A more perfect union
Long ago, in the halcyon days of January — specifically, on the halcyon day of January second — I boldly predicted that an utterly madcap editorial run by Slate would be the worst opinion piece of the year. That article, if you recall, was advocating that the government encourage a sufficient level of traffic fatalities to maintain the supply of "free" donor organs. Surely nothing would top that!
Your humble narrator is nothing if not humble, and is thus forced to admit that the ever-faithful, true-
redblue New York Times has certainly given it the old college try. The Times has been running a regular column called "Red Century" for a few months now, in which the luminaries of the modern left wax poetical about (so help me) the Soviet Union and how wonderful life was there. So that’s already pretty stupid, but I am compelled to point out that this week’s "Red Century" column has finally vaulted into the heady stratosphere of stupidity occupied by Slate’s explicitly pro-traffic-fatalities glurge. It’s a bit of historical ignorance about how positively liberated Soviet women were compared to the stupid rubes in the Free World, but… well, just you wait. You won’t believe this one.
Some might remember that Eastern bloc women enjoyed many rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time, including major state investments in their education and training, their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave allowances and guaranteed free child care.
Being literally forced at gunpoint into the labor force? What a fabulous right and/or privilege! And how kind of Big Brother to "invest" in their education and training, and to kidnap and enslave their children, all for the incredibly low price of absolutely everything they and their families will ever produce! That’s my kind of freedom, right there. I wonder what other wonders communism provided!
But there’s one advantage that has received little attention: Women under Communism enjoyed more sexual pleasure.
Imagine for a moment that you caught a leprechaun. The leprechaun offered you three wishes in exchange for his freedom, and you used your first wish to wish for all the incredulity in the entire world. Then you used your second wish to get a huge cannon to fire all the incredulity out of, and your third wish was to have the absolute perfect target to aim your incredulity cannon at.
All I’m really saying is that we can’t rule out the possibility that the New York Times is in fact a leprechaun.
A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework.
I cannot tell a lie: the "study" this article alludes to is a made-for-TV movie that was indeed produced "after reunification in 1990" — in 2006, to be specific. I’m at least 60% certain we’re not doing science here.
Consider Ana Durcheva from Bulgaria, who was 65 when I first met her in 2011. Having lived her first 43 years under Communism, she often complained that the new free market hindered Bulgarians’ ability to develop healthy amorous relationships…
"All [my daughter] does is work and work," Ms. Durcheva told me in 2013, "and when she comes home at night she is too tired to be with her husband. But it doesn’t matter, because he is tired, too. They sit together in front of the television like zombies. When I was her age, we had much more fun."
Old people complaining about the kids these days? That’s your scientific evidence? Ye gods. 54.72% of Bulgarian households had televisions in 1975, which is substantially lower than the 97.3% in Bulgaria today no matter how you slice it. And I’ll certainly bet any number of my precious Federal Reserve Notes that the state-owned monopoly television broadcaster didn’t offer quite so much in the way of entertainment as does evil horrible modern capitalist TV. Might that constitute a lurking variable or two in this highly scientific study of one old woman complaining that things were better back in the day?
Anyhow, this article goes on and on like this for like fifteen thousand words. It’s almost — but not, I think, quite — enough to dethrone Slate’s paean for more people to die in car wrecks. The final word I will leave to the one and only person to review this important "study" on IMDB:
I lived in Eastern Europe during the Communist rule and the approach towards abortion or sexual education was completely different than the one described here. East Germany almost seems if not a more liberal place than a more rational one than West Germany. And yet, when the Wall fell down it was East Germans who rushed to the West.
You may already be a winner!
From a pure libertarian perspective, the lottery is one of the least evil things the government does. The lottery, after all, is the one and only purely voluntary means of collecting revenue that the state has (don’t say land sales or usage fees, since those are sales of stolen property). Of course, this isn’t to say that the lottery isn’t the engine of plenty of human tragedy anyhow, as becomes immediately apparent when we realize that Americans spend eighty Carl-Sagan-billion dollars every year on lottery tickets — an average of $251 dollars per person per year. This is also strongly regressive, as the poor spend far more on lottery tickets than do the wealthy.
But, hey, thank God we have the government to prevent evil corporations from preying on those vulnerable poor people, right?
It’s that time of the year again: with both the Mega Millions and the Powerball lotteries accumulating jackpots greater than $350 million, countless Americans — mostly those in lower income groups — are splurging on lottery tickets, hoping to get rich quick.
