Wednesday, March 13, 2013

10 Geopolitics Thoughts, with Carl Sagan, Killer Dolphins, and Calvin Coolidge

1. During this blog’s “Month of Geopolitics,” I should thank Deroy Murdock among others for keeping me informed about the activities of the Atlas Foundation, which has helped tell people about the ideas of liberty and free markets even in seemingly-inhospitable spots like Iran and some of the more-authoritarian corners of Latin America.

2. But it was the humble Dionysium that this week happened to have both an anarcho-capitalist and an actual politician from India in the audience at the same time (but no fistfight).

3. I also manage to have associates ranging from radical atheists to a writer for Cardinal Dolan, one of the people who’s been talked about this week during the conclave in the Vatican as a possible new Pope.  The writer’s also an alternative rock fan, to whom I dedicate this apt link (to an eighteen year-old song hovering somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. and Sinatra).

4. Killer dolphins once controlled by Ukraine are on the loose, trained to attack with knives and guns (h/t Lankford Jackson) [UPDATE: a hoax, it turns out].  Scary as a Sharktopus.

5. Far more relaxing is this meditative footage of a cat at the beach, possibly in Japan.  (By contrast, the tenacity of this small orange cat in attacking a much larger cat is both inspiring and stupid.)

6. If you were calmed by that, you’re ready to face (at most 3 minutes, I’d suggest, of) this oddly Hitchhiker’s-like video that disturbs me not so much because it lumps together every insane conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard – including one about gold from the Middle East being essential to creating superbeings and powering flying saucers – but because (if nothing else) it proves even the crazy people have great video production and graphics packages these days.  

(Similar forms of paranoia were briefly touched upon at the Dionysium, but this will be my last dip into this form of insanity for now as I turn my attention to more mainstream issues, like comic books.)

7. Those Russians can be gloomy at times, but they can also be so optimistic and unrealistic about the future it’s wacky (h/t Virginia Postrel).

8. So many of our earthly conflicts seem small when we contemplate this segment from the inspiring 1980 science series Cosmos, though you may not recall hearing about “The Meat Planet” (or laughing really, really hard) the first time you watched the show. 

9. That comedy remix may be further proof that, much as it pains me to deliver this news, “Trolls Are Bad for Science” (h/t Scarlett_156), and that could be bad for the whole human race.

10. But many looming problems fade away without us even having to take action.  It’s not popular to say that these days, but level-headed, reasonable Calvin Coolidge understood, and maybe you will too if you read Charles C. Johnson’s new book on the greatest president – yes, greatest – of the twentieth century.  If the Rand Era that we entered with Rand Paul’s epochal Senate filibuster last week climaxes with him becoming president of the United States, we may find ourselves looking to past laissez-faire presidents as models to help us understand. 

In honor of Presidents of the United States of America, let’s watch a video (directed by Roman Coppola, of all people) by that band, who formed twenty years ago.  (And in the days after that, in the second half of my “Month of Geopolitics,” let’s take a look at books on East Germany, the CIA, and Earth 2.)

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