The Astrological Magazine is closing down due to unforeseen circumstances. Really!
(via Bad Astronomy)
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There’s crazy, certifiably insane, batshit insane and then Tom Cruise Crazy.
From The Straight Dope:
Another theory, eloquently explained by Victor Fuste in the Stanford Daily â€“ you’ll notice how most of this stuff originates with college students â€“ has the Smurfs as “a child-oriented representation of a Marxist community.” The evidence for the theory includes:
1. Papa Smurf looks like Karl Marx and wears red.
2. The Smurfs live in an egalitarian community where property is communal.
3. Gargamel as an example of the “other” life. “His quest to eat the Smurfs â€“ hardly a good source of nutrition â€“ shows how capitalists find nothing as gratifying as annihilating a truly idyllic commune.”
4. S.M.U.R.F. stands for either “Socialist Men Under Red Father” or “Soviet Men Under Red Father.”
That last one ignores the fact that they didn’t start out as Smurfs; they were Schtroumpfs, which has a few extra letters. Beyond that, there’s no evidence the apparent allusions were intentional. The closest we could find was in Peyo’s biography. Apparently, when Peyo was negotiating with NBC and Hanna-Barbera for the production of animated Smurfs on American TV, he said he didn’t want them “Americanized” into “gum-chewers and Coca-cola drinkers.” That may indicate some contempt for American popular culture, but it hardly qualifies him as a Communist.
Myth #2: The Beneficence of War
A second fallacy is the idea of war as an engine of prosperity. Students are taught that World War II ended the Depression; many Americans seem to believe that tax revenues spent on defense contractors (creating jobs) are no loss to the productive economy; and our political leaders continue to believe that expanded government spending is an effective way of bringing an end to a recession and reviving the economy.
The truth is that war, and the preparation for it, is economically wasteful and destructive. Apart from the spoils gained by winning (if it is won) war and defense spending squander labor, resources, and wealth, leaving the country poorer in the end than if these things had been devoted to peaceful endeavors.
During war, the productive powers of a country are diverted to producing weapons and ammunition, transporting armaments and supplies, and supporting the armies in the field.
William Graham Sumner described how the Civil War, which he lived through, had squandered capital and labor: “The mills, forges, and factories were active in working for the government, while the men who ate the grain and wore the clothing were active in destroying, and not in creating capital. This, to be sure, was war. It is what war means, but it cannot bring prosperity.”
Nothing is more basic; yet it continues to elude the grasp of our teachers, writers, professors, and politicians. The forty year Cold War drained this country of much of its wealth, squandered capital, and wasted the labor of millions, whose lifetime work, whether as a soldier, sailor, or defense worker, was devoted to policing the empire, fighting its brush wars, and making weapons, instead of building up our civilization with things of utility, comfort, and beauty.
Getting a rather large and unexpected hosting bill is a great way to start the day.
Let me show you the difference between the theological and the secular spirit. Nearly three hundred years ago, one of the noblest of the human race, Giordano Bruno, was burned at Rome by the Catholic Church — that is to say, by the “Triumphant Beast.” This man had committed certain crimes –he had publicly stated that there were other worlds than this — other constellations than ours. He had ventured the supposition that other planets might be peopled. More than this, and worse than this, he had asserted the heliocentric theory — that the earth made its annual journey about the sun. He had also given it as his opinion that matter is eternal. For these crimes he was found unworthy to live, and about his body were piled the fagots of the Catholic Church. This man, this genius, this pioneer of the science of the nineteenth century, perished as serenely as the sun sets. The Infidels of to-day find excuses for his murderers. They take into consideration the ignorance and brutality of the times. They remember that the world was governed by a God who was then the source of all authority. This is the charity of Infidelity, — of philosophy. But the church of to-day is so heartless, is still so cold and cruel, that it can find no excuse for the murdered.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “God in the Constitution”