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The disciple approaches the master and says, “Master, what is fate?”
And the master replies, “It is that which gives a beast of burden its purpose in life. It is that which causes a man to travel a great distance, and in turn, a road to spring up underneath his feet, and in turn, an inn to spring up alongside that road, to stalve off hunger, weariness, and thirst.”
The disciple asks, “That is fate, Master?”
“Fate? I thought you said freight.”
Michael Jackson is ziek, maar eigenlijk is helemaal niets veranderd; hij ligt nog steeds met een snotneus in bedÖ
For more than two centuries, nationalism in all its various formsófrom the high-minded chauvinism of the British Empire to the virulent poison of Nazismóhas been a familiar, and often negative, phenomenon. Emerging first in Europe, which it nearly destroyed and which has now apparently learned to control it, extreme nationalism still erupts from time to time in other parts of the world. The word "nationalism" never quite seemed to fit the United States, where continental vastness and enormous power have hitherto been tempered by an often-expressed distaste for empire and by the notion of world leadership by example. In the first years of the twenty-first century, however, in a dramatic departure from traditional policy, the spirit of unilateralism and militant nationalism began to dominate Washington’s policies and attitudes toward the outside world.
Extreme Makeover - Brian Urquhart reviews America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism. And here is Gerald Rellick’s take on the book. From Asia Source, a long and informative interview with Anatol Lievin. From the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley’s Conversations with History, A Conversation With Anatol Lieven. Also by Anatol Lieven, A Trap Of Their Own Making.
You suggest that various practices and institutions put into place during the Cold War make the constant threat of war a virtual necessity for the American foreign policymaking and security establishment. This may account in part for why Islam came very quickly to replace communism as the great ideological enemy of the United States. Given that Islam has no locus, that there are a billion Muslims spread out across the world, how is the US security establishment likely to continue to deal with this kind of enemy?
I say in the book that what seems essential is not the imminent threat of war, but rather constant belief in the possibility of war. There are all these institutions and economic interests which were put in place by the Second World War and still more by the Cold War. Eisenhower’s original phrase apparently was "military-industrial-academic-complex". There are so many people in my world of think tanks in American universities with a deep stake in all these foreign policy agendas…
Even if you narrow the war on terror down to Al Qaeda and its allies, which of course the Bush administration and Israeli lobby have deliberately and manifestly failed to do, even then one is speaking of a web, a network of many, many different groups and nodes in this web which sometimes cooperate, sometimes act independently, with varying degrees of relative importance. Zarqawi’s group in Iraq, like the international forces fighting in Chechnya, are in no sense subordinate to Al Qaeda.
To combat these groups requires a really detailed and acute knowledge of the societies concerned. Something once again that America failed to generate in the case of Vietnam before going to war there, failed to generate about Iraq before going to war there, and is indeed failing to generate in the case of large parts of the Muslim world. It does seem that there is a natural pull towards concentration on alleged threats from states. This was especially clear after 9/11: the astonishing speed with which the Bush administration turned its attention from the actual terrorist perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks to confront the "axis of evil" states and draw up plans for war with Iraq.
It is clearly much easier to threaten and invade Iraq than to think seriously about how to combat the appeal of groups like Al Qaeda and its allies in the Muslim world. Similarly it is much easier to concentrate on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons than having to think seriously about the Shia-Sunni relationship, or what to do about the Hezbollah in Lebanon. This is part of the built-in bias of military bureaucracies, but also owes much to the effects of the Cold War and the present intellectual configuration of American academia.
A multi-talented Zimbabwean international athlete who has won several awards in regional competitions as a female athlete has been arrested after it was discovered that he is a man.
Samukeliso Sithole, 17, was arrested last week after a female friend who had undressed in full view of the athlete found out that he was a male, the state dailies The Herald and Chronicle said.
The friend lodged a complaint with the police and Sithole was arrested for alleged impersonation and offensive behaviour.
Sithole however insists that he is a woman, even though a medical doctor has confirmed that he is a man.
He told the court that he was born with both male and female organs and a traditional healer gave him herbs that helped him become 100 percent woman.
Because his parents neglected to pay the traditional healer his full fees, his male organs recently grew back, Sithole said.
Looking at this, it’s clear: I really live in the wrong country.
Brilliant orange squares line the walkways of New York Cityís Central Park in this Ikonos image. Taken on February 12, 2005, the image marks the opening day of The Gates art exhibit. The exhibit was created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and features 7,500 gates draped with saffron-colored fabric panels. The gates straddle 23 miles of walkways that meander through Central Park, providing an airy golden colonnade to visitors. From space, the gates look more like marquee lights or an exquisite array of orange dominoes stacked in graceful curves through the park.
