October 30, 2011
By David Rose, 30th October 2011
It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, 'proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer'.
Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.
Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.
It was cited uncritically by, among others, reporters and commentators from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist and numerous media outlets in America.
The Washington Post said the BEST study had 'settled the climate change debate' and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a 'cynical fraud'.
But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller's team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST's research shows global warming has stopped.
Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America's prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller's claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a 'huge mistake', with no scientific basis.
Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project's four research papers.
Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious 'Climategate' scandal two years ago....
If you are familiar with the warming wars, you know that Dr Curry is a rare voice of reason and conciliation within the science establishment. She is a truth-seeking scientist. To have her say this just knocks my socks off!
October 29, 2011
An artist hugely underestimated...
We had fun looking at the way Frederic Remington saw vivid colors in the dark of night.
Here, on the other hand, is a different illustrator who looked at a bright mid-day scene and painted a study in gray:...
Enjoy the fastidious details shown of a certain painting. Then scroll down to see what it is you are looking at. You will be surprised....
You can't expect nihilists to act like [racist remark redacted]
Richmond, Va. — The Richmond tea party is demanding a refund of about $10,000 from the city, claiming it unfairly charged them for rallies while allowing the Occupy protesters to use the same space for several weeks for free.
The political organization is sending the city an invoice for the charges incurred for three rallies held in Kanawha Plaza over the past three years. The Occupy protesters have been camped in the plaza since Oct. 15.
Richmond Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens says it's not fair that her group had to pay fees for permits, portable toilets, police presence and emergency personnel. The group also had to purchase a $1 million insurance policy.
Tea party groups across the nation have raised similar concerns since the protests spread from New York earlier this month...
Silly Tea Partiers. You are grown-ups, so of course you must pay. Having myself been to tea parties, I know that you not only picked up all your trash, you also brought extra plastic trash bags to give to anyone who forgot to bring one. So OF COURSE you must be punished! OF COURSE you must pay the bills.
And the children-of-dirt who shit in people's doorways must be cosseted and praised by nihilist politicians, like fake-Catholic Nancy Pelosi. How I would love to see those slime-worms and their fake-liberal enablers where they belong, in orange jump-suits and leg-chains picking up trash along the county roads.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. I should be more moderate in tone. Not tonight. Not in the mood. I spend most of my life among fake-liberals, smiling and nodding, and saying nothing. But this tiny blog is where I can be myself. Bounded in a nutshell I am, but king in my little kingdom. And if any of you lefties manage to find this place, and read this far, well, you should be ashamed of yourselves!
October 27, 2011
"The nucleus of society"
...Asked by moderator Ed Feulner about Warren's comments, Ryan responded.
"Money and wealth made and created in America is the government's unless they benevolently spend it back to people. It's the other way around," Ryan said. "No one is suggesting that we don't need good schools and roads and infrastructure as a basis for a free society and a free enterprise system. But the notion that the nucleus of society is the government and not the individual, the family, the entrepreneur, is to me just completely, inherently backwards."
October 26, 2011
I may have made a mistake. I was curtly dismissive recently of comments by "Gian" about "fiat money." It's not a subject I've thought about much, and since his comments lack the courtesy and fellow-feeling that ought to obtain among readers of RJ, I brushed them aside.
I assume he was referring to money not backed by gold or a similar store of value. This may be a blind spot on my part—I've never delved into the issue, never given it much thought. But did we not go off the Gold Standard in the late 60's? At the very moment when almost everything else was turning squirrely? When growth of government stared diverging in a bad way from growth in general? Have I missed a clew?
My real interest is in what's inside the hearts of men, but those things are always revealed in outward signs and trends. The shoes and hats we wear reveal what is in our souls, so why should money be any different?
October 24, 2011
If I were starting over again... Texas.
Voters around the country are concluding it's better to be red than dead—applying a whole meaning to an old phrase. If you do not currently live in a red state, there's a good chance you will be in the near future. Either you will flee to a red state or a red state will come to you—because voters fed up with blue-state fiscal irresponsibility will elect candidates who promise to pass red-state policies.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 state legislatures are controlled by Republicans and 16 by Democrats, with eight split (i.e., each party controlling one house). There are 29 Republican governors and 20 Democrats, with one independent. And there are 20 states where Republicans control both the legislature and governor's mansion vs. 11 Democratic, with 18 split (one party controls the governor's office and the other the legislature).
