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:: posted by buermann @ 2004-04-05 15:15:20 CST | link

      I feel you, Lord knows I do, but I've been wondering if outrage is such a good reaction. It's a commendable one, but blogging away as I do I've developed the impression that Bush, Cheney, the whole blooming lot of 'em, might just as well be robots. You've said about as much elsewhere, but it seems to me this nightmare we're living in is the endgame of something huge and nameless. There's no conspiracy here, just a dying star of a system.

      The system is a sort of dual phase star: one phase is the neoliberal economy (which is now peaking), and the other phase is the multiplier economy (which peaked in the late Nixon Administration). The phases transcend national or ideological boundaries. I'm no expert on astrophysics, but I understand this is analogous to cepheid variables:

      Science WorldA Cepheid variable is a young star of several solar masses and roughly 10,000 solar luminosities whose luminosity changes periodically. As radiation streams out, some He(+) in the atmosphere of the star is ionized to He(+2), making the atmosphere more opaque. The decreased transparency of the stellar material blocks the energy flux and heats the gas, and the increased pressure pushes the envelope out, thus increasing the star's size and luminosity. As the star expands, it cools and gains an electron, converting back to He(+). The enhanced transparency causes the atmosphere to shrink again.

      The period of a Cepheid variable is related to its intrinsic luminosity. Hence, measuring the period of light fluctuations allows the object's absolute luminosity to be determined, and its distance then follows through comparison with the observed brightness. Therefore, the Cepheids play an important role as a standard candle in assessing the distance scale in the universe.*

      Something like this can be used to explain why a huge urban society undergoes oscillations between "Keynesian" stimulus/multiplier development and "neoliberal" development. I'm not sure this amounts to the same thing as the Marxian version of history, but it's clear that there are so many things which are politically "impossible" (like ratifying and implementing the Kyoto Accords) and others which are are politically mandatory (unconditional support for the likudniks), that I've begun to look past the Administration entirely.
      *PS-Eventually Population I Cepheid Variables become novae. Novae are fascinating objects to watch but you would not want to live near one.

    posted by JamesRMacLean @ 2004-04-07 05:26:07 | link

      "I'm not sure this amounts to the same thing as the Marxian version of history"

      It sounds awfully deterministic, which may or may not be "Marxian", I have no idea. I would prefer to discourage apathy, outrage would be fantastic.

    posted by buermann @ 2004-04-07 13:55:08 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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