2008-05-01 / Sam Bari

If we wait long enough, everything gets recycled

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

Going green and recycling are showing signs of becoming national pastimes, and they should be. Turning the world into a giant trash heap is not a good thing. If the space guys are watching, they could be appalled and have justification for adding another reason to their long list of why they will not invite us to join the interplanetary community any time soon. However, if we clean up our act, they might be more receptive to our ventures into the cosmos.

Anyway, everything is eventually recycled; perhaps not in the form that we know it, but nonetheless, the elements somehow magically break down and make their way back to becoming elements again. Unfortunately, they live a useless life as a non-recyclable soda bottle or some other such disposable thing for a minimum of a thousand years or so, most of which is spent in a trash heap. Nonetheless, nature gets the job done after a few eons go by and everything returns to the status quo.

The point is, and I knew we would get there if we waited long enough; there is nothing new on planet Earth unless we count a few spare asteroid parts and space dust that has made its way into our atmosphere. On the other hand, a few things have left the earth in the form of probes, satellites, lunar rockets, telescopes and other things we have hurled into the galaxy.

I also cannot help but wonder if the space guys are concerned that we might be polluting the universe with our primitive technology. They more than likely perceive our space-bound vehicles in the same way we would consider something out of the Stone Age- ancient. The last thing they need is our space debris floating around in their version of the freeway.

If this logic is valid, I also cannot help but wonder why the word "new" has enjoyed such popularity in our everyday vocabulary. Any invention is just a "different" way of presenting a never before used combination of elements. I suppose the idea of the use of elements is "new," so we should probably be a little flexible there.

Just to get into the spirit of things, as a responsible columnist and journalist, I believe the dreaded media could also become more efficient in the way they handle their business and stop wasting news. Yes. Stop wasting news. Why? Because there really is no news. Everything we read in newspapers, see on television, hear on the radio, or find on the Internet has happened before in one way or another. It is a common fact that history just keeps repeating itself.

Let's face it. Human beings are boring creatures of habit, and rarely do we do anything new. We might be a bit inventive in the way we play with our toys, but so are the chimps at the zoo. Let them out and give them liberties and they could be just as destructive as we are.

By using computer databases, we could recycle news. Just group all news stories in every category and when an event happens, pull out an applicable article from the archives and change the names.

For instance, train wrecks could be broken into sub-categories like trains colliding with other trains, trains hitting automobiles, and trains becoming derailed. The next time a train jumps the tracks, just look up "train derails" in the archives and pull out an appropriate article. Change the names, date, and location, and an article is written. No point in wasting valuable time and hard drive space.

A tremendous amount of time could be saved in the political arena. Every time there's an election, just pull something out of the archives and change the dates and names. Headlines could read "Eisenhower, Kennedy, Stevenson, Regan, Bush (or any other historical name that you choose) headed for New Hampshire to win votes in the primaries." Or, "(Place name here) wins big in Pennsylvania."

The body copy would need even fewer changes. Candidates can be accused of mudslinging, lying, and making personal attacks on each other, as they are in every campaign. Recycling news could put newspapers back on their feet.

The job of reporter would be redefined. One reporter could handle four times the workload. Local photographers could provide needed images. Highly paid editors would eventually become an expense of the past. There would be a Pulitzer Prize for the best recycled story.

Hmmm . . . I wonder if columns could be recycled. Yeah. I guess they could. You say that's already being done? Oh yeah- through syndication. Well, I don't think columns should be recycled. Columnists bring a fresh perspective to current events. And it's common knowledge that columnists are . . . well . . . you know - we're just part of that system we can't understand.

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