Links and Comments: Powers of Ten; Nineteen Eighty-Four doublespeak; Climate change; Failed conservative predictions of doom

Today’s persusing of websites. (I have more links and comments from newspapers and magazines, but not the time at this moment to post…)

First, to complement yesterday’s link to Vox’s 40 maps that explain outer space, here is the earliest, and most famous, video I know about the vast size of the universe, a film from way back in 1977 (there was also a book) called Powers of Ten.


More about controlling the narrative: simply ban certain parts of speech, a la Nineteen Eighty-Four [aside: this is the correct title of the book; not “1984” with digits. See first edition image. These distinctions matter, to bibliographers and awards compilers.]

Widely reported in the past couple days, but here’s a Washington Post link: Fla. scientist told to remove words ‘climate change’ from study on climate change

Remember Orwell? “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”


Politicians deny reality in order to appeal to their ignorant base. But a general principle for identifying the motivations for any political trend is: follow the money. In contrast to politicians appealing to their bases, *insurance companies* take climate change very seriously:

New Republic: Florida Officials Banned the Term “Climate Change,” But the Insurance Industry Knows Better


Let’s venture into politics; the relatively right-wing party in the US is much more aligned with *ideology* and the denial of evidence that conflicts with that ideology, than the other. Again and again, on points of fact, they are proven wrong, and they never learn.

Here are examples at ThinkProgress: 5 Embarrassing Predictions About What Obamacare Would Do To The Economy.

It would be too easy to apply my Jack Smith Rule — take any prediction of doom, predict the opposite, and you will virtually always be a more successful prophet than those purveyors of doom. (It would be easy to do this about numerous posts at Right Wing Watch, about the imminent doom of American civilization if gays are allowed to marry. And so on. Predict the opposite; you will win.)

In current American politics, anything Obama does is reflexively opposed by conservatives and religious reactionaries, even policies originally proposed by Republicans! (Healthcare; standards for public schools.)

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