Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Good Look Into Misguided 3rd World Conflict; Not Simply Islam To Blame

There are many people who are quick to say something like ‘Islam is because of this’ I have even seen on some forums people are pointing to the Koran or the Hadiths or all kinds of things as a reason as to why Islam is allegedly so much more hostile than other religions. The fact of the matter is that these are all quite incorrect…

There is this trend that, if anything at all goes wrong in a country with Muslims in it, it is now suddenly assumed Islam is to blame. However, nobody looks at the on-going drug war that has reached epic proportions in Mexico, nor have they looked at the on-going civil war in Colombia or its kidnapping epidemic and blamed this on the failures of Catholicism.

People often forget that Third World nations have Third World problems. People have extremely limited choices and when conflicts occur they ignite like wild fires.

The following video illustrates how violence in the Central African Republic has essentially become a circular phenomena… Rebels ousted a government and during all of this a rival group of people with differing views formed, and then the two groups naturally clashed, and today the conflict comes down to a mere cycle of violence… The disorganized Muslim militias have a dozen men go looting, which makes the disorganized Christian militias send forth two dozen men looting, and neither side is willing to be acknowledge their own share of the blame and they are constantly willing to spin the facts as they get them so that they serve their own purpose.

I am sure that we can all find parallels in our lives of how office spats or drama in the circle of friends/family can end up seeing two normally good people act selfishly and refuse to acknowledge their own wrongs.

This video depicts the issue in roughly the same terms; it is quite saddening that both parties claim a certain innocence and no one is willing to admit blame.

Many conflicts start from these simple (& honest) ideological differences that pit forces against each other initially but then they devolve into a non-ideological fight where it becomes two rival groups (that behave more like gangs) seeking vengeance for a series of events that happened…

In the end, it illustrates truly why peace is preferable to war which, in an instant, turns ideological disagreement into years of bloodshed between groups.

Facebook Monitors Self-Censored Posts

And this is exactly what everyone likes to wake up to in the morning: the knowledge that everything which we type, then go back and delete thinking the better of, still makes it to be collected and potentially read by strangers:

We spend a lot of time thinking about what to post on Facebook. Should you argue that political point your high school friend made? Do your friends really want to see yet another photo of your cat (or baby)? Most of us have, at one time or another, started writing something and then, probably wisely, changed our minds.

Unfortunately, the code that powers Facebook still knows what you typed—even if you decide not to publish it. It turns out that the things you explicitly choose not to share aren’t entirely private.

Facebook calls these unposted thoughts “self-censorship,” and insights into how it collects these nonposts can be found in a recent paper written by two Facebookers. Sauvik Das, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon and summer software engineer intern at Facebook, and Adam Kramer, a Facebook data scientist, have put online an article presenting their study of the self-censorship behavior collected from 5 million English-speaking Facebook users. It reveals a lot about how Facebook monitors our unshared thoughts and what it thinks about them.

The study examined aborted status updates, posts on other people’s timelines, and comments on others’ posts. To collect the text you type, Facebook sends code to your browser. That code automatically analyzes what you type into any text box and reports metadata back to Facebook.

Slate

Normally I do not put much stock into the idea that big government (and corporations) are watching you, but certainly we have now reached a point where it is clear the NSA is willing to monitor the movements of US citizens and that, well, apparently people at FB can do this too fo their own purposes.

I think that any expectation of privacy on the internet, or even on your phone, is melting away into the past.

While I am not about to join the ‘big brother is watching you’ bandwagon, I am certainly looking towards these massive social networks like Facebook, and “good” corporations that “do no evil” like Google with some skepticism as to the purity of their intentions.

It makes me think of the classic quotation that power corrupts. I am sure that the original intention of Facebook was to simply facilitate internet socialization, and then it was to make a bit of money… And now with all the power of their code and script, they feel their own power and they OK this sort of data mining and collection.

Ridiculous.

Dominique Venner On Life & The Old Sniper

A lovely quote from Dominique Venner:

“When I was a boy, a little Parisian growing up in the days of gaslight and rationing, my father sent me to take some air in the countryside, where I was cared for by an old couple. The husband was a gardener, he tinkered with this and that, between carrot plants and rows of begonias. The old chap was sweet and gentle, even towards his enemies the snails. When his wife was around, he wouldn’t open his mouth, you would have thought that she had cut off his tongue, and maybe something else, too. He wasn’t even allowed to go the bistrot with his friends. I was his confidant, the only person, I think, who ever really took an interest in his story. He told me about a time long ago when he had been a man. It had lasted four terrible and mighty years, from 1914 to 1918. He may have been a bit simple, but he had a sharp eye and a steady arm. An officer had taken note of the chap’s talent and made him an elite sniper, which was a privilege. Armed with his Lebel, he shot the enemy to pieces with passion and precision, without hatred or remorse. Free to choose his target and his hours, exempt from most chores, he was somebody. He shot officers in epaulettes, stripes and Feldgrau. He cited some improbable numbers, probably inflated in his chattering little head over thirty years of solitary ruminations.

Thanks to him, I discovered a staggering truth: that the life of a man does not consist of the wretched years that drag themselves from the cradle to the grave, but of a few, rare, dazzling flashes of lightning; those are the only ones worthy of being called life. The moments we owe to war, love, adventure, mystical ecstasy, or creation. To him, the war had generously granted four years of life, an inordinate privilege compared to all the bipeds who go to their graves without ever having lived.”

Dominique Venner, “Le cœur rebelle” (“The Rebel Heart”)

What I particularly enjoy about this is the idea of the proverbially emasculated man having once been a lion on the battlefield and who had developed and honed his abilities enough to be able to earn such a position slowly becoming the quiet countryman enslaved to his wife.

It shows a certain resignation and peace that he has after the conclusion of the war.

What is also important about this is the criticism that Venner issues forth to the average man who has simply never lived at all. I think it is very easy for us o confuse alcohol fueled nights and romping around in some juvenile spectacle for living… Of course, these things are small, youthful displays of our vibrancy but they are the least of accomplishments one can expect and their charm eventually wears off and leaves behind only vices that equip a man for decadence, not for lionly living.

There is also a distance that Venner takes here and does not even bother to refer to man as ‘man,’ but the boring and eventless lives deserve only the title of biped.

I also like how he was gentle to even the snails in his later years showing that there was no lingering sense of perverse brutality or wanton violence… a further extension of his soft and diminutive behavior.

Good food for thought that brightened my morning.