Wednesday, March 28, 2007

One more brief note

Well after another long drive (this time only 6 hours) we reached Arizona. California was fun, LegoLand was a blast. I particularly liked miniland, though I don't think the kids appreciated it as much. The had some pretty fun roller coasters that even the smaller kids could ride so that was a lot of fun, they also had this giant robotic arm attached to to chairs that flung and spun you all over creation, that was... interesting... Anyway the old girl just has the 11 hour drive back to Utah on Friday and her long nightmare should be over.

Till then

Monday, March 26, 2007

Brief Intra-Vacation Note

In case anyone was curious we made it to California okay. The real hero of the trip was the car (*knock on wood*). We'll pass 170k miles on the old van sometime between California and Arizona. Now it doesn't have the original engine or the original transmission, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of other things that could go out, for example the AC works...

The bi-monthly web publish I do, was suppossed to happen yesterday. I left detailed instructions for one of my co-workers, only to have the entire thing collapse when the guy in business development that starts the process didn't check in until 9 hours after we expected him to...

Anyway, not much exciting to report yet, Legoland is tomorrow, I'll let you know how it was.

Come on old girl, you can do it!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Going on Vacation

Not sure if I've mentioned it, but I'm leaving on a family vacation first thing tomorrow morning. I'll be back a week from today it would have been a week from tomorrow, but they're doing the testing for the magnet school this Saturday and next Saturday, so we had to either leave late or come home early. We let the #1 son, who's the one taking the test, choose. He figured he'd be too excited about the trip to focus if it was tomorrow.

My brother-in-law is getting his PhD down at UC Irvine, so part of the trip will be visiting them. While we're in SoCal we're going to hit LegoLand. Several people have raved about it, and most people say it's better than DisneyLand. I have yet to here any of our kids express any desire to go to DisneyLand, which surprises me, but I know I'll have a better time at LegoLand than DisneyLand. After we get done in California we're heading to Arizona to visit still more relatives, after which we'll head back to Utah, making sort of a grand loop. Everyone is really excited, more excited than me for sure. This is not to say that I'm not excited, merely that it's colored by worry about possible car problems, issues arising at work, unforeseen disasters, etc.

I'm sure you know the drill

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More Politics

Aozora mentioned one of the big political stories of the past few days. If you haven't already heard about it (or if you've heard about it but haven't seen the video) go to youtube and search for "Hillary Clinton 1984" it should be the first result. While the fact that this sort of thing would have been impossible in 2000 and difficult in 2004 is a big story, but I think it's more of a "scene" than the play itself. The play is the slow slide of Hillary Clinton. Everyone assumed that she was going to be the nominee. Sure people talked about how her high negatives might make it difficult in the general election, but no one was really offering up an alternative.

Aozora also mentioned Gore which fits into the "play" as well. I think he has done a pretty good job of maintaining his status as a presidential contender (unlike Kerry) certainly my liberal friends in New York felt like he was going to be the next president. But one wonders if he would be considered with anywhere near the same level of seriousness if Hillary wasn't looking so weak? Of course I think the revelations about his home electricity usage have taken some of the wind out of sails... But even bigger is the Obama story. I figured that he would be something of a flash in the pan (and he may still be after all we're still months and months away from the first primary), but he just keeps getting stronger.

Reading-wise, for my next book, I picked up "French Revolutions" by Tim Moore. It's about a 35-year old brit who decides to bike the entire Tour de France route, despite the fact that he can barely ride a bike, and has done almost no conditioning. So far it's extremely funny, though it got some definitely mixed reviews on Amazon, so we'll have to see. Also he uses a ton of british specific slang, so it's occasionally difficult to know what he's saying.

I was suppossed to donate platelets, since I'm finally not sick, but the last couple of days I started coughing again. I wouldn't worry about it, but it is producing some dark phlegm, so after talking to the med tech we decided to wait a little while longer. Needless to say I blame Ed.

Don't mess with the Murphy Forces

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I am Charlotte Simmons

Well the amount of work piling up on me that has to be done before I can leave on the family vacation has reached a crescendo, so I'm not going to have much time to blog. Plus I'm still reeling from the deep and incredibly cutting insults I got after yesterday's blog. First to be accused of "magical thinking" and then to have my deficiencies in logic and rhetoric pointed out... needless to say I cried myself to sleep last night.

