Archive for September, 2010

The “news”

| September 30, 2010 | Reply
The “news”

I was thinking about what passes as “news” these days, when I was reminded of a warning sticker published by Free Press a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more, with regard to radio, television and local newspapers:

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I hadn’t thought of this . . .

| September 30, 2010 | 1 Reply
I hadn’t thought of this . . .

Life Hacks offers many ideas, some of them useful. Here’s one I had not previously considered, but it only applies to those of you who are on the clock (it doesn’t work for salaried folks). Don’t poop at home. Wait until you are at work:

Get Paid to Poop. You’ll be using less of your own time and more of your company’s time. If you poop for an average of 10 min per day, your company will have paid you for more than 40 hours of pooping by the end of the year. That’s half as long as most paid vacations.

Though I hadn’t considered the the advantage of pooping at work prior to reading this, I had considered the aggregate cost of shaving before. Even if it only takes 3 minutes per day to shave, that amounts to 1,095 minutes = more than 18 hours per year. I will plainly admit that that is one of the reasons that I chose to be bearded.

Or consider that you might want to aggressively label unwanted email as junk. What if you spend even 1 minute per day deleting unwanted emails? That’s six hours per year deleting individual emails.

One more example. What if you ride a bike to work each day instead of driving a car (this is easy to do if you live within 5 miles of your work place–I’ve done it every day this week). This means there is no need to work out after work, because I’ve already exercised by getting to and from work. Further, it only takes 10 minutes longer to ride a bike 5 miles in the city than to drive it (it takes about 22 minutes to ride and 12 minutes to drive). Assuming that you would have worked out about 45 minutes if you didn’t commute by bike, you are saving at least 25 minutes per day exercising, which is 152 hours per year, which is the equivalent of more than 3 workweeks of vacation.

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9/11 as an excuse

| September 30, 2010 | Reply
9/11 as an excuse

At a site called Global Researcher I spotted an article titled, “Did 9/11 Really ‘Change Everything’? Or Was It Simply an Excuse to Implement Existing War Plans?” Lots of well-chosen links substantiate that the Bush Administration was itching to invade Iraq long before 9/11.

I offer this trackback as a potential comeback to use when someone says, “9/11 changed everything.”

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Welcome to the new Plutocracy!

| September 30, 2010 | 33 Replies
Welcome to the new Plutocracy!

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” — Warren Buffett, currently the world’s third richest person

Most Americans have the sense that something’s wrong in our country, and most realize that it’s intimately tied up with money and politics. Those who have not studied the issues deeply could be forgiven for thinking we have a foreclosure problem, or an unemployment problem, or a Democrat problem, or a Republican problem, or a problem with Congress as a whole, but the truth is more important than those symptomatic issues. The truth is that we are now living in a nakedly plutocratic state– that is, a state which is run by, and for, the wealthy. Or perhaps a corporatocracy (a state run by, and for, corporations), but they are functionally the same thing.

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Jumps and falls

| September 29, 2010 | Reply
Jumps and falls

If you are fascinated by people falling through the air, you’ll love this video of ten extraordinary jumps and falls.

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How broken is our system of electing members of Congress?

| September 29, 2010 | 2 Replies
How broken is our system of electing members of Congress?

How broken is our system of electing members of Congress? It’s abominable, according to Senator Ted Kaufman, who is not seeking election and who is willing to speak candidly on major issues. It’s no coincidence that he is not running and that he is willing to speak candidly, according to Kaufman.

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Americans are ignorant of basic religious teachings

| September 29, 2010 | 11 Replies
Americans are ignorant of basic religious teachings

Lots of people are talking about the new Pew Religious Knowledge Survey, which dramatically demonstrates that Americans are incredibly ignorant about the basic teachings of religions, including the basic teachings of their own religions. These Pew findings don’t surprise me at all. I was raised Catholic and I have knows quite a few Catholics in […]

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Britain’s advertising authority bans pregnant nun ice cream ad.

| September 27, 2010 | Reply
Britain’s advertising authority bans pregnant nun ice cream ad.

An ice cream ad has been banned by Britain’s advertising watchdog, apparently out of fear that it will offend those people who believe that it is possible to get pregnant without having sex.

Actually, the “strapline” of the ad uses the phrase “immaculately conceived,” which is interesting. In my experience, most Catholics will tell you with some certainty that the “Immaculate Conception” refers to the “fact” that Mary gave birth to Jesus even though she never had sex with a man. I challenge you to try this out on Catholics. At least 3 out of 4 will say this, but it is fundamentally incorrect. The “Immaculate Conception” refers to the claim that Mary herself was born without original sin. The writers of the ad got it wrong too, though maybe they did so purposely, knowing that so many Catholics get it wrong. And a new Pew survey shows that devout believers notoriously get the basic facts of their faith wrong (and see this DI post). This is phenomenal, given that so many believers claim that their faith is quite important to them.

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Priorities

| September 26, 2010 | 2 Replies
Priorities

I spotted this quote by Tom Friedman on Daily Dish:

China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience…; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry… Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.

The story doesn’t end with this helpful and insightful quote. Perhaps, the above quote is an attempt by Friedman to attempt to redeem himself for his pro-war rhetoric from prior years. He has himself to thank for the fact that the U.S. warmongering mentality has caused us to fall so far behind China.

And we continue to fall behind China because we can’t wake up from our nightmare in which relatively few people armed with unsophisticated weapons such as box-cutters are deemed more dangerous than the Soviet Union at its height, armed with thousands of nuclear warheads. Thus, we will continue to spend more than half of our federal tax revenue on military pursuits.

Our exuberant and delusional warmongering is killing our economy and our future.

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