Saturday, November 28, 2009
In Praise of Artistic Nudes
Garrison Keillor knows what he likes.
"I see no reason to paint flowers. You can buy fresh flowers. Still lifes are only an exercise. And abstract expressionism is for the lobbies of big insurance companies. The true calling of an artist is to paint women and the greatest challenge is the naked female form. That's what separates the true artists from the wallpaper-hangers."
Gary Permalink on 11/28/2009
No, this is not about the rampaging rapist home builders in Texas and their screwing buyers over mold damage.
Moldbug, not his real name, seems to be a leading Libertarian social philosopher blogger today.
I was exposed to his ideas recently by a quasi-Libertarian friend and was puzzled because I thought the ideas and arguments just didn't make sense.
Martin Regnen provides a Condensed Moldbuggery guide and also concludes it doesn't makes sense.
One example of the limitation of Moldbug's thinking is his dividing people today into three classes or castes. (No, people who divide people into classes isn't one of the classes.) Moldbug has:
Eloi - the educated liberal artistic elites who run things,
Morlocks who do all the illegal work or collect welfare,
and Proles who do the real work.
If you are flummoxed it may be because this is an almost complete reversal of H.G. Wells creation of Eloi and Morlocks. If you are familiar with H.G. Wells you realize that this should have been:
Eloi - the beautiful people, artistic and intellectuals who have no power but live in beautiful garden surroundings.
Proles - those who do all the work and live in the dark fiery Hellish industrialized underground.
Morlocks - the powerful masters of industrialization who the proles work for. In The Time Machine proles and Morlocks are really condensed into just the Morlocks.
The Eloi always end up being eaten by the Morlocks unless an unlucky time traveller comes along.
There is much other stuff in his works like for democracies with two major political parties, the more progressive party is referred to as the Inner Party and the more conservative party is the Outer Party. His key point is that supporting the Outer Party is not an effective strategy against progressivism. In case you haven't gotten it progressives are the evil Eloi who must be destroyed.
ProgressivismI won't waste more time on this unless I get interesting comments. Even despite my social and political orientation - a Universalist Progressive, I can't see how more than a few misguideds would see Moldbug's hypotheses as more than a sad waste of limited intellect not worth mining the dross for a possible few gold flakes of real useful, or at least interesting, ideas.
Still, I am happy to see this is what passes for sophistication on the Libertarian Right.
Gary Permalink on 11/28/2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Almost unbelievable story of the new economy
And the Money Comes Rolling In
Markus Frind works one hour a day and brings in $10 million a year. How does he do it? He keeps things simple.
How PlentyofFish became the world's largest dating site - make it free and fast.
I keep thinking this is much of the future of the new economy - unfortunately it does not spell much future employment. He works one hour a day and after very rapid exponential growth has two employees. A year ago his site had ten million users and was getting well over a billion page views each month. By now he should be creating a million successful relationships a year.
PlentyofFish.com is so successful now that it is doing a promotion offering dates with Lady Gaga - new single Bad Romance - to winners.
Gary Permalink on 11/20/2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Locke seeks the homophobic vote
I am going to link to Kuff for the meetings Locke had with Harris County's nastiest political kingmaker and very political, very conservative preachers concerned about "the gay agenda." And Gene Locke's tepid response which I read as Locke saying I am not responsible for who votes for me or why.
It is disappointing but not unexpected that Locke is going that route. He already had alienated women voters with several good ol’ boy gaffes earlier in the campaign and the revelation of previous lack of respect for women.
It is significant that his political team consists of highly paid national Democratic and Republican operatives and insiders from a previous mayoral team not known for its smoothness or ethics.
So now Locke has meetings with the smear master of the far right in Houston who lead the Christian fundamentalist takeover of the Harris County GOP and the politically active anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Democrat pastor group. How much did he pledge to support conservative causes? Then a statement that essentially says Locke is not going to be responsible for what others say about his opponent. All this is a political style we thought Houston outgrew in local races.
I hope many Republicans will stay home rather than vote for a Black Democrat angling for homophobic support.
I see even an Evangelical minister is wondering if the Houston Area Pastor Council, which is the home organization of the US Pastor Council, is crossing the line in terms of IRS regulations in mounting a campaign against gay candidates.
Gary Permalink on 11/16/2009
Sunday, November 15, 20090 comments
Monday, November 09, 2009
More Criticism of SuperFreakonomics
I shouldn't be surprised at SuperFreakonomics. Freakonomics reminded me somewhat of early John Stossel, while not the established wisdom they were glib "common sense" economic arguments. Like Stossel, later works veer more right and less factual. This latest seems to exhibit the bias toward particular approaches they decry in others. From The New Yorker review:
Given their emphasis on cold, hard numbers, it’s noteworthy that Levitt and Dubner ignore what are, by now, whole libraries’ worth of data on global warming. Indeed, just about everything they have to say on the topic is, factually speaking, wrong. Among the many matters they misrepresent are: the significance of carbon emissions as a climate-forcing agent, the mechanics of climate modelling, the temperature record of the past decade, and the climate history of the past several hundred thousand years.“The problem wasn’t necessarily that you talked to the wrong experts or talked to too few of them. The problem was that you failed to do the most elementary thinking.”
Pierrehumbert carefully dissects one of the arguments that Levitt and Dubner seem to subscribe to—that solar cells, because they are dark, actually contribute to global warming—and shows it to be fallacious. “Really simple arithmetic, which you could not be bothered to do, would have been enough to tell you,” he writes, that this claim “is complete and utter nonsense.”
Here is another notable review on two Vegetarian books.
Gary Permalink on 11/09/2009
Monday, November 02, 20090 comments