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Monday, November 05, 20071194312600

Open Thread X

Open your mouth
and the ears will come

19:30 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (63) | Tags: open thread


So, what do you all think of recent events in Pakistan?

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Monday, November 05, 2007

Hmm....Well, I got dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of things to say, but, one must be orderly about it. There's only so much one can ask/answer/opinionate/bloviate/etc.

Posted by: Jayson | Monday, November 05, 2007

I will tell you this much though--for some reason, I've felt compelled to re-visit the notion of "memory palaces."

Google or Ask it.

Posted by: Jayson | Monday, November 05, 2007


Catholicgauze has an excellent summary. [1] Pakistan's two westernized factions, the elite and the military, are turning on each other at their weakest moment while the Islamists sit back and see who remains. The collapse of Islamic civilization generally since the World War, and of Pakistan particularly, is breathtaking.


Remembering is improved the more mental structures are related to each other. Memory palaces, which also enable the use of the visuospatial sketchpad of working memory [2], would seem to be a neat trick to do this.

[1] http://catholicgauze.blogspot.com/2007/11/martial-law-in-pakistan.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baddeley's_model_of_working_memory

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"...Islamists sit back and see who remains."

Somehow, I thought this would all work out to be in Waziristan's favor. So, what to you think about the present security and future security of their nuclear stock?

Posted by: Rove.the.Impaler@gmail.com | Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When has Waziristan been an area of governmental control in Pakistan?

I think the alarmist "fundies git da nukes" bit is a tad overplayed and ignores the more realistic event that should Mushi fall the military won't. Additionally it assumes that the healthy opposition we're seeing now (which extends from the Supreme Court to various non-fundamentalist elements of the populace) will somehow fold should a fundie platform gain any ground.

If I were India I'd shake up Kashmir (in a small sense) for the sake of regional stability. Though I don't believe it will be necessary. But it'd be a nice insurance policy.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heck, I'm still trying to understand why Pakistan even WANTS Waziristan! Or why Sudan wants Darfur. Or. . .

How much blood d'yall suppose has been spilled the past few years alone in the name of territorial integrity for its own sake? Blech!

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dan, the "funny" thing (well, at least *one* of them) is that the "memory palace" is an old thing that has a strange kind of cultural staying power, even though the concept has rather declined since the advent of the modern age.
Partly, it's because of what you said--it "works"; but there seems to be more to it.

My interest was re-awakened by mention of "augmented reality" during a discussion of future technology on a sci-fi list.

On a whim, I googled around for memory palace, and came across this *recently* published novel:


Haven't had a chance to read it yet, but its premise seems interesting....

Posted by: Jayson | Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Warizistan may not have a history of being controlled by the Pakistani government, but there is a huge difference between local tribal control and one of a Taliban and al Qaeda (expansionist) control.

Posted by: Catholicgauze | Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An interesting profession:


Posted by: Jayson | Friday, November 09, 2007

" UR's advice for President Musharraf"



And what contrarian advice it is! IMSHO, remarkable stuff. Any particular reason why Mr. Moldbug's suggestions should be considered *particularly* absurd?

And check out the essay before that:

" Musharraf's rebellion, or: how to read a newspaper"



Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, November 10, 2007

Life consultant: I'd hire her, but a) I don't live in NY, b) I probably can't afford her, and c) I'd probably burn her out trying to get me life:P

Unqualified reservations: Interesting approach to things. I'm in the process of reading more of his stuff.

Posted by: Michael | Saturday, November 10, 2007




What can I say? LOL and LMFAO! This is just pure fucking genius.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Sunday, November 11, 2007


Ignorance of science and the preference for confirming "evidence" is widespread. We saw that during the attack on James Watson, where ludicrous claims on racial identicality were made in the mainstream media. We see a more fringe version of this in the story you link to above.

(A note: I realize that profanity is used as a rhetorical device on Kos and other blogs. I discourse such discourse.)

Michael & Jayson,

The collapse of Islamic civilization, which appears to be occuring in the continuous belt from the Pillars of Hercules to Turkestan, is a problem I do not know how to fix.

