France v Nigeria

Two games of nominal interest. Neither France nor Germany should have to go to penalties to win. I think Algeria is the more likely upset, but it would be a huge shock to see either of the two European powers lose here.

Nigeria had a goal disallowed, but the midfielder was definitely a step off. Pogba has a brilliant side-volley, but hit it right at the keeper.

The two games going to penalties yesterday shows one of the core structural flaws of the rules. Just take off one man when it goes to extra time, and another man every five minutes. That will guarantee a winner and reduce the overall time it takes.

UPDATE: France wins and deservedly so. They’ve hit the post or the crossbar six times in four games!

UPDATE 2: Giorgio Chiellini accepts Luis Suarez’s apology in an admirably gracious manner:

Giorgio Chiellini @chiellini
@luis16suarez It’s all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension. 

GERMANY 2 ALGERIA 1: Really impressed with the Algerians, particularly the keeper. He probably earned himself $20 million+ tonight and a move to Seria A or La Liga. The German quality is too much in the end, but Algeria played harder than any team in the tournament to date.

Book review: Monster Hunter Nemesis

I am not a Monster Hunter International fan. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I WAS NOT a Monster Hunter International fan before this, the fifth book in the Monster Hunter series. While I stand second-to-none in my respect for their intrepid best-selling author, I found the first four books in the series to be a little too vanilla urban fantasy for my tastes. Violent vanilla, to be sure, even XXXtreme vanilla, but vanilla nonetheless. Which isn’t to say that they are not fun and entertaining; they are, in fact, exactly the sort of books that harbor great appeal to red-blooded men who like big guns and pretty women with big breasts, and who are willing to defend civilization and society as the hard men standing between the monsters and the innocent.

Translation: I liked Mack Bolan back in the day too. This doesn’t mean I ever confused it with great literature. Or even interesting literature.

I found Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles to be of considerably more interest. Unlike most Western authors, Correia is able to write a respectful portrayal of the Japanese warrior culture without coming off as the sort of obsessed round-eye who puts on a red kimono to drink ocha every afternoon. (I am an East Asian Studies major who spent a semester abroad in Tokyo, and I still speak a smattering of Japanee. So I knew a few guys like that.) I also found that the Grimnoir characters, despite their superhuman abilities, were more fully developed and interesting than their MHI counterparts.

So, what was fascinating about reading Monster Hunter Nemesis was to see the way Correia upped his game and took the book to a higher level. The way in which he did so was rather remarkable, because he somehow managed to improve the depth and scope of his writing without sacrificing even one iota of the violence-fueled action of the previous books.

In the first four books, Agent Franks is little more than a superweapon and an repetitive joke: “Oh shit, it’s Franks!” As with most street drugs and urban fantasy series, Correia finds it necessary to keep raising the oppositional ante in order to maintain the reader’s interest, which might seem a little conceptually challenging considering that the big boss at the end of the third book was an extradimensional Elder God and the collateral damage involved a considerable portion of the city of Las Vegas.

And so he raises the ante, but not in any of the cheap and obvious ways so common to lesser authors. Instead, Correia provides a backstory to his take on Frankenstein’s monster that is both more interesting and comprehensive than the customary one. This backstory, which is directly integral to the plot, is deftly revealed in vignettes as the current story plays out.

For the first time, Larry Correia draws upon his religious background, and in doing so he brings both intellectual depth and emotional poignancy to the world of Monster Hunter that it previously lacked. Franks is revealed to be far more than monstrous construct, he is shown to be a complex, noble being whose inhuman sociopathy is the logical consequence of his alien values, motivations, and restrictions.

Larry Correia may not win the Hugo Best Novel Award in 2014 for Warbound. But his Monster Hunter Nemesis is likely to be a contender for next year’s award. This is a very good book by a best-selling author who is confident in his ability and is beginning to hit his stride.

Characters (9/10)  Correia fleshes out existing characters both major and minor; his use of Heather the red-headed werewolf as a reluctant government agent desperate to earn her PUFF exception is particularly adroit. One of the major antagonists is well-portrayed, the other remains more than a bit of a mystery, and is alarmingly convincing in his ruthlessly efficient use and abuse of the bureaucratic power struggles between the various federal agencies.