And though we are a year away from the 2012 election, generic Republican vs. Democratic polls have given Republicans the edge for more than a year. If that pattern holds—and if blue-state leaders refuse to learn from their policy mistakes, just like their true-blue leader in the White House—it likely means there will be even more red states in 2013...
And when the Blue States and cities are going bankrupt, and come begging a Red congress for bailouts... I hope we are compassionate. I'd suggest we give 'em a helping hand. Including ridding them of burdensome public employee unions, cutting public employee pensions and benefits back to private-sector norms, setting limits on the ratio of supervisors to actual workers, ending gerrymandering... We could help them out by privatizing education, and a lot of other things.
It would be the kind-hearted thing to do...
October 22, 2011
"The world seems to go on as usual"
From Sermons Parochial and Plain, vol 4, #17, by John Henry Newman
....We come, like Jacob, in the dark, and lie down with a stone for our pillow; but when we rise again, and call to mind what has passed, we recollect we have seen a vision of Angels, and the Lord manifested through them, and we are led to cry out, "How dreadful is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
To conclude. Let us profit by what every day and hour teaches us, as it flies. What is dark while it is meeting us, reflects the Sun of Righteousness when it is past. Let us profit by this in future, so far as this, to have faith in what we cannot see. The world seems to go on as usual. There is nothing of heaven in the face of society; in the news of the day there is nothing of heaven; in the faces of the many, or of the great, or of the rich, or of the busy, there is nothing of heaven; in the words of the eloquent, or the deeds of the powerful, or the counsels of the wise, or the resolves of the lordly, or the pomps of the wealthy, there is nothing of heaven. And yet the Ever-blessed Spirit of God is here; the Presence of the Eternal Son, ten times more glorious, more powerful than when He trod the earth in our flesh, is with us....
If we are still capable of learning, it's a teaching moment...
...UPDATE: Michael Ubaldi emails: "The Occupation movement is doing for anarchist theory what the Obama administration has done for European-style socialism: put all the myths festering on college campuses over two decades to the test so the world can watch them falter utterly."...
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of nihilist dimwitskis...
October 21, 2011
The last of the Reagan Republicans...
Sarah Palin, American Crony Capitalism Brings Jobs to Finland:
Yesterday, another shoe dropped in the chronicles of the Obama administration's crony capitalism. A start-up electric car company with ties to Al Gore got a $529 million loan guarantee from Obama's Department of Energy to build luxury electric cars...in Finland! Leaving aside the fact that to date only two of these $97,000 cars have been sold (one of them to a movie star), we might at least hope that this ridiculous exercise in the government picking winners minus any competitive, transparent process (Al Gore's venture cap firm) and losers (the taxpayers subsidizing a car no one wants) would produce manufacturing jobs in the United States. Isn't that the alleged purpose of Obama's stimulus giveaways?
It's bad enough that we borrow money from foreign countries to give to foreign countries. Now we borrow from foreign countries to finance jobs in foreign countries. (This kind of reminds me of the $2 billion assistance President Obama provided Brazil for their off-shore energy developments, while shutting down or blocking much of our own off-shore domestic drilling. He's in favor of energy jobs in Brazil. But in America? Not so much.)...
Are the other Republican candidate-types jumping on this? I must confess I've been feeling a bit discouraged, and have not been paying a lot of attention to them. And they seem to only be paying attention to each other.
...While they're at it, the geniuses in the White House could also explain the $1.2 billion they gave to SunPower, a company that makes Solyndra look like a blue chip stock. SunPower's market capitalization is $800 million, but the company is in debt $820 million. What a great investment, huh? Your tax dollars at work, America! If President Obama wants answers about this, he better act fast because his Department of Energy was already caught revising history by scrubbing SunPower's name out of old DOE press releases. The President should start by asking Democrat Congressman George Miller about the company. Rep. Miller was the leading advocate for giving money to SunPower, which hired his son as a lobbyist...
October 20, 2011
This was a bit of a surprise to me...
I'm way too close to Silicon Valley to be terribly impressed by the political wisdom or general wisdom of tech entrepreneurs. Especially Baby-Boomers like Steve. But here's some wisdom...
