i should have known it was gonna be one of those days when news of mr. rogers’ death was the first thing to come spilling out of my bedside clock radio.
tonight i went to see stephen wolfram speak at the san francisco city arts and lectures series. i went not out of rabid fandom, but rather because i wanted to assess whether or not this guy is a crackpot.
for those unfamiliar with dr. wolfram, he is best known as the creator of mathematica, a highly regarded piece of mathematical software, used primarily by scientists. he is also a theoretical physicist of some repute who has garnered recent attention by writing a book with the presumptuous title a new kind of science.
you can see why one might be dubious about the mental faculties of someone who claims to have created a new kind of science.
so, crackpot or genius?
i’ve had a few parties lately (new year’s, birthday, chinese new year), and have noticed a few themes that seem to play out consistently, mostly along the lines of angst…as a result, i’ve come up with a short list of things i need to keep in mind when throwing parties.
based on the presentation of secretary powell today, it seems there is only one thing that can avert a disastrous war – iraq must, within the next week or two, produce all of the weapons we "know" it has.
weapons inspectors will not find the needle in the iraqi haystack unless iraq cooperates. their apparent policy of systematic deception comes as no surprise, and unless some bizarre planetary alignment occurs and allah or whomever else wills it, i have little doubt they will continue to prevaricate. this leads to a clear scenario:
- inspectors go to iraq and find little or nothing new, even if they have triple the number of inspectors and U2s and reports from joe-i’m-on-the-inside intelligence officer and anything else we can dig up to throw at the problem
- iraq continues to claim that everything we are saying is the opposite of truth, and denounces the world community for following in american military footsteps
- inspectors return and deliver a report to the UN security council that is ambiguous and inconclusive, modulo possible additional support for the fact that iraq is not cooperating
- faced with the grim dilemma of we-say-they-say, the US of course stands firm with "we say", and lays down the final gauntlet – war
- the UN security council does who-knows-what, and war happens anyway
maybe i’m being too pessimistic. i hope this is not the scenario that plays out, but i fear it will be…i pray that i am wrong wrong wrong.
if war is the result of this process, the best possible outcome is that we, as a world community, can avoid having to ever go through this madness, and what madness may come soon, again. given human history, i doubt we can even achieve that…we seem bent on destroying each other.