Blog Smith

Blog Smith is inspired by the myth of Hephaestus in the creation of blacksmith-like, forged materials: ideas. This blog analyzes topics that interest me: IT, politics, technology, history, education, music, and the history of religions.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Innovative Product of 2007: HP's TouchSmart IQ770

HP's TouchSmart IQ770 all-in-one PC is my choice as the top innovative product of the year. This is the first all-in-one PC on the market to boast a touch-screen display. I wouldn't be interested in an iPhone, thats just me, I don't do mobile handsets but the HP I wouldn't mind having.

The product is pricey at $1,650 but it is beautifully designed, and its touch screen makes it handy for just about anywhere which is a big selling point in my book.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Awakening Councils Making Their Mark

The Awakening Councils are making their mark in Iraq by cooperating with the U.S. military and they are annoying Bin Laden as evidenced by his expressed displeasure in his last video.

Lyrics, "Wake Up Everybody," Harold Melvin

Wake Up Everybody
Harold Melvin

Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be so
there is so much hatred war an' poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

The world won't get no better if we just let it be
The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol' people well
They're the ones who suffer an' who catch all the hell
But they don't have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won'tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time.

Repeat Chorus.

All lyrics are the property and copyright of their respective owners. All lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

Hampton Sides, Blood and Thunder

Although there is little new in this volume Sides has done an admirable job of illustrating the broad landscape of the 19th-century Southwest. His prose convincingly portrays the historian's concern for accuracy with a pleasing presentation of a huge topic, Western expansion and Manifest Destiny. Sides's main aim is to demonstrate the almost complete decimation of the Navajo nation from the 1820s to the late 1860s. Sides focuses on Kit Carson—an illiterate trapper, soldier and scout who knew the Native Americans first hand, and who married two natives, yet, ultimately collaborated in the Indians' slaughter. The final draw was the doomed defense mounted by the Navajos in 1863 at Canyon de Chelly.

The description of the great Navaho headman, Narbona, should not be missed.

This work will find its rightful place next to Bernard De Voto's magisterial The Year of Decision 1846, the work Sides most closely resembles.

Lyrics to "My God" by Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull, "My God" - Album: Aqualung

People -- what have you done --
locked Him in His golden cage.
Made Him bend to your religion --
Him resurrected from the grave.
He is the god of nothing --
if that's all that you can see.
You are the god of everything --
He's inside you and me.
So lean upon Him gently
and don't call on Him to save you
from your social graces
and the sins you used to waive.
The bloody Church of England --
in chains of history --
requests your earthly presence at
the vicarage for tea.
And the graven image you-know-who --
with His plastic crucifix --
he's got him fixed --
confuses me as to who and where and why --
as to how he gets his kicks.
Confessing to the endless sin --
the endless whining sounds.
You'll be praying till next Thursday to
all the gods that you can count.

All lyrics are the property and copyright of their respective owners. All lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

Max Wall Biography

Kramer on "Seinfeld" looks like he has been influenced by Max Wall. Wall notably toured with the 1972 Mott The Hoople Rock 'n' Roll Circus tour. Below follows a brief biography from YouTube.

Max Wall (12 March 1908--21 May 1990) was the stage name of British comedian Maxwell Lorimer. His performing career covered theatre, films and television.
Wall was a son of the successful music-hall entertainer Jack (Jock) Lorimer and his wife Stella. He was born near The Oval, in London. In 1918, during World War I, Wall was saved from death by his cast iron bed-frame, but both his younger brother and their were killed by a bomb from a German Zeppelin that destroyed their house.
Wall made his stage début at the age of 14 as an acrobatic dancer in a pantomime, but is best remembered for his ludicrously attired and hilariously strutting Professor Wallofski. This creation notably influenced John Cleese, who has acknowledged Max Wall's influence on the creation of his own Ministry of Silly Walks sketch for Monty Python. After appearing in many musicals and stage comedies in the 1930s, Wall's career went into decline, and he was reduced to working in obscure nightclubs. He then joined the RAF during WW2 and served for 3 years until he was invalided out in 1943.

Wall re-emerged when producers and directors rediscovered his comic talents, along with the expressive power of his tragic clown face and the distinctive sad falling cadences of his voice. He secured television appearances, and having attracted Beckett's attention, he won parts in Waiting for Godot and Krapp's Last Tape. In 1966 he appeared as Père Ubu in Jarry's Ubu Roi, and in 1972 he toured with Mott the Hoople on their "Rock n' Roll Circus tour", gaining a new audience. His straight acting gained him this review in 1974:

"Max Wall makes Olivier look like an amateur in The Entertainer at Greenwich Theatre..." (The Guardian, 27 November 1974)

He also appeared in Crossroads, Coronation Street and what was then Emmerdale Farm. He also played an ex-con in Minder, with George Cole.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Wall occasionally performed a one-man stage show, An Evening with Max Wall, in which he recaptured the humour of old-time music-hall theatre.

His last film appearance was in the 12-minute movie A Fear of Silence, a dark tale of a man who drives a stranger to a confession of murder by answering only Yes or No to his questions; those two words, repeated, were his only dialogue. The film won a gold award in the New York Film and TV Festival.

American Jihad, a Disservice

Emerson poorly documents the clandestine activities of Islamic terrorist groups in the U.S.

I wish he had done a better job of explaining the ideological motives of the global Islamic Jihad movements. I do believe that Jihadists exploit the freedoms in the U.S. as they recruit and finance their organizations. A definitive work needs to be written but this is not it.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bush Against Defense?

This is a surprise to me but Bush is not expected to approve the Defense Authorization Bill. There are several reasons being mentioned now as to why he would do such a thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Al-Jazeera Believes, Just a Bit?

Al-Jazeera has a non-scientific poll on their web site asking: "Do you believe that the security situation in Iraq improved as U.S. generals claim?"

The majority say no but I think it significant that almost 30% said yes. Most Al-Jazeera readers don't agree much at all with an American position but they are somewhat in this instance.

This is a sign that insurgent activity is waning: Petraeus has exercised classic counter-insurgency measures and it has paid off.

The poll, by the numbers, states:


Total Voters: 1409

Dialogue With a Palestinian

Me, limited to the brief comments allowed by the medium but attempting not to be inane (as reflected by "Terrorist Death Watch"):

The Iraqi people have turned on AQI because it overreached trying to impose an alien and harsh practice of Islam inconsistent with the more moderate practices of the Sunni minority. (16% of the population.) The foreign jihadist elements in AQI (with their enormous hatred of what they view as the apostate Shia) have alienated the nationalism of the broader Iraqi population. Foreign intervention across the Syrian frontier has dropped substantially.


Name: Mujahid
Country: Gaza Strip

Thanks for being polite in your comments, other anti-Mujahideen comments I've had to delete because swear words, not their opinion. But it would be fair to say some Iraqi's have turned on AQI because of their harshness, but you are also forgetting the occupation has brought many hardships, and the 300$ a month, security gurantees, and amnesty the US offers to "awakening council" members is a much bigger contributing factor.


Your welcome. Saddam hardly brought peace and prosperity. The coalition is very interested in leaving soon. We leave for only one or two reasons: 1) complete defeat of insurgents; 2) all insurgents lay down their arms. This is the choice of the insurgents. We are much more accustomed to watching Muslims slaughter their brother Muslims mercilessly as before.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IT Concerned About Iraq

I find it interesting that a recent poll of 600 tech workers by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) identified the war in Iraq as the top political issue in the U.S.

The fact that most polled were white and high paid is not surprising since that is reflective of the IT field in general, but Iraq?

Over half of the polled, 54%, stated that they make more than $75,000 per year, with 32% earning over $100,000. Only 13% have annual incomes of less than $40,000.

They were nonetheless politically independent, the largest category--39%--selected "other" as their political affiliation while 35% identified themselves as Republicans and 26% said they were Democrats.

When the IT workers were asked what is the most important issue that the next president will face, their top three responses mirrored similar surveys of the general population in the U.S. Twenty-nine percent picked the war in Iraq as the top issue, followed by 22% citing terrorism and 19% pointing to the economy.

On the issue of free trade, 48% said that it helps the U.S. economy, while 37% said that it hurts. Asked whether the U.S. should "regulate the Internet as it does telephone and television," 82% opposed the notion.

Full Tilt Boogie

Graphic source: Gizmodo

AT and T Tilt (also known as the HTC 8925) may have enough features to interest me in time for Santa to get for me.

The Windows Mobile device can be held in your hands or rest comfortably on a surface.

The device has a hinged display designed to accommodate various viewing positions but when it is open the roomy adjustable screen provides the look of a tiny laptop which is attractive to me.

A tiny laptop is something which I find it intriguing from the days of PDAs but without the communication ability. The Tilt is also a Windows Mobile 6 device, a fully quad-band GSM world phone compatible with EDGE/GPRS and with high-speed 3G UMTS and HSDPA broadband networks.

It has sufficient ROM, 256MB, and memory, 128MB, for what I would need it for. The display is a spacious 2.8 inches, with 320 by 240 resolution, and 64,000 colors. The processor is 400 MHz, with a Qualcomm MSM7200.

It is supposed to be available for up to four hours of talk time and up to eight days of standby time. I'd always wait to see how this would work under my battle conditions.

The items has up to six Bluetooth pairings simultaneously since it can combine a Bluetooth headset and an external keyboard at the very least.

