Best Dozen Articles I've Read in 2024

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See also Best Things of 2024.

   Putnam couldn’t cite any mistakes of fact, just a failure to accentuate the positive. It was “almost criminal,” Putnam grumbled, that Lloyd had not sufficiently emphasized the spin that he had spent five years concocting. Yet considering the quality of Putnam’s talking points that Lloyd did pass on, perhaps the journalist was being merciful in not giving the professor more rope with which to hang himself. For example, Putnam’s line—“What we shouldn’t do is to say that they [immigrants] should be more like us. We should construct a new us”—sounds like a weak parody of Bertolt Brecht’s parody of Communist propaganda after the failed 1953 uprising against the East German puppet regime: “Would it not be easier for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”
  "Any form of assertion, strength, self-improvement or force would be seen negatively in this kenotic schema, and it’s no surprise that traditional masculinity with its close association to the former attributes would be foreign to this line of thought. Many commentators have spoken of the apparent feminisation of Christianity but they have noted are the effects and not the cause, since what we’re are actually observing is the “Buddhisation” of Christianity resulting in the worship of God in an apparently feminine submissive mode. By its influence, Christianity becomes a celebration of self-abasement, non-resistance and pathological altruism, where sensible actions to preserve the self and assert the truth of Christianity are seen negatively."


  These are the next 20% of the population in terms of ability. They would be 2,000 citizens in the town of 10,000 inhabitants. Learning is somewhat faster, and achievements are of better quality. Learning varies from the slow pace, simple materials and careful supervision already mentioned previously, to very explicit, hands-on training. They tend to credulity, belief in god and superstition. They can locate the intersection of two streets on a map, identify two features in a newspaper sports story, perhaps calculate the total cost of purchases listed in a catalogue, and draw inferences from two identifiable facts and deal with some distractors.
 They believed to have found such teachers in that group of professors and writers who knowingly or ignorantly paved the way for Hitler (Spengler, Moeller van den Bruck, Carl Schmitt, Ernst Junger, Heidegger). If we want to understand the singular success, not of Hitler, but of those writers, we must cast a quick glance at their opponents who were at the same time the opponents of the young nihilists. Those opponents committed frequently a grave mistake. They believed to have refuted the No by refuting the Yes, i.e. the inconsistent, if not silly, positive assertions of the young men. But one cannot refute what one has not thoroughly understood. And many opponents did not even try to understand the ardent passion underlying the negation of the present world and its potentialities.
In summary:
1. Try to wear a jacket. Or find ways to layer
2. Pay attention to the complex construction of clothes
3. Don't assume everything has to be slim-fit
4. Think about outfits as shapes
5. Pay attention to how fabric drapes
IMO, that's what ppl admire in good outfits
 "Businessman Tan Youhui hired a hitman to "take out" his competitor for $282,000 (£218,000), a court heard. But the hitman hired another man to do the job, offering $141,000. That man hired another hitman, who hired another hitman, who hired another hitman. The plan crumbled when the final hitman met the man, named only as Wei, in a cafe and proposed faking his death."
 "Until then, it’s George Time. And he’s going to make the most of it. Worried he may not be able to get many opportunities to speak in parliament, he chose to hold court for a gaggle of hacks looking for a story on a slow news day. So the Ego had Landed. Was in its element. First boasting about how he was far brighter and had served far longer than either Sunak or Starmer. He may be right, though he should aim higher. Then setting out his campaign to get Rochdale its own postcode. That’s the last anyone will hear of this."
   "The median of an applicant pool is often recommended as a minimum passing score for further consideration of applicants to that job (Wonderlic Personnel Test, 1992, p. 14), so it can be viewed as a threshold for applicant competitiveness. By this measure, one needs an IQ of about 120 (the 91st percentile of the general population) to be competitive for the highest level jobs in Figure

1 (research analyst and advertising manager)."

