Archives October 2003

The power of the nameless ones

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

One striking thing about the Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11:1–9) is the absence of names. In between the geneology of the ancestors of the “seventy nations of the world” (10:1–32) and the line from Shem to Avram (11:10–32), there is a story in which “a man said to his fellow, ‘let ...

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Chazzerai

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

An Israeli guard-dog supplier is trying to sell West Bank settlements on guard pigs. One argument in favor of the pigs, according to Kuti Ben-Yaakov, is that “according to the Muslim faith, a terrorist who touches a pig is not eligible for the 70 virgins in heaven.” Al-Muhajabaha links to a fatwa refuting this ...

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Plastic surgery correlated with suicide, poor taste

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

New York Times:

[W]ith Botox parties now mainstream and network television shows like “Extreme Makeover” documenting every nip, tuck and strategic enhancement, it was perhaps inevitable that before too long patients would be feting themselves with “coming-out” parties and surgeons would be showing off their patients like artists at a gallery opening….

And many ...

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Once again, the chocolate ration has been increased

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

According to the preliminary figures from the Department of Labor, there were fewer initial unemployment claims last week than there were the week before. Of course, the corrected new-claims number for the week before last is higher than the preliminary new-claims number for that week. And last week, we were told that the preliminary new-claims ...

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Warriors, tricksters, and Jews

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Rashi’s commentary on the Chumash begins with a very odd dialogue.

Rabbi Yitzchak said: The Torah didn’t have to begin with anything but “This month shall be for you…” [the commandment for Rosh Chodesh, over in Exodus], because that was the first commandment that Israel was bound by. Why does it open with bereshit?… ...

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To serve and protect, and to guard money from harm

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Marshall Brain is planning ahead for an age when robots do all the work and human beings become unemployable. When Mr. Brain and other pundits make predictions of this ilk, they forget that no robot, however advanced, is a match for the power of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Suppose that someone invents a robotic fast-food ...

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Mostly invulnerable

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

About twenty years ago, I heard Sen. Gary Hart speak to a convention of community organizers. He said he had spoken to someone who was hoping for a scandal, like Watergate, to bring down the Reagan Administration. But, the senator declaimed, when President Reagan cuts spending on education, that is a scandal. And when he ...

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For some people, the 70s never ended

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

This wireless X10 wall switch comes with a perforated sheet of labels, so you can mark what each switch is controlling. The labels on the sheet include all the possible locations you can imagine having a lamp: “kitchen,” “bathroom,” “study,” etc., etc., etc., … and “cove.”

I can’t shake the image ...

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“Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Nathan Newman argues that when you consider all the unsavory things that the CIA has done over the past fifty years, progressives shouldn’t care so much about the Bush Administration leaking the name of a CIA operative. John Quiggin follows this up by linking to an old essay of his.

A government, he says, can ...

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A thought for Yom Kippur

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

If you have committed an offense against someone else, even if you have already paid them whatever monetary damages you owe, you don’t get forgiveness from Above until you’ve asked your victim to forgive you. The Mishnah (Bava Kamma 8:7) derives this principle from the story of Abraham and Avimelekh; after Avimelekh has taken ...

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