Monday, August 31, 2009

The drive home

To arrive at work and begin another week


Friday, August 28, 2009

A Mean Streak in the US Mainstream

The US tolerates more inequality, deprivation and suffering than is acceptable here

By Mary Dejevsky

August 25, 2009 The Independent

When we Europeans – the British included – contemplate the battles President Obama must fight to reform the US health system, our first response tends to be disbelief. How can it be that so obvious a social good as universal health insurance, so humane a solution to common vulnerability, is not sewn deep into the fabric of the United States? How can one of the biggest, richest and most advanced countries in the world tolerate a situation where, at any one time, one in six of the population has to pay for their treatment item by item, or resort to hospital casualty wards?

The second response, as automatic as the first, is to blame heartless and ignorant Republicans. To Europeans, a universal health system is so basic to a civilised society that only the loony right could possibly oppose it: the people who cling to their guns, picket abortion clinics (when they are not trying to shoot the abortionists) and block funding for birth control in the third world. All right, we are saying to ourselves, there are Americans who think like this, but they are out on an ideological limb.

If only this were true. The reason why Obama is finding health reform such a struggle – even though it was central to his election platform – is not because an extreme wing of the Republican Party, mobilised by media shock-jocks, is foaming at the mouth, or because Republicans have more money than Democrats to buy lobbying and advertising power. Nor is it only because so many influential groups, from insurance companies through doctors, have lucrative interests to defend – although this is a big part of it.

It is because very many Americans simply do not agree that it is a good idea. And they include not only mainstream Republicans, but Democrats, too. Indeed, Obama's chief problem in seeking to extend health cover to most Americans is not Republican opposition: he thrashed John McCain to win his presidential mandate; he has majorities in both Houses of Congress. If Democrats were solidly behind reform, victory would already be his.

The unpalatable fact for Europeans who incline to think that Americans are just like us is that Democrats are not solidly behind Obama on this issue. Even many in the party's mainstream must be wooed, cajoled and even – yes – frightened, if they are ever going to agree to change the status quo. Universal healthcare is an article of faith in the US only at what mainstream America would regard as the bleeding- heart liberal end of the spectrum.

As some of Obama's enemies warned through the campaign – and I mean warned, not promised – this is the philosophical terrain where, his voting record suggests, this President is most at home. But many more are not. The absence from the Senate of Edward Kennedy, through illness, and Hillary Clinton, elevated to the State Department, has left his pro-reform advocacy in the legislature sorely depleted.

But there is something else at work here, too, beyond defective advocacy, and it lays bare a profound misunderstanding. Europe hailed Obama's landslide election victory as evidence that America had reclaimed its better self, turned to the left and bade farewell to ingrained racial divisions as well. That was a benevolent, but ultimately idealistic, gloss.

Obama's victory can indeed be seen as a reaction to eight years of conservative Republicanism under George Bush and a turn by US voters to the left. But that left is still quite a bit further right than in most of Europe. Nor was it just a leftward turn that cost John McCain the White House; it was also a rejection of the weaker candidate. Obama's great asset was that he came across as more competent on the economy, at a time of global financial meltdown. From this side of the Atlantic, we convinced ourselves that Americans had voted with their hearts, but there was a considerable element of the wallet as well.

That wallet element helps explain the deep-seated misgivings that have surfaced about Obama's plans for health reform. A majority of Americans believe they have adequate health cover. Their choice of job may be limited by their insurance requirements (and labour mobility reduced). And their calculations may be upset – sometimes disastrously – by accident or illness.

But with most pensioners protected by the state system known as Medicare, an "I'm all right, Jack" attitude prevails. It coexists with the fear that extending the pool of the insured, to the poorer and more illness-prone, will raise premiums for the healthy and bring queuing, or rationing, of care – which is why stories about the NHS inspire such dread. The principle that no one should be penalised financially by illness is trumped by the self-interest of the majority, then rationalised by the argument that health is a matter of personal responsibility.

The point is that, when on "normal", the needle of the US barometer is not only quite a way to the political right of where it would be in Europe, but showing a very different atmospheric level, too. For there is a mean and merciless streak in mainstream US attitudes, which tolerates much more in the way of inequality, deprivation and suffering than is acceptable here, while incorporating a large and often sanctimonious quotient of blame.

This transatlantic difference goes far beyond the healthcare debate. Consider the give-no-quarter statements out of the US on the release of the Lockerbie bomber – or the continued application of the death penalty, or the fact that excessive violence is far more common a cause for censorship of US films in Europe than sex. Or even, in documents emerging from the CIA, a different tolerance threshold where torture and terrorism are concerned.

Some put the divergence down to the ideological rigidity that led Puritans and others to flee to America in the first place; others to the ruthless struggle for survival that marked the early settlement years and the conquest of the West. Still others see it as the price the US pays for its material success. What it means, though, is that if and when Obama gets some form of health reform through, it will reflect America's fears quite as much as its promise. And it is unlikely to be a national service that looks anything like ours.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Does Barack Obama Really Want in Afghanistan?