I'm a sucker for a QWERTY keyboard so since it has one this is another big plus in my book.

The 3-megapixel camera is not important to me but it may be for some users.

The big items for me are admittedly what I am interested in with such a device. Top on my list is the handiness of a full-featured mobile computer, in particular the mobile versions of Microsoft Word and Excel. The multimedia playback (via syncing with Windows Media 10 on your desktop) is a nice feature but not a deal breaker. I also would be interested in having the built-in GPS for use with the TeleNav GPS Navigator (an extra-cost service priced at $10 a month for unlimited routes). This is generally what Santa might want to think about stuffing in my sock this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Worthwhile Firefox Hacks Thanks to Computerworld

Graphic source: Computerworld

Those great folks, at Computerworld, show how to tweak, hack, and bend Firefox to the user's will.

There are good tips to read: worthwhile reading.

Cf. Computerworld.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ho Hum, Top Ten Religion Stories of the Year

The top ten biggest religion stories of the year should be vitally important and crucial. As compiled this year in an article by the Times David Van Biema, here we go.

#1 Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith

As all great saint-like types, I'll let it up to my betters to decide if she should be a saint or not, but there are now letters Mother Teresa wrote to her confessors. She described the agony of not being able to sense her beloved God for half a century. Most saints had such lapses. Why is this so important? Anyone read Martin Luther or St. John of the Cross? The letters make her more human, and more saintly.

#2 Faith Stalks the Campaign Trail!

So its not just Bush who loves religion but Hillary has a White House prayer group. Should this be so surprising? Look who she is married to, she needs it. Then again, Mitt explains his Mormonism and Huckabee is a real preacher. If preachers are real.

#3 The Rev. Jerry Falwell Dies

This might be ranked higher. Falwell fell from the limelight but he did mark a right-wing path of conservative political power. That is significant.

#4 The Pope and Latin Mass

If the story is that Benedict XVI relieves priests of having to get their bishop’s permission to celebrate Mass in old-school Latin, truth be told, Latin could always the language of the Mass, even after Vatican II. The story is more symbolic or lamented, depending on your bias.

#5 The Slow-Motion Episcopal/Anglican Train Wreck

This story is painful. The Episcopal Bishops’ meeting in New Orleans fails to stem the ongoing defection of conservatives over the church’s positions on gays, or the likelihood of a worldwide Anglican split over the same issue. Here are really good people stuck on an impossibly complex issue to resolve. Lotsa' luck.

#6 Green Evangelicals

This story has been building for some time and if you examine stewardship amongst Christians, the notion has been percolating for over twenty years. Thus, global warming, along with poverty and torture, have become hot issues to a maturing conservative Christian movement.

#7 The Roar of Atheist Books

Anyone is better than Madilyn Murray O'Hare, but seriously, the Sam Harris' have done the thinking world a service and have written some fine books.

#8 Another Blow to a Megachurch

A year after Ted Haggard resigned as pastor of Colorado’s New Life Church--having admitted to “immorality” involving a gay escort--a gunman kills two congregants in its parking lot. Haggard’s replacement, Brady Boyd, moves to heal many wounds.

Tragedy is not found only in churches, this is a sign of the times, not so much a religion story.

#9 The Creation Museum

The Petersburg, Ky., multimillion-dollar monument to the Flintstone (Young Earth) principle doubles projected attendance, now we can all laugh and move on. 77% of Americans think God at least guided our development.

#10 Kidnapped Korean Missionaries

The Taliban kills two of the 23 and eventually releases the rest amid rumors that South Korea paid $10 million in ransom. This is another sign of the times type of story and hardly religion alone.

All in all, a disappointing lot with few real significant religion stories. This year's summary makes it look like religion is secondary and simply follows more general news stories.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Today's Peloponnesian War Between the U.S. and China

Thucydides: Graphic source, Wikipedia Commons

Thucydides, our embedded reporter, today reported that the real reason for initiation of the Peloponnesian War is the Chinese fear of the Americans and their increasing power.

Among the causes of hostility is the American claim to unilateral world leadership generally considered incompatible with the rights of individual states.

Fear of the power of the Americans and the universal world love of independence from outside control, then, were contributing factors to the Peloponnesian War.

Ok, so this is an historical leap of application but in the analogy presented here the U.S. is Athens and China is Sparta. There are enough surface similarities to make the comparison plausible as a thought experiment. Athens and the U.S. are democratic, aggressive, indulgent, and urbane; Sparta and China are authoritarian, imperialistic--and well, dare I suggest it, spartan obviously, and jingoistic.

But if a serious conflict ever came between the U.S. and China the historical fiction herein is possible for the reasons noted as Thucydides elaborated in his scientific history.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mickey Mouse Clone and Palestinian Children Advocate Violence and Death

New videos have been posted with a popular T.V. character Mickey Mouse clone and Palestinian children advocating violence and death.

Point Well-Taken from the Military Chief

"In Afghanistan, we do what we can," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "In Iraq, we do what we must."

Keep 'em Barefoot and Pregnant (And Covered)

Iraq is moving to disarm its policewomen after the U.S. attempted to incorporate women into the Iraqi police force.

Any woman who earned the right to serve as an officer, even if they are not on the front lines, will have their pay held in order to force compliance.

The Iraqi government is taking a turn to the right, and will hamper stability in Iraq by taking half of the nation's brainpower out of commission.

Policewomen are needed otherwise there would be no officers to search female suspects, which men are not allowed to do, although women have joined the ranks of suicide bombers.

Women are also required in investigating rape, which stigmatizes women in Iraq, because few victims feel comfortable reporting it to men.

Female police officers could protect themselves better because ordinarily a service weapon remains with them off the job. Without police work, women are more vulnerable.

Iraqi law prevents policewomen from advancing to commanding-officer levels.

In 2004 U.S. trainers began recruiting women for the Iraqi police and were so swamped with applicants that they had to turn many away. About 1,000 women graduated from the program in the first year alone.

The Iraqi government ignores the needs of poor women and meanwhile the next opportunity for more security and social advances is stifled by Iraq.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can the Lull in Iraq last?

The latest story in Iraq is that the violence is truly, and remarkably, down. Most liberal commentators would not admit it but I tried to seek out alternative news sources in the summer and they have proven prescient. The surge or something has worked. If this development moves beyond a lull and becomes a reality, it will have dramatic repercussions in next year's election.

Kyoto, and China

I am not sure why, well, I know why Bush is taking a beating on the Kyoto energy issues. The world is angry at the U.S. for pursuing policies that the country views in its interest.

That a nation pursues its interests, and that nations have formed their prejudices, I can live with. What bothers me is that genuine issues, such as those that exist in regards to China, get a free pass.

Isn't it about time that China comes up to the world plate and faces the music?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Ones That Get It: Government Security Advances

The flagrant missteps that the government has taken with security make the headlines and permit us bloggers to kick back laugh at yet another example of governmental ineptitude.

Whether to mollify critics or to frustrate bloggers some in public service have actually gotten it right.

As reported by Computerworld the SANS Institute released a list of the more successful security efforts within the federal government.

The successful initiatives in the SANS list were selected based on actual evidence of having made substantial and measurable improvements in one or more of three areas. Those three areas are the ability to prevent cyber attacks against critical infrastructure targets, reducing national vulnerability to cyber attacks, and minimizing damage and recovery time from attacks that do occur.

The Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) initiative

The FDCC effort helps government agencies reduce procurement costs and bolster security of their desktop environments by requiring agencies to implement standard baseline security configurations on all their Windows XP and Vista desktops.

This program seems to save the taxpayers money; I like it.

The US-CERT Einstein program

The Einstein Program is an initiative to improve cybersecurity-related situational awareness across the civilian federal government.

This initiative promotes cross agency data sharing and is in keeping with the spirit of the 9/11 Commission. Kudos.

The National SCADA Test Bed and Control Systems Security Program

This effort was spurred largely by post-9/11 fears of cyberattacks against the nation's power utility infrastructure. This is the one that is perhaps scariest of all because it impacts the average person so immediately and seems particularly vulnerable to attack.

The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) testbed program is designed to help identify vulnerabilities in the control systems that manage power plants, electric distribution systems, oil and gas pipelines, water systems, transportation systems, and dams. Vulnerabilities, when found, are reported to the vendors for remedial action, and become part of the required procurement checklist for future purchases. Cf. Computerworld.

I'd like to see this instituted on my block because my local power can not supply power on an annual basis without losing power all too often.

The Department of Defense's Common Access Card (CAC) program

The two-factor authentication supported by the DoD's common-access smart card identity credentials has greatly strengthened access controls to non-classified defense systems.

Well, that's it. I'd like to see more but at least there is progress and that is hwat we will be getting for now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chinese Chips

China is on the move in the chip market as in other field and its market has grown 15% in 2007. The market research firm iSuppli Corporation released these figures which marked the first time a maturing Chinese market exceeded $50 billion in revenue.

The increased numbers arose largely from sales of chips for industrial control systems like motor controls, security and surveillance systems, and automotive electronics. Communication equipment markets are also robust.

The latest released indicates how the Chinese market benefits from American sluggishness. Chinese growth is expected to slow somewhat though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Firefox Equals Explorer Amongst College Students

Eduventures, an eLearning company, issued results from a survey of college students which showed that Firefox and IE are neck and neck for popularity. Firefox has a college and student addition which may indicate why the browser can obtain allegiance amongst younger people.

