Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

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Archive for January, 2007

The Heinlein Voice

Posted by hyperpat on January 29, 2007

I re-read Heinlein’s Friday last week, and then started reading Melanie Rawn’s The Ruins of Ambrai, and was struck by the difference in the reading experience between the two works. With the Heinlein, I found myself reading at something like 700 wpm, whereas Rawn’s work slowed me down to somewhere around 400. Both works are good. Why is there such a difference?

An analysis shows the following points:

1. Heinlein’s choice of character names makes for easy reading. He consistently picked names that are both easy to pronounce and assimilate, and he was very careful about it, as in many of his works, the names he chose have meanings relevant to the story, or are allusions to either literary or historical characters. Now when trying to portray an alien, a far future or fantasy culture, it certainly provides a distinct ambiance if your character is named “Gnzdhnt” or some other combination remarkably lacking in vowels, but it also means that every time you eyes run into the name, your brain does a mental hiccup as it tries to process this strange thing. Even Heinlein’s aliens had easy names, such as The Mother Thing (PeeWee’s name for her, as her real name was effectively unpronounceable by mere humans). But Heinlein very rarely named individual aliens; most of the time he merely had names for the species, which were just as simple (the ‘Bugs’ of Starship Troopers or the ‘stobor’ of Tunnel in the Sky). Along these same lines, Heinlein would normally call a rabbit a rabbit, not a ‘mammalian grass nibbler’ or worse, a ‘gazellion’ to try and give an other-worldly feel to things. Made-up words do a lot to slow the reader down.

2. Heinlein’s works are very heavily dialog oriented. Reading conversations between characters usually goes faster than other kinds of discourse, partially because there is usually some amount “Hey, how’re you doing?” and other such trivial lines present in conversation, but also because heavy philosophical musings must be presented in such a manner that the ‘audience’ (i.e., the other person(s) who make up the conversation) can follow the logical thought process. This means that when Heinlein got on his soapbox (frequent), he almost invariably sprinkled these types of ramblings with concrete examples, analogies, mini-stories, and parables. Which makes following all this as a reader much easier.

3. Limited description of the surroundings. Some authors can carry on for twenty pages describing the interior of one room, a sunset, or what he had for lunch. Heinlein does not do this, except in the case of the lunch – it’s quite noticeable, especially in later books, how many times he does go into detail about what was on the menu. But as far as describing other things, he is almost invariably brief and to the point, describing just enough of the surrounding that you know where you are, but without making you wallow in endless trivia about it. Which means that the plot gets to move forward that much more rapidly. As his characters get about the same level of physical description as the surroundings, this also has a side-effect of allowing the reader to imagine themselves as the narrator, or to put their own fanciful ‘dressings’ on the character, which certainly helps with reader involvement. It can also lead to a little bit of a shock, when you find out that Juan Rico of Starship Troopers is from the Philippines, or that Rod Walker of Tunnel in the Sky is black.

4. Along the same lines as his approach to description was his general use of the English language. Some have described his prose as ‘folksy’ or American Colloquial, but I don’t really think this is true. He uses almost no slang terms, and neither does he often use a polysyllabic word when a simpler one is available, but his overall vocabulary level is fairly high. However, his use of rare words is just that – rare, and only used when they served a point. What his prose most often strikes me as is a written example of a Mid-Western radio announcer, almost accent-less, treading that middle ground where most people can easily understand what is said, without feeling that they are the object of condescension. The one great exception to this was The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, done in his own made up future Lunar dialect, but even here the ‘flavor’ is more a case of left-out prepositions and definite articles plus a few well-known foreign language words.

5. Technical info-dumps is one area where a great many sf writers fail, often presenting such information in large expository blocks that interrupt the story flow, and just as frequently fly over the reader’s head. Heinlein tried very hard to integrate such information directly into the story line and make it comprehensible to people who do not have a technical background. The long chapter on the care and maintenance of space suits in Have Space Suit, Will Travel is a prime example – all the information given about these things is relevant to later plot developments, and this chapter is structured so that each piece of information develops naturally from the problems the narrator runs into. Heinlein was not always so good at doing this; his first novel, For Us the Living, is actually a pretty good example of how not to do it. But he got much better with practice.

