A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










September 13th
2:00 AM
Via

God's Silence

by eels

"What isolation?" I asked him.

"The isolation that you find everywhere, particularly in our age. But it won’t come to an end right now, because the time has not yet come. Today everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because, instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, mankind has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from people and people from him. And, while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence…"

- Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (the mysterious visitor)

August 24th
6:22 PM
Patrick Cockburn  |  Independent.co.uk

…for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence…   >continue<

Patrick Cockburn  |  Independent.co.uk

…for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence…   >continue<

2:02 PM
&#8220;Responding to Ebola requires putting patients and families into inescapably horrific situations. Being diagnosed with the disease means confronting and accepting the absolute terror of a likely-terminal condition—I am probably going to die. It requires accepting the results of an opaque test done in a faraway lab even when it still just feels like the flu. It then requires accepting that you may never have human contact again for the rest of your life—and that the only communication you will have will be with a masked man tasked with isolating you, not saving you.&#8221; - Raphael Frankfurter
The Danger in Losing Sight of Ebola Victims&#8217; Humanity
Thousands of People Are Trapped in a Liberia Slum, Under Ebola QuarantineClashes Erupt  |  West Point Reels  Response &#8216;Non-existent&#8217;  |  Those who serve soldier on

Responding to Ebola requires putting patients and families into inescapably horrific situations. Being diagnosed with the disease means confronting and accepting the absolute terror of a likely-terminal condition—I am probably going to die. It requires accepting the results of an opaque test done in a faraway lab even when it still just feels like the flu. It then requires accepting that you may never have human contact again for the rest of your life—and that the only communication you will have will be with a masked man tasked with isolating you, not saving you.” - Raphael Frankfurter

The Danger in Losing Sight of Ebola Victims’ Humanity

Thousands of People Are Trapped in a Liberia Slum, Under Ebola Quarantine
Clashes Erupt  |  West Point Reels  
Response ‘Non-existent’  |  Those who serve soldier on

August 18th
3:48 PM
"We bear moral responsibility for those things that we can control. I am a citizen of the United States, and the United States makes Israeli apartheid possible. I am therefore responsible for it in a way that I am not responsible for the theocratic thugs in Tehran or Saudi Arabia. It’s just a fundamental failure to understand the meaning of responsibility to suggest that we are too focused on Israel in comparison to other bad actors"
2:56 PM
"Training - training is everything; training is all there is to a person. We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. we have no thoughts of our own, no opinions of our own; they are merely transmitted to us, trained into us. All that is original in us, and therefore fairly creditable or discreditable to us, can be covered up and hidden by the point of a cambric needle, all the rest being atoms contributed by, and inherited from, a procession of ancestors that stretches back a billion years to the Adam-clam or grasshopper or monkey from whom our race has been so tediously and ostentatiously and unprofitably developed.

…a pleasant, friendly, sociable herd; pious and happy, merry and full of unconscious coarseness and innocent indecencies. What they regarded as the merry tale went the continual round and caused no more embarrassment than it would have caused in the best English society twelve centuries later. Practical jokes worthy of the English wits of the first quarter of the far off nineteenth century were sprung here and there and yonder along the line, and compelled the delightedest applause; and sometimes when a bright remark was made at one end of the procession and started on its travels toward the other, you could note its progress off from its bows as it plowed along; and also by the blushes of the mules in its wake."
—  Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
8:36 AM
Via
mapsontheweb:

The Rise and Breakup of The Mongol Empire .

Dan Carlin in his Hardcore History series does a great multi-part podcast on the Wrath of the Khans:
Part I  |  Part II  |  Part III  |  Part IV  |  Part V

mapsontheweb:

The Rise and Breakup of The Mongol Empire .

Dan Carlin in his Hardcore History series does a great multi-part podcast on the Wrath of the Khans:

Part I  |  Part II  |  Part III  |  Part IV  |  Part V

August 11th
2:00 PM
Via

awkwardsituationist:

These photos were taken by mohammed salem and klaus thymann (click pic), showing the rise of parkour in gaza’s shati and khan yunis refugee camps. unemployment in the camps is high, and with little to do and limited resources, some have turned to parkour as a means of escape.

Ss abdullah enshasy, who cofounded gaza parkour team with mohammed aljkhbeer, explains, “i have witnessed war, invasion and killing. when i was a kid and i saw these things, blood and injuries, i didn’t know what it all meant.”

Adds aljkhbeer"there is a big relationship between parkour and barriers that we’re surrounded by in the gaza strip. there’s the blockade, walls are everywhere. …parkour gives us a sense of freedom and allows us to endure these conditions without getting deeply depressed.” 

For a sport that is literally about overcoming obstacles and living beyond imposed physical restraints, parkour has perhaps even greater resonance in the narrow, politically and militarily confined gaza strip, which is home to a densely boxed in population of 1.7 million palestinians.  

But enshasy notes, “at first people didn’t accept us. they would say, ‘you jump like monkeys and you climb buildings like thieves’.” but as their facebook page explains, parkour is about breaking from conventional paths in life and finding your own.

What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?

