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In The News
Thursday, 2005 June 2 - 11:33 pm
No porn theme this time; just some observations on today's news.

Over on the Tokyo Times blog, there's been a few articles about the Japanese government's new campaign to save energy by allowing men to wear cooler clothing at work. By having everyone in just a shirt instead of a jacket, they figure they can reduce the amount of air conditioning they use.

Let me tell you something: Japan is ALREADY horrendously under-air-conditioned. Maybe I'm a spoiled American, but I find Japan in the summer to be an absolute sauna. It's humid, you have to walk around outside a lot, and there are millions of people crowded against you at all times. If I had a vote in Japan, I would vote for a massive public works project to air-condition the entire country, including the outdoors.

Another day, more deaths in Iraq. Today, it was 38 people in a series of attacks. I wonder, these days, how many Iraqis would prefer the stability of the Saddam government over the near-anarchy that exists today. The Bush administration emphasizes how much better off the Iraqis are with "freedom", despite all the terrorism and the death. But they use the exact opposite argument here in the U.S. when they push for the Patriot Act, or when they try to scale back the Geneva Convention. Freedom or safety: which is more important? Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

eBay is acquiring Shopping.com, a major Internet commerce site. This continues a string of acquisitions (including Rent.com a little while ago), making eBay into a true behemoth. It's really down to eBay and Amazon in the world of Internet commerce. It'll be interesting to see if anyone else can make any headway... perhaps Wal-Mart will try to use its supplier relationships to try to make a push. Or maybe Dell will try to capitalize on its streamlined distribution model. It seems like dot-com success always starts with doing one thing spectacularly well, and then building on that success. Google had the best search engine; Yahoo had the best directory service; and MSN... well, okay, the argument breaks down for MSN.

Scientists are experimenting with a 'trust' hormone. There seems to be some evidence that the hormone oxytocin stimulates people to become more trusting. It is naturally occurring, and is released during sex; its levels are also higher in women after childbirth. I think what will happen with these results is: (a) it will become the new rave drug of choice; (b) spammers will send out a billion emails advertising sources of it; and (c) the Bush administration will push to outlaw it, except when used on terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

Mormon crickets are invading Nevada. I didn't even know crickets were religious. They're probably so prolific because each cricket can have multiple wives.


Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: commentary

Comments

Comment #1 from Speaker (Guest)
2005 Jun 3 - 10:36 am : #
the mormon crickets are controlled by orson scott card!
Comment #2 from MonoCerdo (Guest)
2005 Jun 3 - 3:44 pm : #
That oxytocin story drove me crazy! First of all, how do you define and then measure something so ambiguous as the notion of trust? Secondly, the study! 50% (chance) of the sample showed more "trusting" behavior because they gave more money to the trustee? Maybe they're just bigger gamblers. I'm disappointed in you, Nature.

If anything, though, the Bush administration should love this stuff, since it's linked to monogamy in voles and mother-infant bonding after childbirth. And isn't that what we want? A nation full of monogamous, heterosexual couples who make lots of babies?

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