The scale of this exhibit is astonishing: 99,155 square meters of saffron-colored fabric, 96.5 kilometers of vinyl tube, and 4,799 metric tons of steel (equivalent to 2/3 of the steel used in the Eiffel Tower) make up The Gates. About 700 workers were needed to assemble the exhibit in the week prior to its opening. All of the material used in the project will be recycled after the exhibit is taken down on February 28.
The Gates highlights several popular locations in Central Park in this image, which shows the area roughly between 67th Street and 75th Street. The circular pathway around Cherry Hill was originally designed to be a turnaround for carriages. A fountainómeant to be a watering trough for horsesócrowns the hill. To the east is Bethesda Terrace, the heart of Central Park, with the circular ďAngel of the WatersĒ fountain in its center. The Terrace looks over the Lake, which is white with ice. Across Terrace Drive on the south is the Mall, the Parkís central walkway, and one of its most visited locations. In the lower left corner of the image is Sheep Meadow, a treasured expansive lawn in a city where open space is rare. The large image, provided in the link above, shows the entire park and the surrounding city.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been talking about “going nuclear” and outlawing the Democrats’ use of the filibuster to block President Bush’s judicial nominees. So yesterday we find freshman Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) offering this on the floor in favor of more funds for Iraq:
Isakson, noting he had just been in Iraq, said he asked a Kurdish leader if he worried that the majority Shiites would “overrun” the minority Kurds. And “he says, ‘Oh, no, we have a secret weapon.’ . . . And when asked what it was, he said one word, ‘filibuster,’ and then proceeded to describe their study of American democracy and our republic.”
“If there were ever a reason for optimism about” giving more aid to Iraq, Isakson said, “it is one of their minority leaders proudly stating one of the pillars and principles of our government as the way they would ensure that the majority never overran the minority.” The Democrats gleefully distributed his remarks.
Last month, a Frist spokesman, asked about some Republicans’ reluctance to tinker with the Senate’s filibuster rule, said Frist “will be having private discussions” with members about this.
Might want to chat with the new guy about staying on message.
Custer Battles was a small and utterly undistinguished domestic security firm, on the verge of bankruptcy, when in May 2003 co-founder Michael Battles borrowed money to fly to Iraq in a desperate search for any kind of business. †Battles had made a failed run for Congress in RI as a Republican in 2002, and as far as I can figure out he also had just incorporated some kind of real estate firm in RI in May. Custer Battles had no background that prepared it for any of the reconstruction or security work in Iraq.
With no real plans once in Baghdad, he hung out in the hallways of the Occupational Authority handing out business cards, until he heard that the Baghdad airport’s security contract was going up for bid. †Having no experience with the difficulty of managing such an operation, Battles submitted a hail-mary bid promising to get a security force in place weeks before any experienced contractor thought practical. †That was enough to get awarded the contract! †Custer Battles had no money and little infrastructure, could not even get a loan from a bank to start hiring people, so Bremer’s people decided to cancel the contract–no wait, they called Battles into their offices and piled two million dollars in cash into his duffel bag. †On that basis, CB hired a ragtag security force, set themselves up like potentates in the airport, and began a career in corruption.
They seized material from Iraqis, and then charged the CAP obscene fees for ‘renting’ it. †The airport went out of use for the most part (there’s a story), so CB shifted personnel to other activities but continued to charge for airport security as if all their employees were still doing that job. †They created front companies, and subcontracted goods and services back and forth to inflate the charges billed to the CAP. †The Coalition Provisional Authority accidently stumbled across one of CB’s records where they bragged about their success in overbilling the US. †Yet they got plenty of other contracts. †One contract in particular became notorious back in DC. †CB was awarded $12,000,000 to guard high-voltage towers under repair. †The company pocketed $8,000,000 and did nothing, while subcontracting the actual work to an Iraqi company for only $4,000,000. †Many of the contracts CB obtained were awarded with little or no competition. †Battles reportedly has claimed to have contacts in the White House with whom he speaks regularly.
At long last Custer Battles was prohibited from bidding on any further contracts, and now is going on trial in Virginia for some of this fraud. †The justice department originally looked into cooperating with DOD in the trial, but has now decided that it does not have an interest in taking part. †For its sake, CB claims that it has done nothing illegal–because Iraqi law had no force under the Occupation, and US courts have no jurisdiction in Iraq–and therefore the remaining payments on its contracts must be paid in full.
A former White House official said yesterday that President Bush has failed to deliver on his promise to help religious groups serve the poor, the homeless and drug addicts because the administration lacks a genuine commitment to its “compassionate conservative” agenda.
