A little Saturday reading

Note: Julia will return from the sickbed tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m holding the fort.

There are a few people, notably Chuckles and haiku, feeding news stories and others more or less constantly, which one person couldn’t hope to find himself and frankly, the backlog often gets overwhelming, even though each is pertinent and germane.  There are so many stories needing airing at this moment.

There was a criticism in Longrider’s comments section [one of the commenters] that somehow I was “taking over” OoL when the truth is that it’s more a case, as admin, of filling the vacuum at times when few were posting, such as now.   It was perhaps a bit unfair to say I see OoL as an extension of my blog because if you look at LR’s posts here, they’re very much like his at home, if you look at Julia’s – the same, QM”s – the same. What all of us have been doing is trying to bring the topics relevant to the day and give them an airing.

As for religion being the stumbling block, I note an ongoing discussion between two commenters at this moment, long after I’ve moved on, so what are we to do?   Cut that off because someone doesn’t like religion?   If it’s relevant, why not air it?   If you think something or someone is dominating, then write something of your own and put it up.  Have your say – you’re most welcome.

Meanwhile, here is some of that political backlog.  Enjoy:

1. Nailhouses – the Chinese way to protest:

A nail house is a Chinese neologism (a newly coined term) for homes belonging to people who refuse to make room for development. The term, a pun coined by developers, refers to nails that are stuck in wood, and cannot be pounded down with a hammer. Every couple years, these defiant ‘nail houses’ make the rounds online. They serve as a symbolic testament to the “little guy” standing up against the government and pushy developers.


2. Did you see Change in status of gold at the Slog?

Some of you may have noticed that in the last few weeks, Russia has started issuing gold ‘pieces’ that are legal tender in the RF, and must be accepted at face value in all kinds of payments without any restrictions. Other banks outside Russia are also looking at ‘stamp sheet’ squares of gold grams that can be used in the same way. Inside China, at the top of the financial system a measured debate is well under way about how to create a global ‘super-currency’ backed by gold.

3. What’s gone wrong in the universities:

A Campus-full of Contradictions

Almost everything about the modern university is a paradox. It has become a sort of industry gone rogue that embraces practices that a Wal-Mart or Halliburton would never get away with. It is exempt from scrutiny in the fashion that the Left ceased talking about renditions or Guantanamo Bay once Barack Obama was elected, or a Code Pink goes after a NRA official in the way it would never disrupt a hearing on Fast and Furious. In other words, the university is one of the great foundations of the Left, and so is immune from the sort of criticism that otherwise is daily leveled against other institutions.

4. Is there a link between obesity and the rise in violence?

Pass the tofu:

Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet have an excellent post up at Psychology Today, Violence: Are There Dietary Causes? They make a case that the massive increase in dietary omega-6 fatty acids could be connected to a rise in violence. Omega-6 fats, which have previously been associated with rates of violence over time and between countries, have also been associated with the obesity epidemic.

5. Little Sign of a Predicted E-Book Price War

Last spring, the Justice Department sued five major publishers and Apple on e-book price-fixing charges. The case was a major victory for Amazon, and afterward there were widespread expectations — fueled by Amazon — that the price of e-books would plunge.

The most extreme outcome went like this: Digital versions of big books selling for $9.99 or less would give Amazon complete domination over the e-book market. As sales zoomed upward, even greater numbers of consumers would abandon physical books. The major publishers and traditional bookstores were contemplating a future that would pass them by.

But doomsday has not arrived, at least not yet.

6. Gain recognition and lose your revenue:

But last year, perhaps banking on hints that the Obama administration was exploring ways around these laws, UNESCO’s members went ahead anyway. Cheering as they massively outvoted the U.S., they admitted the Palestinian Authority to full membership. That immediately cost them U.S. contributions of more than $78 million per year, or 22 percent of UNESCO’s core budget.

7. You saw this defamation thing at El Reg?

A proposed overhaul to the UK’s stringent libel law could have “a chilling effect on those publishing material online”, an influential human rights committee warned today.

