From the trendy enclaves of Berlin cafes and Manhattan restaurants to gin ads and fashion magazines, the monocle is taking its turn alongside key 21st-century accouterments like sharply tucked plaid shirts and certificates in swine butchering.If you want to sneer in true hipster style, you need accessories...
“I got it just to have my own style, bring something new to the table,” said Jose Vega, 23, an aspiring Miami rap musician who can be seen sporting a monocle on his SoundCloud page. “Also, I’m nearsighted.”
Warby Parker, the fashion-forward eyeglass maker, features its Colonel monocle — named after Mustard of the Clue board game, not Klink of “Hogan’s Heroes” — prominently in advertisements to bestow a unique edge on its brand.
And Ray Gallagher, a British seller who has been in the optical business since 1963, has seen sales at his online store The Monocle Shop double over the last five years.
Martin Raymond, a British trend forecaster, credits the rise to what he calls “the new gents,” a hipster subspecies who have been adding monocles to their bespoke tweed and distressed-boot outfits. On a recent trip to Cape Town, Mr. Raymond said, he saw such a group carrying monocles along with tiny brass telescopes kept in satchels.
“All of this is part of a sense of irony and a way of discovering and displaying old artisanal and craft-based technology,” Mr. Raymond said. “You see the monocle appearing in Berlin, parts of South Dublin.”
Thursday, March 06, 2014
The monacle makes a comeback:
All gassed up, nowhere to go:
Momentum is building in Congress to wield the United States’ vast natural gas resources to break Vladimir Putin’s energy stranglehold over Ukraine — although some lawmakers acknowledged their efforts would have no immediate impact on the crisis in Crimea.Maybe it's time somebody in the White House stopped dragging their feet...
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced bills Wednesday to make it easier to export natural gas to countries including Ukraine, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee is working on its own legislation. Meanwhile, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is seeking new momentum for a bill he introduced last year that would give Ukraine, Japan and NATO members the same preferential access to U.S. gas as countries that have free-trade agreements with the United States. …
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told POLITICO he’s open to consulting with Congress on the issue, but he stressed that the U.S. doesn’t have the capacity to flood Europe with gas. “The fact is it’s just physically not going to happen,” he said Wednesday. …
Expect other legislative efforts to follow, said Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), a co-sponsor of Barrasso’s and Udall’s bills.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
It's fiscal Potemkin villages all the way down:
During the federal government’s 2013 fiscal year, the official federal deficit was $680 billion, but this comprehensive accounting reveals that the federal government’s fiscal position deteriorated by $3.3 trillion or an average of $27,000 for every household in the U.S.We're just along for the ride...
In all fairness, college is a good place to study them:
Kyle Bishop figured it was risky when he applied to a University of Arizona Ph.D. program in English eight years ago by proposing a dissertation on zombie movies.Welcome to Undead U?
He was dead wrong.
The program approved Mr. Bishop's proposal, and he is now chairman of Southern Utah University's English department. The 40-year-old has been invited to give zombie lectures in Hawaii, Canada and Spain.
"It's clearly now acceptable to study zombies seriously," he says.
Chipotle's Chris Arnold told the L.A. Times on Wednesday morning that the disclosure was routine: "As a public company ... we are required to disclose any potential issues that could have potential impact on our business, and we do that very thoroughly."Guac on, people...
So far, Chipotle is handling weather-related problems with ingredients just fine.
As NPR points out, avocados seem to be in plentiful supply despite vagaries of climate change that resulted in "lemon-sized" Hass avocados.
"The sky is not falling," Arnold said. "We have guac in all of our restaurants."
President Obama's annual wish list is out:
White House officials appear to be declaring a victory of sorts over the deficit -- which is the annual budget shortfall. A White House statement touted the fact that "the deficit has been cut in half as a share of the economy" under Obama.Most of it is an energy tax, at any rate.
It is true that under the budget blueprint, the 2015 deficit would shrink to $564 billion from $649 billion this year. That's a sharp fall from year after year of $1 trillion-plus deficits during Obama's first term.
But even when the deficit shrinks, the national debt -- which basically is the nation's ultra-platinum credit card tab -- will continue to grow. A lot.
The hallowed halls of hypocrisy:
The modern progressive movement admires their predecessors’ stand against McCarthy so deeply that references to that inauspicious period of American history are regularly deployed in liberal publications and media outlets.At least sixty years ago there was only one McCarthy. Today, there seem to be dozens of them.
