Here are some things I don’t quite get. Maybe someone can explain them to me.
1. All through 2008, then-Senator Obama kept telling me that “America’s reputation in the world is critical, not just to our security but to our prosperity”, and therefore American policies should be set with a decent regard for world opinion. Now, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, he keeps warning me that it will be disastrous if foreign interests are allowed to express their opinions in our political campaigns. How are we supposed to have a decent regard for foreign opinions if we don’t listen to them?
2. Am I the only one who finds it a little unseemly that the regulatory response to Toyota’s recent problems is being formulated by the owners of General Motors?
3. There are something like three million non-human species on earth and so far we can’t communicate with any of them. So why would anyone think it likely that we’d be able to communicate with extraterrestrial species, even if they’re capable of sending signals through space?
4. Anyone my age or younger has probably encountered Highlights for Children in a dentist’s waiting room. Recurring characters like Goofus and Gallant or The Timbertoes have respectable web presences (and Goofus and Gallant are even cited in The Big Questions!). But Aloysius the Wolf, who appeared in Highlights for decades, is, for all practical purposes, completely absent from the Web. How can this be? How can a major recurring character from a popular children’s magazine come in for approximately zero mentions on as all-encompassing a medium as the World Wide Web? All I’ve found is a single blog mention from about a year ago. (Note: Aloysius comes in for a brief mention on the Wikipedia Highlights page, but this doesn’t count since I’m nearly sure this paragraph was recently added by a dinner companion of mine to whom I’d expressed this puzzlement.)
5. I’ve just starting drinking SoBe Lifewater, which advertises itself as naturally sweetened, with zero calories. How can a natural sweetener have zero calories? Well, the natural sweetener in question is erithrytol, which I’d never heard of before this week, but it’s apparently a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that pretty much passes right through you without harming your teeth, your digestion or your waistline. The stuff is delicious. Why hasn’t erythritol taken over the market for low calorie sweeteners? Has capitalism failed?