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

January 3, 2009
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

 

 



January 3, 2009

BANKS SEEM SUSPICIOUS to many people. Some folk have never trusted them,  and now it seems that more and more skeptics have been burying their money in the ground for safekeeping. David Latham, a 45-year-old Alabama cattle farmer told Smart Money that even if his bank collapsed and the FDIC paid off, it might be a while before he got his cash, so he put $8000 into a Ziploc bag and a waterproof tube and buried it on his 300-acre property. And a Sarasota builder, Earl Snyder, is advertising his Midnight Gardener—a foot-long watertight pipe with a capacity for $4,000 in gold, silver or paper money.

THE BANK OF MOM & DAD was the heading on another story in Smart Money describing how so many young people today are borrowing from their parents—but with the proviso that they sign promissory notes and repay the loans on schedule. Virgin Money (owned by Richard Branson, who claims to have started Virgin Records with a loan from his aunt Joyce) is one of the firms through which parental loans can be made, the idea being that a neutral arbiter can make  personal loan feel “a lot less, well, personal”. An unpaid debt, the mag comments,. “will wreck a relationship faster than you can say ‘IOU’”.

GLUEING ONESELF TO somebody else or some other target is a growing means of protest in England. “(Glue) is easy to buy and carry” says one activist teacher. You can’t walk around with chains because they can be construed as an offensive weapon. It’s hard to construe that with glue”. Early protesters thought it unlikely that the police would cause injury to them by ripping their hands away, but now the police have started to carry solvents as well as the traditional bolt cutters.

IN WHAT MAY BE “the driest place on earth”, the Salar de Atacamar in Chile, holds more than one-quarter of the world’s reserve of lithium, increasingly in demand for the rechargeable batteries that power cell phones and laptops.

Calling it “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”, Forbes says demand has skyrocketed and this, the lightest of metals, will be increasingly needed for the hundreds of thousands of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars of which Nissan, alone, plans to produce 65,000 in the next couple of years. The new Tesla Roadster is equipped with batteries studded with almost 7,000 lithium-ion cells. The magazine quotes William Tahill, a French technology consultant as saying there isn’t enough recoverable lithium on the planet to support the auto industry’s ambitious plans.

STYLISH TOILETS ARE a current Paris fad with brightly colored toilet bowls and seats made of fake china or  transparent plastic in which toy fish swim. One store, Pont WC, is cleaning up, so to speak, with the sale of such accompanying ephemera as seat lamps that light up the bowl, and toilet rolls ($6) in the form of dollar bills or euros.

TAPPING INTO PEOPLE’S BRAINWAVES is currently chic in scientific circles with several companies about to peddle their sensor-filled headsets which allow the wearer to instigate action merely by thinking it. The ability to manipulate video games is an obvious early target, but Inc. magazine’s David H. Freedman checked out a device offered by the Emotiv company and found that with a little practice, assisted by the 16 electrodes pressing lightly on his scalp, he could move the image on a computer screen. The eventual aim of the scientists, he reported, is for users to be able to control all electronic devices in a similar manner. The challenge is “figuring out how to present its breakthrough device…in a way that will transform it from a slightly scary gadget to the next must-have consumer technology”.

WHEN WRITING EMAILS, people are more inclined to lie than sending regular letters, says a recent study, because electronic communication lacks “nonverbal and behavioral clues such as shifty eyes or fidgety body language. “People feel more justified in acting in self-serving ways when typing as opposed to writing on paper” says Rutgers’ Terri Kurtzberg who conducted the study with two colleagues. Paper, they reported, seemed more permanent than e-mails, “which feel fleeting in nature despite the fact they are actually harder to erase or contain”.

AN AUSTRALIAN TOWN is under siege from a flock of birds. Sounds like a Hitchcock drama although these are no ordinary birds but cassowaries, described by the Smithsonian as resembling giant, prehistoric turkeys. They have sharp beaks and five-inch claws, can charge at 30 mph and leap three feet into the air  and are menacing Mission Beach (pop: 992) where some residents defy the law to feed them and others wish to hell they’d go back into the surrounding forest. Cassowaries can live to 40 and are described by Guinness World Records as the world’s most dangerous bird.

THE WILCOCK WEB: In the age of the ubiquitous cell phone, British Telecom has declared that iconic red phone booth obsolete, and is hoping that villages will buy the remaining 12,700 for “atmosphere”…. “The downside of the Internet” opines Cate Blanchett, “is that speaking—or writing—has become the point in and of itself. I’m of the opinion that it’s okay to be silent, to not speak if you don’t have anything to say”….Specializing in creating one-of-a-kind firearms, the Boblin Co. has constructed a Colt out of 14 carat gold (why?). It’s priced at $75,000…. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Circumference. He acquired his size from too much piPeter Raducha….In a letter to the London Times a reader writes: “When picking and cooking wild mushrooms, always keep one of them uncooked to take with you later to the hospital…. Spectra Watermakers, a California company, has already sold its Solar Cube for use in remote regions of Pakistan, Chile and Venezuela. Operating on solar an wind power it can transform sea water into 1,500 gallons of fresh water without needing the diesel fuel required by other systems…Why is sentencing so long after conviction?….A neo-fascist party in Italy hoping that Benito Mussolini’s will live on is offering couples $2500 to give their babies the former Fascist leader’s name….. The 35-mile-long tunnels under the Swiss Alps won’t be completed until 2015 but tourists can already take exploratory rides ($100 roundtrip) in half-mile-deep elevators at the two stations en route…. Deft Definition: Hipatitis: Terminal coolness……What the company (livescribe.com) calls a “digital quill”, records what you say, or any other audio when you write. It plays it back whenever the tip retouches those words… A one-person seaplane with folding wings (iconaircraft.com) so it can be stored in the garage  is tested enough to be available for sale in 2010….Australian Wool Innovation has produced a men’s suit that can be washed while worn in the shower and then hung up to quick-dry….“Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance”—William Gaddis (1922-98)

12/27/08

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