From National Geographic: ‘Yellowstone Has Bulged as Magma Pocket Swells’

Full piece here (video included)

The History channel has a good preview video here on how it’s past and potential future has been pieced together by park employees, geologists etc.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory at the USGS.

Related On This Site:  From YouTube Via Sound Politics: NASA-Mt St Helens: Thirty Years LaterSeattle Earthquake-January 30th 2009-4.5 On The Richter ScaleFrom The New Scientist: ‘Giant Crack Formed In Just Days’From Scientific Blogging: ‘On Eyjafjallajökull’

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Atul Gawande At The New Yorker: ‘The Hot Spotters’

Post here (abstract only, full article requires a subscription)

Gawande points to a study recognizing a group of people that disproportionately uses medical resources:

‘His calculations revealed that just one per cent of the hundred thousand people who made use of Camden’s medical facilities accounted for thirty per cent of its costs.’

And a potential solution for these ‘super-utilizers:’

‘In addition to physicians and nurses, the Center employs eight full-time “health coaches,” who help patients manage their health.’

‘Health-coaches’ frightens me a bit.  I’m still worried about politicizing the issue further; entrenching health-care as a right, which will also make it a political football (soon to be third-rail), potentially unionize it, open it to many more forms abuse and fraud (and diverging political and healh-insurance goals).

A door to single-payer?  What about rising costs?

A reader sent in two quotes from Henry Hazlitt, libertarian economist:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

and

“The first requisite of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians.”

Related On This Site:  Atul Gawande At The New Yorker: ‘Testing, Testing’From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”

From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?

A Few Health Care Links-03/18/2010

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Repost-Via Youtube: ‘George Will Discusses Metaphysical Concepts’

7:43 long.  The title is ‘George Will on rationality, principles, and reality.’

The same reader who sent the link wonders if there are some people who pursue the argument of free market economics with a zealous rationalism (not necessarily materialistic, but rationalist)..and if there isn’t there some Empiricist/philosophcial/political tradition relatively free of this metaphysical debate?

I’m not sure.  At the very end, Will states:

“It’s not the question of contradictions being true, but the questions of contradictions being real”

Link to a page on Aristotle’s metaphysics: being qua being.

From a Leo Strauss quote on Edmund Burke earlier posted (Strauss thought Burke too, perhaps, was succumbing to his definition of historicism):

“What ever might have to be said about the propriety of Burke’s usage, it is here sufficient to note that, in judging the political leaders whom he opposed in the two most important actions of his life, he [sic Burke] traced their lack of prudence less to passion than to the intrusion of the spirit of theory into the field of politics.”

Also On This Site:   Some Quotations From Leo Strauss On Edmund Burke In ‘Natural Right And History’Peter Singer discusses Hegel and MarxA Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’

George Will on baseball: From Slate: ‘Old Moneyball’

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From CATO@Liberty: ‘Democracy In Tunisia?’

Full post here.

Our author, David Boaz, quotes Fareed Zakaria:

‘Since 1945 Western governments have, for the most part, embodied both democracy and constitutional liberalism. Thus it is difficult to imagine the two apart, in the form of either illiberal democracy or liberal autocracy. In fact both have existed in the past and persist in the present. Until the twentieth century, most countries in Western Europe were liberal autocracies or, at best, semi-democracies.’

Related On This Site:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy

Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In DeclineRichard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set

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Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Full essay here.

‘According to my observations (for which I claim nothing by that they are all I have to go by) inaction is better than wrong action or premature right action, and effective right action can only follow right thinking. “If a great change is to take place,” said Edmund Burke, in his last words on the French Revolution, “the minds of men will be fitted to it.”‘

and:

‘It is a primary instinct of human nature to satisfy one’s needs and desires with the least possible exertion; everyone tends by instinctive preference to use the political means rather than the economic means, if he can do so.’

Albert Jay Nock, a strange animal:  Philosophical anarchist…but one whose anti-statism (the State maintains a monopoly on crime) is such that he ends up in a fairly conservative position.

