Sunday cat pix
We returned last week. The suitcase still hasn’t been unpacked.
Sunday cat pix
People scoff at armchair philosophers. But what’s so bad about armchairs?
Hey, let’s be a pundit!
In the US, this is considered sophisticated foreign policy analysis: “Hezbollah and Iran are like a couple of rich college students who rented Lebanon for the summer, as if it were a beach house. ‘C’mon, let’s smash up the place,’ they said to themselves. ‘Who cares? Dad will pay!’ The only thing Nasrallah didn’t say to Lebanese was, ‘Hey, keep the change.’
Thomas Friedman counts as an authority. We’ll call him the founder of the Frat-Boy School in international relations. Our president is a member too.
Friedman’s analogy is not only crude and unhelpful, it doesn’t make much sense. The rest of the column argues in effect that Iran doesn’t mind if Lebanon is bombed because high oil prices have given Iran the funds to pay for repairs. So Iran isn’t one of the students, Iran is Daddy. Or no, Iran’s citizens are Daddy. Or no, wait, oil-consumers are Daddy. We’re Daddy. — Oh well. Why bother to make an analogy work when you can always jump to another?
When oil prices get high enough, they can even buy a monthlong war in Lebanon. Why not? It's like a summer sale: “Now, this summer only: 34 cents-a-gallon gasoline and a war with the Jews and new living room furniture for Lebanese Shiites! Such a deal!”
This is a bizarre extension of the attempt by many commentators, including our President, to attribute agency in the war entirely to Hezbollah. Apparently the rich college students (Hezbollah and Iran, in case you forgot) wanted Israel to attack Lebanon for a month. O those bloodthirsty Arabs! (Iranians are Arabs in this context.) So unlike us.
Source: Thomas Friedman, “Hezbollah, Iran having fun on daddy’s dime”, New York Times 18 Aug 2006 (requires registration); also at The Argus 19 Aug 2006.
Sunday cat pix
Josie, intently garden-gazing, ignores the caudal acrobatics of her feline colleague.
X-Rays for everybody
A hundred years ago, X-rays were supposed to be good for all sorts of things. Now we know better. In The X-ray Century, Perry Sprawls and Jack E. Petersen reproduce a series of reports on the discoveries of Roentgen and others in 1896 (start with the last page and work backwards). They include a summary of Edward Trevert’s Something about X-rays for Everybody, published in 1896.
Trevert’s full name was Edward Trevert Bubier. He wrote popular books on electricity and radio, including the Electro-therapeutic handbook, with full directions for home treatment of nearly all diseases that can be cured or relieved by the application of electricity (New York: Manhattan Electrical Supply Co., 1900) and The ABC of wireless telegraphy, a plain treatise on Hertzian wave signalling (Lynn, Mass.: Bubier Publishing, 1906).
Trevert’s work was reprinted by Medical Physics Publishing in 1988. The reprint is no longer available but second-hand copies can be found at Amazon and ABE.