This, That and the Other Thing

There are few places as forlorn as a resort town on a chilly, cloudy, damp, out of season weekday afternoon. Thus, Virginia Beach, Virginia, last week:

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But let’s move on.

Paul Waldman writes about “The GOP’s Baffling Decision to Raise Taxes on Millions of Americans” at The Week.

If there’s one thing we thought we could count on in this crazy world, it’s that Republicans will never, ever, ever support a tax increase. It wasn’t always this way — Ronald Reagan, who to hear some people tell it practically walked the Earth without sin, actually raised taxes multiple times — but today there may be no more foundational belief to the GOP than the principle that taxes must come down, everywhere and always.

Nevertheless, “the GOP is right now rallying around a bill that will raise taxes on tens of millions of Americans.” It certainly is strange. One part of the explanation, however, is that Republicans aren’t very good at this governing thing. Another part is that they’re so eager to cut taxes for rich people and corporations, they’re willing to antagonize millions of voters and lie about what they’re doing.

As a partial antidote to the above, consider reading all about “The Relentless Honesty of Ludwig Wittgenstein”. Ian Ground presents an excellent overview of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, both early and late, at The Times Literary Supplement.

The Most Successful Hunters in the World?

Biologists report that dragonflies capture their prey 95% of the time. That’s an amazing success rate. They’re such good hunters because they have huge eyes, four wings that move independently, and brains that allow them to track their prey as well as human hunters track theirs.

They’ve been successfully hunting for 300 million years. Our ancestors started walking on two legs about 6 million years ago.

Now, however, we’re letting our machines do the hunting (cf. the really cool drones in Oblivion, Tom Cruise’s latest). Much of the research on dragonflies is being sponsored by the Pentagon. 

This article includes more information and some impressive video (it’s hard to be a hungry frog):

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/science/dragonflies-natures-deadly-drone-but-prettier.html?src=me&ref=general