Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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In the News

Apparently some people connected to my research saw some part of my discussion with the news people on the TV news. I *really* hope I was reasonably eloquent. I kind of like to be known as someone who cares about issues and will march (or more) for them, provided I don't look like an idiot. If anyone else happened to see me, and either knows if it's available online somewhere or can tell me what I looked like (honestly, please!), that'd be nice.

Today was fun. North by Northwest was a fun film, and afterwards I hung out with for awhile with Lizza, who is refreshingly not-so-cynical-but-intelligent about the world. I also have been starting on the most recent version of Middle East Journal - there's an interesting article laying out "alliance theory" tying game theory to the shifting political alliances in the middle east (which is a lot less hokey than it probably sounds). At work, I'm happy to hear that the last version of my stimulus-generating program does the job correctly (although the next time I'll see if I can insist on doing it with GIMP rather than photoshop).

Some news-ish stuff:

  • More global warming science evidence supression revealed by oil industry lobbyist. The thing that gets me here is that someone was willing to give "their sole loyalty" to the White House. The idea of doing this disgusts me - I think people should be held responsibile for their character and to humanity, and that loyalty to family, employer, military, or country always must be provisional on being a good person.
  • Italy traded five Taliban militants for one of their reporters. Shame.
  • Schools in Britain have been given the green light to ban some Islamic veils. I think I approve of this.
  • Egypt is cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood. I wholeheartedly approve of this - I feel that if one is to have a democratic system, renouncing theocracy should be a prerequisite for entry into the political sphere, in order to ensure progress (I realise that progress can be defined in many ways - I refer, of course, to mine or others broadly compatible).
  • In case you haven't seen it yet, Star Wreck is pretty funny. Download it. It's even legal.
  • It's interesting to see the Tories continue their shift in their dominant faction - MP Cameron is distancing the party from bring strictly lassiez-faire and aiming to to support (and reform) social welfare programmes.
  • The Czech are, bit-by-bit becoming less friendly to US military interests. Hopefully all of Europe will eventually become so.
  • Sun Yat-Sen, KMT founder and statesman, in 1924 made a speech in Japan on pan-Asianism as a solution to western colonialism, stressing the need for solidarity in dealing with the problem. Unfortunately, the speech failed to have a great impact on world affairs, but it's interesting reading. Mao writes of him with great respect in his works, and I understand that he is widely respected in Taiwanese culture as well.
  • There's been a crackdown on Wall Street of some prominent lawyers for insider trading. It makes me wonder if we'll see more laws along the lines of Sarbanes-Oxley from this. This is less of a big deal than the closing of Arthur Anderson (for those of you who don't follow such matters, this was one of the "Big Five" accounting firms with almost a hundred thousand employees worldwide and a value at least in the high billions before a conviction on obstruction of justice in the Enron case led it to effectively dissolve in 2001), of course, but sensitivity to recent such breaches might amplify the event.
  • Ahmadinejad recently spoke at the U.N. about heightening tensions between Iran and the West.
  • I don't remember where I came across it, but Chicago has some strange people who are nostalgic for an airport and are trying to get one put back where one was removed at some point in the past. I don't understand this kind of thing..
  • More evidence of horrible abuses by American soldiers in Iraq.. I wonder how much of this was encouraged by upper levels of military management, how much is the result of cultural problems in the military, and how much is the result of larger cultural problems in America.
  • Sometimes I think oversensitivity to cultural criticism masks real issues. Churchill, in 1937, write of cultural problems with the Jewish community in Britain at the time, and even now such criticism has the potential to be considered anti-semitic. As Bill Cosby's criticism of contemporary black culture in the United States creates similar controversy, it makes me worry that in our desire to avoid racism (a good desire, I think), we're masking our ability to seriously discuss cultural issues. I see nothing anti-Semitic in Churchill's statements (at least as relayed by that article), and find it disappointing to see them cast in that light in some other articles on this revelation.
  • This might amuse
  • While they're mostly trolls, I find this criticism of Wikipedia from Wikitruth to be plausible and worrying. Oddly, it appears to be the kind of criticism that stands directly against almost all the other kinds of criticism they offer - it sounds almost like something I would write.
  • Pesach's coming up. It feels almost recent that I was at last year's Seder at my boss's place. It's funny how quickly another year has passed. I wonder if that's going to happen again, or if I'll be invited to another Seder.
  • I have acquired cheese, olives, spinach, and spaghetti. Someday soon I shall attempt to blend them into something tasty. Hurrah! If anyone wants to join me in my apartment for this, they should let me know and we'll hammer out a time.

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