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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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3/07/2003

A Turkish General who gets democracy

"If we had expressed our views, it would have amounted to pressuring the parliament for the approval of the resolution. It wouldn't have been democratic," Ozkok said.

While the Turkish Army is pre-positioning in Northern Iraq, its commander in chief offers a very forthright defence of the proper role of an Army in a democracy.

There is plenty of hope in the Muslim world if there are lots more men like General Ozkok.

And, for more confirmation
My daily reading, of course, includes the Balochistan Post...

"These sources said that US officials and Western correspondents were apparently very exited as if they have achieved a big success, meaning they have been able to make a 'big catch'. Sources suggested that the operation near Chaghai could be the follow-up of reports that arrested al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Shaikh Muhammad had told investigators about the whereabouts of Osama."


Osama arrested near Pak-Afghan border area?

One of the pleasures of blogging and reading other blogs is the world news scan...Who has ever heard of the PakTribune? This via Little Green Footballs.

It is all very vague but wonderful if true. Also incredibly problematic. What the hell do you do with a man who, to millions of misguided people, is some sort of terrorist saint.

My sense is that you treat him like the murderer he is, book him, try him and inflict the penalty provided by law. Which, I suspect, is exactly what the Americans will do.

With luck Osama will be a dusty footnote in a hundred years - quick, name the terrorist who shoot the Austrian Arch Duke and arguably percipitated WWI?

But there are lots of other, less attractive outcomes.

3/05/2003

This is just too damn good to miss

"Anyone with a child in school knows the signs all too well. I have children in school, and I am intrigued by the faith parents now invest--the craze began about 1990--in psychologists who diagnose their children as suffering from a defect known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether this "disorder" is an actual, physical, neurological condition or not, but neither does anybody else in this early stage of neuroscience. The symptoms of this supposed malady are always the same. The child, or, rather, the boy--forty-nine out of fifty cases are boys--fidgets around in school, slides off his chair, doesn't pay attention, distracts his classmates during class, and performs poorly. In an earlier era he would have been pressured to pay attention, work harder, show some self-discipline. To parents caught up in the new intellectual climate of the 1990s, that approach seems cruel, because my little boy's problem is... he's wired wrong! The poor little tyke --the fix has been in since birth! Invariably the parents complain, "All he wants to do is sit in front of the television set and watch cartoons and play Sega Genesis." For how long? "How long? For hours at a time." Hours at a time; as even any young neuroscientist will tell you, that boy may have a problem, but it is not an attention deficit.

Nevertheless, all across America we have the spectacle of an entire generation of little boys, by the tens of thousands, being dosed up on ADD's magic bullet of choice, Ritalin, the CIBA-Geneva Corporation's brand name for the stimulant methylphenidate. I first encountered Ritalin in 1966 when I was in San Francisco doing research for a book on the psychedelic or hippie movement. A certain species of the genus hippie was known as the Speed Freak, and a certain strain of Speed Freak was known as the Ritalin Head. The Ritalin Heads loved Ritalin. You'd see them in the throes of absolute Ritalin raptures...Not a wiggle, not a peep...They would sit engrossed in anything at all...a manhole cover, their own palm wrinkles...indefinitely...through shoulda-been mealtime after mealtime...through raging insomnias...Pure methyl-phenidate nirvana...From 1990 to 1995, CIBA-Geneva's sales of Ritalin rose 600 percent; and not because of the appetites of subsets of the species Speed Freak in San Francisco, either. It was because an entire generation of American boys, from the best private schools of the Northeast to the worst sludge-trap public schools of Los Angeles and San Diego, was now strung out on methylphenidate, diligently doled out to them every day by their connection, the school nurse. America is a wonderful country! I mean it! No honest writer would challenge that statement! The human comedy never runs out of material! It never lets you down!"

Brilliant!!

UhOh...Tom Wolfe usually gets stuff right

"Not long ago, according to two neuroscientists I interviewed, a firm called Neurometrics sought out investors and tried to market an amazing but simple invention known as the IQ Cap. The idea was to provide a way of testing intelligence that would be free of "cultural bias," one that would not force anyone to deal with words or concepts that might be familiar to people from one culture but not to people from another. The IQ Cap recorded only brain waves; and a computer, not a potentially biased human test-giver, analyzed the results. It was based on the work of neuroscientists such as E. Roy John 1 , who is now one of the major pioneers of electroencephalographic brain imaging; Duilio Giannitrapani, author of The Electrophysiology of Intellectual Functions ; and David Robinson, author of The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and Personality Assessment: Toward a Biologically Based Theory of Intelligence and Cognition and many other monographs famous among neuroscientists. I spoke to one researcher who had devised an IQ Cap himself by replicating an experiment described by Giannitrapani in The Electrophysiology of Intellectual Functions. It was not a complicated process. You attached sixteen electrodes to the scalp of the person you wanted to test. You had to muss up his hair a little, but you didn't have to cut it, much less shave it. Then you had him stare at a marker on a blank wall. This particular researcher used a raspberry- red thumbtack. Then you pushed a toggleswitch. In sixteen seconds the Cap's computer box gave you an accurate prediction (within one-half of a standard deviation) of what the subject would score on all eleven subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or, in the case of children, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children--all from sixteen seconds' worth of brain waves. There was nothing culturally biased about the test whatsoever. What could be cultural about staring at a thumbtack on a wall? The savings in time and money were breathtaking. The conventional IQ test took two hours to complete; and the overhead, in terms of paying test-givers, test-scorers, test-preparers, and the rent, was $100 an hour at the very least. The IQ Cap required about fifteen minutes and sixteen seconds--it took about fifteen minutes to put the electrodes on the scalp--and about a tenth of a penny's worth of electricity. Neurometrics's investors were rubbing their hands and licking their chops. They were about to make a killing."

