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Gus Van Horn blog

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Gus Van Horn blog last won the day on March 1

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  1. Four Things Due to plans that are in some flux, I am taking all of next week and possibly the first day or so of the following week off from blogging. I'll check email periodically and I may post the occasional Tweet. I expect to be back here no later than June 23. *** 1. It was a long time coming, partly due to the pandemic, but a few weeks ago, the kids hosted their first sleepover. Cousins were here from out-of-state and they finally got to use their bunk beds to full capacity. I am happy to report that I managed a full night's sleep, despite concern that they'd keep each other up late
  2. At Issues and Insights is a piece titled "'Woke' Asset Managers Rip You Off -- Using Your Money," which explores the trend of large investment funds refusing to invest in some sectors -- or buying enough shares in major corporations to become able to "pressure ... management to shoot their own business in the head." Chances are, you have either never heard of this at all, or when you did, it flew under your radar as ESG, another abbreviation thrown around as if our discourse had no more significance than the letters in an alphabet soup. Those few who bother to check will learn this stands fo
  3. I have to agree with the two main sentiments voiced by Faye Flam regarding email correspondence of Anthony Fauci's released under the Freedom of Information Act. First: Anthony Fauci with George W. Bush, under whose administration lockdowns were (ill) conceived as policy. (Image by Records of the White House Photo Office, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)If there's any scandal revealed by the emails of Anthony Fauci, recently released after a Freedom of Information Act request by journalists, it's that scientists were wildly clueless at the start of the pandemic. They didn't know what to
  4. The man to watch in the next presidential campaign, given Trump's unfortunate hold on the GOP, is Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis. He has an excellent chance of winning the nomination as things stand because of four things: (1) He is very popular with Trumpists; (2) He stands up to media, but has better self-control and a far more professional demeanor than Trump; (3) He sounds superficially like the classical liberal better Republicans and voters like me wish were on the ballot; and (4) His handling of the pandemic, simply by being relatively sane, makes him much more attractive as a Preside
  5. We have all endured shortages over the year-plus of the pandemic. In my case, they have ranged from toilet paper (due to panic-buying idiots) though salami (intermittently all over the place and nowhere), Arrogant Bastard ale (nowhere for months in my neck of the woods), and the canned version of my daughter's favorite lemonade (nowhere for over a year). But have no fear: the Grey Lady has figured it all out for us. It's those greedy, short-sighted capitalists, as usual. And this time, the way they screwed the world over was through the get-rich-quick scheme of just-in-time shipping. My sa
  6. Four Things 1. Quote Investigator delves into the origins of the following quotation: "A boy of fifteen who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at twenty." The ages cited are much lower than for a superfically similar saying -- which included modern party affiliations -- I recall hearing as I grew up. (Something like, "If you're a young Republican, you have no heart; if you're an old Democrat, you have no brain.") And now, I would be shocked if anything less than a majority of adults in the United States think it is a democracy. I blame a century of
  7. Captain Awkward recently wrote a thought-provoking post about people who try to recruit friends and family members into multi-level marketing schemes and the like. Within is a paragraph that details how manipulative people take advantage of common confusions in the following areas: (a) cultural mores about money or wealth, (b) various unwritten rules regarding obligations in common types of relationships, and (c) etiquette. I'm happy to do any ONE of the following at a time: (a) consider a product on your recommendation, (b) buy something from you I know I want, or (c) attend a party at your h
  8. There is much I disagree with in Zion Lights's May 31 piece in Quillette, but her embrace of nuclear power and not-quite-explicit rejection of Greta Thunberg's infamous call to panic are encouraging signs. Regarding the first, the following required rare and laudable degrees of self-awareness and -- considering today's poisonous political climate -- courage to publish: Image by Adam Tinworth, via Wikimedia Commons, license.I do understand the NRDC's [Natural Resources Defense Council --ed] stance -- since I once fell for scaremongering and conspiracy theories regarding nuclear power myself. I
  9. Four Things I'm visiting with family over the holiday, and will probably not post or tweet until next Wednesday. I will sporadically check email. 1. At LeapsMag is an essay by medical researcher Monica Gandhi where she argues that we will likely not need booster shots against Covid. This is among the seven reasons she gives:Image by Steven Cornfield, via Unsplash, license.Even after antibody levels wane over time, strong memory B cells were detected in the blood of individuals six and eight months after infection in different studies. Indeed, the half-lives of the memory B cells seen in th
  10. Writing for the New Yorker, Cal Newport considers two facts the pandemic have brought to everyone's attention: (1) remote work is a viable option for many knowledge-work jobs, and (2) home, as a remote location, is often less than ideal. The he does by looking at what professional authors, whom he calls "the original work-from-home knowledge workers," did to remedy the problem, in light of how our minds operate. And Newport himself, who is something of a guru on such arrangements, was affected by the problem, as we see here: Admittedly, some of my enthusiasm for the W.F.N.H. [i.e., Working Fr
  11. Economist Richard Ebeling's essay, "The Paternalist Instincts of a Central Planner," considers Joe Biden's aggressive agenda of central planning in light of his stated rationale. Much of the piece argues why governments are unable to run national economies, but there is lots of other food for thought. I'll quote what I regard as central to Biden's motivation as the President sees or spins it, and then offer just a few of my own thoughts: Image by NARA, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.If Joe Biden is sincere about what motivates his quest for larger and more intrusive government, then we
  12. The idea that the coronavirus behind the pandemic may have escaped from a Chinese lab has resurfaced and is being discussed seriously. Past news coverage of this possibility vs. current news coverage eerily reminds me of a couple of conversations I had some months ago, and it is worth observing the difficulties I had in light of the fact that the earlier coverage seemed utterly dismissive of the possibility while later coverage doesn't. But before I go on, again observe my title: Labs study viruses that haven't been genetically engineered all the time, and I agree that this virus was almost
  13. The British Daily Mail has a piece on California's ongoing exodus which describes the conditions there that are causing long-time residents to leave. More important, it offers a couple of quotes that illustrate how little many of those who flee seem to be aware of what went wrong. First, though, the reporter did find someone who seems to have a good grasp of what's going on there: Image by Benjamin Disinger, via Unsplash, license.Delian Asparouhov is typical of those who turned California into such a powerhouse: a computer geek who attended the top-ranking Massachusetts Institute of Technolo
  14. Four Productivity-Adjacent Wins My mind has been bubbling over lately with tweaks to my routine, seemingly spontaneously. My best guess is that two things affecting my routine have activated my subconscious in that area. (1) Having to replace my phone last week has caused me to have to re-gain lost ground due to apps being broken by the new OS, and think about my routines in the process. (2) The fire lit by bad government in the dumpster of the pandemic goes out for me in July. That's when child care hiccups mostly go away. Planning ahead becomes a real-world concern again. *** 1. The develo
  15. At RealClear Politics is a review of Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters, by physicist Steven E. Koonin, who worked as Under Secretary for Science for President Obama's Department of Energy. The review lists several facts from the book that are "based on official assessments published by the US government or United Nations," such as, The warmest temperatures in the US have not risen in the past fifty years. As you might expect, all fly in the face of the conventional wisdom. Following these, the reviewer notes two major take-homes. First, the predic
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