Prose (7/10) One doesn’t read Correia for the stylistic pyrotechnics or the obscure literary allusions. It’s akin to contemplating the fuel-efficiency of a Lamborghini. That being said, his prose is smooth and easy, regardless of whether he is describing the splattering of a reanimated collection of corpses by a large, fast-moving vehicle or lovingly detailing the chambering action of a Glock* pistol. As an adept storyteller, Correia’s style serves as simple lubricant for the story, just as it should be. He does have a certain lamentable habit of throwing in the occasional conversational rimshot, all of which will no doubt one day appear verbatim in the television series. Hey, if it works for Richard Castle….

Plot (10/10)  A centuries-old contract between Franks and the U.S. government is being jeopardized by a grasping bureaucrat with a savior complex who rejects the idea that people in the past had legitimate reasons for doing as they did. Adroitly ties everything from Milton and Mary Shelley and Ben Franklin into the Monster Hunter mythos.

Ideas (8/10)  Correia is moving well beyond the usual werewolves and vampires of generic urban fantasy. He is drawing effectively upon history, his tactical training experience, and his religious background, to say nothing of his accountant’s eye view of government bureaucracy. Monster Hunter Nemesis is more than a mere action novel, it is an intelligent and occasionally thought-provoking action novel.

Text Sample:  There was a commotion on the other side of the tent flap. Guards gave challenges, IDs were presented, and then there was a rush of apologies. The flap opened and several men entered the giant command tent. The first through were members of the MCB’s elite mobile strike team. They were hardened warriors who Franks had served with many times, and behind them was an innocuous looking, middle aged man in a cheap suit.

Franks’ arms were chained to the chair, so he dipped his head slightly. “Sir.”

“Why is my second in command tied up?” Dwayne Myers, Strike Team SAC, demanded. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Foster’s response was about as belligerent as could be expected. “Agent Franks is charged with disobeying direct orders, violating security protocols by taking a civilian witness into a monster containment area, and then breaking into the Nevada storage facility to steal seized evidence.”

“Is that true?” Myers asked.

Franks nodded. That sounded about right, but Myers already knew most of the details, since it had secretly been his idea to begin with. Franks had taken Owen Pitt to Dugway because he’d thought the Monster Hunter’s psychic powers could help their investigation. He’d taken three ancient arcane weapons from Area 51 in order to fight the Nachtmar; Lord Machado’s ax, the Attilius gladius, and the Black Heart of Suffering. That last one had done the trick, and destroyed the creature.

“When he was confronted about his actions, Franks attempted to kill MCB Director Douglas Stark.”

Franks snorted. The five men covering him with drawn weapons backed away nervously. They were only following orders, but all of them had worked with Franks at some point, so they were aware that shooting Franks might upset him.

“I’ve known Agent Franks for twenty years. He doesn’t attempt to kill anyone. Holster those side arms and unchain him. Franks is coming with me.” Myers had recently been demoted, but had been the Acting Director before that, and he was still probably the most respected senior agent in the Bureau.

“Hold on,” Foster demanded. “Franks is in STFU custody.” It was almost like Foster thought that invoking the name of the ultra-secret Special Task Force Unicorn would strike fear into the federal agent’s hearts.

Myers glanced around theatrically. “Really? Because these appear to be MCB men, and last I checked sworn MCB agents don’t take orders from an operation that doesn’t exist.” The MCB didn’t officially exist either, as it was just a line item on the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, but in this business there were levels of not existing.

“Director Stark is—”

“Hiding from this giant clusterfuck caused by his lack of leadership,” Myers said. “Our good Director must have forgotten that is against regulation 72 dash B to turn MCB handling of a level five containment to another entity, such as yours, without authorization from the President. So in the meantime I’m the highest ranking member of the MCB available, and I’m making the call. Cut Franks loose. I’m going back outside to try and contain the unholy mess you amateurs made out of one of America’s most popular tourist attractions, before every news agency in the world records video of a street full of ectoplasm and dragon parts. Is that understood, Mr. Foster?”

It was clearly understood, but not particularly liked. “We’re not done, Myers.”

