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Wednesday, April 18, 20071176895500

Open Thread V

Post what you want to post.
Say what you want to say.

06:25 Posted in Blogosphere | Permalink | Comments (42) | Tags: open thread


Do you think you'll stay in the upper plains?

Posted by: ElamBend | Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Posted by: purpleslog | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A captivating subject.

Eventually South Dakota will be the new Oklahoma. I can hardly wait.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ElamBend -- you offering me a job? :-p

sonofsamphm1c --- Oklahoma has a LOT more people than South Dakota.... do you see a boom coming to the Coyote State? :-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Barack Obama is astonishingly insensitive.

Posted by: Adam | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm not angry with Barack Obama being insensitivity, but for confusing speech with violence. That's a very slippery road, and one the Left's been walking for quite a while. (And Obama, in spite of his friendly rhetoric, is Left of Clinton.)

The best thoughts on the case, I think, comes from a 1966 shotting "I peeked around the office doorway to see one professor shooting a deer rifle at the top of tower while the other fed him ammunition. It never entered my mind to question why an English professor would have his deer rifle in his office complete with boxes of ammunition. " [1,2]

[1] http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NWFiNjNmYWZhNDAyZDBkNGNlMGU0MzdjZGExNjhiN2Y=
[2] http://www.memoryarchive.org/en/University_of_Texas_Tower_Shooting,_1966,_Buck_Wroten

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I can go two ways. Either a grapes of-wrath-style migrations of sodokies to California or heat and drought are going to force the Southwest to move to Sioux Falls.

"I peeked around the office doorway to see one professor shooting a deer rifle at the top of tower while the other fed him ammunition. It never entered my mind to question why an English professor would have his deer rifle in his office complete with boxes of ammunition. "

If you ever saw a Texas deer - they look like Dikdiks - you would really wonder why. It's like shooting a house cat.

My son goes to UT and every time I walk by the tower I see those images from Life Magazine. I wonder if the professor was shooting from that really old liberal arts building?

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dan, are yo graduating in May? No Phd program?

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Talks are back on between EU and Turkey. Here's an analysis.


Posted by: Michael | Thursday, April 19, 2007

I think this might be interesting: http://kentsimperative.blogspot.com/2007/04/illusion-of-negative-proof-in.html

Posted by: ry | Friday, April 20, 2007

sonofsamphm1c - you're probably right on both -- the demographics of the state are swinging heavily in favor of Sioux Falls, so that by 2025 I wouldn't be surprised if a fourth of the state lives in the city, and perhaps more than that in the surrounding area. There's serious talk of SD 100, which will be a second "ring" around the city (the first being I-229). The rest of the state is undergoing a change of scale, however, as farmland looks like ranchland...

PurpleSlog - stay tuned! :-)

Michael - Interesting, and it may help Turkey with some reforms, but it seems a waste of time. Turkey's accession, over the past two generations, as indeed been a "train wreck." A EU-Turkey free trade zone makes a lot of sense, but Turkey's past lies to the east and south, not the north and west.

Ry - very cool links! Glad to see my criticisms of Global Guerrillas theory have not been forgotten! :-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, April 20, 2007

"combat theology" -- heh.

Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Friday, April 20, 2007

Can't find a Wii? The Freakonomists are on the case.


Posted by: Jeffrey James | Friday, April 20, 2007

On Turkey: I agree that holding our breath for Turkish assention is a recipe for hypoxia. But who's to say that it will always be that way? As European and Turkish societies evolve and economic, military, cultural and travel connections are nourished, we could see them come together over time. About the only way one could be sure it wouldn't happen is if enough high-hats prophecy its impossibility and set out to prove it.

To refer to a previous comment of mine, if Europe isn't willing to develop connections with potential members, be they Turkey or Ukraine, those connections aren't going to develop, and those members won't join.

Job plans: do you have any plans, or is it just a matter of seeing where the work is? Any places you WON'T move, aside from maybe the Lower 9th Ward?

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, April 22, 2007


I enjoyed the "combat theology" line too. Global guerrillas, for example, takes a basic application of realism to the individual level of analysis [1] and turns it into some glorious future. Weird.


Fascinating! (This blog has been mentioned on the Freakonomics blog [1], of course ... ;-) )


In time anything is possible. The question is the return on investment for all the work of integrating Turkey, compared to the risks. The uncertainty is large and the potential gain is small.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/02/05/working-definition-of-global-guerrillas-try-2.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/11/30/inside-the-black-gangster-disciple-nation-crack-cocaine-gang.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, April 23, 2007

I think we're defining "investment" and "gain" differently. From my point of view, EU membership for Turkey(or at least a good faith attempt at moving toward it) is the investment. The payoff is the increased quality of connectivity that'll help Turkey avoid fundamentalism, close it's internal gap, and grow more prosperous, while helping Europe deal with problems in the ME, stave off its own demographic implosion, and put the bad old days of the Ottomans right where they belong-- in the past.

