Monday, November 26

The hypocrisy of "pardoning" Thanksgiving turkeys

In his discussion of this absurd ritual, unemployed negativity cites The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, The Death of Teddy's Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantánomo by Magnus Fiskejö, who explains what actually happens to the turkeys:
The chosen birds are killed because they have been engineered and packed with hormones to the point that they are unfit for any other purpose than their own slaughter and consumption. They are fast-forward turkeys. Presidential turkey caretakers have explained that most succumb rather quickly to joint disease—their frail joints simply cannot bear the weight of their artificially enhanced bodies.
"Pardoning" Thanksgiving turkeys was ridiculous to being with, given that it makes a mockery of those unjustly imprisoned in general, and in Obama's case in particular, underlines how few human pardons he has actually granted, not to mention the fact that the president, like many other Americans, eats turkey anyway. But like so much in modern life, to me it seems to be no more than meaningless ritual (although Fiskejö would disagree).

Wednesday, November 21

The most influential book in Western economics?

From Yang Jisheng: The man who discovered 36 million dead (Paul Mason's article on Yang Jisheng, author of Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine):
He had stumbled on Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom in a library and chuckles with mild scepticism when I tell him it is probably the most influential book in Western economics:

"Before I read Hayek, I had only read works the party wanted me to. Hayek says that to use the state to promote a utopia is very dangerous. In China that's exactly what they did. The utopia promoted by Marx, even though it is beautiful, it is very dangerous."
The most influential book in Western economics? Or what Kate Zernike saw as one of a number of once-obscure texts by dead writers?

Thursday, November 15

Getting harvested.

So I just watched the first episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (I've got to say I just don't see what the excitement was about). Anyway, recently I've seen a few bumper stickers for something called "Harvest Crusade". Any connection? but then Memrise has something called "Harvest", too.

Saturday, November 3

An astonishing resurgence
Today, the eastern third of the country has the largest forest in the contiguous U.S., as well as two-thirds of its people. Since the 19th century, forests have grown back to cover 60% of the land within this area. In New England, an astonishing 86.7% of the land that was forested in 1630 had been reforested by 2007, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Not since the collapse of Mayan civilization 1,200 years ago has reforestation on this scale happened in the Americas, says David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest, an ecology research unit of Harvard University. In 2007, forests covered 63.2% of Massachusetts and 58% of Connecticut, the third and fourth most densely populated states in the country, not counting forested suburban and exurban sprawl (though a lot of sprawl has enough trees to be called a real forest if people and their infrastructure weren't there).