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Scrapping Economics and Starting Over
On the Five Star Movement that gained ascendency in the last Italian elections: "Expect M5S’s gains to cause panic on both sides of America’s political aisle. Though usually characterized as green and left-libertarian, the party has tremendous appeal to the populist right. Progressives won’t care for its Euroskeptism and moderate immigration restrictionism. And establishment conservatives will be horrified by its support for degrowth economics ..."
Royal Opera House ruling will have a 'profound impact' on orchestras
"In the first case of its kind, viola player Christopher Goldscheider claimed he suffered hearing loss while playing at the Royal Opera House in 2012. A High Court judge ruled on Wednesday that the company had been in breach of regulations regarding noise at work."
Article: EB-1: Not Just for Einsteins
On US immigration: "a blind assessment of Einstein’s 1920 résumé by a group of immigration attorneys yielded a general agreement that the subject individual was a bit underqualified and would make for a rather challenging petition."

Orwell on freedom

The relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion. The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them. - George Orwell

Random links

China will ban people with poor ‘social credit’ from planes and trains
"Starting in May, Chinese citizens who rank low on the country’s burgeoning “social credit” system will be in danger of being banned from buying plane or train tickets for up to a year, according to statements recently released by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission." See also China Is Using Facial Recognition Technology to Send Jaywalkers Fines Through Text Messages.
On Truth and Beauty
"Chinese women of the Han Dynasty (c.206BC – 220AD) were expected to have long black hair, red lips and white teeth, among other things. But also on the list was pale skin, and unless you’ve been living under a rock since the 1960s you’ll know that no shortage of intellectuals have blamed the desire for pale skin on the nefarious effects of colonialism. That its presence was a beauty criterion as long ago (and as far away from Europe) as Han China is telling, to say the least."
Ad hominem attacks on scientists are just as likely to undermine public faith in research as legitimate empirical critiques
A good reason, whatever your beliefs, to read at least a sample of those getting heavy amounts of negative press.

On open-mindedness

A quote from The Difference Between Open-Minded and Close-Minded People which is a bit paradoxical if you try to apply it to yourself:

So which group are you in?

Before you smugly slap an open-minded sticker on your chest, consider this: closed-minded people would never consider that they could actually be closed-minded. In fact, their perceived open-mindedness is what’s so dangerous.

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