|A vision of the future
(Hi-tech + deregulation).
In the future, scientific and technological progress will continue, and undesirable
"side-effects" of ever more powerful technologies being deployed without
wise social oversight (aka "competition", "free markets", etc.) will continue
to get worse. Global warming, with its attendant ever more extreme weather,
will force everyone to live in reinforced concrete bunkers even if their
country is not at war. Loss of land area due to
rising sea level may cause many of the less fortunate to
live underground or under water. The atmosphere will be so poisonous and corrosive that
anyone who has to venture out will need to wear a full-body diver's suit.|
|The best part will be that, even though global pollution
by ever more toxic radiation, chemicals, microbes, etc. will continue to "advance" and the earth
come ever more closely to resemble Jupiter's volcanic satellite
Io, technology will
in parallel find ways to enable a still ever-growing population to live in the polluted environment.
Everyone will have many cancers (etc.), but continuous life-long chemo-therapy
will give them a long economically productive lifespan --
with IVs attached to their bodies .
[The affluent will be able to afford frequent cosmetic surgery to help keep from looking
like the elephant man due to their proliferating tumors (etc.) and the side-effects of
|In the near-term future, there will develop a huge market
for organ transplants. Selling one's organs will be strictly voluntary, but
the average wage will have dropped to the point where any person who is not wealthy will not be able
to afford to live unless they sell one of their organs every few years.|
|09Nov04 Addendum: I apologize, but I forgot something
obvious (see, e.g., immediately below...): Anyone not poor (or possessing
any other marketable attribute(s)...) will be continuously at
risk for being kidnapped, so they will either have to maintain personal protection forces
(private armies), or not leave the "gated communities" where they live.
|"Pizza man dies, forced to rob bank with bomb[:]
On August 28, 2003, Brian Wells told police he was forced to rob a bank with a
bomb that someone strapped around his waist. On his way back from the bank,
police surrounded his car but backed off when Brian showed a bomb
under his shirt. Wells told police that someone set a timer and that
it was about to explode. Minutes later, it went off, killing Wells instantly."
(Assn. of Pizza Delivery Drivers homepage,
copied 06Sep03) I have also read stories of persons being assaulted and having their body organs stolen
for transplants (ref. lost).
|01 February 2019:
"Let's see if there's anything good on television tonite!" "Why bother?"
(Click here to find out
|Hell on earth?
Whether or not there is/are experiential hell(s) on earth,
there unquestionably is geological hell under the earth, in the form of
immense underground coal fires, some natural, others caused by human action. Some of these
fires have been and/or may continue burning for centuries. "In China's rich northern coal belt, hundreds of underground fires
are burning upward of 200 million tons of coal each year, about 20 percent
of the nation's annual production. The fires produce nearly as much carbon
dioxide, the main gas linked to global warming, as is emitted each year by all
the cars and small trucks in the United States."(The New York Times on the Web, 14Jan02,
Science Times: "Underground Fires Menace Land and Climate", by Andrew C. Revkin).|
Kuwait oil well fires after Gulf War (1991).
See also detail of Peter Brueghel's painting:
"The Triumph of Death" (1562),
which anticipated the reality of these all too real "Inferno"s.|
|Where are we going?|
|Aging and Ancestry.
The worst thing about growing older is not loss of collagen and the resultant wrinkles,
or even various body parts sagging (in part due to chronic downward drag of terrestrial gravitation...),
although those would be far more than bad enough! Worse still is the accretion of
excrescences on my skin, in my mouth, and other places in "my" body:
carbuncles, bristles, moles, polyps and more. I remember my maternal grandfather looked like a
stereotypical "Neanderthal" (scientific opinion seems inconclusive whether, as a Slav, he had, and I therefore have
|I find even very small lumps and bumps,
ingrown hairs, etc. unbearably annoying. They don't belong there. I did not ask for them.
If I had the money, I would keep a doctor permanently "on staff" to try to get rid of each
new one as soon as it appears. Fear of these things getting ever worse and intrusively bothering
me even more as I grow older, makes me worry
about my "roots": How much can developing oneself in the way of "cultural self-formation"
("Bildung"), postnatally, and thereby getting beyond one's social/ethnic "background" (or
lack of same), protect against biological "inheritance" (the
|A couple years ago, I learned that one of my
maternal uncles solved an important engineering problem in World War II, which I am genuinely pleased
to be associated with. Learn: How the Star acquired Bars and saved lives.
"In epidemiology, there is a concept known as the 'basic
reproduction number,' or BNR, which refers to the number
of people one person can infect with a contagious disease.
The number for H.I.V., which is relatively difficult to
transmit, is just above one. For measles, the BNR
is between twelve and fourteen. But with a vector like
[the mosquito that carries malaria]... the BNR for
malaria can be more than a hundred...." (Malcolm Gladwell,
"The Annals of Public Health: The Mosquito Killer:
Millions of people owe their lives to Fred Soper. Why is he
not a hero?", The New Yorker, 02Jul01, p.45)|
|Start making sense!
