The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, September 22, 2008

Intervention from without

The Cedar Lounge has a wide-ranging and interesting post on current issues as reflected in science fiction. If any editors of critical magazines or fanzines have a space to fill ...
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Now, here's the plan ...

The US Government takes on
one trillion dollars of toxic debt, which it will finance by borrowing from
the People's Bank of China which will in turn take it out of the hide of an increasingly militant working class whose formative political experience was
the Cultural Revolution.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stimulus and response

Pic: today's FTSE, from the BBC.

Well, that shot in the arm seems to have worn off real fast. Every day or two, the governments or the banks do something unprecedented to calm the nerves, and the traders are all relieved until they think, 'Hang on, that means things are worse than we thought!' and suddenly they're singing 'My Heart Will Go On' again. And then the next fix comes along.

A couple more of weeks of this and Alasdair Darling will announce that everybody now has a land grant on the Moon, and there'll be maybe five hours of lunatic speculation before shares dip again. The week after that, Henry Paulson will announce that from now on all currencies will be based on the Higgs boson and traded at the Large Hadron Collider, and all will go swimmingly until somebody thinks, 'Wait a minute, does that mean there's something weak about the quark?' and from then on it's just dark matter all the way down.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More reviews

Two more good reviews of The Night Sessions: by Lisa Tuttle in The Times and Daniel Coysh in the Morning Star.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nerd Plug

Those nice people at Soft Skull Press have sent me a copy of the War Nerd's book. It's good, even if (like me) you've read most of the content in his compassionate columns online.
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Sunday morning sermon

I recently attended a talk on evolution and creationism by Edinburgh student humanist Stuart Ritchie. It was good.

I'm pleased to report that Stuart didn't make use of any dubious anticreationist debate tactics, such as those deprecated here:
Anticreationists are frequently uncivil and even hostile. Many of them often come into a forum lying from the very beginning, are easily angered, and complain if they are not heard. They are experts at guilt trips. Some are swift to use cuss words and are also swift to call other people names. And always have to have the last word. Engaging in a discussion with such a person requires diplomacy that is not natural to the human condition, and may only be available to someone truly able to demonstrate Christ-like love.
I know the feeling.

From the same source, we learn some fascinating physics, and even more fascinating biology:
All elements in the universe (periodic table) get their properties based on their combinations of 3 specific sub-atomic components (a trinity). Protons, Neutrons, & Electrons. No element has the same combination, in other words Gold has 79 protons, 118 neutrons, 79 electrons while [17] Carbon (man) has 6 protons, 6 neutrons, 6 electrons or 666. This will be the number in which the Antichrist will be identified by. And because a clone does not have working sexual organs, this explains why a cloned Antichrist will not have need for a woman.
And there are some misguided people who will tell you that creationists have no scientific discoveries of their own to contribute!
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Friday, September 12, 2008

The future, hitting me upside the head again

Cosmonaut Keep has a blog.
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Comrade Bush

Picture credit: The White House.

President George H. W. Bush carried out what was then biggest single nationalization in history with the Savings and Loan rescue. President George W. Bush has now effectively nationalised even more property than his illustrious father.

This was not, of course, the result of any excess of leftist zeal:
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so large and so interwoven in our financial system that a failure of either of them would cause great turmoil in our financial markets here at home and around the globe,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., at a Washington press conference. “A failure would be harmful to economic growth and job creation. That is why we have taken these actions today.”

This explanation irresistibly reminds me of the words of Frederick Engels:
The period of industrial high pressure, with its unbounded inflation of credit, not less than the crash itself, by the collapse of great capitalist establishments, tends to bring about that form of the socialization of great masses of the means of production which we meet with in the different kinds of joint-stock companies. Many of these means of production and of distribution are, from the outset, so colossal that, like the railways, they exclude all other forms of capitalistic expansion. At a further stage of evolution, this form also becomes insufficient. [...]

In the trusts, freedom of competition changes into its very opposite — into monopoly; and the production without any definite plan of capitalistic society capitulates to the production upon a definite plan of the invading socialistic society. Certainly, this is so far still to the benefit and advantage of the capitalists. But, in this case, the exploitation is so palpable, that it must break down. No nation will put up with production conducted by trusts, with so barefaced an exploitation of the community by a small band of dividend-mongers.

In any case, with trusts or without, the official representative of capitalist society — the state — will ultimately have to undertake the direction of production. [...]

The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Seeds of Change

This morning I received my two contributor copies of this fine anthology. As physical objects they are just beautiful: small-format hardbacks with clean, clear print. The book has its own website with lots of goodies and extras, including sample stories and its very own magnificently scientifictional YouTube trailer.

Already argued about on BoingBoing and noted on io9! Several of the authors have recently taken part in a Mind Meld!

Get hip to the 21st Century! Buy this book!
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Where are all the women of genius?

Right here, with us now, and been here all along, says Richard Carrier.
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