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, April 26, 2007

"The Plague Fighters: Stopping the Next Pandemic Before It Begins"

Fascinating article from the May issue of Wired Magazine. Also interesting to see that this effort dates all the way back to 1999.

Pity this sort of thing wasn't done earlier, or no one else apparently thought of it.


Wolfe's brand of globe-trotting, open-ended viral discovery echoes an almost Victorian scientific ethic, an expedition to catalog the unseen menagerie of the world. In the end, Wolfe says, as long as one is willing to plunge deep into the jungle, the concepts behind his research are "phenomenally" simple. "Someone should have done it already," he told me in his whitewashed Yaound office one afternoon, the rain beating down and his voice tinged with exhaustion. He admits that no surveillance effort is comprehensive.[...]"It's really a 100-year thing," he says. "Will people look back and say you did a good job responding to epidemics but you didn't do anything to prevent them?"

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, April 27, 2007

A brief article on acacia trees in Niger. Thought it might be interesting to someone...


Posted by: Jayson | Friday, April 27, 2007


You might like this link:


Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Friday, April 27, 2007

George Will column reviewing James Mann's new book "The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression"


[...]Since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the objective of U.S policy has been the steady subversion of China's repressive regime. The cure for communism is supposed to be commerce with the capitalist world: Trade can turn China's aggressive energies into constructive channels.

This faith in the power of trade to tame humanity's animal spirits has a 19th-century pedigree. Think of William Gladstone and others who thought wars would become too costly to contemplate because they would disrupt trade. In the 21st century, economic determinism (e.g., Marxism) is being focused on the last important regime founded by Marxists - China.

The 19th century turned history into a proper noun - History, a living thing with its own unfolding inevitability. Today, many see China through (perhaps rose-tinted) lenses of historicism:

Chinese leaders who oppose democracy are "on the wrong side of history" and "just as eventually the Berlin Wall fell. I just think it's inevitable" (Bill Clinton). "The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral. Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy. . . . Trade freely with China and time is on our side" (George W. Bush). In China "there is an unstoppable momentum" toward democracy (Tony Blair).

The theory, which is more than wishful thinking, is that capitalism ineluctably brings about an ever-broader dispersal of information and decision-making, and requires an ethic of trust and a legal regime of promise-keeping (contracts). Those who subscribe to this theory can take some comfort from China's recent strengthening of protections of private property, which gives a sphere of sovereignty to individuals whose appetite for sovereignty might become a demand for a politics of popular sovereignty.

But suppose this is not so. Suppose James Mann is right to dismiss all this as the Soothing Scenario.

In his new book "The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression," Mann is of the Moynihan School: The late Pat Moynihan spoke acerbically of Western visitors who returned from China more impressed by the absence of flies than by the absence of freedom. Mann considers the Soothing Scenario's implication - that American investment bankers doing business in China are necessarily freedom fighters - a tad too convenient.[...]


Big business and other advocates of the Soothing Scenario use what Mann calls "the lexicon of dismissal" to refute skeptics like him: Skeptics are being "provocative" when they engage in "China bashing" that reflects a "Cold War mentality." But although the theory is that "engagement" with China will change China, Mann wonders: Who is changing whom?

The Soothing Scenario says: Tyranny requires intellectual autarky and the conscription of the public's consciousness, which is impossible now that nations are porous to cell phones and the Internet. But Mann says companies such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are cooperating with the government's censorship and security monitoring.

Mann warns against "McDonald's triumphalism," the belief that because the Chinese increasingly eat like us, they are becoming like us. That is related to "the Starbucks fallacy" - the hope that as the Chinese become accustomed to many choices of coffee, they will demand more political choices.

His most disturbing thesis is that "the newly enriched, Starbucks-sipping, apartment-buying, car-driving denizens" of the large cities that American visitors to China see will be not the vanguard of democracy but the opposition to it. There may be 300 million such denizens, but there are 1 billion mostly rural and very poor Chinese. Will the minority prospering economically under a Leninist regime think majority rule is in their interest? [...]

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, April 28, 2007


I will be returning to China shortly, so let me address that post first:

"His most disturbing thesis is that "the newly enriched, Starbucks-sipping, apartment-buying, car-driving denizens" of the large cities that American visitors to China see will be not the vanguard of democracy but the opposition to it. There may be 300 million such denizens, but there are 1 billion mostly rural and very poor Chinese. Will the minority prospering economically under a Leninist regime think majority rule is in their interest?"

