Israel Has Sub-Based Atomic Arms Capability

Israel has acquired three diesel submarines that it is arming with newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to former Pentagon and State Department officials, potentially giving Israel a triad of land-, sea- and air-based nuclear weapons for the first time. Washington Post

Common Sense Computing

Can a PC think for itself?

Day after day since 1984, teams of programmers, linguists, theologians, mathematicians and philosophers have plugged away at a $60 million project they hope will transform human existence: teaching a computer common sense.

They have been feeding a database named Cyc 1.4 million truths and generalities about daily life so it can automatically make assumptions humans make: Creatures that die stay dead. Dogs have spines. Scaling a cliff requires intense physical effort. CNN

Declan McCullagh writes a Farewell to a Net Freedom Fighter – Ironically, in this column about Stanton McCandlish’s retirement from the Electronic Frontier Foundation , he bids farewell himself to his Wired readers:

This is my last weekly notebook for Wired News.

It’s been a long run: I started writing for Wired News in 1998, and began this Saturday update from the nation’s capital soon afterward.

During that time, I’ve chronicled the growing intersection between politics and technology, writing about how the law has struggled to keep abreast of developments — often with disappointing results…

He’s going to CNET News as chief political correspondent, he explains in his Politech mailing list:

Besides our own network, articles also appear on the New York Times, MSNBC, and Yahoo News sites. We have an agreement with the Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle to run our articles on their websites and in print — all of which means you’ll be able to find my articles in more places than before.

‘The best story, not the biggest bomb’

How to fight the terror networks:

‘John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt codified the strategy that helped the United States overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. They believe that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida could still prevail if they got hold of weapons of mass destruction, and the US and its allies must prevent that acquisition. To do so, the US will have to change the nature of warfare.


That prompts the question of whether the US won the wrong war in Afghanistan, crushing the Taliban nation state, but allowing the al-Qaida network to slip through its grasp. It would be all the more serious for Washington if it turned out that by destroying one of al-Qaida’s main sanctuaries, it had in fact created more problems for itself. “When I think of an all-channel network operating in a sanctuary I want to leave it right there,” says Arquilla. “If I take the sanctuary, then it is going to hide in places I may never find. Simply, we must be looking around the world.” ‘ Le Monde Diplomatique

‘Modern art made me blue’. ‘Modern art has often been accused of being meaningless but could this mean it can bring on mental illness? A man who studied art theory and postmodernism at university says feelings of disengagement and alienation as a result of his studies caused him to suffer serious depression after graduation’:

“I felt that no activity had any more meaning than any other. I became seriously depressed. What was the point of concentrating on any activity if it had no real point? If you believed what we had been taught at university, everything had equal meaning. If you took this to its logical conclusion, everything meant nothing.”


[I would say that the disengaged, postmodern anomie of living in contemporary society may play a part in provoking existential depression, and of course that modern art reflects those conditions of living. However, it strikes me as unlikely that explicitly studying that art was as important a factor as the conditions of modern consciousness under which this man labored … as well as the likely biological vulnerability that also contributed to there being ‘an accident waiting to happen’. -FmH]

The Future of “History”: It is no longer possible to find it as controversial as when it appeared several short years ago, many argue, and it even appears self-evident at the moment, but is Samuel Huntington’s “culture clash” formulation unquestionably the more likely future than Francis Fukuyama’s incompatible notion of “pax democratia” ? Policy Review

Everybody needs somebody to hate and fear….

Brendan O’Neill: “…(T)here is a vast difference between a handful of fascists and fascism as a social movement with real power…” The Myth of the Far Right: “Is Europe really heading for a new Dark Age, with its Nazi past coming back to haunt it? Are fascistic far-right parties really ‘on the march again’ everywhere from Greece to France, from Italy to Holland? In a word, no. The current obsession with the rise of the far right tells us far more about the European elites’ crisis of confidence and legitimacy than it does about any Nazi reality.”

And: Mick Hume: Who’s afraid of the far right? “It is hard to say which is more pathetic: the notion that the British National Party (BNP) winning three council seats in Burnley, Lancashire, marks a breakthrough for fascism, or the claim that the failure of the far-right BNP to win seats elsewhere represents an important victory for democracy.” sp!ked

The Man Who Predicted The Race Riots

One man was not at all surprised at this outbreak of inchoate racial fury. He was Ray Honeyford, the headmaster of a middle school in an immigrant area of Bradford in the early 1980s. He knew that the official multiculturalist educational policies that he was expected to implement would sooner or later lead to social disaster such as these riots: and when he repeatedly exposed the folly of these policies in print, the advocates of “diversity”—who maintain that all cultures are equal but that opinions other than their own are forbidden—mounted a vicious and vituperative campaign against him. For at least two years, the Honeyford Affair, as it was known, was a national preoccupation, calling forth endless newspaper and broadcast commentary, the man himself often branded a near-murderous racist and ultimately drummed out of his job. Hell, it seems, hath no fury like a multiculturalist contradicted.

