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Friday, Oct 24th

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Alex Baer: Turning Now to Weather...

America sold at auction... In other news, Yoosa (TM), the country formerly known as The United States of America, Amuhrikuh, 'Merica, 'Murricuh, and so on, was sold today to the highest bidder.

Never you mind who.  It's none of your business.

Please report to the Reassignment Station in your neighborhood.  Your new overlords want to give you a thorough looking-over, before they decide on an appropriate wholesale price for your ass.

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Alex Baer: Learning the Kind of 'Out' We Are

OUTThe ability to learn is Nature's way of keeping us from dying from the same thing, over and over again.  Except that it works only for the species, not individuals, and only some of the time at that.  Individuals are as free as ever, Nature says, to perish or be punished by almost any lame-brained, bone-headed thing we'd care to do.

The ability to learn may be fickle, appearing to pick and choose its candidates by invisible lot, or by some other means we mortals cannot detect.  However much we ponder, mull over, and squint, in mid-thought, Nature still retains the ability to surprise.

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Alex Baer: Welcome to These Out-Rage-Us Times

hissy fitWe've become a nation of fleeting snits and hissy fits.

We nurse along so many hurt feelings that we all get emergency Red Cross parcels, plus the thanks from a grateful nation, for our extensive enmity-nursing skills.  Our spending on pets last year was $61 billion -- and that's not even counting what we're willing to pay to keep our pet peeves alive.  We have so many kinds of hairy grudges, it's surprising none of them ever showed up in Dr. Suess books, all raspberry and lime.

But, none of these petty issues includes the stuff that really ignites us in some way, really toasts our scalps, like we've just grabbed hold of some stripped-bare 220 cables long enough to have Tilt or Free Game show up on our foreheads, or to start spitting little lightning bolts, in a sudden show of Looney Tunes solidarity.

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Alex Baer: Swimming Against the Yo-Yo Tide

yo-yoEveryone's heard the one where Life, after closing one door, opens a window.  After doing two of the most dangerous things in America that one can do -- reading and thinking -- I have to take exception to that one.

This is especially true as it often seems Life is intent on demonstrating that other insightful discovery:  that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof of the garage, and is stuck there, with the Frisbees.  As soon as I have read something and thought about it some, this is often what happens to my own consciousness.

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Alex Baer: This Just In -- We're Blue, Tattooed, Etc.

little match girlWell, it's just about official:  We can all go get blued, tatooed, and have some machined screw threads carved into ourselves, if you catch the drift.

Oh, sure.  There's lots of chest-beating about the sacredness of human life, especially from the Family Values segment of the population -- a group of highly religious policy-pushers noted for doing whatever can be done to utterly rip, rend, and wrench apart families, legally.  You'd do better with Charles Manson as your social worker, Jeffrey Dahmer as your nutritionist, Jack the Ripper as your morale officer.

More correctly, all the hollering and screaming and protesting and Bible-thumping is about the sacredness of The Fetus.  Once the thing is born, to heck with it, say almost all GOP policies for the past 35 or so years.  If it's no longer in vivo, or even in vitro, then it's no longer in our supposed thoughts, in our sham prayers, or in our political hay-making and mud-slinging -- that particular life, once sprung from the womb, is simply no longer in play.

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Alex Baer: In Brain Function We Stand

rebellionA rectangle of nice, restful, healthy, vibrant green below and sky blue above, in the upper half -- just the thing to celebrate the vernal equinox.  Then, a set of finely thin-ribboned, parallel bars in pure white, sunshine yellow, and rich cream, arranged in the lazy X of a saltire, ranging from corner to corner, and intersecting in the center.  Then, on this center spot, a large apple-red sphere, not unlike an actual apple, silhouetted, and sporting wavering rays of varying lengths.

Finally, within the large center spot, the stark white of a rippling strait jacket, with the hard red of a slashing bar through it, from upper left to lower right -- the clear international symbol for NO.

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Alex Baer: This Computes Just Fine, Thank You

robotEnjoy this sight experience while you can.  Before long, robots will also be reading the news that they, themselves, produce.

In fact, give it 10 or 20 years, and half of all jobs in the U.S. will be held by machines.  The Oxford study does not provide details on other ripples through the financial and social strata.  This leaves a lot of room for paranoid imagination, also known as alternately laughing at improbabilities and scaring the bejesus out of yourself.

When it comes to robot workers, perhaps the adage is right:  It's not if you are paranoid, but if you are paranoid enough.  This is not your grandfather's replacement-by-robots fear, not even its reality, as it has already worked out in the world.  Pick your metaphor:  This time it's serious as a heart attack, this program's on steroids,  it's a whole new level of...

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