The 18-to 24-year-old students students are enrolled full-time at a four-year college or university via a Web survey.

Both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are tied for most preferred Web browser at 45 percent. The other browsers, AOL, Avant, and Camino, also received some lesser support.

33% of respondents enjoyed Mozilla Firefox and its “tabbed browsing” feature. That preference is not hard to understand as a reason for their preference. Tabbed browsing makes for a better experience. The survey also pointed out that 31% who prefer Explorer also use Firefox, while 65 percent who prefer Firefox also use Explorer.

The relationship between the two browsers seems to be symbiotic.

Cf. "Snapshot: Firefox, IE Vie for Popularity Among College Students," Campus Technology, 12/10/2007,

Graphic source: Eduventures

Monday, December 10, 2007

Iran Needs a Supercomputer to Predict the Weather, Hmmmm, Hot?

Graphic source: Computerworld Farsi version

Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau broke a story in which the Iranian High Performance Computing Research Center claims to have now enough Opteron processors to build a 216-core supercomputer.

Apparently according to the official Iranian sources, they need a computer like this for weather and meteorological research.

Uhhh, sure.

The computer is the fastest to have been produced in Iran.

Thibodeau is to be commended for his investigative reporting in that he uncovered information that indicates how Teheran circumvented U.S. trade restrictions. The processors moved through the United Arab Emirates state of Dubai.

AMD, and their Opteron processor, is key to the computer and AMD is cozy with the UAE. Last month AMD received $622 million in funding from an investment firm in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital.

Two Worthwhile Enlightenment Quotes

“My trade is to say what I think.”


“No man has received from nature the right to give orders to others. Freedom is a gift from heaven, and every individual of the same species has the right to enjoy it as soon as he is in enjoyment of his reason.”

—Denis Diderot

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Whole Lotta' Releasin' Goin' On

Nixon and Elvis meeting

Graphic source: The National Archives

I had hoped to post at least summaries of what the Nixon Presidential Library released as new materials arose from the National Archives but so far I only know what I read in the papers.

The papers noted tantalizing releases though.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum released approximately 122,800 pages of historical materials from the Nixon presidency at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

The last time I visited the Nixon Library it was well worth the time and I would have had a chance to purview the materials if they had been released. College Park looks like a better site to access the materials now.

Some of the highlights of the materials include national security documents on U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Soviet Union, and the Kurds. Also included are documents on the Vietnam War, on dealing with the terrorist Black September Organization, on producing the CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief, and on U.S. covert action in Chile. Last, but not least, the documents also include information on Elvis Presley and Nixon's famous meeting with him.

A selection of 15 documents from the release were posted on the Nixon Presidential Library.

This is the largest release of Nixon-related materials under mandatory review: over 10,000 pages of documents were previously withheld from public access, and that were re-reviewed for release and/or declassified under the provisions of Executive Order 12958, as amended, or in accordance with 36 CFR 1275.56 (Public Access Regulations). The documents are from file segments for the White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files; the National Security Council File series including the Henry A. Kissinger Office Files and the National Security Council Institutional Files.

Also released are around 4,800 pages of documents from the White House Central Files, Name Files. This system was used for routine materials filed alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. Included in the release are files on Mark Felt (Deep Throat), Robert Byrd, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Richard Cheney, and Frank Sinatra.

In addition, there are approximately 83,000 pages of White House Central Files, Staff Member and Office Files, and White House Press Office Files. The files contain materials created by the Press Office for distribution to the media including White House press releases and press conference transcripts.

Finally, 25,000 pages of documents from Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards, Records of the Cabinet Committee on Education are now available. The Cabinet Committee on Education served as a Federal Government point of contact for states undergoing school desegregation.

The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is one of 12 Presidential libraries operated and maintained by the National Archives.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Griefers, Terrorists, and Second Life

Whereas the first impetus for this blog post arose from a December/January 2008 article in CSO: The Resource for Security Executives I found out that a stimulating discussion about the topic went back to at least 4 March 2005. At that time an online discussion reported on a griefer, the term for a player in an online computer game who deliberately sets out to discomfort other players.

Where have I been? This is a new term for me to learn; I know it now.

The consensus of the 2005 discussion is that griefers are more dissimilar than familiar to real-world terrorists, yet, they do share specific aspects in common. Both types seek to disrupt, annoy, and harass legitimate authority. To be annoying they ferret out weaknesses, loopholes, and the cracks in security provisions.

Witness the online blogger Will Wright's statement in September 2004:

We’ve been talking to people in homeland security that want to know if we could simulate a terrorist network. I keep telling them they don’t have to; they just need to come study the griefers in a multi-player game, because they are exactly that. They always figure out how to get by every little loophole, they hide in the cracks, they respond very fast to whatever new policies you put in place. It is like the perfect simulator for a terrorist organization. So the answer is yes, unfortunately.

The online discussion from 2005 pointing out differences between griefers and terrorists may be missing the point.

The main point is not that there is something in common about the goals or the motives or the moral worth of griefers or terrorists. Rather the key insight is that there is a common meta-strategy to the way both terrorists operate and griefers and gangs operate. All of the above exploit loopholes in the rules and finding unanticipated ways to do damage to the system. They seek soft targets with the capacity to swarm and attack inter-dependently, in particular against targets such as buildings and game servers.

It is to this latter point that David F. Ronfeldt, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, addresses in "Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?"

Ronfeldt states:

Continuing to view Al Qaeda mainly as a cutting–edge, post–modern phenomenon of the information age misses a crucial point: Al Qaeda is using the information age to revitalize and project ancient patterns of tribalism on a global scale.

And most fascinatingly, Al Qaeda and its ilk combine tribalism and cutting-edge technology to advance their cause and to disrupt network activity. Not surprisingly, the earlier discussions of disruptions occurred in Second Life activities. The online site offers all sorts of attractive possibilities to griefers, and terrorists: soft targets, vulnerabilities, and the possibility of anonymous, difficult to trace, online meetings but then possibly coupled with physical, real-world swarm attacks by dedicated jihadists.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Philadelphia (Wi-Fi) Freedom

Philadelphia schools, at least to all 268 public ones, may be reaping Wi-Fi benefits but the road has not been totally smooth.

The schools benefit from a $40 million Wi-Fi project that puts wireless Internet access within reach of 170,000 students, and an upgrade to the new 802.11n technology is being contemplated for next fall.

The Wi-Fi deployment is considered one of the largest Wi-Fi projects in the world, according to Meru Networks, and their associates, Avaya Incorporated.

The 802.11 a/b/g specifications have been key in providing "functional 1 to 1" access of computing to all students using mobile laptop carts.

The Wi-Fi foundation allows for a bandwidth intensive online curriculum, a curriculum management system, digital libraries, and a parent-teacher collaboration portal.

Avaya originally worked with Proxim Wireless Corporation but the pairing did not go smoothly which led to Meru's technology eventually being employed.

Similar Wi-Fi projects have stalled nationwide which has led to speculation that not all of these municipal projects will come to fruition. Philadelphia's has been less than rosy but it is a project whose time has come. Unless Rust Belt cities such as Philadelphia implement such projects, it will be passed over in the global economy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Positive Outlook on Iran

So they didn't have a nuclear program after all.

This is good news. Now, Russia and China can cooperate, and control if necessary, Iran. The U.S. can let well enough alone, Iran's loose cannon of a President can derail his support amongst Iranian youth and Iran can slowly fade off the screen.

It won't happen but it is pleasant to consider.

The biggest threat from Iran is in conventional weapons, gun-running, and embarrassing itself in world affairs, but, we already knew that.

This is business as usual.

I find that it is a relief to discover that Iran did not develop nuclear weapons for some time. In the rush to laugh at Bush the world can breathe a bit easier and continue to oppose the Iranian regime.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

MIT: Opening a Satellite Campus in Asia?

MIT has finally placed their entire curriculum online following an initiative in this direction that began with OpenCourseWare in 2001. MIT has 1,800 undergraduate and graduate courses now freely available.

On the site there are syllabuses, lecture notes from about 15,000 lectures, about 9,000 homework assignments, 900 exams, reference materials, and when available, video lectures.

An estimated 35 million people have accessed the course materials.

Even more interesting is to consider where the traffic is being generated from: China, India, and South Korea, in fact 60% of users are from outside the U.S.

Since the MIT initiative began the project is suggestive of the openness with which leading Universities are approaching the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, the brains that want to tap American knowledge arise from Asia.

The openness of MIT is quite a sea change from the restricted 19th century notion of exclusive, restrictive knowledge as practiced by elites. And importantly, those most hungry for the knowledge, in Asia, are indicative that the balance of world power is shifting Eastward.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Three Essential Works on Terrorism

Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, and Thomas P.M. Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, are the three most important books written on contemporary affairs and international terrorism.

In their own way, each frightened and enlightened me in ways that I believe most Americans need to hear. None of them sit well with their opponents and other political ideologies but they share a certain refreshing pragmatism.

No one really knows what to do about terrorism but these three books more than others articulate from a military, intelligence, and political science perspective how to understand Islamo-fascism, the most important issue of our day.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Huntington, Summary of Criticisms

The Clash of Civilizations

The thesis of the challenging and important “Clash of Civilizations” is that the growing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between cultures and countries that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. Samuel P Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University and foreign policy adviser to President Clinton, argues that policymakers should be mindful of current developments, especially when they interfere in other nations' affairs.

