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The Madness of Mankind

(My apologies to Arthur C. Clarke for stealing the title of chapter 19 of his book 3001: The Final Odyssey for my lead.  I’ll get back to him in a moment.)

It’s been a rough week in the Ratlands, and it seems unlikely to get any easier in the near future.  That’s not a complaint, just a bit of explanation.  In the midst of it all I’ve been thinking about this medium (the blog) and while I have no illusions about my impact on the greater world, I find I can’t give it up.  It’s sort of like my relationship with Thunderbird (the cheap fortified wine, not the Mozilla e-mail client).  I know it isn’t good for me, but sometimes I just can’t resist the cheap thrill.  Maybe it’s nostalgia for days long gone when I had a certain passion about ideas or the sure and certain knowledge that I was right, rather than my current sure and certain knowledge that there is very little sure and certain knowledge.

So, no essay tonight, as the one I’m working on isn’t finished and I’m getting ready to go back to work.  Instead, a few tidbits from the day.

First (via the Register), arms manufacturer BAE Systems is apparently introducing a “lead-free” bullet.  These bullets offer

clear advantages over the traditional variety which “can harm the environment and pose a risk to people”

Call me provincial, but I’m not sure bullets that don’t pose a risk to people are worth manufacturing.  Sort of defeats the purpose.

Second, (sorry,no links as you’ve already read it a dozen times) the world was stunned (he said in feigned shock and dismay) as members of the Religion of Peace erupted in violence against Christians in various parts of the world after the Pope made reference to an obscure theological text from the 1300’s that suggested that Islam is inherently violent. 

Who’d a thunk it?

Finally, I leave you with Arthur C. Clarke’s definition of an Intellectual:

Someone who has been educated beyond his/her intelligence.

In the words of a bad TV commercial from my misspent life:  “Time to make the donuts.”

Update:  on a more positive note, go see what some college kids from the University of Cambridge managed to do with a weather ballon, some electronics and a camera a couple of weeks ago.  The pictures are amazing.  Register article here.  Project website here.

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