Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
August 16, 2007 - August 9, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Death of America

No big deal. Even the tiny French language has a word for it: Ennui

OLD. I've been tracking the Mayans and the Easter Islanders for close on 40 years now. The theories about their downfalls change with each new fad in sociology. The current wisdom has it that they perished because of environmental catastrophe. The Mayans experienced too much climate change, and the Easter Islanders cut down too many trees. They could have been saved, we suspect, if they'd had Al Gore and Hillary Clinton to make their governments protect them with the right kinds of laws and programs. Not to mention the fact that religion was always their worst enemy, closely followed by foreign imperial powers bringing unfair trade and disease in their wake.

The problem is, no civilization lasts for 500 or 1,000 years without encountering crises aplenty. Long before they lost their trees, the Easter Islanders suffered from the crippling diseases of inbreeding. The Mayans battled the unforgiving jungles of Central America for over a thousand years before they suddenly shut the whole enterprise down -- well before the evil Spaniards came. The first crushing defeat of Rome occurred before 300 BC, but the Romans rallied to rule the known world until the middle of the fifth century A.D. The Minoans of 2500 BC had indoor plumbing, but we're asked to believe that a single volcanic eruption ended their whole culture because there was no Red Cross to descend on the disaster like FEMA and pull their irons from the fire.

But here's a contrary idea that's actually backed by science: Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny. The experience of the one mirrors the experience of the group. Civilizations are actually like individual people. They age. When they're young, they're resilient. When they grow old, they're not. The not very mysterious reason for the fall of advanced civilizations is that they die of  boredom, unbelief, and a consequent loss of the survival instinct.

Europe has been dying to die for a century at least. Why? They're exhausted. They've thought all their thoughts, written all their books, painted all their pictures, sculpted all the fountains they ever imagined, and fought every war they could invent a reason for. Now, all they want is to sit in their air-conditioned room staring at a TV game show and please don't bother them with bills or other obligations.

The United States of America was an extraordinary attempt to break out of this pattern. The distinguishing idea was not democracy, which had already been tried repeatedly, but eternal youth. This was a country founded on the idea that people who were vital and resilient at heart could leave the dying places and come to a perennially new world where youthful ideals, energy, persistence, faith, desire, and dreams could hold boredom at bay forever. Such people came from everywhere -- Europe, Asia, Africa -- and traded their grandparents' cynical resignation for a new covenant with hope.

It worked for nearly 200 hundred years. Longer than most fountains of youth, to be sure. But old age has a way of catching up to everyone. Now the Baby Boomers are a perfect symbol of their nation, which continues to think (and speak) of itself as young even though it's actually the oldest old fart at the party. (Yes, technically, Britain is older, meaning they've lasted longer without the facelift represented by a brand new form of government, but Alzheimer's is a cruel taskmaster and its absolutist amnesia is not rejuvenating.) America is no longer young, though. Under the highlighted hair transplants and inside the juvenile tracksuit tailored to show off silicon breasts and lipo-ed hips, America has grown very very old.

I say this as one who has also grown old. Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny. When I was young I never thought of blood. I was from New Jersey. Now I play CDs of bagpipe music and imagine myself marching with Bonnie Prince Charlie. As if I were more Scottish than American. I've never been to Scotland... but I'm becoming what I used to jeer at in all the old cosmopoilitan Jews I saw, who mysteriously acquired Yiddish accents as they sank into dotage, kvetching about putzes where they used to scorn presumptuous fools. But I'm not alone. This country which was once about citizenship as a conceptual union among the like-minded has become a nursing home common room filled with phony nativists from all the nations their ancestors sacrificed everything to leave.

What else do we old codgers think about in the nursing home? We want our pills, dammit, and we don't much care who has to pay for them or how long they'll be paying for them. We just know we've lived long enough and worked hard enough that it's someone else's turn to take care of us now. By the way, don't ever talk to us about making sacrifices for the future. Our future is measured in sitcom units, meaning 22 minutes plus commercials. And if the show isn't funny or diverting or all wrapped up after the last laxative ad, we're not interested. We may not be interested even then. Truth is, we're bored.