6. Heinlein’s plots, characters, and settings are done very straightforwardly. No fancy stylistic gimmicks, his use of symbol and metaphor was very limited, most of his stories are told in a quite linear fashion, and his characters, while almost always very intelligent and resourceful, feel like your neighbor across the street, or that voice just inside your skull. This does not mean that his stories had no deeper meaning, merely that, while reading it, only the immediate story need concern you. It’s when you close the book that you find yourself thinking (a lot) about what he was driving at.

7. The situations and societies that Heinlein portrayed were almost always simple extrapolations of trends obvious to even casual observers of our current world. They are worlds that it is very easy to imagine existing, and yourself living in them. That last impression was mightily aided by Heinlein’s trick of presenting the future gee-whiz gadget as merely an item of commonplace everyday living.

Heinlein has, at times, been ignored or excoriated by various critics for some of the above writing traits. To some critics (not all, by any means, but too many of them to ignore), if a work does not advertise its ‘high art’ status via vocabulary, style, or lots of buried meaning, it is not worthy of consideration. To my mind, at least, story must come first, and all these other traits must remain subsidiary to that story. Heinlein, I think, never forgot that.

Posted in Books, science fiction, Science fiction and fantasy, SF, Writing | 7 Comments »

What Makes the World Go Round

Posted by hyperpat on January 24, 2007

Money is the root of all evil.


Just what would we do if we didn’t have it? Go back to barter? I’ll trade you one battleship for 3000 cars – and if you can make that work, you’re a magician. Money is a concept that facilitates civilization by allowing a proper evaluation of the relative worth of resources and labor, and allows an easy transfer between parties for those things that each party wants. And it is a concept,  not the physical bills and coins that are material manifestations of it. Which is why some ninety percent of today’s transactions are actually accomplished merely by manipulation of some numbers in a computer somewhere. By having money, all the problems of barter can be avoided (just where are you going to store those 3,000,000 bushels of wheat you just traded your orange harvest for, and what do you do when you don’t have anything the other party wants?).

Now some people think that paper money must be backed up by some physical resource, such as gold, to retain its value. Not so. The only thing that really keeps ‘money’ valuable is trust by all parties involved that their paper bills can be traded at any time for the things that they really want. When a government starts printing paper bills without regard for whether the economy is actually producing goods and services, the net effect is to ‘cheapen’ the relative value of the currency. Taken to excess, this can lead to hyperinflation, and the eventual collapse of that ‘trust’ in the money’s value. Alternatively, if the bill-issuing authority doesn’t make enough new money to account for the value of new things that have been produced, we get too many goods chasing a relative declining amount cash, with deflation as the result. Also not a good thing. Somewhere in-between is the happy ground where the number of ‘markers’ (money) available matches the real value of the goods and services the economy produces.

When a government spends more than it gets in taxes, it is effectively printing money without regard to the economy’s productive output. Now a certain amount of this is actually good, if that extra money is spent on infrastructure and services that the country really needs (and often the value of what is produced by government spending is not counted in the net asset value of the government – when was the last time you saw a line item that listed the value of the interstate highway system?).  But when the money is spent on projects that do not benefit the economy but only certain small special interest groups, trouble arises, as what is now being set up is a transfer of value from the larger population to a small group – and the larger group, when they get wise to this, quite naturally object, as this is effectively theft. Many a revolution has hinged on such inequities.

But is this caused by having money? Can we say that money causes people to act in unsocial ways, causes them to be greedy and insensitive to the needs of others? I don’t think so. People are people, and even caveman Ugh could be greedy, long before money was invented. I think I prefer to live in a world where my labor can be evaluated for its worth, and compensated for in a manner that makes it easy for me to obtain what I want.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics | 1 Comment »

A Plausible Nightmare

Posted by hyperpat on January 18, 2007

Put Jurassic Park and The Stand together and what you would have bears some frightening resemblance to a current research project that has recreated a version of the 1918 Spanish flu, which kill some 20 million people. The virus was recreated via genetic analysis , of a man who died of the flu in 1918 and was frozen in an Alaskan burial ground, similar to what was done in Jurassic Park to recreate the dinosaurs. Current tests have been conducted in a maximum bio-hazard facility, and the results indicate that this virus’s virulence is exactly as advertised, killing mice and monkeys in remarkably short periods. Part of its potency seems to derive from a property that makes the immune system go into overdrive, when the defense the body puts up gets carried away and kills other cells than just those infected with virus.

