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.: 2001 --> october

october 2001
WTC news
red rock eater digest
caught in between
follow me here
net.narrative.env
randomwalks
rc3.org
thewebtoday
wood s lot

need to know
international literacy primer
geneva conventions
cia world factbook


:: I just added the web today to the list of exceptional webloggers who are covering the event. WTC coverage is going to remain, I think, with the short list on your left. I can't do as good a job as these folks combined (and we'll see if I can resist -- see below) but I think my strength lies elsewhere.

Reading the WTC evidence that's being reported in the mainstream media, is anyone else reminded of the OJ trial? Collateral Repair represents my misgivings, as does What Muslim would write: 'The time of fun and waste is gone'?.

Meanwhile, alternet presents heartening story of the realistic approach mainstream counter-intelligence experts are taking to the current threat, that also includes a harebrained(?) solution with chilling implications for the Afghanis...and us:

The need to think beyond military solutions was also raised at a bizarre talk given by Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter before a group of military policymeisters, defense contractors, and Defense Department employees a few days after the attack. Weeks before September 11, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a Pentagon-friendly think tank, had asked Baxter, who was a lead guitarist for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan and a music-technology wiz before fashioning himself into a military-technology expert, to present the case for a national missile defense.
The goal of U.S. policy, he said, should be to 're-engineer the perceptions of our enemies.' Suicide bombers have to be convinced 'they get nothing for dying for Allah,' and the people who support terrorists -- leaders or commoners -- have to be persuaded such violence is an insult to Islam and counterproductive. So Baxter proposed a Manhattan Project of 'perception engineering,' which would explore and develop a variety of means: psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns designed by advertising executives ('these guys were selling Chevrolets when they were crap with the "heartbeat of America"'); nanomachines that can invade the circulatory system and effect the brain and thought patterns of the target; cultural products that can engender warm feelings toward the United States. 'This World War III is a different war.... It's an information war ... a war fought with ideas ... I can give you a valium and make you feel good. I can give you a musical score and engineer your perceptions ... All this is doable.'

(via musings and follow me here)
[ 10/01/01 ]

Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International Doug Copp tells us that in an earthquake or any collapsing building, get next to a large piece of furniture, never under it. EVERYONE WHO SIMPLY DUCKS AND COVERS WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE IS CRUSHED TO DEATH -EVERY TIHE, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. (via looka)
[ 10/01/01 ]

More proof that irony is dead.

Seriously, isn't this a case where context is everything? Say a known feminist artist had created this as a painting--wouldn't it be a strong feminist statement? Or worn by a 18-25 year old woman, wouldn't it be a post-feminist statement? Worn by a midriff, on the other hand, wouldn't there be controversy over whether this might be post-feminism or instead another sign of inappropriate sexualization or simple hyper-consumerism? I think there was a time when a young man might have worn this to show that he was a) hip (feminist) and b) ironic. Or, of course, incontrovertably sexist.

Hasn't the world become complicated? Or do we have time for these kinds of complications anymore? And isn't it brilliant to create a shirt that markets itself all of these people at once? (via daze reader)
[ 10/01/01 ]

:: Has it gone back to normal? I, for one, hope that it does not.
[ 10/02/01 ]

Perhaps Tony Blair says it better than I can:

This is a moment to seize. The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.

(thanks, Nick!)
[ 10/02/01 ]

Chemistry Comes Alive! And so it does. Ever wonder what happens when you mix Ammonia with Copper(II) Nitrate in an aqueous solution? wonder no more....
[ 10/02/01 ]

:: What a beautiful, moving poem.

...the hard man with the soft brown eyes...

I looked at his picture the other day and said to jjg: He doesn't look evil to me. And it is his eyes, I look at his eyes and I think how much he would look to me like a saint if he were doing anything else in the world at all.

jjg said 'what does evil look like?' and I said 'at least Timothy McVeigh looked hard.' (via jessamyn)
[ 10/03/01 ]

:: The FDA has just approved a new form of birth control: the vaginal ring.
[ 10/04/01 ]

The Chinese called it fei qian, or 'flying money'. In Arabic it is called hawala. It is an ancient system for moving money that is fast, cheap...and untraceable.[NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 10/04/01 ]

Jodie Foster has had another son. What I love about this story is that I didn't know she was pregnant again, and that she just flat-out refuses to discuss her personal life with the media. Other media stars decry their loss of privacy, but then they go onto chat shows to discuss part of it. Jodie draws boundaries and means it.
[ 10/04/01 ]

:: There's a whole big world out there....

