Bernard Lewis has two books out this holiday season: “What Went Wrong?” and “The Crisis of Islam.” WWW was written before 9/11 and published just after, but has been rereleased to take advantage of the surge of interest in the Middle East.
Lewis’ work is interesting and insightful, but overpriced. Especially since much of what he says can be found in various articles over the last 15 years and available via Google. So I recommend the books, but only when they go on sale after the holidays.
The Reagans, the miniseries originally created by CBS and then moved to Showtime, has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. Not bad for a series that CBS dumped to its sister property Showtime on the grounds that it didn’t have enough balance to air on broadcast TV. But was moving the Reagans off broadcast an artistic decision, or a financial decision by Viacom to curry political favor at a critical time.
Three opinions came out last week that made a nice little Chanukah gift for civil liberties buffs. Two related to Ashcroft’s attempts to circumvent the Constitution in the name fo security, one cuts short the RIAA’s efforts to gut the Constitution in the name of copyright. But the opinions still leave a lot of room for concern.
The Government Information Awareness project is intended to bring transparency to politically and socially relevent information. A major idea is to allow users to post and contest unchecked information while retaining anonymity. It involves some really hard information architecture issues.
The inspiration came from a plot to collect and relate info on US citizens, by a man convicted of attempting to run a shadow government. That man is Admiral John Poindexter, and his Total Information Awareness plot has actually been implemented as the the more marketable Terrorism Information Awareness program.
I haven’t heard about GIA since its launch. I’m not sure if this is an interesting experiment that didn’t pan out, or if the idea could have legs.
I seem to be the only one in America who fails to see the link between the capture of Saddam Hussein this week and the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primary. Or so says an op ed in today’s Washington Post. On the other hand, I do see this as a classic example of media group think.
Okay, this is just cool.
Synthesis of a Möbius aromatic hydrocarbon
For your viewing pleasure, I traced the structure and made a .jpg so you can see for yourself.
I posted this on K5 without any further comment, but I’ve since looked up the paper, and there are a couple of interesting things to note.
I only heard about this guy after my book was written, so he’s really not the model for Monty Meekman, the mad-scientist cartoon-villain of Acts of the Apostles. However it is odd (creepy?) that everything he does seems to have been done first by Monty.
And oddly enough I find a lot of what he has to say very compelling. Maybe I should check my brain frequencies. . . maybe I’m just one more happy Feynman Nine customer?
With Saddams capture last night, I’d like to know the implications for trial. If we turn him over to an international court for, say, gasing Kurdish forces, won’t he want to tell the court where he got his intelligence reports? Could that lead to a subpoena of previous US administrations? What happens at trial and in world opinion if he’s tried by us or by a US-controlled Iraqi “government”.
Where can one go to get the poop? Google isn’t current enough. CBS, ABC, and NBC (GE and Microsoft, my two least favorite corporations) are covering the story, but say nothing of relevence about trial. NPR has an audio report that hasn’t been transcribed yet, so I can’t search for the word “trial”. Slashdot and kuro5hin aren’t on to this yet. (I wonder if I should check Urban Legends.)
My regional newspaper has some coverage (go print media!), but the New York Times and the Washington Post want me to fill out forms before they tell me anything. (And besides, the stuff about trial at the NYT isn’t transcribed from audio yet. Odd, for a newspaper.)
The day after the last election, and on the moring of 9/11, I was at work and had the resources of a hundred well-informed people. While getting paid a lot of money to come up with technology to change the world, we had each other and the best broadband money could buy to get info throughout the day. Now we’re all isolated in our homes. Where do you go for the real deal?
Spam sucks, or at least, it used to. In less than two years, filters have been developed and made available for free that work as nice as you please. I may never now the whole story, but I find this little part of it to be a nice tale of good triumphing over evil on the Web.
My friend Rick sends this link to a site that deals with UFOs and biblical prophecy. The section on the Mark of the Beast reminded me of Acts of the Apostles (the one I wrote, that is, not the earlier version by Luke. . .). Some good, wacky, scary stuff.