Now just imagine what would happen, as in The Stand, if this virus would somehow escape the facility. Back in 1918, human mobility was comparatively limited to today’s, when people can hop on a plane and be half-way around the world in hours. The virus would spread to almost everywhere in a remarkably short period, in spite of every effort to contain it. While our understanding of how these things work is much greater than then, effective treatments are still limited after infection occurs, and dealing with a true pandemic that might infect as much as half the world population is not something we have good preparation for.

This might not be a civilization killer, but it would certainly rock the boat pretty heavily.

Worse, having this virus around means there’s one more item on the terrorist’s shopping list. Now the research needs to be done if we want any hope of someday being able to eliminate or at least mitigate the effects of viruses like this. And even if this particular virus never gets out of the research lab, others out in the wild have the potential to mutate into something similar. So we do need to be prepared. But I do hope that when we’ve learned all we can from this particular strain, we have enough sense to completely destroy it.

Posted in Books, Science & Engineering, science fiction, SF | 1 Comment »

Word Addiction

Posted by hyperpat on January 12, 2007

Due to some incidents at the house, my wife imposed a restriction on my reading time here lately. This was intended to get me out my normal space, and more into an interactive mode. What’s it’s done is turn me into a something resembling a addict trying to de-tox. Nervous, jittery, pacing all over the floor, with a brain that keeps running around in circles trying to figure out what to do. I mean, those synapses get very upset when they don’t have new input to keep them firing!

Now I normally read at about 450-500 words/minute, occasionally kicking up to about 1000 wpm for certain kinds of material. Coupled with my normal reading time of about 1-2 hours/day, this works out to something like 30 – 60 thousand words a day, which gobbles up the average book in 2-3 days. Which does put a dent in the budget of something like $100/month, as I normally buy all my new reading material in hardback, and the library is hopelessly inadequately stocked with the types of things I like to read (and this doesn’t count the books my wife buys – she may not read as much as I do, but her library shelves are fairly well stocked, too).

So this enforced period of non-reading has saved me a little money, and it’s been an interesting time, filled with more talk and family activities than has been typical, which are not a bad things. It has also meant a little more TV time, something I usually only pay attention to for about two shows/week plus maybe a movie. Which has made me a little more aware of just how much advertising has invaded the network schedule – what used to be 1-2 minute commercial breaks has now morphed into, in some cases, 5 minutes at a crack, by which time I’ve forgotten what was happening in the show. And the average show content just isn’t enough to keep my little brain cells happy, except for a few shows like Jeopardy and Nova.

So I’ll be glad to get back to my normal reading schedule. I’ll just remember to be a little more attentive when other things need to be done or said, and be willing to put the book down at a moment’s notice.

Posted in Books, Daily Happenings | 8 Comments »

Social Relativity

Posted by hyperpat on January 11, 2007

Are there moral absolutes? The average person would probably say yes, and list murder, theft, rape, and incest as examples of things that are always wrong. But are they really?

Let’s take murder first. Our laws recognize ‘justifiable homicide’ for some case of this. Under certain provocations, we recognize that murder may be a reasonable and justifiable action, such as catching someone trying to rape your wife, when your own life is in danger, performing a legally sanctioned execution, killing an opposing soldier during wartime, killing one member of group to save the rest, ‘a crime of passion’ where it can be argued that you are not totally sane at that moment, and possibly a few other cases. Nor is this restricted to just US laws, but similar items are found in most countries, and historically most cultures have allowed for something like the cases mentioned. So clearly ‘murder’ is not an absolute no-no.

Theft also has cases where it may be considered justified. In general, those situations where the theft would ameliorate a worse condition, such as stealing food when starving, fall under this umbrella. At one point, theft of your enemy’s horses was considered not just OK, but an action to be strived for in some American Indian cultures.

Rape may possibly be the closest to being considered wrong in all societies and times, but even this act was at the very least condoned by many armies, and offered as part of the rewards for fighting. And in many cultures the man, as supreme power, used rape as a means of emphasizing his absolute authority, or to enhance his reputation with other men by performing such a boastable act. I will note that almost all the cases where it is considered ‘acceptable’ it is in a totally male dominated culture. I know of no cases from the female side that think this action is acceptable.

