Friday, December 31, 2010

Some things to watch out for in 2011

At PJ Media, a list of Ten Political Flash Points for 2011. First on the list:

Obama Governs by Executive Power

Having lost large majorities in both houses of Congress, expect Obama to deploy his considerable executive powers. A glimpse of what to expect occurred near Christmas as the administration unilaterally issued three new regulatory rulings governing the Internet, greenhouse emissions, and federal wilderness areas. These actions taken by the Federal Communications Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Interior Department exhibited raw regulatory power.

The FCC action defied a federal court. The EPA greenhouse ruling came even as the Senate voted last June to deny the agency power to issue rules over climate change. The Interior Department administratively reversed Bush-era rules on limiting wilderness protection.

In the absence of the consent of the governed, we are seeing rule by decree.

No mention of those Iranian missiles going to Venezuela. There was a Democratic President in the last century who thought that sort of thing was a pretty big deal. This one … apparently not so much.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hardening a soft science

The study of cities might be called urbanology, or something like that. An area of sociology, perhaps. There does not seem to be much science to it. As described in "A Physicist Solves the City" in the NY Times Magazine, an actual scientist named Geoffrey West is working to put some science into what has been a matter of essays on lifestyles and matters of taste. If his work receives the followup it deserves, we may begin actually to learn something about the way that cities actually work. Found in Jerry Pournelle's mail.