Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Strip-tease of the Search for Life on Mars

The search for life on Mars has become such a drawn-out and elaborate strip-tease that many of us are forced to conclude that NASA (etc) are already sure they've found it, and are simply preparing the ground socially for the announcement. Now, even the Pope is pretty sanguine about ET, and has said it all fits into God's great plan, which should sort out the concern of a large chunk of the global population.

30 years ago, an announcement of alien life might have had unpredictable social consequences. Now, Manuscripts Don't Burn is pretty sure most Brits would barely register the news, as long as sports and soap opera broadcasts weren't interrupted.

The sad fact is that science is still a minority patronage game for governments, much as it has ever been, and has to scrabble for the leavings from the budgetary table. No matter how excited science enthusiasts may get, most people are just not bothered, and will simply parrot a number of socially-acceptable cliches to cover their lack of interest (to whit, the BBC HYS entries).

The end result is a painfully slow pace of research, and an equally slow uptake by the social consciousness, ideally with minimal social upheaval. Only the rapid spread of the internet has got out of control from this perspective - and now the world's governments are trying, with clumsy threats and propaganda, to persuade the world's people to agree to put the genie back in the bottle.

Manuscripts Don't Burn for one would be absolutely delighted to see yet more evidence of life on Mars. However, we are pretty much convinced it's already Out There, and lots of it, so it would just confirm what we already think...

The simple truth is that exploratory entrepreneurialism is not the traditional forte of governments. What we really need is a Bill Gates or Richard Branson to get on board and kick ass - we already have the know-how to be out there in the solar system right now, with bases all over the place and plenty of resource exploitation to pay for it.

Tho, with the obsessive secrecy of our governments, Manuscripts Don't Burn wouldn't be surprised if we were already doing it...

Monday, 5 May 2008

Irrelevant diversions as the price of food rockets...

The average UK family is facing a £1700-a-year utility and food bill increase over the past 12 months - that on a £20K gross salary. For most of the population, regardless of what the government says, actual experienced inflation is running at 10-15%.

It's inevitable, we are told. Poor harvests. Overpopulation. Global warming. "The era of cheap food is over." "We all have to tighten our belts and pull together - it'll be like the war again. It's the New Austerity."


The elephant in the room is that we have food riots all around the world and looming shortages / starvation because a bunch of brokers are being allowed by supine governments to create a bubble in commodities (ie FOOD) to try and claw back some of the money they lost in the subprime fiasco (after they'd been "allowed" to flog off the backup foodstores we'd set aside to prevent this sort of thing happening).

It's not global warming, it's not overpopulation. Our governments are allowing private individuals to speculate with the global staple food and energy supply. Irresponsible laissez-faire and lack of planning is the crime, that and the fact that the media are not shouting the truth from the rooftops.

But, hey, this is corporate feudalism - it's cool if people die, as long as the brokers keep making their millions. We can always blame it on global warming and overpopulation! The poor saps will never cotton on till it's too late - then they'll be too hungry to do anything about it.

Buy coffee! Buy rice! Buy wheat! The price is gonna rocket once the people start dropping!


Support material:, "Making a Killing from Hunger"