• At there is a series of wonderful photographs about pollution, environment and society in the USA of the seventies. And… The image above is just the central part of the (much larger) best photograph of the whole series, the twelfth one. Today, it says (indirectly, of course) so many things about how we got into the current environmental and economic mess that maybe it should become a poster. “We pay taxes, parks don’t” is impressive enough, but what really freaks me out are the “drive, don’t walk” signs in the background (and all the others aren’t light either…).
  • Once upon a time there was a country. Year after year, that country funded the wrong projects, built the wrong infrastructure and bought the wrong things. Eventually, the accumulation of bad investment made that country so fragile that even the smallest shock could topple it. The reason for this failure wasthat that country relied on central planning: only a small group of people decided what was spent and where. Therefore, it was unavoidable that they decided badly, because a modern superstate is too complex for a small group of people to manage.
  • If [Arab] public opinion were to influence policy, the U.S. not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it, along with its allies, undermining fundamental principles of global dominance. The U.S. and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world. So says Noam Chomsky in a piece I just discovered and recommend as useful food for thought: Is the World Too Big to Fail?
  • A discussion on Slashdot about the cost of broadband in rural areas contains an interesting explanation of the difference between USA and most European states (well, one of the important differences anyway): the meaning of “right”. Nothing new, but worded in a synthetic way that, in my opinion, shows well, apart from the USA Constitution, how many USA citizens see the issue. Here it is (the user names link to their comments in the original discussion, bold markup is mine):