Archive for October 8th, 2008|Daily archive page

Communist China hopes the “right person” wins Nobel Peace Prize

Officials in the People’s Republic of China have expressed a hope that the “right person” will win the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.  (See my recent blog post on peace.)  “Some of the prizes went against Mr Nobel’s original purpose. We hope the prize should be awarded to the right people,” said a Foreign Ministry official.

Well, that’s very nice of them.  I think that—hey, wait a minute.  Who would the “wrong person” be?  Oh, yeah, pretty much anyone critical of China’s poor human rights record.  They’re still upset in Beijing that the Dalai Lama won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and are certainly not happy that one front runner this year is Hu Jia, who is currently sitting in a Chinese prison for “inciting subversion of state power” (i.e. criticizing the ruling party).  Mr. Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, is presently under house arrest.

Another favorite of odds-makers is 41-year old self-taught lawyer Gao Zhisheng.  He won a human rights case for a member of Falun Gong and—wouldn’t you know it?—also happens to be occupying a Chinese prison cell right now.

Another strong possibility for the prize is Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, who has lead the opposition to Robert Mugabe’s terrible rule in that country.  (See my blog post on the economic situation in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s villainous mismanagement.)

The 2008 Peace Prize winner will be announced at 11:00 am Central European Time this Friday, October 10th.  The prize will formally be given to the winner on December 10th, the anniversay of Alfred Nobel’s death.  Assuming, that is, that he or she is not in jail.

How to win the lottery twice, maybe

The post I had on superstition formation a few days ago might be interesting to consider in light of a recent news story. The gist of that prior post was that, if you are performing Action A and good thing G happens to you, and the next time you are performing Action A good thing G happens again, you are—if you’re like most people—well on your way to forming a superstitious connection between performing Action A and having good thing G happen, even if they are not in any way connected.

Like far too many state flags, that of Kansas is simply the state seal on a field of blue.  That's why they had to add the state's name, so you wouldn't mistake it for any of the 17 other flags just like it!

Like many state flags, that of Kansas is the state seal on a field of blue. Kansas: get a good flag and then you won't need to add your state's name to it!

Enter Kory McFarren, a 37-year old from Great Bend, Kansas. He has just won $20,000 in the Kansas Lottery… for the second time this year. Most people who play the lottery never win any appreciable amount, so what is Mr. McFarren’s secret? Well, perhaps his girlfriend, Pam Babcock, is his lucky charm. You may recall that the pair made news over the summer when Mr. McFarren called 911 to report that Ms. Babcock wouldn’t leave the bathroom, which she had been in for over six months. When emergency responders arrived, they found that she had become physically attached to the toilet, which had adhered to sores on her body. (She was hospitalized and released after several months of treatment, which hopefully went beyond the merely physical aspects of her condition and into mental health areas.)

Hopefully Mr. McFarren is not prone to superstition formation and is a critical thinker, though if he lets his girlfriend litterally grow into his toilet one must be skeptical of his ability to be skeptical. In any event, hopefully neither he nor anyone else forms a connection between allowing a loved one to become physically attached to a toilet and winning the lottery. Law enforcement officials, especially in Kansas, may want to keep an eye out for folks who suddenly start buying lots of lottery tickets: they may be locking loved ones in their bathrooms!