1. The godwit is a bird that makes a 7,000 mile journey from Alaska to Australia or New Zealand without stopping.
The trip “lasts from eight to 10 days and nights through pounding rain, high winds and other perils.” We have no idea how they make it.
Wayfinding among the godwits is among the biggest questions recent studies have prompted. “What mechanisms explain birds acting as if they possess a Global Positioning System?” researchers asked. Crossing a nearly featureless Pacific Ocean without navigational cues required an internal “map to define position and a compass to tell direction,” they said. The birds find their way back to the same specific sites at the end of their flight, something they do for each of the 15 or 20 years of their lives.
“They have figured out the aerosphere they live in,” Dr. Gill said. “They can predict when to leave and when not to leave, how high to fly, and they know exactly where they are and they know their destination.”
The godwits probably rely on several cues for navigation, especially the sun and stars. Some experts believe that they may be able to sense magnetic lines on the planet through a process called quantum entanglement.
The birds also possess an uncanny knack for weather forecasting.
“They know what conditions to leave on that will not only provide wind at the start that is favorable, but throughout their entire flight,” Dr. Gill said. “They can piece the puzzle together in terms of what the conditions are in Alaska and between there and Hawaii, between Hawaii and Fiji, and between Fiji and New Zealand. How migration abilities are passed on to the next generation — whether genetically or learned or a combination — is still unknown.
2. Republicans are running away from the abortion issue, and hammering Democrats on crime.
During the first three weeks of September, the Republican candidates and allies aired about 53,000 commercials on crime, according to AdImpact, which tracks political spots on network TV. That’s up from the 29,000 crime ads they aired in all of August. Nearly 50 percent of all Republican online ads in battleground states have focused on policing and safety since the start of the month, according to data from Priorities USA, a group focused on electing Democrats.
It’s sort of silly given that the federal government isn’t all that responsible for public safety, but that’s democracy. As someone who agrees we should be tougher on crime, this seems to be making too much of the problem. But when you can’t run on gays and abortion anymore and small government remains unpopular, you go with what you’ve got.
3. This Cactus Chu kid has recently started writing under his own name, and has some great analysis. He has two recent pieces that I see as trying to gently nudge Effective Altruists towards political conservatism. They’re very good.
4. The Washington House race between the handsome anti-war vet who went on Nick Fuentes’ show and then walked it back, and the young attractive centrist female business owner who is running to protect a woman’s right to choose and doesn’t like to talk about her Mexican heritage because she wants to avoid identity politics.
5. On the controversy over the Abe funeral in Japan. The assassin is something of a heartthrob now.
Online, a group of women whom Ms. Kawasaki has dubbed “Yamagami Girls” have rhapsodized about Mr. Yamagami’s looks and the bookish intelligence they say he demonstrated on his Twitter account. Well-wishers have deluged his jailers with care packages, according to Mr. Yamagami’s uncle, who has grudgingly received them at his home.
Even a sympathetic biopic of Mr. Yamagami is headed to theaters. Masao Adachi, a film director and former radical leftist, said he planned to screen the movie in a limited number of art house cinemas on the day of Mr. Abe’s funeral before releasing a full version nationwide early next year.
This New Yorker article provides some good context about the role of spirituality in Japanese politics.
6. Scott Alexander on Nostradamus and Fukuyama. I leave the following comment:
I think this advice you’re giving seems to be something that might make sense for an individual but be terrible if everyone adopted it.
And aren’t Steven Pinker and Fukuyama still pretty famous and successful despite idiots on Twitter dunking on them? The more hysterical and pessimistic other intellectuals are, the more of a market it opens up for people who say something different. Twitter is where particularly dumb and lazy people congregate, it’s not the entire literate public.
Just tell the truth, be honest, and careful with your predictions. You might end up like Fukuyama, who wrote the most well known political science book of the last century.