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Saturday, November 10, 2001
great clinton speech linked to in this metafilter thread. basically a rehash of this c-span one posted earlier, but still. transcript form!

he even hits the Recurring Theme :)

Ever since civilizations began, people have fought with their own inner demons over whether what we have in common is the most important thing about life, or whether our differences are the most important thing about life. That's what all this comes down to. I'm glad America is a lot more different than it was when I was your age. This is a much, much more interesting country. But what gives us the freedom to celebrate our differences is the certainty of our common humanity.

also btw quonsar makes a great google image search. so much good stuff. carey picks lacey pokey, hooray! i like transformer guy, optimus prime.

so awesome, e pluribus unum :)

Friday, November 9, 2001
you know when you think about something and then it happens? it's like moving your arm.

got matthew arnold and the silver crown! powell's didn't have the chronoliths or prometheus rising. maybe some other time :)

geegaw linked to the undiscovered country :) check out humanism. it rux!

"Learning therefore, . . . and not blind and dangerous experience, is the next and readiest way that must lead your children, first to wisdom, and then to worthiness" --Roger Ascham, The Schoolmaster

Thursday, November 8, 2001
the game of the world and worldometers! (via metafilter)

The core of this approach was a concern with the whole: the whole Earth, the entire history of the planet, all of humanity-both those living now and those yet to be born. His approach, as he would later codify it, was

• Comprehensive, starting from the whole system and working back to the special case, dealing with all facets of a problem, including the larger system the problem was a part of;
• Anticipatory, in that it sought to recognize the threats coming down the pike before they arrived full blown on an unsuspecting or ill-prepared society, as well as to deal with the way things were going to be when the solution was going to be implemented, not the way things were in the present;
• a design strategy, in contradistinction to a political, or let's pass-a-law-and-change-human-behavior approach, it sought to change the larger system of which the specific problem was a part;
• A science -based methodology that used the latest advances of science to benefit humanity.

His "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science" was at least as much a perspective on the problems of the world as it was a methodology for tackling those problems. When applied to contemporary problems, whether those of Fuller's day or the twenty-first century, it leads to strikingly fresh insights and solutions. It was also the perspective that led to the World Game.

and um, some extemporaneous thinking on the bOINGbOING message boards :) link

Lawrence Lessig's new book, "The Future of Ideas," reviewed on Salon today. I saw Lessig speak a couple weeks ago at the Internet Wayback Machine launch, and he's delivering the evening keynote tonight at the O'Reilly P2P conference. He's a way, way smart guy, and he is full of interesting, one-of-a-kind insights into the nature of civil liberties, law and policy online.

In "The Future of Ideas" Lessig argues that future prosperity is impossible without the freedom to innovate -- but that freedom is under attack by vested interests. Lessig's effort to bind innovation to prosperity is as big an idea, perhaps, as Adam Smith's rebuke to the mercantilists in "The Wealth of Nations." Although free-market capitalists look to Smith as their intellectual fountainhead, Smith was not battling the yet-to-be-born Karl Marx in the latter part of the 18th century. He took aim at those who believed that a nation's prosperity could be measured by the gold it acquired. Prosperity, Smith reasoned, was an ongoing process.
Lessig offers a similar insight about the information economy at the turn of the 21st century. Prosperity requires progress and progress requires innovation. But while some intellectual property theorists and the shareholders of Disney may favor the extension of intellectual property rights into the infinite future, the long-term impact of an economic system that piles high property rights, while burying the intellectual commons that makes progress possible, could be that all new forms of production grind to a halt.

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
le pacte des loups looks awesome (via lashtal) review by harvey s. karten

same with safar e ghandehar (via sensible erection) IMDb user comments

interestingly erik davis has also left a corpus behind of snakes & ladders including an eponymous essay and calling cthulhu of which he recently gave talk and audio/visual representation :)

and it seems wireless networks may be gaining steam through treatment by government agencies of communication infrastructure as utility addressed through (local) private/public partnership. nice!

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
hey, woke up this morning without remembering ever going to sleep. which was kind of weird because i wasn't really doing anything last night. like i boiled some spaghetti. and then i woke up...

i was reading diaspora over the weekend, tho. and i was thinking about finishing it last night. hmmm.

got the new P.O.D. album the other day (while in search of the strokes/immediate gratification, but no luck, sold out :) i was listening to it and was thinking i was liking it because i could have been really into it in another life or alternative universe or something. um.

just a heads up, enya is going to be on leno tonite and buffy is jumping the shark with a musical production number. kinda like daria i guess.