The clash of civilizations is a controversial theory in international relations. I will review in particular some of the criticisms of the work.

He states:

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.

Huntington divided the civilizations in following way: Western Christendom, centered on Europe and North America, including Australia and New Zealand; the Muslim world of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia; the Hindu civilization, located mainly in India, Nepal; the Sinic civilization of China, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan; Sub-Saharan Africa; the Buddhist areas of Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Buryatia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Tibet; and Japan is considered as an independent civilization (Huntington 1993, 26).

Huntington suggested that the world is returning to a civilization-dominated world where future conflicts would come from clashes between “civilizations”. Nevertheless, this theory has been largely criticized for over generalization, disregarding local conflicts and for improperly predicting what has happened in the decade after its publication.

Huntington's theory draws a future where the “great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural” (Huntington 1993, 22). He predicts confrontation between countries from different civilizations for control over international institutions and economic and military power (Huntington 1993, 29). Examining the evidence for adoption of Western ideas, such as Western values concerning human rights, supports the ideas that they very often are the least important values to other civilizations (James Graham, 2004).

The clash of civilizations thesis as every theory has its flaws. James Graham considers that Huntington's thesis somehow distorted the reality, although they are original and persuasive. He also points the advantage that this theory made people look at non-Western cultures more seriously and with greater interest. Huntington also is criticized for being too vague and indistinct addressing many specific issues (James Graham, 2004). Many specialists say that Huntington's anecdotal style is simply not suitable enough to account for the rationalizations and arguments he represents in such a serious work (Fox 2002, 423). A comprehensive analysis accomplished by Jonathon Fox for the period 1989-2002 concluded that the precise contrary of what Huntington predicted occurred in fact (Fox 2002, 425). In addition, James Graham says that civilization conflicts were less widespread than non-civilization conflicts and the end of the Cold War had no noteworthy impact on the relation between them (James Graham, 2004). Most confusing of all was the observation that where civilization conflict did occur it was more likely to take place between groups that were culturally similar, that is in the frame of the same civilization and not between them. These conclusions openly contradict Huntington's thoughts.

Many say that Huntington's thesis ignores culture's tendency to be fast changing and multi-dimensional (Herzfeld 1997, 116). Most of the Western countries are becoming multi or bi-cultural now. From this statement, we may conclude that they are somehow a part of multiple civilizations, a situation he outlines is characterized by religion as the crucial factor. “A secular Arab immigrant living in an Arab community in England is just one example where this designation is inappropriate. Really, situated in a highly religious country with a considerable number of Christian fundamentalists he states confidently that the world is becoming un-secularised. His data to support this claim is circumstantial” (James Graham, 2004).

Despite the criticisms, and Huntington's relationship to Francis Fukuyama's "end of history," he was the first to foresee that civilizations will ultimately come to clash. Huntington replaced conflict between Marxist class struggle by conflict between civilizations, actually religions.

The rise of terrorism and fundamentalist Islam makes Huntington essential reading and it is not surprising that Huntington's original article along these lines in Foreign Affairs created more responses than any other work ever published within that journal.

Some specialists commented that his identified civilizations are very split with little unity. For example, Vietnam still keeps a massive army, mostly to guard against China. The Islamic world is rigorously fractured in terms of ethnic lines with Kurds, Arabs, Persians, Turks, Pakistanis, and Indonesians, each culture possessing specific, unlike world views.

However, post 9/11 Huntington appeared prescient and attacks by Western states upon Afghanistan and Iraq accelerated the perception that Huntington's “Clash” was well underway. Moreover, the 1995 and 2004 enlargements of the European Union brought the EU's eastern border up to the boundary between Huntington's Western and Orthodox civilizations.

Many of Europe's historically and traditionally Protestant and Roman Catholic countries were now EU members, while a number of Europe's historically Orthodox countries were outside the EU. However, the strong EU candidacies of Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the dominating ascendancy of pro-Western powers in Ukraine's 2004 presidential elections, and the NATO membership of Romania and Bulgaria (since 2004) represent a challenge to some of Huntington's analysis.

Huntington has been criticized for his presentation of “new paradigm.” He argues that the prevailing Cold War model of state-centric realist model can no longer be useful to analyze the post-Cold War era. He claims that civilizational dissimilarities will be key source of regional and global conflicts (Huntington 1993, 22). On the other hand critics suggests that Huntington's “civilizational conflict theory” is deterministic since there are manifold causes of conflict, in which civilizational factors do not play a considerable role. Others say that in particular “clash of interests” rather than “clash of civilizations” will continue to be real cause of conflict. For example, Shireen T. Hunter opposes Huntington and states that relations between the West and the Islamic World are hardly arise from civilizational discrepancy but from structural-political and also from economic inequalities between the two worlds.(Shireen, 19). In addition, there are critics that Huntington overestimates cultural differences between civilizations and at the same time underestimates the power of the West in the hostile relations with the Muslim World. Many criticize Huntington for paying too much attention to the West's technological and military superiority. Overall, Huntington has received several criticisms because of his “new paradigm."

Another kind of criticism is about Huntington's “monolithic” conception of civilizations and disregarding of intra-civilizational differences and home conflict. Some say that the idea of West has undergone a considerable transformation in turn of the 21st century, and the actual clash will happen not between the West and the rest, as Huntington predicted, but it will arise between pro-Western conservatives and post-Western liberal multi-culturalists in the US-West World. On the other hand, the critics assert that Huntington takes no notice of internal developments and complexities of Muslim World. Critics say that there is no single Islamic culture as Huntington meant, moreover, there are different types of political Islam (Edward W. Said 2001, 20). Furthermore, there are numerous conflicts within civilizations. Overall, a second sort of criticism focuses on diversity and dynamics of each civilization and intra-civilizational differences.

Huntington has met so many criticisms because of the alleged inconsistencies, methodological flaws, and over generalizations in his thesis. For example, Robert Marks points that Huntington chiefly uses secondary sources in his book and his research of Islam, China, and Japan is rather weak (Marks). He proposes that Huntington's speculation is methodologically flawed because of his frequent over generalizations in the examination of civilizations. Many have also criticized the data, which Huntington uses to support his thesis. For example for many of Huntington's critics, the Gulf War was a case for “clash of state interests' and not a case for “clash of civilizations”. Therefore, we may say that in this respect, the critics have focused on vast generalizations and inconsistencies.

Huntington is also very often is blamed for orientalism. Islam turns to be a problem and even a threat to the West. He always privileges the Western World and ignores the other: Islam. As such, the clash thesis distorts and de-humanizes Muslims.

One more category of criticism is about Huntington's policy recommendations on the basis of his understanding of post-Cold War global politics. Huntington looks for new enemies, which replace the rival of the Cold War, the Soviet Union. There are arguments that Huntington's theory is an ideological and strategic theory that aims at influencing the US foreign and defense policy (Edward W. Said 2001, 20). Huntington's scenario of World War III that stems from a clash of civilizations interestingly fits best into military and representatives of the arms industry. In this respect, it is possible to claim that the “clash of civilizations” is considered as a determined thesis aiming at guiding U.S. foreign and security policy. What is more, some scholars criticize Huntington's advice to pursue an Atlantic policy, by means of strengthening relations with Europe to counteract Islamic-Confucian civilization.

There are some studies challenging the “clash of civilization thesis. It is interesting to review few of them: e.g., Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. In their study they have compared political and social values of the Muslim and Western societies. What is interesting, they have found that Muslims have no less democratic ideals than the West and the West is not so distinctive from Islam in terms of faith in democracy (Pippa Norris 2002, 12). In this regard, this study has significantly undermined Huntington's theory that Islam and the West are poles apart on political values based upon leading religious cultures. These authors demonstrate the availability of similar political attitudes in the Muslim World as well as in the West. Others criticized Huntington for his pessimistic vision of future and unawareness of the fact that collaboration and dialogue among civilizations are possible and even useful.
In summary, the basic problem with Huntington's theory is the conviction that all cultures aspire to imperial power. Huntington is not only inaccurate but his thesis has the potential to be extremely dangerous if taken as a prescription for making policy. Huntington's thesis maximizes the significance of cultural factors and minimizes the importance of nationalism. The problem is that most Islamic countries do not see themselves to be in conflict with the United States. Huntington paints an aggressive picture of the non-Western civilizations, Islam in particular, while ignoring the misdeeds of the Western civilization whose dominance is being challenged.

In Part V of the book, The Future of Civilizations, Huntington points out that civilizations can reform and renew themselves. The central issue for the West is whether it can meet the external challenge while stopping and reversing the process of internal decay. He paints a scenario for a major war of civilizations and points out that the great beneficiaries will be those who abstain and closes by saying: "If this scenario seems a wildly implausible fantasy to the reader, that is all to the good. Let us hope that no other scenarios of global civilizational war have greater plausibility."


1. Fox, Jonathon. Ethnic minorities and the clash of civilizations: A quantitative analysis of Huntington's thesis. British Journal of Political Science. 32(3). 415-435.