Anyway after far too long (though in my defense I misplaced the book for a month or more) I finished reading "I am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe. It was a thoroughly depressing commentary on the state of higher education, and a pretty good novel to boot. It received mostly tepid reviews when it came out, and having not read any of Wolfe's other books I have no basis for comparison, but I'm glad I read it. Much of the delay in finishing came from parts where such horribleness was visited on the poor female protagonist that I had difficulty reading them.

What shall I read next?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fair and Balanced

As you may have suspected, ideologically I'm a libertarian, though you might say by background I'm conservative. Recently I've tried to more closely examine why I believe some things and not others. As an example why am I sympathetic to the minority view on Global Warming (and Cold Fusion), but scoff at the minority view that controlled demolitions brought down the World Trade Center? The simple answer would be that I'm from the same end of the political spectrum of the Global Warming Deniers and the opposite end of the spectrum from the 9/11 Truthers. I hope that's not the reason, I hope it goes deeper than that, but how can I be sure?

So I guess the question is how do you know the difference between being a brave iconoclast, speaking truth to power, and a guy in a tin-foil hat who's needs to have his medication increased? Part of it is how the debate is framed. In spite of what I said earlier it is obviously true that people hold opinions similar to the rest of the people in their ideological camp. But I would argue that rather than merely being a case of sheep-like solidarity what this really represents is that all of the people in the camp are viewing the individual issues I mentioned through the same larger world view. That basically you've all reached the same conclusions on the fundamental rules the world operates under and as a result you reach the same conclusions (or are sympathetic to the same arguments) as the other people in the camp.

So where does that leave me? What is it about my view of the fundamental nature of the world that leads me to reject the controlled demolition theory of 9/11 but embrace theories of global warming other than the anthropogenic one? Certainly there are rogue scientists who support both, there are ommissions and mistakes in both of the core documents (the NIST document and the IPCC one), the list goes on, so why do I believe one but not the other? I think it comes down to what is a fairly low level world view decision on my part. I distrust a simple narrative (particularly, and perhaps ironically if the simple narrative requires a complex explanation). So when someone says, Bush and Cheney being evil incarnate brought down the twin towers in order to usher in the new world order that's an example. Or similarly if someone says, "The Earth is warming, and Humans, source of all evil, are the cause," I'm going to be skeptical. Of course perhaps I'm just leary of overusing the word 'evil'.

The syringe of evil

Monday, March 19, 2007

No time

Well I don't have any time for a real post, but so deeply engrained is the habit of posting something that I figured I better toss something up here. Actually it's pretty big news: after being sick for over a month, I am ready to proclaim that I am finally symptom free... Yeah!!

My mental illness rages unabated

Friday, March 16, 2007


I was reading a book on writing by Orson Scott Card many years ago and he made an interesting observation. He said something along the lines of "to be a successful writer you have to simultaneously think that you're the greatest author since Bill Shakespeare and the worst hack to ever lay your left hand on the ASDF keys..." Okay I may have embellished it a little bit, but his point was to lay forth that particular dichotomy between an over-inflated and under-inflated assessment of your own abilities.

I briefly stepped off the curb into a deep puddle of depression (think Bill Murray in Groundhog Day... Is there anything that movie isn't an analogy for?) the other day. And I had cause to think of another, but similar dichotomy. I think in life, that by virtue of our unparalleled access to our own failings and short-comings, combined with the crushing weight of our own undeniable responsibility for each and every one of them, that we have a tendency to be very harsh in evaluating our own worth against what we judge to be the comparable worth of other people. That would be one side of the dichotomy the other side is that it doesn't take much looking around to determine that the vast majority of people are severely screwed up. That just being happily married and holding down a steady job with decent pay places me above the average. That in comparison to some of the colossal mistakes I could have made, the tiny ones I obsess about are, relatively speaking, pretty minor.

The former view is necessary if we're going to make any kind of improvement in our lives, while the latter is important if we're going to keep from descending into a Hamletian meditative paralysis of doubt and self-loathing. I imagine a more healthy attitude would fall somewhere in the center, but I appear to only be able to live at the extremes so I guess I need to balance the one extreme with the other. Am I the only one who suffers from the buffeting of these two hurricanes or do other people have similar issues?

I call my two hurricanes Ethel and Mavis

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On the ropes

I assume, if you follow the news at all you've heard about the scandal involving the White House's decision to fire eight US Attorneys. I think the biggest lesson we can take from this story is that the Bush White House is really on the ropes, or at least that's what I take from it. You might wonder why I say that, well the Clintons fired all 93, and yet no one seems to remember that, or mention it in reference to this current scandal. In fact if I hadn't heard about it briefly when I was watching Fox News Sunday I wouldn't have known. But it was just a brief aside during the letters part of the program, since then I've heard lots of coverage, but the Clinton parallel is never mentioned.