Exactly. While touring Tianjin [1] it hit me like a brick wall that the Communist Party was increasingly the party of the bourgeoisie. China is ruled by a conservative, market-oriented party just as surely as Britain was during the heyday of the Liberals.

I do not know if China can afford a "Labour Party" now (to stretch the British analogy...).


They can't take Thompson's law license away from him fast enough.


I don't see more and more direct connectivity decreasing fundamentalism in Turkey. This extremism is a result and consequence of modernism and contact with the developed world. Fundamentalism is not traditionalism, and (take the 9/11 ringleaders, for instance) grows best in modern areas.

Given what we have already seen out of Turkey -- is it safe to assume that this friction will suddenly stop or become harmless if Europe and Turkey flood each other even more?

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/05/30/skyford-city-of-pollution.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, April 29, 2007

You're right about fundamentalism being one outgrowth of contact with the modern world. But it's not the only outgrowth; check out the caption of the picture at top. . .


One reaction to connectivity is to reject it, but another is to embrace it.

More generally, it should be pointed out that reactions like these are going to be found in any place undergoing increased connectivity, including our own country! For example, while some people are open to the idea of an NAU, others see it as a threat to their own cultural identity and seek to limit or sever those connections.

In short, your arguments- while excellent reasons to approach connectivity with Turkey with care and with patience- aren't sufficient for putting long term limits on that connectivity. If they were, you'd have to look at long term limits on all connectivity for fear of pushing the fundamentalists to violence.

Posted by: Michael | Monday, April 30, 2007

Hammes has a new article in the current issue of Military Review that's pretty good:

"Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges"


A discussion thread on the article is being spun over at the Small Wars Journal:


Posted by: phil | Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good catch Phil!

I comment in detail on D5GW but for the most part I feel encouraged by Hammes' venture into 5GW territory.


Posted by: Arherring | Friday, May 04, 2007

Well, this is interesting--a so-called "fruit-punch tree"; seems like something I'd love to have in my backyard--

The Fruit-Punch Tree
By Jenn Ross, from the November 2004 issue of The Walrus Magazine



Luis Carrasco's invention is, at first, hard to make out among the shrubs, trees, and rose bushes in his large backyard in an upscale neigh-bourhood at the foothills of the towering Andes mountains. At first glance, it appears to be a common-enough plum tree, if a little oddly shaped. A closer look, however, reveals that not all of its leaves and branches are quite the same — some have broad heart-shaped leaves, others have thinner dark-green foliage. From November until March, when the other fruit trees in the backyard are bearing mandarin oranges, peaches, or apricots, this six-foot-six stalwart grows peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and plums — all at once.

The tree is the product of four years of painstaking labour. [...]

The idea for such a tree first came to him when he was in university, studying agronomy. But he didn't begin the project in earnest until 2000, when he mentioned his frustrated dream to his daughters, who were fascinated but immediately thought it impossible. Their skepticism spurred him to action.

He says he was troubled by the sense of grim resignation, a premature realism, in his daughters, then aged sixteen, fourteen, and seven. At an age when kids should believe in magic and in their own ability to change the world, they, like many young Chileans, instead exuded pessimism and a lack of faith. Determined to inspire them, he revived the idea to create a marvel of nature in his own backyard.

"They said it couldn't be done because if it was possible, someone would have done it already," says a thin, bespectacled Carrasco, with a defiant grin. "I wanted my daughters to see what they can achieve if they strive for the impossible. And the idea of this tree seemed to have a magical component."

Indeed, it does. Not only does the tree yield five different fruits (which each smell and taste as peaches or apricots or cherries should), it produces multiple varieties of the same fruit (such as white-fleshed and yellow-fleshed peaches).

No genes were manipulated in the production of this tree. Carrasco achieved his feat the old-fashioned way, through the time-honoured tradition of grafting.[...]

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, May 04, 2007

Submitted for anyone's consideration-- Some Sort of "Poetry" Page:


Make of it what one will. (I'm still trying to make-up my mind on it...)

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Islamic Banking: Is It Really Kosher?"
By Aaron MacLean, in the March/April 2007 issue of The American

Somewhat related, a 4/13/07 post to Smartmobs.com:
"Malaysia fatwa against Internet trading"

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, May 05, 2007

Time Magazine of the "important" people of today:


The People Who Shape Our World

Here's our list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.

* Artists & Entertainers
* Scientists & Thinkers
* Leaders & Revolutionaries
* Builders & Titans
* Heroes & Pioneers

Got this by way of Edge.org.
So, what's your take?

Here's another (and smaller) "list" of "important" folks that might be of interest to you:
Details anoints the 27 agents of change who are bending the future to their will. Plus: a glimpse into the lifestyles of the brilliant and innovative.

