Where’s the crackers? Oh, right, that’s us. (Photo? via TYT)
“Where he appears to have miscalculated is in failing to realize the intense scrutiny he would come under as the ‘leader of the free world’, and just how bad he looks in the full glare of the lights.”
One more heave…
I’m delighted to say that my latest purchase of a £11.95 (plus £1.64 postage) jazz CD, The World According to Andy Bey – by the eponymous, strangely unsung bass-baritone vocalist and self-accompanying piano player (you have to be nowadays), of whose impressive talent I became aware only last Monday – has temporarily elevated Mr Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and hence its UK offshoot, Amazing.uk, to the coveted position of Firstmost Wealthiest American.
Following a 10% rise in Amazon stock this week, occasioned no doubt by my recklessly self-indulgent purchasing habits, Mr Bezos’ personal fortune has been swollen to $95 billion, meaning he has almost caught up with the part-owner of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the non-American President Vladimir Putin, believed to be secretly the world’s richest man; as, of course, he owns Russia.
If we keep buying stuff online, we can get Jeff there, guys! One more heave!
The top three wealthiest men in America have profited mightily from very different business models.
Mr Bezos invented nothing, but started Amazon as an online bookstore, to the ultimate detriment of the trade. He has merely applied IT in a farsighted way, combining rapid distribution systems and algorithmic demand-drivers, to what used to be known as “mail order” retailing. Soon, your orders will arrive before you have thought of ordering them. His global emporium has since expanded to cover almost anything you can buy; however, to put it in perspective, despite my best efforts it ships four times fewer packages daily than its upstart competitor, the Chinese-owned Alibaba.
Bill Gates invented or encouraged the invention and development of the Windows operating system, which with clever marketing and ruthless business tactics he successfully turned into a giant Silicon Valley software monopoly known and pretty much universally loathed as Microsoft.
The third of the triumvirate, Mr Warren Buffet of the Hathaway Group used other people’s money and a certain flair for predicting the movements of stocks and shares to make lots of money out of nothing more substantial than money itself. Where other businessmen breed sheep, or cattle, Mr Buffet breeds hundred dollar bills by the cartload.
Galloping up on the rails behind these three is the youthful social media entrepreneur, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebookistan, constructor of a highly leveraged online chatroom for students meeting students, that (thanks to a $million investment from Mr Putin) has burgeoned in a few years into a multi-billion-dollar global information exchange with over 2 billion subscribers of all ages (your Uncle Bogler is not one of them).
The key to his vast wealth being that the Zuck has successfully monetized the personal data volunteered in cosmic quantities by Facebook’s unsuspecting and enthusiastic uptakers, selling it on without moral question to just about anyone who can pay for it and employ it in whatever cause, commerce, sex, politics – even that of bringing down the Western democracies that produced Facebook in the first place.
This jostling for position among the richest men in America, though not the world, makes no difference, however, to the disturbing statistic that just those three top white men alone now command as much money between them as the entire populations of Canada and Mexico together; or, to put it another way, the poorest 160 MILLION Americans; many of whom despite being in employment are trapped in negative wealth and falling ever further behind, unable to maintain even the most basic standard of living.
Those are the people whom Trump despises as ‘losers’, whose already inadequate wages and healthcare and environmental protections he has plotted to take away and give to his wealthy backers; yet for whom he retains immense appeal as someone who seemingly flipped the finger at the political establishment. He has successfully played on their fears of ‘Others’ seeming to do better than themselves, despite or perhaps because of their imagined inferiority defined by skin colour as members of one or other sub-species of human; President Obama being the epitome of the principle Trump espouses, that n-words belong below-stairs, or out in the stable; while Muslims and Mexicans don’t belong at all.
Despite his bullish manner and florid tastes, Mr Trump certainly is not one of the richest men in America, or anything like. A six-times bankrupt, owing possibly as much as $2 billion dollars to foreign banks (US banks have downgraded his creditworthiness to zero after learning painful lessons) it is probable that he too is a net debtor, but with assets of a few hundred million dollars only (only!). How much is liquid and how much tied up in volatile property leases we have no idea as he refuses to publish his tax returns.
(People who naturally find that suspicious should consider it may only be because they prove he doesn’t really have the ten billion dollars he boasts of.)
Mr Trump’s business model, his ‘recipe for success’ has, it seems, simply been to muddle his business income up inextricably with his personal affairs; he has gotten where he is today, wherever that is, on other people’s backs, by constantly lying, prevaricating, boasting, forging, fantasizing, fiddling, fudging and muddling – and when those fail, threatening and bullying.