***
massive! (via slashdot)

"Massive is a tool for the creation of artificial ecologies. The way that it generally works is that you build agents that are able to communicate with their environment, basically using sight and sound analogs, and they choose motion capture cycles based on what it is they are trying to achieve — all based on the brains that have been built inside the tool," explained Labrie...

"This was a much better way of getting crowd behavior. What we get is realistic behavior from individuals, and when you put them all together, the way they interact looks realistic," explained Regelous. "Using Massive, we get guys who rush into battle, actually clash and take each other out in the hundreds of thousands. And what we are seeing is pretty realistic looking battle action, which I don’t think we would have achieved if we had taken a particle approach...

"What we’re doing is blending different motion capture cycles and adjusting the angles, all from the brain,” said Regelous. “And this is something that we can use, not just for terrain, but for aiming weapons, and grabbing objects. We can manipulate motion capture to get much more intelligent behaviors."

transims portland study reports! (via D-1 :)

A major TRANSIMS technical feature is that the identity of individual synthetic travelers is maintained throughout the entire simulation and analysis architecture. All synthetic travelers are generated as part of the development of a synthetic population for a specific metropolitan region using a variety of data sources including census, surveys, etc. Activity times and locations are computed for each individual. The intermodal route plans generated by Route Planner maintain individual identities, as does the microsimulation. The resulting simulation output can provide a detailed second-by-second history of every traveler over a 24-hour day. A variety of impact analyses can be conducted using these results. This approach produces a simple, consistent architecture—one that provides planners with deeper insight into the underlying, second-by-second dynamics of the traffic system under different local (e.g., traffic signals) and global (e.g., congestion) conditions...

In TRANSIMS, models are developed from a series of feedback loops between the TRANSIMS modules that changes the behavior of selected individuals in the synthetic population. The order in which the modules are called in one of these loops constitutes a meta-method. Each meta-method has an associated method that controls the changes made to the selected individuals in the synthetic population.

Monday, November 5, 2001
the montage art of winston smith (via zen calm ink)

alan moore's ideaspace illustrated by eddie campbell (via linkmachinego)

cinematic wolfenstein screens (via ars technica)

***
Iran's U.S.-Admiring Citizens Challenge
Intentions of Hard-Line Islamic Leaders

Youth Believe in Message of the Late Shah's Son;
Demonstrators Chant, 'We Love You, America!'

By HUGH POPE and PETER WALDMAN
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

TEHRAN, Iran -- With Western bombs raining down on fellow Muslims in neighboring Afghanistan, noisy mobs of Iranians have taken to the streets in recent weeks.

They aren't demonstrating against America, however. In one of the most extraordinary shifts in the geopolitical landscape since Sept. 11, ordinary Iranians have launched a challenge to their own hard-line Islamic regime.

The demonstrations, involving tens of thousands of men and women in several cities, all took place after World Cup-qualifying soccer matches. Instead of mere rallies for the national team, the gatherings have echoed with catcalls against the Islamic clerics who swept Shah Reza Pahlavi from power in 1979. On one such night, protesters could be heard chanting, "We love you, America!" After smashing banks, public telephones, street lighting and bus stops, hundreds were arrested.

Perhaps most striking, the man emerging as an important figurehead of the nascent rebellion is none other than the late shah's son, Reza Pahlavi. The 41-year-old former fighter pilot has spent most of his two-decade exile living in obscurity in Maryland. Long-forgotten in Iran, he literally materialized in many Iranian homes this year from thin air, over satellite-television broadcasts beamed in from Los Angeles. His agenda -- nonviolent civil disobedience, secular democracy, separation of mosque and state -- is tailor-made for Iran's restive youth, fed up with the constant harassment and petty intrusions of the militia.

"He says we need freedom. He says we'll be like Europe," says 17-year-old Afshin Sadeqi, one of the teenage multitudes in Tehran's streets last week. He'd never heard of Mr. Pahlavi until three weeks ago, when he saw him speaking on videotape. "We didn't know who he was," Mr. Sadeqi says. "But as soon as we heard him, we felt it was our own words that we couldn't say. He said them beautifully."

To be sure, the movement is in its infancy, and dissidents such as Mr. Pahlavi have no organizational base. Despite a reformist president, they face a ruthless foe in Iran's clerical rulers, who remain firmly entrenched in power. Prices for Iran's oil exports, its main money spigot, remain relatively high. Its relations with Europe are strong, and its borders are secure.

