Off-topic, but I had to share something to which FoKerr MS drew my attention: (probably) the “greatest book review ever written.”:http://www.nypress.com/article-11419-flathead.html
My one regret is that I did not discover it sooner.
Friedman is such a genius of literary incompetence that even his most innocent passages invite feature-length essays. I’ll give you an example, drawn at random from The World Is Flat. On page 174, Friedman is describing a flight he took on Southwest Airlines from Baltimore to Hartford, Connecticut. (Friedman never forgets to name the company or the brand name; if he had written The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa would have awoken from uneasy dreams in a Sealy Posturepedic.) Here’s what he says:
I stomped off, went through security, bought a Cinnabon, and glumly sat at the back of the B line, waiting to be herded on board so that I could hunt for space in the overhead bins.
Forget the Cinnabon. *Name me a herd animal that hunts. Name me one.*
So far, it’s just a “battle of words”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/14/world/asia/14korea.html:
“Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our safety,” said the Japanese government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura.
If North Korea’s rocket launching is successful, it will not fall toward Japan but rather fly over it. North Korea has said that it will consider any attempt to intercept its rocket “an act of war” and that it will attack the interceptors.
For anyone who can’t wait for the first week of April to see how this turns out, here are the “results of a sophisticated simulation”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7FZsvImbBY:
David Brown at the “Washington Post”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/09/AR2009030901458.html and Coco Ballantyne at “Scientific American”:http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=chimpanzee-plans-throws-stones-zoo have the latest news on streamlined arms acquisition strategy, from Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo.
Both stories — which end on the same tragic note — concern an article by Mathias Osvath in _Current Biology,_ titled “Spontaneous planning for future stone throwing by a male chimpanzee”:ttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VRT-4VT0BCK-9&_user=10&_coverDate=03%2F10%2F2009&_alid=881199316&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=6243&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=81&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d1adc3b6cd1624d58dc8ba92677cb69c.
Here’s the abstract:
Planning for a future, rather than a current, mental state is a cognitive process generally viewed as uniquely human. Here, however, I shall report on a decade of observations of spontaneous planning by a male chimpanzee in a zoo. The planning actions, which took place in a calm state, included stone caching and the manufacture of discs from concrete, objects later used as missiles against zoo visitors during agitated chimpanzee dominance displays. Such planning implies advanced consciousness and cognition traditionally not associated with nonhuman animals . Spontaneous and unambiguous planning behaviours for future states by non-humans have not previously been reported, and anecdotal reports, describing single occasions, are exceptionally scarce ,  and . This dearth of observations is arguably the main reason for not ascribing cognitive foresight to nonhuman animals . To date, the surprisingly few controlled demonstrations of planning for future states by animals are experimentally induced behaviours in great apes ,  and  and corvids  and . The observational findings in this report suggest that these laboratory results are not experimental artefacts, at least in the case of great apes.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, North Korea does have an embassy in Stockholm. But zoo visitors can rest easy, as the traveling Scud salesmen don’t seem to have gotten that far afield.
(PPBS, in the words of “this randomly selected news item”:http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44916, is the Pentagon’s “annual process of forecasting threats, and matching them to programs and then programs to budgets.”)
So “nobody can quite square”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1873/more-about-the-bosworth-appointment Stephen Bosworth’s full-time role as North Korea envoy with his full-time role as dean of the Fletcher School. Or puzzle out the difference between Sung Kim, the Special Envoy to the Six-Party Talks, and Stephen Bosworth, Special Representative to the Six-Party Talks.
But you know what? It’s so, so simple.
Sung Kim is Commissioner Gordon. Stephen Bosworth is Batman.
This is a couple of months old, but what the hey. Click “here”:http://www.mnweekly.ru/comment/20081114/55356778.html to see a picture that’s worth at least two words. It’s even oriented properly, i.e., westwards.
Russia will not look on indifferently while the United States deploys the third positioning component of its missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. This was the unmistakable message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his no-nonsense state-of-the-nation address recently.
(Paul, where is the label for “juvenilia”?)
The inevitable “musical bonus”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZThquH5t0ow.
_Paul Says:_ There is a label for “silly,” but we can always create a new one.
Miles and Jeff from ACA tipped me off on “this recent statement”:http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/political/cd/speeches09/1session/27January_Russia.html from Russian Ambassador Loshchinin at the CD.
Arguing that Georgia ought not be an observer at the Conference, he stated
bq. The request of Georgia to be an observer here at the Conference of Disarmament is somewhat surprising. I will not refer to the details of the events of August of 2008, when the regime of Saakashvili launched its aggression against South Ossetia. I will simply remind you that over the last several years Tbilisi has increased its military budget thirty fold, thirty times, which can not be in any way in line with the work of our Conference. *The name of our Conference is the Conference on Disarmament and not on armament.*
I am amused by the fact that a Beltway Bandit employee found “this post”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1304/dan-poneman-experience while (presumably) searching for transition pr0n or related material about Dan Poneman.