“Christmas is over and Business is Business.” — Franklin P. Adams
THE NEWS GOES ON
Got an update yesterday from Ryan Dawes on the state of the WFHB news department.
Things are running fairly smoothly in the wake of former News Director January Jones’ resignation earlier this month. Assistant New Director Alycin Bektesh has been bumped up to acting ND and Dawes is now acting Assistant ND. He’s still keeping his day job at Rock Paper Scissors music promotion.
Dawes hopes grant prospector Joy Laughter can dig up some foundation dough to pay for an intern who can take over transcribing city and county meetings from CATS Week videos.
The hunt for a new ND goes on. I’ll say GM Chad Carrothers and the WFHB Board will be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Bektesh.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
I’m not revealing an Earth-shattering secret when I say credit card companies are run by evil geniuses.
It’s a sure bet they’re working at this very moment on a protocol that will monetize the air that we inhale during the 45 seconds or so it takes us to complete a charge transaction.
The only people in this crazy, mixed-up world who can approach them in creative deviousness are the shadowy figures who call themselves Anonymous.
Dr. No Would Have Made A Fine Credit Card Company Exec
Anonymous recently hacked into the Austin, Texas-based Stratfor company’s internet servers. Stratfor is part of the global security-intelligence-complex that threatens to turn our little planet into a cheap dystopian science fiction novel.
Stratfor’s Home Page At 7:45am EST
Rumors abound that Anonymous gained access to the credit card accounts of Stratfor’s customers and then made unauthorized contributions to do-good charities via those cards. The things Anonymous does may technically be crimes but I say, Keep on breakin’ the law, babies!
Anyway, NPR’s Linda Wertheimer reports this morning that those credit card companies damn well won’t take criminal charity-giving lying down. She interviews an expert who says the credit card companies not only will hit the charities up for the dough that was given them but — get this — they likely will levy stiff fines against said do-gooders!
And just in case you’ve forgotten, credit card companies are the loudest of critics of any proposed regulations on the banking industry.
WHO DO THE GUYS ON OTHER PLANETS PRAY TO?
Okay, give me props. I behaved myself during the just-concluded Christmas season. I endured the barrage of communiques urging me to celebrate the birth of the son of the mythical creator of the Universe (as well as to engage in a venal orgy of consumer greed — because, you know, that’s what “He” would want).
Honoring The Father And The Son
I didn’t scream or kick or withdraw into a cocoon.
But now it’s my turn.
NASA’s Kepler telescope, which is scanning our little corner of the Milky Way galaxy as we speak, has confirmed the existence of 33 planets orbiting neighboring stars and is studying more than 2300 other probable planets. Part of Kepler’s mission as it circles the Earth is to find those extra-solar planets that reside in what’s called the Goldilocks Zone, the area around a star in which a planet might conceivably support life.
Even cooler: Kepler has now identified a couple of planets in the Goldilocks Zone.
Remember, Kepler is really a primitive planet finder compared to what we Home Sapiens sapiens will have in a few decades. Expect a flood of Earthlike planets to be discovered in our lifetimes.
That means a lot more chances for intelligent life to have evolved all around the Milky Way.
Heck, one day we might even evolve into intelligent life.
TESLA IN THIS MORTAL COIL
Speaking of alien lifeforms, Nikola Tesla was as odd a bird as ever bobbed into a research lab.
He developed the alternating current electrical system and an early form of radio in addition to dozens of other innovations. He was a brain on two legs.
Sadly, though, that brain was a tad faulty. He was obsessive-compulsive, would only stay in hotel rooms with numbers divisible by three, had a phobia of germs, avoided pearl earrings, and surrounded himself with pigeons (some have speculated he was even sexually aroused by them). Oh, and he was celibate.
He was, in short, nuts.
Tesla’s not as well known as Thomas Edison mainly because Edison was somewhat sane, if predatory. Edison is reputed to have screwed Tesla out of money and credit for his electrical advances.
My old pal, the green economy maven John Wasik, is working on a book about the man, entitled “Unlimited Power: The Secrets of Nikola Tesla.” He spoke about Tesla recently at a Midwest gathering of Serbian-Americans (Tesla was an ethnic Serb born in what is now Croatia.)
Tesla isn’t well known here, but EVERY Serb I’ve ever met has heard of him, as he seems to be the most famous of that group. Wonderful book by Jill Jonnes: “Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, And The Race To Electrify The World.
Tesla was an definitely an oddball, but Edison comes across as a malicious crank, repeatedly electrocuting horses, dogs, even an elephant, in a traveling carnival of death, trying desperately to prove how lethal Tesla’s and Westinghouse’s AC was. And, of course, how benign was Edison’s own DC. Excellent read.
Re: Tom Edison, you should read about his vicious Patent Wars over photographic film, motion picture cameras, and motion picture projectors. This guy was determined to corner the market on everything technological, and did pretty well at it with terror and property destruction. Them’s the good ol’ days. Today, a behemoth will buy your idea and your company, and suppress the design.
The Anonymous hack rumor of charity donations reminds me of a good movie from about 25 years back — “Midnight Run,” where Charles Grodin is an accountant who embezzles a big chunk of cash from the Mafia and gives it to nuns and orphans. (The movie follows bounty hunter Robert DeNiro trying to transport Grodin in handcuffs across country while multiple parties pursue. Terrific buddy movie.)