By William Pfaff

It would be a great service to the American nation if Barack Obama would tell us what he himself thinks the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are about. To capture Osama bin Laden? There have been eight years in which to capture bin Laden and it’s not been done yet, and there seems no reason to think that anything important would change if the thousands of Marines now scheduled for Afghanistan did capture him. What did it change to capture and execute Saddam Hussein in Iraq?

General Stanley McChyrstal says the Taliban are winning (he subsequently denied this). Does the president think he can have a military solution -- or a political solution? The latter is not impossible.

Is the war meant to defeat the Taliban? Why? What business is it of the United States to determine who runs Afghanistan, when the Afghan nation has absolutely no ability, interest, or capacity to do harm to the United States or to any of the NATO countries?

The Bush administration put Hamid Karzai into the Afghan presidency because he was a compliant figure Americans could work with. He was a Pathan, an Americanized Pathan, and Pathans are the majority ethnic in Afghanistan. As the U.S had worked with the hostile Northern Alliance, and other ethnically hostile warlords, to defeat the Taliban government, itself composed of Pathans, it seemed prudent to put one of them in charge. This was too clever by half. Washington should have left it to the Afghans to decide.

Washington manipulated the Loya Jirga (national assembly of regional and tribal leaders) called in June 2002, so as to put Karzai in office.

This was despite the will of the majority of the assembly to bring back the former royal family, and the ex-king, as non-partisan and traditionally legitimate influences in the country’s affairs.

By acting as it did, the Bush administration robbed Karzai of legitimacy, making him a foreign puppet. That, and his own inadequacies, are responsible for the weakness and corruption of his government, which may be fatal to it in the national elections scheduled to take place on August 20.

Moreover, since the Karzai government was set up in 2001, northern Pakistan has largely been purged of Pathans -- as well as of those Taliban religious fundamentalists inside the Pathan community who dominated the country until the Americans came, and who now are making their bid to return to power, despite the fact that the cruelty of their previous practices seem widely to have discredited them.

Carlo Cristofori, Secretary of the International Committee for Solidarity with the Afghan Resistance, says this purge has been an almost completely unreported aspect of the situation, and a dangerous one. (The Committee was set up by members of the European Parliament at the time of the Soviet invasion, in 1979.)

“It is sufficient to look at a map of the insurgency to see that it is practically the same as an ethnic map of the Pathan areas – including the Pathan areas of Pakistan. This is why throwing more military forces into the cauldron, and killing more Pathans [and American and NATO soldiers], is not the best solution – and is hardly a freedom and self-determination solution.”

President Barack Obama is likely to be influenced by a quite different report prepared for him by an interagency U.S. policy review earlier this year. The review’s chairman, Bruce Riedel, has just published in Washington’s National Interest magazine (July-August) what seems to this reader a near-hysterical analysis of the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation, warning of a Taliban conquest of nuclear-armed Pakistan that would pose “the most serious threat to the United States since the end of the cold war.” Hillary Clinton calls Pakistan “a mortal danger” to global security.

The coolest head in the regional policy debate since 2001 has been the University of Michigan historian, Juan Cole, who comments that what we are hearing now is “doomsday rhetoric about this region [which] is hardly new. It’s at least 100 years old.”

His view is the common-sense one that the struggle in Pakistan-Afghanistan is essentially over local matters of great import to the Pathans, and to their neighbors, and of very little consequence for anyone else -- least of all the NATO countries and the U.S. The warning that “if we don’t fight them there we will have to fight them at home,” as recently voiced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, can only be called a pathetic fantasy.

The advice of Carlos Cristofori is to convoke a new Loya Jirga as soon as possible, possibly including surviving members of the royal family (the king himself is dead), and within a republican rather than monarchical framework. Such a meeting is the traditional method for settling political issues among the ethnic communities of Afghanistan.

The Pathans have to be restored to their proportional weight in the meeting, and the U.S. and NATO must scrupulously avoid manipulating the affair, and firmly defend what the Afghans decide. Then there might be some hope that the foreign troops could go home, to leave the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan to work out their own fortunes, or misfortunes, as always in the past.

William Pfaff is the author of eight books on American foreign policy, international relations, and contemporary history, including books on utopian thought, romanticism and violence, nationalism, and the impact of the West on the non-Western world. His newspaper column, featured in The International Herald Tribune for more than a quarter-century, and his globally syndicated articles, have given him the widest international influence of any American commentator.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Come on Microsoft

Sort out 7a windows updates... the past few months there have been heaps and all you are doing that I can see is making using your product a pain in the arse.

I should turn auto update off cause you're not helping my delicate self

Computing FAIL

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who is Funding the Afghan Taliban?

You Don’t Want to Know

By Jean MacKenzie

KABUL — It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.

Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.

“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately.

It is almost impossible to determine how much the insurgents are spending, making it difficult to pinpoint the sources of the funds.

Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, former Taliban minister to Pakistan, was perhaps more than a bit disingenuous when he told GlobalPost that the militants were operating mostly on air.

“The Taliban does not have many expenses,” he said, smiling slightly. “They are barefoot and hungry, with no roof over their heads and a stone for their pillow.” As for weapons, he just shrugged. “Afghanistan is full of guns,” he said. “We have enough guns for years.”