David Kuo, who was deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for much of Bush’s first term, said in published remarks that the White House reaped political benefits from the president’s promise to help religious organizations win taxpayer funding to care for “the least, the last and the lost” in the United States. But he wrote: “There was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda.”
Analyzing Bush’s failure to secure $8 billion in promised funding for the faith-based initiative during his first term, Kuo said there was “snoring indifference” among Republicans and “knee-jerk opposition” among Democrats in Congress.
I don’t expect Religious Right voters to ever grasp how fully they are used by Republicans.
Macrovision Corp. today plans to unveil technology that it claims can block 97% of the DVD-copying software that pirates use without interfering with a DVD’s playability or picture quality.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is just the first of several firms expected to roll out new anti-copying technology that has been years in the making. The main challenge has been finding a way to alter discs without rendering them unplayable on the more than 200 million DVD players already in homes around the world.
If you can play it, it means you can read the bits off the disk. If you can read the bits off the disk, you can copy it.
And how about that “97%”? Either that’s a Homer stat (“47.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot”) or there are 33 DVD-copying apps out there and one of them is about to become much more popular than it was.
For Hollywood studios, the technology could help wring even more revenue from DVDs, which have become a leading source of profit. According to Macrovision, unauthorized DVD copying costs the studios about $1 billion out of the $27.5 billion that analyst firm Screen Digest estimated they collected from worldwide DVD sales and rentals last year.
And for Macrovision and other anti-piracy companies, the potential market is huge. With hundreds of billions of DVDs pressed every year, even a small licensing fee from the major studios would generate a significant boost to the company, which reported $128 million in sales last year.
Fuzzy math alert! Let’s assume that “hundreds of billions” actually means “hundred billion”. If $27.5 billion was “collected from worldwide DVD sales and rentals” it must mean that the average price of one of those hundred billion is about $0.28. Since I’ve never seen a DVD sold for less than $10, there must be billions of DVD’s out there being sold for $0.01 or even less.
And I wonder if the studio’s will remove those non-skippable “FBI-warning-you-should-not-copy” screens from their DVD’s. After all, if the disks cannot be copied, they are no longer needed, right?
Anyway, what will happen is that more people will react like I do: stop buying the product if it turns out to be defective.
With Microsoft’s market clout, it can impose its choice of programming system as a de-facto standard. Microsoft has already patented some .Net implementation methods, raising the concern that millions of users have been shifted to a government-issue Microsoft monopoly.
But capitalism means monopoly; at least, Gates-style capitalism does. People who think that everyone should be free to program, free to write complex software, they are communists, says Mr. Gates. But these communists have infiltrated even the Microsoft boardroom. Here’s what Bill Gates told Microsoft employees in 1991:
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today…A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose.”
Mr. Gates’ secret is out now–he too was a “communist;” he, too, recognized that software patents were harmful–until Microsoft became one of these giants. Now Microsoft aims to use software patents to impose whatever price it chooses on you and me. And if we object, Mr. Gates will call us “communists.”
SHA-1 has been broken. Not a reduced-round version. Not a simplified version. The real thing.
The research team of Xiaoyun Wang, Yiqun Lisa Yin, and Hongbo Yu (mostly from Shandong University in China) have been quietly circulating a paper announcing their results:
- collisions in the the full SHA-1 in 2**69 hash operations, much less than the brute-force attack of 2**80 operations based on the hash length.
- collisions in SHA-0 in 2**39 operations.
- collisions in 58-round SHA-1 in 2**33 operations.
This attack builds on previous attacks on SHA-0 and SHA-1, and is a major, major cryptanalytic result. It pretty much puts a bullet into SHA-1 as a hash function for digital signatures (although it doesn’t affect applications such as HMAC where collisions aren’t important).
The paper isn’t generally available yet. At this point I can’t tell if the attack is real, but the paper looks good and this is a reputable research team.
Nestled into the verdant hills of the New Zealand region of the Wairarapa is the world’s newest “Stonehenge” but this henge is no mere pastiche.
Instead, Stonehenge Aotearoa, which opened this weekend, is a full-scale adaptation of its Salisbury Plain ancestor, built to work for the Antipodes.
The aim of the Kiwi Stonehenge is to help people rediscover the basics of astronomy.
“You can read as much as you like in a book how the sun and the moon work, how people use stars to navigate by, or to foretell the seasons,” says Richard Hall, president of the Phoenix Astronomical Society which built the henge.
“You stand here amongst the henge and you show people exactly how it works. Somehow it simplifies it and it becomes that much more easy to understand,” he said.