LinkFest 2015-12-21

Where America Gets its Winter Lettuce


Lettuce Produces More Greenhouse Gas Emissions than Bacon Does

The vast fields of lettuce in Yuma, in all places, are almost enough to drive me to despair. Almost.

Dear Parents: Everything You Need to Know About Your Son and Daughter’s University But Don’t by Ron Srigley

I am sympathetic to the author, but not at all that sympathetic to his argument. The American university system is currently caught between the cracks of at least three different models. There is the old English system of the upper classes, the German research university model, and most recently a bastardized vocational model. Srigley seems most closely aligned mid-century American model, which was a combination of the German and British systems, prizing both liberal studies and science, with an undercurrent of class distinctions. He is not a fan of the many, many students who go to college today because it is a gatekeeper to the middle class vocations. However, this is not their fault, but ours, for having made a system that requires this. Also, I'm dubious of the purported distinction between 'pure' science in the past and engineering now. A focus on pure science seems like a current obsession, whereas in the past application was very much on the minds of scientists.

A Change of Mind: Is there a way to treat Down's Syndrome?

The inventor of the widely used prenatal test for Down's Syndrome is on a quest to find an effective treatment for it. I think this is a good thing.

The New Atomic Age we Need

I'm not the only one to think that nuclear power is probably the most green energy technology we currently have.

Canada and the Emerging Terror Threat from the North

One of my current favorite authors is John Schindler. Schindler worked for the NSA, and now is a columnist, historian, and professor. Schindler calls it like it is, and I always appreciate that. I have been particularly enjoying his acerbic exchanges on Twitter with critics who don't know anything about espionage or security.

The Ionian Mission

Greg Cochran asks what made the Ionian Greeks so smart? I have wondered this myself. Aristotle must have had a prodigious intellect to figure out everything he figured out. Many of the other Greeks at the time were similarly remarkable, but Aristotle in particular has pride of place. Some commenters on Cochran's post say that this is just low-hanging fruit, but I think this misses the startling depth and breadth of the Ionian Greek accomplishments.

The Once and Future Liberalism

This post echoes a number of themes John Reilly used to talk about. Mead doesn't use the term, but this article is clearly about the apoptheosis of the New Deal in the Kennedy Enlightenment.