Open Thread, 9/3/2017

I found the above video through Rod Dreher. It touched me on a visceral level because the baby in the first portion looks strikingly like my youngest. He’s sitting and smiling so much now. Really appreciating his infant-hood, as this is the third time we’re going through this.

All I can say in relation to having children is that now I know what matters, all that matters, and that none of the rest matters.

The penultimate season of has come and gone. They’re really compressing a lot of material into only a few episodes. I didn’t watch the earlier seasons before the show got ahead of the books, but I have to think they were more leisurely. I’ll watch the final season to get a sense of the ending in the books in case George R. R. Martin doesn’t finish them, but I think the sprint to the finish line means that if he does write the remaining books he’ll have a lot of free territory to himself.

Now on Stage: The Countdown to a New Taylor Swift Album. Streaming has gone from 23 to 63 percent of the market in three years.

Neanderthals and Denisovans as biological invaders.

Evolutionary biology today and the call for an extended synthesis.

The second sage. The fact that Westerners don’t know who Mencius is (a premise of the piece) is ridiculous. But probably true. I would still recommend for another early Confucian viewpoint.

I added a disclosures page. Mostly all that matters right now is that I work at Insitome, trying to do interesting things in the personal genomics space (and now that the Helix store is open you can purchase our first offering).

If you haven’t, please sign-up for my newsletter. I’m seeing more and more despondency on the nature of Twitter from the people who use it the most and produce the vast majority of the content. I suspect it will collapse sooner than later….

The Looming Decline of the Public Research University. As someone with intellectual aspirations but a conservative political viewpoint I’m conflicted. On the one hand the academy produces great work. On the other hand a lot of academics don’t see a difference between someone like me and Nazis (judging by “likes” of things I’ve retweeted to test the waters in relation to those promoting the proposition). Like it or not many conservatives perceive that a subset of the academy is dangerous to us on existential grounds. Why should we pay for our own destruction? If we could surgically remove these departments then the university could maintain itself, but that seems impossible. So you see where the future leads.

This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same. “…Houston may not be a nice place to visit, but you would want to live there. I do.”

The Best DNA Ancestry Testing Kit. There is some good and some bad in this review. But it’s thorough.

Fun fact, 44% of this site’s traffic is now mobile.

10 thoughts on “Open Thread, 9/3/2017

  1. I’m a contributor to those mobile stats, typing this out on a tablet right now. I used to wonder what tablets’ “niche” was, but now I realize it is “enjoying the internet on a device bigger than a phone screen on your bed”.

    The showrunners for Game of Thrones are really destination-centric, so at least the ultimate ending might be the same.

    Only 20% of the alumni for the Midwestern research schools even stay in state. I’m surprised it isn’t an even harder sell to get the state’s to provide funding.

  2. Yes, they are all that matter.

    After my daughter was born, predictably people kept asking me in very bubbly, cheery voices how I felt about having a child. I answered honestly: “I am no longer afraid of dying.”

    I got some very weird looks for saying that, but it was the first conscious thought that formed in my mind after she was born. Apparently I was supposed to rabbit on about the miracle of birth, etc. like a lot of new parents are inclined to do. No, nothing miraculous about it to me. Biology 101, no miracles required.

    I have been very close to dying on one occasion since then, and I wasn’t afraid. I saw it coming, and had been in such intense pain unrelentingly for so long that I willed it to come and take me, so the pain would stop. I felt regret at the prospect of leaving my wife and daughter, but fear, no, there wasn’t any.

    As it happened, a very fast and skilled surgeon got to me just in time, and I didn’t die after all. Those were the words he used when he came to see me afterwards: “You were lucky – we only just got to you in time.” But it will come one day, and I’m still not afraid.

  3. Curious to know if anyone has seen “Best of Enemies” on Netflix. It’s about the Vidal/Buckley debates in the late 60s. I found the actual debates boring but thought it amazing how unbelievably relevant they were. I feel like they were discussing *current* cultural divides and I really mean that. These debates could have been taking place right now! I actually found this heartening because, the more i investigate history, the less I worry about the future of America as this seems to have been going on since the aristocrats/Quakers, Confederacy/Union, business owners/labor unions, squares/hippies. Seems less violent than ever to me. Maybe it’s even a good thing that we have both extremes – if you get too many alike people you can get South America or Chinese politics or whatever. Maybe the Enlightenment unleashed these raging extremes and we’re better for it? Idk, just thinking out loud….

  4. Regarding: All I can say in relation to having children is that now I know what matters, all that matters, and that none of the rest matters
    Now you know. I had to commit in order to discover this, and then it was beautiful!
    I worried about the world back in the day and what our progeny might face. The kids are alright! It’s largely in their hands now, and everything depends on that. Everyone says our son is beautiful, brilliant, friendly, funny, and he can get stuff done! Our gift to the world. Any other personal contributions I made will not match what he is now.

  5. I am no longer afraid of dying.

    I realized what it felt like to have something worth dying for, which I guess is essentially the same thing. It’s incomparable.

  6. “The Looming Decline of the Public Research University.”

    The fabulous invalid. Whatever their problems are the answer is always the same: give us more money. Why? Our costs are going up.

    Their costs are: 1 out of control. 2. completely unaccounted for.

    Just a small example:

    “More foreigners seek US graduate degrees in STEM fields” By Danae King in The Columbus Dispatch on Sep 3, 2017

    “Serrani, chairman of graduate studies in electrical and computer engineering and a professor with a focus in control systems, has seen 15 students graduate in the doctoral program, and 13 of them were international students.”

    “Of the approximately 10,000 graduate students at OSU, about 25 percent are international, said Scott Herness, interim vice provost and dean of the university’s Graduate School. Among STEM disciplines, that percentage is slightly higher, hovering around 31 percent for master’s degrees and 40 percent for doctorates.”

    How much does it cost to subsidize foreign students? Why should the taxpayers subsidize foreigners?

    I could bang on about $2 million Presidents, and $6 million football coaches. But the larger point would be missed. We haven’t the vaguest idea of what these people are doing with our money.

    I share Razib’s concern with the political climate of the campuses. But, I am more worried about the skyrocketing costs.

    My slogan would be no money without accountability and accounting.

Leave a Reply