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    "title" : "Ghana&#39;s population explosion",
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      "content" : "<div><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.2/7827?ns=guardian&amp;pageName=Ghana%27s+population+explosion%3AArticle%3A1649960&amp;ch=Global+development&amp;c3=Guardian&amp;c4=Global+development%2CGhana+%28News%29%2CAfrica+%28News%29%2CWorld+news%2CPopulation+%28News%29%2CEnvironment&amp;c5=Unclassified%2CNot+commercially+useful%2CEthical+Living&amp;c6=John+Vidal&amp;c7=11-Oct-21&amp;c8=1649960&amp;c9=Article&amp;c10=Feature&amp;c11=Global+development&amp;c13=&amp;c25=&amp;c30=content&amp;h2=GU%2FGlobal+development%2FGhana\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\"></div><p>As the world population hits 7 billion, John Vidal returns to the country of his birth to find the midwife who delivered him and to see how Ghana is dealing with a leap from 4 million to more than 25 million people</p><p>Sometime in 1947 or 1948, King Jorbie Akodam Karbo I summoned one of his young unmarried daughters to the palace at <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawra\" title=\"\">Lawra</a>. The all-powerful ruler of the small kingdom in the far north of what is today Ghana, but was then the Gold Coast, told the girl she must go to Accra, the capital of the colony. She was to learn to be a midwife and return to teach others, so helping to prevent the many childbirth deaths that were taking place in the community.</p><p>You can imagine her trepidation at leaving. The journey of around 600 miles south would have taken many days in the weekly post bus. The girl knew no one, none of her family had ever been to a city or seen the sea, and she would have barely seen a car, let alone a white person. She stayed in a boarding house and learned to nurse at the colony&#39;s principal hospital, <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korle_Bu_Teaching_Hospital\" title=\"\">Korle Bu</a>.</p><p>At around the same time, another young woman, my mother, set off on what was to be an equally adventurous journey, from Liverpool to Accra by boat. My father was to be the last in a long line of West African colonial administrators, and, like the princess, Mum knew no one in Accra. She had barely met a black person, and knew only that the Gold Coast was a dangerous place because of malaria and other tropical illnesses.</p><p>The two women struck up a friendship in January 1949 after my mother, remarkably for the time, chose to give birth not in Accra&#39;s private European hospital but at Korle Bu, the public African hospital. Mum never told me the name of her midwife, but used to say I had been born with the help of the &quot;beautiful daughter of the King of Lawra&quot;, who &quot;had her teeth filed to sharp points that made me think she was a cannibal&quot;. Having me at Korle Bu, she said, was not just an act of faith in the new Africa then emerging with powerful independence movements after the second world war, but also a pragmatic decision. &quot;You got a better standard of care there!&quot; she would say.</p><p>The women never met again. Within a few years, we had moved to Nigeria and the King of Lawra's daughter had left Accra.</p><p>With the <a href=\"http://www.unfpa.org/pds/trends.htm\" title=\"\">world&#39;s population officially hitting 7 billion</a> this week, just 12 years after reaching 6 billion, I went back to Accra to try to understand the massive explosion in human numbers that has been largely responsible for Ghana&#39;s development since I was born, and that will, for good or else, determine its future. In those 60 years, the world&#39;s population has grown by two new Chinas and an India combined; Ghana has doubled and doubled again from around 4 million people to <a href=\"http://ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=202483\" title=\"\">more than 25 million</a>. It is projected to keep growing to around 50 or even 60 million people by 2050.</p><p>How will this small country, which is seen as one of the economic and social success stories of Africa but which is in most parts still desperately poor, cope with twice as many people in just over a generation? Clutching a birth certificate, some old black and white photos of the houses we lived in, a description of the princess with filed teeth who delivered me, and a tourist map, my plan was to find my midwife&#39;s family and to trace the roots of Ghana&#39;s population explosion through the places that we knew.</p><p>Clearly, the city to which the two women travelled in the late 1940s is unrecognisable today. Accra was then about the size of Stoke or Shrewsbury. Now it sprawls 30 or more miles from the old town centre, throwing up new slums and suburbs every year. A 1948 census estimated 4,113,345 people and 3,035,125 goats in the whole country. There were fewer than 2,500 Europeans and only 84 doctors, of whom just 17 were Gold Coast Africans.</p><p>What hits you hardest, though, is not Accra&#39;s size today but the fact that everyone is young. It is rare to meet anyone over 40. Officially, 3% of Ghana&#39;s population is over 60, but these are mostly invisible people. In fact, more than one in three people are under 14, and the country is adding nearly 500,000 children a year.</p><p>My questions started at Korle Bu hospital, in 1949 a collection of quite grand, collonaded buildings, these days Ghana&#39;s premier teaching hopsital. My old maternity ward is still there, now sponsored by Latex Foam, but most births take place in a purpose-built six-storey baby factory built in the 1960s. A young Accravian mother-to-be now has a choice of giving birth in nearly 20 private and public hospitals and clinics in the city. If the family has $5,000, she can stay in what is effectively a five-star hotel. If poor, as the vast majority are, she may have to share a bed or sleep on the floor at Korle Bu. Every day 35 babies are born there.</p><p>\"That's 12,000 babies a year from this one hospital,\" says Professor Samuel Obed, head of obstetrics and gynaecology, who says that Ghana's population explosion has been a triumph of modern midwifery, prenatal and maternal care. He puts the success down partly to people such as the young princess of Lawra who learned so well how to deliver babies and teach others. \"The vast increase in the number of people in Ghana today is entirely due to the efforts made to stop birth mortalities. I put it down to better education. As more people get a formal education, so they see the need to have proper prenatal care. Many women in the past never went for prenatal care. Now 95% in Ghana do. Back in 1949, it was only available to a very few people.</p><p>&quot;In your mothers&#39;s time here, everything was still left to nature. People used to offer a libation or they would pray when they gave birth. You lived or you died in childbirth. It was very risky. A lot of people died. That is why in Ghana new mothers wear white. Birth is seen as a victory.</p><p>\"Your nurse probably came here at a very young age. She would have been one of the first generation of northerners to have a formal education.\"</p><p>The population explosion puts immense strains on the health service, he says, with nearly half the hospital&#39;s resources being spent on childbirth and the rest on illnesses related to malaria. &quot;Everything comes down to money. We need to re-equip one operating theatre to take care of caesarean births. We need more nurses... The explosion in numbers is not going to go away. Women are having fewer children, but they are surviving and there are more and more families. It&#39;s cultural. If a couple have no children, you will have the in-laws round their necks. Pressure to have children is not going to abate.&quot;</p><p>\"Everyone used to have big families in your mother's day,\" says Felicia Darkwah, a retired teacher born in 1926 and typical of the wealthy, land-owning, educated Ghanaians who took over from the British at independence in 1957.</p><p>I met her in the sitting room of 47 Seventh Avenue, the first house we lived in in Accra. Most of the other houses in the street have since been pulled down and rebuilt as embassies, banks or private executive residences. They hide behind high walls and razor wire, are guarded night and day, and can cost as much as anything in Chelsea, London. But number 47 is almost unique. Still owned by the government, its grounds have been divided up for three other houses, but it has barely changed. The rosewood parquet floors are the same but now lifting, the ceiling fans have rusted a bit and been augmented by air conditioning, but the pre-independence bungalow with its tin roof is intact, lived in for the past 24 years by Felicia, her Cambridge-educated <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agronomy\" title=\"\">agronomist</a> husband and two of their children and their families. (One is now a very high-ranking government official who is fearful of being identified.)</p><p>&quot;I am one of 13 children,&quot; Felicia says. &quot;That was a small family for the time. My uncle&#39;s daughter, Animeh, died the other day and she had 100 children and grandchildren. I&#39;ve known people with far more.&quot;</p><p>There seems to be a rule of thumb among educated Ghanaians that each generation has about half the number of children as their parents. Felicia had five children, and her children have two or three each. \"I don't think anyone needs to bother about the numbers in Ghana as long as we work hard,\" she says. \"We can produce enough food but the speed of growth is difficult.\"</p><p>I show her the pictures of my father&#39;s office, a young white man surrounded by more than 50 Africans. &quot;This face looks familiar… and that one,&quot; she says.</p><p>Next week the UN will warn that the world population could spiral not to 8 billion or 9 billion people as demographers expected in the 1980s, but to 10 billion, or even 16 billion after 2100 if countries do not control their populations soon. And while it will be the rich whose consumption of goods is likely to destabilise the climate and global food supplies, it will be the very poorest countries of Asia and Africa that will be left to cope with inevitable large-scale environmental degradation, the explosion of slums, pressure on health and education services, and the reality of living in a world without enough food and water for all.</p><p>Of all the continents, Africa will see the greatest changes in the next 40 years – 11 countries in the world have fertility rates above six babies per woman and nine of them are there. Sub-Saharan Africa's population was around 100 million in 1900, 750 million in 2005 and the latest UN projections suggest it will level off at over 2 billion after 2050.</p><p>West Africa will be at the centre of this tidal wave of births. Nearby Nigeria, now with 150 million people, is expected to have 600-725 million before numbers start to tail off in 40 years. And far from reducing fertility rates, some countries&#39;, such as Mali&#39;s, are still rising.</p><p>Space is not the problem for Ghana or most other African countries. The continent is physically big enough to fit China, India and the US in its boundaries, and it can grow enough food for itself and for others. But a rapid, huge population increase linked to deep poverty in ecologically fragile, nearly landlocked countries such as Chad, Niger, Ethiopia and Mali terrifies planners and <a href=\"http://populationmatters.org/\" title=\"\">demographers</a> the world over.</p><p>In Niger, a few hundred miles east of Ghana, two in three people are under 20, women have an average of more than seven children and only 5% of adults use any form of contraception. If its current growth rate of 3.3% per year remains unchanged, by 2050 it will have 56 million inhabitants, from under 15 million today. It is already one of the poorest countries in the world, it is intensely vulnerable to climate change and is experiencing regular food crises.</p><p>Other west African countries, such as Burkina Faso, traditionally saw their youths migrating to other countries to relieve pressure on environments, but Ghana, growing at less than 2% a year, is much better off, says Marilyn Aniwa, head of the <a href=\"http://www.uaps-uepa.org/home/\" title=\"\">Union for African Population Studies</a>: &quot;Hunger will not be the problem here. Contraception is still not widely used, but the country has land, water and space enough to double in numbers.</p><p>&quot;But population is not about the numbers of children. It&#39;s about environment, rapid urbanisation, wellbeing and human rights. These are the areas that have not been addressed in the same way as midwifery and prenatal care. Development has not kept up with the numbers. What has been left behind is the social aspects.&quot;</p><p>You can&#39;t just pin all the problems on African governments, say demographers. Back in the 1970s, family planning was high on their and western political agendas, but in the 1980s countries such as Ghana were treated by the IMF and Britain as laboratories for enforced economic reforms and debt programmes. Contraception and family-planning programmes, just beginning to have an effect, were sidelined. The free market economy pushed on Africa may have worked for the cocoa farm and gold field owners of Ghana, but there was far less money for health and education. The result was a rapidly growing, ill-educated, fast-breeding generation living in a technically richer but more unequal country where people knew how to save children dying at childbirth but were not able to look after their long-term interests.</p><p>&quot;The danger is that we now revert to how we were 30 or 40 years ago,&quot; says Emmanuel Ekaub, a Cameroonian demographer. &quot;Maternal mortality is worsening across Africa again. Poverty is worsening again, and the cities and planners cannot cope.&quot;</p><p>Five minutes down the road from 47 Seventh Avenue is 9 Second Circular Road, a brutish two-storey house built by the colonial government in 1950 for my father and his young family. In those days it was exclusively for elites. Nothing changes. Now the road is reserved, it seems, for diplomats, judges, bankers, government ministers and people with £300,000 to spend on an apartment.</p><p>But number 9 stands empty behind a concrete wall. A large tree has grown right outside the front door, the gardens, laid out in the English cottage style of the 1950s, are overgrown, and a high court judge and his daughter live in what were the servants' quarters to the side.</p><p>Number 9 is still owned by the government but it hides a dark secret. No one wants to live there when they hear that, in 1982, it was the scene of Ghana&#39;s most notorious political murder. A military junta, led by <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rawlings\" title=\"\">Sergeant Jerry Rawlings</a>, had seized power months earlier and there was a curfew in place, but on the evening of 30 June a death squad called on Cecilia Koranteng-Addo, a high court judge who was living here and, at the time, breastfeeding her baby. She was abducted, along with three others, and their bodies were later found riddled with bullets. The \"enemies of the revolution\", as Rawlings called them, were never caught.</p><p>In fact, number 9 is squatted. Two lads, who call themselves D.Jen and D.Beal from &quot;X-tribe&quot;, have stuck their pictures to the wall of the old living room. &quot;Fuck U Mother Fucker&quot; someone has scrawled. There are cigarette butts, bottles of cheap South African wine, and a bedroll and TV in the old cloakroom.</p><p>\"What Ghana's population explosion has done is suck young people into the city,\" says Aniwa. \"They live in kiosks, old shipping containers, anywhere they can find. Some live in incomplete houses. New suburbs and townships like Gbawe, Sowutum amd Ashiaman are sprouting.\"</p><p>\"Urbanisation will inevitably go to another level in the next 20 or 30 years,\" says Delali Badasi, a researcher at the Regional Institute for Population Studies at Accra University. \"The average young person does not want to live in rural areas. They are all leaving to come to the cities. The slums will increase. We can't even house people today. The problem is the speed of change.\"</p><p>Opinions are sharply divided among economists about the advantage of having a younger population and youthful workforce. According to the government, 250,000 young women and men enter the job market every year, but the formal sector is able to employ fewer than 5,000 of them. &quot;A rising population will support local firms and inspire foreign investment, but unless the youth have jobs and social betterment is achieved, the risk of social uprising is profound,&quot; says Simon Freemantle, Standard Bank Africa&#39;s senior analyst. &quot;There is a real risk of social instability if the disgruntled youth feel left out.&quot;</p><p>We had sent a message north to tell King Puowele Karbo III in Lawra that we were trying to track down the family of the young princess who had delivered a white baby back in 1949. But that had been several weeks ago and we had received no reply. So, with a long journey ahead, warnings of bandits and no idea of what would greet us at the other end, we, too, set off in some trepidation.</p><p>It takes at least two days to reach Lawra from Accra. We flew 400 miles to Tamale, found an old banger and a driver, and travelled the last 200 miles along some of the worst roads in Africa, passing the great Bole national park with its elephants and baboons, villages with names such as Tuna and Ya, and shops called The Forgive And Forget Chemical Drug Store. The land is mostly flat and, this being the end of the rainy season, quite green.</p><p>Late in the evening we presented ourselves at the palace, a rambling collection of low buildings, some built underground, a courtyard dominated by two enormous marble graves and several flagpoles. We were greeted by the king's brother, who said he knew we were coming because our car made an unusual sound. We arranged to meet the family the next day.</p><p>When you have an audience with King Karbo, you must bring libations, in this case two bottles of gin. He greeted us from his throne, animal skins strewn at his feet and pictures of his ancestors on the walls. &quot;We believe that we have identified the woman your mother knew,&quot; he said. &quot;She was one of the first ladies from the north of Ghana to be sent to Accra for training. My father believed we needed a trained midwife because so many children were dying under the traditional childbirth system. It was a very important mission. The whole community depended on her.&quot;</p><p>The concept of children in a place such as Lawra 60 years ago was pretty relaxed. They defined men&#39;s social standing, they were needed to increase wealth, they were assets to work the fields and fetch water, but numbers did not matter. A man did not look after them, and no one actually knew how big families were.</p><p>In retrospect, it would seem that King Karbo I, Puowele&#39;s father, was on a mission to populate Ghana singlehandedly. When he died in 1967, the family tried to count his offspring. &quot;I did a population census of him in 1970,&quot; says the king. &quot;We counted about 70 daughters and 35 sons. He left 39 widows. I could not count them all. Our children are many, and traditionally we don&#39;t count them. We don&#39;t actually know how many he had – he never counted them. He tried keeping records, but it didn&#39;t work.&quot;</p><p>Today, says Puowele, children are no longer seen as an asset. He has eight, his brother, an international athlete and recently retired university lecturer, five. \"The trend is downwards. Nowadays the demands [on families] are great. You are in deep shit if you have too many. So you go for quality rather than numbers.\"</p><p>If his father had been responsible for so many births, and his relative had devoted her life to saving children as a midwife, Puowele could be said to have played a major role in Accra&#39;s rise from a small town to a megalopolis. He was national director of planning in the city, and devoted a lifetime to trying to control the tide of young people heading to the cities from places such as Lawra.</p><p>&quot;Yes, Accra is a mess,&quot; he concedes. &quot;We just could not control the population. We created a green belt, we planned reservoirs to stop flooding, we planned for oil, but the [politicians] refused to implement these things.&quot; He and his colleagues even considered building a new capital city to take pressure off Accra. &quot;We looked at Abuja, the purpose-built capital of Nigeria. You can build a city from scratch, but if you do not change behaviour, it will be the same as the old one.&quot;</p><p>Lawra survived by traditionally exporting its youths to Accra and the south, to the gold mines and coffee plantations. &quot;Women here still have eight to 10 children, but these days they are living. We are the stubborn ones, who refused to die.&quot;</p><p>Even so, Lawra is testament to what happens if people overuse resources and approach their ecological limits as is happening across large parts of west Africa. &quot;Our environment has suffered badly from the pressure of numbers,&quot; the king says. &quot;Our natural resources are diminishing. Our forests are being cut down. We can no longer find the herbs we used to use. The river bed is now silting up because we are farming close to the banks of the river. There used to be a gap between the villages, but now they are joining up. We cannot capture rainfall in the increasingly long, dry spells. Climate change is taking place.&quot;</p><p>But Lawra&#39;s future, he says, is not bleak at all. Like most Ghanaians, he loves children and believes that, if planned better and given a fair wind, the country&#39;s burgeoning population will be the key to its future prosperity. &quot;We will have to diversify, yes. We will learn new things. But we are still confident in the future. Lawra will become a city, with all its social problems.&quot;</p><p>He turns the conversation back to the princess. &quot;I can tell you she is our auntie. Your mother was very observant to see she had chiselled teeth. Her name is Stella Yeru, or Mrs Kuortibo. She had four children, two of whom are living now. The boy is a tax inspector at Tamale. She filled a void. She paid her dues. She worked in Lawra and all the other big hospitals in the region. She would have trained very many people. It was very rare in those days for a woman to work in public service like her. We can think of no other women like her. She was a pioneer. If you worked under her, you had no place if you were lazy.&quot;</p><p>Out of the blue, the king then asked if I would like to meet her. I was flabbergasted. Stella must now be in her mid-80s and I had not expected her still to be alive, let alone there. &quot;But she is very old. She is bedridden and has forgotten everything,&quot; he warned.</p><p>We find a very frail old lady lying in her bed on the veranda of the house she had had built just outside the palace walls. She was beautifully, even ceremonially dressed, but was very weak and clearly near the end of her life. Her son, Anthony, had come to be with her.</p><p>I held her hand as her helper told her that I had come from London because she had delivered me at Korle Bu hospital in Accra all those years ago.</p><p>&quot;Yes, I remember the white woman,&quot; she said in a thin voice that spoke loudly across the generations.</p><div style=\"float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px\"><ul><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/ghana\">Ghana</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/africa\">Africa</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/population\">Population</a></li></ul></div><div><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/johnvidal\">John Vidal</a></div><br><div><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk\">guardian.co.uk</a> © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our <a href=\"http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html\">Terms &amp; Conditions</a> | <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds\">More Feeds</a></div><p style=\"clear:both\"></p><p><iframe src=\"http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/%7Eah/f/tnjfgs37ucnl649hfpb0neurik/300/250?ca=1&amp;fh=280#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fglobal-development%2F2011%2Foct%2F21%2Fghana-population-explosion\" marginwidth=\"0\" marginheight=\"0\" frameborder=\"0\" height=\"280\" scrolling=\"no\" width=\"100%\"></iframe></p>"
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    "title" : "My experience in a Ghanaian driving school",
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      "content" : "Inspired by Samuel Obour’s post The ‘Devil’ on our roads I’ve finally decided to spill the beans on my experience at a Ghanaian driving school. I had never driven a car before but I did go to motorbike training school in the UK and took a test. Much of the advice I was given by [...]<img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=grahamghana.wordpress.com&amp;blog=11949077&amp;post=1467&amp;subd=grahamghana&amp;ref=&amp;feed=1\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "“Just Trying to Get Better Cellphone Reception”",
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      "content" : "<p>Dear ineffectually disguised intruder, dear<br> close call way out of turn, could you not have<br> thought of a better excuse when the police<br> doing Segway rounds caught you— having just<br> cleared the jutting-out branch of the maple,<br> having just jimmied the second floor front<br> windows of the neighbor, the ones that open<br> into atrium space clear from the balcony above<br> to the floor below? You didn’t know about<br> the thirteen foot drop, the jumble of plants<br> in pots by the door, the sharp cacophony<br> of broken terra cotta. Obviously you<br> had other things in mind— art work<br> in expensive frames on the wall;<br> a bedroom safe, shiny jewelry, small<br> appliances, cash found in a drawer:<br> anything, anything else but <em>that</em>.</p><p>—<a href=\"http://www.luisaigloria.com\">Luisa A. Igloria</a><br> 10 10 2011</p>"
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    "title" : "The End of Refrigeration",
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      "content" : "\n\n<p>The last refrigerator we had lasted about 20 years. Sometime around year 15 it finally blew out a condenser or a coil or whatever it is that makes refrigerators produce coldness and we paid $400 to have it fixed. <img align=\"right\" style=\"border:1px solid black;margin:20px 20px 15px 30px\" alt=\"\" src=\"http://www.motherjones.com/files/images/blog_ge_board_0.jpg\">A few years later it broke again and we bought a new one.</p>\n<p>This one broke after eight years. But not because of a condenser or a coil or something comprehensibly structural. The repair guy took about five seconds to diagnose the problem: it stopped working because the \"main board\" blew out. That's it on the right. Now, maybe I'm off base on this because it's been so long, but this looks like a butt simple design to me. One small custom chip, some relays, a transformer, a couple of heat sinks, and a bunch of passive parts. Maybe a build cost of $20-30 or so? But GE's price to me was $250, plus $150 for the 20 minutes it took to pull out the old one and swap in the new one.</p>\n<p>Paying $400 for a big piece of physical gear plus a couple hours of labor didn't bother me. Paying $400 for a primitive circuit board and a few minutes to plug it in does. The repair guy laughed good-naturedly when I mentioned this. \"All the computer guys say the same thing,\" he told me. He even knew what I was going to say about the board before I said it. Our neighborhood is lousy with electrical engineers and other high tech weenies.</p>\n<p>Bottom line: $400 because a $2.02 <a href=\"http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/technologies/electromechanical/relays/power-relays/Pages/3734225-832A-1C-S-12VDC-VDE.aspx\">Song Chuan 832 Series 30 A SPDT 12 VDC Through Hole General Purpose Heavy Duty Power Relay</a> burned out. So here's your economics question for the day: Did I stimulate the economy today? Or this an example of the broken refrigerator fallacy? Or did most of my consumption spending leak out to China? Please phrase your answers in the form of a koan.</p>\n\n<div><a href=\"http://motherjones.com/node/132807#disqus_thread\" title=\"Jump to the comments of this posting.\">Comments</a> | <a href=\"http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/08/end-refrigeration#dsq-new-post\">Post Comment</a></div><div><span><a href=\"http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fmotherjones.com%2Fkevin-drum%2F2011%2F08%2Fend-refrigeration&amp;title=The+End+of+Refrigeration\" title=\"Digg this post on digg.com\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.motherjones.com/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/digg.png\" alt=\"Digg\" title=\"\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\"></a> </span><span><a href=\"http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmotherjones.com%2Fkevin-drum%2F2011%2F08%2Fend-refrigeration&amp;t=The+End+of+Refrigeration\" title=\"Share on Facebook.\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.motherjones.com/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/facebook.png\" alt=\"Facebook\" title=\"\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\"></a> </span><span><a href=\"http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmotherjones.com%2Fkevin-drum%2F2011%2F08%2Fend-refrigeration&amp;title=The+End+of+Refrigeration\" title=\"Submit this post on reddit.com.\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.motherjones.com/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/reddit.png\" alt=\"Reddit\" title=\"\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\"></a> </span><span><a href=\"http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmotherjones.com%2Fkevin-drum%2F2011%2F08%2Fend-refrigeration&amp;title=The+End+of+Refrigeration\" title=\"Thumb this up at StumbleUpon\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.motherjones.com/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/stumbleit.png\" alt=\"StumbleUpon\" title=\"\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\"></a> </span></div>"
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    "title" : "A footnote on novel H1N1",
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      "content" : "<p>A couple years ago, I wrote a post about the <a href=\"http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=353\">H1N1 “swine flu”</a> outbreak, talking a bit about the mechanics of the virus and how it could be hacked. Today I read an <a href=\"http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110728/full/news.2011.447.html\">interesting tidbit in Nature</a> referencing <a href=\"http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6044/850\">this article in Science</a> that is a silver lining on the H1N1 cloud. </p>\n<p>You know how every flu season there’s a new flu vaccine, yet somehow for other diseases you only need to be vaccinated once? It’s because there’s no vaccine that can target all types of flu. Apparently, a patient who contracted “swine flu” during the pandemic created a novel antibody with the remarkable ability to confer immunity to all 16 subtypes of influenza A. A group of researchers sifted through the white blood cells of the patient and managed to isolate four <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_cell\">B cells</a> that contain the code to produce this antibody. These cells have been cloned and are producing antibodies facilitating further research into a potential broad-spectrum vaccine that could confer broad protection against the flu.</p>\n<p>For some reason I find this really interesting. I think it’s because at a gut level it gives me hope that if a killer virus did arise that wipes out most of humanity, there’s some evidence that maybe a small group of people will survive it. Also, never getting the flu again? Yes, please! On the other hand, this vaccine will be a fun one to observe as it evolves, particularly around the IP and production rights that results from this. Who owns it, and who deserves credit for it? Does the patient that evolved the antibody deserve any credit? What will be the interplay between the researchers, the funding institutions, the health industry and the consumer market? Should/can the final result or process be patented so that ultimately, a corporation is granted a monopoly on the vaccine (maybe there’s already a ruling on this)? Should we administer the resulting vaccine to everyone, risking the forced evolution of a new “superstrain” of flu that could be even deadlier, or should we restrict it only to the old, weak, and young? While these questions have been asked and sometimes answered in other contexts, everyone can relate to suffering through the flu, so perhaps the public debate around such issues will be livelier. </p>"
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    "title" : "The Physics of a Sad Balloon",
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    "title" : "Teju Cole and Nostalgia",
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      "content" : "I heart this guy. His next work is non fiction, set in Eko, describing my city. He reads from it in this clip. It is such a powerful and evocative extract I want to get on a plane and return to my country. He has made me so homesick.<div>\n<br></div><div><i>Me I like my country,</i></div><div><i>My country very good o,\n<br></i></div><div><div><i>Everything dey for my country,</i></div><div><i>So let us join hands and make Nigeria greater.</i></div><div><i>\n<br></i></div><div>It was a song we used to sing when I was younger. Do you remember this one?</div><div>\n<br></div><div><i>O eba, O eba,</i></div><div><i>When shall I see dodo </i></div><div><i>Ireti give us food o,</i></div><div><i>When I think of Egusi and Iyan, </i></div><div><i>I will never forget pomo.</i></div><div><i>\n<br></i></div><div>And this one</div><div>\n<br></div><div><i>There are seven rivers in Africa,</i></div><div><i>Nile, Niger, Senegal, Congo, Orange, Limpopo, Zambezi,</i></div><div><i>Azikiwe, Mohammed, Tafawa Balewa</i></div><div><i>White man don take the crown from us. </i></div><div>\n<br></div><div>Anyways, here is the reading that sparked off all this nostalgia.</div>\n<br><iframe width=\"480\" height=\"400\" src=\"http://www.youtube.com/embed/b6FtpAhpkZA\" frameborder=\"0\"></iframe></div><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7525024318966536302-8151619793755346119?l=authorsoundsbetterthanwriter.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Against cool stethoscope placement",
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      "content" : "<div><div style=\"font-weight:bold\">Objective</div><div>To  determine whether the “cool” or circumcervical placement of the  stethoscope when not in use is as efficacious as the traditional  placement in terms of transfer time to the functional position.<br><br></div></div><div><div style=\"font-weight:bold\">Methods</div><div>Measurement of time taken by 100 health care professionals in each group to transfer stethoscope to functional position.<br><br></div></div><div><div style=\"font-weight:bold\">Results and interpretation</div><div>The  cool group was much slower than the traditional group, despite their  younger years. This wasted time could translate into a substantial  financial burden on Canada's health care system. ...<br><br>Assuming that 80% of these health care practitioners use the cool  position and each of them uses his or her stethoscope 20 times on  average per day, or 4800 times per year, then the time wasted per year  could be as much as 273 869 hours (71.32 х 0.8 х 5200). At an average  hourly earning of $75, the annual cost would be approximately $20.5  million. With the current shortage of health care resources, it might be  advisable for the respective provincial ministries of health to  consider appointing “stethoscope police” to enforce a return to the  traditional placement. We do have some concerns, however, that the costs  generated by the resultant bureaucracy would negate any positive  financial benefit to the health care system.<br></div></div><br>Traditional<br><img src=\"http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC80581/bin/10FF1A.jpg\"><br><br>Cool<br><img src=\"http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC80581/bin/10FF1B.jpg\"><br><span style=\"font-style:italic\">--William Hanley and Anthony Hanley, <a href=\"http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC80581/?tool=pubmed\">\"The efficacy of stethoscope placement when not in use: traditional versus 'cool',\"</a> Canadian Medical Association Journal. HT: AL</span><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8488318894246769506-5159719969410854142?l=jamesjchoi.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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      "content" : "<p><em>I’ve been under the weather for the last couple of weeks, which has prevented me from doing most things, including blogging. Luckily, I had a blog post sitting in my drafts folder almost ready to go.  I spent a bit of time today finishing it up, and so here it is. A look at the fascinating world of spelling correction for artist names.</em></p>\n<p> <br>\n<a href=\"http://musicmachinery.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/britney-spears-google-search-1.png\"><img style=\"margin-right:10px\" title=\"britney spears - Google Search-1\" src=\"http://musicmachinery.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/britney-spears-google-search-1.png?w=300&amp;h=166\" alt=\"\" width=\"300\" height=\"166\"></a>In today’s digital music world, you will often look for music by typing an artist name into a search box of your favorite music app.   However this becomes a problem if you don’t  know how to spell the name of the artist you are looking for. This is probably not much of a problem if you are  looking for U2, but it most definitely is a problem if you are looking for Röyksopp, Jamiroquai or  <a title=\"Britney Spears misspellings at google\" href=\"http://www.google.com/jobs/britney.html\">Britney Spears</a>. To help solve this problem, we can try to identify common misspellings for artists and use these misspellings to help steer you to the artists that you are looking for.</p>\n<p><strong>A spelling corrector in 21 lines of code<br>\n</strong>A good place for us to start  is a post by  Peter Norvig (Director of Research at Google) called  ’<a href=\"http://norvig.com/spell-correct.html\">How to write a spelling corrector</a>‘ which presents a fully operational spelling corrector in 21 lines of Python.  (It is a phenomenal bit of code, worth the time studying it).  At the core of Peter’s  algorithm is the concept of the <a title=\"wikipedia edit distance\" href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edit_distance\">edit distance </a> which is a way to represent the similarity of two strings by calculating the number of operations (inserts, deletes, replacements and transpositions) needed to transform one string into the other.  Peter cites literature that suggests that 80 to 95% of spelling errors are within an edit distance of 1 (meaning that  most misspellings are just one insert, delete, replacement or transposition away from the correct word).     Not being satisfied with that accuracy, Peter’s algorithm considers all words that are within an edit distance of 2 as candidates for his spelling corrector.  For Peter’s small test case (he wrote his system on a plane so he didn’t have lots of data nearby), his corrector covered 98.9% of his test cases.</p>\n<p><strong>Spell checking Britney<br>\n</strong>A few years ago, the smart folks at Google posted a list of<a title=\"britney spears spelling corrections\" href=\"http://www.google.com/jobs/britney.html\"> Britney Spears spelling corrections</a> that shows nearly 600 variants on Ms. Spears name collected in three months of Google searches.   Perusing the list, you’ll find all sorts of interesting variations such as ‘birtheny spears’ , ‘brinsley spears’ and ‘britain spears’.  I suspect that some these queries (like ‘Brandi Spears’) may actually not be for  the pop artist. One curiosity in the list is that although there are 600 variations on the spelling of ‘Britney’ there is exactly one way that ‘spears’ is spelled.  There’s no ‘speers’ or ‘spheres’, or ‘britany’s beers’ on this list.</p>\n<p>One thing I did notice about Google’s list of Britneys is that there are many variations that seem to be further away from the correct spelling than an edit distance of two at the core of Peter’s algorithm.  This means that if you give these variants to Peter’s spelling corrector, it won’t find the proper spelling. Being an empiricist I tried it and found that of the 593  variants of ‘Britney Spears’,  200 were not within an edit distance of two of the proper spelling and would not be correctable.  This is not too surprising.  Names are traditionally hard to spell, there are many alternative spellings for the name ‘Britney’ that are real names, and many people searching for music artists for the first time may have only heard the name pronounced and have never seen it in its written form.</p>\n<p><strong>Making it better with an artist-oriented spell checker<br>\n</strong>A 33% miss rate for a popular artist’s name seems a bit high, so  I thought I’d see if I could improve on  this.  I have one big advantage that Peter didn’t. I work for a music data company so I can be pretty confident that all the search queries that I see are going to be related to music. Restricting the possible vocabulary to just artist names makes things a whole lot easier. The algorithm couldn’t be simpler. <em>Collect the names of the top 100K most popular artists. For each artist name query,  find the artist name with the smallest edit distance to the query and return that name as the best candidate match</em>.  This algorithm will let us find the closest matching artist even if it is has an edit distance of more than 2 as we see in Peter’s algorithm.  When I run this against the 593 Britney Spears misspellings, I only get one mismatch – ‘brandi spears’ is closer to the artist ‘burning spear’ than it is to ‘Britney Spears’.  Considering the naive implementation, the algorithm is fairly fast (40 ms per query on my 2.5 year old laptop, in python).</p>\n<p><strong>Looking at spelling variations<br>\n</strong>With this artist-oriented spelling checker in hand,  I decided to take a look at some real artist queries to see what interesting things I could find buried within.   I gathered some artist name search queries from the Echo Nest API logs and looked for some interesting patterns (since I’m doing this at home over the weekend, I only looked at the most recent logs which consists of only about 2 million artist name queries).</p>\n<p><strong>Artists with most spelling variations </strong><br>\nNot surprisingly, very popular artists are the most frequently misspelled.  It seems that just about every permutation has been made in an attempt to spell these artists.</p>\n<ul>\n<li><strong>Michael Jackson</strong> - <em>Variations</em>: michael jackson,  micheal jackson,  michel jackson,  mickael jackson,  mickal jackson,  michael jacson,  mihceal jackson,  mickeljackson,  michel jakson,  micheal jaskcon,  michal jackson,  michael jackson by pbtone,  mical jachson,  micahle jackson,  machael jackson,  muickael jackson,  mikael jackson,  miechle jackson,  mickel jackson,  mickeal jackson,  michkeal jackson,  michele jakson,  micheal jaskson,  micheal jasckson,  micheal jakson,  micheal jackston,  micheal jackson just beat,  micheal jackson,  michal jakson,  michaeljackson,  michael joseph jackson,  michael jayston,  michael jakson,  michael jackson mania!,  michael jackson and friends,  michael jackaon,  micael jackson,  machel jackson,  jichael mackson</li>\n<li><strong>Justin Bieber</strong> – <em>Variations</em>: justin bieber,  justin beiber,  i just got bieber’ed by,  justin biber,  justin bieber baby,  justin beber,  justin bebbier,  justin beaber,  justien beiber,  sjustin beiber,  justinbieber,  justin_bieber,  justin. bieber,  justin bierber,  justin bieber&lt;3 4 ever&lt;3,  justin bieber x mstrkrft,  justin bieber x,  justin bieber and selens gomaz,  justin bieber and rascal flats,  justin bibar,  justin bever,  justin beiber baby,  justin beeber,  justin bebber,  justin bebar,  justien berbier,  justen bever,  justebibar,  jsustin bieber,  jastin bieber,  jastin beiber,  jasten biber,  jasten beber songs,  gestin bieber,  eiine mainie justin bieber,  baby justin bieber,</li>\n<li><strong>Red Hot Chili Peppers</strong> – <em>Variations:</em> red hot chilli peppers,  the red hot chili peppers,  red hot chilli pipers,  red hot chilli pepers,  red hot chili,  red hot chilly peppers,  red hot chili pepers,  hot red chili pepers,  red hot chilli peppears,  redhotchillipeppers,  redhotchilipeppers,  redhotchilipepers,  redhot chili peppers,  redhot chili pepers,  red not chili peppers,  red hot chily papers,  red hot chilli peppers greatest hits,  red hot chilli pepper,  red hot chilli peepers,  red hot chilli pappers,  red hot chili pepper,  red hot chile peppers</li>\n<li><strong>Mumford and Sons</strong> – <em>Variations: </em>mumford and sons,  mumford and sons cave,  mumford and son,  munford and sons,  mummford and sons,  mumford son,  momford and sons,  modfod and sons,  munfordandsons,  munford and son,  mumfrund and sons,  mumfors and sons,  mumford sons,  mumford ans sons,  mumford and sonns,  mumford and songs,  mumford and sona,  mumford and,  mumford &amp;sons,  mumfird and sons,  mumfadeleord and sons</li>\n<li><strong>Katy Perry - </strong><em>Even an artist with a seemingly very simple name like Katy Perry has numerous variations</em>:  katy perry,  katie perry,  kate perry,    kathy perry,  katy perry ft.kanye west,  katty perry,  katy perry i kissed a girl,  peacock katy perry,  katyperry,  katey parey,   kety perry,  kety peliy,  katy pwrry,  katy perry-firework,  katy perry x,  katy perry,  katy perris,  katy parry,  kati perry,  kathy pery,  katey perry,  katey perey,  katey peliy,  kata perry,  kaity perry</li>\n</ul>\n<p>Some other most frequently misspelled artists:</p>\n<ul>\n<li>Britney Spears</li>\n<li>Linkin Park</li>\n<li>Arctic Monkeys</li>\n<li>Katy Perry</li>\n<li>Guns N’ Roses</li>\n<li>Nicki Minaj</li>\n</ul>\n<div><strong>Which artists are the easiest to spell?</strong></div>\n<div>Using the same techniques we can look through our search logs and find the popular artists that have the fewest misspelled queries. These are the easiest to spell artists. They include:</div>\n<div>\n<ul>\n<li>Muse</li>\n<li>Weezer</li>\n<li>U2</li>\n<li>Oasis</li>\n<li>Moby</li>\n<li>Flyleaf</li>\n<li>Seether</li>\n</ul>\n</div>\n<div><strong>Most confused artists:</strong></div>\n<div><strong></strong>Artists are most easily confused with another include:</div>\n<div>\n<ul>\n<li>byran adams - ryan adams</li>\n<li>Underworld – Uverworld</li>\n</ul>\n<div><strong>Wrapping up</strong></div>\n<div>Spelling correction for artist names is perhaps the least sexiest job in the music industry, nevertheless it is an important part of helping people connect with the music they are looking for.   There is a large body of research around <a href=\"http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&amp;as_sdt=1,30&amp;q=context+sensitive+spelling+correction\">context-sensitive spelling correction</a> that can be used to help solve this problem, but even very simple techniques like those described here can go along way to helping you figure out what someone really wants when they search for ‘Jastan Beebar’.</div>\n</div>\n<br>  <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/musicmachinery.wordpress.com/3419/\"></a> <img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=musicmachinery.com&amp;blog=6500426&amp;post=3419&amp;subd=musicmachinery&amp;ref=&amp;feed=1\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "Dic Lit",
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      "content" : "<p></p><p><strong>I. A Terribly Attractive Man</strong></p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979853714\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/qaddafi_small_web-300x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Muammar Qaddafi\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\"></a>I probably first heard the name Qaddafi on the radio, from NPR, an always present background noise in my childhood. But the name only acquired meaning when I heard it uttered by my Great Aunt in a stage whisper to my mother: “That Mr. Qaddafi is terribly attractive!” She hissed, more than once. The A’s in Mr. Qaddafi’s name were flattened as with Sir John Gielgud intoning, “Mr. Gandhi.” My Great Aunt was well over six feet tall, a raven-haired beauty in her day, and a force to be reckoned with at all times. I imagine her commenting on the physical loveliness of Mr. Qaddafi while running her hand along her pearls, her dark eyes flashing naughtily, her lower jaw jutting out to make an emphatic point in her native lockjaw. I must have been around ten years old, and she in her lower seventies. The fact that such whispered pronouncements were not meant for my ears, though fully audible, was brought home to me by the many unsuitable stories she liked to tell my mother at that same volume. Most memorable of these was a lengthy narrative from her youth about being greeted by a surly abortionist clad in a bloodstained apron after climbing a narrow tenement staircase in New York when she sought to terminate an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Sitting a few feet away with a book opened in my lap, I always pretended to read as she stage-whispered one startling story after the next on winter’s evenings when we went to dine at her house.</p>\n<p>Over the years I paid little attention to Qaddafi though his name gained additional accretions of meaning in my mental inventory. He was not just terribly attractive, but was also the insane dictator who harbors terrorists, sleeps in a tent, and wraps himself in flamboyant robes. It was not until the current uprising began that I began to pay closer attention– already an Egyptian revolution addict, I was sprawled on my voyeur’s divan hoping for another drama to unfold that would be just as thrilling and edifying as Egypt. As things began to go poorly, and as the situation became more confusing and our Peacemaker-in-Chief began to play drone video games with the Qaddafis, I started to look for more information about Libya. The tweets and articles of Libyan author Hisham Matar were compelling, and I ordered his 2006 novel <em>In the Country of Men</em>. </p>\n<p>Thence began one of the most difficult reading experiences I have undertaken in a long time. <em>In the Country of Men</em> is beautifully written, spare and precise, and it does the novel a great disservice to speak of it as merely a source text for insight into the Qaddafi regime and the history undergirding the current situation in Libya. But the portrait painted of the pervasive and chilling influence of a powerful dictator is disturbing beyond belief and does much to dispel the <em>opera buffa</em> caricatures of Qaddafi in the Western media. This is, indirectly, and through the eyes of a narrator looking back on his childhood, a portrait of how a shrewd and powerful man managed to effectively infiltrate the homes, families and consciousnesses of his people so effectively that he was capable of shattering family units, neighborhoods, communities. </p>\n<p>Two scenes stand out. One, in which the narrator, a child, watches the interrogation of a family friend and neighbor that <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979869644\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/hisham-matar_web-300x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Hisham Matar\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\"></a>is being televised. As with most transmissions on Libyan state TV, this program is bracketed by static images of pink flowers. Brutality nests in a soothing field of blossoms. It is said, the narrator observes, that the Guide has his own controls of the broadcasting system, and can switch on and off the images that his people see in their living rooms. The other scene features a phone call. There are more often than not, it seems, people listening in on phone conversations. But they are not merely mutely recording calls. They sometimes interfere, speak up, persuade. During one conversation between the narrator and a comrade of his father’s, a third voice insinuates itself into the conversation making remarks about the beauty of the narrator’s mother and asking questions about her alcoholism. These are just two of many examples of how the regime tampers with the lives and mental health of its citizens. This psychological control seems almost more devastating than the aggressive brutality of the state. Almost, but not quite. State TV also broadcasts executions of ‘traitors’ of the regime. Haplessly sitting in one’s living room, one can suddenly be subjected to the sight of a physically tortured human hanging to death while a stadium-full of people cheers its support. </p>\n<p>It took me months to read this short novel because I could not bear the narrative tension. The way in which the story unfurled, the family unit disintegrated, and the state became more powerful than ever felt inevitable but worth avoiding as a reader. The palpable psychological control of Qaddafi’s regime makes one experience the suffocation and dismantling of the characters in a most uncomfortable fashion. This is the man that NATO is ineffectually attempting to take out, that rebels have shown great bravery in attacking. He is not a clown in a tent, he is a military mastermind in a bunker. There’s no doubt that he planned for, even expected the current turn of events. After reading <em>In the Country of Men</em>, it’s hard not to wish for his annihilation. And yet.</p>\n<p><strong>II. A Missed Opportunity</strong></p>\n<p>As a child, I was often seated at dinner parties next to an elderly gentleman with whom most other guests did not wish to converse. It was clear that he, a bit dull, and I, a child, were being pushed off into corner dead spaces so as not to ruin the flow of conversation. This gentleman was married to a younger woman whose sparkling wit and snappy repartee were a must at any smart dinner table. And thus her husband had to be tolerated. In anticipation of this recurring arrangement, my mother began to coach me in the car rides to dinner: “He enjoys history. Ask him what his favorite historical event was.” “He likes to play golf, ask him how is day on the course went.” I don’t remember his responses, or even if I got up the courage to ask him any of these questions. Last month, on the death of his wife (he had died years before), I learned from her obituary that he had been a prosecutor at the Nuremburg Trials. This fact would have meant nothing to me at the time, but now I felt confronted with an enormous missed opportunity. I have so many questions for him now.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979214527\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/zia_herring_web-296x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Pas de Deux\" width=\"296\" height=\"300\"></a>When recently reading Mohammed Hanif’s <em>A Case of Exploding Mangoes</em>, I could not help but wonder if guests at the American Embassy’s terrible barbecue that the author imagines so vividly now sigh over the opportunities they missed by avoiding chatting with that crashing bore Osama bin Laden. In Hanif’s telling, bin Laden is a maladroit guest who lists about unsuccessfully trying to strike up conversations with important people. He is a teetotaling version of Peter Sellers in <em><a href=\"http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063415/\">The Party</a></em>, with the dénouement of his role in this particular party occurring many years later and extra-textually. </p>\n<p>History is rife with Frankensteinian examples of the United States going to spectacular lengths to destroy the monsters it has gone to spectacular lengths to create. While bin Laden was one such monster, General Zia, the central focus of <em>Mangoes</em>, appears not to have been, to the discredit of our government. Zia, the planter of many ghastly seeds that continue to bear fruit to this day (among these fruits, the system which was able so handily to harbor Mr. bin Laden in his twilight years), Hanif weaves a <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>-like web of motivations for the assassination of Zia, wherein the actual crashing of the aircraft that carried him was merely one of many knife-thrusts to his by then barely beating heart. None of his would-be assassins is American, however, and Very Important Americans go down with him when his plane crashes.<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979213931\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/hanif_hatchet-298x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Mohammed Hanif as a lad\" width=\"298\" height=\"300\"></a> Indeed, Zia is even infested by an internal army of tapeworms that could conceivably have taken him down. The godly stature of dictators lends them a very real air of immortality it seems, and their Rasputinish ability to escape death adds to the mythos that surrounds their persons. General Pervez Musharraf, for example, happily trots out story after story of his own nine lives in his memoir.</p>\n<p>In Maria Vargas Llosa’s <em>The Feast of the Goat</em>, it takes a carload of assassins, each of whom harbors a hair-raising revenge motive, to gun down General Trujillo as he drives to an evening’s assignation. The assassins are backed not only by the United States and the Catholic church but also by members of Trujillo’s own inner circle. The car, the driver, and the General are riddled with bullets, but Vargas Llosa has also imagined Trujillo as afflicted with prostate problems and impotence, conditions which are destroying his ability to satisfy his legendary libido. The truly awful dénouement, which is not his assassination, is a rape and deflowering by the impotent dictator of a young girl, offered up to him by an out-of-favor vassal. Vargas Llosa seems to imagine this moment as both a tribute to Trujillo’s numerous sexual victims and a metaphor for the way in which the old man was able to continue to screw over his people long after his real power was gone. </p>\n<p><strong>III. A Brand New Kind of Poetry\t</strong></p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979772368\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/pinochet-300x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Augusto Pinochet\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\"></a>It is the peculiar challenge faced by the artist that he must continually come up with ideas that are wholly new and original. Yet once he is successful, he must also conform to expectations of his distinctive imprimatur. One of the dangers of fame, my father always likes to say, is that you can end up ‘doing yourself,’ by which he means that artists cursed with fame and renown run the risk of feeding public expectations by producing art that is imitative of their own most successful works. With fame, the works of Joe Smith become Joe Smithesque, pastiches of that Joe Smith style we’ve all come to know and love. </p>\n<p>A similar challenge is faced by torturers. How to be creative enough to extract new information from detainees? To truly break a person’s spirit? What if the victim is jaded? Has seen and heard it all? What if he is even desensitized to torture? And furthermore, to combine these two propositions, how does a novelist write about torture in a manner that is uniquely horrifying but not the stuff of horror films? How does a creative writer create a creative torturer that shakes his complacent reader to the core but does not cause that reader to drop the book in revulsion? There will be humiliation, physical pain, rows of instruments, dark fetid chambers covered with disturbing stains. Some regimes will have particular trademark features to their torture regimens: ‘the chair,’ ‘the clamps,’ etc. As with the release of the Abu Ghraib photos, one’s initial horrified reaction can become dulled and desensitized. It’s natural to push our reaction to a psychologically acceptable position where we will not be in a position to feel tormented by disturbing information. </p>\n<p>In succession I read <em>A Case of Exploding Mangoes, In the Country of Men, The Feast of the Goat</em>. Each one featured at least a modicum of torture. <em>The Feast of the Goat</em> featured a whole lot of torture. Just about enough torture to make it tortuous to read about the torture. I recall reading somewhere (Wikipedia, perhaps?) that Vargas Llosa included a great deal of realistic torture in his novel about Trujillo as an antidote to the tendency among Latin American fabulists to use magical realism to discuss the excesses of dictatorial regimes. Vargas Llosa chose instead to use regular realism to discuss these things. The result is both disturbing and strangely dull; there’s just a touch of Human Rights Watch report about the pacing of the narrative. Virtually every assassin and conspirator implicated in the murder of Trujillo is hunted down, incarcerated and tortured. Each torture is documented, as is each death. The narrative is part fiction and part accounting. It eventually wears thin, though the novel clearly serves a particular purpose that has nothing to do with creative work.</p>\n<p>I later, on the advice of a friend who learned I was reading lots of novels about torture, read a slim novel by Naguib Mahfouz called <em>Karnak Café</em>. The novel concerns the habitués of a cafe in Cairo under the regime of Nasser. The narrator observes the slow crumbling of a social circle of young students as they are imprisoned, tortured and released in several rounds of purges of ‘enemies’ of the revolution. Eventually the social circle, reduced in its numbers, is reconstituted, the bonds between its members badly damaged. One day the man who has tortured them all, their direct torturer, appears in the cafe himself. In the interim, he too has been arrested and tortured. He is no longer part of the regime; through experience, he has become one of them. They are jaded, all of them, and they accept him with a strange equanimity. An encounter that one might imagine to be fraught and horrifying feels almost flat.</p>\n<p>The strange flatness of affect in parts of <em>The Feast of the Goat</em> and <em>Karnak Café</em> make the not magical realism but certainly<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapata/5979771862\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/bolano-300x297.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"Roberto Bolaño\" width=\"300\" height=\"297\"></a> not conventional realism of Roberto Bolaño an excellent antidote. In Bolaño’s short novel <em>Distant Star</em> set during the beginning of the Pinochet regime in Chile, a character appears in a group of young poets who promises that he will totally change the nature of Chilean poetry. [Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD] The character turns out to be a bright young regime apparatchik and torturer whose wholly original poetic interventions include arresting most of the poets, murdering the most attractive women poets, sky-writing portions of <em>Genesis</em> in Latin for admiring crowds of fascist regime supporters, and creating an installation of photographs and poems documenting his torture and murder of women poets. Bolaño’s off-the-wall imagining of a revolutionary poet who uses torture and death as his art perfectly captures the torturer’s conundrum by marrying it to the conundrum of the writer or artist. How to create a signature style that is utterly new yet clearly one’s own? 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    "title" : "Recipe #85: Ghana&#39;s famous &quot;red-red&quot;",
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      "content" : "Any visitor to Ghana will likely be introduced to one of the recipes most popular with foreigners: &quot;red-red,&quot; the name of an (appropriately) red stew, served with ripe plantains,  aka &quot;red plantains.&quot; The &quot;red&quot; also refers to the (red) palm oil used to prepare the stew. Because I&#39;m quite fond of tomatoes, I use tomato paste in mine, which further enhances its color. &quot;Red-red&quot; (don&#39;t you love the"
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    "title" : "The Township That Is My City",
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      "content" : "<div style=\"text-align:justify\">Small and cramped. Nestled in the plains that have become farcical industry and stagnant development. Houses and factories, shops and public latrines all intertwined in a regrettable mix sprawling for miles and miles... or kilometers if you will. </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span><br></span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span>Organised and disorderly. Haphazardly </span>scattered on even and slanted surfaces; on hills and in valleys,  securely nestled on vast plains and annually sinking in secluded swamps. No space too small, no area to cramped. </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><br></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Home is where it can be put up before the Assembly is aware in the township that is my city.</div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><br></div><div><br></div>"
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    "title" : "The madness of crowds: Kate Middleton’s dress",
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      "content" : "<p>What psychologists term the “availability error” is prominent in so many different forms throughout our mental life that it’s debatable whether this constitutes a form of delusion at all. Still, some examples are so egregious that unpicking them may help us in the general direction of better mental hygiene.</p>\n<p>A few weeks ago a serviceably pretty young woman went to a big ugly house to meet a handsome man who happens to be the president of America, and his mildly steatopygic wife. For the occasion, the young woman slipped on a fairly nondescript dress. In due course, when photographs of this prettyish woman wearing said dress appeared in the papers, there was a frenzy as thousands upon thousands of crazed punters attempted to log on to the website of the British high-street label Reiss to buy it.</p>\n<p>Put simply, the availability error consists in judging by the first thing that comes to mind; in this case, we can summarise the thought processes of the wannabe Reiss-buyers thus: Kate Middleton is wearing that dress and looks good, therefore if I put on that dress I will look good as well. We could elaborate, because undoubtedly there is a further murkier tier to such unreasoning: Kate is wearing that dress, therefore, if I wear that dress, one day I will be queen of England (as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Bongo-Bongo Land, etc), hobnob with the Obamas, wear diamonds the size of pigeons’ eggs – and so on.</p>\n<p>A variation of the availability error that I’ve discussed in this column before, in connection with my propensity – or otherwise – for urinating into the Dyson Airblade hand dryer, is the halo effect. The halo effect implies that if one person has a single, very obvious, characteristic, the rest of his or her attributes are invariably perceived in the light of it. This is why – despite all evidence to the contrary – good-looking people are often viewed as sagacious, amusing, possessed of phenomenal ball control, and so forth.</p>\n<p>Ms Middleton is no film-star beauty, nor has she ever done anything in her short life worthy of note save part her thighs for the heir to the throne, then marry him. Be that as it may; paradoxically, her approachable, girl-next-door vibe becomes incorporated into her halo, so that potential dress-buyers formulate syllogisms of this sort: “All girl-next-door types wear mid-range fashion labels, Kate Middleton is wearing a mid-range fashion label, therefore Kate Middleton is a girl next door.” This conclusion won’t necessarily sell that many £175 Shola dresses (the Reiss design that Middleton wore to meet the Obamas), but it will, of course, sell the object – the Windsors – to their subjects, at a time when the populace might well resent the spectacle of hereditary multibillionaires lording it over them without even minimal concessions to such coalition virtues as choice and fairness.</p>\n<p>The use of the availability error and the halo effect by advertisers is nothing new – when I was a kid, there was a scare to the effect that big corporations were pushing their product by inserting subliminal imagery into feature films. The rumour was that, for a split second during some parched scene of Lawrence of Arabia or another, an ice-cold can of Coca-Cola was flashed up on screen, ensuring that, come the intermission (remember them?) everyone would rush to the foyer and begin guzzling down the sinister sarsaparilla.</p>\n<p>In fact, most advertisers have no need for such subterfuge – they can openly supply the imagery and we will subliminally influence ourselves. Thus shampoos provoke orgasms, mobile phones collapse cities like packs of cards and cars . . . Well, cars morph into just about everything imaginable and then chomp up the road. Do I believe that there is something intrinsically wrong with this? Yes, I think there may be.</p>\n<p>Take Chinese Elvis. He runs a not terribly successful restaurant on the Old Kent Road, and once or twice during the evening’s sittings he emerges from the kitchen dressed as the King to sing “Suspicious Minds” or “Heartbreak Hotel”. He doesn’t look a bit like Elvis, and he certainly doesn’t sound like him, but such is the potency of the late rock monarch’s halo effect that, even years after his death, it can still garrotte the unsuspecting. In fairness to Chinese Elvis, he’s only helping to sell his food – which isn’t too bad – but it remains a bizarre aspect of contemporary commerce that stuff can now be sold not only by the famous, but also by their impersonators – and how mad is that?</p>"
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    "title" : "Thesis finished and approved",
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    "title" : "King of Kelewele: Recipe #53",
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      "content" : "Today is my son-in-law&#39;s first official Father&#39;s Day (his Kumiwah is 3+ months old), and this post is dedicated to him. <br>I have frequently mentioned my own love of kelewele, a wonderful Ghanaian snack. Koranteng, however,  is a a real kelewele connoisseur. The international wedding quilt we assembled for him and Abena in 2005 included a square from Ghana featuring his beloved plantain favorite."
