Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘retrograde human stupidity

Another Great Tom Toles Cartoon

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Via Ezra Klein, as usual.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Late Night Wednesday

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* Obama’s terrible offshore drilling announcement has inaugurated another round of opaque speculation about whether he is a inverterate weakling, a cynical pragmatist, or a master strategist. Maybe the pop-up book told him to do it.

* Relatedly, from James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change.

* Benen and Kos separately debunk assertions that there is no racism in the Tea Party movement.

* Just ask Richard Burr: Health care will not be repealed.

* The University of Washington tried to organize a debate on whether the health-care reform bill is constitutional. But it couldn’t find a law professor to argue that it isn’t, reports the Seattle Times.

* And, in GQ, all about Shatner.

High-Speed Whatnot

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That we are allowing this to happen is beyond stupid. China is a poor country with nothing comparable to the tremendous research, industrial and economic resources that the U.S. has been blessed with. Yet they’re blowing us away — at least for the moment — in the race to the future.

Our esteemed leaders in Washington can’t figure out how to do anything more difficult than line up for a group photo. Put Americans back to work? You must be kidding. Health care? We’ve been working on it for three-quarters of a century. Infrastructure? Don’t ask.

This article from the New York Times on China’s stimulative high-speed rail projects, and this column on the green economy from Bob Herbert, has spurred quite a bit of commentary in the blogotubes, including this hyperbolic declaration from Open Left that China is now the most advanced country on the planet. Like Kevin Drum I’m skeptical that nation-state competition is the right frame for this discussion—and like Kevin Drum I’m perfectly happy to pretend it is if that would get results from our incredibly short-sighted political institutions.

When the history of the decadent stage of the American empire is written, there will be multiple chapters devoted to our steadfast refusal to invest in either technological infrastructure or the basic well-being of our citizenry, in both good economic times and bad.

Fox News

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Fox News (yes, they still exist) is actually telling people that Barack Obama isn’t president because John Roberts botched the oath of office. Via Ta-Nehisi Coates, though it must be noted that Shankar predicted this would happen during the inauguration itself.

UPDATE: TPM has the video, which makes it clear that this is a case of what the Honorable Al Franken (Sen-MN) used to call “kidding on the square.” Via C&L.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

‘Global warming, peak oil and ubiquitous computing’

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William Gibson: the Rolling Stone interview.

In the past ten years, we’ve seen incredible advances in nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Does any of it amaze you?

My assumption has always been that at some point we would lock on to a literally exponential increase in human knowledge. That was my best guess, somewhere back in the Seventies. There hasn’t been anything that made me sit back and say, “Golly, I would never have imagined that.” The aspects of recent history that have caused me to do that have been, in every case, manifestations of retrograde human stupidity.

How do you mean?

It’s been an extraordinarily painful decade or so. I just never in my wildest dreams could have imagined that it could get as fucked up as this guy [George Bush]. It still amazes me how dumb so much of our species can manage to be. But that’s kind of like being amazed at life.

Does any of it scare you? A new synthetic life form or nanobot running amok?

That could happen. It could all go to gray goo. But it just isn’t in my nature to buy a lot of canned food and move to Alaska and try to escape the gray goo.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 9, 2008 at 12:22 pm