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Gus Van Horn blog

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Gus Van Horn blog last won the day on July 16

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  1. This will be my last post for the week as I break for Thanksgiving. *** Fellow admirers of Ayn Rand will be familiar with her brief description of Thanksgiving: Image by Sheri Hooley, via Unsplash, license. Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday. In spite of its religious form (giving thanks to God for a good harvest), its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Abundance is (or was and ought to be) America's pride -- ju
  2. I never imagined I'd see the subject of ASMR make an appearance on a blog about deep work, but that day has come, in the form of a Cal Newport post titled, "On Technology and Focus: ASMR, VR, and the First Steps Toward Immersive Single Tasking." Newport describes ASMR -- of which the painter Bob Ross is something of a patron saint -- as follows: Around 2010, a curious new term arose in obscure but energetic internet chatrooms: autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR, as it was soon abbreviated, described a peculiar form of paresthesia experienced as a tingling that starts in the scalp and
  3. Pre-Pandemic, leftists were fond of using "the science" as a rhetorical cudgel, most noticeably in the public policy debate over fossil fuels. To take much of what that side of the debate said at face value, there was a broad consensus among scientists that continued use of fossil fuels at current rates would soon cause irreparable damage to the Earth's climate. Let's set aside several questions for the moment, such as, (1) whether there really is a consensus, (2) what any such consensus might be about, or (3) whether the left's particular policy prescriptions are a good idea or even follow f
  4. This is the third and final part of a series with three installments. *** Image by Oliver Plattner, via Unsplash, license. "[E]conomic self-interest dovetailed nicely with infection control for both Disney World and the NBA." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Three Covid-19 Success Stories" (Forbes) "Lost in this focus on market share is how the large market share was obtained." -- Raymond Niles, in "Monopoly vs. Monopoly: Sloppy Definitions Lead to Harmful Policy" (American Institute for Economic Research) "We need more testing and more actionable rapid turn-around tests." -- Amesh Adalja, in "Biden'
  5. This is the second of a series with three installments. *** Image by Gilbert Ortega, via Unsplash, license. "The FDA's policy implies that it's better to let everyone blindly assume they're contagious than it is to let those who are likely contagious have a way of knowing it." -- Ben Bayer, in "The FDA Mandates Ignorance About Covid-19" (RealClear Policy) "No amount of 'oversight' can guarantee truth and -- even if it could -- no person or group of persons can impose understanding." -- Amy Peikoff, in "How Many 'Oversight Boards' Does It Take to Dim a Light Bulb?" (RealClear Policy)
  6. Your proprietor's schedule constraints have collided with a backlog of thought-provoking and enjoyable writing from the liberty movement. Over the next three days, I'll post teaser quotes and links from same to this blog. I hope you enjoy them. I'll add links to Part II and Part III here once I post them over the next couple of days.*** Image by Tom Coe, via Unsplash, license. "A proper government would scientifically test, track and isolate carriers of Covid-19 and leave non-carriers free to live and adopt the precautions they think necessary." -- Onkar Ghate, in "Letter: In Defense of Ay
  7. Or: Thinking Aloud While Planning for the Holidays When can I think during the next two weeks? The top representation wasted lots of space and had poor resolution due to the way Emacs displays org-mode tables. The bottom representation shows 15 minute increments (vice the kludgy 30 of the top) and uses space much more efficiently. (Image by me. Copying and modification are permitted, with or without attribution.) With the odd schedules of the holidays coming up, I wanted an uncluttered way to represent in ASCII and around the scale of a week, the time available to me for deep work. So, yes
  8. Suzanne Lucas has a short piece at Inc. that speculates on "What a Biden Presidency Will Mean for Your Workplace." Lucas ticks off five areas, whose likelihoods depend in various degrees and ways on whether Congress is divided after the senatorial runoffs in Georgia. The first two stand out to me for different reasons. First, Lucas claims that Critical Race Theory will be quickly reinstated in federal workplaces: Marchers who like high prices for labor and think it's okay to force others to pay them. (Image by The All-Nite Images, via Wikipedia, license.) While Trump never mentioned the t
  9. Four Wins Whenever possible, I list three wins at the end of each day. Here are a few from a recent review of my diary. 1. Commenters on this week's short post on Treasure Island left an interesting discussion of fiction for children (or commonly thought to be for children) that can be enjoyed by adults. Head on over there for several recommendations fitting that description, as well as related discussion. 2. Via Episode 84 of Alex Epstein's Human Flourishing Project, I learned about Cal Newport's excellent Deep Questions podcast series, which offers actionable advice on living an inte
  10. Richard Hasen of the Atlantic asks and answers a question I have had ever since I heard about the basis of President Trump's lawsuit to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying its election results: Was it accurate, can he catch it, and was it thrown on time? (Image by Keith Johnston, via Unsplash, license.) The most recent complaint filed in federal court in Pennsylvania amounts to virtually nothing. Its core idea, that the different procedures for voting by mail and voting in person constitute an equal-protection violation, is ludicrous. First, the differences between mail-in and absentee v
  11. Yesterday, my son greeted me per the title for the second year running, as he presented me with the drawing at right, which he made in school. For any pacifists out there, it is war -- or more precisely the willingness to go to war to defend one's loved one and one's values -- that makes possible such beautiful moments, and many other things besides. On this day, I think it fitting to remember one of the greatest tributes ever made to America's soldiers, which Ayn Rand delivered in closing to the graduating class at West Point in 1974: Yours truly, the happy 'veterinarian.' (Image by my
  12. My current light reading is Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, a book I had always thought of as a children's classic and was slightly hesitant to read. Having read and enjoyed Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde recently, I at least was okay with the thought I kind of know the basic story already: That one wasn't spoiled despite its subject's status as a trope. Curiosity about the origins of modern ideas about pirates got the better of me, and I did wonder if the book might be a good one to read to the kids in installments at bedtime, so I decided I'd at least start it. To my mild surprise,
  13. Over at The American Spectator, Dov Fischer argues plausibly that the Libertarian Party cost Donald Trump his chance at reelection: But did you vote responsibly? (Image by Element5 Digital, via Unsplash, license.) Although some who voted Libertarian might otherwise have voted Democrat, while others might have stayed home and not voted if there were no ballot alternative to Trump and Biden, the vast majority of Libertarians would have voted for Trump and Perdue if the idiots of the Libertarian Party had not been on the ballot. Look at Ron Paul and Rand Paul: they both are determined liberta
  14. Four Florida Beers As a beer aficionado, I've found a few good local beers since moving to Florida. Here are four. 1. Last year, I found a display with four-packs of Jai Alai IPA (Humidor Series), by Tampa's Cigar City Brewing Company, on the shelves of my beer emporium. It looked like an interesting variant on something I already liked, so I took a closer look. As soon as I read the brewer's notes (reproduced below at Beer Advocate), I had to try this:This unique IPA shares all the tropical and citrus flavors of our Jai Alai IPA but with an added dimension imparted by Spanish cedar, the sa
  15. Investor-entrepreneur Sam Altman discussed how one could come up with ideas for new businesses at his blog some time ago. As is so often the case with the topic of creativity, there is a great deal of overlap between his discussion and other areas of creative endeavor. Here's an unexpectedly good example: Image by The One Is Alone, via Unsplash, license. Any time you can think of something that is possible this year and wasn't possible last year, you should pay attention. You may have the seed of a great startup idea. This is especially true if next year will be too late. When you can s
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