Of course, the events of September 11 have concentrated at least some British minds a little harder on questions of cultural diversity and group loyalties. A disturbingly large number of British Muslims, from a variety of backgrounds, supported al-Qaida. Three of the captives now held at Guantanamo were from Britain, all of them products of the kind of homes that now exist in Bradford and elsewhere by the thousands. Two chemistry Ph.D.s of Bangladeshi origin are on trial in Birmingham, accused (not for the first time) of conspiracy to manufacture explosives for terrorist ends, and they are unlikely to have been acting merely as individuals. Several British Islamic charities were found to have been channeling money to terrorists. Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a transatlantic airliner with Semtex in his sneakers, had converted to Islam in a British jail. The newly alert intelligence service in the prison in which I work now believes that fully half of the Muslim prisoners there sympathize with the World Trade Center attacks: and since Muslim prisoners are by far the fastest-growing group of prisoners in Britain, already far overrepresented in the prison population, this is enough to disturb even the most complacent. The British elites, it appears, would have done far better to have heeded rather than vilified Honeyford almost two decades ago.

[From New York’s City Journal, which describes itself as ‘the nation’s premier urban-policy magazine, “the Bible of the new urbanism”…’ (via Walker)]

Here Are Your Pills. Do You Want the Seminar? “…among a small but growing number of drugstores across the country trying to expand the definition of “pharmacy” to include a range of health management services. In this new guise, the pharmacist is no longer just a figure in a white lab coat behind the counter. Many pharmacists believe that the new role is a natural for them, and consumer groups like the idea, too, because it expands patients’ access to health care.” This New York Times article doesn’t mention that this role is common among pharmacists in Europe as well.

Happy Bloomsday!

“Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.

Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o’er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably. I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do. My two feet in his boots are at the ends of his legs, nebeneinander. Sounds solid: made by the mallet of Los demiurgos. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick. Wild sea money. Dominie Deasy kens them a’.

Won’t you come to Sandymount,

Madeline the mare?

Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. Acatalectic tetrameter of iambs marching. No, agallop: deline the mare.

Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.

See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.”

from ‘Proteus’ (Ulysses, chapter 3)

A persuasive and soulsearching (and long) letter from Menachem Kellner, Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa, responding to a colleague’s support for British scientist Steven Rose’s April 6 call for a European intellectual boycott against Israeli universities and scholars. The manifesto, originally published as an open letter to The Guardian, has been signed by over 300 European academics, mostly British. Prof. Kellner’s response is very much worth reading. Posted on Israeli doctoral student Linda Montag’s weblog, Thunder and Lightning [thanks to Deborah Weisman].

The recipient responded:

Dear Professor Kellner:

I am moved that you should write me such a long and heartfelt letter. You have certainly succeeded in your aim to shake my confidence in the rightness of the letter that I signed. I am not saying I now think you are right. I am saying that I no longer know what to think, and I obviously need to learn more of the history. I shall not be signing any more letters on the subject, one way or the other. Thank you very much again for your letter. I wish you well.

Yours sincerely


Related: Coverage of the boycott call from Ha’aretzThe Intifada reaches the ivory tower; a collection of letters from academics decrying the boycott call, including an expression of skepticism from Noam Chomsky; and support for the boycott from an Israeli academic (Tanya Reinhart, professor of linguistics at Tel Aviv University). Indymedia Israel

‘Homicide’ isn’t dead, it’s just moved to cable TV

You can kill a good TV show but not what it stands for. Not in the cable era you can’t. There are way too many networks and too many hours to fill; you can’t send guts and creativity on a 10-year holiday, the way network TV could 25 years ago.

“Homicide” took us deeper into the marshes of guilt and innocence than TV cop shows had ever done. Its death signified that when you’re talking about major-league prime time, we want law and order and lots of it. But on cable, we want things to delve deeper, to shine a flashlight into the basement of the soul and the sewers of bureaucracy.

Welcome to the New Cop Shows – “The Wire” and “The Shield.” The Buffalo News

30,000 Years of Modern Art: “Monet and Picasso get the credit for ending art’s obsession with realism and classical beauty. But they had some powerful allies – the cave painters of the stone age.” Guardian UK