Those noble principles apparently go right out the window when Democrats face what increasingly appears to be a catastrophic political landscape heading into the 2014 midterm election cycle. Political handicappers beginning to suggest Republicans have better than even odds of recapturing the upper chamber of Congress in November as Democratic officeholders struggle to defend the political millstone that has become of the Affordable Care Act. Rather than surrender to their fates, Democrats have taken to identifying their own shadowy boogeyman wrecking America from within: the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
The modern Democratic Party’s origin myth is so closely tied up in their opposition to McCarthyism, they may not be able to objectively view how these actions reflect on them. If they could look objectively in a mirror, they might see that they are becoming precisely what they once opposed.
There's a reason they say "keep your eyes on the road":
Texting while walking accounts for more injuries per mile than distracted driving, according to a professor of emergency medicine who says he's treating a skyrocketing number of pedestrian injury cases.If you don't pay attention to the world around you, bad things tend to happen...
"Pedestrian injuries are particularly dangerous because there's no protective area surrounding you when you're hit by a car," says Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo.
"These pedestrian injuries are particularly dangerous in that they have higher mortality," Jehle tells WTOP. "We always view pedestrian injuries as kind of high risk injuries."
Nationally, of the 41,000 pedestrians treated yearly in emergency rooms, up to 15 percent of the accidents, or more than 6,100 involve cellphones, says Jehle.
"This is the first time there have been more pedestrian injuries related to cellphone use than there have been related to driving."
Finders, not keepers?
A recently surfaced news story details a heist of gold coins from the San Francisco Mint in 1900, and the stolen coins have many similarities to the ones discovered last month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.If you like your gold, you can't keep your gold...
The original face value of the coins was about $27,000 at the turn of the century, according to experts, which is approximate value of the gold stolen in 1900. Furthermore, the coins were mostly in chronological order, suggesting they were unused.
Hillary's fellow Democrats try to think of something she's actually done:
Some said she had about a hundred moments of greatness when she served under President Obama - but, strangely, couldn't name a single accomplishment of hers, besides marrying Bill Clinton.She was there?
Another attendee mentioned Clinton's stance on abortion as a reason to be super excited for Hillary Clinton in 2016. As for her accomplishments, none came to mind, but she noted that Obama saw a reason for her to be nominated as Secretary of State.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Well, this is convenient:
As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.Desperate, but not serious...
Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.
The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.
The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.
“I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”
Warren Buffett, climate-change denier?
Mr. Buffett tells CNBC that extreme weather events are not becoming more common, and that climate change is not altering his company's calculations when insuring against catastrophic weather events. "The public has the impression that because there's been so much talk about climate that events of the last 10 years from an insured standpoint and climate have been unusual," he said. "The answer is they haven't."Fellow billionaire Al Gore will not be pleased...
Bob Corker warns:
If the National Labor Relations Board upholds these objections, it would be an unprecedented assault on free speech. In every similar case where a company has remained neutral in a union-election drive, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have voiced their opinions. The NLRB has ruled repeatedly that public officials have the right to make statements taking sides in a union election, and that those statements do not justify overturning the outcome of that election.The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to him...
"Green" buildings really don't save energy:
Washington, D.C. may have the highest number of certified green buildings in the country, but research by Environmental Policy Alliance suggests it might not be doing much good.In scams, risk is its own cash reward...
The free-market group analyzed the first round of energy usage data released by city officials Friday and found that large, privately-owned buildings that received the green energy certification Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) actually use more energy than buildings that didn’t receive this green stamp of approval.
“LEED certification is little more than a fancy plaque displayed by these ‘green’ buildings,” charged Anastasia Swearingen, LEED Exposed’s lead researcher on the project. “Previous analyses of energy use by LEED-certified buildings have consistently shown that LEED ratings have no bearing on actual energy efficiency.”
Swearingen told The Daily Caller News Foundation the system doesn’t take into account any proof of energy efficiency. The LEED model grades buildings on ideal conditions — the certification is based on “if everyone shuts their blinds, turns off their computers at the end of the day, makes sure the lights are off — but it doesn’t factor in how much energy is really used after it’s actually occupied,” Swearingen contended.
In its own report released with the data, even the city’s Department of Environment acknowledged the concerns raised by the “dependence on a third-party organization, over which the government has no oversight, to set the District’s green building standards.” But while it understands the risks, the D.C. government continues to mandate the ratings for public buildings — and get cash from the program.
Monday, March 03, 2014
When hipsters go grocery shopping:
The problem with Whole Foods is their regular customers. They are, across the board, across the country, useless, ignorant, and miserable. They’re worse than miserable, they’re angry. They are quite literally the opposite of every Whole Foods employee I’ve ever encountered. Walk through any store any time of day—but especially 530pm on a weekday or Saturday afternoon during football season—and invariably you will encounter a sneering, disdainful horde of hipster Zombies and entitled 1%ers.Sounds like the sort of place best avoided by normal people...