On Monday, raiders detonated a car bomb outside the state assembly building in Srinagar, the capital of the disputed Kashmir state, and then entered with guns blazing. The assault killed at least 31 and wounded 60. The Indian media claimed that Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based Islamic group, had claimed responsibility for the attack and named the driver of the suicide vehicle as a Pakistani national....
Pakistan's Frontier Post suggested India was behind the attack, noting conspiratorially that it coincided with the Indian foreign minister's Washington visit. An editorial said India is 'trying to the hilt to cash in on the strong international sentiment against terrorism' and 'to have the Kashmiri freedom struggle branded as cross-border terrorism and Pakistan as a terrorism-sponsoring state.'

I just added Slates's International Papers under 'need to know' in the left-hand column.
[ 10/05/01 ]

Tourist Guy (thanks, lizard!)
[ 10/05/01 ]

:: For me, this is where the web really shines. One guy, one idea, one website. (If you're at work, put on your headphones before you click this link -- and you must have sound when you view this page.) (thanks, lizard!)
[ 10/08/01 ]

Intelligent chat interview with Noam Chomsky on the WTC attack and its aftermath.

Question from tennisball: What do you consider the most reliable source of news covering the WTC and the alleged conspirators?
     
Noam Chomsky: The best thing to do is read widely and always skeptically. Remember everyone, including me, has their opinions and their goals and you have to think them through for yourself.

(via metafilter)
[ 10/08/01 ]

It's a palindrome day.
[ 10/11/01 ]

Lynn asks: Would you cover your hair to show support for Muslims in your area?

The purpose of the Scarves for Solidarity Campaign is simply to show our support of our Muslim sisters and the Muslim community at large, and to foster discussion with the people you come into contact with during your everyday life...it is not meant to be a political symbol in any way, just a symbol of love, tolerance and a belief in the foundations of our country.

Interesting. Would I do this? I know I would if others would too, as a gesture of solidarity. But as the only one in my neighborhood? Maybe the fact that I need to think about whether that would make me a target says that if they have another day of solidarity, I should join.
[ 10/11/01 ]

Jessamyn is not too happy with Greyhound right at the moment.

I arrived at the bus station an hour early as suggested by your web site, in order to account for 'extra security precautions.' Not only wasn't my bag checked, no one's bag was checked, no ID was checked and no security other than the bus driver and baggage handler was in evidence.... I did notice, however, that when I had transferred busses in Chicago, the elderly man with a turban was hassled before being allowed on the bus. This did not make me feel safer.

[ 10/11/01 ]

I'm just going to say that I predict that the anthrax is not al Qaeda-related, but an opportunistic attack by a lone, demented individual.

<sigh>

Times sure got interesting fast, didn't they?
[ 10/11/01 ]

Could the Emmys have had worse luck this year? Is it time for the television entertainment industry to admit that it's irrelevant?
[ 10/08/01 ]

:: How much do you love the BBC's tagline: 'Updated every minute of every day'. Sounds like hard work, doesn't it?

I'm going to the BBC for war news, because I'm under the impression that they are willing to actually seek the truth instead of merely parroting the party line.
[ 10/09/01 ]

'As warplanes from this ship joined Monday night in a second round of strikes in Afghanistan, commanders said their greatest worry as they launched the first attacks had been the potential for retaliatory terrorist action, perhaps aimed at the aircraft carrier itself.'

Um...hello? If retaliatory action were aimed at the aircraft carrier, it would be a legitimate act of war, would it not? Terrorist actions are aimed at civilians. This kind of inaccuracy -- or should we call it spin? -- just infuriates me. I'm trying to pay attention to the terms used to describe each side of this conflict.
[ 10/09/01 ]

The Science Behind the Tune Stuck in Your Head. It's the simple, repetitive, slightly unexpected tune, stupid.

Perhaps persistent songs are like recurring dreams, ...says [UC San Diego psychology professor Diana Deutsch]: 'Something in the back of your mind is trying to tell you something.' As proof, Deutsch cites her own experience. Whenever she can't get a song out of her head, she contemplates the meaning of the lyrics--and the song instantly goes away. 'Even songs without words can have a larger meaning,' she notes, mentioning anthems and religious music as examples.

A possibly flaky but true example of this is a period of time in which I would awaken each morning with a particular song in my head, almost always the same one. On days when the song was different from usual I would notice it, of course, and then forget it. Every time, something unusual would happen on that day, and every time, the different song's lyrics were predictive of the event. Make of that what you will: was my state of mind affected such that I was more open to the experience the songs spoke of? Or was I attuned with some sort of larger current? (thanks, jjg!)
[ 10/09/01 ]

:: It's a palindrome day.
[ 10/11/01 ]

Lynn asks: Would you cover your hair to show support for Muslims in your area?

