Archive | Humor

Rehabilitating Pharaoh

Inspired by an Arnold Kling post, I’ve been thinking that we Jews, especially those who consider ourselves Progressives, have been way too hard on Pharaoh in our recounting of the Passover story. Consider Pharaoh’s achievements:

(1) Green jobs: The Hebrews built the cities of Pithom and Ramses while emitting no greenhouse gases beyond their own carbon dioxide.

(2) Technology forcing: Pharaoh wanted to conserve natural resources, so he withheld the straw from Hebrews that they had been using to make bricks. Free market naysayers and straw industry lobbyists claimed that this would cripple the brickmaking industry, but instead the Hebrews adjusted.

(3) Zero population growth: Pharaoh first enslaved the Hebrews, and then ordered that all male Hebrew babies be killed. But, hey, look at it from his perspective: the Hebrews were multiplying like rabbits, so Pharaoh engaged in a little population control. After all, how much more environmental devastation could the fragile Nile/desert ecosystem take? The human footprint had to be controlled. Bonus: Had Pharaoh succeeded, he would have created a society with no male hierarchy.

(4) Multiculturalism: In contrast to the ethnocentrism of modern Zionism, the Hebrews in Egypt under the Pharaoh’s regime were multicultural. When they left Egypt, they took their “mixed multitude” (Heb. Erev rav) friends with them.

(5) The Al Gore of 1500 BCE: Rivers filled with frogs. Plagues of locusts. Cattle dying. No wonder Pharaoh didn’t let the Hebrews go. His heart wasn’t “hardened,” as the Jewish version goes. He just thought these were the natural consequences of global climate change. [...]

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More on Information About Prostitution

Above the Law comments, apropos the prostitution advertising case, “If you need advertisements to help point you in the direction of prostitutes in a state where prostitution is legal, then something is wrong with your wang.”

And this reminds me of one of my favorite jokes. A man is on his first visit to Boston, and he wants to try some of that delicious New England seafood that he’d long heard about. So he gets into a cab, and asks the driver, “Can you take me to where I can get scrod?” The driver replies, “I’ve heard that question a thousand times, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive.” [...]

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Philosopher Wit

From Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log), attributing this to Columbia philosophy professor Sidney Morgenbesser:

Morgenbesser was leaving a subway station in New York City and put his pipe in his mouth as he was ascending the steps. A police officer told him that there was no smoking on the subway. Morgenbesser pointed out that he was leaving the subway, not entering it, and hadn’t lit up yet anyway. The cop repeated his injunction. Morgenbesser repeated his observation. After a few such exchanges, the cop saw he was beaten and fell back on the oldest standby of enfeebled authority: “If I let you do it, I’d have to let everyone do it.” To this the old professor replied, “Who do you think you are, Kant?” The word “Kant” was mistaken for a vulgar epithet and Morgenbesser had to explain the situation at the police station.

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“LA Law Firm Says It Was Target of Cyber Attacks”

From the AP (thanks to BNA’s Internet Law News for the pointer):

The law firm representing a Santa Barbara company that sued China for allegedly pirating its Internet content filtering software says it has been the target of cyber attacks from within China.

Los Angeles-based Gipson Hoffman & Pancione says its attorneys received emails starting Monday containing Trojans, which can allow outside access to the target’s computer….

Sounds like a substantively interesting and possibly important story. But because I know nothing about the substance, let me just ask: Shouldn’t it be “containing Greeks”? [...]

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Predicting Kerr

I predict that, every time I or another VC blogger posts with closed comments on a subject that Orin finds interesting, he will post something short with open comments soon thereafter. We will see how this prediction holds in the future. [...]

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