October 2003

London art aggregator

by Limbic on October 28, 2003

London art aggregator…an RSS feed of art exhibitions in London today. If you subscribe in a news reader, you’ll be updated with new openings, and warned when exhibitions are about to finish.”

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Heresy: Intelligence never wins wars

by Limbic on October 23, 2003

Military historian John Keegan takes on a pervasive myth.

The question I set out to answer is: “How important is intelligence in bringing victory or averting defeat?” It is not a question often asked, even less rarely answered, because the intrinsic fascination of intelligence practice pushes it to the margin.

…F H Himsley, the historian of British intelligence in the real war against Hitler, made a sustained attempt to show how intelligence affected its outcome. His conclusion, which did not please the intelligence establishment, is that the efforts of MI6 and Bletchley Park shortened the war, but emphatically did not win it.

His judgment has general application – intelligence never wins wars. As the American David Kahn, the supreme intelligence historian, puts it: “There is an elemental point about intelligence – it is a secondary factor in war.”

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Do the right thing

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

“Rights are how we make moral claims today. But such language can promote conflict and obscure what’s at issue, suggests Barney Zwartz.”

Two recent court cases in the United States show how the talk of rights has gone right off. In Florida a woman confined to a wheelchair sued a bar for discrimination because they wouldn’t hire her as a lap dancer. And in Ohio a mother caught breastfeeding, talking on her mobile phone and taking notes while driving at 100 kmh fought her fine in court, saying her constitutional rights were at stake.

It’s true that this represents the reductio ad absurdum of rights language, but it signposts a significant development in the past 50 years. That is, the way almost any moral discourse, and especially any claim, is expressed in terms of rights.

The language of rights has become so second nature that it is hard for many to conceive that there is an issue here. Even the church, against whom the language of rights was developed, has embraced it.

What has happened? How did rights become so dominant in our moral thinking and why is it a problem?

MORE

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A powerful antidote to the pessimistic reports from Iraq are the apparent first hand account from serving US troops, telling of progress and success.

There is even a website that collects and publishes these letters.

They make for powerful propaganda and a US newspaper reports that it has received multiple copies of the same letter ostensibly from different serving soldiers.

The question is: Are pro-war conduction a propganda campaign by sending out fake or at least multiplied letters (a tactic known to be a favourite of the American right – see Astroturfing) or is someone trying to discredit genuine soldiers accounts from Iraq?

It is too soon to tell. These letter have enourmous propaganda power and both sides know it.

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Mother get food delivered to student children

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

New Media Age reports that:

Today’s Times reports on claims that mothers are increasingly turning to the Internet as a way to dispatch food to their sons and daughters at university.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco point out that an increasing number of online customers specify two delivery addresses. One will be their home, the other a hall of residence or property in one of the large university towns.

They say that it’s usually mothers, anxious to ensure that their children eat healthy food, who set up these delivery accounts.

I wish we had had this service when I was a youngster. I regularly had long debates of the food vs cigarettes type (ciggies used to win because I reasoned they were appetite suppressants whereas food would worsen cigarette cravings).

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Are you shari'a you want that?

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

“We should recognise that the only comprehensive system of transnational legislation in the modern world is the shari’a. After all, it is easy to demand global obedience to the will of God. But look at the parts of the world where the shari’a is the supreme authority and what do you find? Dictatorship, strife, and a rooted inability to do anything whatsoever about the problems of modernity – with or without pressure from transnational legislatures.”

Roger Scruton, posting on Open Democracy’s “Canc˙nblog”.

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Typeface for dyslexics

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

“There has been growing innovation to combat dyslexia, especially
for children, in the form of computer software. However, relatively
little design research has been done in the area of typography
and type design that might support dyslexics. Read Regular is
a typeface designed specifically to help people with dyslexia read
and write more effectively.” MORE

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Stabbing epidemic in London

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

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You will all be caught with your diapers down

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

“You will all be caught with your diapers down. I promise you that…. They will invade you in your beds, they will snap you from your hot-tubs, they will pluck you right out from your fancy sports cars. There is nowhere, absolutely nowhere in this godforsaken valley. My voice is reaching you from here where I’m standing to clear out into the goddamn Mohave desert and through this Vale of Tears all the way to Arizona…. Not one square foot of that will still be a safety zone. There will be no more safety zone. I can guarantee you: the safety zone will be eliminated. Eradicated. You will all be extradicted to the land of no return. You’ll be flying blind to nowhere”

The Screaming Man, “Paris Texas“, 1984 (pp.54-5).

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Create your own trashy celebrity magazine

by Limbic on October 20, 2003

Dirt Magazine!

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