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February 10, 2007
John Wilcock - February 10, 2007

 

  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
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
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
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
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

 

 


February 10, 2007

JAPANOPHILES WILL Be heading to New York in droves this year to watch rarely seen Noh plays (some by the late, legendary Yukio Mishima)  and Butoh performances, as well as new Japanese movies. The year-long calendar of events,  celebrating the first century of the Japan Society, also includes the head of Japanese McDonald’s explaining how the huge fast food company has changed the business culture and how Japan can avoid conflict with rival China ”as the forces of globalization bring them into greater contact”.

A ROOM WITH A VIEW will cost $15,000 a night when the Poseidon Hotel opens 40 feet below the sea in a coral lagoon just off the coast of Fiji. A string of fiberglass modules contain jacuzzi-equipped 550-square-foot guestrooms which can be detached and brought to the surface by crane when repairs are needed. Entrance is via an airlock hatch that allows entry and exit, and of course the view is of the schools of tropical fish attracted by regular feeding in what Popular Science describes as “one of the most vibrant coral reefs on Earth".

REACHING the figure of 300 million is nothing to celebrate says the Population Connection’s Brian Dixon (popconnect.org) who claims that one-third of our births are unintended and thus the government ought to devote more funding to family planning programs for low-income women as well as making contraceptives more widely available. “Population growth is the biggest challenge we face” he suggests, “(causing) traffic congestion, overcrowded classrooms, childhood asthma and global warning to name but a few”.

The disappearance of teaspoons is still a worldwide phenomenon says a Daily Telegraph columnist, that can’t be explained by theft or normal wear and tear.  Calculating that 600,000 tons of teaspoons disappear every year, Moya Kessler links them to the disappearance of old socks and suggests that one explanation could be found in the concepts of Douglas Adams; author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”  Spoons, he says, maybe migrating to a planet “where they enjoy a uniquely spooned lifestyle, responding to highly spoon-oriented stimuli and generally leading the spoon equivalent of the good life.

THE CURRENT ATTEMPTS by oil and automobile companies to position themselves as environmentally responsible is phony says New Scientist. For example, BP—despite its misleading ”beyond Petroleum” slogan—will continue to pump just as much oil as it does today regardless of what it spends on alternative technologies. “The ads, in other words, appear to be examples of greenwash: companies attempting to distract attention from the environmental impacts of their activities….we need stiffer rules about the green claims made in advertisements”.

IF YOU THOUGHT that world-famous groundhog in Pennsylvania came out to see his shadow every February, think again. According to Penn State University’s Stam Zervanos, the annual emergence of male woodchucks after a three-month hibernation is because they’re looking for love, a kind of groundhog St. Valentine’s Day. Zervanos told National Wildlife that the sleepy animals take a stroll around their territory to check out the ladies, spending a night with them but not sexually. “We know they’re not mating because no baby groundhogs are born in early March”, he says. The early February visit is a kind of speed dating, or getting-to-know you session, followed a month later by “a week of wild groundhog mating”.

POWERFUL MORAL, Theogical and POLITICAL forces are posing unprecedented challenges to scientific research over stem cell research and a host of other issues, all of which makes it important to fight back claims Buffalo University philosophy professor Paul Kurtz. Leading the fight is the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), of which the professor is chairman, its main vehicle being the monthly Skeptical Inquirer  magazine which terms itself—“a Socratic gadfly”. CSI regards the enemy to be astrologers, UFOlogists and “those who would block science in the name of occult force such as the imposition of the concept of ‘soul’ to thwart the investigation of the brain”.

ALTHOUGH SUGAR provides a better and cheaper return than corn when used to make ethanol, the huge subsidies awarded to this country’s sugar barons keeps the price to be high, so—aided by extensive lobbying from corn producers—so the latter is more favored for conversion. Royal Dutch Shell, busy trying to develop cellulose alcohol (from wood chips, corn stalks etc), says it is ”morally inappropriate” to use corn when “people are starving and because we are more wealthy we use food and turn it into fuel”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Calling NASA’s plan to build a base on the moon “an outrageous waste of money”, Gregg Esterbrook writes in Slate.com that “the real purpose of the base, of course, is simply to keep budget lines and contracts flowing to Nasa’s beloved contractors”…..Writing in the Nation, Eric Alterman suggested that maybe it was time for newspapers to abandon their editorial page because the age-old separation between fact and opinion was not always perceived as such by readers in search of bias….Nudged by chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign to revitalize nutritional standards for children, British education authorities will reintroduce cookery lessons into the school syllabus next year…. “The politician looks to the next election”, said John Rawls, “ the statesman to the next generation”…..Las Vegas’ Venetian casino is offering cell phones on which you can gamble….Hot rubs at a spa near Japan’s Mount Fuji are filled with a choice of green tea, sake or Beaujolais wine…. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island affirm that eating more slowly consumes less calories. ”Satiety signals need time to develop” explains spokeswoman Kathleen Melanson….Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power--Benjamin Franklin  (1706-90)

FEBRUARY 3/07

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