2. Herzfeld, Michael. 1997. Anthropology and the politics of significance. Social Analysis. 4(3). 107-138.

3. Huntington. Samuel, 1993. The clash of civilizations. Foreign Affairs, 72(3):22-49.

4. Graham, James. May, 2004. Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilisations.

5. Samuel P. Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 43.

6. Shireen T. Hunter, "The Future of Islam and the West: Clash of Civilizations or Peaceful Coexistence?", Fouad Ajami, M.E Ahrari, "The Clash of Civilizations: An Old Story or New Truth?", Yuksel Sezgin, "Does Islam Pose A Threat to the West?" Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 2, (June-August 2000)

7. Edward W. Said, "The Clash of Ignorance", The Nation, October 22 2001 and Mahmood Monshipouri, "The West's Modern Encounter With Islam: From Discourse to Reality".

8. Robert Marks, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" (Book Review).

9. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, "Islam and the West; Testing the Clash of Civilizations Thesis", John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Faculty Research Working Papers Series (RWP02-015), April 2002, p.14 ($File/rwp02_015_norris_rev1.pdf)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Where are Pakistan's Nukes Tonight?

The U.S. is spending $100 million to secure Pakistan's nukes.

Since Musharraf can not be trusted, nor can anyone assure that he will remain in power, this amount is money well-spent.

The $100 million has been spent over the past six years to train Pakistani security personnel in the U.S., begin construction on a nuclear security training center in Pakistan, and supply equipment such as fencing and surveillance systems.

Pakistan has about 60 operational nuclear weapons, and for comparison's sake, the Nunn-Lugar program, which works to secure roughly 6,000 operational nuclear warheads in Russia, has historically had a budget of about $1 billion a year. Relatively speaking then, in terms of money spent per weapon, per year on nuclear security, the U.S. has been spending about 65% more on securing Pakistan’s arsenal than on securing Russia’s.

The alternative is costly and chilly to consider. Imagine the Pakistani nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands. The Pakistani hands are frightening enough.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Emotionally Moving Video of Islamic Submission

Quran: 8:12: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

The emotionally moving video of submission, such as the tales of murdered Theo van Gogh and the Dutch exile Ayaan Hirsi Ali who has to remain guarded because of death threats, are shown in a first-person account and statement.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Internet Evolution

A plethora of opinion can be found on Internet Evolution.

Declassified Papers Show Lebanon Asked Nixon to Attack Syria

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Is it any wonder?

Jordan asked Nixon to attack Syria according to 10,000 papers released by the Nixon Library in recently declassified papers. We have heard so much of how the U.S. is recently intruding into the Middle East but as these recently declassified papers show, the U.S. was more intimately involved, and more reluctant to commit troops to the Middle East, than the pundits would allow.

King Hussein urged a U.S. strike on invading Syrian troops in 1970 but Nixon did not agree and the attack was never launched.

Nixon, ever the "realist" in foreign affairs wisely cautioned the Saudis to distance themselves from the PLO's Fatah organization. All the Saudis have done in the meantime is to foster their own brand of financial fanaticism in the form of Wahabism.

Nixon apparently had concerns about some of the terrorist issues which plague us today.

One of the things revealed in the documents is that there was a move to get the Saudis more involved in solving the growing terrorist problem.

A 1973 diplomatic cable cites this objective: "isolate and undermine terrorisms [sic] and commandos [sic] by establishing another, more stable and respectable Palestinian political entity and political personality."

Nixon accepted the fact that Israel possessed nuclear weapons in 1969.

And in these troubled days, a telegram from Hussein reveals that he contacted the U.S. at 3 a.m. to ask for American or British help. "Situation deteriorating dangerously following Syrian massive invasion...," the document said. "I request immediate physical intervention both land and air ... to safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Jordan. Immediate air strikes on invading forces from any quarter plus air cover are imperative."

The documents reveal American involvement at a deeper level and during a time when the world was unaware that Middle Eastern leaders appealed to the U.S. for assistance. It becomes clearer that Bush hardly can be accused of jumping in too quickly in Iraq. The Eisenhower Doctrine initiated the principle and reason for U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Nixon was asked to be involved in Jordan. Bush the First led the U.S. in Persian Gulf I. In this light, the Iraq War is more of a continuum, rather than an exception.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On Improving Research and Alternatives to Google

On improving research, use search engines and Wikipedia to lead you to better sources. Try other search engines like GeniusFind and Beaucoup to categorize topic-specific databases. Blogs are filled with experts in Web topics. To search blogs QuackTrack is a large browsable blog index, listing more than 11,000 blogs. Technorati aggregates user-generated content like blogs but it does have ads as well so you have to tune them out. Anther website that helps locate blogs is Blogdigger. For example, Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, which is a forum for business innovation conversations, can assist a search as well. BizSeer is a free online database of academic business literature that reveals the impressive amount of data that "B" schools produce. Last but not least, a few more sites can be mentioned. Zuula is a search tool that lets users send the same query to a number of well-known and not-so-well-known search engines. A resource for locating relevant blogs: And finally, you can search social bookmarking sites like

How To Harm Children. Brought to You By the Wonderful Folks at Lancor

Let me try to help you says the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Association. Well, fine then, I'll sue you for patent infringement.

In one of those stories of the nattering nabobs of negativism (thank you Spiro Agnew, wherever you are), a A Massachusetts company has sued the OLPC Association, charging the project with stealing its designs for a multilingual keyboard.

Lagos Analysis Corporation, or Lancor, filed the lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division in Nigeria.

The OLPC is accused of illegally reverse-engineering the company's patented keyboard, which, with its four shift keys, allows computers to better handle multiple languages. A settlement would award "substantial" damages and issue a permanent injunction to prevent OLPC from manufacturing and selling its XO laptop.

OLPC released a statement, "To OLPC's knowledge, all of the intellectual property used in the XO Laptop is either owned by OLPC or properly licensed."

The goal of the nonprofit OLPC, founded by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte, is to donate laptops to children in developing nations, such as Nigeria, so the irony is that Nigerian children and others would be stymie the OLPC project.

Lancor should be ashamed of themselves. The patent is a simple idea that others can easily emulate and the goal of the OLPC is humanitarian. Even the XO laptop has gradually crept up in price although the Foundation made a sincere effort to keep costs down. Other companies have similar products, such as Encore's Mobilis and Intel's Classmate PC, so the cynicism of filing an infringement on the patent is, well, patently obvious.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Swimming or Sinking in Annapolis?

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders committed themselves to negotiate a peace treaty by the end of 2008. Will it happen? My guess is that it will be difficult and it may tie in quite directly with who is in, or appears to be in, the White House.

The most optimistic aspect of the negotiation is that the peace process is revived from the past seven years of dormancy.

The key issues:

*the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the West Bank

*the borders of a Palestinian state

+the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees who left, or were forced to leave, their homes in Israel.

It remains to be seen if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, can settle their differences while the regional struggle against extremism seems to be raging in the Middle East.

Interesting, the conclave brought about the highest-level official contacts yet between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations. Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, vowed that he would not shake Mr. Olmert’s hand.

According to news reports, Olmert looked directly at Prince Saud and said that Israel aspired to “normalization” with the Arab world.

Olmert stated:

you know that religious fanaticism and national extremism are a perfect recipe for domestic instability and violence, for bitterness and ultimately for the disintegration of the very foundations of coexistence based on tolerance and mutual acceptance.

Prince Saud was less diplomatic in response as he stated: "the time has come for Israel to put its trust in peace after it has gambled on war for decades without success.” He asked that Israel withdraw from the West Bank.

Bush waved his magic wand and stated that this was an opportunity to advance democracy in a region torn by conflict, not to mention filled now with United States troops. Bush said: “And when liberty takes root in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions across the Middle East who want their societies built on freedom and peace and hope.”

If only that were true. It is more likely that any voting in most of the Middle East would be a vote against liberty.

Where Should Americans Be Shopping During the Holidays

Sears Responds to the Needs of Deployed Associates
Sears has once again extended the time period for its military pay differential and benefits continuation policy.

Sears salaried and full-time associates who have been called to active duty since September 11, 2001, are now eligible for continuing pay and benefits for up to 60 months, an increase from the previous 36-month policy.

Under the policy, Sears pays the difference between the associate’s Sears pay and military pay. Sears military absentees can continue to participate in the company’s life insurance, medical and dental programs for themselves and their dependents for up to five years. While deployed, associates are also eligible for annual merit increases, incentive pay and stock options. The company also will hold a comparable position for up to five years.

As an employer, Sears has been recognized for its generous military leave policy. By law, companies are required to provide deployed employees access to 18 months of continued medical coverage at the employee’s expense. Sears’ policy goes well beyond the law’s requirements and is part of its long-time historical support of the military. As far back as 1917, Sears records reflect that associates were paid their normal wages when they were absent on military duty during certain military engagements.

Cf. Sears Policy

I recently became aware of Sears policy from a friend's email. By shopping at this establishment Americans can practically, and helpfully, support service personnel which sounds like a great idea to me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Chinese Burden in Africa

When the West was colonizing Africa the world agrees that this is indicative of their imperial, jingoistic misadventures.

So, what if China creates a misadventure?

Catumbela, in Angola, is the abandoned site of a group of Chinese railway engineers and laborers. The team attempted to build a railroad but without success. The $2 billion project washed out like so many African roads hampered by flash floods, mud, and land mines.

About the Chinese, one Angolan soldier guarding the abandoned site stated: "They're gone. . . . I don't know when they're coming back—they ate their dogs and left."

