- So the gent what runs Rocket Punk Manifesto was blatantly off-topic, and saying he wished the recession would force Americans to learn austerity. Dude, get with the 1970s. Austerity sometimes makes sense when you have commodity money, say gold. When you use fiat money, like we do, you're basically using consumer confidence as a monetary standard. Therefore, the less consumption and investment, the less your money's worth.
Apparently people make fun of Sarah Palin for wanting a return to the gold standard (which I hear she favors, though I've never heard it from her). It seems they don't know that doing that would let us pursue alternatives to consumerism. It would, of course, also slow growth, but nobody ever said economics was simple.
- Still oh-so-fascinating how many commentators don't know that capitalism means "system with an investor class". Though middle- and lower-class tax cuts are good for the economy, by driving up consumption, the ugly reality is that the biggest payoff comes from cutting taxes for the upper, investor-class. Because (and I know this is counter-intuitive) they then have more money to invest, in addition to engaging in purchasing just like the lower income brackets.
- Did anyone hear about Ted Turner saying the rest of the world should adopt China's one-child policy? Which, he claims is accomplished "without draconian measures". I'm curious to know what he considers draconian, if not the measures by which the one-child laws are enforced. Does he mean they're not using metallic dragons corrupted by priests of Takhisis? Because that's the only possibility I can think of.
The irony of all this is that CNN, which Turner owns, has reported on China's methods of enforcing that law. So apparently Turner doesn't watch his own network.
- So back when John Paul II died, and they were discussing the next Pope, Chris Matthews said "They're not going to elect the Grand Inquisitor."
The irony of that is, until the 1890s, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was known as the Roman Inquisition. So...actually, they did elect the Grand Inquisitor.
Not really a reality check but on a related note, until the late 1990s half the detectives in France's national police had "inquisitor" (inquêteur) as their job title. Now they're all called the other thing, inspector (inspecteur). Wouldn't you be mad if they changed your title? "Inquisitor" is the coolest job title ever!
- So routinely you'll find Orthodox writers saying Catholics don't value mystical, noetic experience of God, but, um, have you guys maybe heard of the Cistercians? You better tell 'em they don't value noesis, 'cause they sure think they do.
Huh, speaking of noesis (adj. form noetic), the opposite, discursive thought, is dianoia. Of which the adjective, I think, is "dianetic". Yeah, Hubbard didn't make that word up.
- So I'm not sure, but when people say "cerebral" science fiction, they seem to mean "soft". Firefly gets called "cerebral", Babylon 5 not so much—yet you can get doctoral dissertations out of Bab5, and not just in fake majors. Solaris, 12 Monkeys, Bladerunner—all of 'em could be based on Phil Dick books, and that last one is.
Now I'll be the first to say science's whole point is to render intelligence moot (that's the whole point of all systems of thought), but a complex, hard sf story requires more brain-work, if it's also going to be entertaining, than a dystopia or a time-travel story. Besides, the two most intelligent time travel stories never get called cerebral—mostly because they star Michael J. Fox and the duo of Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively.
- A word I learned from John C. Wright is "amphictyony", an alliance of tribes who share common ritual centers. I bring it up because for some reason I referred to Christendom as a state, and that's silly; it's plainly an amphictyony.
And that's also what the felinoids' "empire" is in my SF books, specifically a militocratic amphictyony with popular sovereignty and a strong executive.