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

March 5, 2010
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

 

 


March 6, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

impossible war
     “The Vietnam War is less a metaphor for the conflict in Afghanistan than a template. For eight years the United States has engaged in an almost exact political and military re-enactment of the Vietnam War, and the lack of self-awareness of the repetition of events…is deeply disturbing”

************************************************

LudicrOUS AS IT MIGHT SOUND, a plan to colonize Mars is laid out in the February issue of National Geographic magazine. Unfortunately, it’s a 1,000-year plan so—assuming the earth survives that long—even our great grandchildren won’t be around to see it happen. The first hundred years would consist of numerous six-month journeys delivering “habitation modules”; in the second hundred, atmosphere would be created through the release of carbon dioxide frozen in dirt and polar ice caps, as well as creating old-fashioned factories to spew potent greenhouse gases to thaw the ground. Eventually, rain would fall, bringing to life microbes, algae, lichen and, after a few hundred years, soil suitable for cultivating flowers. Robert Zubin, president of the Mars Society, predicts: “We’re going to live on Mars the way we live in Antarctica”. Really?  What was that date again?

THE MAJOR THREAT to the efficient working of the country’s security system charges Stewart A. Baker, is the privacy lobby, which has managed to block the implementation of an adequate terror-suspect list. After the intervention of the ACLU, Baker writes in the National Review, “a pale imitation” of the proposed program went into effect, “So eight years after 9/11, we’re still looking for weapons and not terrorists because of the obstructionism of the privacy lobby”.

EXCLUSIVE DRUG PATENTS are starting to expire this year in what Big Pharma ominously calls “the patent cliff” (i.e. falling over the…). Lipitor, which annually brings Pfizer 12bn loses its exclusivity next year, and by 2016, predicts Popular Science, the major drug companies could be ceding as much as $140bn in sales to cheaper generics. What this means is less money available for research and writer Corey Binns predicts that less attention will be paid to relatively simple profitable drugs such as statins and antidepressants, in favor of “more complex” drugs for obesity, cancer and neurological diseases. And, as you might have guessed, as the patents on some of Big Pharma’s drugs expire, the very same companies will be cornering the generic market with the very same drugs at a fraction of the price.

BEGINNING NEXT MONTH, a team of university researchers plans to spend four years and $1.3million  examining the meaning and origin of 200,000 British surnames. In Shakespeare’s day, when there were only one-tenth as many,  his name commonly used to refer to  “someone who was aggressive”. At least 75,000 new names were introduced into Britain after 1945 by immigrants from scores of  different countries.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD have churned up a  ton of ephemera in their lengthy career, and most of it is to be stored in a special archive at UC Santa Cruz among whose faculty is one of the earliest academics to study and teach the band’s music  30 years ago. This would be ethnomusicologist Fredric Lieberman who told the Atlantic he had found similarities with “the complex notational system” of South Indian classical music, exactly the sort of esoteric claim that has spun around the pop group from its early days. Surprisingly, the Dead have been celebrated as an innovative  efficient business model, notable for what has been described as “strategic improvisation”, i.e. their early decision to allow fans to freely tape their performances, thus widening their audience. Next week, an exhibit of material from the archive will go on show at the New York Historical Society.

“I travel with my meals pre-packed in insulated bags, and I carry a scale with me (to) measure my portions. It’s a big enterprise but it’s necessary. I don’t have cravings and I’m never hungry. I only eat what I’m supposed to be eating, because in this line of work you have to live like an athlete”     -                                            
                 --Judy Collins, she of  the timeless,  ethereal voice.

AS MANY AS five million wild birds, from hummingbirds to eagles, are traded illegally throughout the world every year according to the State Department, smuggled in everything from nylon stockings to hubcaps.
 “We do not lack laws against the trade” says María Fernanda Espinosa, director of an international conservation organization, “but there is a lack of conservation priority”. In Ecuador, where her coalition is based, there are 1,600 species of birds but only nine officers assigned to illegal trafficking. Anti-poaching habits are hard to erase, explains the Smithsonian, because in many poor communities wildlife is one of the few resources from which to make a living.

HOSTING A PARTY to help the world’s poor people is an event in the worldwide campaign applied every April by the admirable Heiffer International: Pass on the Gift. It’s held  every April and if  you check out heifer.org/april they’ll send you advice on how to participate, along with information about films and games that will help the celebrations. The campaign’s title stems from the mandate that recipients of animals from Heiffer must pass on the gift of offspring to others.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Whenever a new disaster-in-the-making pops up, it seems that Goldman Sachs is always there in the background poised to benefit from it….Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates complains that Europe is suffering from a dangerous addiction to peace…. Author of two dozen scifi novels,  award-winning John Barnes, 52, will shake up the cyber community next month with his Direction 51 which speculates on the extent to which Chinese government hackers have penetrated US security…The $18 million the soda pop industry is reported to have spent in trying to block a proposed tax on calorie-rich soft drinks, might better have been spent on developing sodas that tasted the same without the sugar……After Senator Arlen Specter advised an opponent to “act like a lady”,  National Review commented that “unhappily the lady he (himself) acts like is Norma Desmond, infamous (as he is) for his tireless abuse of underlings”…So many British MPS fiddled their expenses that 390 of them have been ordered to repay a total of $1.5 million…. How many firms allow their employees to spend most of their time and derive much of their income from working another job? And yet it's conventional for members of congress. Full time pay for part time work …. Elton John says Keith Richards is “like a monkey with arthritis” and Boy George described Madonna as “a gay man trapped in a woman’s body …. The $26 million earned by Harry Potter babe, Emma Watson, made her Hollywood’s highest-paid actress last year….Irked by the choice of Jennifer Hudson to portray Winnie Mandela  in a movie to begin production in May, the Creative Workers Union of South Africa  complains that  telling the nation’s history through foreign actors “undermines efforts to develop (our) own movie industry”…. Speeches by the former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini have been such a popular app on Apple’s iPhone that a writer in Rome’s La Repubblica says he fears for the country’s youth. “They are so easily seduced by fascist nostalgia” writes Giovanni Gagliardi….. Those car brokers can almost always save you $$$  buying an automobile, advises Smart Money, because they know about all those incentive payments (like ‘holdback’ and ‘stair-step’ bonuses) “that are invisible to the car-buying public” ….Simon Cowell, boss of American Idol, a talent contest for amateur singers, is quitting the show to introduce the X Factor, a  talent contest for amateur singers….What a ridiculous “sport” curling is...Name of The Office of Congressional Ethics has just been changed. It's now The Office of Congressional Whitewash.... --To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it—Confucius ( 551–479 BC)

2/27/10

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