It’s been a busy week; I’ve been shifting around a bit. I expect to be back on track by Monday. Meanwhile, here are some interesting links.
Green Party councillor dies after falling out of tree
From the ever-reliable Daily Mail:
Councillor Gordon was one of our first Green councillors, and along with his then co-councillor Matt Follett brought a fresh approach into the council chamber, championing the cause of recycling both in the city and in the council.
He was an arborist, and had been working alongside our trees and woodlands team for just over a year. He will be greatly missed by them.
I wasn’t going to laugh—promise—until I clicked through and saw his picture. If it helps, I feel badly about giggling.
Office of Toilet Counting
Reader Jack Mosevich reminds us that “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings Wednesday on the ‘Potty Parity Act,’ a bill that seeks to address the unequal number of restroom facilities for women in federal buildings by requiring at least a 1-to-1 ratio for toilets, including urinals, in women’s and men’s restrooms.”
To which we all say, So what? Let them build whatever they need. Except those that ask for equal bathroom rights aren’t satisfied with the simple logic of parity. They, like all “activists”, feel they must make their case appear as dramatic—even life threatening!—as possible.
Bill supporters say “women forced to wait in long restroom lines are at risk of health issues, including abdominal pain, cystitis and other urinary tract infections.”
Ah, yes. We’ve all seen women dropping dead after waiting in long toilet lines. They positively litter the halls of baseball stadiums.
Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), a ranking member on the committee, anxiously agrees that waiting on line can cause serious health “issues.”
Elections are coming up, so they obviously convened a public meeting to show how concerned they are with women’s “rights.” They could have just built the restrooms and nobody would have given a damn. But they had to put on a show where they could whine and BS.
But now that they have done so, it makes me want to oppose their bill just so I can salvage my self-respect: I don’t want to have anybody think that I fell for their idiotic complaints.
How much in Washington is like this?
Stephen Hawking Turns Green?
Did you miss this story? Stephen Hawking is asking people to Watch the Skies!
We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldnâ€™t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach…If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didnâ€™t turn out very well for the Native Americans.
Rapacious, greedy Western Republicans are, apparently, a natural product of evolution. No doubt some interstellar corporation is on its way even as I write this.
But, say old boy, if those evil aliens can figure a way to generate enough energy—a staggering amount—to make their way across the vast distances between them and us, why can’t they use that energy to feed themselves?
And isn’t the East India Company’s arbitrary rule-by-corporation a better analogy for harmful alien invasion?
Martin Rees, a well known scientist and honcho of the British Royal Society, was heard recently quoting Churchill on scientists: They “should be on tap but not on top”.
Michael Brooks, who bills himself as a consultant, took exception. He says Rees’s point is that “scientists have a duty to inform politics, but they have no special insights beyond that, and must allow politicians to formulate policy based on social, economic and ethical principles.”
I agree with Rees on this. But I do not agree with Rees that scientists should always be listened to, especially when their advice is “inconvenient.”
The problem with us scientists is that we know too much. Or, better said, we know an awful lot about awfully little. What makes us suspect is that our confidence in our ability to do our job—which most of us do well—spills over into other areas, where it is unwarranted.
Put another way: the more we learn about the practical science of politics, the less time we have to devote to our specific studies. We cannot do all things equally well.