Catholicgauze & Jay,

To the extent that Islamabad focuses on stability, it needs to re-establish the status quo ante of "home rule" in the tribal areas. To the extent that it is an ally in the war of al Qaeda, it needs to route al Qaeda out of those areas. The Pakistani Army, an arrogant but thoroughly defeated force on every other front, may not be up to the task.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, November 11, 2007


Is this the Watson you are talking about?

"Ignorance of science and the preference for confirming "evidence" is widespread."

Of course, but this case is one of a kind since Thorpe managed to catch these guys red handed when a simple Google search to confirm the names of people and institutions alone could have sufficed to disprove the paper.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nope, another James Watson... (Dewey by middle name, a Nobel prize winner)


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tell me this ain't agreat idea!




Posted by: Jayson | Monday, November 12, 2007

Canadian public service announcement.


Warning: Graphic Content

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Certainly a striking ad...

To tie it back to a focus of this blog, we need some form of universal health insurance. A major function of government is pooling risk. This is the whole idea behind having a police and army, for example. That we do not pool risk against health mishaps makes little sense in this day...


While I don't smoke, the "Truth" ads are so poorly done, that I imagine getting addicted merely to foil their clumsy propaganda campaign...

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dan, I think you misunderstood the Tankbooks....

Posted by: Jayson | Wednesday, November 14, 2007

For those of you whose psyches were irretrievably shattered by Black Eyed Peas "My Humps", healing is at hand: Alanis Morissette did a parody.


On the Pakistan article: I think I was intrigued more by the audacity than the potential. I agree with making peace with India, but the others assume more power and/or more benevolence than most dictators have.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, November 16, 2007

I loved that video the first time around :-)


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, November 16, 2007

D'oh! I totally forgot you'd already seen it-- probably because I wasn't in a position at the time to see it myself:P

Posted by: Michael | Saturday, November 17, 2007


Posted by: Jeffrey James | Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sadly, the XBOX 360 + Halo 3 bundle is only good for those with xbox live classic accounts :-(

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, November 18, 2007

Whaaa...? Where did you see that?

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Sunday, November 18, 2007

"As a current paid Xbox LIVE member using an original Xbox console (not Xbox 360), you're more than ready for Halo 3, and here's a great reason to step up. Buy your Xbox 360 between November 21 and December 21, 2007, move your existing paid Xbox LIVE account to an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and then register on this site, and we will send you a copy of Halo 3*. Finish the fight in high definition, with new weapons and challenges.

Free Halo 3? It doesn't get any better than that.

Current Paid Xbox LIVE Members on the original Xbox console (not Xbox 360), here's how to get your Halo 3 game:

1. Buy an Xbox 360 console between November 21 and December 21, 2007.
2. Convert your current paid Xbox LIVE account to an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription.
3. Register here between November 21 and December 21, 2007 with promotional code XBX7777, with your new console serial number, and a valid mailing address.
4. Look for your copy of Halo 3 in your mailbox! "



Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Social Change Relies More On The Easily Influenced Than The Highly Influential"



ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2007) — An important new study appearing in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that it is rarely the case that highly influential individuals are responsible for bringing about shifts in public opinion. [...]

by way of Evangelical Outpost's "33 Things" post for 11/19/07:


Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, November 20, 2007



No matter who you are, you need to listen to this man!

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Friday, November 23, 2007

Jeffrey, why?

Jayson, fascinating!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, November 23, 2007

The Cedar Revolution may be about to burn:P


Posted by: Michael | Friday, November 23, 2007


Nothing positive about another country having problems, whatever ones political background or "nationality" if one is into such things further instability is the LEAST one should wish for in ones own region or in other parts of the world.


The VoidMan
The World Would have BEEN a better place without NATIONS, TRIBES, RELIGION and whatnot!

Posted by: VoidMan | Saturday, November 24, 2007

I wonder if not taking out Syria wasn't as much of a mistake as trying to prevent federalism in Iraq...

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, November 24, 2007

Voidman, I'm not rejoicing in Lebanon's difficulties.

Posted by: Michael | Saturday, November 24, 2007


interesting question. It'd cast a pall on the Iranian influence in the Levant, certainly.

