Clockwork

When the workings of the seven-plus billion click like finely-crafted clockwork, one smiles at the intricacies missed at the 100km level.

if everything is in space, what is outer space?  Inner?

If the theory of relativity is everything, is the theory of everything relative?

How quickly do the days go by until the 6th of May 2050 arrives too soon (or not soon enough?)!

Do we take Figaro literally or figuratively?

On sound terms or unsound?

Found or unfounded?

In the grand opera of life, who is our Figaro?  Our Sweeney Todd?

When is an event a close shave rather than the final cut?

Who opens the Second Act?

Who closes the last Scene?

Who on Mars will be the first to say, “I sold my sol to the company store“?

What is business as usual in an unusual business?

Is the business of fish a fishy business?

Are people who work for businesses called busybodies?  Is it any of our business?  Is a business full of business?

When is the business of selling terrorism to the masses simply a diversion tactic?  When is it not?

Is a tactic ever tactless?  Are brass tacks like Tic-Tacs?

Who is the world Tic-Tac-Toe champion?

Did Rikki Tikki Tavi ever say “Fee Fi Fo Fum?”

What does the blood of an Englishman smell like?  Why is it different than a non-English person’s blood odour?

These and other questions bubble to the surface of the nearest sulphur springs, curative or otherwise…

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Sloth, moth, both

Well, wouldn’t you know that after all these years, Thoth has returned to say thank you for returning humans to the art of communicating via hieroglyphics, a/k/a emojis — the balance of power has been returned to the universe.

In other news, Francisco Franco a/k/a  Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde will not be returning from the dead to lead Spain.

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Machinations

Huntsville student exposes secretive ‘The Machine’ at University of Alabama

Jay Reeves/Associated Press

University of Alabama sophomore Alex Smith has made waves by publicly acknowledging and resigning from a secretive campus organization called “The Machine.”

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — The fabled Skull and Bones society is the stuff of lore at Yale University. Harvard University has Final Clubs, known as a grooming place for the rich and powerful.
Electronic Express 300×250 – Value Added 23 K Imp

In Tuscaloosa, a group called “The Machine” may not rise to Ivy League heights of prestige or mystique. But it’s a powerful force at the University of Alabama, functioning within the shadows of what is billed as the largest community of fraternities and sororities on a U.S. college campus.

Machine members don’t acknowledge its existence, and the university doesn’t recognize it as an official group. Yet the homecoming queen and student government president generally are elected through bloc voting run by the group, and alumni of Machine-affiliated Greek organizations have gone on to hold offices including governor and U.S. senator.

Knowing of the group since high school, 19-year-old Alex Smith was happy to be elected to the campus Senate as a representative of her Machine-aligned sorority earlier this year. Her excitement turned quickly to uneasiness, and it ended this week in the most unthinkable of ways: She publicly exposed The Machine in a first-person article published by the campus newspaper and she resigned from the group.

Smith, a sophomore honors student from Huntsville, wrote that she no longer could be part of an organization that uses pressure and intimidation to control campus for the benefit of fraternity and sorority members, who comprise about 25 percent of the university’s 36,000 students.

“It is a corrupt system. It suppresses people’s opinions and they use a scare tactic to keep people on their side,” Smith told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday.

The fraternity president who serves as Senate speaker did not return an email seeking comment on Smith’s resignation.

University spokeswoman Deborah Lane said administrators investigate all alleged violations of the student conduct code, which bans intimidation and coercion. She cited privacy laws in refusing to say whether any formal complaints had been filed but said school officials can investigate potential problems on their own.

Student government President Elliot Spillers — an independent elected without the support of the Machine — praised Smith for being brave enough to go public.

“She truly spoke truth to power,” Spillers said.

Composed of the most prestigious, traditionally white fraternities and sororities on campus, The Machine is said to date back a century or more. Through the years, stories of nefarious Machine actions aimed at opponents have become numerous — a burglary, a cross-burning, vandalism, social blackballing, to name a few.

The student government association was temporarily disbanded two decades ago after a non-Machine presidential candidate claimed she was assaulted in her home, and a former Tuscaloosa school board member is currently suing over claims The Machine improperly swayed a city election by plying students with booze, concert tickets and other perks. But allegations of wrongdoing are generally tough to prove because of the Machine’s secrecy.

In her article in The Crimson White, Smith recounted attending a cloak-and-dagger Machine meeting earlier this year in the basement of the Old South fraternity Kappa Alpha — which reveres Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. She also received directions by text messages on how she was supposed to vote on issues before the Machine-controlled Senate.

Smith wrote of being distraught last week as she left a Senate meeting where she said she was denied permission to speak in favor of a resolution that could mandate greater openness by the Machine. Smith said the experience pushed her over the edge.

“I walked out in tears,” she said. “I felt like I had purposely been not allowed to speak. I was the only Machine senator who had their hand raised in affirmation of the resolution.”

Spillers said Smith’s revelations have made a difference.

“People are dialoguing and discussing what had happened,” the student body president said.

Smith said she began having misgivings after her election last spring when the student government’s Machine-affiliated members refused to approve Spiller’s choice for his chief of staff simply because he was independent.

Smith remains a senator, and she said she’s received mostly positive feedback since her resignation although some people she considered friends are giving her the cold shoulder. She doesn’t know whether her actions will help change the university.

“Even if no one joins me, even if people who once spoke to me turn their backs on me, even if no one whose mind can be changed reads this article, I won’t regret writing it,” Smith wrote. “Because I’m finally doing the right thing. I’m finally free.”

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When Shanghai collides with Shanxi in Songshan

Nature preserve destroyed* for entertaining Olympic skiing events, overshadowed by Olympic-sized tumbling yuan event. News at 11…

*”readjusted”:

After the International Olympic Committee, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced on 31 July that Beijing would host the Winter Olympics, nature enthusiasts quickly noted that the proposed alpine ski routes fall within the core area of the 4,600-hectare Songshan National Nature Reserve. On 1 August, Wang Xi, who recently received his PhD and works at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, overlaid maps from the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation report with those from the reserve’s website and posted the result on his Weibo account: both the start and end of the alpine runs fall within the reserve, he found.

Neither the Chinese Olympic Committee nor the Beijing government has released official statements responding to the allegations in the posts; in its evaluation report, the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee said the ski area was “adjacent to” the reserve. But on 7 August, the deputy mayor of Yanqing, the county in Beijing that has jurisdiction over the Songshan National Nature Reserve, announced that the borders of the reserve would be “adjusted” to take in land to the north-east of the current boundaries, and that some of the original reserve will be taken “to provide the necessary space for local sustainable development and to promote interaction between ecological protection and economic society”.

Money, money, moneyMoney makes the world go ’round…hehehe…lol…👑❤️📈

“Nothin’ new here, ‘cept them neked jaybirds and the Shmoo. Reckon this nature park ain’t no diff’rent than our woods back home.” — Li’l Abner

  

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Sans Serif

In a show of solidarity, all U.S presidential candidates, regardless of political party with which they are most closely associated, agreed to pay 90% income tax on public/private speaking fees and no longer accept donations to political campaigns in exchange for public appearances.

The general public cheered at the news but quickly returned to their serf wage jobs in the Feudal Renaissance, chanting the newest slogan:

“Happiness is a life with no material possessions.”

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