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, May 05, 2007

Are you a devotee of Joris Karl Huysmans?

I was and I suppose I always will be. His book Against the Grain was a milestone on the path back to Catholicism for me.


This recent essay about Huysmans is good, and compares him to Houllebecq, whom you wrote about recently.

Posted by: Lexington Green | Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Is this the book you are referencing: http://www.amazon.com/Against-Nature-Rebours-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140447636/ref=sr_1_1/102-2009190-3713734?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178759419&sr=1-1

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wait...I think this is it:


Posted by: PurpleSlog | Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Purpleslog, the edition I read was the Dover paperback, an older translation.

The text is here:


Posted by: Lexington Green | Thursday, May 10, 2007

Review of book about Chinese "soft power" filling the vacuum left by the US squandering its advantages in this area.


Possibly of interest. One quote below:

"Loitering throughout Kurlantzick's analysis of China's ability to employ soft power is the painful realization that the US has squandered much of its own accumulated soft power. This strength, the product of a country that has embodied some of the greatest insights into human governance and which chose to interject itself successfully into two World Wars in the last century, has been severely damaged through policy missteps that Kurlantzick traces back to the administration of president Bill Clinton.

The "flat world" of globalization, so stridently advocated by Clinton and the current presidency of George W Bush, simply did not create the improved quality of life it promised for many Third World countries.

Consequently, these countries now view China's model, and China's influence, as the only feasible option they have at their disposal. This is an important point for Kurlantzick because without it, an analysis of China's use of soft power could too easily descend into predictable condemnations of the country's relationship with nefarious dictators and corrupt bureaucracies. "

Posted by: Lexington Green | Sunday, May 13, 2007

LG & PS,

Thanks for the great information! It looks like eldritchpress is firewalled by China, but I have it on my to-do list once I get back to the states.


Thanks for the provocative article on China's soft power. I posted my response [1].

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/05/13/soft-power.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, May 13, 2007


No big revelations in here, just an old musician who found a bit of wisdom in his old age. I figure the identity of the musician might be of some interest, though.

Posted by: Michael | Monday, May 14, 2007

Cat Stevens sort of reminds me of a Kirk Cameron, in the conversion and then ultra-intense face which eventually becomes social...

except for supporting all those murderers. That's kind of odd.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I know what you mean. I wonder, though: if I was to somehow stumble across Cameron's opinions on things where many hard-core Christians support violence (abortion clinics come to mind) what would they be?

At the end of the day, though, it is nice to see a fanatic who can move past his own fanaticism.

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My guess - and not speaking for Cameron, obviously -- is that as most Christians, Cameron reserves use-of-force to the State: Christ tells his followers to serve the army when called upon, while Paul urges the early Christians to obey the laws. Christianity is and was an insurgency [1], but one without the individual responsibility to violent conquest.

My first introduction to Cat Stevens' music was in the film Rushmore. Very beautiful.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/03/30/jesusism-paulism-introduction-the-revolution-of-early-christ.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, May 15, 2007

There is a big downside to islamo-Cat, I won't buy or listen to his old (good) songs being what he has turned into. I miss peace train. If I could get it used, so I knew none of the money would go to him I would.

Whereas, Kirk...I don't think I ever watched growing pains or have seen any of his movies.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Whereas, Kirk...I don't think I ever watched growing pains or have seen any of his movies."

You're missing out -- his cameo on LOST was brilliant!


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FYI: An anti-Catholic cyberwar?

"A conservative Catholic website claims it has been brought down by Muslim hackers residing in Turkey. Www.totustuus.it - the apostolic motto of late pope John Paul II, "totally yours" - was hacked last Thursday night and remained blocked this week in what its editors believe is a religiously-motivated attack. "In the past two months we had already suffered 70 attacks," the president of the Totus tuus network David Botti told Adnkronos. "Islamic hackers carried out 80 percent of the attacks and of those 25 percent were by Turks belonging to Turkhacks.com," he claimed."
"The president of the network believes the hackers are Islamists who wish to strike a well known target: "We believe that more than for our contents which are decidedly pro [pope] Benedict XVI and [president of the Italian Bishops' Conference Angelo] Bagnasco, we are hacked because we are more visible than others. In the hacker's psychology, the more important the website they hack, the more talented they appear in the eyes of people of the same religion or companions."


Via Gateway Pundit:

Posted by: phil | Thursday, May 17, 2007


It's interesting watching two ideological insurgencies [1,2] go at each other...

We live in a unipolar world, which evokes much of the built-in methods of the Christians... and a world with one superpower recently crushed, evoking Islamist memetics...

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/03/30/jesusism-paulism-introduction-the-revolution-of-early-christ.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/09/23/jesusism-paulism-part-v-the-people-of-the-book.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, May 17, 2007