Did I mention that we're bored? I did? Well, it bears repeating. We're b-o-o-o-o-o-r-ed. So b-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r-ed. We've already done it all, you see. All the eating and drinking and buying and working and fucking and child-rearing and sacrificing and paying and paying and watching and believing and getting the mail and getting fucked and getting watched and getting told what to do and getting fucked again and getting audited by our great democracy and getting screwed by ungrateful children and getting lied to by everyone and getting fucked again and again and again, so that all we want now is our chocolate pudding and possession of the remote control. And some nice big checks from the government.

Is God in the nursing home? No. We no longer care about the toughest question youngsters ask of God -- Why do bad things happen to good people? -- because we've lived long enough to realize that we are not good people, and given what we deserve, it would be better by far if He weren't there at all and life just ended when it looks like it does, with a stopped heart and a stone-cold brain.

Do we love "the kids" as much as we say we do? No. We don't. There are too many kids. When you're as old as we are they're all kids, and they're all assholes.

The little ones make too much noise all the time, which is why we endorse the idea of giving them sedatives for made-up disorders that are really synonymous with being young. We also chuckle to ourselves at the one great innovation of the last twenty years, binding them hand and foot in car seats and prams, so they'll learn what it's like to be us without all the intervening fun of invincible childhood.

The bigger ones are even worse. No one likes to be reminded that they're way past sex. And sex is the only thing they remind us of. The boys wear their pants below their cocks. The girls wear their skirts above their twats and do everything a girl's limited imagination can conceive of to flaunt their naked breasts. B-o-o-o-o-o-ring. Europeans have stopped having children because they're bored by sex, which is why they used to lispingly disapprove of Hollywood's naively unsexual sex comedies. Now our teenage and twentyish kids have acquired the vaunted European sophistication about sex, and we oldsters are even more bored than they are because sex was only fun for us when it was forbidden, dirty, unmentionable, and delicious. It's become the exact opposite of all those things, which means that not only are we incapable of it, we're also no longer interested in it. And as with so many things, the kids are following our example without being aware of it.

There are other kids too. Much older kids. Just as idiotic. Kids who are entering their fifth and sixth decades with lips still firmly locked on the government nipple, unmindful of the enormous pleasures to be had by running recklessly through life without asking for permission or an allowance. Mexican kids who think it's better to be a juvenile delinquent than a neophyte citizen. "Native American" kids who pretend that their ancestors weren't murderous short-lived savages but PhDs from the school of hard knocks who were true-green environmentalists when they were still moving on to build a new town whenever the privies got filled to overflowing. Black kids who still prefer the aliases and thievery of their fugitive great-grandparents to the capitalist responsibiliies and educational requirements that accompany life in the wealthiest nation on earth. Female kids who think the unfairness of life has to do with being female. Perverted kids who insist that everyone not only tolerate their most disgusting sexual practices but admire them as well and instruct all children in the praiseworthiness of the obsession to fit a square peg into a square peg and a round hole into a round hole. Atheist kids who annoy everyone with the proposition that the belief system which invented morality can't hold a candle to the unbelief system which claims that it has a monopoly on morality. Kids of every age who demand everything from their fellow man while acknowledging no debt or allegiance to any nation, people, or way of life.

Nope. We don't much care about the kids. But like all old people everywhere, throughout the history of human life on earth, we do enjoy fretting about bullshit. We like to see the mighty humbled. We like to rant and rave about possible future crises that will never affect us. Did we mention that we like our TV? And the movies? Okay then. We like disasters because they remind us that even people who aren't old can be suddenly killed, and we like it better if there's someone to blame. We like conspiracy theories because if there isn't a conspiracy, how did our life wind up so empty and meaningless? We like to pretend that we care about children, so keep the saccharine sob stories about abused, missing, and murdered kids coming. We like sports, because what else is there? And we like our pills. No, we love our pills. We want more pills. MORE, MORE, MORE pills. For free. And we don't like wars unless they're short, spectacular, and picturesque. Like a good war movie. Anything else exhausts our attention span. Unless you're talking higher taxes on all the people who are richer than we are. We can pay attention to that. Did you forget about the more pills part?