Yesterday I came across This editorial in the WSJ and they not only mention it, but they go into the details of why it was just as smelly, if not more so, than the current firings. Which brings me to my point. How is is that Clinton was able to deflect criticism so easily and effectively, so effectively in fact that people aren't even talking about it now? And how is it that Bush is so... clumsy?

Perhaps clumsy isn't the right word. Early I said he was up against the ropes. Certainly the black eye he got from Walter Reed, and the cancerous grown that is Iraq haven't helped matters. But even when Clinton was being impeached he was pretty bullet proof. Another possibility is that it's because of the liberal bias in the media. Certainly that's the answer most of the conservative news sources have offered up. I hesitate to offer up so pat an answer, though I was interested to see that Camille Paglia offered a similar and in fact much more brutal assessment:

It's as if Democrats, pampered and spoiled by so many decades of the mainstream media trumpeting the liberal agenda, are so shaky in their convictions that they cannot risk an encounter with opposing views. Democrats have ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time and 98 percent of American humanities professors to do their bidding. But no, that's not enough -- every spark of dissent has to be extinguished with buckets of bile.

She was talking about the recently canceled Nevada Democratic Primary debates which had been cancelled because they were going to be hosted by Fox News. About which she further went on to say:

Yet for Democratic presidential candidates, who will be assessed by voters for their ability to stand up to China, North Korea or al-Qaida, to run squealing from a Fox moderator as if he or she were a boogeyman with blood-dripping fangs makes the whole pack of them look like simpering wusses. Dennis Kucinich was quite right to express his scorn and offer to debate anyone anywhere and under any sponsorship. Nice job of skewering the sacred cow!

I any case I don't quite know why people aren't mentioned Clinton firing all of the US Attorneys when they talk about the scandal of Bush/Gonzalez firing 8. But I'm glad to see that I'm not the only libertarian (Paglia describes herself in an earlier article as a "pro-choice libertarian Democrat") that thinks the media might tilt a little left.

I tilt a little right, but that's just because one leg is shorter than the other

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Well since the last entry (the last few actually) have been so long I thought it would be in my best interest to keep things a little shorter so I'm just going to do a quick little list with some recommendations:

1- A great interview with Freeman Dyson - In particular check out what he says about global warming.

2- Stranger Than Fiction - My wife and I watched this movie last night and it was great. Dustin Hoffman in particular was awesome.

3- Shadows over Camelot - A great cooperative board game, where the players all take the role of Knights of the Round table and attempt to defeat the forces of evil, though one of them may be a traitor... Lot's of fun.

4- The Great Global Warming Swindle - Sure it has it's weak spots, sure the oceanographer they featured claims his views were taken out of context (and it's an hour and 15 minutes), but if you're interested at all in hearing both sides of the debate this is a pretty good start.

In the interest of following my own advice I just moved "An Inconvient Truth" to the top of my NetFlix queue...

That's all for now.

Just one more ant under the magnifying glass

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

PTA Anger

So I'm angry at the PTA (and the UEA, and stupid people, but let's start with the PTA). Of course my anger is not as great as it was last week, but that's how anger works, for most people anyway, I have a friend who manages to maintain a level of white hot incandescence, day in and day out, which is so great that he can't eat chocolate (except for M&M's of course, with their hard candy shell). But he's an exception. Obviously your question is from whence comes this anger? Well it's all about school vouchers...

You may or may not have heard that Utah recently passed the first universally available school choice program. It's actually fairly complicated, primarily to address the myriad concerns of schools and PTAs etc. etc. (though my impression is that there is no bill which could be passed anywhere, containing the word vouchers, however moderate which wouldn't send teachers unions into paroxysms of rage), though after a fair amount of reading I think I finally understand all the intricacies. (The best summation is here, it's a word doc)

Basically the only students not eligable for vouchers are students from high-income families who are already in private school (or home-schooled presumably). The vouchers range from $500 to $3000 based on income and family size. There are some regulations on the private schools, they have to be over 40 students, do certain testing, etc. But the big thing that I think most people miss (and leads to my important point) is that the schools continue to receive all the money they would otherwise receive for a student for five years or until the student would have graduated whichever comes first.

