Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Or it could just be a smokescreen for incompetence. Either works.
Rumsfeld’s argument at the time, the report says, was that deploying too many American troops could jeopardize the mission by creating an anti-US backlash among the local populace.
I haven’t seen anyone point out the irony of this argument. If it’s sincere, it represents a bizarrely uncharacteristic soft-handed approach by an administration which routinely denigrated anyone who publicly suggested such a direction. I suppose you could just chalk that up to rank hypocrisy, which is plausible.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I'm having a more complex reaction to this post, though. As it notes, huge numbers of Native Americans died as a result of disease rather than direct European action: this sets up a causality problem. Even in the absence of European eliminationist violence, Native American communities were going to be devastated in the short run, and possibly the long run, due to disease. Conversely, even in the absence of the "Columbian Exchange" diseases, European eliminationist violence was going to disrupt and dislocate Native American society in the long run, though it might have looked different in the short run.
I'm having trouble imagining plausible alternative histories. It's a failure of imagination on my part, perhaps, but that's where I am at the moment.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
The theology is twisted. God didn't intend for humans to eat animals. Genesis, Chapter ONE*:
29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Only later, after the abomination and destruction of all life but Noah&Co., does God permit the eating of meat. Chapter Nine:
1: And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
2: And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
3: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
God then goes on to start writing the rules of Kashrut. God may have made animals (and people) edible, but allowing them to be eaten was Plan B.
* KJV, since I'm sure she wouldn't accept any other translation.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Producing proteins in the lab (often in bacteria) is pretty routine work. However, producing a posttranslationally modified protein can be much more difficult, because you generally have to have access to an enzyme that will perform the desired modification. On the other hand, it is generally much simpler to mutate the source DNA, and then use that DNA to produce a modified protein (generally with one amino acid substituted for another)
Routine? Simpler to mutate?
Friday, November 06, 2009
What's actually interesting to me about this, as it develops, is how normal this case is looking: harassed but intelligent loner, desperate circumstances, civilian handguns (and lots of ammo), lashing out at the institution which he blames for his plight. This is a thoroughly American slaughter.I also said that, because the Major was a psychiatrist, that "There are going to be a lot of awkward quis custodiet discussions in counseling offices over the next few months."