zenpundit.com » judaism

Archive for the ‘judaism’ Category

On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: twelve

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — Cambridge Analytica and Guardian logos, HipBone Game boards ]
.

A while back, I posted a series of pieces about the felicities of graph-based game-board design. This piece picks up from that series, with a bit of a refresher, and a pointer to the Cambridge Analytica logo.

First, the question arises of what graphs are. A graph, from a mathematical point of view, consists of nodes and edges: nodes are, in this diagram, the red circles, and edges are the lines connecting them:

We know a great deal about the mathematics of graphs, but they underlya vasst repertoire of modern systems, including — for an extreme. complex instance — the design of washing machines:

**

Back at least to medieval times, graphs can be found with concepts assigned to their nodes and the reasons connecting those conceptts assigned to their edges. These thre show one Jewish (Kabbalistic) conceptual graph, one graph of the four elements and their relaations, and a Christian ttrinitarian graph:

I have usedsc similar conceptual graphs as the boards of my HipBone Games. SHown herear ethree of my boards, together with a spiffy board by my friend and colleagues Cath Styles for her Sembl games:

**

All the above, to show you why all usees of graphs are potentially of interest to me, and why I am particularly interested in the Cambridge Analytica logo (left, below), which offers a graph in the shape of the human brain, and the logo the Guardian devised (right, below), to give visual continuity to their articles about Cambridge Analytica;

I think you can see how the Guardian logo would make a fine HipBone game board for teen Agatha Christie -type games.

**

Hey, on complexity — which graphs and diagrams are better at than “linear” verbal explanations — there’s this — not a graph! — from another post of mine — wow!:


Shaping strategy — Constant turbulence and disruption

**

Earlier in this series:

  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: preliminaries
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: two dazzlers
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: three
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: four
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: five
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: six
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: seven
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: eight
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: nine
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: ten
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: eleven
  • Getting religion, forgetting circumcision

    Thursday, March 8th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — some characteristicc lacunae in journalisti praxis ]
    .

    As you know, I used to work for Lapido Media, which in turn used to be a media-eductional outlet that emphasized the major role of religion(s) in world affairs, so often overlooked by typically skeptical, secular journos.

    Get religion is a fine site with a similar purpose, and today it has a fine article titled With Russia all over U.S. news map right now, how fares its huge Orthodox Church? For instance:

    In addition to politics, there’s a historic religious turnabout in Russia that stateside reporters could well develop through interviews with the experts. The dominant Orthodox Church, which managed to survive Communist terror and regained freedom, has latterly emerged as a strategic prop for Putin’s Kremlin.

    If that election day peg doesn’t work for your outlet, another signal event comes July 17. That’s the Orthodox feast day of the doomed final czar, Nicholas II, and his family, shot to death by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918 and canonized by the national church in 2000 as saints and “passion-bearers.”

    **

    It’s not just journos who forget / don’t get religion — pols in the extreme north do it, too. How else explain this header from Iceland: Iceland male circumcision ban: MP behind plan ‘didn’t think it was necessary to consult’ Jewish and Muslim groups, amid growing anger. The subhead is (from my POV) idf anytbing even more mind-boggling:

    ‘I don’t see it as a religious matter,’ insists Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir

    What does Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir imagine the origin of the practice was?

    **

    What else do journos tend to miss?

    Well, there’s female obits, for onr thing — although things may be improving in that regard. Here’s a New York Times’ obit, belated but in a good faith effort to catch and patch up: 1932-1963 Sylvia Plath –A postwar poet unafraid to confront her own despair. It begins:

    She made sure to spare the children, leaving milk and bread for the two toddlers to find when they woke up. She stuffed the cracks of the doors and windows with cloths and tea towels. Then she turned on the gas.

    And it quotes her poetry:

    Dying
    Is an art, like everything else.
    I do it exceptionally well.
    I do it so it feels like hell.

    Okay, it’s International Women’s Day 2018.

    Thank you, Anemona Hartocollis and the NYT editors. We mourn you, Mrs easily forgotten behind your husband Hughes.

    Far more severe than the Israeli occupation?

    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — an invitation to explore some suggested comparisons — Afghanistan, too ]
    .


    ben wittes, lawfare blog

    **

    I generally find Ben Wittes’ Lawfare blog worth reading, and was accordingly struck when I read The Methodology of Historical Misrepresentation and came across this paragraph:

    There is a widespread tendency amongst scholars, journalists, and legal experts to app double standard when relating to Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is often singled out for prejudicial treatment in comparison to cases far more severe than its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, such as the killing in Syria of over half a million people, the hanging of hundreds of dissidents in Iran every year, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Russian behavior in Chechnya, Syria, and Ukraine, and countless other human rights infringements infinitely worse than the Israeli occupation and settlement movement.

    That wasn’t, I’ll admit, what I expected when I read the post’s title: in the context of the Israeli/Paalestinian issue, I could iagune the misrepresentation might be found in Israeli hasbara as easily as in Mahmoud Abbas‘ tendency to say things about the “occupied territories” that only include the West Bank and Gaza when addressing English-speaking audiences, and the whole shebang including Tel Aviv when speaking in Arabic — as repeatedly shown by Itamar Marcus of Palestinial Media Watch

    **

    That said, I’d be interested in specific comparisons in detail, one at a time, between these levels of documented human rights infringements..