“Oh, I believe that we are.” Myers glanced over and confirmed that the men had put their weapons away. “Remove Mr. Foster from my command tent.”

“I’ve got it,” Franks said. One of the men had been looking for the key to the padlock, but Franks simply took up the chain in his bare hands and twisted until a link snapped. By the time anyone realized what was happening, the chains had already hit the floor and Franks had caught Foster by the arm and effortlessly lifted him off the ground. Foster winced in pain as Franks carried him to the nearest flap, and hurled the Unicorn operative into the street.

*Let no one henceforth say Larry Correia is homophobic. No doubt the LGBT community appreciated the little shout-out.

SFWA still harbors child molesters II

It’s rather remarkable, but SFWA continues to associate with known child molesters while pretending that they are deeply concerned about me doing things I have never done even AFTER they purged me from the organization. Bud Webster wrote this in October 2013, two months after the SFWA Board informed me that it had voted unanimously for my expulsion:

This is partly my fault because I’ve only just now looked at the “Authors Estates” pages, but why were those estates handled by family members or other private individuals listed with their full contact information? That’s exactly what we DON’T want, and its why I wish i’d had a chance to proof those pages before the Directory went live.

All we need is for someone outside the organization (or even someone inside, for that matter) to use that information to harass the heirs of an author they don’t like, or who represents a race, gender or nationality they find offensive (don’t shake your head – remember Vox Day?) to start sending abusive emails or worse, phone calls.

I had to laugh at his bizarre appeal to SF’s Voldemort. First, recall that SFWA members such as John Scalzi, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and NK Jemisin have been publicly attacking me since 2005. Second, be aware that I have had the entire membership’s personal contact information for more than 14 years and have never once made any use of the SFWA directory to send emails or make phone calls, abusive or otherwise. And third, note that John Scalzi was lying, and knowingly lying, when he tweeted: “@jimchines The Naive Idiocy of Not Checking Your Facts Before Making Accusations Online”

Prior to posting the information about Ed Kramer last week, I checked the 2010 directory. I also checked the online membership list. Ed Kramer, the convicted child molester, appeared in both of them. I did not check the 2013 directory for an obvious reason: I was expelled from SFWA and did not have a copy of it. Why didn’t I check the 2011 and 2012 directories? Well, as Michael Capobianco wrote in March 2013:

I know a bunch of handbooks were sent out at some point a couple of years ago, but the Directory is a principal part of the new member packet, and there hasn’t been a new Directory since spring of 2010.

Who was responsible for this failure to produce a new Directory between spring 2010 and March 2013? None other than John Scalzi, President of SFWA from July 2010 to July 2013. Which means that Mr. Scalzi knew perfectly well that there was no failure to check any facts on my part before I observed that Ed Kramer was a member of SFWA (and remains eligible for SFWA membership today). Also note that during those three years as the president of the organization, John Scalzi did absolutely nothing about Ed Kramer’s membership even though he threatened to leave SFWA in 2013 if the newly elected Board did not remove mine. He had no problem at all associating with rapists, sexual deviants, self-described savages, and child molesters. Nor did SFWA member and editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who, nearly one year after threatening to leave SFWA if I was not expelled, published the tribute to MZB entitled “Marion Zimmer Bradley Gave Us New Perspectives”.

I recently obtained a copy of the 2013 directory. It is true that Ed Kramer is not in it. One therefore concludes he failed to pay his dues sometime between 2011 and 2013. But that doesn’t mean SFWA ended its association with him or with other child molesters. For example, consider page 102 of the current directory and note the highlighted estate. Fortunately, seeing as the directory is in print, it will be considerably harder for those who deceitfully implied that I was inventing Kramer’s SFWA membership to deny the organization’s continued association with another, now-deceased child molester.

Thanks to the SFWA Forum, we know that SFWA has known about Ed Kramer since at least 2004.  Thanks to SFF.NET and SFWA member Stephen Goldin, we know SFWA has known about Marion Zimmer Bradley since at least 1999. SFWA still has not ended its association with either of those two known child molesters. And those are merely the two members whose criminally aberrant activities are already known to the public; they are not the only two deviants with whom SFWA is continuing to associate and celebrate.

