Through Thick and Thin… Blogger’s Block
Well, yeesh, I haven’t posted in a week. The world just seems so strange to me now…so I figure that people who have noticed don’t need me to tell them, and people who haven’t noticed aren’t going to be persuaded. Fortunately I have resisted the urge to run screaming into the street. I mean, I am assuming that’s fortunate, I’ve never tried it. At the very least I bet I would get to meet new and interesting people. I could write a self help book, how to change your life by running screaming into the street.
Moving right along, I was thinking that because of the way the wold media now works, it makes it appear that the End Times are upon us. That’s because disasters like the earthquake in China or the Monsoon in Burma used to be back page news in most of the world. Nowadays with the Internet and cell phones we get current news from everywhere. And there’s definitely been a tendency for the news to concentrate more on disasters per se as well the past few decades, people have a morbid fascination with other people’s misfortunes. Bad news sell.
Of course it may be the end time for another Mars mission this Sunday, the Mars Polar Explorer is setting down on Mars. Mars missions have a 55% failure rate, so this is a nail biter. I’ve seen letters in the local newspaper decrying the wasted money on this sort of thing. Sigh. I suppose I should just write back, but in short, science funding employs productive people and produces all sorts of wonderful discoveries that make our lives better. Compared to military spending or welfare, science funding is about the best thing a government can spend money on. It’s in the same as spending on education, health care, or infrastructure…everybody wins.
Of course here in the USA we don’t waste our money on such frivolity, all our money is wisely spent on the military, and everything we can borrow as well. Everything else takes a back seat as we pour ever more money into a shiny military machine that already outspends the rest of the world combined. And our presidential candidates vie with each other in affirming their support for ever more increases in military spending and military adventures abroad. People do not grasp this yet, but the US military buildup rivals the Great Wall of China, the Armada, and the Maginot Line as one of the great military wonders of all time. Both in its scope and expense…and the absolute faith that this time no one can thwart our military might. It’s an epic age to be an American, and not in a good way.
The price of oil edged up to $135 a barrel, but has slacked off a bit since then. It’s nice in one sense, people are driving less and there’s noticeably less traffic on our once hideously congested roads. It’s amazing how many people think the government should “do something” about the high price of gas. Three amazing assumptions in that sort of thinking. The first being that it’s government’s job to control the price of a commodity. The second that the government even has the power to exercise such control. And most absurd of all, the assumption that the people who run the country would even want to lower the price of gas. High gas prices hurt the rich a lot less than the rest of us, and are making them even richer to boot. So, um, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the price of gas to drop. It might drop some, or it might spiral upwards further.
On the positive side, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is back on display in Norway, recovered and repaired after being stolen in 2004. It’s sad when art gets stolen or destroyed. In some ways people who steal art are stealing from all of us. On the other hand, some say that the whole art market and art appreciation thing is just an ugly manifestation of our bourgeoisie class society. They have a point (it’s communists and Marxists who hold this view I believe) but they are missing the point. Even if art is a symptom of an unhealthy society, attacking it just makes the problem worse. Of course “the cure is worse than the disease” sums up about 99% of human social philosophy and political thinking, so the Marxists are in good company.
Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law since it was made before 1922. It was painted by Edvard Munch in 1910. And it’s also still under copyright protection in Norway. So, um, I’m claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is an historical icon. Credit and Copyright, the fine Munch Museum. I wish I could convey with words what Munch was getting at with this image…and he hadn’t seen the twentienth century yet. Yikes.)