...Jobs, who was known for his prickly, stubborn personality, almost missed meeting President Obama in the fall of 2010 because he insisted that the president personally ask him for a meeting. Though his wife told him that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you," Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
"You're headed for a one-term presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.
Jobs also criticized America's education system, saying it was "crippled by union work rules," noted Isaacson. "Until the teachers' unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform." Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year....
Of course if Jobs had been really awake, he would have realized that Obama wants Americans to be stupid and poor. As someone once said, "Liberals want America weak, and government strong."
October 18, 2011
I'm with Obama on this one...
...One other thing: The White House announced we're putting boots on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa.
President Obama notified Congress that he's sending about 100 combat-equipped troops to advise African forces on how best to kill or capture (but hopefully kill) one of the truly hideous villains breathing today, Joseph Kony, and destroy his militia cult, the Lord's Resistance Army.
And Obama is absolutely right to do it.
The news was so sudden, unexpected and just plain odd that the reaction from both left and right has been hurried and confused. Many claims are simply wrong. For instance, the LRA is not a "Christian" militia. The LRA routinely burns down churches and slaughters the congregants, but usually not before raping and mutilating them.
Kony is a classic example of the charismatic terrorist cult leader. He blends indigenous witchcraft with bits of Christianity and Islam (soldiers pray the rosary and bow to Mecca) to brainwash his uneducated, terrified flock of hostages and child soldiers, many of whom were forced to murder their own parents....
Hopefully we won't be fooling around with taking prisoners.
October 17, 2011
We needed a giant, and are getting a pygmy...
...So far, Romney is, in fact, the best candidate actually in the race. I'm sorry, but there is something to be said for realism when you're dealing with, you know, reality.
But he's still not the guy. And just for the record, just to explain, the problem is not that he's a moderate per se. It's not that he has changed his mind from time to time. It's not even his failure to renounce Romneycare, so similar to the disastrous Obamacare. (After all, what's Obama's argument going to be on that? "His plan stinks as much as mine?") The problem is that Romney doesn't understand that we — America — the west — are in crisis: a crisis of debt, a crisis of confidence, a crisis of identity and ignorance wherein journalists, professors, politicians, and priests have become one with the moral idiots occupying Wall Street.
Go on Romney's website. Look at his proposals. There's nothing wrong with them, for the most part. They seem intended to repeal the Obama administration and set us back on the path we were on before. That would be fine if Obama were the cause of the crisis, but he's the symptom of the crisis, its incarnation as it were. Obama and his ideas are the creation of 40 years of moral error and political failure drip-drip-dripped into the consciousness of the country through our schools, news media, and culture. He could never have won our highest office if the electorate had not been bred by that error to foolishness, and then spurred to an act of panicked stupidity by a crisis that had already come. It's not Obama's presidency that needs to be repealed — not just Obama's presidency — but all the ideas that made Obama's presidency possible.
To do that, we need a man not just of policies but of vision, not just of proposals but of high ideals. A mere Romney might — might — take us back from the brink to which Obama has sped us, but that would only delay the fatal catastrophe. Worse, it would perforce recreate the exact same set of circumstances that got us into this mess in the first place....
I don't want to "set us back on the path we were on before." Because that puts the train-wreck back in our future.
Much worse than reported. Just in case you hadn't guessed...
...I've been spending as much time as I can down at Occupy Wall Street, listening to the speeches, reading the literature, talking to the organizers. Here's something to keep in mind: You'll hear in a lot of the conservative media that this is some kind of socialist/communist enterprise piggybacking on a populist protest. In reality, it is much worse than even most of the conservative media is reporting.
Almost every organization present at OWS is explicitly communist or socialist. Almost every piece of literature being handed out is explicitly communist or socialist. I don't mean half, and I don't mean the overwhelming majority — I mean almost all of it. Yes, there are the usual union goons trying to figure out how to get OWS to do the bidding of the AFL-CIO and the Democratic party, and the usual smattering of New Age goo (the "Free Empathy" table) and po-mo Left wackiness (animal-rights nuts), the inevitable Let's-Eradicate-Israel crowd ("Free Palestine, from the river to the sea!"). But, that being said, almost every organized enterprise and piece of printed material I have encountered has been socialist or communist. It's been a long time since I saw anybody peddling books by Lenin. It's been a long time since anybody told me the Ukrainians had it coming.