The railroad stalled in a high-level dispute between the Angolan and Chinese governments, along with a $2 billion contract to build an oil refinery. The American Embassy reports that the project will most likely be awarded to American company, Bechtel.

However, China's has had a good run in Africa. To wit,

*oil from the Sudan

*timber from Guinea

*mining copper and zinc from the Congo

*a major stake in South Africa's Standard Bank

*the Chinese are far out pacing their Western rivals. China has opened more embassies in Africa than the United States

*in 2006, trade between Africa and China topped $50 billion. By 2010 it's projected to reach $100 billion.

On the negative side though China has had kidnappings, killings, and death threats that plague its workers. 17 Chinese oil workers were slaughtered last year. Angola is China's biggest supplier of crude oil, but the land is a hazardous, corrupt country as well.

There is no fraternization between Chinese and Angolans. If a worker becomes romantically or sexually involved with a local, he's on a slow boat to Shanghai.

Racism is common, both sides refer to the other as monkeys or pigs.

Beijing may express an interest in Angola, but that move may only attract rivals. American firms Bechtel, KBR, ExxonMobil, and Chevron have moved in as well.

Other nations are making their presence felt. The Brazilian firm Odebrecht competes with the railroad as they are building a highway. South African companies are repairing the electrical grid, and the Portuguese are involved in construction projects.

The Chinese are finding a Chinese Burden all of their own.

Its Not Just the Money

Cyber Monday is not just about the money but consider the investment of time that working people devote to buying online, and at work.

This year, U.S. online sales could top $700 Million.

This is a new record for online spending, according to comScore Inc.

If comScore's prediction proves correct, the figure for Cyber Monday would be a 15% increase over last year's sales of $608 million.

ComScore said the hottest product category was video games, consoles and accessories, which was up 134% from last year.

Internet performance analysis company Keynote Systems Inc. said that one-third of the 30 major brick and mortar retail sites it monitors for its holiday retail index showed significant slowdowns. Site outages caused purchasers at sites such as The and Lowe's Home Improvement to abandon their purchases. The extensive day long outages of years past, such as when I managed online sites in the '90s and into '01 seem to be passe.

The conclusion seems to be that people are more loyal to their purchases and that they wait to use their faster online experience at work to buy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ian Hunter Slide Show

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Anti-Insurgent Graphic Creations

The anti-insurgent sentiment in the U.S. has spawned graphic creations as a response.


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Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, An Excerpt

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The central theme of this book is that culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War world. The five parts of this book elaborate corollaries to this main proposition.

Part I: For the first time in history global politics is both multipolar and multicivilizational; modernization is distinct from Westernization and is producing neither a universal civilization in any meaningful sense nor the Westernization of non-Western societies.

Part II: The balance of power among civilizations is shifting: the West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic, military, and political strength; Islam is exploding demographically with destabilizing consequences for Muslim countries and their neighbors; and non-Western civilizations generally are reaffirming the value of their own cultures.

Part III: A civilization-based world order is emerging: societies sharing cultural affinities cooperate with each other; efforts to shift societies from one civilization to another are unsuccessful; and countries group themselves around the lead or core states of their civilization.

Part IV: The West's universalist pretensions increasingly bring it into conflict with other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China; at the local level fault line wars, largely between Muslims and non-Muslims, generate "kin-country rallying," the threat of broader escalation, and hence efforts by core states to halt these wars.

Part V: The survival of the West depends on Americans reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique not universal and uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies. Avoidance of a global war of civilizations depends on world leaders accepting and cooperating to maintain the multicivilizational character of global politics.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Not a Politically Correct Music Site

This is not politically correct music but Age of Liberty portrays itself as an alternative to the usual Hollywood and left-leaning entertainment industry.

"Stupid in America," a Report by John Stossel

A report by John Stossel entitled "Stupid in America" is sobering, and scary.

About This Video

20-20 investigation by John Stossel entitled "Stupid in America" highlighting some of the flaws with the education system in the United States.

The story started out when identical tests were given to high school students in New Jersey and in Belgium. The Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks. The Belgian kids called the American students "stupid", which gave the piece its name.

Jay Greene, author of "Education Myths," points out that "If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved. We've doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools aren't better."

Lebanon in Chaos

In a development straight out of how not to elect a leader the Lebanese presidency ends in chaos. President Emile Lahoud leaves office refusing to recognize the Prime Minister's government.

There is now no elected successor and a bitter dispute looms over who is in power.

The pro-Syrian and anti-Western Lahoud left the presidential palace and he issued an order that the army should take over control.

However, pro-Western Prime Minister Fouad Siniora rejected the move and says that under the constitution he and his cabinet are in temporary power.

The president is elected by parliament, but a vote was scuttled by the pro-Syrian opposition who did not allow the necessary quorum to be achieved.

The election of a president requires a two-thirds majority, which means that the pro-Western ruling bloc--with only a slim majority--could not force its preferred candidate through parliament.

The streets reflected the chaotic mood with the army deployed in force and schools closed.

The US, Russia, Syria and Iran have all been intensely involved.

Russia should provide regional leadership and the U.S. should take a step back.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Far Rightist Party Gains Ground in Germany

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The National Democratic Party (NPD) is a neo-Nazi German entity that is gaining ground.

According to some Social Democrats, the Party is anti-Semitic and racist. It opposes a multi-party system and is undemocratic.

The NPD is prone to weekend demonstrations involving radical, violence-prone neo-Nazis.

In fact, the NPD was created in West Germany more than 40 years ago, mainly by Nazi war veterans. It lost members and direction until German reunification in 1990. As unemployment and unhappiness increased in the old east, the NPD gained ground.

Maybe the Party should look up how that whole unemployment and ill-will thing worked out in 1930s Germany.

American Students: As Good As Slovakia and Estonia

Students in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan significantly outperform American students on math and science tests.

The study's author is Gary Phillips, chief scientist at the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit independent scientific research firm.

Eighth-grade students were compared with peers in 45 countries.

American students trailed the top students and were comparable to pupils in Slovakia and Estonia, but they were well above those in countries like Egypt, Chile, and Saudi Arabia.

The highest-performing state in math was Massachusetts; in science, it was North Dakota. The new study shows that average math achievement in Massachusetts was lower than in the leading Asian nations and Belgium.

Mississippi was the lowest-performing state in both math and science.

Is this really where the U.S. should be?

There Must Be 50 Ways . . . To Tell a Story With Web 2.0 Tools

There are so many more possibilities to tell a story; and, Web 2.0 Web 2.0 tools have increased the promise of the Web to relate stories in an effective manner.

Excellent Free Cleaner

An excellent and helpful (did I mention free!) tool is linked here.CCleaner - Freeware Windows Optimization

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paul Berman Biography, Terror and Liberalism

Paul Berman is an American author and journalist who writes on politics and literature. His articles have been published in The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review and Slate, and he is the author of several books, including A Tale of Two Utopias and Terror and Liberalism.

Berman received his undergraduate education from Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1971. He has reported on Nicaragua's civil wars, Mexico's elections, and the Czech Republic's Velvet Revolution. Currently he is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, a professor of journalism and distinguished writer in residence at New York University, and a member of the editorial board of Dissent.

Totalitarianism and Islamic Fundamentalism

In Terror and Liberalism, Berman suggests that the appeal of totalitarian movements emanated from liberalism's apparent failure in the aftermath of the First World War. Movements like Fascism, Nazism, Falangism, and Communism all share, according to Berman, two essential similarities. Firstly, they envision themselves as a force being attacked by barbarians who can only be defended by the internal purification of the movement. Berman sees the Communist striving for ideological purity, the Falangist pursuit of religious purity, and the Nazi pursuit of racial purity as being related efforts in this regard. Together with this purifying impulse, Berman argues that these totalitarian movements share a similar nihilist strand.

Berman then tries to trace these commonalities between the various totalitarian ideologies into the modern Islamic world. He splits Islamic thought into two broad categories: Pan-Arabism and Islamic fundamentalism. Pan-Arabist movements like the Ba'ath Party, he suggests, was influenced by traditional European totalitarian thought. In the Islamic fundamentalist movement, Berman sees the re-emergence of the nihilist strand in the form of suicide bombings and the celebration of martyrdom.

History of the 1968 Generation

Berman's A Tale of Two Utopias and Power and the Idealists are the first two parts of a history of the so-called Generation of 1968 (of which he was a member). He argues that packaged together with the liberal ideals in this movement were decidedly disturbing elements. Joschka Fischer, for example, the 1968 activist who would later become the leader of the German Green Party and Foreign Minister, decided that there was in fact the presence of anti-Semitic impulses in this movement when he saw a fellow activist participate in the Entebbe hijacking. The hijackers split the passengers by religion, with Jews on the one side and non-Jews on the other, with the intention to kill all of the former. Similarly, Berman tracks major figures like Bernard Kouchner - the later founder of Doctors Without Borders - a member of the 1968 Generation who would later marry active improvement of human rights to established political goals.

At the close of the book, Berman considers the effect of the war in Iraq on these graduates of '68. He suggests that the war split the movement greatly, with many now deeply aware of the dramatic excesses of the regime of Sadaam Hussein, as well as the potential negative consequences if such a dictator remained in power. Nonetheless, they were deeply concerned by the arguments offered by the Bush Administration. Though his fellow activists were split, Berman argues that the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq were justified by the doctrine of "liberal interventionism" - intervention to safeguard and promote liberal democratic freedoms. Some have grouped Berman with neo-conservatives for these positions. Others believe he is more closely aligned with traditional liberal internationalism because of his disdain for the neo-conservative policies of George W. Bush.

