More Potpourri - science and politics!
Electronic Voting Machines Highly Vulnerable to Hacking -- (Princeton Study Release -- September 2006) A group of university students have demonstrated the ease with which current electronic voting machines could be hacked - manipulating elections and leaving no trace, whatsoever. And rigging a machine takes just a couple of minutes.
A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections
Meanwhile, here's some evidence that $200B of government spending has backfired (or maybe gone exactly as planned). Closing paragraph: "More recently, the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of "D+" to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that "there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking." And this is consistent with WHICH theory? Doctrinaire imbecility? Or maybe that other, more paranoid riff? Hm?
One of the oldest and very best sites on the Web is Snopes.com... the place where urban legends got investigated long before “Mythbusters” came along. Veracity is supposed to trump rumor. These guys try hard to make it so.
One disturbing citation there is worth noting... the way western views of tolerance can become tilted in intolerant ways. “Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia.... If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to other country which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.
It raises interesting aspects to the recent “clash of cultures”. The international/religious one... not the internal, American “culture war... although of course they are related. For example, liberals are caught in a vice. On the one hand, they despise Bush, the insane torture imbroglio, and the nutty, self-destructing Iraq adventure. On the other hand, any feminist must consider folks like the Taliban to be the utter embodiment of distilled evil. Nor can it escape attention from NAACP types where the last vestiges of slavery are practiced.
Indeed, in my (oughta be) famous 1988 essay about Meme Wars I believe I was not only the one to predict that the Berlin Wall would fall, followed by a false peace and then a dire struggle vs some form of “Macho Culture”... but also the one who forecast a quirk in that struggle... that the macho group to wage war against the West would drive OTHER macho groups closer to us. Because they hate each other more than they hate us. Take our growing chumminess with India. And the way the Pope’s recent ... ahem... bit of historical quote hurling... has helped to ensure that the Latin macho belt opposes islamic fundamentalism.
Alas, this does not always work... and may not much longer. At the very highest levels, I strongly suspect that many retro group leaders know that the real enemy is modernism. Indeed, I consider the recent letter that the Iranian president sent to GW Bush to be vastly more important than (it appears) anyone else does. That letter, appealing to Bush as a brother and comrade in the struggles against “liberal democracy,” should be re-examined with an eye to deeper implications.
(Deeper? Who needs to go very deep? All you need is open eyes.)
But how does this relate to the article on Aussies who say “choose!” between democratic law and Sharia law? For many years I have spiced up some speeches (about memes) with the notion that we must “CRUSH every other worldview that does not preach tolerance!” It gets a laugh plus applause... and I say “those of you who ONLY applauded, without laughing at the irony -- a deeply cautionary irony -- aren’t qualified to wage this holy war. You just don’t get it. In fact, your eager help may only ensure our eventual defeat. The way to truly crush intolerance is the way parents deal with the hysterics of small children. By taking the small hammer-blows, absorbing the tantrum, firmly disallowing any larger harm, and wrapping the frenetic soul in an embrace of patient confidence.
“Calm down. The only way to attain freedom of action is if you learn not to hate.””
Oh, I gotta share another riff from Russ Daggatt:
“Been thinking about the sports stars that have gone into politics. It seems they are all, almost without exceptions, Republicans. Especially the football players. (Frank Deford had a commentary on this on NPR earlier this year: ) Jack Kemp, Steve Largent, Jim Bunning, J.C. Watts, the list goes on. Even my childhood hero, former world-record holder in the mile Jim Ryun, is one of the craziest members of the religious right in Congress. Why is that? Testosterone poisoning? (Those steroids can really whack you out.) And it’s not just true of the athletes-turned-politicians. Most major league sports officials and owners are Republicans (do I have to remind you of a certain former managing partner of the Texas Rangers?).
The exception is the NBA. (Maybe that is why I became an NBA team owner.) The only NBA player I can think of who went into politics as Senator Bill Bradley – a Democrat.
So I was very disappointed when I read that former NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley was a Republican and was rumored to be considering a run for Governor of Alabama as a Republican. I always loved Barkley. Maybe this was just a goof on the voters of Alabama. After all, Barkley has always had a playful sense of humor. At last,, he redeemed my opinion of him last month when he declared that he was becoming a Democrat, saying: "I was a Republican - until they lost their minds."
Let me (DB) just add this. Some prisons are thinking about removing their weight-lifting areas (currently popular among prisoners) and replacing them with running tracks. It turns out that weight-lifting engenders testosterone and natural steroids, all conducive of emotionalism and violence, while runners get a high based upon endorphins and dopamine... which is more like the “I’m cool” high of marijuana.
Does this relate to the fact that footballers tend toward GOP politics and basketballers toward being liberals? Hm?
Note for Linkers:Republished by Futurist.com
A classic, rambling essay and notes,written within days after the events of September 11, 2001... including perhaps one of the first uses of the term "nine-eleven"... and a demand that pundits stop referring to "panic"... since panic was the very LAST trait that Americans exhibited on that day. See: http://www.futurist.com/archives/society-and-culture/value-and-empowerment/
Also a more tightly-worded piece about Citizen Empowerment. One of my ongoing themes. After the 20th Century's relentless trend toward the "professionalization of everything," this may be about to change. For example, an overlooked aspect of the9/11 tragedy was that citizens themselves were most effective in our civilization's defense, reacting with resiliency and initiative while armed with new technologies.
Oh, this from Joe Miller: “Have you seen the German Bush Pilot? This is what we mean by homunculus in neuroscience!”
As Lord Keynes famously quipped, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
Great bit from last page of Sinclair Lewis's Main Street. Leading lady, resigned to living in small town but not defeated, defiantly points to young daughter in crib: "Do you see that object on the pillow? Do you know what it is? It's a bomb to blow up smugness. If you Tories were wise, you wouldn't arrest anarchists; you'd arrest all these children while they're asleep in their cribs. Think what that baby will see and meddle with before she dies in the year 2000! She may see an industrial union of the whole world, she may see aeroplanes going to Mars."
JoeMiller also offers this timeless aphorism... one for the books!
Those who ignore the mistakes of the future are bound to make them. -- Joe Miller
Finally, a reminder! Spread word about the Premiere of “The ArchiTechs on October 11 at 11pm on the History Channel.
Of course, I haven’t seen it yet. Will see it on the 8th and will then shout at you either “Push it!” or “Never mind!”