This might be very good indeed

I’m looking forward with interest to a new documentary movie, ‘Notes on Blindness‘. The Telegraph writes: John Hull, a professor of religious education at Birmingham University, went blind in 1983, and spent much of that decade compiling detailed thoughts on the experience of sight loss – a condition he grieved at first, before finding in it much of philosophical value. His book Touching the Rock, considered a masterpiece by no less an authority than the neurologist Oliver Sacks, is a collection of excerpts from the audio-cassette journal that John began to compile as a newly blind person, attempting to map

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What happens to retirees when the money runs out?

A Maryland couple is finding that out the hard way. We never expected to live this long. My parents died when they were in their 70s. My brother was 62 when he passed away. My wife’s father died while she was still a little girl. I believe her mother was in her 70s when she died. And my wife’s big sister was a teen-ager when she died. And yet, my wife and I are still standing. We did plan for our retirement. We paid off the mortgage on our 1950s rancher to guarantee that we’d have a roof over our

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How to guarantee theft, fraud and other crimes in business

If ever I’ve heard a dumb idea, it’s this one. Businesses that ask a job applicant about his or her criminal history during the hiring process could be fined and forced to pay the applicant up to $500 under a new law being considered by city leaders. A Los Angeles City Council committee backed a plan Tuesday to penalize businesses that weed out applicants based on criminal convictions. The rules are part of a law under consideration by the council aimed at giving former convicts a better shot at obtaining employment. . . . Los Angeles non-profits, churches, and other

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A Seagull with a punch

Back in February I reported on Israel’s new Seagull unmanned naval patrol vessel.  It’s now been tested firing a small anti-submarine homing torpedo. You can read more about it here. This is an important development.  Sure, such torpedoes are small, with limited range, depth capability, etc.;  but the Seagull is designed to patrol littoral waters, along a country’s coastline and not too far out to sea, where the water usually isn’t very deep and submarines are limited in their ability to maneuver (or escape) by the proximity of the bottom and the coastline.  Such torpedoes are a huge threat in

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Higher education and IQ

There’s a very interesting article in Quartz titled ‘Your college major is a pretty good indication of how smart you are‘.  Here’s how it begins. Do students who choose to major in different fields have different academic aptitudes? This question is worth investigating for many reasons, including an understanding of what fields top students choose to pursue, the diversity of talent across various fields, and how this might reflect upon the majors and occupations a culture values. In order to explore this, I used five different measures of US students’ academic aptitude, which span 1946 to 2014, and discovered that

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A sad memorial to a murdered people

I was profoundly moved to read this report in the New York Times. A team of archaeologists and mapmakers say they have uncovered a forgotten tunnel that 80 Jews dug largely by hand as they tried to escape from a Nazi extermination site in Lithuania about 70 years ago. . . . From 1941 until 1944, tens of thousands of Jews from the nearby city of Vilnius, known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania, were brought to Ponar and shot at close range. Their bodies were dumped into the pits and buried. “I call Ponar ground zero for the Holocaust,” Dr.

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More book news

I’m pleased to report that ‘Brings The Lightning‘ is now available in a paperback edition, as well as its original e-book and later hardcover editions.  This is the first of my books that’s available in all three formats, and it won’t be the last.  Castalia House and Vox Day have done a great job, including hiring freelance assistance to increase their throughput, and are planning to offer hardcover and paperback formats for most of their books as quickly as they can feed them through the system.  That’s pretty impressive for a small publisher – in fact, I don’t know of

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Realistic emergency preparations

AllOutdoor.com had a very good article recently titled ‘Venezuela, and why Gold and Barter Items are Terrible Preps‘.  Here’s a brief excerpt. People are shooting each other in the streets over food–not ammo, cigarettes, liquor, gold coins, silver coins, or any of the other crap that preppers love to stockpile “for barter when TSHTF.” That’s right, it turns out that good old-fashioned food is the only thing that you can actually eat in a collapse, and as worthless as the Venezuelan bolivar is right now, “sound money” is pretty much totally absent from all the discussions I’ve read of what

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More about the automation revolution

In an article titled ‘Why The World Hates Silicon Valley‘, Newsweek makes some points that expand upon the Guardian’s six-part series on artificial intelligence that I mentioned yesterday.  Here’s an excerpt. Artificial intelligence is a game-changing technology, much like cloud-based apps over the past five years. It will be the basis for inventions we can hardly imagine now. (How about an AI-driven tiny drone that learns to buzz around and keep an eye on a building, replacing security guards? It’s coming!) And 3-D printing will get good enough so that a company like Nike will no longer make shoes in

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DON’T “Just shoot him in the leg!”

One often hears impassioned, emotional (and ill-informed) comment from bystanders or family members after someone has been shot in the commission of a crime.  Whether by their intended victim or by police, the complaint is often heard that “They shouldn’t have shot to kill!  They should have shot him in the leg, so they didn’t hurt him too much!” Of course, no-one in his or her right mind shoots to kill.  One shoots to stop, which is a very different consideration.  It may cause injuries sufficiently serious to kill the target, but that’s not our primary intention.  We want to

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