Monday, September 26, 2016
The options available to malicious wrongdoers used to be sort of limited. They could sneak into your sacred cave and rearrange all the bear skulls. They could put a stray cat in a burlap sack and sell it as a delicious piglet (a pig in a poke), and you wouldn’t know till you let the cat out of the bag. Today’s sophisticated technology opens up the potential for sophisticated mischief. What scares me is the awful specter of cyber-terrorism. Like, what if someone hacked my Pandora account and gave the thumbs up to music I actually don’t like at all?
Monday, September 19, 2016
Do you like crazy visionary science ideas? I sure do. There’s this company in Florida, Algenol, that’s working on a way to breed cyanobacteria to live in salt water, soak up sunlight, and poop out a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water. They’re getting about 8,000 gallons of liquid fuel from one wet acre annually, about 20 times more than the same acreage in corn ethanol. Promising, right? But there’s danger lurking. If a rogue scientist were to splice in some juniper DNA, and the bacteria escaped, I can visualize the inadvertent conversion of all the world’s oceans to gin.
Monday, September 12, 2016
According to the Nielsen numbers, jazz accounts for about 2.3 percent of U.S. record album sales, making it even less popular than classical musical, which posts an impressive 2.8 percent. Rock gets 34.5, R&B 17.5, country 13.8 percent. Country is more popular than this number indicates, I think, but mostly you listen to it on the radio. In your truck. With your dog. The same research shows a category called “hard music” getting a 10.2 percent share. I don’t know what this means. Hard to listen to? If that’s what they mean, why don’t they just straight up say polka?
Monday, September 5, 2016
If anybody suggested you could save money by fueling your car with human blood, I’m guessing you’d question their ethical compass, as well as their internal combustion cred. But look: by the best numbers I can find, over 60 percent of immigrant detainees in this country are held in private prisons. So the more people we lock up, and the cheaper they can be fed and housed, the more money these corporations make. How is that even sort of okay? And who the hell buys that stock? Seriously, a pimping meth dealer hitman could claim the moral high ground here.