Though I wonder if an Aoun/Nazrallah political "unity" hasn't proved to be a lesson in the complexity of the situation for the US. By looking and learning rather than exacting (or encouraging) a military action perhaps we'll begin to understand the region. Lessons from the PA Hamas bit, I suppose. And hope.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Saturday, November 24, 2007

I wonder what effect a promise of citizenship to Palestinian refugees would have on the stalemate?

One the one hand, it would legitimize Hezbollah as a political party. On the other, the militancy of Hezbollah wouldn't be as needed because the Lebanese state as a whole would protect them against Israel-- room would open for other parties to represent individual Lebanese Palestinians, notably the parties pushing for the citizenship.

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, November 25, 2007

BTW, on the off-chance I'm not the only fanboy on here, I found this collection of Evanescence videos viewable for free- no scrounging through YouTube.


Posted by: Michael | Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hi mike,

political legitimacy may push Hezbollah beyond it's current militant operational core. Think Sin Fein and IRA. The pivot point for this, however, will likely be a semblance of political cohesion in Lebanon.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Sunday, November 25, 2007

@Dan, re: rss feed and links.

Damn but what a runaround! I've contacted Feedburner and have, through correspondance, narrowed the problem down to that of blogger. Via feedburner, my feed setting was set at "partial" so only a paragraph (and no links) shows up in a reader. The pain here is that the feed has always been set to that of full. So now I await the blogger Gods almighty advice.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yeah, the micro-posts on the RSS feeder are annoying. Your articles are always thought out, but the two sentences don't reflect this at all. :-(

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, November 26, 2007

"Still Scrambling"


All of this begs one of the great questions in international relations: how far will Chinese policy evolve as it gets further entwined in Africa? Will it participate more in UN peacekeeping operations? Will it give direct aid rather than soft loans? Will it start to take sides in African politics, as has happened in Zambia? Africa could be the anvil on which a new Chinese foreign policy begins to be forged.

Mr Alden is also good on some of the more obscure aspects of China's engagement with Africa. It is, for instance, not just big state-owned companies that are piling into Africa: small and medium-sized ones are there too. Much of the investment and trade is directed from the government in Beijing, as one would expect. But individual Chinese provinces have also been forging their own ties and doing their own deals with African countries or regions. Fujian and Zhejiang have been encouraging emigration to Africa as a source of remittances and of new jobs.[...]

Folks, when reading about the "emigration," don't "Texas" or "Hawaii" come to mind? Massive foreign investment and trade is one thing, but emigration?

I couldn't help but recall how Texas and Hawaii became American. In the same way, might at least some African countries become Chinese?

Is there a Chinese Stephen Austin on the horizon? Maybe even, in an extreme case, a Chinese William Walker?

Posted by: Jayson | Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting the Chinese into Africa in a political way is the one thing I would change for Africa.... [1]

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/11/28/if-i-could-change-just-one-thing-per-continent.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"America's Creativity Conceit"
by Eamonn Fingleton


Agree? Disagree? Opinions/comments being sought...

Posted by: Jayson | Thursday, November 29, 2007

The author describes inventiveness in the narrow terms of engineering. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but it is deceptive. Take America and Japan. For a variety of reasons, including a more open economy and greater tolerance for failure, the U.S. is the undisputed leader in business process innovation. Whereas, Japanese creativity (outside of consumer electronics) is largely focused on quality improvements. Both of these are forms of creativity, but insisting that only R&D focused on engineering leads to innovation is odd.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, November 29, 2007

"I couldn't help but recall how Texas and Hawaii became American. In the same way, might at least some African countries become Chinese?"

Seems possible to me-- IF enough Chinese move to one part of Africa to become a dominant power in that region. If they scatter over the continent, taking over becomes much harder, if not impossible.

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why is it, with so many people giving up landlines altogether for cell phones, that my provider no longer carries phones with batteries that can be charged separately from the phones?

Posted by: Michael | Friday, November 30, 2007

Recall mass emigrations, such as the violent removal of Indians from Uganda, the softer cleansing of Afrikaners from South Africa, etc. Even a significant presence does not guarantee that presence remains.

I'm sure you can pay more for a battery charger... seems like market segmentation to me ;-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, December 01, 2007


Seeking opinion:


Would like your opinion on this; was actually thinking of trying it. What do you think?

