Greg Krehbiel's Crowhill Weblog - Content

Thoughts on life — News, culture, politics, beer, art, science, education, religion and ethics

Greg Krehbiel's other sites:
The Krehbiel Report on Publishing

No surprises in Obama’s Iran deal

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 July 2015

See Obama’s secret Iran deals exposed.

Now why would I say “no surprises” and then link to an article about secret deals?

Because it’s no surprise that the Obama administration (1) negotiated a crappy deal, (2) lied to Congress and possibly broke the law, and (3) subjected U.S. security interests to some internationalist organization — i.e., not to the U.S. government.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Why print books are better than ebooks

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 July 2015

A few thoughts on their relative merits, and how to make ebook readers better.

Why print books are better than digital, and my recommendations for eBook readers

Which do you prefer, and why?

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Abortion and bear baiting

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 July 2015

For “entertainment,” people used to watch something called “bear baiting,” which involved getting dogs to attack a bear. It was, as you can imagine, a gruesome thing.

There’s an old saying that the Puritans were against bear baiting “not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

There’s a right and a wrong way to interpret that. Some people will read it according to the old saw that a Puritan is a person who is deperately afraid that somebody, somewhere, is having a good time.

That is to miss the point rather badly. The problem with bear baiting is that human beings are taking pleasure in the cruel death of a poor creature. It hardens the hearts of the spectators.

I thought of that when I read this about how the cold and casual discussion of methods to kill a baby without destroying the sellable parts is “precisely the kind of psychic numbing that occurs when dealing daily with industrial-scale destruction of the growing, thriving, recognizably human fetus.”

If you work in a factory that butchers chickens, you’re going to get numb to the suffering of the chicken. You’re going to engage in gallows humor. In short, you’ll justify what you do.

Abortionists do the same, which is why they hide behind euphemisms like “abortion” and “terminating a pregnancy.” They won’t say what they’re really doing, which is brutally torturing an infant human to death.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

An extremist in favor of moderation

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 July 2015

I am prone to taking strong, radical positions. I have calmed down somewhat over the years, but I still tend to prefer the bold and the brash.

But not in politics. Not any more. Obama has cured me of that. See, for example, Partisan in chief: Obama’s besetting sin.

If there was somebody running for president who shared all my views, and promised to try his best to implement them, I would not vote for him. Because I know that my views are out of the mainstream, and it’s tyranny to impose a radical agenda on the country.

If somebody waved a magic wand and made me king tomorrow, I would gently, slowly, cautiously push things in my direction — a little bit at a time. I would not impose something that the country didn’t agree with.

What the world needs now is moderation, but the internet, the 24-7 news cycle and the relentless quest for eyeballs and clicks is rewarding extremism and craziness.

Pigweed just sent me a very interesting quote from an article about “the lukewarmers.” Here’s an excerpt.

In the climate debate, we hear a lot from those who think disaster is inexorable if not inevitable, and a lot from those who think it is all a hoax. We hardly ever allow the moderate “lukewarmers” a voice: those who suspect that the net positive feedbacks from water vapor in the atmosphere are low, so that we face only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius of warming this century; that the Greenland ice sheet may melt but no faster than its current rate of less than 1 percent per century; that net increases in rainfall (and carbon dioxide concentration) may improve agricultural productivity; that ecosystems have survived sudden temperature lurches before; and that adaptation to gradual change may be both cheaper and less ecologically damaging than a rapid and brutal decision to give up fossil fuels cold turkey.

As I said to Pigweed, lukewarm positions don’t make headlines.

“World to end next decade, scientists say” gets attention.
“Scientists are lying to you about global warming” rouses the blood.
“The world is warming, but it’s not such a big deal” doesn’t get clicks or eyeballs.

IOW, we have created a culture and a society that favors the extreme. It’s going to be our undoing.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The way to get the truth about climate change is to read articles that aren’t directly about climate change

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 July 2015

When people are dealing with controversies, they try to score points to support their side, and they avoid like the plague anything that might give ammo to their opponents. But when people are just trying to do research, and don’t think of it as controversial, you can see what’s really going on.

So, for example, in this article — Hot spells doomed the mammoths — you can hear people speaking honestly about climate change. I found this particularly interesting.

From the two records, they built a timeline of so-called interstadials — periods when climate suddenly warmed by as much as 16°C, sometimes over decades, and then cooled down again just as quickly.