The tabled amendments to the law of defamation could force website owners to take down defamatory material on request even if there is a valid legal defence to keep it online. That’s according to Parliament’s human rights joint-select committee, which criticised the draft legislation.

7 comments for “A little Saturday reading

  1. December 29, 2012 at 9:43 am

    The term, a pun coined by developers, refers to nails that are stuck in wood, and cannot be pounded down with a hammer.

    I thought it referred to the old proverb against individuality

    “The nail that sticks out gets hammered.”

    As in no matter what they do, the house is still coming down.

    • December 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

      I’d not heard the term before.

  2. P T Barnum
    December 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    (Written fully expecting to fall foul of the spam filter as per usual, for no discernible reason.)

    The criticism you cite from LR’s blog was mine, so I guess I have right of reply. I take your explicit and implicit points about a group blog and fully accept them: of course the variety of voices will not and ought not to be singing the same song in the same way. But I wonder if you have mistaken the need to keep the blog ‘live’ with the necessity for there to be several posts every day? If one takes Anna Raccoon’s blog as a comparator of a quasi-group blog, fewer, more substantial posts generate greater debate. And I will admit that I struggle to see how some of your posts relate to the theme of this blog. I suppose what I was really saying at LR’s place, in his support, was that if someone joins a group blog, they modify what they would do at their own place in order to act in the interests of the agreed aims of the group. But then I’m that hen’s tooth kind of thing, a left-wing libertarian, so what do I know?

    • December 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      The question of course is – what are the aims of the group? It seems from what Julia and some commenters at LR say, it is diversity of opinion roughly around the theme of liberty. Now you with your politics will see some things as pertaining to liberty, I of course will see others.

      The main thing is that you and I are even able to discuss this now, as distinct from falling into camps. I think you’d agree we’re talking and I’m noting what you say and thinking about it.

      To me – and I would say this, wouldn’t I – this ability to discuss is bigger than any division between us. I agree I need to think carefully about what are OoL posts and what are not but I’m equally sure that as this is OoL, we’ve been able to converse. That seems worth preserving.

      Anyway, there’s a bit of ill feeling just now but it will pass and hopefully OoL will still be seen as a place someone can come and freely make a point.

      Thanks for coming in and putting that.

    • mona
      December 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Agree with you 100% PT, It is difficult to digest so many blogs that much informed comment is lost by the churning out of so much info.
      best wishes

      • January 1, 2013 at 6:20 am

        That is so, Mona but at the same time, if there is so much or rather so many issues coming up, then it’s a case of airing them or not. This is always the dilemma.

        Also, OoL being what it is, i.e. a forum for people to post on something bugging them within this roughly defined area of liberty, we have no editorial right to refuse to allow them to post.

        Hence we could have a dozen posts one day and none the next. We originally concurred on scheduling posts but that was disagreeable to most and so by letting it run freely, it was therefore beyond admin control.

  3. Rossa
    December 30, 2012 at 7:56 am

    The only problem I can see with these ‘combibars’ of gold mentioned at The Slog and on ZeroHedge is how to determine the face value of the one gram square of gold when using it to pay for something. As the price of an ounce fluctuates throughout a day and across timezones, would that mean that if it is used as currency (or to back currency) it’s value would change? Or would it have to be fixed and then who would decide the value daily? Would it be a different price/value in each country using it?

    One other point is that the ounce price is based on a Troy ounce not an Avoirdupois ounce (16 to 1lb), so the number of grams to an ounce is different. An ounce is 28.4g. A Troy ounce is 31.1g.

    A gold sovereign is still legal tender therefore is an actual currency of value in it’s own right. It is not a fiat currency created by a private central bank. Which is why people who own them often keep them as a hedge against inflation. It’s not what they are worth in themselves that matters. It is their worth as a store of value in relation to other asset values at any one time. Unlike food, alcohol, tobacco and other barter goods etc they don’t deteriorate and lose intrinsic value over time. A selection of all these things in your basket of commodities is a realistic position to hold IMO. Spread the risk and be prepared for any eventuality.

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