Emmanuel Todd vs. Euastrum

Emmanuel Todd

Emmanuel Todd: smarter than the sharpest piece of algae

Age 10: member of the Communist Youth. Age 25: predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, based on infant mortality rates or something else of which Malcolm Gladwell would surely approve. Age who cares: the media said he coined the phrase “fracture sociale” (social crack, for you French-haters), which helped Jacques Chirac (WHOSE NAME RHYMES) win the 1995 French election, only then he denied that he coined that phrase and attributed it to Marcel Gauchet. So he’s modest, too!

Emmanuel Todd, a French sociologist, political scientist, and historian, is far more valuable than some obscure piece of algae (gross). Sure, he opposed the Maastricht Treaty that eventually led to the formation of the European Union (if you were French, would YOU really want to unify with the rest of Europe? Or anyone else? Of course not.) He totally called it when it came to the Soviet Union. In 2001, he published a book called After the Empire, which predicts the end of the US as a world superpower. Ok, maybe that hasn’t happened yet. Still, you don’t see any freaking algae stirring up that kind of shit. I haven’t read the book, but Wikipedia says that Todd suggests that America should return to its 19th century civilian roots. If he means that as opposed to the increasingly corrupt, corporate direction that the country is going, who can argue? (Aside from The Weekly Standard, which gave the book a scathing review. But they are a bunch of freakazoid neo-cons who don’t like being called on their imperialist tendancies, so a bad review from them is a great compliment!)



Euastrum. Not only the best looking of the desmids, but also a useful indicator of how we're fucking up the planet.

A bit awkward, not only was I terrible at biology, I don’t even know how to pronounce this. And spell check doesn’t recognize it either. According to Wikipedia, Euastrum is specifically of the Desmidiaceae algae. And the Desmidiaceae family belongs to the Desmidiales algae, which is where we finally get somewhere. The desmids are an order of green algae. That includes seaweed and while I do enjoy eating it dried and I know it’s integral to sea life, I don’t know much to add to that.

Luckily, our Dutch friends at desmids.nl made Euastrum verrucosum their “Desmid of the month” back in March 2003. According to them: In western Europe, Euastrum verrucosum is one of the most appealing desmid species, not only by its large dimensions but also because of its gracefully curved cell lobes and a marked pattern of cell wall granulation. That still doesn’t get me very far. I mean, for a desmid, it’s pretty damn sexy? No, where it really gets useful is that among the desmids it is considered a useful indicator of conservation value to aquatic habitats. And that is something I can get behind. For all it’s seaweeds, I do love sealife and I’ll back any conservation efforts to help keep it healthy. And according to Wikipedia, “some green seaweeds … are quick to utilize inorganic nutrients from land runoff, and thus can be indicators of nutrient pollution.”

Even if it’s for something as seemingly frivolous as the “Use of desmids to assess the natural conservation value of a Hungarian oxbow” (http://www.springerlink.com/content/x3311q2094r444k6/) as published in the journal Biologia, it’s pretty helpful that if we’re going to go after some dickhead big business pollutants, we have some evidence to back up the cause. You know, I’ve taken a look at the works of Emmanuel Todd and I gotta say, it’s very impressive and admirable ideals. His warnings speak volumes to the degradation of society I’m sure. But what’s going to hold up when you’re looking to make a convincing argument as to how we’re fucking up the planet: Waving a copy of After the Empire at someone or shoving a fist full of sickly discoloured seaweed in someone’s face?

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 9:50 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] right, time to tell you I was always terrible at biology. I may’ve faked my way through defending euastrum but in this case I can’t even guess at a pronunciation. According to Wikipedia, Colliguaja […]

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