When the protesters were rallying to march to Times Square, out went the call: "Follow the red flag!" Which is what they did, literally and, I fear, figuratively....
October 15, 2011
Milton Friedman, From Capitalism and Freedom, p.3:
...The second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the county than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what my state does, I can move to another. If I do not like what Washington proposes I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations...
Wikipedia, on the Catholic teaching called subsidiarity :
...Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function. The principle is based upon the autonomy and dignity of the human individual, and holds that all other forms of society, from the family to the state and the international order, should be in the service of the human person. Subsidiarity assumes that these human persons are by their nature social beings, and emphasizes the importance of small and intermediate-sized communities or institutions, like the family, the church, and voluntary associations, as mediating structures which empower individual action and link the individual to society as a whole...It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 79
October 14, 2011
Is the fix in?
...There's no question that a national campaign would be a major disruption of family life for the Palins, and security issues almost certainly were factored into the decision. But political concerns had to have also been involved in what was ultimately a key decision involving the governor's political career. The words "at this time" from her official statement have been cited by some of her supporters as a clue that Sarah Palin, her family and her close advisors saw some new wrinkle in the political landscape that may have caused her to postpone her run, perhaps until 2016 or 2020.
You do not produce quality campaign ads like "One Nation" and "Together" simply to raise money for your leadership PAC or to build your image for public relations purposes. You don't cancel the southern leg of a bus tour that was to have included the early primary state of South Carolina because of family considerations, either. You don't have your lawyers make calls to early primary states to verify presidential filing deadlines unless you are still seriously considering a run. Likewise, you don't convene a round table with your closest advisors to map out strategy for a presidential run, unconventional as it may have been, if your aim is just to string people along.
No, something happened. We think Gov. Palin and her advisors sensed "a great disturbance" in the political force, probably at some point in September, that caused them to put on the brakes. Could it have been that they concluded that the fix is in for Mitt Romney? Consider Stacy McCain's bombshell Thursday that Cesar Conda, Sen. Marco Rubio's top staffer and a Romney loyalist, was instrumental in the Florida GOP's decision to move their state's primary up to January. The earlier states schedule their primaries, the more it helps Romney and hurts other candidates like Herman Cain. This revelation taken together with the GOP establishment's strategy to co-opt Sarah Palin's allies in the TEA Party, make it difficult to believe that such political factors as these were not involved at least to some degree in her decision not to run.
The primary shuffling will throw up obstacles that will be very difficult, if not insurmountable, not only for conservative candidates such as Cain, but also for any other candidate not named Mitt Romney. This had to have been a key factor in the political calculus of Sarah Palin, but don't doubt that it was a consideration for Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani as well. Not just political instincts, but good political intel were likely involved in all three of these decisions not to run. Christie's quick endorsement of Romney so soon after he announced that he would not get into the race indicates that not only did the New Jersey governor realize that the fix for Romney was in, but like any political opportunist, he was determined to use it for his own future political gain.
Unlike Christie, Sarah Palin is not for sale and neither are her core supporters. In his follow-up piece for The American Spectator, Stacy attributes the increase in Cain's poll numbers largely to Palin supporters jumping on board the Cain train following the governor's announcement that she would not run. But if you look carefully at the polling data, it's clear that Cain's rise is almost directly proportional to Rick Perry's decline. What Stacy seems to have missed is the fact that Sarah Palin's strongest supporters are in no hurry to jump to any other candidate's ship. Indeed, her own ship is not sinking. It has only lowered its sails "at this time."...
I've been getting e-mails asking me to join "Team Romney," or some such. They have the flavor of coming from someone already nominated. Gag me with a silver spoon. Man, how I hate this "Republican Establishment" crap.
Well, a lot of other people do too, and we aren't shuffling away. Time is on our side, because big changes are going to have to be made. You can't outrun the history train, bro.
October 13, 2011
Emblematic of a whole bunch of stuff...
One good thing about the colossal economic mess we are in is that it shines the harsh light of reality on all sorts of rubbishing ideas. One of which is wind power. I expect to be hearing a lot less about that in the future. Actually, the people who promoted wind power could reasonably be called mass-murderers, since the billions of dollars spent on it could have surely have saved hundreds-of-thousands of lives if used wisely.
