Turkey doesn't want it called a "genocide", and so Obama reneged on a campaign promise. From Yahoo news,
Yerevan says that the Armenian massacres are today recognised as genocide by 22 countries, including France and Russia, as well as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
US President Barack Obama had pledged in his campaign that he "will recognise the Armenian genocide" if elected, but has thus far avoided using the politically charged term, stressing however that his "view of that history has not changed".
His "view of that history has not changed" and yet he now will not refer to it as a genocide despite saying he would. It sounds to me as if he is trying to appease the Armenians while not crossing the Turks.
The US has certainly been drifting toward a less supportive position, for sure. Carolyn Glick pulls no punches here.
After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, "when it matters," [US ambassador to the UN] Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines — lines that are indefensible.
Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel's right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.
A key to understanding this position is that the pre-1967 borders are, if not indefensible, certainly very difficult to maintain. Another key is that some Zionists favour continued expansion into the West Bank. But to demand that Israel give up its buffer zone is tantamount to asking it to commit suicide or, at the very least, to suffer continued huge losses trying to defend itself within those pre-1967 borders.
Just a little while ago, I posted an item about a low-carb, high-fat diet that includes drinking hot buttered coffee. I thought I'd try it.
Granted, my coffee is Tassimo Nabob Gashouse Bold, and not some specialty low-mold stuff that costs $19/lb, but nevertheless I'm not keen.
The taste is ok, but the coating of grease in my mouth is weird. I could probably get used to it eventually, but I think I'll stick with using whipping cream instead.
How about buttered coffee? Sounds good to me, but even before reading this article, I had developed a taste for having my coffee with whipping cream (unwhipped) in it.
It's a lengthy article, and so here are a couple of snippets:
[Asprey] completely dismantled the food pyramid—the 1992 chart that advised people to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet and very few fats—and argues that the proper diet should consist of as much as 70 percent fat. It’s similar to the paleo diet, the regimen that forbids any food not available to prehistoric man, with some modifications, like allowing white rice. “Your hormones are made of saturated fat, your brain is made of fat, and the membrane of every cell in your body is made of fat,” Asprey says. “When you go on a low-fat diet, you limit the performance of so many key systems in your body that it’s no wonder you have cravings and feel tired.” ...
“I used to weigh 300 pounds,” Asprey tells Gotzler. “I worked out six days a week, and I cut my calories to around 1,800 calories per day for almost two years. And I was still fat. I’m eating salads and my friends are eating onion rings, and they’re still thin. I said, ‘This isn’t working.’” ...
Asprey found some low-mold beans from Guatemala and blended them with the coconut oil and grass-fed butter, which is higher in omega-3 fatty acid than regular butter or cream. It was delicious. Bulletproof coffee was born. Asprey envisioned the beverage as a 450-calorie breakfast alternative that would suppress hunger and provide mental clarity.
Sounds like a lot of the evidence we read that convinced us to move toward Atkins-type low-carb, high-fat diets. If only I could stop eating the cheap-carb, refined wheat, refined sugar things I find so tasty.
There's a math problem raging on Facebook that depends on the order of operations.
Too many smart people have memorized the mnemonic BEDMAS and misapply it.
These mnemonics may be misleading when written this way, especially if the user is not aware that multiplication and division are of equal precedence, as are addition and subtraction. Using any of the above rules in the order "addition first, subtraction afterward" would also give the wrong answer to the problem:
The correct answer is 9 (and not 5, which we get when we do the addition first and then the subtraction). The best way to understand a combination of addition and subtraction is to think of the subtraction as addition of a negative number. In this case, we see the problem as the sum of positive ten, negative three, and positive two:
A different perspective that might help clear things up: Within the multiplication and division groups, start at the left and work right. Similarly, within the addition and subtraction groups, start at the left and work to the right.
But I doubt if this will stop or slow the battles on Facebook.
If only people would Google things and look at Wikipaedia...
The inestimable Steve Horwitz writes on his FB page,
Ronald Bailey's prediction 15 years ago about what Earth Day will be like in 30 years continues to be on target. The world has never been cleaner and healthier, yet we are, according to the professional purveyors of doom, always on the edge of catastrophe. Or at least so says this screaming CNN Headline. http://www.cnn.com/…/…/sutter-climate-two-degrees/index.html
Instead, celebrate Earth Day by going to Cato's Human Progress website and get the real state of the planet.
Steve Horwitz posted this on Facebook. It is a wonderful suggestion:
[W]hen our environmentalist friends DO make predictions that can be falsified, they are often very wrong. I still maintain that Reason or some other libertarian organization should give an annual Paul Ehrlich Award to scholars whose predictions have turned out to be spectacularly wrong. (Ehrlich is ineligible as he'd win it every year.)
"Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers.”"
