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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Maggot Brain

You doesn't see this in any of the news stories but GW Bush went to a science-centered junior high school and once again embarrassed us all [transcript]. If you can find the audio, he plainly addressed it as "Parkland Maggot Middle School for Aerospace Technology" in front of the likely bewildered students.

Producer Kathy on Mike Malloy's radio show figured that even if Bush had pronounced the school's name correctly, he would have probably thought it referred to those things you stick on your refrigerator door. ("Adhesion is important for a strong Economy")

In the name of edumucation Bush spewed out all sorts of cosmic slop. He talked about advanced technology:
We saw robotics.
and space technology:
We saw people using little devices to look for sun spots. We saw the analysis of a parabola curve for sixth and seventh grade students.
  • "little devices" = "a hole poked in a piece of cardboard"
  • "parabola curve" = "rate at which Bush rises to new heights in incompetence")
And this:
I don't know whether you realize this or not, but the Internet began as a Defense Department project to improve military communications. In other words, that was an area where the federal government spent research money, and out of that research and development came the Internet, which has substantially changed the way we live. The iPod, interestingly enough, was built on years of government-funded research in microdrive storage and electrochemistry and signal compression. Isn't that interesting? I find it interesting.
MP3 signal compression advances courtesy of the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.

And to think they gave Al Gore grief to rightly claim his important role in steering funding money toward NSFNet.

But did I mention that Bush learned a new exciting word today?
Science is not only cool, it's really important for the future of this country, and it's great to have people we call adjunct professors here, to help lend their real-life experiences to stimulate junior high students to the wonders of science.
Second, we ought to have 30,000 math and science professionals in our classrooms over the next eight years. Today I met two; they're called adjunct professors.
Actually, the transcript doesn't do him justice.

To dismiss this consensus, you have to believe in a vast conspiracy to misinform the public that somehow embraces thousands of scientists around the world. That sort of thing is the stuff of bad novels. Sure enough, the novelist Michael Crichton, whose past work includes warnings about the imminent Japanese takeover of the world economy and murderous talking apes inhabiting the lost city of Zinj, has become perhaps the most prominent global-warming skeptic. (Mr. Crichton was invited to the White House to brief President Bush.)

So how have corporate interests responded? In the early years, when the science was still somewhat in doubt, many companies from the oil industry, the auto industry and other sectors were members of a group called the Global Climate Coalition, whose de facto purpose was to oppose curbs on greenhouse gases. But as the scientific evidence became clearer, many members — including oil companies like BP and Shell — left the organization and conceded the need to do something about global warming.

Exxon, headed by Mr. Raymond, chose a different course of action: it decided to fight the science.
Synopsis: "Fear of a Scientific Planet"

Crooks & Liars:
MATTHEWS: [W]e've been struck by higher gas prices. That was another promise made, that this war would help us get cheaper gas —

BARTLETT: I don't think...

MATTHEWS: None of these promises come through.

BARTLETT: That's not correct, Chris. The president or no one else ever said that this war was going to result in cheaper gas prices…

MATTHEWS: Ok, so just to make it official, Dan, no one in the administration has ever said that we would have cheaper gas because of war in Iraq, just to make it official?

BARTLETT: I don't recall anybody ever saying that, Chris.

Funny that after all that nonsense, that the following sounds rather sane. The Marc Maron Show discusses Peak Oil with author Kevin Phillips.
"We lose our infrastructure which is based on oil .. and the entire lifestyle of the country is at risk"


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