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Duesseldorf, Germany
Recent Activity
I rather suspect -- rahhtheir! -- that both in England and the USA, you would get a reputation as a bit of a fusty old pedant if you actually said pronounced "wrongly" or feeling "poorly". I'm usually fairly prescriptivist, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
A Düsseldorfer on Facebook recently found this underneath her windshield: It reads: "You're parked illegally! Ticket! Joke we're just kids playing we're sorry" I found this pretty adorable. Almost makes me want to reproduce. There are a few errors on... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at German Joys
Alexander Stern has an essay on the feuilleton which is as readable as it is erudite, no mean feat: “In the beginning was the press, and then the world appeared.” So begins a satirical 1922 poem by Karl Kraus. A... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at German Joys
Ivan Krastev in the New York Times: When you can’t understand why people behave in a certain way, the easiest thing to do is to convince yourself that people do not know what they are doing. This is what European... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at German Joys
Kevin, the plural of anecdotes is not 'data'. And the plural of my personal experience is not even 'anecdote'. Studies, my lad, those are the thing.
Martin Kettle, who proudly calls himself a Germanophile, expresses his admiration in the Guardian for the new Elbphilharmonie (Philharmonia on the Elbe River) concert hall in Hamburg: [I]n Hamburg on Wednesday evening a substantial part of official Germany – and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at German Joys
"As to Flynn's quote taken out of context: In what context is that quote not extremely racist?" What if it's fabricated? What if Flynn was merely paraphrasing someone else's point of view? The original source is usually given as a book review. Neither you nor I have ever read the original source in its entirety. I choose to refrain from judgment until that happens. And since I'm not particularly interested in judging a prolific author's entire career by one brief quote, I don't really care enough to find the original source.
I am very well aware of the work of all the authors you mention, and so many others as well. I know much more than you do. You misspelled Kirkegaard's name, by the way. If you go to his website, you will find a detailed and informative account of why he publishes where he does. He always makes all of his data available, so that anyone can challenge his conclusions if they wish. I don't particularly care about the political opinions of scientists. Richard Lewontin is a card-carrying Marxist, but unless he allows his personal political opinions to affect his arguments or his statistical models, they are irrelevant. (Lots of his arguments are flimsy). Same with Noam Chomsky's views on linguistics. If you troll through the record of anyone who publishes in the public eye and look for isolated quotations to take out of context, you can make *anyone* look like a fool or a villain. You will, therefore, often find that people who publish a lot in the public eye, as I do, are unimpressed by this kind of bullshit argument. As for the Lynn quote, it pops up all the time as a handy way to dismiss his entire decades-spanning scientific career. But I guarantee you cannot find the original source, and therefore have no *genuine* idea what its original context was. Provide me with the full text of the original source and I'll be interested. But most people don't even bother to cite it. The fact that I cite an author does not mean I endorse every view held by that person. Nor does it mean I endorse every view held by anyone *that author* cites. That kind of insipid guilt by association is the kind of thing censors and repressive governments endorse. I judge arguments on their merits, and ask the same courtesy in return.
Oh, I'm quite well-informed, thanks very much. I've read numerous books on the subject, read hundreds of articles, and enjoy blogs like Razib Khan and James Thompson, as well as many others. I am certain I know more about it than you do, unless you happen to have specialized training, in which case I happily defer. The shorthand I used in the article is the universally-accepted means of journalistic shorthand to convey the idea of heritability. It's accurate enough, there's no need to bore my readers with long digressions. I use similar shorthand when I write about the law, even thought I'm a former law professor and could waste paragraphs going into detail. That's what I do in academic writing. There is a very simple reason for the higher amount of genetic variance in more homogeneous populations: environmental factors are more constant across the cohort. That is, if you sample 1000 Indians at random, there will be hundreds who were exposed to lead or other toxins, chronic malnourishment, severe illness, parasites, and/or have spent almost no time in school. These huge environmental effects swamp the very real genetic influences. In a sample of 1000 modern Dutch kids, almost none will have seen any of the factors. This doesn't meant that there is a *different level* of hereditary factors involved, it means that the level is *harder to detect* because it's obscured by environmental factors. Two identical lights will look different when seen through clear vs. frosted glass.