There used to be a whole country dedicated to youth and its potentialities. For the first and only time. It was called the United States of America. The youth thing was mis-labelled 'American Exceptionalism.' It was a place of unbounded hopes, new starts, second chances, naive optimism, sacrifice, hard work, opportunity, approximate equality, and belief in the purpose and meaning of life. But it's dead now because the people who lived there got old and they stopped believing in anything, and when that happened the sheer boredom of just existing made them start yearning for death. Not just their own, but everybody's. Because catastrophe is more exciting than a chair in the waiting room. That's how Rome fell. Although some of the know-it-alls here at the home are still blaming it all on the Little Ice Age. After all, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

UPDATE 08/27/07. There's a site called Ock's World which has enjoyed a vigorous discussion of this post. Take a look if you care about the issues at stake. Below the fold, I'm also putting my own single response to all the comments there. Maybe it will clarify my thoughts further.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Real Rove

Le Comte Saint-Germain. Look familiar?

BY THE NUMBERS. Fortunately, we've had a crack or two in the crust of reality that's been concealing the Truth of Rove. Eric of Classical Values has uncovered numerological evidence of Glenn Reynolds's role in the disinformation being disseminated about Rove, and it's extremely sinister:

I want to examine as objectively as possible what I consider to be some very suspicious behavior by Glenn Reynolds. Despite the ominous timing of the Rove announcement, Glenn went out of his way to avoid venturing an opinion about it yesterday...

As if this peculiar evasive behavior weren't suspicious enough, Glenn has said absolutely nothing about... the demise of fearless leader Karl Rove all day today.

Most damning of all, at exactly 9:33 p.m. tonight, he has a post about knives! There were so many links I didn't want to count them. But I forced myself -- only because of the serious nature of my suspicions.



13 KNIVES at 9 3 3, at NIGHT!

Of course, NINE upside down is SIX. And three plus three is also....


And on top of that, today -- the date that will mark Glenn's Night of the Long Knives -- is August 14, 2007! A date which will live forever as the SIXTH day after the SIXTH blogiversary of Instapundit...

So in answer to the question "Who is running the country now?" I don't know, but it's all beginning to add up. In terms of numerological omens, the situation looks very bad indeed.




Isn't it obvious what's really going on?

Actually, no. In this instance, Glenn Reynolds is a red herring. The answer to Eric's question, as all liberals will know intuitively, is that the country is still being run by Karl Rove.

This is not the man's first disappearing act. He's made a career of it -- in fact, many careers of it. Our research has uncovered the real identity of the dangerous sorcerer who has struck fear into the Democrats for, lo, these many years. He is the latest incarnation of the immortal alchemist Comte Saint-Germain, confidant of kings, master of the Masonic Conspiracy and, according to some, the power behind the scenes in numerous affairs of state on two continents, including the drafting of the U.S Constitution.

How can we be sure? Eric's numerological approach is sound. (You can brush up on the basics here.) The proof is simple arithmetic, based on this table:


KARL C. ROVE = 2 + 1 +  0 + 3 + 3 + 0 + 6 + 4 + 5 = 42 = 6

COMTE SAINT-GERMAIN = 3 + 6 + 4 + 2 + 5 +1 +1 + 9 + 5 + 2 + 7 + 5 + 9 + 4 + 1 + 8 + 5 = 78 = 15 = 6

Note, too, that all the letters of F-O-X are also represented by the number 6. It doesn't matter how many 6's Eric needs to make himself convinced of a numerological connection.We have more than enough.

But why does it matter that Karl Rove is really Saint-Germain? Here's a representative description:

"A man who knows everything and who never dies," said Voltaire of the Comte de Saint-Germain. He might have added that he was a man whose origin was unknown and who disappeared without leaving a trace. In vain his contemporaries tried to penetrate the mystery, and in vain the chiefs of police and the ministers of the various countries whose inhabitants he puzzled, flattered themselves that they had solved the riddle of his birth.

Louis XV... extended to him a friendship that aroused the jealousy of his court. He allotted him rooms in the Chateau of Chambord. He shut himself up with Saint-Germain and Madam de Pompadour for whole evenings; and the pleasure he derived from his conversation and the admiration he no doubt felt for the range of his knowledge cannot explain the consideration, almost the deference, he had for him....