He clearly knows very little about business: he just told a meeting of Japanese business leaders that Japan should stop exporting more cars to the USA than US manufacturers export to Japan, build its cars in the USA and create jobs for Americans.
They already do:
“According to the 2013 report of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which represents Japan’s major automakers worldwide, 70% of all Japanese cars and trucks sold in the US in 2012 were made at US plants. In that year, these Japanese-owned “transplants” produced 3.3 million vehicles, over a third of total US auto production.” – asiamattersforamerica.org
In fact, Japan imports more American-made cars than native US auto manufacturers export. That’s possibly because they make better cars. The leading Japanese makers also have productive manufacturing plant in the UK and Europe.
You see what an insulting asshole your president is, how embarrassing, how utterly foolish and ignorant of the business world and how he will say absolutely anything, any lie he thinks will endear him to the dumbfucks back in Plainsville who will vote for him ’til the day they die – which shouldn’t be long now?
Despite speculation that he stands to make a lot of money from his tenure of the White House, considered at least in small part to have been his motivation in running for office (the others being his irrepressibly selfish ego, his neurotic craving for approbation and the useful power the President has of self-pardon) and despite his disdain for the emoluments rules, the constitution and the rule of law, it appears that his obnoxious business tactics and sinking global reputation have knocked about $600 million off the value of his and his daughter’s ‘Trump Brands’ businesses; while his Russian-funded golf courses continue to haemorrhage money.
Incoherence is not a good quality in a CEO.
Where he appears to have miscalculated is in failing to realize the intense scrutiny he would come under as the ‘leader of the free world’, and just how bad he looks in the full glare of the lights. The media over which he had some control as a TV performer and the Federal law agency he insulted are now fully in control of his life, he has ‘advisors’ who naturally like to advise, rules of good conduct, and he doesn’t like that a bit. He blames the media for his failing condition, but some of us have noticed that whenever he succeeds in reading out a coherent speech and sticking to Steve Miller’s script, the lying press and the fake news cable shows rush to treat his words with deference, imagining that he has at last become flesh.
It illustrates perhaps that screwing the banks and investing Russian mob money in failed casinos and grandiose speculative property developments while maintaining mid-20th-century business methods and a certain lazy thuggishness in a very different 21st-century climate of stringent oversight of corporate governance coupled with demands for fiscal responsibility and personal and environmental sensitivity, attributes he does not and never will possess, are not the way to gain untold riches, however much you might scream and shout and blame everyone around you for your failings.
This sad old sack of shit is trapped in the past. Unfortunately, it’s a fantasy past based on his failing memory of how great America was, in days when it was exporting megadeath to little yellow people, turning battleships back into domestic appliances – chains for housewives – sticking fins on huge wallowy gas-guzzlers, lynching n-words and hoovering up the remains of the British empire.
Add Parker and Dizz to the list, add Miles and ‘Trane and Monk, and he might have a point….
The stuff of legend…
“Amancio Ortega, the founder and director of the Inditex Group which owns high street shop Zara, has been named the third richest man in the world by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index with an estimated fortune of £29.8 billion ($46.6 billion).”
We all do it. At least, almost all of us.
We buy stuff.
And because we are easily seduced, because we like to feel we belong to some invisible community without necessarily bearing any of the duties and responsibilities of membership, we become suckers for certain brands of stuff with which in our loneliness we identify through the advertising they put out.
All right, use the word ‘ambassadors’ if you like.
Personally, your Uncle Bogler is past the age of excited adherence to brands. He may have stuck with the same banking group for fifty years, he may be too lazy to keep ‘switching’ suppliers of this or that, “it’s only money”, but it’s not out of loyalty, it’s out of cynicism: better the Devil you know – they’re all the same.
He was never much one for consumer goods. He does wear trousers, he does wear shirts, socks and pants and sweaters, and once in a blue moon he needs to go out and buy new ones as he tends not to bother changing out of his day clothes to do painting or gardening jobs; odd socks vanish, sweaters pill and shred, shirts shrink, until eventually he starts to feel he might be looking a bit, well, terrible, and he knows where in town stuff is to be got that might look okay and fit in the right places, stuff he can just about afford, so he grits his teeth and goes there to buy.
Which is not to say he bothers with labels, but in the process he knows he is inadvertently buying branded goods, and those affordable shirts and trousers and occasionally even shoes (he buys red or blue tennis loafers, they’re comfortable, they fit and only £10 a pair, how do they do it?) are all made abroad, in Dickensian sweatshops, by anonymous brown people working twelve hours a day, six days a week for bare subsistence wages, in perpetual danger of losing their living by going sick or having to give up time to care for their kids, their prematurely aged parents.
