Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"A Creature of Legend"

Rotters reports the following:

Greeks shut airports, services to protest economy
Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:23am

ATHENS, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Greeks disgruntled by their country's economic woes ramped up protests against the government on Wednesday, shutting down airports and disrupting many public services.

Public schools and tax offices shut down, and services at ministries and public offices were suspended, as hundreds of workers marched to parliament with banners reading "No to pension reforms, privatisations and job cuts".

"Government policy ... only burdens workers, the unemployed and the poor," public sector umbrella union ADEDY, which represents 500,000 members, said in a statement.

How do we explain this behavior?

Through science fiction, of course: Niven and Pournelle's masterpiece The Mote in God's Eye:

(NOTE: Moties are three handed aliens who breed themselves into civil war every few decades or so.)

Renner's Motie seemed to search for a word. Visibly, she gave up "Renner, I must tell you of a creature of legend."

"Say on." Renner ... dialed for coffee. Coffee and stories, they went together.

"We will call him Crazy Eddie, if you like. He is a...he is like me, sometimes, and he is [an engineer], an idiot savant tinker, sometimes. Always he does the wrong things for excellent reasons. He does the same things over and over, and they always bring disaster, and he never learns."

There were small sounds of whispering in [Starship] MacArthur's wardroom. [Renner] said, "For instance?"

[Renner's Motie] paused to think. It said, "When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse...when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way...when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise...then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions."

There was considerable laughter ... [Renner] grinned and said, "I think I know the gentleman...."

(This post dedicated to my good friend Phil Rose.)

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Keep it clean for gene.