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some other data for safekeeping #1

Feb. 17th, 2016 | 12:27 pm

This place may very likely turn into nothing more than my "excerpt granary." But I'm sure I can find some argument for the utility of such a granary...

There is still a propensity to forget the enormous scope of primitive warfare. The following just serves as my own reminder. Lawrence H. Keeley wrote War Before Civilization, and the samples that Wade cites certainly pique my interest. Unfortunately I doubt I will have the time to read it (in light of all other goals/objectives).

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My only point of criticism is Keeley's use of the terms including means of production, shelter, and property. I think that kind of terminology forces an interpretive paradigm that just doesn't suit the time period. Those terms he uses are really a "farmer's" terms (Since farming requires an actual and significant investment in property, shelter, etc.). Do--or could-- those terms also make sense in the hunter-gatherer-cultivator world?

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last glacial maximum

Jul. 22nd, 2015 | 09:29 pm

This is little more than a “data dump.” I already knew about this, but Mithen does the best coverage (that is, of the little I have read) of a topic I think about on-again, off-again.

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Janicki Omniprocessor

Jan. 30th, 2015 | 10:16 pm

I thought this was just awesome.



These machines can be built inexpensively, though they would require a kind of construction "schedule" to maximize economies of scale. If this can be done, why hasn't the whole damn society jumped at the opportunity? Which leads me to a more useful question: if tons of very cheap (construction, property, labor, and externalities) energy were basically handed out to society, would we embrace it, or merely reject the possibility?

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what country is this?

Aug. 14th, 2014 | 07:39 pm

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

Well, I'm concerned.
Concerned because military ordnance is transferring to police departments around the country. I have mental images of grenadiers patrolling the bread-lines on cold winter days.
Ideas about Second Amendment rights are moot when there's an MRAP rolling down your boulevard.

Madison, James. "The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787." The Constitution Society 31 Oct 2013: n. pag. Web. 14 Aug 2014.

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important definitions, pt. 2

Aug. 10th, 2014 | 05:03 pm

just war theory, a set of conditions justifying the resort to war (jus ad bellum) and prescribing how war may permissibly be conducted (jus in bello). The theory is a Western approach to the moral assessment of war that grew out of the Christian tradition beginning with Augustine, later taking both religious and secular (including legalist) forms.
Proposed conditions for a just war vary in both number and interpretation. Accounts of jus ad bellum typically require: (1) just cause: an actual or imminent wrong against the state, usually a violation of rights, but sometimes provided by the need to protect innocents, defend human rights, or safeguard the way of life of one's own or other peoples; (2) competent authority: limiting the undertaking of war to a state's legitimate rulers; (3) right intention: aiming only at peace and the ends of the just cause (and not war's attendant suffering, death, and destruction); (4) proportionality: ensuring that anticipated good not be outweighed by bad; (5) last resort: exhausting peaceful alternatives before going to war; and (6) probability of success: a reasonable prospect that war will succeed. Jus in bello requires: (7) proportionality: ensuring that the means used in war befit the ends of the just cause and that their resultant good and bad, when individuated, be proportionate in the sense of (4); and (8) discrimination: prohibiting the killing of noncombatants and/or innocents. Sometimes conditions (4), (5), and (6) are included in (1). The conditions are usually considered individually necessary and jointly sufficient for a fully just war. But sometimes strength of just cause is taken to offset some lack of proportion in means, and sometimes absence of right intention is taken to render a war evil though not necessarily unjust. Most just war theorists take jus ad bellum to warrant only defensive wars. But some follow earlier literature and allow for just offensive wars.
Early theorists deal primarily with jus ad bellum, later writers with both jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Recent writers stress jus in bello, with with particular attention to deterrence: the attempt, by instilling fear of retaliation, to induce an adversary to refrain from attack. Some believe that even though large-scale use of nuclear weapons would violate requirements of proportionality and discrimination, the threatened use of such weapons can maintain peace, and hence justify a system of nuclear deterrence.


"Just War Theory." The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. 2nd ed. 1999. Print.

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etiquette rule #37 subgroup C

Jul. 30th, 2014 | 05:06 pm

With the exception of an emergency, do not yell shit at pedestrians while operating your vehicle.

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seven billion?

Jul. 14th, 2014 | 09:15 pm

Dennis Kelleher's comment on the Justice Department's $7 billion civil resolution with CitiGroup over Great Recession securities fraud seems judicious: "That amount is meaningless without the disclosure of the key information about how many hundreds of billions of dollars CitiGroup made, how many tens of billions investors lost, how many billions in bonuses were pocketed, which executives were involved, what positions they now have with the bank?"


In other news, we've been seeing a lot of serious problems regarding political sovereignty in Eurasia... right? Some formulations on why all that's happening might be helpful.

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(no subject)

Jul. 13th, 2014 | 10:47 pm

I'm interested in this idea that Napoleon Dynamite is a noble savage narrative. Napoleon does not belong to the early 1990s small town in which he operates. He simply has no cognizance of the laws of conformity and competition that regulate the lives of his fellow high school students. His innate goodness--or coolness-- is brought into focus, and percolates, because he is outside of "the system." Napoleon represents the alternative to the (incredibly depressing) narrative world in which he plays. He is a stereotype (an absolute nerd), and yet his narrative world changes and expands because of his actions.

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(no subject)

Jul. 2nd, 2014 | 01:00 pm

If the people make the rules for the government, who will make the rules for the people? Nature...

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important definitions, pt. 1

Feb. 27th, 2014 | 03:17 pm

"Culture has been defined in a number of ways, but most simply, as the learned and shared behavior of a community of interacting human beings."

I deem it important, because I have been searching for a definition that casts a wide net (the standard dictionary definition is too disparate and recursive). On this basis, the Oldowan Industrial Complex and Invisible Man scholarship are both culture. This definition has taught me something.

N.B. What puzzles me is that I have found the definition using the internet. Several articles cite this definition, and refer to the authors and title. But in my search for the original book or article (using Google Books, public university libraries, WorldCat, etc.), I have only been able to find a single periodical reference, which I cannot borrow from any library. I can only synthesize the information I do have:

Useem, John, and R. Useem. "Men in the middle of the third culture : the roles of American and non-western people in cross-cultural administration." Human Organizations 22.3 (1963): 169-179.

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