The purpose of the Scarves for Solidarity Campaign is simply to show our support of our Muslim sisters and the Muslim community at large, and to foster discussion with the people you come into contact with during your everyday life...it is not meant to be a political symbol in any way, just a symbol of love, tolerance and a belief in the foundations of our country.

Interesting. Would I do this? I know I would if others would too, as a gesture of solidarity. But as the only one in my neighborhood? Maybe the fact that I need to think about whether that would make me a target says that if they have another day of solidarity, I should join.
[ 10/11/01 ]

Jessamyn is not too happy with Greyhound right at the moment.

I arrived at the bus station an hour early as suggested by your web site, in order to account for 'extra security precautions.' Not only wasn't my bag checked, no one's bag was checked, no ID was checked and no security other than the bus driver and baggage handler was in evidence.... I did notice, however, that when I had transferred busses in Chicago, the elderly man with a turban was hassled before being allowed on the bus. This did not make me feel safer.

[ 10/11/01 ]

:: I'm just going to say that I predict that the anthrax is not al Qaeda-related, but an opportunistic attack by a lone, demented individual.

<sigh>

Times sure got interesting fast, didn't they?
[ 10/11/01 ]

:: I cannot, cannot stop enjoying the chinese spam I get. I report all other spam, but the Chinese spam makes me smile, always. One today advertises their selection of 'multifarious shoes' and and their website has revolving things and things zipping into their places àla 1996, and says: 'Your benefit is our benefit! Without sincerity, there can be no business!'. I love these people.
[ 10/16/01 ]

:: Eliot links to the Quakers' response to the military action in Afghanistan. I've heard two standard responses to anti-war sentiment: 1--you're unamerican (to which the only appropriate response is, of course, 'I know you are, but what am I?') and 2--you complain and complain, but you offer no alternative. The Quakers have.
[ 10/17/01 ]

Life as the bin Laden Visiting Fellow. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 10/17/01 ]

Arm Ovaries
[ 10/17/01 ]

Informing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman, 1990

The tie between information and action has been severed. Information is now a commodity that can be bought and sold, or used as a form of entertainment, or worn like a garment to enhance one's status. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don't know what to do with it.
The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework. It cannot tell us what questions are worth asking. It cannot provide a means of understanding why we are here or why we fight each other or why decency eludes us so often, especially when we need it the most. The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront -- spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future.

(via wood s lot)
[ 10/17/01 ]

Bless him, Rafe has come up with an ingenious solution to creating a new government for Afghanistan: a government composed entirely of women. He has lots of good reasons; unfortunately, his idea is fundamentally flawed. First, I'm not sure that women command the respect necessary to govern a populace composed of Afghan men and women. Beyond basic respect, the very idea of women in positions of power undoubtedly would be offensive to many. And here's where it falls apart. Because this would be an abomination to some, this government of women would require round-the-clock protection, necessitating a force of--surely--men with guns. And then we're back to square one again, aren't we?

Sure I'm a feminist. But a real world exists outside of my ideology.
[ 10/16/01 ]

::The consortium of news organizations that recounted the Florida ballots says it has decided not to analyze the data at all. Speculation has it that even after discarding the butterfly ballots and any that were 'iffy' Gore won the state by a large margin. Now, the actual winner of the election doesn't matter a bit at this point, except on principle; but suppressing this information for fear of embarrassing the Bush administration (a decision--note!--made before 9.11), does.
[ 10/16/01 ]

:: Heads Up: I'm starting a big project, so I'm going to aim to update the Pocket MWF.
[ 10/19/01 ]

Proving once again that basic intelligence is the very first thing to be abandoned in a national emergency, United Airlines refuses to let a young man fly because his book scares them. Remember, you have a choice of airlines when you fly; choose someone else. Too bad we don't have our choice of National Guardsmen. (Say, if this young man had been of middle eastern descent, would you have reacted differently? Sort of, 'ooh, unfortunate, but what are you going to do?' I wonder if I would have.) (via booknotes)
[ 10/19/01 ]

Elton John scoffs at the Dalai Lama's silence in the face of 9.11 and its aftermath. Who cares? I'm most interested in the fact that Elton's quotes are sprinkled with 'f---ing'. Not that he's a potty mouth, but in ABC's decision to print the expletive this way. They could have chosen the time-honored (expletive) or ... to replace the word. Instead, their choice leaves nothing to the imagination; it doesn't protect the faint of ear from the word in any way.

So, what are they thinking? Are they trying to discredit Elton's opinions about the Dalai Lama by including the word, or to distance themselves from the sentiment? Or have we crossed yet another line in our public discourse, where profanity is acceptable in mainstream publications?