Modern-day coolies feed the lazy person’s desire for more stuff. (Jalta.nl)
He knows it, but what can you do? It happens here too, with rapacious corporates like Deliveroo, the nadir of the ‘gig economy’, the absolute pits in terms of employing “self-employed” (according to the stupid UK courts) kids to ride around on bikes, strapped to monstrous boxes, kids on minimum wage with no rights, no sick pay; kids who can be fined or fired for taking time off or missing something.
Who in God’s name needs a shitty business like Deliveroo? What the hell kind of sick society in the 21st century makes coolies of its brightest and best young people, just to deliver more cheap fucking stuff to lazy arses who think themselves too “time-poor” to cook, or to go out for dinner?
“Unto him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away”, so said Jesus of Nazareth. Nice guy.
And when an individual sets up some kind of entrepreneurial business that hits the spot in terms of timing, very important, and the look, when they get lucky – of course, there’s a hard slog to begin with, some know-how involved, a few years’ apprenticeship, but the timing and the look and the luck really are everything – then they hook into us, and we hook into them, and off takes the brand and up go the sales, and…
They get rich.
And third richest.
Thanks to us, the ambassadors, the suckers, the seduced – the time-poor. Thanks, inadvertently, to me.
And we all turn a blind eye to how the magic is performed.
Now, you don’t get to be the third richest person in the world by paying people to make your money. At the bottom of your organization are the myriad anonymous brown schmucks who actually do the work for a dollar an hour, while you swan around in a suit it would take a brown schmuck a year to pay for, provided their kids don’t eat, making lapidary statements and casting a professional eye over everything, the stitching, the balance sheet, the estimates for this and that, the order book and the delivery schedules, the stock levels, the design artwork, the market cap.; firing the odd guy for luck, fingers-crossed hoping to God you’re making the right judgements because you just laid out a hundred million dollars on a new superyacht to ferry you and your ghastly hangers-on, your ex-model wife, her bling and your valet, your fucking team of Sushi chefs, from your ethnically cleansed Caribbean island home to Monte Carlo and back.
We make those people.
Do you understand? If you have a problem with billionaires in the world, and let’s not forget, you could win a million on the lottery every year for a thousand years and still not be a billionaire, understand. We make them.
“The company said it had set up, along with Mango and Next, a hardship fund of 210,000 euros ($246,000; £188,000) to help the most vulnerable workers in need. “There is an unjust suffering here and we’re very sorry that these workers have to endure this,” said Murat Akkun, Inditex’s manager of sustainability in Turkey. “But it’s not us but the local firm and its boss that has caused this suffering. He has escaped justice. Turkish courts need to find this man and make him pay all that is due.” – BBC News
In the wake of the bankruptcy 15 months ago of Bravo Tekstil, an Istanbul company contracted to make branded clothing at rock-bottom prices for the high street brands you love, because you don’t love yourself, the brown schmucks have been paid not a penny. In desperation, they have had the swing-tags on the clothes they continue to make for nothing reprinted with a message, asking for help because they can’t afford to send their kids to school.
So the world’s third richest man (that’s personal wealth, not stock wealth – money in the bank), the wealthiest retailer in the world (Forbes) has put aside one 250 thousandth part of his fortune to help them?
The fortune they made him?
The fortune we bestow upon him, because we like the name Zara? Because we like the logo? It looks just how we feel about ourselves. Amazing.
Well not exactly. His business has done that, set aside some tiny fraction of its annual turnover, along with two other businesses with brands you love so much they’re probably owned by billionaires too, to provide a tiny fraction of the wages the people who make the money for them are losing, as a derisory concession to the workers abandoned by a bankrupt contractor for whom they bear no responsibility whatever.
Mr Ortega himself remains out of the loop, we suppose. That’s capitalism in a globalized world.
We’ve not come far since the 19th century.
Is Mr Ortega a bad man? Probably not, he probably doesn’t even know about the Turkish situation as he retired five years ago. The son of a railway worker, brought up in a Spain torn by civil war, he came from humble beginnings himself, starting off in a shirt factory:
“One day [he and] his mother went to pick up some groceries,” according to Covadonga O’Shea, author of a biography of the Zara founder. “From below the counter, he heard someone tell his mother, ‘Señora… we can’t give you any more credit.'” Ortega still felt shame at the family’s inability to pay. “When Amancio was telling me this, he was terribly emotional. And he said to me: ‘I was deeply hurt and humiliated.'”
