Apple Switches

by Kieran Healy on June 6, 2005

Steve Jobs “announced this morning”: that Apple will ditch the IBM PowerPC processor and begin using Intel chips in its computers as of next year.

We pause for a moment to allow Mac users to digest that sentence.

[click to continue…]

Lessons learned the hard way

by Ted on June 6, 2005

Do not, under any circumstances, heat an empty Teflon-covered nonstick pan on the range for more than two or three minutes. At temperatures above 500 degrees (beyond the range of normal home cooking), Teflon will release fumes that cause flu-like symptoms in humans and can be fatal to birds.

(No birds were harmed in the preparation of this post. One human, however, feels like he’s been chewed up and spit out of something big.)

David Brooks Looks Down from On High

by Kieran Healy on June 6, 2005

“He says”:

Entering the world of the Higher Shamelessness, they begin networking like mad, cultivating the fine art of false modesty and calculated friendships. The most nakedly ambitious – the blogging Junior Lippmanns – rarely win in the long run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little ‘Thought you might be interested’ notes.

They create informal mutual promotion societies, weighing who will be the crucial members of their cohort, engaging in the dangerous game of lateral kissing up, hunting for the spouse who will look handsomely supportive during some future confirmation hearing, nurturing a dislike for the person who will be the chief rival when the New Yorker editing job opens up in 2027.

He concedes it’s a “normal stage of life,” which maybe shows that (like Gollum) some shred of his former self remains. But honestly: do we really need prim little essays on climbing the greasy pole from someone who’s worked his way on to the Op-Ed page of the _New York Times_? What next? Contempt for authors who undertake book tours? Sneers for those who finagle visiting fellowships at Yale? Scorn for people with little or no insight into themselves or their own career paths?

Evo-psych factoids

by Chris Bertram on June 6, 2005

Others here at CT have been more critical of the whole evolutionary psychology approach than I have, and I imagine their scepticism will be bolstered by a newish book by “David J. Buller”: , a philosopher at Northern Illinois University: “Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature”: . According to the reviews, Buller devotes some attention to the factoids that evolutionary psychologists deploy in support of their view. Many of these “well-known facts” seem to have little more support than the well-known fact that if you step on the cracks in the pavement, the bears will get you. From the “Wall Street Journal review”: (pdf) :

bq. This field claims to explain human behaviors that seem so widespread we must be wired for them: women preferring high-status men, and men falling for nubile babes; stepfathers abusing stepchildren. …. Take the stepfather claim. The evolutionary reasoning is this: A Stone Age man who focused his care and support on his biological children, rather than kids his mate had from an earlier liaison, would do better by evolution’s scorecard (how many descendants he left) than a man who cared for his stepchildren. With this mindset, a stepfather is far more likely to abuse his stepchildren. One textbook asserts that kids living with a parent and a stepparent are some 40 times as likely to be abused as those living with biological parents.

bq. But that’s not what the data say, Prof. Buller finds. First, reports that a child living in a family with a stepfather was abused rarely say who the abuser was. Some children are abused by their biological mother, so blaming all stepchild abuse on the stepfather distorts reality. Also, a child’s bruises or broken bones are more likely to be called abuse when a stepfather is in the home, and more likely to be called accidental when a biological father is, so data showing a higher incidence of abuse in homes with a stepfather are again biased. “There is no substantial difference between the rates of severe violence committed by genetic parents and by stepparents,” Prof. Buller concludes.