Watch dragonflies twice make fools of frogs, and effortlessly catch fruit flies. They have a 95 percent kill rate, compared to about 50 percent for lions, and it turns out the Pentagon is studying them to adapt their abilities to their evil drones.
This is a slide show of videos; I found it was necessary to click on the individual videos a couple of times to spring them into action. Otherwise they were just stills of the first frame.
David Stockman, the conservative economist who was Ronald Reagan's budget director from 1981 to 1985, has written a hugely provocative article, Sundown in America, that appeared in today's Times. Basically, it says, we're toast, and the final and ultimate economic collapse is a few years away.
The villains, of course, start with F.D. Roosevelt, though Stockman curiously omits to mention that between 1933 and 1937, the New Deal reduced the unemployment rate by nine full percentage points, a success never before seen and never since replicated! It also remains opaque what policies pursued seventy-five years ago have to do with conditions today, which Stockman describes as "end-state metastasis" and "state wreck." His advice his to take your money out of the markets and stick in under a mattress because we're, well, toast.
What is noteworthy is that most of the other villains he lists are conservative Republicans, including Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Milton Friedman (!), and among the heroes is Bill Clinton. But what the gallery strangely fails to list is Stockman's one-time boss, Mr. Congeniality himself, Ronnie Reagan! And that's curious because Stockman, in the article, is full of scorn for Reagan. Here is what he writes:
The destruction of fiscal rectitude under Ronald Reagan — one reason I resigned as his budget chief in 1985 — was the greatest of his many dramatic acts. It created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge and allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy. In effect, the G.O.P. embraced Keynesianism — for the wealthy.
It should be recalled, too, though Stockman does not mention this in his piece, that he called bullshit on Reaganomics all the way back in 1981, while working for Ronnie. Mr. Congeniality famously "took him to the woodshed" and Stockman shut up, waiting four long years to resign on principle, as he alleges he did.
Stockman's prognosis of collapse has a lot in common with that of James Howard Kunstler from the left, without the Peak Oil patina. Also, unlike Kunstler and others on the left, Stockman doesn't mention the deeper reason for our malaise: Capitalism has no future because we live in a finite world, and the constant growth that makes capitalism viable or even possible will end in this century, probably fairly soon.
Anyway, Stockman's piece is really engaging reading.
Is the New Atheism a fundamentalist movement that has its own religion-like characteristics? There is also a good short essay on this by Noam Chomsky, who disdains the New Atheism. I don't have the link at the present; I believe DaveT linked me to it in chat.
Haven't read P.Z.'s piece or the responses yet; but I'm betting anything that the responses will be lemming-like, totalitarian, intolerant and howling with rage at the Salon writer, thus nicely proving his thesis. And P.Z. and his gang will be blissfully oblivious to this fact. O, irony!