Are Palestinian Kids Really Suffering Most From Outsiders?

If a recent report is to be believed, 93% of Palestinian kids suffer domestic violence and this would indicate that outsiders are the least of their problems.

New Family, a pro-family rights organization, reported these disturbing statistics in its annual 2007 report.

Their sources included the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO). According to these sources, 93.3% of Palestinian children have experienced domestic violence. Only 52.2% of Palestinian families feel they can provide a safe environment for their children.

Undernourishment causes 10% of these Palestinian children to suffer impaired development. These people are poor; I'm not sure you can blame all this on Israel. The leading cause of infant deaths in Gaza is low body weight. The infant mortality rate is three times greater than that of Israel, and also higher than the rate in the Western world.

The study revealed that 95.1% of Palestinian girls spend the majority of their free time at home, in contrast to 80.5% of Palestinian boys, making the home the only place where female children suffer more violence than males. Because of family poverty, 73.4% of these children work for their families without pay.

Palestinian suffering sparks conflict and Israel opens a window into Middle Eastern Islam, abusive and poor.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Iranian Censors At It Again

The Iranians are out to get the latest damaging reading, this time a novel by Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Marquez almost got away with the dastardly deed--until censors actually translated its title for what it is.

The actual title is: Memories of My Melancholy Whores but this initially slipped by the censors and thus was published in Farsi as Memories of My Melancholy Sweethearts which is a horse of a different color.

The uncensored first edition of 5,000 had sold out before the authorities corrected their mistake and banned the work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Violent Oppression of Women in Islam

The violent oppression of women according to the dictates of Islam has no correspondence in the West.

UK Preachers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE: Undercover Report

The deception is real because numerous of these groups are praised for their inter-faith efforts. However, British journalists went undercover to report the actual radical preaching done by Saudi and UAE imams.

On Janet Murray's work Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

Janet Murray's work Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, asks whether the computer can provide the basis for an expressive narrative form, just as print technology supported the development of the novel and film technology supported the evolution of movies. I don't believe it can.

In fact, I think the future of the computer is impossible to predict due to the innovative uses the computer is being used for. Murray, on the other hand, provides an optimistic answer. Murray’s analysis rests on an understanding of the computer as a medium of representation with a distinct set of properties. I don't think it does.

The computer is not procedural, as she argues, but dispersive. The computer is often participatory, as she argues, but it is also just as easily isolating. One of the most interesting points of the work is the connection between research and artificial intelligence (AI) with cultural forms such as games, movies, literature, and television. The most promising of her connections is that between AI and games.

Nonetheless, Murray’s main point is that the new computer formats expand the possibilities of expression available for storytelling which has not been proven true as indicated by the failure of any major computer work to gain literary acceptance. Indeed, one of the major literary contributions of the computer age is one that for all intents and purposes predated computers. In 1984, William Gibson contributed Neuromancer which depicted the developing human-machine interface created by the widespread use of computers and computer network.

Friday, November 16, 2007

French Detain 7 Suspected Islamists

French authorities detained seven suspected Islamic militants who allegedly trained to fight in Iraq. Six of the men are French nationals of Bosnian origin, while the seventh is Algerian. They ranged in age from their early 20s to mid 40s. At least one was a student: another a teacher.

Islamic State: Against Democracy

The Islamic State of Iraq released a graphic video decrying the failures of democracy in Iraq. The production advocates the return to tribal warfare as an improvement over the imposed attempt to bring democracy to Iraq. The strident tone and the impassioned speakers on the video denounce their opponents and advocate violence against. them.

On the other hand, this is the same group which has issued the ideal establishment of their state. Their statement reads:

Anyone thinking that Islam can gain power through videos, books, appeals, parliaments and election leaflets is an ignorant [?] who does not know how this religion was established. Cf. The SITE Institute.

The Islamic State establishes itself as a non-democratic entity but criticizes the failures of democracy in Iraq. I guess that's clear.

And, meanwhile, roadside attacks against U.S. troops is down to the lowest levels in two years.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Musharraf, One of Our Thirty Tyrants

President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency is regrettable, inevitable, and a harbinger of ill times to come.

The U.S. is too closely allied with a repressive regime and one which we should have severed ties to a long time ago. He may be a draconian but he is one of our hoi triakonta, Thirty Tyrants, seems to be the thinking in Washington.

Musharraf's inability to rein in the Pakistani Taleban is part and parcel of his danger of being swarmed by a deep structural crisis at the heart of Pakistan.

The flaw is an over reliance on the army to sustain the constitution, the independence of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, a collapsing economy, and the dichotomy between army elites, the political parties, and civil society.

I've advocated that a greater regional stability is to be found in the combined efforts of India, Russia, and China. It is, after all, in their background that the Taleban is rising and it is their issue more immediately than it is of concern to the U.S. India's traditional hostility may be offset by the Russians and the Chinese.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News Reports All Muslims are Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

The British publication Guardian ran a story about a survey which shows a 'demonisation' of Muslims. I wouldn't want to suggest that Muslims did anything negative so as to be newsworthy but maybe it is implied in the study.

The research reflected one week's news coverage that showed 91% of articles in national newspapers about Muslims were negative; only 4% of the 352 articles studied were positive.

Journalists will have to spend more time finding positive, uplifting newsy stories about Muslims.

Wait, that's not what they do for anyone, including other religions.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

India the New Player On the Block

India is making its presence known in the exclusive group of supercomputing nations. This is the arrival of India in the HPC crowd.

The U.S. leads supercomputing by a significant margin but India-based Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd., which is actually part of a conglomerate itself, has just built the world's fourth most powerful supercomputer.

The supercomputer was built with Hewlett-Packard Co. servers using Intel chips with 14,240 processor cores. The system achieved a performance of 117.9 TFLOPS. The fastest system is quite a bit faster, with a 213,000 processing core, is IBM's BlueGene/L System, a joint development of IBM and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. It achieved a benchmark of 478.2 TFLOPS.

India's supercomputers make up only nine, or just under 2%, of supercomputers. he U.S. houses 283 of the systems, or nearly 57% of the total. The U.K. is second best with 48 or nearly 10% of the supercomputing systems.

The question to wonder is India just a new player or will the nation be poised to make even more significant gains.

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Reading since summer 2006 (some of the classics are re-reads): including magazine subscriptions