Not all of the money goes to the local school, as far as I can tell $1500 per student goes to the school and the rest goes into the general education fund. So here's the big important point, schools, educators, PTA, etc. are always whining about increasing per student spending. Well given that the voucher is going to be less than per student expenditures and that it doesn't even come out of the money set aside for education, and that in fact the schools don't even loose any money for five years but have fewer students to spend it on, doesn't this give them exactly what they have always claimed to want?!?!

In any case I haven't even gotten to the actual source of my PTA anger. So in any case the vouchers are now law, in response the various factions oppossed to vouchers, the UEA (Utah Educators Association, the PTA, etc.) have started a petition drive to get vouchers put on the ballot. Obviously the only reason they would do this is in hopes of getting the law overturned, if they were happy with it they wouldn't bother. But of course this isn't how they sell it. They had a table set up at the school program on Thursday, and their pitch was, "This isn't pro or against vouchers this is just so that we can get a vote on it." I guess I'm more angry at people who don't realize that if they're for vouchers it's in their best interest to not sign that petition.

I found out later that every school's PTA has been given a quota of signatures. This came out when they discovered that the signatures they got on Thursday did not count towards their quota. And while I did enjoy a brief moment of schadenfreude at their expense, I wonder how many people in the PTA like the idea of vouchers and think that they're working towards a relatively benign vote, rather than overturning a law they agree with? Of course don't even get me started on the whole monopoly issue and the analogy between Microsoft and Internet Explorer and the school system and the PTA.

Just call me Mozilla

Monday, March 12, 2007

Nuclear Waste

Obviously the biggest objection to nuclear power is the waste. First it's important to look at things from a relative rather than an absolute perspective, by this I mean one has ask not "How bad is Nuclear Waste?" But rather how bad is nuclear waste compared to the waste from other forms of energy generation. In the general course of operation coal fired plants release substantially more radioactive material into the environment than a nuclear plant. Once you start considering other pollutants and oil spills and the like it quickly becomes apparent that we can persumably tolerate some level dangerous waste from our power generation, the question then becomes is nuclear waste more dangerous or less dangerous than the waste we're currently already living with?

As I already mentioned in the normal course of operation it's clear that they are far cleaner than coal-fired planets, and if you're worried about C02 (and probably even if you're not) they're cleaner than oil fired as well. The problem of course is what to do with the spent fuel rods. Reprocessing eliminates a lot of that, but also produces plutonium which makes people start to worry about proliferation. The most popular idea is to bury it deep in the earth, at say Yucca Mountain, but this is where the thousands of years of radioactivity comes in, as the wikipedia article on the subject says:

One of the challenges facing the supporters of these efforts is to demonstrate confidently that a repository will contain wastes for so long that any releases that might take place in the future will pose no significant health or environmental risk.

And this is where I get angry, particularly with Global Warming Zealots, who often confidently predict apocolyptic disasters within the next 100 years from rising temperatures, but want 100% certainty that 2000 years from now nuclear waste won't leak into the ground water. I think the worry about long term safety is disingenious, what most people are worried about is having high level waste transported through their state/city/neighborhood, well here again the wikipedia article is illuminating. When one looks at all the measures they take to ensure zero leaks, one wonders what they're afraid of, certainly the same zero leak tolerance doesn't apply to oil tankers, and yet still people freak out at the idea of nuclear waste being transported near where they live. One imagines they've watched too many b-grade science fiction movies in the 50's.

The point I would make is that yeah nuclear waste is a problem, but not an insuperable one, and it presents no greater difficulties than the problems posed by all the other "backbone" power generation methods.

Well I'm out of time so I guess my other source of anger, the PTA, will have to wait.

A day late and many dollars short

Friday, March 09, 2007

Not enough time for all that I want for you

Well I wanted to speak to aozora's points on nuclear waste and I also wanted to vent some rage about the PTA's attack on the recently passed voucher law I witnessed last night, but I don't have enough time, particularly since I came in late today because I was volunteering at my kid's elementary, and I'm leaving a little bit early to go see 300 (on the IMAX). So if for some reason I should forget about these two topics when Monday rolls around make sure to remind me.

