• Biz,  Funny,  Humor,  Iran,  Israel,  Judaism,  Tech

    Friday link clearing

    • Sarah Silverman, Obama, and the Jewish vote – not safe for work, but worth watching
    • Small Banks are doing fine it seems
    • Israel asked Bush for permission to bomb Iran, and it seems Bush refused! Good. No point in throwing away all the gains in Iraq
    • Making money twice – worth reading
    • Who serves in the military? Well worth reading.
    • Jetpacks!
    • The difference between Sunni and Shia in short form
    • And this little nugget – via Ezra Klein

      Dear American:

      I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

      I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

      I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

      This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

      Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

      Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

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  • Culture,  Evolution,  Judaism

    Super Jews are coming! Duck!

    Mathew Yglesias links to a Charles Murray article in Commentary about the apparent brainpower edge of the Jewish people. For the most part, Yglesias’ commenters go off on the notion of implied inequality with a few dissents.

    To me this is partial proof of evolution. The world has changed to a mostly urban lifestyle, and Jews have been living in cities for much longer than most groups. That would make them more suited to score higher than other groups on what we measure on IQ tests. Jewish culture essentially “chose” the right path to the future.

    Throw in non-random mating and the fact that Jewish culture values literacy more than most other cultures and it seems quite reasonable that Jews would score higher on whatever test the psychologists can throw at them.

    None of this matters much (yay minimalist view of politics) but it is interesting. I imagine it is as unprovable as are most other evolutionary theories.

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  • Judaism,  Links

    Wednesday Rapid Fire

    • From Yglesias

      …The article claims that “In Israel, American Jewish men are considered nerds,” which seems reasonable. To this Jewish American man, Israelis seem like goyim. The older Ashkenazis, often born abroad, still have some connection to the tradition, but your average Israeli makes a mockery of Jewishness. The idea of a Jewish fireman or a Jewish sailing instructor is ridiculous, and everyone knows it. Of course to many American Jews the very outlandishness of the notion that you could not only have an entire army filled with Jews but that it could actually win wars is much of the appeal of the Zionist enterprise. Still, not the sort of thing real Jews do. One wonders how they find enough non-nearsighted fighter pilots.

    • Sand Bullets in Israel – which is conveniently close to many deserts.
    • .Net DNS component – and only six months after I wrote my own. This one looks better than mine though.
    • Sortable Lists via CSS and Javascript
    • This editorial from the Middle East Times discusses the possibility of the West closing the door to immigrants and visitors (which is probably what will happen if current trends continue) and this one from the Belgravia Dispatch deals with similar matters. I think history will eventually judge the current European assimilation problems as a failure of the welfare state. I was going to do a longer post on nationality and self-identified moral class but I think that will have to wait.
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  • Israel,  Judaism

    It’s Hebrew day here in Steveland

    For some reason I’ve been reading up on Judaism and Israel today. That led me to WikiPedia and then to the “Battle of Jenin“. The eye catching thing part (apart from the estimated death toll dropping from 3,000 to 56) was this:

    Many Western news agencies reported these claims uncritically and without confirmation. However, on April 30, Kadoura Mousa Kadoura, the director of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement for the northern West Bank, dropped the death toll to 56 people, including armed combatants. Further investigation by the United Nations and international reporters found that only 52 Palestinians where killed in the operation, 22 of whom were civilians. [8] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2165272.stm)

    On May 2, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) filmed adult Palestinians carrying out a mock funeral procession. The funeral was fake and the “body” was able to get up and walk. On May 8th, 2002, The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (http://www.lawsociety.org) issued a press release [9] (http://www.lawsociety.org/Press/Preleases/2002/May/may8.html) stating that it was only Palestinian children playing “funeral”. Israeli groups reject this claim outright.

    Children playing funeral?

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