...An eco-friendly school has been left £55,000 out of pocket after its wind turbine broke – with governors admitting that it was based on "completely unproven technology".
The company that installed the turbine has gone bust leaving the school with a pile of scrap.
The Gorran School in Cornwall revealed its 15 metre turbine in 2008 which was designed to provide it with free electricity – and sell any surplus power to the National Grid.
The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy for schools nationwide and received grants from various bodies including the EDF power firm.
But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up – showering the school's playing field with debris.
Since then the school has been locked in a battle with suppliers Proven Energy which has now gone into administration leaving the school with little hope of any money being returned – and a pile of scrap in their field....
One might be tempted to feel sorry for them, except that one knows darn well that any wind-power skeptics would have been made to feel distinctly unwelcome in their school. Like most liberals they do NOT want both sides of the story. One can imagine how puffed up and self-righteous they must have been over their stupid turbine. And think of the unrelenting brain-washing of the students that surely went on.
October 12, 2011
...I was exiting the main building, Infinite Loop One, and just ahead of me was Steve Jobs, walking with the usual spring in his step that never seemed to go away even as he started looking more frail. Bumping into Steve was a surprisingly common occurrence for such a large company as Apple.
Steve was heading towards a car parked next to the curb with its door open, waiting for him. The car was idling. A family was standing near the Apple sign outside the building, a common site for people to take photos on their pilgrimages to Apple.
The father turned to Steve as he passed close by and asked, "Excuse me, sir, would you mind taking our photo?"
Steve paused for a moment as an iPhone was extended to him, realizing that they didn't seem to know who he was. With a hint of enthusiasm, he said "Sure!" as he took the iPhone into his hands.
Steve took a great deal of care composing the photo, backing up a few steps several times, tapping the iPhone screen to lock focus, then said "Smile!" as he snapped the photo, grinning a little bit himself to encourage the family to follow suit.
He handed back the iPhone and they said "Thank you, sir" as Steve stepped into his car, closed the door, and was driven away. The family looked at the photo that Steve had taken and all agreed that it looked great. Then the iPhone was pocketed and they were on their way.
And that was the last time I saw Steve Jobs.
All your butter are belong to us...
Does this not encapsulate most of what's wrong with our world?
Charlene recommends (for heapings of contempt and scorn: NYC Mayor Bloomberg: 'Government’s Highest Duty' Is to Push 'Healthy' Foods:
...Speaking on the government's role in diet and health last week, Bloomberg told the UN General Assembly, "There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty."...
I shall dine tonight on roast beef and Scotch whiskey. I have a hunch bordering on a certainty that that's a much more healthy diet than the slop Nurse Bloomberg recommends. We spits upon them with uttermost contempt.
October 10, 2011
Has there been anything quite like this since... Watergate?
...WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder responding to his letter of October 7. The text of Chairman Issa's letter to Attorney General Holder is below:...
You need to read the whole thing to get the effect of accumulating outrages...
October 9, 2011
"The Occupiers were going to occupy Fleet Week! What could be more exciting than that?"
(Picture by me, Fleet Week, 2005)
This is especially funny to me, because we're here in SF, it's Fleet Week, the Blue Angels are flying about, and we are, like every year, loving the scream and bang of them, and hugging ourselves with pleasure thinking of how the nihilist slime-creatures are just hating this. (Pix from a previous year.)
It always amazes me that these fake protestors and fake liberals seem to delight in making themselves into horrid dirty children. Over the cliff of nihilist oblivion goes liberalism...
The "Occupy" movement claims to represent 99% of the people (hence their motto, "We Are the 99%").
The US military stands for everything the Occupiers oppose; it is after all the force which imposes the evils of capitalism on the nation and the world.
Wouldn't it be interesting if, as an experiment, we arranged to have the Occupy movement and the US military each hold events in the same city on the same day – and then see which one drew more visitors? If the Occupiers truly represented the 99%, and if the military really were the musclemen for the corporations, then it'd be no contest – right? And what if we even held the competition in the nation's most left-leaning city, just to give the Occupiers home field advantage?
Well, we don't have to imagine any of this, because it happened yesterday, in San Francisco. The "Occupy SF" protest group held yet another shindig in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street. And as luck would have it, San Francisco was at the same time hosting "Fleet Week," an annual celebration of all things military and patriotic, including performances by the Blue Angels, the US Navy's aerobatic team. Since the "Occupy SF" group was having a protest at the exact same moment as the Blue Angels show, this would be a perfect test case: Which is more popular?... [Photo essay follows. Don't miss.]
