An excerpt from the 1958 "Disneyland" TV Show episode entitled "Magic Highway USA". In this last part of the show, an exploration into possible future Transportation technologies is made. It's hard to believe how little we've accomplished on this front since 1958, and how limited the scope for imagining such future technologies has become. Witness an artifact from a time where the future was greeted with optimism. Note the striking animation style here, achieved with fairly limited animation and spectacular layouts.
I like how suburban sprawl is anticipated with such glee!
From a technology standpoint, it spans a wide range; some ideas are pure vision, with no sense of reality (cantilevered, fully air-conditioned sky-ways through beautifully desolate mountain ranges?), while others are quaintly myopic (punch cards as storage media for your navigational unit?). Still, a lot of fun.
The Year in Ideas, 2007 | The New York Times Magazine
1:44 pm EST, Dec 10, 2007
For the seventh consecutive December, the magazine looks back on the passing year through a special lens: ideas. Editors and writers trawl the oceans of ingenuity, hoping to snag in our nets the many curious, inspired, perplexing and sometimes outright illegal innovations of the past 12 months. Then we lay them out on the dock, flipping and flopping and gasping for air, and toss back all but those that are fresh enough for our particular cut of intellectual sushi. For better or worse, these are 70 of the ideas that helped make 2007 what it was. Enjoy.
noteworthy wrote: With every passing day, Johnathan Rapley's conception of the New Middle Ages seems increasingly likely.
I don't follow how this comment relates to the context. Most of the news out of Iraq seems positive. Of course its complicated and fragile, but clearly this is progress. Worrying that too many refugees might return is a good problem to have.
I also don't understand George Packer's comment that these developments were "unanticipated by almost everyone on the American side of the looking glass." These are precisely the kinds of changes that were hoped for as a result of the surge.
I further don't understand why the Democrats are still calling for immediate withdrawl. Putting more troops in (in a calculated way) reduced the violence. As I've said before I think this is exactly what Kerry planned to do. The tactics change was clearly a product of the Democrat's electoral victory in 2006. The fact that there is a chance for peace should not vindicate the decision to launch this extremely bloody conflict in any way. All in all, this should be seen as a political ad tactical victory for the center left. Unfortunately, the left seems to have married itself too closely to over simplified prowar vs. antiwar rhetoric. The fact is that the situation is fragile and calls for immediate withdrawl are not rooted in a careful assessment of the situation.
There is a big problem though. Kucinich has been raising some interesting questions about the privatization of Iraq's oil. I don't have a good linkable reference, but I'll post one when I find it. He might actually have a point, but no one is listening, and unfortunately a discussion of what people are doing with oil also fits too easily into over simplified rhetoric and so the issue has a good chance of staying ignored.
Yet for many Californians, the looming demise of the "time lady," as she's come to be known, marks the end ofa more genteel era, when we all had time to share.
Following the thread:
The (somewhat dubious) prime symbol of academic knowledge, and more-or-less exclusively masculine educational attainments, was the Classical languages Greek and Latin, to which a great deal of time was devoted in "genteel" boys' education, but which few women studied.
The sheer amount of sewing done by gentlewomen in those days sometimes takes us moderns aback, but it would probably generally be a mistake to view it either as merely constant joyless toiling, or as young ladies turning out highly embroidered ornamental knicknacks to show off their elegant but meaningless accomplishments. Sewing was something to do (during the long hours at home) that often had great practical utility, and that wasn't greatly mentally taxing, and could be done sitting down while engaging in light conversation, or listening to a novel being read.
For women of the "genteel" classes the goal of non-domestic education was thus often the acquisition of "accomplishments", such as the ability to draw, sing, play music, or speak modern (i.e. non-Classical) languages (generally French and Italian). Though it was not usually stated with such open cynicism, the purpose of such accomplishments was often only to attract a husband; so that these skills then tended to be neglected after marriage.
The Moderate Martyr | George Packer | The New Yorker
8:57 pm EDT, Oct 10, 2006
If you thought the belief that "the flaw inherent in western society is the bifurcation between science [including human law] and religion" is a position unique to Al Qaeda, or that it is an extremist position, then this article is for you.
In 1983, Nimeiri, aiming to counter Turabi’s growing popularity, decided to make his own Islamic claim. He hastily pushed through laws that imposed a severe version of Sharia on Sudan, including its Christian and animist south. Within eighteen months, more than fifty suspected thieves had their hands chopped off. A Coptic Christian was hanged for possessing foreign currency; poor women were flogged for selling local beer. It was exactly the kind of brutal, divisive, politically motivated Sharia that Taha had long warned against, and southerners intensified a decades-long civil war against Khartoum. Taha and other Republican Brothers, including Naim, had been jailed in advance by Nimeiri to prevent them from leading protests; their imprisonment lasted a year and a half.
Soon after Taha was released, he distributed a leaflet, on Christmas Day, 1984, titled "Either This or the Flood." "It is futile for anyone to claim that a Christian person is not adversely affected by the implementation of sharia," he wrote. "It is not enough for a citizen today merely to enjoy freedom of worship. He is entitled to the full rights of a citizen in total equality with all other citizens. The rights of southern citizens in their country are not provided for in sharia but rather in Islam at the level of fundamental Koranic revelation."
Taha, who was now in his mid-seventies, had been preparing half his life for this moment. It was central to his vision that Islamic law in its historical form, rather than in what he considered its original, authentic meaning, would be a monstrous injustice in modern society. His opposition was brave and absolute, and yet his statement reveals the limits of a philosophy that he hoped to make universal. Taha opposed secularism -- he once declared that the secular West "is not a civilization because its values are confused" -- and he could not conceive of rights outside the framework of Islam and the Koran. At the very moment that he was defending non-believers from the second-class status enshrined in Islamic law, he was extending their equal rights through a higher, better Sharia.
Abdullahi an-Naim defends Taha’s approach, saying that in the Islamic world a Turkish-style secularism will always be self-defeating. "It is an illusion to think you can sustain constitutionalism, democratization, without addressing its Islamic foundation," he said. "Because for Muslims you cannot say, 'I’m a Muslim, but—' That 'but' does not work. What unites Muslims is an idea. It is Islam as an idea. And therefore contesting that idea, I think, is going to be permanent." Whenever secular intellectuals in Muslim countries try to bypass the question of Sharia, Naim said, "they leave the high moral ground to the fundamentalists, and they lose." Invoking Islam as the highest authority for universal rights was not simply a matter of belief; it meant that Taha and his movement could stay in the game.
You should also check out God's Country?, Walter Russell Mead's article in the latest Foreign Affairs.
The difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals is not that fundamentalists are more emotional in their beliefs; it is that fundamentalists insist more fully on following their ideas to their logical conclusion.
Though much has been written about the Civil War itself, little has been written about the spy war that went on within.
Each side still used age-old intelligence techniques, such as code-breaking, deception, and covert surveillance. However, into this modern war came two innovations that would endure as tools of espionage: wiretapping and overhead reconnaissance.
What follows is a look at some of the highlights of how the North and the South gathered and used their information, the important missions, and the personalities. From this special view, the focus is not on the battlefield, but on a battle of wits.