The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

Category: Conflict (page 2 of 5)

If we were all told the sky was evil…

Joss Whedon “snaps” over a world where women getting murdered is “entertainment:”

How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority — in fact, their malevolence — is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

Read more here. Please.

Link courtesy of Just a Summary.

Nasty, Brutish, and Short

There is an interesting article by Steven Pinker at Edge about the declining instinct towards violence.

In the decade of Darfur and Iraq, and shortly after the century of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, the claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion. – A History of Violence

I’d say we aren’t as violent. I haven’t killed anything since last night (a bug), and this very morning I drove to a building, obeying traffic laws along the way, and handed someone some green paper with a mutually agreed-upon value in exchange for food. Right now I’m in another building, using my skills in exchange for more tokens of value, which I can convert into green paper when I’d like. It’s hard to create that sort of framework without a declining instinct towards violence.

However, it’s also clear that when we choose to be violent, we have the capability of being much more efficient about it, thanks to the organizational and technological benefits of the same social frameworks that help reduce our tendency towards it.

Students assaulted on Guilford College campus

A sad story. I guess not everyone understands the whole Quaker college thing.

Link courtesy of Automatic Writing.

There are Klingons in the White House

Congressman David Wu (D-Oregon) warns: “Don’t let faux Klingons send real Americans to war!” Sage words, indeed.

Link courtesy of TV Squad

Update: Yes, by including the video in the page, the XHTML 1.1 validation is completely screwed up.

Improvised Explosive Device Improvised Detector

Silly String as safety device? Brilliant!

Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.

Imperial History of the Middle East

5,000 years of history mapped in 90 seconds.

Link courtesy of Too Many Topics, Too Little Time.

Random stuff from the past

When I run across interesting things to link from my blog, I usually send them to my Gmail account with the best intentions of blogging about them “when I get some time.” Well, that doesn’t happen as often as it should, so I’ll clear out a few items now:

5 Lamest Charlie Brown Cartoons – 10 Zen Monkeys covers the five worst Peanuts animated specials. I can’t agree with the inclusion of Snoopy, Come Home, though. Link courtesy of TV Squad.

The Last Panel – A dedicated fan adds the all-important last panel to some For Better or For Worse comic strips. They finally become funny. Link courtesy of The Comics Curmudgeon.

Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Captured Koala – Wikipedia creates reality. A take-off on the Encyclopedia Brown books I devoured as a kid. Link courtesy of Too Many Topics, Too Little Time.

Ancient Crash, Epic Wave – Did a comet hit the Earth 4,800 years ago?

PHP Eats Rails for Breakfast – Is tracking new lines of code the best way to compare the relative popularity of two languages? That assumes languages evolve to the same level of code complexity when addressing common problems. Might not be a bad assumption, but it would be nice to see some analysis of it. Link courtesy of O’Reilly Ruby blog.

Empires with Expiration Dates – Niall Ferguson examines the short shelf lives of modern empires. Empires are defined as largely political and military entities, with direct power. The question I have is whether global capitalism encourages indirect power, namely economic and cultural. Link courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily.

Myths of British ancestry – Who were the Celts…and does it matter? Link courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily.

synerG Web Site Design Competition – Deadline December 31, 2006.

An Introduction to Salesforce.com’s AppExchange – How to build your own hosted application to sell to Salesforce.com users.

Election Day 2006 – Whose Side is your Favorite Superhero on? – Dave’s Long Box predicts how superheroes would vote. The Hulk’s a Libertarian…he just wants to be left alone.

Twitter – There’s no way I’m using this, but I can see it being pretty interesting for a lot of folks. Kitta, for one.

The Robot Revolution Begins…as soon as they get wheels

Samsung has a promo video out for a sentry robot armed with a machine gun. The video is disturbing, at least partially due to overly celebratory music.

The only question now is do we end up hooking the robot gun platforms to mouse brains, or to Skynet?

Donald Rumsfeld is gone…

…there’s a Democratic majority in the House and Senate…

Who could have predicted such a thing?!? 🙂

Seriously, when I — who grew up Republican and liked Reagan in the Eighties — think the best news I’ve heard all week is that the Democrats won and Rumsfeld is out…well, you know you probably aren’t energizing the base to come out and vote for your party.

I don’t expect too much of my government, I don’t think, but here’s what I hope happens the next two years that didn’t happen in the last six:

  • Our government doesn’t lie to us about the big things.
  • Bills are publicized and debated.
  • We admit to failed policies and past mistakes.
  • We try to fix those mistakes cautiously, trying not to screw things up any more than we have to.
  • We at least make a showing of not selling every vote.
  • And who knows…maybe we actually think about civil liberties.

Would that be too much?

This Week in North Korea

A selection of DPRK press releases, brought to us by NK News.

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