[Saint-Germain] spoke with an entire lack of ceremony to the most highly placed personages and was fully conscious of his superiority. Said Gleichen of the first time he met Saint-Germain: "He threw down his hat and sword, sat down in an armchair near the fire and interrupted the conversation by saying to the man who was speaking: 'You do not know what you are saying! I am the only person who is competent to speak on this subject, and I have exhausted it. It was the same with music, which I gave up when I found I had no more to learn.'"

Indeed, many people who heard him play the violin said of him that he equaled or even surpassed the greatest virtuosos of the period, and he seems to have justified his remark that he had reached the extreme limit possible in the art of music.

This tidbit is certainly indicative. Who can forget Rove the Master Rapper?

More important is the evidence that he really is immortal:

Although, on the evidence of reliable witnesses, he must have been at least a hundred years old in 1784, his death in that year cannot have been genuine. The official documents of Freemasonry say that in 1785 the French masons chose him as their representative at the great convention that took place in that year, with Mesmer, Saint-Martin, and Cagliostro present. In the following year Saint-Germain was received by the Empress of Russia. Finally, the Comtesse d'Adhemar reports at great length a conversation she had with him in 1789 in the Church of the Recollets, after the taking of the Bastille.

His face looked no older than it had looked thirty years earlier....

Mademoiselle de Genlis asserts that she met the Comte de Saint-Germain in 1821 during the negotiations for the Treaty of Vienna; and the Comte de Chalons, who was ambassador in Venice, said he spoke to him there soon afterwards in the Piazza di San Marco. There is other evidence, though less conclusive, of his survival. The Englishman Grosley said he saw him in 1798 in a revolutionary prison; and someone else wrote that he was one of the crowd surrounding the tribunal at which the Princess de Lamballe appeared before her execution.

It seems quite certain that the Comte de Saint-Germain did not die at the place and on the date that history has fixed. He continued an unknown career, of whose end we are ignorant and whose duration seems so long that one's imagination hesitates to admit it...

The Comte de Saint-Germain is always present with us. There will always be, as there were in the eighteenth century, mysterious doctors, enigmatic travelers, bringers of occult secrets, to perpetuate him. Some will have bathed in the sources of the Ganges, and others will show a talisman found in the pyramids. But they are not necessary. They diminish the range of the mystery by giving it everyday, material form. The Comte de Saint-Germain is immortal, as he always dreamed of being, a roving seer who lights his own way and sometimes ours. [emphasis added]

All in all, one must admit that the evidence is concerning. Very little is known, even today, about the vast Masonic Conspiracy to create a New World Order based on odd sashes, symbols, and rituals. If that conspiracy is still being managed by Saint-Germain, there's almost no hope for the Democrats and other true patriots to defeat it. Their fear is obviously justified, but it won't help them that a man who calls himself Rove drops out of public life. He is bound to return, in yet another new guise, to continue his supernatural influence on the affairs of men.

It is long past time, though, for accomplices like Glenn Reynolds to come clean about what they know and when they first knew it.

P.S. On the numerology front, Instapunk readers may remember this amazing prediction of September 11, 2001, ten years before the fact in The Boomer Bible. But it's likely they never noticed what undergirds the whole 9/11 conspiracy:

Have a nice day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Worst Species

PSAYINGS.5Z.1-12. They're rarely in the news, but they are today:

Trappers target deadly raccoons on US-Canadian border

Dozens of trappers have left their more lucrative prey of foxes and mink to catch raccoons along the US Canadian border that have caused an outbreak of rabies in eastern Canada....

After rabies first struck in May 2006, Quebec authorities launched a huge campaign on the borders with the US states of Vermont and New York to stem the outbreak of the viral disease that is fatal to humans if left untreated.

The raccoon-stopping effort got a bigger boost still after Vermont announced it had detected 50 cases of rabies in the first few months of 2007.

Since the start of the summer, the French-speaking Canadian province has picked up around 40 rabid raccoons and 3,000 of the furry, striped mammals have been euthanized as a precautionary measure.

The raccoon is a leading transmitter of rabies since it lives close to human habitats often feeding on garbage in the city and on crops in the countryside. The cat-size mammal with striped tail and black, mask-like markings over its eyes also comes into contact with domestic animals, who can unwittingly become a dangerous vehicle for the spread of the disease to humans.

Rabies kills some 50,000 people each year around the world. In Canada, the last death from rabies occurred in 2000.

