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Keeping one’s eggs in two baskets

Friday, August 1st, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- hedging bets, as Kilcullen says ]
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How would game theorists describe this strategy, where “both and” is half “either”, half “or”?

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Sunday hilarious surprise: Eric Metaxas and Canon Andrew White

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- if religion is neither your cuppa tea nor your hookah mixture, you can safely ignore this post ]
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Move over, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — just this once?

Both Eric Metaxas — who “wrote the book” on Bonhoeffer – and Canon Andrew White — sometimes known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” — are simply hilarious in this interview, if you’re interested and potentially amused by the intricate varieties of religious experience within Christianity. I haven’t had this much fun watching two real people talking with one another in a long while.

And behind the delight, there’s more..

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You know me, I love echoes, symmetries, fugal restatements of a theme. I thought Canon White’s bizarre and engaging dialectics, both spiritual and ethnic, was worth a DoubleQuote:

— but you really need to hear White’s deadpan delivery of those lines to fully appreciate the humor.

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Echoes: Boko H and the LRA, Ray Davis & others anon

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- following up on Boko Haram "makes Kony look like child's play" while continuing my explorations in stereocognition, along with two dazzling quotes about music ]
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It happened to be the tweet from Elizabeth Pearson in the upper panel above that alerted me to the LRA’s 1996 abduction of schoolgirls in Uganda, which Boko Haram’s 2014 abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria echoes and amplifies — so I have matched it with another of her tweets, lower panel above, offering an equivalent headline for the Nigerian girls.

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The parallelisms.

My purpose, explicitly stated, is not to equate but to compare the two incidents, and more specifically to allow the acts of the purportedly Christian extremists in Uganda to be in the back of our minds as a comparative, while we consider the current spate of appalling actions of the supposedly Muslim extremists in Nigeria…

And the differences.

I won’t attempt to detail the parallelisms and differences as I see them here, primarily because it’s the habit of analogical thinking I am exploring, not any single (“double”) instance.

A stereocognitive view will add nuance — an additional depth dimension to our perception of these two instances — without losing the detail of either one, just as stereoscopic vision and stereophonic hearing give additional depth to our visual and sonic views of the world.

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Here’s another one — this time triggered by an Emptywheel blogpost today. Marcy Wheeler has been following the Ray Davis story for quite a while, so I’ve matched her post noting the echo betwen “JSOC and one CIA official killing attempted abductors in Yemen” and the “Ray Davis episode in Pakistan” with an earlier post on Ray Davis.

You know, if “news echoes” of the sort both Lizz and Marcy are noting were discussed in musical terms — rather than as history repeating itself, say — we’d call them fugal motifs, or if we’re more into Wagner than Bach, leitmotifs perhaps.

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As is widely known, Dan Drezner views his interest through the lens of the undead in his book Theories of International Politics and Zombies — I’d like to view mine through the lens of music, as in these two quotes I’m fond of repeating — they’re a bit long to fit readably into DoubleQuotes format, so I’ll just put them in blockquotes:

From Cornelius Castoriadis, World in Fragments

Philosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table. What does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night. What does this show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let the Mozart’s Requiem be a paradigm of being, let us start from that.” Why could we not start by positing a dream, a poem, a symphony as paradigmatic of the fullness of being and by seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way round, instead of seeing in the imaginary — that is, human — mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being?

and from Edward Said, Power, Politics, and Culture

When you think about it, when you think about Jew and Palestinian not separately, but as part of a symphony, there is something magnificently imposing about it. A very rich, also very tragic, also in many ways desperate history of extremes — opposites in the Hegelian sense — that is yet to receive its due. So what you are faced with is a kind of sublime grandeur of a series of tragedies, of losses, of sacrifices, of pain that would take the brain of a Bach to figure out. It would require the imagination of someone like Edmund Burke to fathom.

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DQ: Syria/Saudi two way street

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- two way street, aka boomerang, aka blowback ]
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Sources:

  • From Saudi Arabia to Syria: Aaron Zelin, The Saudi Foreign Fighter Presence in Syria
  • From Syria to Saudi Arabia: Asharq al-Awsat, Saudi Arabia arrests first ISIS-related terror cell
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    Today’s DoubleQuotes 1: in the wild

    Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- fascinated to see the uses others make of the juxtapositions I call "DoubleQuotes" ]
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    This first one was suggested to me by Scott Shipman as a “match” for my DQ about Von Karman’s mathematics of flow in liquids and Van Gogh’s night sky — and indeed, the two of them make a fine double DoubleQuote.

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    The second comes from the “HSM Press Office” twitter feed, the exact nature of which is unknown, but which calls itself the “High Spirit Mission Press” and sports a jihadist “black banner” as its avatar:

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    And the third?

    M’friend Bryan Alexander suggested what he called “a Piketty doublequote” in a note to me this morning:

    It may be excessive to accuse senior executives of having their “hands in the till”, but the metaphor is probably more apt than Adam Smith’s metaphor of the market’s “invisible hand”

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    Let’s take the two visual “DoubleQuotes in the wild” above, and look at my own equivalents:

    I have to say that I find the respective beauties of the von Karman vortext street diagram (upper panel) and the Van Gogh night sky painting (lower panel) seem perfectly balanced to me, while the fractal generator still has a ways to go before it arrives at the brilliance of Hokusai.

    The fractal-wave comparison, btw, is one that has obviously occurred to more than one person — here’s another version:

    It’s also interesting to me that in both cases — that of Hokusai and that of Van Gogh — the arts appear to have been “ahead of” the sciences.

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    As to the second “wild” DQ –

    I’ve used TinEye and Google image-search engines, and haven’t found any other uses of the double image HSM Press Office posted, showing an Imam praying for a deceased US soldier and US aoldiers urinating on the bodies of deal Taliban — so I imagine the pairing of the two images may be KSM Press Office’s own. And it’s funny, because I think the intention is to suggest “we” (ie jihadists) treat “you” (ie US military dead) with appropriate respect, while you show no such respect for deal Taliban.

    The thing is, here’s a caption for the photo of the Imam praying:

    Imam Hashim Raza leads mourners in prayer during a funeral for Mohsin Naqvi at al-Fatima Islamic Center in Colonie, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 22, 2008. Naqvi was a Muslim, a native of Pakistan (he emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 8 years old and became a citizen at 16) and a U.S. Army officer. He was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    So what we’re seeing is an American imam at the funeral of a fellow Muslim — in this case a fellow Muslim who was also American soldier. And BTW those American soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses? They’re not representative of the American military as a whole.

    Knowing this, I’ve made my own DoubleQuote in response to the one above.

    In the upper panel, it shows the New York imam at the funeral of Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi, whose flag-draped coffin was carried to the service by an Army honor guard from Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.

    In the lower panel, we see US medics — marines, I think [ Army, see correction below] — treating wounded Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

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