Axis of Evil

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The "Axis of Evil" was a list of countries that George W. Bush had philosophical[1] and ideological differences with but has a problem coming up with legitimate reasons to resolve the differences by force. It was a short list of the usual suspects (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea), who had pretty much nothing to do with each other until they all ended up on the list. Later on Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba declared themselves to be an "Axis of Good," although this was probably tongue-in-cheek. The phrase was coined for Bush's 2002 State of the Union address by White House speechwriter David Frum, who left to spend time with his family after his wife stole Bush's thunder and e-mailed the Internet that David had written this glorious God-delivered phrase.

The "Axis of Evil" speech was a particularly effective bit of speechifying: it caused Iran to release "brutal" insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and send him back into Afghanistan to make trouble.[2] It also provided a convenient excuse for Kim Jong-il to restart his nuclear program.[3] Mission accomplished!

In cosmology[edit]

The "Axis of Evil" is also the nickname received by an asymmetry of the cosmic microwave background as studied by the WMAP and Planck missions. It's not clear what it is: if mere data processing errors, proof of the universe having a doughnut-shaped form (Mmmmmm...), or simply a pattern that is there because of our tendency to see those things everywhere[4]. Very recent (2016) studies of the expansion of the Universe, that show it to be uniform to the limit of measurements, show that the first and/or the last possibilities could be the most likely ones[5].

Of course this "Axis of Evil" has been victim of cranks, who have used it to prove for example that Earth is the center of the Universe. Yeah, right[6].

See also[edit]

References[edit]