    For instance, the Israelis have established “facts on the rgound” in the form of both settlers and their sccompanying schools, synagogues, etc within the Palestinian und, with military enforcement, while the Chinese appear similarly to have established “facts on the ground” in Tibetan territor in the form of both settlers and their institutions, militarily enforced.

    Howw can one compare these two situations in greater detail, fairly?

    Israel separation wall in West Bank

    **

    The first problem any such attempt will encounter is that both sides will produced partisan accounts of history, law, populations, etc, and that accounts by “honest brokers” are desperately hard to find — I mean, educate me in the comments section.

    I’ve tried to propose a graphical/typographical system for conducting bilateral debates.. but maybe the Talmud is not ideal for these particular debates..


    Talmudic page

    Specifically, I took my early inspiration from the Talmud because it explicitly llows divergent viewpoints in its graphical format, as explained by Eliezer Segal on his interactive (ie clickable) Page from the Babylonian Talmud. But perhaps the Talmud is not the ideal basis for these particular debates, in which the Israelis (often deeply influenced by forms of Judaism) are one of the contending parties…

    In any case, how, with all the affordances of the web, can we provide a space in which written debates can be refined in light of written (and equally valued) responses, iteratively, so as to provide a record for ongoing dialogue, with both sides equitably represented, and able to respond point by point whwere they disagree or wich to provide additional material, and to agree where they agree.

    I am encouraged to know what such a format can eventually produce a document where twwo adversaary-friends collaborate, because of the collaboration of Mustafa Hamid and Leah Farrall, friend of Mullah Omar and OBL and Australian Federal Police AQ expert respectively, on their book, The Arabs at War in Afghanistan, in which some sections indicate that the two co-authors were agreed on theie contents, while some sections are attributed to Mustafa alone, and some to Leah likewise. Two adversaries first meet on the net, then in person in Alexandria, Egypt, then after months and months of collaboration, and no doubt much excellent coffee — this book!

    **

    PS & NB:

    Ben Wittes has notably and repeatedly challenged Vladimir Putin to a martial arts match: I’ll Fight Putin Any Time, Any Place He Can’t Have Me Arrested.

    That would be something to watch on both RT and MSNBC!

    Face toward the wall

    Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Hezekiah’s Bodhidharma Zen? ]
    .

    Bodhidharma sat in meditation nine years facing the cave wall, so we have heard.

    Moral Equivalence

    Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — in which a sunni sheikh protects a yazidi family ]
    .

    Yad Vashem:

    **

    I seldom make comparisons that strike me as demonstrating moral equivalence as such — mostly I intend the juxtapositions I present to illustrate some parallelism or opposition that’s worthy of note as one aspect of a bigger picture, but by no means the whole. Often such an aspect will add nuance to the broader picture, sometime by contrasting with the overall impression. I relish those opportunities to see more that the first glance would tell me, to begin probing, digging deeper into a particular situation or issue.

    Here though, I think I may have stumbled onto a juxtaposition that does reveal a moral equivalence — in this case, a Sunni tribal leader standing in the same relation to the Yezidis he saved as one or another of the Righteous Among the Nations does to a Jewish person, family, or group they saved.

    The details of tribal anthropology in the Sunni-Yazidi case — which would be of interest no doubt to our friend David Ronfeldt — are fascinating in themselves:

    Fadel was a wealthy Sunni, and a tribal leader from the Shammar tribe, one of the world’s largest and most influential Arab tribes. He was also a close friend of the family.

    When Fadel found out where the family was, he rushed to the IS headquarters in Kocho, where he negotiated with the local militant leaders. “Please, let me take them with me,” he told them. “They belong with me.”

    While thousands of other Yazidi women and children were transferred to other places in Iraq and Syria – and most of the Yazidi men were killed on the spot – Nadine and her children, along with dozens of their relatives, were taken to the tribal leader’s house in Ba’aj, a small town in Nineveh governorate.

    Immediately, the family buried their mobile phones and Yazidi clothing. It was the beginning of a long period in hiding.

    But why would the local sheikh go to such lengths to protect this Yazidi family? The families go way back and have a long history together, explained Nadine. He was their ‘krive‘ – a kind of godfather or patron. “And he had promised to protect us,” Nadine said.

    Just like Muslims, Yazidis circumcise their young boys. During the ceremony, the man who holds the boy on their lap is considered his godfather, or “blood brother” – or krive.

    Before 2003, the krive was often historically selected from among religious families or even influential Muslim families. Yazidis believe that this creates a special bond between two clans; they have to respect and protect each other whenever needed.

    Sadly:

    But the ritual shared between the two religious groups declined amid Iraq’s sectarian violence, and after the Yazidi genocide in 2014, it completely disappeared.

    **

    Note here the role of circumcision, adding nuance to the parallel with Judaism. Ritual here is not some form of “dry as dust” repetition, but the instrument of deep, indeed life-saving human bonding.

    As so often, I wish I knew more — and in the meantime, I am grateful to those such as Oscar Schindler, Fadel of the Shammar, and so many others — the righteous protectors.

    Nadine Naif and family, your story brings me hope. Fadel, I salute you.


    Switch to our mobile site