Unfortunately for virtually everyone, it will never happen: the odds of winning both (or either) are absolutely staggering, a bit worse than 1 in 75.6 quadrillion, or 1 in 75,648,252,765,957,300 to be precise. On a percentage basis, one only has a 0.000000000000000013% chance of holding both winning tickets. Putting these odds in context, they are about 6,000 times worse than the odds experts have calculated of being killed by a meteorite strike — at the same time you’re being attacked by a shark. The odds of winning "only" one jackpot are not much higher: the Powerball winning odds are 1 in 292 million, while those for Mega Million are slightly better: 1 in 259 million.
I’m just not 100% sure that counts as "not much higher." I won’t insult your intelligence by pointing out exactly how much greater than 1/75,648,252,765,957,300 1/292,000,000 is — surely you can solve it yourself with the information provided, yes? Suffice to say, I’d call it more than "not much."
Of course, the real catch is that, in a state-run lottery, the state may simply decide not to pay up even if you do win. Aces.
Hack the planet!
It’s official: not only did the dastardly Vladimir Putin personally hack into all the computers and steal all the democracy by exposing a genuinely ridiculous amount of crime committed by higher-ups in the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign, but they apparently also have invented a secret new internet that has way more bandwidth than the regular, real internet. Don’t believe me? Here’s the smoking gun!
Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:
Okay, the smoking gun has to wait just a minute, because first I have to point out how unabashedly awful all this is. The writing, I mean. Patrick Lawrence, are you an actual human being, or are you Ern Malley‘s evil twin? Honestly. You write like Snidely Whiplash.
What was I talking about again? Oh, right, the plot:
There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
Science? Feh! If the Russians can hack all the democracy ever, what would stop them from hacking the science, too? I know it works that way. I’ve seen it in the movies.
The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.
These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed…
Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. "Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance," he wrote. "Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive)."
Since when does The Nation do proper journalism? What a topsy-turvy mixed-up world we live in. At least they still don’t do proper editing; "megabyte" is one word, you clowns.
Feeling the heat
Slate can tell the pressure is on. It’s been more than half the year, but challengers have finally begun to hammer on what was once the rag’s stone cold lead pipe lock of the week. There’s a real need to come up with some other jaw-droppingly stupid opinion pieces, and that need has finally manifested itself in a completely brainless, self-serving whinge about how racist and sexist and not at all mindful of our feelings science and truth and reality are.
It’s 2017, and people are still debating whether or not women are intellectually inferior to men, and whether we are entitled to a workplace that isn’t toxic to people simply based on their gender and sex.
The very first two words of this article are a "current year" trope. If your "this bodes ill" light isn’t flashing yet, I don’t know what to tell you. The rest of the line, of course, is an outright lie, as I suspect the author is fully aware, but is hoping you are not.
James Damore’s infamous memo that got him fired from Google — which is, of course, the topic of conversation — was about none of those things. It was, instead, about whether or not people should be forcibly silenced for dissenting from the politically correct orthodoxy. Damore went out of his way to announce to the world that he does in fact believe in the entirely phony "discrimination" shibboleth; he just thinks people who wonder about it maybe shouldn’t be entirely ruined for it. Of course, this crazy chick disagrees.
As a high school senior planning to study physics and astronomy in college, I was thoroughly convinced that solving quantum gravity would trickle down to improved human relations. Of course, I was adorably naïve about both the difficulty that quantum gravity presented us (we’ve made little progress in the 18 years since I started university) and about the relationship between science and humanity’s various imperfections.
So, if I’m getting this correctly: you were a total bomb at "solving" quantum gravity, but that’s society’s fault? You should have been fêted and celebrated as though you were a great genius even though it turned out that you had no greatness or genius? Aces.
It’s 2017, and to some extent scientific literature still supports a patriarchal view that ranks a man’s intellect above a woman’s.
Possibly this is because men do not require constant reminding of what year it is.
Most saliently in the context of the Google memo, our scientific educations almost never talk about the invention of whiteness and the invention of race in tandem with the early scientific method which placed a high value on taxonomies—which unsurprisingly and almost certainly not coincidentally supported prevailing social views. The standard history of science that is taught to budding scientists is that during the Enlightenment, Europe went from the dark ages to, well, being enlightened by a more progressive mindset characterized by objective "science." It is the rare scientific education that includes a simultaneous conversation about the rise of violent, imperialist globalization during the same time period. Very few curricula acknowledge that some European scientific "discoveries" were in fact collations of borrowed indigenous knowledge. And far too many universally call technology progress while failing to acknowledge that it has left us in a dangerously warmed climate.
Also possible is that people consider your intellect inferior because you announce it like this all the time. Speaking only for myself and the entire white male patriarchy, I have no problem acknowledging the intelligence of women who actually have any. Women who write self-indulgent newspeak bafflegab like that? Sorry, lady. You don’t make the cut.