(Captain's log): Recently I ran into a blog post somewhere which tossed off a mention of a typical USS Clueless post as finding a relationship between the electromagnetic effects of solar flares and World War III. (I wish I could find it again; I didn't keep a link to it.)
I'm still working on that one, but over the weekend I did find a conceptual link between the Cambrian fossils of the Burgess Shale and World War III. (And computer operating systems, and protests against globalization, too. Don't ever accuse me of not seeing the big picture.) But it's an involved connect and so I'm breaking it into four entries, which I'm writing on my laptop while sitting in Starbucks.
OK, it's a flight of fancy. I don't claim that everything I write is necessarily profound. But it keeps me entertained, and it keeps you entertained. What more do you want?
Part I: The Burgess Shale
Part II: Colonization and the growth of markets
Part III: Memes as lifeforms
Part IV: World War III
Basically, the argument runs as follows: Any competitive system goes through a major change which, barring a major perturbation of the system by external events, is permanent. This pattern applies to the history of life, to the development of markets, and to the competition of political forms, and it's the deep source of the current war.
Stephen Jay Gould refers to it as "experimentation followed by standardization" but he's describing the effect, not the cause. I consider it to be caused by a transformation from nonzero-sum to zero-sum competition due to saturation.
So, forward into the breach, my friends!
Update 20020430: Douglas Turnbull comments.
Update 20020501: Aha! I found it! Read that "U.S.S. Clueless" has posted a wonderful 2,000-word dissertation on the effect of the sun's plasma plumes on Bush's tax-cut policy, or that Lileks is describing in detail his wish list for new additions to the "World of Springfield" Simpsons figures, and I want to take a little link.