The reality is quite different, of course. The militants recruit local fighters by paying for their services. They move about in their traditional 4×4s, they have to feed their troops, pay for transportation and medical treatment for the wounded, and, of course, they have to buy rockets, grenades and their beloved Kalashnikovs.

Up until quite recently, most experts thought that drug money accounted for the bulk of Taliban funding. But even here opinion was divided on actual amounts. Some reports gauged the total annual income at about $100 million, while others placed the figure as high as $300 million — still a small fraction of the $4 billion poppy industry.

Now administration officials have launched a search for Taliban sponsors. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a press conference in Islamabad last month that drugs accounted for less of a share of Taliban coffers than was previously thought.

“In the past there was a kind of feeling that the money all came from drugs in Afghanistan,” said Holbrooke, according to media reports. “That is simply not true.”

The new feeling is that less than half of the Taliban’s war chest comes from poppy, with a variety of sources, including private contributions from Persian Gulf states, accounting for much of the rest. Holbrooke told reporters that he would add a member of the Treasury Department to his staff to pursue the question of Taliban funding.

But perhaps U.S. officials need look no further than their own backyard.

Anecdotal evidence is mounting that the Taliban are taking a hefty portion of assistance money coming into Afghanistan from the outside.

This goes beyond mere protection money or extortion of “taxes” at the local level — very high-level negotiations take place between the Taliban and major contractors, according to sources close to the process.

A shadowy office in Kabul houses the Taliban contracts officer, who examines proposals and negotiates with organizational hierarchies for a percentage. He will not speak to, or even meet with, a journalist, but sources who have spoken with him and who have seen documents say that the process is quite professional.

The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.

If negotiations fall through, the project will come to harm — road workers may be attacked or killed, bridges may be blown up, engineers may be assassinated.

The degree of cooperation and coordination between the Taliban and aid workers is surprising, and would most likely make funders extremely uncomfortable.

One Afghan contractor, speaking privately, told friends of one project he was overseeing in the volatile south. The province cannot be mentioned, nor the particular project.

“I was building a bridge,” he said, one evening over drinks. “The local Taliban commander called and said ‘don’t build a bridge there, we’ll have to blow it up.’ I asked him to let me finish the bridge, collect the money — then they could blow it up whenever they wanted. We agreed, and I completed my project.”

In the south, no contract can be implemented without the Taliban taking a cut, sometimes at various steps along the way.

One contractor in the southern province of Helmand was negotiating with a local supplier for a large shipment of pipes. The pipes had to be brought in from Pakistan, so the supplier tacked on about 30 percent extra for the Taliban, to ensure that the pipes reached Lashkar Gah safely.

Once the pipes were given over to the contractor, he had to negotiate with the Taliban again to get the pipes out to the project site. This was added to the transportation costs.

“We assume that our people are paying off the Taliban,” said the foreign contractor in charge of the project.

In Farah province, local officials report that the Taliban are taking up to 40 percent of the money coming in for the National Solidarity Program, one of the country’s most successful community reconstruction projects, which has dispensed hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the country over the past six years.

Many Afghans see little wrong in the militants getting their fair share of foreign assistance.

“This is international money,” said one young Kabul resident. “They are not taking it from the people, they are taking it from their enemy.”

But in areas under Taliban control, the insurgents are extorting funds from the people as well.

In war-ravaged Helmand, where much of the province has been under Taliban control for the past two years, residents grumble about the tariffs.

“It’s a disaster,” said a 50-year-old resident of Marja district. “We have to give them two kilos of poppy paste per jerib during the harvest; then we have to give them ushr (an Islamic tax, amounting to one-tenth of the harvest) from our wheat. Then they insisted on zakat (an Islamic tithe). Now they have come up with something else: 12,000 Pakistani rupee (approximately $150) per household. And they won’t take even one rupee less.”

It all adds up, of course. But all things are relative: if the Taliban are able to raise and spend say $1 billion per year — the outside limit of what anyone has been able to predict — that accounts for what the United States is now spending on 10 days of the war to defeat them.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The House Song

Tracks you want so bad

I have this track on a cassette compilation North The Sound Of The Underground, which I must have brought in 1989.

Being a cassette it is virtually unplayable now - even if I had the means which I don't... so I have been hunting for the record/mp3 of this song and that album for many many years.

I got close once to getting a rip of the album by a dude on DJ History... but the fucker got banned mid happenings and disapppeared

Today whilst hunting online again I found this

Happy happy joy

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The seven terrors of the world

Rob Edwards
The Herald Scotland

The world is facing a series of interlinked crises which threatens billions of people and could cause the collapse of civilisation, according to an international report out this week.

Climate pollution, food shortages, diseases, wars, disasters, crime and the recession are all conspiring to ravage the globe and threaten the future of humanity, it warns. Democracy, human rights and press freedom are also suffering.

The report, called 2009 State Of The Future, has been compiled by the Millennium Project, an international think-tank based in Washington DC, and involved 2700 experts from 30 countries.

“Half the world appears vulnerable to social instability and violence,” the report says. “This is due to rising unemployment and decreasing food, water and energy supplies, coupled with the disruptions caused by global warming and mass migrations.”