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    "title" : "The Origins of Money: 1. Cows and Shells",
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      "content" : "<p>BBC Radio 3 talk by me    (15 minutes)     13 June 2011, 22: 45</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011vh2c\">Listen here</a></p>\n<p>The written text may be found below, but look at this description by the producer:</p>\n<p>“Money. You don’t know where it’s been,<br>\nBut you put it where your mouth is.<br>\nAnd it talks.” (Money, by Dana Gioia)</p>\n<p>The history of money stretches back some 11,000 years. There have  been certain key moments in its development and each essay tells their  story and the resonance that these revolutionary blips have had ever  since.</p>\n<p>1. Cows – round about 9,000BC cattle were first domesticated. Soon  after they became units of exchange and thus the idea of money was born:  cows became cash on legs. And they still are – in certain parts of  Africa commodities (especially brides) are priced in cows. Professor  Keith Hart explores the early examples of money as part of an economy of  living persons and things.</p>\n<p>In the rest of the series, Essayists explore: the emergence of the  very first banks; the setting of inter-regional and international  standards; how the very first coins helped also foster abstract thought;  and the appearance of the first forms of paper money in ancient China.</p>\n<p>Series Producer: Paul Kobrak.</p>\n<p>This was written before I was commissioned to write the essay, but I could not shake Paul from his belief that contemporary practices in Africa and the Pacific are evidence of the early history of money nor that money is a commodity whose origins lie in barter. It means that a century of academic ethnography has not dislodged the ideology of unilinear evolution. I tried to insert more about the contemporary crisis of the money system, but this was excised. The line in every sense had to be maintained. I still managed to keep some of the message in what I read and the notion of “an economy of living persons and things” was added to the notice. But if ever evidence were needed of anthropologists’ collective failure to dispel the idea of “primitive” money from the public imagination, this is it. And why would they listen to us if we refuse to engage with questions of world history?<span></span></p>\n<p><strong>Cows and shells</strong></p>\n<p>As soon as I was old enough, I was given three pence a week pocket money. I was a regular customer at Mrs. Hewitt’s sweet shop. She reserved my favourites for me and sometimes gave me extra measure. When she sold the shop, she introduced her regulars to the new owner. “This is Keith and he likes wine gums, pear drops and liquorice allsorts.” It was a time of rationing, following the Second World War. So, in addition to my three pence, which bought two ounces of sweets, I handed over a coupon entitling the bearer to that quantity. One day when I was five, my mother announced that sugar rationing was over. From now on, people could buy as many sweets as they liked. I rushed to Mrs. Hewitt’s and ordered sweets up to the limit of my imagination, three bags of two ounces each. “That will be nine pence, please.” “But I only have three pence. They said you could now have as much as you like.” “Well, you need the money too.” And that is how I learned the bitter lesson that money, at least the stuff I grew up with, is also a rationing device. Markets are democratically open to anybody. All you need is the money.</p>\n<p>Since then, I’ve been obsessed with getting to know what money really is and how to get round its restrictions. I became an anthropologist in part to explore alternatives to the money system. But why would we be interested in the origins of money today? Because it is changing dramatically before our eyes. If money is the ground on which we stand, the financial shocks of the last three years have vividly brought home how shaky that foundation is. The physical substance of money is giving way to bits whizzing around cyberspace; personal credit is now available on terms that were unimaginable a few years ago; and we read about vast sums of money being created and disappearing overnight. So what is happening to money? Where did it come from and where is it going? Here I will look at some things that have been described as “primitive money” and are still in use: cows in Africa and shells in Melanesia. They don’t tell us where our money comes from, but they do help us gain a broader understanding of what money is and what it does.</p>\n<p>*****</p>\n<p>But of course we all know where money came from. Our remote ancestors started swapping things they had too much of and others wanted. But it wasn’t always easy to find someone who wanted what you had and had what you wanted. For many natural products, the timing of supply and demand does not coincide. So some objects became valued as tokens to hold for use in future exchanges. It might be salt or ox-hides, but especially precious metals. Gold, silver and copper were scarce, attractive, useful, durable, portable and divisible. Barter’s limitations were lifted as soon as sellers would accept these money tokens, knowing that they could use them later. The money stuff succeeded because it was the supreme barter item, valued not only as a commodity, but also as a means of exchange.</p>\n<p>All this is a myth of course, but what does it tell us? It tells us that money is a real thing and a scarce commodity. That it is more efficient and originated in barter. When Adam Smith first told this story, he claimed that the “Wealth of Nations” resulted from the slow working out of a deep-seated propensity in human nature, “to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another”. He went on,</p>\n<p>“It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts. Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. Nobody ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, this is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that.”</p>\n<p>At least Smith acknowledged a degree of social complexity in these transactions: the idea of contract, private property (mine and yours) and equivalence (fairness), none of which could plausibly be traced to the non-human world. His latter-day successors have not shown similar modesty, routinely claiming that behaviour in Wall Street is driven by impulses that are not just eternally human, but shared with the animals too, or at least the primates. Listen to Nicholas Dunbar in his book, <em>Inventing Money</em>:</p>\n<p>“In chimpanzee communities, individuals exchange gifts (such as fruit or sexual favours) within a group to cement alliances, and punish those who attempt to cheat on such mutually beneficial relationships. Anthropologists believe that early humans started trading in much the same way. The word they use to describe this behaviour is ‘reciprocity’ and our personal relationships work on this basis.”</p>\n<p>That’s quite a lot of metaphysics piled onto the observation that chimps sometimes pleasure each other and pass on the odd bit of fruit. Two claims are being made here: that private property is natural, therefore inevitable; and that it underpins most other important things in our lives. Adam Smith seems almost cautious in comparison.</p>\n<p>*****</p>\n<p>The first time I arrived in the market square of a West African village, I saw four beefy men dragging a young woman by the hair, kicking and screaming. “It’s alright”, said my companion, “they’re just her brothers”. She was married to an old man with many wives, a major political figure; she had run away several times with her lover; the old man demanded his bride-wealth back – the standard payment of four cows to his wife’s lineage; but her brothers had already spent the cows on a marriage and they didn’t want to break their alliance with him; so this was a public affirmation of their commitment to the marriage.</p>\n<p>Modern capitalist economies base the accumulation of wealth on production of inanimate things for sale. Traditional African economies had as their object the production of human life. So cattle were used to secure the reproduction of kin groups through marriage. When Europeans first saw women being exchanged for cows, they thought they were being bought. In fact, bride-wealth consists of animal tokens whose payment secures the marriage and allows the recipients to find another woman to replace the one they had lost. They are rationing coupons more than money. The power of this custom is still strong, even in South Africa, where it is known as <em>lobola</em>. The growing African middle class there, when choosing between an expensive marriage payment and the purchase of a new house or car, often opt for the former, even though it places them in substantial debt. Of course, throughout Africa today, cash payments are often substituted for transfers of livestock.</p>\n<p>In these societies, animals were traditionally the main means of saving and accumulation. The word for interest is sometimes “water” on the analogy of a loan of cattle. If a cow has offspring while on loan, the borrower, when returning its mother, kept the calf as a reward for having watered them. Note that the interest was paid to the borrower who did the work! Cattle are thus a source of increase, a store of wealth and a means of payment in marriage and for other large debts. They are not a standard of value or a medium of exchange, since very little can be measured by them or exchanged for them. Most people are reluctant to sell them just for cash, much as we would prefer to replace a car with another one rather than sell it to pay our debts.</p>\n<p>In recent decades, the fastest-growing sector of world trade has been in services such as entertainment, education, media, software and information. This trend makes the economy more about what people do for each other (services) than the physical objects that make up their material livelihood. After early industrialization, the predominant focus of the world economy is reverting to the development of human beings. We have a lot to learn from the human economies of Africa, where people always had priority over things and cows still have some, if not all of the properties of modern money.</p>\n<p>*****</p>\n<p>As an anthropologist, I have been inspired by a famous exchange after the First World War between the founders of modern anthropology in Britain and France concerning whether shell valuables circulating in Melanesia were money or not. The basic positions on “primitive money” have never been expressed more clearly. Bronislaw Malinowski published <em>Argonauts of the Western Pacific</em> in 1922, when the year’s hit movie was <em>Nanook of the North</em>, a tale of Eskimo resilience in the face of a harsh environment. After the slaughter of the trenches, the old imperialist story about “our” mission to civilize “them” lay in tatters. So, when Malinowski produced his account of native adventurers, heirs to the tradition of noble heroes, his story found a receptive audience.</p>\n<p>The <em>kula</em> ring of the Trobriand Islanders and their neighbours provided an allegory of the world economy. Here was a civilization spread across many small islands, each incapable of providing a decent livelihood by itself, that relied on international trade mediated by the exchange of precious ornaments. There were no states, money or capitalists and, instead of buying cheap and selling dear, the trade was sustained by an ethic of generosity. <em>Homo economicus </em>was not only absent, but upstaged by comparison, revealed as a shabby and narrow-minded successor to a world the West had lost.</p>\n<p>Malinowski was adamant that <em>kula</em> valuables – arm-shells and necklaces circulating in opposite directions — were <em>not</em> money in that they did not function as a medium of exchange and standard of value. But his French contemporary Marcel Mauss, in his celebrated essay, <em>The Gift</em>, held out for a broader approach:</p>\n<p>“On this reasoning…there has only been money when precious things…have been really made into currency – namely have been inscribed and impersonalized, and detached from any relationship with any legal entity, whether collective or individual, other than the state that mints them… One only defines in this way a second type of money — our own”.</p>\n<p>Mauss believed that the limits of society must be extended to become ever more inclusive. Society has to be made and remade, sometimes from scratch. On a diplomatic mission or a first date, we give prsents. The<em> kula</em> valuables enable inter-island exchange by forming partnerships between the persons who guarantee the peace. For Mauss this made them a kind of money, if not of the impersonal kind we are familiar with. Heroic gift-exchange is designed to push the limits of society outwards. No society is ever economically self-sufficient. In addition to setting social limits at the local level, a community must also extend its reach abroad. This is why money in some form and the markets it makes possible are universal.</p>\n<p>Now money is often portrayed as a lifeless object separated from persons, whereas in fact it is a creation of human beings, imbued with the collective spirit of the living and the dead. As a token of society, it must be impersonal in order to connect individuals to the universe of relations to which they belong. But people make everything personal, including their relations with society. This two-sided relationship is universal, but highly variable. The <em>kula</em> canoe expeditions were dangerous and magical because their crews were temporarily outside the realm of normal society. Neoliberal globalization and the digital revolution in communications have led to a rapid expansion of money and markets in recent decades. Society has been extended beyond its national limits, becoming more unequal and more unstable in the process. Reliance on the pound sterling and the barter myth of money’s origins will not help us find solutions. We need to rethink what money is for and what we might do with it. Other traditions, such as those of Africa and the Pacific, may show us how to make any future economy more human.</p>\n<div style=\"text-align:left\"><p> <a href=\"http://twitter.com/home/?status=The+Origins+of+Money%3A+1.+Cows+and+Shells+http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2F3c2v6dr\" title=\"Post to Twitter\"><img src=\"http://thememorybank.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/tweet-this/icons/en/twitter/tt-twitter.png\" alt=\"Post to Twitter\"></a> <a href=\"http://twitter.com/home/?status=The+Origins+of+Money%3A+1.+Cows+and+Shells+http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2F3c2v6dr\" title=\"Post to Twitter\">Tweet This Post</a></p></div>"
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      "content" : "<p>I assume they have all read the same book, because they use the same outline, start-up CEOs I mean.   It has two parts.  The opening, and the gonna have a revolution bit.</p>\n<p>First the prolog:</p>\n<ul>\n<li>Open with how grateful you are for the ideas and help the host (and/or the most powerful people in room) provided in starting your firm.  But, don’t explain why.  Leave that a mystery to hook your audience.  Set the hook “i’ll get back to that.”   Note how this reframes the usual thanks to the host for inviting you.  Note you don’t need to know these people, but you should have done your homework and be familiar with their ideas, papers, books, failures and achievements – certainly there is something in there you can use.</li>\n<li>Introduce your founding myth.  The characters in the founding myth should be drawn from a sacred category, e.g. mom, family, your tribe, citizens, the profession of your audience.  Populism can work.  Customers is kind of a weak form populism.  Nine times out of ten these stories seem to involve a mention of family.  The pain the product resolves is introduced here, as felt by this representative of sacred/worthy group.   This works for a few reasons.  First off banishment from home is the usual kick off of any fairy tale: so this make your audience comfortable.  Secondly it draws our their empathy, everybody cares about mom.  It also makes you out to be a caring person so the audience begins to identify with you.</li>\n<li>Introduce the broad themes of value generation.  It’s good if at this point you can begin to introduce yourself as the agent of resolving the problem previously introduced.  Your frustration at being unable to aid those in need.  This is becomes the quest in the classic story template.</li>\n<li>Start to tempt the audience.  Letting them glimpse the solution.  Letting them glimpse an artifact or a prototype at this point can be good, but don’t show it to them!  This creates an appetite; which if can heighten by delay.  This might be a mistake if overplayed, I’ve noticed audiences that stop listening as they attempt to catch a glimpse of the hidden product.</li>\n<li>Finally notch up the frustration at lack of resolution both for you as hero, and for your homie.</li>\n</ul>\n<p>That end’s the prolog.  Now this is a VC funded start-up; so we need a industry game changing story.  That prolog doesn’t provide that.  In a story telling frame you now want to introduce the evil king (current industry structure) and how your firms innovative addition is going be the revolution.  At this point we are shifting out of the fairy tale frame and into revolutionary group forming.  You want to create in the audience a desire to join the revolution.</p>\n<ul>\n<li>Tell story of current industry structure.  This structure must frustrate, bewilder, and/or anger you – our hero.   Done right you will not need to say it, but your audience will see how the glimpses of a solution you gave before foreshadow the resolution of these issues.  At this point you must have quantitative data; at least charts.  Trend lines, preferably exponential, illustrating how it is only going to get worse.  A bit of casual social science about why it’s in the culture of the evil kings is good at this point.</li>\n<li>This, or just after the next step, is a good point to resolve the quesiton of what you learned from your those powerful people in the room, it shouldn’t be the whole answer – it should be an addition to the core.</li>\n<li>Now you can finally reveal the solution, but though not the demo or the prototype.  You can and probably should be rational, and quantitative.</li>\n<li>Now double the bet.  Make it clear that the pain your addressing is felt so widely that there is broad demand for a new paradigm.  Clarify why your solution enables it.</li>\n</ul>\n<p>That fits most of the stories I’ve heard.  Occasionally there is another element.  Notice how that story is buyer facing; but it is good if you have additional bit that talks about how you have unique supply side advantages.  The lamest form of this is a single patent or research result.  In the story telling metaphor this is part where our hero picks up his band of uniquely talented buddies – the brother who can swallow the sea, the cat that talks, the cloak of invisibility.   Weaving these into the story is tricky.  Too much too early and the audience figures out what your doing too soon – which leads to their minds wandering and then they make up objections.  But it’s cool if you can get them into the story early and the mystery of how your going to use that cofounder, or that unusual technology can suddenly become clear as you reveal your answer.  The other reason to get your supply side advantages into the narrative is so you can have charts that show how this revolution is inevitable and timely.</p>\n<p>Timely is good because it answers the objection – why hasn’t anybody done this before?  Inevitable is good because it creates urgency to move now; before the revolution/wave – and it’s wealth generating power – breaks.</p>\n<p>That framing is another standard framework.  You want to get a population (this industry) to move you build them a golden bridge (your solution) and set fire to their village.  You need to make clear that the problem your solving scales up to being so serious and widespread that the industry is soon going to be on fire.</p>\n<p>I was surprised at first that nobody every goes back and explains how their Mom has now been made happy.  But that’s actually obvious, this is a start-up and the story’s not over yet.</p>"
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/koranteng/\">amaah</a> posted a photo:</p>\n\t\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5772948418/\" title=\"gil scott-heron ronald reagan and john wayne - b movie deadwood culture\"><img src=\"http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2025/5772948418_a93c6d825e_m.jpg\" width=\"240\" height=\"178\" alt=\"gil scott-heron ronald reagan and john wayne - b movie deadwood culture\"></a></p>\n\n<p>My favourite urban griot, Gil Scott-Heron, is sorely missed. Here we find him in peak satire mode in the Deadwood saloon in the company of the embodiment of nostalgic myth-making, John Wayne, and the pale imitation of B-movie lore that America settled for, Ronald Reagan (or the Hollyweird Ronald the Ray-Gun as Gil would so quotably put it). <br>\n<br>\nDig <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ipWM3DWe4\" rel=\"nofollow\">The B movie theory</a>:<br>\n<br>\n&quot;The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia.<br>\n<br>\nThey want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week.  Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment.  The day of <a href=\"http://www.iraqtimeline.com/graphics/bushcarrier.jpg\" rel=\"nofollow\">the man in the white hat</a> or <a href=\"http://www.president-bush.com/missionaccomplished.jpg\" rel=\"nofollow\">the man on the white horse</a> - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in &quot;B&quot; movies.  And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne.  But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a &quot;B&quot; movie...&quot;<br>\n<br>\nI put it this way four years ago at the height of the George W. Bush years:<br>\n<br>\nWe are living in a moment where nostalgia is key, we're anesthetizing ourselves with cowboy politics, selective amnesia and worse, when we'd rather have John Wayne. And Baghdad and New Orleans are not the only ones who can testify to that insight. <br>\n<br>\nGil Scott-Heron is one the great satirists, punctuating his critique with a melodious line and a soulful groove. It's uncanny how he does it, that you can't help but nod your head, tap your feet and laugh out loud even as you want to cry at what he is saying. His body of work is heroic, his prescience altogether scary.<br>\n<br>\nBut it is hard living as a canary in a mineshaft, if no one is listening and home is where the hatred is, can it be a surprise if there only remain fractured pieces of a man? Dig: I too might drown myself in fugitive spirits.<br>\n<br>\nAnyway let's kick some urban griot poetry around this joint. Or should we call it soul food?</p>"
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/koranteng/\">amaah</a> posted a photo:</p>\n\t\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5772408577/\" title=\"gil scott-heron ronald reagan and john wayne - b movie\"><img src=\"http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2189/5772408577_475f925dd8_m.jpg\" width=\"240\" height=\"178\" alt=\"gil scott-heron ronald reagan and john wayne - b movie\"></a></p>\n\n<p>My favourite urban griot, Gil Scott-Heron, is sorely missed. Here we find him in peak satire mode in the Deadwood saloon in the company of the embodiment of nostalgic myth-making, John Wayne, and the pale imitation of B-movie lore that America settled for, Ronald Reagan (or the Hollyweird Ronald the Ray-Gun as Gil would so quotably put it). <br>\n<br>\nDig <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ipWM3DWe4\" rel=\"nofollow\">The B movie theory</a>:<br>\n<br>\n&quot;The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia.<br>\n<br>\nThey want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week.  Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment.  The day of <a href=\"http://www.iraqtimeline.com/graphics/bushcarrier.jpg\" rel=\"nofollow\">the man in the white hat</a> or <a href=\"http://www.president-bush.com/missionaccomplished.jpg\" rel=\"nofollow\">the man on the white horse</a> - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in &quot;B&quot; movies.  And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne.  But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a &quot;B&quot; movie...&quot;<br>\n<br>\nI put it this way four years ago at the height of the George W. Bush years:<br>\n<br>\nWe are living in a moment where nostalgia is key, we're anesthetizing ourselves with cowboy politics, selective amnesia and worse, when we'd rather have John Wayne. And Baghdad and New Orleans are not the only ones who can testify to that insight. <br>\n<br>\nGil Scott-Heron is one the great satirists, punctuating his critique with a melodious line and a soulful groove. It's uncanny how he does it, that you can't help but nod your head, tap your feet and laugh out loud even as you want to cry at what he is saying. His body of work is heroic, his prescience altogether scary.<br>\n<br>\nBut it is hard living as a canary in a mineshaft, if no one is listening and home is where the hatred is, can it be a surprise if there only remain fractured pieces of a man? Dig: I too might drown myself in fugitive spirits.<br>\n<br>\nAnyway let's kick some urban griot poetry around this joint. Or should we call it soul food?</p>"
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    "title" : "GIL SCOTT-HERON / Gil Scott-Heron Classic Mixtape",
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      "content" : "<img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20rip%2001.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron rip 01.jpg\" title=\"gil scott-heron rip 01.jpg\"> <br>By now, I presume most music lovers are aware that Gil Scott-Heron died (around 4pm, Friday, May 27, 2011 in New York City). Tons of memorials and tributes are pouring in from all over the globe. Gil truly touched people worldwide.<br><br>We at BoL have featured Gil numerous times over our nearly six years of our website’s existence (we started June 18, 2005). We not only were full of praise for Gil, we also asked hard questions, painful questions. Gil was not only a man of contradictions, he was also deeply honest about contradictions including his own shortcomings.<br><br>Here is a list of some of our Gil Scott-Heron write-ups on BoL: <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2010/02/01/gil-scott-heron-sade-%E2%80%9Cwhat%E2%80%99s-new-mixtape%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">GSH-1</font></a>, <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2007/10/21/gil-scott-heron-%E2%80%9Cblue-collar%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">GSH-2</font></a>, <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2006/05/07/gil-scott-heron/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">GSH-3</font></a>, <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2006/05/07/gil-scott-heron-%E2%80%9Cpieces-of-a-man%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">GSH-4</font></a>, and <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2006/01/01/gil-scott-heron-%E2%80%9Cbeginnings%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">GSH-5</font></a>.<br><br>I don’t expect people to read all the previous postings, and furthermore, we don’t intend to repeat ourselves here just to add more words to the pile of testimonials. But there is one point I would like to make: Gil Scott-Heron was a major composer in addition to being a masterful performer.<br><img width=\"343\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"515\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron rip 02.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron rip 02.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20rip%2002.jpg\"> <br>I call this Mixtape Gil Scott-Heron Classic Mixtape not because it features the most famous or even most impressive Gil Scott-Heron songs. For example “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is not included, nor is there even one of the numerous versions of “The Bottle.” And I’m sure people are going to wonder how in the world I could not include “Is that Jazz” or “Inner City Blues.” And for those who like to party-hardy, or maybe just to dance until they drop, I’m sure you think I’m positively lame for not including “Angel Dust” or especially for skipping over “Johannesburg.” But there is a reason for my madness of excluding popular songs.<br><br>Some of the songs included here are rarities in Gil’s copious catalogue. Plus, some of these versions are not the studio recordings but live performances of diverse provenance. I had three little guidelines in mind. I assumed that over the next week or so you would be able to hear the major hits from a plethora of online and radio sources. Therefore I didn’t feel any pressure to assemble a greatest-hits Mixtape.<br><img width=\"343\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"227\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron rip 05.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron rip 05.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20rip%2005.jpg\">  <br>In addition, I wanted to highlight Gil as both a poet and a composer by including a wide range of his work. I’m sure that the majority of people will be hearing the poem <b>“Jose Campos Torres”</b> for the first time. I’ve included <b>“The Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dot Dit Dot Dot Dash)”</b> especially for those who have never heard Gil live, especially Gil in his prime at the top of his game both fully in control of his faculties and in full synchrony with his audience. <br><br>Many people may not be aware that Gil wrote as many ballads as he did, after all Gil was often characterized as fiercely political but he also wrote some of the most tender love songs you ever want to hear. In a couple of cases, most notably<b> “Morning Thoughts”</b> Gil was the master of merging the personal and the political in ways that seamlessly transitioned from romance to revolution within three minutes or less.<br><br>Finally, I had a not so obvious goal in mind. In this time of mourning and grief about Gil’s transition from the land of the living, I wanted to put together a Mixtape that encourages us to be optimistic about our ability to create a better world, our ability to live better and more beautiful lives.<br><img width=\"344\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"231\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron rip 03.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron rip 03.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20rip%2003.jpg\"> <br>Gil had the ability to be serious without being grim, to come hard and at the same time be funny as hell. I wanted to put listeners in a reflective mood that hopefully would encourage and inspire action.<br><br>I believe we should celebrate and commemorate Gil Scott-Heron not only by listening to his music but also by making this world a better place—a place of peace, sincerity, and of humane resolution of inevitable social contradictions.<br><br>The last time I saw Gil Scott-Heron in New Orleans was at the Essence Festival, I believe it was July 2008. I went mainly because I thought that might be my last chance to see him perform. Reviews and photographs from that period were not encouraging about both his health and the quality of his performances (or, for that matter, even showing up for a scheduled gig). While that performance was not the best of Gil Scott-Heron and the set-up in what was called the Super-lounge (there was no seating, so you had to stand, and as you might imagine, it’s hard to &quot;lounge&quot; standing up) was not conducive to a relaxed set, still Gil was in good spirits and the performance was much, much better than I expected.<br><br>The last time I saw Gil perform was March 2010 at the National Black Writers Conference in Brooklyn, New York. Talib Kweli opened the show, and Gary Bartz was a back up musician for Gil. Although the set was short, Gil was great. And now a year later he’s gone. <br><br>Gil gifted us with a cornucopia of beautiful music, vibrant, meaningful, inspirational sounds and vibrations.<br><img width=\"342\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"192\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron rip 04.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron rip 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20rip%2004.jpg\"> <br>Through his recorded music, yesterday, today and tomorrow, Gil lives. Gil Scott-Heron lives.<br><br><b>—Kalamu ya Salaam</b><br><br><br><br><u><i><b>Gil Scott-Heron Classic Mixtape Playlist</b></i></u><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2001.jpg\"> <br>01 <b>“Message To The Messengers”</b> – <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSpirits-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000000GRC%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781025%26sr%3D8-7&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Spirits</font></a></i><br><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 02.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 02.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2002.jpg\"> <br>02 <b>“Jose Campos Torres”</b> – <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FMind-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000056VIS%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781071%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">The Mind Of Gil Scott-Heron</font></a><br></i><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 03.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 03.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2003.jpg\"> <br>03 <b>“Pieces Of A Man”</b> –<i> <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPieces-Man-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000005MLZ%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781186%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Pieces Of A Man</font></a></i><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2004.jpg\"> <br>04 <b>“Peace Go With You, Brother”</b> – <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWinter-In-America%2Fdp%2FB002U9NKYM%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781239%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Winter In America</font></a></i><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 05.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 05.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2005.jpg\"> <br>05<b> “Cane”</b> – <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSecrets-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB0027ST8WE%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781348%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Secrets</font></a></i><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 06.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 06.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2006.jpg\"> <br>06<b> “Alien (Hold On To Your Dream)”</b> - <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FAnthology-Gil-Scott-Heron-Brian-Jackson%2Fdp%2FB0009UBXUC%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781411%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Anthology: Messages </font></a></i><br><br><img width=\"305\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"221\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 07.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 07.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2007.jpg\"> <br><i>Live at The Bottom Line </i><br>07 <b>“Almost Lost Detroit” </b><br>08<b> “Winter In America” </b><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 02.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 02.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2002.jpg\"> <br>09 <b>“The Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dot Dit Dot Dot Dash)”</b> – <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FMind-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000056VIS%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781071%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">The Mind Of Gil Scott-Heron</font></a><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2001.jpg\"> <br><i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSpirits-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000000GRC%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781025%26sr%3D8-7&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Spirits</font></a></i><br>10 <b>“Give Her A Call”</b><br>11 <b>“The Other Side, Part I” </b><br>12 <b>“The Other Side, Part II” </b><br>13 <b>“The Other Side, Part III” </b><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2004.jpg\"> <br>14 <b>“Peace Go With You, Brother”</b> – <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWinter-In-America%2Fdp%2FB002U9NKYM%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781239%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Winter In America</font></a></i><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 01.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2001.jpg\"> <br><i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSpirits-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000000GRC%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781025%26sr%3D8-7&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Spirits</font></a></i><br>15 <b>“Work For Peace”</b><br>16 <b>“Don`t Give Up” </b><br><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 17.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 17.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2017.jpg\"> <br>17 <b>“Must Be Something”</b> - <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FFirst-Minute-New-Day-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000005ZD1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781556%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Midnight Band The First Minute </font></a></i><br><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2004.jpg\"> <br>18 <b>“A Very Precious Time”</b> - <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWinter-In-America%2Fdp%2FB002U9NKYM%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781239%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Winter In America</font></a></i><br><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 19.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 19.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2019.jpg\"> <br>19 <b>“Save The Children”</b> – <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FMinister-Information-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB0000040LJ%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781640%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>Minister of Information </i></font></a><br><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2004.jpg\"> <br><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWinter-In-America%2Fdp%2FB002U9NKYM%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1306781239%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Winter In America</font></a><br>20 <b>&quot;Your Daddy Loves You” </b><br>21 <b>“Song For Bobby Smith” </b><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 22.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 22.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2022.jpg\"> <br>22 <b><font color=\"#000000\">“Beginnings (The First Minute Of A New Day)&quot;</font></b> – <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSouth-Africa-Carolina%2Fdp%2FB004720JTE%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781693%26sr%3D8-3&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><i><font color=\"#cc0000\">From South Africa To South Carolina</font></i></a><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 23.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 23.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2023.jpg\"> <br>23 <b>“Better Days Ahead”</b> – Live In London<br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 24.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 24.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2024.jpg\"> <br>24 <b>“Morning Thoughts”</b> - <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FReflections-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB000024QBI%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781769%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><i><font color=\"#cc0000\">Reflections </font></i></a><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 22.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 22.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2022.jpg\"> <br>25 <b>“A Lovely Day”</b> – <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSouth-Africa-Carolina%2Fdp%2FB004720JTE%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781693%26sr%3D8-3&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><i><font color=\"#cc0000\">From South Africa To South Carolina</font></i></a><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 05.jpg\" alt=\"gil scott-heron classic mixtape cover 05.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/gil%20scott-heron%20classic%20mixtape%20cover%2005.jpg\"> <br>26 <b>“A Prayer For Everybody/To Be Free”</b> - <i><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSecrets-Gil-Scott-Heron%2Fdp%2FB0027ST8WE%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1306781348%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Secrets</font></a></i><br><br><br>"
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    "title" : "What The Game&#39;s Been Missing: Spoken Monologues",
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      "content" : "Music is like sex. You have to ease into it.<br><br>\n\nAnd like sex, the best music is made when you and the musician have a little time to get to\nknow each other. Too often, artists are forced to have the musical equivalent of a hook up,\nmade to shave their songs into three-minute (three-and-a-half-minutes, if they are lucky) quickies of radio-ready\nmusic to satisfy the insatiable hunger of labels, stations, and fans. What this really means is\nthat artists don&#39;t have time properly lure their listeners, instead giving them a momentary flash in\nthe pan rather than a smoldering slow burn.\n\n\n        \nAn age-old trick for extending soul songs (for your pleasure) was the spoken monologue. Before guest rappers or spoken word poetry breaks filled the world of R&amp;B, the monologue was a\nform of aural foreplay, drawing the listeners into the singer&#39;s world. The build-up caused by this\nextraneous exposition made you feel as if you knew the person who was talking to you through\nyour radio. Crazy, yes, but think about it. You could have been that friend listening to a homeboy complain about his\nwoman, as is the case in <b>Bobby Womack</b>'s <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbbZ_k1Z8gU\">\"If You Think You're Lonely Now.\"</a> Or you could have been the\nhomegirl silently eavesdropping in on <b>Shirley Brown</b>'s <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZssL3nr6JZg\">\"Woman to Woman\"</a> conversation.\n<br><br>\nThe spoken monologue could even have been a deliciously vengeful dig at a lover caught cheating. Take, for\nexample, the quintessential (and utterly comical) monologue from \"The Rain\" by <b>Oran \"Juice\" Jones</b> who gave us a front row seat to this hood soap opera.<br><br>\nFirst, he set up his lover with a honeytrap:<br><br><i>\n\nHey, hey, baby, how ya doin'? Come on in here.<br>\nGot some hot chocolate on the stove waiting for you.<br>\nListen, first things first, let me hang up the coat.<br>\nYeah, how was your day today?<br>\nDid you miss me?<br>\nYou did? Yeah? I missed you, too</i>.<br><br>\n\nThen he went in for the kill:<br><br><i>\n\nI missed you so much I followed you today.<br>\nThat's right! Now close your mouth, 'cause you cold busted!</i><br><br>\n\nFrom there, he went on to elaborate how he COULD have showed his ass:<br><br><i>\n\nMy first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo.<br>\nWhip out the jammy and flat blast both of you.<br>I didn't wanna mess up this 3700 dollar lynx coat.<br>\nSo instead, I chilled. That's right. Chilled</i>.<br><br>\n\nAnd <i>then </i>he exacted his revenge:<br><br><i>Then I went to the bank. Took out every dime.<br>\nAnd then I went and cancelled all those credit cards. Yeah. </i><br><i>All your charge accounts. Yeah.<br>I stuck you up for every piece of jewelry I ever bought you! </i><br><i>Yeah, that's right, everythang! Everythang.<br>Nah, don't go, don't go, don't go lookin' in that closet.</i><br><i>'Cause you aint got nothing in there.</i><div><i>Everything you came here with is packed up and waiting for you in the guest room. </i><br><i>That&#39;s right. What was you thinking about? Huh?</i><br><i>What was you trying to prove? Huh?<br>You was with the Juice!<br>\nI gave you silk suits, Gucci handbags, blue diamonds.<br>\nI gave you things you couldn't even pronounce!<br>Now I can't give you nothin' but advice.<br>\nCause you still young. That's right, you still young.</i><br>\n<i>I hope you learned a valuable lesson from all this.<br>You know. Gon find somebody like me one of these days.<br>\nUntil then, you know what you gotta do?</i><br><br>\n\nFinally, he let his old girl know what time it is:<br><br><i>\n\nYou gotta get on outta here with that alley-cat-coat-wearing,\nhush-puppy-shoe-wearing crumbcake I saw you with. <br>\nCause you\ndismissed!<br>\nThat's right, silly rabbit, tricks are made for kids, don't you know\nthat?<br>\nYou without me like corn flake without the milk! <br>\nThis my world!<br>\nYou' just a squirrel trying to get a nut! <br>\nNow get on outta here. <br>\nScat! Don&#39;t touch that coat!</i><br><br>\n\n\n<iframe width=\"480\" height=\"390\" src=\"http://www.youtube.com/embed/9dZW1C3neao\" frameborder=\"0\"></iframe>\n<br><br>\n\nIndeed, you should not touch the coat, nor should you cross the all-powerful Oran \"Juice\" Jones. If\nyou couldn't tell by the sheen on his suit in the video, he is a powerful man and will not tolerate\nalleycats disrespecting his sexy. And how do you know this? Because he told you. He didn't sing it. He didn't rap it. He didn't try to sugarcoat it with a poem. He descended from his pedestal of musical glory to give the audience the nitty gritty, and\nthat's real.\n<br><br>\nPerhaps the best known instance of a singer breaking it down so that it will forever be broke was in <b>Lenny Williams</b>' classic, <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbzkwLWK-Ps\">\"Cause I Love You.\"</a> Torn beyond belief at losing his woman, he went into explicit detail about the lovesick trance he found himself in (\"I knocked on your door, and\nmy knocks went unanswered.\" \"I watched TV until the TV went off.\") upon finding that she was\nnowhere to be found. Listening to Williams cuts straight to the heart-meat, and you literally feel\nhis cries of \"oh-Oh-oh-Oh-oh-Oh-OH\" wrack through your body. That kind of passion doesn't\nhappen in less than two minutes. It is a papable tension, built up by the honeyed words and\nyearnings of a lovelorn singer making his case for redemption by using a dose of real talk to titillate the\naudience's emotional core.\n\n<br><br>\n\n\n</div>"
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    "title" : "Vlisco Dazzling Graphics Fashion Show",
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      "content" : "For six months in my life, I pursued a Fashion Design Dream. That was a long time ago. I don't remember the last time I tried designing anything for myself but deep down, that passion still flickers.<br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5758044678/\" title=\"_MG_9478 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5222/5758044678_af4053e582_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"_MG_9478\"></a><br>This Vlisco Fashion Show was just to showcase their new collection of designs and I was privileged enough to get a front seat from where I could steal a few shots. I wasn't the official photographer. I was there as a guest.<br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5757501217/\" title=\"_MG_9468 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2387/5757501217_7b9ec57939_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"_MG_9468\"></a><br>Enjoy the pictures and do have a great A.U Day :)<br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5757504651/\" title=\"_MG_9523 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2287/5757504651_afc7bdbc50_b.jpg\" width=\"533\" height=\"800\" alt=\"_MG_9523\"></a><br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5757502943/\" title=\"_MG_9489 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3501/5757502943_2e090b9460_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"_MG_9489\"></a><br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5758046338/\" title=\"_MG_9493 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5149/5758046338_417a5f6a74_b.jpg\" width=\"533\" height=\"800\" alt=\"_MG_9493\"></a><br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5757504223/\" title=\"_MG_9509 by Nana Kofi Acquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5068/5757504223_d3c2f2350a_b.jpg\" width=\"533\" height=\"800\" alt=\"_MG_9509\"></a><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/1392769759109690709-2563739172912707395?l=nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "\"You Might Also Like:\"  Privacy Risks of Collaborative Filtering",
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~akilzer/\">Ann Kilzer</a>, <a href=\"http://randomwalker.info/\">Arvind Narayanan</a>, <a href=\"http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~felten/\">Ed Felten</a>, <a href=\"http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~shmat/\">Vitaly Shmatikov</a>, and I have released a new <a href=\"http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~jcalandr/papers/ymal-oakland11.pdf\">research paper</a> detailing the privacy risks posed by collaborative filtering recommender systems.  To examine the risk, we use public data available from Hunch, LibraryThing, Last.fm, and Amazon in addition to evaluating a synthetic system using data from the Netflix Prize dataset.  The results demonstrate that temporal changes in recommendations can reveal purchases or other transactions of individual users.</p>\n<p>To help users find items of interest, sites routinely recommend items similar to a given item.  For example, product pages on Amazon contain a \"Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought\" list.  These recommendations are typically public, and they are the product of patterns learned from all users of the system.  If customers often purchase both item A and item B, a collaborative filtering system will judge them to be highly similar.  Most sites generate ordered lists of similar items for any given item, but some also provide numeric similarity scores.</p>\n<p>Although item similarity is only indirectly related to individual transactions, we determined that temporal changes in item similarity lists or scores can reveal details of those transactions.  If you're a Mozart fan and you listen to a Justin Bieber song, this choice increases the perceived similarity between Justin Bieber and Mozart.  Because similarity lists and scores are based on perceived similarity, your action may result in changes to these scores or lists.</p>\n<p>Suppose that an attacker knows some of your past purchases on a site: for example, past item reviews, social networking profiles, or real-world interactions are a rich source of information.  New purchases will affect the perceived similarity between the new items and your past purchases, possibility causing visible changes to the recommendations provided for your previously purchased items.  We demonstrate that an attacker can leverage these observable changes to infer your purchases.  Among other things, these attacks are complicated by the fact that multiple users simultaneously interact with a system and updates are not immediate following a transaction.</p>\n<p>To evaluate our attacks, we use data from Hunch, LibraryThing, Last.fm, and Amazon.  Our goal is not to claim privacy flaws in these specific sites (in fact, we often use data voluntarily disclosed by their users to verify our inferences), but to demonstrate the general feasibility of inferring individual transactions from the outputs of collaborative filtering systems.  Among their many differences, these sites vary dramatically in the information that they reveal.  For example, Hunch reveals raw item-to-item correlation scores, but Amazon reveals only lists of similar items.  In addition, we examine a simulated system created using the Netflix Prize dataset.  Our paper outlines the experimental results.</p>\n<p>While inference of a Justin Bieber interest may be innocuous, inferences could expose anything from dissatisfaction with a job to health issues.  Our attacks assume that a victim reveals certain past transactions, but users may publicly reveal certain transactions while preferring to keep others private.  Ultimately, users are best equipped to determine which transactions would be embarrassing or otherwise problematic.  We demonstrate that the public outputs of recommender systems can reveal transactions without user knowledge or consent.</p>\n<p>Unfortunately, existing privacy technologies appear inadequate here, failing to simultaneously guarantee acceptable recommendation quality and user privacy.  Mitigation strategies are a rich area for future work, and we hope to work towards solutions with others in the community.</p>\n<p>Worth noting is that this work suggests a risk posed by any feature that adapts in response to potentially sensitive user actions.  Unless sites explicitly consider the data exposed, such features may inadvertently leak details of these underlying actions.</p>\n<p>Our paper contains additional details.  This work was presented earlier today at the <a href=\"http://www.ieee-security.org/TC/SP2011/\">2011 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy</a>.  Arvind has also <a href=\"http://33bits.org/2011/05/24/you-might-also-like-privacy-risks-of-collaborative-filtering\">blogged about this work</a>.</p>"
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    "title" : "The Liar, Our Witch and my Wardrobe",
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      "content" : "Sometimes I am just completely blind sided by Ghana. There are moments when I am busy minding my own business, living my little expat life within the confines of this African republic, and culturally I trip over something that just has me reeling.<br><br>And then I remember that despite my hard drives full of pirated American TV series that fill us with the ultimate superficial each weekday evening, and the goat cheese in my salad, made with imported iceberg lettuce; this is NOT North America, and this little capsule called our home is situated squarely within an entirely different world.<br><br>There are undercurrents that pulsate just below the surface in Ghana, in my office, in my yard, in the strangers who pass me on the street. And there are moments when they peek out, when that reality faces me. At those times I am never prepared.<br><br>Last night I was bopping around my humid kitchen, wearing my Hello Kitty pyjama set, with my freshly washed hair tied up; I was dishing up our supper plates, anxious to head back into the relative cool of the living room to watch some mind numbing TV series.<br><br>“Madam” came the low voice from the pool of darkness beyond my kitchen window.<br>“Eric?” (assuming it was our gardener, (term used very loosely) who lives at the back of the house).<br><br>“Madam, I believe you are busy but I need to speak to you. Very important, very urgent. I beg.”<br><br>I begrudgingly put down my ladle and agreed to meet Eric around the side of the house.<br><br>So we met, I in cartoon pants with brightly coloured kittens scattered about my legs, opening the sliding doors, the bright and cool mixing with the dark heat. Eric stood glumly almost out of sight on the veranda.<br><br>“Yes Eric, what is wrong?” – I of course, assuming there would be a long winded story of medical or other woe, and a plea for money. But this was a different problem altogether.<br><br>Eric shifted and stuttered and said Madam a few times.<br><br>“It’s about Gilbert” (our cook and cleaner who has worked for the company over 12 years).<br><br>“Yes Eric?! What about Gilbert?” <a href=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lttlQsEyEm0/TckkGmyjeyI/AAAAAAAACDw/cGWZq722lu8/s1600/Nkonde-lower_zaire-nail-fetish-doll.jpg\"><img style=\"float:right;margin:0 0 10px 10px;width:212px;height:320px\" src=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lttlQsEyEm0/TckkGmyjeyI/AAAAAAAACDw/cGWZq722lu8/s320/Nkonde-lower_zaire-nail-fetish-doll.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\"></a><br><br><br>“Well Madam, he is disturbing me in ways you won’t understand. In fact, it is very serious.”<br><br>“Ok, well you tell me and I’ll see what I can do” (me, clueless)<br><br>“Madam, in fact, he has been trying to… trying to… well he has been determined to kill me spiritually”.<br><br>Silence.<br><br>My first instinct is to laugh, which probably won’t go over well. I can see the shiny sweat on Eric’s forehead, reflecting the light from behind me. He is very serious.<br><br>“Madam, maybe these things you cannot understand. But even physically, he has been doing things. I am having so many challenges in life. Josephine has gone (this was Eric’s girlfriend, who was always way out of his league in my opinion), and Gilbert even today, he…. Well I must confess there was a problem in this house today”<br><br>Eric went on to explain that Gilbert had called a certain driver and started to talk to him loudly about how Eric had not been pulling his weight around the house, implying he was useless, and ‘damaging’ his name. Eric then came out of his room and they argued. Gilbert is a liar and possibly a witch?!<br><br>I was really not sure why the two of them would be arguing, nor what I was expected to do. But mostly I was pinching myself, wondering if really, I had been called out to hear that one of my staff was trying to kill the other spiritually. Juju. Again. This theme keeps reappearing.<br><br>And it’s not just among the relatively uneducated. Making that assumption would be to miss the undercurrent and remain completely oblivious to how this society functions.<br><br>I got up this morning with last night’s event freshly in my mind. I greeted Gilbert who was busy making eggs and saw Eric through the window. He was wielding a machete, and hacking away at the overgrown weeds. He gave me a look. His eyes narrowed, his brow furrowed. And he nodded. As if we had shared something… as if I should now understand… Yet I just smiled and carried on as the shallow obruni I am.<br><br>I arrived at work, thinking I’d left behind the sinister world of magic cooks and revengeful gardeners… and then I saw <a href=\"http://vibeghana.com/2011/05/10/npp-mp-mills-used-magic-ring-to-win-presidency/\">this</a>. <br><br>A respected Member of Parliament in Ghana’s opposition party, on Ghana’s most popular morning television talk show this week, has claimed he has ‘conclusive evidence’ that the current president, John Atta-Mills, used a magic ring to win the election. He apparently wore the ring only during the election campaign – never before and never after. That is the only proof needed apparently. So there it is. Juju. Things I’ll never understand.<br><br>Eric left me with one final comment/warning as we parted ways at my sliding door last night.<br><br>“Madam- there are other things. When you go away Gilbert brings his own things to wash at your house. He delays in doing your things. And madam, I just want to say, THAT IS THE MAN WHO MAKES YOUR FOOD.”<br><br>And he wandered off pensively into the night.<br><br>And there I stood. I looked down. Hello Kitty smiled innocently back up at me. And I acknowledged that I who knows nothing, will have to resign myself to that fact.<br><br><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-we62uEDQ8BY/TckjZukeG6I/AAAAAAAACDo/bBo0EMKfw0k/s1600/fetish.JPG\"><img style=\"display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:638px;height:436px\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-we62uEDQ8BY/TckjZukeG6I/AAAAAAAACDo/bBo0EMKfw0k/s400/fetish.JPG\" alt=\"\" border=\"0\"></a><br><br>Above - a table at a fetish market - selling ingredients for magic brews and curses...."
