URLs du Jour — 2013-03-11

  • Dystopia Kevin D. Williamson rambles insightfully on the tired sci-fi trope of corporate dystopia. Is that a credible fate? It certainly gives comfort to the prejudices of today's "progressives" who spit out "corporate" as a swear word. Among Kevin's fascinatin' facts:

    You would not know it from reading fiction, speaking with Occupy types, or listening to the speeches at the Democratic National Convention, but the corporation as we know it is in decline: The average size of a corporation as measured by personnel has been diminishing since 1975. In 1955 the largest U.S. company, General Motors, employed 576,000 people out of a U.S. population of 166 million; today Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. company, employs only 82,000 people. Microsoft employs fewer than 100,000 people worldwide; Google employs about 54,000, and Facebook fewer than 6,000.

    More interesting stuff at the link. Especially recommended to science fiction writers who don't want to write complete economic hooey. ("Progressives" are probably hopeless.)

  • Gosh, the professional journalists at USA Today, with layers of editors and fact-checkers, have (as I type) this story with lead paragraph:

    The approval Thursday by the U.S. Security Council of tougher sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program sparked a war of words Monday.

    Yes, they misspelled "U.N." Two lousy letters, they still couldn't get it right.

    They'll probably fix it soon. Or maybe they won't.

  • You too can write press releases for politicians. The grab bag of words to describe your favored policies: balanced; bipartisan; sensible (or common-sense); all of which will responsibly deliver benefits to the middle class. You never want to raise taxes; but increasing revenue is a must.

    Conversely, your opponents' policies: reckless; irresponsible; harmful; mindless; haphazard; spending cuts are always indiscriminate and arbitrary; and the programs they affect are all vital; Worse, your opponents want to keep open loopholes (usually corporate loopholes).

    Nearly all of these are present in the latest press release from my own Congressperson, Carol Shea-Porter.

    She (of course) claims to want to "reduce spending", but that's a joke.

    For extra credit, you can score this short press release from Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02). I count six instances of bipartisan; three common sense (with one sensible); three responsibly (with one responsible); three balanced; three middle class. Yeesh! It's a surprise they had room for anything else besides the buzzwords.

  • News you can use: How Fast Would the Earth Have to Spin to Fling People Off?

  • On the Pun Salad movie page: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and my take on Taken 2. On the book page: Pat Cadigan's Tea From an Empty Cup.

Last Modified 2013-06-19 1:24 PM EDT