Ojai Orange.com | home | archives | press | contact us

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

April 24, 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 24, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“The microfinance industry, with over $60bn in assets, has  unquestionably outgrown its charitable roots”
                                         —The New York Times

ARE WE ALONE in the Universe? That’s the subtitle of a new book on an timeless subject that keeps popping up over and over again in one form or another. The beguiling ABC television series V  for example, is the current version, although that melodramatic saga falls more into the genre of alien kidnapping and cattle mutilation than a serious discussion of the subject.
   Last month’s new work, The Eerie Silence, is by the English physicist Paul Davies, currently a professor at Arizona State University, whose more distinguished credentials are as head of the expansively-named Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Post-Detection Taskgroup (known as Seti). This was established half a century ago to listen for (and transmit) signals in space.
   Results so far have been zero in both directions, but explanations for that have been (i) as some planets are hundreds of light years away, anybody “looking” at us might be seeing a medieval world; (ii) they might think we’re not sufficiently developed to be worth contacting; (iii) we might be on different wavelengths with different methods of communication; and (iv.) there’s nobody out there.
   Nevertheless, Davies, who’ll be 64 next week, is not discouraged. “What we’re doing is a fantastic and challenging task,” he says. “It compels us to think about all the things we should be thinking about. What is life? What is intelligence?”
   One important aspect of Seti’s work is to try and have some influence over what kind of response this planet is going to offer if we ever do receive an overture from outer space.  And that’s assuming that with only mathematics in common we can manage to communicate at all.
   Which are the agencies that can truly represent humanity” Davies asks. “You wouldn’t go to the Catholic church or the US Army. So one of the first things we might (tell them)  is that there’s no unitary government on this planet, no unitary political philosophy or ideology. We’re a great place for freedom, if not anarchy, and so we’re putting together the best possible coherent package for your consideration, but expect it to be followed with all sorts of bizarre and incoherent babble that you must treat with discretion”.

IT’S BACK AGAIN! The  hoary old argument about Who Wrote Shakespeare?  “An appetite for conspiracy theories combined with a call for ‘balance’ from some sectors of academe and the rise of the internet have given the theme new life” explains the Economist while reviewing the new tome, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro, a Columbia University professor who has written previous books about the bard. The magazine says that snobbery is one of the reasons why people such as Mark Twain, Henry James and Sigmund Freud have questioned the authorship, i.e. how could some “untutored, un-traveled glover’s son from “Hicksville” have known enough about kings and courtiers, affairs of state etc? Professor Shapiro appears to disagree with them; his book defends the man from Stratford as the true author.

IT’S SAD ENOUGH that so many of the New Yorker cartoons just aren’t funny but how could any intelligent adult pretend to like most of the nonsensical poetry the magazine publishes? Here’s the first verse of Michael Robbins’ “Lust for Life” from the April 12 issue:   

The elephants ate each other and then they dreamed of eating elephants till their captors came to feed them. Then they died. My meth lab tends to explode. I move to a new one like a hermit crab.  I give the gift of gab.

INSIDE THE VOICE OF AMERICA there is growing dissent about the way that the radio station is run, some complaining that it is secretly pro-Iran. Newsmax repeats allegations that the acting head of the Persian News Network, Alex Belida, exhibits “poor editorial judgment” and doesn’t understand Iranian affairs. In fact he doesn’t even speak or read Persian. A taxpayer-funded multimedia network with a $194 million budget, VOA is alleged to suffer from its “old-fashioned, dictatorial management style” the mag charges.

NASA’s SPACE SHUTTLES, having become surplus due to shutting down the program, will now be given away, but only museums or educational institutions are eligible. But even free, they’re hardly a bargain as NASA estimates that shipping and handling costs will be around $29 million for each. That’s because the 75-ton orbiters are 122 feet long,  have 78-foot wingspans and can’t be disassembled to  negotiate routes where light posts or traffic signals might block the way. In fact, initial delivery will be to some airport with a runway long enough (8,000 feet) to accommodate the Boeing 747 which will transport the bulky item. The bill for that trip alone is $6 million. Several museums are in the running for Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavor, with the leading choices currently being Manhattan’s Sea, Air and Space Museum and Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, the current home of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose flying boat.

THE REHABILITATION of New York’s former governor Eliot Spitzer was well underway even before the New York Times ran a 3,000-word piece about his “redemption” earlier this month, less than two years after the disclosure that he was “a client in a prostitution ring”. Public appearances, published articles and even a television serial (The Good Wife) whose plot echoes his misadventure, have all kept his name alive. But maybe the best explanation of his standing can be found in the March issue of the academic Boston Review whose cover blazoned his name in type even bigger than  the mag’s logo. Inside was the reprint of an intelligently analytical speech by Spitzer, 50, which demonstrates why so many still hold him in high regard. Battling against the Wall Street criminals, it is clear not only that he has acted as a genuine tribune of the people, but also prompts the suspicion that some of the greed-heads who benefited from his downfall might have had something to do with it.
[cf. Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen]

THE WILCOCK WEB: Tuesday will be National Pot Smoking Day (4/20. dig?)….Seeing as, like any other politicians, the Supremos regard themselves as above the law, it’s not unlikely that some of them are nursing scandalous secrets. Maybe there lies next year’s Pulitzer for  National Inquirer's new DC bureau. ….“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies” quipped Groucho Marx….  Fortune says there’s a growing demand for “executive temps”, short-term bosses who can earn huge salaries turning around distressed companies before a permanent ceo is appointed…. “When one is in love, one begins to deceive oneself.” quipped the astute  Oscar Wilde. “ And one ends by deceiving others”….. Immigration officers from customs and border control absently left nearly 200 guns in rest rooms, bowling alleys and other public places last year. Homeland Security promises 185,000 employees will get “extra training”….It’s childishly stupid at this time in history for countries still to be competing with each other as to which can spend the most  $$trillions on exploring space. Call in the UN (or something) to organize joint missions to Mars (or wherever)… Nineteen countries are contributing to the $1.3bn cost of the world’s biggest telescope whose 115 separate dishes will dot a 78 square mile tract of northern Chile by the year after next….If homosexuality and pedophilia are unrelated, what age is the dividing line?…. It was obvious that the brilliant microfinance scheme was doomed as soon as the banks jumped in….So many 12-year-old Swiss kids complained that condoms were too big that Lamprecht AG has made a smaller version…Prison is a very expensive way of making bad people worse quoth former British minister Douglas Hurd….. Is man one of God’s blunders, or is God one of man’s? – Friedrich Nietzsche(1844-1900)

4/17/10

===========================

Email this link to a friend

comments? send an email to John Wilcock

===========================

TOP

      return to top
       

© 2006-2013 ojaiorange.com | web design by David Buehrens