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    "title" : "At Sea",
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      "content" : "<p></p><p><strong>I.</strong> </p>\n<p>Rudolph says to the sheriff,<br>\n“For five long years you’ve tried.<br>\nAnd you can search as long as you like,<br>\nyou can try with all your might,<br>\nbut I’ll see you in the sweet bye and bye.<br>\nI’ll see you in the sweet bye and bye.” </p>\n<p>Sheriff says to Eric Rudolph,<br>\n“Through caves and abandoned mines,<br>\nWe’ll search through scraps and the old feed sacks.<br>\nIn every old place you could hide.” <br>\n – Ballad of Eric Rudolph, Michael Holland (2008)</p>\n<p><em>For a time, Mr. Rudolph’s success as a fugitive reframed the conflict, from criminal vs. the law to local boy vs. federal intruders. It made him a celebrated underdog, with T-shirts being sold bearing the phrases “Run Rudolph Run” and “Hide and Seek Champion.”</em><br>\n – New York Times, April 9, 2005</p>\n<p>Eric Rudolph <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/09/national/09rudolph.html?sq=eric%20rudolph&amp;st=cse&amp;scp=2&amp;pagewanted=print&amp;position=\">disappeared</a> for five years in the United States. He planted bombs and killed civilians at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, family planning clinics, and a gay club in 1998 and then, went on the run. It was hard to believe, sitting in the States, that someone can disappear like that. We were all in the known universe. I don’t believe at his capture, much was made of him. John Ashcroft called him “the most notorious American fugitive”. This was in 2003. The coverage, which I followed, didn’t make any connection between Rudolph and terrorism or between the plausibility of local help and Rudolph’s long evasion. Rudolph belonged to some other America – not the one where on May 1st, 2003 George W. Bush had declared “Mission Accomplished” and where John Ashcroft was busy <a href=\"http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/pressrel/pr022403.html\">busting potheads</a>. Rudolph was some lingering story – one about battles long over. His acts, his flight, his evasion or his capture had little to offer us.</p>\n<p><strong>II.</strong></p>\n<p><em>Long before, he had become a hero in much of the Islamic world</em>…<br>\n – New York Times, May 2, 2011. </p>\n<p>It is wrong to claim that Osama b. Laden was irrelevant long before he was killed. He wasn’t. He represented, and represents, hundreds of thousands of lives lost since December 2001 when US forces reportedly failed to capture or kill him. He disappeared for the next decade but that absence was filled with wars in Iraq and Pakistan – wars waged on the heads of civilians, among urban centers, and at the cost of trillions. Just the technological developments of killing from the skies accomplished in this decade are mind or moral numbing. No, Osama b. Laden was never irrelevant and he was never off the script. Sure, George W. Bush or Pervez Musharraf told us that the battle was now bigger, the stakes higher and the cost greater, but they were empty words. The deaths of September 11th, 2001 and the destructions that followed hold us accountable – to remember that the cost of those lives began in a bid for this one life. So, we must deal with that life and the narratives it spawned. NYT claims that he was a “hero in much of the Islamic world”. The obituary moves on, and we are left with that “fact”. What are we to make of it? Heroes, after all, were gods and immortals. </p>\n<p><strong>III.</strong></p>\n<p><em>The code name for Bin Laden was “Geronimo.” </em><br>\n- New York Times, May 2, 2010. </p>\n<p>I recently spoke at a conference in Chicago about teaching South Asia critically and I concluded with: </p>\n<blockquote><p>To tell the story of America’s entangled history with South Asia is the first and most basic step in teaching South Asia critically. Elihu Yale, who lived and worked in India for nearly three decades with the British East India Company from 1670 to 1699 donated to the Collegiate School of Connecticut three bales of goods- Madras cotton, silk and other textiles from India – laying the foundation of their first building. The first seated chair of Sanskrit emerged at Yale. In 1800 when Alexander Dow negotiated yet another treaty with the Sindhi Mirs to establish ports and harbors on the Arabian Sea, he specifically noted that Americans were to kept out of Sindh. The1856 Guano Islands Act passed by Congress claimed for the United States any “unclaimed” island with sufficient supplies of bird waste (to be used as fertiliser by American farmers) by any American entrepreneur, and this annexation to be defended by the US Navy. The list of island territories annexed, claimed or contested – Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines, and so on – is long and scattered around the globe. But that act of Congress is also part of the legal framework that created Guantanamo Bay and that enables drone assassinations in “remote frontier” regions of Pakistan where there “is no rule of law”. The opium trade network which sustained the East India Company coffers in the mid-19th century by supplying Bengal-raised opium to China was remitted through American cotton and that money seeped right into the Southern slave economy.</p>\n<p>These entanglements disrupt the teleologies of postcolonial study in the United States, and they complicate the relationship of the academic to the funding bodies, to the region, and to the student. The politics of provincializing Europe are all too evident but the necessity to provincialize America bears laying out. We must look at the American state-war on the Native American populations – decreed explicitly by the post-Civil War Congress. We need to look at the barbary Muslim pirates in whose encounters American power first went ashore. We need to look at the American imperial gaze that stretched out towards the West and called it the open Frontier and sought to settle it, sought to categorize its people, its histories, build ethnographic portraits of the good Indians and the bad Indians. It is of utmost importance to our understanding of the American engagement with the Tribe post 2005 that we recall the work of John Wesley Powell and the Bureau of American Ethnology. We need to pay as much attention to Locke, Jefferson, Whitman, Turner, Wilson as we do to Hegel or Heidegger or Bentnick or Curzon.</p></blockquote>\n<p>The “Indians” or the “hostiles” as they were once named remain an indelible part of our national myth. The myopia we extend out to the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan exists in North Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma. We have programmed forgetfulness in our civic and political lives. We have enabled our academic lives to non-entities in the public sphere. </p>\n<p><strong>IV.</strong></p>\n<p><em>I go myself, as agent of the British Government, to a Court of the language and manners of which I am utterly ignorant, and to accomplish that of which the most sanguine have no hope. It is simply a matter of duty</em> .<br>\n- James Abbott, <em><a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=toIEAAAAQAAJ\">Narrative of a Journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow and St Petersburgh</a></em> (1843)</p>\n<p>Abbottabad was named to memorialize the service of Sir James Abbott, commissioner of the Hezara region. One can say that he became immortal.</p>\n<p><strong>V.</strong></p>\n<p><em>So I would have no objection if we picked out a country that is a likely suspect and bombed some oil fields, refineries, bridges, highways, industrial complexes, airports, military bases, and anything else that is of great value but doesn’t shelter innocent civilians. If it happens to be the wrong country, well, too bad, but it’s likely it did something to deserve it anyway. Or would in the future. And its leaders, as well as other troublemakers, would get the message: Terrorism is too costly a game.</em></p>\n<p>President Clinton says we should be cautious about placing blame or taking action. OK. But when the time comes for punishment, it wouldn’t be an eye for eye. That’s just a swap. We should take both eyes, ears, nose, the entire anatomy. That’s how to make a lasting impression.<br>\n – Mike Royko, April 21, 1995, Chicago Tribune</p>\n<p>Salman Rushdie wants <a href=\"http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-02/salman-rushdie-pakistans-deadly-game/\">Pakistan to be declared a terrorist nation</a> and expelled from the “comity of nations”. To Rushdie a 6 ft 4in man wandering around a country of 5 ft 8in plebeians without getting noticed is inconceivable and, hence, the entire 180 million must pay the price. They were all in the know. Keeping mum even as drones kept killing their lots; even as the Taliban kept blowing up hotels, police compounds, intelligence agency offices, shrines and hospitals; even as the US kept endorsing and supporting dictatorial power over them; even as the US kept funding their military to the tune of tens of billions while “non-humanitarian aid” was pegged to a billion or so; even as an earthquake and a flood shook their geography loose. The millions of Pakistan kept their quiet, maybe giggling in anticipation of whenever Uncle Sam would catch them in the act. Now they have been caught! The ISI knew! This validates all the drones missiles! It means MORE DRONE MISSILES! Yeah. That is what it means. They were all in it, Rushdie. Every stinking lying one of them. </p>\n<p>Royko wrote what I quote above after the Oklahoma City Bombing. I remember that morning. I was ironing my clothes for my night shift at the restaurant. I remember Connie Chung breathlessly telling me that men of Middle Eastern hue had been seen fleeing the scene. She was literally out of breath: The war in the Middle East has finally come to the United States. Royko was similarly shocked and convinced. It wasn’t important that almost immediately the call had went out to look for white caucasian suspects. <a href=\"http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=11412\">Later</a>, in October 2001, we kept hearing that Timothy McVeigh got his training or his weapon or something from Iraq. Royko’s wish came true – we got both ears, nose, the entire anatomy. Maybe Rushdie’s wish would come true as well. Who remembers Geronimo anyways?</p>\n<div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:dnMXMwOfBR0\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=dnMXMwOfBR0\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:D7DqB2pKExk\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?i=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:D7DqB2pKExk\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:V_sGLiPBpWU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?i=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:V_sGLiPBpWU\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=dN5A7N3Z_LU:RRiioet-qDM:qj6IDK7rITs\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=qj6IDK7rITs\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/chapatimystery/~4/dN5A7N3Z_LU\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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      "content" : "<p>It was worth a smile at breakfast that morning in February 2006, a scrap of social currency to take out into the world. Michael Porter, the Harvard Business School management guru, had grown famous offering competitive strategies to firms, regions, whole nations.  Earlier he had taken on the problems of inner cities, health care and climate change.  Now he was about to tackle perhaps the hardest problem of all (that is, after the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq).</p>\n<p>He had become adviser to Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya.</p>\n<p>There at the bottom of the front page of the <em>Financial Times</em> was a <a href=\"http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/35f5a62a-98d0-11da-aa99-0000779e2340.html#ixzz1HcbG7tI2\">story</a> that no one else had that day, or any other – a scoop. It turned out that Porter and his friend Daniel Yergin and the consulting firms which they had respectively co-founded and founded, Monitor Group and Cambridge Energy Research Associates, had been working for a year on a plan to diversify the Libyan economy away from its heavy dependence on oil. Their teams had conducted more than 2,000 interviews with “small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs as well as Libyan and foreign business leaders.” (Both men are better-known as celebrated authors:  Porter for <em>Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors</em><em> and The Competitive Advantage of Nations</em>, Yergin for <em>The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power</em> and <em>The Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy</em>.)</p>\n<p>The next day Porter would <a href=\"http://www.isc.hbs.edu/pdf/2006-0209_Libya.pdf\">present</a> the 200-page document they had prepared in a ceremony in Tripoli. Gadhafi himself might attend. The <em>FT</em> had seen a copy of the report, which envisaged a glorious future under the consultants’ plan. If all went well, it said, then by 2019 – the 50th anniversary of the military coup that brought Col. Gadhafi to power – Libya would have “one of the fastest rates of business formation in the world,” making it a regional leader contributing to the “wealth and stability of surrounding nations.”</p>\n<p>From Cairo, the <em>FT</em>’s William Wallis reported:</p>\n<blockquote><p>The Harvard project is part of the efforts of Saif al-Islam, the colonel’s son, to restore Libya’s international legitimacy after his father’s renunciation of weapons of mass destruction and Tripoli’s agreement to pay compensation to the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie aircraft bombing.</p></blockquote>\n<p>A year later, in February 2007, <em>BusinessWeek</em> trumpeted the relationship, <a href=\"http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/feb2007/gb20070220_956124.htm\">first </a>on the eve of another Porter lecture on the “New Dawn” in Tripoli, then <a href=\"http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_11/b4025061.htm\">again</a> a month later. The Cambridge, Mass., firm that Porter had started fifteen years before with seven other HBS professors had become. <em>BW</em> reported, “deeply engaged in overhauling the Mediterranean petro-state.” It wasn’t clear, the magazine noted, that partial bank privatization and “mini-MBAs” for some 250 emerging leaders would prevail over statism and red tape.</p>\n<p>We now know that Gadhafi’s son bribed his way into his PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE); that Monitor Group had been paid to help him write his dissertation there (much of which apparently turns out to have been <a href=\"http://saifalislamgaddafithesis.wikia.com/wiki/Plagiarism\">plagiarized</a>, anyway); that the Libyan government was paying Monitor $250,000 a month for its services; that, according to <em>The New York Times</em>, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund today owns a portion of Pearson PLC, the conglomerate that publishes the <em>Financial Times</em> and <em>The Economist;</em> that the whole deal quietly fell apart two years later.</p>\n<p>Sir Howard Davies resigned earlier this month as director of the LSE after it was disclosed he had accepted a ₤1.5 million donation in 2009 from a charity controlled by Saif Gadhafi.</p>\n<p>It turns out that Monitor also proposed to write a book boosting Gadhafi as “one of the most recognizable individuals on the planet,” promised to generate positive press, and to bring still more prominent academics, policymakers and journalists  to Libya, according to Farah Stockman of <em>The Boston Globe</em>. She did a banner job of pursuing the details she found in <a href=\"http://www.libya-nclo.com/Portals/0/pdf%20files/A%20Proposal%20for%20Expanding%20the%20Dialogue%20around%20the%20Ideas%20of%20Muammar%20Qadhafi.pdf\">A Proposal For Expanding the Dialogue Surrounding the Ideas of Moammar Khadafy</a>, a proposal from Mark Fuller in 2007 that a Libyan opposition group posted on the Web.</p>\n<p>Among those enlisted were Sir Anthony Giddens, former director of the LSE; Francis Fukuyama, then of Johns Hopkins University; Benjamin Barber, of Rutgers University (emeritus); Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT’s Media Lab; Robert Putnam and Joseph Nye, both former deans of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Nye received a fee and wrote a <a href=\"http://www.tnr.com/article/tripoli-diarist?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true\">broadly sympathetic account</a> of his three-hour visit with Gadhafi for <em>The New Republic</em>. He also told the <em>Globe</em>’s Stockman he had commented on a chapter of Saif’s doctoral dissertation. (When <em>The New Republic</em> scolded Nye earlier this month, after <em>Mother Jones</em> magazine <a href=\"http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/libya-qaddafi-monitor-group\">disclosed</a> the fee, Nye replied that his original manuscript implied that he had been employed as a consultant by Monitor, but that the phrase had been edited out).</p>\n<p>Connoisseurs of the consultant’s art will relish Monitor’s 2007 proposal, with its elaborate plan to write and sell a book about Gadhafi as a world-historical figure to a major publisher, and its hints of prospective visits from Cass Sunstein, future constitutional adviser to President Barack Obama (“positive preliminary conversation”) and Nelson Mandela. No memo dated before Porter’s February 2006 appearance in Tripoli has surfaced yet. An earlier <a href=\"http://libya-nclo.com/Portals/0/pdf%20files/Monitor2.pdf\">letter of understanding</a>, dated May 2006, stated that “Monitor is not a lobbying organization.”</p>\n<p>But the lobbying law may be involved, as <a href=\"http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2011/03/01/us-consulting-group-working-for-libya-did-not-register-as-foreign-agent\">noted</a> earlier this month by Paul Blumenthal, of the Sunlight Foundation.. Last week Monitor <a href=\"http://www.monitor.com/AboutUs/News/tabid/56/ctl/NewsDetail/mid/653/CID/20112403105223135/CTID/2/L/en-US/Default.aspx\">acknowledged</a> it may have a problem with the Foreign Agents Registration Act and hired an outside counsel to advise its internal investigation. Chances are we’ll hear more about this.</p>\n<p>Curiously enough, Porter’s name didn’t appear in the <em>Boston Globe</em> account until the twelfth paragraph under the headline “Local Consultants Aided Gadhafi/Cambridge firm tried to polish his image”, well below the continuation of the article on an inside page.  Stockman’s account of Porter’s explanation is worth quoting in full.</p>\n<blockquote><p>Monitor’s work in Libya began when Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor who is among the country’s top theorists on management strategies, received a call from Saif Gadhafi around 2001, according to Porter. Saif, a western-leaning doctoral student who US officials hoped would become the next leader of Libya, asked for his expertise to help change Libya’s battered, Soviet-style economy.</p>\n<p>Porter met Saif and several Libyan ministers in London but said he could not help until Libya resolved the issues that had earned it international condemnation, including the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  The terrorist attack killed all 259 passengers and crew and 11 villagers.</p>\n<p>“I remember telling Saif, ‘We can’t do anything until you settle your dispute with the rest of the world,’” Porter recalled in a recent interview.</p>\n<p>In the next few years Libya offered compensation to the Lockerbie victims and gave up its nuclear weapons program, putting it on a path of normalize relations with the United States.</p>\n<p>So in 2005, Porter agreed to be a senior adviser on a program, to lay out a blueprint for reforms.</p></blockquote>\n<p>He told the <em>Globe</em>’s Stockman he ended his personal involvement in later 2007, after he realized “that the reforms were going nowhere when a person who opposed them was appointed head of the group charged with implementing them.”</p>\n<p>Why did a couple of guys as smart at Porter and Yergin become involved in such a mug’s game?  It is always possible that Porter thought really thought Saif Gadhafi was full of promise as a democratic reformer when they met. (Today Saif is back in Tripoli, vowing to fight “to the last bullet.”) It is possible that Porter thought the Bush administration would welcome the access to Libyan business that he and Yergin gained through their project. Nicholas Negroponte’s brother John was, after all, Director of National Intelligence from 2005-07.</p>\n<p>It’s true, too, that Harvard University was in no way institutionally involved. After its mission to advise the Russian government on behalf of the US State department collapsed in 1997 amid a welter of conflict of interest charges, Harvard closed its Institute for International Development. After losing a long court battle, and partly as a consequence of it, the university relieved Lawrence Summers of his presidency (but made him a university professor) and revoked economics professor Andrei Shleifer’s endowed chair.</p>\n<p>But Porter is also a <a href=\"http://www.harvard.edu/about/university_professors.php\">university professor</a>, one of just twenty who hold Harvard’s highest honor. Monitor consultants and journalists writing about the Libyan program have indiscriminately brandished the Harvard name. How can he have been so personally reckless?</p>\n<p>I’ve followed Porter’s <a href=\"http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2000/12.07/01-michaelporter.html\">career</a> with interest for twenty-five years. Some part of the explanation for his interest in Libya surely has to do with a nearly boundless sense of personal efficacy. A fine student-athlete – an All-American golfer for Princeton in 1968 – Porter graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering and then moved easily into technical economics at Harvard, managing a rock band in his spare time.</p>\n<p>The 1970s were a time of great ferment in theories of industrial organization. As Harvard undergraduates, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer honed their wits in A. Michael Spence’s advanced micro course, before Gates went out into the world to found Microsoft. By the end of the decade, Porter decided his competitive advantage lay in codifying the latest understandings for corporate executives. Three spectacular business best-sellers followed.</p>\n<p>Porter became a rising star in the Reagan administration; a frequent consultant to governments around the world in the 1990s; proprietor (with Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University), of a Global Competitiveness Report; a peripatetic adviser to corporations large and small; and, by 2000, the single most famous professor at the Harvard Business School. He advised presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2007. <a href=\"http://www.isc.hbs.edu/stateprofiles.htm\">Here</a> he is addressing the National Governor’s Association last month about budget balancing.</p>\n<p>But there is also all that Libyan oil and money. The sovereign wealth fund at its peak was worth $70 billion or so, all of it operating under the indirect control of Saif Gadhafi. Income from Libya’s oil production is as much as $40 billion a year. The US eased its sanctions on Libya in April 2004, permitting US companies to bid on Libyan oil and gas for the first time in twenty years, <a href=\"http://web.archive.org/web/20080614195109/http:/www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Libya/Oil.html\">sparking considerable interest</a> in a country whose plentiful reserves can cost as little as $1/bbl to lift. Libya’s “new dawn” would be well lubricated, in any event. Porter and Yergin signed on to coach the country less than a year later.</p>\n<p>In a statement last week, Monitor wrote that “just a few years ago many saw a period of promise in Libya.”  That was certainly true in Cambridge. What dissenting Libyans in Tripoli witnessed was a parade of well-paid visitors flattering their half-mad dictator, and a <a href=\"http://feb17.info/news/monitor-group-planned-training-for-khadafy%E2%80%99s-security-apparatus-in-libya\">squad of Harvard-connected consultants</a> bent on creating a National Security Organization for the government, designed to augment the existing security apparatus with a new corps of MBA-trained personnel officers.</p>\n<p>I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Porter to give some evidence of contrition about his mission to Tripoli. Sir Howard Davies may have resigned as director of the LSE (“The short point is that I am responsible for the school’s reputation and that has suffered”), but being a Harvard professor apparently means never having to say you’re sorry. Perhaps instead the university will find some way to rein in on its professors’ more self-serving ambitions.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/share_save\">Share/Bookmark</a> </p>"
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      "content" : "So The Wife and I were blessed with a baby girl yesterday. A bundle of joy, 6 and a half pounds of loveliness, we couldn't be more elated. We'll have the outdooring (naming ceremony) in due course. Like all new parents, it's all about change, lots of change to our life, and an abundance of love. <br><br>The Wife had also been labouring to deliver her book manuscript to the publisher and, in the race between baby and book, our child barely won by two nagging footnotes, it was a close run thing, you know. The one was all sweetness and the other is to be titled, Bitter Roots. My own role was minor: a shoulder to rest on, a hand to squeeze, a chauffeur, cheerleader, cook and a proud husband - oh, and a copy editor.<br><br>I expect to be spending lots of quality time with the new addition to the family so blogging and everything else will be fitful at best, and diaper-constrained for certain. In mitigation, I've written <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/1037202940/\">a whole lot already</a> over the past 6 years and even have some toli queued up for episodic release.<br><br>In the meantime, allow me to bask in parenthood.<br><br><h4>Soundtrack for this note</h4><br><ul><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002H5K/korantenstoli-20\">Teddy Pendergrass - Joy</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004SZWD/korantenstoli-20\">Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely?</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001EFC/korantenstoli-20\">Bobby Byrd - No One Like My Baby</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004T3XI/korantenstoli-20\">The Meters - Just Kissed My Baby</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001FOT/korantenstoli-20\">Tony! Toni! Toné! - Baby Doll</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IL29/korantenstoli-20\">Herbie Hancock - Little One</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000WH2/korantenstoli-20\">UB40 - Baby</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E97HEE/korantenstoli-20\">Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000006L4R/korantenstoli-20\">Prince And The New Power Generation - Sweet Baby</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003U9O4H8/korantenstoli-20\">Bilal - Little One</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008WT4P/korantenstoli-20\">The O'Jays - You've Got Your Hooks In Me</a></li></ul><br><br><span>File under: <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/life\" rel=\"tag\">life</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/family\" rel=\"tag\">family</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/baby\" rel=\"tag\">baby</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/parenthood\" rel=\"tag\">parenthood</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/birth\" rel=\"tag\">birth</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/joy\" rel=\"tag\">joy</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/toli\" rel=\"tag\">toli</a></span>"
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/koranteng/\">amaah</a> posted a photo:</p>\n\t\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5467489737/\" title=\"Rawlings and Gaddafi on cover of Talking Drums magazine, 1986-01-13 - Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute - Doe pledges reconciliation\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5260/5467489737_806ffded22_m.jpg\" width=\"182\" height=\"240\" alt=\"Rawlings and Gaddafi on cover of Talking Drums magazine, 1986-01-13 - Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute - Doe pledges reconciliation\"></a></p>\n\n<p>Rawlings and Gaddafi on the cover<br>\nThe Flight Lieutenant and the Colonel<br>\nGhana and Libya<br>\nBlood and Sin<br>\n<br>\n<a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2011/02/he-of-little-green-book.html\" rel=\"nofollow\">He of The Little Green Book</a>, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, came to Ghana in December 1985 to meet his younger brother in arms and blood, Jerry Rawlings. We asked ourselves: why are these men laughing?<br>\n<br>\nTop stories in this issue:<br>\n- Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute <br>\n- President Doe of Liberia pledges reconciliation</p>"
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      "content" : "Events are fast outpacing the best laid plans of both dictators and mere toli mongers, thus, although the theme fits the bill, I have had to bring forward the piece I promised almost four years ago as a follow up to <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2007/04/excellent-discussions.html#excellent\">the theater of that secret video of Gaddafi that was leaked to me</a>. The current atrocities and low rent circumstances however necessitate light verse, or even doggerel, rather than the intended prose poem. Thus I give you another entry in the <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2006/03/things-fall-apart.html\">Things Fall Apart Series</a>, file this under the banner of Fallen Angels.<br><br><h3>I. He of The Little Green Book</h3><br>He of The Little Green Book was <a href=\"http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-823448,36-990243@51-987190,0.html\">in Paris</a> the other day<br>A grand tour, part of <a href=\"http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-colonel-who-came-in-from-the-cold-libya-opens-its-doors-to-the-west-438936.html\">an awakening</a> some might say<br><br>Hospitality and social graces were extended his way<br>Amnesty International had to make do with dismay<br><br>Inconvenient topics, blood and sin, never to be discussed.<br>He went hunting, or, as his hosts put it, <a href=\"http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,496711,00.html\">faire la chasse</a>.<br><br>The tumult of the entourage and the ceremonial band<br>The <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/7037403/\">customary bodyguards</a>, as always, were close at hand.<br><br>He pitched his travel tent on the lawn of the Grand Palais<br>And lectured his hosts on human rights throughout the day<br><br>An oasis of oil and gas under his land<br>He'd built up a legacy of blood-soaked sand.<br><br>Self-importance, one can always understand<br>The revolutionary principles, however, damned the man.<br><br>Epigrams, ludicrous even without translation<br>And with translation, worthy of the blandest corporation.<br><br>Claimed to be a Guide with revolutionary notions<br>To life, the Brother Leader presented solutions<br><br>You've heard no doubt about the \"Third Universal Theory\"<br>And of course \"The Solution of the Problem of Democracy\"<br><br>\"The Authority of the People\" was his starting point<br>His modus operandi however was blood, from joint to joint<br><br>The social and economic basis of this here distributed theory<br>Was, in practice, a political axis of corruption, not the first in history<br><br>Newspapers throughout Libya were <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/12/world/africa/12libya.html?ex=1331352000&amp;en=945e955c7dd23381&amp;ei=5090&amp;partner=rssuserland&amp;emc=rss\">organs of adulation</a><br>He of The Little Green Book, officially venerated as a philosopher-king<br><br>...<br><br>Back home in Ghana <acronym title=\"1983-1986 were terrible years of blood and man-made famine courtesy of Rawlings and the PNDC\">at the depth of our despair</acronym><br>When books were scarce, and food shelves were laid bare<br><br>He of The Little Green Book made a donation<br>A token of the good Colonel's appreciation<br><br>A thousand copies of The Little Green Book<br>Brotherly solidarity, extended to the Ghanaian pocketbook<br><br>The generosity of his wisdom, to be shared far and wide.<br>Our universities, the recipients of his vacuous bromides<br><br>We'd learned heavy lessons about what he called revolution<br>\"Crush the dissent\", \"Don't brook any opposition\".<br><br>Thus, ever since the <abbr title=\"Jerry Rawlings\">Flight Lieutenant</abbr>'s arrival<br>We'd had to develop a new <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2009/03/poetry-as-cultural-memory.html\">philosophy of survival</a><br><br>At markets, we would fight over corned beef and sardine tins<br>Throughout I kept asking myself: why are these men laughing?<br><br><div style=\"text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5467489737/\" title=\"Rawlings and Gaddafi on cover of Talking Drums magazine 1986-01-13 - Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute - Doe pledges reconciliation\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5260/5467489737_806ffded22.jpg\" width=\"379\" height=\"500\" alt=\"Rawlings and Gaddafi on cover of Talking Drums magazine 1986-01-13 - Ghana stands by Libya in US dispute - Doe pledges reconciliation\" style=\"display:inline\" border=\"0\"></a></div><br><br>...<br><br>He of The Little Green Book was <a href=\"http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1192117/Colonel-Gaddafis-Mr-Berlusconi--Silvio-taken-Libyan-leaders-honour-guard.html\">in Italy the other day</a><br>Introducing good old Silvio to a rarefied kind of play<br><br><a href=\"http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/201006/silvio-berlusconi-profile?printable=true\">Bunga bunga parties</a> were on the menu<br>Gas and oil deals discussed, and matters of revenue  <br><br>On Putin's bed, it was eroticism incarnate<br>Sexual gymnastics, the orgies very articulate<br><br>They were men who thumbed their noses at everyone else<br>Impunity their lifeblood, they were enamoured of self<br><br>A cushy life, lived surrounded by buxom Ukrainians<br>They were gremlins and parasites, or rather, rogue authoritarians<br><br>Mercurial, the journalists would call him, and I think it was a cop out<br>For he was severe in the application of power, of that there can be no doubt<br><br>Adept at the <a href=\"http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2007/08/20/libya_a_foreign_policy_test_ca/#comment-290768\">shell game</a> of diplomacy in latter times<br>Don't forget the expedient dumping of allies at the drop of a dime<br><br>There's even an <a href=\"http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1862017,00.html\">opera about him, Gaddafi</a>, do take a look<br>Although it points out inconsistencies in <a href=\"http://www.mathaba.net/gci/theory/gb.htm\">The Little Green Book</a><br><br>Fear not, in the pantheon where Chairman Mao had his Red Book<br>You can share the luminous thoughts of He of The Little Green Book<br><br>A slight never forgotten, that's what brought him here<br>The clannish sensibility of a cold-blooded dictator<br><br>He of The Little Green Book thus always made it clear<br>He'd kill you and your family no matter when or <a href=\"http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&amp;id=2286553\">where</a><br><br>Stories of <a href=\"http://allafrica.com/stories/200805260016.html?viewall=1\">plots to bomb dissidents in Kenya</a>, Egypt or <a href=\"http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30D1FFF3F540C738DDDAF0894DC404482&amp;pagewanted=print\">Saudi Arabia</a><br>Only made it clear to everyone that the world was his oyster<br><br>In newspapers, the subject was always elided:<br>The khat, and other drugs that made him funeral minded<br><br>Conspiratorial notions were his living condition<br>He ascribed drunkenness and drug-taking to any opposition<br><br>...<br><br>He of The Little Green Book <a href=\"http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Muammar+al-Gaddafi/Vladimir+Putin\">met Vladimir Putin the other day</a><br>It was the usual circus, the large retinue come what may. <br><br>Luxurious modesty was how he liked to call it,<br>He lived for the bustle around him, confident he could take Putin's judo hit<br><br>Like a palm tree rising in an oasis surrounded by blight.<br>The other leaders would be shown in their proper pedestrian light. <br><br>The desert savvy, the endurance of those who were truly able<br>By sheer will to conquer the shifting sands, of that he was quite capable <br><br>For months at a time he would go out there on a bend<br>Then emerge seemingly untroubled if not exuberant. <br><br>Men of will who forced their views on clans and the whole world. <br>The caliber of revolutionary, visionary men on the road to hell.<br><br>Take The Little Green Book - a blueprint for life itself,<br>To be studied and internalized, it even dealt with public health!<br><br>An <a href=\"http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8107876.stm\">unbroken chain of leadership</a>, he outlasted Chairman Mao. <br>Who else had such a claim? He even beat <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/world/africa/15libreville.html\">Omar Bongo</a>.<br><br>And <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/05/1\"><em>that</em> kleptocrat</a>, only <abbr title=\"and only Sarkozy at that\">the French</abbr> cared about him<br>The real prize, as you know, was to indulge in blood and sin.<br><br>No, it was only right, he belonged in the history books. <br>In any gathering he would stand out, opinions as sharp as his looks. <br><br>And he had put them down - the opinions that is, <br>Distilled them for present and future generations. <br><br>The <a href=\"http://blogs.aljazeera.net/sites/default/files/imagecache/FeaturedImagePost/images/gaddafigreenbook_crop.jpg\">Little Green Book</a>, the wisdom for the ages. <br>A guide for <a href=\"http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,964515,00.html\">the world</a>, a guide for revolutions.<br><br>Battle-tested in countless countries, comprehensive and worldly <br>Luminous as only the folk wisdom of desert guides could be. <br><br>...<br><br>He of The Little Green Book <a href=\"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1553044/Blair-Gaddafi-and-the-BP-oil-deal.html\">met Tony Blair the other day</a><br>That sad sack, for whatever reason, again thought he'd have some sway<br><br>He of The Little Green Book couldn't believe the ease of the bamboozle<br>Of course, we could have told him he was dealing with Bush's poodle  <br><br>Then later, remember, there was an audience with <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/world/africa/08diplo.html?ex=1378612800&amp;en=d47f72d9a79b1ce0&amp;ei=5124&amp;partner=permalink&amp;exprod=permalink\">Condoleeza</a><br>And a call subsequently for a <a href=\"http://www.worldpress.org/Africa/2849.cfm\">United States of Africa</a><br><br>US policy to the dictator was clear: coddle and let's make nice<br>His gifts, in return, were choice to the talented Miss Rice:<br><br>Diamond trinkets, a locket, and a copy of The Little Green Book<br>A sidelong glance, oil and gas contracts were the inevitable hook<br><br>Those Swiss bank accounts, how prosaic wouldn't you think?<br>Well, even an uncommon criminal needs money to drink<br><br>A bloodthirsty murderer that we indulged like no other<br>Willing to shoot children before their own grandmothers<br><br>He'd even bomb bystanders, he didn't believe in innocence<br>The legacy of a pariah devoid of all human sense<br><br>Months later it was declared, and this was no small thing,<br>Colonel <a href=\"http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7588033.stm\">Gaddafi would be the king of kings</a><br><br>Thus, among traditional leaders on the continent, he was elected<br>Well, according to his bank statements, he was rather <a href=\"http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8485477.stm\">self-selected</a><br><br><div style=\"text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7588033.stm\"><img src=\"http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44970000/jpg/_44970009_libya466afp.jpg\" width=\"466\" height=\"300\" style=\"display:inline\" border=\"0\" alt=\"Gaddafi king of kings\"></a></div><br><br>...<br><br>But back to that time period I alluded to earlier<br>In a Ghana fraught with dubious revolution and political theater<br><br>Perhaps I should not venture into matters eschatological<br>As indeed my doggerel rather tends towards the scatological<br><br>Let me not lose the rhyming meter, indulge my light verse<br>I'm congenitally incapable of engaging in anything terse<br><br>My father, the law school dean, was very precise<br>And, truth be told, what he recalled back then wasn't very nice<br><br>Thankfully it flew under the radar of Rawlings' dispensation:<br>It was about the application of the good Colonel's donation<br><br>In Ghana's scarcity, nothing went to waste:<br>'Twas a grim outlook<br><br>He'd photocopy his lecture notes for students;<br>They'd have to do as a textbook<br><br>As he thumbed through thousands of the Colonel's pristine pages<br>He was minded that, in our country, there were even paper shortages<br><br>We really had no time for this Third Universal Theory<br>It was a undoubtedly a low moment in all of Ghana's history<br><br>The memory, then, should come as no surprise to you, Dear Reader:<br>The pages of The Little Green Book were used as toilet paper.<br><br>...<br><br><div style=\"text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5468261014/\" title=\"The Little Green Book is dismantled\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5468261014_f5dd2dedc7.jpg\" width=\"460\" height=\"287\" alt=\"The Little Green Book  is dismantled\" style=\"display:inline\" border=\"0\"></a></div><br><br><h3><a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2007/04/excellent-discussions.html#excellent\">II. Excellent Discussions</a></h3><br>The issue was blood and sin.<br><br><h3>III. Lest We Forget</h3><br>Field notes on a legacy of blood...<blockquote>Prosecutor: Was there ideology taught in the camp?<br><br>Witness: Yes, what we learned in the <a href=\"http://www.mathaba.net/gci/theory/gb.htm\">Mataba</a> was about how to share the wealth of your government - about <strong>the distribution of wealth</strong>.<br><br>Prosecutor: This Mataba, did you receive any books or lesson papers in that ideology?<br><br>Witness: The ideology was taught in Mataba itself. They had a school to learn the ideology. <strong>You learned about the Green Book. How governments are cheating other governments</strong>.<br><br>— <a href=\"http://www.charlestaylortrial.org/2008/05/14/200-taylors-former-vice-president-governments-of-libya-burkina-faso-and-ivory-coast-supported-taylors-1989-invasion-of-liberia/\">Taylor's former vice president: governments of Libya, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast supported Taylor's 1989 invasion of Liberia</a></blockquote><hr width=\"10%\" align=\"center\"><blockquote>Prosecutor: At what age do you say you were abducted by the RUF?<br>Witness: 11 years.<br>Prosecutor: Had you been to school up to that time?<br>Witness: Yes.<br>Prosecutor: In what languages were you taught at school?<br>Witness: English.<br>Prosecutor: From what age did you attend school up to the time you were abducted at age 11?<br>Witness: I don't know the age at which I went to school. I don't know the age.<br>Prosecutor: How many years had you been in school by the time you were abducted at age 11?<br>Witness: Six years.<br>Prosecutor: After you were abducted, at some point you have told us in evidence you had some lessons from the RUF. That's right, isn't it?<br>Witness: Yes.<br>Prosecutor: Were you at some time <strong>made to read passages of Colonel Gaddafi's Little Green Book by the RUF</strong>?<br>Witness: <strong>The Green Book. They called it the Revolutionary Green Book. They said it was from Libya, from Mohamed Gaddafi. Yes, I read that one.</strong><br>Prosecutor: In what language?<br>Witness: In English. Everything was in English.<br>Prosecutor: So you speak good English, do you?<br>Witness: The English that I can speak is what I am speaking here. I don't have any other English. As you hear me speaking I don't have it above that and I don't have it below that. That is what I am speaking here.<br>Prosecutor: So, what was taught in English apart from the Green Book?<br>Witness: The Green Book when they read it they would read it in English and they would interpret it, because there were people who did not understand English and so they would interpret it into Krio to them, but some of us who were able to read a little bit when they spoke the English we would understand. That was why I said everything was in English.<br><br>— <a href=\"http://www.sc-sl.org/Transcripts/Taylor/22August2008.pdf\">Transcript of child soldier's testimony. The special court on Sierra Leone</a>, 22 August 2008</blockquote><hr width=\"10%\" align=\"center\"><blockquote>[Moses] Blah testified about the first time he met <strong>[Charles] Taylor</strong> during his military training in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and <strong>Tripoli, Libya. In Libya, he trained with a group of Gambians, as well as a group of Sierra Leoneans led by Foday Sankoh</strong>. Blah testified that Sankoh referred to Taylor as \"chief.\" Blah recounted that the first time he saw Taylor, Taylor introduced himself as \"chief\" and named the soldiers the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Taylor also appointed Blah as Adjutant General of the NPFL.<br><br>— <a href=\"http://charlestaylortrial.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/may-2008-trial-report2.pdf\">Charles Taylor trial report (pdf),</a> May 2008</blockquote><hr width=\"10%\" align=\"center\"><blockquote>After listening to 91 prosecution witnesses over the past 18 months, Taylor said people had referred to his forces as if they \"were brutes and savages: We are not. I am not.\"<br><br>Still, the former president acknowledged that <strong>skulls of Liberian soldiers were displayed at strategic roadblocks in 1990</strong>.<br><br><strong>\"They were enemy skulls and we didn’t think that symbol was anything wrong,\" he said. \"I did not consider it bad judgment. I did not order them removed.\"</strong><br><br>Taylor, who earned an economics degree at Bentley College (now University) in Waltham, said <strong>he had seen images of skulls used in many \"<abbr title=\"Skull and Bones\">fraternal organizations</abbr>\" and Western universities</strong>.<br><br>He also acknowledged that atrocities were committed in Liberia by \"bad apples\" and renegade soldiers, but said <strong>he had taught his small band of rebels - from their initial training in Libya - to abide by the laws of war</strong>.<br><br>\"We found out that they were taking place, and we acted to bring those responsible to justice,\" he said. Rebel soldiers who committed excesses were court-martialed and sometimes executed, but civilian judicial institutions were left in place in areas under rebel control, he said.<br><br>— <a href=\"http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2009/07/17/taylor_defends_displaying_of_human_skulls_at_roadblocks/\">Taylor defends displaying of human skulls at roadblocks</a>, Associated Press / July 17, 2009</blockquote>He of The Little Green Book and his brothers in blood will not be missed.<br><br><h4>Soundtrack for this note</h4><ul><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000YAL/korantenstoli-20\">Miles Davis Quintet - If I Could Write A Book</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001ADD/korantenstoli-20\">Stevie Wonder - You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000477S/korantenstoli-20\">Betty Carter - I Could Write A Book</a></li></ul><br><br><span>File under: <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/rogues\" rel=\"tag\">rogues</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Gaddafi\" rel=\"tag\">Gaddafi</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/poetry\" rel=\"tag\">poetry</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/verse\" rel=\"tag\">verse</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/humour\" rel=\"tag\">humour</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/politics\" rel=\"tag\">politics</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/culture\" rel=\"tag\">culture</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/observation\" rel=\"tag\">observation</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/blood\" rel=\"tag\">blood</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/satire\" rel=\"tag\">satire</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/hatchet%20job\" rel=\"tag\">hatchet job</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Libya\" rel=\"tag\">Libya</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/cruelty=\">cruelty</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/violence\" rel=\"tag\">violence</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Liberia\" rel=\"tag\">Liberia</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Sierra%20Leone\" rel=\"tag\">Sierra Leone</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Ghana\" rel=\"tag\">Ghana</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/history\" rel=\"tag\">history</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Things%20Fall%20Apart\" rel=\"tag\">Things Fall Apart</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/Fallen%20Angels\" rel=\"tag\">Fallen Angels</a>, <a href=\"http://koranteng.blogspot.com/search/label/toli\" rel=\"tag\">toli</a></span>"
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    "title" : "Touring Ghana with a Dutchman",
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      "content" : "Last Saturday and Sunday were 2 great days I got to spend with my Dutch friend Bertil.<br>Papee, my air-condition repair guy was graceful enough to offer to drive us all the way to the Wli falls.<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450742600/\" title=\"wli falls trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/5450742600_891d85470a_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"wli falls trip\"></a><br>We got caught up in crazy traffic at Atimpoku, where Bertil also tasted the smallest fish he’s ever eaten in his life: ONE MAN THOUSAND, as we famously call it in Ghana and of course, he had to have the aboloo too.<br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450741356/\" title=\"wli falls trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4080/5450741356_a0b4077b1c_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"wli falls trip\"></a><br>We decided to hop out of the car and see what the problem was. We found out there was maintenance work going on on the bridge.<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450090135/\" title=\"Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/5450090135_48f15a992b_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Wli Falls Trip\"></a> <br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450089939/\" title=\"Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4135/5450089939_aac47f2da7_b.jpg\" width=\"533\" height=\"800\" alt=\"Wli Falls Trip\"></a><br>These fishermen were oblivious to our plight. I hope they caught a lot of tilapia.<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450697712/\" title=\"Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5217/5450697712_75d3bdc513_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Wli Falls Trip\"></a><br><br>We turned what should have been frustrating time into an exciting adventure. It’s amazing how many girls hit on Bertil. <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450088919/\" title=\"Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5179/5450088919_7702ba7f98_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Wli Falls Trip\"></a><br>It was funny when this guy asked Bertil for his phone number and he being Dutch, looked the guy in the face and smilingly asked him what he wants it for since he’s not a girl. The brother was so shocked he just disappeared. Boy, did I laugh! That’s the tough dutchman drinking pure water. <br><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450089307/\" title=\"Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5178/5450089307_c86074bf9e_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Wli Falls Trip\"></a><br>How many of you know the writing on this vehicle is actually a quotation from the Bible?<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450072883/\" title=\"The Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5259/5450072883_33297f611f_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"The Wli Falls Trip\"></a> Bertil was shocked when I told him. It’s amazing how Dutch people have just generally stopped going to church and turned almost all their churches into nightclubs, musuems, offices etc. They should come and see Ghana, we are turning all our cinemas into churches. That where the money is now, I’m told;)<br><br>I must leave some things for my next post so just go ahead and enjoy these photos and remember, Ghana is a beautiful country with many lovely people; and we would love to have you over, if you’ve never been.<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5450679230/\" title=\"The Wli Falls Trip by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5295/5450679230_3db7354da3_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"The Wli Falls Trip\"></a><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/1392769759109690709-8770626218197269734?l=nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Letter to Affliction",
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      "content" : "<p>Dear ruefulness, dear regret, I’ve rounded<br>\nthe bend and here you are again in the clearing,<br>\neach tree planted like a taper in a circle<br>\nof melted ground. How deep are your roots,<br>\nreally? The sky’s chipped at the rim like an old<br>\npiece of crockery— its white band milky,<br>\nits saucer mismatched. Where’s the calico<br>\nnapkin appliqued with cats? I’ve forgotten<br>\nif I’ve set the table for dinner or for tea.<br>\nPerhaps it’s not too late to take a long<br>\nvacation by the sea. A fleet of sandpipers<br>\nand gulls holds the rocks at siege. The water<br>\nasks over and over, What is the heart?<br>\nYou know it makes a sound louder<br>\nthan any internal combustion engine.<br>\nHere I am waiting for the skin of leaves<br>\nto split open; waiting for lightning<br>\nto marble in the marrow.</p>\n<p>—<a href=\"http://www.blipfoto.com/lizardmeanders\">Luisa A. Igloria</a><br>\n02 17 2011<br>\n<em><br>\nIn response to <a href=\"http://morningporch.com/2011/02/17/159121519/\">today’s Morning Porch entry</a> (and to <a href=\"http://morningporch.com/2011/02/17/159121519/comment-page-1#comment-3005\">another response-poem</a>, by Dale Favier)</em></p>"
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    "title" : "Knowing and Unknowing the Egyptian Public",
