Combing the Net – 5/28/2012

Swiss Man Reintroduces His Cousin: Anne Frank — The closest living relative of the famous diary-writer recalls childhood memories of her, and recounts the finding of more than 6,000 letters and photos from the young girl. Many of these letters are now published in a recently-released book.

Let’s Be Less Productive — This editorial from The New York Times got my blood boiling as I read it. Not because the arguments are terribly flawed (they are) but mostly because they’ve been proposed, tried, and proved faulty over and over and over again throughout history. Granted, our economy is already full of incentives for people to be lazy, but there’s something depressing about seeing in plain writing the idea that, for the sake of the health of our economy, we should be inefficient and unproductive workers. For a brilliant refutation of this idea (a direct contradiction of Say’s Law), check out Henry Hazlitt’s excellent book Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (my review). Here’s a relevant quote from the book:

 “The belief that machines cause unemployment, when held with any logical consistency, leads to preposterous conclusions. Not only must we be causing unemployment with every technological improvement we make today, but primitive man must have started causing it with the first efforts he made to save himself from needless toil and sweat.”

Hundreds of Words to Avoid Using (If You Don’t Want the Government Spying on You) — The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

Why Music Should Be Part of Every Child’s Education — I enjoyed this article by a school superintendent, though I prefer to see arguments in favor of teaching music on its own merits, rather than as a means to other academic ends.

Chesterton on Filling Out Paperwork Upon Entering the United States — Written in 1922, this is pretty funny, but not nearly so entertaining, I expect, as what the brilliant satirist might say about our present state of bureaucratic nonsense if he were visiting this nation ninety years later!

If Christ Is Lord, Everything Matters — A thoughtful response to this popular quote from Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

In recognition of Memorial Day, here is a history of the bugle call, “Taps”:

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