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

July 5, 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

 

 



July 5, 200
8

"While the hunt goes on for Osama Bin Laden, we should be talking another murderous leader: Robert Mugabe. Over the past two years, the Zimbabwean president has all but destroyed his country with a campaign of intimidation, rape and torture. He has appropriated 2,000 white farms and his followers have killed more than 100 political opponents…With elections looming, Mugabe has expelled foreign journalists and rushed through a new law introducing the death penalty for ‘attempts to undermine the authority of the president’. The international response to his tyranny has been pitiful. We haven’t even expelled Mugabe from the Commonwealth or frozen his assets”—Alice Thomson in the Daily Telegraph, December 8, 2001.

A DIAMOND IS a precious commodity because everyone thinks it’s a precious commodity says Ulrich Boser and now that it’s become relatively easy to manufacture them, you’d expect the price to drop like a stone. Not likely. “No one wants to sell diamonds too cheaply” Boser writes in the Smithsonian, “lest the market for them collapse”. A natural, one-carat, amber-colored diamond might sell for $20,000 whereas Florida-based Gemesis will charge a (still-pricey) $6,000, the advantage being that most gemologists can’t tell the difference. Nevertheless, DeBeers—which still controls almost two-thirds of the world’s rough diamonds—is responding with ads suggesting that people prefer a unique diamond to celebrate a unique occasion, “not a three-day old manufactured stone”. In future it will be engineers who will benefit most from man-made diamonds, using them for high-powered lasers and electronic technology. Longtime research Robert Linares says: “There was a copper age and a steel age. Next will be diamond”.

FED UP WITH the enduring stranglehold of Cosa Nostra’s protection rackets, Sicilians have begun to fight back with a rebel movement called addiopizzio. Both locals and visitors are encouraged to support businesses that refuse to pay pizzo (protection). Bed and breakfast places, restaurants and a Sunday market have all sprung up to offer a chance to bypass the Mafia. “It’s a brave campaign” writes Stephanie Rafanelli in the Guardian, “the very least that visitors can do is to support it”.

TIRELESSLY WORKING TO counter the already onerous protection for copyright, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig is the subject of a Nation story which reports on his battle against “the most dangerously corrupt institution in the country: the United States Congress”. He envisions his new organization Change Congress as one that will connect similarly-minded reform groups. Lessig’s unique credibility, the Nation suggests, comes from his 1990s battles for “free culture”, against private interests resisting copyright reform in a continuing attempt “to keep cultural production and the knowledge needed for technological innovation out of the public domain”. Disney, for example, whose entire entertainment empire was built on the works of others would bring an instant lawsuit if anyone “tried to make their own movie based on Mickey Mouse”.

UNLIKELY AS IT SOUNDS, one of the healing ingredients in use to replace severed fingertips at the Armed Forces’ Institute of Regenerative Medicine is a dust garnered from pig bladders. University of Pittsburgh biochemist Alan Russell told Popular Science  that the idea of regrowing limbs with pig dust sounds “kind of Star Trek-y ” but it was within the grasp of science. The Institute, set up this spring by a consortium of 30 research bodies at the instigation of the U.DS. Department of Defense, is working on techniques that may result in more complicated limb regeneration and even a portable machine for the battlefield that will be able to print layers of skin tissue directly onto deep flesh wounds.

THE AGGRESSIVE GREY American squirrel was introduced into England some years ago and has been threatening the demise of the friendly red native variety. But now some chefs have discovered that the American grey is not only delicious (“a cross between duck and lamb”) but promotes ethical eating. “Low in fat and local. Eat a grey and save a red; that’s the message” says Cornish butcher David Simpson. Selling for about $7 apiece, they are said to be especially tasty fricasséed with cream and walnuts.

A NEW CREDIT CARD over which bosses or parents will have control, allowing them to restrict how much and how often it is used, is on the way from MasterCard. “It will help reduce maverick spending, improve compliance with corporate policies and simplify accounting” spells out MasterCard spokesman Steve Abrams.

MARC JACOBS on ART CRITICS

 “I think something happens with age. And I find this really a lot in what I read from certain art critics. For people who are all about change—people who are supposed to be intellectually and culturally drawn to the idea of change and how the voice of a creative person affects the work on a bigger scale than just the canvas—I would expect a person in that position to to have that open mind. It’s only a sign of age that they become so locked in their own rules that they forget that this is what it’s all about”—quoted in Interview

THERE WAS A TIME when socially-conscious companies such as Unilever and Sony built “everyday things for everyday folk” or direct their aims to innovation writes Will Hutton.  But if capitalism concentrates only on financial leverage and vast personal gain while scorning the common good, “sooner or later there will be a backlash”. Hutton writes in the Observer that Catholics led by Pope Benedict XVI have been questioning where contemporary capitalism is heading.. ”There are a billion Catholics worldwide –not a trivial force if they can be mobilized”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: India’s Sintex Industries has developed a methane digester which can be attached to a toilet and uses the gas to power a washing machine… Scalpers who have bought up most of the hotel rooms near to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis and the Democratic Convention in Denver are asking $800 a night claims U.S. News & World Report …..“You won’t get any doubletalk from me” said Harry Truman. “I’m either for something or against it”….By squeezing the same amount of Hamburger Helper into a 20% smaller box, General Mills has saved enough paper fiber to take hundreds of delivery trucks off the road….After watching subscribers desert the declining paper in droves, the pathetic Los Angeles Times now offers annual subscriptions for $30 a year….Sierra Designs has created a sleeping bag with a built-in odor repellent triggered by leaving the bag in the sun…..“People who value their privileges above their principles”  cautioned Dwight Eisenhower, “soon lose both”…GlaxonSmithKline reportedly just  paid $720 million to a firm developing a “fountain of youth pill”….Who invented the statute of limitations and why? A free pass if you can hide for long enough….Half a century after Acapulco was the affluent traveler’s hip playground, Mexican president Felipe Calderón pledged $42 million to “rescue” the resort and clean up its sewage-stained beaches….You’re definitely getting old when it always seems to be Saturday again, only a couple of days after every weekend…It is our peculiar duty to love even those who wrong us—Marcus Aurelius (AD120-180)

 

6/28/08

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