Our editor recently stumbled upon an image in one of the more obscure corners of the intertubes which we felt we had to share with our readers. It provides us with a nice metaphor for the meaningfulness of government activity. First, here is a look at the picture – just quietly contemplate it for while and let it work its magic on you:
Yes, these two gentlemen are actually watering a tree in the middle of a downpour…
Photo via president.gov.by
Political Correctness Comedy
We have recently come across a video that is simply too funny not be shared. It also happens to dovetail nicely with our friend Claudio’s recent essay on political correctness and cultural Marxism. Since this is generally a rather depressing topic, we have concluded that having a good laugh at it might not be the worst idea.
How to most effectively create a “safe space” on campus
While checking on the US primaries a few days ago, we came across a piece of news informing us that pretend candle-swallower Ted Cruz had picked Carly Fiorina as his “vice-presidential running mate”. Our first thought upon hearing this was “WTF”?
The match made in heaven… two loooosers find each other.
Photo credit: AP
Experts Agree: It Is Not 2008
If someone were to ask us what year it was, we would probably politely answer that it was 2016, curious to find out whether the inquirer was a) very confused, b) had only recently awoken from a coma and was still unsure of his when-abouts, or c) was a time traveler who got temporarily lost.
In the unlikely case that we should find ourselves unable to remember the year with sufficient precision to ensure a reliable answer, we’d probably consult a calendar. We recently found out that a great many people actually seem to be uncertain about what year it is. Or at least many mainstream media appear to think so, as they have launched an intense awareness campaign.
Specifically, numerous people seem to think it is still 2008. Wish that it were so – we’d be eight years younger. It all started on 24 August 2015, when two publications apparently discovered independently of each other that is was no longer 2008 and decided that this information should be urgently imparted to the rest of humanity. It all started with marketplace.org admonishing its readers to engage in mnemonic exercises so as not to forget:
If you repeat it often enough, remembering it will eventually become second nature…
Photo via marketplace.org
Up and Down
MUMBAI, India – The Dow dropped 208 points on Monday – or about 1.3%. After last week’s pause, it will be interesting to see if the sell-off resumes.
“Global equities in turmoil,” reads a CNBC headline.
“A month after raising rates, Fed faces darker global economy,” suggests an AP newswire report. Neither of these is true. The world has not changed significantly in the last month.
What has changed? The squiggly lines are going down instead of up….
Photo credit: Richard Drew / AP Photo
Dead Letter Syndrome: Equality Before the Law
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi – the cavaliere – has been successful in fighting off legal challenges ranging from sex with minors to alleged tax fraud involving humungous amounts for well over a decade. On a number of occasions, the Italian State even created new laws specifically designed to keep the cavaliere out of jail.
Former Italian emperor, the irrepressible and highly entertaining cavaliere.
Image by Steve Bell
The Digital Commissar Beats Even Erdogan …
Austria boasts of a state-owned TV broadcasting company (the ORF), that similar to a handful of other European relics from the era when only governments were allowed to broadcast exists not on the commercial merits of its programming, but on the basis of coercion. Every owner of a device in the country that could conceivably receive broadcasts from a state-owned TV or radio station is forced to pay a monthly fee to the company, which not surprisingly pays some of the heftiest salaries available in the country (we have been told that it is also nigh impossible to get a job there unless one “knows someone”).
Austria’s state-owned broadcaster even has a special subsidiary (GIS Ltd.), whose sole task consists of ensuring that all device owners are paying up!
Photo credit: Die Presse/Clemens Fabry
The Man They Hate with a Passion
Euro area politicians and IMF bureaucrats really hate Yanis Varoufakis’ guts with a passion. The media are full with denunciations of the man as “unprofessional”, negotiators of the euro-group let it be known (anonymously, natch) that “it got to the point where eyes roll”, that they were “sick and tired of being lectured about austerity and the effects of the crisis”, in short, it was “impossible to do business with him”.
Why do they hate him so much? Allegedly, “any sympathy for Greece was eroded by his failure to draft concrete proposals.” Typical Mediterranean lazy bum is the message, in other words. Big on vacuous emoting, but doesn’t want to waste time on doing his homework (plus, he wears no tie … you have to be clad in the technocratic uniform if you want to be taken seriously).
The eurocrats really hate this one. They’re probably all trying to channel Tony G when they meet Varoufakis.
Photo credit: Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters
The Flip Side of Technological Progress …
One of our e-mail correspondents sent us the cartoons depicted below, a humorous look on a subject public awareness of which has grown quite a bit in recent years. Modern electronic communication is great, and it is amazing that the market economy has made advanced devices such as smart phones accessible to the masses, but sometimes one cannot shake the impression that people have become enslaved by all the gadgets that have become indispensable accoutrements of modern-day existence. In fact, you will learn below who’s really in charge…:)
We do sometimes wonder how people would react if the power were to go out one day …
Important fairy tale questions have to be rephrased …
Cartoon by Stahler
Japan’s Ministry of Defense Not Letting its Guard Down
Back in 2007, Japanese politicians were beginning to ponder how to defend the country against invading green men from neighboring star systems within the framework of the country’s pacifist constitution. Apparently a thorny issue, but at least the ministry of defense was on the case.
Hi there! (artist impression of a space alien from the Rigel II system)
Artful Rada Brawl Composition
The Ukrainian Rada (parliament) is well known for frequently erupting in brawls, which are often reflecting the country’s West/East divisions. Via firstmemes.com, comes a photograph of one of these brawls that is characterized by an excellent sense of composition, reminiscent of a renaissance painting.
Everything in the photograph is perfectly aligned along a Fibonacci spiral, a.k.a. the “golden spiral”, which is constructed from quarter-circles tangent to the interior of Fibonacci squares arranged in a rectangular array as depicted below:
A “golden rectangle” composed of an array of squares with sides of the length of the Fibonacci sequence. By connecting up quarter-circles tangent to each square, a “golden spiral” can be constructed.
We wish all our readers happy holidays and a prosperous and healthy new year. As we announced last week, the blog will go on a one week hiatus over the holidays until year end – unless something especially noteworthy happens that requires immediate comment (asteroid strike, Greek presidential election going awry, etc.).
We also want to extend a special thank you to all readers who have helped us with our funding drive over the past week – we are greatly honored by your generosity.
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