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We’ve got a commentary this week from an esteemed Cal Poly nanotechnology ethicist, a smart guy, writing about the Big Bang pinball game they’ve got going on in Switzerland, where they’re going to shoot subatomic particles at each other until they get an army. This guy, Patrick Lin, says it could be the end of days.

Again, this smart guy, no kook, thinks this particle accelerator could be the destruction of us all.

Provocative, sure. But let’s examine that idea. If this were the end of days, wouldn’t we have all kinds of hurricanes and shit? Wouldn’t we have people ready to bet it all on untested politicians? Wouldn’t we have the financial markets collapsing?

I mean, really, how could this be the end of days?

As for the financial markets, I was very glad to hear Bank of America—that’s BofA, not WaMu, get it straight—bailed out Merrill Lynch. New Times is in the basement of the Merrill Lynch building in downtown SLO, and if they went into the hole, they’d be here in my lap.

Cop talk

A note to the San Luis Obispo police officer who stopped and ticketed a New Times delivery driver for driving without a seatbelt: Read the law.

Since 1985, there has been an exemption to the seatbelt law in the traffic code, saying it “does not apply to a person actually engaged in delivery of newspapers to customers along the person’s route ; .”

As I heard the story, when he or she was informed of the law, the officer shot back to the driver that New Times is “not a newspaper.” To that, I offer this: Wait until you get in trouble for something of real consequence, and we write the story about it. Tell me then that New Times is not a newspaper.

I’m reminded of the “new reader” who recently wrote me to tell me that he or she will no longer be reading this paper. This person wrote to tell me I am a “coward, uniformed, uneducated, inexperienced, and angry.”

That statement is simply untrue. I do not wear a uniform.

But, really, people, what kind of a person hurls insults anonymously? Please don’t answer that.


Sick day

This one’s too easy.

I’ll let you write the joke. SLO supe Harry Ovitt was absent when the Board of Supervisors took two of its most important votes in a while. One vote was about giving some county land to Santa Barbara County (they didn’t). The other vote was over letting sand and gravel miners ruin our streams (no final answer yet).

Ovitt could have been the crucial vote on either one. He wasn’t there because he’d just had foot surgery, literally, on his Achilles heel. Have the joke to me by Friday. I have deadlines to meet.



Thousands of WOWies were supposed to go traipsing through the New Times office this past week. We got prepared and made stacks of goody bags jammed with 3,562 free Nintendo Wiis. Each bag also included a Taser for personal protection, a bottle of Crazy Horse malt liquor, and tons (tons!) of pornography, including posters of Ol’ Shred, topless, dripping all over a mint ’03 Prius. All kinds of good shit like that. Still, they avoided us and our swag like we were giving away herpes. (And if you kiddies haven’t learned this yet in those welcome-to-college sex discussions, you cannot contract herpes by reading New Times. Only Craigslist gives you herpes.)

But don’t come asking for the swag now, though. Too late. If you came by now, all we’d have for you is a student guide and a temporary tattoo. Crap like that.

Anyway, at one point, Executive Editor Ryan Miller, fed up with the lack of love, took a stack of student guides, marched outside, and started barking at trembling young co-eds: “It’s free! When someone offers you something free, you take it!” A few wholesome-looking boys accepted copies, crying. I’m sure they’ll be lifelong readers.

And speaking of power-mad publishing figures, somebody’s going to win a pajama party at the Hearst Castle by bidding on eBay. The money will go toward restoring Hearst’s art collection. You get to swim in the Neptune pool, ride the zebras, and find out what “Rosebud” really means.

What I like about the idea is the out-of-the-mansion type of thinking when it comes to fundraising. It’s a solution. Water in salt. There’s another solution for you.

And here’s another one: An article in the Los Angeles Times says two researchers have presented a simple way to solve much of the problem of global warming. The answer, it turns out, is to paint roofs white. Even better would be to stop using black asphalt. If all the roads and roofs in 100 major metro areas were white, according to the researchers, it would offset more greenhouse gasses than are emitted on Earth in a year—but that’s just another thing we won’t have to worry about when the world ends.

Readers Poll

Are you satisfied with diversity representation in school textbooks?

  • Publishers need to amplify minority contributions.
  • Yes, textbooks are fine as is.
  • School books with diverse representation should be optional.
  • I don't read.

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