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December 16, 2006
John Wilcock - December 6, 2006

 

  The column of lasting insignificance
     


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
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October 1, 2011
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March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
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November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
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August 28, 2010
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May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 


December 16, 2006

EVERY FEW YEARS there’s another magazine story questioning who was the real author of Shakespeare’s works because there have always been skeptics who suggested it was the 17th Earl of Oxford or Christopher Marlowe (both died before many of the plays were written) or even Queen Elizabeth I herself. “If Shakespeare hadn’t been metamorphosed into a god” says the University of Warwick’s Jonathan Bate, “nobody would think it was worth having an authorship controversy about him”. More than 60 candidates have been suggested as “the real” author of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets says the Smithsonian, whose recent story followed a Yale exhibition of portraits—most of which are also in dispute. When the first folio (collection) of the bard’s works were assembled in 1623, seven years after his death, it flouted an engraving by a 17th century Dutch artists which was supposedly copied from the only existing life portrait which,  alas, no longer exists.

AT FIRST, SOPHISTICATED admen were skeptical about the idea of a demented duck selling insurance. But that was before Aflac made advertising history, with its 90% brand recognition, and was enshrined on Madison Avenue’s Walk of Fame. The duck appeared in a Lemony Snicket movie, made Forbes’ list of top 25 Power Brands and prompted the company to redesign its logo with the gawky bird front and center. “Many people can relate to the duck” comments TelevisionWeek. It ”represents many of us who are frustrated from not hearing our voices heard”.

HOW DO YOU TELL which slot machines in a casino are the loosest, ie. pay off the most often? Player magazine has some tips. (1) The loosest slots are located next to change booths and anyplace where plenty of players will notice when they pay off; and (2) In a straight row of machines, loose slots will never be found in the middle but within the first three machines from either end. To thwart players who like to play two machines at once, “tight” machines always flank loose ones and tight machines are always found where people wait in line because such people tend to drop coins to kill time. They don’t expect to win—and they won’t. A “hot cycle” has a limited life, the mag says, and when a machine hasn’t paid off in six or seven wins, it’s time to quit.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST construction project is currently the $3billion, 1,100-mile oil pipeline from Baku on the Caspian Sea to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. When completed in 2009 it will move a million barrels of oil a day to be shipped to western Europe and the U.S. Predictably though, there are already problems with what the New Statesman claimed are allegations of “corruption, incompetence and cronyism” (not to mention the villagers en route who are losing their homes) plus the environmental threats posed by an oil pipeline that passes through 14 active seismic faults and across 1,500 water courses. Much of the region is politically instable, NS explains, and the threat of terrorism means that the pipeline will need to be guarded 24 hours a day by thousands of troops and millions of dollars worth of sophisticated sensors and detection equipment.

CHINA IS RAPIDLY buying up Africa’s oil, metals and farm produce reports the Economist, but it’s questionable how much it is offering in return. Offering low wages and less than desirable working conditions in some of the companies it now owns, bringing in thousands of their own workers instead of hiring local labor, undercutting local businesss with cheap Chinese products and insisting countries drop recognition of Taiwan are some of the accusations the magazine makes. And “China’s lack of interest in human rights” has been a boon to Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe (who) “has turned to China for political and economic support—and got it”.

ANIMALS SEEM TO HAVE an inherent sense of fairness and justice commented the Wall Street Journal in a story reporting on how primatologists rigged up a food delivery system in which monkeys in adjoining cages were required to jointly pull the tray towards them, allowing only one to get the fruit—which he usually shared , presumably in return for the help. Anthropologist Sarah Brosnan of Emory University trained chimps to trade rocks for rewards with one offered a grape and another a cucumber. The latter refused to hand over his rock “in return for a stupid vegetable” says WSJ. “Better to go hungry than to give in to this unfairness”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Using plastic resin instead of wood pulp for the pages, London publisher  Charles Melcher will produce a series of waterproof books for reading in the bath or at the beach…..A new powerful pogo stick, the Flybar 1200, costs $400 and can bounce its rider six feet in the air…Denying charges that his tactics turned Oscar campaigns “nuclear”, Harvey Weinstein said that what he actually did was “democratize the process” from being merely a studio club. “Every year, the studios would award themselves Oscars. If you were an independent it was pretty hard to get in there. The fix was in”….. For about $500, England’s Number One Pig Consortium allows investors to choose a pig which is then raised and slaughtered before being packaged and delivered in cuts….WalMart discovered that stores that employed greeters who said ‘hello’ and offered assistance to customers reduced shoplifting by 35%… Since it started airing its Deal or No Deal  show, NBC has split with its partner almost $25 million income from viewers’ text messages---“People are never more dangerous than when they have nothing left to believe in except God” –- J.G. Ballard

DECEMBER 9/06

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