Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Noise and Silence

I remember the noise, almost endless,

Of planes roaring on through the heavens

From what seemed a world full of nations --

An invasion's worth of bright wings.

I'd never seen planes like that -- never --

Not even when hurricanes chased them

Like birds, to fly north for the summer.

These birds _were_ the wings of the storm.

I remember the sky full of silence

That echoed with fear. No contrails.

Unnatural -- like the Moon'd vanished

And the rivers had turned into blood.

I longed for those two lonely fighters

To scream past. I needed jet noises

To fill up the nothing above us

And the hush that sang of death.

In the dark of the moon, fly, you bright wings.

Bring noise to the ones who brought silence.

Boy Treated with His Own Stem Cells

Here's an experimental stem cell treatment that's totally ethical. 15-year-old Eric Page had his own stem cell growth stimulated. Doctors will then draw them out of his blood. After his immune system is destroyed to stop it attacking his own digestive tract, he'll get his stem cells back and hopefully a new, sane immune system with it.

Don't Feed the Lawyers

Lawyers want to be able to sue veterinarians for malpractice, so they're trying to change the status of dogs and cats in state law. I hope people will see through this ruse. This law is obviously designed not to help pets or bereaved pet owners, but to help lawyers help themselves to money. As if we don't have enough lawsuits in this country.

Pay Internet Sales Tax? Shyeah, Right!

As you've probably seen, many states want an Internet sales tax. Yeah, well, they can go on wanting it. If I'm buying stuff from California or Katmandu, I see no reason to send any of it to Columbus. Especially since Ohio tried this before; there was a voluntary Internet sales tax box on our Ohio tax forms a couple years back. Nobody paid, of course. Why would you? More to the point, how could you possibly go through all your past records of stuff bought over the Net and determine what qualified and what didn't? It was a stupid plan.

The really important thing about this article is that:

" Some major retailers this week began
voluntarily charging online sales taxes in 37 states
and the District of Columbia, a move that could
reshape the way business is done on the Web.

Retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Toys ‘‘R’’ Us and
Target, hope their first steps will help bolster the
states’ effort to mandate online sales taxes, leveling
the playing field between themselves and
Internet-only rivals.

In other words, the big companies think that if everybody has to pay sales tax some of their smaller rivals, who are only on the Net or get lots of business there, will fade away because of the increased accounting problems. How nice.

The moral of the story (at least for now) is -- don't buy over the Web from retailers who charge sales tax. This may change big retailers' tune. Even if it doesn't, at least you're not spending extra money.