Still, for a regime that has staked its Islamic credentials on confronting the "Great Satan" America, the specter of a pro-U.S., pro-secular opposition arising among Iran's youth is a nightmare. The Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. by Islamic terrorists -- complete with horrific television images beamed around the world -- only made the clerics' position more uncomfortable.

The Iranian regime responded with typical ambivalence -- condemning the terrorists but saying that the United Nations, not the U.S., should lead any war on terrorism.

Yet the truth is that ordinary Iranians aren't much bothered by events in Afghanistan, even though Iran's hard-line media plays up civilian casualties. Iranians see themselves as quite different from Arabs. Most adhere to the Shia branch of Islam, which is hostile to the Sunni Islam of Gulf Arabs and the Afghan Taliban. After the terror attacks, some young Iranians joined spontaneous candlelight vigils for the U.S. victims, only to be chased away in at least one incident by baton-wielding police.

For all its promise, the birth of a people-power movement in Iran poses a quandary for the Bush administration. After severing relations with Tehran in 1979 over the seizure of the U.S. embassy and 52 Americans during the hostage crisis, the U.S. has edged closer to reconciling with the Islamic republic in recent years. As an oil executive in the 1990s, Vice President Dick Cheney, for one, argued for lifting economic sanctions against several energy-rich countries including Iran. President Bush has extended the sanctions, but, in recent weeks, diplomatic contacts between the two nations have grown particularly intense over the future of neighboring Afghanistan.

"There are some things happening here that might bear fruit over time," Secretary of State Colin Powell said of the recent U.S.-Iranian talks in an interview last week.

Publicly, the Islamic regime has tried to quash talk of a rapproachment. In a speech last Tuesday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, "We have reached the conclusion that not just relations, but any negotiation, with America is against the nation's interests." But in private, say European diplomats, Tehran is pursuing the warmest dialogue with the West in years. Iran has already agreed to help rescue any downed U.S. military personnel in its territory, and the U.S. is moving some relief supplies into Afghanistan from Iran.

This trend worries Iranian dissidents, who say improving relations at a time when antiregime protests are just gathering steam risks deflating spirits in the street. Mr. Pahlavi insists the U.S. shouldn't legitimize the clerics at a moment he sees as critical for democratic hopes in Iran.

"The people of Iran can use a much-needed boost of support from the free world," he said in a speech at Yale University last week. "They especially look to America as a beacon of hope, expecting her not to let them down by cutting a deal with the rulers of Iran for short-term gains."

Disaffection with the Islamic regime among Iran's huge population of young people has been building for years. It's partly due to the dismal economy. Four in 10 university graduates can't find jobs.

But there's a simpler reason for discontent: It's hard to be young in Iran. Public displays of Western pop culture are essentially forbidden. Lovers can hold hands in the park with the opposite sex but can't hug or kiss. Local militia can break up pick-up games of soccer, like any other street gathering or private party. Women can push their headscarves far back on their heads but can't take them off. Restrictions on pop-music lyrics mean that young antiestablishment songwriters have to take refuge in the subtle anticlericalism of medieval Persian poets.

Landslide elections to the presidency, twice, of moderate cleric Mohammad Khatami have only frustrated young people further. Expectations of reform have been dashed by the more powerful hard-liners, who have succeeded in muzzling a once-lively press, crippling domestic political opposition and shackling some of the country's most eminent Islamic scholars who oppose their ideology. Meanwhile, four years of President Khatami's public criticism of this intolerance have made many Iranians lose their fear of speaking out.

From his apartment high above Seven Pools Square in eastern Tehran, Abbas Havaji watched the crowds of young people swarm into the streets after Iran lost a World Cup-qualifier to Bahrain two weeks ago. National Iranian Television, known as NITV, a dissident satellite channel based in Los Angeles, had just reported an unfounded rumor that the regime ordered the Iranian team to throw the game and thus minimize street celebrations, which had challenged government control of the streets after previous wins. The crowd flowing from the lower-middle-class neighborhood around Seven Pools Square was mad.

The protesters' direct taunts of the clerical leadership were astonishing, particularly these: "We love you, America!" and "We love you, Reza Pahlavi!"