The rant has only been delayed not cancelled

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cold Fusion and Global Warming

It's been awhile since I talked about either Cold Fusion or Global Warming, but both have been on my mind a lot lately. I guess we'll start with Global Warming... Well I'm not sure if you've heard, but Mars is warming up too. What does this mean? Well at a minimum it would suggest that not all of the warming we're seeing is man-made, that some of it is natural. Of course one can now argue that it's even more important than ever to curb C02 emissions. I mean it's one thing if they're keeping us from descending into another ice age, but it's another if they're making a warm situation even warmer... I'm not sure I would make that argument, but it's out there if anyone wants to borrow it.

Here is the argument I would make... That I will not listen to anyone who talks about the severity of Global Warming (or Global Climatic Instability, or whatever) who is unwilling to consider Nuclear Power as a possible solution. Because you've immediately undermined your argument. You cannot with one side of your mouth say "Global Warming is the greatest threat humanity faces" and then say, "But no, we would never consider Nuclear Power as a possible solution, it's too dangerous." More dangerous than the "greatest threat to humanity"? Obviously you can't have it both ways, and if you try I'm just going to ignore anything and everything else you say.

Personally I think Nuclear Power is a good idea even in the absence of Global Warming. In fact I'm not only pro Nuclear Power, I'm pro Nuclear Waste! We've got these big, largely uninhabited deserts out here in the west, why not put them to good use and store nuclear waste here? This is where people start to look at me funny, but to be pro Nuclear Power without being, on some level, pro Nuclear Waste an hypocrisy only slightly less egregious than the one I previously mentioned involving Global Warming and Nuclear Power.

So here's the deal, you want me on board with the whole Global Warming thing? Make wide-spread adoption of nuclear power the central plank in your campaign and I'm your man. I'll sign petitions, I'll show up to protests, heck I will even storm the barricades. Leave Nuclear Power out and I become a borderline Global Warming Denier, because if the true believers don't think it's bad enough to reconsider Nuclear Power, how on earth can I believe it's that bad?

Of course this entire rant may be moot, since cold fusion could ride over the horizon and save us all. An article published just last month in Naturwissenschaften entitled "Further evidence of nuclear reactions in the Pd/D lattice: emission of charged particles" gives yet more proof that the cold fusion phenomenon is real. For those too lazy to follow the link, here's the abstract with the important parts bolded:

Almost two decades ago, Fleischmann and Pons reported excess enthalpy generation in the negatively polarized Pd/D-D2O system, which they attributed to nuclear reactions. In the months and years that followed, other manifestations of nuclear activities in this system were observed, viz. tritium and helium production and transmutation of elements. In this report, we present additional evidence, namely, the emission of highly energetic charged particles emitted from the Pd/D electrode when this system is placed in either an external electrostatic or magnetostatic field. The density of tracks registered by a CR-39 detector was found to be of a magnitude that provides undisputable evidence of their nuclear origin. The experiments were reproducible. A model based upon electron capture is proposed to explain the reaction products observed in the Pd/D-D2O system.

See! Nothing to worry about

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oldest of Seven

As aozora guessed, I am the first born, the oldest of seven in fact. There is of course great debate within my family (and presumably, if the average family size were not 3.14, the nation at large) whether it is more difficult to be among the youngest children, the middle children, or the oldest children. As a member of the latter group I'm predisposed to argue that we had it the worst, though I am sympathetic to the merits of the other group's arguments as well.

I think many of the arguments are the same regardless of the family. Generally the oldest feel that their parents were the harshest with them, and then mellowed as they had more kids. In retrospect given the general laxity of parenting in general, being dealt with more harshly has almost certainly turned out to be a good thing, but it's hard to communicate that to my sullen, past self, or even to my own children. There is also the issue of being thrust into a pseudo-parent role, that older kids in big families have. The record would clearly reflect that I changed more diapers than my two younger brothers, including cloth diapers, the grossness of which can hardly be hyperbolized.

To these two more general complaints I would add another, almost as widespread, that as the oldest you grow up during your parents poverty. I don't remember precisely what age I was when we got our first color TV, but I know I had hit double digits. Before that it was a 13" Black and White with volume adjustment that largely depended on jumping up and down near the TV and then forebearing movement in that room entirely once you had hit the sweet spot. This is not to say that we were poor, or deprived in any real sense just that those that followed had things better. Obviously I could go on, but those that, like me, were the oldest are already nodding along vigorously and those that weren't have already dismissed this entry as run-of-the-mill propaganda.

