Friday, March 30, 2012

All Hail, Crankocracy

Krugman makes a good point this morning (gleaned from elsewhere and he notes that).
...at least so far, the most visible effect of the Citizens United decision has been not so much a flood of corporate cash into politics as a flood of cash from billionaire cranks into politics. 
From Wiki, just to refresh your memory:
David Koch " is skeptical about anthropogenic Global Warming, and thinks a warmer planet would be good because "[t]he Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food...dislikes President Obama's policies. "He's the most radical president we've ever had as a nation... and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we've ever had."[15] Koch believes that Obama's father's economic socialism explains what Koch views as Obama's belief in "antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences."[15] Koch believes Obama himself is a "hardcore socialist" who is "marvelous at pretending to be something other than that." 
Sheldon Adelson owns and publishes  "a free daily newspaper to compete with Israeli, a newspaper he had co-founded in 2006 but had left.[7] The first edition of the new newspaper, Israel HaYom, was published on July 30, 2007.According to Target Group Index(TGI) survey published in July 2011, Israel HaYom, which unlike all other Israeli newspapers is distributed for free, became the number one daily newspaper (on weekdays) four years after its inception."
Just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Modernity: Can I Handle It?

Ran across the name Atossa Araxia Abrahamian today and decided to finally go ahead and keep track of all the exotic, fantastic names I run across on a regular basis on teh intertubes.
Atossa, or Abrahamian if you prefer, is author of Fact Check!, a pretty good survey of trends especially in light of the recent Mike-Daisey-makes-up-China kerfluffle. She is an editor at something called The New Inquiry, which seems to be staffed with a lot of young people who would qualify for the term hipster if that term meant anything at all.
They are young, they are hip or something, they are highly educated, broadly aware, hypercritical and probably mostly come from wealth, but who knows. The sort of people I imagined I must have wanted to be at some time, maybe about age 15, before I realized they really didn't exist. J.D. Salinger's children or something.
Anyhoo, while perusing The New Inquiry, I also ran across one Christopher Chitty, who is "pursuing a PhD in the History of Consciousness program at UC Santa Cruz. He writes on the antinomies in the historiography of homosexual thought."
And I thought, "I just bet he does."
I am old. I am not prepared.
Did I mention these people are smart? I had to tear myself away from a story that begins with the bewitching fact that the Occupy movement in NYC was lead by a former Israeli settlement activist.
Also, they have another writer named Kevin Breathnatch. Gotta love it.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

As Important As Einstein, A Woman?

Come now, how could that be?
Some consider Noether’s theorem, as it is now called, as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity; it undergirds much of today’s vanguard research in physics, including the hunt for the almighty Higgs boson
One of my favorite NYT science writers, Natalie Angier, explains.