Your zen minute
Posted by aogThursday, 15 March 2012 at 08:51
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Let us take a minute to ponder the strength, moral authority, and wisdom of our current President.
Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 13:24|
I’m surprised at your response, since my recollection is that you’re often a nature trumps nurture kinda guy. Surely you’ve noticed that some women are more into children than others. Do you really think there’s no genetic component to that?
I find Stephen Pinker’s point of view persuasive: we are not blank slates, but we are not automatons, either.
Yes, some women are more into children then others, but essentially all women are much less into children now than even forty years ago. The decrease in fertility is both much greater and faster than anyone could have imagined even twenty years ago.
AVRRA’s statistics point out (although I’m not sure he intended to) problems with both the evolutionary and religious reasons to be sanguine about fertility trends. IIRC, the average number of children per observant Mormon woman in the mid-20th century was 5.5. As of 2009, Utah’s TFR was 2.63; that’s less than half what it was a generation earlier. Even granting a couple caveats — the rate of change in that rate can’t go on, and that TFR includes an increasing number of non-Mormons — that has to mean that Mormons are increasingly not buying into Mormonism’s eschatological claims.
And I think it also gives plenty of reason to be be cautious with natural selection claims. Given a culture that encourages women to have as many children as they can, when interleaved with the ability to choose, the population’s preference for children is, roughly speaking, no more than half what the “natural” rate is.
This doesn’t make Bret’s argument wrong. After all, it is possible that there is sufficient variation in maternal instinct that succeeding generations will have a sufficient proportion of women who will desire to have more than two children. But that is really an assumption without evidence—the situation is so unprecedented there is nothing to go on. One child satisfies the maternal desire infinitely more than none, but the increase in satisfaction in going from one to two can’t possibly be that large.
Coyote litter sizes don’t really help here. I don’t know whether there is some biological control related to resources that limits the number of litters, or the number per litter, or the survival rate; it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the human female response to abundance and choice is in exactly and dramatically the opposite direction.
I got a surprise gift on Friday — a new iPad and am having a stunningly good time playing with it. It’s so unbelievably well designed and gorgeous (even the packaging) that my two year old notebook is beginning to look like one of those old manual typewriters now in museums.
Last December I dropped my Kindle (accidentally, I promise), gooning up the display. Hmmm. Replace it for $100, or drop seven times that on an iPad?
Went the iPad route. At first I used it mostly to read books, but on my last trip I cut the laptop umbilical. That thing may never go on the road again.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 16:32|
can I get rid of the reading pane in email?
The only way I know of to adjust the display is to hide/display the message list, and that only works in the portrait orientation.
can I get around iCloud wanting me to use Outlook 2007? I’m using, and want to continue to use, Office 2003.
Given the relatively simple nature of my scheduling and email requirements, I have found Apple’s offerings sufficient. So, outside Excel/Powerpoint/Word, I’m really not familiar enough to say.
typing on the iPad is a bit of a problem
Yes, it is.
I solved that problem by getting Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. At $70, it is spendy. However, several things in its favor. It is about the smallest full size keyboard around. Because of the aluminum chassis, it is rugged; since I’m on the road a lot, that matters. Finally, it is exactly the same as what I use at home.
Does every bookmark need an app? Why can’t Safari keep bookmarks on site like Firefox and IE does?
I don’t quite understand the first question.
AFAIK, Safari does keep bookmarks on every device. You can set up iCloud (through preferences) to synchronize all your Safari bookmarks among all your devices. The Foxmarks extension will synchronize between Firefox and Google Chrome. I used to use Firefox, but my son convinced me Chrome is much better. That still leaves me with a gulf I don’t know how to bridge between my iPad and my desktop/laptop.
IMHO, there are a couple of must-have applications.
Dropbox provides an absolutely seamless, invisible, automatic way to synchronize directories between multiple computers, as well as providing a means to work with them from any computer. I have shifted my entire Documents directory to Dropbox. It also keeps the last seven versions of a file, which has already been a real life saver. My daughter called in tears a few weeks ago. Somehow (I suspect operator error), the last 3/4 of a paper due later that day had disappeared. I went to DB through the web portal, and restored her paper in just about the same amount of time as it takes to write about it. 5GB of storage comes at no charge. I pay $100/year for 50GB.
1Password. Probably the most well designed program ever. With it you can keep track of all your sensitive information in just about any form it might take, accessible only through one password you choose (mine isn’t in a dictionary, or written down anywhere). Synchronizes among all your computers and mobile devices. Works with both Windows and OS X. I think it cost $40. I’d pay $400.