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Archive for July 26th, 2013

Emptiness and Hezbollah

Friday, July 26th, 2013

[ by Charles Cameron — food for thought, or empty calories? ]


  • Heart Sutra
  • Hezbollah
  • **


    There’s definitely a form here, a commutative form, and the Buddhist part is interesting because it asserts some kind of commutation is possible between a datum and its own absence — as though the “created” world of Genesis could be viewed as exactly mirroring the “ex nihilo” from which it arises.

    But the Hezbollah identity? That should be of interest to the Europeans who just made a point of distinguishing between political and military versions of Hezbollah!

    Beyond that, pondering.

    A hop, skip, and a leap of faith?

    Friday, July 26th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — Joyner estimates 2.5 million, Zeynep proposed 27 million, NSA knows — but sealed lips, eh? ]

    10 year old Lilly Allen was told by UK police recently that "playing hopscotch in front of her house could lead to criminal charges for drawing on the sidewalk" -- oops.

    When you’re playing the kid’s game of hopscotch, three hops doesn’t get you very far. But Three hops create a data deluge is Zeynep Tufekci‘s short-form analysis of the adult version of the game as practiced by NSA, and it’s interesting to see how far three hops will take you.

    Here are two estimates, from two very bright people:

    Someone should really find out from an appropriate someone else what the grand total of US citizens swept up under first, second and third hops, skips and exponential leaps has been over the last couple of years.



  • Little Girl Warned
  • James Joyner
  • Zeynep Tufekci
  • A Feast of Form II

    Friday, July 26th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — exploring recursive form as a mode of pattern recognition ]

    In this post, I’ll continue my collection of interesting examples of snake bites tail self-references in tweets and elsewhere, begun in A feast of form in my twitter-stream today.

    Does this tweet — today’s offering — qualify, for instance?

    As I compile more and more items that match my sense of what belongs in this category, I’m also becoming aware that it’s a very fuzzy and subjective category indeed — closer to Wittgenstein’s “family resemblance” than to a logically exact and exacting definitional set.

    Concerning two Lifebuoys

    Friday, July 26th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — nothing strategic or serious, just dropping a little beauty your way ]

    Here’s a DoubleQuote that doesn’t fit my usual graphic format, but that gives me enough delight that I thought I’d post it anyway.

    It all begins with a friend pointing me to this video — it’s quite beautiful, it’s a commercial, and it’s promoting a Lifebuoy campaign, in their words, “to help reduce the deaths of two million children before their fifth birthday” by means of their “handwashing behaviour change programmes”:

    Okay: so I like the video very much, but I know nothing about Lifebuoy, their politics, their labor practices, the things that might make me hesitate to be quite as delighted by the video as I might be if there wasn’t a massive “international” tied in with the short and moving narrative. So I googled “Lifebuoy”…


    And found this poem, which has nothing to do with soap but a great deal to do with telling a short and beautiful story — albeit with the simplicity of words, of poetry:

    Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy
    –Thomas Lux

    For some semitropical reason
    when the rains fall
    relentlessly they fall

    into swimming pools, these otherwise
    bright and scary
    arachnids. They can swim
    a little, but not for long

    and they can’t climb the ladder out.
    They usually drown—but
    if you want their favor,
    if you believe there is justice,
    a reward for not loving

    the death of ugly
    and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,
    rats) creatures, if

    you believe these things, then
    you would leave a lifebuoy
    or two in your swimming pool at night.

    And in the morning
    you would haul ashore
    the huddled, hairy survivors

    and escort them
    back to the bush, and know,
    be assured that at least these saved,
    as individuals, would not turn up

    again someday
    in your hat, drawer,
    or the tangled underworld

    of your socks, and that even—
    when your belief in justice
    merges with your belief in dreams—
    they may tell the others

    in a sign language
    four times as subtle
    and complicated as man’s

    that you are good,
    that you love them,
    that you would save them again.


    The video and the poem are very different — yet closely connected, coming to me as they did, hot on one another’s heels the other day. I celebrate them here as an informal DoubleQuote, with gratitude to Google.

    May I recommend, to myself when my ship comes in and to others: Thomas Lux, New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995.

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