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

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










July 30th
9:57 PM
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

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)

4:09 PM
"When the story of this period comes to be written, one thing that will astonish historians is the complaisant ease with which billions of apparently sane people allowed themselves to be monitored and manipulated by government security agencies and giant corporations"
3:13 PM
"It’s a little bit as though the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan declared himself the Holy Roman Emperor"
—  Juan Cole, discussing ISIS
June 26th
9:23 PM
Via
buffleheadcabin:

mattbors:

Sectarian Divisions

[Except, of course, they’re speaking Arabic.]

buffleheadcabin:

mattbors:

Sectarian Divisions

[Except, of course, they’re speaking Arabic.]

June 23rd
11:02 AM
"Nothing, at first view, may seem more unbounded than the thought of man, which not only escapes all human power and authority, but is not even restrained within the limits of nature and reality. To form monsters, and join incongruous shapes and appearances, costs the imagination no more trouble than to conceive the most natural and familiar objects. And while the body is confined to one planet, along which it creeps with pain and difficulty; the thought can in an instant transport us into the most distant regions of the universe… That the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the square of the two sides, expresses a relation between these figures. That three times five is equal to the half of thirty expresses a relation between these numbers. Propositions of this kind are discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on what is any where existent in the universe. Though there never were a circle or triangle in nature, the truths, demonstrated by Euclid, would forever retain their certainty and evidence."
—  Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
June 15th
2:03 PM
"And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off"
June 9th
11:49 AM
"Turing predicted that by the year 2000, computers would be able to fool 30 percent of human judges after five minutes of conversation, and that as a result, one would ‘be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.’"
—  

Brian Christian, Mind vs. Machine

An excellent piece from 2011, apropos given a machine has now passed the Turing test.

June 7th
5:41 PM
"They said he wandered away on hash. That might have been me."
—  John Waters, regarding Bowe Bergdahl - Real Time 6/6/14
June 3rd
10:56 AM
Via
econsociology:

Theory in Pictures: Consumption / Demand in Economics

econsociology:

Theory in Pictures: Consumption / Demand in Economics

June 2nd
5:07 PM
Patrick Kingsley  |  Guardian »

The television satirist seen as the barometer for free speech in post-revolutionary Egypt, Bassem Youssef, has ended his show because he feels it is no longer safe to satirise Egyptian politics.
"The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program," the former surgeon told reporters in a press conference at his studio on Monday afternoon. "I’m tired of struggling and worrying about my safety and that of my family."
Youssef’s announcement followed a decision by his host channel, MBC-Misr, to suspend his show during Egypt’s recent presidential election campaign – in what was perceived as an attempt to stop him mocking Egypt’s incoming head of state, field marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. >continue<

Patrick Kingsley  |  Guardian »

The television satirist seen as the barometer for free speech in post-revolutionary Egypt, Bassem Youssef, has ended his show because he feels it is no longer safe to satirise Egyptian politics.

"The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program," the former surgeon told reporters in a press conference at his studio on Monday afternoon. "I’m tired of struggling and worrying about my safety and that of my family."

Youssef’s announcement followed a decision by his host channel, MBC-Misr, to suspend his show during Egypt’s recent presidential election campaign – in what was perceived as an attempt to stop him mocking Egypt’s incoming head of state, field marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. >continue<

11:30 AM
Kirsten Olesen  |  News.Au.DK &#160;&#187;

The researchers have benefited from many years of intense research into HIV as this has e.g. shown that HIV particles can be converted into transporters of genetic information. But when they also become transporters of proteins that are not normally found in the cells, as is the case now, the particles are altered. Virus particles are converted into nanoparticles which carry the substances that can have a direct effect on the treated cells.
HIV infection is one of the areas where the researchers want to make use of the technique, and here the goal is to stop a specific gene from functioning - something that the protein scissors can do.
"By altering relevant cells in the immune system (T cells) we can make them resistant to HIV infection and perhaps even at the same time also equip them with genes that help fight HIV.  &gt;continue&lt;

paper: Targeted genome editing by lentiviral protein transduction of zinc-finger and TAL-effector nucleases

Kirsten Olesen  |  News.Au.DK  »

The researchers have benefited from many years of intense research into HIV as this has e.g. shown that HIV particles can be converted into transporters of genetic information. But when they also become transporters of proteins that are not normally found in the cells, as is the case now, the particles are altered. Virus particles are converted into nanoparticles which carry the substances that can have a direct effect on the treated cells.

HIV infection is one of the areas where the researchers want to make use of the technique, and here the goal is to stop a specific gene from functioning - something that the protein scissors can do.

"By altering relevant cells in the immune system (T cells) we can make them resistant to HIV infection and perhaps even at the same time also equip them with genes that help fight HIV.  >continue<

paper: Targeted genome editing by lentiviral protein transduction of zinc-finger and TAL-effector nucleases