Incest really doesn’t even belong in the same category as the rest, as it does not involve non-consent by the ‘injured’ party (note I’m not talking about ‘power’ situations in some families between father and daughter – these situations fall more under the rape category than here). It’s basis for being considered ‘wrong’ is that it can often lead to deformed/crippled children due to bad gene reinforcement. But some cultures had some very prominent cases of it, most visibly in the Egyptian and Hawaiian royal lines, and these were not only socially acceptable, in some cases Egyptian royal ladies had no one else they could marry other than their brothers who were of equivalent social station.

Thus it would seem that there is little to justify the idea of a moral ‘absolute’. Different cultures and circumstances alter what actions are acceptable. This does not mean that morals have no place in the world or have no benefits. Morals are guiding principles that can allow the members of any given society to live together in relative harmony. Absolute or not, violation of them can and should lead to serious consequences in whatever society you happen to live in. And if you visit a culture that is widely different from your own, you would be well advised to find out just what differences there are in this area, and conform to whatever they are, else you’ll be fated to end up like the pink monkey thrown in with a group of brown ones.

Posted in Philosophy, Science & Engineering | 2 Comments »

Living Longer, Part 2

Posted by hyperpat on January 10, 2007

I watched Nova last night, which serendipitously had a segment on current research into extending life-spans, the subject of my prior post. What was presented was the fact that there have been a couple of genes identified that have a significant effect on life span, one that increases the amount of Hdl available in the blood stream, another that seems to produce the same effects that the documented benefits of a (very) restricted diet has. Much of this research has been an outgrowth of studies of current super-seniors, people at the 90+ age level who have frequently not followed any of the advice about healthy living, who smoke, eat lots of red meat, etc.

What I found most intriguing about this, though, is the time estimate of when real treatments might become available that will utilize this information. The answer was an incredibly short five to ten years from now. Now I’m sure that in that time frame, such treatments would probably only become available to a very small segment of the population, but it probably wouldn’t be very much longer until they become more generally available – and given the average person’s strong desire to live a little longer, these treatments would be heavily subscribed to. Which means that the possibility of some of my nightmare scenarios coming true might happen a lot sooner than I’d have ever thought.

Perhaps I’d better up the amount I stick into my 401K – like tomorrow.

Posted in Science & Engineering | Leave a Comment »

Is Death Really So Bad?

Posted by hyperpat on January 8, 2007

The human life-span right now seems to have some hard limits at somewhere around 110 years, though there may be a very few exceptional cases that manage a few more years than this. From everything we can determine right now, this limit is coded right into the genes, and the actions of various proteins and DNA over the lifespan of the individual. On top of this, living beyond age 80 or so and remaining not just healthy but limber and active is rare, and the quality of life for these super-seniors often degrades pretty badly.

Now scientists are busily poking at the mechanisms that control all of this, with the very real possibility that sometime in the foreseeable future they will know enough to be able to significantly affect what goes on, and give humanity something it has dreamed of since the beginning of recorded history (and probably much longer), immortality or something close to it.

But is this really something we want? Let’s consider a few of the things that would happen if such a medical breakthrough really did occur.

First up is the total world population. It currently stands at about 6.5 billion, and is projected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050 without any major changes in current birth/death rates. If greatly extended life-spans should suddenly become the norm, that figure would skyrocket, probably easily hitting 15 billion before any ameliorating forces took hold. This is probably far beyond the carrying capacity of the earth, at least with our current level of technology, and could lead to extreme famines and wars over very limited resources. All-out wars in today’s world just might take that huge population figure right back down to less than one billion in very short order – and the world the survivors have left to live in might not be very nice at all.

Assuming we manage to avoid the famine/war scenario, another foreseeable problem will be a great increase in the average age of the population, and sharply falling birth rates. This might have great economic impacts, as more and more of the goods that are produced are targeted at mature adults, and less and less going to support children and young people. Massive changes in the economy of this nature have, in the past, led to deep recessions/depressions – again not a very pleasant prospect.

Then we have the issue of what this expanding elderly group of people will do with all the extra time. Right now the work force is structured to have almost everyone depart by at most age 70, with the holes filled by the next generation entering the work place. Many older retired people now already have a problem with what to do: hobbies, community service, travel, etc. are frequently not enough to keep these people active, and for many the amount they’ve saved would run out, leaving them with serious problems. It would be quite likely that with the expectation of extended life spans, people would work much longer – but this might make advancement in a career path for younger folks very slow and frustrating.

