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Restaurants in Cuba, bulls in Spain

October 24, 2016

Cuba is declaring a freeze on private restaurants, which navigate a difficult route in its economy. Some economist should popularize a restaurant ratio, of number of eateries per population. Spain would rank high, where it seems there is a cafe on every corner that will sell you tortilla for breakfast, a bikini sandwich for lunch, and paella and wine for dinner.

Bull fights are returning to Catalonia, by court order.

“There are no ninth month abortions”

October 20, 2016

Dr. Gunter takes on some of the dishonest rhetoric around abortion.

Bleak Brexit

October 19, 2016

stgeorgescrossI don’t know if things are as bleak as this article paints, but it is worth reading. On the bright side, any Americans visiting the UK in the near future will buy a cheap pound, still get all the cosmopolitanism that London (for now) has to offer, still can meander through Scotland without crossing an international border, and can relieve any angst over upcoming American elections by chuckling at British politics.

You can’t do that!

October 18, 2016

A group of physicists from all over demonstrated that they can maintain quantum coherence indefinitely. (Cite.) I suspect that will have implications in technologies for decades to come.

We all learned in high school physics that the resolution of optical devices such as telescopes, microscopes, and cameras is bounded by diffraction, mathematically described by Lord Rayleigh. Engineers in Singapore have figured out a way to see finer. (Cite.)

The American exodus

October 17, 2016

A new PRRI report documents the continued rise of the non-religious in the US. It claims that is now 25% of American adults, and 40% of those 18 to 29. The report documents that most come from religious childhood homes, which in any case is a straightforward implication of the rapid rise from such small fractions in decades past. The major cause people cite for leaving their religion is not some personal conflict, but simply that they “stopped believing in the religion’s teachings.”

The New York Times has an article on how conservative evangelicals are taking the seeming late phase of the culture wars. It is bound to generate mixed feelings for anyone who knows or is related to conservative evangelicals. Will that trend cause them to withdraw further from the larger culture, taking some path like the Benedictine option that Rod Dreher suggests? Will they become less conservative in their faith, finding ways to better mesh it with a culture where it is not dominant? How do those faith paths affect their daily lives and personal relationships? While I cheer that this source of authoritarian politics continues to crumble, that crumbling is seen quite differently by those who view a culture dominated by their religion as the only normal form of society.

Data from 538 makes pretty clear how religion influences voting among whites.

Republicans and rape, yet again

October 14, 2016

You would have thought the various stumbles in 2012 would have taught Republican politicians to roll up like a possum playing dead when faced with any question involving rape or sexual assault. Seemingly, they still are embarrassing themselves, including Blake Farenthold, the congressman from my district.

Now, from the quote snippet below, you might think Rush Limbaugh is acting the stand-up guy and explaining to the conservative fold what law and civilized behavior require:

If .. there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the .. rape police.

Thank you, Rush! That is exactly right. Teach it not just to those of your fellow Republicans who don’t yet grok the primary importance of consent, but also young people.

Alas, that is a bit of a misquote. When you read what Rush said in full context and tone, he is criticizing that view(!) and labeling it a leftist conspiracy.

Street photography: 1950s Hong Kong

October 13, 2016

This is a nice set by Fan Ho, who lived there as a teen.