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Fukushima: which is worse for you, radiation or paranoia?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — frankly, I’m more concerned about the spiritually and socially corrosive impact of fear, myself ]
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I know, technically radiation and paranoia are incommensurables. But still…

Blog-friend Cheryl Rofer posted today at Nuclear Diner, pointing out the fallacies in some recent reports about Fukushima, spreading like wildfire on the web:

I particularly like the “Fukushima melt-through point” in one of the illustrations in that apparently original source, reproduced here. That’s referring to the China Syndrome, in which the melted reactor core melts down through the earth. But once it gets to the center, does it keep climbing, against gravity, to that “melt-through point”?

How much outrageous or stupid stuff does it take to discredit a source? For me, the misuse of the tsunami map and the belief that a core could melt clear through the earth, against gravity, are quite enough.

Boom!

I recommend Chery’s whole piece, both to read and to circulate. And she includes a number of other more specific sources worth takeing a look at, including:

  • Radiation Basics
  • True facts about Ocean Radiation and the Fukushima Disaster
  • Is the sea floor littered with dead animals due to radiation? No.
  • Three Reasons Why Fukushima Radiation Has Nothing to Do with Starfish Wasting Syndrome
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    So: which does more harm to us in the long run, radiation – or paranoia?

    “Friends of Zenpundit Who Wrote Books” # 3

    Monday, December 16th, 2013

    [by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]

    As the holiday season is here, I thought it would be amusing between now and Christmas to do a series of posts on books by people who have, in some fashion, been friends of ZP by supporting us with links, guest-posts, friendly comments and other intuitive gestures of online association. One keyboard washes the other.

    Gian Gentile 

     

    Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency 

    How Effective is Strategic Bombing?: Lessons Learned From World War II to Kosovo 

    Colonel Gentile is a historian, a professor at West Point, a combat veteran of Iraq and is the foremost public critic of pop-centric COIN theory around, bar none, which he has translated into a book-length critique that is required reading for the con side of the COIN debate. Gian has also been kind enough to grace the comment section here from time to time as well as participating in the Afghanistan 2050 Roundtable at ChicagoBoyz blog.

    Don Vandergriff

      

    Manning the Future Legions of the United States: Finding and Developing Tomorrow’s Centurions 

    Spirit, Blood and Treasure: The American Cost of Battle in the 21st Century 

    The Path to Victory

    Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War 

    I have had the pleasure of hearing Don speak and demonstrate some of his adaptive leadership techniques at the Boyd Conferences which I greatly enjoyed and strongly endorse, for those interested in having Vandergriff as a speaker or consultant. His absence this year at Boyd was much regretted but Don was off doing some important work this year overseas. Catch him in print instead.

    John Robb 

    Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization 

    I am an unabashed huge fan of John’s work and Global Guerrillas has been on my (very) short list of must read sites for years. This book, like Ronfeldt and Arquilla’s Netwars, is a classic of emerging trends in warfare and strategy that belongs on your shelf.

    “Friends of Zenpundit.com who Wrote Books” Post #2: Poetry, War & Business

    Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

    As the holiday season is here, I thought it would be amusing between now and Christmas to do a series of posts on books by people who have, in some fashion, been friends of ZP by supporting us with links, guest-posts, friendly comments and other intuitive gestures of online association. One keyboard washes the other.

    The second installment focuses on Poetry, War and Business:

    Stanton Coerr

    Rubicon: The Poetry of War 

    Colonel Stan Coerr is a combat vet (USMC) of Iraq, a naval aviator, poet and a key organizer of the Boyd & Beyond Conference. He is also intent on becoming a historian, to which I give a hearty thumb’s up!

    Terry Barnhart

    Creating a Lean R&D System: Lean Principles and Approaches for Pharmaceutical and Research-Based Organizations

    Scientist and organizational consultant, Dr. Terry Barnhart, is the originator of “fast learning” strategies for organizational excellence and problem solving. I personally use Terry’s “Critical Question Mapping” strategy with students and elicited amazing results each time.