The truth is, raccoons have absolutely no redeeming qualities. They're all born gangsters. They're thieves, they're filthy, and they actually enjoy spreading disease and death. If governments really cared about people, they'd band together for once and exterminate every single one of these disgusting creatures.

But that's not what happens, is it? We have hunting seasons for deer and bear and pheasant, but is there a hunting season for this most despicable of lifeforms? No. Every so often, the powers that be remember what a curse they are and kill a few of them, but never enough to make a real difference.

It's a scandal. Personally, I blame the Bush administration. Their incompetence on the raccoon issue is outrageous. On the other hand, what has the Democratic Congress done in the eight months they've been in power? Nothing. While they've wasted months on futile hearings about trivia, heavily armed gangs of raccoons are rampaging through cities, towns, and fields virtually unopposed. What we need is a "War on Raccoons" led by a Raccoon "Czar." What we'll probably get instead, especially if Hillary is elected, is a Raccoon Rights movement, with full constitutional protections for the very few who are captured in the act of committing their multifarious crimes.

I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, but how would you explain it? Look at them. People who say God doesn't make mistakes never met a raccoon. It's time we quit dithering and solved this problem once and for all.

If you could send me $4.3 billion via PayPal, I promise to make some real progress on turning back the raccoon threat. I'll even issue a report. By December of 2010. Or thereabouts.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Butterfly Effect

THE WAY OF CERTAINTY. Think you know what facts are? Think you know what reality is? Are you sure? Then answer this: Can the ghost of a technological 'hoax' past contribute substantially to the credibility of a scientific 'truth' present? Before you bet the farm on your opinion about that, you should probably take the time to read this post.

The graphic above is borrowed from a site called Universe, which also explains today's headline:

Of all the storied elements of our great folkloric misunderstanding of Chaos Theory, the Butterfly Effect has undoubtedly suffered most from popular conception. It was born innocuous, a slight allegory to explain how changes in a mathematical situation's beginning coordinates have an unprecedented effect on its outcome, and yet the Butterfly Effect has somehow mutated into a beloved believe-it-or-not tenet of pop science. A butterfly flapping its wings on a balmy midwestern afternoon, many of us believe, can cause typhoons on the coast of Japan. The image is lovely, of course, and gives us a world that is wildly interconnected, multifarious, and dangerous. However, any mathematical concept which finishes its career as the title of an Ashton Kutcher movie should be immediately fact-checked.

Although the Butterfly Effect is mathematically, conceptually, solid as a rock, the actual dusty-winged butterfly is only an image, and nary more. [emphasis added]

This is an outstanding introduction to my topic for several reasons. The terse definition of the Butterfly Effect is correct, the references to 'pop science' and 'image' are apt, and the "Yes, but..." endorsement of the underlying math is perfectly in tune with the story Glenn Reynolds linked the other day about "the warmest year of the past century."

The Universe blogger is at pains to tell us that while the principle is valid, the butterfly analogy is not. In his view, the butterfly really is too small to precipitate a typhoon. But he's talking about hard-core science, not pop science, or (perish the thought) the preternaturally tumultuous climate of publicity. If a social butterfly flaps her wings in Beverly Hills, can it cause a worldwide hurricane of media coverage and public obsession? Yes. It can. That's an interesting distinction in light of the Global Warming axiom brought into question by IntaPundit's link:

Years of bad data corrected; 1998 no longer the warmest year on record

My earlier column this week detailed the work of a volunteer team to assess problems with US temperature data used for climate modeling. One of these people is Steve McIntyre, who operates the site While inspecting historical temperature graphs, he noticed a strange discontinuity, or "jump" in many locations, all occurring around the time of January, 2000.

These graphs were created by NASA's Reto Ruedy and James Hansen (who shot to fame when he accused the administration of trying to censor his views on climate change). Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the algorithm used to generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered it. The result appeared to be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw data.

McKintyre notified the pair of the bug; Ruedy replied and acknowledged the problem as an "oversight" that would be fixed in the next data refresh.

NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place.  1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II.

An example of Y2K discontinuity in action.

