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McCants explains the Saudis, Quantico rebukes them

Friday, August 26th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Saudi-sourced jihadism, the FBI, Baader-Meinhof — hey, it’s all about terrosism ]

Will McCants explains [upper panel, below] how the Saudis are and are not promoting terrorism —

Tablet DQ 600 arsonist

— while a screen-cap from episode 9 in the first season of Quantico explains just why such an approach is logically bound to be defective.


Oh well, not to worry. It’s just another example of the illusion colloquially known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. I wouldn’t want to go all irrational on you, so I’ll let RationalWiki explain:

The frequency illusion (also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon) is the phenomenon in which people who just learn or notice something start seeing it everywhere.

Except that — well, there it is again — Baader-Meinhof — it’s all terrorism!

Van Riper and the HipBone mechanism

Friday, August 19th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — part ii of van Riper’s cognitive process is what we train ]

Van Riper, as quoted in Maj. Joe Byerly‘s article, Use ‘Mental Models’ to Outthink the Enemy, writes that both study of the past allows “practitioners of war to see familiar patterns of activity and to develop more quickly potential solutions to tactical and operational problems.”



There are two parts to that.

  • One is the seeding of the mind with a multitude of thoughts, concepts, tactics, strategies, events, skirmishes, battles, wars, moments and flows in time.

  • And the other is the present moment riggering a past, suitably analogous, situation from out of all that multitude.
  • I cannot easily persuade or inspire others to seed the mind with a wide and various range of experiences and readings. But I can train the abulity to pluck apt analogies out of the dim recesses of memory, to scrape them off the back wall of the skull if necessary, to find those patterns, and providee those dots with which the presnt moment may fruitfully connect.


    board inside skull

    That’s what the HipBone Games in general teach, that’s what each move in a HipBone or Sembl Game is about, that’s precisely and exactly what the DoubleQuotes method is all about, that in a nutshell is the heart of what I call HipBone Analytics.

    Maj. Byerly makes the case for wide and reading very clearly. It’s getting up to speed on part two that interests me here.

    Recommended Reading—Summer 2016

    Monday, July 11th, 2016

    [by J. Scott Shipman]

    Storm of Creativity2017



    white horsewashington


    The Storm of Creativity, by Kyna Leski

    2017 War With Russia, by General Sir Richard Shirreff

    The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough

    Serendipities, Language and Lunacy, by Umberto Eco

    Paradise, Dante Alighieri, translated by Mark Musa

    Undertow, by Stanton S. Coerr

    The White Horse Cometh, by Rich Parks

    Washington The Indispensable Man, by John Thomas Flexner

    This list starts the first week of May, so perhaps the title should be Spring/Summer. Most of these books are quick reads and all are recommended.

    I picked up Ms. Leski’s book at an MIT bookshop on a business trip in early May and read on the train ride home. Books on creativity are ubiquitous, but Ms. Leski takes an interesting approach by describing the creative process using the metaphor of a storm. Several ZP readers will find of interest.

    2017 was recommended by a friend. The author was the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the book focuses on a Europe/NATO response to a Russian invasion of the Baltics. Written in a Tom Clancy-like style, the plot is fast-paced even though the good general provides sometimes provides detailed insights into the inner workings of NATA and the North Atlantic Council (this is one of the values of the book—bureaucracy writ-large).

    David McCullough’s Wright Brothers delivers an approachable and human accounting of the first men of powered flight. Some reviews on Amazon complain McCullough lifts and uses too many quotes to tell the story. At times the quotes were distracting, but not enough to prevent the enjoyment of the story of two brothers who changed the world. This book was a gift otherwise I probably would not have read.

    Serendipities is a short book, but was a long read for me. Eco explains how language and the pursuit of the perfect language has confounded thinkers since time immemorial. He refers to Marco Polo’s unicorn (also used in his Kant and the Platypus which is excellent) explaining how language is often twisted to meet a preconceived notion or idea. The first couple of chapters were quite good, chapters three and four did not hold my interest or were over my head. The closing chapter was good enough to convince me I’ll need to read this little book again. (My Eco anti-library has been growing of late.)

