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Politics

War

Why the Muslims Misjudged Us

An insightful and unsparing article by the military historian Victor Davis Hanson published in the Wall Street Journal in February, 2002.

Machine-gun Packing Robots Headed for Iraq

A modified version of an Army robot designed to deal with IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq is on display at the 2006 Auto Show at the Washington, DC Convention Center. Terrorists in Iraq likely will soon confront robots that can fight back, according to a Sgt Mero, who works for the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. The robot can be fitted with several types of machine-gun as well as rockets, 40 mm grenade launchers, and the M-16 rifle. Terrorists will likely think twice before engaging machine-gun-packing robots, Mero predicted. "You're not going to try to sneak up on it," the Sgt said, "and if you shoot at it, it's going to know right where you are." I think I might check out the auto show this year.

Who Killed Daniel Pearl?

On WAMU, a DC area NPR station, Kojo Nnamdi interviewed Bernard-Henri Levy, the French philosopher and Journalist, last Tuesday (Sept. 23, 2003). Fortunately, WAMU makes these interviews available on their website (Realaudio streaming, but better than nothing): go to http://www.wamu.org/ram/2003/k2030923.ram. This is a fascinating and shocking interview mainly about Mr Levy's recent book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl. He implicates high-ranking members of the Pakistani government in the support of terrorism, including the September 11 attacks on the United States; these connections were being investigated by Mr Pearl, and it is believed by many that members of the Pakistani government were responsible for his murder. See also a critical review of the book and a reprint of another interesting interview.

Religion

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue

Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress [....] One witness said he saw three policemen ‘beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya’.”

Religiosity Correlates with Societal Ills

From the Journal of Religion and Society; the article is by Gregory S. Paul and is called “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies”.

Other

Al Franken turns from sharp comedy to bad college radio.

Groklaw: Timely discussion of legal news, with reader comments and an RSS feed.

School Teaching in Chinese Is a Lure for Black Children:

“while most are children of Chinese immigrants, almost 10 percent of the students are black, and many of them come from the outer reaches of the city, enduring long trips for the chance to attend a school that has developed a reputation for excellence.”

Success and Scrutiny at Hebrew Charter School: Only in New York, and a worthy companion to the previous article. This is well worth reading to the end.

Secret “Analogue Hole” Bill

The author of the Freedom to Tinker weblog wanted to find out what was going into the Sensenbrenner/Conyers analog hole bill. So he emailed the company that sells VEIL, one of the technologies that the bill's authors propose be required by almost all analog video devices. The company's conditions for revealing the spec: a nondisclosure agreement and a fee of $10,000. The author asks some good questions: “Are the members of Congress themselves, and their staffers, allowed to see the spec and talk about it openly? Are they allowed to consult experts for advice? Or are the full contents of this bill secret even from the lawmakers who are considering it?”

Bus firm takes car sharers to court

A ‘group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of “an act of unfair and parasitical competition”.’

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