The project has been backed by organisations including United Nations agencies, the Rockefeller Foundation, private companies and governments. It provides “invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society,” according to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The report’s bleakest warning is on the dangers of the climate chaos being caused by pollution. It also highlights the 15 wars taking place in the world. It further predicts there could be three billion people without access to adequate water by 2025.

“About half the people in the world are at risk of several endemic diseases,” it says. These include HIV/Aids, swine flu, drug-resistant superbugs and a string of new infections.

The global income from the proceeds of international crime is reckoned to be around $3 trillion.

“Democracy and freedom have declined for the third year in a row, and press freedoms declined for the seventh year in a row,” the report says. The global recession was caused by “too many greedy and deceitful decisions”, it argues, but there were now some signs that humanity was growing out of its “selfish, self-centred adolescence”.

1: Environment

The most serious danger is the pollution that is affecting the climate, the report says. Every day the world’s oceans absorb 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, increasing their acidity.

The number of dead zones – areas like La Jolla off the coast of San Diego, which have too little oxygen to support life – has doubled every decade since the 1960s.

The oceans are warming about 50% faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007, while the amount of ice flowing out of Greenland last summer was nearly three times more than the previous year. Summer ice in the Arctic could disappear by 2030, the report warns.

“Over 36 million hectares of primary forest are lost every year,” it says. “Human consumption is 30% larger than nature’s capacity to regenerate, and demand on the planet has more than doubled over the past 45 years.”

The strains these changes will put on the world include floods, droughts and storms.

“This important report puts climate change up there with the major economic, social and political challenges that the human race faces,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland. “Whether you are worried about food security, the threat of war or mass migration, climate change is going to make things worse.”

The Millennium Project report argues that combating climate change requires a 10-year programme by the US and China equivalent to the Apollo moon mission launched in 1961.

Other environmental problems are highlighted, including toxic waste dumping. About 70% of the world’s 50 million tonnes of annual electronic waste is dumped in developing countries in Asia and Africa, much of it illegally.

A quarter of all fish stocks are over-harvested, the report says, and 80% cannot withstand increased fishing.

2: Food and water

A global food crisis may be “inevitable”, the report warns, because of an obscure fungus called Ug99 which causes stem rust on plants. It is threatening to wipe out more than 80% of the world’s wheat crops, and it could take up to 12 years to develop resistant strains of wheat.

Food prices rose by 52% between 2007 and 2008, while the cost of fertiliser has nearly doubled in the past year. Meanwhile, 30%-40% of food production is lost in many poor countries because of a lack of adequate storage facilities.

Nearly a billion people are undernourished and hungry, while 700 million face water scarcity – this could hit three billion by 2025, the report warns. The world’s population is expected to grow from the current 6.8 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050 – and could reach 11 billion.

“Christian Aid’s partners in developing countries are already reporting that water is hard to find,” said Claire Aston, acting head of Christian Aid Scotland. “The idea that three billion people will be in this position as a result of climate change by 2030 is a frightening prospect.”

Water shortages are also being worsened by the growing global consumption of meat. The report predicts demand for meat may rise by 50% by 2025 and double by 2050.

3: Disease

About 17 million people – nine million of them young children – are killed by infectious diseases every year, according to the report.

Half of the world’s population is at risk from endemic diseases, with TB, malaria and HIV/Aids together causing more than 300 million illnesses and five million deaths a year.

The number of people living with HIV/Aids is estimated at between 30 million and 36 million, two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa.

The dangers from other diseases seem to be getting worse, too. Over the past 40 years, 39 infectious diseases have been discovered, and in the last five years more than 1100 epidemics have been verified. There are up to 20 new strains of “superbugs”, such as MRSA, that are difficult to counter, while three-quarters of emerging pathogens have the ability to jump species.

Old diseases such as cholera, yellow fever, plague, dengue fever, haemorrhagic fever and diphtheria are re-emerging, not to mention new strains, like the H1N1 swine flu virus.

“Massive urbanisation, increased encroachment on animal territory, and concentrated livestock production could trigger new pandemics,” the report cautions.

“Climate change is altering insect and disease patterns. Other problems may come from synthetic biology laboratories.”

4: Wars and disasters

More than two billion people have been affected by the world’s 35 wars and 2500 natural disasters over the last nine years, the report says. By mid-2009, there were 15 conflicts raging around the globe – one more than in 2008. Four wars were taking place in Africa, four in Asia, four in the Middle East, two in the Americas and one, against terrorism, internationally.

“A pending unknown is whether Iran and North Korea will trigger a nuclear arms race,” the report says. “Another more distant spectre, but possibly even a greater threat, is that of single individuals acting alone to create and deploy weapons of mass destruction.”

The Iraq war has left behind an environmental

catastrophe of 25 million land mines, hazardous waste, polluted water and depleted uranium contamination. “It will take centuries to restore the natural environment of Iraq,” said the country’s environment minister, Nermeen Othman.

The number and intensity of natural disasters is increasing, the report says. In 2008 there were a total of 354 disasters with an estimated 214 million victims, 80% of them in Asia.

Increasing climate chaos could exacerbate the damage wrought by natural disasters and see the number of people suffering grow to 375 million a year by 2015 and 660 million by 2030. Economic losses could reach $340 billion a year.