We are halfway there and Ron's predictions, unlike those of the doomsayers, have largely come to pass.
Steve then linked to this article.
18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year
I have always taught my economics students that there is no such thing as a shortage; there is only a shortage at a certain price. If there is a shortage of something at a low price, the excess quantity demanded will drive prices up. These higher prices will induce an increase in the quantity supplied and a reduction in the quantity demanded until a price is reached at which the quantity supplied equals the quantity demanded == no shortage.
But for this basic analysis to apply, markets must be relatively free to work relatively smoothly. In too many jurisdictions, political pull and vested interests lead to prices that do not, indeed cannot, respond to market forces. Politicians and their crony supporters bugger things up. And that is what has happened with water in California.
Here is a pretty good summary from the Washington Post. Unfortunately it is missing this simple overview about the price system and gets into blaming certain uses too much. The list and the accompanying graphics are quite informative. Here is the list; see the full article for the explanations:
8 fascinating images explain California’s dangerous drought
1. California is one of the most-drought stricken regions of the U.S.
2. Things have gotten worse since then.
3. You don't need a PhD to see why California is in trouble.
4. California's water crisis isn't really due to its people.
5. Agriculture is the much bigger consumer of California's water.
6. Almond shaming is justified.
7. But almonds aren't the only offenders.
8. Power generation is another major hidden consumer of water.
Remember through all this that agriculture uses so much water because California's price for using water in agriculture is so low. There is a LOT of agriculture in California that is inefficient and doesn't belong there. It wouldn't be there if the users of that water had to pay prices for the water that reflect the full costs of using it. And if water were priced appropriately, there is a LOT of agricultural land that would be worth a LOT less than it is now.... look at agricultural landowners as the primary beneficiaries of water prices that are too low.
But in addition to agriculture (and other) cronyism, there is another type of political pressure that has contributed to the water shortage (at current prices): Environmentalism. See this.
This is a textbook example of how the media perpetuates a false narrative based on a phony statistic. Farmers do not use 80 percent of California’s water. In reality, 50 percent of the water that is captured by the state’s dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, and other infrastructure is diverted for environmental causes. Farmers, in fact, use 40 percent of the water supply. Environmentalists have manufactured the 80 percent statistic by deliberately excluding environmental diversions from their calculations. Furthermore, in many years there are additional millions of acre-feet of water that are simply flushed into the ocean due to a lack of storage capacity — a situation partly explained by environmental groups’ opposition to new water-storage projects.
It's a fun piece to listen to; and it's a tricky, challenging piece to play (for me, anyway). I've been enthralled by recordings and by live performances of it. It's a treat to be a part of this performance.
Carmina Burana and other numbers, Central Secondary School, London, Ontario. 2pm, Sunday, April 19th.
This is NOT from The Onion:
A [police] spokesman confirmed that officers had searched Banda’s home, though he denied it was a raid. He also said the initial anti-drug program was put on entirely by the school — the police had no involvement. At that event Banda’s son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police. Officers from the department showed up at Banda’s at home and asked her permission to conduct a search. She refused. They then obtained a warrant and searched her home. The spokesman wouldn’t comment on exactly what was found, except to say that there was “evidence” of drug activity. Banda was then arrested and her son was seized from the home. Currently, there are no criminal charges against her. The spokesman wouldn’t comment on whether charges may be forthcoming. He added that possession of marijuana is illegal in Kansas, without exception.
The absurdity here of course is that a woman could lose her custody of her child for therapeutically using a drug that’s legal for recreational use an hour to the west. It seems safe to say that the amount of the drug she had in her home was an amount consistent with personal use. (If she had been distributing, she’d almost certainly have been charged by now.)
This boy was defending his mother’s use of a drug that helps her deal with an awful condition. Because he stuck up for his mother, the state arrested her and ripped him away from her. Even if he is eventually returned to his mother (as he ought to be), the school, the town, and the state of Kansas have already done a lot more damage to this kid than Banda’s use of pot to treat her Crohn’s disease ever could.
"Who could imagine that they would Freak-Out in Kansas?" [Frank Zappa]
As I mentioned earlier, I'm delighted that the Pope declared the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians to be a genocide. The evidence certainly suggests that it was.
Was it also a Jihad?
Jeff Jacoby suggests it had some pretty strong similarities to modern-day jihads.
Speaking at the Vatican during a Sunday Mass to mark the centenary of the slaughter, the pope said it is “widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century” — a quote from Pope John Paul II, who used nearly the same words in 2001. But Francis went further, equating the destruction of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust and the Soviet bloodbaths under Stalin. And he linked the genocidal Ottoman assault on Armenia, the world’s oldest Christian nation, with the epidemic of violence against Christians today, especially by such radical Islamist terror groups as ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab. ...
