Worth Reading for August 2006

8/31 Is Wal-Mart the world’s biggest poverty eliminator? And Don Boudreaux explains to the negativists at The New York Times why we’re much, much wealthier than in 1967.

8/30 James Lileks explains how to get your postmodern 15 minutes (and a government grant): cuddle and stab a pig. (Thanks to Joe for the link.)

8/29 A mini-tutorial by artist Michael Newberry on the integration of light in painting.

8/28 Keeping up with some influential philosophers: Simon Blackburn on the appeal across 2.5 millenia of Plato’s Republic; a new book on Spinoza’s vision of reason; and 2006 being the 200th anniversary of his birth, a tribute to John Stuart Mill’s enduring liberalism.

8/26 Two interesting items from Johan Norberg: the rise of free market think tanks in Europe, and an example from Bolivia right out of the pages of Atlas Shrugged.

8/25 Shawn Klein with an excellent comment on consumerism in education. (Via Philosopher Stone.) And Glen Whitman explains why college cafeteria food is, ummm, not always the best.

8/24 Why does history matter? Peter Cresswell summarizes fourteen life-or-death lessons from modern history. And: The Dark Ages were Dark: Tyler Cowen quotes from Bryan Ward-Perkins’s new book. Update: With reference to those cultures still stuck in the Dark Ages, Rossputin posts a history test with a public policy edge to it.

8/23 Admirable: Farrah Gray, Entrepreneur.

8/22 Anastasia Krutulis has a clear, short post on the importance of integrating playing and learning. Her post reminded me of a section from the great John Locke’s 1692 Some Thoughts concerning Education: “[G]reat care is to be taken, that [learning] be never made as a business to him, nor he look on it as a task. We naturally, as I said, even from our cradles, love liberty, and have therefore an aversion to many things for no other reason but because they are enjoin’d us. I have always had a fancy that learning might be made a play and recreation to children: and that they might be brought to desire to be taught, if it were proposed to them as a thing of honour, credit, delight, and recreation, or as a reward for doing something else.”

8/21 Corporate accountability for poor performance: Cato’s David Boaz compares the private sector with government. And Andrew Chamberlain compares compensation rates in the two sectors.

8/17 Bring on the witch doctors: Four postmodernists—three nurses and an English professor—object to “fascistic” Evidence-Based Medicine. Update: Roy Poses has this response.

8/16 I’m with Robert Bidinotto on this one: Let’s ban this dangerous nuclear reactor. Via Not PC: BioNuclearBunny on three anti-life environmentalist causes that have killed and maimed hundreds of millions of humans. Finally: Near-Record Corn Yield for 2006 Expected, Global Warming Blamed. (Just trying to get into the spirit of contemporary journalism.)

8/15 Angry Astronomer Jon Voisey on four misconceptions about the Big Bang Theory.

8/14 Excellent: Now available online are the episodes from Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose PBS television series. And Johan Norberg has another datum on globalization’s benefits.

8/13 Unintended consequences and environmental law: how endangered species acts can harm the animals they’re supposed to protect. And an untoward consequence: wise government officials in a Connecticut town shut down a 13-year old’s worm-selling business for violating zoning regulations.

8/12 Professor Peter Boettke argues that Atlas Shrugged is arguably the most economically literate work by a major novelist in the history of literature.” And reservations about the concept of self-“ownership” aside—human beings are not objects to be owned—here is an interesting online graphical tutorial on Life, Liberty, and Property.

8/11 Another fine post from Rob May: How to Be an Effective Entrepreneur. And: Is European culture becoming more hospitable to entrepreneurship?

8/10 I can relate: Old Testament Parenting. (Via The Volokh Conspiracy.)

8/9 History and philosophy in practice: Victor Davis Hanson on how 2006 looks a lot like 1938. Key quotation: “It is now a cliché to rant about the spread of postmodernism, cultural relativism, utopian pacifism, and moral equivalence among the affluent and leisured societies of the West. But we are seeing the insidious wages of such pernicious theories as they filter down from our media, universities, and government — and never more so than in the general public’s nonchalance since Hezbollah attacked Israel.” (Via EclectEcon.)

8/8 Fruits of the Enlightenment: A Seattle Times review of 999 ideas that changed our lives. And CNN reports that Americans’ houses keep getting more spacious.

8/7 The Foundation for Individual Rights’ college speech code of the month: Don’t call anyone a “dumbass” at Colorado State.

8/5 Will Wilkinson reports that we may very well be the happiest zombies in the world. Here are some suggestive hypotheses about
willpower and success. And at Tech Central Station, Nathan Smith has more excellent world economic news.

8/4 Science and the individualism-versus-collectivism debate: ants are more war-like in collectives and team-sport players are less ethical.

8/3 Edited by Professor Edward W. Younkins and published by Ashgate: a strong-looking collection of essays entitled: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion.

8/2 In The Independent Review, Roy C. Smith and Ingo Walter have a close look “Four Years After Enron: Assessing the Financial-Market Regulatory Cleanup.”

8/1 Margaret Soltan with an interesting observation about what Americans at the beach teach us about American culture. And publishing tycoon Felix Dennis has no-nonsense advice about how to become rich.