I studied geology in college, and while there wasn’t nearly as much data back then as there is now, and not nearly as much interest in climate issues, that quote above is the sort of thing I heard all the time. Climate changes. Usually slowly, but sometimes very quickly.

Keep that in mind when people refer to recent climate changes as “unprecedented.”

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Even NPR understands the stupidity of PC energy

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 July 2015

This is worth reading. Obama Thinks Solar Power Will Boost Kenya; Kenyans Aren’t So Sure

Politicians set up “save the world” incentives and guaranteed financing and they make a big fuss over trying to get people to use energy that just doesn’t work, while a perfectly usable, tested system sits right next to them.

You have to be educated to be that stupid.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The party of death

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 July 2015

If Planned Parenthood survives this most recent scandal, will it even be possible to doubt that abortion is the sacrament of the Democratic Party? It’s been said for many years, but this story cinches it.

From now on, the Democratic Party should be called the Death Party because of its extreme, mindless, religious commitment to abortion.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The more we get to see her …

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 July 2015

… the less we like her.

Is Hillary Clinton ‘Likable Enough’?

Hillary’s best strategy might be to move to Australia until a month before the election. She may be smart, and she may have a resume. She may even be a woman — and “inevitable.” But nobody likes her.

(I still think she won’t get the nomination.)

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Why I don’t care about saving trees

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 July 2015

There’s this persistent idea in the world today that you’ll save the rain forest if you refrain from printing things out and opt for a digital version.

Virtue signalers want you to use a digital boarding pass on the airplane, use digital tickets for a concert, or “consider the environment” before you print out the email with the scanable badge for the beer release party. (Yes, of course that was the trigger for this particular post.)

Is there any reality to this, or is it just people “competing to seem compassionate” (as mentioned in the link above).

Thomas Sowell cites T.S. Eliot to similar effect.

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” (Emphasis supplied.)

That sums up a lot of what people do. We are all in an endless fight to justify ourselves and paint a brave picture of our lives.

We like to think that careful, deliberate thought comes first, and convictions and actions come later. But it’s usually the reverse. We adopt the beliefs that justify what we do.

Sometimes we do change our behaviors — in small, trivial ways — to boost our self image. We shop at certain stores, or avoid others, or wear the right color ribbon, or post things to Facebook to show that we care about the right things. And it’s only the caring that matters.

It doesn’t make any difference if printing out your emails hurts actual trees in the real world. What matters is that you care about the environment. Or, rather, that you’re signaling to others that you care about the environment.

Likewise, it doesn’t matter if raising the minimum wage will help workers. What matters is that you’re signaling to the world that you care about the working poor, or you care about fairness, or whatever.

This is why my reflexive response to all this sort of do-gooder stuff is to reject it, because without even checking the details I’m fairly sure it has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with people trying to tell the world how kind, caring and wonderful they are.

The person who displays the badge of the latest internet fad has almost certainly not read 300 words — pro or con — about the issue, or thought critically about it for any length of time. It’s a safe bet they’re following along with the emotional “I’m good because I care” ethic that we live in these days.

So my approach is … I don’t care. I don’t for one second believe that the latest “save the world” guilt trip is going to save anything — except the self-image of the people who go along with it.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel

My day at the office in 2025

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 July 2015

I’ll be in my swimming trunks, up to my knees in the surf at Cocoa Beach, with a fishing pole in one hand. The leading edge of the sun will just be visible on the horizon.

Something like Google Glass (in my contact lens) will display my workstation on a translucent surface that I can manipulate with my other hand. An earpiece will give me feedback, and I can give commands with my eye, by a concentrated look at a particular part of the screen, or with hand gestures, by speaking, or by a combination of any of those.

My colleagues will have access to me in all the normal ways — voice, email, instant message, etc. — but also through holographic projection.

At about 7:00 I’ll get a request for a holovisit from a co-worker, which I’ll approve. She’s hiking in the Shenandoahs, so her holographic image, which will appear right next to me, will show her in her hiking outfit, one knee up on a rock, taking a break. My system will project a holographic image of me to her location as well.

We’ll chat about the project, and I’ll show her some of the files I’ve been working on.

“Looks like you’ve got a bite,” she says a minute later, and we break off the communication while I pull in a 12-inch Whiting and she continues on her way to Hawksbill Mountain.

-- 6 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-07-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
When high-status men “hoard women”
2015-07-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The “hair and makeup tax”
2015-07-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Will the pace of change kill us?
2015-07-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The best response to racism …
2015-07-17 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Classic example of the false dilemma
2015-07-17 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
How automation creates jobs