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August 28, 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
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October 1, 2011
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September 17, 2011
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July 2, 2011
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April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
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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

 

 


August 28, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“The most interesting things in life come looking for you rather than the other way around”
Stumbling on HappinessMonitor on Psychology

IT’S ABSOLUTELY SHAMEFUL the way that the U.S. keeps more people in prison than almost any other civilized country. “Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country” says the Economist, reporting that proportionately this country incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan.  One in 400 Americans were in jail in 1970, now the figure is one in 100 with the number of drug offenders in federal and state lock-ups having increased 14-fold since 1980. Overly-strict sentencing has affected everything from the 3,700 victims in California jails under the three-strikes law (even if their crimes were not violent or serious) to doctors who under-prescribe drugs for cancer patients out of fear of drug-trafficking charges. “Some inmates emerge from prison as more accomplished criminals” says the mag. “Crime is a young man’s game yet American prisons are crammed with old folk. Nearly 200,000 prisoners are over 50. Most would pose little threat if released”.
   “Over the last 40 years” writes libertarian Gene Healy, “an unholy alliance of big-business hating liberals and tough-on-crime conservatives has made criminalization…a way to demonstrate seriousness about the social problems of the month whether it’s corporate scandals or e-mail spam”.
   “Jail is expensive”, the magazine adds. “Spending per prisoner ranges from $18,000 a year in Mississippi to about $50,000 in California, where the cost per pupil is but a seventh of that”.


End the Impossible War

SEEKING ALTERNATIVES TO the polygraph machine, some police departments are turning to voice-based lie detection, but studies are casting doubt on their efficacy. Developers contend that physiological changes occur when somebody is lying and this triggers consistent readable changes in the voice, reports Science News. A few law enforcement agencies still have faith that voice stress analyzers are at least as accurate as polygraphs (which isn’t saying much seeing as polygraphs are not allowed as evidence) but the University of Texas’ John H.L. Hansen calls them bogus and says it doesn’t make sense to spend money on them. “(They have) no scientific basis whatsoever" he proclaims.

STERILISING WATER WITH chlorine or iodine tablets takes up to 30 minutes but now a British inventor, Timothy Whitehead, has come up with a dual-chambered bottle containing an ultraviolet bulb which can be wound up and purifies  the contents in 30 seconds.

CENSORSHIP AS ‘TOLERANCE’ is how Denmark’s Jacob McHangama describes the growing tendency to impose the definition of “hate speech” on comments that should be free. In National Review he writes that for ten years Islamic states have been pushing for criminalizing so-called defamation of religion and that this interferes with the basic right of an individual to speak his or her mind. It’s a danger to freedom of expression, he emphasizes, and it’s “condescending and oppressive for the government to presume it knows which views its citizens can be trusted to express”. Moreover, says this lecturer on human rights (at the University of Copenhagen) there is no clear evidence that hate-speech laws increase racial or religious tolerance or help eradicate racism.

  “I don’t smoke grass any more. I gave it up. I just wanted to see if I could function without it. But it did save my ass in Vietnam. I could have become a very bitter man.”
           —
Oliver Stone

IDENTIFYING AS REPEAT WINNERS the countries of Argentina, Chile, Namibia and South Africa for such virtues as addressing climate change, reducing deforestation and increasing political rights and civil liberties, Earth Island Journal  listed them in its Best Ethical Destinations for 2010. Not a single Asian country made the list due to “irresponsible development, human rights abuses and a lack of strong environmental policy” and, surprisingly despite its eco-tourist fame, Costa Rica didn’t make the cut because of “sex tourism problems and child prostitution”.

THE HEALTH OF DOCTORS was researched by Newsmax which concluded that it found them in better shape than most other people “but many have surprisingly unhealthy habits”. Almost half of those surveyed admitted to being overweight, for example, and too many ate fast food too often.
     Overworking sometimes to 60 hours a week or more, and working on days when they were sick were also commonplace. “There’s a culture of denial within doctors with regard to their own health” declares  the British Medical Association’s Michael Peters.

DESCRIBING BARACK OBAMA as the Most Powerful Man in the World, the Spectator says that nevertheless he’s become a prisoner of events that he can’t control after booting General Stanley McChrystal from his role of commanding U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “By appointing (General David) Petraeus in his place” says the mag, “Obama becomes beholden to the most celebrated soldier of his generation. Petraeus wields more clout in Washington than any general in recent memory and knows how to use it…Regardless of how events on the battlefield may unfold, he cannot afford to fire Petraeus without touching off a political firestorm…If Americans had wanted a ‘war president’ they would have chosen McCain”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: What China needs is a new Mao Tse-Tung who will represent a repressed underclass against a government that claims to be communist but is actually fascist  (fascism: “a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation over the individual and that stands for a centralized, autocratic government…” --Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary)…. When lobbyists insist (ridiculously) that their donations don’t influence legislators, maybe they should agree to put all the bribes into a common pool and be shared equally….. If you insist too long that you’re right, you’re wrong quoth some wiseass… According to a real estate column, actress Scarlett Johansson just sold for $4m a house she bought in 2007 for $7m. Just imagine having so much spare cash you can afford to lose more on selling your house than most people make in a lifetime….There’s no valid reason why Disney, or any other company, should have to change its policy for staff uniforms to accommodate the wishes of some religious nut….In Friborg, Switzerland, a man dressed as a winged angel stands roadside to warn motorists of the dangers of careless driving…. Whiten your teeth and remove wrinkles on photographs you have uploaded with the aid of citrify.com…. The World Gravy Wrestling Championships is a feature of the Pennine Lancashire Festival of Food and Culture in northern England on August 30…... An eruv  is the physical manifestation of hypocrisy…. MISFORTUNE COOKIES: Take comfort or fame, but you can't have both…. The rumor that drinking tea causes people to pee more often was disproved by a British researcher who compared people who drank tea with those who drank water …. “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand”, declares Google’s boss Eric Schmidt, “the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had”….The special Christmas edition of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books will have ‘bloodstained’ edges…. Uncompliment: “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music”—Billy Wilder…. London’s Spectator magazine will sponsor a debate next month on whether to cut out spending on the arts and another one in November about whether to curtail the “special relationship” with the U.S. and “look across the Channel for friendship”… “I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion”.--Baruch Spinoza (1632-77)

8/21/10

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