Wild Green Yonder
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
It is no longer possible to grow GMO-free corn on a commercial scale in the US, as drifting pollen from genetically-engineered varieties now contaminates enormous swathes of the corn belt. I've long maintained that were I an unethical chem-bio-agro transnational, I would do my damnedest to see that all crops of certain foods were transgenic, if only through pollution, as soon as possible, so that people had no choice but buy the stuff. Well, that appears to be exactly what's happened.
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
In Rational Discourse We Trust
So, a whole mess of secular humanists are going to decend in Washington to demand that our Constitutionally -protected wall between church and state be protected.
Today I heard this revised pledge of allegience. I like it:
"I pledge allegience to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the democratic republic for which it stands, one nation of many peoples, with liberty and justice for all..."
Monday, August 12, 2002
A Free Culture, and the Future of Democracy
This is worth your attention, I think.
I believe our democracy is in deep trouble, and that it is threatened in two main ways.
The first is that we allow rich people and large corporations to dominate our political system through the purchase of influence in the form of campaign contributions. But you all know all about that threat.
You may be less familiar with the second threat, which is an all-out assault on open creativity, innovation, the intellectual commons and free speech by those same corporations. We are now seeing an intellectual property putsch in the halls of Congress which, especially when combined with the ongoing, intensifying concentration of media ownership, threatens to effectively obliterate democratic debate and greatly impoverish our cultural life.
You may disagree with me. You may think I overstate the case. Still, you owe it to yourself to listen to this speech by Stanford's Lawrence Lessig:
http://randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/ [8KB flash file]
There are several legal and technical references in th speech which you can glide by or find out more about at:
I welcome your thoughts or questions.
I also encourage you, whether you agree or disagree with Lessig's message, to engage this debate with your friends, family and colleagues, perhaps by making them aware of these links and welcoming discussion..
Furthermore, if you agree with me that this is an important question, I urge you to make your position clear through civic activism and through contributing what you can to the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Whatever your beliefs, I urge to take this issue seriously, and act on your convictions. This next congress will likely decide many of these issues, and it should not do so in the absence of real debate.
Saturday, August 10, 2002
Spontaneous Combustion Cant Be Far Off
The radio just said it's 110 degrees outside. All I know is that if I get any hotter, I'm going to burst into flame.
Work day's over. Time to head to the river.
Friday, August 09, 2002
SUVS? Less safe than other cars
The best set of arguments against owning an SUV I've yet seen.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while SUVs account for just over one-third of all registered U.S. passenger vehicles, collisions involving SUVs account for over half of all fatalities in light vehicle crashes,
Thursday, August 08, 2002
About Frickin' Time
A state appeals court has finally thrown out Seattle's lame-ass, unconstitutional poster ban.
"A conservative ought to be a pessimist"
A conservative's "Unpleasant Truths", from the National Review.
This is one of the weirdest things I've read in a long time, complete with references to HP Lovecraft, admissions that socialism is "popular," and racialist (if not outright racist) assertions like "Only Anglo-Saxon countries can do democracy."
Has the National Review come completely unglued? And if not, what are the political uses of despair? If cynicism is, as I've long maintained, actually obedience to the status quo, what function does introduced pessimism serve?
Saturday, August 03, 2002
Operation Enduring Our Freedom To Bomb The Living Fuck Out of You
Get your war on continues to be frickin' high-larious. In a recent comic on Operation TIPS, one dialog bubble reads:
"The meter reader is supposed to SPY on me to find out if I'm a terrorist? If the whole country is going to play 'Behind the Iron Curtain,' there better be some fine fucking state-subsidized alcohol! And our powerlifting team better kick some ass!"
Friday, August 02, 2002
It Just Gets Weirder and Weirder
The Tasmanian Wolf, or Thylacine, was a marsupial carnivore much resembling a wolf, and often used to illustrate the principal of "convergant evolution" (the idea that there are essential body-types and ecological niches that work well together across a variety of ecosystems, and thus evolution tends to produce similar, though unrelated animals). It was hunted to extinction. Now, though, a team of Australian scientists is apparently close to cloning the Thylacine.
If they can pull it off, it'll be a great boost to plans to exapnd gene repositories, or "frozen zoos," where DNA from species whose extinction is garunteed or feared can be kept for their later resurrection.
The old bumpersticker "Extinction is forever" may just have to be revised.
Weird Indicator of Climate Change, #283
Giant squid are apparently 'taking over world'.