Go to previous post:
Spectacularly erudite blog post of the decade:

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
Free money.

Our Admirable Sponsors

March 2, 2003

Stuff I meant to blog last week, before I got too busy at work. Ted Barlow:
There will never be a V-T Day. Rebuilding havens of terrorism isn’t an afterthought to be put off. It’s an integral part of defeating terrorism. If we’re just planning on shock ’n’ aweing our way across the Muslim world, then putting off reconstruction for some hypothetical future when no one hates us anymore, it seems apparent to me that we’ll never do any reconstruction.
Adam Felber: U.S. Secession from Earth Nearly Complete.

Scott Marley has a question about the phrase “useful idiots.”

Scott Rosenberg has some rather smart observations about the Laurie Garrett affair.

Umberto Eco is ever so darn sensible on war, peace, America, Europe, loyalty, dissent, and, oh, just go read it.

Fred Clark wants to revise the cast of characters on American folding money:

Current: Thomas Jefferson. Great man. Good president. Wrote the Declaration. His personal library became the Library of Congress. But he’s still got the nickel. And a monument. And the congressional Web site. And Clinton’s middle name. So his slave-owning self is well-memorialized without needing a bill as well.

Proposed: Emily Dickinson. With one of her poems on the back. (Every year a new poem. Emily’s infamously idiosyncratic punctuation and meter will throw off counterfeiters for sure.) Traditionally, people have hoarded $2 bills instead of circulating them. Retiring the $1 bill could change that, but even if it doesn’t, Emily didn’t get out that much herself, so this still kind of works.

And from Mark Pilgrim’s uber-techblog Dive Into Mark, “How to block spambots, ban spybots, and tell unwanted robots to go to hell.” Essential reading if you run a web site and pay for bandwidth, but what I particularly enjoyed was the sensation that I live in the science-fiction future after all. Writes Pilgrim, “Fighting robots is a neverending battle with no winners.” And “The decision of which robots to block is a very personal matter.” Well, we knew that. [02:44 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Stuff I meant to blog last week,:

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2003, 08:05 PM:

Re: Emily Dickinson on money

Thumbs down. That'd make our money look
like Barnes & Noble gift certificates.

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2003, 01:29 AM:

Having Emily Dickinson on US money would be kinda cool; it would make our money more like the currency of other countries (Michael Faraday on British notes, St. Exupery on French notes, etc.).
Not that it's going to happen.

Ben Franklin on the big bill actually almost comes close to meeting this standard. Not that most USAns know why this might be so.

Mark Pilgrim's thing is all sensible and reasonable (and mirabile dictu, after my hands-on crash-course in building and administering servers of the past few weeks, I even understand what he's saying. But at the same time, I get this real frisson from the discussion: he's a true-to-life Magnus, Robot-Fighter. Perhaps this is what you meant about living in the science-fiction future.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2003, 10:22 AM:

You have a thing for Emily Dickinson don't you? Not that there's anything wrong with that. I quite like her myself.

However, living in the future doesn't seem to me to be all they promised us. No aircars or jetpacks, though those flat screen tvs are pretty nifty.


James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2003, 12:10 PM:

Here's an answer about the phrase "useful idiots":

Lenin never said it. About anyone. It isn't in any of his writings, in his recorded speeches, in his correspondence.

The "quote" first appears, attributed to Lenin, in a John Birch Society newsletter published decades after Lenin's death.

It is completely made-up.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2003, 01:35 PM:

Making anyone who uses the quote . . .

Troutgirl ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2003, 07:57 PM:

With all due respect for a nicely-written piece by someone who epitomises the virtues of humanism, I never know what to think about Eco's brand of peace-loving. OK, so "war should become a universal taboo" and "murder is an unacceptable crime" -- but under some circumstances, it's suddenly... if not OK, at least understandable? That just seems to beg the question of who decides what those circumstances are -- which is, I think, the question that troubles all of us.

So I appreciate his warm, avuncular tone but unfortunately I still don't buy the notion that nice comfy professors of semiotics in (I believe) Bologna -- who are not the targets of any terrorists, whether few or many -- are the right people to make life or death decisions for millions of other people who ARE the targets of terrorists. And while I admire the rhetorical skill by which he equates failing to agree with the European line to "trampling dissent", I don't actually see very much dissent-trampling happening in the US (as opposed to trampling on civil liberties, of which there's quite a bit). So thanks for the advice, Uncle Umberto! Always nice to read your stuff.

Alan Bostick Finds More Comment Spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2003, 11:14 AM:

What's the point of "Listening to Prozac" if Prozac just repeats itself over and over again?

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2003, 01:23 PM:

Maybe it's supposed to be soothing? A mantra of bland ego-boosting affirmations, subtly encouraging you to buy.

Or perhaps it's supposed to make everyone but Patrick feel inadequate? He's getting this continuous praise, and we who don't have our own blogs are such losers. We hate ourselves for being jealous (after all, the praise is so fatuous), which just depresses us more. Maybe Prozac could help?

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2003, 01:45 PM:

It would not surprise me if the antidepressant drug manufacturers turned out to be large Bush campaign contributors.