Could things be any more Dickensian?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The arrow of time

I was looking through a list of the unsolved problems in physics and was fascinated to discover that no reason necessarily why time should move forward. "Discover" is perhaps the wrong term, I think I had heard this before, but thinking too much about time paradoxes and the like, makes my poor little head hurt, so I'd blocked it out. I thought about this as I was preparing to blog today. I'm not sure why. Of course many physicists would consider this more of a philisophical problem than a physics one, but I think we're getting more and more of those as we probe the edges of our understanding.

I'm feeling very sleepy all of the sudden, which is odd since I've been getting tons of sleep lately. I suppose that it's something of a worrisome symptom to be so tired on top of everything else, though I think I may finally be getting better. I'm sure the fact that I finally decided to get plenty of rest has a lot to do with it. I still have a sore throat, but it's not as bad as it was the last couple of days, and my head congestion seems improved as well, so here's hoping...

Note to self: avoid the word "dull" when talking about your family

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lots of Sleep

I decided that I was finally going to kick this cold over the weekend. In the end I failed I still have a cold, but I did get quite a bit of sleep. I would estimate that I averaged 10+ hours a day... So other than that I didn't do a whole lot. I did take the van in to get it inspected, it passed safety, but after waiting for an hour and a half the Jiffy Lube finally came and told me that there emissions tester wasn't working... Obviously that was annoying.

Other that I played some Zelda, did some work from home (processes that took a long time to run but didn't require a lot of attention), went to church, and had family dinner up in Ogden. So overall a pretty dull weekend. In talking to my co-workers it seems that everyone had a pretty low-key weekend. Probably just that time of year. In any case before this entry becomes even more soporific, I'll wrap it up.

Congested and cranky

Friday, March 02, 2007

Another weekend

Well up until a couple of hours I thought I'd be doing the family campaign tonight, but it turns out there was a mix up, so I have nothing planned for tonight. It's kind of a weird feeling... I think I may spend the weekend trying to catch up with my sons on Zelda, not the most productive activity, but I think it could be fun. I do know I'm going to try and get plenty of rest. I feel like I'm close to finally licking this cold, and I really think 36 hours of sleep might push it over the edge. And if that doesn't work I guess I really should get in and see the doctor again.

I finally had a second to sit down and read the Penny Jar article Aozora linked to in his comments. As you might have gathered it was written by him, and it's quite good. The fundemental question he asks is "Why do we play?" I admit I ask myself that question a fair amount. I remember selling off all of my RIFTS books when I got married, because I was sure that I had at last reached adulthood and there would be no more time for any of that. But that turned out not to be the case. Still I've always felt a vagues sense of neo-puritanical guilt about my games, as if I play because I can't help it, but that if I were a better person I'd be reading Rabelais and writing the great american novel. Perhaps that's true perhaps it's not. Perhaps I need to accept that on one level gaming is one of the major things we do together as a family, and that whatever else it maybe, it's a positive force in that respect.

There are many things in the article that I identify with. The one that really made me laugh was that he felt personally responsible for the failure of Avalon Hill. I do that all the time, I'm sure that if Dreamblade dies an early death I'll never be able to forgive myself. One thing I didn't identify with was his ability to play the "day job game." But perhaps that's a skill I desperately need to learn. Definitely something to think about.

I keep playing this blogger game but I can't seem to beat it

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back Down the Rabbit Hole

Well my visit to the WTC site while I was in New York has pulled me back down the rabbit hole of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. It wasn't the visit per se, it was actually several conversations I overheard while I wandered the grounds, for a moment it seemed that everyone visiting alongside me was sharing their own version of "the coverup". Mostly people were talking about WTC 7, but there was one couple that were into a full-on "Bush and the New World Order" rant. I've heard many theories about why people have a need to believe in conspiracy theories, whether it's lending order to a chaotic universe, or crafting some grand narrative that fully explains the evil machinations of their political opponents, or the desire to be on the inside, a member of the select group that knows the "real" story.

However in my journey back down the rabbit hole I came across an even better theory. Left-wing journalist George Monbiot wrote a couple of articles that were very critical of the conspiracy and was led to assume that:

The obvious corollorary to the belief that the Bush administration is all-powerful is that the rest of us are completely powerless. In fact it seems to me that the purpose of the "9/11 truth movement" is to be powerless. The omnipotence of the Bush regime is the coward's fantasy, an excuse for inaction used by those who don't have the stomach to engage in real political fights.

This sounds about right to me. I would recommend reading both his original article and his follow-up rebuttal, despite the fact that he has a better claim to the "moonbat" title than most, he makes some excellent points.

I still believe in aliens, however