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Feb 14, 2007

Prediction: Iran will be in a civil war at least as intense as the Palestinian and Iraqi civil wars by the end of this year.

Physical Evidence: A significant car bombing and the inevitable failure of centralized economies, with all that implies (and that implies a lot).

I freely grant that's not a lot to go on, although it is telling that we've heard about these things. The real reason I make this prediction is cultural: The entire culture has been built on the premise that if you have a grievance, it's acceptable to bomb people. No, it's beyond acceptable.... it's your moral imperative to bomb them.

This trigger-happy attitude was "designed" to be pointed at the West and other external enemies, but "the proper way to resolve conflicts" is not something that can be so carefully "pointed", especially in a tribal society where anybody not in your tribe can become "external" in a single poorly-chosen word or slightly disrespectful act. Once tensions get to the sparking point, Iranian culture will have little or no capability to contain the resulting fire, until it burns itself out.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

I'm a little more optimistic than Glenn Reynolds that letting Iran fester in its own pus is a deliberate strategy by the Bush Administration; it borders on the inconceivable that nobody is paying any attention to Iran. Based on my incomplete knowledge, and taking into account the political climate in this country, it is the plan I'd favor, perhaps with some small, but carefully chosen covert ops to help things along. Iranian culture is brittle right now, and anybody with eyes in the year 2007 can tell how well centralized-authority economies work.


Would police officers be happy having that fact tatooed across their foreheads? "Police Officer" in big letters. Leave space so "retired", "dismissed", "ex-" or "disciplined" can be added later.

Would that be acceptable?

Of course not. It might make certain social situations... uncomfortable. It might mean they find it harder to get jobs. It might mean they're open to being attacked on the streets...

So why is it acceptable to publish personal information about everyone else? - katie on ID cards


Permalink
Feb 08, 2007

Apparently, mentioning the word "Superbowl" on my website means I get spam asking me to add my website to a list of sports sites. On the strength of that one word.

("What's the deal with people still 'asking' you if they can link to your site?" he asked rhetorically.)


Permalink
Feb 07, 2007

You should read The Psychology of Security. It has nothing to do with programming or computers.

As I post this, I'm still reading it. I recommend it before finishing because it's just that good.

It might be interesting to have a discussion about practical techniques for mitigating fallacious risk assessments in real life. One I've noticed w.r.t. Prospect Theory is that if I have two choices, one phrased in terms of loss, and another in terms of gain, I try to convert them both into the same domain (both loss or both gain); I never would have explained it as the essay did, but my reasoning is definitely covered by the prospect theory discussion. For example, putting something on sale is not a "savings". Buying something on sale is a lesser cost than buying it not on sale, but at no point do you "gain" or "save" anything.


Permalink
Feb 04, 2007

And the winner of this year's Superbowl is... the rain.


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