I am deeply engrossed in my work (or maybe my mind is wandering...).... A co-worker comes up
and tells me there's a meeting at 10:00. (I've been through this kind of interaction before....)
I ask him why is he telling me this? He says, just in case I didn't know about it (i.e., so that
I don't possibly miss the meeting). But I didn't know about it and now I do know, so now I am faced with
the unwelcome choice of having to: (1) lie and say I didn't know about it when I did
know ("thanks" to the co-worker's unhelpful attempt to be "helpful" -- it would be
interesting to analyze the co-worker's subconscious motivations...), or (2) not
go and say I chose not to go (and worry about possible punishment from my boss), or (3) go,
and be bored or worse.|
|People need to understand that things like meetings
can take care of themselves, and that if a meeting really wants me to be there, it
will find me and drag me to it, without their help.|
|Another good example: My wife and I are driving to
Canada, and we are in line at the customs checkpoint, waiting to be inspected. My wife
earnestly points out to me that we have half a dozen bananas in the
car (there are regulations concerning bringing foodstuffs across the border).
I ask her why she is telling me about this, since I had forgotten. She says
because the bananas might be illegal. I point out that if the customs inspector
had discovered the bananas, he could have taken them. (I could have handled
apologizing to the inspector: "Honestly, Officer, I had forgotten we brought the bananas with us.
No, Sir, we do not have any other farm products in the car.") But now I have to tell him when he
asks, because I cannot lie with a straight face. I point out to
my wife that all she has accomplished by informing me about
the bananas is to reduce our chances of
keeping them. I start wolfing down the bananas as fast as I can before
our car reaches the inspector, so they don't potentially go to waste.|
|Back to the meeting: I "don't get it".
I don't understand why the co-worker can't
seem to understand why I am not appreciative of his "help".
|ItHe doesn't make sense.... |
|"Tell me about it...."|
|[A couple nights ago (15 Aug 01), I saw David Byrne's 1984 film
"Stop Making Sense".]|
|Do you obey: The Eleventh Commandment?|
Check out my proposed:
Better 10 commandments.
|On being born.
In a movie, "The Closet" (a 2001 French comedy), a character tells
a dream he had: He dreamed he was in the hospital, in a
corner of the room where his mother was giving birth to him. He was watching the obstetrician
encouraging his mother to "Keep pushing!", and he was
wondering when they would realize that he had already been born.|
|This contrasts with the story a real person
told about struggling with all their might to keep from
being born, because they don't want to have to make the efforts required to meet their needs outside the
womb. The adults finally overpower the fighting foetus by taking
unfair advantage of their superior strength to do a Caesarean operation ("C-section"), and
forcibly pull the person out.|
|The second dream above led me to think about
persons with "swelled heads". I imagined what would happen if their heads really did
expand volumetrically proportional to their self-importance. I saw that
soon their heads would be too big to fit through any door -- including even
a dirigible hanger. This would impede their mobility and consequently their
ability to cause trouble. (Volume of a sphere = (4*pi*(radius**3))/3)|
New Clothes (yet again...).
I say to someone about how I dislike monster-size Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
automobiles (I call them: Bloatmobiles). The person at first seems to agree but then adduces the
example of their friend who has 4 children all under the age of 8 who all need
car seats, so the friend needs a big vehicle.
I do not comment that the person could have had fewer children, because, of course,
it is more offensive to criticize someone for having too many children
in our over-populated world, than for the person to
contribute to the overpopulation by having so many children.
Later I had second thoughts: Maybe all 4 of the children were adopted,
in which case I would be happy for the person to have adopted so many children that they
need a bus....|
|Even if the earth can support an ever increasing
population that eats Soylent Green,
the question remains: Do we -- Do you want to live in a world where preserving the
freedom to reproduce has snuffed out all other freedoms,
and the only amenity left is ever more stifling overcrowding?|
How does the 2001 California energy crisis differ from teenage pregnancy and
the war on drugs? Answer: Personal virtue ("abstinence") is the key
to stopping teenage pregnancy and use of illegal drugs (As Nancy Reagan summed
it up: "Just say no."). But personal virtue ("conservation")
is irrelevant to California's energy crisis:
"Remember that [George W Bush's Vice-President Richard] Cheney
sneeringly dismissed conservation as a mere 'sign of personal virtue'" (Paul Krugman, "Turning
California On", OpEd, NYT, 27Jun01, p.A23).|
|[Conversely: If deregulation is the solution to
California's energy crisis, why isn't deregulation (aka "legalization") also the
solution to America's illegal drug problem?