Thank you once again, Zombie.
October 8, 2011
A quote found at The Anchoress:
The Church will become small, and will to a great extent have to start over again. But after a time of testing, an internalized and simplified Church will radiate great power and influence; for the population of an entirely planned and controlled world are going to be inexpressibly lonely . . . and they will then discover the little community of believers as something quite new. As a hope that is there for them, as the answer they have secretly always been asking for.
-- Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World
I read that book a while ago, but didn't catch this item. There are many days when I think this is what's going to happen. It is a grief. Here's a paper I wrote, trying to jolt my parish into action. [Link.] Some people are actually interested in it, which is a breath of fresh air for me.
Gesamtkunstwerk. Or, "In the beginning was the Word."
As happens often, I start responding to a comment, and then realize I've written something more, and I make it a blog-post.
David commented here, (thanks!) concerning Steve Jobs....
I recall you, John, saying the iPhone is a work of art. I think that's the problem. It's only a work of art. Steve Jobs really only distinguished himself from the rest because he made things others made look better. I would find his cult following a little disturbing if he were selling something more dangerous than a glorified phone. The American Enterprise Institute has an article debunking all the nonsense equating Jobs with guys like Edison. Except for the design and operating system, what part of the iPhone was actually made by Apple?
I didn't mean "work of art" to mean something that simply looks good. Or a painting on a museum wall. I meant that it's a "total" work of art, including all its characteristics. Hardware, battery-life, OS, and engineering; all are part of the same totality. Apps, both in appearance and in how they function. The box the phone comes in and the stores it's sold in. Ads and web pages, and customer-service.
They are all of a piece. My phone is a splendid example of both form-follows-function and function-follows-form. It is what was once called a gesamtkunstwerk, a "total work of art." That's a term from my favorite period, around the turn of the 20th century. Architects or artists back then would, when possible, create a home and all its furniture, and the carpets and dishes and everything, sometimes down to the gowns that the women of the house should wear.
The iPhone is just as much a "gem" in its gritty hundreds-of-thousands of lines of code as it is in its slick outer appearance. I've had mine for 8 months and only needed to restart twice. Other than that it's been on non-stop. (Yes, I think it does work better than other phones. But that's not quite my point.)
I would add that Jobs' aesthetic and vision is not mine. I think that, like most modern art, the vision here is spiritually flawed. But that is because creative artists always reflect the true "self" of their time. And I think our time is out of joint in many ways.
It's not Edison that Jobs resembled, but Ford and Disney. The world-changing cheapness and simplicity of the Model T resulted from an obsessive attention to every single part, and every detail of manufacturing, all ordered and inspired by the vision of one man. The Model T was a "gesamtkunstwerk." Its aesthetic was not one of beauty, but one of freedom. Ford's obsession was freeing people, especially the American farmer. (When Lefties like Obama obsess about trains, they want to do precisely the opposite. The want us "inside the barbed wire." They want to put us back in the box.)
Also, I think the "cult following" thing is much overblown. The cult is fringe; most iPhone or Mac users just like their machines. It's the same with any cool product. There is a "cult" of BMW drivers, but most people who own BMW's are not cultish. I love my phone passionately, but there's an Apple Store a quarter-mile from me, and I rarely visit it.
"What part of the iPhone was actually made by Apple?" That's Industrial Age thinking. The physical parts of everything are becoming less and less important. Boeing is right now assembling its awesome new 787 Dreamliner out of sub-assemblies that are manufactured all over the globe. So who "built" a 787? What the heck IS it? What's real? I'd say what's real is whatever's written with the stupefyingly powerful CAD software Boeing, and each of its subcontractors, uses. If every person and machine and building and "thing" involved in making 787's were wiped out, our world could get the 787 production lines running in a year or two. As long as we have those CAD files. Without those Ça n'existe pas. But those files are art, part of the real art of our time. Ignore the rubbish on the walls of MOMA.
It is spirit that is real, not matter! And we see this everywhere. iPhones are "made in China," but Chinese companies are now starting to out-source production to Brazil. And it won't be astonishing if in a few years the Brazilian companies outsource parts to Africa or Indonesia. And in a few more years maybe your home 3-D printer will make you a new phone.