Well, no....but the advances in scanning and predictive neurological testing for intelligence are going to radically and irrevocably change the way our world runs. Its a long article but worth it.

Nimitz deployment brings unprecedented firepower to Middle East

Not the same war:

Today's carrier air wings are far more lethal than they were during the 1991 Gulf War.

Each of the six carrier air wings can now hit 700 targets per day in any weather, day and night, thanks to precision-guided munitions, Thompson said. During Desert Storm, an air wing could handle 200 targets a day - fewer at night or in bad weather.

Air wing commanders today speak of the number of targets a single plane can hit instead of the number of planes required to hit a single target."

Cmdr. Jacqueline Yost, a spokeswoman for the Navy's Third Fleet in San Diego, said the Navy is well aware of the strain on its carriers and crews.

"It's a unique situation," Yost said. "Basically it shows the flexibility of the naval forces. We don't know how long we could sustain something like this but for the unique situation we're in, we're able to do that."

"The bottom line is we don't expect a requirement indefinitely," she said."

KABOOM!




A Turkish Canadian conspiracy

Our Lady Peace and the PM have to be chuckling at the ability of the Turkish Parliament to make the Disarm before the end of March Made in Canada Peace Plan grow legs.

The Turks have ensured that the Northern element of the Allied campaign in Iraq is on hold. Rerouting the material through Suez and to Kuwait is a ten day process. Which gives us a kick off, at the earliest of the 15th;p but with staging and snafu time factored in call it the 20th.

The Canadian plan, possibly brought to the Security Council by our great allies the Russians, would have the world tell Saddam to be in complete compliance by March 28th or else.

The French could live with this, especially if it were to be presented by anyone but the Americans. The Germans would puke but, happily, they do not have a veto. Bush and Blair would not like it much but it would keep the dimwits on the Labour Left flumoxed.

Which, in the weird world of diplomacy, would amount to a victory for Canada. Send our snipers by Prime Ministerial jet so they would be on the ground for the pre-game, say the 20th.

There are only two wrinkles: the Americans don't actually need a Northern Front and my bet is Saddam will scamper by the Ides of March or thereabouts.

There goes Bill's Nobel...

3/04/2003

Little Al Qaeda, Big FBI

An element of the fear in the West has been the sense that there have been all those Muslims run through the camps in Afghanistan...20,000. Oh God.

But the leadership, true to the normal course patterns of the Arab world seem to be very clannish.

"As FBI agents began running down leads, counterterrorism officials said they believed that two of Mohammed's nephews -- the brothers of imprisoned terrorist Ramzi Yousef -- along with a younger cousin, are immersed in planning al-Qaida operations in the United States and Europe."

"U.S. officials said Monday that his family members have already been involved in some of the same efforts, though they are not thought to have a similar direct relationship with bin Laden. Mohammed was the link between bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, who are in hiding, and the rest of the surviving organization, senior administration officials said."

It does not take many to create terror; but when it comes down to individual families the binLaden terror looks rather less daunting.




3/03/2003

Tim Blair

Blair has such great fun nailing the idiots of the Oz left....

"Still, why not follow her example and contact other people involved in the current conflict? Here is the telephone number for human shield leader Ken Nichols O'Keefe. Call him now. Apparently the customary form of greeting in Baghdad is "KABOOM!"

3/02/2003

W to Chirac

Okay, I know it's the Sun which is barely a paper at all, but it is still delicious....

In a blistering phone call last week, President George Bush told the posturing Frenchman: “President Chirac, we will not forgive and we will not forget.”


Hello..yes we have no WMDs

Well except for:

"Iraq yesterday announced the excavation of large quantities of anthrax and the deadly nerve agent VX as it stepped up disarmament activities, saying it was doing all it could to avert a US-led war."

Ah, errrr....

"“So far we have reached a figure not quite 157 (tonnes of anthrax), but we are nearing it, there is work in progress,” he told a news conference. Saadi added that 1.5 tonnes of VX still to be accounted for “was unilaterally destroyed” and was being discussed with UN experts yesterday evening."

Now remember, the position of Iraq was that it had no WMD. Not one...Nada.

Of course the French will say inpections are working...I'd say the close proximity of the 101st Airborne is just a bit more persuasive than Mr. Blix...Either way lets hope the Iraqis see reason.