Saturday 333


Filed under: Politics — Tags: , — zundel @ am

I still await something useful written about the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, from anyone—including myself. Suggestions welcomed. This will do for now:

Massacre in Mumbai” editorial from The Washington Post 2008-11-29


Friday 332

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote, Science — zundel @ pm

Re:Break down the stereotypes!” by earlymon on Slashdot 2008-11-28

Creativity is not the exception—it is the norm. Introspection is a strict requirement for the creative mind—it is denigrated as introversion. Excitement and a need to express excitement over complex work is denigrated as yet another computer-wearing-tennis-shoes running his mouth without social skills. [emphasis added]

Wednesday 330

Mbeki killed 365,000

Filed under: Science, Society — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm

Conspiracy theories kill. Science matters. Getting it right saves lives. Getting it wrong cost 365,000 lives, including 35,000 babies needlessly born with HIV.

Lesson learnt yet again in hindsight—too damn often. Treating Mbeki with ‘diplomacy’ may have allowed organizations to work with some South Africans that had HIV and AIDS. But at too high a cost. Mbeki’s bullshit needed fierce and persistent condemnation. Not to persuade him. But condemnation may have helped the voices of reason in South Africa and may have hastened Mbeki’s departure. The death toll becomes millions—from silence.

AIDS: a good example of why science policy matters” by Jonathan M Gitlin in Ars Technica 2008-11-26

This should serve as an abject lesson in why it’s vital for governments to receive effective science and health policy advice.

South Africa is well off compared to its regional neighbors—it had enough money for the former President, Thabo Mbeki, to splash out nearly $100 million on a new Boeing Business Jet. Mbeki claimed poverty when it came to providing his citizens with antiretroviral drugs, however.

A Johannesburg AIDS hospice in 2002 (Joao Silva for The New York Times)


Kitchen criticism

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: — zundel @ am

I work my way through Camile Paglia’s Break, Blow, Burn and with it reread Paul Fussell’s masterful Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. Clive James’s criticism goes nicely with what Paglia values and gives close reading and what Fussell analyses and explains. Highly recommended.

Little Low Heavens” by Clive James in Poetry 2008-09

If one has ever built a sonnet oneself, however unremarkable or clumsy the result, the experience must be a help in assessing the prodigious flexibility of Shakespeare’s craft within a set form,…

The admiring reader is always potentially censorious, because the enjoyment is so childish: do it again.


Shawn Demarest

Filed under: Painting — zundel @ am

Hot Day on SE 7th by Shawn Demarest

Hot Day on SE 7th

One of the better painters I saw this year.


Tuesday 329

Put out your arm

Filed under: Society — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm

Indonesia may tag AIDS victims” by Niniek Karmini from AP in the Toronto Star 2008-11-25

Lawmakers in Papua, Indonesia’s largest province, have thrown their support behind a controversial HIV/AIDS bill requiring some sufferers to be implanted with a microchip to track their whereabouts.

It won’t happen, but worrying that they consider it. They attempt to stem the growing pandemic with inapt technology and draconian state invasion of privacy. Instead they need to provide education and condoms.

Criticism’s loss

Filed under: Society, Writing — Tags: — zundel @ am

Deresiewicz writes many nice turns of phrase. And makes a nice point about mimesis. And criticism. Highly recommended.

How Wood Works: The Riches and Limits of James Wood” by William Deresiewicz in The Nation 2008-11-19

For the New York critics, novelists are people; for Wood, people, including novelists, are ideas.

His powerfully associative mind tends to run him into logical cul-de-sacs that his supreme self-assurance prevents him from noticing.

I don’t know how we’re going to get back to the kind of criticism the New York critics wrote, or the kind of intellectual life that criticism made possible. [emphasis added]

Monday 328

Obama: First Moves

Filed under: Obama, Politics — zundel @ pm

Obama: First Moves” by George Friedman in Stratfor 2008-11-24

The brilliance of Obama’s presidential campaign was that he convinced his hard-core supporters that he intended to make a radical shift in policies across the board, without ever specifying what policies he was planning to shift,…

What Obama needs to do politically, then, is protect and strengthen the right wing of his coalition…

On the financial bailout, Obama has not at all challenged the general strategy of Paulson and Bernanke…

History makes presidents. Presidents rarely make history.

Saturday 326

And you thought orals were hard

Filed under: Dance, Science — Tags: — zundel @ pm

Dance your dissertation, baby.

These are so cool.

“Uneasy Alchemy: Citizens and Experts in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor Disputes” by Barbara Allen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1999

Makes me want to read the book.
Uneasy Alchemy: Citizens and Experts in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor Disputes by Barbara Allen, MIT Press 2003


Oh, wait. US car companies don’t make a hybrid sub-compact, do they?

Filed under: Economy, Politics — Tags: — zundel @ pm

Saturday morning is the only time I enjoy NPR anymore. Thank you Scott Simon and Peter Sagal.

Lessons in begging for auto executives” by Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday from NPR 2008-11-22

The sight of three major company auto executives flying on plush private jets to Washington D.C. to ask the American people for a $25 billion bailout is a scene from a Christopher Buckley satire — except it’s beyond satire.

Friday 325

The team

Filed under: Obama — Tags: — zundel @ am

I have doubts about Clinton for State and Napolitano for Security. But it begins to make sense. Obama assembles a team that can work well with congress. And a team that can hit hard. Clinton has global name recognition—and global credibility. We need strong management of difficult diplomatic negotiation, and strong public diplomacy. She can do public diplomacy. If you’d like a metaphor, think basketball.

Tuesday 322

Coffee table

Filed under: Furniture — zundel @ pm

coffee table with shelf

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