110)CLARKE'S FIRST LAW: If an elderly but distinguished scientist says something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.
Arthur C. Clarke New Yorker magazine (9/9/69) [OM]
753)CLARKE'S SECOND LAW: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke "Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" in Profiles of the Future (1962; rev. 1973) posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
109)CLARKE'S THIRD LAW: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke "Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" in Profiles of the Future (1962; rev. 1973)
Commentary and Variations
751) Perhaps the adjective 'elderly' requires definition. In physics, mathematics, and astronautics it means over thirty; in the other disciplines, senile decay is sometimes postponed to the forties. There are, of course, glorious exceptions; but as every researcher just out of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!
Arthur C. Clarke comment on Clarke's First Law in "Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" in Profiles of the Future (1962; rev. 1973) posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
752) When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion - the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
Isaac Asimov comment on Clarke's First Law Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (c.1977) posted by Joachim Verhagen [UAQ] (4/24/95)
111) When an official declares something false, chances are that it is. When he or she says it is absolutely false, chances are it is true. [...] The overemphasis sticks out like Pinocchio's nose.
Jack Rosenthal "On Language: Frame of Mind" New York Times Magazine (9/21/94)
647) Clarke's Third Law doesn't work in reverse. Given that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," it does not follow that "any magical claim that anybody may make at any time is indistinguishable from a technological advance that well come some time in the future." [...] [T]here have admittedly been occasions when authoritative, pontificating skeptics have come away with egg on their faces, even within their own lifetimes. But there have been a far greater number of occasions when magical claims have never been vindicated. An apparent magical claim might eventually turn out to be true. In any age there are so many magical claims that are, or could be, made. They can't all be true; many are mutually contradictory; and we have no reason to suppose that, simply by the act of sitting down and dreaming up a magical claim, we shall make it come true in some future technology. Some things that would surprise us today will come true in the future. But lots and lots of things that would surprise us today will not come true ever.
Richard Dawkins "Putting Away Childish Things" Skeptical Inquirer (Jan-Feb/95)
754) Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
Gehm's Corollary to Clarke's Third Law posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
755) Any sufficiently retarded magic is indistinguishable from technology.
Gehm's Other Corollary to Clarke's Third Law posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
1402) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from doubletalk.
George Alec Effinger SF-LIT mailing list (10/11/95)
1013) Any sufficiently advanced chaos is indistinguishable from Usenet.
"sig" (signature) of Andrew Hackard, seen on rec.arts.sf.written (6/10/95)
1057) Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.
Kulawiec (attributed) posted by Kevin Harris [UAQ] (6/16/95)
[OM] - The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations (1991) [UAQ] - Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 562 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.
SurveyUSA has released a poll done quickly tonight [Monday], measuring public reaction to the Libby commutation. The results among those respondents familiar with the case:
60% say the prison sentence should have been left in place.
21% agree with the commutation.
17% say Libby should have been pardoned entirely.
Among respondents, 55% were familiar with the case. And 40% of Republicans said the prison sentence should have been kept in place, along with 77% of Democrats and 56% of independents. The margin of error was 3.4%.
[Thanks to Peggy]
People who are all wrapped up in politics, and full of outrage for the state of the country brought about by Bush and Cheney and the Republicans, will undoubtedly be upset that only 55% of people polled were familiar with the Libby case, but it doesn't much suprise me. I've been saying for many months now that the Libby case (and indeed the entire Plame scandal) is not the kind that catches the interest of the general public, which is why it was never going to be "bigger than OJ" (as some have claimed), would never "bring down the administration," and why any claim that the scandal "has legs" is not supported by the evidence.
But that's not what's important about it anyway, and whether Libby goes to jail or not is inconsequential in political terms (although, of course, if justice were the only concern he would).
It's true that the whole thing has done some damage to the administration, and for that we can be thankful, but the damage is not fatal, nor is it really significant. It's more that it serves to confirm opinions that people have formed because of the war in Iraq, Katrina, etc. rather than that it has opened any new wounds. It also helps to confirm what is becoming the new conventional wisdom in the press -- that the Bush administration is on its last legs. That in itself is not a bad thing, but the press can whipsaw back and forth pretty quickly, so I think it's more significant in that as long as the media is touting the administration's weakness, the Democratic party will be more emboldened, especially around the edges, and the coherence of the Republican party will continue to fray. Those are factors which can have significant impact.
I see the situation more as the drip, drip, drip of the so-called "chinese water toture", or the legendary straws added to the camel's load that eventually breaks his back. We shouldn't be looking for (or working towards) dramatic incidents, the big splash, but instead keep the water dripping and the straws coming, so that when the 2008 election rolls around, not only will be Bush administration be thoroughly discredited and tainted, but also the entire Republican party at the national level. Now that's a goal that not only possible to achieve, it's hard to see how we can avoid it -- unless we aim too high and screw things up royally, so that the backlash revitalizes them.
I think the Democratic leadership, at least, if not necessarily the energized rank-and-file, understands that, judging by the way they've behaved since taking over Congress.
Still, it's best not to do too much on the basis of the media's turning on Bush. In baseball, they say that a player is never as good as he appears when he's on a tear, or as bad as he appears when he's in a slump, and I suspect that this applies to the state of the Presidency as depicted in the press. I would remind everyone about the whole "The President is still relevant" flap during Clinton's second term, after the GOP had remarkable gains in a mid-term election. The press depicted Clinton as toast, and this was a factor in the emboldening of the GOP which led to the whole impeachment mess. In fact, Clinton wasn't toast — almost no President would be with the kind of power and influence invested in that position — and impeachment turned out to be overreaching for the Republicans. The public didn't like it, and didn't want it, and Clinton was saved from potential ignominy.
Perhaps we should learn from history and not make the same mistakes? The press is very down on Bush right now, but they'll get bored with that stance soon enough, and if the Dems give them any excuse to the media will pounce on them again.
Sure, pressure needs to keep being applied to the media to tell the truth, but it should come not from the center of Dem power structure, but from semi-independent operations like Media Matters, Move On and so forth. That's what turned the press to the right in the first place, continuing attacks on it from the right-wing fringe before the fringe became the center of Republican power, by which time the press was so gun-shy about being "liberal" that they compensated by moving to the right.
As opposed to the past, when reporters thought of themselves as standing in opposition to power, mainstream reporters these days seem to identify with those in power, and favor them. I don't think that's so much a matter of political ideology as it is a difference in the psycho-social status of the job of journalists. Once they were outsiders, people looked on as scum who were raising themselves up from the lower classes; now, they come from the innermost core of our society, the college-educated suburban middle class, and (to generalize wildly) they're comfortable with social hierarchy because they come from a pretty good spot within it. That means they're more like to identify with those in power (Dem or Republican) and those with power then they are to challenge them.
Democrats have got to keep that psychology in mind when they try to manipulate the media.
I note that currently Google News is showing articles on flooding in India and Pakistan, Nigeria, central and northwest China, Australia, the northern UK, and the Plains States here in the USA.
That's a fair amount of flooding, on five of the six inhabited continents. I'm not sure if it means anything, but it's interesting, at the very least -- and it also provides more proof that satire is getting harder and harder to differentiate from reality.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.