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      "content" : "<blockquote><p>“One of the greatest obstacles to any fruitful theory of genre has been the tendency to treat the genres as discrete. An ideological approach might suggest why they can’t be, however hard they might appear to try: at best, they represent different strategies for dealing with the same ideological tensions”</p>\n<p>–Robin Cook, 1977 essay, “Ideology, Genre, Auteur,”</p></blockquote>\n<p>I’ve been thinking about Jay Rosen’s piece on <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://pressthink.org/2011/02/the-twitter-cant-topple-dictators-article/\">“The ‘Twitter Can’t Topple Dictators’ Article,”</a></span> in which he defines articles like <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100075775/mubarak-steps-down-but-lets-be-clear-twitter-had-nothing-to-do-with-it/\">this</a></span>, <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/02/does-egypt-need-twitter.html%20/%20ixzz1CqneJJOu\">this</a></span>, <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/social-media-oppression/\">this</a></span>, and <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/11/tools-of-revolution/\">this</a></span>, as a <em>genre </em>by reference these formal markers:</p>\n<blockquote><p>1.) Nameless fools are staking maximalist claims.<br>\n2.) No links we can use to check the context of those claims.<br>\n3.) The masses of deluded people make an appearance so they can be ridiculed.<br>\n4.) Bizarre ideas get refuted with a straight face.<br>\n5.) Spurious historicity.<br>\n6.) The really hard questions are skirted.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Rosen has the beginnings of an answer as to why the genre has an appeal:</p>\n<blockquote><p>…here’s a guess: almost everyone who cares about such a discussion is excited about the Internet. Almost everyone is a little wary of being fooled by The Amazing and getting carried away. When we <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/malcolm-gladwell-tackles-egypt-twitter\">nod along</a></span> with Twitter Can’t Topple Dictators we’re assuring ourselves that our excitement is contained, that we’re being realistic, mature, grown-up about it.</p></blockquote>\n<p>I think this is right, as far as it goes. But I begin with a citation from Robin Cook’s fairly canonical argument about <em>cinematic </em>genre because he’s emphasizing the importance of placing generic formations in their broader discursive context, and I think this is precisely what we need to do with this brand of writing, now that we‘ve (Rosen) identified its formal characteristics. Its coherence is linked to the problem it seeks to solve and how, the work it takes as its project to do.</p>\n<p>Cook’s argument, for example, is that a Film Noir like <em>The Big Heat</em> and a Western like <em>Rancho Notorious </em>are not only part of the same conversation — which he argues <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=c72Dt4oFu9YC&amp;lpg=PA261&amp;ots=czdkSOpLPl&amp;dq=One%20of%20the%20greatest%20obstacles%20to%20any%20fruitful%20theory%20of%20genre%20has%20been%20the%20tendency%20to%20treat%20the%20genres%20as%20discrete.%20An%20ideological%20approach%20might%20suggest%20why%20they%20can&#39;t%20be%2C%20however%20hard%20they%20might%20appear%20to%20try%3A%20at%20best%2C%20they%20represent&amp;pg=PA261#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">here</a></span>, for example — but that the position they take <em>in</em> that conversation (how they resolve the problems they raise) is at least a partial function of the narratives encoded in the generic structures they employ. To oversimplify: while the Western and the Film Noir are talking about the same kinds of social tensions, anxieties, or contradictions, the position they take on those questions (the answers/resolutions they give) are distinctly organic to their particular generic forms. Context, then, is key: we understand the relationship between Western and Noir (and the function of those generic markers) by placing them as different dialogic parts of a single conversation.</p>\n<p>The goal of doing so would be to liberate the concept of genre from its purely formal characteristics. By attacking “the foolishness of regarding [genres] as discrete and fully autonomous on the grounds of their defining iconography,” as Cook puts it, he wants us to see that the Western or the Noir are coherent <em>ideological </em>structures, not simply a set of clichéd forms. You know it’s a Western, in other words, not because of the simple presence of railroad, lawman, cowboy, Indian, etc, but because of the narratives that these motifs are being used to put forward, the particular kind of story the Western tells about history, progress, gender, and race.</p>\n<p>My version of Rosen’s argument, then, would be this: it is a fantasy of a particular kind of credulousness, which is then so soberly refuted (by sober debunkers) that the overriding impression left for the audience is only of the performance of seriousness itself, and of the credulous enthusiasm which has been dismissed.</p>\n<p>Take <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/02/does-egypt-need-twitter.html#ixzz1DwTnipUG\">this bit</a></span> of rhetoric — much derided — from Malcolm Gladwell:</p>\n<blockquote><p>…surely the least interesting fact about them is that some of the protesters may (or may not) have at one point or another employed some of the tools of the new media to communicate with one another. Please. People protested and brought down governments before Facebook was invented. They did it before the Internet came along. Barely anyone in East Germany in the nineteen-eighties had a <em>phone</em>—and they ended up with hundreds of thousands of people in central Leipzig and brought down a regime that we all thought would last another hundred years—and in the French Revolution the crowd in the streets spoke to one another with that strange, today largely unknown instrument known as the human voice. People with a grievance will always find ways to communicate with each other. How they choose to do it is less interesting, in the end, than why they were driven to do it in the first place.</p></blockquote>\n<p>The assertion of eternal verities (people will always) alongside controlled contempt (Please.) and the repeated invocation of what is and isn’t “interesting” all adds up to an argument from an authority derived from the seriousness of his rhetoric: we know he’s a serious guy because he sounds serious, and because the people he’s criticizing are saying things that go against eternal verities, and because they cause a serious person to need to control his contempt (and we know they are contemptible because he is serious). It’s a recursive tautology; what you get is a blank stage in which there are two actors, the twitter-utopian and the debunker, and the staging and background (and object of debate) left insubstantial, immaterial. The rhetorical foreground fills up the camera while the historiographic background is left out of focus.</p>\n<p>Rosen suggests that this allows the “really hard questions” to be skirted, and that’s true, but I think it also accomplishes something else through the blankness of the absent backdrop: the Western generalist (Gladwell) gets to retain Serious Authority. The man who knows nothing about Egypt still gets to Seriously Know, precisely because it‘s only a dialogue between two Western speakers. And this, I think, is the real key. It isn’t just that really “hard” questions get skirted; it’s the fact that Egyptians are driving this narrative — and that if we want to understand it, we have to know something about Egypt <em>in its particularity </em>– that makes these people nervous.</p>\n<p>After all, the question of social media will, in the end, always turn into a question of the particular social reality it’s mediating. Which is why I would add to Rosen’s list another generic trait: the invocation of “people will always” as an explanation, something that always strikes me as a sign of a weak and unadventurous mind. People don’t “always” do anything. People are unpredictable. But they don’t do strange and unexpected things because they‘re irrational; people get called “irrational” when their rationality is not as apparent to us as we’d like to think it is. People always do what they do for a reason, but when we don’t know what that reason is, calling it irrational is a way of papering over the fact that we don’t actually understand.</p>\n<p>In this case, for example, the idea that “People with a grievance will always find ways to communicate with each other” is flatly inadequate. Egypt had a grievance for three decades, yet they only started finding a way to communicate and coordinate with each other (on a massive scale) in the last few years. The Egyptian uprising happened when it did for good reasons, and eternal verities about what people will always do give us less than no purchase on that problem. But to even have the conversation about social media starts taking people like Gladwell way out of their comfort zone.</p>\n<p>In other words, to understand why the Egyptian revolt happened when it did, we’d have to learn something about Egyptian history, about the <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefaya\">Kifaya movement</a></span>, and about how Egyptians were actually using blogs and facebook. Which would mean that a generalist intellectual about everything (and nothing in particular) like Malcolm Gladwell would suddenly find himself having to listen to a specialist like Charles Hirschkind, or even — ye Gods! — Egyptians themselves. But it’s less about <em>who</em> as <em>what</em>; the source of Hirschkind’s knowledge about how blogs were used to lay the foundation of the Egyptian revolution is, ultimately, not his own Deeply Serious intellect, but the fact that he’s been studying the formations of publics in Egypt for decades now. It’s the fact that Egypt is particular and similar only to itself (and that he’s been paying attention to it) that allows him to weave together <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/599/from-the-blogosphere-to-the-street_the-role-of-social-media-in-the-egyptian-uprising\">this narrative</a></span>, for example:</p>\n<blockquote><p>What was striking about the Egyptian blogosphere as it developed in the last 7 or so years is the extent to which it engendered a political language free from the problematic of secularization vs. fundamentalism that had governed so much of political discourse in the Middle East and elsewhere. The blogosphere that burst into existence in Egypt around 2004 and 2005 in many ways provided a new context for a process that had begun a somewhat earlier, in the late 1990s: namely, the development of practices of coordination and support between secular leftist organizations and associations, and Islamist ones (particularly the Muslim Brotherhood)—a phenomenon almost completely absent in the prior decades. Toward the end of the decade of the 90s, Islamist and leftist lawyers began to agree to work together on cases regarding state torture, whereas in previous years, lawyers of one affiliation would almost never publicly defend plaintiffs from the other.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Gladwell can’t take part in this conversation, except by dismissing it. Which is why he <em>must</em> dismiss it: to deal with it on its own terms — a topography of knowledge defined by a meridian set in Cairo — would lead him away from his ability to speak about all people all the time. It would prevent Western Authority from having a monopoly on the truth of all people.</p>\n<p>Let me push this even farther. Rosen writes that “everyone is a little wary of being fooled by The Amazing and getting carried away,” and this, again, seems right to me, but I think the fear runs deeper than simply a desire to not look foolish or of being wrong. Revolution is scary because it’s unpredictable. Hell, <em>democracy </em>is scarily unpredictable. And respect for democracy will require accepting that the Egyptians might do things we wouldn’t do if we were in their place, choices that may seem — to us — irrational, but only because the source of their rationality is unavailable to us. It will mean accepting the legitimacy of political rationalities we may not share, and which dismissing as “irrational” would only reveal us to be crypto-colonialists, willing to allow them to have democratic choice only between the options we’ve chosen for them.</p>\n<p>Note, for example, how many Western commentators have demanded <em>guarantees </em>that a democratic election in Egypt will produce a government we like. And the assertion that if democracy leads to Islamist rule (of any type), then <em>obviously </em>Egypt isn’t ready for democracy.<em> </em>The colonialist assumption of privilege that underpins that kind of thought process is staggering, as is its explicitly anti-democratic preference: before we can accept Arabs making choices for themselves, we have to know what those choices will be. Only choices that have already been vetted in Washington are to be allowed. And thus: only we get to have democracy.</p>\n<p>To return to the conversation about new media, one of the pitfalls of dubbing this a “facebook revolution” would be if we allowed the social topography in which facebook is <em>used </em>to disappear. The straw man that people like Gladwell invent are doing this, turning Egyptians into tools of their media tools. But this is also precisely what Hirschkind is <em>not </em>doing when he <em>places </em>blogs and facebook in their socio-political context: it is precisely because of pre-existing political problems — the fact that Islamists and secularists were not talking to each other — that blogs and other online organizing platforms, like facebook, could become so useful. Conversations that could not be had in person could be had online, which then <em>led</em> to face-to-face conversations, which then made collaborative action possible.</p>\n<p>To build on what seemed to be the consensus of Berkeley’s <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://cmes.berkeley.edu/Events/EGYPT%20EVENT.pdf\">Center for Middle Eastern Studies</a>, </span>the importance of social media is particularly to be found in the sense and performance of Egyptian public identity that it enabled, both the identity and political rationality which were suddenly seen to widespread. Routine state terror has been omnipresent for decades, but what we heard over and over again was that a facebook page like <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/we-are-all-khaled-saeed-redefining-political-demonstration-egypt\">“We Are All Khalid Saeed”</a></span> could became a means of rendering that experience — which so many people <em>silently </em>had in common — something which could be <em>publicly knowable</em> as a common experience. This move — taking something privately experienced, and making it publicly knowable — is a powerful thing.</p>\n<p>As Edward Said put it in <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.lrb.co.uk/v06/n03/edward-said/permission-to-narrate\">Permission to Narrate</a></span> (in a quote I was reminded of <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/arabs-seize-the-permission-to-narrate.html\">here</a></span>):</p>\n<blockquote><p>Facts do not at all speak for themselves, but require a socially acceptable narrative to absorb, sustain, and circulate them. . . . as Hayden White has noted in a seminal article, “narrative in general, from the folk tale to the novel, from annals to the fully realized ‘history,’ has to do with the topics of law, legality, legitimacy, or, more generally, authority.”</p></blockquote>\n<p>Before the recent past — goes this interpretation — state terror in Egypt <em>was</em> ubiquitous, but it was not so easily and widely <em>known</em> to be ubiquitous. So however common it might have been, each fact and incident of torture and state violence was mostly knowable as isolated, particular. Which makes sense: in a country whose media was tightly controlled by a dictatorial apparatus, there were few available socially acceptable narratives which could absorb, sustain, and circulate them. Moreover, even if everyone <em>knew </em>that state terror was ubiquitous, they didn’t necessarily know that everyone else knew it too: they might have known that they — and anyone — could suffer the fate of Khalid Saeed, but they didn’t know, for sure, that <em>everyone else </em>knew this as well. In other words, Egyptians might have been united by the <em>fact </em>of being vulnerable to be tortured to death by their government, but the internet allowed them to see and understand that they all understood themselves to be this, that all were united in disgust and rage. This is the fertile seed-bed for revolt: knowing that if you stand in front of a tank, you will not be alone in doing so.</p>\n<p>And this is what I think the main function of the “Twitter Can’t Topple Dictators” article, and the ideological function that defines its genre: the disappearance of Egyptian social consciousness as the prime driver of events. Against the straw-man of techno-determinism, someone like Gladwell is enabled to argue that this has nothing to do with what Egyptians think of Egypt, nothing to do with a century of accumulated thought, emotion, identity, and narrated experience — most of which is unavailable to Gladwell, and which most Americans find strange and foreign. Instead, it is something safe and easy, something we, in the West, can safely opine and claim authority over: ourselves. The French revolution, the fall of communism, and <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=QqDa4tGENvYC&amp;lpg=PR1&amp;ots=Z5HVXa83jf&amp;dq=provincializing%20Europe&amp;pg=PA3#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">Universal Western History</a></span>. In an implicit — but constitutive — dialogue with those who would tell us that this is about <em>Egypt</em>, it comes along to tell us that it’s not.</p>"
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    "title" : "Happy Valentine's Day from Last.fm",
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      "content" : "<p>We all know Last.fm listeners are achingly hip, resolutely individualistic, and far too cynical to be taken in by the annual cards-and-roses marketing-fest called Valentine’s Day, right?</p>\n\n\t<p>Well… perhaps not. We wondered, with years worth of data at our fingertips, if we could see whether February 14th brought out the sentimental side of our listeners.</p>\n\n<h3>This Is Not A Love Song</h3>\n\n\t<p>In order to listen to love songs, you have to find them first. So we started our investigation with the tags  <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Romantic\">Romantic</a> and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Love+Songs\">Love Songs</a>. Tags are supplied by listeners, so their presence alone is enough to give away the fact that at least some of you are softies at heart. </p>\n\n\t<p>Of course, ‘Romantic’ music can also refer to 19th-century pieces by the likes of <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Johannes+Brahms\">Brahms</a> and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Franz+Schubert\">Schubert</a>, so we went to our database and extracted the top-scoring tracks associated with both Romantic <em>and</em> Love Songs. </p>\n\n\t<p>This gave us a stack of 30 songs by the likes of <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Lionel+Richie\">Lionel Richie</a>, <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Barry+Manilow\">Barry Manilow</a>, <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Bryan+Adams\">Bryan Adams</a> and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Ronan+Keating\">Ronan Keating</a>.</p>\n\n<h3>What Time Is Love?</h3>\n\n\t<p>We wanted to find out whether there were specific times when our listeners were feeling particularly loved-up. So we scanned our <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/help/faq?category=99\">scrobbling</a> logs for 2010, and for each day counted the number of listeners who’d played at least one of the love songs in our test set. 30 songs is a tiny fraction of the millions of tracks scrobbled to Last.fm every day, but even so there’s a clear spike on February 14th:</p>\n\n\t<p><a href=\"http://blog.last.fm/images/89.png\"><img src=\"http://blog.last.fm/images/88.png\"></a><br>\n<em>Click image for full-size version.</em></p>\n\n<h3>Put It In A Love Song</h3>\n\n\t<p>But tags are only one way of looking at the data. They tell us what people say about their music, but we wanted to turn the question around: what artists do people listen to especially on Valentine’s Day?</p>\n\n\t<p>To answer this question, you can’t just look at the top 10 or top 100 artists. After all, Last.fm listeners’ music taste is incredibly diverse, and for the most part the overlap is made up of the latest hits. For example, here’s the top 5 tracks played on Valentine’s Day 2010:</p>\n\n\t<p>1. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Lady+Gaga\">Lady Gaga</a> – Bad Romance<br>\n2. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Ke$ha\">Ke$ha</a> – TiK ToK<br>\n3. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Lady+Gaga\">Lady Gaga</a> – Poker Face<br>\n4. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Owl+City\">Owl City</a> – Fireflies<br>\n5. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Lady+Gaga\">Lady Gaga</a> – Paparazzi</p>\n\n\t<p>Could be any other day in February 2010 really. But by comparing people’s listening habits on Valentine’s Day to another day of the year you can see what music becomes temporarily more popular than usual when people are in the mood for love.</p>\n\n\t<p>So, we took the scrobbling logs for February 14th for the last six years and pulled out a shortlist of the artists who made it into the top 1000 that day but <em>not</em> seven days later (the 21st – a relatively unromantic day).</p>\n\n\t<p>We added up the number of times an artist appeared in the shortlist between 2005 and 2010 and ranked them by this score, breaking ties by average popularity on Valentine’s Day. </p>\n\n\t<p>So, after all the number-crunching, here’s the Top 10 Valentine’s Day artists for Last.fm listeners:</p>\n\n\t<p>1. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Barry+White\">Barry White</a>, the undisputed master of romance<br>\n2. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/BoA\">BoA</a><br>\n3. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Pete+Yorn\">Pete Yorn</a><br>\n4. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Sixpence+None+the+Richer\">Sixpence None the Richer</a><br>\n5. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Tiga\">Tiga</a><br>\n6. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Wire\">Wire</a><br>\n7. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Sam+Cooke\">Sam Cooke</a><br>\n8. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Shania+Twain\">Shania Twain</a><br>\n9. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Mandy+Moore\">Mandy Moore</a><br>\n10. <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Daphne+Loves+Derby\">Daphne Loves Derby</a></p>\n\n\t<p>So there you have it. The late and lamented Barry White, leader of the <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Love+Unlimited+Orchestra\">Love Unlimited Orchestra</a>, melter of the hearts of housewives everywhere and crooner of the likes of <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Barry+White/_/Can&#39;t+Get+Enough+Of+Your+Love,+Babe\">Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe</a>, <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Barry+White/_/You&#39;re+The+First,+The+Last,+My+Everything\">You’re The First, The Last, My Everything</a> and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/music/Barry+White/_/It&#39;s+Ecstasy+When+You+Lay+Down+Next+To+Me\">It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me</a>, takes his rightful place on top of your Valentine’s Day chart.</p>\n\n\t<p>The runners-up span a vast range of tags — from <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Romantic\">Romantic</a> and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Love\">Love</a> of course (Shania Twain, Mandy Moore and Sam Cooke), to <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Electroclash\">Electroclash</a> (Tiga) and <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/tag/Post-Punk\">Post-Punk</a> (Wire); what a diverse bunch you are.</p>\n\n<hr>\n\n\t<p><em>For more technical details about this post, see <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/user/andrewclegg/journal/2011/02/14/47vhk2_technical_background_on_valentine&#39;s_day_data-mining_post\">Andrew’s journal</a></em>.<br>\n<em>Last.fm is hiring! If you like crunching big data, come and work for us as a <a href=\"http://www.last.fm/about/jobs#job_Data+Scientist\">Data Scientist</a>.</em></p>"
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    "title" : "my boundary issues w/ hypermedia",
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      "content" : "<p>\n  <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/zrimshots/1066270686/\" title=\"Irrigation\">\n    <img src=\"http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1053/1066270686_37780ffef6_t.jpg\" align=\"right\">\n  </a>\n  i'll admit it: i have 'boundary issues.' lately i've been thinking about how hypermedia works between\n\tclients and servers and i'm seeing things in a different light. i see <i>boundaries</i>. now, sometimes seeing bright\n  lines between things can be a problem; the lines can hinder understanding of the similiarities between things. but\n\tright now, i am working to clarify the  boundaries in order to generate a <i>new</i> understanding (at least on my\n  part) of how hypermedia works and how it can be leveraged in distributed network applications.\n</p>\n<blockquote>\n  <b>NOTE:</b> as i have mentioned in \n  <a href=\"http://amundsen.com/blog/archives/1087\" title=\"experimenting w/ RESTful clients\">recent</a> \n  <a href=\"http://amundsen.com/blog/archives/1088\" title=\"on generic, specific, and custom media types\">posts</a>, \n  i am spending time this year experimentating with hypermedia. what follows is a brain dump of my ideas on the value\n  of boundaries in hypermedia messages. this may not be very coherent and there are still holes in the idea, \n  but it <i>does</i> accurately represent the current state of my thinking on the matter.\n</blockquote>\n\n<p>first, a small digression...</p>\n\n<h4>Fielding's three architectural elements</h4>\n<p>\n  one of the things i find interesting about Fielding's \n  <a href=\"http://www.ics.uci.edu/~fielding/pubs/dissertation/top.htm\" title=\"Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures\">2001 dissertation</a> \n  is his observation about the \n  <a href=\"http://www.ics.uci.edu/~fielding/pubs/dissertation/software_arch.htm#sec_1_2\" title=\"Elements\">elements of distributed network architecture</a>. in chapter one, he states that there\n  are three elements that deserve attention:\n</p>\n<p><i>(start Fielding quote)</i></p>\n<dl>\n  <dt>Components</dt>\n  <dd>\n    A component is an abstract unit of software instructions and internal state that provides a \n    transformation of data via its interface.\n  </dd>\n  <dt>Connectors</dt>\n  <dd>\n    A connector is an abstract mechanism that mediates communication, coordination, or cooperation \n    among components.\n  </dd>\n  <dt>Data</dt>\n  <dd>\n    A datum is an element of information that is transferred from a component, or received by a\n    component, via a connector.\n  </dd>\n</dl>\n<p><i>(end Fielding quote)</i></p>\n<p>\n  The thing that strikes me here is that Fielding has expanded the traditional Component-Connector model by\n  elevating Data to the architectural level. this was an important addition at the time. also, as i \n  read it the first time,  it showed me that - by rethinking a well-known conceptual model - new relationships, \n  depdendencies, and interactions can be clearly observed.\n</p>\n<p>end digression.</p>\n\n<h4>my three hypermedia elements</h4>\n<p>\nwhile my own thinking is not to be treated on the same level as Fielding's PhD work, i, too, have been\nre-thinking my conceptual model of hypermedia in order to discover new elements and aspects. the current \nevidence of this attempt is my idea that hypermedia messages carry multiple levels of information.\nnot just the data, not just the \n<a href=\"http://amundsen.com/hypermedia/hfactor/\" title=\"Hypermedia Types\">application controls</a>, \nbut other information, too.\n</p>\n<p>\nas a result of my efforts to refresh my concept of hypermedia and it's role in distributed network applications,\ni've come to view the messages passed between client and server as containing several distinct sets\nof information. these are:\n</p>\n<dl>\n  <dt>Protocol information</dt>\n  <dd>\n  <b>Protocol</b> information expresses the transfer protocol details understood by all participants\n  in the network. these are usually application controls in the message that are mapped (via the\n  media type documentation) to transfer protocol details\n  (<a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/links.html#h-12.2\" title=\"The A element\">HTML.A</a>\n  tags map to \n  <a href=\"http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec9.html#sec9.3\" title=\"GET\">HTTP.GET</a>, etc.).\n  </dd>\n  <dt>Domain information</dt>\n  <dd>\n  <b>Domain</b> information expresses the specific semantics understood by the target participants\n  (usually the origin server and the client). these are usually expressed using the @rel attribute\n  in HTML, Atom, etc. (e.g. rel=\"customer\", rel=\"edit\", rel=\"search\", etc.).\n  </dd>\n  <dt>State information</dt>\n  <dd>\n  <b>State</b> information expresses the transient state values for the particular request/response\n  instance. these are usually expressed using pre-defined data elements within the media type (i.e.\n  <a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interact/forms.html#h-17.4\" title=\"The INPUT element\">HTML.INPUT</a>) \n  but may also be expressed in rendering elements (i.e. \n  <a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/lists.html#h-10.2\" title=\"Unordered lists (UL), ordered lists (OL), and list items (LI)\">HTML.LI</a>, \n  <a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/lists.html#h-10.3\" title=\"Definition lists: the DL, DT, and DD elements\">HTML.DT</a>, etc.). \n  state information may even be expressed using \n  <a href=\"http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2965\" title=\"HTTP State Management Mechanism\">Cookies</a> \n  or other message meta-data.\n  </dd>\n</dl>\n<p>\ni'll admit that last item (<b>State</b>) is particulary vague right now. today, i'm operating on the idea that it is\npossible to identify, understand, and manipulate <b>State</b> within a hypermedia message when\nthe media type is sufficiently defined to do so. i'm testing some ways to do this, but more at another time...\n</p>\n<h4>improving evolvability</h4>\n<p>\nwhy am i talking about this right now? because i think, by applying this boundary model to hypermedia messages,\nit is possible to improve the capabilities and flexibilty of Web clients|agents|applications.\n</p>\n<p>\nmy contention is, in order to improve evolvability on the Web, hypermedia types must first be sufficiently \ndesigned to allow for clearly-defined, variable protocol understanding. for example, the HTML.A\ntag does not <i>require</i> the href attribute use the \"http\" scheme. second, the hypermedia type must be \ndesigned in such a way as to keep domain-specific information clearly separated from the protocol details. \nagain HTML comes very close to this as it has a limited set of \n<a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/types.html#type-links\" title=\"Link types\">@rel values defined</a> \nand most of them are very generic.\n</p>\n<p>in my mind, the key is to define and adopt a well-understood way to communicate domain-specific information. the\n<a href=\"http://gmpg.org/xmdp/\" title=\"Xhtml Meta Data Profiles\">XMDP</a> project is one such example. \n<a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/wsdl\" title=\"Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1\">WSDL</a> and\n<a href=\"http://www.w3.org/Submission/wadl/\" title=\"Web Application Description Language\">WADL</a> \nare similar attempts. i suspect a registered media type that pulls from these existing\nexamples will do the trick.\n</p>\n<p>\nfinally, the hypermedia type needs to be designed in such a way as to allow clients to easily locate and\nmanipulate state information within a message. this is handled well in the \n<a href=\"http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interact/forms.html#h-17.13.4.1\" title=\"\">application/x-www-form-urlencoded</a> media type definition, but not taken into account in \nmost other media types. this lack of clear state semantics within messages is, i suspect,\none of the main reasons most automated agents on the web are limited to read-only activities. \n</p>\n<p>\njust how to go about describing this abstract \"state information\" is not yet clear to me.\nbut i have already begun to map out some of the details in a way that seems promising. essentially, \nby defining a set of elements that the clients and servers will be expected to share, a \"state profile\" \ncan emerge. this profile could be defined in a way that is understood by all parties. the details of how \nto manage and manipulate this stat can be left to each participant as a private implementation detail. \n</p>\n<h4>the missing link</h4>\n<p>\nso where is this leading? i contend that, with a clear set of <b>Protocol</b>, \n<b>Domain</b> and <b>State</b> boundaries, automated agents can be more powerful and flexible. \nin fact, with these three elements of hypermedia clarified and clearly deliniated in a message, \na fourth element - a missing link - can be brought into the picture: a hypermedia DSL.\n</p>\n<dl>\n  <dt>Hypermedia DSL</dt>\n  <dd>\n    a <b>Hypermedia DSL</b> is domain-specific language designed to recognize the <b>State</b> elements \n    within a message;  understand the available <b>Domain</b> information, and be able to identify and \n    execute the <b>Protocol</b> details provided.\n  </dd>\n</dl>\n<p>\nIOW, when a hypermedia type has well-defined <b>Procotol</b>, <b>Domain</b>, and <b>State</b> information,\nit is possible to use a very simple turing-complete DSL to 'drive' an automated agent. the DSL might look\nsomething like this:\n</p>\n<pre>\n  while(!done)\n  {\n    if(exsits(state.item='boots')\n    {\n      done=true;\n    }\n    if(exists(link.item='boots')\n    {\n      store(state.item)\n    }\n    if(exists(link.search))\n    { \n      actviate(link.search('boots'))\n    }\n  }\n</pre>\n<p>\neven though the above example is mere speculation, i will point out that the  \n<a href=\"http://restfulie.caelum.com.br/\" title=\"Restfulie\">Restfulie</a> framework\nalready has a very compelling \"Web DSL.\" (much more capable then the weak example i offere here). i suspect it\nis only a matter of time before this kind of work spreads and becomes more ubiquitous.\n</p>\n<h4>am i correct?</h4>\n<p>\nin the past, i would make public assertions and <i>expect</i> them to be correct. not so much anymore\nnow, i am happy to expose my speculations and see where it leads. no matter the results, i'll have\nlearned something in the process. \n</p>\n<p>\nso i plod along. working through my 'boundary issues.' poking at the edges. attempting to make some\nheadway in my experiments.\n</p>\n<p>of course, once i have successfully delineated the boundaries, the most likely thing i'll do next is...</p>\n\n<h4>go beyond the boundaries</h4>"
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    "title" : "How Ignorance dooms Autocracy",
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      "content" : "<table border=\"1\" cellpadding=\"0\" cellspacing=\"0\"><tbody><tr><td valign=\"top\" width=\"65\">Tier</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"135\">Type of knowledge</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"110\">Recommended actions</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"109\">System</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"96\">Compatible with autocracy?</td></tr><tr><td valign=\"top\" width=\"65\">(1)     </td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"135\">Certainty (known knowns)</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"110\">Just do it</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"109\">Administration</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"96\">Yes</td></tr><tr><td valign=\"top\" width=\"65\">(2)     </td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"135\">Probability (known unknowns)</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"110\">Hypothesis testing</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"109\">Academic freedom</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"96\">Temporarily Yes, eventually No</td></tr><tr><td valign=\"top\" width=\"65\">(3)     </td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"135\">Ignorance (unknown unknowns)</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"110\">Decentralized feedback and accountability</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"109\">Individual liberty</td><td valign=\"top\" width=\"96\">No</td></tr></tbody></table><p>As the Egypt crisis drags on, the issue of autocracy vs. democracy in development gets new life. One of the classic arguments against autocracy is that it can’t cope with uncertainty, not to mention ignorance.</p><p>Autocrats defend themselves by claiming they live in a word of certainty, where they can solve problems with known solutions (Tier 1 in the above table) through sheer administrative effort.</p><p>If the world is really more in Tier 2, where academic freedom is necessary to test and reject hypotheses, then autocrats sometimes try to carve out the space for it, while restricting other kinds of freedom. This can sometimes succeed for a while, but a House Divided against itself cannot stand forever — it will eventually revert to no freedoms or all freedoms.</p><p>Much of the development problem is really in Tier 3, where you don’t even know the probabilities of solutions to problems working. Then you need entrepreneurs for business, inventers for technology, and political reformers for institutions, all using a trial and error method where they are accountable to positive and negative feedback. In other words, you need unhindered democracy and markets to support continuing innovation for development to keep proceeding to the highest levels.</p><p>So, for example, the Soviet system <span style=\"text-decoration:line-through\">(not to mention the MVP)</span> tried to make a system work in Tiers 2 and 3, when it could only possibly work in Tier 1.  For a while it sort of worked, as Tier 2 science facilitated imitation of technology invented in the Tier 3 West.  But eventually Tier 2 scientists became dissidents, Lysenkoism corrupted Tier 2 anyway, and the system eventually collapsed altogether from the lack of innovation that was only possible in Tier 3. Would anyone like to predict a similar long-run fate for {insert NAME of temporarily successful autocracy here}?</p><p>As usual, we will give the economist who understood all this the best the last word:</p><blockquote><p>All institutions of freedom are adaptations to this fundamental fact of ignorance…certainty we cannot achieve in human affairs. (FA Hayek)</p></blockquote>"
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      "content" : "The problem with the Rumsfeld taxonomy of knowledge is that it ignores the \"unknown knowns\", that is the unconscious biases that underlie an issue. This was true with regard to Iraq (in which the subtext should well have been ubertext) and certainly of any analysis of autocracies. <br><br>Sidenote: remember in decades past, the conscious linguistic branding that made the semantic split between authoritarian and totalitarian? \"Our\" guys were authoritarian however distasteful that was and \"their\" guys were totalitarian. <br><br>Digressing further: it's always guys isn't it? No Icelandic women in prospect to clean up the mess.<br><br>It's all subtext to me.",
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    "title" : "Accra by Night",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5427526616/\" title=\"Accra by night by Bibinyiba, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5214/5427526616_5d6c38376f_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Accra by night\"></a><br>Squeaky, overworked beds take over<br>After the lights go to sleep <br>And a symphony of snores crescendoes<br>From the chambers of the uninspired.<br><br>Everybody and everything that goes<br>Back and forth and back and forth<br>finally sweats to a halt; even if<br>For just a few hours till they <br>regain enough energy to start<br>Going back and forth and back and forth<br>All over this beautiful city again.<br><br>The mask we wear in the morning <br>Is not the one we greet Night with.<br>If you still think her softest spot<br>Is her heart, you haven’t found good use <br>For your blessed fingers yet. <br>Proper probing yields great results.<br><br>Accra, you’re a beautiful place to know…<br>At night.<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/1392769759109690709-5770132495123950835?l=nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Teju Cole’s Open City",
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      "content" : "<p></p><p><a href=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/teju_cole_smaller.jpg\"><img src=\"http://www.chapatimystery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/teju_cole_smaller-297x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" title=\"teju_cole_smaller\" width=\"297\" height=\"300\"></a>I also have a review out today on Bookslut of long-time CM reader <a href=\"http://www.tejucole.com/\">Teju Cole</a>‘s superb new novel <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/Open-City-Novel-Teju-Cole/dp/1400068096\">Open City</a>. The novel comes out tomorrow. Everyone must read it! An excerpt from my review:</p>\n<blockquote><p>The review materials I received with Open City ask me to compare Cole’s writing to that of W.G. Sebald or J.M. Coetzee. I was instead reminded of Wharton and James, of their pacing, of their detailed descriptions of place, history and person and of their slightly god-like distance from their characters and subjects. I read in Open City a kind of sequel to Wharton’s The Age of Innocence: the writing style, similarly precise and clear; the city, even less innocent than it was then. Cole, who is also a photographer and an art historian, has an enviable ability to take a subject, say, the city of New York, and turn it inside out and upside down, shake it out, and examine the contents, then pack it up again. In this, his writing resembles his photography, which, unlike most urban photography, manages to find grand vistas and great heights in the claustrophobic clutter of a city landscape. In a photograph such as this one, a bird’s eye view of what appears to be the interior of a multi-storied shopping mall becomes a delicate abstraction, the suspended star-shaped lights an orderly arrangement of origami, the tiny shoppers, so many ants dotting the background.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Read the rest <a href=\"http://bit.ly/fx1Jdl\">here</a>.</p>\n<div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:dnMXMwOfBR0\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=dnMXMwOfBR0\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:D7DqB2pKExk\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?i=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:D7DqB2pKExk\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:V_sGLiPBpWU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?i=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:V_sGLiPBpWU\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?a=uaTUFu3K4xk:GR3-yNWEdxU:qj6IDK7rITs\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chapatimystery?d=qj6IDK7rITs\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/chapatimystery/~4/uaTUFu3K4xk\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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      "content" : "<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland <a href=\"http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gKfH0j5XVuNcR8LfyY6yyXx6BE4Q?docId=CNG.57c4250144036276afd6dfad741f5c64.461\"> entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture</a> if he came to give a talk in that country;</p>\n<p>But,<a href=\"http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F02%2F05%2FMN701HJCIV.DTL\"> European countries</a> are supporting <a href=\"http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/01/who-is-omar-suleiman.html\"> Omar Suleiman</a> for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush?  Suleiman tossed some 30,000 suspected Muslim fundamentalists in prison, and accepted from the US CIA kidnapped suspected militants, whom he had tortured.  Some were innocent.  One, Sheikh Libi, was tortured into falsely confessing that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that straight into Colin Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the Iraq War.</p>\n<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>If Frank Wisner, President Obama’s informal envoy to Egypt, is a paid lobbyist for Egypt and says things like that <a href=\"http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/world-news/us-disassociates-itself-from-envoy-s-support-for-mubarak-1.1083617?localLinksEnabled=false\"> Mubarak must stay</a>, which Obama then has to deny …</p>\n<p>Why didn’t Obama send an envoy from Human Rights Watch instead?</p>\n<p>I ask myself why</p>\n<p>If Bush and the Neocons installed a pathbreaking democracy in iraq . . .</p>\n<p>– Why does its prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, <a href=\"http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020503870.html\">have to pledge not to run for office</a> again (taking a leaf from the books of the rulers of Yemen and Egypt?  Why does al-Maliki <a href=\"http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0201/Report-Secret-prison-in-Iraq-raises-fresh-concerns-over-torture\">have secret prisons</a> where people appear to have been tortured?  Why is he <a href=\"http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/critics-attack-al-malikis-power-grab-over-iraq-state-institutions\">taking over independent commissions</a> such as the electoral commission?  </p>\n<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>If President Hosni Mubarak, his generals, and the ruling National Democratic Party <a href=\"http://blackchristiannews.com/news/2010/12/hundreds-of-egyptian-protest-parliamentary-election-results.html\"> have engaged in voter fraud and corruption </a> during each of the elections for the past few decades; </p>\n<p>… Would would make them honest brokers in moving the county to presidential elections in September?</p>\n<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>If the Mubarak regime has had a change of heart and will now move toward democracy;</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1354096/Egypt-protests-Police-use-Facebook-Twitter-track-protesters.html\"> why is its secret police snooping through</a>  Facebook accounts with an eye to making arrests?  And, where is <a href=\"http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&amp;id=7941041\"> Wael Ghonim?</a>, the Google exec who began the Facebook page for the Jan. 25 demonstrations?</p>\n<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>If the <a href=\"http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-egypt-protests-20110206,0,6035233.story\">resignations of high Egyptian officials</a>, and reputedly even Mubarak himself, from the National Democratic Party are sincere;</p>\n<p>Then why not just resign from the presidency, since the point of being in the ruling party was to attempt to use it to come to power?</p>\n<p>I ask myself why.</p>\n<p>If the Muslim Brotherhood is supposed to be such a radical party</p>\n<p>Then why is it a) the first <a href=\"http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/06/3131210.htm?section=world\">major opposition party</a> to begin negotiations with the government; and b) why is the MB <a href=\"http://www.eurasiareview.com/world-news/africa/muslim-brotherhood-rejects-khamenei-calls-for-iran-style-islamic-state-05022011/\">rebuking Iran’s ruling ayatollah Ali Khamenei </a>  for saying the street revolution is Islamic, insisting instead that it is national?</p>"
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    "title" : "The utter futility of scratch card games online with the UK National Lottery",
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      "content" : "With an idle moment late last night I wondered how the <a href=\"https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/\">National Lottery</a>'s online scratch card games work.  So I decided to poke around and intercept the network connections and have a look.  Doing so revealed the utter futility of spending any time on these.<br><br>It's not even like the regular lottery where the result is random.  In the \"Instant Win\" games the outcome is entirely known the moment you click Buy and your interaction with the game makes no difference at all.  As you interact with the game you are literally wasting your time (and money).<br><br>Here, for example, is the game <a href=\"https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/player/gaming/wager/showGameDetail.do?type=wager&amp;gameId=00000000000000003500\">Winning 7's</a> which involves being presented with a board with 25 squares on it from which you choose 16.  The more 7's you uncover the higher your prize.<br><br><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnL0Y_1IWI/AAAAAAAAAXw/Mop_0ZXDg2Q/s1600/Picture%2B2.png\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"258\" width=\"400\" src=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnL0Y_1IWI/AAAAAAAAAXw/Mop_0ZXDg2Q/s400/Picture%2B2.png\"></a></div>The thing is, it doesn't matter what squares you uncover, the order in which you will uncover numbers is predetermined.  You are not influencing the game at all.  Here's why.  In Firebug you can see the game downloading its state at the start:<br><br><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnMrNqVTxI/AAAAAAAAAX4/Lird46x-5J0/s1600/Picture%2B3.png\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"70\" width=\"400\" src=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnMrNqVTxI/AAAAAAAAAX4/Lird46x-5J0/s400/Picture%2B3.png\"></a></div>And if you pretty print that XML you can see the amount that will be won, and the order in which the numbers will be revealed:<br><pre>&lt;?xml version=&#39;1.0&#39; encoding=&#39;UTF-8&#39; ?&gt;<br>&lt;ticket&gt;<br>  &lt;outcome prizeTier=&quot;14&quot; amount=&quot;0.00&quot;/&gt;<br>  &lt;params wT=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;8&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;7&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;5&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;1&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;3&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;5&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;2&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;7&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;5&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;7&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;9&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;4&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;5&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;6&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;7&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>  &lt;turn n=&quot;3&quot; wP=&quot;0&quot; /&gt;<br>&lt;/ticket&gt;<br></pre>On that go I was destined to receive £0.00 and have the numbers 8, 7, 5, 1, 3, 5, 2, 7, 5, 7, 9, 4, 5, 6, 7 revealed in that order no matter where I clicked.  Imagine my surprise on my first click:<br><br><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnNOFjEiEI/AAAAAAAAAYA/hhCUSvfVKHE/s1600/Picture%2B4.png\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"365\" width=\"400\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnNOFjEiEI/AAAAAAAAAYA/hhCUSvfVKHE/s400/Picture%2B4.png\"></a></div>And a few clicks later:<br><br><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnNVsvqSCI/AAAAAAAAAYI/-5kNOGdgYDs/s1600/Picture%2B6.png\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"366\" width=\"400\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dt4ksD7hyDE/TUnNVsvqSCI/AAAAAAAAAYI/-5kNOGdgYDs/s400/Picture%2B6.png\"></a></div>The great advantage of this scheme is that it makes the game very secure.  It doesn't matter what you do to hack the Flash applet or even modify that XML, the web site knows the correct outcome.  When each game ends you end up going back to the same URL (there's no need for the Flash game to tell the web site what you won).<br><br>The same is true of every other game I looked at.  And some take a long time to \"play\".  Some even emulating shuffling or randomization.<br><br>In the end, it was soul destroying to think that people play these games. It's all a cruel trick.  At least the lottery is clear: the chance of your numbers coming up is really, really, really small.  Here there's the illusion that you are participating in some way.<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/19303585-2827262152380099447?l=blog.jgc.org\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Everything you ever wanted to know about mobile money",
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      "content" : "<p>I’ve heard rumors that Kenya’s mobile money system–cash by cell phone–has grown so big it holds more influence over the money supply than the central bank. Not sure if it’s true, but Billy Jack and Tavneet Suri tell us many interesting M-PESA facts in <a href=\"http://papers.nber.org/papers/w16721\">this new paper</a>.</p><blockquote><p>we report initial results of two rounds of a large survey of households in Kenya, the country that has seen perhaps the most rapid and widespread growth of a mobile money product – known locally as M‐PESA – in the developing world. We first summarize the mechanics of M-PESA, and review its potential economic impacts. We then document the sequencing of adoption across households according to income and wealth, location, gender, and other socio‐economic characteristics, as well as the purposes for which the technology is used, including saving, sending and receiving remittances, and direct purchases of goods and services. In addition, we report findings from a survey of M‐PESA agents, who provide cash‐in and cash‐out services, and highlight the inventory management problems they face.</p></blockquote> <div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?a=5K3E_dLV2OE:Vn7JQFsPPYU:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?a=5K3E_dLV2OE:Vn7JQFsPPYU:7Q72WNTAKBA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?d=7Q72WNTAKBA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?a=5K3E_dLV2OE:Vn7JQFsPPYU:V_sGLiPBpWU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?i=5K3E_dLV2OE:Vn7JQFsPPYU:V_sGLiPBpWU\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?a=5K3E_dLV2OE:Vn7JQFsPPYU:qj6IDK7rITs\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/chrisblattman?d=qj6IDK7rITs\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/chrisblattman/~4/5K3E_dLV2OE\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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      "content" : "<b>Arseholes, considered as a strategic resource</b><br><br>Why didn't the Egyptian army fire on the demonstrators.  <a href=\"http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2011/02/the-shifting-civil-military-balance-in-egypt\">Because they had learned how to be nice from the American army?</a>.  I think not.  Looking at the TV pictures, the Egyptian Army didn't start anything because they didn't get on the streets early enough, and by the time they had, the crowd had got so big that I would imagine the phrase \"torn limb from limb\" might have been drifting through a few minds.<br><br>Numbers make a difference.  An invading army can take over a city quite quickly; partly because an invading foreign army can usually be reasonably sure that all the guns are pointing in the same direction, partly because an invading army has physical momentum and has worked out ahead of time where it is marching to, but mainly because the population of an invaded city are usually not on the streets in anything like the numbers seen in Egyptian cities.  Even a <a href=\"http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/i-had-to-get-out--soldiers-tell-of-escape-as-warrior-caught-fire-507843.html\">tank</a>[1] is surprisingly little protection once it has stopped moving[2] and is surrounded by a mob.  I saw pictures on the news yesterday of a tank crew sitting around at the edge of a square in Cairo - I have never in my life seen the crew of a tank looking so small and vulnerable.  People are still talking about the army as if it was in control of the situation and for the moment at least, it just isn't.<br><br>And so that brings me to a useful piece of advice for any readers who are aspiring dictators, one that the Communists knew, Suharto knew, but that some modern day tyrants seem to have forgotten.  There is always a level of civil unrest that outstrips the capability of even the most loyal and largest regular armed forces to deal with.  In all likelihood, as a medium sized emerging market, you will have a capital city with a population of about five or six million, meaing potentially as many as three million adults on the streets in the worst case.  Your total active-duty armed forces are unlikely to be a tenth of that.  When it becomes a numbers game, there is only one thing that can save you.<br><br>And that is, a <i>reactionary</i> citizens' militia, to combat the revolutionary citizens' militia.  Former socialist republics always used to be fond of buses full of coal miners from way out the back of beyond, but the Iranian basijs are the same sort of thing.  Basically, what you need is a large population who are a few rungs up from the bottom of society, who aren't interested in freedom and who hate young people.  In other words, arseholes.  Arseholes, considered as a strategic entity, have the one useful characteristic that is the only useful characteristic in the context of an Egyptian-style popular uprising - there are <i>fucking millions</i> of them.<br><br>This is my advice to any aspiring dictator; early on in your career, identify and inventory all the self-pitying, bullying shitheads your country has to offer.  Anyone with a grievance, a beer belly and enough strength to swing a pickaxe handle will do.  You don't need to bother with military training or discipline because they're hopefully never going to be used as a proper military force - just concentrate on nuturing their sense that they, despite appearances, are the backbone of the country, and allowing them to understand that although rules are rules, there are some people who just need a slap.  The bigger and burlier the better, but when the time comes they'll be fighting in groups against people weaker than themselves, often under cover of darkness, so numbers are more important than anything else.  The extractive industries are indeed often a good source, as are demobbed veterans (Zimbabwe) or the laity of an established religion.<br><br>I think this is my new rule for assessing the stability of any dictatorship around the world, and I am on the lookout for any Francis Fukuyama style book contracts.  The key factor in determining the survival of repressive regimes isn't economics, religion or military success.  It's arseholes.<br><br><hr><br><br>[1] Can I make it clear at this stage that if it turns out to be the case that the vehicle in question (a Warrior) is not technically a \"tank\" for some obscure reason of military terminology, any attempt to explain this to me will be resisted viciously with the comment delete button.  It has tracks and a fucking gun.<br><br>[2] If you are sitting around on a street corner in Cairo in your tank, you have to open the hatches or you will get too hot; even the minority of tanks which have air conditioning systems will run out of fuel to run them eventually.  If you open the hatches, you are no longer in a heavily armoured and invulnerable battle vehicle - you are a bloke sitting on top of a van.<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3699020-1066091166462626680?l=d-squareddigest.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Hello Goodbye",
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      "content" : "I was in Russia when the suicide bomber blew him/herself up in the arrivals hall of Moscow Domodedovo Airport. A rush of worried calls and e-mails jammed my phone (‘I am fine, I was in the Urals when it happened’). One message stands out: ‘The fuckers wrecked our set. Our set!’\nIn 2008 I produced a [...]"
