Game Theory for Real People: ” ‘Our simple models are no longer sufficient,’ said an eminent game
theorist, who is calling for human passions and quirks to be taken into
account, too.” Wired
Thanks to Walker, I’m fed a steady diet of the virulent Dr. Dalrymple. Here’s the latest:
I had dinner with a medical school dean last week. A virologist of distinction, he told me that there recently had been an outbreak of Muslim fundamentalism in his medical school.
Female Muslim medical students had suddenly started to appear at classes clad in a full veil, with only a narrow slit for the eyes. Alarmed, the medical school authorities consulted the General Medical Council, the official body that supervises medical education in Britain. Fortunately, a pre-existing rule that the whole of a student’s or doctor’s face must be visible to patients undergoing examination allowed the school authorities to tell the veiled students that they must remove their veils or cease to study medicine.
They complied; and it subsequently emerged that they had never wanted to veil themselves in the first place but were pressured—or blackmailed—into adopting the custom by male Muslim medical students, among whom was a cleric. They were susceptible to blackmail because, just as intellectuals were once afraid to appear insufficiently left-wing (pas d’ennemis sur la gauche), so Muslims now fear appearing insufficiently rigorous and orthodox in their observance… [more] City Journal
I discovered this after a chance comment from a co-worker about some of the ingredients in pet food led me to some online research, and it floored me. Pay particular attention to the explanation of “digest of chicken by-products” in the first paragraph, and the explanation of why in the world you find the barbiturate sedative sodium pentabarbital in measurable amounts in cat food, in the third paragraph. The article is only for those with a strong stomach and an expansive capacity for outrage and revulsion. Then, if you’re a pet owner, find out how your chosen brand of pet food rates here
‘Technology Review magazine plans to announce a new service today that enables users to download an exact replica of the magazine to read at their leisure, placing the magazine among a fast-growing crowd of publications using this form of online distribution.
Compared with typical Web publishing, which uses formats designed specifically for reading on a computer screen, Technology Review and other publishers are transmitting electronic copies of their printed pages. Publishers see this service — variously called digital delivery, digital replicas or electronic editions — as a way to build both advertising and circulation revenue when few companies have been performing well in either category. And since digital delivery incurs negligible additional costs beyond the print version, publishers are greeting this new technology with an attitude of “why not?” ‘ NY Times
Since Sept. 11 corporate media have regurgitated the government’s mindless pro-war propaganda. It’s not just CNN and NBC, though: big money rappers have fallen in line to rally ’round the flag, from Mystikal to R. Kelly to Wu-Tang Clan to MC Hammer.
…But luckily, underground hip hop is speaking out against the “war on terrorism,” operating, as Africa says, as town criers. WarTimes
George and Dick’s Amazing Corporate Misadventures: “A cheat sheet for President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s
alleged corporate malfeasance, from their days as corporate
executives at Harken and Halliburton.” AlterNet
‘Watching the pathetic, mealy-mouthed response of President Bush and his State Department to Egypt’s decision to sentence the leading Egyptian democracy advocate to seven years in prison leaves one wondering whether the whole Bush foreign policy team isn’t just a big bunch of phonies. Shame on all of them.
… This ties in with a larger concern that human rights activists share toward America today — a concern that post-9/11 America is not interested anymore in law and order, just order, and it’s not interested in peace and quiet, but just quiet. I am struck by how many Sri Lankans, who are as pro-American as they come, have made some version of this observation to me: America as an idea, as a source of optimism and as a beacon of liberty is critical to the world — but you Americans seem to have forgotten that since 9/11. You’ve stopped talking about who you are, and are only talking now about who you’re going to invade, oust or sanction.
These days, said Mrs. Coomaraswamy, “none of us in the human rights community would think of appealing to the U.S. for support for upholding a human rights case — maybe to Canada, to Norway or to Sweden — but not to the U.S. Before there were always three faces of America out in the world — the face of the Peace Corps, the America that helps others, the face of multinationals and the face of American military power.” ‘ NY Times op-ed [thanks to Richard Homonoff]
“Thoughts on my sister-in-law’s suicide” by film critic David Thomson. Salon
Higgy hasn’t been putting much up at his page lately, and I hadn’t noticed this piece sooner. Seizing on my delight at the Atlantic
piece on OuLiPian language antics, he gifts us with a pointer to a 1997 Wordways piece by Ross Eckler
which asks, is it is possible to “characterize in an objective way the relative difficulty of different sorts of constraint? Which ones should be cultivated more widely?” Thanks, higgy!
“Scott Ritter, the former head of the UN weapons inspectorate in Iraq, insists that the British and American people are being frog-marched towards an unnecessary war. He spoke to Mark Seddon.”
Ritter was head of the United Nations weapons inspectorate in Iraq from 1991 until 1998.
That makes this former American marine and CIA agent uniquely placed to assess the extent of the threat Iraq currently poses as George Bush continues to wage his “war on terrorism”.
I met the straight-talking Ritter when he was in London recently and he insisted that Saddam Hussein is largely a busted flush.
So Ritter represents a problem for the hawks in the Pentagon because American sabre-rattling indicates that another war against Iraq is likely.
However, the best that the US dirty tricks department can pin on Ritter – a veteran of the first Gulf War – is that he received funds for a documentary on Iraq from an American of Iraqi extraction. The Tribune
And: The writing on the wall:
“Civilisation began 8,000 years ago in what we now call Iraq. Since then have come glorious cultures, cruel tyrants, invasions. How do Iraqis regard the latest threat of war? Jonathan Glancey finds fatalism, a fearful loyalty to their warrior king, Saddam – and a sense of betrayal by Britain.” Guardian UK