Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amazing Pre-WWI Color Photos from Russia

I just spotted a link to these awesome pre-WWI photos from Russia over at Coyote Blog. I sent the link to my brother but then figured some of you may enjoy them as well. I know they're not all from present day Russia, but they may have been part of greater Russia. (I don't know the boundaries of Russia at that time.) At any rate, I had no idea color photographs go that far back.

Update: Another link with some more explanations on some of the photos.

Friday, June 25, 2010

EPA Crying Over Spilled Milk

Now the EPA wants to use oil spill laws to require dairy farmers to "build extra storage tanks and form emergency spill plans." Emergency spill plans!?!?!?! Good grief. (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Open World Cup Post

We need a place to talk about all things World Cup. Post many WC comments below! USA, USA, USA!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pac what now?

It's all over the place that the Pac 10 will invite Utah into it's fold officially later this week. Utah will undoubtedly fall all over itself accepting the invitation. Leaving their rivals to the south in their wake and unfortunately weakening a MWC which was just buoyed up by adding Bosie State.

Bleacher Report had this interesting take on the situation.

It seems a pity for Utah and BYU to not be in the same conference, and why chose Colorado over BYU for inclusion in the Pac 10? I seem to remember Colorado being good at football...Actually I can't remember the last time. And while there are lots of things to consider it's strange that the Pac-10 is made up of paired teams (USC and UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, etc) and now...Colorado and Utah. It doesn't seem well thought out.

I'm interested in other reactions. What say ye?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup Fever

Here's Tony's chance to win his lunch back from me. I've set up a bracket predictor on ESPN.com for the World Cup. It's pretty straight forward and easy. If you're interested on putting a bracket together, go to ESPN's coverage of the World Cup and find the Fantasy tab. Look under the group name "Provonian Staff" to join in the fun. Your log in info from the basketball tourney should work for this event as well, or just create a new account. It's open to the public so all are welcome to join. The action starts this Friday so you don't have much time to get your picks in. To match Tony's offer from the college basketball tourney, I'll buy lunch for the person that wins. Unless it's Tony. Then we're just even. Here's a little movie for those who are on the fence about joining. The picture quality is terrible, but the song makes it work.

Fascinating Lecture: Why We Are Not Living in Western Civilization

No, this is not some right wing political rant about the socialization of America and the loss of freedom. Rather, it is a fascinating lecture (via Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek) by a British historian on the discontinuity between modern existence and Western civilization. (As an interesting aside, he states that the idea of "Western civilization" is a fairly recent narrative of our place in history. Before the mid-1800's most Westerners considered themselves part of Christendom, not Western civilization.) Two of the major drivers of discontinuity he discusses are as follows:

1. A dramatic change in the "material conditions of existence" including an increase in population size and density as well as an increase in the standard of living. For example, he claims that the poor among us live better than ancient kings.
2. A change in the collective psychological worldview. For example, a shift to critical rationalism away from a worldview where it was theoretically, although not practically, possible to know all there was to know. Also, a shift where religion changed from a set of practices to a set of propositions that are believed.

This lecture is some seriously good brain candy. It is an intellectual's version of the monthly lecture my sixth grade teacher Mr. Wilson would give about how knowledge has exploded since over the last few centuries.

Update: The third source of discontinuity is the difference in cultural symbols between Christendom and modern society. Most of us, unless we've made an active study of it, would miss many of the allusions in Shakespeare. Also, we are likely to miss many biblical allusions. Just as an example, I was reading out of Samuel for the Sunday School lesson this week and discovered the phrase "God Save the King" in reference to Saul's selection as king of Israel. Or as a more basic illustration, Dr. Davies (the historian) mentions that about half of his students in a class weren't familiar with Adam and Eve.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You need this

You may or may not have seen her on TV, but you should get to know her now. This is especially up Mikey's alley. Good luck staying in your seat.