Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

A Couple Of Side Tables

I just finished a couple of side tables.  The one on the left has a birds-eye maple top, and the one on the right has a curly maple top.

These are presents I made this week.  I’ve made a few of these tables now, and I like them very much. I can knock one out in a weekend, and people seem to really like them when I give them as presents.  I hope these two are well-received when we give them.

Kenyon Side Tables Two cherry and maple-topped side tables I made as presents in 2018.
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The College Admissions Game Continues Unabated

The Washington Post has a new article on the “haves” and “have nots” in the insane college admissions race.  Elite colleges-I work at one-keep this game alive.  For example, US News reports that Dartmouth admitted 11% of applicants to this upcoming class of 2018 admissions.  Colleges use these statistics to make them selves look “in demand”, but this is all a cynical game that I cannot believe people actually play. 

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The Way To Agitate People Never Changes

This evening I went to hear a lecture by Dan Billin on the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire.  The Noyes Academy was a school started in 1834 in the town next to where I live that was founded by local abolitionists and accepted both black and white students.  In August of 1835, the townspeople from Canaan, Enfield and Hanover, New Hampshire, dragged the school off its foundation and ran all the black students out of town.  

The short history of the school can be found in a chapter of the Canaan Town History.  In reading this chapter, one paragraph really hit home that things really never change.

In those days there existed a class of men, whose minds were constantly seized upon new and unheard of horrors, with which to influence and arouse the indignation of such as are always shocked at the recital of outrage and wrong. This class of persons like to pass from one state of indignation into another with abruptness, and always find the succeeding condition more intense than the preceding.

Sounds just like many of our current politicians and various infotainment outlets, who do nothing but foment rage.  So nothing is again new under the sun.

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A Modest Proposal For A Constitutional Gun Law

I watched some of the coverage today of the March For Our Life across the country.  It got my family thinking, given some of the commentary from the NRA and the Gun Lobby.

The 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

My proposal is that anyone who owns a gun, with some exemptions that I will enumerate below, must serve in the Militia – which today would be the National Guard.  

The only exceptions would be BB and pellet guns, 22’s, handguns with capacities less than 10 shots, shotguns with less than a 6 shell magazine capacity, single-shot, bolt-action or lever-action rifles, and all black-powder guns (my personal favorites in ).

Addendum:  In an article published in the Washington Post in 2014, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens proposed that 5 words be added to the 2nd amendment of the the constitution.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia, shall not be infringed.

That would do it!

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A Proposal For The Structure Of An Effective Balanced Budget Amendment To The United States Constitution

For nearly my entire lifetime, Republican Presidents and Republican Congresses have preached the virtues of balanced budgets, but have never acted in any way to balance a budget. Ronald Reagan, G. H. W. Bush, G. W. Bush, and the Republican Congress of the past year have exploded the National Debt because of their mania to cut taxes so that the national debts are not paid. Only the Republican controlled Congress under the leadership of Rep. John Kasich resulted in a balanced budget.

I completely agree with the need for a balanced Federal budget and no national debt (see George Washington’s admonition against debts in his Farewell Address). The reason that Republicans will not balance the federal budget is because of their fixation on cutting taxes but their complete spinelessness to debate the hard choices that must be made to pay for what we spend. Government has many responsibilities, and those responsibilities require appropriated monies.

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The Best Tip I’ve Ever Seen

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.

Albert Einstein

A tip Einstein left to a Japanese bellboy.  

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Sage Words From The Past About Political Parties

A true party-man hates and despises candour; and, in reality, there is no vice which could so effectually disqualify him for the trade of a party-man as that single virtue. The real, revered, and impartial spectator, therefore, is upon no occasion at a greater distance than amidst the violence and rage of contending parties. To them it may be said, that such a spectator scarce exists anywhere in the universe. Even to the great Judge of the universe they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions. Of all the corrupters of moral sentiments, therefore, faction and fanaticism have always been by far the greatest.

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments III.3.43

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Does Everything in California Cause Cancer?

I saw this sticker in the window of a new car in my work parking lot a few days ago.  

Does everyone in California make as much fun of these stickers as we do?

Does the state of California this these are helpful and useful and informative?

I know no one who sees these that don’t express derision.

Are we really a society in which everything warrants a warning sticker.  

Is the state of California not in “cry wolf” territory now?

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American Naturalist Covers

(This post was first published on the AmNat150.org website)

The American Naturalist was first published in March 1867. Over the last 150 years, AmNat has had 16 different covers. Below is a gallery of those covers, with the dates they were used. Click on any image to bring up the full-sized gallery.

AmNat 1867-1875

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The cover of the first issue in March 1867. This cover design was used through 1875.

One of the fascinating features to trace through the covers is how the motto of the journal changed through the years.

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A Conservative Principle to Guide Health Care Reform

For all the “conservatives” who rail against the ACA as a liberal take-over, you should go back and read your Adam Smith (remember, the guy who wrote Wealth of Nations – or more correctly An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – the founding document of modern capitalist economic theory). His first book was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a fascinating philosophical book that lays out the basis for what makes the Wealth of Nations work. His moral philosophy is undergirded by the Golden Rule. For example, this paragraph is from Chapter 1 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

And hence it is, that to feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety. As to love our neighbour as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbour, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour is capable of loving us.

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