“The world has moved from a global threat once called the cold war, to what now should be considered the warming war,” said Afelee Pita, the UN ambassador from Tuvalu, a small, low-lying island in the Pacific Ocean.

The report also reveals the world recently escaped a potentially planet-ending event.

“In March 2009 an asteroid missed Earth by 77,000 kilometres,” it says. “If it had hit Earth, it would have wiped out all life on 800 square kilometres. No-one knew it was coming.”

5: crime

Organised crime is very big business, according to the Millennium Project report, with an income of $3 trillion a year. That’s twice as much as all the world’s military budgets combined.

This includes more than $1 trillion paid in bribes to corrupt officials, and maybe another $1 trillion from cybercrime thefts. Counter

feiting and piracy could bring in at least $300bn, the global drug trade $321bn, human trafficking $44bn and illegal weapons sales $10bn.

“Governments can be understood as a series of decision points, with some people in those points vulnerable to very large bribes,” the report says. “Decisions could be bought and sold like heroin, making democracy an illusion.”

Shockingly, there are reckoned to be between 14 million and 27 million people still being held in slavery, the vast majority of them in Asia. This is more than at the peak of the African slave trade.

The report argues that the world is beginning to wake up to the “enormity of the threat of transnational organised crime”. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has called on all states to develop a coherent strategy, but efforts are still piecemeal.

The 2009 G8 meeting of justice and home affairs ministers explored anti-crime strategies, and in June the US launched the International Organised Crime Intelligence and Operations Centre.

“Meanwhile, transnational organised crime continues to expand in the absence of a comprehensive, integrated global counter-strategy,” observes the report.

6: Human rights

Freedom and democracy are waning, the report reveals. They have declined for the third year in a row, with press freedoms worsening for the seventh year in a row.

In 2008, democracy declined in 34 countries, and only improved in 14. Just 17% of the world’s population lives in 70 countries with a free press, while 42% lives in 64 countries with no free press.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 14.4% of humanity enjoys full democracy, while 35% live under authoritarian regimes. “Democratic forces will have to work harder to make sure that the short-term reversals do not stop the longer-term trend of democratisation,” the report says.

Women account for more than 40% of the world’s workforce but earn less than 25% of the wages and own only 1% of the assets, it found.

“Many countries still have laws and cultures that deny women basic human rights,” the report states. “Gender equity is essential for the development of a healthy society and is one of the most effective ways to address all the other global challenges.”

The human rights organisation Amnesty International warns that the recession is having a “devastating impact” on the world’s poor, driving more and more people into poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

“The recession is also leading to repression of people who are desperate,” said Amnesty’s Scottish programme director, John Watson. “It is creating new tensions between governments and vulnerable people.”

7: Science and technology

The Millennium Report warns that, due to the staggering rate of technological advances, politicians and the public need a “global collective intelligence system” to track the effects of such rapid changes. Contingency plans need to be prepared by governments in case the speed of development has a “highly negative impact” on the human race.

Although advances in science and technology are increasing the chances of major breakthroughs in medicine, computing and biotechnology, these breakthroughs come with a health warning as we are unsure what the flipside may be. Some experts speculate that civilisation is heading for a “singularity”, the report says. This would mean that “technological change is so fast and significant that we today are incapable of conceiving what life might be like beyond the year 2025”.

The electronics company IBM has promised a computer capable of performing 20,000 trillion calculations per second by 2011 – just like Hal, above, from 2001: A Space Odyssey – roughly equivalent to the speed of the human brain.

On the upside, the boom in power generated by wind turbines and other renewable sources has been unprecedented. For the first time in 2008 the majority of the increase in electricity production in the US and the European Union came from renewable sources.

“Mobile phones, the internet, international trade, language translation and jet planes are giving birth to an interdependent humanity that can create and implement global strategies to improve the prospects for humanity.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Their Martyrs and Our Heroes

The way you imagine someone engaged in a suicide attack depends, not surprisingly, on which end of the attack you happen to be on -- in cultural, if not literal terms. In American films and pop culture, there were few acts more inexplicable or malevolent in the years of my childhood than those of Japan's kamikaze pilots (and, in a few cases, submariners), the state-organized suicide bombers of World War II who targeted the U.S. fleet with their weapons and their lives. Americans themselves were incapable of such kamikaze acts not because they didn't commit them, but because, when done by someone known to us in the name of a cause we cherish or to save us from being overrun by them, such acts were no longer unrecognizable. Under those circumstances, each represented a profound gift of life to those left behind.

In the desperate early days of 1942 in the Pacific, for instance, there were a number of reported cases in which American pilots tried to dive their planes into Japanese ships. According to Edward F. Murphy in Heroes of WWII, Captain Richard E. Fleming, the only recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for the Battle of Midway, was leading his dive bomber squadron in an attack on the disabled cruiser Mikuma when his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. It "rocked wildly... but... soon righted itself and continued down under control. At an altitude of only 350 feet, Fleming released his bomb. Then he followed it straight down to the Japanese carrier." His hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota, later named its airport in his honor.

In the same way, "Colin" became a popular first name for boys (including, evidently, Colin Powell) because of war hero Captain Colin P. Kelly, Jr., who was generally (if incorrectly) believed to have won the Medal of Honor for plunging his B-17 into the smokestack of the Japanese battleship Haruna -- he didn't -- in the first days of the Pacific war.