Size matters, especially when you're on the receiving end:
In every society throughout human history the following relationship has held true: as government grows, human freedom and happiness shrinks. Best selling author, Dennis Prager puts it this way: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” This has been true in Europe for decades and is becoming ever more so in the United States. But it’s not the kind of nation, the Founding Fathers had in mind. Can we get back to the principles of liberty and individual responsibility? It’s a big challenge. But first we have to recognize the problem.Unfortunately, it's often tough to reach big-government addicts...
Well, I feel much better now:
The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin? It is no easy task. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.But is Putin crazy, or just following Russian tradition?
Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing weak, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion. And it will gather whatever spurious reasons it needs to insulate itself territorially from what it still perceives to be a large and growing NATO threat. Trying to harness Russia with our own logic just makes us miss Putin’s next steps.Neither explanation is exactly comforting...
Can a robot go to class?
The project, led by Noriko Arai at Japan's National Institute of Informatics, is trying to see how fast artificial intelligence might replace the human brain so that people can start training in completely new areas. "If society as a whole can see a possible change coming in the future, we can get prepared now," she tells the Kyodo news agency.Why shouldn't they have the same right to take BS courses as everyone else?
But there's also another purpose behind the Can A Robot Get Into The University of Tokyo? project, which began in 2011. If machines cannot replace human beings, then "we need to clarify what is missing and move to develop the technology," says Noriko Arai.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
How liberal intellectuals allowed Vladimir Putin to get away with it:
Nobody, including us, is infallible about the future. Giving the public your best thoughts about where things are headed is all a poor pundit (or government analyst) can do. But this massive intellectual breakdown has a lot to do with a common American mindset that is especially built into our intellectual and chattering classes. Well educated, successful and reasonably liberal minded Americans find it very hard to believe that other people actually see the world in different ways. They can see that Vladimir Putin is not a stupid man and that many of his Russian officials are sophisticated and seasoned observers of the world scene. American experts and academics assume that smart people everywhere must want the same things and reach the same conclusions about the way the world works.When you spend your life in a box, the rest of the world goes on without you...
How many times did foolishly confident American experts and officials come out with some variant of the phrase “We all share a common interest in a stable and prosperous Ukraine.” We may think that’s true, but Putin doesn’t.
We blame this in part on the absence of true intellectual and ideological diversity in so much of the academy, the policy world and the mainstream media. Most college kids at good schools today know many more people from different races and cultural groups than their grandparents did, but they are much less exposed to people who think outside the left-liberal box.
It's come to this:
The Montana Democratic Party today called on Congressman Steve Daines, who claims in his latest TV ad to be a “fifth-generation Montanan,” to clear up confusion about his roots by releasing his birth certificate.I guess that means Bozeman is the new Kenya in Montana...
Daines’ latest ad asserts he “grew up in Bozeman, a fifth-generation Montanan,” which directly contradicts earlier versions of his biography when he claimed: “I’m a third-generation Montanan, kind of that classic Montana kid.”
Those who forget the past are doomed to disrespect it:
What is happening to mainstream rap music, which was launched by Simmons and is now ruled by the likes of Minaj and Wayne?History is forgotten by society's losers...
"I don't want to say today's rappers are not educated about black history, but they don't seem as aware as rap generations before them," said Jermaine Hall, editor-in-chief of Vibe, the hip-hop magazine and website.
While previous generations had to struggle with the racism and neglect of the 1970s or the crack epidemic of the 1980s, Hall said, today's young people have not faced the same type of racial struggle - "They're sort of getting further and further away from the civil rights movement."
"In the '80s, whether it was KRS-One, Public Enemy, or the Native Tongues, that entire movement, it was very in tune with black history," Hall said. "They knew everything about Malcolm, about Martin, about Rosa Parks. Now, the new rappers just aren't as in tune."
What happened to comedy?
Today’s comics have abdicated their responsibility to take down the powerful. They tiptoe around President Obama, but comedy has to be fearless.As are many of today's so-called comedians. they've made it more about themselves than the "Me Generation" comics ever did.