Would it be something you'd try?

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, December 01, 2007

Generally, I stay away from widgets after removing sitemeter and technorati from my pages (they increased the time it took a page to load).

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hey Dan, here's something up that might be up your alley--

ANNEXING MEXICO Solving the Border Problem Through Annexation and Assimilation
by Erik Rush


Only stumbled across this site recently.

Looks like you're not alone.

Apparently a new book--Amazon only carries 3 customer reviews, but at least they're all positive.

Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Trick is convincing Mexico to be annexed:P 40% wanting to live in the US is still 60% that doesn't.

That could change, though. NAFTA and other cooperative agreements could swing the numbers in annexation's favor. Or the 40% could gradually concentrate in the maquiladora, creating a geographical split in Mexico and resulting in the north seceding and joining us.

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"That could change, though. NAFTA and other cooperative agreements could swing the numbers in annexation's favor. Or the 40% could gradually concentrate in the maquiladora, creating a geographical split in Mexico and resulting in the north seceding and joining us."

I think that would be smart. The EU is expanding into the former communist countries state-by-state... no reason the Constitution can't absorb Mexico the same way.

Excellent catch, Jayson!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sad day for Eastern Nebraska.


Posted by: Jeffrey James | Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Hey Dan, check out this demonstration of the Crysis physics engine. The explosions at the end are a sight to behold.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Saturday, December 15, 2007


Advice on blogging from the guy who invented the term weblog. So what do those of you who actually blog think?

Posted by: Michael | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I read some advice for new bloggers just before I started tdaxp. I wish I could find it again. But I really remember was "post every day." I have tried to follow that line.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I guess it depends on what you want out of blogging. Personally, the "traffic aspect" is great but the best element of blogging is connectivity and the sharing of ideas. To this extent I'd say participation in commentary is paramount to invite and build a sound intellectual framework. Find those that entail a semblance of your message and get involved and soon you'll find yourself quite busy interacting.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Wednesday, December 26, 2007


/Excellent/ comment.

My goal has been to find where I'm wrong, both where I contradict myself (which I was certain I was doing) and where I'm simply wrong, as well.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"I think that would be smart. The EU is expanding into the former communist countries state-by-state... no reason the Constitution can't absorb Mexico the same way."

Start with Baja California. The rest of Mexico doesn't really care about it anyway. You've got 2000 miles of beach front property that would suddenly be a lot more valuable if it were in the United States. The lessons learned integrating Baja into the US could be useful later.

Posted by: Mark in Texas | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Although "where he's wrong" is usually accompanied with such a bewildering amount of caveat and arm-waving as to make the first President Clinton appear direct.


BTW, reception details posted.

Posted by: aaron | Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mark, I can see where you're coming from after reading that FT coverage Barnett linked to. And I can see where the increased demands for better services could conceivably lead to Baja switching to the US; if the Mexican government becomes an insurmountable obstacle to the service and security improvements the residents (Anglo and Mexicano alike) want, secession might be attractive.

I'm doubtful, though, about the notion that the rest of Mexico doesn't care about Baja. No insult to you, just cynicism about human tribalism on my part; care to elaborate?

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, December 27, 2007

Regarding groundrocket:

The blog that tdaxp spun off from is gone?!?

Regarding Mexico:

A piecemeal integration of Mexico would be helped if the residents of the northern Mexican states felt more secure in their property under the US Constitution than in the Mexican political system. This can be achieved through political instability in Mexico, either through large differences in growth rates between the north and the south, or other mechanisms.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yeah, it got to be too much of a hassle not updating it. I don't have things to say, so I feel a blog is unnecessary. Pretty much the reason for abandoning MySpace, etc. as well. If I have a particular topic, I'll post a guest editorial, but when no one replied to my "I lost my cell phone, please email me your phone number" post, I figured it was a lost cause.

BTW, back from DC. The Pentagon after hours is pretty boring. Lots of doors, lots of hallways. Lots of walking. I'm not at liberty to say how I was in the Pentagon after hours, but let's just say it involved attempting to fly with an expired driver's license.

Unrelatedly, Bush is the greatest President, ever.

Posted by: aaron | Sunday, December 30, 2007