This sort of American heroism, as John Feffer, co-director of the website Foreign Policy in Focus and TomDispatch regular, indicates below, was highlighted in war films of those years. There was even a celluloid version of kamikaze sex. As film critic Jeanine Basinger wrote in The World War II Combat Film, nurse Veronica Lake, trapped by the Japanese on the Bataan peninsula in So Proudly We Hail (1943), "places a hand inside her blouse... and walks slowly toward the enemy in her combat fatigues. As she nears them, she takes off her helmet, and releases her long, very blonde hair over her shoulders. When they come near her in obvious delight, she pulls the pin on her grenade..." In fact, many war films of that time had a kamikaze feel to them, but as "we" were defending "home" and knew ourselves for the individuals we were, the act of diving a plane into a bridge or refusing to leave a platoon certain to be wiped out bore no relation to suicidal enemy acts.

To understand and deal with our world, it's often less than useful to look on the enemy, in our case today "the terrorist," as something other than human (whether super-human or sub-human) rather than as another one of those strange creatures like ourselves. But let Feffer take it from here. Tom

Our Suicide Bombers Thoughts on Western Jihad
By John Feffer

The actor Will Smith is no one's image of a suicide bomber. With his boyish face, he has often played comic roles. Even as the last man on earth in I Am Legend, he retains a wise-cracking, ironic demeanor. And yet, surrounded by a horde of hyperactive vampires at the end of that film, Smith clasps a live grenade to his chest and throws himself at the enemy in a final burst of heroic sacrifice.

Wait a second: surely that wasn't a suicide bombing. Will Smith wasn't reciting suras from the Koran. He wasn't sporting one of those rising sun headbands that the Japanese kamikaze wore for their suicide missions. He wasn't playing a religious fanatic or a political extremist. Will Smith was the hero of the film. So how could he be a suicide bomber? After all, he's one of us, isn't he?
As it happens, we have our suicide bombers too. "We" are the powerful, developed countries, the ones with an overriding concern for individual liberties and individual lives. "We" form a moral archipelago that encompasses the United States, Europe, Israel, present-day Japan, and occasionally Russia. Whether in real war stories or inspiring vignettes served up in fiction and movies, our lore is full of heroes who sacrifice themselves for motherland, democracy, or simply their band of brothers. Admittedly, these men weren't expecting 72 virgins in paradise and they didn't make film records of their last moments, but our suicidal heroes generally have received just as much praise and recognition as "their" martyrs.

The scholarly work on suicide bombers is large and growing. Most of these studies focus on why those other people do such terrible things, sometimes against their own compatriots but mainly against us. According to the popular view, Shiite or Tamil or Chechen suicide martyrs have a fundamentally different attitude toward life and death.

If, however, we have our own rich tradition of suicide bombers -- and our own unfortunate tendency to kill civilians in our military campaigns -- how different can these attitudes really be?
Western Jihad

In America's first war against Islam, we were the ones who introduced the use of suicide bombers. Indeed, the American seamen who perished in the incident were among the U.S. military's first missing in action.

It was September 4, 1804. The United States was at war with the Barbary pirates along the North African coast. The U.S. Navy was desperate to penetrate the enemy defenses. Commodore Edward Preble, who headed up the Third Mediterranean Squadron, chose an unusual stratagem: sending a booby-trapped U.S.S. Intrepid into the bay at Tripoli, one of the Barbary states of the Ottoman empire, to blow up as many of the enemy's ships as possible. U.S. sailors packed 10,000 pounds of gunpowder into the boat along with 150 shells.
When Lieutenant Richard Sommers, who commanded the vessel, addressed his crew on the eve of the mission, a midshipman recorded his words:

'No man need accompany him, who had not come to the resolution to blow himself up, rather than be captured; and that such was fully his own determination!' Three cheers was the only reply. The gallant crew rose, as a single man, with the resolution yielding up their lives, sooner than surrender to their enemies: while each stepped forth, and begged as a favor, that he might be permitted to apply the match!"

The crew of the boat then guided the Intrepid into the bay at night. So as not to be captured and lose so much valuable gunpowder to the enemy, they chose to blow themselves up with the boat. The explosion didn't do much damage -- at most, one Tripolitan ship went down -- but the crew was killed just as surely as the two men who plowed a ship piled high with explosives into the U.S.S. Cole in the Gulf of Aden nearly 200 years later.

Despite the failure of the mission, Preble received much praise for his strategies. "A few brave men have been sacrificed, but they could not have fallen in a better cause," opined a British navy commander. The Pope went further: "The American commander, with a small force and in a short space of time, has done more for the cause of Christianity than the most powerful nations of Christiandom have done for ages!"

Preble chose his tactic because his American forces were outgunned. It was a Hail Mary attempt to level the playing field. The bravery of his men and the reaction of his supporters could be easily transposed to the present day, when "fanatics" fighting against similar odds beg to sacrifice themselves for the cause of Islam and garner the praise of at least some of their religious leaders.