This is all around us, but we can't see it. We are blind. If I told you the Cosmos is the Word of God (as it is), you would think I'm indulging in obscure superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Yet you are swimming in that Truth like a fish who is unaware of water. Art is real, God is real, material "stuff" is just the fog tendrils about the bridge of dreams.
October 7, 2011
The Amazon.com Associates program is back...
...For California residents.
October 6, 2011
The self stuffed with the self..
Quote du zhoor...
"The word boredom did not enter the language until the eighteenth century. No one knows its etymology. One guess is that bore may derive from the French verb bourrer, to stuff [...] Boredom is the self being stuffed with itself."
-- Walker Percy
Found at an interesting blog, Bad Catholic
Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 PM | Comments (2)
Armageddon never happened--Media Silence Is Deafening
None of this is surprising. Gun control is never about reducing crime. And the gun-grabbers never even consider taking guns away from criminals first. (Or last, or ever.) They only want to disarm law-abiding citizens. Why? Because they are not the liberals they pretend to be. They are people-of-no-beliefs wearing liberalism as a disguise. To them, belief is a painful irritant, reminding them of something they are missing inside. The armed citizen symbolizes having things you are willing to kill for. here for, symbolizes belief in something bigger than the self.
Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Politicians predicted disaster. "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence," Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.
Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would "go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we'll settle it in the streets . . . ."
The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court's "unwise" decision that there is a right for people "to keep guns in the home."
But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn't rise after the bans were eliminated -- they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.
Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.
One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.
Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.
Similarly, in the year after the 2008 "Heller" decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.
It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington's size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall. ...
October 5, 2011
Thank you, Mr Jobs...
...CNN, being CNN, misses the point. Mr. Jobs's contribution to the world is Apple and its products, [instead of corporate philanthropy] along with Pixar and his other enterprises, his 338 patented inventions — his work — not some Steve Jobs Memorial Foundation for Giving Stuff to Poor People in Exotic Lands and Making Me Feel Good About Myself. Because he already did that: He gave them better computers, better telephones, better music players, etc. In a lot of cases, he gave them better jobs, too. Did he do it because he was a nice guy, or because he was greedy, or because he was a maniacally single-minded competitor who got up every morning possessed by an unspeakable rage to strangle his rivals? The beauty of capitalism — the beauty of the iPhone world as opposed to the world of politics — is that that question does not matter one little bit.
Whatever drove Jobs, it drove him to create superior products, better stuff at better prices. Profits are not deductions from the sum of the public good, but the real measure of the social value a firm creates. Those who talk about the horror of putting profits over people make no sense at all. The phrase is without intellectual content. Perhaps you do not think that Apple, or Goldman Sachs, or a professional sports enterprise, or an internet pornographer actually creates much social value; but markets are very democratic — everybody gets to decide for himself what he values. That is not the final answer to every question, because economic answers can only satisfy economic questions. But the range of questions requiring economic answers is very broad.
I was down at the Occupy Wall Street protest today, and never has the divide between the iPhone world and the politics world been so clear: I saw a bunch of people very well-served by their computers and telephones (very often Apple products) but undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system. And the tragedy for them — and for us — is that they will spend their energy trying to expand the sphere of the ineffective, hidebound, rent-seeking, unproductive political world, giving the Barney Franks and Tom DeLays an even stronger whip hand over the Steve Jobses and Henry Fords. And they — and we — will be poorer for it.
And to the kids camped out down on Wall Street: Look at the phone in your hand. Look at the rat-infested subway. Visit the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, then visit a housing project in the South Bronx. Which world do you want to live in?...
(The above artwork, from a screen-grab from my iPhone, means something. Explanation here. Hint. The book on the table is titled Random Jottings.)
Oh well, my heart's been broken before...
Charlene just called from the road, having heard Mark Levin's announcement, that Sarah will not be running.
I suspect she will go down in history as the great might-have-been of our time. I'll support whoever the Republican nominee is, but i doubt my heart will be in it.
Update: Charlene just came home and told me about Governor Palin's actual interview with Mark Levin. (You can listen to it here.) The word by Palin she mentioned was "unshackled."
