Assorted links

by on November 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 The Anti-Gnostic November 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

# 3 – I think they should be evenly split between Bethesda, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia. I bet 7 million mostly Muslim Syrians would love living in the same neighborhoods as guys named Caplan and Friedman.

2 david November 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Be careful of what you wish for. Property prices would assure that only the doctors, the lawyers, and other aspirational professionals would remain there. Being upper-middle class aspirational, they would be more willing to subsume other elements of their identity in order to integrate. Within a decade you would have a community patting itself on the back on how successful assimilation can be.

3 The Anti-Gnostic November 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

You seem to be under this assumption that property values remain static when 3+ million Sunnis move in.

4 The bachelor November 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

“Assimilation” – yeah, that is exactly what we have seen in Europe for 40 years. The assimilation of Arab-muslim doctors, lawyers and other professionals in cities like London, Birmingham, Amsterdam…….

5 bena November 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm

#5 – Still true. I am always amazed at how policy is disconnected from economic incentive, or should I say connected to economic incentive that will be destructive in the long run.

6 Floccina November 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Look at the incentives the politicians face.

7 Kent Guida November 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Your 2009 column on the health care mandate — very nice. True then, true now. The mandates and subsidies are a policy that will explode and leave many of us (and the number may be far greater than anyone realizes) worse off than before.

But the column raises a more general problem: what is your rhetorical strategy and how is it working? Obamacare is a big deal, as Joe Biden told us. You put your finger on a few of its most disastrous consequences way back before it was passed. Did that have any impact? If one want to promote small steps toward a much better world, wouldn’t that requrie making these very good points about a million times on a widely-read blog and engaging in an admittedly tedious and repetitious debate with a large fraction of your readership? I don’t recall that happening. Maybe I just missed it.

I don’t mean to be offensive. I am one of your greatest admirers. But I really do not understand your rhetorical strategy. And a further question: has anything about Obamacare over the last four years caused you to reevaluate that strategy?

No doubt I will soon regret the bluntness of these questions, but they have been marinating for a long time. I truly do not understand your larger point of view, your wider perspective.

8 mike November 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

My guess is that his life is pretty good and it doesn’t really bother him that much that people he doesn’t know and will never meet are going to be moderately worse off.

9 david November 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm

My guess is that his blog has perceptibly slid downhill in quality since the years of 2004, where TC/AT felt more free to engage in amusing theoretical speculation. Intelligently-crafted high theory builds up your blog rep, as your conceit is your intellectual rightness. Engaging in politics spends it, as you attract the attention of equally-intelligent academics on the other side of the fence, who force you to either ignore their professed rebuttals, or engage in point-by-point blows that leave both sides looking worse off to the illiterati.

TC used to regularly post on political issues, albeit in the tone academics use (frank, but with the presumption that your frankness won’t be leapt upon by fringe yahoos). He’s now stopped and only compiles those direct engagements into mega-posts. I think that’s related.

10 anon November 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

6. Lex Machina does legal analytics, using Big Data and AI.

The picture of the founder and CEO with the West Reporter on the wall behind them is hilarious. Very few lawyers use the print Reporters anymore.

Westlaw had natural language search in the 1990s.

11 Topper Harley November 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

#3 – Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc.

12 So Much For Subtlety November 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Someone really does not like Colin McGinn. It is a little odd to me that a philosopher would pass comment on physics. After all, if a philosopher could do physics, he would. At least I would have thought so.

But not as bad as the stuff Sokal was lampooning surely?

McGinn has had to resign over inappropriate chats with a female student I believe. So did this review wait until he was safely retired and could not retaliate? I wonder what the norm for really nasty reviews in the world of philosophy is.

13 GiT November 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Philosophy of physics is a well-established field of philosophy (cf. – and one in which McGinn has little experience.

14 GiT November 3, 2013 at 12:14 am

To elaborate, as far as philosophy goes, the Sokal hoax was aimed more at the more outlandish and Post-Modernism run amok portions of philosophers or humanities folks working in the vein of what one might call Science Studies, which can have good work centered more on the anthropology, politics, and history of science. Philosophy of physics is generally more in line with mainstream so called “analytic” or “anglophone” philosophy and tends to have people who are pretty skilled at math/logic and the tools necessary to work within high level theoretical physics.