These days they’re more at ease mocking their social inferiors than going after the high and mighty. Comfortably ensconced inside the castle that Richard Pryor and George Carlin tried to burn down, they drop water balloons on the unspeakable middle-America drones of “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”
There’s a joke from “The Office” that’s typical of the contempt. Andy says, “I went to a little school called Cornell — ever heard of it?” It’s not a takedown from below but a sneer from above, in tune with Dwight Schrute’s pathetic insistence on his title of “assistant regional manager” when he’s merely “assistant to the regional manager,” and anyway anyone with “regional manager” in his title is a nobody by definition.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
F is for Fake:
Some 120 papers published in established scientific journals over the last few years have been found to be frauds, created by nothing more than an automated word generator that puts random, fancy-sounding words together in plausible sentence structures. As a result they have been pulled from the journals that originally published them.The way things are these days, they could have been real papers...
The fake papers are in the fields of computer science and math and have titles such as “Application and Research of Smalltalk Harnessing Based on Game-Theoretic Symmetries”; “An Evaluation of E-Business with Fin”; and “Simulating Flip-Flop Gates Using Peer-to-Peer Methodologies.”
Why Iowa isn't necessarily a good testing ground for Presidential politics:
The ethanol requirement, conceived to encourage renewable energy, has been sustained despite its counterproductive effects by the lobbying of a rising ethanol-agribusiness complex and the politics of those first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, held among the sprawling cornfields of the Hawkeye State. From 1988 to 2004, I was part of that process as an adviser to Democratic presidential candidates. I thought it was a no-brainer to stump for ethanol and a no-go zone to oppose it.King Corn might be good for business-but not for politics...
At the start, the campaign promises reflected not only strategic calculation, but arguably the best of intentions. By now, it’s painfully and patently clear — and it has been for a while — that the ethanol mandate may be good politics, but it’s a putrid policy that pollutes the environment, propels global warming instead of slowing it, inflates food costs and imperils food supplies.
Why Democrats get away with it:
Tim Graham of the Media Research Center says swift retribution for GOP gaffes is a product of the left’s control, not just of media, but of the culture - from film, to music, to academia, to the publishing world and beyond.A sympathetic platform does more to lessen the damage...
"One of the ways these gaffes become so powerful," Graham says, "is that news media doesn't just notice once. It notices it again and again and again and they head into movies, into pop lyrics into late night skits, Saturday Night Live, they take a gaffe and absolutely try to immortalize it."
Who's really hurting the world?
The “alarmists” and the “deniers” aren’t really the problem. The problem is that many reasonable voters find it hard to know whom to believe. They are turned off by the hypocrisy of Al Gore and the Learjet liberals, the money-grabbing tactics of the third-world-victim industry and the members of the traditional American left who want to raise everyone’s power bill to enforce a lifestyle they find acceptable, all in exchange for nothing. You don’t have to buy into the suspiciously precise claim by the Democrats that “there is a 97 percent consensus among scientific experts that humans are causing global warming” blah blah blah to believe there is sufficient cause for the world to take prudent collective action in an effort to avoid pollution-induced problems.Scientific facts don't matter to the Party of Science...
Regrettably, this option doesn’t exist because of the actions of hypocrites like President Obama and Al Gore, the shrill phonies from academia and the pious usual suspects on the left. I blame the liberal political elite, not the scientists, for where we are. Our politicians have not made the case for a practical, beneficial, cost-effective, global plan that would address climate change efficiently and effectively. Oh by the way, President Obama and the Democrats can’t even finalize a trade deal with Asia or Europe, much less come to a global environmental/economic agreement. And it is a scientific fact that unilateral measures by the United States would be insufficient to meet the goals that liberals say must be met in order to avoid global disaster.
Yes, they are out of touch:
“The standards learned and employed by elites who possess significant cultural capital tend to deviate from the standards of consumers with comparatively less cultural capital,” said the UCLA study in the authoritative American Sociological Review.In turn, moviegoers fight back against the oppression of movies that nobody watches by not seeing them...
Put more simply, co-author Gabriel Rossman told Secrets: “Your ordinary person likes to see Iron Man throwing a tank ... whereas the Oscar voters, at least in the capacity of Oscar voters, like to hear a story about some activist overcoming oppression.”
And as Hollywood studios make movies with an eye on winning an Oscar, or nomination, they can sometimes produce films people just don’t like -- but judges might, he added.
“The kinds of things you do to appeal to the Academy aren’t the kinds of things you do to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, they can actively alienate mass audiences unless they get the Oscar nomination,” said Rossman.
It's Vladimir Putin's biker gang:
Since 2009, they have been one of the defining elements of Russian soft power in Eastern Europe. Their biker rallies and mass rides through countries like Ukraine, Estonia, Serbia, Romania and Bosnia serve to promote Slavic pride and Russian patriotism in Moscow’s former Soviet dominions. President Putin has often joined them on these rides, although he usually plays it safe by choosing a three-wheeler.Born to be nationalist?
