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October 16, 2010
John Wilcock - The Column of Lasting Insignificance - October 9, 2010

 

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

 

 

October 16, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“Maintenance of the status quo is the only possible precaution against the West Bank’s falling under the control of Hamas and therefore Iran, both of which have the declared purpose of putting an end to the Jewish state. The end game of the two-state solution, then, is illusory, wishful thinking, outdated because there are now two incompatible Palestines, and with Israel that makes three states. Three into two won’t go"
David Pryce-Jones in National Review

SURVIVING UNDERGROUND is a concept that is on the minds of many more people than you might have imagined. Robert Vicino’s bunker in the Mojave desert near Barstow--stocked with enough food and clothing to sustain 135 people for a year—is just one of numerous armageddon refuges seeking customers. And Vicino is planning at least a dozen more “community bunkers” all within easy range of big cities and the budget of people who can afford to invest $50,000 (the remaining $90k later). There’s also Texas-based Radius Engineering with its underground shelters made of fiberglass; Colorado’s Hardened Structures whose six-person steel shelters begin at $36,000 and the Survival Condo Project in Kansas which is converting abandoned missile silos to rent for $1.75million. 
    This all began in the days of the Cold War when, to insure the continuity of government in an emergency, a huge nuclear fallout bunker beneath West Virginia’s Greenbrier resort was constructed,  a shelter big enough to hold all members of Congress and their staffs.   No word on the current status of that, but Vicino says that although the Barstow bunker will withstand a 50-megaton nuclear blast from 10 miles away, there are other possibilities: a magnitude 10 earthquake, for example, or a lasting flood or even a solar storm that could crash the power grid. “You just don’t know what’s heading our way” he moans.

THE CANADIAN QUARTERLY Maisonneuve says that it would make sense to erase the border, accept Washington DC as the capital, extend congressional representation north and form a North American federation. It would save money, eliminate trade regulations and reinforce existing ties. Les Horswell points out that there have been precedents for amalgamations: Texas, Newfoundland, Alaska and Hawaii were all independent once and Canada’s Cascadia considered absorbing British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The U.S./Canada border, he suggests creates “artificial limits”.

WHEN SOMEBODY WEBCAST the picture of that Chinese guy, Gao Yang, 37, who says it took him 24 years learning to sleep on a rope (he seeks a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records ) it was followed by numerous sarcastic comments. One writer said:  "I for one am contacting Guinness to see if I can have the world record for not caring about something a great deal.  I don’t think I’ve ever cared less about anything in my life..."

Gao Yang

ELECTRIC CARS ARE being touted as a major contribution to the environment, but it just isn’t true suggests Bill Freedland in  Austin’s Rag Blog. Promoted as the next stage of the green revolution--a cost-effective and clean alternative to the gas-guzzling of today—the vehicles are not only expensive (average price: $43,690) and  eventually requiring an costly battery replacement, but require lengthy recharging with energy derived from fossil fuels. “So either way, cars pollute” writes Freedland. “So, sadly for the environment, while all-electric cars are the new thing, they aren’t any better than what we have now”.

AS CARS ARE INCREASINGLY fitted with wireless systems, won’t that lead to them being manipulated by random hackers? That’s the disturbing question raised by Popular Mechanics which concludes that it’s possible but unlikely. The story points to the example of the OnStar system whose access to a vehicle’s “diagnostic and component control systems” can, with police cooperation, bring a car to a stop from far away. OnStar says the system has never been ‘compromised’ and the  story downplays the threat but warns: “Now is the time for the auto industry to concentrate on cyber security…If cars are going to be able to communicate with each other or access the Internet, information and security professionals should be working with mechanical and electrical engineers in designing the software and hardware for cars from the first line of code to the last”.

I wouldn’t have been cast for this role on any other network,  says (Mad Men’s) Jon Hamm, “I never would have been cast, ever, period, done, never, no way. They would want someone like Rob Lowe who’s got a proven track record. I would’ve gotten all the way to the end…and then I wouldn’t get cast”
interviewed by Details

BECAUSE OUR SOCIETY is based on endless growth, it helps to create poverty and insecurity. That’s  the theme of A Nation of Farmers in whose authors, Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton, maintain that “industrial agriculture” has consolidated land ownership and destroyed “local self-sufficiency”. Shifting reliance to local farms and gardens from multinational corporations -- controlled by wealthy elites who own the best lands and displace the poor marginal areas-- offer the best hope for the future, the authors maintain. “Globalization’s demise is coming. The rising costs of transportation and the trade deficit make it inevitable”.


End the Impossible War

THE SCANDAL OVER one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids illegally tapping into people’s phone calls might mark the beginning of the end of the Dirty Digger’s formerly invincible empire, wistfully forecasts Simon Dumenco who’s billed as Advertising Age’s Media Guy. “Getting a letter from Scotland Yard that your phone has been hacked is rather like getting a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket” he writes. “Time to queue up at Murdoch Towers to get paid”. Quoting a comment in Slate that, “the U.K. phone-hacking scandal will undo the media mogul” the mag reports that since erecting a firewall, i.e. trying to make readers pay for his Times and Sunday Times, traffic for the papers “has collapsed” and predicts that Murdoch will eventually close his money-losing New York Post and sell the Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg.

THE ONCE-UNTHINKABLE notion that the U.S. Supreme Court justices were there for the rest of their lives, is increasingly being questioned following the present court’s obvious political bias (pre=eminently Republican, predominantly Catholic). Commenting on Justice Stephen Breyer’s recent book, Author in the CourtNYT editorialist Lincoln Caplan wrote: “The court’s ‘infirmity’ shows that its legitimacy in the public’s eye  ‘cannot be taken for granted’”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Among the folk who occasionally think of politicians as human beings (after studying their lives), Jerry Brown’s has a good rep….But if Meg Whitman had devoted $120m to helping California out of its financial mess, instead of inflating her ego, she’d be a genuine heroine instead of a pathetic joke…Apart from closing access to our supply routes, we need to be reminded of what Pakistan is giving us in return for our $3bn a year…. A Times columnist, Bronwen Maddox, explains the reason why a $25m reward for Osama Bin Laden hasn’t brought results is that druglords in that many parts of the world can make an easy $1m per day….Anticipating a flood of electric cars, several companies are working on modules in gas stations that will be able to recharge engines in less than one hour…... ”Have you ever noticed” George Carlin asked, “how everybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and everyone going faster than you is a maniac… Now they’ve ‘discovered’ that high-fructose corn syrup (it’s in almost everything) may be a short cut to diabetes, liver disease and obesity, manufacturers will promote it as simply “corn sugar”…. We’ll never know what the electorate really thinks until voting becomes mandatory ….Legalizing marihuana in California and growing more of it in-state would obviously diminish Mexican imports from the cartels……. “In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird.  Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal”… Freezing tanks of rooftop water at night and using it to cool the building--via an evaporator coil as it melts in daytime—allows the air conditioners to be turned off for a few hours…. Attempting to cut the extravagant costs of ink in their office printers, some companies are changing to slimmer typefaces, even to using type with tiny holes in each letter…. Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough—Gustave Flaubert (1821-80)

10/9/10

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