March 14th, 2007



This article about experiments in retrocausality -- seeing a decision that happened in the future in time to change it -- is pretty fascinating, especially when they suggest that the fine balance necessary for life in the universe could exist because we created / influenced it. 

I think, therefore I will be?! Life is its own imperative?

Deep stuff, but if you ask me, exploring how humanity could potentially alter the past to make humanity possible... well, it sounds like we're just asking for a whole lot of very important work which we might not be particularly good at. 

It's a bit like pulling back the curtain on God's workroom, only to have him grab his trenchcoat, pop out to the pub, and tell us to hold the fort while he's gone...

An uneasy peace in Sadr City.

Interesting article here on just how messed up things are in Sadr City, and how hard it will be for the U.S. to succeed:

Streets in some parts of Sadr City run black with sludge. Damaged power lines provide at best only four hours of electricity a day.

Many U.S. soldiers were unprepared for what they found. During a patrol last week, American troops brushed flies from their faces as they drove through rotting heaps of refuse and excrement piled outside houses. One soldier opened the door to his Humvee and vomited.

For now, the atmosphere in the neighborhood is not openly hostile. Posters of al-Sadr, who led two uprisings against coalition forces in 2004, no longer appear on billboards and walls. Even some of the anti-American graffiti spray-painted on buildings had been covered.

In recent days, Iraqi interpreters who work with the Americans have been threatened by residents who call them "snitches" and "traitors." Children who last week flocked to soldiers hoping for candy now shout profanities as they pass.

U.S. soldiers worry that unless things improve _ and soon _ the people of Sadr City will quickly tire of the foreigners' presence.

"There are a lot of days when I'm like, 'It's going to take a miracle to make this work,'" said 1st Lt. Jacob Czekanski of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment as he stared at a soccer field surrounded by trash. "We will always be viewed as outsiders here."

"There's an appearance of peace here," said Maj. Joe West, who trains Iraqi police in Sadr City. "But living in peace with Tony Soprano isn't peaceful at all."

And also...

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims, beating their chests in mourning, accompanied 17 coffins through Baghdad's main Shiite Muslim district yesterday, demanding that militiamen be allowed to protect them after a wave of attacks blamed on Sunni Arab insurgents.

Iraqi officials have reported a slight drop in recent weeks in the number of execution-style killings that are a signature of the Mahdi army. But some of the Shiite mourners at yesterday's funeral complained that the decision to rein in the militia has left them exposed to Sunni Arab militants aiming to intensify the country's civil war. "Despite the heavy security presence in Baghdad, we are seeing the terror and bombings escalate and more innocents being killed," said one man, who identified himself by a traditional nickname, Abu Fatima Sadi. "When the Mahdi Army was providing protection, there were no violations."

Hm. So, how much do any of you want to bet that Sadr's people are still there, albeit more covertly, and that some of them could be using funerals and protests as a way of changing public opinion?

The U.S. can't even make a few hundred thousand people from New Orleans happy, so we're suddenly going to make millions of Sh'ia happy and secure in short order? Not likely.

Something tells me that first will come Sh'ia deaths and protests, followed by intimidation of Iraqis working for the U.S., reconstruction projects that don't really take off fast enough, increased anti-U.S. propaganda,.. and then we'll start seeing those posters of Sadr going back up, in a flurry of "spontaneous public support".

Tellme who's your daddy...

Apparently Microsoft is, acquiring the search-via-voice recognition company for a billion dollars, mas o menos. 

(Does it really matter how much Microsoft pays for anything anymore? It's all monopoly money anyway. So they gave away a few million MSFT shares... who cares?! They can always print more!)

...and the venture capitalists rejoiced! (They haven't had much to celebrate lately, during Bush's "strong recovery". VCs are doing worse than at the depths of the dotcom crash! Maybe it's just me, but I thought the economy was supposed to grow or something. My bad.)

Congratuations, Microsoft. Soon, your operating system will not only be able to tell its users to go to hell, but will also be able to tell them how to get there

And so, the juggernaut rolls on...