August 7th
10:36 AM
Giles Fraser  |  Guardian&#160;&#187;

Gideon Levy doesn&#8217;t want to meet in a coffee bar in Tel Aviv. He is fed up with being hassled in public and spat at, with people not willing to share the table next to him in restaurants&#8230; Levy&#8217;s unpardonable crime is vocal opposition to the war and to the bombing of Gaza. According to recent polls, support for the military operation in Gaza among the Jewish Israeli public stands somewhere between 87% 
"What is different this time is the anti-democratic spirit. Zero tolerance of any kind of criticism, opposition to any kind of sympathy with the Palestinians," says Levy.  &gt;continue&lt;

This seems all the more incredible given the episode&#8217;s categorization as &#8216;war&#8217;. As if an elite SWAT team up against impoverished 6th graders made for a war.
Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel?  |  A Primer

Giles Fraser  |  Guardian »

Gideon Levy doesn’t want to meet in a coffee bar in Tel Aviv. He is fed up with being hassled in public and spat at, with people not willing to share the table next to him in restaurants… Levy’s unpardonable crime is vocal opposition to the war and to the bombing of Gaza. According to recent polls, support for the military operation in Gaza among the Jewish Israeli public stands somewhere between 87% 

"What is different this time is the anti-democratic spirit. Zero tolerance of any kind of criticism, opposition to any kind of sympathy with the Palestinians," says Levy.  >continue<

This seems all the more incredible given the episode’s categorization as ‘war’. As if an elite SWAT team up against impoverished 6th graders made for a war.

Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel?  |  A Primer

10:07 AM
Via

"As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge"

- From a November 2008 U.S. Diplomatic Cable

video: a child’s view from Gaza

9:33 AM
Via

haaretz:

Once a Palestinian haven, affluent Gaza town reduced to rubble

Click here for the full story:
'It is like an earthquake hit:' a visit to what remains of the once-leisurely town of Khuzaa.

August 5th
10:44 PM
"I’m heartbroken to see the Judaism of love and compassion being dismissed as ‘unrealistic’ by so many of my fellow Jews and fellow rabbis. Wasn’t the central message of Torah that the world was ruled by a force that made possible the transformation from ‘that which is’ to ‘that which can and should be’ and wasn’t our task to teach the world that nothing was fixed, that even the mountains could skip like young rams and the seas could flee from before the triumph of justice in the world?"
July 30th
9:57 PM
Frontline&#8217;s Losing Iraq splays out the fateful scene of America&#8217;s catastrophic botch of nation building. As absurd and costly as the invasion of Iraq was, the depth of failure here adds more than insult to injury. 
Republicans had for years prior derided President Clinton over the subject of nation building. In Iraq we see what is either their attempt to prove their own sneering point or their naivete in thinking stable governments simply appear magically. The &#8220;design&#8221; of Iraq&#8217;s post-Saddam government and the choice of Nouri al-Maliki as its head ultimately borked the promise Petraeus made in his gambit with the &#8220;Sons of Iraq&#8221;, the faction that made the &#8220;surge&#8221; work at all, on account of the Prime Minister&#8217;s weak minded trajectory towards ever increasing sectarian impulses. 
Obama may be guilty of letting Iraq rot. Although, short of violently removing the government and instituting things anew (and how would that work?), it&#8217;s unclear that any engagement would have amounted to much, as al-Maliki (perhaps like Karzai in Kabul) likely never had enough substantive potential to justify the labor.
Iraq comes up full bore in any serious analysis of America&#8217;s current standing and fate in the Middle East. And it&#8217;s not just the drift into oblivion that conditioned the invasion, but also the careless and incompetent circus, punctuated by spectacular risks, that bloomed once the deed was done.
Once late in 2003, a retired Colonel Ralph Peters appeared on PBS to argue that the attack on a UN complex was preferable to terror attacks on our own soil. Here in Iraq, he argued, we would draw the vermin like moths to a flame - adding with an eerie confidence, &#8220;when that happens the flame wins.&#8221; With ISIS and the inevitability of more horror, when any view to pragmatism gets spiked with ironic Iranian complications, it&#8217;s long past the time when we should have cringed over a hubris so inflamed. 
&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Watch &#8220;Losing Iraq&#8221; via PBS video

Frontline’s Losing Iraq splays out the fateful scene of America’s catastrophic botch of nation building. As absurd and costly as the invasion of Iraq was, the depth of failure here adds more than insult to injury. 

Republicans had for years prior derided President Clinton over the subject of nation building. In Iraq we see what is either their attempt to prove their own sneering point or their naivete in thinking stable governments simply appear magically. The “design” of Iraq’s post-Saddam government and the choice of Nouri al-Maliki as its head ultimately borked the promise Petraeus made in his gambit with the “Sons of Iraq”, the faction that made the “surge” work at all, on account of the Prime Minister’s weak minded trajectory towards ever increasing sectarian impulses. 

Obama may be guilty of letting Iraq rot. Although, short of violently removing the government and instituting things anew (and how would that work?), it’s unclear that any engagement would have amounted to much, as al-Maliki (perhaps like Karzai in Kabul) likely never had enough substantive potential to justify the labor.

Iraq comes up full bore in any serious analysis of America’s current standing and fate in the Middle East. And it’s not just the drift into oblivion that conditioned the invasion, but also the careless and incompetent circus, punctuated by spectacular risks, that bloomed once the deed was done.

Once late in 2003, a retired Colonel Ralph Peters appeared on PBS to argue that the attack on a UN complex was preferable to terror attacks on our own soil. Here in Iraq, he argued, we would draw the vermin like moths to a flame - adding with an eerie confidence, “when that happens the flame wins.” With ISIS and the inevitability of more horror, when any view to pragmatism gets spiked with ironic Iranian complications, it’s long past the time when we should have cringed over a hubris so inflamed. 

………….Watch “Losing Iraq” via PBS video

July 25th
3:17 PM
Via

buffleheadcabin:

Mamadrones - Trouble

July 19th
3:50 PM
Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988.

Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988.

July 6th
9:45 PM

Carl Sagan, The Pale Blue Dot (Cosmos 2014)