  • Abbot, Edwin A., Flatland;
  • Accelerate: Technology Driving Business Performance;
  • ACM Queue: Architecting Tomorrow's Computing;
  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations;
  • Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity;
  • Allawi, Ali A., The Crisis of Islamic Civilization;
  • Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb;
  • American School & University: Shaping Facilities & Business Decisions;
  • Angelich, Jane, What's a Mother (in-Law) to Do?: 5 Essential Steps to Building a Loving Relationship with Your Son's New Wife;
  • Arad, Yitzchak, In the Shadow of the Red Banner: Soviet Jews in the War Against Nazi Germany;
  • Aristotle, Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. (Loeb Classical Library No. 285);
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics: Books X-XIV, Oeconomica, Magna Moralia (The Loeb classical library);
  • Armstrong, Karen, A History of God;
  • Arrian: Anabasis of Alexander, Books I-IV (Loeb Classical Library No. 236);
  • Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy);
  • Auletta, Ken, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice;
  • Bacevich, Andrew, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism;
  • Baker, James A. III, and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach;
  • Barber, Benjamin R., Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century;
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith;
  • Baseline: Where Leadership Meets Technology;
  • Baur, Michael, Bauer, Stephen, eds., The Beatles and Philosophy;
  • Beard, Charles Austin, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (Sony Reader);
  • Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America;
  • Bergen, Peter, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader;
  • Berman, Paul, Terror and Liberalism;
  • Berman, Paul, The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy Over Islamism and the Press;
  • Better Software: The Print Companion to;
  • Bleyer, Kevin, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;
  • Bracken, Paul, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics;
  • Bradley, James, with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers;
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre;
  • Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 10 1974-1984: The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 8 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics;
  • Bryce, Robert, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence";
  • Bush, George W., Decision Points;
  • Bzdek, Vincent, The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled;
  • Cahill, Thomas, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter;
  • Campus Facility Maintenance: Promoting a Healthy & Productive Learning Environment;
  • Campus Technology: Empowering the World of Higher Education;
  • Certification: Tools and Techniques for the IT Professional;
  • Channel Advisor: Business Insights for Solution Providers;
  • Chariton, Callirhoe (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Chief Learning Officer: Solutions for Enterprise Productivity;
  • Christ, Karl, The Romans: An Introduction to Their History and Civilization;
  • Cicero, De Senectute;
  • Cicero, The Republic, The Laws;
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 1 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 2 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • CIO Decisions: Aligning I.T. and Business in the MidMarket Enterprise;
  • CIO Insight: Best Practices for IT Business Leaders;
  • CIO: Business Technology Leadership;
  • Clay, Lucius Du Bignon, Decision in Germany;
  • Cohen, William S., Dragon Fire;
  • Colacello, Bob, Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House, 1911 to 1980;
  • Coll, Steve, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century;
  • Collins, Francis S., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ;
  • Colorni, Angelo, Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat;
  • Compliance & Technology;
  • Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management;
  • Connolly, Peter & Hazel Dodge, The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome;
  • Conti, Greg, Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?;
  • Converge: Strategy and Leadership for Technology in Education;
  • Cowan, Ross, Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69;
  • Cowell, F. R., Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Creel, Richard, Religion and Doubt: Toward a Faith of Your Own;
  • Cross, Robin, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare from Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts;
  • CSO: The Resource for Security Executives:
  • Cummins, Joseph, History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World;
  • D'Amato, Raffaele, Imperial Roman Naval Forces 31 BC-AD 500;
  • Dallek, Robert, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963;
  • Daly, Dennis, Sophocles' Ajax;
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen, Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome;
  • Darwish, Nonie, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror;
  • Davis Hanson, Victor, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene;
  • de Blij, Harm, Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism;
  • Defense Systems: Information Technology and Net-Centric Warfare;
  • Defense Systems: Strategic Intelligence for Info Centric Operations;
  • Defense Tech Briefs: Engineering Solutions for Military and Aerospace;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea;
  • Devries, Kelly, et. al., Battles of the Ancient World 1285 BC - AD 451 : From Kadesh to Catalaunian Field;
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations;
  • Digital Communities: Building Twenty-First Century Communities;
  • Doctorow, E.L., Homer & Langley;
  • Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational;
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The House of the Dead (Google Books, Sony e-Reader);
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The Idiot;
  • Douglass, Elisha P., Rebels and Democrats: The Struggle for Equal Political Rights and Majority Role During the American Revolution;
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear;
  • Dr. Dobb's Journal: The World of Software Development;
  • Drug Discovery News: Discovery/Development/Diagnostics/Delivery;
  • DT: Defense Technology International;
  • Dunbar, Richard, Alcatraz;
  • Education Channel Partner: News, Trends, and Analysis for K-20 Sales Professionals;
  • Edwards, Aton, Preparedness Now!;
  • EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, the No. 1 Videogame Magazine;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why;
  • Electronic Engineering Times: The Industry Newsweekly for the Creators of Technology;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency: George Washington;
  • Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Emerson, Steven, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us;
  • Erlewine, Robert, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion);
  • ESD: Embedded Systems Design;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician;
  • eWeek: The Enterprise Newsweekly;
  • Federal Computer Week: Powering the Business of Government;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Civilization: The West and the Rest;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Decline of the West;
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig, The Essence of Christianity (Sony eReader);
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army: the Civil Wars 88-31 BC;
  • Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire;
  • Fisk, Robert, The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East;
  • Forstchen, William R., One Second After;
  • Fox, Robin Lane, The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian;
  • Frazer, James George, The Golden Bough (Volume 3): A Study in Magic and Religion (Sony eReader);
  • Freeh, Louis J., My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Freeman, Charles, The Greek Achievement: The Foundations of the Western World;
  • Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Further Updated and Expanded/Release 3.0;
  • Friedman, Thomas L., The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization;
  • Frontinus: Stratagems. Aqueducts of Rome. (Loeb Classical Library No. 174);
  • Fuller Focus: Fuller Theological Seminary;
  • Fuller, Graham E., A World Without Islam;
  • Gaubatz, P. David and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America;
  • Ghattas, Kim, The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power;
  • Gibson, William, Neuromancer;
  • Gilmour, Michael J., Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music;
  • Global Services: Strategies for Sourcing People, Processes, and Technologies;
  • Glucklich, Ariel, Dying for Heaven: Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers-Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also It's Most Dangerous;
  • Goldberg, Jonah, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning;
  • Goldin, Shmuel, Unlocking the Torah Text Vayikra (Leviticus);
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus;
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower;
  • Goodman, Lenn E., Creation and Evolution;
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln;
  • Gopp, Amy,, Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics (WTF: Where's the Faith?);
  • Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq;
  • Government Health IT: The Magazine of Public/private Health Care Convergence;
  • Government Technology's Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Government Technology: Solutions for State and Local Government in the Information Age;
  • Grant , Michael, The Climax of Rome: The Final Achievements of the Ancient World, AD 161 - 337;
  • Grant, Michael, The Classical Greeks;
  • Grumberg, Orna, and Helmut Veith, 25 Years of Model Checking: History, Achievements, Perspectives;
  • Halberstam, David, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals;
  • Hammer, Reuven, Entering Torah Prefaces to the Weekly Torah Portion;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, How The Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security (Encounter Broadsides);
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The End of Sparta: A Novel;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Wars of the Ancient Greeks;
  • Harnack, Adolf Von, History of Dogma, Volume 3 (Sony Reader);
  • Harris, Alex, Reputation At Risk: Reputation Report;
  • Harris, Sam, Letter to a Christian Nation;
  • Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason;
  • Hayek, F. A., The Road to Serfdom;
  • Heilbroner, Robert L., and Lester Thurow, Economics Explained: Everything You Need to Know About How the Economy Works and Where It's Going;
  • Hempel, Sandra, The Strange Case of The Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera;
  • Hinnells, John R., A Handbook of Ancient Religions;
  • Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything;
  • Hogg, Ian V., The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: The Development of Weaponry from Prehistory to 21st Century Warfare;
  • Hugo, Victor, The Hunchback of Notre Dame;
  • Humphrey, Caroline & Vitebsky, Piers, Sacred Architecture;
  • Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order;
  • Info World: Information Technology News, Computer Networking & Security;
  • Information Week: Business Innovation Powered by Technology:
  • Infostor: The Leading Source for Enterprise Storage Professionals;
  • Infrastructure Insite: Bringing IT Together;
  • Insurance Technology: Business Innovation Powered by Technology;
  • Integrated Solutions: For Enterprise Content Management;
  • Intel Premier IT: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Irwin, Robert, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents;
  • Jeffrey, Grant R., The Global-Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your Freedom;
  • Jewkes, Yvonne, and Majid Yar, Handbook of Internet Crime;
  • Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire;
  • Journal, The: Transforming Education Through Technology;
  • Judd, Denis, The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947;
  • Kagan, Donald, The Peloponnesian War;
  • Kansas, Dave, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It: What You Need to Know About the Greatest Financial Crisis of Our Time--and How to Survive It;
  • Karsh, Efraim, Islamic Imperialism: A History;
  • Kasser, Rodolphe, The Gospel of Judas;
  • Katz, Solomon, The Decline of Rome and the Rise of Medieval Europe: (The Development of Western Civilization);
  • Keegan, John, Intelligence in War: The Value--and Limitations--of What the Military Can Learn About the Enemy;
  • Kenis, Leo, et. al., The Transformation of the Christian Churches in Western Europe 1945-2000 (Kadoc Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 6);
  • Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam;
  • Kiplinger's: Personal Finance;
  • Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism;
  • KM World: Content, Document, and Knowledge Management;
  • Koestler, Arthur, Darkness at Noon: A Novel;
  • Kostova, Elizabeth, The Historian;
  • Kuttner, Robert, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity;
  • Lake, Kirsopp, The Text of the New Testament, Sony Reader;
  • Laur, Timothy M., Encyclopedia of Modern US Military Weapons ;
  • Leffler, Melvyn P., and Jeffrey W. Legro, To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine;
  • Lendon, J. E., Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity;
  • Lenin, V. I., Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism;
  • Lennon, John J., There is Absolutely No Reason to Pay Too Much for College!;
  • Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror;
  • Lewis, Bernard, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East;
  • Lifton, Robert J., Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America;
  • Limberis, Vasiliki M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs;
  • Lipsett, B. Diane, Desiring Conversion: Hermas, Thecla, Aseneth;
  • Livingston, Jessica, Founders At Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days;
  • Livy, Rome and the Mediterranean: Books XXXI-XLV of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics);
  • Louis J., Freeh, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Mackay, Christopher S., Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History;
  • Majno, Guido, The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World;
  • Marcus, Greil,Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes;
  • Marshall-Cornwall, James, Napoleon as Military Commander;
  • Maughm, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage;
  • McCluskey, Neal P., Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education;
  • McCullough, David, 1776;
  • McCullough, David, John Adams;
  • McCullough, David, Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt;
  • McLynn, Frank, Marcus Aurelius: A Life;
  • McManus, John, Deadly Brotherhood, The: The American Combat Soldier in World War II ;
  • McMaster, H. R., Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam;
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 1: Origins and Destinies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 2: Persons and Groups (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 3: Religions and Controversies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • Meacham, Jon, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House;
  • Mearsheimer, John J., and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy;
  • Meier, Christian, Caesar: A Biography;
  • Menzies, Gaven, 1421: The Year China Discovered America;
  • Metaxas, Eric, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy;
  • Michael, Katina and M.G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Barcodes to Chip Implants;
  • Migliore, Daniel L., Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology;
  • Military & Aerospace Electronics: The Magazine of Transformation in Electronic and Optical Technology;
  • Millard, Candice, Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt;
  • Mommsen, Theodor, The History of the Roman Republic, Sony Reader;
  • Muller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop: Volume III: Essays On Language And Literature;
  • Murray, Janet, H., Hamlet On the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace;
  • Murray, Williamson, War in the Air 1914-45;
  • Müller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop;
  • Nader, Ralph, Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender;
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