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Weekly Roundup
Religion as Magic, Green Balderdash, and a Profusion of PhDs

Good evening, TAI readers! We hope you’re enjoying an excellent weekend. As you prepare for the week ahead, take the time to look back on what you may have missed over the past seven days:

Viewing religion in an unbroken continuum with every variant of magic is a perspective grounded in a widely diffused class of people—part of the culture of an international intelligentsia, writes Peter Berger. Yet a useful question to ask is which superstitions are more socially damaging: the superstition that the earth is only six thousand years old, or the superstition that moral values can be based on the view that we are all animals.

The real banking regulation fight is just beginning. After the Volcker Rule was passed in December, there was much misplaced rejoicing. The first real battles are taking place now, as banks battle regulators over capital requirements. And beyond that, there’s much more work to be done and many more questions to be answered.

More nut job balderdash from the global green movement. The UN’s climate chief called upon the world’s investors to “heed science” and divest from fossil fuel funds in favor of clean energy alternatives. Sounds like someone needs to take a class in Finance 101.

Can you turn a tiger into a kitten by stroking it?  FDR didn’t think so, but President Obama seems to think he can succeed. How else can you explain Washington’s willingness to allow Tehran to use nuclear discussions to project moderation while simultaneously ramping up efforts to become the Middle East’s dominant power?

An inconvenient truth: there aren’t anywhere near enough jobs for America’s PhDs, and no amount hand-wringing or op-ed-writing is going create more tenure-track positions. Prospective PhD students take note: Winter is coming for higher ed.

Making the case for universal service. Kathleen Frydl argued that a draft would not only strengthen America’s democracy, but also breathe new life in to our nation’s military.

You almost can’t spell Africa without Asia. Africa may be the latest front in Asia’s Game of Thrones, as Japan seems to be challenging Chinese investment there by stepping up its own diplomatic and economic outreach efforts on the continent.

Sour grapes for the world’s professional gender equalitarians. A piece in Time argued that gender matters; boys and girls are different…and that’s OK. Of course, this won’t go over well for those convinced that a man is just a woman who lacks the ability to have children, but we welcome such heretical thinking.

The Great Poland Shale Fail is demonstrating the difficulties associated with replicated America’s success with fracking. Italian energy giant Eni was the latest firm to quit Polish shale operations this week, frustrated by the country’s complex geography and byzantine, opaque regulatory environment. For now, the shale boom remains a uniquely American phenomenon.

Health care reform you can believe in. Obamacare had a terrible 2013, and it’s promising to make more people furious in 2014. But there are reform options available that can lower costs without narrowing networks, like using teleconferencing technologies to deliver primary care remotely.

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  • TommyTwo

    “The Wind Rises,” by famed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, has earned a nomination for an Academy Award. The awards are administered by the US-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There’s nothing noteworthy about this on the face of it, but our regular readers will remember that this movie has stirred controversy for being “a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, an aeronautical engineer whose contribution to the world was a killing machine [the Zero fighter], which was used to devastating effect during World War II.”

    Amidst the rising climate of tension in East Asia, the provocations mount. The game of thrones continues. TommyTwo will be watching.


  • Anthony

    40 more maps that explain the world may give added background to some of what may have been missed (Max Fisher, Jan. 13.

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