In 2012, when he came to Ukraine on an official visit, he spent several hours riding around the Crimea with Zaldostanov and the Night Wolves while President Yanukovych was kept waiting for him in Kiev.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Senate Democrats aren't interested in doing their jobs:
Democrats in the U.S. Senate won’t bother with passing their own budget this year, arguing that a deal in December has already set spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year, and “relitigating” it would create economic uncertainty. …Needless to say, it will be up to the opposition to do it for them:
“While this budget year is settled and it wouldn’t be productive to relitigate it so soon after our two-year deal, I plan to work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to lay out our long-term vision for creating jobs, boosting the economy, and tackling our deficits fairly and responsibly,” Murray said. …
The decision by Murray not to go through the motions of passing a budget also will allow Senate Democrats to avoid an open amendment process that allows any senator to seek vote on any amendment to the budget – a process that could last days known as a “vote-a-rama.”
“CBO says our budget outlook is unsustainable. We’ve made some progress on the discretionary side, but on the main drivers of our debt-entitlements-we’ve got a lot more work to do,” Ryan said through his spokesman Thursday. ”House Republicans will keep offering real solutions to get spending under control, fix our broken tax code, create jobs, and put us on the path to balance.”Sounds like they're not too worried about "vote-a-rama"-or votes...
It starts with available resources:
Residents living above an oil-rich shale formation that stretches across southwest Mississippi and Louisiana have been waiting on a boom for years. A steady trickle of drilling is already boosting the rural region’s economy, and spending by two oil companies could make 2014 the year that many other locals finally cash in on the oil far beneath their feet. …Recovery begins at home-and with the right to pursue it.
Gillsburg and surrounding Amite County lie above a prime section of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, a geologic formation that stretches in boomerang shape across Louisiana’s midsection and into southern Mississippi. …
For the region’s economy, though, the drilling has already provided a much-needed infusion, even if it’s not an all-out boom yet.
Heavily wooded with only a handful of small towns, Amite County has relied on forestry in recent decades. But Georgia-Pacific LLC closed a plywood mill in Gloster in 2009. Combined with other business closures, Chancery Clerk Ronnie Taylor said Amite County lost as many as 850 jobs. The county’s 4,600 workers had an 8.7 percent unemployment rate in December, higher than Mississippi’s average. Here and there, pastures are reminders of the county’s fading dairy industry.
Bernell McGehee, an accountant in Liberty, said his family leased some forestland south of town to Encana for a $300-an-acre one-time payment. He stands to earn more in royalties if the land produces oil.
“Any debts we’ve had, we’ve pretty much been able to get rid of,” he said.
If you no longer like your plan, you can't get rid of your plan:
"Andrew Robinson was looking forward to getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. He has a small publishing business and works part time, so he hasn't had coverage. In early January he signed up for a plan that cost nearly $300 a month. About a half hour later he and his wife realized they could barely afford that. They quickly found a less expensive plan through Humana for $116 a month," says the reporter.You will be assimilated...
"I immediately called back the Florida Blue and asked them to cancel the policy I just set up," says Robinson.
"But he quickly learned canceling Obamacare is no easy task. ... More than six weeks later after spending 50 to 60 hours on the phone his policy is still not canceled and he is still waiting for the payment Florida Blue withdrew from his account to be refunded."
Skynet goes to school:
Hoaxes in academia are nothing new. In 1996, mathematician Alan Sokal riled postmodernists by publishing a nonsense paper in the leading US journal, Social Text. It was laden with meaningless phrases but, as Sokal said, it sounded good to them. Other fields have not been immune. In 1964, critics of modern art were wowed by the work of Pierre Brassau, who turned out to be a four-year-old chimpanzee. In a more convoluted case, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of France's best-known philosophers, was left to ponder his own expertise after quoting the lectures of Jean-Baptiste Botul as evidence that Kant was a fake, only to find out that Botul was the fake, an invention of a French reporter.You'd at least expect them to make sense...
Just as the students wrote a quick and dirty program to churn out nonsense papers, so Labbé has written one to spot the papers. He has made it freely available, so publishers and conference organisers have no excuse for accepting nonsense work in future.
Krohn, who has now founded a startup called Keybase.io in New York that provides encryption to programmers, said Labbé's detective work revealed how deep the problem ran. Academics are under intense pressure to publish, conferences and journals want to turn their papers into profits, and universities want them published. "This ought to be a shock to people," Krohn said. "There's this whole academic underground where everyone seems to benefit, but they are wasting time and money and adding nothing to science. The institutions are being ripped off, because they pay publishers huge subscriptions for this stuff."