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      "content" : "<h4><a href=\"javascript:void(0);\">Click to listen to Chris’ conversation with Howard French. (52 minutes, 25 mb mp3)</a></h4>\n<div><img src=\"http://www.radioopensource.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/hofrench.jpg\"></div>\n<p>Fifty years almost to the day after the catastrophic assassination of <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/patrice-lumumba-50th-anniversary-assassination\">Patrice Lumumba</a> in the Congo — a Cold War murder by Belgium with help from our CIA — the journalist <a href=\"javascript:void(0);\">Howard French</a> is sketching an alternative path ahead for African development today.  China is the big investor in 21st Century Africa.  China sees Africa as yet another “natural-resource play” but also as a partner in growth — not a basket-case but a billion customers who’ll be two billion by mid-century.  With the West and Japan deep in a post-industrial funk, China is keeping its focus on manufacturing, exports and markets, “and we’ll have them largely to ourselves,” China calculates, “because the West doesn’t make the stuff middle-class Africans are buying — cars and houses and shopping malls and airports and all the things associated with a rise to affluence.  Those are the things that China makes.”</p>\n<p>For the New York Times <a href=\"http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/f/howard_w_french_french/index.html?scp=1-spot&amp;sq=howard%20french&amp;st=cse\">Howard French</a> covered Africa and then China, where he learned Mandarin.  He returns to Africa now on a book project, observing and overhearing Chinese migrants to places like Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and Liberia. </p>\n<blockquote><p><strong>HF:</strong> I was struck every time I got on a plane: the Westerners tend to be rich American tourists on their way to seeing lions and giraffes; or aid workers and NGO people — coming with a mission to minister to Africans about capacity-building or democracy and what my father used to do: public health.  I say none of this with scorn, but the Chinese have a very different mission.  The Chinese that I saw on the planes — and by the way, ten years ago I saw no Chinese; now they’re maybe a fifth of all the passengers — are all, almost to a person, business people.  They’ve pulled up their stakes wherever they lived — in Szechuan province or Hunan province — and they have come to make it in Africa.  And they’re not leaving until they do.  Whatever it takes for them to make a breakthrough in farming or in small industry, they’re going to work 20 hours a day till they make it.  They see Africa as a place of extraordinary growth opportunity, a place to make a fortune, to throw down some roots.  These are not people who’re there for a couple of years.  They’re thinking about building new lives for themselves in Africa.  So you have this totally different perspective between the Westerners and the newcomers.  One sees Africa as a patient essentially, to be lectured to, to be ministered to, to be cared for.  The other sees Africa and Africans as a place of doing business and as partners.  There’s no looking down one’s nose or pretending to superiority.  It’s all how I can make something work here. </p>\n<p><strong>CL:</strong> I just wonder: among those development geniuses who argue about Trade vs. Aid as America’s next gift to Africa, in the face of all the Chinese activity buying forests, or building railroads, or planning the sale of billions of cellphones, what is the West’s better bet?  Do we have one, or are we still asleep?</p>\n<p><strong>HF:</strong> I think we’re still asleep.  </p></blockquote>\n<p>Yes, Howard French observes a Chinese style of racism in Africa, both familiar and different.  “There’s a certain discourse about Africans being lazy or lacking in intelligence or unready, variations on a theme.  One guy said to me just last week in Liberia essentially: ‘there’s a thousand-year gap between them and us,’ meaning… culturally, educationally, just sort of temperamentally; the ability to save, to sacrifice, to commit to a long-term project.  But there’s an important distinction to be made.  Western racism was instrumentalized to justify the sale of black people and their enslavement across the ocean to work as animals of labor on other continents.  Chinese racism is, comparatively speaking up until this point, a largely rhetorical phenomenon…”</p>\n<p>And what are Africa’s chances of doing well in the new Chinese “deal”?  Howard French sees “an incredible opportunity for Africa,” but no guarantees.  States with a vigorous civil society, strong elites and an informed view of “how people’s daily and longer-term interests will be served” stand to get good results.  “In states that are stuck in the kleptocratic authoritarian mode, the Chinese will pay cash on the barrel for whatever they want and all of the contracts will go through the state house and none of the money or very little of it will enter the public budget.  Twenty years from now, China will say: it’s not our fault if the money is frittered away on Mercedes and villas in France and Swiss bank accounts.  We paid you exactly the amount we said we were going to pay you.  Don’t blame us if you have twice as many people and all of your iron ore is finished.” </p>"
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      "content" : "Harvard, whatever its strong points, doesn’t always do a good job of recognizing genius. \n\n\nExample one: When I was on the staff of the Harvard Advocate, the undergraduate literary magazine, I heard a story about what happened when the young Robert Lowell tried out for a place there. He was allegedly put to cleaning the stairs or some other menial task. “I’m through,” he said when he had finished, and was told, “Yes, you are.” He then transferred to Kenyon College. (When I was a freshman, Robert Lowell was teaching at Harvard. If the story I’d heard was true, this must have taken an exceptional amount of forgiveness or masochism on his part. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover until after he was dead that Lowell was one of my favorite American poets. )\n\n\nExample two: Most universities would have been pleased to have Vladimir Nabokov teach literature for them, but not Harvard. Here’s what happened, according to the version of Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland: “When Nabokov was proposed for a chair in literature at Harvard in 1957, the language theorist Roman Jakobson is said to have objected, saying ‘Gentlemen, even if one allows that he is an important writer, are we next to invite an elephant to be Professor of Zoology?’”\n\n\nSo instead of teaching literature, Nabokov became the curator of lepidoptera at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Yet even here he apparently got no respect. \n\n\nBut despite the fact that he was the best-known butterfly expert of his day and a Harvard museum curator, other lepidopterists considered Nabokov a dutiful but undistinguished researcher. He could describe details well, they granted, but did not produce scientifically important ideas.\n\n\n\nNow it appears that Nabokov was no slouch as a lepidopterist. His bold theory about the evolution of the Polyommatus blues has been proven correct by modern gene sequencing. So congratulations, Volodya. And eat it, Harvard.<img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ANaturalCuriosity/~4/oIEuE8aiEsQ\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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      "content" : "<div><p>Yesterday afternoon, an email arrived in my in-box with a curious  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a75b9970c-popup\" style=\"float:right\"><img alt=\"Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 6.05.17 PM\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a75b9970c-350wi\" style=\"width:333px;margin:0px 0px 5px 5px\" title=\"Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 6.05.17 PM\"></a> subject line: &quot;That&#39;s MY car chase. MINE!!&quot; The writer was, of course, referring to my article in Wednesday&#39;s <em>Wall Street Journal</em> <strong><a href=\"http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704698004576104001598265530.html?KEYWORDS=marc+myers\">here</a></strong> on the famed car chase from <em>Bullitt</em>, the 1968 film starring Steve McQueen. Over the past weekend I was in San Francisco driving the movie&#39;s chase route in a new Mustang with Loren Janes, Steve McQueen&#39;s stunt double. [Photo of Steve McQueen in Palm Springs with albums by Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Frank Sinatra and Count Basie at his feet]</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e205f9f8970b-popup\" style=\"float:left\"><img alt=\"Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 5.58.19 PM\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e205f9f8970b-200wi\" style=\"width:200px;margin:0px 5px 5px 0px\" title=\"Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 5.58.19 PM\"></a> When I opened the email, the writer turned out to be Alan Trustman [pictured], who wrote the screenplay for <em>Bullitt</em> as well as <em>The Thomas Crown Affair</em> and other films. </p>\n<p>Here&#39;s what Alan&#39;s email said:</p>\n<p style=\"padding-left:30px\">&quot;That subject line is childish, but I am now 80 years old, so I’m entitled to be childish.<br> <br>&quot;Did you ever wonder where the idea for the car chase  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e20154a9970b-popup\" style=\"float:right\"><img alt=\"Images\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e20154a9970b-250wi\" style=\"width:250px;margin:0px 0px 5px 5px\" title=\"Images\"></a> came from? Director Norman Jewison told me on <em>The Thomas Crown Affair</em> in &#39;67 to include something athletic to absorb Steve’s energies. That&#39;s why I put the polo and dune-buggy sequences into the movie.<br> <br>&quot;I originally wrote <em>Bullitt</em> for New York City. But when producers Philip D’Antoni and Robert Relyea and McQueen wanted to shift it to San Francisco, I was ecstatic. I told them that back in the summer of 1954, I had worked there at the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison &amp; Sutro and was familiar with the city.</p>\n<p style=\"padding-left:30px\">&quot;Back in &#39;54, Ford had based its car prices on purchase locations—something it called the Basing Point system. As  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a84a3970c-popup\" style=\"float:left\"><img alt=\"54FORD5\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a84a3970c-300wi\" style=\"width:300px;margin:0px 5px 5px 0px\" title=\"54FORD5\"></a> a result, I was able to buy a Ford in Boston for a reasonable price and drive it to San Francisco. There, I worked at the law firm and drove around the city for three months before selling it for more than I paid. So I was very familiar with the streets.</p>\n<p style=\"padding-left:30px\">&quot;I learned that when you drove a light car like a Ford  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e2016570970b-popup\" style=\"float:right\"><img alt=\"Images-1\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e2016570970b-250wi\" style=\"width:250px;margin:0px 0px 5px 5px\" title=\"Images-1\"></a> downhill in San Francisco, as we often did at 2 a.m., it would take off and fly through the air as you crossed some of the intersections. When we were discussing <em>Bullitt,</em> I suggested a Mustang, which was still quite a new car model in 1968. Steve was ecstatic. He couldn’t wait to try it.<br> <br>&quot;I wrote the car chase in detail that night, including locations, the low camera on the bumper of the following cars, and the hub cap coming off as it bashed against the wall beside one locus. Since everybody loved the car chase idea, I insisted on a director who could do a car chase. </p>\n<p style=\"padding-left:30px\">&quot;Peter Yates had directed a great car chase in <em>Robbery</em> with Stanley Baker, which producer Joe Levine hated and buried.  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a9487970c-popup\" style=\"float:left\"><img alt=\"Images-3\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340148c80a9487970c-250wi\" style=\"width:250px;margin:0px 5px 5px 0px\" title=\"Images-3\"></a> But I screened the movie at Warner Bros., loved it and put Peter at the top of my list for director. He had put the camera on the front bumper of the following car and got terrific shots. Peter was, however, the third name on the list favored by D’Antoni, Relyea and McQueen. <br> <br>But Nos. 1 and 2 on the list failed to answer the phone when they were called. D’Antoni, Relyea and McQueen refused to call again  <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e2016b6b970b-popup\" style=\"float:right\"><img alt=\"Alg_peter_yates\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e2016b6b970b-300wi\" style=\"width:300px;margin:0px 0px 5px 5px\" title=\"Alg_peter_yates\"></a> later or even leave a message. Instead, they immediately phoned No. 3 in England. Peter [pictured] answered because it was the middle of the night there, and that’s how he happened to direct <em>Bullitt</em>.<br> <br>&quot;An incredible, very Hollywood, but true story.<br> <br>&quot;Anyhow, many thanks for a great article in my favorite newspaper. What a great way to wake up in the morning!<br> <br> <a href=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e20171bc970b-popup\" style=\"float:left\"><img alt=\"Carey\" src=\"http://marcmyers.typepad.com/.a/6a00e008dca1f088340147e20171bc970b-250wi\" style=\"width:250px;margin:0px 5px 5px 0px\" title=\"Carey\"></a> &quot;By the way, the crew gave Carey Loftin [pictured], whom they called a car jockey, most of the credit at the time, and Frank Keller won an Oscar for the editing and the film was nominated for best sound.&quot;</p>\n<p><strong><span style=\"color:#ff0000\">JazzWax clip:</span></strong> <a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K-GT-_gziw\">Here&#39;s </a>the car chase from <em>Robbery</em> that Alan Trustman refers to above. Peter Yates directed the film in 1967 and in some ways the chase is the prototype of <em>Bullitt&#39;s</em> famed sequence written by Alan and directed by Yates a year later. The chase and stunts in the clip below are indeed tension-filled and magnificent...</p>\n<p><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"390\" src=\"http://www.youtube.com/embed/1K-GT-_gziw\" title=\"YouTube video player\" width=\"450\"></iframe></p><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Jazzwax/~4/niYUpBrKowE\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\"></div>"
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Saved by <a title=\"visit amaah&#39;s bookmarks at Delicious\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah\">amaah</a>\n                    to\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged nuclear\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/nuclear\">nuclear</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged video\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/video\">video</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged documentary\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/documentary\">documentary</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged France\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/France\">France</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged city\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/city\">city</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged urban\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/urban\">urban</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged sociology\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/sociology\">sociology</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged anthropology\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/anthropology\">anthropology</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged usa\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/usa\">usa</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged culture\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/culture\">culture</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged history\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/history\">history</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged bomb\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/bomb\">bomb</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged iconography\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/iconography\">iconography</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged Nagasaki\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/Nagasaki\">Nagasaki</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged plutonium\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/plutonium\">plutonium</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged memory\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/memory\">memory</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged observation\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/observation\">observation</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged radiation\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/radiation\">radiation</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged health\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/health\">health</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged policy\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/policy\">policy</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged danger\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/danger\">danger</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged richland\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/richland\">richland</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged hanford\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/hanford\">hanford</a>\n                                                <a rel=\"tag\" title=\"view amaah&#39;s bookmarks tagged safety\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/amaah/safety\">safety</a>\n                            \t\t\t- <a rel=\"self\" title=\"view more details on this bookmark at Delicious\" href=\"http://www.delicious.com/url/18696d12941b44fe4bc1e6848aad02ab\">More about this bookmark</a>\n            </span>"
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    "title" : "&quot;The Big Onion&quot;",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackwize/5361189419/\" title=\"Kaneshie Sunday Market by NanaKofiAcquah, on Flickr\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5170/5361189419_30dfee724f_b.jpg\" width=\"800\" height=\"533\" alt=\"Kaneshie Sunday Market\"></a>I call this market \"The Big Onion\" for a couple of reasons:<br>1. It is layered beyond comprehension. The only way to fully discover it is by peeling one layer at a time.<br>2. It has this peculiar strong stench that never leaves.<br><br>Do have a great week.<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/1392769759109690709-2239002363041914031?l=nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "A schematic for M. pneumoniae metabolism",
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      "content" : "<p>With the madness of CES over and the Chinese New Year holiday coming up, I finally found some time to catch up on some back issues of <a href=\"http://www.sciencemag.org\">Science</a>. I came across a beautiful diagram of the metabolic pathways of one of the smallest bacteria, <em>Mycoplasma Pneumoniae</em>. It’s part of an article by Eva Yus <em>et al</em> (<a href=\"http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5957/1263.abstract\"><em>Science</em> <b>326</b>, 1263-1271 (2009)</a>).  </p>\n<p><a href=\"http://bunniestudios.com/blog/images/m.pneumonia_sch_big.jpg\"><img src=\"http://bunniestudios.com/blog/images/m.pneumoniae_sch.jpg\"></a></p>\n<p>Looking at this metabolic pathway reminds me of when I was less than a decade old, staring at the schematic of an Apple II. Back then, I knew that this fascinatingly complex mass of lines was a map to this machine in front of me, but I didn’t know quite enough to do anything with the map. However, the key was that <b>a</b> map existed, so despite its imposing appearance it represented a hope for fully unraveling such complexities.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://bunniestudios.com/blog/images/appleii_schematic.png\"><img src=\"http://bunniestudios.com/blog/images/appleii_schematic_sm.png\"></a></p>\n<p>The analogy isn’t quite precise, but at a 10,000 foot level the complexity and detail of the two diagrams feels similar. The metabolic schematic is detailed enough for me to trace a path from glucose to ethanol, and the Apple II schematic is detailed enough for me to trace a path from the CPU to the speaker. </p>\n<p>And just as a biologist wouldn’t make much of a box with 74LS74 attached to it, an electrical engineer wouldn’t make much of a box with ADH inside it (fwiw, a 74LS74 (<a href=\"http://www.onsemi.com/pub_link/Collateral/MC74HCT74A-D.PDF\">datasheet</a>) is a synchronous storage device with two storage elements, and ADH is alcohol deydrogenase, an enzyme coded by gene MPN564 (<a href=\"http://www.genome.jp/dbget-bin/www_bget?mpn:MPN564\">sequence data</a>) that can turn acetaldehyde into ethanol). </p>\n<p>In the supplemental material, the authors of the paper included what reads like a <a href=\"http://bunniestudios.com/blog/images/m.pneumoniae_bom.pdf\">BOM (bill of materials) for <em>M. pneumoniae</em></a>. Every enzyme (pentagonal boxes in the schematic) is listed in the BOM with its functional description, along with a reference that allows you to find its sequence source code. At the very end is a table of uncharacterized genes — those who do a bit of reverse engineering would be very familiar with such tables of “hmm I sort of know what it should do but I’m not sure yet” parts or function calls. </p>"
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      "content" : "The Agona Swedru Youth Brass played an impromptu jam session of highlife hits such as Old School by Lucky Mensah, Rekpete by Hugh Masekela and Hedzolleh Soundz and even All for You by E.T. Mensah. My shaky Kodak didnt' deter an inspiring and dynamic young group of musicians. Boxing day 2010 at a party in Weija, Ghana.",
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    "title" : "Witness: Ghana coup",
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      "content" : "<div style=\"font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;color:black\"><div>\n<table style=\"border:0;border-collapse:collapse\">\n<tr>\n<td style=\"line-height:0;border:0;padding:0;vertical-align:top\"><a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng\"><img src=\"http://friendfeed.com/static/images/nomugshot-medium.png?v=0fa9\" alt=\"Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah\" style=\"border:1px solid #ccc;width:50px;height:50px\"></a></td>\n<td style=\"border:0;padding:0;vertical-align:top;padding-left:8px;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:11pt\">\n<div style=\"margin-bottom:1pt;color:black\">\n\n\n\n<a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng\" style=\"font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none;color:#00c\">Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah</a>\n\n\n\n\n\n\n</div>\n<div style=\"margin-top:2px;color:black\">Witness: Ghana coup - <a style=\"text-decoration:none;color:#00c\" rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://www.divshare.com/download/13757482-50d\" title=\"http://www.divshare.com/download/13757482-50d\">http://www.divshare.com/downloa...</a></div>\n\n\n\n\n<div style=\"margin-top:2px;color:#737373;font-size:10pt\">\n<a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng/7711c914/witness-ghana-coup\" style=\"color:#737373;text-decoration:none\">January 12</a>\n\nfrom <a style=\"color:#737373;text-decoration:none\" rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://delicious.com/amaah\">delicious</a>\n\n- <a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng/7711c914/witness-ghana-coup\" style=\"color:#77c;text-decoration:none\">Comment</a>\n- <a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng/7711c914/witness-ghana-coup\" style=\"color:#77c;text-decoration:none\">Like</a>\n</div>\n\n\n\n\n\n\n<div style=\"margin-top:6pt\">\n<table style=\"border-spacing:0;border-collapse:collapse\">\n<tr>\n<td style=\"border:0;padding:0;padding-right:5px;padding-top:2px;vertical-align:top\"><img src=\"http://friendfeed.com/static/images/n-comment.png?v=1fa9\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\"></td>\n<td style=\"border:0;padding:0;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:10pt;color:#737373;vertical-align:middle\">How a New Year coup in Ghana in 1981 put one journalist in danger. Amongst other things, this is the story of how Mum and I fled Ghana in 1982. - <a href=\"http://friendfeed.com/koranteng\" style=\"color:#7777cc;text-decoration:none\">Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah</a></td>\n</tr>\n</table>\n</div>\n\n\n</td>\n</tr>\n</table>\n</div>\n</div>"
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      "content" : "<div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/TRnl3MRtsyI/AAAAAAAABBc/gDEYVSuqqAs/s1600/milesdavisgilevansplus19milesahead.jpg\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"386\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/TRnl3MRtsyI/AAAAAAAABBc/gDEYVSuqqAs/s400/milesdavisgilevansplus19milesahead.jpg\" width=\"400\"></a></div><br>\n<b>by Nick DeRiso</b> <br>\n<br>\n<i>Miles Ahead </i>was initially billed by Columbia Records, in the flatly obvious tone of the day, as \"Miles Davis plus 19, with <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Gil%20Evans\">Gil Evans</a>.\"<br>\n<br>\nRight. Still, it was that last guy, the 20th man, who was the important one.<br>\n<br>\nAfter a burst of creativity in the late 1940s -- the clearest result being the very cool but obviously embryonic <i><a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2008/08/gerry-mulligan-shorty-rogers-miles.html\">Birth of the Cool</a></i> on Capitol -- Evans didn't work with Miles Davis again until the late 1950s. Davis seemed better for the reunion, as this record touched off an incredible rejuvenation for someone who had already done seminal work with the jazz legend <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Charlie%20Parker\">Charlie Parker</a>.<span><br>\n<br>\n<div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/TRnl8hcTTeI/AAAAAAAABBg/_u3ff27Deac/s1600/milesdavisandgilevans.jpg\" style=\"clear:left;float:left;margin-bottom:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"148\" src=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/TRnl8hcTTeI/AAAAAAAABBg/_u3ff27Deac/s200/milesdavisandgilevans.jpg\" width=\"200\"></a></div>Highlights, and there are many, included the title track (embedded below), <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Dave%20Brubeck\">Dave Brubeck</a>'s \"The Duke,\" and \"The Maids of Cadiz\" by Leo Delibes, Davis' initial stab at reformulating European classical music. <br>\n<br>\nIn fact, <i>Miles Ahead </i>-- an underappreciated gem which I guess should be filed here as part of <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Forgotten%20series\">our ongoing Forgotten Series</a>, it once featured the above since-removed hipster-cool cover image -- marks the beginning of a striking second period of collaborative vitality for both <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Miles%20Davis\">Miles Davis</a> and for Gil Evans: Next from these two came <i>Porgy and Bess</i>, issued a year later; and then <i>Sketches of Spain</i> from 1960, both also on Columbia Records. Too, arguably the best recordings by Evans and Davis apart from each other as band leaders are from this period, as well: Miles' 1959 <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2009/01/miles-davis-kind-of-blue-legacy-edition.html\"><i>Kind of Blue</i></a> and Gil's 1960 Impulse LP <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2010/09/gimme-five-forgotten-jazz-gems-from.html\"><i>Out of the Cool</i>.</a><br>\n<br>\nThere's a newer digital version of <i>Miles Ahead, </i>from 1997, with a remaster job by original producer George Avakian. He took the session's (superior, in terms of sound) mono tapes and cleaned up a few glitches from that first analog-to-digital transfer. Namely, Avakian eliminated some hiss and extraneous noises -- and linked both sides at their mid-album intersection, which you couldn't do with vinyl.<br>\n<br>\nNothing wrong with that, I suppose. Even so, there was something about the roundness, and the upfront bass, that mono brought so brilliantly to these sessions. Call me old: On most days, I still prefer how <i>Miles Ahead</i> sounds on my turntable. <br>\n<br>\nThey kept the newer album cover, too. <br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/jvks2xDhwyE?fs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\nThose are quibbles, though. We move on ... These sets -- featuring talented sidemen like <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Wynton%20Kelly\">Wynton Kelly</a>, Lee Konitz, <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Paul%20Chambers\">Paul Chambers</a> and Art Taylor -- are infectious, loose and sheer genius. <br>\n<br>\nEvans said they were done in three, three-hour sessions -- with no rehearsals. His chromatic, counter-rhythmic charts are bluesy, new and sure. Throw in Miles' long, cerulean notes -- and there are still few recordings of any kind that approach <i>Miles Ahead</i>.<br>\n<br>\n</span><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8367705548617137551-438475812336224442?l=www.somethingelsereviews.com\" alt=\"\"></div><p><iframe src=\"http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~ah/f/n0argi6ohlbaa56i35go4j7peg/300/250?ca=1&amp;fh=280#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.somethingelsereviews.com%2F2008%2F07%2Fmiles-ahead-miles-davis-with-gil-evans.html\" width=\"100%\" height=\"280\" frameborder=\"0\" scrolling=\"no\" marginwidth=\"0\" marginheight=\"0\"></iframe></p><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/somethingelsereviews/JjnG/~4/2AbKQbeEEXg\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "me and abena fifth anniversary",
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/koranteng/\">amaah</a> posted a photo:</p>\n\t\n<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/5284448234/\" title=\"me and abena fifth anniversary\"><img src=\"http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5125/5284448234_8f14b3b292_m.jpg\" alt=\"me and abena fifth anniversary\" height=\"180\" width=\"240\"></a></p>\n\n<p>dining alfresco in Sonoma</p>"
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    "title" : "The Christmas sermon",
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      "content" : "<p>Another year over, and what have we done?  Once more, I muse philosophically on matters of risk and return, at annoying length (at least I cut out the footnotes this year).  But first, perhaps, a little quasi-seasonal story:</p>\n\n\t<p><b>The Great Homeopathic Cocktail Bar</b><br>\n<span></span><br>\nDecember, as we all know, is the month when people who never go out, go out.  All the cheer and goodwill and merrymaking is apt to render the pubs and dive bars more or less uninhabitable, and even the expensive places less than congenial.  So it was lucky that I first came across the World’s Greatest Homeopathic Barman in the dour month of January, season of short pockets and long evenings.</p>\n\n\t<p>The world was decidedly out of the party mood, but I wasn’t; memory fails me as to whether it was a horse or a South American republic, but I’d achieved a minor coup of the financial sort and was looking for somewhere to erase the sweet pain of all that money.  Walking down Cornhill between the tube stop and the Leadenhall, I noticed that a new place had opened up on the site of an Irish-themed pub which had recently taken authenticity to extremes by going bankrupt.  I shoved open the door and went in.</p>\n\n\t<p>There’s a kind of sublime beauty to an unreviewed and poorly signed licensed premises, on a notorious graveyard street and newly opened in the worst month of the year.  A small room can feel as empty as the Negev Desert at four o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon, you know, and this was only Tuesday.  I was more or less the only thing in the place that hadn’t been sketched in by Edward Hopper, but hey ho.  To have made a bolt for the door and somewhere with a fireplace would have seemed like kicking the place while it was down.</p>\n\n\t<p>As so often in all manner of circumstances, I found myself deciding on a course of action by pondering the maxim “What Would <span>JK </span>Galbraith Do?”.  Since the answer is nearly always something like “written a couple of best-sellers, had a three-martini lunch with the President, then scooted off to his chalet in Gstaad to get some quality skiing in before dispensing bons mots at a party with Edith Piaf and a couple of Agnellis”, I find it strangely comforting to know that I don’t have the talent to do the right thing, and thus might as well please myself.  By way of minor homage, I ordered three martinis, to arrive sequentially.</p>\n\n\t<p>I’ll say this for the chap, his timing was excellent.  As the glass collar round the top of the liquid extended, he began to pour.  As the lemon peel made its first coquettish bump against my top lip, I could hear the sweet Latin percussion of the stirring-spoon.  And as I put the empty glass down, the ring of crystal on zinc was answered within a semiquaver by the slightly heavier bump of a full glass of the same.  Quite a trick to work out the speed at which I was drinking, particularly from a noncylindrical glass, and fast work to match pace with a thirsty young stockbroker (as I then was).  Clearly, this was an attentive craftsman close to the height of his mixological powers.  The actual drink, however, was filthy.</p>\n\n\t<p>After a second and half way down the third, I decided to take an interest in why this might be the case.  Not in a chemical or culinary sense, it was glaringly obvious what was wrong there.  But rather, my curiosity was piqued by the sociological, psychological and hell, even political nexus of causes and effects which had brought this swill to my glass.  You never know with these things, it might have an interesting root cause; I recall a particularly profitable operation in Brent Crude that had begun by politely inquiring of an Aberdonian trawlerman why he was not drunk.  Expecting not much more than a gob full of acession-state-accented apologies, but in the general spirit of nothing ventured, nothing gained, I broke the monastic silence of the place.</p>\n\n\t<p>“Young man”, I ventured (I was, it pains me to say, a bit of a knob in those days), “Let me first reassure you that I am not angry” (I had something of a combative face in those days).  “But I am, however, curious, as to why you have just served me three glasses of undiluted room temperature gin, and I am sure that you must be just as curious as to why I drank them.  Shall we compare notes?”</p>\n\n\t<p>It was a conversational gambit designed to start things off on the right foot, the right foot being the one into which I had persuaded my shoemaker to install a steel toe-cap, the better to pursue advantage in crowded conditions on the Northern Line.  But I was surprised to discover that the fellow’s consternation had little to do with fears of violent reprisal, but were mainly motivated by a sort of existential crisis of confidence.</p>\n\n\t<p>Lukas, it seemed, had served mixed drinks with the best of them at the Paris Ritz, the Waldorf-Astoria and everywhere else on that circuit.  But he’d jacked it in and taken up a defunct lease in the City, to follow a vision; the vision of bringing the crude pseudoscience of bartending together with the noble art of homeopathic medicine.  The cocktail he had painstakingly constructed for me had been made from a base of gin, mixed with gin from a bottle which had once contained a drop of vermouth, and stirred assidously over gin from a bottle which had once contained a sliver of ice.  Lukas had been up all the night before, pouring and re-pouring the gin, to ensure that these original ingredients had long since been rinsed away.</p>\n\n\t<p>In principle, of course, this dilution and redilution ought to have raised the concoction to its apotheosis; a sort of divine essence of all the martini’s possibilities.  In practice, the fact that I had unerringly identified the contents as warm gin, and rather cheap off-brand gin at that, had been a crestfalling experience and one that threatened to undermine the integrity of the whole concept.  Of course the fact that <i>I</i> don’t believe in homeopathy or any of that horse-manure was no comfort to the man.  The whole point of the sweet science of homeopathic bartending is that it’s meant to work even if you don’t believe in it.  Lukas was at the point of questioning whether a series of articles in the Journal of Consciousness Expansion were really a sound basis for a business plan.</p>\n\n\t<p>Now I hate to see a grown man cry for longer than eight or nine minutes, so I soon befriended the plucky little battler and encouraged him to “get back up on that horse”.  Perhaps the homeopathic martini was a step too far for the early days – he should try easier cocktails and work up to it.  So I had a homeopathic screwdriver – warm cheap supermarket vodka.  A homeopathic daiquiri – warm cheap supermarket rum. All night we toiled, talking like brothers about everything and nothing; sadly none of the glassware survived our frequent bitter rages, but we found a supply of paper cups, apparently pilfered by the previous owners from a nearby McDonald’s. Until (and I maintain that this is how it happened – the intellectual property lawyers be damned) I had my inspiration.</p>\n\n\t<p>We were on our third or fourth attempt at a homeopathic Manhattan.  Lukas had lined up four identical bottles of supermarket scotch, labelled “Heritage Bourbon”, “Aromatic Bitters”, and so forth to indicate the molecules each had once contained.  The drink was at the point of assembly when I drawled, with perhaps an elegant hint of slobber …</p>\n\n\t<p>“Curious, isn’t it, that such a rigorously constructed homeopathic drink should be garnished with a <i>whole</i> maraschino cherry?”.  Lukas looked at me with a wild expression, rather like that of Victor Frankenstein on being asked if he’d thought about switching power suppliers.  In a flash, he had drawn back the offending cherry from its position immediately above my cup, hurled it onto the bar-top, pricked it with a needle and shaken the needle in the direction of the cocktail, from a safe distance of six feet.  It was as brilliant a piece of improvised dilution as I’d seen in my life up to that point.</p>\n\n\t<p>I sipped the drink.  It was nectar.  It was even cold.</p>\n\n\t<p>Our celebrations were intense, of course, and ended in filth and in prison as these things often do.  But a sensation had clearly been born.</p>\n\n\t<p>I was but an infrequent visitor over the next six months – although Lukas considered me an honoured friend, I was inconveniently barred from the three surrounding streets for a short while, meaning I could only attend by the use of a helicopter.  But I read the reviews and they were extraordinary.  Critical opinion was not wholly favourable, true – a fair number of reviewers thought that The Great Homeopathic Cocktail Bar was a dingy hole serving paper cups of warm cheap spirits, and I could see their point.  But the general consensus was that it was largely irrelevant whether Lukas was a master of gastronomic libations or a deluded nerk selling rotgut.  It was something more important than that.</p>\n\n\t<p>Whatever the merits of the actual drinks, it was said, the modern consumer was aching for a bartender who would provide a personal connection and recognise them as an individual, rather than simply churning out formulaic remedies to their symptoms.  And Lukas was good at that – he had a pair of those dark, searching soulful eyes that are described as “almost human” when they occur in spaniels.  And, of course, the patrons appreciated the way in which he rendered himself vulnerable to them, simply by the act of serving such terrible drinks.  At any point, a stag party from Liverpool or somewhere might have blown into the bar, not realising they were in the presence of greatness, and trashed the place in angry disgust.  Punters appreciate it when a man lays his neck on the line to that extent.</p>\n\n\t<p>As time went on, however, the novelty faded, and the dog days of the summer holidays were not kind to Lukas and his Great Homeopathic Cocktail Bar.  Things in fact reached such a pass that one day in August, while dancing an improvised celebratory jig down Cornhill in recognition of a triumph in the Ashes (or in the collateralised debt market, I forget which), I found that the bouncers which had previously been placed outside Lukas’ door to beat back the baying crowds had instead grabbed me by the scruff and chucked me in.  The place was cavernous once more, filled with only a few local alcoholics, their numbers bolstered by half a dozen tourists who had read an old <i>Time Out</i> in a bus station and thought the place was still fashionable.  Even I could see that it wasn’t.</p>\n\n\t<p>The problem, of course, as the host confided to me over a lachrymose whisky-sour, is that the provision of a humane, personal, individual connection is something that really doesn’t have much in the way of economies of scale.  In order to pay the ground rent, Lukas needed to shift X glasses over the bar per evening, and when divided by X, the amount of time provided by the licensing hours made it more or less impossible to give each homeopathic beverage more than about a minute and a half.  “How do you engage with a holistic individual, in ninety seconds?”, he pleaded.</p>\n\n\t<p>To ask the question is to answer it, of course, and I think we came up with this one independently at the same time (as I have later testified under oath).  The problem was one intrinsic to homeopathy, and thus it must have a homeopathic solution.  And because it was a very serious homeopathic problem, the solution would have to be correspondingly weak.</p>\n\n\t<p>Henceforth, Lukas would make fleeting eye contact with one customer, for about half a second, every third alternate Wednesday if there was an R in the month.  This would be the sole and total extent of his personal consideration of them; otherwise they were to be treated strictly as an undifferentiated mass of service units.  Diluted in thus fashion, the human engagement and involvement of his service would be unimaginably powerful.</p>\n\n\t<p>Well, I don’t need to tell you what a success that was; if you were around in London, and maintained even the most casual interest in the nightclub scene, you’ll remember it.  All through the autumn, he packed them in, and the Christmas party season was looking amazing.  What with one thing and another (and a short but vigorous argument with one of the bouncers, who was later deported for unrelated reasons), I didn’t get back there myself until the shortest day in December.  And thank God I did.</p>\n\n\t<p>Any bar in the City is going to be pretty unpleasant in the last week before hols, and a fashionable one serving paper cups full of warm spirits more so than most.  It was heaving, crushed, shoulder to shoulder and cheek to jowl.  I hopped on my left foot and kicked shins with my right, and eventually hacked out a path to my favourite spot at the bar.  Everything was about as merry as it was disgusting, but Lukas was stressed to breaking point and clearly in pain.  He was leaping about, pouring drinks three at a time, desperately trying not to make eye contact with anyone.</p>\n\n\t<p>It couldn’t last, of course – have you ever tried to simultaneously avoid the gaze of two hundred people, all of whom are trying to catch your eye?  And when it did, my god, it was awful.  The crowd <i>turned</i>, like a mobbing of crows, angrily waving their suddenly-disgusting cocktails.  Thank heaven Lukas had the luck or foresight to have continued serving his drinks in paper cups, because if that lot had glass in their hands, I doubt he’d have lived.  Like the man of action I sometimes am, I rushed back and bustled him out into the bar kitchen.  Here was a man in dire need of a pep talk.</p>\n\n\t<p>“Lukas!” I shouted, grasping his lapels for emphasis and kicking his shins to shut him up.  “Your customers are furious!  How much do you care about your customers, Lukas?”</p>\n\n\t<p>“I care!”, he sobbed unattractively.  “I care so much!  Homeopathic drinks are my life!  I care so, so much about those people”.</p>\n\n\t<p>“No, you’re not listening”, I growled.  “How much do you care?  How much passion do you have? <i>How much do you care</i>?”</p>\n\n\t<p>“I really, really care!” The tears and snot were flying in all directions, in distinctly more than homeopathic quantities.</p>\n\n\t<p>I lost all restraint and started shaking him.  “HOW <span>MUCH DO YOU CARE</span>, LUKAS?  <span>HOW MUCH DO YOU CARE</span>?!”.  A paper cup flew through the open door and hit him in the face.  It appeared to be full of warm spittle.</p>\n\n\t<p>Thankfully, the penny dropped shortly before he lost consciousness.  Possibly he understood what I meant; perhaps the paper cup broke his will.  Either way, he did that Baron Victor stare again, and hissed:</p>\n\n\t<p>“<i>I hardly care at all!  I once cared, but now I am almost completely indifferent!  <span>I COULD NOT POSSIBLY CARE LESS</span>!</i>”</p>\n\n\t<p>Have you ever seen a crowd go from friendly, to violent, and then just like that, back to happy again?  Astonishing.  The pressure-wave of concentrated bonhomie had us both grasping onto the fittings for support.  By the time I left they were singing songs in his honour and chanting his name.</p>\n\n\t<p>Obviously, it went from strength to strength since then.  The concept got franchised to death of course – I hear that there are chains of bars all over the MidWest serving warm, half-diluted cocktails to rapturous customers.  Lukas, professional to the last, takes infinite pains not to find out about them or to display more than an atom of interest in their management or standards.  You might have been to one without knowing it.</p>\n\n\t<p>And as I’ve mentioned, there’s a fair old amount of litigation going on – a private equity fund made a homeopathic investment, and there was some disagreement as to whether this meant they put up a hundredth of a penny and got 90% of the equity, or vice versa.  Every now and then Lukas’ firm of homeopathic lawyers ask me for a witness statement; I write the letter “e” in the top corner of a large piece of paper and it seems to satisfy them, but I really honestly want no further involvement, even if it means sacrificing my due credit for nearly all the crucial innovations.  I’m just happy to know that if a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then I’m probably the safest man in Europe.</p>\n\n\t<p><span>THE END</span></p>\n\n\t<p><hr></p>\n\n\t<p>Well, after reading that I think you can agree that we’re all 2800-odd words nearer our deaths.  But is there an important point to be made here about the nature of risk and reward?  Probably not, but there’s a sort of semi-attached one.</p>\n\n\t<p>Which is related to <a href=\"http://ohgoodale.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/down-with-craft-beer/\">this piece of sterling common sense</a> from Phil Edwards, proprietor of the <a href=\"http://gapingsilence.wordpress.com/\">gaping silence</a> blog.  It’s a psot targeted at “craft beer”, which is related to a point I’ve made myself in the past – that beer and whisky, unlike wine, are industrial products rather than agricultural ones, and that small-batch production of either is a very modern development of somewhat questionable sense.</p>\n\n\t<p>But I think I’d like to take this for the time being in a somewhat different direction, one which is rather at a tangent to Phil’s cultural point, and one which, Mr Angry commenters may be pleased to hear, probably doesn’t involve mentioning Budweiser all that much.  Instead, consider Guinness, the pre-packaged, industrially brewed pasteurised commodified nitrokeg beer that somehow gets a free pass from ale enthusiasts.</p>\n\n\t<p>Now, Guinness is beloved to statisticians, of course, for inventing the t-distribution.  And it’s worth thinking about why it was that a turn-of-the-century brewery would be interested in the ratio of the a normally distributed variable to the square root of a chi-square distributed variable divided by its degrees of freedom.  And the answer, of course, is that William “Student” Gosset was responsible for quality control in the Guinness brewery, and thus was very much in need of a distribution which would tell him exactly how significant the variations were in the characteristics of his various samples, and whether they indicated an underlying problem.</p>\n\n\t<p>The development of the science of quality control in the twentieth century is really interesting, and another example of a road not taken by economics, but that’s not really my point.  The point I’m currently interested in is that many of the things which people think about in terms of “risk management” are actually problems of quality control.</p>\n\n\t<p>The reason that shifting your thinking from “risk management” to “quality control” is an interesting thing to do is that it gets you away from a creeping cultural assumption that risk is in some way related to return.  This is in fact, as <a href=\"http://falkenblog.blogspot.com/\">Eric Falkenstein</a> keeps proving, not even true in its paradigm case, the stock market – more or less however you measure it, high risk shares have lower average returns, not higher.  Eric has a complicated theory of why this might be the case, involving benchmarking and the role of institutional investors, but I think it’s simpler than that – it’s just that the main source of risk in the world is mistakes, that a “high risk” share is one that has a lot of bad surprises happening to it, and that it’s not particularly complicated to understand why a prevalence of mistakes and bad surprises isn’t correlated with higher returns.</p>\n\n\t<p>Consider booze once more; the (possibly fictitious) barman in <a href=\"http://www.threepennyreview.com/samples/deming_w11.html\">this</a> article (via Unfogged comments), the basis for Lukas in my story, doesn’t sell “industrial liquor” – he refuses to stock any brand that produces more than a thousand cases a year.  What can we say about a distillery that operates on that scale?  Well, that unless it is superlatively well-run (and in many cases even then), it is going to see considerable variation in the taste of its product from batch to batch.</p>\n\n\t<p>It is logically possible that this variation might be a good thing – that each case of liquor will taste wonderful in a distinctive and separate way.  But it’s massively more likely that any such variation is going to take the form of some batches being of inferior quality.  The risk is wholly skewed to the downside, which is why even small brewing and distilling operations take the utmost pains to eliminate batch-to-batch variation – and of course there is an economy of scale here, because the cost to Diageo of throwing away a single poor-quality distilling run is proportionately much smaller than to a micro-scale producer.</p>\n\n\t<p>Of course, dogmatism about the superiority of industrial product is just as silly as dogmatism about superiority of craft production.  In some cases the random variation really can be a good thing.  There are such things as vintage years in wines, and it is possible for improvised music to deliver things that composed music really doesn’t.  But they’re very much the exceptions; as someone who listened to a lot of heavy metal in the 1980s, I can report back that the improvised guitar solo is not necessarily a thing of wonder; in general, a lot of the problem with jazz is basically one of quality control.</p>\n\n\t<p>I think everyone can see where I’m going with this; to the wider point that Frank Furedi and similar commentators are right to say that over the period since the war, modern society has become increasingly obsessed with risk reduction, but wrong to say that this is a bad thing.  “Risk” is the risk that something bad will happen, which is why people want to get rid of it.  And it is for the most part not correlated with anything good in any kind of straightforward way; if we all threw away health and safety regulations, we wouldn’t actually get a new Internet invented or a massive surge of freedom and well-being, we’d just get the occasional broken toe and bout of food poisoning.</p>\n\n\t<p>And looking at the things that can’t be fitted into this model, and at the kinds of risks which really are related to returns, gives you more of an appreciation of what we actually really mean by risks.  Silicon Valley entrepreneurs take great big risks with their livelihoods (and furthermore, take <i>uninsurable</i> risks), but notoriously, they tend to be absolutely obsessive about quality-control issues – they don’t take needless unrewarded risks.  Not coincidentally, film stuntmen seem to make a similar distinction between the risks they’re taking and things which are quality-control issues; the guy who is about to jump his car over a flaming building will be mightily careful about the fitting of his safety harness.</p>\n\n\t<p>And so there we are.  I think perhaps a more practical bit of advice than you might find in <i>The Black Swan</i> is to a) recognise that this is an industrial world, and that most risks aren’t worth taking, but b) to recognise that the man who proposes to live off the public dole simply by virtue of owning a million dollars’ worth of treasury stock isn’t really morally all that far above any other kind of bludger, and so c) to take a few, well organised risks, with a clear view of the benefit that you anticipate from taking them, and d) be as tough as you can on the quality control.  Happy Christmas, Eid, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Yul, Diwali (actually that one’s gone), or whatever other Winterval you choose to celebrate, and here’s hoping that next year, whatever else it brings, will be slightly less full of avoidable mistakes than recent ones.</p>"
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    "title" : "A Prayer for Aretha Franklin--&quot;Aretha at Her Peak&quot;",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_206Vk7BcsTg/TQDsnfaSNZI/AAAAAAAACX4/vrzqvalNliY/s1600/amazing-grace.jpg\"><img style=\"width:400px;height:391px\" src=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_206Vk7BcsTg/TQDsnfaSNZI/AAAAAAAACX4/vrzqvalNliY/s400/amazing-grace.jpg\" alt=\"\" border=\"0\"></a><br><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-weight:bold\">Aretha at Her Peak</span><br>by Mark Anthony Neal<br><br>In January of 1972, two months short of her 30th birthday, Aretha Franklin walked into the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church Los Angeles to record a live gospel album.  Backed by the Southern California Community Choir, under the direction of her longtime friend and mentor the Reverend James Cleveland, the subsequent recording by Franklin eventually sold over two-million copies and remained the best selling Gospel album of all time for more than twenty years.  Firmly established as the “Queen of Soul” and still more than a decade away from the caricature that she has become, Aretha Franklin was at the peak of her artistic powers when she recorded <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span>. More than 35 years after its release, the album stands as the best testament of Franklin’s singular genius.<br><br>A <span style=\"font-style:italic\">New York Times</span> review of Aretha Franklin’s <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Young, Gifted and Black</span>, published in March of 1972, was tellingly titled, “Aretha’s Blooming Thirties.” In the review, critic Don Heckman describes Young, Gifted and Black as “an extraordinary eclectic set of material.”  To date, Franklin had earned six Grammy Awards, nearly a dozen gold singles and several gold albums; Franklin was easily the most commercially successful black women vocalist ever.  Culled from sessions recorded in late 1970 and throughout 1971, <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Young, Gifted and Black</span> marks the beginning of what might be called Franklin’s most sustained period of artistic genius.<br><br>Franklin’s decision to record tracks like Elton John’s “Border Song,” Jerry Butler’s “Brand New Me,” Lennon and McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” and Nina Simone’s “Young, Gifted and Black,” alongside originals like  “Day Dreamin’,” “All the King’s Horses” and the infectious “Rock Steady” was as much about an artist who had warranted the right to record anything she wanted, as it was about a woman, who felt she finally had control over her life and career.<br><br>Living in New York City, after years of being in the shadow of her father, the legendary preacher Reverend C. L. Franklin, and under the professional guidance of her first husband Ted White, Franklin’s writes in her autobiography <span style=\"font-style:italic\">From These Roots </span>(1999) that in the period that she recorded <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Young Gifted and Black</span> she felt “free and willing to take creative risks.” (141) “In my mind’s eye” Franklin adds, “I see those days as a tremendous growth period and declaration of my independence.  I was rediscovering myself.” (146)  Part of that rediscovery, apparently entailed Aretha going back to the church.<br><br>Franklin is adamant in her memoirs, that <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span> didn’t mark a return to church, in a spiritual sense, but “when I say ‘took me back to church,’ I mean recording in church.  I never left church. And I never will.” (150)  Franklin’s very first recording “Never Grow Old” was recorded in her father’s church in 1956.  Her first album Songs of Faith was released a year later and contained recordings collected from live performances done while on tour with her father. In the interim years between that release and Amazing Grace, Franklin had, with others, been largely responsible for mainstreaming the black Gospel aesthetic in popular music and culture.<br><br>Though Franklin had long desired to make a fully-fledged live Gospel recording, the immediate impetus for <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span> might have been one of Franklin’s most triumphant performances—her three night stand with King Curtis at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West in March of 1971. The engagement resulted in the recording <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Live at the Fillmore West </span>(recently re-issued as <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Don’t Fight the Feeling: Live at the Fillmore West</span>). Introducing Franklin and her music to one of the iconic sites of late 1960s and early 1970s counter-culture seemed like a risky endeavor at the time. As writer Mark Bego describes the venue in his book Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, “There were no chairs and bleachers…the audience sat cross-legged on the floor, or stood up and grooved to the music being performed on stage. People in the audience freely passed around joints during the shows.” (137)<br><br>It was Jerry Wexler, Franklin’s longtime producer, who was largely behind the Fillmore West engagement, resisting the natural inclination for the public and critics to simply see Franklin as a Soul singer.  Wexler is quoted  in Bego’s book “we want these longhairs to listen to this lady.  After that they’ll be no problems.” Franklin still had to deliver, and she did, tackling material like Stephen Stills “Love the One Your With” and  Bread’s “Make It With You” for the first time.   By the time Franklin digs deep into the well of black spirituality, with the assistance of Ray Charles, on a nearly 30-minute rendition of “Spirit in the Dark” on the last night of her engagement, it was clear that the largely Hippie crowd had themselves been sanctified.  In his book <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield and the Rise and Fall of American Soul</span>, scholar and critic Craig Werner writes, “‘Spirit in the Dark’ evokes the sense of political community that seemed to be slipping away.” (184)  As Franklin writes about that night, “soul oozed out of every pore of the Filmore. All the planets were aligned right that night, because when the music came down, it was as real and righteous as any recording I’d ever made.” (139)  With <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span>, Franklin would capture that same energy, in what was nothing short of an old-fashioned revival.<br><br><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_206Vk7BcsTg/TQDsxdHYT7I/AAAAAAAACYA/Dh4ZrHQ_oHk/s1600/Sydney-Pollack-s-Amazing-Grace-with-Aretha-Franklin-finally-surfaces_header_image.jpg\"><img style=\"width:400px;height:218px\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_206Vk7BcsTg/TQDsxdHYT7I/AAAAAAAACYA/Dh4ZrHQ_oHk/s400/Sydney-Pollack-s-Amazing-Grace-with-Aretha-Franklin-finally-surfaces_header_image.jpg\" alt=\"\" border=\"0\"></a><br><br>“Aretha Franklin returns home,” is how one critic described <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span>, and indeed much of the preparation for the two nights of performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church was intended to make Franklin feel at home.  In the mix were members of Franklin’s regular studio band including guitarist Cornel Dupree, bassist Chuck Rainey, and drummer Bernard Purdie.  In addition her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, who provided remarks on the second night and gospel singer Clara Ward were in attendance for the recording. As Franklin admits in<span style=\"font-style:italic\"> From These Roots</span>, “Along with my dad, Miss Ward was my greatest influence.  She was the ultimate gospel singer—dramatic, daring, exciting, courageous…She took gospel where gospel had never gone before.” (153)<br><br>If<span style=\"font-style:italic\"> Amazing Grace</span> was a homecoming, it was because the recording recalled Aretha’s home life two decades earlier, when a young ambitious and talented musician and choir director James Cleveland was living in the Franklin household. Of Cleveland, Franklin would later write, “James helped shape my basic musical personality in profound ways…I was blessed to meet James so early in his career.” (41) By the time that Cleveland joins Franklin for the Amazing Grace sessions, he had long been established as one of the leading gospel stars of his generation, most well known for his composition “Peace Be Still” and his stunning arrangements for choirs. Cleveland was himself at the peak of his powers in 1972.  Franklin’s longtime producer Jerry Wexler realized as much and recalls that the “arrangements were between [Franklin] and James Cleveland.  Those arrangements, some of them were traditional—and some of them were things that she and James Cleveland put together.”<br><br>Franklin’s involvement in the production of <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span> was no small matter.  As Franklin rather pointedly expresses in her memoir, “As much as I appreciated the soulful studio environment in which Atlantic placed me and the sensitive musicians  who played by my side, one point was deceptive and unfair: I was not listed as a co-producer.”  Franklin later told Gerri Hirshey in <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music</span> (1984), “I always worked on my sound, my arrangements, before I went into a studio with a producer.” Hirshey confirms this point: “there’s no better evidence than Aretha’s own notes from those fabled sessions. They are written in a girlish, slanted hand on yellow legal pads.  They actually look like homework, as Aretha claims they were.”(243)  It was to Wexler’s credit that he understood from the beginning of his work with Franklin in 1967, that she had the best idea about how she should sound. Franklin’s piano playing on many of her Atlantic recordings to that point was a testament to that understanding.  Franklin’s point was that she needed to get formal recognition for her co-producer status.  <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span> is the first Franklin recording in which she is listed as a co-producer.<br><br>The song list from the first night of the live recording reveals the eclecticism that would become the hallmark on Franklin’s recordings in this era. Pop standards like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s  “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 musical Carousel (the song was an early hit for Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles), were chosen alongside traditional gospel fare like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Precious Memories,” (popularized by Sister Rosetta Thorpe), original tunes like Clara Ward’s “How I Got Over” and even Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy,” which Franklin opens with.   Franklin’s eclecticism was a product of the multiple worlds her success forced her to bridge.  Nowhere was this more apparent than her medley of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand/You’ve Got a Friend” which combines the most well known compositions of the “Father of Gospel,” Thomas A. Dorsey (whose Chicago church, Cleveland got his start in) and singer-songwriter Carole King, whose “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women” was one of Franklin’s signature recordings.<br><br>The brilliance of Franklin’s seamless performance of the songs is not simply the acknowledgement of great songs from the American Songbook, but the realization of Franklin’s own cultural gravitas which had the impact of elevating Dorsey—largely  unknown to Franklin’s mainstream fans—to the level of King, who at the time had been acknowledged as the quintessential singer-songwriter of her generation.  Franklin’s efforts are akin to what scholar and critic Walton M. Muyumba (borrowing from Tim Parrish) calls “democratic doing and undoing.” Writing about the improvisational techniques of another African-American musical genius, Charlie Parker, Muyumba writes in his book <span style=\"font-style:italic\">The Shadow and Act: Black Intellectual Practice, Jazz Improvisation and Philosophical Pragmatism</span>, “Parker’s music ‘undoes’ status quo American musical performance theories by offering new modes for ‘doing’ or improvising American music.” (31)<br><br>In addition Franklin’s merging of Dorsey and King can be read as an act of generosity; a generosity that  would be realized again a year later when Franklin gave her Grammy Award for Best Rhythm Blues Performance (awarded for Young, Gifted and Black) to former label-mate Esther Phillips, whose <span style=\"font-style:italic\">From a Whisper to a Scream</span> was also nominated.  Noted critic Leonard Feather described Franklin’s recognition of Phillips as “a rare noblesse oblige gesture”—a term that translates into the “obligation of nobility.”<br><br>What ultimately makes <span style=\"font-style:italic\">Amazing Grace</span> such a powerful index of Aretha Franklin’s talent, was the response of the audience—traditional church goers among fans, critics, gospel royalty and the curious.  Cleveland makes note of the atypical crowd in his opening comments telling the audience “I’d like for you to be mindful though, that this is a church, and we’re here for religious service…we want you to give vent to the spirit.  Those of you not hip to giving vent to the spirit, then you do the next best thing.”  By the time Aretha segues into “How I Got Over” after her stirring duet with Cleveland on “Precious Memories,” it is clear that the crowd has caught the spirit; “How I Got Over” elicits a false start as Cleveland tells folk, “you know ya’ll threw us off just then, don’t clap ‘till we get it open.”<br><br>The crowd was thus ripe when Franklin delivers what might be the definitive performance of her career.  “Amazing Grace” is the most traditional of all traditional hymns and there has not been a Gospel singer (or Country or Blues singer for that matter) worth their salt that hasn’t spent some time putting their unique spin on the song.  For all of those suspicious of Franklin’s seemingly sudden desire to come “back home” to the Church, this was the performance that would put all concerns to rest .  Clocking in at over 16 minutes, including Cleveland’s touching introduction, “Amazing Grace” features Franklin unadorned with simply the accented backing of organist Ken Lupper and Cleveland on piano. Critic David Nathan perhaps says it best describing the “emotional nakedness” of Franklin’s performance.  The performances has the feel of a testimony or even a spiritual purging, and the crowd was in-step with Franklin through every turn of phrase and melismic flourish. Hirshey recalls that Cleveland “stayed at the piano until he broke down in tears” during the performance.  “Amazing Grace” would be Franklin’s closing number on the opening night and there was little reason to believe that she would match the emotional level of her performance on “Amazing Grace.”<br><br>The second night of performances opens with “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and Gaye’s “Wholy Holy”—two of the four songs performed on both nights. Perhaps anticipating a letdown from the first night’s closing performance, Cleveland says to the crowd, with regards to the opening hymn,  “you only get out of it, what you put in.” Cleveland’s warning wasn’t necessary.  After a rather perfunctory performance of the opening tracks, Franklin begins a sequence of five songs that is as impressive as any suite of songs recorded within the idiom of African American music.<br><br>Beginning with a rousing rendition of the hymn “Climbing Higher Mountains,”  Cleveland slows the tempo with an improvised Blues riff on the song (doing call and response opposite Franklin), that serves as an introduction to the hymn “God Will Take Care of You.”  The significant action in the song occurs nearly two-thirds in when Cleveland again ascends to the mic, urging the crowd to a higher level. “Over in the sanctified church, when they begin to feel like this” Cleveland exhorts “All the saints get together and they join in a little praise. I wonder can I get you to help me say it one time” as the crowd yells “yeah” several times in unison,  before the musicians unleash a torrent of sanctified rhythm.  This section of the performance can be best described as the “pedagogy of Black Gospel” as Cleveland literally provides instruction for “catching the spirit” at the same time making transparent the more intimate details of African-American community.  The sheer brilliance of the moment is that Cleveland was essentially using the segment as a musical transition from a spiritual ballad to a down-home stomper—you can hear Cleveland on the piano cueing the musicians and the choir for “Old Landmark’s” cold start—highlighting the genius that is often born of utility.<br><br>The crowd is spent when the pace shifts again for Franklin’s stellar version of The Caravan’s classic, “Mary Don’t You Weep.”—and fittingly so, as Franklin begins her own version of Gospel pedagogy. At the time of the recording, The Caravans were largely known as Gospel’s first super-group, counting the legendary Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews and Shirley Caesar among its ranks at one time or another.  Cleveland was an accompanist for the group in the mid-1950s. The Caravans were to Gospel in the 1950s and 1960s, what Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers were to Jazz; a high end finishing school for the genre’s elite. Given this legacy, it was only fitting that Franklin would perform one of the group’s most well known songs.<br><br>The song, originally recorded by the Fisk Jubilee Singer in 1915, tells the story of Lazarus of Bethany—a figure that, in Biblical lore, is brought back from death by Jesus. Ostensibly a song about the power of Jesus to deliver believers from adverse conditions, Franklin’s performance of the song offers an interesting commentary for Black America at a historical moment functioned, in part,  as an  extended moment of collective grief and mourning, in the aftermath of the murder of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (a close confidante of Franklin’s father) and others such as Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter, students at Jackson State and countless others who sacrificed their lives in support of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Franklin and Cleveland’s arrangements transform “Mary Don’t You Weep” into a dirge, but in the spirit of much of the best of black expressive culture, builds on cathartic possibilities.<br><br>Franklin is midway through the song when she begins to explicitly retell the story of Lazarus—her vocals vacillating between singing and preaching, not unlike the style in which her father was well known for—recreating Jesus’s resurrection of Lazarus.  As Franklin sings,  “Jesus said ‘for the benefit of you, who don’t believe, who don’t believe in me this evening, I’m gonna call him three times.’  He said ‘Lazarus,’ hmmmm ‘Lazarus,’ hear my, hear my voice ‘Lazarus’…he got up walking like a natural man.”  At face value, Franklin’s “Mary Don’t You Weep” is a powerful example of Gospel music’s capacity to perform exegesis, but I’d like to suggest something much more.  In Franklin’s hand, “Mary Don’t You Weep” resurrects the very idea of progressive community—a concept of community that was literally under siege when Franklin  made her recording.  Less an act of resurrecting of a mythical “savior,” Franklin’s performance was an attempt to recover “beloved” community—a community that as constituted in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church during those two nights in January of 1972, was a metaphor for the kind of “imagined” community that would have the capacity to elect a Black President more than three decades after Franklin’s performance.<br><br>Franklin, ends the suite with a 15-minute version of “Never Grow Old”—a song she first recorded as teen—seemingly putting an exclamation point  on the inexhaustible  idea of “beloved” community (“I have heard of a land on the far away strand, ’Tis a beautiful home of the soul”). By the time Franklin and Cleveland concluded the evening with a second rendition of “Precious Memories,” after impromptu comments from Reverend C.L. Franklin, it was evident to many in the audience, that they had been witness to something that was genuinely transcendent.  They didn’t  just witness one of the greatest singers of the 20th Century at her peak, but arguably the peak moment of a musical tradition that had, indeed, changed the world.<br></div><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/13096878-1554083995825817092?l=newblackman.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "“Two-handed engine”: Wikileaks, the Defense of Diplomatic Secrecy, and East Timor",
