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Hope I live long enough to see her become POTUS.
Nov. 12th, 2014 08:32 am

New Toy

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I am now trying out Google's Inbox which is quite a different paradigm to Gmail. Emails are bundled into like tasks, so can be swept away with a click. It's like a very enthusiastic butler. Not sure quite what to make of it yet.
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Is it my imagination or is Doctor Who (the series) especially hard on non-caucasians?
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- A letter from my local member congratulating me on my half century
- A letter welcoming me to the wonderful world of bowel cancer screening
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That explains my fascination with Sid Sackson.

A retrospective on Acquire (that triggered the revelation.)

The Boardgamegeek entry on Acquire (for those who don't know what it is.)

(I'm also as old as GI Joe but don't really care.)
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Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker at The Middle East - explained in thirty seconds.
Imagine you have a whole sprinkling of tribes, provinces, and vassal states, ruled over by a single empire, that then fell apart[1].

Then imagine that a couple of other empires grab this area, and divide it up based on the lines that make it easiest for them to rule over it[2].

For each of those areas, the ruling empire would pick a particular tribe/clan/family. This group would be picked for being a minority and then supplied with weapons and made into a local proxy for the foreign power (while being hated by the majority abd entirely dependent on foreign support) [3].

And then, eventually, with the waning power of their foreign backers, the rulers of these countries lose control of the majority, overstep themselves, and are overthrown in violent revolutions or military coups[4].

However, these countries are still based on semi-random lines drawn on the map by foreigners, cross numerous tribal lines, and are inherently an unstable mess, frequently supported by numerous foreign countries who use them as proxies, want their resources, and support whoever is the enemy of their enemy[5].

With nationalist, tribalist, and religious infighting being the norm, along with low levels of education, and constant turmoil, this leaves huge societal gaps for religious extremists to fill.[6]

All of which is greatly simplified, but hopefully gives a basic idea of why things the entire area is such a disaster[7].

If you want to know what we _should_ be doing, then part of that recognises that those lines on the map are probably unsupportable, and that short-term measures that support them are probably making things worse in the long run[8].



[1]The Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 to 1922. Seven years too early to be an anagrammatic pair.
[2]The Sykes-Picot Agreement between the UK and France.
[3]Client States being the technical term.
[4]Egypt in 1952, Iraq in 1958, Iran in 1979, etc.
[5]Hence the US arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war, before deciding that had been a really bad idea. And arming the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets, including Osama Bin-Laden.
[6]Hence Al-Quaeda, and then ISIS/ISIL/Da'esh
[7]And I haven't even mentioned Israel! Where things are more complicated than you think!
[8]This lays out the options pretty well.




Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.
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Day of upgrades. Trim at work & Yosemite at home. I think I’ve lost it
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- that makes me a real writer now, doesn't it? (I don't have to open it or anything, do I? The interface looks horribly confusing and I can't find the "Shit script out here" button.)
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Julia's Eyes

Spanish thriller about a woman who believes she's being stalked by the same thing that killed her sister (and made it look like a suicide.) Oh, yeah, and her eyesight is deteriorating (as was her sister's.) This is genuinely creepy even while dependent on hokey and annoying behaviour to carry the plot forward. But then, it is a Spanish thriller. Produced by Del Toro even though the only monsters in it are human (whoops, spoiler!.)

Don't watch this if even the idea of eye injury freaks you out.

Like most of the Spanish horror/thrillers I've watched, it's not brilliant but it is better than most of the recent English made thrillers.

This is Jinsy

One episode of this aggressively weird comedy series set on the mythical island of Jinsy. Similar to League of Gentlemen and Psychoville but even more removed from the real world. The actual world-building is good (weird customs and slightly different technology) but the funniest thing in the episode was David Tennant's performance as a Lionel Blair style MC. After Broadchurch it's easy to forget what a great comic performer he is.

Requiem From the Darkness

Anime series about an author in historical Japan investigating traditional Yokai hauntings for his book and coming across a trio of perhaps supernatural vigilantes who exact justice for the crime underlying each haunting.

I've only watched three episodes and they adhere to the same formula, though an overall arc is appearing (the vigilantes are working for someone or something that wants them to kill off the author - they are not sold on the prospect.)

Has an expressionistic fluid style of animation that gives it a dream-like appearance though it is ultimately a supernatural tinged version of Criminal Minds (at the heart of each story is a psychopath who's psychology is analogous to the Yokai/Spirit that the author is investigating.)

Monster House

Dan Harmon cowrote this CGI Spielbergiana. A trio of suburban kids find they have to take down an assertively haunted house before Halloween gives it an unlimited food source (of trick or treaters.) There's a bit of an edge, especially around the relationships at the heart of the film, that show touches of what Harmon brought to Community. Produced by Robert Zemeckis though the Spielberg protege it reminded me of was Joe Dante.
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Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] blackdwarv at THE SINGLE MOST BRILIANT POLITICAL IDEA EVER!!!
I mean it! Tom Tomorrow should get a seat on the Presidential Advisory Staff.
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Playing with Netflix's free month of access. So far I'm pretty underwhelmed with the selection.

Only one Albert Brooks film for example. And that was Broadcast News.

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sort of

Peary's Cult Movies 1,2 & 3 were instrumental to my film obsession. Even though all the essays are not (yet) available - and they're probably missing some of the guest essays - these e-books will be worth picking up.

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