Abigail Fielding-Smith has a good deep dive on Jaber al-Bakr, the Syrian refugee who became radicalized in Germany and was arrested last year for having constructed a powerful bomb: The idea that a terrorist group like Islamic State has infiltrated... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2017 at German Joys
How most countries handle immigration: Figure out who the person who wants to enter your country is. Check to see if they have a good reason for entering your country. If they do, let them in. How Germany handles immigration:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at German Joys
Put the kiddies to bed, because this German Word of the Week gets a little blue. Or golden. Recent events put Donald Trump's alleged partiality to a certain, er, erotic fetish in the spotlight. In English, this fetish is called... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at German Joys
A thoroughly wholesome, pro-social song about using efficient public transportation while being Dutch and happy: Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at German Joys
Dutch children are the happiest in the developed world. A Brit and an American raising children in the Netherlands ask why: When it came to Dutch children rating their own happiness levels, more than 95 per cent considered themselves happy.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at German Joys
This is what part of the Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas looks like right now: Just so nobody gets the wrong idea, it's part of an exhibition. This may well be the first time a quotation from Robert... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2017 at German Joys
Criminologist Brian Boutwell on the genetic influences on behavior, including criminal behavior: Variety in our gene pool matters when we seek to understand why some people can dunk a basketball or compose a sonnet, and why some people persistently break... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2017 at German Joys
Of course populists are in favor of cutting the welfare state. This is why increasing diversity/immigration undermines the welfare state. 1. Import mass numbers of outsiders. 2. Make immigration/integration (needlessly) the #1 issue in the country. 3. Ordinary voters switch to the party that has the 'right' position on the issue they care about the most. 4. They don't pay much attention to the party's other stances. 5. The party gets into power and cuts the welfare state. Seen it all before.
In the original report, obviously, which I linked to in the very first line of this post. Is this your first time on the Internets?
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2017 on Terrorism Set to Increase in Europe at German Joys
Fareed Zakaria: Supporters of Trump and other populist movements often point to economics as the key to their success — the slow recovery, wage stagnation, the erosion of manufacturing jobs, rising inequality. These are clearly powerful contributing factors. But it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2017 at German Joys
1929 poster from Berlin musicians' and performers' unions declaring that movies with sound are 'kitsch' and 'flat', ruin your hearing, and put musicians and performers out of business. Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2017 at German Joys
sprockets germany's most disturbing videos von pentakatharidis Canada's National Post fills us in on the latest in the field of apotemnophilia, which we're now apparently supposed to call "transability": People like Jason [who chopped one of his arms off] have... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2017 at German Joys
If you think someone has posted something here that is an actionable legal insult, then you should bring an action against them. You should be advised, though, that the standard for a criminal insult is extremely hard to meet, given protections for freedom of opinion in Germany. I happen to know quite a bit about the subject. If you provide me with specific links to the exact comments you found objectionable, preferably by email, I'll be happy to look into them. But as I said, I have neither the time nor the inclination to try and locate those needles in that haystack. Overall, I would suggest a New Years' Resolution of not taking things so seriously. The likelihood of anyone finding whatever comment you're referring to is nil. If I, the blog administrator, can't find the comment, what chance does an outsider have? And even if they do, everyone understands that people sometimes get upset when discussing hot topics. Everyone knows that nasty remarks reflect more on the person who makes them than the target.
Commenters sometimes ask me to delete some of their previous comments, or other peoples' comments. I am not going to do that. Let me repeat points I've made a few times, but which apparently need to be made again and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2016 at German Joys
(source) Given that recent migrants have been committing a goodly number of crimes in Germany since 2015, the question facing reporters and editors is whether to tell their readers when crimes are committed by foreigners. The German Press Code, a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2016 at German Joys