Monthly Archives: August 2005

Thoughts on Gaza

For the past few generations Israel has occupied the Gaza strip (and other areas) and the Palestinians have been doing their intifada and generally becoming resentful. Now the Israelis are pulling out and leaving them their own area. The generally cited reason is that this shorten the Israeli security perimeter and makes it easier to defend.

After decades of occupation the main Palestinian “natural” skill would seem to be rock throwing and suicide bombing. What if the Israeli end game is to give the Palestinians what they want, and then let the various groups compete for dominance in bloody fashion? This keeps them divided and busy for years and the Israelis could offer weapons and intelligence and weapons to keep the fight going (like they supposedly did during the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s). All this would leave Israel relatively secure with the Palestinians taking themslves out of the picture.

Just a thought.

Curses

So, it would appear that my data drive has joined the choir invisible. I think I only dropped about two days of data, but most of that was two days worth of editing Silver Photos AND all of my time tracking stuff, which totally sucks.

The natural life cycle of American causes

They begin in tragedy and end in farce.

Joan Baez performs for Crawford War protesters.

While there are many actual events happening (see Michael Yon and a A Day in Iraq for more), here in America we concetrate more on aging baby boomer nostalgia, taking the form of listing ways that Iraq is similar to Vietnam (oddly never comparing it to the Philippines, where we also fought a Muslim insurgency.). We’re also careful to take note of both opinion polls and posturing, specifically this article which had the quote:

The protesters at “Camp Casey” can claim some victory for forcing Bush to talk so extensively about the military deaths when he’d rather focus on indicators of progress in Iraq. The campers’ call to bring the troops home now dominated news coverage out of Crawford this week while Bush stayed on his ranch with no public events.

A fixed date withdrawal deadline vs a benchmark withdrawal deadline? Can we live with Hyper-federalism or an Islamic republic in Iraq? How far are we willing to go to capture bin Laden, and what if we’re wrong? What kind of error rate in military endeavors are we willing to live with?

All these things pale in comparison to such gripping matters as the exact verbiage of a speech and who is on vacation.

Quality from the East

I’ve always enjoyed analysis of world events from Asia. Der Spiegel has an insightful interview with founding father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew.

SPIEGEL: How do you explain that China is spending billions on military modernisation right now?

Mr. Lee: Their modernisation is just a drop in the ocean. Their objective is to raise the level of damage they can deliver to the Americans if they intervene in Taiwan. Their objective is not to defeat the Americans, which they cannot do. They know they will be defeated. They want to weaken the American resolve to intervene. That is their objective, but they do not want to attack Taiwan.

SPIEGEL: Really? They have just passed the aggressive anti-secession law and a general has threatened to use the nuclear bomb.

Mr. Lee: I think they have put themselves into a position internationally that if Taiwan declares independence, they must react and if Beijing’s leadership doesn’t, they would be finished, they would be a paper tiger and they know that. So, they passed the anti-secession law to tell the Taiwanese and the Americans and the Japanese, “I do not want to fight, but if you allow Taiwan to go for independence, I will have to fight.” I think the anti-secession law is a law to preserve the status quo.

A fine post from Steve Levitt

Solid work explaing why the “Peak Oil” notion is wrong, a summary quote.

So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade.

Curiously unmentioned is that oil demand usually peaks in the month of August (it’s lowest in February). I actually read all of the comments thread, which wasn’t terribly illuminating. Few addressed the point in the post. It was surprising how attached people are to particular doomsday scenarios.

Technical Adventures

Here’s the sequence of events

  1. My CD burners stops working (not really a big deal at this point)
  2. Some drive starts making a weird clicking sound (no other side effects).
  3. I incorrectly assume that the clicking noise is coming from the inoperative CD burn
  4. My computer starts to freeze for tiny periods of time, in rough accordance with the clicking noises. I also acquire a need to burn a CD, I decide to fix the problem.
  5. I got to Comp USA at Lenox to get a new CD Burner but their power is out and I can’t buy the one I wanted, so I head to Circuit City.
  6. While on the way over there a guy runs into me (very lightly). Happily no harm done to either of us or our cars, so I continue on my journey.
  7. At Circuit City I get a new CD Burner one that does dual layer DVDs as well, which is pretty cool. I also get a new “quiet” case fan.
  8. Once home I install the fan and the Burner, the fan does not work (is there some secret to installing a fan besides plugging it in?
  9. I also discover that the problem drive is not the broken burner, but my main data drive
  10. Which leaves me moving data from one drive to another before the drive dies entirely. I also must re-activate windows and redo all of my drive letters. This is an annoying way to spend a Sunday evening.

Yet more things that annoy me

I was listening the ever earnest radio program Democracy Now on the way from my the guitar lesson and I heard for the third time today the phrase “Oil driven inflation”.

Inflation is a general rise in prices, which is the same thing as a decline in the purchasing power of the dollar (or whatever currency). A rise in the price of oil does not cause this. If it did then wages would be increasing due to the oil price increase as well. It is a transfer of wealth from oil-consumer to oil-producer, which is not inflation.

Tuesday rapid fire

I suppose it’s Wednesday