The blowing up of the Intrepid was not the only act of suicidal heroism in U.S. military history. We routinely celebrate the brave sacrifices of soldiers who knowingly give up their lives in order to save their unit or achieve a larger military mission. We commemorate the sacrifice of the defenders of the Alamo, who could have, after all, slunk away to save themselves and fight another day. The poetry of the Civil War is rich in the language of sacrifice. In Phoebe Cary's poem "Ready" from 1861, a black sailor, "no slavish soul had he," volunteers for certain death to push a boat to safety.

The heroic sacrifices of the twentieth century are, of course, commemorated in film. Today, you can buy several videos devoted to the "suicide missions" of American soldiers.

Our World War II propaganda films -- er, wartime entertainments -- often featured brave soldiers facing certain death. In Flying Tigers (1942), for example, pilot Woody Jason anticipates the Japanese kamikaze by several years by flying a plane into a bridge to prevent a cargo train from reaching the enemy. In Bataan (1943), Robert Taylor leads a crew of 13 men in what they know will be the suicidal defense of a critical position against the Japanese. With remarkable sangfroid, the soldiers keep up the fight as they are picked off one by one until only Taylor is left. The film ends with him manning a machine gun against wave upon wave of oncoming Japanese.
Our warrior culture continues to celebrate the heroism of these larger-than-life figures from World War II by taking real-life stories and turning them into Hollywood-style entertainments. For his series of "war stories" on Fox News, for instance, Oliver North narrates an episode on the Doolittle raid, an all-volunteer mission to bomb Tokyo shortly after Pearl Harbor. Since the bombers didn't have enough fuel to return to their bases, the 80 pilots committed to what they expected to be a suicide mission. Most of them survived, miraculously, but they had been prepared for the ultimate sacrifice -- and that is how they are billed today. "These are the men who restored the confidence of a shaken nation and changed the course of the Second World War," the promotional material for the episode rather grandly reports. Tokyo had the same hopes for its kamikaze pilots a few years later.

Why Suicide Missions?

America did not, of course, dream up suicide missions. They form a rich vein in the Western tradition. In the Bible, Samson sacrificed himself in bringing down the temple on the Philistine leadership, killing more through his death than he did during his life. The Spartans, at Thermopylae, faced down the Persians, knowing that the doomed effort would nevertheless delay the invading army long enough to give the Athenians time to prepare Greek defenses. In the first century AD in the Roman province of Judea, Jewish Zealots and Sicarians ("dagger men") launched suicide missions, mostly against Jewish moderates, to provoke an uprising against Roman rule.

Later, suicide missions played a key role in European history. "Books written in the post-9/11 period tend to place suicide bombings only in the context of Eastern history and limit them to the exotic rebels against modernism," writes Niccolo Caldararo in an essay on suicide bombers. "A study of the late 19th century and early 20th would provide a spate of examples of suicide bombers and assassins in the heart of Europe." These included various European nationalists, Russian anarchists, and other early practitioners of terrorism.

Given the plethora of suicide missions in the Western tradition, it should be difficult to argue that the tactic is unique to Islam or to fundamentalists. Yet some scholars enjoy constructing a restrictive genealogy for such missions that connects the Assassin sect (which went after the great sultan Saladin in the Levant in the twelfth century) to Muslim suicide guerrillas of the Philippines (first against the Spanish and then, in the early twentieth century, against Americans). They take this genealogy all the way up to more recent suicide campaigns by Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Islamic rebels in the Russian province of Chechnya. The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, who used suicide bombers in a profligate fashion, are ordinarily the only major non-Muslim outlier included in this series.

Uniting our suicide attackers and theirs, however, are the reasons behind the missions. Three salient common factors stand out. First, suicidal attacks, including suicide bombings, are a "weapon of the weak," designed to level the playing field. Second, they are usually used against an occupying force. And third, they are cheap and often brutally effective.

We commonly associate suicide missions with terrorists. But states and their armies, when outnumbered, will also launch such missions against their enemies, as Preble did against Tripoli or the Japanese attempted near the end of World War II. To make up for its technological disadvantages, the Iranian regime sent waves of young volunteers, some unarmed and some reportedly as young as nine years old, against the then-U.S.-backed Iraqi army in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

Non-state actors are even more prone to launch suicide missions against occupying forces. Remove the occupying force, as Robert Pape argues in his groundbreaking book on suicide bombers, Dying to Win, and the suicide missions disappear. It is not a stretch, then, to conclude that we, the occupiers (the United States, Russia, Israel), through our actions, have played a significant part in fomenting the very suicide missions that we now find so alien and incomprehensible in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

The archetypal modern suicide bomber first emerged in Lebanon in the early 1980s, a response to Israel's invasion and occupation of the country. "The Shiite suicide bomber," writes Mike Davis in his book on the history of the car bomb, Buda's Wagon, "was largely a Frankenstein monster of [Israeli Defense Minister] Ariel Sharon's deliberate creation." Not only did U.S. and Israeli occupation policies create the conditions that gave birth to these missions, but the United States even trained some of the perpetrators. The U.S. funded Pakistan's intelligence service to run a veritable insurgency training school that processed 35,000 foreign Muslims to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Charlie Wilson's War, the book and movie that celebrated U.S. assistance to the mujihadeen, could be subtitled: Suicide Bombers We Have Known and Funded.

