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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

September 08, 2009

Good & Evil

John F. Enders received a Nobel Prize in Medicine for work which led to the development of the polio vaccine. According to this book, his discoveries about how to grow large quantities of viruses prevented about 114 million people from dying of polio, measles, etc.

I also just realized he was the uncle of this guy.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 8, 2009 09:39 PM

There you go again, linking to your 3rd best post ever, just to remind us all of how brainy and witty your are, you with your Schwarzian field theories of this and that. It really is a good post, and you're pretty clever in the comments too, if I recall correctly.

Now I want to make some kind of insufferably clever pun about playing an Enders game...but I got nuthin'.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at September 8, 2009 10:31 PM

Wow, thanks for linking to that post, which either you wrote just before I started reading ATR or I somehow missed the first time around. Fascinating terrifying stuff.

Mr. Versen, if you were being literal & serious about the "3rd best post" thing I'd like to know the rest of your list.

There's nothing clever about Ender's Game jokes, unfortunately.

Posted by: ethan at September 8, 2009 11:11 PM

Also, it's nice to know that the Enders family's scales tip hugely towards the saving of lives, despite Tommy's best efforts. Must really have pissed him off.

Posted by: ethan at September 8, 2009 11:13 PM

ethan, I was trying to make a pun on the term end-game. I was unfamiliar with "Ender's Game" as a title of a work.

re the other 2 posts, I have a couple in mind, but was meaning to see if others would volunteer guesses. Not that the ranking/order/my opinion matters, but I was thinking of JS's post on Joseph Conrad from late '04 and his "great opportunity" 9-11 anniversary post. I forget which year. I think 9-11-06, possibly earlier. Actually JS has tons o' great posts. His series on Christopher Hitchens also stands out, several short items- not individually so much as the cumulative effect.

I also have several swanky posts, even if I'm not so cosmopolitan as to have heard of Ender's Game before-- so come and see. If you are impressed, feel free to walk up to total strangers in the grocery store and suggest they read my blog. I would, but I'm too shy in real life.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at September 8, 2009 11:43 PM

Did anybody notice that after Enders got out of WWI, he went into real estate, then gave that up and studied to be an English teacher, then apparently when that didn't do it for him either decided what the heck, maybe I should become a virologist?

Those are all great posts. But for some reason the oldest post kind of reminds me of that funeral scene in The Wedding Crashers.

Posted by: N E at September 9, 2009 12:06 AM

I think if you look at who makes up any administration of any president you see the same thing....Investment bankers, Wall St lawyers, former CEO's and the like....Gabriel Kolko, among others, wrote about this years ago...That's a shared world view that sees the divine right of capital as axiom number one....This is often seen by some as a conspiracy theory which of course it is not. Right minded people get to positions of authority and power...not the reverse.-Tony

Posted by: tony at September 9, 2009 08:36 AM

Oops, sorry, Jonathan (V). I had actually forgotten that "end game" was a real phrase before Orson Scott Card got his grubby hands on it, so I think I'm the stupid one here. (I read Dead Horse regularly, incidentally.)

I agree that the "Great Opportunity" post is among JS's best, and that he's truly one of the greatest etc. of our time.

Posted by: ethan at September 9, 2009 09:09 AM

Funerals of the gods.

You know you've been a useful tool when David Rockefeller himself shows up. Enders was the Yalie equivalent of Harvard's McGeorge Bundy: top of his class, groomed for a top slot in the corporation, where he got to play Chichikov for Rocky and Henry.

And indeed, JS, that was one HECK of an impressive post. Thanks for exhuming it.

Posted by: Oarwell at September 9, 2009 09:48 AM

I liked,

"REPUBLICANS: Let's kill everyone and take their money!
DEMOCRATS: I like the way you're thinking. I really do. But if we keep at least SOME of them alive and working for us, we can make even MORE money in the long run!
REPUBLICANS: You commie!"

But now I am thinking, "ROBOTS!!"

Posted by: DavidByron at September 9, 2009 10:06 AM

It's really nice to read it, but you have to work on your style a bit ;) Cheers!

Posted by: flu vaccine researcher at September 10, 2009 08:17 AM

Also some good quotes from Neel Kashkari, who was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury at the time of the bailout and who is now TARP administrator:

We knew we had to go to Congress. This was the second real-life experiment: Was our political system capable of reaching consensus to prevent a catastrophe?

I remember watching the first TARP vote from the gallery over the House floor. When they voted no, I was shocked. Hadn't we clearly explained the consequences of failure? At least history would show that we tried.

We continued to work with Congress, and to their great credit, they passed the TARP on Oct. 3, less than three weeks after Lehman failed. This legislation proved essential to preventing a financial collapse that would have been devastating for American families. I learned that in times of extreme crisis, our country can set aside politics and do what is necessary.

So glad to know Neel's faith in our country was restored. Yes, if responding to an "extreme crisis" requires us to give trillions of dollars to mega-corporations, our Congress is Johnny-on-the-spot with the money.

On the other hand, if a different "extreme crisis" (like, say, fifty million without health insurance and millions more who have insurance being forced into bankruptcy) requires us to take a single dollar from a mega-corporation, then the wheels come off the bus and nothing can be done. Sorry!

Posted by: SteveB at September 10, 2009 08:58 AM

Sorry, wrong thread. But just imagine how apropos the comment above would have been if I had only put it in the right place!

Posted by: SteveB at September 10, 2009 09:40 AM

The linked post was excellent. The fact that it's from 4 years ago shouldn't prevent exhuming it or replicating it in both style and intent. If such work occurred more regularly throughout Blogtopia we might actually have some awakenings.

What's needed now is to connect those pampered plutocrats to POTUS 44 and his glorious post-racist America administration

Posted by: Fame is Not Wisdom at September 10, 2009 10:57 PM

Reading so many articles about it... To be afraid, or not?

Posted by: swine flu vaccine at September 12, 2009 06:15 AM