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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 2013 News Factoids

"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality."
Apparently, this is a 'folk' version of a longer quote from Ayn Rand [1905-82]
"[Man] is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss [that] he refuses to see." — in "The Objectivist Ethics", 1961
(thanks to Harry Binswanger, Ayn Rand scholar for the correction - 1/2013)

"More U.S soldiers died of suicide in 2012 than died in combat."
~~ N.B.C. News headline, January 2013

Several land development companies began selling lots across the river from Belén, New Mexico in the 1960s, collectively named the Rio Communities. Rapid growth slowed at the end of the century, and essentually halted due to the G.O.P. Economic Meltdown of 2008. A few energized locals built a demand for self-rule (versus lousy services under Valencia County), and a special election in January 2013 won passage for cityhood. {Only 1,063 voters participated, but the 672 to 391 count came out 63 percent for versus 37 percent against incorpor-ation.} I am a stand for getting the new city renamed Paris, New Mexico.

SOME HUMOR: The January 2012 nominations for the annual Raspberry Awards {'The Razzies') included Tyler Perry for Worst Director {for "Good Deeds" and for "Madea's Witness Protection"}; he is also nominated for Worst Actress {for "Madea's Witness Protection"}, and for Worst Actor {for "Alex Cross" and "Good Deeds"}.

"Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity."
~~ opening paragraph of a draft report commissioned by Congress and issued under the auspices of the Global Change Research Program

Because of drought and wildfires around the world, meteorologists have added two new colors to the hot weather maps - neon purple and dark violet - to indicate higher temperature ranges (over 130°F). ~~ per The Week Magazine

"Every year, the influenza virus kills about [35,000] Americans."
~~ Michael Specter, at
The 2012-2013 flu season began earlier and has hit harder than in previous years, and some health officials are already using the term 'epidemic'.

The average high school graduate today makes $12,000 less than the average high school graduate made in 1980." ~~ The Week Magazine

'States With Minimum Wages Above The Federal Level Have Had Faster Small Business and Retail Job Growth' ~~ title of 2004 report by Fiscal Policy Institute

The Republican-caused economic meltdown continues to produce negative results: After being a twice-weekly for over 100 years, the local paper here is cutting to a weekly delivery schedule on Thursday only, along with its sibling paper in Socorro, New Mexico.

"Santa Claus is a god. He's no less a god than Ahura Mazda, or Odin, or Zeus. Think of the white beard, the chariot pulled through the air by a breed of animal which doesn't ordinarily fly, the prayers (requests for gifts) which are annually mailed to him and which so baffle the Post Office, the specially-garbed priests in all the department stores. And don't gods reflect their creators' society? The Greeks had a huntress goddess, and gods of agriculture and war and love. What else would we have but a god of giving, of merchandising, and of consumption?"
~~ Donald E. Westlake [1933-2008], in the short story "Nackles"

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