Saturday, March 26, 2011
This Evening: Human Achievement Hour
From Voices for Reason:
The event coincides with "Earth Hour," which encourages people worldwide to turn off their lights as a protest against carbon emissions. During "Human Achievement Hour," we encourage you to leave your lights on and fully enjoy the benefits of industrial civilization made possible by burning fossil fuels. Beginning at 8 p.m. EST, CEI is hosting a celebration at its offices in Washington D.C. and via livestream.I still prefer, "Edison Hour," and if I lived in New Jersey, I'd consider a pilgrimage to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
A PhD Bubble
I haven't read it all yet, but I have already seen several important issues raised in an Economist article about "disposable academics."
These armies of low-paid PhD researchers and postdocs boost universities', and therefore countries', research capacity. Yet that is not always a good thing. Brilliant, well-trained minds can go to waste when fashions change. The post-Sputnik era drove the rapid growth in PhD physicists that came to an abrupt halt as the Vietnam war drained the science budget. Brian Schwartz, a professor of physics at the City University of New York, says that in the 1970s as many as 5,000 physicists had to find jobs in other areas.Supply and demand is hurting the academics themselves, and massive government mis-allocation of resources towards specific programs of research and education is wasting talent and effort on a colossal scale.
"This is not 'humanitarian' or moral in the least; it's an evil act, resting on an evil premise (that sacrifice is 'noble') and an obscene abuse of American lives and liberties, with not a single selfish gain to be had in return." -- Richard Salsman , in "Libya Exposes Obama As Our Latest Neocon President" at Forbes
"[I]t's the market that should serve as your guide, not our friends or what we see on the news." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "A Second Date With the Rupee" at Smart Money
"Think of the smoker who quits because he's fed up. It's the same with anything else in life." -- Michael Hurd, in "Change Because You Want To" at DrHurd.com
"Obamacare will waste our money, but that cost is insignificant compared to our wasted freedom, wasted medicine and wasted lives." -- Richard Ralston, in "Waste Abounds with ObamaCare" at The Orange County Register
My Two Cents
Michael Hurd's excellent column about how people change reminds me of a story I heard long ago about my maternal grandfather. He had been a smoker for a long time, but one day got sick of it and simply tossed his cigarettes out the window of his truck. That was that. Grandpa lived into his nineties.
I always remember that story when I hear about people having trouble making a major, positive change, but it was only after I read that column that I really understood why some people struggle with such things and others have no trouble at all. Hurd also has useful advice on how to properly communicate with a loved one who needs to make a change.
"Social" Networking and Isolation
This atheist obviously does not regard church as the answer, but I do think this article is on to something in terms of both recognizing a potential problem and combating it. (HT: Found on the Web)
Facebook is all about making life seem joyful -- we "like" one another's happy status updates, not the sad ones; we post photos of our parties, not our funerals; we use it to celebrate births and marriages and new relationships, not to mourn deaths or remember break-ups. Facebook is meant to be a happy place for happy people. But it doesn't seem to work out so well. We all think everyone else is happy, but we don't feel the joy.Part of avoiding such a pitfall is to step back from time to time and realize that everyone else has problems, too. In addition -- and I will agree this far with the article -- part of avoiding such a pitfall is to make sure you unplug (a lot more than) once in a while.