Friday, September 13, 2002

Damnit, Janet
Remember Sore-Loserman 2000?

Well, now Janet Reno appears to be trying to repeat history, only this time against her own party.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Great Moments in Socialized Health Care, Part I
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that an Australian psychiatrist has managed to diagnose John F. Nash Jr , without ever having actually met the Nobel laureate in person.

How did he do it, I hear you ask? Simple: he read Nash's biography.

Stay tuned for the psychiatrist's next trick: he'll cure Nash by watching the film.

Education and Terrorism
Well, there is now proof of a link between higher education and terrorism, but it is not what you think. CNN notes:

About three weeks before September 11, targets were assigned to four teams, with three of them bearing a code name: The U.S. Capitol was called "The Faculty of Law;" the Pentagon became "The Faculty of Fine Arts;" and the North Tower of the World Trade Center was code-named by Atta as "The Faculty of Town Planning."

One of the terrorists, Abu Abdul Rahman, pretended to send a love message via an Internet chat room to his German girlfriend, who was actually Binalshibh. It contained more code for the attacks:

"The first semester commences in three weeks. Two high schools and two universities. ... This summer will surely be hot ...19 [the eventual number of hijackers] certificates for private education and four exams. Regards to the professor. Goodbye."

Note to self: make sure no students in my classes mistakenly confuse notification of next week's exam with neo-liberal plot to take over the world.

Applications of the Reasoning of John Pilger , Part II

Claim: George W. Bush is dead.

Proof: George W. Bush is Hitler. Hitler is dead. Therefore, George W. Bush is also dead. This completes the proof.

Applications of the Reasoning of John Pilger , Part I

Claim: The United States is the poorest country in the world.

Proof: Poverty is a necessary condition for terrorism. The US is the world's worst terrorist. Hence, the US must also be the world's poorest country. This completes the proof.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Great Moments in Environmentalist Idiocy, Part VI


Your Taxes at Work, Part I

A recent edition of the ANU Reporter notes:

Scholars at the ANU are attempting to raise public awareness of the need to reduce material consumption with an event called “Factor of Ten”. One of the event’s coordinators, John Reid, from the ANU School of Art, said the group had initiated the project to highlight the need to reduce consumption tenfold — the amount advised by scientists to create a sustainable society.

I think I could almost reach this target by undertaking the following measures:

1. Eat a meal only once every 3 days, instead of three meals every day;
2. Have one haircut every ten months, instead of one haircut per month;
3. Only flush the toilet one out of every ten uses;
4. Bathe once every ten days, and using one tenth of the amount of soap;
5. Clean my teeth once every five days, instead of twice a day, using a minature (one-tenth current size) toothbrush which can only be replaced once every year;
6. Shave using a minature (one-tenth current size) razor;
7. Use a minature (one-tenth current size) hairbrush (note to self: could be a big problem, given measure # 2 above)
8. Wear my underwear ten days in a row instead of one day in a row;
9. Wash my underwear only once out of every ten uses;
10. Sleep in a bed which is one tenth the size of my current bed;
11. Use a computer which is one tenth the size and computational power of my current computer;
12. Demand that all books and articles that I read come in a "size 1" font, instead of a size 10 font;
13. Demand that my wife to wear size 1 dresses, instead of size 10 dresses;
14. Reduce (somehow!) my shoe-size from size 12 to size 1.2;
15. Use only one finger to type, instead of all ten;
16. Wipe bum only once in every 10 toilet trips (related to measure # 3 above).
17. Read ANU Reporter exactly 0 times every year (1/10th of zero is still zero).
18. Never purchase the Canberra Times (for same reason as measure #17)

I would have thought that the consequences of that kind of reduction in consumption are pretty obvious to everyone, so I am not sure why we need to "raise public awareness" about it.

Update: I was confused as to exactly which scientists have advocated that we reduce consumption by a factor of ten, so I did a Yahoo search. Here are some interesting definitions which could be found here and here:

Factor Four
The idea that resource productivity should be quadrupled so that wealth is doubled, and resource use is halved. The concept has been summed up as "doing more with less". It is argued that this would result in substantial macro-economic gains.

Gee, you think???!!! How come nobody thought of this "Factor Four" concept before? The "doing more with less" concept is even more profound!

Factor Ten
The idea that per capita material flows caused by OECD countries should be reduced by a factor of ten. Globally, claim proponents, material turnover should be reduced by 50%, but because OECD countries are responsible for material flows five times as high as developing countries, and world population is inevitably increasing, the OECD has to set long-term targets well beyond the more conservative Factor Four target.

Thank goodness: it is only per capita consumption that we need to reduce by a factor of 10. So as long as I can convince some useless greeny idiot to reduce his consumption by his factor of 10, plus whatever my factor of 10 reduction turns out to be, I will be OK. I'm pretty sure that this is a goal that I can achieve with great ease. Whew! I guess I can go and flush the toilet now.

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