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      "content" : "<p><em>This is a long post, almost 7000 words, so proceed with caution. It began with Wikileaks and Scott Gilmore’s article “In Defense of Secrecy,” but most of it’s about East Timor and the larger problem — which I recognize in retrospect as the motivation — of our apparent inability to see what diplomats and militaries do as part of the same thinking apparatus; no matter how clichéd Clausewitz has become, we use a different set of paradigms to judge what the Defense department does from what the department of State does. This is a dangerous double standard. </em></p>\n<p><em> </em></p>\n<p>The logic behind leaking diplomatic cables seems to be different than the logic behind producing a document like the “Collateral Murder” video. The latter is a recognizable piece of muck-raking in the classic sense, since the aesthetic and ethical response is it designed to provoke is horror: showing us video of an Apache helicopter killing non-combatants (and letting us hear the disregard for human life in the voices of the pilots as they did so), the point of the video was to take something that repetition has rendered banal — “collateral damage” — and re-stage it as unnatural, perverse, horrible, and unacceptable, as “collateral murder.”</p>\n<p>While Wikileaks also released the unedited footage, Raffi Khatchadourian’s <em>New Yorker </em><span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian\">piece</a></span><em> </em>focuses on the ways Wikileaks tried to shape its reception, cutting the raw tape to emphasize the parts they wanted to emphasize, adding captions, and framing it with an inflammatory title and a George Orwell quote (“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind”). And in describing how Wikileaks went about deciding where and how to edit the video — choosing that title, for example, instead of the less explicit “Permission to Engage” — Khatchadourian gives us space to see the video through the lens which Defense Secretary Robert Gates offers us:</p>\n<blockquote><p>“These people can put anything out they want and are never held accountable for it.” The video was like looking at war “through a soda straw,” he said. “There is no before and there is no after.”</p></blockquote>\n<p>There is certainly some validity to this argument. Wikileaks did work to shape the narrative by making decisions about what to show us and what <em>not </em>to show us. Calling it “murder” before we’ve even seen the event is not a act of passive journalism, and if Wikileaks is working to publicize events in our world which we were not otherwise cognizant of, they are doing so with purpose and intent, as a kind of civil disobedience, working as hard to <em>make</em> the story as they are to simply report it.</p>\n<p>But there’s nothing “simple” about reporting “the story.” All “facts” come to us embedded in contextual cues and narratives that prompt us on how to respond. When we see an American military helicopter firing on shadowy faceless figures carrying an unidentifiable object, after all, do Americans remember that they are Americans as they watch? And reflect on how Americans have been the targets of terror attacks by shadowy faceless figures, maybe like these? If we’ve been conditioned by television and films to regard Arabs as dangerous villains — and <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko_N4BcaIPY\">we have</a></span> –  is the way we respond to <em>these </em>moving images influenced by <em>those </em>moving images? Is it relevant that we hear the voices of the pilots — making them persons, present to us, legible to us — while their victims are faceless ciphers? Are we influenced by video games that play out this very scenario, with <em>us </em>in the cockpit? As we struggle to make sense of the event we see in front of us, does it influence us that one interpretation — murder — will make us feel bad and uncomfortable, while the other — justifiable, collateral damage — will make us feel <em>less </em>bad?</p>\n<p>I think the answer is yes to at least some of these questions at least some of the time. As consumers of news, we are sometimes passive and sometimes active; sometimes we question what we see and look straight on at the things that make us uncomfortable, and sometimes we don’t. And the way we can be <em>most </em>comfortable about the world we live in is to forget how often and how pervasively we get manipulated by the people who serve us our news, to pleasantly overlook how carefully packaged and framed and edited and commented upon every image and word we ever receive <em>already</em> is.</p>\n<p>After all, the alternative to Wikileaks’ editing that footage is for someone else to edit it, and if we look critically at and question the way that Wikileaks has presented it to us — and we <em>should </em>do that — then we should also criticize the alternative that Secretary Gates wants us to view. Which is to not view it at all. In this sense, while Khatchadourian’s <em>New Yorker </em>piece is more or less fair as far as it goes, it doesn’t go very far: Assange is shown editing and crafting and interposing himself between us and “reality,” while Secretary Gates — the man who denied Reuters’ FOIA requests for the footage — is given to us as media critic, the guy pointing out to us how our reality has been distorted by the villainous Julian Assange. The man who suppressed the tape in its entirety is heard complaining that Assange has suppressed parts of it. But both are doing more or less the same thing: Assange gives us a picture of the event that makes it look like murder, while Gates gives us a picture of the even in which it is not.</p>\n<p>Leaking those diplomatic cables, on the other hand, would seem to be something altogether different, which is part of why the conversations about Wikileaks have changed. Wikileaks <em>has </em>“cooperated” with the US government in a certain ways (through the mediation of the big newspapers) to redact certain aspects of the leaks; they are not, despite the hyperbolic claims of their detractors, releasing information indiscriminately. One could certainly still complain that they’re not discriminating in the <em>right </em>ways. But where Gates complained that the “Collateral Murder” video had been altered, arguing that it could not be trusted because it didn’t show the <em>whole </em>story, the problem with what Wikileaks is doing now — say its critics — is that the cables have not been <em>sufficiently </em>altered, that certain information can and should legitimately be kept secret. I want to fixate on this argument — the argument for the value of secrecy as such — because it comes from a different place than Gates’ lament about the perniciously edited footage. There, Gates implicitly conceded that we have some basic right to know the truth, and that the problem is simply that we‘ve been denied it: if you could only see the <em>whole video</em>, he argues, you would understand that our soldiers are just doing their job. Here, the line is the opposite: if only things could be kept secret, they say, all would be well.</p>\n<p>I think it would be fair to say that we in the United States have a certain tradition of being, if not <em>skeptical </em>of the military, at least open to the argument that the military has to be watched pretty closely. Americans love us some soldiers, but we nevertheless tend to presume, at a certain basic and conceptual level, that the job of the soldier is to be beholden to civilian leadership and public oversight. It’s in the constitution both of our laws and of our assumptions about what the military <em>is</em>, which is why we have neither a tradition nor the real possibility of direct military political leadership. I suspect, then, that this is why conservatives work so hard to lionize the soldiery: since the military is constitutionally and conceptually subordinate to the civilian leadership and mass public, insisting that they almost never do bad things — that they are supernaturally <em>good </em>human beings — is a way of easing up on the kind of actual oversight and civilian control over the military that we constitutionally presume. The non-military always has the <em>right</em> to oversee the military, but if — as Gates’ statement presumes — we don’t <em>need </em>to, if we can trust them, then we won‘t actually have to. We give our soldiers free rein in practice, just not in theory.</p>\n<p>However, to say that because we can <em>trust </em>the military, we don’t need to rigorously oversee their actions, is a significantly different argument than the argument which is made in explicit defense of the positive value of diplomatic secrecy. Gates is not arguing that it is a positive good for the military to operate without supervision; even in our hyper-militarized society, that’s still a relatively minority position. His point, informed by long military tradition, is simply that oversight is superfluous, <em>not </em>that its absence is, actually and in and of itself, a positive necessity.</p>\n<p>The argument in direct defense of diplomatic secrecy comes from a different place, and from a different set of rhetorical principles. <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://buildingmarkets.org/blogs/blog/2010/11/29/in-defense-of-secrecy/\">This article</a></span> <strong>– </strong>“In Defense of Secrecy” –<strong> </strong>was written by former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore, and seems more or less representative (it’s a <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/Documents%20and%20Settings/Aaron%20Bady/Desktop/In%20Defense%20of%20Secrecy\">blog post</a></span> he wrote last Tuesday which was then picked up by a the <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/wikileaks-just-made-the-world-more-repressive/article1818157/\">Globe and Mail)</a></span>.</p>\n<p>The heart of his argument is that what diplomats <em>do </em>is work for human rights, and that they use secret cables to do it. “The third most common topic in the WikiLeaks cables is human rights,” he argues — with a graph to prove it — and portrays “American diplomats doing the same thing we were trying to do in Indonesia: Make the world a little better.” He talks in some lurid detail about his posting in Indonesia during the two and half decades the Suharto regime was committing genocide on the East Timorese people, and closes with this “Thankfully, for the Timorese at least, WikiLeaks did not exist in the 1990s.”</p>\n<p>There are three propositions here that we need to disentangle: (A) American diplomats essentially work to “make the world a little better,” (B) the people of East Timor were significantly helped, in some way, by diplomats like him, and (C) just as Wikileaks is today impeding the efforts of American diplomats to do what they do, if Wikileaks had existed in 1999, it would have impeded the efforts by American and Canadian diplomats to “make the world a little bit better.”</p>\n<p>I disagree with all three of these propositions, and I’ll explain why, at ponderous length. But first, let us take in the rest of Scott Gilmore’s account of himself:</p>\n<blockquote><p>…while posted in Jakarta, my job was to find out as much as I could about the human rights abuses being committed by the Indonesian government, and to help apply whatever pressure we could on Jakarta to make them stop.  I wrote cables back to Ottawa that would raise the hair on the back of your neck. Describing abuses that make me sick even now to think about them. <strong>These cables gave my government the ammunition it needed to lean heavily on the Indonesian leadership at the UN and at summits like APEC</strong>.</p>\n<p>…Every few months, I would go visit a small white-washed school in the hills of Indonesian occupied Timor. The young teacher who ran the school would cheerfully bring me into her office, and we would chat about small things while her uniformed students would serve us strong coffee and homemade buns. Once the students left and closed the door, she would open her desk drawer and hand me horrifying photos of disinterred bodies. The Timorese resistance would dig up the fresh graves of torture victims, take photos for evidence, and pass them through their secret network to the teacher, who would then pass them to me and other diplomats. <strong>With that information we knew what the Indonesian military was doing and that the government in Jakarta was lying to the international community. And we could confront them, and we could pressure them to change.  And ultimately, thanks to the perseverance of the Timorese and the efforts of thousands of  diplomats and activists and politicians, this worked. The international arm twisting led to a referendum, and Timor is now independent. </strong></p></blockquote>\n<p>Again, there is an implicit chain of propositions here that add up to a coherent narrative: (A) diplomats need information about abuses in order to do their job of making the world a little bit better, (B) secretly transmitting that information back to their government is necessary to protect their sources so as to maintain the flow of information, (C) the “international arm twisting” which that information enabled “led to a referendum, and Timor is now independent,” and (D) East Timor is lucky it had American and Canadian diplomats on its side.</p>\n<p>All of these claims seem to me to be at least irresponsibly exaggerated. I say this mainly because I know enough about the broadly accepted historical narrative that’s emerged about what happened in 1999 to see all the places where Gilmore is diverging from it. I distrust his account of how genocide was stopped in East Timor because I trust Geoffrey Robinson’s account in <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=142nuDzaU2sC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=geoffrey+robinson+how+genocide&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=Go1iywsvqy&amp;sig=pkfa6WntOjD2Mrzkv_xifWEEzFA&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=2Gz-TOK-CYy-sQOc-9ivCw&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=1&amp;ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">his book </a>with the subtitle “How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor,” and in which paints a very different picture of what was going on in 1999. But most of all, I’m struck by the completely and incompatibly different version of the story that the same Canadian diplomat told in <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://this.org/blog/2010/01/19/interview-scott-gilmore/\">this interview</a></span>, a short eleven months ago, when he wasn‘t prompted by Wikileaks to defend the noble calling of secret diplomacy.</p>\n<p>As he tells it there, at the time he joined the foreign service and was posted to Indonesia, the Suharto regime that had, by then, been murderously repressing East Timor for almost 24 years “was falling apart”:</p>\n<blockquote><p>The government was collapsing, Suharto, the dictator, had resigned, and so I volunteered for it and was sent out to Jakarta. And because I was a low man in the embassy I was given the crap files and one of them was East Timor, because at that time it was a forgotten conflict, there was nobody on the ground, the UN wasn’t there. The only foreigners anywhere near it were nuns and the Red Cross.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Even this, by the way, is bizarre; in 1998 (when Suharto resigned), East Timor was a forgotten conflict? Huh? In 1991, journalists Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn witnessed the Santa Cruz massacre, in which the Indonesian military killed 270 people who had gathered for the funeral of a young man killed by the Indonesian military earlier. In 1996, Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta, Timorese resistance spokesman (in exile in Australia), were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And while Indonesia was intransigent right up until the moment when it wasn’t, NGO’s, the Catholic church, and the international press were making East Timor into a big noisy deal throughout the entire 90‘s. It says a lot more about the diplomatic bubble he was encased in that he would consider it forgotten than about Eat Timor itself.</p>\n<p>But anyway, here’s the part where the story he told a year ago starts to diverge from his story of last week:</p>\n<blockquote><p>I would go out every couple of months to silently bear witness, to talk to the nuns very furtively, to find out what the latest atrocity was, (or human rights abuse), to record what was actually happening on the ground and report that back up to Ottawa and our permanent mission in New York. It was very depressing and very upsetting, and a very futile exercise as a junior diplomat.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Catch all that? Reporting atrocities to Ottawa was a “futile exercise”; instead of giving his government “the ammunition it needed,” Gilmore’s point is that recording what was actually happening on the ground was  “to bear silent witness,” an experience of the uselessness of diplomacy which upset and depressed him. He’s telling a story of his disillusionment with the foreign service.</p>\n<p>Then, once the uselessness of diplomacy has been thoroughly demonstrated:</p>\n<blockquote><p>What happened was that, bizarrely, one day, the new Indonesian president just announced he was going to hold a referendum for independence for the Timorese. And suddenly what became a lost cause became the <em>cause celebre</em>.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Diplomacy? “A lost cause.” The reasons the referendum came? Not a hard-bargained diplomatic concession in the face of Western pressure (as in his “international arm twisting led to a referendum”), but a bizarre and unexpected decision on the part of the new president of Indonesia which took everyone by surprise.</p>\n<p>He continues:</p>\n<blockquote><p>The UN arrived and the donors arrived and the media arrived, and there was only about two or three of us at the time, Western diplomats: somebody for the US embassy, somebody from the Australian embassy and myself, who actually had been paying any attention, who knew any of the Timorese, who could speak the local language, who knew how to get a hold of the guerrillas. So we had very valuable skills for a short period of time and so it wasn’t long going from that to working for the UN because, frankly, there weren’t very many Timorese experts…I had a very strange job. It was a very unique UN mission because it was one of the first times the UN actually ran the country, as opposed to just trying to broker peace or maintain peace. The UN was running everything from the health department to creating the East Timorese defense force and I landed in an office called the National Security Advisory office, where myself and a colleague who I had actually known from grad school, found ourselves sitting across a desk from each other at a very young age, doing things like designing with the defense agency for what East Timor should look like, or with the intelligence agency for what East Timor’s supposed to look like, and actually trying to create these things on behalf of the Timorese.</p></blockquote>\n<p>I don’t want to dismiss what Scott Gilmore may or may not have done in 1999; unless his story is completely fabricated (and there’s no real reason to think it is), the man did dangerous work in a very good cause. So good on him for that. I am a bit skeptical of the way he makes himself and a handful of other diplomats the only (white) people “who actually had been paying any attention, who knew any of the Timorese, who could speak the local language, who knew how to get a hold of the guerrillas.” This seems deeply wrong to me; if you read accounts of the country in that period <em>not </em>written by former Canadian diplomats, it seems clear that there were a great many East Timorese people who had been paying attention, spoke their own language, and could get hold of the guerillas (especially when they <em>were </em>them), and that there wasn’t even a great shortage of great white fathers either. But let that go.</p>\n<p>What <em>really </em>interests me in this old account is the way he nowhere emphasizes the role played by diplomats in secretly shuttling information back to their bosses in Ottawa and Washington. What interests me even more is that his story in the year-old interview is consistent with the one Robinson tells in his book (and in everything else I’ve read on the subject), in which the 1999 referendum not only comes out of nowhere, has very little to do with what was happening on the island, and took most Western observers and diplomats completely by surprise, but which also was followed up with a profoundly ineffective diplomatic effort to: convince the Indonesian military to run a really fair and peaceful election.</p>\n<p>In other words, after 24 years of institutionalized repression, torture, murder, and more torture and murder, the US state department’s perspective on the situation was that it was up to the Indonesian military to keep the peace in East Timor. Apply enough diplomatic pressure on the fox and it will turn into a really good guard of the henhouse.</p>\n<p>Surprisingly, that didn’t happen at all. Instead, in the lead up to the referendum in 1999, the Indonesian military secretly worked to form and organize local militias of Timorese who were loyal to Indonesia to use systematic violence and suppress the vote for independence. The violence wasn’t secret. The whole <em>point </em>of mass repression was that it had to be widely known, to everyone, or it wouldn‘t work. And this is where another genocide might have happened; had the UN not intervened when it eventually did, with peacekeeping troops, it certainly would have gotten very, very bad.</p>\n<p>Here is what Robinson, who was in East Timor at the time, has to <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=142nuDzaU2sC&amp;lpg=PR1&amp;ots=Go1iywsvqy&amp;dq=geoffrey%20robinson%20how%20genocide&amp;pg=PA187#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">say </a>about that moment:</p>\n<blockquote><p>…however obvious the need for peacekeepers seemed to those who had been in East Timor, the idea never got off the ground. The reason was simple: in the course of negotiations in April 1999 and the months leading up to the ballot, it was either ignored or actively opposed by elements within the UN Secretariat and key powers on the Security Council, most notably the United States. <strong>This is not to say that these powers remained silent in the face of mounting violence. There was plenty of  criticism, and even some veiled threats, for example, at a donors meeting for Indonesia in Paris in late July </strong>and again as voting day approached.  In the final weeks of August, for instance, President Clinton wrote to President Habibie warning that relations with the United States would b e seriously damaged if mass violence occurred during or after the ballot. <strong>But peacekeepers were never mentioned. Instead, the concerned states stuck steadfastly, one might even say pigheadedly, to the position that security was the responsibility of the Indonesian authorities.</strong></p></blockquote>\n<p>Without UN peacekeepers, it is worth re-iterating, things would have gotten much, much worse. The most you can say for Western diplomatic efforts is that they eventually succeeded in convincing Indonesia to allow peacekeepers to enter the country. But there’s nothing else they <em>could </em>have accomplished, no matter how much “ammunition” Scott Gilmore provided them with. The Indonesian military were the bad guys in this situation and Indonesian President Habibie was the villain. The only thing standing between the people of East Timor and the paramilitary forces that had been killing and torturing them for decades was, eventually, the UN. And the main obstacle to UN action was the United States.</p>\n<p>Which starts to bring us closer to the real issue here: the US not only didn’t care about humanitarian issues in East Timor, it was — as it had been for decades — actively working to train and support the Indonesian military during the 24-year period in which the Indonesian military was the primary instrument of genocidal repression in East Timor. This is not controversial or disputed. This is not a wild conspiracy theory. The turning point in the crisis — the APEC summit which Gilmore specifically mentions — was when Clinton suddenly announced (well after the referendum) that (A) if Indonesia didn’t suddenly get serious about not repressing the Timorese any more, UN intervention would be necessary, and (B) the US was suspending its military co-operation programs with the Indonesian military.</p>\n<p>One thing to point out, then, is Scott Gilmore’s very unfortunate choice of metaphor in describing how secret diplomatic “cables gave my government the ammunition it needed to lean heavily on the Indonesian leadership at the UN and at summits like APEC.” In his testimony in front of Congress, for example, Allan Nairn spoke about being the last journalist in Dili, when the violence was at its height (during the APEC summit), and seeing <em>actual </em>American ammunition littering the ground. In other words, if those cables gave Scott Gilmore’s government the <em>metaphorical </em>ammunition to use against Indonesia, it seems worth pointing out that, at the exact same time, the Indonesian government was using <em>actual ammunition</em> against the people of East Timor, ammunition that was actually given to them by the US. Allan Nairn’s congressional <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=TAs5RSWNYvkC&amp;lpg=PA168&amp;ots=oexxMkLStX&amp;dq=A%20few%20weeks%20ago%2C%20as%20Dili%20was%20burning%20and%20as%20the%20UN%20had%20evacuated%2C%20as%20foreign%20journalist%20had%20left%2C%20I%20had%20the%20opportunity&amp;pg=PA168#v=onepage&amp;q=A%20few%20weeks%20ago,%20as%20Dili%20was%20burning%20and%20as%20the%20UN%20had%20evacuated,%20as%20foreign%20journalist%20had%20left,%20I%20had%20the%20opportunity&amp;f=false\">testimony </a>is worth quoting at some length on this point:</p>\n<blockquote><p>“A few weeks ago, as Dili was burning and as the UN had evacuated, as foreign journalist had left, I had the opportunity to be, I think, probably the last foreign journalist left on the streets of Dili. And I was walking around in the early mornings going from one abandoned house to another. You could hear the militias coming around the corners with their chopper motorcycles. They would fire into the air and honk their horns as they were about to sack and burn another house.</p>\n<p>And you also found littering the streets, hundreds upon hundreds of shell casings. They came from two places, one from Pindad [PT Pindad: Pusat Industrial AD. Army Industries Center], the Indonesian military industries, which have joint ventures with a whole list of U.S. companies. And the other from Olin Winchester of East Alton, Illinois. These cartridges had been recently shipped in to Battalion 7444, one of the territorial battalions in Timor, and then issued to the militiamen. As you can see from these photos, they come in the new white Olin Winchester boxes, twenty cartridges to a box. These were amongst the bullets that they were using to terrorize Dili.”</p></blockquote>\n<p>US military support for Indonesia goes a lot deeper than this, of course,<a href=\"http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/Documents%20and%20Settings/Aaron%20Bady/My%20Documents/east%20timor%20final%20post.doc#_ftn1\"><sup><sup>[1]</sup></sup></a> and I will continue in a moment. But we first need to just linger a moment on the fact that exactly the kinds of atrocities which Scott Gilmore talks about, the atrocities which he needs diplomatic cables so he can secretly document “what the Indonesian military was doing,” are atrocities being done with US military hardware and by militiamen directly trained by the Indonesian military, which was directly trained by the American military. Which side of the story do we chooses to emphasize?</p>\n<p>Allan Nairn’s point, in front of Congress, was that the US’s support of Indonesia is the central problem. Having been actually <em>present </em>during the 1991 massacre in Dili (many years before Scott Gilmore would accidentally go to East Timor), Nairn takes a big picture approach to the conflict, and he began his <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=TAs5RSWNYvkC&amp;lpg=PA168&amp;ots=oexxMkLStX&amp;dq=A%20few%20weeks%20ago%2C%20as%20Dili%20was%20burning%20and%20as%20the%20UN%20had%20evacuated%2C%20as%20foreign%20journalist%20had%20left%2C%20I%20had%20the%20opportunity&amp;pg=PA163#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">testimony </a>by situating American support for Indonesia in 1999 in the context of US support for Indonesia over the entire 24 years of its occupation of East Timor:</p>\n<blockquote><p>“Back in December 1975, when the Indonesian military began consulting with Washington about a possible invasion, they promised they could crush Timor within two weeks. General Ali Murtropo came to the White House and met with General Brent Scowcroft. President Ford and Henry Kissinger went to Jakarta and sat down with Suharto. And then, sixteen hours later, the invasion was underway. The paratroopers dropped from US C-130’s. They used new US machine guns to shoot the Timorese into the sea.</p>\n<p>In 1990, when I first went to Timor, the intelligence chief Colonel Gatot Purwanto confirmed that by that time their operation had killed a third of the original population.</p>\n<p>On November 12, 1991, when the troops marched on the Santa Cruz cemetery, they carried U.S. M-16s. They didn’t bother with warning shots. Amy Goodman and I stood between them futilely hoping to stop them from opening fire. But they opened fire systematically and they kept on shooting because, as the national commander, General Soestrisno, explained: “These Timorese are disrupters; such people must be shot.”…</p>\n<p>At no time during these years of slaughter did the US government executive branch ever decide that the time had come to stop supporting the perpetrators. President Carter and Richard Holbrooke sent in OV-10 Broncos and helicopters. Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton sent in weapons, multilateral financing, and sniper trainers…</p>\n<p>In recent weeks, commentators have criticized the United States for failure to intervene, for not sending in foreign troops fast enough to stop the Indonesian army’s final burst of Timor terror.</p>\n<p>But Mr. Chairman, I want to make the point today that <strong>intervention is not the issue</strong>. The Clinton doctrine and the questions flowing from it do not apply in Timor or Indonesia because the killing is being perpetrated with the active assistance of the United States. <strong>The United States is not an observer here; it is not agonizing on the sidelines. It has instead been the principle patron of the Indonesian armed forces. The issue is not whether we should step in and play policeman to the world, but whether we should continue to arm, train, and finance the world’s worst criminals.”</strong></p></blockquote>\n<p>To return to Scott Gilmore, I have no particular reason to think that he, personally, did anything but honorable and commendable work in East Timor, and every reason to believe that in the moment when it was possible for him to do some good on one of the dark places of the earth, he did his best. That’s not what I’m arguing; foreign service diplomats are not the bad guys here. But the attempt to make them into the <em>good </em>guys is somewhere between ignorant and disingenuous; you cannot be the voice of a government that kills people and pretend that your efforts to stop them from being killed don’t have to be stacked against your governments efforts to help kill them. Without active Western military and diplomatic support for the Suharto regime — starting in 1965, when the real atrocity was committed (over a million communists and suspected communists killed), and continuing past 1999 — the genocide in East Timor could never have happened; in 1975, it was diplomatic pressure from the US, Australia, and the UK that stifled any outcry in the UN, and that was the pattern for the entire history of the “conflict.” Again, this isn’t even secret; in his memoirs, our ambassador to the UN during the initial 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, notoriously <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=142nuDzaU2sC&amp;pg=PA63&amp;dq=The+United+States+wished+things+to+turn+out+as+they+did,+and+worked+to+bring+this+about.+The+Department+of+State&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=EW7-TMqcBIz6sAOH0dCvCw&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=2&amp;ved=0CCsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=The%20United%20States%20wished%20things%20to%20turn%20out%20as%20they%20did%2C%20and%20worked%20to%20bring%20this%20about.%20The%20Department%20of%20State&amp;f=false\">described </a>what he did in the UN at that time:</p>\n<blockquote><p>“The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.” (245-7)</p></blockquote>\n<p>In other words, if East Timor “was a forgotten conflict” when Scott Gilmore got there, and if “the UN wasn’t there,” it was because the West (starting with but not limited to the US) had worked hard to make sure that this was so. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, stopping “dominoes” in Asia was vastly more important to the “free world” than anything so piddling as hundreds of thousands of people in East Timor. If you agree with that calculus, fine. But you can’t pretend that human rights ever amounted to anything even close to the importance that the US placed on “strategic considerations,” like maintaining good relations with Jakarta. As Daniel Southerland put it in 1980, “in deferring to Indonesia on the issue, the Carter administration, like the Ford administration before it, appears to have placed big-power concerns ahead of human rights.”<a href=\"http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/Documents%20and%20Settings/Aaron%20Bady/My%20Documents/east%20timor%20final%20post.doc#_ftn2\"><sup><sup>[2]</sup></sup></a></p>\n<p>This is why we have to look at what our military does and what our diplomats do in the same context. They are only two different faces of the same state, two different functions and ways of doing things, but ultimately in service of the same goals. We have to scrutinize our diplomats with precisely the same rigor with which we need to oversee our military. And in that sense, it’s worth noting that one of the ways Allan Nairn was able to document American-Indonesian cooperation in the events leading up to 1999 was <em>a leaked diplomatic cable</em>. Here is how he closed his testimony to Congress:</p>\n<blockquote><p>One point I want to make about the constant Pentagon argument. The argument for training is: Well, when you train officers it gives you access to them. It teaches them good values and so on. Those arguments are summarized in this cable. This is a cable from Ambassador Roy to CINCPAC [commander in chief, Pacific].</p>\n<p>He makes all the arguments about how when we train officers, they get good values. They rise in the ranks. And then to clinch the argument, it cites examples of the best and brightest of the Indonesian officers who’ve been trained by the U.S.</p>\n<p>These are the examples they cited. General Feisal Tanjung, who became the commander in chief of the Indonesian armed forces, one of the most notorious, hardline, repressive officers; [Lieutenant] General Hendropriyono, one of the legendary authors of repression in Indonesia, who was involved in Aceh. He’s the man who commanded Operation Cleanup in Jakarta prior to the ’94 APEC summit. This was the operation in which they swept through the streets, picked up street vendors, petty criminals, prostitutes; executed many of them, according to human rights grups. Major General Sihombing, a longtime Intel man who became deputy chief of the secret police. [Major General] Agus [Wirahadikusumah] who has a less egregious human rights record than the others. His main distinction is he’s bought a lot of U.S. weapons for the Indonesian military.</p>\n<p>And then their final example of the best and the brightest was General Prabowo, the most notorious of all the Indonesian officers; also one of the most extensively US- trained officers, famous for his participation in torture in Timor, West Papua, Aceh; for the kidnappings in Aceh.</p></blockquote>\n<p>Again, I don’t want to pretend that Western diplomacy never did any good. At APEC, in 1999, Clinton signaled that the US was now ready to allow the UN intervention into East Timor that would, eventually, stop the militia violence and lead to a shaky peace. But it wasn’t human rights abuses that led him to do it, nor was there any doubt, at that point, that the Indonesian military was behind the atrocities that were happening. The reason Allan Nairn was the last journalist in Dili was that all the others had been driven out by the violence, and the reason we knew the Indonesian military was behind it was that we were training and advising the people who did it.</p>\n<p>But what happened in East Timor was a broad change in strategic priorities; human rights became relevant only once Indonesia was no longer so important as an ally, and once Suharto was no longer “our kind of guy,” as Clinton notoriously once called him. Richard Falk <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=TAs5RSWNYvkC&amp;lpg=PA156&amp;ots=oexxMkLUtX&amp;dq=basic%20change%20in%20East%20Timor%E2%80%99s%20prospects%20resulted%20from%20an%20overall%20transformation%20of%20the%20geopolitical%20climate%2C%20as%20well%20as%20from%20the%20play%20of%20internal%20forces%20within%20Indonesia&amp;pg=PA156#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">describes </a>what happened this way:</p>\n<blockquote><p>“…the basic change in East Timor’s prospects resulted from an overall transformation of the geopolitical climate, as well as from the play of internal forces within Indonesia. In the wake of the end of the Cold War, concerns about global strategic alignment were considerably weakened…Such an altered context was then deeply influenced by Indonesia’s fall from International Monetary Fund (IMF) grace in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. Instead of Indonesia being seen as the darling of the second generation of Asian emerging markets, it was now being castigated as the kingpin of “crony capitalism,” and its once admired and pampered leader, Suharto, was condemned as an Asian autocrat whose time of useful service to Indonesia had long passed.”</p></blockquote>\n<p>Suharto resigned, as Falk tells it, because we didn’t <em>need </em>him any more, and because he had become an embarrassment. He became the fall guy, and his promoted vice president declared a referendum on independence in East Timor (A) to clean up the image problem that Indonesia had because of it, and (B) because he thought that the military could swing the election the way they wanted it to go. That it didn’t work out that way doesn’t contradict the basic bad faith of the plan from the start.</p>\n<p>The reason it <em>didn’t</em> work out, the reason the UN intervened when we did, is complicated. But note how secret diplomatic cables don’t in any way play into Geoffrey Robinson’s <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=142nuDzaU2sC&amp;lpg=PR1&amp;ots=Go1iywszvy&amp;dq=geoffrey%20robinson%20genocide&amp;pg=PA19#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false\">account</a>:</p>\n<blockquote><p>A careful reconstruction of the decisions and events of mid-September 1999, against the background of this literature, suggests that the intervention was the result of an unusual conjuncture of historical trends and events that distinguished that moment decisively from the situation in the late 1970’s. These included: the presence of a good many foreign observers and journalists in the midst of the post-ballot violence; the credibility and strength of the international NGO and church networks that exerted influence on their governments, and mobilized popular demonstrations around the world, most notably in Canberra and Lisbon; the impact of myriad acts of conscience and extraordinary courage by East Timorese; a temporary shift in prevailing international norms and legal regimes that strongly favored humanitarian intervention in cases where national governments commit crimes against their own populations; the presence in a position of power of a strong proponent of humanitarian intervention in such circumstances — UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and the recent memory of egregious UN failures to protect civilians from mass killings in comparable situations, notably in Rwanda and Srebrenica.</p></blockquote>\n<p>What I am suggesting, then, is that the decision to intervene militarily in East Timor in mid-September 1999 stemmed from an unusual, but, temporary, confluence of historical trends and political pressures that briefly altered the calculus by which key states assessed their national interest, making inaction more costly than humanitarian intervention. Tat view accords well with Samantha Power’s argument [in <em>“A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide</em>] about the reasons for US inaction in the face of genocide in the twentieth century. US failures, she argues, can be traced to the fact that there have been no significant domestic political costs to such inaction.</p>\n<p>It is impossible to read Robinson’s book — or pretty much everything else I’ve read on the subject — and not come away with a very different impression of the role played by Western diplomats in East Timor than the one described by Scott Gilmore in his recent column. As agents of their states, they did what their states wanted them to do. And when someone like Gilmore was in East Timor at a time when what was wanted was to “bear silent witness,” well, that’s pretty much all someone like him is going to be able to do. States only care about human rights when  they have some reason to care. Most of the time they don’t.</p>\n<p>On the other hand, Robinson and Samantha Power emphasize that what makes states suddenly break with history and care about, say, a little thing like genocide, is when a lot of people start demanding that they care. If inaction has political cost, states will act. And if there’s one thing that the secrecy of diplomatic cables will <em>not </em>accomplish, it’s making citizens angry about inaction, or about actions done in their name.</p>\n<p>East Timor is a special case; as Robinson specifically notes, the UN was able to do the right thing in that moment because a whole bunch of factors were just right: the cold war was over, Indonesia was disgraced, the war on terror had not yet begun, and shameful memories of non-intervention in Rwanda and Bosnia still stung in the collective memory. And this confluence of unusual factors brought about a unique state of affairs, where suddenly a jaded diplomat, a person who was accustomed to being able to do nothing about the horrors he was documenting to apathetic or ineffective officials in Ottawa, was able to be on the right side by working for the UN. Popular pressure from citizens who read Allan Nairn’s journalism, for example, demanded action; Kofi Annan worked very hard to create a coalition of forces to stop the violence; and the US, for a time, fell into line.</p>\n<p>Would we do so now? Doubt it. Indonesia is a massive nation full of Muslims, in case you haven’t heard, and friendly dictators who fight terrorism on our behalf are our favorite kind of ally. If a few eggs get broken, etc. And the main thing that the Wikileaks cables have revealed — just like the cable that Nairn read in front of congress in 1999 — is confirmation of exactly these sorts of complicities. We now have <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\"><a href=\"http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/30550\">confirmation</a></span> that we were behind the humanitarian clusterfuck that Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia has turned out to be, for instance, an invasion that was necessary because of all those scary Muslims in Somalia, and possible because of our close relationship with Ethiopia. Just like we already knew that our military was behind Indonesia’s military which was behind the militia violence in Timor, we already “knew,” in a certain sense, that the US gave Ethiopia the green light to invade. They wouldn’t have done so without our approval any more than Indonesia would have invaded in 1975 without it. But Wikileaks fills in some of the gaps. Now we have proof.</p>\n<p>I don’t know how to highly to value that proof; I’m not sure whether Wikileaks just adds to a store of knowledge that we already have or if it represents something new. But the idea that it’s a bad thing to know more about the how the governments that act in our names <em>actually</em> behave is laughable, and the idea that impeding their ability to act secretly prevents them from advancing the cause of justice and human rights, it seems to me, is utterly without merit. There may be a human rights argument against what Wikileaks does; it may be that they’ve been sloppy in the data they’ve released. But given how many times I’ve seen that charge laid at their feet, and how completely unsupported by any credible evidence it has been, without exception, I’m not willing to give people like Gilmore the benefit of the doubt. If anyone has actual examples of a time when government secrecy was used for something other than exerting force in support of self-interest, I’d like to hear it. But until then, I’m going to continue to assume, as usual, that the only check on the amorality of the state is a moral citizenry. And the only way that citizens can <em>act </em>as a check on the state’s amorality is when they know what their government is doing. Hiding cables from the public does the opposite of accomplishing that.</p>\n<div>\n<hr size=\"1\">\n<div>\n<p><a href=\"http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/Documents%20and%20Settings/Aaron%20Bady/My%20Documents/east%20timor%20final%20post.doc#_ftnref1\"><sup><sup>[1]</sup></sup></a> As Nairn points out “The units on the ground that were specifically running the militia operation included some of those most intensely trained by the United States,” and he names a series of Indonesian military individuals and units coordinating the militia operation in Timor who were “graduates of US IMET and intelligence training.”</p>\n</div>\n<div>\n<p><a href=\"http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/Documents%20and%20Settings/Aaron%20Bady/My%20Documents/east%20timor%20final%20post.doc#_ftnref2\"><sup><sup>[2]</sup></sup></a> CSM, “US Role in Plight of Timor: An Issue That Won’t Go Away,” March 6, 1980.  I’m not sure “deferring” is the right word, but let it pass.</p>\n</div>\n</div>\n<br>  <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2808/\"></a> <img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=zunguzungu.wordpress.com&amp;blog=873814&amp;post=2808&amp;subd=zunguzungu&amp;ref=&amp;feed=1\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "in a cab",
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      "content" : "<p>On the radio, there’s some talk show banter going on. A new study says men who kiss their wives every morning live five years longer than the ones who don’t. </p>\n<p>The driver says to me, “I’d kiss my wife every morning if she’d let me!” He’s got a sweet laugh. A small guy, bundled against the cold. He touches his chin. “In fact this morning I told her this was her last chance to kiss my smooth cheek until summer. I’m gonna grow a beard to keep warm. Never had a beard before but I gotta do something, I freeze in these cars.”</p>\n<p>“Did she kiss you?”</p>\n<p>“Yeah, she’s a good girl, my wife. We couldn’t be more different. She reads books all the time, I don’t touch the stuff. I never even went to high school, but somehow we get along real good.” </p>\n<p>We’re driving along the river, the traffic is slow. I’m watching his pitted face, his shy smile. “I met her in the car. A customer. I picked her up by the hospital and we talked so much I forgot where I was supposed to be driving her! She said that was alright. We had breakfast the next couple mornings and then she moved in. Eight years.”</p>\n<p>He’s on a roll now, and I’ve no inclination to stop him. He’s telling the kind of stories I always think the cabbies might be making up. The kind that are a little too cute. But I believe him.</p>\n<p>“I grew up over there,” he says, pointing across the river to a row of project towers. “I started dealing drugs when I was 12. I tell you, drugs gave me a good life. I had money, I went all over the world. I went places I don’t remember going but people tell me I was there.” </p>\n<p>“Then I had to get cleaned up. My clock ran down. So here I am. I’m doing ok. I work, people work.” </p>\n<p>This looks bitter on the page but he’s not. He is laughing his sweet laugh. He is, I find out later, dying slowly of the things you would expect. His liver, he says, but not his heart.</p>\n<br>  <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/municipalarchive.wordpress.com/420/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/municipalarchive.wordpress.com/420/\"></a> <img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=municipalarchive.wordpress.com&amp;blog=3626641&amp;post=420&amp;subd=municipalarchive&amp;ref=&amp;feed=1\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "Laugh If You Must, But It Is Published in a Refereed Journal",
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    "title" : "Why is Xinmao bidding for Draka?",
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      "content" : "<p>The answer is suggested by Hendrik Rood (Stratix):</p>\n<p>“There are only 4 complete patent portfolio’s for fibre optic manufacturing in the world</p>\n<p>* Corning (USA)</p>\n<p>* Draka Comteq (Netherlands)</p>\n<p>* Sumitomo (Japan)</p>\n<p>* Fujikura (Japan)</p>\n<p>The rest of the fibre optic industry works on licenses of one of these four leading firms. It seems someone in China thinks this is the opportunity to buy a full scale optical fibre patent portfolio.”</p>\n<p>Very likely.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/add_to/facebook?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dadamotive.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fwhy-is-xinmao-bidding-for-draka%2F&amp;linkname=Why%20is%20Xinmao%20bidding%20for%20Draka%3F\" title=\"Facebook\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/icons/facebook.png\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\" alt=\"Facebook\"></a> <a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/add_to/digg?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dadamotive.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fwhy-is-xinmao-bidding-for-draka%2F&amp;linkname=Why%20is%20Xinmao%20bidding%20for%20Draka%3F\" title=\"Digg\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/icons/digg.png\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\" alt=\"Digg\"></a> <a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/add_to/stumbleupon?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dadamotive.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fwhy-is-xinmao-bidding-for-draka%2F&amp;linkname=Why%20is%20Xinmao%20bidding%20for%20Draka%3F\" title=\"StumbleUpon\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/icons/stumbleupon.png\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\" alt=\"StumbleUpon\"></a> <a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/share_save\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/favicon.png\" width=\"16\" height=\"16\" alt=\"Share\"></a> </p>"
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    "title" : "tales by the moonlight #1",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9KRvm2_omrk/TOMKXuI2JjI/AAAAAAAAFKs/AY9x5QKU2vs/s1600/A-1-sm.jpg\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" src=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9KRvm2_omrk/TOMKXuI2JjI/AAAAAAAAFKs/AY9x5QKU2vs/s1600/A-1-sm.jpg\"></a><br><br><i><span style=\"font-size:x-small\">well it's full moon today, not like you can tell from the London skies, so  ...</span></i><br><br>Back in <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enugu\">Enugu</a> city, east of Nigeria, in my younger days getting ready for school was the usual routine (<span style=\"font-style:italic\">border line chaotic</span>). My older brother, myself and sister would bundle into the bath, get ready for school, and go across the street to Mama Okey's yard to buy breakfast. breakfast was ritual fried bean cake/fritter (<a href=\"http://www.avartsycooking.com/2010/06/akara-fried-bean-cake/\">Akara</a> in the lingo) and maize pap, sorta custard like (called Akamu). it was bare joke business cos Mama Okey was loud as hell and always cussin' the labourers who bought breakfast there. Okey, her second son, was our best friend so we to get extras. life was simple and fun for the three young kids. Then strange rumours started hitting the street. People living in her yard would complain of being attacked at night and having terrible nightmares. They were waking up with scratches all over their body and ish like that. the street was shook. My dad thought it was all nonsense and allowed us to keep going there but people started avoiding the place.<br><br>One morning on the usual breakfast run we saw a large crowd gathered round the entrance of Mama Okey's house. No sign of her or her food stall. A large aggressive black cat had accidentally trapped itself in a food basket in the backyard. no known owner of the pet. witchcraft business afoot. one of the tenants, a lorry driver, brought the trapped cat out to the front of the house and ordered everyone out. One by one the residents filed out. The only people that hadnt appeared was Okey and his Mums. Lorry man hollered a few times but no response. Everyone was scared and no one made a move to knock on her door. After some crowd driven delibration they decided to let the cat out and see what happens. My young mind was like yeah right. Lorry guy pulled the lid off and cat jumped out the basket. mr cat meowed loudly, scaled the wall and was gone. That moment Mama Okey's door creaked opened. The biggest stampede in the east of nigeria ensued. I and my siblings were 10 paces ahead of the crowd.<br><br>They moved out that morning and I never saw Okey or his Mum again.<br><br>On hindsight it was all rubbish and could be easily explained. but i aint hanging around to find out.<div><br></div><div><i><span style=\"font-size:small\">when in doubt? run</span></i></div><br><br><br><a href=\"http://www.avartsycooking.com/2010/06/akara-fried-bean-cake/\"><img style=\"margin:0 10px 10px 0;width:320px;height:213px\" src=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9KRvm2_omrk/TOh7yeWDAwI/AAAAAAAAFK0/Ao8JCUb0azg/s320/akara1-600x399.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\"></a><br><span style=\"font-style:italic\"><span><span style=\"font-size:small\">best thing since sliced bread.  actually preferred it with custard</span></span></span><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/6471248371228098126-5823601570943723531?l=swankanddirect.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "The Ramblers Dance Band   (Re-Up)",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IPE-dBSxpcY/R-z3nJQ_LfI/AAAAAAAABnw/IUueACbQZ_o/s1600-h/DSC01612.JPG\"><img style=\"display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center\" src=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IPE-dBSxpcY/R-z3nJQ_LfI/AAAAAAAABnw/IUueACbQZ_o/s400/DSC01612.JPG\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\"></a><br>A Highlife  LP on the Decca label from West Africa recorded in 1969.  <br><br>The sleeve notes say-<br><br>\"It is over a decade now since Decca started recording local artists in West Africa. During this stretch of time dance bands have sprouted and wilted away to die in the true tradition of musicla groups. Somehow one band has satyed around longer than most; it seems to have succeeded where others have failed. The Ramblers Dance Band, nearly eight years old, have introduced glamour to the West African Highlife scene. the band have provided it's dance fans with their highlife tunes, while for those who prefer to listen it has supplied the necessary innovations to the traditional forms.\"<br><br><br>\"From its early development in Ghana through the 1970s, Highlife was Africa's first big popular music trend. Evolving from the the music of society bands and military marching bands, Highlife music re-africanized these contemporary instrumental ensembles, adding local percussion, indigenous rhythms and crafting local lyrics around powerful local themes. Highlife, named for the lifestyle of the high society Africans who were its early patrons, was the first major popular music trend in West Africa. Some of Nigeria's early highlife luminaries Bobby Benson, Cardinal Rex Lawson, EC. Arinze, Stephen Amechi, Inyang Henshaw, Celestine Ukwu and many others are still revered to this day. Though highlife lost some of its national power during the Civil War years, Highlife Heavies like Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and Oliver DeCoque remain powerful National forces. Recentely a young generation has worked to put highlife back on the map.\"<br><br>Discover more about Nigerian Highlife <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Nigeria\">HERE</a><br><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?zzmzmdwm2gg\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Ekombi</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?wnz5mydzmy5\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Agyanka Dabre</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?ygjziynkmgg\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Ama Bonsu</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?ziiqjiwdj2u\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Nyame Ne Nyhehyee</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?bzeuumq5zz2\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Nyame Mbere</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?nn2nrmianyh\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Alome</a><br><br><a href=\"http://www.mediafire.com/?wcyzqvivyjy\">Ramblers Dance Band  -  Knock On Wood</a><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/15815883-2897757143425422241?l=bootsalesounds.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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      "content" : "<div><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.4/85171?ns=guardian&amp;pageName=Ecuadorean+wins+Spain%27s+first+siesta+contest%3AArticle%3A1470252&amp;ch=World+news&amp;c3=Guardian&amp;c4=Spain+%28News%29%2CEcuador+%28News%29%2CWorld+news&amp;c5=Not+commercially+useful&amp;c6=Associated+Press&amp;c7=10-Oct-24&amp;c8=1470252&amp;c9=Article&amp;c10=News&amp;c11=World+news&amp;c13=&amp;c25=&amp;c30=content&amp;h2=GU%2FWorld+news%2FSpain\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\"></div><p>Pedro Soria Lopez wins €1,000 after sleeping – and snoring – for 17 minutes in busy Madrid shopping mall</p><p>A 62-year-old Ecuadorean man managed to ignore the uproar of a crowded Madrid shopping centre and snore loudly enough to win what was billed as Spain's first siesta championship.</p><p>Organisers yesterday proclaimed unemployed security worker Pedro Soria Lopez the champion after he slept for 17 minutes.</p><p>They said his snoring on Tuesday registered 70 decibels – the equivalent of the noise of someone talking loudly. That earned him extra points and enough to defeat the runner-up who had slept for 18 minutes.</p><p>\"Oh I am so happy to be the first champion,\" said Soria Lopez before collecting the €1,000 winning cheque. \"My wife made me do this, but then they couldn't wake me up. Naturally, the lunch I had before with the €7 (£6) they had given me helped.\"</p><p>The somewhat tongue-in-cheek nine-day contest, which ended yesterday , was organised by the recently formed <a href=\"http://www.campeonato-de-siesta.com/\" title=\"National Association of Friends of the Siesta\">National Association of Friends of the Siesta</a> and sponsored by a shopping mall in Madrid's working class Carabanchel district.</p><p>The aim was to promote a revival of a custom that some believe is in danger of vanishing because of modern life.</p><p>\"People are so stressed out they can't take siestas any more,\" said a spokesman, Andres Lemes. \"Studies show it's a healthy practice that recharges your batteries.\"</p><p>Each of the 360 sleepers that took part in the contest got just one shot. There were individual prizes for snoring, odd sleeping positions and wearing striking pyjamas.</p><p>Contestants in groups of five were given 20 minutes to lie down on blue couches and timed by a doctor with a pulse-measuring device to determine how long they spent snoozing. A judge perched on an umpire's seat awarded points for position, snoring ability and apparel.</p><p>\"It's not a scientific study, obviously,\" said Dr Lila Chuecas, who monitored the contestants. \"The idea is to encourage people to practice a healthy habit.\"</p><p>She said less than 30% of contestants managed to nod off, given the surrounding noise of giggling youths and parents screaming at their kids. Loud, thumping pop music pounded continuously from the numerous stores all around.</p><p>The sofas were lined up in parallel numbered lanes like those of an athletics race, and eight rounds were held per day.</p><p>On Saturday, one young girl showed up in pink, heart-striped pyjamas and snuggled up to a brown furry bunny. An older man wore a Santa hat and had a cushion stuffed under his T-shirt.</p><p>Two Americans studying in Madrid read about the contest on the internet and won second and third place in their individual round. \"I think I fell asleep, but someone kept kicking my couch,\" said Asya Kislyuk, 21, of Indianapolis. \"We will now go forth to be the ambassadors for the siesta,\" she joked.</p><p></p><p>Organisers said they planned a bigger championship next year, and may even take it abroad.</p><div style=\"float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px\"><ul><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/spain\">Spain</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/ecuador\">Ecuador</a></li></ul></div><br><div><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk\">guardian.co.uk</a> © Guardian News &amp; Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our <a href=\"http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html\">Terms &amp; Conditions</a> | <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds\">More Feeds</a></div><p style=\"clear:both\"></p><p><iframe src=\"http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~ah/f/tnjfgs37ucnl649hfpb0neurik/468/60#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fworld%2F2010%2Foct%2F24%2Fecuadorean-wins-spain-first-siesta-contest\" width=\"100%\" height=\"60\" frameborder=\"0\" scrolling=\"no\" marginwidth=\"0\" marginheight=\"0\"></iframe></p>"
