“Gold loves bad news. When the economy slumps, lots of people suddenly wake up to the frightening, psychedelic truth that our entire financial system rests on the internationally abetted illusion that government-issued pieces of green paper have intrinsic value. To safeguard their riches against inflation or, as some have it, the collapse of Western civilization, these people buy large quantities of a soft yellow mineral that also has no intrinsic value.”—Changing to the Gold Standard and the Gold Rush in Klondike: Big Issues: GQ
There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. In 2011, unmanned systems carried out strikes from Afghanistan to Yemen. The most notable of these continuing operations is the not-so-covert war in Pakistan, where the United States has carried out more than 300 drone strikes since 2004.
Yet this operation has never been debated in Congress; more than seven years after it began, there has not even been a single vote for or against it. This campaign is not carried out by the Air Force; it is being conducted by the C.I.A.
“And coming up just behind them are those who, presented with a hamburger, reach for the knife and fork. Just pick the damn thing up. With your hands. Those dangly things at the end of your arms. Our hands are why hamburgers were invented. Just how uptight do you have to be to eat a hamburger with a knife and fork?”—Noisy eaters are my idea of hell | Life and style | The Observer
“We read books of narrative history and biography and get the impression that what made things happen, what shaped the story, was always sharply defined and clear, when in fact it wasn’t and more likely still isn’t. The real problem with the future is that it doesn’t yet exist, and the forces that bring it into existence are too complicated, too subtle and volatile and fractal, for us to know in advance — or ever.”—“Apocalypse Soon” by Daniel Baird | The Walrus | January 2012
“In The Night Garden – beautiful and subversive. I get a great sense of schadenfreude when the Tombliboos drink too much juice, and then get on the Ninky Nonk which then careers out of control through the woods and their pants fly off, landing on each other’s heads. The message is clear: the bourgeois now change political allegiance on a whim and those from all across the political spectrum have become interchangeable nincompoops. The grand utopian schemes of the 20th Century are now dead, the discrete poverty and nihilism of the middle orders can only be masked by credit based consumption and excessive alcohol and drug use, but the entire vehicle is coming catastrophically off the tracks. The Tombliboos still don’t understand that late capitalism cannot even afford a middle class, and that soon there will merely be the few that have and the many that don’t. And then no amount of Tombliboo Juice will allow them to blot this fact out.”—Menk, by John Doran - No Way to Control It, It’s Totally Automatic | VICE
There is a hole in my heart dug deep by advertising and envy and a desire to see a thing that is new and different and beautiful. A place within me that is empty, and that I want to fill it up. The hole makes me think electronics can help. And of course, they can.
They make the world easier and more enjoyable. They boost productivity and provide entertainment and information and sometimes even status. At least for a while. At least until they are obsolete. At least until they are garbage.
Electronics are our talismans that ward off the spiritual vacuum of modernity; gilt in Gorilla Glass and cadmium. And in them we find entertainment in lieu of happiness, and exchanges in lieu of actual connections.
A few months later, I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? “I never read any magazines or watch TV,” he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. “Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.”
Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in “black-hole resorts,” which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.
“Since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have killed just 17 people on American soil, all but four of them victims of an army major turned fanatic who shot fellow soldiers in a rampage at Fort Hood. (The other four were killed by lone-wolf assassins.) During that same period, 200 times as many Americans drowned in their bathtubs. Still more were killed by driving their cars into deer.”—Does Airport Security Really Make Us Safer? | Culture | Vanity Fair