    James Frayne

    Cover of Meet the People by James Frayne

    Meet the People: Why businesses must engage with public opinion to manage and enhance their reputations

    Across the pond, James Frayne is a leading British political and media strategy consultant and former government official. Some of you may remember James from his excellent ( now defunct) political strategy blog Campaign War Room and from his participation in the Reagan Roundtable at Chicago Boyz.

    More to come…..

    ADDENDUM:

    The previous post in the series has been pulled temporarily due to emerging scripting execution errors – it will be restored in a few days

    A follow-up piece from Furnish

    Saturday, September 7th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — here Dr Furnish explores and explains the rival eschatologies afoot in the Syrian conflict ]
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    The New Mahdi, from http://ghareb.deviantart.com/art/Ahat-ALGhareb-107961264 via Furnish

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    Timothy Furnish has a new post up on Syria at his MahdiWatch blog, supplementing his recent guest post on Zenpundit, Reprehending Ignorance about Syria, in which he discussed sectarian issues, with Intervening (in Syria) Like It’s The End of the World?, in which he zeroes in on the strands of Mahdist expectation and enthusiasm on both sides of the conflict. Dr Furnish’s new post is long, so I’ll offer you some key paragraphs as a teaser, then suggest you go read the rest.

    Iraq has always been more more central to Islamic history than far-eastern or far-western peripheries like Afghanistan or Libya, albeit less so than Syria. Iraq was on the fault-line between Western and “Eastern” civilizations, going back to Roman and Byzantine times, when it was a contested buffer zone between those empires and the various Persian ones. The region of Iraq itself was divided, after the coming of Islam, into Sunni and Shi`i sections — the former often under Ottoman Turkish rule, the latter in the orbit of (or at least doctrinally sympathetic to) the Safavid , and subsequent other Shi`i, Iranian states. To this day, especially post-American occupation (which empowered the Twelver Shi`i Iraqi majority to take power), Iraq is religiously and even eschatologically important for the Twelvers of the world primarily because six of the twelve Imams’ tombs are there and, after his reappearance, the returned 12th Imam al-Mahdi will rule from Kufa, Iraq. However, despite Baghdad’s undeniable importance as a political and intellectual center from its founding in 750 AD to its demise at the hands of the Mongols in 1258, Iraq pales in importance next to Syria for the majority Sunni Muslims, particularly Arab ones.

    Syria was the first area outside the Arabian peninsula to be conquered, and not only was it taken from the superpower al-Rum (the Byzantine Christian Empire), but al-Sham, “Greater Syria” centered on Damascus included Jerusalem, the capture of which “proved” Islamic superiority to the other, corrupted monotheistic religions: Judaism and Christianity. This fervent triumphalism only intensified after the hated Crusaders were expelled from their 88-year occupation by the Syrian Kurd Salah al-Din in 1187, and the “Zionist occupation” of al-Quds (“The Holy”=Jerusalem) since 1948 is seen by many Arab (and other) Muslims are merely a temporary setback, which the Mahdi and Jesus will rectify. Thus many hadiths predict eschatological events transpiring in what the French and Brits used to call “the Levant,” the most important among them including: al-Sufyani, (a “type” of the Muslim antichrist, al-Dajjal, “the Deceiver”) will emerge from Syria; Christians will (re)conquer Syria; the Mahdi will reveal himself; the Dajjal himself appear; Jesus will return by descending into Damascus; the armies of the Mahdi and the Sufyani will battle; and Jesus will kill the Dajjal in or near Jerusalem. After all this the Mahdi and Jesus will jointly rule over a Muslim planet, and eventually both will pass away. The true end of history, and the Final Judgement, will not come for some years after that. Also: the Sunni Mahdi and the Twelver Shi`i one perform virtually the same role, the major differences being 1) the former will step onto the stage of history for the first time, whereas the latter will return from a millennium-old mystical ghaybah, or “occultation;” and 2) Sunni eschatologists prognosticate that the person whom Shi`is believe to be their 12th Imam will actually be the Dajjal—and Shi`is say the same about the Sunni Mahdi!