And we have the question of just how much information the brain can hold. As people live longer and longer, more and more memories stack up. Eventually, it’s conceivable that the brain will simply run out of room to store new information, or will be overwhelmed by the cross-indexing problem between too many pieces of information. Sounds like we’ll need some way to either selectively clear out some of the memories, or have some method to offload them to some piece of electronics for retrieval on an as-needed basis.

Nope, immortality doesn’t sound like quite the bed of roses we want to jump into. Instead of jumping, I think we need to creep up on this capability slowly, and limit the detrimental effects to something we can handle.

Posted in Science & Engineering | 3 Comments »

More than Pop-Guns

Posted by hyperpat on January 5, 2007

Is there any real defense against nut-case terrorists? So far, almost all terrorists acts have been carried out with fairly mundane ‘weapons’: guns, knifes, bombs, airplanes, etc. But there have been a few that have used some more esoteric things: the Japanese Sarin case and anthrax come to mind. But the actual number of available types of weapons is much larger.

The Russian spy plutonium poisoning case is an example of something that could be quite deadly and cause a great amount of havoc if distributed more widely, and this material is apparently not so difficult to get a hold of, along with other types of radioactive materials. Of course, there’s also an actual nuclear explosive device, which regardless of yield or whether designed to spread nasty fallout everywhere would cause great havoc. Happily, at least so far, these things have been difficult to get.

The sarin nerve gas is just one member of a large class of such agents, many of which are far more deadly, and some of which are not too difficult to make or obtain. Pure poisons outside of the nerve agents are often obtainable by the trainload (assuming you have enough money), and distributed into a city’s water supply could sicken/kill a good portion of the population – and many of them are either not readily detectable or are not tested for by municipal water suppliers.

Disease agents, in general, don’t seem to be a good choice for your wanna-be terrorist. Most diseases that are deadly and highly communicable (i.e., transmittable either by air or water from one infected person to another) either have good medical treatments for or are monitored for on a regular basis. There are some diseases, though, that are not really deadly, but might still cause considerable financial havoc by putting a good percentage of the population in bed for a few days.

Which leads to a wholly different type of weapon – the computer virus and variations thereof. Directed at financial markets, such items could cause some serious harm. Even if only deployed against the internet communication pipes, they could cause some real disruptions. But these types of weapons, to get through the various levels of firewalls and other software security, require some serious brainpower to develop, which a lone terrorist type is unlikely to have. But large organized terrorists groups may very well have the wherewithal to develop such things.

Now, for each item listed above, there are various defensive plans/facilities/counter-measures/detection methods in place already, and some very good minds are busily trying to improve current defenses. But the fact remains that all sensitive places, from water supplies, server farms, and nuclear reactors to airports, train depots, and slaughterhouses cannot all be fully defended and monitored 24 hours a day. There will always be some level of risk that someone, somewhere, will decide he doesn’t like his fellow humans at all, and will do his damnedest to get rid of them, and unfortunately, he just might succeed. The real question is, just how much effort, time, money, and other resources are we willing to spend to reduce this risk? And just what level of risk are we willing to tolerate? Is the cure worse than the disease – no right to privacy, a government police state? People need to get used to the idea that there is no absolute security, and determining for themselves just how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a marginally ‘safer’ world.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Can We Learn From History?

Posted by hyperpat on January 4, 2007

Let’s go back in time a little – say, about 65 million years. Pretty nice place we had then, without all these pesky simians running around. Of course, you might not have liked the climate, being more than a tad warmer than today, with swamps and rain forests all over the place. And perhaps the larger denizens of this time frame might not only give you pause, they might make you heartily wish you had a handy hole in the ground that you could drop into. But nothing lasts forever, and the 80 million year reign of these giants is about to come to a very sudden end.

Look, up in the sky! An orange glow and a fiery streak stretching from one horizon to the other. That lovely fern you were munching the top off suddenly has become a flaming candle. And very shortly thereafter, things got kind of dark -and stayed that way for months. Byebye, dinosaurs. You didn’t make the grade in nature’s casino.

And that was only a medium sized rock.