But this can't be right. Y2k was a big nothing, wasn't it? As it happens, I wrote about this at some length back in December 2005. I said, in part:

We're coming up on another new year, and as I have done for half a decade now, I find myself thinking about the Y2K computer bug and the end of technological civilization that didn't happen on January 1, 2000. It seems especially relevant this time around...

Some of the most expert computer jocks I'd heard of were the most concerned about the prospects for calamity. And vast numbers of computer illiterate businessmen who had come to believe they could order problems out of existence were famously reluctant to take the Y2K bug seriously or allocate real resources to fix it.

Then the dread day came and... nothing. TV news anchors turned it into an instant joke. The world was suddenly divided into those who had never known enough to worry and those who were too embarrassed to admit they had ever worried. The cataclysm that didn't happen disappeared from the radar as completely as if there had never been a Y2K scare in the first place. All's well that ends well?

The thing is, there was a Y2K scare. You can verify that to yourself by doing a Google search. You'll get pages and pages of links. What you won't find are more than a handful of entries dated after January 1, 2000. Either an enormous and expensive hoax was perpetrated on the world, or we all dodged a huge bullet. Yet in all the years since, who among us has cared enough to figure out which it was?...

Today, of course, various experts are trying to warn us about a possible (some say inevitable) pandemic of avian flu, although most of us are far more concerned about the NFL playoffs than mass death due to a virus. In another part of the cultural spectrum, our lawmakers are whistling past the graveyard of future terror attacks by dismantling the Patriot Act and forcing U.S. interrogators to treat al Qaeda captives more respectfully than the cops in your town treat petty criminal suspects. Our national memory is already fading exponentially about the potentially huge loss of life that might very well have occurred -- and was, in fact, erroneously reported -- in New Orleans. Nevertheless, many highly esteemed scientists are beating the drum louder and louder about global warming, which may represent the closest analogy we have to the Y2K scare, while other experts insist that warming is merely a cyclical phenomenon that tracks more closely with sunspots than human behavior. So many bad things that could happen, and here we are trimming our Christmas trees with silly smiles on our faces...

For those who are interested, that post -- and its comments -- confirm that the Y2K bug was a fact, with many well documented effects, ranging from slight to potentially grave. Yet in the consensus reality created by our media, it has become an almost forgotten and somehow quaint footnote of our transition to a new millennium. Particularly after the shattering events of 9/11, who has time for the catastrophe that didn't happen? Its long-term impact is reduced to that of an imaginary butterfly flapping its wings in an extinct century.

How incredibly odd, though, that one of its wingbeats would launch a zephyr in the direction of the publicity that was already slowly building to storm force around the Global Warming story. Odder still that a butterfly which, according to the Universe blogger, was powerless in the realm of hard-core science would generate a linchpin statistic as fallacious as the "hockeystick" fraud it so conveniently replaced. The only partial explanation is that so much of what we think we know about such subjects is fed to us by a media machine that is notoriously incompetent about technical subjects of all kinds. We are, most of us, responding to storms of publicity, not the findings of hard-core science.

What do you think about reality now? If Y2K was a hoax or a myth, how can it now be causing NASA to revise some of its most critical 'facts' about Global Warming? If you've spent the last seven years believing, based on media coverage, that Y2K was a non-event, how can you be certain that your media-driven belief in Global Warming is more valid than your unbelief in Y2K? Or if you accept that Y2K was a genuine but over-hyped problem, how can you be sure that the Global Warming crisis is not also being over-hyped? If you have come to believe that Y2K was a very serious problem that was nevertheless somehow resolved by technological experts operating in a free-market economy, why would you be so willing to substitute draconian governmental edicts for free-market technology in addressing the problems that may be caused by any Global Warming that's occurring?  If the temperature statistics of an entire century can be fundamentally changed by an invisible error in calculation, how much of what you think you know from the media about Global Warming is still certainly 'true'?

Alternatively, if your disbelief in Global Warming is based on a mere rejection of the media's tendency to hype technical subjects they know little about, how sure can you be that you're not ignoring a serious -- and utterly real -- scientific problem just because you've learned to distrust the messenger?

You'll have to answer all these questions for yourselves. My only point here is the same as it was in the Y2k post a year and a half ago. Reality is a very messy business. The time to be most suspicious of your convictions is when you are most certain you couldn't possibly be wrong. That's when a butterfly can bite you in the ass.

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