"The Secret Service also is mum on the issue – and under suspicious circumstances. Text messages belonging to at least two dozen officials and agents from Jan. 5 and 6 were deleted at the end of January 2021 and never recovered. Jan. 6 committee investigators, when first informed the messages were purged during “a pre-planned, three-month system migration,”...D’Antuono also testified that a search warrant failed to scoop up data of the alleged suspect, who is seen handling a cell phone on his walk in the vicinity. Stating the FBI did a “complete” geofence warrant for Jan. 6, D’Antuono disclosed that data from one company strangely was missing. “Some data that was corrupted by one of the providers, not purposely by them, right. It just – unusual circumstance that we have corrupt data from one of the providers. I'm not sure – I can't remember right now which one." 

Cremieux, has a great article on the rich-poor gap exploring all different facets, and on the Chinese national test (2024).

  Should China Keep the English Listening Exam?
  An unfortunate part of the English listening exam debacle is that it’s a justifiable test. Think about medical exams. When they’re found to have biased items, committees look at the questions and then they often make the decision to keep those items in the tests. The reason to keep biased items is that they ask about important topics. For example, women’s health is important to many doctors, but questions about it will almost always favor women. That’s almost unavoidable, but if the questions are out, men might never learn about the content. We end up with good reasons to keep the questions in, unless we want to segregate doctor-patient pairs on the basis of sex.

  The Tablet (2024). "In Gaza, the Israeli air force was hardly allowed to contribute more than a fraction of its strength to the fighting, in deference to the insistent requests coming from the White House. . . Unique to Israel is the turretless Namer infantry carrier, a battle taxi in effect, that allows Israeli troops to move about in the perilous urban space protected by more armor than any combat vehicle in history."
   "Many high-IQ students, especially those who avoid serious science and math, go from kindergarten through an advanced degree without ever having a teacher who is dissatisfied with their best work and without ever taking a course that forces them to say to themselves, “I can’t do this.” Humility requires that the gifted learn what it feels like to hit an intellectual wall, just as all of their less talented peers do, and that can come only from a curriculum and pedagogy designed especially for them. That level of demand cannot fairly be imposed on a classroom that includes children who do not have the ability to respond. The gifted need to have some classes with each other not to be coddled, but because that is the only setting in which their feet can be held to the fire."

"I could quickly discover, years ago, which of my English friends were secret aristocrats. I would simply ask them what they thought about the accidental death of Diana, Princess of Wales. My middle class English pals would say something along the lines of, “It was a tragedy. She was indeed the ‘people’s princess.’” But my upper class friends would say something more like, “Good Lord, just as well she’s dead. Mad as a brush.”
  • The OSS sabotage field manual on disrupting organizations] by things like making meetings go too long and not decide anything.
"In 2008, about one in five Americans were religiously active evangelicals. That percentage has now dropped to 13%. For comparison, about 12% of Americans identify as atheist or agnostic. Approximately 8% of all U.S. adults are white evangelicals attending church every week. It's sort of amazing that a certain segment of the population fears the rise of a theocracy from this group of Americans, despite being only 8% of the population. This is a decline from 16% when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. It wouldn't be surprising if there are more atheists than weekly attending white evangelicals in the next 5-10 years."
  • "Bring back the Law Lords: Tony Blair’s introduction of a US-style Supreme Court has served to undermine the supremacy of Parliament," Yuan Yi Zhu, The Critic (2 Feb. 2024). "The Supreme Court gift shop will be the first to go, with its Supreme Court-branded teddy bears and its unsold copies of the laudatory coffee table book about the building’s architecture. Baroness Hale’s leek-themed carpet, a 1970s style fever dream, will be next, revealing the sturdy floors underneath. Then their lordships can return to the anonymous backrooms of the House of Lords, safe from the temptations of being supreme over Parliament. Middlesex Guildhall, that much-abused building, can be restored to its former glory, if it ever had any, and assist in dealing with London’s rising crime levels. Then the ghosts of the Blairite constitution may finally be exorcised."

Top Ten THigns:

*Saturday Night Live on the 3 Presidents' Testimony, very very good.