15 CD November 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm

McG *chose* to resign rather than face investigation over sexual harassment.

As negative reviews of his work go, this one is a piker. I can’t find a link to the full review but see

16 Tyle November 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

No, some one does not like McGinn’s *book*. And rightly so. The quotes drawn from the book are jaw-droppingly idiotic. The substance of the review stands on its own; the book discredits itself. If anything the rhetoric is a bit understated, probably for humorous effect.

“not as bad as the stuff Sokal was lampooning surely?” The two are not directly comparable, as GiT explains, but in some sense it must be true that McGinn’s book is at least as bad. This is because to first order it has zero value as a work of philosophy.

17 So Much For Subtlety November 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I am not sure that review merely shows a dislike of the book. Although it seems thoroughly dislikeable. I would think first it shows a dislike of the man. Then a dislike of his idea that we cannot understand as much as we would like. And only then a dislike of the book.

The quotes are mostly jaw droppingly idiotic but then that could be said about a great many works. It is, if you like, a matter of milliLacans rather than a full Derrida. We also do not know if they have been taken out of a context where they might have made more sense.

There must be some basis to the comparison because that review chose to bring in Sokal, not me. I have yet to read it, and I probably won’t, but I can believe it has no worth at all. At least as a work on physics. But zero value as a work of philosophy? Interesting call.

18 BenSix November 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

It would not surprise me if the review was informed by personal animus arising from the recent controversy. On the other hand, even if this was the case, McGinn has little freedom to complain about nasty reviews.

19 Ted Craig November 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

3. While it could never take in 7 million, a million or so Syrians could probably relocate to Detroit. It’s the perfect choice, really. It’s the only city with the space and the existing support system for these people.

20 So Much For Subtlety November 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

And the gun crime rate would make them feel at home. It would be almost as if they had never left Syria.

21 DocMerlin November 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

The 160+ game schedule is one thing I love about baseball. It makes tickets very cheap and means there is always baseball to watch when I want it.

22 kb November 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

#1.Reading Kerry Mckenzie analogous to what happened when jazz became undanceable and unlistenable.

23 ayejay November 3, 2013 at 12:36 am

Yet another young, female academic punishes McGinn in print. What is going on? I’d tell you, bit alas, it appears a squall of tachyons is inhibiting my ability to think.

24 Jon Teets November 3, 2013 at 2:33 am

Michael Jordan couldn’t cut it in the bigs — or the minors, for that matter –because it takes a long time to develop the skills required. Few players, including those with five tools, Votto’s patience and Pedroia’s focus and work ethic zoom are deposited directly into to the bigs. Most toil years in long seasons the minors developing passable skills, yet still require seasoning in the majors to be *ahem* average.

16 game seasons? Vaunted new strategies would need to be devised simply to adjust to the dramatic drop in quality. Game-time experience forges skills in baseball that can’t be had in practice.

25 byomtov November 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm


And the seasons would end with the teams closely bunched around a .500 percentage. The playoff teams would be nearly a random selection.

26 David H. November 3, 2013 at 7:44 am

#1 – That review is entirely fair. Oxford University Press, what were you thinking?

27 Tyle November 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Agreed. If anything the review went a little too easy. This is an embarrassment for OUP.

28 Dave Tufte November 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm

This one’s about baseball, and is directed back at Tyler.

I’ve often felt that basketball would benefit from being organized into a set of 5 minutes games, like a tennis set: first one to six, and you have to win by two. This would ease the soul-crushing first 40 minutes that you have to go through every time, for the one out of three basketball games that ends decently.

29 Charlie November 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

#1. See Sayre’s Law.

30 STALIN November 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

Why did I think the locations would all be in America before I ever saw them? Iran has two large deserts(they would be more at home) and I am sure Iran would love to hlep its fellow Muslims even if they were Sunni.

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