Free will isn't free!

09/16/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/14/yuval-noah-harari-the-new-threat-to-liberal-democracy

Unfortunately, “free will” isn’t a scientific reality. It is a myth inherited from Christian theology. Theologians developed the idea of “free will” to explain why God is right to punish sinners for their bad choices and reward saints for their good choices. If our choices aren’t made freely, why should God punish or reward us for them? According to the theologians, it is reasonable for God to do so, because our choices reflect the free will of our eternal souls, which are independent of all physical and biological constraints.

A reason to vote republican

09/11/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/books/review/sarah-smarsh-heartland.html

Impoverished people, then, must do one of two things: Concede personal failure and vote for the party more inclined to assist them, or vote for the other party, whose rhetoric conveys hope that the labor of their lives is what will compensate them.”

Unadulterated Olive Oil

08/06/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/seven-ways-to-tell-the-difference-between-real-and-fake-olive-oil-article/amp

Tip #2: Look for a "harvest date" and an estate or mill name.

Basically, the more specifics, the better. "Typically only the better oils will have a 'pressed on' or 'harvest date,' " Olmsted says.

If a label calls out the name of the producer or estate, or the variety of olive used, it's very likely genuine.

Getting even geekier, if you see the free fatty acidity level, or FFA, listed (which you probably won't with mass-market brands), that's a great sign. Typically, only high-quality producers bother listing it, Olmsted says. An excellent oil will have an FFA of 0.2 percent or lower, according to Mueller.

Tip #3: Ignore the "best by" and "bottled on" dates.

Tip #4: Look for a third-party certification seal.

In particular, the European Union's Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Italy's DOP, or the "COOC Certified Extra Virgin" seal from the California Olive Oil Council for California-made oils. (The council has its own standards and certification program that's stricter than the IOC's.)

Tip #5: If you see EVOO made in Australia or Chile, buy it.

Debunking a mesmerist, or Trump

08/06/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/04/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-mesmerist.html

In our historical moment, the mesmerists are worth considering, for they were frequently debunked but the debunkings rarely had much of an effect. Just as the repeated corrections of President Trump’s falsehoods have failed to discourage him or his supporters, so too the mesmerists escaped their exposés unharmed.

To the charge that they were deceiving their audiences, mesmerists responded that they were expert demonstrators and analysts of deception. Yes, Dods did trick his subjects — but only in order to illustrate how dangerous other tricksters could be.

Ducks

08/04/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread
Trump was alone in speaking to Republican voters who didn’t want the party to remake itself, who wanted to be told that a wall could be built and things could go back to the way they were.

“Trump met the party where it was rather than trying to change it,“ Tesler says. “He was hunting where the ducks were.”

It's not the percentage of non-whites that troubles whites, it's the rate of change regardless of the base percentage

08/04/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/30/17505406/trump-obama-race-politics-immigration

So here, then, is what we know: Even gentle, unconscious exposure to reminders that America is diversifying — and particularly to the idea that America is becoming a majority-minority nation — pushes whites toward more conservative policy opinions and more support of the Republican Party.

What happens when the exposure isn’t so subtle?

When Obama was elected in 2008, there was much talk of America moving into a post-racial moment. But as Michael Tesler shows in his powerful book Post-Racial or Most-Racial?: Race and Politics in the Obama Era, the mere existence of Obama’s presidency further racialized American politics, splitting the two parties not just by racial composition but by racial attitudes.

What Tesler proves is that in the Obama era, attitudes on race drove attitudes on almost everything else, in a way that’s unique in recent American politics. The black-white divide in support for Obamacare was 20 percentage points larger than the black-white divide over Bill Clinton’s similarly controversial proposal, for instance.

Pretentiousness, sophistication, and authenticity

07/27/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Web Wanderings

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/09/in-defence-of-pretentiousness

“The class politics of sophistication are inseparable from its sexual politics,” wrote Joseph Litvak in Strange Gourmets, in 1997. Litvak points out how a glance at the dictionary is all it takes to recall that “sophistication” in fact means “perversion”. For though sophistication might nowadays be defined most readily as “worldliness”, as the opposite of “naivety”, its older meaning, as well as its normative meaning, deriving from the rhetorical aberration known as sophistry, is “corruption” or “adulteration”.

In medieval Latin, the verb sophisticare was used in relation to the dishonest tampering of goods, especially food. At the start of the 18th century, the use of “sophisticated” shifted to mean something deprived of a primitive or natural state. “Unsophisticated” meant something genuine, but shifted to mean a person who was ingenuous or inexperienced. In the 19th century, the idea of something being altered also became associated with wisdom or refinement.

Pretentiousness shares with sophistication a lingering sense of “unnaturalness”; something faked, pretending, tampered with. Litvak presses the idea that sophistication is linked to perversion in the sexual sense, and therefore carries with it a latent homophobic charge. The association of sophistication with a form of urbane and knowing behaviour gets reinforced “every time advertising and journalism, loathing as they do the pretentious and the trendy, derisively dangle before their audience the perennially unpopular figure of the snooty (ie gay) salesman in the upscale boutique.” Pretension implies affectation. People are not acting like themselves, rather, their lying urbanity is trampling all over your plain-speaking truth.

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