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    "title" : "Anokye Contra Yehoshua - Martin Egblewogbe",
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      "content" : "<blockquote>It is of great interest<br>to compare Yehoshua and Anokye;<br>The latter murdered in his deep sleep<br>by the firing of a musket –<br>the gun not even pointed at him.<br>From such a death there is no resurrection:<br>thus perished the hope of a Guan elixir.<br><br>Mark here one notable divergence:<br>Whereas Yehoshua is documented four-fold or more<br>Anokye lives on in a multitude of tales<br>Each morphing in time and space.<br><br>So in the remote gospel according to McCaskie<br>Anokye approaching the town discovered<br>it was his own funeral in full swing:<br>Disgusted, Anokye turned and walked away,<br>presumably into the forest, and thus disappeared.<br><br>Yehoshua, on the other hand,<br>was done to death in a most grisly fashion,<br>hanging from a wooden stake for all to see –<br>and how can we not shed a tear, a tear! at least.<br>Yet Magic Man even in death, Yehoshua fled the grave!<br>He rose from the dead! and for emphasis,<br>rose also into the air and thus disappeared.<br><br>It may well be<br>Magic Men all like to vanish<br>preservéd bones are not the fashion<br>for prophets thus revered.<br>In which case the manner in which one disappears<br>is how the trump is held.<br>Grant Yehoshua this:<br>levitating in the light of day<br>Out-of-doors, and in sight of many –<br>this was a master touch.<br>Beaten perhaps, only by Elijah's<br>terrific ascent into the stratosphere<br>flaming chariot and all that:<br>Elijah wins on dramatics.<br><br>In any case, we are told<br>Yehowa engineered Yehoshua's great escape<br>and had planned the whole thing for an eternity.<br>But as I am sure you will agree,<br>it all was done with a very nice touch.<br>Add Elijah's case, and one concludes<br>Yehowa cannot be beaten at this game.<br><br>But unlike Yehoshua, Anokye was altogether earthly,<br>with no relations in high places – much less a father;<br>and so stayed put wherever.<br>(The lesson has been well learned in this country:<br>nepotism springs from this).<br><br>Centuries on and Yehoshua is leading,<br>Anokye creeping behind, a shaky image.<br>And as in the name of Yehoshua, Anokye's fame is dimmed,<br>We, his people have been thrashed,<br>and our heads are forced to bow, and bow...<br>Anokye... next time, walk on water! Next time, be crucified!<br>Next time have connections, preferably to Yehowa.<br><br>How shall we poetically approach Anokye?<br>Or sing of his powers, and<br>Create a buff shine for our own black mysterian?<br>Shall we resurrect this Magic Man?</blockquote><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7555516329392912719-6914952550105224855?l=oneghanaonevoice.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "I’ve Heard That Before",
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      "content" : "<p>We moved to Freetown for my dad’s work when I was seven years old.<br>\nThere was a woman in the house the night we arrived, she made us dinner, helped us unpack and helped us get settled in.<br>\nMy dad who had moved a few months ahead of us said she was his house keeper of sorts; she cooked his meals and kept the house tidy.<br>\nA few years later the woman become my stepmother and I would call her ‘Mommy’</p>\n<p><a title=\"Backs by Elsbro, on Flickr\" href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsbro/4924559198/\"><img style=\"border-width:0px\" src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4924559198_23a537c57a.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"Backs\" width=\"600\" height=\"400\"></a></p>\n<p>My friend Eve dated an older man when we were teenagers.<br>\nEve had always been mature for her age.<br>\nBy Sixteen she’d loved two men (boys, really), each affair had been deep, passionate and tumultuous.<br>\nThe next year she declared that she was done dating boys!<br>\nOne day while playing house with the older-man boyfriend, his fiancée returned from where ever she’d been.<br>\nNot like a mirage, although she could very well be, because E. had no clue he had a fiancée.<br>\nTo explain her presence in his life, the man told his fiancée that Eve helped him out around the house and cooked his meals.</p>\n<p><a title=\"Hall by Elsbro, on Flickr\" href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsbro/4923977331/\"><img style=\"border:0px\" src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4099/4923977331_4b1f7ff794.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"Hall\" width=\"600\" height=\"400\"></a></p>\n<p>I head towards the apartment in excitement; it’s going to be a surprise.<br>\nI see them on the balcony and pause halfway through pulling my keys out the keyhole.<br>\nIt’s the peppy girl from upstairs, the one whose constant peppiness exhausts us.<br>\nThey’re having brunch, she made pancakes…<em> “it’s delicious, you’ve got to try it”</em>, he says.<br>\nShe giggles and flails about, she’s so happy to see me, it’s great to have me back, and life is just so great.<br>\nAnd just then, when no explanation was needed, when silence was enough, he said it;<br>\n<em>“Kate’s been helping me out a bit around here while you’ve been gone”.</em></p>\n<p>©2010 <a href=\"http://elsbro.com/blog\">the whinery 2.0</a>. All Rights Reserved.</p>.<p><a href=\"http://www.addtoany.com/share_save\"><img src=\"http://elsbro.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/share_save_171_16.png\" width=\"171\" height=\"16\" alt=\"Share\"></a> </p><div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?a=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?a=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:D7DqB2pKExk\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?i=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:D7DqB2pKExk\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?a=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:V_sGLiPBpWU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?i=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:V_sGLiPBpWU\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?a=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:F7zBnMyn0Lo\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?i=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:F7zBnMyn0Lo\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?a=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:66VmDHf5eaU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/TheWhinery20?i=yG8BgaVq9bM:EOlyJ31D-Vw:66VmDHf5eaU\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheWhinery20/~4/yG8BgaVq9bM\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "her body is the land - Krissy Darch",
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      "content" : "<blockquote>Vanilla Ice on the loudspeaker says <i>kick it one time boyyyy</i><br>mine deeper harder faster now<br>be a miner for a heart of gold<br>it’s illegal<br>not the taking<br>just if you don’t have a permit<br>her body is the land where all you need is a license<br>to plunder<br>the paper work becomes an extension of the violence<br>signatures and lines and hands that sign<br><br><i>galamsey</i>, they call us<br>we are illegal miners<br>after the same thing as those licensed ones really<br>(the aura of licenses)<br>survival<br>(the aura of survival)<br>the desire to have children<br>we don’t have papers or permits<br>sometimes we use mercury<br>it gets into the water<br>the children have sores and rashes<br>but our operation is the same if<br>smaller<br>no funding from the government<br>no sustainability<br>inspectors<br>no heavy equipment just our hands<br>grassroots plunder<br>I take from the earth with my own hands<br>economy is not abstract here<br>there’s economy and the economy<br>burning down the skin of the legs of the girl down the river<br>like the skin of a grape<br>she will be a porter like her mother<br>and carry<br>nuggets from the earth<br>the newspapers say it’s criminal<br>we know<br>it’s just criminal<br>on a smaller scale<br><br>we take gold out of the earth<br>we take and we take it<br><br>we were born here in the gold<br>nothing will make us stop<br><br>*<br><br>hope, like gold<br>can be traded<br><br>wrested from the ground with mercury<br>how many rashes and rivers to extract this hope?<br>hope is a dirty word here<br>a nugget covered in dirt<br><br>they send in the journalists for human rights<br>(as opposed to the ones who aren’t)<br>who cut tiny openings through which<br>the story comes in spurts<br>between the squeeze of the lede and the nut graf<br>and the two line quotes<br>gold and mercury coming out<br>between business finance culture leisure<br><br>*<br><br>we travel from town to town<br>she carries and she cooks<br>and when I come home covered in mercury<br>she hides me in her body<br>she hides me in her body to hold me back from the world<br><br>*<br><br>Canada goes for gold<br>gold standard<br>gold rush<br>gold wash<br>gold collar worker<br>goldschläger<br>gold digger<br><br>*<br><br>men make nations<br>and call them she<br>draw borders, set limits, regulate and sell off rights<br>of access<br>and call that project she<br>God bless our homeland Ghana<br>and make our nation great and strong<br>as it lives this divided life<br>what men say it is<br>and all the things it really is.<br><br>*<br><br><i>Gold running beneath the children’s feet<br>under those mud huts and malnourished children, the news says<br>in an imagined whisper<br>gold<br>they don’t even fuckin know it</i></blockquote><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7555516329392912719-8972771430449671092?l=oneghanaonevoice.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Deep Cuts: George Benson \"Valdez In The Country\" (1976)",
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      "content" : "<div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rlkraNz2WZQ/TK6E25n31FI/AAAAAAAAA9M/QMQF0Jw0VP4/s1600/george_benson1.jpg\" style=\"clear:left;float:left;margin-bottom:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"254\" src=\"http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rlkraNz2WZQ/TK6E25n31FI/AAAAAAAAA9M/QMQF0Jw0VP4/s320/george_benson1.jpg\" width=\"320\"></a></div><strong>by Pico</strong>  <br>\n<br>\nWhen we last visited a George Benson recording, it was about his <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2006/07/george-benson-other-side-of-abbey-road.html\">remake of the still fresh-out-the-oven <i>Abbey Road</i></a>. Fast forward seven years later, to 1976: Benson had just ended his long and artistically successful stint with CTI Records, having been enticed back to the majors by Warner Brothers. Warners put Tommy LiPuma in charge of producing Benson's records and the relationship, which spanned four years and four albums, transformed the guitarist/singer from a jazz star to a jazz-pop superstar. His ascension in status started right off with the jazz record everyone knows about, <i>Breezin'</i>, and the two hits it spun (\"Masquerade,\" \"Breezin'\").<span>  <br>\n<br>\nThose hits would be followed up next year with his burnin' live version of \"On Broadway,\" from <i>Weekend In L.A.</i>, but the hit-less <i>In Flight</i> is a forgotten stepping stone from his first Warners to his third. Attempting to capitalize on the surprise success of \"Masquerade,\" LiPuma and Benson made four of the six tracks on <i>In Fight</i> include his soulful vocals. Aside from that, it's a <i>Breezin'</i> redux, and once again, conductor Claus Ogerman was enlisted to dump buckets of cushy orchestration on even the funky numbers. Yes, it&#39;s my main pet peeve with the LiPuma era, because Benson was in command of one of the tightest soul-jazz units ever with Phil Upchurch (rhythm guitar) and Ronnie Foster (keys) carried over from the CTI days, and adding Stanley Banks on bass guitar, original Head Hunter Harvey Mason on drums and the ever-present Ralph McDonald on percussion. LiPuma evidently thought that diluting the fiercely taut funk would make more people buy the records, but it moved the music into danceable Muzak territory.<br>\n<br>\nSometimes, even Ogerman's heavy handedness couldn't stop the inspired grooves, and \"Valdez In The Country,\" one of <i>In Flight</i>'s two instrumentals, is one of those times. \"Valdez\" is a Donny Hathaway cover from his 1973 <i>Extension Of A Man</i> album, and not one of his better known songs. Perhaps the reason for this is because Hathaway was known as a singer, but this number was conceived as an instrumental in its original form. Hathaway led the way with an electric piano, and it was fairly loose groove. In contrast, Benson &amp; Co. retains the basic melody but adds a dark, two-chord sequence used in the intro and visited again for a portion of Benson&#39;s solo part, providing a contrast to the main chord sequences. The strings are heavier there, accentuating the dark overtones, then recede when the theme is played by Benson&#39;s indestructible unit. <br>\n<br>\nBenson plays that theme by way of his famed octaves. Smooth, flawless and nimble, Montgomery could only dream about doing it this well. But where Benson excels on this song is where he excels on so many other ones: he plays equally melodically and rhythmically at a high level. He is always precisely in the pocket and somehow consistently finds the best notes to play and he doesn't even break a sweat doing so. A couple of generations of imitators have followed closely listening to records like this one, and as yet none of them does it as well as he does.  <br>\n<br>\n\"Valdez\" is picked out of dozens of other examples of Benson's amazing fretwork I could have chosen, simply because Hathaway wrote a damned good whistle-able earworm. It's one of the handful of tunes I haven't been able to get out of my head for, oh, about the last thirty years now. George Benson's voice may have helped to make him a jazz-pop superstar, but all the commercially driven product he's pumped out over the years does nothing in my mind to obscure his craftsmanship of the highest order.<br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/Sydd1Czbx3M?fs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<br>\n</span><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8367705548617137551-355508698135422640?l=www.somethingelsereviews.com\" alt=\"\"></div><p><iframe src=\"http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~ah/f/n0argi6ohlbaa56i35go4j7peg/300/250?ca=1&amp;fh=280#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.somethingelsereviews.com%2F2010%2F10%2Fdeep-cuts-george-benson-valdez-in.html\" width=\"100%\" height=\"280\" frameborder=\"0\" scrolling=\"no\" marginwidth=\"0\" marginheight=\"0\"></iframe></p><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/somethingelsereviews/JjnG/~4/ZvBWtaT43x8\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "This is a news website article about a scientific finding | Martin Robbins",
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      "content" : "<div><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.4/82173?ns=guardian&amp;pageName=This+is+a+news+website+article+about+a+scientific+finding+%7C+Martin+Robbi%3AArticle%3A1457096&amp;ch=Science&amp;c3=GU.co.uk&amp;c4=Science%2CPress+and+publishing%2CDigital+media%2CMedia&amp;c5=Press+Media%2CDigital+Media%2CNot+commercially+useful%2CMedia+Weekly&amp;c6=Martin+Robbins&amp;c7=10-Oct-05&amp;c8=1457096&amp;c9=Article&amp;c10=Blogpost&amp;c11=Science&amp;c13=&amp;c25=The+Lay+Scientist&amp;c30=content&amp;h2=GU%2FScience%2Fblog%2FThe+Lay+Scientist\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\"></div><p>In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?</p><p>In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of \"scare quotes\" to ensure that it's clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.</p><p>In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research \"challenges\". </p><p>If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.</p><p>This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like \"the scientists say\" to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist. </p><p>In this paragraph I will state in which journal the research will be published. I won't provide a link because either <em>a)</em> the concept of adding links to web pages is alien to the editors, <em>b)</em> I can't be bothered, or <em>c)</em> the journal inexplicably set the embargo on the press release to expire before the paper was actually published. </p><p><em>\"Basically, this is a brief soundbite,\"</em> the scientist will say, from a department and university that I will give brief credit to. <em>\"The existing science is a bit dodgy, whereas my conclusion seems bang on,\"</em> she or he will continue.</p><p>I will then briefly state how many years the scientist spent leading the study, to reinforce the fact that this is a serious study and worthy of being published by <del>the BBC</del> the website. </p><p><strong>This is a sub-heading that gives the impression I am about to add useful context.</strong></p><p>Here I will state that whatever was being researched was first discovered in some year, presenting a vague timeline in a token gesture toward establishing context for the reader. </p><p>To pad out this section I will include a variety of inane facts about the subject of the research that I gathered by Googling the topic and reading the Wikipedia article that appeared as the first link. </p><p>I will preface them with \"it is believed\" or \"scientists think\" to avoid giving the impression of passing any sort of personal judgement on even the most inane facts.  </p><p>This fragment will be put on its own line for no obvious reason.</p><p>In this paragraph I will reference or quote some minor celebrity, historical figure, eccentric, or a group of sufferers; because my editors are ideologically committed to the idea that all news stories need a \"human interest\", and I'm not convinced that the scientists are interesting enough. </p><p>At this point I will include a picture, because our search engine optimisation experts have determined that humans are incapable of reading more than 400 words without one.</p><p> </p><p><strong>This subheading hints at controversy with a curt phrase and a question mark?</strong></p><p>This paragraph will explain that while some scientists believe one thing to be true, other people believe another, different thing to be true. </p><p>In this paragraph I will provide balance with a quote from another scientist in the field. Since I picked their name at random from a Google search, and since the research probably hasn't even been published yet for them to see it, their response to my e-mail will be bland and non-committal.</p><p><em>\"The research is useful\"</em>, they will say, <em>\"and gives us new information. However, we need more research before we can say if the conclusions are correct, so I would advise caution for now.\"</em></p><p>If the subject is politically sensitive this paragraph will contain quotes from some fringe special interest group of people who, though having no apparent understanding of the subject, help to give the impression that genuine public \"controversy\" exists.</p><p>This paragraph will provide more comments from the author restating their beliefs about the research by basically repeating the same stuff they said in the earlier quotes but with slightly different words. They won't address any of the criticisms above because I only had time to send out one round of e-mails.</p><p>This paragraph contained useful information or context, but was removed by the sub-editor to keep the article within an arbitrary word limit in case the internet runs out of space. </p><p>The final paragraph will state that some part of the result is still ambiguous, and that research will continue. </p><p><strong>Related Links:</strong></p><p><a href=\"http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj\">The Journal (not the actual paper, we don't link to papers).</a></p><p><a href=\"http://www.wbschool.org/\">The University Home Page (finding the researcher's page would be too much effort).</a></p><p><a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOU8GIRUd_g\">Unrelated story from 2007 matched by keyword analysis.</a></p><p><a href=\"http://www.jabs.org.uk\">Special interest group linked to for balance.</a></p><div style=\"float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px\"><ul><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pressandpublishing\">Newspapers &amp; magazines</a></li><li><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/digital-media\">Digital media</a></li></ul></div><div><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/martin-robbins\">Martin Robbins</a></div><br><div><a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk\">guardian.co.uk</a> © Guardian News &amp; Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our <a href=\"http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html\">Terms &amp; Conditions</a> | <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds\">More Feeds</a></div><p style=\"clear:both\"></p>"
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    "title" : "Hello",
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    "title" : "On Black Sisters&#39; Street",
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      "content" : "<span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">“They often talk about it: the standing and waiting to be noticed by the men strolling by, wondering which ones are likely to tip well, and which not.  From their glass windows they watch the lives outside, especially the men’s.  It is easy to tell those who have stumbled on the Schipperskwartier by mistake.  Tourists with their cameras slung around their necks, mostly Japanese tourists who do not know Antwerp, seduced by the antiquity of the city and deceived by the huge cathedral, wander off and then suddenly come face to face with a line-up of half-dressed women, different colours and different shades of those colours.  They look and, disbelieving, take another look.  Quickly. And then they walk away with embarrassed steps. Not wishing to be tainted by the lives behind the windows.”</span><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">I lived in Liege for over a year in the early 1990s.  This city in francophone southern Belgium is apparently unremarkable; a European urb that has yet to recover from the soot of its industrial past.  The Belgian equivalent of Stoke-on-Trent.  When my pal and I were trying to organise our Erasmus year studying philosophy in Europe, we had had something a little more glamorous in mind, and definitely something francophillic. Tours perhaps, or Strasbourg. Lyons at least. But Belgium was the line of least institutional resistance, and Liege was where we found ourselves.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Looking back, </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Liege sur Meuse</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> has become a phantasmagoric city of the mind.  I’m grateful for the time I spent there. Hidden dreams and desires lurk still, beneath the threshold of my consciousness.  An infinity of stone steps reaching up, via occluded gardens, to medieval palaces where talented Belgo-Italians play bebop deep into the night in louche bars. Restaurants designed like swimming pools in deserted factories, with cultivated men playing huge board-games in surreal side rooms. A chiaroscuro pall cast over cobbled streets.  Piss swilling into drains from a thousand alfresco penises. Liege was and still is an </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">unheimlich</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> city, where mittel-Europa catholicism sprinkles its ritual powder like snow: in hidden corners, shrines to the Virgin, forever fresh with flowers; </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Paques</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> celebrations that last for days, resolved only by alcohol, the sound of the drum and mistresses spent in the arms of mistresses. Between the cracks in the mottled seminarial stone, catholic yearnings forever sprouting forth.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> <br><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Prostitution was part of it all.  There were two red light districts in Liege, one near the Gare Liege-Guillemans and the other, at the back of the Rue Leopold near the footbridge to the </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Outremeuse</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">.  The one near Guillemans was the upmarket option: young European women in catalogue lingerie, with plastic stickers of accepted credit cards near the doors.  The other place was far more gothic; haggard vixens draped in leather and torn fishnet, idling for an impoverished cash-only clientele.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">And so it all seemed to my innocent eyes.  Something in the place haunted me as the years passed.  The memories folded in each other: parallel love affairs with a woman and with jazz; the genesis of arcane philosophical detours; the design of Lucky Strike cigarette packets and sex for sale, behind glass. As the years passed, a gathering desire to be back in the depths of Europe, chimed intermittently, like the quiet bell in the far-off village.  There is a specific type of nostalgia for the foreign cities of youth which threatens the bounds of velleity: to wander once again to the place where vivid memory was set becomes an irresistible impulse.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">And so, over a decade later, I headed back, on the pretext of visiting a friend in Maastricht.  The first thing I noticed at Guillemans was the red light district had gone.  Or maybe it was never in the place my memory had allocated it: a shear wrought by time on the mind’s cartography.  The second area was now populated with young black women, dancing and beckoning from behind the neon lit windows.  They were signs of a shift in the economy of desire.  I walked quickly on. The city had also developed; yawning cavities of rubble had been filled with glass and glitz. I struggled to find my way about and had no way of finding anyone that I had known.  The jazz club which soldered my ears to Miles and Coltrane was no more.  I was bereft in the primal scene of youthful departure.  The dissonance had added another layer to my strange desire for Liege. I must return again.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">A few years later, in quite another part of Europe, I found myself, at a later stage of philosophical development.  I was bound for the </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Collegium Phenomenologicum</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">, a philosophical retreat held each year in </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Citta di Castello</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> in Perugia.  It was a thrill to go at last; I had never had the funds during my years as a doctoral student. Many of the celebrated “continental” philosophers participated, one year or another. </span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">The getting there would be part of it: from Stanstead to Rome airport and then the train to Arezzo, with the final leg by bus.  As Tuscany skidded by from inside the metal and plastic interior of the train, it felt like a journey to the heart of things, or to the heart of thought. An English woman told me about her vineyard on a hill close by.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">By the time I boarded the bus at Arezzo, the delight of travel had receded; I was by now keen to just arrive, find the hotel and meet my fellow </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">penseurs</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">.  As my mind began to slumber, the bus stopped in some forgotten village and about ten young black girls got on.  I was immediately perplexed: who were they?  Where did they come from?  Where were these girls going and what were they going to do?  They were about fourteen or fifteen at most.  They sat around me.  One had a Walkman and danced to the music.  They all wore jeans and had pink bags and chewed gum.  Their talk was girlish, their perfume garish.  I tried to listen, to understand what they were doing there, but the scene refused to be set.  They spoke in a mixture of fast pidgin and an African language I was yet to recognise. I turned back in my seat.  And then, as the bus sped on, out of the window I noticed girls in laybys, standing, staring up as we passed.  And the shock of what it all meant finally drenched me with ice-water.  Young African girls, a long way from home, selling their bodies, deep in the Italian countryside.  </span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">But these girls are too young! The thought-protest repeated itself.  As the bus twisted and turned on its way to the historic town of Sansepolcro, each widened space would feature a young girl, advertising herself.  Always alone, always black, precipitously vulnerable against a stunning renaissance backdrop.  Sex and the shadow of death amid the cypresses.  And then, the road widened, and a man on a bicycle in racing gear, shaking hands goodbye with two young African women, emerging from behind a bush, a post-coital grin on his face.  Stop by stop, the girls alighted.  By the time we arrived in Citta di Castello, I was alone on the bus, shocked by had transpired.  Back then, I had no idea of the thriving sex trafficking of young Nigerian girls to Italy.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">These are some of the capsules of time that flood back to me as I read <a href=\"http://www.chikaunigwe.com/\">Chika Unigwe’s</a> devastating novel, </span><a href=\"http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Sisters-Street-Chika-Unigwe/dp/0099523949/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1285357819&amp;sr=8-1\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">On Black Sisters’ Street</span></a><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">.  Unigwe’s second book follows the lives of four African sex workers, Sisi, Ama, Efe and Joyce, as they hustle their lives away in Antwerp, in Flemish speaking north Belgium.  Language and diamonds aside, a town probably quite a bit like Liege: ancient and industrial and solemn and leery.  The four women dream of glamorous futures while swilling beer and falling in and out of friendship.  As the narrative progresses, the cat-fight between them quells, for a specific reason.  Sisi has died and no one knows how or why.  The event brings the remaining trio together.  Their Madam gives them the day off.  Unigwe deftly weaves the back-stories together on that day of mourning as they sit on the black sofa in the unlovely living room. All the girls have been trafficked by Dele, a bear of a man with scant command of English and a shag pile carpet in his cavernous office on Randle Avenue in Lagos.  The stories the girls tell each other in those desolate hours after the death are knives sharp enough to slice into any human heart; Ama running from sex abuse at home, Joyce fleeing from Janjaweed ultra-violence in Sudan via a failed relationship in Lagos, Sisi and Efe from the gloomy horizons of impoverished destinies in the slums of Lagos.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">The narrative structure of </span><b><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">On Black Sisters’ Street</span></b><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> is simple but highly effective.  In the aftermath of the death of a friend, shared stories among the ‘sisters’ begin the prolonged work of healing and the transition from non-self to selfhood. Sisi’s sordid end, and the sorrows that led each to Belgium are the two points of trauma the three young women share that bring them together.  The stories they tell begin the work of redemption. At the beginning and on arrival, each woman had taken on an assumed identity.  The transition from Nigeria to Belgium created an existential void.  In a sense, each woman left their identity behind, and had not yet taken up a new sense of self along with the fake passport that got them into Europe.  Each exists therefore in a sort of limbo or hiatus being, between a horror that was and a prophecy that is not yet.  In the new world of Antwerp, each develops their own coping mechanism.  For instance, when Sisi is finally found a window and can move out of working the bar:</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">“She learned to stand in her window and pose in heels that made her two inches taller.  She learned to smile, to pout, to think of nothing but the money she would be making.  She learned to rap at the window, hitting her ring hard against the glass on slow days to attract stragglers.  She learned to twirl to help them make up their minds, a swirling mass of chocolate flesh, mesmerising them, making them gasp and yearn for a release from the ache between their legs; a coffee-coloured dream luring them in with the promise of heaven. She let the blinking red and black neon lights of her booth comfort her, leading her to the Prophecy.”</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">The agency of the sex worker is affirmed in passages like this, at the same time as the distance between active self and pleasure is maintained.  Pleasure or even happiness remains deferred, in the form of the dream of the life that will take place once the mortgage to the fat pimp in Lagos is paid off. The novel is all the more powerful for the crystalline dramaturgy of Unigwe’s language.  For instance, in the scene where </span><i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Oga</span></i><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> Dele decides to try out Ama before she is packed on her way to Antwerp, she writes,</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">“He pulled Ama close and she could feel his penis harden through his trousers.</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">‘I shall sample you before you go!’ he laughed. The sound that stretched itself into a square that kept him safe. Lagos was full of such laughter.  Laughter that ridiculed the receiver for no reason but kept the giver secure in a cocoon of steel.”</span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">Chika Unigwe’s </span><b><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">On Black Sisters’ Street</span></b><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"> is a shockingly powerful read, exposing the lives of women who are far from home and from familiarity, using the power of story to weave a sense of belonging amid the cold strangeness of northern Europe.  It shocks me just as I was shocked back on that bus in Perugia. There is however a form of therapy at work in the text, for both the characters, and for the reader. For the women, the tragedy of Sisi’s passing is the moment when the surface is broken: artificial identities and stories that cannot be told cede to narrative integrity: three selves meet and recognise each other in that tawdry red living room.  </span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">“They do nothing.  They are in unknown territory here, having always had a relationship which skimmed the surface like milk.  They have never before stirred each other enough to find out anything deep about their lives…The territory they are charting is still slippery.  They are only just beginning to know each other.” </span></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\"><br></span> </div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif\">And for us, we think back to all those other windows we may have passed.  For the stagnight wolf pack over from England, or the Japanese tourist missing his way, or for the alienated divorcee, or for the trembling virgin, or even the young philosopher, these streets present a gratuitous street porn, good for a laugh or even for a quick release.  And yet, behind those windows there are shattered lives and fractured dreams resolving to mend.  And there, amidst the shadows and the death, as Unigwe reminds us, we may find solidarity and even love. </span></div><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8686769-7187376956036635988?l=www.naijablog.co.uk\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Herman Leonard (1923-2010)",
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    "title" : "Bribing your way through life",
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      "content" : "Salisu Suleiman<br><br><br>You know the traffic light has stopped you, but still zoom on, only to be flagged down by traffic wardens who have strategically positioned themselves for that very purpose – not before the lights to deter potential offenders, but after, to arrest actual offenders. For one split instant, you consider speeding off, assured in the knowledge that the wardens do not have the vehicles to chase, nor the gadgets to track you. <br><br>But you stop, and like vultures, they get into your car. You drive to a corner and negotiate. They demand for five thousand naira or threaten to take you to court. You plead or insult them into taking two hundred naira. Both sides are satisfied. <br><br>A few days later, officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps mount a roadblock to check drivers and vehicle documents. Your driver’s license expired ages ago. Your car does not have insurance or up to date registration. It is seized by stony faced officers. Soon, a friendlier officer comes along and offers you tips on how to ‘escape’ the problem. After artful negotiations, you end up parting with thousands of naira and the car is released. Life goes on. <br><br>Not long afterwards, you are stopped by customs officers who demand the original import duties of your car. Nobody knows if they have the powers to do that, but uniforms represent very powerful tools of oppression in Nigeria. Of course you do not have the documents because the car was smuggled in with forged papers. This could be a serious offense, but you negotiate your way out of it with several thousands of naira and a warning to go and get genuine documents. Both of you know it will not happen. <br><br>Then you run into a police checkpoint on a highway. The officers are heavily armed and will brook no nonsense. You do not have proof of ownership, so the car is not yours. To prove that the car is actually yours, you are also forced to part with a couple of hundreds of naira. You curse them. You pray that the money will never be of use to them. <br><br>You invoke calamities on them and their future generations yet unborn. They do not care. They’ve heard more curses and more invectives rained on them by other motorists. If you do not cut your losses by quickly leaving the scene, you may end of a victim of ‘accidental discharge’ or shot for resisting arrest. <br><br>A friend or relative is in hospital with a health problem. You get there, only to be told that the sick person is yet to see a doctor despite waiting for hours. You immediately take charge. You locate the relevant officials and soon, your patient is moved to the front of the line. Miraculously, he sees a doctor within minutes. The hospital pharmacy tells you that there are no medicines and refers you a private pharmacy owned by his friend or relative. You smile knowingly. A few more notes (one issued by the doctor, and the others by the CBN) exchange hands. Again, by some form of miracle, medicines appear. <br><br>At school, there is a carryover that you have been unable to deal with. Your friends and classmates tell you that no matter how much you try, you’ll never pass cross that bridge. Eventually, you find out that the course has a fee that has to be paid. Through intermediaries (usually the class rep or other classmates, you pay the fee and the carryover immediately varnishes. Depending on how much you ‘dropped’, you may end of with a distinction. <br><br>You get home one day to find that your water supply has been cut. You immediately call a contact at the water board who tells you there is nothing he can do since there is a mass disconnection of defaulters going on. Joke. You see the manager and ‘settle’ with him and he orders that you be immediately reconnected. The bill is torn up. <br><br>Every so often, NEPA decides to remind Nigerians that it is still alive, so even without giving you any light, they issue a huge bill you must pay or else be disconnected (from what, you may be tempted to ask). But you know the game and play along. You part with a few thousands and the enormous bills are erased from the central computer. Don’t ask how. <br><br>A niece or nephew has been unable to secure admission into a university despite trying several times and is becoming despondent. Since you know that our universities can only take a tenth of the candidates seeking admission every year, you make a call or two, drop a bribe or two and your candidate’s names makes it to the admission list. That the candidate may not be able to meet academic pursuits is not your problem. After all, you have just proved that marks can be bought and sold. When the time comes....<br><br>So having bribed, cajoled, threatened and bought your way through life, who then has the moral right to say that votes were rigged, or government corrupt?<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8645399025059309116-4467618929800293208?l=suleimansblog.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Rodney Saint-Eloi : HAITI, kenbé la!",
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      "content" : "<div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"></div><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kl-8Cz-TJDI/TILGKmPTl7I/AAAAAAAACE0/7BX2Z-8sQL8/s1600/P8310322.JPG\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"300\" src=\"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kl-8Cz-TJDI/TILGKmPTl7I/AAAAAAAACE0/7BX2Z-8sQL8/s400/P8310322.JPG\" width=\"400\"></a></div><div><strong>Haïti, redresse-toi</strong> en créole. En terminant cet ouvrage, je me demande si des mots simples peuvent relever un pays en ruines, si la succession de séismes humains ou naturels peut cesser par une simple formule incantatoire. « Haïti, kenbé la ! ». En terminant ce livre témoignage de <a href=\"http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ile.en.ile/paroles/saint-eloi.html\">Rodney Saint-Eloi</a>, homme de lettres haïtien, éditeur, fondateur des <a href=\"http://www.memoiredencrier.com/\">Editions Mémoire d’encrier</a>, je me pose la question de la place, de l’intérêt, de la portée de ces mots cochés sur papier, ces mots qui racontent la souffrance, l’espérance, le combat d’un peuple qui ploie sous le poids des éléments en furie. A quoi peuvent servir les mots.</div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"></div><br><div style=\"text-align:center\">L’Evangile de Jean commence avec cette affirmation : « Au commencent était la parole ».</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">On peut interpréter ce passage dans n’importe quel sens, mais j’apprécie l’idée que la parole est créatrice de toute chose. Même quand elle n’est que témoignage, loin de la fiction et bien ancrée dans la réalité.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Rodney Saint-Eloi était avec Dany Laferrière au moment où le <span style=\"font-size:large\">goudou-goudou</span> commence. Ceux qui ont lu les premiers propos du <a href=\"http://blackbazar.blogspot.com/2010/01/dany-laferriere-me-reconte.html\">lauréat du Prix Médicis 2010</a>, rentré à Montréal peu de temps après la catastrophe, s’en souviennent.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Ce texte commence donc avec l’atmosphère du tremblement de terre et de cette fête de la littérature dans ce pays si pauvre matériellement, mais si riche de sa culture. Les écrivains arrivent, les organisateurs se démènent car le programme est ambitieux. Puis vint le goudou-goudou. 35 secondes et un pays qui bascule encore plus dans l’horreur.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Si l’écrivain s’autorise quelques flashbacks, le récit reste dans son ensemble linéaire. Le scribe raconte ce qu’il voit. Il y a des anecdotes qu’on lui rapporte. Il y a ce qu’il entend à la radio. Si les premières pages sont écrites dans un style ampoulé, la voix de Saint-Eloi se veut très rapidement plus naturelle et transmet mieux son ressenti sur ce qu’il perçoit. Il réussit à échapper au misérabilisme, ce que rapporte Saint-Eloi relève à la fois de l’abattement et du désir de faire face en fonction de ses ressources, comme ces jeunes qui continuent de jouer au jeu de dames comme de coutume, quelques jours après le séisme. Certaines images pourront surprendre. Mais c’est Haïti.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Si Saint-Eloi évoque la solidarité entre les auteurs dans les premières heures du tremblement de terre, Trouillot, Laferrière et lui-même pour prendre des nouvelles des proches, plus on avance dans le texte et dans le temps, plus son analyse se montre global. </div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Rodney Saint-Eloi revient sur la violence de la société haïtienne, les taches encore présentes du passé colonial, les antagonismes qui continuent d’écraser les communautés de ce pays. Le temps du séisme, le sentiment que tous les haïtiens sont logés à la même enseigne, malgré leurs divisions.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">L’espoir est surement dans le message que lui adresse le grand écrivain Frankétienne peu de temps après son retour à Montréal où il broie du noir <em><span style=\"color:#4c1130\">« Je continuerai à écrire et à peindre. L&#39;attribut de Dieu est sa perpétuation. Même sous les décombres, j&#39;attends le Nobel. Et note bien ceci: je ne mourrai pas sans le Nobel»</span></em>. Celui qu’il désigne comme « un génial mégalomane », abattu quelques heures après le goudou-goudou, rêve de nouveau de conquérir le monde par ses mots et par son œuvre, dans  sa demeure en reconstruction. C’est Haïti, sans démagogie, dévastée, mais digne. L&#39;espoir est haïtien.</div><br><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><blockquote><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Cela fait deux jours et on dirait une éternité. tant de voix trébuchées. tant de murs lézardés. Désormais la ville est divisée en deux factions, celle qui est debout et qui respire sans en savoir la raison, et celle qui est ensevelie sous les gravats. La nouvelle histoire du pays débute par ce cri perçant qui fendille le ventre de la terre : rafales de mitrailleuses lourdes, tremblements des toits, craquelure des chaises.  Une houle sans nom engrange, tranquille, la mémoire des choses. Un grand bruit de tonnerre, on croirait que le diable bat sa femme. Tous les visages sont fissurés. Tous les corps. Les morts paraissent sérieux sous les décombres. Ils ont sur la figure une balafre secrète.</div></blockquote>Page 178, Editions Michel Lafon<br><br><span style=\"font-size:large\">Rodney Saint-Eloi, Haïti, kenbé la!</span><br>Editions Michel Lafon,  1ère parution en 2010, 267 pages </div><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/104300315399051243-2866568080844473935?l=gangoueus.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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      "content" : "<p align=\"center\"><img src=\"http://cdn.worldcupblog.org/www.worldcupblog.org/files/2010/08/1982_fra_ger_03_2749_full-lnd.jpg\" alt=\"1982_fra_ger_03_2749_full-lnd\" width=\"512\" height=\"341\"></p>\n<p>The piece below – a piece rather than video – is a rather astonishing remake of the final 15 minutes, the penalties,  of the semifinal between France and West Germany in 1982. Astonishing in its labor, nuanced accuracy and sheer simplicity. These are everyday people doing largely everyday things, movements which normally wouldn’t turn a single head, but combine to recreate a World Cup semifinal.</p>\n<p>Block off a quarter hour today – it’s well worth it.<br>\n<span></span></p>\n<p>The description:</p>\n<blockquote><p><em>“Refait” is a remake of the football WorldCup match between France and Germany (Seville, Spain, 1982). Shot by Pied La Biche in Villeurbanne (France), every aspect of the fifteen last minutes of the match was carefully reconstructed : players, positions, gestures, intensity, drama etc. It consists in shifting the traditional game area into the urban environment. Each sequence takes place in one or several locations and then the city temporarily becomes the lab for unsual experiments. The soundtrack is made up of the original commentaries mixed with interviews of the audience recorded during the shooting. </em></p></blockquote>\n<p>The remake:</p>\n<p align=\"center\"><iframe src=\"http://player.vimeo.com/video/9426271\" width=\"500\" height=\"281\" frameborder=\"0\"></iframe>/<br></p>"
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    "title" : "Banksy Strikes Again",
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      "content" : "<p>One of <a href=\"http://www.banksy.co.uk/\">Banksy’s</a> most recent works, this time in Detroit.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://anjalir.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/banksy-detroit-self-opt_2103.jpg\"><img title=\"banksy-detroit-self-opt_2103\" src=\"http://anjalir.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/banksy-detroit-self-opt_2103.jpg?w=595&amp;h=396\" alt=\"\" width=\"595\" height=\"396\"></a></p>\n<p>Via <a href=\"http://www.boingboing.net/2010/07/20/banksy-does-detroit.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed:+boingboing/iBag+(Boing+Boing)&amp;utm_content=Google+Reader\">Boing Boing</a>.</p>\n<br>  <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <a rel=\"nofollow\" href=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"><img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/anjalir.wordpress.com/2112/\"></a> <img alt=\"\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=anjalir.wordpress.com&amp;blog=9058167&amp;post=2112&amp;subd=anjalir&amp;ref=&amp;feed=1\" width=\"1\" height=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "The Telephone Conversation",
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    "title" : "The Mechanics of a Curse",
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      "content" : "A girl in a compound house* loses her phone in broad daylight. About ten people were close enough to have filched the phone. A day steals by, and the phone has not been found. The ‘Landlord’ calls a house meeting. There is fulsome denial all round, and free-flowing suspicion-spiel. In the middle of the din, the victim takes a white egg from under her clothes, calls on a deity with a disturbing name to slay the thief, and shatters the egg on the floor. Two of the cruellest accusers immediately drop to their knees, and confess to the crime in rapids and waterfalls. The Landlord prevails on the girl to revoke the murderous curse. She calls for a bowl of water with a charcoal chip in it; this she sweeps over the egg remains. Then, there is peace. The curse is revoked. Is everything really that easy? I lost a pocket calculator I really loved seventeen years ago. I want an egg right now!<br><br>* Compound House - A house with a walled compound and several detached or semi-detached rooms or apartments usually given out for rent.<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7564356874518161776-4499007191977330199?l=antirhythm.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "The illustrated guide to a Ph.D.",
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      "content" : "<p>\nEvery fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is.\n</p>\n\n<p>\nIt's hard to describe it in words.\n</p>\n\n<p>\nSo, I use pictures.\n</p>\n\n\n<p>\nRead below for the illustrated guide to a Ph.D.\n</p>\n\n   <p><a href=\"http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/\">Click to read more</a></p>"
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    "title" : "Subtleties",
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      "content" : "<div><div>\n<h4>By Nate Barksdale</h4>\n<img alt=\"Cardus5\" title=\"Cardus5\" src=\"http://natebarksdale.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a672d95c970c0133f2a8cbf3970b-800wi\">\n\n<h5>Originally published in <a href=\"http://www.natebarksdale.com/\"><em>Comment</em></a>, 11 June 2010</h5>\n</div>\n<p>My latest online column <a href=\"http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/2037/\">Comment Magazine</a></p>\n<p>One Friday night in the early 1990s, my family rented an old black-and-white foreign film for our weekend's entertainment. I don't recall the movie's title, let alone what any of us thought of it when we viewed it, but I remember very clearly a bit of promotional copy on the front of the VHS cassette's cardboard slipcase, in the space usually reserved for Siskel and Ebert's thumbs: NOW WITH YELLOW SUBTITLES!</p>\n\n\n\n<p>I'd never thought of subtitles as having (let alone needing) colouration. It was like being told that you can pour lemonade on your breakfast cereal: I guess it's technically possible, but what would be the point? Now, many years and Google searches later, I realize that those yellow subtitles did merit at least some of the excitement. For decades, the standard way to apply subtitles to a movie had been an intricate process in which tiny two-point letters were etched into a finished print of the movie using a combination of letterpress plates, chemical washes, and—as technology progressed—lasers. Subtitles were white because the film emulsion beneath them had been scraped or burned away—the light shone through the letterforms' pure celluloid. It worked well enough for a dark scene shown in a darkened theater, but less so on television, and woe to the foreign film that ventured into the bright outdoors: translations hid out in the grass, got lost in the snow.</p>\n<p>I guessed this latter bit during the course of the film—apparently to the exclusion of forming any long-term memories about plot or title—and by the time the credits rolled, I'd concluded that the yellow subs' reason for existence was also their downfall: they kept the dialogue legible at the expense of never letting you forget that you were reading something foreign to the original film. Though they solved a technical problem, the yellow video subtitles undermined one of the main attractions of movie subtitles: the assumption that we can dive into another culture and, aided by comfortable, transparent technology, breathe as we're accustomed.</p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Still from Fellini's <em>8½</em> (1963). Not the movie I've been talking about, but you get the idea.</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale01.JPG\" alt=\"Still from Fellini&#39;s 8½ (1963)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n \n<p>All stories, even true ones, become fictions in their telling. Cinema is fiction upon fiction, making use of compressed and guided views, techniques of editing, novel ways of seeing, all of which have grown and evolved over more than a century of story upon story, film upon film. Subtitles, at least when they're not included in the initial release, scrape out their own fictitious space. You have all the challenges of translation—how to transfer the content and nuance of speech from one voice to another—with the added technical constraints that whatever's said must fit into short, center-justified, grammatically correct semantic units of no more than two lines, to remain on the screen for no less than one and no more than six seconds.</p>\n<p>I got those last bits from the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation's \"<a href=\"http://www.transedit.se/code.htm\">Code of Good Subtitling Practice</a>,\" which makes for interesting reading. The stipulation for grammatical correctness, for instance, references subtitles' role as a model for literacy. And it's heartening to know that there's a robust spoiler-alert clause in article 15 of the Code: \"Subtitles must underline surprise or suspense and in no way undermine it.\"</p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Character exposition via subtitle, in Buster Keaton's <em>College</em> (1927)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale02.JPG\" alt=\"Character exposition via subtitle, in Buster Keaton&#39;s &lt;i&gt;College&lt;/i&gt; (1927)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n \n<p>Subtitles precede the movies, having had a long and healthy career in printed matter of all types. They worked their way into the silent cinema as printed cards explaining or commenting on what was happening in the filmed sequences. Now these title cards are called intertitles, but in the day they were simply subtitles. For instance, in her 1916 book <a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=mKfqsV7ckgUC&amp;dq=subtitle&amp;pg=PA56#v=onepage&amp;q=subtitle&amp;f=false\"><em>How to write for the \"movies\"</em></a>, Louella O. Parsons offers what might be the earliest version of Rule 16 of the Subtitler's Code, about the dangers of the too-long subtitle:</p>\n\n<blockquote>You cannot be prodigal in your language and interpose any unnecessary flowery phrases; footage is too precious. Neither must you express yourself in the stilted words of a child just learning to talk.<br><br>\nAs an apt illustration of the too long subtitle we might give:<br><br>\n\"It is surely the inevitable will of God that has brought this affliction upon us. We must in this adversity bow our heads to His commands.\"<br><br>\nThat is all very well if you have one thousand feet of film at your disposal to give to your subtitle, but when you have a limited amount of footage why not be sensible and merely say:<br><br>\n\"God's will be done.\"</blockquote><br>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\"> </font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale03.JPG\" alt=\"Anita Loos, Expert Creator of Movie Subtitles\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n<p>A year later, <a href=\"http://www.natebarksdale.com/\">Everybody's Magazine</a> ran a glowing profile of Anita Loos, who made her name subtitling Douglas Fairbanks swashbucklers and D.W. Griffith epics. Loos's subtitles for Griffith's 1916 epic <em>Intolerance: Love's Struggle Through the Ages</em> even employ footnotes to help viewers keep track of the film's millennia-spanning quadruple-plotline. Of Loo's craft the journalist writes:</p>\n\n<blockquote>The subtitle has only been in vogue a few years. It differs from the title—the wording between scenes which describes the action of the picture that is to come—in that it need not attend to business. It is meant only for the audience, and though at times in the supposed speech of the characters in the film, it may be a mere comment outside the picture and addressed to the audience like the aside of our fathers' theatre.</blockquote><br>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Silent film subtitle with explanatory footnote, <em>Intolerance</em> (1916)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale04.JPG\" alt=\"Silent film subtitle with explanatory footnote, Intolerance (1916)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n<p>That's what I miss about the post-talkie school of subtitles. Often, waist-deep in the swamp of some obscure foreign film, what I want most is not to know what the characters are saying but to get an explanation of what's going on, or just an acknowledgement of the strangeness of the story and the oddness of the foreign film-watcher's predicament (which, among other things, keeps us from really looking at the actors' faces). The only time this sort of meta-commentary comes in the sound era is in <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtitle_%28captioning%29#Subtitles_as_a_source_of_humor\">cinematic spoofs</a> like <em>Monty Python and the Holy Grail</em> or the films of Carl Reiner.</p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">A rare humourous subtitle from the sound era. <em>Monty Python and the Holy Grail</em> (1975)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale05.JPG\" alt=\"A rare humourous subtitle from the sound era. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n \n<p>Generally, though, when looking for subtitular humour, it's up to the viewer to discover his own. Subtitles, once suitably legible, generally do their best to disappear; it's only when something goes wrong in the presentation that their workings and complexity become apparent.</p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Bollywood superstar Sharukh Khan: Not as good as Michael Jordan, but good enough in <em>Kuch Kuch Hota Hai</em> (Hindi, 2000)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale06.JPG\" alt=\"Bollywood superstar Sharukh Khan: Not as good as Michael Jordan, but good enough in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Hindi, 2000)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n \n<p>Every month or two my friends will get a late-night email from me containing a fuzzy picture of my TV screen frozen in a moment in which the subtle subtitle machinery has gone wrong. The film in question is usually from India; Bollywood movies (and their regional equivalents) present a unique subtitling situation. First of all, the target idiom is generally a variety of Indian English, which of course makes sense given the speech of both translator and average viewer, meaning that even perfect execution will often look odd to American eyes.</p>\n\n<p>Secondly, Indian movies are generally quite long, and I've noticed that the quality of the subtitles generally plummets by the time you enter the third hour of the film: grammar goes slack, dialogue becomes terse, there are long awkward stretches where you hear voices but see no words. I figure the screen translation economics work out such that somewhere around the one hundred twentieth minute, anyone still watching is sufficiently committed to the film that there's no additional return on investment for perfecting the subtitles that remain. I imagine a video editing suite somewhere in the suburbs of Mumbai or Chennai, where the key moment arrives and the lead translator hands off the balance of the film to some sub-subtitler and heads outside for a well-deserved <em>masala dosa</em>.</p>\n \n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">A third-hour subtitle from <em>Alai Payuthey</em> (Tamil, 2000)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale07.JPG\" alt=\"A third-hour subtitle from Alai Payuthey (Tamil, 2000)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n<p>Finally, though, the greatest amount of South Asian subtitle strangeness often boils down to Article 12 of the Code: \"Songs must be subtitled where relevant.\" It's in their songs that Indian films dip deepest into translation-defying metaphor. There's only so much that can be done: the words may correspond but the underlying sentiment remains amusingly, thrillingly novel.</p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Romantic song lyric from <em>Mullum Malarum</em> (Tamil, 1978)</font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale08.JPG\" alt=\"Romantic song lyric from Mullum Malarum (Tamil, 1978)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n \n<p>\"I love watching movies with subtitles,\" a friend told me recently. \"They make me feel so smart!\" There's something to that observation, especially when one knows enough of the film's language to pick out familiar words as the translations flash by on the screen's lower third. When I watch a film like Fatih Akin's wonderful <em>The Edge of Heaven</em>, my high school German comes streaming back. At least, it seems that way. I get the pleasant surface recall without the work of actually stringing sentences together on my own. <em>Das wird viel, um, schwerer sein?</em></p>\n\n<table width=\"500\" align=\"center\"><caption style=\"text-align:center\" align=\"bottom\"><td><font size=\"-1\">Speaking German in <em>The Edge of Heaven</em> (2007) </font></td></caption><tbody><tr><td><img src=\"http://www.cardus.ca/assets/data/images/2010/2010-06-11-NBarksdale09.JPG\" alt=\"Speaking German in The Edge of Heaven (2007)\" hspace=\"0\" vspace=\"10\" width=\"500\" align=\"top\" border=\"0\"></td></tr></tbody></table><br>\n\n<p>Sometimes I take the smartness game too far and try to watch a film in one language I've studied, with the DVD subtitles set in another (say, a Hindi film with Spanish subs). The end result is usually a headache-inducing mental tug-of-war that yields, if such a thing is possible, negative comprehension. I ask myself, why would a person do that? Not to feel smarter, certainly not to get more out of the movie. Could it be that I love watching movies with subtitles because they make me feel dumber?</p>\n<p>There's something to that as well. Watching movies that take place outside the realm of one's cultural fluency always involves a tension of desires: we want to be transported, we want to fit right in. There's something comforting about not-quite-comprehension, about speech in all its nuance whittled down to one or two lines on the screen, coloured for contrast but still—when it works out right—invisible.</p></div>"
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    "title" : "How to miss a coup",
