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Bob Alexander's Commentary

Mystery in the Mega-mart

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A man in a restaurant says, “Hey waiter, what’s this fish doing in my strawberries?”

The waiter replies, ”Genes from the arctic flounder are spliced into strawberries because the fish lives in water where other fish freeze to death. But the arctic flounder has unique genes that allow it to produce a sort of anti-freeze so it survives. These genes are put into strawberries to make them resistant to cold. Bon a petit.”

The man thinks for a moment and says, “Give me the soup that has the fly in it.”

But seriously folks …

Unlike Rand Paul I have no problem being upfront with the fact that I’m about to cut and paste like crazy from Wikipedia.

“Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, or the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.”

Now let’s look up Agrobacterium.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 November 2013 20:53 Read more...

An Evening with ... Anonymous

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My son and I recently attended a talk regarding Income Inequality at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver. I went because the speaker has had hundreds of his articles published in progressive websites like OpEdNews, and I always had thought of him as one of the good guys.

Now I don’t.

I’ve tried a number of different approaches to writing about the event and I thought it was best to keep the speaker anonymous for now and just let his statements speak for themselves.

What’s happening in the United States, the divisiveness, the polarization, again, is related to this fundamental economic problem. Because when so many people feel that they’re working so hard, they’re working harder than ever, but they’re not getting anywhere. They’re actually falling behind. They feel economically insecure.

When all of those people feel that the game is rigged against them, they get angry. They get frustrated. They’re very prone to demagogues on the left or the right - it doesn’t matter who want to point the finger of blame at immigrants or at the poor or at the rich, at corporations or at government or at the trade unions. There’s a lot of blame to go around.”

This was the first WTF moment.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013 20:51 Read more...

Too Stupid To Live

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Here’s the way it shakes out. Paraphrasing Slavoj Žižek, Slovene philosopher and cultural critic:

Of these three features:

personal honesty,
intelligence,
and sincere support of Republican policies,

it is only possible to combine two, never all three of these attributes.

If one is honest and supportive … one is not very bright.
If one is bright and supportive … one is not honest.
And if one is honest and bright … one can not be supportive.

There’s no such thing as a smart, honest, Republican. I challenge anyone to find this elusive creature. The odds are you’ll stumble across the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman playing cribbage in The Vatican before you’ll be able to snap a couple shots of a smart, honest, Republican.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 18:56 Read more...

Socio-Political Earthquakes

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The greatest series of earthquakes in U.S. history began when an 8.6 magnitude quake rocked the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri on December 16th 1811. The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as 15 feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. At one point, the Mississippi momentarily reversed its direction, and created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. Now that was an earthquake.

I’ve experienced a couple of geological earthquakes that were unnerving at the moment, but in my lifetime there have been three socio-political earthquakes whose aftershocks have reverberated for decades:

The JFK Assassination, the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify a national election by installing George W. Bush as president, and the attacks of September 11th 2001.

Do I believe members of the Bush Administration were key players in the 9/11 attacks and either “made it happen” or “allowed it to happen?” I don’t know. I will probably never know. Over the last 12 years scores of credible sources have raised enough questions about The government’s “official story” to render it unbelievable. What I do believe is anyone capable of committing the supreme international crime, a war of aggression, is capable of anything.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 19:34 Read more...

Trance-Formation

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There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

Thus intoned Rod Serling at the beginning of the first episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone in 1959. It would be years before I read Kafka, Huxley, and Orwell, but I knew the territory well. Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Richard Matheson, had already taken me there once every week for five years.

The Twilight Zone left me with powerful memories of stories of ordinary people who had somehow slipped almost casually across an unseen line, and into another world … another reality. And here we all are … 49 years after the last program was broadcast … living in The Twilight Zone. I wish we had better writers.  The same plot devices from a handful of episodes are used over and over, overlap one another, and play simultaneously non-stop. And the kicker is … most people don’t even notice … and that in itself is an old Twilight Zone episode.

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