14 Comments


  • Check out this article from this month’s IEEE Spectrum: “Re-Engineering Iraq” at http://spectrum.ieee.org/feb06/2831 — it’s an eye-opener.

    (I think registration is required.)

    February 17, 2006
  • That’s a fascinating piece. Even with that, and all the other news coverage I’ve read, I can’t imagine what an ordeal daily life is in Bagdhad. And as bad as that is, it has to be radically worse for the Afghan earthquake survivors, who not only have no power, but in many cases no food or shelter.

    February 17, 2006
  • Fascinating article, Bob, though I’m sorry that you were able to relate to it on such an explicit level (even if it was for a few hours). However, in the interest of taking each conversation to the lowest possible level, I HAVE to point out that this line:

    …There was nothing for us to do other than sit and look at each other. I did not get married just to have conversation.

    conatins probably all I need to know about your gender. πŸ˜‰

    February 18, 2006
  • Well, yes, that’s one insight you could take away from the piece. Personally, Hadi is much more restrained than I would be. “Tiba, come to me! Who cares if the power is out? If the Prophet was so concerned about us washing up after nookie, he would build a few more power plants in Baghdad!”

    February 18, 2006
  • If the Prophet was so concerned about us washing up after nookie, he would build a few more power plants in Baghdad!

    hahahahaha! Okay, I’m going to hell for sure, because I’m trying to find sexual loopholes for these poor people. Hey, if the resident BJ queen in high school can live under the “virgin” header, there’s got to be something the rest of us can do.

    And yes, I know that it’s disappointing to write such an insightful piece and have someone go all schoolyard on you, but adding to your speculation was a more difficult task than expected!

    February 18, 2006
  • Didn’t Pakistan lose something like 30,000 people last year in that earthquake? Holy crap. I wonder what a disaster like that in the US would be like, destroying entire cities and wiping the power grid away entirely.

    I suspect we can get a notion of what this is like on a long-term basis for Americans by talking to Gulf Coast folks.

    Makes me want to go out and buy a generator. The furnace uses natural gas, as does the water heater, but without electricity the forced air doesn’t run, and my electric space heaters do nothing. I suspect with the current cold wave that the freezer and fridge will be fine, but I have a cold right now and Tatsuko – the fragile beast – wouldn’t likely live long in real cold.

    One can buy solar-power generators in the form of shingles, I hear. Maybe a few dozen of those, just take myself off the grid. In case, and all that.

    Most Americans not living in NYC have a mobile cell-phone charger, by the way. So as long as the gasoline supply in our cars holds out, we’ll have telephone service. But gas pumps rely on electricity, and one can’t store gasoline in a stable state for more than a month or so, longer if one buys stabilizers.

    You got me all thinking here, sir, recalling those survivalist tendencies from my 1980’s youth when the Red Menace was real and we were sure the _Red Dawn_ scenario would come to pass.

    Chris

    February 18, 2006
  • Yes, that’s the issue in the back of my mind when I read about disasters, natural or otherwise: where to find the boundary between reasonable precaution and paranoid survivalism.

    One problem is that organizing your life around future disaster can ruin the now. I stopped doing martial arts in my early thirties because in part I realized that I didn’t want to be a guy who spent his whole life preparing for a fight. The avowed ethic of many martial artists is “pray for peace but prepare for war.”in my experience the more thoroughly you’re prepared for war, the more likely you are to “need” that preparation sooner or later.

    On the other hand, you can save a lot of misery by being a little prepared. It costs almost nothing to stock up on bottled water, flashlight and radio batteries, and shelf foods that require little or no cooking.

    There are more complex survival issues involved in living in a big city. and I have often said that if <when> a nuclear weapon is detonated in New York, the lucky ones may well be the people who are killed outright. Never mind the radiation: the lack of power, water, food, health care and civil order will exact a horrific toll on the survivors.

    February 18, 2006
  • Hey, I wasn’t disappointed at all! I live in the schoolyard. But wait: how does giving (presumably giving) blowjobs make you not a virgin?

    February 18, 2006
  • Er… I don’t actually have an answer. In my world of fire and brimstone (coming from an atheist, no less!), it’s sex. Sorry, Bill and Hadi. I gave it a shot.

    I know, I know- I should stop being so puritanical. In my book, you’re not a virgin if you’re IN THE SAME ROOM as said hummer!

    Unless it’s a really, REALLY big room.

    February 18, 2006
  • Boy, you build a thousand bridges and nobody calls you a bridgebuilder, but you suck one little dick….

    February 18, 2006
  • If you finished that sentence and modified your slang for penis, you’d have MY FAVORITE CURSEWORD EVER. I never use it because it’s too vulgar for my pink, shell-like ears, but the few times I’ve gone against my ladylike instincts(!) I’ve collapsed into laughter. It’s just….it’s just a great word.

    February 18, 2006
  • So true. Some random thoughts:

    If we didn’t have such a vast army, would the Chimp be so quick to deploy it all over the world? This bodes ill for Pakistan, India, and North Korea, among others. We should worry more than we do about China’s growing army and its ever-increasing level of technology. I worry a lot about NYC – maybe not so much about a nuke, but about biowarfare: There’s not a lot you can do to prepare for that, and what happens when people start realizing that other New Yorkers are dropping like flies? Hop into their cars and race out of town?

    Reasonable preparation is sensible, maybe stupid not to do in the current climate. When in high school, I had been a member of a group of misfits, two of us taking martial arts. A school bully had tormented a number of my friends for years; one day, a few months into my (hardcore: several hours’ private lessons, two-on-two every Sunday) training, he shoved me in the lunch line. I decided I was done being bullied. I stepped into a leverage stance and performed a double palm-heel blow that shoved him back against the wall, then went into fighting stance with a giyup and waited for him to attack. He apologized and never bothered any of my friends again: No need for a fight after all. There the preparation was worth it, and I didn’t even really need to fight. Why can’t our nation do this sort of thing?

    Chris

    February 18, 2006
  • Two minds with one thought between them.

    February 19, 2006
  • In my experience the preparation of martial arts is not so much about fighting skill as self-confidence. In high school, of course, where one often is subject to physical bullying, confidence and physical ability are often connected (but not necessarily fighting ability—there were plenty of non-fighter athletes in my high school who went unbullied).

    Once you become an adult, though, concentrating on fighting ability can be maladaptive. You can make it relevant by seeking out careers or situations in which fighting ability matters, but for most people that’s too limited a menu to dine from your whole life.

    February 19, 2006

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