Jason Sanford, an SFWA member who is neither a friend nor ally of mine, wrote this about “science fiction and fantasy’s Woody Allen” in February:

I’ve heard no apologies from any of Kramer’s other extremely vocal defenders in the genre. Just like Hollywood, many in the SF/F community are too willing to look away from sexual abuse and child molestation when it is inconvenient to either themselves or the genre. However, doing this actually weakens the genre and harms all of us, as it encourages a culture of silence and allows predators like Kramer to continue harming new victims.

Mr. Sanford said it, not me: “Many in the SF/F community are too willing to look away from sexual abuse and child molestation.” But it is absolutely true. Still, it’s hard to blame SFWA when they have so many other, much more pressing concerns with which to deal, such as policing the political opinions of its members, reviewing convention policies, denouncing nonexistent award campaigns, and writing 80-page reports about the potential misuse of a non-official Twitter account. The more SFWA tries to deny that it has a problem with criminal deviants in its midst, the more its members attack those who expose the problem instead of addressing it, and the more silent and inert its leadership remains on the subject, the more questions this raises about the moral degradation of the organization and its members.

A few days ago, Mr. Sanford wrote this:

The Marion Zimmer Bradley revelations shocked me when I first learned of them a week ago. But what shocked me more was that the actions of MZB and her pedophile husband were an open secret in the genre for decades. Many people even defended MZB and attacked anyone who dared speak the truth about her.

The same thing happened with Ed Kramer, who recently pleaded guilty to child molestation charges. The same veil of silence surrounded Kramer. People who dared speak the truth were attacked….

How many times must our genre go through this? How long must our silence protect those who use that silence to prey upon others?

Support me or despise me, I am speaking the plain and simple truth. Attack me for it if you wish. Question my motivations if you like. All of that is entirely irrelevant. Nothing will change the readily confirmable facts. I didn’t create this cancer in science fiction and I cannot excise it from a community to which I do not belong and with which I have never cared to personally associate. Only the people who dwell inside that strange little community can do so, and if they do not, if they continue to look the other way while celebrating and honoring their deviants, they will be rightly condemned for it by every decent person of any political stripe.

Holland v Mexico

I’m really looking forward to this one, which is the most interesting matchup of the first round of the Knockout Stage. Holland should win, but Mexico is playing very hard for Herrara and the Mexican keeper was easily the best in the Group Stage. A very good test for the Oranje if they are to flatter themselves with the idea that they are serious contenders for the title.

Costa Rica v Greece should actually be worth watching. Greece is, as always, an old, untalented, defensive-minded team, but they have a crazy ability to give much better teams a difficult time. Costa Rica was the shock winners of a group that literally no one gave them a chance to win, so one has to consider them the favorite here.

HOLLAND 2 MEXICO 1: Ugh. Great game and down to the wire, but even so, ugh. I was supporting Holland, but seeing Robben dive three times in the box, and on the third one draw the penalty that won the game, was truly ugly. Ochoa was awesome, but there was no stopping the cannon blast from Wesley Schneider that tied the game in the 88th minute.

FIFA is really going to have to give serious thought to replay on penalties.

The choice facing the West

Islam or Christianity. Secularism is not an available option. Here is the Muslim vision for Britain under Sharia:

If the Muslim sees a kaffir with nice clothes, the kaffir has to take his clothes off and give them to the Muslim. The kaffir, when he walks down the street, he has to wear a red belt around his neck, and he has to have his forehead shaved, and he has to wear two shoes that are different from one another. He [the non-believer] is not allowed to walk on the pavement, he has to walk in the middle of the road, and he has to ride a mule. They can have churches, but are not allowed to ring the bell….

We cover up all the women and put a niqab on their faces, including Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton as well, the whore, the fornicator.

Christianity will survive its abandonment by Western civilization. Western civilization will not survive its abandonment of Christianity. It is said that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. If that is true, then obviously the 1st Amendment cannot be either.

There is no such thing as “moderate” Islam. The War of the Third Wave of Islamic expansion is already underway, the problem is that only one side is aware of it.

