nathanjw: (armor)
Given the discussion of Benazir Bhutto's assassination as "cowardly" by our president, it seems like a good time to dust off the remarkably prescient and disturbing old post, "Them Against Fire". From the conclusion:

To suggest that an organized attack, brought off skillfully by members of what must be an extraordinarily cohesive organization, represents nothing more than some simpering spasm of pathetic hatred is to carefully miss the very large, very unpleasant point: People who destroy human life in this precise manner are not alone, and not disorganized, and very much not finished.
nathanjw: (outdrink)
Happy Repeal Day! Have a drink.
nathanjw: (gargoyle)
... I'm not a target of the latest and greatest government anti-sex initiative.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
nathanjw: (Default)
I'm reading Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. Since I've been reading up on oil issues for a while now (I'm just the latest guy to hop onto the peak oil bandwagon), the general picture the book is painting isn't much of a surprise.

What is coming across as rather strange is that (in the first quarter of the book) there is a character that is treated as a victim, and for whom I believe we are supposed to develop sympathy: the poor, abused, over-exerted Saudi oil fields. It's the nature of the book that they get more detailed characterization than any of the actual humans involved, but the near-anthropomorphizing that's going on is bizarre.
nathanjw: (beer)
Today [ profile] alphacygni and I spent a nice afternoon at the Bookmill. I picked up a paperback copy of The Brewmaster's Table, which is a book that I've been saying for at least a year that I'm surprised I don't already own. After I got home, though, I thought the book looked odd, and indeed, they've changed the cover from the hardback to the paperback.



I know that there are lots of reasons to change the cover of a book. I really hope that one of the reasons was not "The book will sell better without a black man on the cover".
nathanjw: (Default)
So says this Washington Post article, bylined Holyoke and making references to Springfield and bits of Vermont directly north.

(As colorful geographic phrases go, I think I like WRSI's "the Tofu Curtain" for the Holyoke Range better).
nathanjw: (fuzzball)
Paranoid, yet easy-to-use IM encryption:

I'm currently using the proxy version on OSX on my laptop; it took about three minutes to set up.
nathanjw: (gargoyle)
definitely need more beer, and not in a good way.
nathanjw: (Default)
I just watched last Friday's Nightline - the special edition that was solely a reading of names and display of pictures of all of the US military war dead in Iraq.

But I watched it on TiVo's 3x fast-forward speed, which is slow enough for me to read the names, but I didn't listen to them being read. Is that less respectful, somehow?
nathanjw: (Default)
I just started reading The Price of Loyalty. While I want to be sympathetic to the generally negative portrayal of the Bush administration, and I understand that the author has many reasons to be grateful to Paul O'Neill, his primary source, the first chapter is entirely too positive about the guy. It spins him as a complete Renaissance man of corporate and government policy; a free thinker and seeker of solutions outside the usual left-right cycle; public-interested, a budget hawk, an environmentalist, and an all-around good guy. It's being laid on far too thickly. I'm sure there are negative things that have been left out.

It's hard to take the author seriously when he's spending his first pages performing literary fellatio on the main character.
nathanjw: (Default)
Find out more | Source code

really, I am. and so should you, if you live in Cambridge.

  • I know him, and he's a good guy. Nothing like having friends in high places.
  • He actively supports the idea that Cambridge should have nightlife.
  • He has insight into town-and-gown dynamics from the perspective of the sizable student population, not just the cranky-NIMBY-neighbors voting bloc.
  • He will be a force for better cycling in the city.
  • I wanna hear him spin the trance remix of at least one City Council meeting.

Spread the word.
nathanjw: (Default)
This evening I went to Harvard Square to see an event on Paul Krugman's book tour, for his new book The Great Unraveling. The form of the event was an interview by Christopher Lydon (formerly of The Connection). It went pretty well; it was at the First Parish Church, which was totally packed (I'd estimate 650 people) and somewhat stifling in tonight's heat and humidity.

Mr. Krugman is not as polished at public speaking as some people, and he stumbled a bit, and from my balcony seat it was hard to see him unless I stood up. The interview and the Q&A that followed were mostly stuff that should sound familiar to any regular reader of his work; it was all on current politics rather than economics. It's sensible, since it's the reason why he's become a minor celebrity outside of the world of economics, but I would love to hear something more meaty and technical. There was one good question, wondering about the role that opening foreign markets to US corporations played in setting the administration's foreign policy; his response was that there doesn't seem to be any Grand Corporate Conspiracy, but that individual corporations with the ear of the administration are having influence as individuals. I think the questioner was fishing for some more generic anti-corporate propaganda, and was disappointed by not getting it.

(On the way down from the balcony I was spotted by deberg (you should read [ profile] electdeberg if you don't already)).

About a sixth of the crowd stuck around to have books signed. Unfortunately, he was not really sociable throughout this process, and was just signing books as quickly as possible. I had wanted to ask him what he considered good resources for learning basic economics (given that I can't just sign up for 14.01), but I didn't get the chance.

He's not really aware of me, is he? )
nathanjw: (Default)
.. to realize that there was a time before Federal Reserve notes.
nathanjw: (Default)
Today is the 57th anniversary of the Trinity test, the first detonation of a nuclear device. The detonation occured at 5:29:45am Mountain War Time (6 hours off GMT).


nathanjw: (Default)
Nathan Williams

May 2017

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