Worth Reading for December 2005

12/31 Year 2005 round-ups: a
Lileksian chronology of the year’s events; the Internet has passed the one-billion-users mark; Roger Ebert’s top ten movies of the year; and the American Institute of Physics’ top physics stories of the year.

12/30 Fruits of the Enlightenment: Edward Hudgins remembers a very cool entrepreneur. And a post at Café Hayek on philosophy’s contribution to the wealth of nations: “Capital largely is a process of peaceful cooperation; a division of labor ever-deepened by market signals that contain more information than noise; an openness to economic dynamism; a culture of suppressing envy and applauding (or at least tolerating) honest success; a widespread acceptance of the difference between mine and thine, and an abhorrence of those who refuse to accept this distinction; an acceptance, at least in practical affairs, of science, logic, and reason and a rejection in these affairs of faith, mysticism, and tradition-for-the-sake-of-tradition.”

12/28 Philosopher Andrew Bernstein’s new book: The Capitalist Manifesto (which I am using as a text in my Business and Economic Ethics course next semester)—a wide-ranging historical and philosophical companion to economist George Reisman’s Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. At The Atlasphere, Joshua Zader has a review of Bernstein’s book.

12/28 At 88 Keys: a 1927 interview with Rachmaninoff.

12/26 Creativity in the graphic design process: The development of a map of travel times on the London Underground. And creativity in the dating scene: Joel demonstrates why you should date him.

12/24 Reason’s Jesse Walker on Santa versus Jesus. Worth revisiting are Steven Landsburg, who hails Ebenezer Scrooge as a great benefactor of mankind, and Doug Kerns, who imagines the results if Ayn Rand, Richard Dawkins, or Stephen King had written A Christmas Carol. Here is a rash of Bad Santas. Meanwhile, these morally-deficient individuals make me want to max out my credit card this Christmas. Finally, David Mayer praises the commerce of Christmas.

12/23 Novelist Erika Holzer has a new book out: Ayn Rand: My Fiction-Writing Teacher. And here is William Thomas’s helpful
review of two short books on Ayn Rand: philosopher Allan Gotthelf’s
On Ayn Rand and philosopher Tibor Machan’s
Ayn Rand.

12/22 A problem looking for a solution: While primary schools do a decent job of educating students, Jay P. Greene has data showing
high schoolers merely tread water. And at the D.C. Education Blog, Nathan writes about a charter school success story. (Via Mark Lerner.)

12/21 Something old: Archaeologists have unearthed a city in Syria that was wiped out 5,500 years ago. And something new: New Jersey has become the first U. S. state to fund stem cell research.

12/20 A fine collection of
Bible Quizzes over at Landover Baptist Church. And here is Sam Harris’s strongly written Atheist Manifesto.

12/19 Peter Cresswell has a great post on Eric Clapton’s playing of Robert Johnson’s blues music, creativity and the psychology of “flow”.

12/17 In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Lindsay Waters calls for literary aesthetics to abandon sterile “interpretation” and
return to robust literary criticism. (Via About Last Night.)

12/16 The Idea Shop—where the dismal science gets groovy: Andrew Chamberlain has a good eye for economically intriguing phenomena. Check out these posts on
the economics of prostitution, taxes then and now (ouch), Australia’s baby economics, and advertising as self-defense against antitrust fervor.

12/15 Marsha Enright is a philosophically-astute and Montessori- trained educator. Check out her wonderfully ambitious new project: The College of the United States.

12/14 George Washington died on this day in 1799. Here are Thomas Jefferson’s fine, considered remarks in
remembrance of George Washington, the White House’s official
overview of Washington’s life and presidency, and the web site for Washington’s
Mount Vernon estate. I also enjoyed reading several years ago Richard Brookhiser’s brief, biographical character study of Washington:
Founding Father.

12/13 Fruits of the Enlightenment: Business Week has its round-up of best-of-the-web sites. And what is the state of the science of aging? (Via InstaPundit.)

12/12 German feminist Alice Schwarzer on the anti-woman dysfunctionalism of Islamism and its role in European crime and the French riots. And on dysfunctionalism closer to home, the wise David Mayer has a comprehensive Hurricane Katrina post-mortem, three months after the disaster.

12/10 Good advice on
how to survive this season’s holiday parties.

12/9 Wow: A philosophical interview with “Batman Begins” director Christopher Nolan. (Via Stan Rozenfeld’s Journal.) And for those who like action thrillers, Robert Bidinotto has recommendations. I second his recommendations of Stephen Hunter, the early Alistair MacLean, the early Wilbur Smith, and the early Robert B. Parker. The rest I haven’t read yet.

12/8 Michael Blowhard happily acknowledges that he is an arthritic coot who thinks much of the contemporary art world is given over to masturbatory pointlessness—but nonetheless he has a good discussion and pictures of
aesthetic revivalism in painting and architecture. And for more revivalism, check out this site lovingly dedicated to the Pre-Raphaelites.

12/7 In what country is it easiest to start a business? Where are the most onerous licensing hurdles? Where are contracts best protected? At DoingBusiness.org, 155 countries are ranked along ten dimensions. And: The internet makes us more productive, right? Merlin at 43 Folders explores the trade-off between increased productivity and being able to “procrastinate with lightning efficiency”.

12/6 At Health Care Renewal, professor of medicine Roy Poses asks: Is postmodernism threatening the teaching of medical science? And at Tech Central Station, Michael Cook comments on a recent scandal in cloning and stem cell research.

12/5 The Huygens probe has landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and here are the latest reports. (Thanks to Karen for the link.) If you have never seen the Powers of Ten, check out this fascinating perspective on our universe.

12/3 American flag Yesterday I became an American citizen. Here are two documents that mean a great deal to me:
The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States of America. Here also at the National Archives site is a comprehensive collection of
America’s historical documents.

12/2 Mark Lerner of Washington, D.C., was a guest lecturer in my Philosophy of Education class on Wednesday evening. He talked about charter schools and vouchers. Thanks, Mark! Here is
Mark’s web log, devoted to education, art, and political issues. And at Reason, here is more on teachers’ unions versus education.

12/1 Unintended consequences of expansive government: Journalist John Stossel explains how government aid drives out private aid. (Via Not PC.) And here is economist Gordon Tullock’s introductory article on government spending and rent-seeking. FDA Review explains why the regulators at the Food and Drug Administration have an incentive to delay the approval of beneficial drugs. And while we’re on the topic of safety, here is a strident call for an end to SUV violence.

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