Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

2007 is history, hello 2008!

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Another year gone. Not a bad year, not a good year, maybe 2007 will be a forgotten year. Or maybe it will be remembered as a year of the gathering storm. Who knows, history’s verdicts take time to render. What will 2008 bring? Damned if I know, my crystal ball is erratic at the best of times. The only thing I can safely predict is that I will keep writing and expressing my viewpoints on the weird and wonderful world we inhabit. In my own small way I try to be a voice of reason and peace, or at least a voice of compromise. A good thing too, this blog keeps me from running out in the streets, grabbing people, and screaming “Wake up!” at them. That rarely goes over well.

In the spirit of review, here are updates on topics that I have been covering on Doug’s Darkworld. And these are also topics I will try to follow in the year to come. Some are true to the ostensible subject matter of this blog, some are merely things that fascinate me. Some are important, some arguably aren’t. Some are controversial, other’s less so. I’m sure there’s always somebody somewhere upset about everything, even something as seemingly innocuous (if not actually amazingly beneficial) as space exploration has its critics.

The war on terror. As long time reader’s know, I’m pretty dismissive of the sophomoric idea that the world’s problems and violence are all caused by “terrorists,” and all we need to do is hunt down all these evil dudes and the problem will be solved. As I often point out, if shooting all the bad guys solved problems, we would live in paradise. Unfortunately the war on terror if anything has made the situation worse, and has strengthened despots around the globe who were happy to take American aid to “fight terror,” and then used the aid to suppress their own domestic opposition. What a mess. In any event I recommend this article for and overview of the violence that seems to plague the Middle East and South Asia. The author does a fine job of giving a succinct overview of the problems facing the region and the various players involved.

The economy, sigh. Well, no one predicted the mortgage meltdown. Sort of, some people have been worried about inflating real estate prices for decades. Japan’s economy crashed in the eighties largely due to real estate shenanigans, it was certainly a harbinger of times to come. Now along with the mortgage meltdown the dollar is still plummeting as America’s government and citizens continue to borrow and spend as if there was no tomorrow. And hell, maybe there isn’t. I know I’m stocking up my larder just in case, I’m not expecting the end of the world, but I want to be ready in case there is economic disruption in the coming year.

Space exploration will definitely be a theme this year. I’m sure there are entire blogs devoted to the amazing discoveries made by increasingly numerous and sophisticated robotic explorers the world’s nations are launching into space. Mars in particular is getting a lot of attention these days, numerous probes and rovers are at work and more are on the way. Speaking of Mars, there’s a chance an asteroid will plough into Mars in January. While not a continent buster, it would only make a crater a mile wide or so, it would be the first time we have observed a crater creating event in the solar system and much could be learnt from it. Stay tuned.

It was an amazing year in archaeology. It rarely impinges on most people’s consciousness, but our understanding of the amazing depth and complexity of ancient cultures is making the simple version I was taught in school look like a fairy tale. Just for starters it has been proved that chickens arrived in South America before Columbus, proving once and for all that the idea that Polynesian seafarers made it to South America is fact, not fiction. It’s a shame that Thor Heyerdahl of Kon Tiki fame didn’t live to see his once wild eyed theory partially vindicated, but he passed in 2002. A good review of the “top ten” archaeological discoveries of 2007 can be read here.

In the USA the election season continues as the field of candidates gets increasingly strident in their efforts to wrap themselves ever more closely in American flags and clutch their bibles ever more tightly. Issues, what are those? Both in politics and media the trend in recent decades has been to pander to the lowest common denominator, resulting in a mainstream view that is so diluted as to be almost meaningless…and any idea that is even slightly off track is treated as dangerous heresy. It’s like watching clones run for president, their hair styles differ more than their positions. And of course Ron Paul is being studiously ignored and/or demonized by the media for having the temerity to buck the trend.

Then of course there is global warming. Many more posts are planned on that, they seem to inspire lots of comments from my tiny coterie of readers. Kenya is in the news, another bloody legacy of colonial border drawing in Africa. I have several posts on colonialism and the Eurocentric mind set of the west in progress. And the story du jour is Pakistan, where a despot murdered his popular “democratic” opponent and blamed it on Al Qaida. I think I can find something more to say about that sorry situation.

Locally my beam living cat doesn’t even come down off his beam to throw up, so I got to spend part of my holidays cleaning cat vomit off the walls. Yes, it’s as unpleasant as it sounds. Otherwise I had a great vacation and holiday season, I hope everyone else did as well.

Happy New Year all!

(The above image came from a University web site in New Zealand, and as far as I can tell I am using it in accordance with their copyright guidelines. Nonetheless I am claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, is being used for educational purposes, and is central to illustrating at least part of the post. Credit: University of Auckland. And oh yeah, I suppose I might mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran during the next year.)

Written by unitedcats

January 2, 2008 at 10:39 am

Posted in Business, Science, World

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