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I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.


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  Sunday, August 28, 2005

Here's another approach to handling the disaster in Iraq. Different than Juan Cole's, but like Cole's approach, and unlike the Bush administration's approach, has the benefit of actually being a plan. Getting out of here without leaving a huge civil war in our wake is going to be, as W might say, "hard work." Too bad he's not dong the hard work.

Even if successful, this strategy will require at least a decade of commitment and hundreds of billions of dollars and will result in longer U.S. casualty rolls. But this is the price that the United States must pay if it is to achieve its worthy goals in Iraq. Are the American people and American soldiers willing to pay that price? Only by presenting them with a clear strategy for victory and a full understanding of the sacrifices required can the administration find out. And if Americans are not up to the task, Washington should accept that it must settle for a much more modest goal: leveraging its waning influence to outmaneuver the Iranians and the Syrians in creating an ally out of Iraq's next despot.

10:24:05 PM    comment []

looking forward to Serenity!

4:57:40 PM    comment []

Tufte asks hard questions about IP numbers and anonymity (

(Via robot wisdom weblog.)

4:52:46 PM    comment []

This is very funny:

The head of the Galactic Confederation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet) -- 178 billion average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H Bomb on the principal volcanoes (Incident 2) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic Area ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged." His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. were placed in the implants. When through with his crime Loyal Officers (to the people) captured him after 6 years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confed.) has since been a desert.

Some people, though, apparently believe it. And when you stop to think about it, how much sillier is it than this:

God creates the world, which is good, but sin enters the world through human disobedience. Adam and Eve eat fruit that was forbidden to them, and Cain murders his brother Abel. God commands Noah to build an ark in which pairs of all living things are preserved from the great flood that God sends to purge the earth. Afterward, people begin building a tower that would reach to heaven in order to make a name for themselves, but God confuses their speech and scatters them.

4:52:42 PM    comment []

(Via Skeptico.)

4:04:22 PM    comment []

Bob hadn't talked to the press in a while, and was seen as a "recluse" when this interview came out. It's pretty wacky stuff; he can't remember which albums some songs were on, talks about going on tour (it would be 5 more years), using female backing singers (that would take 8 years), and more.

12:49:41 PM    comment []

I've been lax in posting my recent reading. Partly because I haven't been doing enough of it, so I have only 2 books to comment on.

I'm glad I skipped a couple of the more recent Harry Potter books. The latest didn't do much for me, and was kind of slow, except for the last 150 page or so, which were the payoff anyway, and which moved along pretty nicely. Knowing someone was going to die led, of course, to trying to figure out who it would be, which turned out to be not much of a challenge. I am looking forward to the final book, which, if it ties up all the lose ends and mysteries (is Snape a good guy or Dumbledore a fool?) could be fun.

It's funny, but I haven't seen the new John Crowley Novel, Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land reviewed yet. It's quite a book, and Crowley pulls off no mean feat. A feminist web researcher discovers some papers belonging to Lady Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and maybe the first computer programmer. Included in them is a manuscript encoded in a cipher of numbers. When they decode the manuscript, they find an unknown novel by Lord Byron, with footnotes written by Ada. The book interleaves Byron's gothic novel with Ada's footnotes, and emails written by the modern characters (a nice epistolary nod to Frankenstein and others of the day). It's fun reading, though there's not a lot of suspense to it. What's amazing is the way that Ada's character emerges Kinbote-like out of her footnotes, as she explores Byron's personal history, and message encoded in the novel, to the daughter he never knew. Very well written, though a bit slow.

12:37:59 PM    comment []

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