Atlas Shrugged: The Post-Scarcity Economy

Infinity

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IDagny's next stop in the valley brings her to a familiar face:It was not a pass, it was a wall of laminated rock with a complex chain of pipes, pumps and valves climbing like a vine up its narrow ledges, but it bore, on its crest, a huge wooden sign...: Wyatt Oil.It was oil that ran in a glittering curve from the mouth of a pipe into a tank at the foot of the wall, as the only confession of the tremendous secret struggle inside the stone, as the … [Read more...]

Popular Delusions: Electrosensitivity

WiFiZone

It's a fact that allergies are becoming a bigger and bigger problem in Western society. An ever-widening array of foods - milk, eggs, peanuts, shellfish - have become dangerous to many people, sometimes life-threateningly so. Even traditional societies that adopt a Western lifestyle start to develop allergies along the same pattern. It's unknown what's causing this, although one explanation is the "hygiene hypothesis": children who grow up in contact with nature are exposed to a greater variety … [Read more...]

Marital Rape in the Bible

The newest Christian site making the rounds on atheist Twitter is Biblical Gender Roles. The author says only that he's a white man and a conservative Christian (so of course he's qualified to tell everyone else how they should conduct themselves in accordance with his archaic notion of gender roles). Today I wanted to focus on one of his recent posts, which is exactly as awful as you'd expect given the title: "Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?"In … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: May 31

• Rabbis in a British branch of ultra-Orthodox Judaism forbid women from driving - and threaten to expel their children from school if they're caught violating the ban.• The horrific news keeps coming out of Bangladesh, as Islamists circulate a hit list of secular writers whom they want to kill.• "As the country becomes less religious, it is also becoming more socially liberal."• The number-two Vatican official says that Ireland's legalization of same-sex marriage … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Sonic Highways

I just saw Mad Max: Fury Road, and I'm still a little breathless - best movie of the year so far, Charlize Theron was fantastic, and I see why it made internet misogynists so upset. Plus it had a postapocalyptic gang of gun-toting biker grannies; you can't beat that.Foo Fighters are a good fit for my mood tonight. Here's one from their excellent latest album, Sonic Highways: … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Natural Capital

GlacierLake

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIn spite of Ayn Rand's professed hatred for nature, we've already seen that Galt's Gulch is a place of improbable natural beauty. This section further emphasizes that, as John Galt and Dagny continue their tour:A stretch of violent turquoise blue split the cliffs ahead, ending the road; it took her a second to realize that it was a lake. The motionless water seemed to condense the blue of the sky and the green of the pine-covered mountains into so … [Read more...]

The Hidden Garden of Ex-Muslim Atheists

Niqab

While I don't believe there's anything like a law that good and evil have to be in balance, the headlines of the past few months seem to give that impression. Even as the countries of the West shed their theocratic past and progresses toward a brighter and more secular future, there's never been a blacker time to be a freethinker in the Muslim world.ISIS continues its rampage through Iraq and Syria, imposing theocracy through slaughter and erasing the cultural patrimony of the human race. … [Read more...]

Ireland Says Yes to Equality

RainbowFlag

Last week, Ireland held a referendum on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, and the good guys won a landslide victory:Some 62% of the Irish Republic's electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. The result means that a republic once dominated by the Catholic church ignored the instructions of its cardinals and bishops. The huge Yes vote marks another milestone in Ireland's journey towards a more liberal, secular society.Ireland isn't the first country to enact marriage equality, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Fiat Motors

EngineDiagram

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IDagny and John Galt set off on their tour of the valley. They drop Quentin Daniels off at Midas Mulligan's house ("the only one built two stories high, an odd combination of fortress and pleasure resort, with stout granite walls and broad, open terraces"), then drive on:Abruptly, behind a turn of the road, she saw the green acres of pastures stretching to a distant farmhouse. There were herds of sheep, some horses, the fenced squares of pigpens under … [Read more...]

The Hypocrisy of Tolerance at the Touro Synagogue

I'm on vacation this week in New England. Yesterday I visited the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island - the oldest Jewish synagogue in North America, dating back to the colonial era. It was founded by Jews fleeing a long history of persecution in Europe: first the Alhambra Decree expelling them from Spain, then the Inquisition, which harried them from Portugal to the Caribbean. They settled here in Newport and built a synagogue, which survived the Revolution, when most of the city was … [Read more...]


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