“He vowed never to let his family suffer poverty again…” (BBC report, Sept 2016)
So he just inflicted it on everybody else.
It’s the stuff of legend, really.
GW: Raindrops are fallin’ on muh ‘ead…
(Note: Granny W is experiencing formatting problems with the WordPress words machine. Apologies, etc.)
Colombia: “…at least 4 people were killed and 28 injured after a mudslide and flooding from the overflowing La Paila river inundated the town of Corinto, Cauca Department, on 07 November, 2017. Over 30 people have been injured and 18 are still missing, according to local government reports. Thirty-seven houses have been destroyed and 17 buildings severely damaged, including a local school. … Images from disaster agencies showed streets covered with mud and flood debris.”
Panama: torrential rain brings flooding to the city of Colon. (Sort of Colonic irrigation… not funny.)
Kenya: “Periods of heavy rain have affected parts of Kenya since late October, causing flooding in central and northern parts of the country. The flooding has damaged or destroyed homes and displaced dozens of families. Local media report that at least 4 people have died.” – It’s impossible to overstate the importance of roads for food distribution in Africa. The Kenya floods have made many impassable.
Malaysia: death toll from floods and mudslides put at 7 as remnant Typhoon Damrey dumps up to half a metre of rain over Penang in 24 hours. Parts of the island under 2-3 metres. A lot of buildings and infrastructure damage.
Indonesia: Five people killed in a landslide in South Sumatra yesterday. “Heavy rainfall since 03 November 2017 has caused flooding and landslides in several provinces, according to the country’s Disaster Prevention Agency (BNPB). At least 9 deaths have been attributed to the heavy rain. Over 3,000 people have been affected by flooding.” Town of Banjarnegara hit by violent cyclonic storm on 8 Nov., people flee in panic as trees and power lines brought down. 1 dead, 3 injured.
Aljazeera reports on ever-rising sea levels forcing villagers in northern Java to permanently evacuate their homes and move inland.
India: late monsoon rains have killed 12 people in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu in the past week and a further 8 have died in floods in northern Sri Lanka, bringing the GW reports full-circle as we first reported on floods and landslides there back in April. 300 ml of rain fell on the city of Chennai in 24 hours.
Atlantic: Tropical Storm Rina is dying out, caught in a cold front and not expected to make landfall anywhere, other than Ireland and the UK as a normal Atlantic depression over the weekend. Rina was the 17th named Atlantic TS of the season: busy, but not a record. Hurricane Irma was by a long way the most powerful storm of the year to make landfall.
Greece: “Flash floods caused by heavy overnight rain (15 Nov.) have killed at least 14 people and caused destruction in central Greece. The industrial towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, west of the capital Athens, were the most affected.” Roads were flooded to a depth of a metre. “Many of the dead were elderly people whose bodies were found inside their homes, reports say. Fast-flowing torrents of red mud flooded roads.”
“…heavy rain and strong winds affected parts of north-western Greece from 11 November. The worst hit locations were Corfu and Igoumenitsa, where some areas recorded more than 100 mm of rain in a 24 hour period. The Fire Service reported that one man died in Corfu after his car was swept away by flood waters.”
Turkey: a terrifying storm erupts over the mountain town of Kumluca. Contained within it and visible only by the flashes of lightning is a huge tornado. Daylight brings scenes of devastation. This footage from CEWN #80 at 33.26 is not for children.
Violent storms in the Mediterranean have also struck the islands of Malta, and Sicily – where streets turned to the now-familiar ‘rivers of ice’ as a huge amount of hail fell – and into the Balkans. At least a hundred migrants are known to have drowned crossing from Libya, including 23 teenage Kenyan girls when their boat capsized, their bodies washed up on Italian beaches.
Harvey: the stats are all in and, yes, at roughly 1 trillion gallons and 5 ft deep in some areas the hurricane in August produced the bigliest rain ever recorded to fall on any part of the USA, probably in 2 thousand years. Insurers are putting the damage at between $90 and $200 billion. Far from it’s being a 1 in 2000 year flooding event, new forecast modelling for the Houston area suggests that by 2100 it’s going to be a 1 in 6 years event. Luckily we won’t be around by then.
