Sunday, March 01, 2009

Notable Notables, Linkable Linkables

* YouTube Finds, a mix of weirdness and excellence and weird excellence:

Great Depression Cooking with Clara is a reason why YouTube is an awesome thing.

An awesome 8-Bit version of Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper
An 8-Bit version of Europe's Final Countdown

The U. S. House of Representatives and the The U. S. Senate both have a YouTube presence now.

Experimental Philosophy Starring Eugene Mirman. A pretty good introduction to the basic idea.

Learn Game Theory from a Ninja

Crispin Sartwell on anarchism and the rule of law; he argues that no political state in existence actually conforms to the principle. I think the argument needs to be made more precise than you can probably get in a YouTube video, but it also seems to me to be one of the more interesting and promising anti-state arguments I've come across.

* David Brin has a really good editorial on the military. Militaries, even the most admirable, must be vigilantly watched because military life has a natural tendency to slide toward two vices, corruption and overplanning. The former is discussed a great deal, but the latter can be quite as serious. Rather than work on basic points of fitness -- fighting ability, transportation, logistics, relations with civilians -- that will outlast any plan one can ever make, and are essential to any plan one will ever have to make, military strategists and organizers start asking questions like that which Brin notes: "How can we better anticipate, cover, and overcome all conceivable or plausible threat envelopes?" This is an absurd question; any possible answer to it is virtually guaranteed to become obsolete faster than you can do anything with it, because the first things that go out the window when it matters are your expectations and plans. The logistics of the Allied advance beginning with D-Day were pre-planned to precision. Virtually none of the plans lasted longer than D-Day itself; everything began changing at such a fast rate that local commanders continually had to improvise. This was not the fault of the plan, which was very nicely thought out. It was the fault of the people who thought that plans can ever be anything but faulty and inadequate starting points. What you need instead are the things that can be valuable for any sort of plan you might have to make up on the fly.

* The International Prostitutes Collective. I think I've mentioned before that I think prostitution should be legal in order to protect the lives of prostitutes, to make it easier to transition voluntarily from prostitution to other lines of work, and to put the burden of the law on the ones who should primarily be bearing it: abusive pimps and johns. I actually don't think there should be much stigma attached to prostitution, for that matter; I hold the Thomistic view that it is not immoral per se to receive money for sex, i.e., that it adds nothing wrong to the act beyond whatever is involved in extramarital sex in the first place. And I think it's important for Christians, in particular, to avoid making life harder for prostitutes; we owe it to our Lord and some of his saints.

* There has recently been some news about Cerrie Burnell, the likable host of the BBC kids show, CBeebies. Apparently there have been complaints from some parents because Ms Burnell has had only one arm from birth. Fortunately, this doesn't seem to be a majority view, but it is sad that there are still people out there who spread such nonsense.

* Jesuit political scientist Francis P. Canavan has passed away at age 91. His The Popes and the Economy is an article worth reading.

* Radio legend Paul Harvey has also passed away.

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