Also On This Site:  How many libertarians are fundamentally anti-theist…and would some go so far as to embrace utilitarianism, or Mill’s Harm Principle which both of which are often used by the State-Builders?  So, where did Marx get his ideas, anyways? Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx

How might Darwin, and those who use him for political purposes, fit into all of this?:  PZ Myers, anti-creationsist, has more.

What about Kantian agnosticism…or is that part of the Enlightenment project of reason that Libertarians perhaps ought to be more careful with?:  A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss?

What about Noam Chomsky’s philosophical idealism, and his anarchism?:  The Politics Of Noam Chomsky-The Dangers Of Kantian Transcendental Idealism?

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From Foreign Affairs: ‘Letter From Karachi’

Full piece here.

“One root cause of the ethnic strife is the retreat of the state; Karachi’s local government has simply failed to keep up with the city’s expanding population. It has refused or been unable to provide basic physical infrastructure and services, such as housing, water, and electricity, or economic opportunities and resources to the majority of residents. Instead, the urban poor have relied on ethnic-based sector entrepreneurs to provide these essential services. This informality in social and economic relations has allowed ethnic rivalries to fester.”

Related On This SiteFrom Foreign Policy: ‘Reading Woodward In Karachi’From Michael Yon: ‘General Petraeus Letter’From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan

From Foreign Policy: ‘Inside Talibanistan’Alvaro Vargas Llosa At Real Clear Politics: “Pakistan’s Crooked Roots

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From Scientific Blogging: ‘Wood Angle Falls Faster Than Rubber Ball’

Full post here.  (Video included)

“The following is a neat little experiment whose result may be counterintuitive to some of those who embrace the “all bodies fall the same way inside earth’s gravity” ‘doctrine’ without quite understanding it.”

See Also:  Having Trouble With Electricity and Magnetism? MIT Can HelpRepost-’More On “Dark Flow” From Space.com’Repost: Richard Feynman at NASAA Short Post On Red Sprites And Blue Jets: Cosmic Origins Of Lightning?.Via Hulu: NASA Mission To The Moon And Mars.

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Fareed Zakaria At Foreign Policy: ‘Remembering Samuel Huntington’

Full piece here.

Zakaria notes:

‘He was able to take policy debates and frame them in a much broader theoretical context. Sam was able to explain to you what confirms and what falsifies your argument.’

Related On This Site:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy

Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In DeclineRichard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set

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Repost-From The NY Times: David Brooks On Simon Schama’s New Book-‘Mirror On America’

Full piece here.

Schama’s book ‘The American Future:  A History‘ here.

Brooks places the book in a long line of “brilliant books,” which by his definition would be:

“…the sort of book written by a big thinker who comes to capture the American spirit while armed only with his own brilliance.”

Or more precisely:  intellectually ambitious if not pretentious, and doomed to failure in dealing with the scope of its subject.   Only Alexis De Tocqueville perhaps reached the bar he set for himself in Brooks’ opinion.  This hasn’t stopped others from trying.

There’s some run-of-the-mill left-bashing here, as Brooks is casting Schama’s in the mold of Bernhard Henri-Levy’s ‘American Vertigo’ (review here at the NY Mag Of Books, the “anti-anti”American).

Also:

In the 1980s, Jean Baudrillard came armed with Theory and set the modern standard by dropping puerile paradoxes from coast to coast: “Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity.” Brilliant! “Here in the most conformist society the dimensions are immoral. It is this immorality that makes distance light and the journey infinite, that cleanses the muscles of their tiredness.” Brilliant!.”

Such quotes serve to highlight Brooks’ point:  Those who have tackled the subject often comically reveal their own limits, the limits of their own thinking and experience, and of their chosen mediums.   Brooks should know, as he does have a penchant for trying to paint big, somewhat cultural, political, and sociological pictures of American life.   Yet, as Schama in particular demonstrates, there are some things he does very well despite his assumptions.  In fact, I think he and others are as much trying to address the assumptions and opinions of their own people as much as their subject.

They just may not, perhaps, capture the “spirit of America.”

Related On This SiteSimon Schama’s Power of Art..Scott McLemee At ‘The Nation’ On Bernhard Henri-Levi: Darkness Becomes Him

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Thursday Quotation: Bertrand Russell

Sent in by a reader:

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God.

On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.”

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