One more heave? Bearing in mind devastating Cat 3 Hurricane Otto, which formed as late as 20 November last year, Dr Jeff Masters of Wunderground speculates:
“one possible area of tropical cyclone formation early next week: the waters of the east-central Atlantic … south of the Azores. A non-tropical area of low pressure is expected to form in this region, where waters of about 24°C (75°F) … may be warm enough to allow the storm (to) transition to a named subtropical storm. (‘Sean’ is the next name on the list.) We also need to watch the waters of the Western Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua in the coming weeks, as well. Sea surface temperatures there are close to 30°C (86°F) – more than 1°C above average for this time of year, and plenty warm enough to support a hurricane.”
Global cooling: A weak La Niña has been detected, anticipating a colder-than-average winter over the northern USA. The northeastern states (New England) had their warmest October in 153 years of record-keeping. However… things change, and within a few days of record highs, record lows are being set everywhere, with International Falls, Minnesota plunging over Friday night to minus 14 deg. F (minus 25.5 C). “For sheer misery, it would be hard to top the conditions that accompanied the cold blast at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, where winds topped out at 105 mph on Friday with a temperature of –2°F and a wind chill of around -40°F.”x
Despite the myth of global warming, obviously, the website eenews reports that last summer a child was stung by a wasp in Utqiagvik, one of the northernmost communities in northern Alaska. No-one there had ever seen a wasp before. Dragonflies and otters have also been seen; bowhead whales vanishing from off the coast of California are plentiful further north; while freshwater fish unused to 60 F water temperature were reported to be falling asleep, and crawling with lice.
Climate & Extreme Weather News #80/ Aljazeera/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ eenews/ BBC News
End Times News:
The US delegation to the climate change conference in Bonn contains no climate scientists. Instead they have sent executives from the coal industry to argue in favour of burning more coal. “Clean coal”, they call it – the filthiest, most polluting energy source yet discovered. The title of their presentation: “Coal is Great!” We feel sure the pun is intended, but will not fool the real climatologists.
Mr Trump recently revealed his astonishing ignorance when it became clear from an interview he was giving that he thought “clean coal” meant you wash it before burning it. Thus, the dumb asshole remains in charge of a government of climate-change deniers, lobbyists from the depths of the swamp and gluttonous proxies of the energy bidness, whose lies he is incapable of discriminating against.
The idea of “clean coal” relates to an as-yet unproven, horrifically expensive and theoretically virtually impossible technology for capturing carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations and sequestering them deep underground in the very shale deposits from which industry has extracted… more oil and gas, for burning.
With fuckwits like these leading the charge, it seems likely we shall indeed meet the doomsday scenario of gloomy prognosticators like Professor Guy McPherson, who argues that we have possibly eight more years – perhaps as few as three – before the human extinction event begins in earnest; and that so many feedback loops are now active, no remedial measures can save us.
Coinciding with the Bonn talks is the news that CO2 emissions from industry, which had flatlined over the previous three years, rose by 2 percent in 2016/17, thanks to resurgent demand for Chinese goods. China is fast switching to renewables but cannot go fast enough; general drought conditions are making their hydropower schemes uneconomical.
Protestors are also at pains to point out that since Fukushima and the rash political abandonment of Germany’s nuclear power program, the host nation and its filthy opencast “brown coal” industry has become one of the worst polluters in Europe, despite also being a leading uptaker of renewables.
Your Uncle Bogler is just old enough to remember the 5-day brown-coal sulphur smog that killed 12 thousand people in London in December 1953. Subsequent to which the UK became the first country in the world to ban the filthy stuff under the 1956 Clean Air Act.
This mess is never going to get cleaned up, any more than Britain will leave the EU with a beneficial trade and customs agreement. No-one is seemingly capable of acting intelligently – and independently, on the basis of the scientific evidence, from vested interests of all kinds.
We’re totally fucked.
Fake News News:
Reports that a ‘supervolcano’ in Antarctica, larger than Yellowstone, is erupting under the ice, thus causing climate change and ice-melt, are fake news.
There is only a theory that a supervolcano may exist, to account for a localized melting anomaly. That does not mean one is erupting, or about to erupt. The ground temperature above the magma chamber at Yellowstone is higher by a factor of 40 than the surrounding lands, hence the melting of the early snows around the lake.
Geologists entertain a theory that something similar ‘might’ be the case in Antarctica – although the report is published in the Daily Express alongside other scientific theories concerning the imminent approach of Planet X Nibiru, and “Russian ‘genius child’ says Egyptian Sphinx holds life changing key to Life beyond Earth”.
