I find this a strange attitude:

Let’s just remember that bilingual speakers are by definition fluent in two languages yet are too often deemed uneducated or undeserving of opportunity simply for sounding not quite like the people we see on TV.

As someone really only fluent in one language, I’m always impressed by people who are bi- or multi-lingual, even if they have an accent.

No, This Is Not Terrorism In England

It’s a protracted insurgency. It’s war, regardless of how much people want to deny it:

Britons trying to remain optimistic note that they survived and eventually defeated Irish nationalist terrorism not all that long ago. But this is a flawed analogy. In the first place, at any given time during the Troubles, the number of active Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists seldom exceeded a hundred. Moreover, the PIRA was a “normal” terrorist group with rational political motives, not a religiously-motivated death cult, and it generally eschewed killing civilians for its own sake. Indeed, atrocities like the 1987 Enniskillen attack, which murdered 10 innocents, proved a black mark for the group, even among staunch republicans. Therefore, comparing the PIRA to ISIS and its murderous Western wannabes isn’t much help to practical counterterrorism.

That said, if Britain doesn’t soon devise tough countermeasures to its vast domestic jihadism problem, many of its cities may come to resemble Northern Ireland a generation ago, with armed soldiers in battle gear patrolling the streets as “aid to civil power” while enforcing frequent security checks on average citizens with the aim of stopping terrorists.

In their historically recent unwillingness to allow Britons to defend themselves (appalling, considering that we inherited our notions about the Second Amendment from ancient English Common Law), the contradictions of their multi-culturalism will become untenable.

[Update a few minutes later]

Counterterrorism lessons from America’s Civil War:

Destroying ISIS, al-Qaeda and other Muslim terror groups is not particularly difficult, far less difficult than Sherman or Sheridan’s task during the Civil War. It simply requires doing some disgusting things. Western intelligence doesn’t have to infiltrate terror groups, tap phones, mine social media postings and so forth (although these doubtless are worth doing). Muslim communities in the West will inform on the terrorists. They will tell police when someone has packed up and gone to Syria, and when he has returned. They will tell police who is talking about killing westerners, who has a suspicious amount of cash, who is listening to broadcasts from Salafist preachers.

They will tell western security services everything they need to know, provided that western security services ask in the right way. I mean in Phil Sheridan’s way. Like the victorious Union generals of the Civil War, the West does not have to be particularly clever. It simply needs to understand what kind of war is is fighting.

Yes, ultimately, the only way to victory is to make them fear us. As Mark Steyn has said, the question is not “Why do they hate us,” but “Why do they despise us”? It is because they have no respect for us, and given the behavior of the “elites,” it’s hard to blame them.

[Early-afternoon update]

In the face of terror, Londoners told to “Run, Hide, Tell.”

Contrast this with the London of eight decades ago.

When I Learned To Read

the second time:

I do not remember what books she gave me, except that they were thick hardcovers. I believe one might have been a Thomas Hardy. It makes no difference. My English teacher was right, and I was wrong. Some books are better than others. And as a teen I had no way of judging for myself.

Without that bet, I would still have read serious literature when I had to, but I’m not sure how much I would have read because I chose to. Mrs. Dickey had taught me that there are things one ought to read. I put away the books of sports records and pulpy sci-fi. By the time I finished high school, I had read all of Shakespeare, the sonnets included.

When I started college, although I began as a physics major, with lots of work in math and computer science — you can’t entirely ungeek the geek — I was drawn increasingly to literature. In those days you could still find a jampacked course on Western Civilization and read the great books. (Dante haunts me still.) I devoured Greek drama, medieval philosophy, Russian absurdist stories, and the novels of Updike and Baldwin. In my spare time I prowled the stacks of the campus library, in search of authors of whom I had never heard. I was an addict whose craving could never be satisfied. I was finally in the oasis after a lifetime in the desert.

I read a lot of SF when I was a kid, but I read a lot of other things, too. You can’t be a good writer if you haven’t read a lot (I’ve always wondered where Mark Twain got access to his education).

[Update]

Sorry, link fixed…

Midway

Hard to believe it’s been three quarters of a century since the battle. And that it was only two years later that we invaded Normandy. When I was a kid, hearing my parents talk about it, I always thought of WW II as being a long war, but America was only in it for three and a half years. Of course, when I was a kid, three and a half years seemed like a long time.

[Monday-morning update]

Why Japan lost the battle.

[Bumped]

Paris Agreement Advocates

Glenn Reynolds says they should practice what they preach, by government force if necessary:

First, we need to tax the “blue zones.” That is, we need to impose steep taxes on property in coastal areas that will be flooded by the sea-level increases that global warming is supposed to bring. By discouraging people from living or building there now, we’ll save ourselves from big problems in the future. Sure it’ll drive down property values, but those values should go down — they’re values for property that’s going to be flooded anyway, remember?

Second, we need to ban taxpayer-funded air travel to conferences. State legislatures could ban reimbursement for travel outside their states; Congress could require that no federal grant money be spent on air travel to conferences and similar events. A lot of academic conferences would fail, but that’s a small price to pay for saving the planet. And besides, it will encourage the development of Internet-based conference alternatives. A whole new industry might result: Green jobs!

Donald Trump can strengthen America by dumping Paris agreement: Sen. Inhofe
Third, we need to ban private jet travel. At first I thought about just taxing it heavily, but with the planet at stake, that might not be enough. It’s nice that John Travolta can have his own Boeing 707, or that Leonardo DiCaprio can jet around the world speaking against climate change, but the carbon emissions involved set a bad example that outweighs anything he might say. So no more private jets. Bigshots will just have to fly commercial like everyone else, the way they did in the 1950s. (And sorry, Leo, but massive yachts have to go, too). Politicians, too, should have to fly commercial. No more government-funded “executive jets” for them.

Fourth, we need a luxury tax on mansions. Any home more than twice the size of the average American home should be taxed at 25% of its value per year. Celebrities and the rich enjoy great powers of persuasion — but with great power comes great responsibility, and they have a great responsibility to set a good example for the rest of us on climate change!

As he says, it seems like a modest proposal.

Democrats And Climate

They’ve lost the argument, and it’s their own fault:

…many voters don’t see Democrats acting like people who believe we’re facing an extinction level event. For instance, why aren’t we talking about adding hundreds of new nuclear power plants to our energy portfolio? Such an effort would do far more to mitigate carbon emissions than any unreliable solar or windmill boondoggle –certainly more than any non-binding international agreement. Maybe there are tradeoffs, who knows.

Or take prospective presidential hopeful Andrew Cuomo. Setting intentions aside, in all practical ways, he’s been worse for the environment than Trump. Cuomo claims he “is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions.” Yet as governor, he’s blocked natural gas pipelines and banned fracking, which has proven to be one of the most effective ways to mitigate carbon emissions. U.S. energy-related carbon emissions have fallen almost 14 percent since they peaked in 2007 according to the OECD – this, without any fabricated carbon market schemes. The driving reason is the shift to natural gas. Why do liberals hate science? Why do they condemn our grandchildren to a fiery end?

Fact is, Obama—as was his wont—tried to shift American policy with his pen rather than by building consensus (which was also an assault on proper norms of American governance, but the “Trump is destroying the Constitution!” crowd is conveniently flexible on this issue.) It’s not a feasible or lasting way to govern, unless the system collapses. It is also transparently ideological.

It’s impossible for any intelligent person to take them seriously.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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