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Saturday, 27 October 2007

Reading for Life

For my next graduate class, I am going to assign, as required reading, a book I've never read.1 (via)

end of article
1 Whereas I don't want my undergraduates to know such a book even exists.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

U.S. Interest in the Middle East: World War III

I'm doing everything I can not to become a frothing pacifist, but it's hard in the face of the unilateral sanctions against Iran which will be announced today by the present administration. I don't have time or energy to distill my point into a post supported with lots of external links, support which at this point is unnecessary given the evidence.

By now, it should be obvious to all that United States interest in the Middle East has been primarily about establishing control over the political, cultural, and economic landscape of the Middle East. Many interests combine with this desire of the United States to control the production of Middle Eastern social, political, and material resources, including Israeli and Christian anti-Muslimism and a seemiingly broad international consensus regarding state-tolerated terrorist activity. Right now, I want to spit in Sarkozy's eye for doing a Blair, partially paving the way to the United States assertion that a war against Iran is necessary and inevitable. At least such sentiment may go some ways to helping French citizens to understand the problem faced by citizens of the United States.

George W. Bush only maintains power until January 2009 and my guess is that he will attempt to destabilize Iran and establish United States military presence there before he leaves office. To that end, he may authorize the use of stealth bombers equipped with Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) to begin that occupation. The United States military is spread thinly, but I don't think that will stop the current administration from trying to establish the conditions which would require the United States to invade Iran.

In which case, the metaphorical reference to World War III made by Bush in a 17 October 2007 news conference is a window into the soul of this administration. The United States has already declared World War III against the entire world, deciding among which of the world's nations can be found the axis of evil. From Asia to Argentina, all countries are under the purview of a United States that is out of control.

My impulse is to blame: Naderites, Christian fundamentalists, Greens, Al Gore, Antonin Scalia, Condoleeza Rice, you. I, too, am part of this United States war machine and I am angry about it. A part of me wishes the entire United States would blow itself up, starting with Athens, Ohio. We are collectively to blame for the atrocities committed in our name. There are only a few people calling for slowing United States military activity, but they are not speaking loudly enough. The champion of the self-satisfied overeducated left, Hillary Clinton, has made no secret of her own lust for war and I would gouge out my eyes before I support such a candidate given the present condition of World War.

The truth is there for everyone to see: the United States is an empire barely in control of itself, and there seems to be no one willing to challenge her.

I am horrified and pessimistic. I want the bloodshed to stop, even as I realize the United States seeks to increase its wealth and power by controlling the Middle East and that this is a goal shared by nearly all United States politicians. end of article

Friday, 19 October 2007


Violence is never the answer.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Humans vs. Zombies at Ohio University

I recently gave a presentation on zombies to Professor Tom Scanlan's UC 190 course, which is designed to introduce 1st-year English majors to the research areas and creative projects of Ohio University English Faculty.1 A former student of mine who now is an academic advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences told me about the game "Humans vs. Zombies" which sounds so much cooler than the game of Cloak and Dagger I played when I was in college.

Here is an excerpt provided by my ex-student which comes from the Humans vs. Zombies Ohio University Chapter's Facebook page to which I dont have access because I don't do Facebook.

October 25th is National Zombie Day. We shall start early on Oct. 23. On this day, college students around the world are encouraged to start a game of Humans Vs. Zombies and have it conclude on Halloween. Join this group to show the world you support National Zombie Day.

This is a weeklong game of humans vs zombies. Humans may defend themselves using Nerf-approved firearms, one hit kills zombies. Invite your friends and family, this is a zombie apocalypse free-for-all.

Zombies will try to infect all the humans. Humans must try to survive until Halloween.

There will be no attacks in class buildings, dorm rooms(halls are open for attack but not bathrooms), buses, buisnesses, etc. where the daily lives of innocents may be disrupted and dragged into our brutal power struggle. If the location is questionable then use common sense and hold off.

Bandanas will be used to mark participants. Zombies wear theirs on the head or neck, humans wear them on their arm. Humans MUST wear their bandanas in such a way they can be pulled off without much effort(knotted with a bow for instance). A zombie infects a human by stealing their bandana. Simple stuff. Random people will be selected who join the event to be the first zombies, we will send a message to you asking you if you want to be a zombie.

It starts Monday, Oct. 23 2007 at 12:00am It ends Tuesday, Oct. 31 2007 at 12:00am


1-Players in the game will wear a bandana to mark their status as a participant. Zombies will wear the bandana either around their neck, or around their head, above their ears. Humans will wear their bandana tied in a simple knot around either their left or right bicep

2-To infect a human, a zombie must pull the bandana from the arm of the targeted human. -NOTE: if the bandana does not come completely off during the attack, but the zombie has his or her fingers wrapped around the bandana and is firmly tugging on it, then that human is infected just as if the bandana had come completely off. This rule is to ensure the safety of all participants.

3-To disable a zombie, a human may do one of two things. He or she may shoot the zombie with a Nerf or off-brand weapon that fires some sort of foam projectile. Whether they are darts, arrows or balls is irrelevant so long as the projectile is made of foam. Alternatively, humans may use rolled up socks as makeshift grenades, and throw them at zombies. Getting hit 1 time by either type of projectile eliminates the zombie until the next respawn time.

4-Respawn Times: Disabled Zombies will respawn at certain times during the day. Zombies respawn at noon, and at midnight. Later on in the game that will be changed to hourly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. We will let all the zombies and humans know when this change will occur. Disabled zombies will remove their bandannas and are not to interfere with the actions of active players.

This rule is to make the daytime game suspenseful, but slightly easier for human survival, as would be the case during a real zombie outbreak. The night, however, should be extremely dangerous for humans because of the decreased visibility. The hourly respawn accounts for this.

5-There are no vampires! You're not a comedian.

6-Physical violence is absolutely prohibited. No tackling, kicking, punching, slapping, etc etc. There are no melee attacks for humans! Sock flails, Nerf bats and swords are prohibited.

7-Harming another player intentionally will result in an immediate expulsion from the game.

8-Public buildings, such as businesses and university buildings are off limits. -dorm rooms and bathrooms are also off limits but hallways and lobbies are included in the game, so long as the dorm is not under quiet hour status at that time.

9-The starting zombies will be selected secretly. If you don?t hear from an administrator, then you start as a human.

10-Above all, the point of the game is to have fun. So play safely and courteously. The game is played 24/7, so PLEASE wear your bandana and actively participate as much as possible.



This sounds like a lot of fun. end of article

1 If Keynote 4 (part of iWork '08) worked properly, I would offer a QuickTime version of that presentation here.

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