    Eco’s book led me to reread Musa’s excellent translation of Paradise. My son gave me the deluxe edition with parallel Italian and English, plus commentary. Eco referenced Canto 26 and 27, and I enjoyed the break so much I read the whole thing!

    Undertow is my good friend Stan Coerr’s second book of poetry.  His first book Rubicon was a moving collection of poetry of men at war. Undertow deals more with the heart and is quite good, too. You won’t be disappointed.

    White Horse is also a book by an old friend, Rich Parks (we’ve known each other since the mid-80’s). White Horse is self-published and in places it shows, but the overall story is quite good for a first book (I’ve already told him his book would make an excellent screenplay.). The plot is quick and entertaining even if a bit unbelievable, but the story is fiction. Rich is following up with a sequel in August in 2016 and I’ll be reading it, too.

    Mr. Flexner’s Washington was a gift, too. In this quick biography Washington is made approachable and human. And when I say “quick,” I mean quick…Trenton and Princeton took one chapter compared to David Hackett Fischer’s Washington’s Crossing which took up a standalone book. If someone were looking for a first Washington biography, this would be a good place to start.

    This isn’t the conclusion of my summer reading, but a pretty good start.What are  you reading this summer?

    On HipBone / Sembl moves and Wittgenstein’s PI

    Friday, February 19th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — I have fond memories of the Anscombe household ]



    In http://zenpundit.com/?p=47757 I said something that seems central to the way my HipBone mode of analysis works:

    In each case, too, the associative process is the same, with some item perceived in the present calling up a past memory that is related to it — in a manner that can generally be articulated and annotated.

    Such is the mechanism of a typical “move” in a DoubleQuote or HipBone game.

    It’s so simple that it barely needs saying — one thing reminds us of another — and yet so basic that we can really benefit from paying attention to it.

    Wittgenstein did, as I just discovered:

    In his Philosophical Investigations, Part II, xl, he writes:

    Two uses of the word “see”.
    The one: “What do you see there?”—”I see this” (and then a description, a drawing, a copy). The other: “I see a likeness between these two faces” — let the man I tell this to be seeing the faces as clearly as I do myself.
    The importance of this is the difference of category between the two ‘objects’ of sight.
    The one man might make an accurate drawing of the two faces, and the other notice in the drawing the likeness which the former did not see.
    I contemplate a face, and then suddenly notice its likeness to another.
    I see that it has not changed; and yet I see it differently. I call this experience “noticing an aspect”.
    Its causes are of interest to psychologists

    So obvious. But it takes a Wittgenstein to see it, say it.

    The process of associative memory

    Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — it seems — to me at least — that associative memory is at the root of creativity, and that the process, preconscious pattern-recognition, is basically aesthetic in nature ]


    There’s the present moment — in this case, today’s tweet from the RNLI above.

    And there’s the memory it elicits — in this case, Hokusai‘s Great Wave at Kanagawa, with its three little boats, tiny Mt Fuji, and towering, breaking wave, from A Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji:


    That’s the same process, from perception to memory, that I was thinking of when I wrote DoubleQuoting the French Revolution, and quoted Robert Frost:

    The artist must value himself as he snatches a thing from some previous order in time and space into a new order with not so much as a ligature clinging to it of the old place where it was organic.


    Come to which, and moving by the same process from what’s in front of me to what I remember, here’s a DQ of Hokusai (~1760-1849) — before me now as I write this — and an image deriving from the work of Benoit Mandelbrot (1924-2010) on fractals” — which looking at the Hokusai quickly reminds me of:

    SPEC DQ Hokusai fractal


    And as I look at that DoubleQuote, here at the time of writing this post, it reminds me strongly of my earlier DoubleQuote of Van Gogh and Von Kármán:

    In each of these two cases, art precedes science.


    In each case, too, the associative process is the same, with some item perceived in the present calling up a past memory that is related to it — in a manner that can generally be articulated and annotated.

    Such is the mechanism of a typical “move” in a DoubleQuote or HipBone game.

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