Birth-defective literature

John C. Wright answers a question concerning whether books can contain messages concerning politics, religion, or philosophy without being propaganda:

I am a Christian, hence I regard God as the ultimate floor of reality, the one necessary being from which all contingent beings flow. If I am a faithful Christian, this one ultimate reality influences all lesser realities, and there is no neutral ground. Even something as lighthearted as a fight scene, I must decide if the characters act like pagan warriors or chivalrous knights, that is, with the romance of Christendom. Even a love scene must show love to be romantic, as a Christian sees love, or as situation of shameful weakness, erotic madness, or mutual exploitation, as various pagan and secular worldviews see love.

The Leftist for whom politics is the ultimate floor of being is an idolater, and makes power arrangements his personal little crappy god. It influences everything in his thought and life, and if left unchecked will eventually ruin his writing.

The Leftist who is a faithful Leftist only on their sabbath days, and otherwise ignores the business (and that would be the majority of Leftists) can write a perfectly passable story about space pirates kidnapping space princesses without any hint of politics, to the satisfaction of all involved. He will write his love scenes with romance and his fight scenes with chivalry without noticing or caring about the origin of these Christian cultural artifacts. He will not think of them as particularly Christian, merely as part of the moral atmosphere and cultural background of his society. He will not notice the incongruity between his art and his philosophy.

The distinction Wright is making can be seen very clearly in the difference between Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER NEMESIS and Greg Bear’s DARWIN’S RADIO, both of which I recently finished reading. Now, Bear is much more highly regarded in the science fiction community. DARWIN’S RADIO won the Nebula Award for best novel and was nominated for the Hugo, Locus SF, and John W. Campbell awards. Bear is a multiple award-winner who is described as a hard SF writer “who often addresses major questions in contemporary science and culture with fictional solutions.”

Larry, on the other hand, can’t get nominated for the Hugo without being accused of rape, child abuse, and sexual deviancy… no, wait, that was Marion Zimmer Bradley. Or was it Samuel Delany? Anyhow, the point is that his books are generally considered little more than pulp urban fantasy that is popular among right-wing mouth breathers due to its heavy gun-porn content. And that’s not an entirely unfair characterization, if one looks solely at the early Monster Hunter books.

But here is the interesting thing. I will come right out and say that NEMESIS will hold up much better over time than DARWIN’S RADIO, and eventually will be seen to be a deeper, more serious novel, because, under the skin of its hellacious action-fury, the former contains the significant examination of some long-contemplated philosophical questions, whereas despite its erudite flights of scientific fancy, the latter contains nothing deeper than cheap atheist propaganda.

I’ll explain the philosophical questions of NEMESIS on Monday, when I review the book that is easily the best of the Monster Hunter series to date. And as for the propagandistic elements running so strong within DARWIN’S RADIO, the book is almost startling for its contempt for the unwashed, easily frightened masses, with a lack of faith in humanity surpassed only by Isaac Asimov’s “Nightfall”.

The core idea is a response to the fossil and DNA dichotomies that falsify the models supporting the theory of evolution by natural selection: evolution doesn’t merely punctuate its equilibrium, but occurs instantaneously across a broad spectrum of a species under stress because [long complicated theory concerning viruses I couldn’t possibly explain on the basis of a single reading.] Informed? Highly. Ingenious? Absolutely. But then recall that the “major question” he’s nominally addressing (despite never expressing any serious doubts about the consensus dogma), is “why doesn’t the evidence support the conventional neo-Darwinian synthesis?”

And his answer is absurd. Magic Science Elves or Alien Uplifters or even a bored, sadistic Creator God would have been considerably more plausible than the Magic Ancient Virus-Program, which raises far more questions than it purports to answer. The real question underlying the nominal one is: “just how terribly would those awful little people who are too ignorant to place blind faith in scientistry react if they found themselves in a situation where living as a traditional married couple would cause them to a) believe that the wife was unfaithful, and, b) humanity was on the verge of becoming extinct through miscarriages.

As you can probably imagine, it isn’t long before we are treated to riots, televangelists, thousands of women being murdered by their husbands, the president and several governors being assassinated by a bomb, and even a ritual lampooning of Pat Robertson.

“They’re calling it ‘original sin,’ you know that?”