"Until a month ago, nobody knew who Reza Pahlavi was," says Mr. Havaji, a 38-year-old civil engineer. "We Iranians want to be players in the global village, and his [Westernized] character fits this picture very well. When he says we just want to be normal again, this touches everybody. Our society has decided to become a secular democracy."

Ten days later, thousands of Iranians again filled Seven Pools Square, this time to celebrate Iran's 3-0 soccer win over the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. Men and women cheered, threw fireworks and lobbed handmade stun grenades that exploded with a thunderclap of smoke and light. Riot police waited in side alleys with paddy wagons at the ready, apparently with orders not to interfere. In front of a mosque overlooking the square, unshaven men from a pro-regime militia held back. Jubilant boys mocked the Islamic revolutionary fashion with hairdos carefully gelled and coifed in Western styles. Girls let scarves slip nearly off their heads. Groups of male students formed lines to stage manic dances.

"This is to get rid of the mullahs. We really hate them," shouted one woman, who declined to give her name, as her daughter and two irreverent teenage girlfriends blew long plastic bugles and lit firecrackers.

Not all of the demonstrators are angling for a return of the Shah's son. Tahmineh Sajedi, a 36-year-old businesswoman, who remembers mixing Molotov cocktails at the age of 13 in her father's kitchen for the 1979 Islamic revolution, is skeptical of Mr. Pahlavi's intentions. "We want internal reform. We don't want to waste 10 more years with another revolution," she says. "Reza Pahlavi talks about democratic change but never apologizes for what his father did."

In fact, Mr. Pahlavi has worked to distance himself from his father, who died of cancer in Egypt in 1980, after a humiliating 16-month odyssey that included stops in Mexico, Morocco, Panama, the Bahamas and the U.S. Few countries at the time wanted to risk the Iranian rulers' ire by taking him in.

Mr. Pahlavi's studied Persian has become a staple on the dissident airwaves, particularly since Sept. 11. A 19-year-old fighter pilot when his father was driven into exile, the son studied political science at the University of Southern California and lived in Egypt and Morocco before settling down in Potomac, Md. He's writing a book expected out this autumn about the situation in Iran. His wife, Yasmine Edemad Amini, works as a lawyer for battered women in Washington and heads a foundation benefiting children in Iran.

His home base allowed Mr. Pahlavi to meet with several U.S. lawmakers and otherwise keep his cause alive. Still, he fell off the map politically, until, sensing a shift in the wind early this year, he launched his democracy campaign. He has so far disavowed the goal of becoming shah himself, saying that's up to the Iranian people to decide in a future referendum on the sort of government they want.

Mr. Pahlavi has carefully crafted his appeal to Iranian youth, by far the country's most dynamic political force. His comments are laced with references to their frustration, which he seems to have adroitly adopted as his own.

He told the audience at Yale last week, for example, that, "The message from [Iran's] 50 million young is that an investment in the people of Iran and their rightful struggle for secularism and popular sovereignty is the best guarantee against continued regional instability and radicalism emanating from Tehran."

Likewise, Mr. Pahlavi has championed women's rights, long regarded inside and outside Iran as the Islamic regime's Achilles' heel. When asked about women's rights by a caller from Iran in a recent two-hour interview on satellite TV, he said, "Women's rights are human rights ... Under the clerics, however, the Iranian women have suffered the most by having been subject to the most humiliating social restrictions and laws."

U.S. officials deny Iranian accusations that satellite transmissions are part of an American effort to undermine the Islamist regime. They also say the U.S. government has had no official contact with Mr. Pahlavi.

It's easy to understand the Iranian government's skepticism. Iranian history is littered with foreign plots, as in 1953, when the U.S. and British intelligence agencies conspired to oust a nationalist prime minister and consolidate Reza Pahlavi's father's hold on the Peacock Throne. But it is often forgotten that the 1953 coup would have been impossible without widespread support for the shah by the Iranian public.

And for now at least, because of the regime's systematic annihilation of its domestic opponents, Mr. Pahlavi has an open field.

"The situation is drastic; people are simply boiling up," he says in a telephone interview from Maryland. "All I'm doing is voicing the voice of frustration for their unalienable rights."

Write to Hugh Pope at hugh.pope@wsj.com and Peter Waldman at peter.waldman@wsj.com

Friday, November 2, 2001
six things

Thursday, November 1, 2001
made some purchases last night:

i was also thinking about getting cosmonaut keep (i'm a sucker for cover art) but i thought i'd already gotten one hardcover and needn't splurge.

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