    Thus, Syria is the most important eschatological venue of Islam, bar none. Quoting sayings of some of their twelve Imams, at least one Iranian government official has superimposed eschatological themes on the Syrian conflict — Hujjat al-Islam (or “Hujjatollah,” a cleric ranking below Ayatollah) Ruhollah Husayniyan, who claims that the strife in Syria is the prelude to the Imam al-Mahdi’s coming and revolution. (This sort of “newspaper exegesis” has been going on for years in Tehran and Qom, actually.) And Twelver Shi`is in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon are not only enthused about this idea, but have been motivated by Mahdism to go join the fight for Bashar al-Asad and the Alawi regime over against its Sunni opponents!

    Here are Dr Furnish’s concluding words.

    While certain writers in the US obsess about Evangelical Christians trying to fit the Syrian Islamic civil war into a Christian eschatological blueprint, the truth is that they have no significant political power (and the ones I know are adamantly against President Obama’s proposed strikes on the al-Asad military) — they just like to opine, talk, and sell books. The true believers in the Mahdi, the Sufyani and the return of the Islamic Jesus — who comprise hundred of millions of Muslims, according to polling data — should be the real focus of concern, most especially those of their ranks putting their beliefs into practice in Aleppo, Dayr al-Zur and Idlib. The Obama Administration would do well to consider the apocalyptic aspect of the Syrian civil war, before committing our forces to helping those of the Mahdi or the 12th Imam.

    As I suggested earlier, now go read the whole thing.

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    ICYMI, I think that final phrase — “before committing our forces to helping those of the Mahdi or the 12th Imam” — is one we should read with care in light of his earlier sentence:

    Sunni eschatologists prognosticate that the person whom Shi`is believe to be their 12th Imam will actually be the Dajjal—and Shi`is say the same about the Sunni Mahdi!

    Whichever side we might commit our forces to, in other words, we’d be supporting one strain of Mahdism or the other…

    Elkus interviews Charles Cameron at Abu Muqawama

    Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

    [ by Mark Safranski a.k.a “zen“]

    Longtime friend of ZP,  Adam Elkus interviews our own Charles Cameron at the highly regarded Abu Muqawama blog:

    Interview Charles Cameron 

    [….]  AE: How has the study of apocalyptic tropes and culture changed (if it has at all) since 9/11 focused attention on radical Islamist movements?

    CC: USC’s Stephen O’Leary was the first to study apocalyptic as rhetoric in his 1994 Arguing the Apocalypse, and joined BU’s Richard Landes in forming the (late, lamented) Center for Millennial Studies, which gave millennial scholars a platform to engage with one another. David Cook opened my eyes to Islamist messianism at CMS around 1998, and the publication of his two books (Studies in Muslim ApocalypticContemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature), Tim Furnish’s Holiest Wars and J-P Filiu’s Apocalypse in Islam brought it to wider scholarly attention — while Landes’ own encyclopedic Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience gives a wide-angle view of the field in extraordinary detail.

    I’d say we’ve gone from brushing off apocalyptic as a superstitious irrelevance to an awareness that apocalyptic features strongly in Islamist narratives, both Shia and Sunni, over the past decade, but still tend to underestimate its significance within contemporary movements within American Christianity. When Harold Camping proclaimed the end of the world in 2011, he spent circa $100 million worldwide on warning ads, and reports suggest that hundreds of Hmong tribespeople in Vietnam lost their lives in clashes with the police after moving en masse to a mountain to await the rapture. Apocalyptic movements can have significant impact — cf. the Taiping Rebellion in China, which left 20 million or so dead in its wake.

    Read the rest here.


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