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

September 20, 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

 

 



September 20, 2008

“We have made a mistake in this society. The assumption that everybody can be a homeowner is wrong. We pushed and encouraged people into home ownership—people who in some cases weren’t ready for it. You can’t act on wishes that are unrealistic without having negative consequences” —Representative Barney Frank

DIPLOMATS ARE RETURNING from conflict areas with post-traumatic stress disorder at twice the rate of servicemen according to Steve Kashkett, vp of the American Foreign Service Association, the union representing US diplomats. “Seasoned diplomats are fleeing Foggy Bottom in droves” reports Mother Jones, “leaving America critically short of diplomat expertise just when it is needed most. The State Department, by its own projections, will lose 14% of its veteran diplomats every year from 2007 to 2011, an entire generation in a few years time”. A reduced budget and Condoleeza Rice’s vow to move diplomats “out from behind their desks and into the field” has resulted in a brain drain leaving American embassies understaffed with 15% vacancies, the magazine says.

PACKED WITH VITAMIN C, the African baobab which looks like a coconut filled with powdery pulp, has been approved entry into the European Union and is predicted to turn into a billion dollar market helping farmers in Southern Africa to make a living. The fruit itself can be roasted, mashed or pureed, the nuts turned into oil and the accompanying leaves eaten as vegetables.

UNLIKELY AS IT MIGHT SEEM, the world’s solar king turns out to be a Chinese billionaire named Shi Zhengrong, whose company, Suntech Power, has just surpassed Sharp as the biggest producer of solar panels whose capacity—within two years— will be equivalent to four conventional power plants. “We believe that within ten years Suntech will be an energy giant like BP or Shell today” says the Australian-educated scientist who is probably China’s richest man. Much of his business comes from Germany which is far ahead of most countries in subsidizing solar energy, helping to close the gap in costs between different techniques. Visiting him at his headquarters on an industrial estate near Wuxi where Suntech’s manufacturing costs are less than half those of companies outside China, the Guardian reported that although 98% of the company’s output is currently exported, Shi forecasts that there would be a solar boom in China “very soon”.

SO-CALLED FAITH HEALING can be a killer when parents are so dedicated to their religion that they bar their children from getting medical help is the long-accepted assessment echoed by the current issue of the Skeptical Inquirer. The article is prompted by a new book, When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children and the Law by Shawn Francis Peters, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which points out that 39 states provide religious exemptions to child abuse or neglect charges. Typical offenders, writes Peters, are “intensely religious parents whose doctrines revolve around the doctrines and practices of small, close-knit Christian churches that ground their doctrines in narrowly literal interpretations of the Bible”. The book lists hundreds of examples of parents allowing their children to die rather than allowing doctors to intervene.

EVEN WITH 20 MINUTES every hour now devoted to commercials (up from 14 minutes a few years back) television advertisers are unhappy because of the growing number of channel surfers who use Tivo or other devices to skip the ads altogether. On solution is the one adopted by a Mad Men program to restrict advertising to a single 60-second one  (an idea they’ll repeat with the season’s finale) and another is the way MTV integrated mini stories (ads for Dove body wash) loosely related to the plot of the teen reality show, The Hills. “We are trying to think of the program and the ads as one total experience” explains John Shea, an MTV marketing vp.

ACCORDING TO BRITISH AUTHOR Theodore Dalrymple, heroin addiction  is often a spiritual problem and the drug is not highly addictive, nor does withdrawal require medical assistance. “The very concept of treatment is probably wrong” he writes in his book Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy.  ”The addict has made a determined effort to become an addict. It is something he does, not something that happens to him.” Dalrymple, a prison doctor and hospital psychiatrist, says: “People are often very surprised to learn that withdrawal from opiates (unless combined with other drugs and with the single rare exception of withdrawal in pregnancy) is a trivial mental condition, unlike withdrawal from alcohol when it results in Delirium Tremens. The misconception arises because of the repeated misrepresentation in books and films”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: If only we’d allowed the Russians to conquer the wild Afghanistan tribes long ago instead of backing the wrong side…. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) is signing up volunteers who will link their computers to a system that will give advance warning of quakes because “digital data travels faster than seismic waves”…. California’s Salk Institute claims that a new drug, AICAR, “tricks the muscle into ‘believing’ it has been exercising and “proves you can have a pharmacological equivalent to exercise”. Unfortunately, the results come only from experiments on mice…..Luxury items bought in flight by Virgin Upper Class passengers await them as they disembark at Heathrow airport…. NASA’s Orion program collected gallons of urine from volunteers while testing new toilet designs for the latest line of space capsules….After having the picture of a fly drawn on the urinals, managers at Amsterdam’s  Schipol airport found that “penile aim” improved by 80%…. After spending millions installing shiny steel public toilets downtown, Seattle has had to remove them following predictions that they would be monopolized by druggies and hookers came true…. “Men are the only animals who devote themselves to making each  other unhappy” wrote H.L. Mencken. “It is, I suppose, one of their godlike qualities”… Sales of tea have increased for the 15th successive year… Lady customer at Trader Joe’s: “The bananas with the biggest curve are always the sweetest”….Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you”—Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

9/13/08

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