Friday, May 30, 2008

Around the World Wide Web 63

1. Mike's Eyes have been observing his granddaughter's epistemology, with a fascinating thought about counting.

2. Exoskeletons: another science fiction idea that is now a reality.

3. This exchange is interesting, in a car wreck kind of way, as Chris Matthews exposes right-wing talk show host Kevin James for not knowing what Chamberlain did in the late 1930's that was appeasement.

And yet, Chris Matthews is wrong at the end when he defines appeasement as "giving up things to the enemy, not talking to the enemy." Talking to the enemy is giving up something, the most important thing: moral sanction.

4. You Kobe Bryant haters will enjoy this video compilation of what #24 did to the San Antonio Spurs last night to lead the Lakers to a victory and the Western Conference championship. He is a great player. He focuses on basketball the way Tiger Woods focuses on golf.

Now the Lakers face either the Detroit Pistons or the Boston Celtics in the finals. It should be a war either way. And either matchup will continue a bitter historic rivalry.

5. Adam Brodsky writes some excellent thoughts on Obama's commencement address urging students to become social workers.

6. Barack Obama, a self-made-up man.

Obama is not making "gaffes."  He's been a myth-maker from the first.  Isn't that the message of his books?  He is basically nothing, with a mother who's a total flake and a father who's as absent as a father can be, no real other family to depend on.  So he uses his brains (he has some), and he turns to literature of various kinds to assemble an identity.

In a big part of that identity construction, as John Derbyshire has written, Obama gets "hung up on his negritude."  And for all the rest, it's a Chinese menu, with two from Column A and one from Column B. 

He's Gatsby, he's the King (or the Duke) from Huckleberry Finn, he's Philip Roth's carefully constructed professor from The Human Stain.  He is, in short, a creature of American literature, not really an organically developed person at all.  He is an exemplar to the max of identity politics, or all politics is persona.

He is also Peter Keating, a man so focused on what others think that he BS's and plays loose with facts.


Shea said...

If you want a lecture chock-full of interesting observations about counting (amongst other things), I strongly recommend Pat Corvini's "Two, Three, Four and All That: Part I" lecture, recently available from the Ayn Rand Bookstore. It will probably make you rethink your most fundamental conception of number, but it's very worth the effort in the end.

Kim said...

Nice post. Good points about talking with evil regimes and Obama and Keating.