When everyone routinely uses profanity, it will lose its emphatic value, and then how will we express ourselves strongly? Will we be forced to rely on carefully worded arguments filled with unassailable reasoning?
[ 10/19/01 ]

How to launch a foundation. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 10/19/01 ]

Oh, to be a CNN graphics intern, secure in the knowledge that you could create just anything at all and CNN would publish it. And I wonder who makes up their catch phrases, is that a senior position? 'America's New War'; 'America Strikes Back'; 'Anthrax in America'. These people don't want to report the news, they need to writing action adventure films.
[ 10/19/01 ]

:: I thought that Martha Stewart had sort of set the standard for upper-middle-class snobbism as it applies to around-the-home projects, but in the wake of 9.11 more and more upscale magazines are following the trend, promoting a high-end approach to DIY, while smart fashion moguls create expensive products that promote the appearance of creativity. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]

In the world of high-end fashion, the Japanese designer Issey Miyake has entered the field with A Piece Of Cloth (known by its acronym A- POC), a collection of men's and women's clothing designed to be altered by the wearer at home. The line will be in Mr. Miyake's new TriBeCa store late this month.

[ 10/22/01 ]

Your Tongue is Wet
[ 10/22/01 ]

Silence of 4 Terror Probe Suspects Poses Dilemma

FBI and Justice Department investigators are increasingly frustrated by the silence of jailed suspected associates of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, and some are beginning to that say that traditional civil liberties may have to be cast aside if they are to extract information about the Sept. 11 attacks and terrorist plans. [...]
Among the alternative strategies under discussion are using drugs or pressure tactics, such as those employed occasionally by Israeli interrogators, to extract information. Another idea is extraditing the suspects to allied countries where security services sometimes employ threats to family members or resort to torture.

(via metafilter)
[ 10/22/01 ]

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (III)

Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest
.
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (IV)

Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.

Does an undeclared war count? Civil and criminal prisoners cannot be tortured, prisoners of war and civilians cannot be tortured. Do we propose to create a new class of criminal, the 'suspected terrorist' and apply no protections to this class?
[ 10/22/01 ]

The Torture Reporting Handbook
[ 10/22/01 ]

Amnesty International Campaign Against Torture
[ 10/22/01 ]

:: A long way from Ambridge

When the BBC first broadcast its new Afghan soap opera in 1994, the audience did not even understand the concept of a cliffhanger ending....
...when plans to outlaw radio, the only public entertainment left, were floated earlier this year, Afghanistan's ruling clerics suffered a rare crisis of confidence. How, they wondered, could they ban radio when more than 70% of the population - including most of their own foot soldiers - were so addicted to a thrice-weekly soap opera that threats to remove it raised talk of insurrection?

(thanks, lizard!)
[ 10/24/01 ]

I'm trying a new system with my NYTimes links; please let me know if you have trouble getting to the two sites below.
[ 10/24/01 ]

When Pigs Fly News I: President Bush called on Israel Tuesday to withdraw its forces from Palestinian areas of the West Bank 'as quickly as possible.' [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 10/24/01 ]

When Pigs Fly News II: I.R.A. Relents on Arms, Saves Peace Accord [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket] (Curiously, at tuesday 8:55pm this headline has changed from 2:30pm, when it read 'I.R.A., in "Unprecedented" Move, Begins Disarming'. Is this a good practice on the part of the newspapers? I think the best practice is to always note that a story has changed, and what about it is different.)
[ 10/24/01 ]

Carl sends me links to a 3/99 article introducing Issey Miyake's APOC collection (mentioned Monday) and an ad showing how with only a pair of scissors an APOC top can be converted into four different designs. I admit that I'm frightened by the clothier who feels this approach 'threatens to expand our thinking once again'.
[ 10/24/01 ]

:: What makes your bones strong, promotes weight loss, and may prevent certain cancers? Mmmm. Milk (via eatonweb)
[ 10/26/01 ]

Now, does that sound too good to be true? Here's some help in evaluating it: How to Spot Bad Science.