I must say that gave me a happy wolfish feeling. Sharpen up the scalpin' knives, boys. I imagine that Lefty slime-animals and Establishment Republicans are hugging themselves tonight, and doing little happy-dances, and laughing that their filthy filthy tactics have brought her down. Well, she's been brought down twice before in her career, and both times it was the people who had the last laugh.
Unshackled. Game on, for blood.
October 4, 2011
Wow, it's like there's some invisible planet...
...Knocking the little planetoids out of their little orbits, and causing them to plummet into the Sun...
I can't imagine what this strange destructive force might be. How mysterious nature is!
October 3, 2011
No wonder I've been feeling chilly....
Speaks for itself. And remember, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise all the while. If you look at that World Climate Widget I keep on my sidebar, the magenta line that goes up and up is carbon...
October 1, 2011
Some thoughts, probably destined to go nowhere...
The people to whom I want to address thoughts like this don't want to hear them. Well, no one wants to hear that everything they know is wrong! (Except sans-culotte weirdoes like me.)
But I'll post this scribble here, and thus have it stored, like honey in the great Interweb beehive, in case I ever need it. It's just a sketch, it should be heftier, and explain things much more thoroughly...
LOSER HOLDING ACES
In the Great Poker Game, the Catholic Church in America currently looks like a loser, destined soon to be busted. I think the truth is that the Church is holding aces, but is simply blind to them. We are clinging to the recent past, and to the World's "wisdom," and can't see the possibilities that are on the horizon.
Our world is entering a new age. We have left the Industrial Age, and are being plunged into the Information Age. Everything is in flux. Many of the "models" society has used to guide our actions and understand the world are failing. For instance, the model of government we have been using is failing catastrophically, with (among many other problems) a large percentage of our governmental units effectively bankrupt—they will simply not be able to pay the pension and health benefits they have promised workers. This includes San Francisco and California, Chicago and New York. [The Adachi Commission pegged SF's unfunded pension liabilities at $6.5 Billion. In a city of 700k people. Utter madness. We will have to change our name to "Micawber-ville.]
This is not an coincidence or random happening. Rather, our model has failed to fit the reality of the new age. The Church is sleepwalking along with this, alas, and will probably share in the coming disgrace and confusion. But in fact she has stores of wisdom from her 2,000 years of pondering and collecting that could be very useful right now.
We could lead.
Another example [the subject of one of my previous papers-- Link.] is the way masculinity is in crisis in the developed world. Men no longer know "how to be men." If you look only at the surface, the Catholic Church has nothing to offer, since she has become all too effeminate, and manly men avoid her.
But we have the needed wisdom, I suggested, hidden in the bosom of the Church. We could lead.
Another example is the current dire condition of higher education. Most of the Catholic institutions seem to be as muddled as secular ones. But education in the West started in the Church, and she has other models that might be usefully applied. For instance, the institution of the university arose and became stunningly successful using a model where students paid the teachers themselves, spot cash, out-of-pocket. If a teacher didn't satisfy the "customer," he didn't get paid! And there was no administration at all.￼
New models are waiting to be born, and we could lead.
Yet another example. Industrial Age institutions tended (for good reasons) to be ponderous and bureaucratic. Information Age institutions must be nimble, quick to change and adapt. The Church today is very much the former type, and is probably doomed to horrible collapses and ruin because of it. But, she was originally something different. In the early days she invented "guerrilla marketing!" The early Church was agile, dispersed, decentralized and self-activating. The poor Romans were clueless. As fast as they killed bishops, new ones popped up. Today we like to say: "The Internet routes around obstacles." But the Church before Constantine did exactly the same thing. Before it was cool.
Similarly, globalization is an acid now dissolving cultures and tribes and nations and languages. But the Roman Empire was very much like that too. And most of the nations and cultures that the empire absorbed fell into decline. They ceased to grow or contribute as they had before. And, like today, many of those nations suffered demographic collapse. But the Church thrived and grew in that morass, creating a new "tribe" that anyone could join, that was protean, and not confined to any one place or class or culture.
We could lead.
I would suggest that the Church should always be "counter-cultural," in the sense of always being skeptical of the current models of thought, whatever they are. Catholics should be involved in everything, but captive to nothing. I doubt this is ever going to happen, but if it does it will get started in a time like this.
An engraving of St Anthony, by Albrecht Dürer.