Talaat Pasha, the powerful Ottoman interior minister during World War I, certainly didn’t disguise his objective. “The Government . . . has decided to destroy completely all the indicated [Armenians] persons living in Turkey,” he brusquely reminded officials in Aleppo in a September 1915 dispatch. “An end must be put to their existence . . . and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to conscientious scruples.” ...
That key fact is one the pope, to his credit, refuses to downplay: Armenians were victims not only of genocide, but also of jihad. In imploring his listeners on Sunday to hear the “muffled and forgotten cry” of endangered Christians who today are “ruthlessly put to death — decapitated, crucified, burned alive — or forced to leave their homeland,” Francis was reminding the world that the price of irresolution in the face of determined Islamist violence is as steep as ever.
The jihadists of 1915 murdered “bishops and priests, religious women and men, the elderly, and even defenseless children and the infirm.” The world knew what was happening; the grisly details were extensively reported at the time. Just as they are now, and with as little effect.
However, see this from today's NYTimes, which agrees the conflict was between Muslims and Armenians, but which also highlights the political (more than the religious) nature of the genocide:
“They threw them in that hole, all the men,” said Vahit Sahin, 78, sitting at a cafe in the center of the village, reciting the stories that have passed through generations.
Mr. Sahin turned in his chair and pointed toward the monastery. “That side was Armenian.” He turned back. “This side was Muslim. At first, they were really friendly with each other.”
A hundred years ago, amid the upheaval of World War I, this village and countless others across eastern Anatolia became killing fields as the desperate leadership of the Ottoman Empire, having lost the Balkans and facing the prospect of losing its Arab territories as well, saw a threat closer to home.
Worried that the Christian Armenian population was planning to align with Russia, a primary enemy of the Ottoman Turks, officials embarked on what historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century: Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed, some in massacres like the one here, others in forced marches to the Syrian desert that left them starved to death.
The genocide was the greatest atrocity of the Great War.
Over a decade ago, my older son (aka David Ricardo Palmer) and I constructed this arch. It was displayed that spring at both the Bright's Grove and the Blyth art galleries.
Our artists' statement is a reflection of the existentialism inherent in the Myth of Sisyphus.
L' Arc des Perdants Anonymes
(The Arch of the Anonymous Losers):
A Celebration of the Existential Quest
Like many triumphal arches, this sculpture is a celebration. In this work, we celebrate the process of continued search and quest despite not reaching a specific goal or prize.
Constructed entirely of losing cups from the 2004 Tim Hortons "Roll Up the Rim to Win" contest, our work is rooted in the ontological search for meaning. People who search for meaning in life are often frustrated, feeling lost when they are unable to arrive at some clear and definitive sense of purpose. The existential answer lies in the joy and value of the search activity itself.
We see the experience of playing the Tim Horton lottery as a reflection of this search. People buy cups of coffee hoping to win a big prize. They lose. They go back for more. And the process makes people smile. This simple, day-to-day process is a symbolic representation of the joie de vivre that is evinced in the human experiential quest for meaning.
L' Arc des Perdants Anonymes is constructed with nearly 3000 used, losing cups from the Tim Hortons 2004 contest. The artists used approximately 10 pounds of glue sticks to construct the sections of the structure. These sections are held together in places with 3M hook and loop material. The artists gratefully acknowledge the assistance of their families and persons at their respective workplaces for their assistance.
For more photos and information, see this.
I just received the following email. I'm tickled by some of these attempts to part me from my money:
We are from China, we are very interested in your grape wine.
If you can provide, we sincerely hope establish a longterm friendly cooperation
partner relationship with each other via our first cooperation.
1. Red grape wine 40000 bottles.
2. White grape wine 20000 bottles.
3. Request 750ml /per bottle.
4. FOB price,we will have a face to face talk about the details and sign the contract,
after both of us confirm the price. We will pay 40% T/T,then delivery the goods
after 40 days.
Eric mentioned in the comments to this post that the Yankees have had a female radio announcer for over a decade. We get many of the Yankee telecasts here in London, Ontario, but not their radiocasts.
Eric then sent me this link, providing the biographies of the Yankee broadcasters.
An award winning journalist, Suzyn Waldman joins John Sterling in the radio booth as the Yankees' color commentator on WCBS-AM radio in 2005, becoming the first woman to hold a full-time position as a Major League broadcaster. Waldman has spent the greater part of two decades overcoming all the obstacles that go along with being a female sports broadcaster, and has risen to the top of her profession. ...
Waldman's life and struggles have been the subject of hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, and chapters in books, including the "MacMillan Book of Baseball Stories," "You Go Girl" and "That's Outside My Boat" both by Charlie Jones and Kim Doran. She has been profiled on the Today Show, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, ABC's 20/20 and NBC's Dateline.
