07
May
08

Mid-week misanthropy, vol. 2

There’s enough stupid going around lately that I can profitably make this an ongoing series.


We begin with the Atomic Nerds taking on hysterical Michael Crichton readers:

Seems that some folks in Hawaii are worried that new CERN experiments with the Large Hadron Collider will destroy the Earth! Or create a vast rift in time. Or cause a virus from space to let the dinosaurs loose. Or something. Naturally, they’re suing — and when that fails they’ll probably take it to the UN.

CERN responds with delightful snark:

Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”

The LHC is cooler than a bottle of tequila riding a motorcycle. Fire it up.


Moving on, we find that the apparently useless video footage of a young woman being assaulted has been destroyed by fuckup:

Here’s how it happened:

The system uses old black-and-white cameras using VHS tape that records over itself every two hours, and that’s how the evidence was lost.

SkyTrain is in the process of converting to a $1.8-million digital system that will store data for seven days.

Oh, good. My tax dollars at work.

(Just an aside: a system where monkeys count on their fingers is technically “digital”. I suppose one shouldn’t expect either reporters or SkyTrain bureaucrats to know shit-all beyond buzzwords, but it’s still disappointing.)

Of course, those SkyTrain bureaucrats don’t believe that there’s a problem:

But SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey is not convinced the current system’s 800 cameras prevent crime, nor that there’s a communication problem with police.

“You know what? I think we’ve got an aberration here, frankly. There’s nothing here that would say strategically we’ve got a problem. If we do, we’ll make the corrections.”

I presume that first clause is miswritten, and that SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey is in fact convinced against all evidence that the current system’s 800 cameras prevent crime. The evidence keeps pouring in — if you care to look for it — that “strategically you’ve got a problem”, sir, and given the parameters you’ve set yourselves you simply cannot fix it.


Finally, this ball of irritability wouldn’t be complete without a comment on Senator Clinton and her stubborn insistence to put McCain in the White House.

The careful reader may recall the P.J. O’Rourke commencement address to which I linked a few days ago. One of O’Rourke’s central points is that a rich and principled individual can do much more good than a poor and principled individual:

Don’t chain yourself to a redwood tree. Instead, be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you cheat the IRS, you’ll still end up paying $100,000 in property, sales and excise taxes. That’s $100,000 to schools, sewers, roads, firefighters and police. You’ll be doing good for society. Does chaining yourself to a redwood tree do society $100,000 worth of good?

(Taxes? Surely one can do better than that. Anyway.)

The politically interested reader will no doubt already know that the Clintons are richer than stink, and that Senator Clinton considers herself (in her present incarnation, at least) a scrappy populist fighting Big Money for the good of the Common Man.

So it makes perfect sense for her to use still more of her own money to further her narcissistic demagoguery, rather than actually to do some fucking good with it. Marko writes:

How many school lunches could you have bought with that? How many midnight basketball programs, soup kitchens, and college scholarships could you have financed? How many health care premiums, food vouchers, or heating bills could you have paid for the poor, downtrodden folk you’re trying to bribe into voting for you?

I don’t begrudge anyone their fortune, and I don’t claim the right to tell anyone where, when, and how to spend their own money, but damn. If your platform involves harping on the selfishness of the wealthy, and threatening the extortion of money from my pocket to pay for the ailments of the less fortunate, you had better lead the way by example.

Brilliant.


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