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

June 28, 2008
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  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

 

 



June 28, 2008

“Irrational fear of improbable safety breaches is responsible for most opposition to nuclear power in this country…(such fears) have become so outsized in the American imagination that our perception of actual risk has been completely distorted…As with anything that’s exotic, potentially dangerous and little understood, it becomes more frightening in mythology…We can’t afford to be afraid any more”—Elizabeth Spiers in Fortune.

HOW VICIOUSLY CAN a country behave towards its citizens before another country might be justified in trying to alleviate the suffering? Are murder and starvation enough reasons? And are Zimbabwe and Burma bad enough examples? “Tension between those two principles—sovereignty versus intervention—has been palpable for decades”  declares the Economist which points out that applicable UN resolutions were intended only for such matters as war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing and not “ordinary” human rights violations. “ Responsibility to protect” will probably never be more than an empty slogan, the mag suggests, adding: ”Many people felt that the disastrous outcome in Iraq discredited the entire idea of intervention for ’altruistic’ purposes”.

Writing about the $5,000 paid by some of the thousands of Westerners who every year climb Mount Kilimanjaro on the “charity challenge circuit”, columnist Melanie Reid wrote in the Times that such charity trekking should more aptly described as “adventure imperialism”.

Up to 20 young guides (paid $10 a day) and porters ($3) die on Africa’s highest mountain from altitude sickness, hypothermia and pneumonia, she writes—more than double the number of tourists who die.

IT’S NOT FAR-FETCHED to imagine that our planet will be hit by a random object from space one of these days considering how many are floating around out there. “Our solar system” warns the Atlantic, “appears to be a far more dangerous place than was previously believed”. It’s happened before although usually the intruder landed in the ocean with researchers believing that in 2,800BC one such caused a tsunami 600feet high, big enough to wipe out most of the world’s coastal cities if it happened today.  Meanwhile, says the mag, NASA’s concentration is on spending “hundreds of billions on a manned moon base that has little apparent justification (and has) no intention of diverting funds from existing projects”.

WHAT HAPPENS TO a small independent company boasting of its organic or natural foods credentials when it sells out to a big multi-national? Well, it depends on how much control the original owners retain and for how long. Inc. reports on the fate of the “socially responsible” Honest Tea company which was bought by Coca Cola a couple of months ago, being accused by one fan of “sign(ing) a deal with the devil”. Company founder Seth Goldman argues that the decision allows Honest Tea to get wider distribution, but another industry critic comments: “That business is safe only as long as the senior management permits it to be so. It’s my experience that whoever owns the equity rules the day”. Inc points to other “pure” companies that have been absorbed by giants—Ben & Jerry’s by Unilever, Burt’s Bees by Chlorox, Tom’s of Maine by Colgate Palmolive—and says the trend is growing.

THE COLD WAR may be but a memory but Russia and the U.S. are on opposite sides of the fence over armaments, proclaims Popular Mechanics which lists six examples of half a dozen paired countries—“21st century battlefields”—matching different weapons. The opposing combatants are Venezuela vs Colombia (helicopters from U.S. and Russia); Chile vs Peru (air to air missiles from both); Israel vs Syria ; Israel vs Iran (bunker busting bombs from the US, anti-aircraft equipment from Russia); Pakistan vs India (missile-launching submarines from Russia, maritime surveillance aircraft from the US); and Taiwan vs China  (US destroyers, Russian submarines).

HUNDREDS OF KNOCK-OUT pictures tell the story of China from 1949 to today in Taschen’s $60 book which heads an enticing list of titles in its incomparable spring/summer issue. There’s the company’s usual vast range from Sex to Sexty (“the most vulgar magazine ever published”) and The Fascinating Phallus (“the big penis never goes out of fashion”) to a $150 book containing everything created by the great American architect Harold Meir (the Getty Pavilion, Rome’s Jubilee Church) and what is surely the most magnificent book ever about The Circus. Superlatives are unavoidable when discussing Taschen whose oeuvre includes hundreds of books about film, architecture, art, design, travel and style. One can imagine a newly-minted hedge fund billionaire needing a complete education instantly in the culture…such a fellow might just find it easiest to buy every book in Taschen’s collection, a task made easier by their sale next week in Beverly Hills and New York.

THE WILCOCK WEB: If they banned speculation in oil futures, surely people wouldn’t stop buying and selling it? But the price would drop…. Nevada’s Renewal Fuels is selling a machine ($3,100) that allows anybody to convert used cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel….  A psychologist at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, Professor Adrian North, claims that says music influences our sense of taste because the brain, when stimulated by “powerful sounds” is more ready “to confer power on what is being tasted”…..A Maine seafood firm allows lobster lovers to buy the rights to an individual trap ($3,000) and have shipped to them the 40 to 60 lobsters it captures each year….The Feds says they discovered a restaurant where nine people got salmonella from tainted tomatoes but that they can’t trace the source. Ever think of asking the restaurant where they got the tomatoes?….A coalition of store owners including Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen and Macy’s are lobbying for legislation requiring auction sites to disclose more information about high-volume sellers after disclosures that about 18% (around $5.4 billion) of all stolen goods are sold via the Internet….. Arguing for better use of phonetics instead of teaching “15th century spelling to 21st century pupils” teachers attending a conference at Coventry University seek to change confusion over words like “caught and court” and “cough and through”….A letter writer in the London Times says that the fig leaf is unlikely to have covered Adam and Eve’s sensitive body parts because it contains “an extremely powerful enzyme--ficin....so powerful it burns earthworms which crawl over the leaves”. …. Popular Science magazine’s Reader Idea of the Month is the man who says because millions of office and shop doors are opened and closed every day, generators could be attached to charge batteries…..“Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth” --Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

 

6/21/08

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