Intellectuals and their Romance with Political Barbarism

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Martin Heidegger, Eric Hobsbawm and Ezra Pound A  meandering post inspired by Reason Magazine and Charles Cameron. Reason.com is best known for giving a scrappy libertarian take on current events, crime, technology and pop culture, but recently, an article by Charles Paul Freund touched a deeper, darker vein of twentieth century history […] Read more »

Lewis Shepherd on the IC/Mil/NatSec Potential of Holographic Computing

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Lewis Shepherd, formerly of the DIA and IC and recently of Microsoft, has an outstanding post on Microsoft’s exciting ambient/holographic computing interface HoloLens. What I saw in the videos is stunning and I then ran them by an extremely tough, tech savvy and jaded audience – my students – their […] Read more »

The Islam we hope to read into Sisi’s al-Azhar speech

[ by Charles Cameron — bearing in mind Ian McEwan’s comment, “General Sisi or Isis — the palindrome is apt” ] . ** President Sisi of Egypt made a remarkable speech to the assmbled dignitaries of al-Azhar the other day. The Coptic Christian scholar Raymond Ibrahim has a translation of the relevant section: I am […] Read more »

Poetry in the Square

[ by Charles Cameron -- the public square, that is, and specifically Tahrir Square ] . The Square, directed by Jehane Noujaim — a documentary tracking the lives of six people in Tahrir Square through the two recent Egyptian revolutions — just won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming, 2014, and is up […] Read more »

Second American Revolution II: the symbolic side of things

[ by Charles Cameron -- always on the watch for the symbolic ] . First, let’s admit that the cattle-rancher archetype has immense popular appeal. Here’s the header from the Bundy Ranch website: That’s pretty hard to beat, no? ** As ever, I’m concerned to keep track of the symbolic side of things, the emotional [...] Read more »

Most intriguing game-theoretic comment of the year thus far

[ by Charles Cameron -- at the intersection of zero-sum and non-zero sum games ] . And the hands-down winner is — opening today’s Washington Post to the op-ed page — President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, who says: The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where [...] Read more »

Syria is Not Rwanda

Anne-Marie Slaughter had a short but bombastic WaPo op-ed on Syria and chemical weapons use that requires comment: Obama should remember Rwanda as he weighs action in Syria  ….The Clinton administration did not want to acknowledge that genocide was taking place in Rwanda because the United States would have been legally bound by the Genocide Convention of [...] Read more »

Arresting Citizens, part I: the Law

[ by Charles Cameron -- on various instances of citizens "taking the law into their own hands" in attempts to arrest the Queen, two Popes, Harper of Canada and Tony Blair ] . I am not really up on the sovereign citizen movement here in the US, perhaps because it is not overly religious — [...] Read more »