“I hadn’t heard that,” Augustine said.

“Tune in the Christian Broadcasting Network. They’re splitting constituencies all across America. Pat Robertson is telling his audience these monsters are God’s final test before the arrival of the new Kingdom of Heaven. He says our DNA is trying to purge itself of all our accumulated sins, to…what was his phrase, Ted?”

The aide said, “Clean up our records before God calls Judgment Day.”

“That was it.”

“We still don’t control the airwaves, Frank,” Augustine said. “I can’t be held responsible…”

“Half a dozen other televangelists say these unborn children are the devil’s spawn,” Shawbeck continued, building up steam. “Born with the mark of Satan, one-eyed and hare-lipped. Some are even saying they have cloven hooves.”

Augustine shook his head sadly.

“They’re your support group now,” Shawbeck said, and waved his arm for the aide to step forward. He struggled to his feet, shoved the crutches into his armpits. “I’m tendering my resignation tomorrow morning. From the Taskforce and from the NIH. I’m burned out. I can’t take any more of this ignorance—my own or anybody else’s. Just thought you should be the first to know. Maybe you can consolidate all the power.”

Oh, that dreadful ignorance! Oh, those awful violence-prone Christians! Only turning to science and giving unlimited power to politicians wise enough to unhesitatingly accept the untested and unproven assertions of scientists can save Man! With only superficial changes, this could have just as easily been a book about global warming, or nuclear disarmament, or an unexpected attack by rapidly evolving salamanders.

That’s what Wright means when he talks about the leftist ruining his own writing. I found myself putting down DARWIN’S RADIO twice, and had to force myself to finish it once it became clear that the philosophical message was not merely an integral part of the story, the message WAS the story. The characters, the plot, even the “major questions addressed” were only there to serve the all-important Message: Evolution by natural selection is real despite the appearance of the evidence and only Scientists can save you from the blind fury of the ignorant masses.

So, it’s not terribly surprising to discover that despite its scientific erudition and its panoply of literary awards, DARWIN’S RADIO is presently ranked #731,269 on Amazon and Greg Bear is now reduced to writing game tie-in novels for an Xbox game. This leads me to conclude it might be interesting, and more than a little informative in this regard, to compare Bear’s CITY AT THE END OF TIME to John C. Wright’s CITY BEYOND TIME.

An apt simile

I’m not sure Damien understood quite how funny this was, if one presumes that he is referring to Larry’s fans and the Dread Ilk:

In the social media era, we lend authors immediate credibility when we follow them. I’m thinking of some of our right wing friends here who deploy their fans like paramilitary forces. Strange times!

I have to admit, I did laugh at that one. What the Left simply can’t seem to understand is that when they attack an author for his beliefs, they are providing motivation to all of his fans who happen to share those beliefs, because the fans uunderstand that it is not the author, but their own beliefs that are under attack. The author is merely the symbol.

Also, our fans tend to be intrinsically more capable than those of our left wing counterparts. That’s not pandering or anything, it’s just that theirs don’t tend to be good for much more than fawning, favoriting tweets, feigning outrage, and pretending to donate money they don’t have.

Brazil v Chile

FIRST HALF 1-1: The Brazilian goal was clearly an own goal. The Chilean goal, on the other hand, was the combination of laziness by the Brazilian midfielder and an opportunistic Chilean jumping on the chance. Brazil doesn’t seem to be fully in gear, but Neymar is blowing by the central defense at will, so I would think Brazil will score two more and put the game away without too much trouble.

SECOND HALF 1-1: Brazil will be crying about it, but there was no question that Hulk controlled the ball with his forearm. Good call by the official. The goalies are keeping both teams in the game; both had excellent saves. Chile is attacking more and actually looks the better team despite their obvious lack of quality in comparison with Brazil. Extra time!

EXTRA TIME 1-1: WOW! Chile hits the crossbar in the last two minutes of injury time after a desultory 30 minutes where Chile ran out of steam and wisely switched to a defensive orientation. Brazil then counterattacks, but Neymar unwisely passes right instead of left on a 3-on-2 break. And it’s penalties.

