Sunday, February 15, 2009

Various Things Going on in the World

Some good, some bad, some that will make you wonder about the state of our world.

Hugo Chavez won a referendum to eliminate term limits, allowing him to become "President for Life." Such a thing, of course, could never happen here...

North Korea claims that it is planning another rocket/missile launch.

The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been delayed again, this time to no earlier than February 27.

The signing of the oh-so-urgent stimulus bill will have to wait until Obama gets back from a three-day weekend. This is actually a really dumb idea. The longer the bill remains unsigned, the more the public will have a chance to read it (but then, why should they bother? The Senate voted for it, and most of them didn't read it, either). And one must ask: if retail sales are making a comeback without the stimulus bill, is the bill really necessary??? I ask that question at work a lot, and I usually get in trouble for it. So it goes.

Speaking of Obama, it looks like he might be dumping the "car czar" idea, allowing senior members of his staff to make decisions on how to run private-sector companies instead. And I must ask: once a private-sector company accepts partial government ownership, is it truly a "private sector" company anymore? Businesses should find other ways to ride out the recovery, because as soon as they accept government money, the public, the media, and (most importantly) the government will have an expectation that Washington will dictate what the company will do. A gentle reminder on the definition of socialism:

[A] social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members. [Emphasis mine.]

And I am still thinking long and hard about the social, political, economic, and cultural impacts of Ray Kurzweil's "Singularity." Again, I'm not doubting that such a thing is possible (though it interests me that my friends who have more scientific and technical training do doubt it). Rather, I question the desirability of the Singularity. Nevertheless, I look forward to the answers Dr. Kurzweil provides to the questions that I, Darlene the Science Cheerleader, and our readers pose to him this week. I will post his responses (or a link to them) when Darlene and I receive them.

Sayonara for this evening. Let's be careful out there.

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