Read it skeptically: it is produced by the Dairy Council, and when they say 'A recent study of 1,700 adults found that individuals who were confused by nutrition messages in the media consumed diets that were less likely to meet current dietary guidelines' in section 5 (The Potential Health Impact Of Misinterpretation Of The Science) they may be employing the tactics they so deplore in section 4 (How Certain Special Interest Groups Can Increase The Public's Skepticism): 'Recommendations based on a single study.' Certainly they are promoting their own industry. But here is some excellent advice:

Although there has been some improvement, media reports of single studies often do not discuss how the findings relate to previous research. For example, are the new findings supportive of or in conflict with the current state of knowledge? Also, the public may not appreciate that the findings from single studies can be misleading if the sample size is too small to address the question being asked, if numerous confounding factors are not controlled, or if substantial bias exists. In addition, the media seldom report different views or include perspectives and opinions of other researchers regarding a single study's findings....
In 1995, the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA), a partnership of four professional organizations...issued the following list of ten signs of junk science:
  • Recommendations that promise a quick fix.
  • Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen.
  • Claims that sound too good to be true.
  • Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study.
  • Recommendations based on a single study.
  • Statements refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
  • Lists of "good" and "bad" foods.
  • Recommendations made to help sell a product.
  • Recommendations based on studies not peer reviewed.
  • Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups.

Before you draw conclusions from either of these documents, I recommend that you go back to my entry of August 21 and read about Harvard School of Public Health Chairman Dr Walter Willet's complete disregard for the status quo in devising his own food guide pyramid. Dr Willett recommends 1 or 2 servings of dairy every day, amounts he says are based on decades of accumulated research.
[ 10/26/01 ]

Tufts Nutrition Navigator rates nutrition websites.
[ 10/26/01 ]

:: Street scavenger leaves $1 million for attack victims
[ 10/29/01 ]

:: I was just thinking yesterday that the greatest truth revealed by constitutional free speech is that those in power can allow the masses to yammer all they like, and still go about their business unhindered. It's discouraging. Thank God much of the revenge hysteria is dying down, but I'm afraid that significant damage will have been done once most people return to a normal level of rational thought.
[ 10/29/01 ]

Among those being held for investigation in he WTC bombings are those who made 'congratulatory phone calls' following the attacks. And why were these people's phones being tapped in the first place?
[ 10/29/01 ]

Thematic Maps of Afghanistan (slow to load!): relief project activities, water and sanitation project activities, physical infrastructure, opium poppy production by district, 1999, and much, much more. CNN has a map of reported coalition strikes against Afghanistan, and you can use the drop down menu in the upper left to see a history of attacks since the action began.

(Where did I find the thematic map? Through my referrers, but I didn't make a note of where. If you have this linked on your weblog, please let me know so I can credit you properly.)
[ 10/29/01 ]

GPS! Drawing! (via jerry kindall)
[ 10/29/01 ]

:: Happy Hallowe'en! Quick! Go look at the unbelievably cute kitten pictures Cam has collected!
[ 10/31/01 ]

A Medianews reader documents the scaaary side effects of cipro, which is apparently unnecessary in most cases of anthrax. Scroll down to 'Q-tips'. (via metafilter)

7) There is another set of unusual adverse reactions to these drugs involving spontaneous tendon rupture: there are cases of people just sitting drinking their coffee in the morning and then, pop, their achilles tendon ruptures....

[ 10/31/01 ]

Two excellent links via the westerby report:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation: The Chilling Effects of Anti-Terrorism

The right to free speech faces the strongest challenges during times of crisis. Whether or not any of us agree about each particular decision made to prevent public access to sensitive information, it is the Electronic Frontier Foundation's responsibility to chart any such efforts so that we as a society are at least aware of what is no longer available to us.

and

Hidden Agenda Behind War On Terror

The war against terrorism is a fraud. After three weeks' bombing, not a single terrorist implicated in the attacks on America has been caught or killed in Afghanistan....
Unlike the relentless pictures from New York, we are seeing almost nothing of this.... And why are cluster bombs being used? The British public should know about these bombs, which the RAF also uses. They spray hundreds of bomblets that have only one purpose; to kill and maim people. Those that do not explode lie on the ground like landmines, waiting for people to step on them.
If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism, this is it. I have seen the victims of American cluster weapons in other countries, such as the Laotian toddler who picked one up and had her right leg and face blown off. Be assured this is now happening in Afghanistan, in your name. [...]
There is no war on terrorism. If there was, the Royal Marines and the SAS would be storming the beaches of Florida, where more CIA-funded terrorists, ex-Latin American dictators and torturers, are given refuge than anywhere on earth.
There is, however, a continuing war of the powerful against the powerless, with new excuses, new hidden agendas, new lies. Before another child dies violently, or quietly from starvation, before new fanatics are created in both the east and the west, it is time for the people of Britain to make their voices heard and to stop this fraudulent war - and to demand the kind of bold, imaginative non-violent initiatives that require real political courage.

[ 10/31/01 ]

For Gays in America, Even Heroism Isn't a Ticket to Inclusion
[ 10/31/01 ]

 



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