PENALTIES: 3-2 Brazil. Great game. Neymar coolly fires home, the Chilean 5th penalty taker hits the post, and Neymar visibly falls apart with the relief. I can’t even imagine the amount of pressure he must have been feeling. But, as Ender says, I’m going to miss the Chilean coach. He’s awesome, both in terms of his tactics and the way he stalks the sideline like a pitbull, which he rather resembles. I think he is now my third favorite manager after Arsene “please to enjoy my impromptu 30-minute lecture on subjects unrelated to football” Wenger and The Special One.

The Brazilians seem to like him too. Several of them go out of their way to pay their respects. Interesting, too, to see a number of apparent Christians among the Brazilian players, including Neymar and Willian.

What killed Technorati

Technorati has gone the way of The Truth Laid Bear and many of the blogs it once ranked:

Once upon a time, not long ago, anyone in the world who wanted to gauge the relative impact of any blogger—say, vs. or Instapundit vs. Daily Kos or Fark vs. Eschaton—knew exactly where to go for the latest, up-to-the-moment rankings: Technorati. During the salad days of blogging in the first decade of the 21st century, nobody could touch Technorati when it came to searching and sizing up the roiling mass of hot-blooded humanity that came to be known as the blogosphere. You could forget all about the New York Times Best Sellers list. That was dead-tree media ranking other dead trees. The Technorati “Top 100 Blogs” was America’s ultimate guide to influence. It was the scorecard of the hat-tip champions.

Alas, those days are now done.

With little fanfare last month, Technorati quietly shut down its blog directory and rankings.

It’s not hard to understand why bloggers eventually lost interest in both blog-ranking systems. I know why I did. Neither system paid sufficient attention to their core market, and both allowed non-blogs to freely enter the rankings, which promptly pushed down the blogs that had once been ranked highly, even when they had considerably more traffic than they did before.  This old post is informational in that regard:

According to Sitemeter, there were 2,000 visits yesterday on only the 12th day of this blog. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! The Truth Laid Bear even had Vox Popoli ranked in the Blogosphere’s top 150, much to my surprise.

There were 17,245 Sitemeter visits here and at AG yesterday (40,304 Google Pageviews to use the modern metric), and yet even that 69 percent annual growth probably would not suffice to put me within shouting distance of the top 150 blogs today, much less the big corporate sites.

What both NZ Bear and Technorati should have done was to maintain a very clear distinction between site-rankings and blog-rankings, thereby preventing the situation where the corporate site equivalents of the Dallas Cowboys were being compared to SEC, Ivy League, and high school teams. It simply wasn’t even remotely meaningful for the proprietor of a little sewing blog or whatever to be informed that Fox News, CNN, and Jezebel got more traffic than she did. What had once been a useful comparison became an irrelevant statement of the obvious.

The other problem was sub-par metrics. Technorati, for example, put too much value on links in lieu of actual traffic. That’s why blogs like Whatever were so ludicrously overrated (and why their proprietors were always careful to conceal their actual traffic metrics), because they did a good job of cross-linking and driving up their Technorati rating at the expense of less-linked, but better-trafficked blogs.

In any event, to paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, the ranking systems come and go, but we are still here.

Zero native job growth since 2000

The facts are clear. The statistics are undeniable. Immigrants have taken ALL the new jobs created in America since 2000. The Center for Immigration Studies reaches three conclusions in a statistical study based on BLS data:

First, the long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear in­dication that there is no general labor shortage, which is a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals.

Second, the decline in work among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consis­tent with research showing that immigration reduces employment for natives.

Third, the trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job oppor­tunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, yet native employment has deteriorated significantly.

Immigration is good for an undeveloped economy in a sparsely settled country. Immigration is BAD for a developed economy in a settled country. Attempting to justify the latter on the basis of the former is, at best, seriously misguided. The economic argument has long been used to justify all the negative societal costs of immigration, and yet, the net effect of third-wave immigration has observably been a net negative for the economy.

Apparently the “jobs Americans won’t do” is “all of the new jobs created since 2000”. There are fewer native Americans working now than were working 14 years ago, but 5.7 million more employed immigrants. If the millennials want to know why they can’t find jobs after graduation, that is the primary reason why.