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Sunday surprise — naval biology, the sad fact of the matter

Monday, March 20th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — hilarious, with a hat-tip to Dr Farls — thundering herds of battleships, eh? ]
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Blowback blues redux, and redux redux, recurring

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — category title would be along the lines of “the unobvious which ought to be blindingly obvious” — maybe that explains why these things are so hard to see ]
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It’s a pattern.

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You can stumble on an unintended blowback example any day of the week — and thrice on some days:

let me quickly add the next two in Callimachi’s series:

**

Sources:

  • TBIJ, Nine young children killed: The full details of botched US raid in Yemen
  • Politico, CIA Memo: Designating Muslim Brotherhood Could ‘Fuel Extremism’
  • Twitter, Rukmini Callimachi
  • Scots and British values

    Saturday, January 7th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Scots by clan, audibly British to American ears, and American by friendship, long residence, and weather preference ]
    .

    Here’s a pair of tweets I picked out to comment on a while back, when writing was a lot more effort than is is now — and will hopefully be in the near future. The second is pretty obviously a serpent-bites-tail example, but I suspect “haggis” and “Scottish” are close enough conceptually (staggeringly close) to qualify the first as a serpentine loop too — why else would Rifkind have mentioned the Scottishness of the fiver?

    Serpent-bites-tail logic is pretty cut and dried — but it can express itself in some pretty elusive / allusive forms.

    **

    Scots wha hae!

    Two more tweets of interest from Elijah Magnier

    Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — angels as force multipliers for ISIS, and the cross restored ]
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    I used a tweet from Magnier in Prophetic dreams, Dabiq now, Mosul back then, and another in my comment on The map borders on the territory? Turkey, Palestine. Here are two more..

    The first updates us on the Qur’anic concept of angels, rank on rank, supporting the Muslims at the Battle of Badr (Qur’an 8.9):

    **

    And before I show you the second, let me remind you of this, from November of last year:

    mosul-church

    Now the situation is blessedly reversed:

    Trolleys come to Terror

    Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — a western koan makes it onto German TV? ]
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    What Hala Jaber calls a supermarket trolley in this tweet is not what this post is about — but it sure does connect trolley and terror!

    **

    Here’s the terror side of things, in a tweet from John Horgan:

    The BBC halls it an “interactive courtroom drama interactive courtroom drama centred on a fictional act of terror” and notes:

    The public was asked to judge whether a military pilot who downs a hijacked passenger jet due to be crashed into a football stadium is guilty of murder.

    Viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria gave their verdict online or by phone. The programme was also aired in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    The vast majority called for the pilot, Lars Koch, to be acquitted.

    Here’s the setup:

    In the fictional plot, militants from an al-Qaeda offshoot hijack a Lufthansa Airbus A320 with 164 people on board and aim to crash it into a stadium packed with 70,000 people during a football match between Germany and England.

    “If I don’t shoot, tens of thousands will die,” German air force Major Lars Koch says as he flouts the orders of his superiors and takes aim at an engine of the plane.

    The jet crashes into a field, killing everyone on board.

    So, is the pilot guilty, or not guilty?

    **

    At the very least, he has our sympathy — but how does that play out in legal proceedings?

    What’s so fascinating here is the pilot’s dilemma, which resembles nothing so much as a zen koan.

    Except for the Trolley Problem:

    trolley_problem
    Image from Wikimedia by McGeddon under license CC-BY-SA-4.0

    **

    Substitute an Airbus for the trolley, 164 people for the lone individual on the trolley line, and 70,000 people for the cluster of five — and the pilot for the guy who can make a decision and switch the tracks.

    There you have it: terror plot and trolley problem running in parallel.

    To be honest, I think the full hour-plus movie is far more immersive, to use a term from game design, than the Trolley Problem stated verbally as a problem in logic — meaning that the viewer is in some sense projected, catapulted into the fighter-pilot’s hot seat — in his cockpit, facing a high speed, high risk emergency, and in court, on trial for murder.

    It’s my guess that more people would vote for the deaths of 164 under this scenario than for the death of one in the case of the trolley — but that’s a guess.

    **

    The German film scenario — adapted from a play by Ferdinand von Schirach — is indeed a courtroom drama, a “case” in the sense of “case law”. And it’s suggestive that koans, too, are considered “cases” in a similar vein. Here, for instance, is a classic definition of koans :

    Kung-an may be compared to the case records of the public law court. Kung, or “public”, is the single track followed by all sages and worthy men alike, the highest principle which serves as a road for the whole world. An, or “records”, are the orthodox writings which record what the sages and worthy men regard as principles [..]

    This principle accords with the spiritual source, tallies with the mysterious meaning, destroys birth-and-death, and transcends the passions. It cannot be understood by logic; it cannot be transmitted in words; it cannot be explained in writing; it cannot be measured by reason. It is like a poisoned drum that kills all who hear it, or like a great fire that consumes all who come near it. [..]

    The so-called venerable masters of Zen are the chief officials of the public law courts of the monastic community, as it were, and their collections of sayings are the case records of points that have been vigorously advocated.

    **

    Relevant texts:

  • John Daido Loori, Sitting with Koans
  • John Daido Loori, The True Dharma Eye

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