Despite the recent discovery of a chain of apparently extinct volcanoes in the north of the continent, there are considered to be only two active volcanoes in Antarctica, one stuck right out in the South Atlantic on an island off the northern peninsula, and the perpetually erupting Mount Erebos, one of only a few volcanoes in the world with a permanent lava lake.
Antarctica is a very big place, so the thought that one volcano can be responsible for displacing huge ice sheets the size of Cyprus and changing the climate ought perhaps to be discounted as yet another story promulgated by those who desperately want you to NOT believe that burning billions of tonnes of fossil fuel every year for 100 years, fuel they make a handsome profit from selling you, is going to affect the atmosphere adversely in any way.
In Trumpworld, ignorance is power
“The Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, attracted hundreds of attendees who believe the shape of the Earth is a disc instead of a sphere” – BBC News report
Whether they really believe it, or are merely happy to belong to a mildly loony cult, like Star Trek or Harry Potter fans, is open to conjecture. They have perhaps consumed too many of Dr Terry Pratchett’s entertaining and satirical – dare one say Swiftian – ‘Discworld’ books.
Circular argument (gizmodo.com)
I am currently reading physicist Carlo Rovelli’s book, Nothing is What it Seems. Prof. Rovelli makes it clear that not only is the earth a sphere, something that was perfectly obvious to the ancient Greeks, the Indians and the Arab mathematicians until the Christians introduced the Dark Ages, an anti-intellectual era brutally inimical to scientific inquiry in which many Americans remain perfectly comfortable today, but it is in fact part of a ‘3-sphere’ universal construct.
Such a concept would be mind bogglingly earth shattering (to mix our metaphors) to the flat-earthers in Raleigh; who have perhaps not thought their ideas through. For, if the Earth is flat, then so must be the moon, the other planets in our system – and the Sun. All flat discs, spinning like coins in a fountain, or wherever. But when do we ever see them ‘edge-on’?
The scientific explanation of a sphere is that it is essentially two discs back to back, that are contiguous entirely around their circumference. Such a geometric shape would be impossible unless each disc were to be distorted into a curved hemisphere.
Any attempt to draw a straight line at the earth’s surface results either in the line appearing at a distance to rise into the sky – or if the line is drawn ON the surface, such as our imaginary equator, if drawn straight enough it eventually reappears and meets its point of origin. Either scenario is possible only if the earth is in fact a sphere. Sophists in the Flat Earth Society will try to argue that the line has merely followed the circumference of the disc; but then, they have probably never attempted to send a long-wave radio signal to a colleague in Australia without bouncing it off the ionosphere. In any case, the line would then no longer be a straight line, by definition, but would describe a circle.
Following in the footsteps of Aristotle and, 18 hundred years later, Dante Aleghieri, pupil of Brunetto, Einstein wrestled with the problem of how the universe could be both infinite in space, yet also have a boundary in time; until he realized that it was in fact two spheres contiguous at every point of their surface; creating the ‘3-sphere’. (He refused for many years until eventually convinced otherwise, to believe in his own equations, that clearly showed the universe was continuously expanding from a single point of origin.)
While there is a boundary, you can never reach it as the internal geometry of the 3-sphere will always bring you back to your starting point. It is a 4-dimensional Möbius strip. There is, paradoxically therefore, no centre. All starting points are the centre; while there is no ‘outside’ to ask about – the outside is also the inside.
Culminating in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the medieval mind, Rovelli argues, had instinctively understood this and attempted to represent the universe in stone through church architecture as a series of nine (3×3) self-enfolding, transparent spheres: the orders of angels. He quotes the C15th Italian poet:
“This other part of the universe surrounds the first in a circle, like the first surrounds the others … appearing to be enclosed by those that it encloses. … the two balls surround and are surrounded by each other “
Even liberal thinkers such as your Uncle Bogler have to consult their friend The Pumpkin at such a moment. The Pumpkin nods approval. Einstein has not been shown to be wrong about much.
Ultimately, Flat Earthers are just contrarians who will assent to any madcap theory that allows them to feel superior to others who have spent their lives painstakingly studying and thinking in organized ways about the world and how it works; intellectuals who have achieved thereby, some perceived degree of unfair social advantage.
Thanks to the transforming power of social media we live increasingly dangerously in a society in which untutored opinion “Trumps” knowledge. In Trumpworld, ignorance is power.
For, we can look to the example of earlier, priest-ridden societies, such as the Maya, for the lesson:
When the privileged experts’ mumbo-jumbo fails to deliver a reliable harvest, people go hungry, mayhem ensues and the social order is turned topsy-turvy.