Sunday, March 28, 2010

Links ...

  1. Matt Taibbi at Taibblog: The Catholic Church is a Criminal Enterprise. Here's the Taibbi Treatment:

    One expects professional slimeballs like the public relations department of Goldman Sachs to pull out the “Well, we weren’t the only thieves!” argument when accused of financial malfeasance. But I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through Dolan’s retort and it dawned on me that he was actually going to use the “We weren’t the only child molesters!” excuse. Dolan must have very roomy man-robes, because it seems to me you’d need a set of balls like two moons of Jupiter to say such a thing in public and expect it to fly. But this is exactly what Dolan does; he bases his entire defense of the Church on the idea that others are equally culpable.

  2. Thomas Benton in The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Big Lie About the 'Life of the Mind':

    One reason that graduate school is for the already privileged is that it is structurally dependent on people who are neither privileged nor connected. Wealthy students are not trapped by the system; they can take what they want from it, not feel pressured, and walk away at any point with minimal consequences. They do not have to obsess about whether some professor really likes them. If they are determined to become academics, they can select universities on the basis of reputation rather than money. They can focus on research rather than scrambling for time-consuming teaching and research assistantships to help pay the bills. And, when they go on the market, they can hold out for the perfect position rather than accepting whatever is available.

    But the system over which the privileged preside does not ultimately depend on them for the daily functioning of higher education (which is now, as we all know, drifting toward a part-time, no-benefit business). The ranks of new Ph.D.'s and adjuncts these days are mainly composed of people from below the upper-middle class: people who believe from infancy that more education equals more opportunity. They see the professions as a path to security and status.

  3. Massimo Pigliucci at Rationally Speaking: "Anything Is Possible." No, Not Really.

    Clearly, not anything is possible. It is pretty easy to come up with examples of things that are not possible: it is not possible for me both to be and not to be (pace Hamlet); it is not possible for me to levitate; and it is not even possible for me to be in Rome at this moment, because I’m in New York writing this essay.

    Those three examples are not picked at random, they illustrate three distinct classes of impossibility recognized by philosophers: the first is an instance of something that is logically impossible; the second is an example of physical impossibility; and the last one is an illustration of contingent impossibility.

  4. Live Science: Babies Are Born To Dance. Check out the video.