The Word of the Day for February 02, 2009 is:
cyberpunk • \SY-ber-punk\ • noun

*1 : science fiction dealing with future urban societies dominated by computer technology

2 : an opportunistic computer hacker

Example Sentence: Cyberpunk — with its androids and cyborgs and human-electronic networks — almost turns reading into a computer game.

In science fiction circles, “cyberpunk” is a genre that often features countercultural antiheroes trapped in a dehumanizing high-tech future. Its roots extend back to the technical fiction of the 1940s and ’50s, but it was years before it matured. The word “cyberpunk” was coined by writer Bruce Bethke, who wrote a story with that title in 1980. He created the term by combining “cybernetics,” the science of replacing human functions with computerized ones, and “punk,” the raucous music and nihilistic sensibility that became a youth culture in the 1970s and ’80s. Not until the 1984 publication of William Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer, however, did “cyberpunk” really take off as a term or a genre.

Ah, fame….

The cycle of uncreative destruction

The poli-demographic cycle at work in California:

How does one explain how California is broke, tens of billions of dollars in aggregate debt, despite having among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation?

We are naturally rich beyond belief—timber, oil, agriculture, a long sea-coast, wonderful weather, mountains, sea, and valleys—and inherited lucrative industries in tourism, computers and software, defense and great universities. Our grandparents left us a once wonderful freeway network, a tripartite higher education system, ports, airports, dams and canals.

So what went wrong, and why are tens of thousands of Californians leaving the state with bachelor degrees and above, while tens of thousands enter without high-school diplomas?

The answer, as VDH knows perfectly well, is simple. Ideology matters. Left-wing ideology is intrinsically parasitic, and once its depredations sufficiently weaken its host, both the parasite and the host are doomed. California is appears to be reaching that point, and the entire United States of America is not far behind it. Unfortunately for the residents of other states, many of the individuals who passively permitted this transformation – and in some cases actively encouraged it – have relocated and are now spreading their ideological filth in their new environs.

WND: It will get worse

Recover is not right around the corner:

As George Bush did with the creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Herbert Hoover oversaw the founding of an unaccountable organization making secret loans to banks and other failing institutions, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. As President Barack Obama has done with his “stimulus” program of massive federal spending, Hoover convinced Congress to increase federal spending 30 percent in 1931 alone. In relative terms, this failed spending package was larger than Obama’s incredible $775 billion “stimulus” plan, which would only amount to a 25 percent increase even if all of the spending were to take place in 2009.

But one of the more striking things [chronicled in America’s Great Depression] was the way in which the politicians and professional economists almost uniformly expected recovery to take place in 1931, and their panic when their expectations were dashed. Depression set in despite a resort to extreme measures that are all too familiar to the modern observer. Interest rates were cut to historic lows. Millions of dollars were loaned to the states to finance a vast series of public works and stave off unemployment. Taxes were increased at both the state and federal levels, and the Federal Reserve made use of every tool at its disposal to prop up failing banks.

On a related note, this WSJ article by two economists is timely and informative, if nothing new to the AGDers.

America’s Great Depression – Final Exam

Here it is. And may the Force be with you. Regardless of how well or poorly you happen to do, I hope you’ve learned something substantive from this economic study.