Man Invents Fire, Women and Minorities Hardest Hit

No, really.


I suppose men standing around the barbecue burning meat and drinking beer is just another ritual of the Patriarchy.

Mark Twain was hip to this sort of thinking over a century ago:

In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. . . . There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

–Life on the Mississippi

The Examined Life is Worth Living

Scurrilous Commentator Fred Reed demonstrates how a grown-up examines his prejudices on the way to wisdom

Most Latinos of the south are either a mixture of Spanish and Indian, or sometimes pure Indian….Are they, as nativists insist, of very low IQ–83–and have they enstupidated the Spanish? Horrendously primitive?

Without thinking about it, I had the entrenched idea that they were just that. I wasn’t conscious that it was either an idea or entrenched–just a fact. It didn’t occur to me that I knew virtually nothing about these  people, or that there was anything to know.

What pulled me up short was their architecture.

and gives us a cultural history lesson along the way.


Included is this wonderful link to the Mayan numbering system, which makes ours look a bit rickety.


The Inside Scoop on Women’s Studies

Toni Airaksinen, a rising junior at Barnard College in Manhattan, gives us all the skinny on what women’s studies is all about.  It’s all WLB-iness.*

So, if you’re not finding oppression: look harder.  The unfortunate consequence of this theory is that oppression will be found everywhere — even where it doesn’t exist.

Ashe Schow takes it one step further describing “Where feminism went wrong”

No longer are feminists devoted to equality — because men and women do have equal rights under the law (although Janet Bloomfield has pointed out five legal rights women have that men don’t). The focus now is on parity, and the refusal to accept that men and women might just be different enough on aggregate that they have different priorities in life.

Tip from the Instapundit, who is not amused.

* Whiny Little Bitch (which, since it is derived from prison jargon, applies to all sexes and genders)

Well, this is depressing

Ouch.  My university has been identified as a “dropout factory,” ranking 474 of 535 US universities in 6-year completion rates for undergraduate degrees. I anticipate a wave of new reporting requirements, teaching workshops, exhortations from management, major investments in non-academic resources, and most importantly, creation of new administrative offices and positions.  All of this will be coordinated under the rubric “Floggings will continue until morale improves.”

Even the Texas in-state rankings are depressing:

Texas A & M University-College Station TX $4,528 79.33%
The University of Texas at Austin TX $9,075 79.06%
The University of Texas at Dallas TX $8,750 63.37%
Texas Tech University TX $10,296 60.47%
Texas State University TX $10,554 56.20%
Sam Houston State University TX $10,918 49.53%
University of North Texas TX $3,498 49.10%
University of Houston TX $9,996 46.85%
Texas Woman’s University TX $7,343 43.52%
Stephen F Austin State University TX $16,941 43.37%
The University of Texas at Tyler TX $7,762 42.44%
Midwestern State University TX $6,501 42.24%
West Texas A & M University TX $7,727 42.10%
Tarleton State University TX $12,880 41.09%
Texas A & M International University TX $4,942 41.02%
Texas A & M University-Commerce TX $8,529 40.90%
The University of Texas at Arlington TX $11,730 40.27%
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi TX $13,043 39.61%
The University of Texas-Pan American TX $1,373 39.37%
The University of Texas at El Paso TX $5,878 38.56%
Prairie View A & M University TX $8,179 36.35%
Lamar University TX $14,717 33.51%
Texas A & M University-Kingsville TX $8,891 32.99%
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin TX $5,706 31.30%
Angelo State University TX $9,941 30.51%
The University of Texas at San Antonio TX $8,348 29.17%
Sul Ross State University TX $9,293 27.42%
The University of Texas at Brownsville TX $7,254 25.15%
Texas Southern University TX $18,303 13.79%
University of Houston-Downtown TX $9,909 12.98%

An Unasked Question, Answered

I’d never really thought about it before, but it’s true: my backyard swimming pool* doesn’t have a strong chlorine smell, and the water doesn’t sting my eyes.  Turns out that’s because folks at my house don’t pee in the pool.

Tip from Sara Hoyt writing at the Instapundit.  Lots of links there about too many people peeing in our our pools.

*LOTS of The Wrong Kind of White (and Black and Brown) People (like me) in South Texas have swimming pools.  And we hire independent contractors–even those without college degrees!–to keep them neat, clean, and non-smelly.

Blinded Me with “Science”

Writing in The New Atlantis, Daniel Sarewitz says “Science, pride of modernity, our one source of objective knowledge, is in deep trouble.”  The public has swallowed the myth of scientism and Vannevar Bush’s self-serving rationalization for federally-funded Big Science:

Scientific progress on a broad front results from the free play of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the unknown.

Sarewitz quotes Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, who puts it like this:

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

There’s much, much more, including Alvin Weinberg’s decades-old identification of the problem of trans-science. Read the whole thing.

Tip from Gary Jones, who was apparently so flabbergasted at the completeness of this article that he (uncharacteristically) didn’t even comment.