Tuesday, October 24, 2006

WorldChanging Plug

Do you think that the world is going to hell in a handcart?
Do you want to stop it? Don't know how, yet still want to try?

Doing something about it is what Worldchanging is for. For the last 2-3 years, they have been providing sensible and often deeply thoughtful observations on how to tackle global warming, environmental degradation, famine, ignorance, and out and out stupidity. And how to do it *now*, with what we've got.

The team are busily preparing for the launch of their book in November, and I think it's worth a billboard plug for any passers-by.

Actually, it's worth a lot more! Now why should I say that? See for yourself here and here.

Then go get yourself an early Christmas present:

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Spot The Rover

The new HIgh Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) camera orbitting Mars took this photograph of Victoria Crater a few days ago. Here's what to do:

  1. Click on the image to go to the HiRise site
  2. Move your mouse over the image shown there
  3. Go 'Wow!'

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Cult of the Flesh Eating Zombie

I've just read a disturbing piece by my alter ego, Robert Fisk.

It compares the US army's 'Soldier's Creed' with a new mantra: the 'Warrior Ethos' and its dehumanising effect on the young men and women currently enlisted.

It bodes very ill for the future.

What is of concern about this new code is not what it states, but what it leaves out. This was of sufficient concern to one veteran that he wrote to Fisk, and prompted the article referred to. Fisk writes:
Like most Europeans — and an awful lot of Americans — I was quite unaware of this ferocious ‘code’ for US armed forces, although it’s not hard to see how it fits in with Bush’s rantings.

I’m tempted to point this out in detail, but my American veteran did so with such eloquence in his letter to me that the response should come in his words: ‘The Warrior Creed,’ he wrote, ‘allows no end to any conflict accept [sic] total destruction of the “enemy.” It allows no defeat ... and does not allow one ever to stop fighting (lending itself to the idea of the “long war”). It says nothing about following orders, it says nothing about obeying laws or showing restraint. It says nothing about dishonourable actions ...’

The ends justifies the means is a simple concept to grasp, but is fraught with peril in the longer term. A timeless quote from the play 'A Man For All Seasons' puts the moral and ethical repurcussions of such a course of action into stark perspective. In this scene, Sir Thomas More is berating a young protege who can't see the wood for the trees:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
It may not be in the nature of the beast to do so, but More's response is what every young warrior should consider carefully.

Very carefully. After all, you feel like you're going to live forever? Then start planning accordingly!

And, it appears they do. Another article on the current state of the Australian Army's recruitment campaign suggests so in its conclusion:
Set against a background of military misadventures based on lies about WMDs, a culture of bastardisation and the mishandling of the investigations surrounding the death of Private Jacob Kovco, computer game gimmicks are likely to (excuse the pun) sink without trace.
One final comment from Sir Thomas:
Sir Thomas More: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?
Or Iraq.