Today, Apophis, a 390 meter sized rock, is projected to pass within about 25,000 miles of the Earth in 2029, and due to orbital changes caused by such a close approach, has a real possibility of hitting the Earth in 2036. If it does, damage would be very extensive, even if not quite as bad as the Chicxulub 10 Km-wide planet killer of 65 million years ago.  Larry Niven’s and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer is a pretty good fictional account of just how bad this could be.

Now hopefully, we have a few more smarts than those giant lizards of yesterday. We know that even if this particular rock doesn’t hit us, there are others out there, one of which is sure to have the Earth in its cross-hairs at some point in the future. We also know that to do something about these rocks, we need time. Time to develop the appropriate technology. Time to send a mission to the offending mass. Time to change its orbit. If we fritter away what time we have, if we don’t actively work towards real space flight, if we don’t provide the necessary funding, if mister average citizen continues to think that space flight is a waste of money, then we’ll deserve the dinosaurs’ fate, because we’ll have been just as dumb.


Posted in Books, Politics, Science & Engineering | Leave a Comment »

Positive, Think Positive

Posted by hyperpat on January 3, 2007

‘Tis a new year, and hopefully a great one. That’s one thing people can always have, plain hope. Now 99% of the time, all the hopes don’t pan out, and you end up with something less than envisaged, but that’s alright, new hopes will come along to replace those that didn’t make the cut. It seems to be something that is hard-wired into the human makeup. If that wellspring ever dries up, the end result is a broken person, a stick figure that looks human but is really a zombie. So, anyway, my hopes/projections for this year:

1. My family will end the year together and happy. There have been some rough times in the past, and there probably will be quite a few shoals this year, but so far we’ve muddled through, and finally it looks like there will be some conclusion to a few of the ongoing problems.

2. Congress will get hip to the fact that this planet is a very fragile place and start doing something about it: provide truly adequate funding to the space program,  develop rational plans to handle all the various eco-catastrophes waiting around the corner, initiate a major upgrade to the nation’s infrastructure to make it more efficient and less taxing on the world’s resources, and actually develop a road map for the future of this country that encompasses a time frame longer than the next election, with strong enough controls enacted that they’ll actually have to follow it. Yeah, I know – this is blue-sky dreaming. But I can hope.

3. While Congress is doing (2), they’ll also wake up to the fact that security is never a 100% guarantee, and repeal the most obnoxious intrusions into personal privacy and the almost limitless police-state powers they have granted to various federal agencies. This country was built by people who took risks, and one of the major reasons they did is that they could see the direct benefit to themselves, without fear of the government tromping all over them.

4. Wars will continue to happen. It’s a given. But perhaps there will be a few places where compromise and real discussion will break out. It would be very nice to see the almost 60 year debacle of the Israeli-Arab conflict get to a point where “suicide bomber” is no longer a revered profession and the reasons for them no longer exist.

5. I could win the $250,000 bowling shootout in May. This one actually has a real chance of happening, though the odds aren’t great.  It would certainly go a long way towards making my financial position tenable. Along these same lines, maybe I can at least get my chess rating back into the Class A category. Higher than this doesn’t seem to be in the cards – I just don’t see enough time to do the really heavy studying Expert and higher would require. But here again, I can hope!

6. I’ll get off my tail and actually finish writing a story, and be able to sell it. Even if I only get $2 for it, this would be an accomplishment I’d be happy with.

7. I’ll be granted a couple more patents this year. This one is pretty likely, as the applications are already in, the concepts are sound, the technology exists, and my company is already building systems that utilize the concepts.  Now I won’t get any great financial reward for this, and the patents are ‘group’ things, developed along with quite a few other people, but I like the feeling that I’ve help add to the world’s knowledge by developing something new.

8. We’ll be contacted by the aliens from Acturas IV about next Christmas time. Fermi paradox be damned, they’re out there somewhere, and what better time for humanity’s hubris to be taken down a couple of notches when it finds out that it’s not unique, that intelligent life exists elsewhere.

9.  They’ll actually implement a fix for Social Security and Medicare and develop a real, workable universal health insurance plan. More blue-sky stuff. While they’re at it, they’ll revise the tax code so Mr. Average Joe can actually figure it out.

10. People will actually act more rationally to world events, instead of reacting with hysteria over every blip reported by our excitable (and deliberately provoking) media.

You never know. It all could happen.

Posted in Bowling, chess, Daily Happenings, General, Politics, Science & Engineering | 3 Comments »