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      "content" : "<p>Start by leaving the country a few days before the event (not that you know it’s going to happen). About five days is good, say, around July 22, 1990. Make sure the place you’re going is far from any established West Indian community. Northern California is a workable option.</p>\n<p>On the morning of the event (i.e. <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaat_al_Muslimeen_coup_attempt\">July 27, 1990</a>), sit down in your friend <a href=\"http://intenselives.blogspot.com/\">Gillian Goddard</a>’s cottage in Menlo Park, type up a television script on Gillian’s friend Dan’s <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Plus\">Mac Plus</a>, print it out and take it to a nearby copy shop, e.g. Kinko’s. From the shop, fax the script to your colleagues Walt and Danielle in Trinidad, who, later that day, will use it to shoot a segment of the television show you’re working on together. The act of faxing the script also inserts you—tenuously—into Walt and Danielle’s more heroic narrative related to the event, though of course you don’t know this at the time.</p>\n<p>Take the train into San Francisco, trawl around the city like a tourist then in the afternoon meet up with Gillian in order to hitch a ride back to Menlo Park. While sitting in the car in rush-hour gridlock on US-101, fiddle with the dial on the radio and happen upon a National Public Radio (NPR) report about an <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaat_al_Muslimeen_coup_attempt\">attempted coup</a> in your home country of Trinidad and Tobago!</p>\n<p>Marvel at the coincidence of your landing, just at that moment, upon a news report about a nation that would otherwise receive scant coverage even on public radio, but exhibit incredulity. Await the jingle at the end of the report announcing that what you just heard was a comedy segment. When, instead of a jingle, you hear another report about something bad happening in some other part of the world, freeze for a few seconds. Then try to recall whether, five days before, there had been any sign or indication that something like this was going to happen. Decide that there hadn’t.</p>\n<p>As it would be some years yet before either you or Gillian—or most of the world’s citizens—acquires a cell phone, sit patiently in traffic until you get back to Menlo Park, but once there, rush to the answering machine which is pulsating with voice messages. Be amused at Gillian’s Washington DC-based sister’s succinct “They had a coup! Call me!”. Wonder how all the Trinidadians on the west coast had managed to get hold of Gillian’s number. Return calls. Answer new calls that come in. Lament the fact that nobody has any real information.</p>\n<p>Even though the phone lines to Trinidad are perpetually busy, keep trying to get through to family, but make sure you have a list of questions prepared, as long distance calls aren’t cheap and <a href=\"http://www.skype.com\">Skype</a> hasn’t yet been invented, nor has the <a href=\"http://www.magicjack.com/\">MagicJack</a>. Lament the absence, in northern California, of a real West Indian community such as exists in New York or Washington D.C. or south Florida or even Atlanta, and discuss how this limits your access to the choicest rumours and to folks who know folks who had managed to get through to somebody in Trinidad who knows somebody who knows what’s going on. Experience feelings of profound isolation.</p>\n<p>Keep the radio tuned to NPR. Make sure you tune in to an NPR report in which journalist Ira Mathur is interviewed from Port of Spain about the horrors to which your homeland is being subjected while sitting on the bonnet of the car in Stinson Beach, in the atmospheric Marin Headlands, looking out at the magnificent Pacific. Note it as one of the most bizarre juxatpositions of your lifetime.</p>\n<p>Leave California for New York. Wait it out there for what seems like—or may well be, as you don’t yet record all your trips using as-yet-to-be-dreamed-of services like <a href=\"http://www.dopplr.com\">Dopplr</a> and <a href=\"http://www.tripit.com\">TripIt</a>—weeks. Watch that single, worrying image on CNN of Port of Spain with a plume of smoke wafting up from the middle of the city over and over again; listen to the West Indian radio stations; talk to folks on the phone—but still feel you have no idea what’s going on in your homeland, except that the insurgents have surrendered and there’s now a curfew. Write letters (longhand, as you’re still five years from getting an e-mail account) to friends in various places announcing that you might end up staying in the US.</p>\n<p>Be deeply envious of your friends Walt and Danielle, who were in fact shooting your script when news of the insurrection reached them, and who, with all other work brought to a standstill by the events, report that they’ve been venturing out with the camera to capture coup-related action.</p>\n<p>Keep harassing the airline to put you on a flight back home. Settle eventually for one that connects in Miami, even though it means spending an awful night in Miami International Airport.</p>\n<p>Return to Trinidad. Fail to remember, 20 years later, who collected you at the airport, what you saw from the car on the way home, what you felt when you finally walked through the doors of the home you weren’t sure you’d ever see again.</p>\n<p>Wonder if 20 years is really that long or if there’s some other reason you’ve shoved those memories aside.</p>\n<div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:63t7Ie-LG7Y\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?d=63t7Ie-LG7Y\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:dnMXMwOfBR0\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?d=dnMXMwOfBR0\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:7Q72WNTAKBA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?d=7Q72WNTAKBA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:D7DqB2pKExk\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?i=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:D7DqB2pKExk\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?a=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:JEwB19i1-c4\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog?i=OPXhLvON7Ek:7EzAwYI3M3o:JEwB19i1-c4\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/CaribbeanFreeRadioBlog/~4/OPXhLvON7Ek\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "HUGH MASEKELA / “Stimela Mixtape”",
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      "content" : "<img width=\"345\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"229\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela 53.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 53.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2053.jpg\"> <br><blockquote>“The coal train is a motherfucker.”<br><a href=\"http://www.mahala.co.za/art/curse-of-the-coal-train/\"><b>—Hugh Masekela</b></a><br></blockquote>We’ve ridden these rails before, been all over these tracks (see <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2008/12/15/hugh-masekela-%E2%80%9Dstimela%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">here</font></a> and <a href=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/2006/05/27/hugh-masekela-%E2%80%9Cstimela%E2%80%9D/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">here</font></a>), the difference this time we’re taking the whole journey following the song over the years, grasping the politics behind the tones and textures and not just simply enjoying the melody and rhythms.<br><b><br>“Stimela”</b> is both a curse and an analysis, a deep political shout out to and for the sufferers, and simultaneously one of, if not, “the” most requested song at Masekela concerts.<br><img width=\"342\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"245\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2049.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 49.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 49.jpg\"> <br>In February of 2010, Hugh Masekela premiered a major program he called Songs of Migration and of course <b>“Stimela” </b>was one of the centerpieces. <br><br>The train was the main mechanism of forced migration in South Africa. The coal trains were the dominant mode of transport ferrying conscripted black male labor to the gold and mineral mines in and around Johannesburg to do extremely dangerous work for extremely little pay.<br><img width=\"345\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"255\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2027.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 27.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 27.jpg\"> <br>The brilliance of Masekela’s song is that Masekela makes the train live through sound. Not just the choo-choo chug-a-lugging of the rhythm but also the whistles and the steam, the rocking, and, more importantly, the dislocation and emotional ripping of families and community, the separation of urban exploitation and toil from traditional land and cultural community. You don’t have to speak a South Africa language to understand the feeling and to feel the pain.<br><br>Hugh Masekela is an excellent instrumentalist. His horn crackles and notes burst forward in a passionate outpouring, but on <b>&quot;Stimela&quot;</b> it’s Hugh’s vocal work that aptly and brilliantly dominates. With his voice he does a creative call and response: he is both the laboring men cursing the train, and the train itself carrying the workers to an accursed circumstance. <br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2035.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 35.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 35.jpg\"> <br>Over the years, Masekela developed a verbal prologue that effectively contextualizes the song. Even people who have never heard about conscript labor under apartheid, even an audience of people who are truly ignorant of the conditions decried by the song, even those who know nothing are given a glimpse of what hell under earth looks like, and if not an intellectual understanding, certainly an emotional portrait.<br><br>The last version, the quarter hour rendering in concert at the Haymarket in Johanesburg is special because whereas <b>“Stimela”</b> is specifically grounded in the historic South Africa reality, Masekela has now opened the song to expressed solidarity with exploited laborers who work life-threatening jobs worldwide. Masekela is no less proud to be South African, but he now recognizes and communicates to us the urgency of solidarity in the face of global capitalism. <br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2016.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 16.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 16.jpg\"> <br>Yeah, I know, it seems like I’m trying to freight down a good song with a whole lot of extraneous political analysis. But that is precisely the importance of <b>“Stimela”</b>—the song is both emotionally potent and politically astute. Hugh Masekela’s prologue powerfully preaches both the politics of the situation and communicates the passion of those resisting dehumanization.<br><br>Most of the songs in the Songs of Migration program are South African but Masekela includes both an Afrikaans song (“Sarie Marais”) and a Yiddish folk song, both represent elements of the South African experience. Hugh is not blinded by racial essentialism. He knows that not just blacks were forced into migration. And <a href=\"http://www.mahala.co.za/art/curse-of-the-coal-train/\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">Hugh also knows</font></a> “migration is always the result of social and political upheaval, poverty, war and colonialism.”<br><br><b>“Stimela”</b> has developed into a conscious statement but it started as an unconscious expression at a low point in Hugh’s career. And I’m not exaggerating when I say “low point.” Listen to how Hugh describes his situation in the early seventies in the United States.<br><blockquote>&quot;I felt like a total failure. I had destroyed my life with drugs and alcohol and could not get a gig or a band together. No recording company was interested in me and I had gone full circle from major success to the point where my life was worse than when I had left South Africa 11 years earlier.&quot;<br><a href=\"http://za.mg.co.za/article/2010-07-09-coal-train-coming\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><b>—Hugh Masekela</b></font></a><br></blockquote>Early success had turned into a disaster as attempts to start his own record company failed and he was bedeviled by the majors shunning him because of his politics, which he did not see as separate from the core of his music. He ended up retreating to Woodstock, where he and some friends rented a house Masekela used as a refuge.<br><br>When he got to the place where he would be staying there was a piano. Masekela recounted the composing experience in an <a href=\"http://za.mg.co.za/article/2010-07-09-coal-train-coming\"><font color=\"#cc0000\">interview with Gwen Ansell</font></a>. <br><blockquote>      &quot;I ran to the piano and began to sing a song about a train that brought migrant labourers to work in the coal mines of Witbank, my birthplace.&quot; His friends said: &quot;’That’s a mean song. When did you write it?’ I said, between phrases: ‘I didn’t write it. It’s coming in now.’ The song was Stimela. I sang it from beginning to end as if I had known it for a long time.&quot;<br>     &quot;For me,&quot; he said, &quot;songs come like a tidal wave … At this low point, for some reason, the tidal wave that whooshed in on me came all the way from the other side of the Atlantic — from Africa, from home.&quot;<br></blockquote><img width=\"341\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"228\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2043.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 43.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 43.jpg\"> <br>By the mid-seventies Masekela left the States and returned to Africa. He went to Ghana, and to Guinea, and afterwards to other countries in Central and Southern Africa, and finally not until over thirty years later with the fall of apartheid, Hugh Masekela was able to return home to South Africa. He was no longer a young man.<br><br>Hugh could have retired—or, more probably, Hugh couldn’t retire. He was temperamentally incapable of withdrawing from the struggle. For Masekela the end of apartheid marked the beginning of the even harder job of reconstruction—phase two of life-long struggle. <br><br>In the post-apartheid era, conscious artists such as Masekela now dedicated their lives to pulling together the pieces of their history and passing it on to younger generations to assist in building a new society based in part on prior struggles and the culture that enabled older generations to survive unbelievable horrors.<br><br>Born April 4, 1939 in Witbank, South Africa, Hugh Masekela is now a dynamic septuagenarian force on South Africa’s cultural scene in the new millennium. He says he has a storehouse of ideas and memories he plans to bring to the stage and to the bandstand.<br><img width=\"338\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"363\" border=\"0\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2019.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 19.jpg\" title=\"hugh masekela 19.jpg\"> <br>We are all blessed by this man’s vigor and steadfast commitment to cultural and consciousness. Enjoy these diverse and wide ranging readings of Hugh Masekela’s signature song <b>“Stimela.”</b><br><br><b>—Kalamu ya Salaam<br><br><br><u><i>“Stimela” Mixtape Playlist</i></u></b><br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela cover 01.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela cover 01.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%20cover%2001.jpg\"> <br>01 <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FBest-Hugh-Masekela-Century-Masters%2Fdp%2FB000HT366Y%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1280115070%26sr%3D8-3&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>The Best of Hugh Masekela Twentieth Century Masters </i></font></a><br>This is the first recorded version, 1974 on the now out of print album <i>I Am Not Afraid</i>. This version is available, however, on a number of compilations including the new <i>Hugh! The Best of Hugh Masekela</i>. <br><br><img vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela cover 02.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela cover 02.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%20cover%2002.jpg\"> <br>02 <b>“Stimela (Jazzanova Remix)”</b> - <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHugh-Best-Presented-Till-Bronner%2Fdp%2FB003NDS47M%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1280115259%26sr%3D8-37&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>Hugh! The Best of Hugh Masekela </i></font></a><br>This is a new remix from the latest Hugh Masekela compilation that covers mostly Hugh’s recordings from the seventies but also includes a handful of new material such as this remix.<br><br><br><img width=\"337\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"224\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela 50.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela 50.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%2050.jpg\"> <br>03 <i>Concert with Paul Simon </i><br>I’m not sure but I think this is a bootleg from the Paul Simon Live in Africa DVD but I’m not certain, so I can’t supply a link or even a picture of the cover. <br><br><br><img width=\"299\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"299\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela cover 04.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela cover 04.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%20cover%2004.jpg\"> <br>04 <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHope-Hugh-Masekela%2Fdp%2FB00005YUFK%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1280115291%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>Hope </i></font></a><br><br><img width=\"300\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"300\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela cover 05.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela cover 05.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%20cover%2005.jpg\"> <br>05 <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGrazing-Grass-Best-Hugh-Masekela%2Fdp%2FB0012GMUWC%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1280115316%26sr%3D8-5&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>Grazing In The Grass: The Best of Hugh Masekela </i></font></a><br>Be careful. There are a number of compilation albums and a number of different versions of <b>“Stimela.”</b> This version is available on this particular album, which is not to be confused with the “best of” album cited for the opening track 01.<br><br><img width=\"307\" vspace=\"0\" hspace=\"5\" height=\"307\" border=\"0\" title=\"hugh masekela cover 06.jpg\" alt=\"hugh masekela cover 06.jpg\" src=\"http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/hugh%20masekela%20cover%2006.jpg\"> <br>06 <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLive-Market-Theatre-2CD-SET%2Fdp%2FB000R9YE56%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dmusic%26qid%3D1280115368%26sr%3D8-2&amp;tag=breathoflife-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325\"><font color=\"#cc0000\"><i>Live At The Market Theater </i></font></a><br><br><br><br>"
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    "title" : "Quelques notes sur Black bazar et Verre cassé au Lavoir Moderne Parisien",
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      "content" : "<b><span style=\"font-size:large\">Black Bazar d’Alain Mabanckou, adapté et interprété par Modeste Nzapassara (Mardi, Mercredi à 21h)</span></b><br><br><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">C’est au Lavoir Moderne Parisien que le roman Black Bazar de l'écrivain congolais Alain Mabanckou est adapté depuis le début du mois, tous les mardis et mercredis du mois de Juillet.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Je dois tout de suite et sans détour vous dire que j’ai apprécié l’interprétation de cette pièce. Modeste Nzapassara déploie toute la mesure de son talent de comédien pour donner libre expression au fessologue, personnage épique aux allures de dandy, pathétique amant refoulé, dépouillé de sa belle, et qui tente par l’écriture de se remettre de ses déboires conjugaux.</div><br><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4773943783_e42a88e9e4.jpg\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"320\" src=\"http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4773943783_e42a88e9e4.jpg\" width=\"240\"></a></div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">N’ayant pas lu ce roman d' <span style=\"font-size:large\">Alain Mabanckou</span>, j’ai néanmoins reconnu dans la construction de la pièce, la structure qui a fait le succès de Verre cassé : la truculence, le rire, l’ironie, l’auto dérision si chers aux personnages du romancier, puis le drame, la fêlure individuelle, voir l’imposture à laquelle Alain Mabanckou ne cesse de renvoyer ses lecteurs. Dans <span style=\"font-size:large\">Black bazar</span>, c’est le monde du paraître qui caractérise si bien la société des ambianceurs et des personnes élégantes, j’ai nommé la SAPE, qui tombe sous les griffes de l’auteur.</div><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><br></div><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Modeste Nzapassara qui semble s’être parfaitement imprégné du discours de l’écrivain met magnifiquement en scène cette duplicité du sapeur. Le fessologue, dandy, écrivain en herbe, spécialiste de la fesse porte un regard sur cette population qui l’entoure dans ce milieu de l’immigration africaine à Paris qui s’apparente aux personnages qui rôdent près du <span style=\"font-size:large\">Lavoir Moderne Parisien</span>, du côté de Château Rouge. Un regard caustique. Mais il entend aussi ce que l’on dit de lui. Comme le discours un poil raciste, de ce voisin français, qui ne comprend qu’un homme descende jeter sa poubelle en demi-dakar, bref bien mis. </div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Mon esprit s’est surpris à voir les murs de la salle s’effondrer et Modeste Nzapassara poursuivre son récital dans les rues du quartier du LMP, tellement son jeu, ses tirades vibraient en phase avec l’atmosphère du milieu ambiant. Le déroulement de la pièce n’est pas linéaire. Il suit plutôt les états d’âme du fessologue. Ce qui peut rendre ardu la compréhension de cette pièce. Mais la cohérence de l’ensemble permet au spectateur de ne pas lâcher son fil d’Ariane.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Que trouve-t-on derrière le rire, la mascarade ? Vous le saurez surement en allant voir cette pièce qui m’a donnée envie de passer à la lecture du roman. Pièce que le comédien joue seul ,peut-être pour mieux illustrer la solitude du fessologue, de l’immigré, de l’homme tout simplement. Bien sapé, cela va de soit.</div><br><b><span style=\"font-size:large\">Verre cassé d’Alain Mabanckou, adapté et interprété par Fortuné Batéza (jeudi, vendredi 21h)</span></b><br><span style=\"font-size:large\"><br></span><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\"><span style=\"font-size:large\">Fortuné Batéza</span> est venu de Kinshasa pour nous livrer sa partition sur le roman qui a rendu populaire Alain Mabanckou : j’ai nommé Verre cassé. Inutile de présenter ce texte tant de fois chroniqué sur la blogosphère, là où les lettres africaines ont tant de mal à trouver un écho. Histoire de souligner l’influence de l’auteur.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">J’aurai tendance à comparer les deux adaptations de ces romans en considérant que les charnières de ces derniers semblent très proches. Pourtant les choix ne sont pas les mêmes, tant sur la mise en scène que dans le jeu des deux acteurs. Fortuné Batéza joue beaucoup plus dans le registre du théâtre populaire congolais. Ce qui n’a rien de péjoratif, puisqu’il a beaucoup plus de chance de toucher le public africain. Ce qui se traduit le prix d’interprétation qu’il a obtenu justement avec <span style=\"font-size:large\"><b>Verre cassé</b></span>.</div><div style=\"clear:both;text-align:center\"><a href=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kl-8Cz-TJDI/TDzms4qhfhI/AAAAAAAACD8/0l7kNmCNNj4/s1600/P7090275.JPG\" style=\"margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em\"><img border=\"0\" height=\"240\" src=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kl-8Cz-TJDI/TDzms4qhfhI/AAAAAAAACD8/0l7kNmCNNj4/s320/P7090275.JPG\" width=\"320\"></a></div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Il interprète donc tous les personnages qui ont fait rire ceux qui ont ouvert et lu ce roman étonnant. L’homme aux pampers, Robinette, Mouyéké l’escroc...Il met en scène les réflexions ubuesques du dictateur en panne de communication. J’ai personnellement trouvé qu’il y avait un déséquilibre puisque dans son adaptation, Batéza donne beaucoup plus de poids à la première phase du roman qui est une franche rigolade et une accumulation de caricatures, qu’à la seconde partie du roman où le lecteur que je suis, était rentré dans l’intimité de Verre cassé (le personnage), dans son drame, dans sa solitude. De plus, on ressent un peu moins le texte, la langue de Mabanckou.</div><br><div style=\"text-align:justify\">Néanmoins, le jeu du comédien kinois pallie à ces légers manquements et réussit à tenir le rythme de cette pièce très intéressante.</div><br>A voir et à faire voir au <a href=\"http://www.rueleon.net/\">Lavoir Moderne Parisien</a><br>35 rue Léon, Paris 18ème arrondissement<br>Réservation au 01.42.52.09.14<div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/104300315399051243-6619882216620620705?l=gangoueus.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "The thrill of the chase",
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      "content" : "<p>How I love to go out hunting on a bright Sunday morning—though it’s not my style to shoot furry/feathery/finny animals. <em>My</em> game is to get up early and stalk a wily factoid.</p>\n<p>A <a href=\"http://moleseyhill.com/blog/2009/05/25/how-many-bugs/\">posting</a> from Mat Roberts, whose <a href=\"http://moleseyhill.com/blog/\">blog</a> I’ve recently discovered, sent me out this morning to chase down a passage in <em><a href=\"http://plus.maths.org/issue21/reviews/book4/index.html\">How Long Is a Piece of String</a></em>, a book by Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham:</p>\n<p><img title=\"Don&#39;t be picky about the formula. Yes, it&#39;s true, S could be zero. We can handle that, if necessary, with a slightly more elaborate version.\" src=\"http://bit-player.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/eastaway-wyndham-p160.png\" border=\"0\" alt=\"passage from Eastaway-Wyndham, page 160\" width=\"450\" height=\"329\"></p>\n<p>The concept here seemed familiar, but the term “Lincoln Index” was new to me. Lincoln who? What index?</p>\n<p>Google offered some useful clues. (Also a generous helping of false scents—books about Honest Abe that happen to have an index.) Without even clicking on a link I had the general context:</p>\n<blockquote>\n<p>The <em>Lincoln Index</em> provides a way to  measure population sizes of individual animal species. It is based on a  capture/mark/ recapture method…</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p>So we’re talking ecology and population biology. The original idea was not to catch the same typo twice but to catch the same furry/feathery/finny creature twice. Interesting. However, the first couple of web pages that Google sent me to (<a href=\"http://www.offwell.free-online.co.uk/lincoln.htm\">here</a> and <a href=\"http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/2222.html\">here</a>) told me nothing about Lincoln. And, oddly, I found no Wikipedia entry for “Lincoln Index.” If it’s not in Wikipedia, does it exist?</p>\n<p>With a little more poking around, I stumbled upon another clue that seemed promising: a <a href=\"http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/jcabbott/courses/bio208web/labs/populations/populations.htm\">mention</a> of “the Lincoln-Pearson equation for estimating population size.” I was still in the dark about Lincoln, but Pearson is quite a familiar figure. Surely that’s Karl Pearson, the pioneering statistician, who did much of his work in the biological sciences and might very well have come up with a scheme for estimating population sizes.</p>\n<p>Back at Google, though, searching for “Lincoln-Pearson” turned up nothing pertinent other than the page I’d come from (though I <em>did</em> learn that Karl Pearson “read in chambers in Lincoln’s Inn” during his early years studying law).</p>\n<p>More beating the bushes. Eventually I realized I had wandered into a blind alley. Somebody needs to hire a pair of proofreaders: The formula is not “Lincoln-Pearson” but “Lincoln-Petersen.” Try <em>those</em> names at Google and you’ll get an abundance of useful pointers. (You’ll also learn that Abraham Lincoln died in Petersen’s Boarding House, across the street from Ford’s Theater. Google is not just a search engine but also a coincidence engine.)</p>\n<p>The particular web page where I finally got the correct names (<a href=\"http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/fw353/Estimate.htm\">notes for a course at North Carolina State University</a>) explains that capture-mark-recapture methods</p>\n<blockquote>\n<p>are used extensively to estimate populations of fish, game animals, and many non-game animals. The approach was first used by Petersen (1896) to study European plaice in the Baltic Sea and later proposed by Lincoln (1930) to estimate numbers of ducks. Petersen’s and Lincoln’s method is often referred to as the Lincoln-Petersen Index, even though it is not an index but a method to estimate actual population sizes. (Should it not be the Petersen-Lincoln Estimate?)</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p>I decided to pursue Petersen first—and immediately ran into a few further bibliographic brambles. Some citations spell the name “Petersen” and others “Peterson.” Some give the initials “C. G. T.” and others “C. G. J.” or “C. J. G.” The date might be 1895 or 1896 or 1897. Here’s what I believe to be a correct citation:</p>\n<blockquote>\n<p>Petersen, C. G. J. 1896. The yearly immigration of young plaice into the Limfjord from the German Sea. <em>Report of the Danish Biological Station to the Home Department</em> 6:1–48.</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p>Wikipedia identifies our elusive author as Carl Georg Johannes Petersen (1860-1928). He was a founder of the Danish Biological Station, which was not in fact a station but a mobile laboratory—a decommissioned naval vessel that was moved around from year to year. In 1895, Petersen took the station to the Limfjord, a chain of bays, lakes and channels cutting across the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. There he studied the plaice fishery. (Back to Wikipedia: “The European plaice is a right-eyed flounder belonging to the Pleuronectidae family.” But let’s not get started on right-eyed and left-eyed flatfish, or we’ll never get to the end of this.)</p>\n<p>Petersen’s report is <a href=\"http://www.archive.org/details/reportofdanishbi06dans\">available online</a>, scanned from a copy belonging to the library of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and hosted by the Biodiversity Heritage Library of the Internet Archive. A second surprise: The report is written in English. But on reading through it I find only vague and murky connections between the work Petersen reports and the mark-recapture method of estimating populations. There’s nothing resembling the <em>E<sub>1</sub>E<sub>2</sub>/S</em> formula.</p>\n<p>Petersen <em>does</em> describe a series of capture/mark/recapture experiments. A few hundred plaice were caught and marked by attaching numbered buttons, then put back in the water. Fishermen who recaught the labeled fish in later months were asked to report them. But the purpose of this study was not to estimate the total population; instead, Petersen used before-and-after measurements of the marked fish to estimate their growth rate.</p>\n<p>In a much larger experiment, some 82,580 plaice (somebody must have counted them!) were transplanted into the fjord, and 10,900 of the fish were marked by having a hole punched in their dorsal fin. The number of marked fish was recorded as the plaice were caught during the coming year. It’s not clear whether the aim of this project was to estimate the total population, but in any case it didn’t work. The fraction of marked fish in the transplanted batch was about 1/7, but the marked fraction in the subsequent catches was 1/5. Petersen remarks, “This result is very strange,” and I have to agree.</p>\n<p>When Petersen did try to estimate the plaice population, he didn’t rely on a recapture scheme. He went out with seine nets designed to dredge up every bottom fish in a measured plot, then extrapolated from the density of fish per unit area.</p>\n<p>The whole report is fascinating fishy stuff, but it leaves me wondering just how Petersen came to be given credit for the resampling idea. As far as I can tell, it’s not to be found in this paper.</p>\n<p>Having chased down Petersen, I turned back to Mr. Lincoln. Without much trouble I was able to identify the work in question:</p>\n<blockquote>\n<p>Lincoln, F. C. 1930. Calculating waterfowl abundance on the basis of banding returns. <em>United States Department of Agriculture Circular</em> 118:1–4.</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p><img title=\"Credit: U.S. Geological Survey\" src=\"http://bit-player.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/fredericklincoln.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"portrait of Frederick C. Lincoln in his office, with stuffed duck.\" width=\"220\" height=\"289\">The author was Frederick C. Lincoln, who was <a href=\"http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/homepage/lincoln.htm\">bird-bander-in-chief</a> in the U.S. for some 25 years. The agency he founded has since migrated from the Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Geological Survey and become the Bird Banding Laboratory.</p>\n<p>Google returns hundreds of works that cite Lincoln’s paper (including some quite far afield from population biology). But tracking down the USDA document itself was not so easy. If the USDA has it online, I wasn’t able to locate it. But a search of <a href=\"http://www.worldcat.org/\">WorldCat</a> eventually turned up an archive in the <a href=\"http://catalog.hathitrust.org/\">Hathi Trust Digital Library</a> where you can page through <a href=\"http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?view=image;size=100;id=umn.31951d02969945h;page=root;seq=640;num=81\">Lincoln’s pamphlet</a> in a copy scanned by Google at the University of Minnesota library.</p>\n<p>Lincoln gives only a brief and informal account of the recapture idea, but the basic principle is stated clearly enough:</p>\n<blockquote>\n<p>If in one season 5,000 ducks were banded and yielded 600 first-season returns, or 12 percent, and if during that same season the total number of ducks killed and reported by sportsmen was about 5,000,000, then this number would be equivalent to approximately 12 per cent of the waterfowl population for that year, which would be about 42,000,000.</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p>It’s not hard to translate this formula from the language of duck hunters into the language of proofreaders. The first reader finds 5,000 typos and the second spots 5 million; 600 of these errors are common to both lists, and so the total number of typos is:</p>\n<p><img src=\"http://bit-player.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/typos-eqn.png\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\\frac{5\\,000 \\times 5\\,000\\,000}{600} = 41\\,666\\,667\" width=\"208\" height=\"34\"></p>\n<p>So that’s my reward for a morning spent out hunting: 42 million typos.</p>\n<p>Does Frederick Lincoln deserve credit for the Lincoln Index? I’d say he has a good claim, except that Pierre Simon de Laplace <span style=\"text-decoration:underline\" title=\"text added 2010-07-12\">had the same idea</span> more than a century earlier. In 1802 Laplace applied his method to estimating the (human) population of France. But maybe that’s a story for another Sunday morning.</p>\n<p><strong>Epilogue</strong>. This is not really a story about typos, or about fish and ducks. It’s about finding things—about the phenomenal ease of chasing facts on the world wide web. Does a marked fish have any hope of escaping recapture there?</p>\n<p> </p>"
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    "title" : "The Year of the Death of José Saramago",
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      "content" : "<p>\n\n\t“We mourn the man whom death takes from us, and the loss of his miraculous talent and the grace of his human presence, but only the man do we mourn, for destiny endowed his spirit and creative powers with a mysterious beauty that cannot perish.”\n\t—from The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis\n\n\tOn June 18, 2010, the Portuguese writer José Saramago dies at the age of eighty-seven after a long illness. The cause is multiple organ failure. The government announces  ...</p>\t\n<p>\n \n</p>\n\n      <div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?a=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?a=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:qj6IDK7rITs\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?d=qj6IDK7rITs\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?a=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:F7zBnMyn0Lo\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?i=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:F7zBnMyn0Lo\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?a=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:gIN9vFwOqvQ\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/wwborders?i=9g8ogYfD3UU:eDfOkmkr9KQ:gIN9vFwOqvQ\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/wwborders/~4/9g8ogYfD3UU\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\">"
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    "title" : "A Wolof weaver on Goree island, 1844",
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://lh4.ggpht.com/_o3RfR0wD8Y8/TAOEb3iVhpI/AAAAAAAAGHM/-ExTujo9F1g/s1600-h/arc127_tisserand_001f%5B3%5D.jpg\"><img title=\"arc127_tisserand_001f\" style=\"border-width:0px;display:inline\" alt=\"arc127_tisserand_001f\" src=\"http://lh3.ggpht.com/_o3RfR0wD8Y8/TAOEcfsypKI/AAAAAAAAGHQ/ZUPNf7cmDLo/arc127_tisserand_001f_thumb%5B1%5D.jpg?imgmax=800\" border=\"0\" height=\"205\" width=\"321\"></a> </p>  <p>Although this sketch in the French National Archives is not the earliest depiction of a West African weaver it is exceptionally detailed and clear for a nineteenth century source.  It was drawn by Isidore Hedde (1801-1880) a ribbon manufacturer from St. Etienne whose boat paused in Senegal on route to China as part of  a French diplomatic mission. Undoubtedly Hedde’s own background in weaving contributed to the attention he paid to depicting the key loom components. The weaver is described as a slave and griot, although it seems likely, to me at least,  that “slave”  is  Hedde’s gloss on the complex and anomalous status of weavers and other craftspeople in Senegambian societies. The drawing is accompanied by an important letter that describes at some length his observations on textile production in Goree at that date, including the surprising fact that there were 114 weavers on the small island. Click <a href=\"http://www.histoire-image.org/site/etude_comp/etude_comp_detail.php?i=745\">here</a> to see more details.</p>  <p>By way of comparison, here is a Senegalese weaver depicted on an old postcard, dating from about 1905, by Charles Fortier (author’s collection.)</p>  <p><a href=\"http://lh5.ggpht.com/_o3RfR0wD8Y8/TAOEdFRRq-I/AAAAAAAAGHU/ABoDLVhgXNk/s1600-h/fortier%20weaver%5B3%5D.jpg\"><img title=\"fortier weaver\" style=\"border-width:0px;display:inline\" alt=\"fortier weaver\" src=\"http://lh6.ggpht.com/_o3RfR0wD8Y8/TAOEdx2DxOI/AAAAAAAAGHY/6wJE2TbxNTg/fortier%20weaver_thumb%5B1%5D.jpg?imgmax=800\" border=\"0\" height=\"401\" width=\"260\"></a></p><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3842834058715698204-2078281628497235177?l=adireafricantextiles.blogspot.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "This Case Has 'Moot Court' Written All Over It",
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      "content" : "<p><a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/11/us/11spice.html\">This case</a>, pitting the fatal-paprika-allergy-warning dog vs. the co-worker with the serious allergy to canines has great facts and a knotty legal problem — surely it is coming to a moot court or mock trial near you?</p>\n\n<blockquote><p>Fearing a fatal encounter with paprika, Ms. Kysel’s parents and grandparents chipped in to buy her an allergy-detection dog, which works much like a narcotics-sniffing dog. After she had extensive talks with her employer, the City of Indianapolis, officials gave her permission to take the dog to work. The golden retriever, named Penny, cost her family $10,000 — it jumps up on Ms. Kysel whenever it detects paprika.</p>\n\n<p>On the first day Ms. Kysel took Penny to work, one of her co-workers suffered an asthma attack because she is allergic to dogs. That afternoon Ms. Kysel was stunned when her boss told her that she could no longer take the dog to work, or if she felt she could not report to work without Penny, she could go on indefinite unpaid leave. She was ineligible for unemployment compensation because of the limbo she was put in.</p></blockquote>\n\n<p>Perfect.</p><div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?a=VuNUa-v6msE:9BC-ESfXsbE:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?d=yIl2AUoC8zA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?a=VuNUa-v6msE:9BC-ESfXsbE:7Q72WNTAKBA\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?d=7Q72WNTAKBA\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?a=VuNUa-v6msE:9BC-ESfXsbE:YwkR-u9nhCs\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?d=YwkR-u9nhCs\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?a=VuNUa-v6msE:9BC-ESfXsbE:V_sGLiPBpWU\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/discourse2?i=VuNUa-v6msE:9BC-ESfXsbE:V_sGLiPBpWU\" border=\"0\"></a>\n</div>"
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    "title" : "Charles Mingus, \"Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus\" (1963)",
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      "content" : "<a href=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/S-F_wpjbY8I/AAAAAAAAAyw/sq4xSEP9Ba4/s1600/charles_mingus.jpg\"><img style=\"float:right;margin:0 0 10px 10px;width:269px;height:400px\" src=\"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/S-F_wpjbY8I/AAAAAAAAAyw/sq4xSEP9Ba4/s400/charles_mingus.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\"></a><strong>NICK DERISO: </strong>Bassist Charles Mingus, an enlightening yet stormy presence, clearly felt he had unfinished business with some of his earlier work. So, he used \"Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus\" and a move to the more creatively open Impulse! label to take another pass at them.<br><br>That turned into a dramatic remodeling project for Mingus.<br><br>In fact, he rips them up, pieces them back together, speeds them up, slows them down, drives them into the ditch, then reattaches all the dented parts. <br><br>\"MingusX5,\" as I always called it, would eventually become less about reevaluation than about true rediscovery -- and, for me, every bit the creative triumph of more widely praised efforts like \"The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady,\" \"Mingus Ah Um\" and the posthumous \"Epitaph.\" <br><br><span>Mingus was still working within a Dixieland-style collective improvisation, and amid this spectacular din of sound, we should probably expect complexity. The marvellously complex Mingus doesn't disappoint.<br><br>Adept at both an almost naughtily playfulness in the opener -- a redo of \"Haitian Fight Song\" called \"II B.S.\" (sound out the Roman numeral, then refer to the vernacular for the following two letters), featuring tenor saxist Booker Ervin and pianist Jaki Byard -- as well as the sensual curiosity of the \"Nouroog\" update \"I X Love,\" Mingus is freed to experiment as composer, arranger and performer.<br><br>Mingus was also playing around with his band, updating the same basic cast as 1963's \"Black Saint\" by adding reedman <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2008/07/somethingelsetribute-jazzs-greatest.html\"><strong>Eric Dolphy </strong></a>-- who completes one of the very best groupings ever constructed by the mercurial bassist. \"MingusX5\" allows every player to somehow make the other better. <br><br><a href=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/S-F8-7FAefI/AAAAAAAAAyo/ClwVCtYcwG0/s1600/mingusx5.jpg\"><img style=\"float:left;margin:0 10px 10px 0;width:200px;height:200px\" src=\"http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9n816j7EPLw/S-F8-7FAefI/AAAAAAAAAyo/ClwVCtYcwG0/s200/mingusx5.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\"></a>A more turbulent theme can be found in \"Celia,\" in keeping with its subject matter. (Mingus is said to have written it in tribute to his ex-wife, and even includes at one point just a hint of \"The Lady In Red,\" referencing her hair color.) Altoist Charlie Mariano is highlighted here, as well as on \"I X Love,\" and he adds to the innate drama.<br><br>That tension finds its zenith during an amped up take on \"Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul,\" presented in 6/8 time yet boasting an interesting countermelodic grit. On the closing \"Hora Decubitus,\" a rewrite of \"E's Flat Ah's Flat Too\" which the bassist said meant \"At Bedtime,\" Mingus' 10-member group -- with a notable turn at this point by Dolphy -- turns up the fire, putting a fierce exclamation point on this album.<br><br>But even in moments of reflection, however, Mingus challenges himself, and those around him, to dig deeper. <br><br>Given an opportunity to pay tribute to a childhood hero in <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Duke%20Ellington\"><strong>Duke Ellington</strong></a>, on \"Mood Indigo\" <em>(embedded below)</em>, Mingus sets the tone with a virtuoso solo. Later on \"Theme For <a href=\"http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/search/label/Lester%20Young\"><strong>Lester Young</strong></a>\" (also known as \"Goodbye Pork Pie Hat\"), there is a quiet, almost tenderly reflective solo from Ervin -- in keeping with the tune's origin: Mingus reportedly wrote it at a New York club on the night he heard of Young's passing.<br><br>That underscores the tough spirituality that still makes Mingus so intriguing. <br><br>He was a straight talker but also a seeker of things, someone who questioned it all -- including himself and his own work. As well known for his volatility as for his ambition, Mingus took everyone on his journey -- starting with the sidemen. <br><br>That helped Mingus, when everything came together, draw out such memorable performances from those around him. \"MingusX5\" was one of those times.<br><br><iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/Jl--643tTe4%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x5d1719%26color2%3D0xcd311b&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br><br>Purchase: <a href=\"http://www.amazon.com/Mingus/dp/B000003N7Y\"><strong>Charles Mingus - Ming<em>us Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus</em></strong></a></span><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8367705548617137551-3458640493391498272?l=www.somethingelsereviews.com\" alt=\"\"></div>"
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    "title" : "Has Globalization Stolen the World Cup Magic?",
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      "content" : "<p><img src=\"http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/multimedia/photo_gallery/0906/history.june29/images/pele-1958.cut.jpg\" width=\"400\"><br>\n<em>Who is this kid? Pele terrorizes Sweden in 1958</em></p>\n<p>Nobody outside of Brazil had heard of the 17-year-old who exploded onto the international stage in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden with a display of skill, audacity, guile, vision and sheer exuberance that was to make Pele a global household name for the next half-century.</p>\n<p>His status as the global symbol of football excellence was all the remarkable considering that the world only got to see him three more times at the quadrennial World Cup tournaments, culminating in 1970. Pele, after all, played his weekly club football for Rio De Janeiro’s Santos, whose games weren’t available on satellite TV.</p>\n<p>There are many reasons why World Cup 2010 won’t surprise us with a new Pele, but the first should be obvious: today any teenager even half as talented would likely be on the books of Barcelona or Arsenal already, and therefore a familiar face to European club football’s massive global TV audience.</p>\n<p>Think Alexandre Pato, the 20-year-old Brazilian striker who joined AC Milan at 18, or Manchester United’s marauding 19-year-old Brazilian fullbacks, Rafael and Fabio da Silva, who signed at 17, a year older than Spanish midfield supremo Cesc Fabregas was when he joined Arsenal.</p>\n<p>In Pele’s era, the world’s best players met only at the World Cup. Today they play each other once or even twice a week while the whole world watches.</p>\n<p>Last year’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United was the world’s most-watched sports event of the year, with an audience of 209 million. And a lot more than that were expected to tune into the recent Real Madrid-Barcelona Spanish league showdown.</p>\n<p>It’s not hard to see why: El Clasico, as the Spanish fixture is known, pitted the world’s two best players, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo against one another, with a supporting cast stronger than either would find in his national team.</p>\n<p>The fact that the European game now features all the world’s soccer heroes is the reason you’re as likely to see a Chelsea or Arsenal shirt being worn at a mall in Shanghai or San Diego as in a Baghdad demonstration or Mogadishu firefight.</p>\n<p>Almost without exception, today the world’s best players play their club football in Europe. Brazil’s and Argentina’s World Cup squads will be picked almost entirely from Europe-based players, and those will also be the mainstay of the likes of Uruguay, Chile and Honduras. Ivory Coast took just one home-based player to the recent African Nations Cup in Angola, and Ghana is likely to do the same at the World Cup. Don’t expect any in Cameroon’s squad, while there are unlikely to be more than two or three in Nigeria’s squad.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article428369.ece/Has-globalisation-stolen-the-World-Cup-magic-\">Read the rest here</a></p>"
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    "title" : "I think you’ll find that’s my line, Seamus",
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      "content" : "<p>Further thoughts on “Ship of Fools” by Fintan O’Toole …</p>\n\n\t<p>In so far as these things matter, I totes claim bragging rights over calling the end of the bubble in Ireland, in writing in October 2006 and my only regret is that I changed jobs and started doing something else before I had time to milk it[1]. My basic point at the time was that the rental yield on Irish property at the time was estimated at 3.25% (Daft.ie had begun to calculate a rental yield index, tragically too late – I believe unless someone knows different that at the time I was in possession of the only even acceptably accurate time series of data on Irish rental yields), and that with the most recent <span>ECB</span> rate rise to 3.75%, the logic of the myopic-expectations buy-or-rent model[2] was about to start working in reverse.  As it did.  I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions that in actual fact, this was a policy-caused bubble, and that’s true in Ireland as well.  But of course, the actual mechanisms by which a bubble is inflated, since they are based on a combination of the winner’s curse and limited liability, tend to involve the sorts of tales of sharp elbows, social capital and low risk aversion which can be made to look absolutely awful with the benefit of hindsight and/or in a court of law.  So let the games begin …<br>\n<span></span></p>\n\n\t<p>Of course, there’s a world of difference between “Ship of Fools” and Dean Baker’s “False Profits”.  For one thing, although at a very high level the Irish boom was a product of the <span>ECB</span>’s need to keep the rust belts of France and Italy out of depression, there is not much mileage in an Irish commentator calling for the <span>ECB</span> governor to be sacked.  And so it is that Fintan O’Toole’s “Ship of Fools” concentrates less on the high-level policy failures and more on the nuts-and-bolts of the shady deals and unwise decisions that let the Irish boom get so big and so much more destructive than, say, the Spanish one.  Henry has written on this in detail, so I’ll hand over that to him, both because I don’t have the detailed knowledge, but more importantly for the reason that I think any British person writing about the Irish economic situation at the moment really needs to check his motives.</p>\n\n\t<p>Which is to say that, hey Irish people, shall I tell you a secret?  That economic miracle of yours – it just killed us inside.  The Gore Vidal proverb[4] doesn’t capture the half of it.  My God.  Even me, commenting on this site of all sites, couldn’t occasionally resist <a href=\"http://crookedtimber.org/2006/08/22/free-lunch-and-irish-breakfast/#comment-169430\"> the occasional outburst</a> of <a href=\"http://crookedtimber.org/2003/12/18/small-country-big-job/#comment-11445\">sheer green-eyed jealousy</a> at any signs of the Irish contributors mentioning that the place seemed to be doing all right these days.  I can’t find the bit where I literally started going “look it’s all housing and construction you know, it’ll end in tears” to Kieran, but I vividly remember it happened.  And this was not an untypical attitude among Brits during the period.</p>\n\n\t<p>Part of the reason of course was that during the boom years, Ireland did take the advantage to export some incredible, complete, total and utter pricks to the rest of the world in the hope that they’d stay gone.  I mean, it hardly behoves a London stockbroker to make a comment of this sort, but even by that benchmark the newly enriched Irish business/political class turned up some world-beaters.  And, like the Icelanders they floated a fair couple of companies on the London market that turned out to be not quite as great as they’d appeared, and like the Icelanders, they were given to occasionally, usually when drink had been taken on, providing us with lectures about the secret of their economic success which gave the strong impression of having been cribbed from <a href=\"http://crookedtimber.org/2005/07/01/the-way-of-the-leprechaun/\">Thomas Friedman books</a>.</p>\n\n\t<p>Unlike the Icelanders, of course, there was always a certain amount of edge to the relationship between us and the Irish Raiders though.  For one thing, of course, there was the legacy of empire[5]; it really was not so long ago that <a href=\"http://crookedtimber.org/2008/11/28/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-london-irish-social-services-industry/\">Irish people</a> in London were treated as somewhere between an oppressed minority and a public health problem[6].</p>\n\n\t<p>For another, though, there was never any real threat to us from the Vikings.  Broadly speaking, the financial community knew what they were up to.  They were a bunch of foreigners with seemingly no clue what they were doing, more or less unlimited amounts of money borrowed from their local banks, a burning ambition to pick up iconic and prestigious business assets, and seemingly no concept at all of a fair or even reasonable valuation.  People like that, one finds, are generally well liked in Throgmorton Street; you might have to put up with the odd economics lecture, but usually they’ll make it worth your while to hang on.  Generations of such ambitious foreigners have breezed through the City, usually leaving with armfuls of previously unshiftable dogs and sans wallet.  Come one come all, as long as you pay cash etc.</p>\n\n\t<p>The Irish, on the other hand … well, what was their big idea?  From the late 90s onward, it was clear that Ireland was determined to become the entrepot and offshore haven between Europe and America, sitting in the North Atlantic with a low tax rate, a population of intelligent and creative people with somewhat lax morality, a loose system of financial regulation with slap-on-the-wrist enforcement, in general a place where you went in order to do things that you were slightly ashamed of and didn’t want to do back home.  And well … isn’t that, kind of, our job?  I think this was the real source of English ressentiment of the Irish miracle – after all, even the most ancient of enemies can reconcile and make up, but <i>competitors</i> are opposed to each other by definition.</p>\n\n\t<p>And that, I think, shows us what the underlying social reality is behind the corpus delicti set out in “Ship of Fools”.  The difference between the two places, and the reason why the City abides, bruised and humiliated but still here, while the Financial Centre in Dublin currently looks really rather past-tense, is that the sort of brinkmanship that is required to play the regulatory arbitrage game, and to make sure that the get-er-done mentality of the best dealmaking lawyers and bankers doesn’t get <i>totally</i> out of hand, is one of the ultimate ‘thick’ social institutions.  The kind of culture under which the most dreaded punishment is the “cold shoulder” of the Takeover Panel is not something you can throw up overnight.</p>\n\n\t<p>So anyway, it turns out that this review was more in the <span>LRB</span> style of a semi-attached essay but what can you do?  Go read Henry’s post, he’ll tell you what the book was about.</p>\n\n\n\t<p>[1] The publication of that report gave me one of the only moments in my career which would make a good anecdote for a Michael Lewis book.  I was, unsurprisingly, not popular with Irish investors and ended up doing a tour of Dublin to explain myself.  At the end of a long day, I found myself in front of a character who started his speech by saying “well, you know, of course I’m not an economist like yourself, I’m just a thick Paddy me …”.  Having basically lost both all patience and all hope of getting any business, I launched into a short speech, the gist of which was[3] “excuse me mate, when I was a teenager I worked on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghire ferry, and during that period I met enough colourful Irish characters to last me a lifetime.  The other thing I learned was that when you hear an Irish person talking to an English person and describing themselves as “just a thick Paddy”, you should check your wallet”.</p>\n\n\t<p>[2] “Myopic expectations” – in my model, agents assumed that the current level of interest rates would prevail forever.  “Buy versus rent model” – just what it sounds like, based on my assessment of the typical financing structure.  It wasn’t quite as simple as that, but it wasn’t much more complicated.</p>\n\n\t<p>[3] Of course, as is traditional for a mass-market business thriller, it didn’t happen <i>exactly</i> like that.  Also I was lying at the time – my brother had worked on the ferry, not me.</p>\n\n\t<p>[4] “Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies”</p>\n\n\t<p>[5] During the Celtic Tiger years, and after reading excerpts from Liam Kennedy’s <a href=\"http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/mope_moping_and_mopery/\">essay</a>, I used to find it a useful technique when in the presence of an Irish person (or, frankly, an Englishman or  American with any hint of Irish heritage) who I believed to be whining, to theatrically exclaim “400 years of oppression and now this!”[8].  I’m not saying it was big or clever, or even completely free of bigotry.  I’m just saying it worked.  Probably still does.</p>\n\n\t<p>[6] I actually live in a rather chichi leafy avenue in North London, and there are still people in my street who remember when my attractive Georgian townhouse was occupied by three <i>large</i> Irish families.  There are one of two aging Irish tramps hanging round the area who appear on the occasions I’ve spoken to them to be utterly confused about what happened to what had previously been a quite well-defined social role.</p>\n\n\t<p>[7] Actually, eight hundred years, as Henry reminded me.</p>"
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    "title" : "The clever Australian FttH architecture",
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      "content" : "<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">As a\nproponent of evaluating FttH topologies (shared and point-to-point) on their\npath dependencies and option values I have been looking forward to see how the\nAustralians would make their choices.</span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">One of the\nfactors that make their case interesting is the utility infrastructure\napproach. The Australian Government has decided that a country wide open FttH\ninfrastructure is required and will be deployed.<span>  </span>Deploying FttH in vast countries like the USA\nand Australia poses its own challenges compared with dense urban countries like\nthe Netherlands.<span>  </span>Often citied issues are\nthe lower densities of housing so a shared fiber architecture must be\nunavoidable, and<span>  </span>very low density rural\nareas which are deemed unaffordable.</span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">The\nrecently published architecture of the Australian FttH network show an\nintelligent and interesting approach (courtesy Peter Ferris for explaining some\ndetails) . The first observation is that even in a vast country like Australia\npeople live closely huddled on a small part of the land. </span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><a href=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/Australia%20density-1052.html\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/Australia%20density-thumb-450x193-1052.gif\" width=\"450\" height=\"193\" alt=\"Australia density.GIF\" style=\"float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0\"></a></span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p>67 % Of the\npopulation lives in the top 50 urban areas, if you include the major rural areas\nyou can reach 85 % of the addresses in 1,5 % of the land. So it makes sense to\nprovide 93 % of the addresses with FttH and the remaining with radio (5%) and\nsatellite (2%).</p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">For the 93% which will get FttH they have chosen for a surprising combination of options in\ntheir architecture. The next-best-thing to full point-to-point in my opinion,\nfull with potential to support different kinds of technologies and future upgrades\nif and when needed. <span> </span></span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">Let me\nfocus on the interesting choices: overprovisioning in a point-to-point topology\nin the deepest part of the last mile, underprovisioning in the concentrated\nparts of the outside plant.</span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">The basic\nbuilding block of their architecture is a group of up to 200 addresses. A fiber\nlocal loop is deployed with 3 (!) fibers per address. In an aerial deployment\n12 local drop fibre connectors (preterminated drop line, no splice needed) are\nmade available on the poles per 4 addresses and used when and how required. The\nsame approach is used for underground cabling. This setup will allow for layer\n1 unbundling future expansion, support of point-to-point Ethernet to businesses, multiple ISP's to same address, support for 3G/wifi mobile broadband and so\non.</span></p><p>All fibers\nfor these 200 addresses concentrate in a Fiber Distribution Hub (FDH), a\ncabinet in the street or cleverly combined with other uses like a seat in the\nparc. In the FDH the connections are made to either a splitter (for PON) or a\nsingle fiber (point-to-point) in ducts leading toward higher layers of the\nnetwork. <span> </span>It is even foreseen to change\nthe splitters for filters if WDM becomes financially viable.</p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">Up to 16\nFDH's are concentrated into a Fiber Serving Area Module (FSAM, max 3200 addresses).\n<span> </span>The capacity in the concentration\ncabling initially deployed is enough to support PON as a technology to each\nhome, plus some extra for businesses and other uses.<span>  </span>Some sort of redundancy is built in by an interesting\n\"dual-loop\" structure by geographical separate paths in the connection of FDH's\nto FSAM location. If needed the capacity to one or more FDH's can be increased\nby deploying more cables in that path.</span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><a href=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/fdh-1055.html\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/fdh-thumb-500x367-1055.gif\" width=\"500\" height=\"367\" alt=\"fdh.GIF\" style=\"float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0\"></a></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"> </span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">The FSAM is\na planning construct initially but it allows also for future expansion. The\nnumber of addresses is ideally suited to be served by a prefab active equipment\ncabinet (know as Controlled Environment Vaults, or APOP&#39;s in the Netherlands),\nif needed. </span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><a href=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/CEV-1058.html\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/CEV-thumb-450x378-1058.jpg\" width=\"450\" height=\"378\" alt=\"CEV.jpg\" style=\"float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0\"></a></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><i>(Controlled Environment Vault</i></span><span lang=\"EN-US\"><i>)</i></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\">These CEV's bear a lot of resemblance to the prefab APOP's Reggefiber\ndeploys outside city centres. They can be truckrolled to a given location,\nplaced within a day.</span></p><a href=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/AAPOP-1064.html\"><img src=\"http://www.dadamotive.com/assets_c/2010/04/AAPOP-thumb-300x230-1064.jpg\" width=\"300\" height=\"230\" alt=\"AAPOP.jpg\" style=\"float:left;margin:0 20px 20px 0\"></a><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><i>(Reggefiber prefab APOP)</i></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\"><br></span></p><p><span lang=\"EN-US\">At the\nstart FSAM&#39;s are just a passive concentration point for cabling to the Fibre Acces Node (FAN).  Again some redundancy is\nintroduced by geographical different routes for the cabling to the FAN exchange / central office, maximum size 76,800\nlocations/adresses.</span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">It makes a\nlot of sense for the geography with lots of suburbanity. The key is having\nspace in the street for these FDH cabinets. Just install a lot of point-to-point\nfiber in the part where a lot of labor is required (you don't want to redo that\never) and allow for all kinds of upgrades , options for expansion, unbundling\nlocations, active equipment deeper into the network, as you see fit in the\nfuture. </span></p>\n\n<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">Smart guys,\ndown under.</span></p>"
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    "title" : "WATCH BBC&#39;S &#39;WELCOME TO LAGOS&#39; PARTS 1 &amp; 2 (VIDEO)",
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      "href" : "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nigeriancuriosity/fpFU/~3/J_jWp1Q8bRo/watch-bbcs-welcome-to-lagos-parts-1-2.html",
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      "direction" : "ltr",
      "content" : "<p><iframe src=\"http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~ah/f/gpj9j2u4qhugienhvcd5luf71g/468/60#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nigeriancuriosity.com%2F2010%2F04%2Fwatch-bbcs-welcome-to-lagos-parts-1-2.html\" width=\"100%\" height=\"60\" frameborder=\"0\" scrolling=\"no\" marginwidth=\"0\" marginheight=\"0\"></iframe></p>The BBC documentary 'Welcome to Lagos' has become relatively controversial. Some see it as a positive depiction of the poor but ingenious in Nigeria's teeming commercial center, Lagos. Others see it as a negative and derogatory attempt by a foreign media outlet to <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2010/03/lagos-is-not-5th-worst-city.html\">once again</a> insult Lagos and Nigerians.<br>\n<br>\nWhile the program was available to a mostly European audience, viewers in America were unable to watch this documentary until now. Below are 6 clips that comprise Part 1 of the documentary. A link to watch Part 2 is also available below. Part 3 of the documentary is yet to air but will be uploaded as soon as it does. <br>\n<br>\n<a name=\"more\"></a><br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/sHKLIpz9F5c%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/cdAMXM0m8aU%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/Bnbt0kbHiz0%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/DCuJTp3edzQ%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/ogzdkAbGMT4%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\n<iframe src=\"http://reader.googleusercontent.com/reader/embediframe?src=http://www.youtube.com/v/DRoyK_4_76o%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26color1%3D0x2b405b%26color2%3D0x6b8ab6&amp;width=480&amp;height=385\" width=\"480\" height=\"385\"></iframe><br>\n<br>\nWhat do you think about what you have seen thus far? Is it fair to categorize the documentary as dismissive of Lagos and Nigerians? Or, are supporters correct that this is a positive portrayal of one of the busiest and most successful African cities?<br>\n<br>\n<a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2010/04/bbcs-welcome-to-lagos-part-2-video.html\">To see Part 2, click here</a>.<br>\n<br>\n<a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2010/04/watch-bbcs-welcome-to-lagos-part-3.html\">To see Part 3, click here.</a> <br>\n<br>\nHattip to Dr. U for sending this in.<br>\n<br>\nFrom The Archives:<br>\n- <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/11/elite-living-effizy-in-lagos.html\">Elite  Living &amp; &#39;Effizy&#39; in Lagos</a><br>\n- <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/11/lagos-one-of-worlds-most-expensive.html\">Lagos  - One Of The World's Most Expensive Cities</a> <br>\n- <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/02/nigerian-curiosity-of-2008.html\">The  Nigerian Curiosity of 2008</a><br>\n- <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/09/creating-better-cleaner-lagos.html\">Creating  A Better &amp; Cleaner Lagos</a><br>\n- <a href=\"http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/02/nigeria-is-home-to-worlds-largest-cyber.html\">Nigeria  is Home To The World's Largest Cyber Cafe</a><div><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/1259678905729324935-5311405315690634562?l=www.nigeriancuriosity.com\" alt=\"\"></div><div>\n<a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/nigeriancuriosity/fpFU?a=J_jWp1Q8bRo:o5SpouPB0-k:I9og5sOYxJI\"><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/nigeriancuriosity/fpFU?d=I9og5sOYxJI\" border=\"0\"></a> <a href=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/nigeriancuriosity/fpFU?a=J_jWp1Q8bRo:o5SpouPB0-k:yIl2AUoC8zA\"><img s