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Ojai Orange | The Column of Lasting Insignificance | Books | Wait-A-Minute

August 4, 2007
John Wilcock - August 4, 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

 

 


August 4 , 2007

employees of Staples in Chambersburg, PA. used to spend hours running around the warehouse picking up, from different racks, the nonstop flood of customer orders. Now 150 little orange robots, 2ft high by 3ft long, trek laser-directed along a blue beam to lift the racks, cart them to a central point and then return them. Overall average daily output is up 60%--from 13,000 orders to 18,000. ”The robots pretty much take care of themselves” says Fast Company magazine. “When they run low on power, they head to battery-charging terminals or, as warehouse personnel say, ‘They get themselves a drink of water’”. Staples is custom-designing a new warehouse for robots in Denver.

FOR HOW MANY YEARS have we been reading about the personal jetpack that will enable us to fly around without needing a plane? Actually, it was in 1953 that Bell Lab built the first rocket belt, but the problem now is the same as it was then—the need for a device weighing 100lbs which even then would only stay aloft for less than a minute. Now Colorado-based Jetpack International claims to be almost ready with the T73 Turbine which runs on jet fuel, costs $200,000 and can stay aloft for as much as 19 minutes. JI’s founder Troy Widgery promises: “With 19 minutes you can take things slower. You aren’t spending the whole flight thinking about where to land”.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY what appears to be an attractive offer from the Folio Society for two books for $9.95 (one of them the magnificent Audubon Birds) as long as you buy three other books. The initial package is so heavy it would cost you at least $20 to mail it back and the other books on offer are so exorbitantly priced that your ‘bargain’ offer will end up costing you more than $150. For example, Folio’s cheapest book, The Devil’s Dictionary, is priced at $34.95 but is available on Amazon for $13.75 new, or $4.75 used; Folio asks $54.95 for John Keay’s The Spice Route (Amazon: $21 new, $11.70 used); and Folio’s most expensive, Hans Andersen’s Complete Tales for $129.95 (Amazon $20).

“ The simple truth is that the World Bank is not the ‘World ‘ Bank at all but an instrument by which the western countries seek to exert even greater control over the world economy than they can do through the so-called international free market….The US. is now debtor to China. Let the power to appoint the head of the World Bank therefore be wrested from the debtor and given to the debtor’s creditor”—Cameron Duodo in the Weekly Guardian

SOMEWHERE AT THE BOTTOM of the ocean, 11 miles off the Irish coast are millions of dollars worth of paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Monet—all hopefully preserved in lead cylinders. They went down with the liner Lusitania, sunk by a German U-boat during WW1 along with their guardian, Sir Hugh Lane, director of the National Gallery of Ireland. (along with 11 other victims) and if the cylinders are watertight maybe the Old Masters can be retrieved when the ship is fully explored next year.

Henry Harrison went on trial at London’s Old Bailey on April 6, 1692 for what the prosecution termed “as barbarous a murder as any that has been committed in this age”. He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged a few days later. The entire proceedings of his trial, have been digitized along with those of 100,000 others, and all offer fascinating reading at Oldbaileyonline.org.  A total of $1.6million in various grants produced what the (April) Smithsonian magazine describes as “an epic chronicle of crime and vice in early London” in the years 1674-1834, a 52-million word archive as enthralling as any lawless behavior you have ever read about.

DESPITE HAVING BUILT two million homes in the past 13 years, South Africa’s government, the ANC, has been accused of losing touch with the mass of its voters, creating “a class of super rich blacks, many of whom have links to the ruling party”.  Some in the African National Congress, writes Chris McGreal in the Weekly Guardian “are warning that the wealth gap is a time bomb for the country and the party…betraying the national democratic revolution with too much focus on creating a liberal business climate”

THE GROWING NUMBER of wealthy American and Russian entrepreneurs who seek to buy British soccer clubs—Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Chelsea have already succumbed—has gotten British fans worried. “This has the potential to get ugly” says Gareth Moore, a sports marketing consultant, “if the money goes to paying down debt rather than to players on the pitch”. Critics cite the case of Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer who, in 2002, bought Manchester United, but who in the past year has faced paying $167 million—about half its annual revenue—on the $1.17billion borrowed to finance his acquisition.

THE WILCOCK WEB: As awareness grows about the environmental damage engendered by the processing and transport of billions of plastic bottles of water, you can bet the bottlers are about to give us a million reasons why you should keep buying the gelded stuff (added herbs, flavors, vitamins etc)…. Did you know that the Wall Street Journal has a “classroom edition” that goes to 5,000 schools?….London columnist Charles Moore writes that in the 19th century smoking was only permitted in certain places but once people started to smoke absolutely everywhere, “resentment at this rudeness grew. (Today’s) ban is revenge—misguided but understandable”…… LATimes subscribers are leaving in such numbers that they’re offering $1.90 a week deals to win them back….If you type (_8^(I) and turn it sideways, you’re looking at Homer Simpson….Who decides what the statute of limitations is, and why?…. Liverpool police are testing a 3-ft wide chopper which can be controlled from 550 yards away to hover for 20 minutes sending back surveillance pictures….. Bumper Sticker: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS NEITHER…. Leopards menacing villagers in the Indian state of Gujarat are enticed (then captured and transported elsewhere) by the voices of goats and cows emanating from telephone ring tones….NYTimes columnist Gail Collins say the best way to thin out the pack of would-be presidents is to have viewers vote one off the island after every debate….Major pharmaceutical companies are researching the cannabis plant, seeking pain-killing and anti-nausea compounds that can be patented. Simultaneously they are spending millions on PR hoping to keep the plant illegal --To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it—Confucius (d.479BC)

                          John Wilcock is currently visiting Mexico

07/28/07

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