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National and Global, United States

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Collateral Damage


Collateral Damage: With the economy questionable and no one exactly sure when the markets will rebound, it's a good time to invest in solid, verifiable assets. Banks in Italy take an even more pragmatic approach, accepting as collateral for loans something not only solid and verifiable--but edible, should it come to that. According to a Bloomberg News report, the warehouses of regional bank Credito Emiliano hold about 440,000 wheels of parmesan cheese, two tons of spaghetti, forty pounds of hot peppers, 40,000 pounds of meatballs, and 60,000 pounds of tomatoes. In this case, the economy better turn around fast. And for dinner tonight? Oh Emiliano, not again!

Just look at me! In most cultures, the guru is a special person. He benefits from unique access to the mysterious forces of chaos lurking just under the deceptive surfaces of our world. Thus, he has the ability to intuit the movements of the cosmos and so to foretell our destiny. He doesn't have to prove what he says-he has the luxury of using what the medieval theologians called "the argument from authority." The guru, in fact, ceases to be a simple human being and becomes a representative of his own brand. He may grow out his hair, dress up in underwear, retire to the hills, or otherwise cultivate eccentricities. I know lots of people who grow out their hair and dress up in their underwear. In my neighborhood, they ain’t called ‘gurus’.

“ You can't visit any time before your time machine was built”. This is not according to Yogi Berra. According to the Einstein Brothers (I know Albert, but who is Louie?) picture of the universe, space and time are curved and very closely related to each other. This means that traveling through time would be much like traveling through a tunnel in space—in which case you'd need both an entrance and an exit. As a time traveler, you can't visit an era unless there's already a time machine when you get there—an off-ramp. This helps explain why we're not visited more often from people from the future.
And certainly, I don't want to visit the past. And don't bagels go stale after a day or so?

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