But check out her other interests: economics and theatre! Sportscasting, baseball, economics, and theatre: a perfect combination! But I haven't been able to ascertain her views on sabremetrics yet.
A native Bostonian, with a degree in Economics from Boston's prestigious Simmons College, Suzyn spent 15 years on the Broadway Musical Stage, and is proudest of her two years starring opposite Richard Kiley in "Man of La Mancha."
I don't agree with everything he says, but the Pope is right about the Armenian genocide. From Wikipaedia:
The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանություն Hayots Tseghaspanutyun),[note 3] also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, traditionally by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern (Armenian: Մեծ Եղեռն, "Great Crime"),was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland which lies within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, [emphasis added] the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government, and their treatment is considered by many historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. The majority of Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.
Raphael Lemkin was explicitly moved by the Armenian annihilation to coin the word genocide in 1943 and define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, because scholars point to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out in order to eliminate the Armenians, and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.
Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies the word genocide is an accurate term for the mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman rule in 1915. It has in recent years been faced with repeated calls to recognize them as genocide. To date, twenty-two countries have officially recognized the mass killings as genocide, a view which is shared by most genocide scholars and historians.
Pope Francis described it as the "First genocide of the XX century", causing a diplomatic incident with Turkey. The bishop of Romedefended his pronouncement by saying it was his duty to honour the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were "senselessly" murdered by Ottoman Turks 100 years before he became Pontiff. He also called on all heads of state and international organizations to recognize "the truth of what transpired and oppose such crimes without ceding to ambiguity or compromise." 
Why are there no women in the broadcast booths for Major League Baseball? There are many who could do the job, and do it better than some of the talking heads that are there now. [See this].
Back when I did radio play-by-play for the AA London Tigers, I worked with many different people as co-announcers. Despite my strongly worded suggestions to the station manager that we find women to co-broadcast in the booth, it never happened.
Women doing play-by-play; women doing commentary and analysis. I see no reason why it shouldn't and won't, eventually, happen.
There are two women whose names come to mind immediately for me.
Christina Kahrl. Christina was also a regular on rec.sport.baseball. She and I corresponded a couple of times back then, and we are Facebook friends. I have no doubt she could do the job well. From the website cited above, "Her credentials: Want someone who can tell a good anecdote but also understands sabermetrics? Karhl, a co-founder of the analytical website Baseball Prospectus and an ESPN writer/editor, would be a good catch. She’s also a vocal transgender activist and has spoken about how baseball eased her transition."
Sadly, I'm not sure it will happen anytime soon. For one reason, most viewers/listeners seem disinclined to pay attention to solid numerical analysis. And for another reason, I cannot see most viewers/listeners overcoming the unfortunately deeply ingrained sex biases in sports and sportscasting.
Obama is to meet Castro today. I'm guessing Obama will fawn over him and not treat him at all the way he treated Harper or Netanyahu, et al.
I'm delighted that the US and Cuba are trying to re-establish more nearly normal relations. It's about time. Let's hope part of the normalization will include a massive challenge to the US sugar lobby and the US corn-syrup lobby and allow Cuban sugar into the US.
In a recent posting, I argued that OPS [On-base-percentage Plus Slugging-average] is an excellent comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic to use for assessing the performance of batters in baseball.
For the same reasons, I think OOPS [Opponents' OPS] is a comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic for assessing baseball pitchers. The statistic is readily available via the MLB website, and it measures how well a pitcher avoids letting batters reach base and how well the pitcher avoids letting opposing batters hit for power.
I have noticed that baseball sportscasters are moving toward telling us about opponents' batting average [which tell us nothing about walks given up nor about extra-base hits] or about WHIP, which is Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched [which is a bizarre measure telling us nothing more than (and really not as much as ) "Opponents' On-Base-Percentage].
Maybe in another ten years' time they will start using OOPS as well as OPS.
May I live to see the day.
Ever since I read about the possibility of multiverses, I have been intrigued. Since then, I had imagined that the multiverses would exist because of the possibility that there are really 11 dimensions in the universe, but this article [via Jack] presents a different possibility: there are multiverses out there all within our given 3- or 4-dimensional universe but we don't see them because they are so far away their light could not have gotten to us yet.
Our definition of "the universe" has been changing since the invention of the first telescope when we peered out into the cosmos and learned that the Earth is not the totality of existence.
But the universe is a lot bigger than what we could ever see with a telescope.... Our universe is just the spherical amount of light that has had time to reach us. If we wait another billion years for more light to reach us, our definition of the universe would change... [emphasis added].
Someone standing on a planet trillions of lightyears away would have a completely different picture of "the universe" based on how much light has reached their planet.
By definition there's no way to get to these other bubble universes because we'd have to travel faster than the speed of light. [emphasis in the original].
What a neat perspective!