Friday, June 15, 2012

Spirograph and How the World Works

Remember the Spirograph? I had one when I was a kid. For those of you too young or too deprived to have ever seen the critter, Spirograph was a set of different sizes plastic gears with holes in them. You put the gear on another piece with teeth on it that meshed with the gears, then stuck a pen in one of the holes in the gear, and move the gear around and around, drawing these cool shapes and geometric patterns without lifting the pen. You could use different colors of pen, and make very pretty designs. There was supposed to be all kinds of complicated geometry and stuff that went into it, but it was fun anyway. Here's a pic of the exact set I had:

They still make them, but the new ones are oddly unsatisfying to me. THIS is the Spirograph. The man who posted this pic is very proud of his Spirograph set--it's not even for sale. If you follow that link, you can see inside the box and some other versions of the set too.

Anyway, perhaps I was just easily amused, but it did amaze me how one continuous line could make all those designs, and you could draw pretty flowers just by putting stems and leaves on the shapes you made. It seemed somehow that everything was connected when you used it, and now of course, I know that's right.

Today, I ran across a chart that reminded me of a Spirograph drawing. It certainly shows how things are connected, and not in the happy way I felt when I was drawing flowers.

I might get a nasty letter from a lawyer if I post the actual image here, so click this link to see the article in Business Insider and the chart. It shows how fewer than two hundred people connect and conrol just about every major corporation, media outlet, government, central bank, 'charitable' foundation, think tank, policy-making organization, notable political campaign, and ice cream parlor. Well, no, that's hyperbole--ice cream is apparently still independent. But nearly everything else is run by these high-rolling masters of the universe. Make sure you think about Spirograph the next time you're wondering why everything always seems to take power away from regular folks and give it to the crazies who want to mine, drill, imprison, exploit, and/or bomb everything and everyone on the face of the planet.

Then, go get some ice cream.

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