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

April 17, 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

 

 


April 17, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

THE EXTREME TRIATHLON is what they’re calling it. And it’s being undertaken by one man, Dan Martin, 28, whose round the world journey begins next month with a casual swim across the Atlantic. Clad only in swim trunks and a cap he’ll swim the 3,600 shark-infested waters starting May 8 from Nova Scotia to Brest in France and then cycle across Europe and Asia to Alaska. After that comes a run across America to New York where, If he’s up for it, he’ll be there in time to participate in the New York Marathon in the fall of next year. At present he’s bulking up his 6ft 4” frame to 340lbs so that his Vaseline-covered body will be able to cope with the eight-hour daily swim aided by an electro-magnet pulse on his foot to repulse sharks and a GPS device with which to restart the swim each day from where he left off.

Dan Martin
Crossing the Salang Pass north of Kabul in Afghanistan

Although he’s a veteran at this sort of thing—he earlier cycled across the Sahara—his recent practicing has been mostly in water. “The only thing I can train for at the moment is the swim” he says. “Any training I do for running or cycling will be lost in a four month stint at sea, so I’m just spending all my time swimming longer and longer distances and getting used to being in very cold water. And It’s the swimming that confuses most people... they can get their heads round the cycling and the running but the thought of swimming across an ocean in just your trunks puts me in the nutcase category. “And there are two mental challenges here, one is the danger element and the other is the challenge of just keeping going from day to day. The day to day challenge is about becoming the master of your own mind and focusing on short term targets like the next 5 minutes and the next 10 strokes. On the danger side, I’ve been seeing a sports psychologist who’s helping me focus on the things under my control”.

ALL YOU’D EVER need to know about Wall Street could be summarized with the case of Charles O. Prince III, the banker who  used to be the boss of the giant Citigroup until its near-collapse after dropping $64bn while he was in charge. During his glorious tenure he was rewarded with $68bn in  stock and options but, of course, he couldn’t be just let go and tagged as the devastating loser that he was. He was given a $12.5m bonus for all his efforts and—get this—asked to sign a contract saying he wouldn’t work for a rival. Although you’d think that if he could continue his illustrious career by bankrupting a rival, that would be all the better for Citigroup.

“I don’t care if these quotes are made up”, blustered Rush Limbaugh. “ I know Obama thinks it” Extra

American Ground Forces in Afghanistan are becoming more like armed relief workers whose job is to “secure the citizen rather than destroy the enemy” according to a piece of wishful thinking in the Atlantic that nominates General Stanley A. McCrystal as the hero who’s going to save the country. The 10-page piece by veteran reporter Robert D. Kaplan, although weighted in McCrystal’s favor, also quotes a Western official as calling the corrupt Hamid Karzai  “unsalvageable” and adds: “The Soviets may have been occupiers but they were truly interested in Afghan governance in terms of the advice they gave and the puppets they chose—unlike the United State, obsessed as we have been with the hunting of al-Qaeda.”

A FAKE CURE can sometimes be as effective as a real one according to the people who study the effects of placebos on patients who aren’t told that they haven’t experienced the drugs or treatments that they expected. Even pretend surgery or acupuncture (don’t subjects miss the cuts or pricks?) apparently is enough to fool people into getting better; in fact researchers report that the bigger and more complicated are the rituals, the greater the placebo effect. Most of it comes from expectations, explains University of Colorado psychologist Tor Wager, 35, whose recent brain imaging studies show that the assumption of being treated causes the brain to create dopamine which  triggers pain relief. “The placebo effect is a real thing” says German researcher Falk Eippert, “and it is tied to an old, hard-wired pain-control pathway”.

TAKING BACK AN AIRPLANE isn’t quite as simple as repossessing a car but there are plenty of people doing it. One of them is Indiana’s Nick Popovitch whose story is told in Air&Space magazine which says that as there are 26,000 airlines in the world “one of them is always ending up in the hands of a failing carrier”. Some of these carriers are none-too-happy about having their craft repossessed and go to extreme lengths to keep them hidden, ironically by keeping them in the air on unscheduled flights. That’s where the Popovich-Sage company comes in, ready to track down everything up to a 600-passenger jumbo jet which, surprisingly, like other aircraft doesn’t need an ignition key to start it up. Usually, with the law on his side, Popovich can just take the plane away once he’s found it, but he claims he’s under a death sentence in Africa and can’t go back there since he snatched the president of the Congo’s plane.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Shooting innocent civilians from overhead might sometimes be justified, but as last week’s pix showed it’s occasionally pure murder, and listen to how gleefully the killers do it. From here on, it’s all excuses… Under international agreement, Russia and the U.S. will cut down their nukes to 700 each. Gee, what a relief to know that if war breaks out we’ll be bombed a hundred times a day for only one week…Tickets in Dubai’s $2million lottery cost $550 each…. When  you place Sony’s new TransferJet camera on the keyboard of your computer it automatically transfers the pictures to screen without further ado….Serial seducers Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were last week shown in PBS’ show The Mormons to be the Tiger Woods of their day…. Deft Definition: Dopeler Effect-- The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly…...Projecting from experiments in which he exposed mice with “Alzheimer-like conditions” to the same EMF frequencies emanating from cell phones, a University of South Florida researcher claimed not only were no tumors created, but the creatures’ memories improved…. “The Vatican is against surrogate mothers”, observes Elayne Boosler. “Good thing they didn’t have that rule when Jesus was born”… Beware of Drunks in the road!Romania has erected traffic signs warning of drunks ahead… The latest Swiss Army knives include a laser pointer and flash drive…...A Vietnamese engineering firm, TOSY, promises that its new  ping pong-playing robot Topio, will be able to beat all-comers at Munich’s trade show Automatica in June…. Having discovered that the white sap in dandelion stalks is a natural latex and a possible substitute for rubber, German scientists  are seeking ways to prevent its instant solidifying…. New Statesman columnist Andrew Stephen predicts that Hillary Clinton may end up on the Supreme Court…. Spain’s remaining fascists are trying to shut down that crusading justice Baltasar Garzón because he keeps indicting killers from the Franco era…. The men who make revolutions are always despised by those who profit from them—Francoise Guizot  (1787-1874)

4/10/10

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