The deleterious effects of restraint of trade by government regulation and
cartels forces consumers to pay artificially high prices, and often leads addicts to
theft, prostitution and other crimes to pay for them -- analogous to the way high
energy prices lead people to try to evade environmental regulations
and to use cheaper but dirtier fuels.]|
||Example why I probably would not
make a good capitalist: I walk into a toy store (bookstore) and see all the
toys customers have left half open on the floor
(all the books customers have dog-eared but not bought), and how much inventory
they have, and how many employees they have to pay, not to mention the
rent they have to pay just for the store itself whether they sell anything... -- and I start
wondering to myself how the place can make a profit and I start
feeling sad for them, and I start wondering why the whole economy does not crash....
Then I try to reassure myself that if every business has the
same problems the problems should all cancel themselves out, but then
I think that in the new global economy there will be n-th world countries
that do not have the same problems....|
|The Annals of
Selfless Concern for Others:
28Mar04: Story of selfless concerned authority figure
and selfish dependent person, has moved to new "collection" page:
"The peremptory discourse of petty power"|
|Are we all enjoying our obligatory pleasures, yet?
"We're giving a pool party next Sunday afternoon. Please
come! You'll have such a good time! We'll really be disappointed if you don't make it
[Ed. note: along with
200 or so other guests]! Everybody felt so bad you couldn't make it
last year...." ~ The party is over 60 miles away, at the other end of the Long Island
Parking Lot [aka: Long Island Expressway]. It will be skin-blistering hot
in the shadeless midday August sun, and then lots of [West Nile virus?] mosquitos in the evening.
They're going to serve Bud Lite and charred hot dogs....|
||The Sporting News.
"Good afternoon, sports fans. Welcome to the sporting news! Games were played today,
except maybe for a few that were postponed due to bad weather or other reasons.
In each game that was played, one team won and one team lost, except for maybe a couple games that
ended in a tie under conditions where a tie does not result in overtime play.
But you already knew that would happen, so why did you tune in to
this report? But you did tune in, so maybe you'll tune in again next week,
same time, same station, for next week's sporting news. Til next time, sports fans,
remember: The only games that matter to you are the ones in which
you have a financial interest, and the only games that lose are the
ones that operate at a loss. Keep your eye on the bottom line! Please stay
tuned for your local weather report."|
"This is Mission Control, Vatican City. Father Figure SJ, reporting. At 03:15 Jerusalem time (00:15 UTC), we
received telemetry confirmation: He is risen! Current tracking places Him among the Principalities, and
approaching the Powers. ETA at His Father's throne is now projected for 08:16 Vatican City Time (07:16 UTC).
All systems are reported functioning normally at this time. To repeat, we had
liftoff of Our Lord and Savior, on schedule, from The Mount of Olives at approximately 03:10 Jerusalem time, 00:10 UTC. He is risen!".
|Advice for prospective Catholic priests:
Before you signup for prospective life-long celibacy,
follow St. Augustine's example
and get your fill of earthly delights and become tired of them so that
you won't feel you are missing anything when you can no longer have them.
[See also: a U.S. bishop speaks candidly about homosexuality in the priesthood.]|
|Fashion statement from the Vatican?
"Even a defrocked priest is still a priest." (Laurie Goodstein, "THE STRUGGLE:
Catholic Teachings Are Among Obstacles to Resolving Crisis", The New York Times on the Web, 24Apr02)|
|Political satire: Pope John Paul II
canonizes President George W Bush for privatizing the Heavens! Read all about it!|
|Why are indulgences still needed?
One of the motivations for the Protestant Reformation was the Catholic Church's sale of
coupons which could be used to reduce the time a soul would spend suffering in Purgatory
before being promoted to Heaven. To see why there is still a need for this ecclesiatical service,
Please click here.|
|What is "chastity"?
"...[A] conservative [Iranian] newspaper, Afarinesh, recently reported that two
government agencies... had proposed legalizing brothels, under the name of
'chastity houses,' as a way of bringing prostitution under control....
[T]he notion of such places is borrowed from the practice of temporary marriage, or sigheh, which is
permitted in the Shiite branch of Islam.... Such marriages, which can last for a
few minutes or 99 years, are especially recommended for widows who need financial support.
The practice allows a couple to marry for an agreed-on period of time by reciting a verse from the Koran.
The oral contract does not need to be registered, and the verse can be read by anyone. Women normally
receive money for entering the contract." (Nazila Fathi,
"To Regulate Prostitution, Iran Ponders Brothels", NYT, 28Aug02, p.A3).|
||Religious tolerance is when we don't think we can convert or kill all the
people who believe in your religion, but we are afraid you have the power to convert or kill some of our own faithful, so we agree
that we won't try to do to you what we doubt we can do, in exchange for you not doing what we are fairly sure you can do to us.|
|The only God Who cannot hurt us is a dead God. Support religious education! Teach your
God(s) to be kinder and gentler, more polite, and even more enlightened. Help The Onmipotent come to appreciate that (S)He has
nothing to fear from playing nicely with us mere mortals -- and that (S)He might even enjoy it
better than being The Big Bully (06May05: I recently came up with the phrase:
"The Attack of The Big Being" to lump together all the: "acts of God" that