The Fountainhead: New York, New York

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 8Jobless again, Roark goes back to pounding the pavement. He makes a list of architects - the ones "whose work he resented least" - and methodically works his way through it, applying to one firm after another. But at each one, he meets with rejection (not surprising considering his interview technique):It was not a judgment passed upon his merit. They did not think he was worthless. They simply did not care to find out whether he was good. Sometimes, … [Read more...]

Letter-Writing Wednesday: The Problem of Religious Pharmacists

One of my earliest blog posts was about right-wing pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions on religious grounds. It's still a problem.This week, I read this story of a Walgreens in New Mexico whose pharmacist refused to fill a woman's prescription for misoprostol. It's a common drug for stomach ulcers, but it also relaxes the cervix, which makes it useful for abortion, for inducing birth, or for preparing for an IUD insertion. You get one guess which of those uses this sanctimonious … [Read more...]

Dystopia Journal #6: Paris Burning

On election night, of all the bleak things I imagined, the worst was that Trump would take America out of the fight against global warming. Unsurprisingly, he has.This is the consequence that counts. The embarrassment and the decline in our national prestige are real, but will fade in time when a competent administration takes power. No matter how badly Trump and the GOP mismanage the economy, even the worst depression ends eventually. However many people terrorists may kill in their … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: As Long As It’s Black

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 8One day at work, Howard Roark is unexpectedly called into the boss' office:"Mr. Keating has been telling me very nice things about you," Francon tried pleasantly and stopped. It was wasted courtesy; Roark just sat looking at him, waiting."Listen... what's your name?""Roark.""Listen, Roark. We have a client who is a little... odd, but he's an important man, a very important man, and we have to satisfy him. He's given us a commission for an … [Read more...]

Skeptic Magazine’s Impotent Attack on Gender Studies

Remember, to be good rationalists, we must keep our work free of the taint of ideology - or worse, social justice. Proper skepticism is neutral and apolitical. Except when it isn't: Every once in awhile it is necessary and desirable to expose extreme ideologies for what they are by carrying out their arguments and rhetoric to their logical and absurd conclusion, which is why we are proud to publish this expose of a hoaxed article published in a peer-reviewed journal today. The authors, Peter … [Read more...]

Why I’m Vaccinating My Son

Another community has learned the hard way not to trust anti-vaccine activists. This time, it's the Somali-American immigrant community in Minneapolis:In the early 2000s, the large Somali immigrant population had high vaccination rates. But in 2008, fear that their children were suffering from higher rates of autism swept through the community. Though research later concluded that autism rates were not unusually high in the community, anti-vaccination activists pounced on the panic. The … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Diet Cig

This song from the pop-punk duo Diet Cig is a silly little bit of fluff, but damn if the video didn't make me smile: … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Hard Hat Zone

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 7While Roark is out on a job site, he takes an interest in one of the men working on the building under construction:The man raised his head and turned to him abruptly. He had a big head and a face so ugly that it became fascinating; it was neither old nor flabby, but it was creased in deep gashes and the powerful jowls drooped like a bulldog's; the eyes were startling — wide, round and china-blue.Unlike the view she later espoused in Atlas S … [Read more...]

More Atheists, Fewer Creationists

Whatever the short-term fluctuations of politics, the long-term trends driving the evolution of American society are stable. And one of the most consistent trends in America since I started writing this blog has been the steady growth in the number of self-identified atheists and agnostics. It's a cheering thought that gives me hope for future generations discarding the harmful dogmas of the past.But even these optimistic estimates may have been an undercount, if a new study is to be … [Read more...]

Dystopia Journal #5: Nixonian

I'm not at all surprised that an abuse-of-power scandal is threatening to topple the Trump administration. I admit I'm a little surprised that it's all happening so fast.I've already written about the deep and worrying ties between Trump and his cronies and Russia. It's gotten even worse since then, with news that Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a level of detail that might jeopardize its source. It's an open question whether … [Read more...]