Finally, the technique "works." Suicide bombers kill 12 times more people per incident than conventional terrorism, national security specialist Mohammed Hafez points out. The U.S. military has often publicized the "precision" of its airborne weaponry, of its "smart" bombs and missiles. But in truth, suicide bombers are the "smartest" bombers because they can zero in on their target in a way no missile can -- from close up -- and so make last-minute corrections for accuracy. In addition, by blasting themselves to smithereens, suicide bombers can't give away any information about their organization or its methods after the act, thus preserving the security of the group. You can't argue with success, however bloodstained it might be. Only when the tactic itself becomes less effective or counterproductive, does it recede into the background, as seems to be the case today among armed Palestinian groups.

Individual motives for becoming a suicide bomber or attacker have, when studied, proved to be surprisingly diverse. We tend to ascribe heroism to our soldiers when, against the odds, they sacrifice themselves for us, while we assume a glassy-eyed fanaticism on the part of those who go up against us. But close studies of suicide bombers suggest that they are generally not crazy, nor -- another popular explanation -- just acting out of abysmal poverty or economic desperation (though, as in the case of the sole surviving Mumbai suicide attacker put on trial in India recently, this seems to have been the motivation). "Not only do they generally not have economic problems, but most of the suicide bombers also do not have an emotional disturbance that prevents them from differentiating between reality and imagination," writes Anat Berko in her careful analysis of the topic, The Path to Paradise. Despite suggestions from Iraqi and U.S. officials that suicide bombers in Iraq have been coerced into participating in their missions, scholars have yet to record such cases.

Perhaps, however, this reflects a narrow understanding of coercion. After all, our soldiers are indoctrinated into a culture of heroic sacrifice just as are the suicide bombers of Hamas. The indoctrination doesn't always work: scores of U.S. soldiers go AWOL or join the peace movement just as some suicide bombers give up at the last minute. But the basic-training techniques of instilling the instinct to kill, the readiness to follow orders, and a willingness to sacrifice one's life are part of the warrior ethic everywhere.

Suicide missions are, then, a military technique that armies use when outmatched and that guerrilla movements use, especially in occupied countries, to achieve specific objectives. Those who volunteer for such missions, whether in Iraq today or on board the Intrepid in 1804, are usually placing a larger goal -- liberty, national self-determination, ethnic or religious survival -- above their own lives.

But wait: surely I'm not equating soldiers going on suicide missions against other soldiers with terrorists who blow up civilians in a public place. Indeed, these are two distinct categories. And yet much has happened in the history of modern warfare -- in which civilians have increasingly become the victims of combat -- to blur these distinctions.

Terror and Civilians

The conventional picture of today's suicide bomber is a young man or woman, usually of Arab extraction, who makes a video proclamation of faith, straps on a vest of high explosives, and detonates him or herself in a crowded pizzeria, bus, marketplace, mosque, or church. But we must expand this picture. The September 11th hijackers targeted high-profile locations, including a military target, the Pentagon. Hezbollah's suicidal truck driver destroyed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, a female Tamil suicide bomber, assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
Suicide bombers, in other words, have targeted civilians, military installations, non-military sites of great significance, and political leaders. In suicide attacks, Hezbollah, Tamil Tiger, and Chechen suicide bombers have generally focused on military and police targets: 88%, 71%, and 61% of the time, respectively. Hamas, on the other hand, has largely targeted civilians (74% of the time). Sometimes, in response to public opinion, such movements will shift focus -- and targets. After a 1996 attack killed 91 civilians and created a serious image problem, the Tamil Tigers deliberately began chosing military, police, and government targets for their suicide attacks. "We don't go after kids in Pizza Hut," one Tiger leader told researcher Mia Bloom, referring to a Hamas attack on a Sbarro outlet in Jerusalem that killed 15 civilians in 2001.
We have been conditioned into thinking of suicide bombers as targeting civilians and so putting themselves beyond the established conventions of war. As it happens, however, the nature of war has changed in our time. In the twentieth century, armies began to target civilians as a way of destroying the will of the population, and so bringing down the leadership of the enemy country. Japanese atrocities in China in the 1930s, the Nazi air war against Britain in World War II, Allied fire bombings of German and Japanese cities, the nuclear attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. carpet bombing in Cambodia and Laos, and the targeted assassinations of the Phoenix program during the Vietnam War, Russian depredations in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the tremendous civilian casualties during the Iraq War: all this has made the idea of conventional armies clashing in an area far from civilian life a quaint legacy of the past.

Terrorist attacks against civilians, particularly September 11th, prompted military historian Caleb Carr to back the Bush administration's declaration of a war against terror. "War can only be answered with war," he wrote in his best-selling The Lessons of Terror. "And it is incumbent on us to devise a style of war more imaginative, more decisive, and yet more humane than anything terrorists can contrive." This more imaginative, decisive, and humane style of war has, in fact, consisted of stepped-up aerial bombing, beefed-up Special Forces (to, in part, carry out targeted assassinations globally), and recently, the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones like the Predator and the Reaper, both in the American arsenal and in 24/7 use today over the Pakistani tribal borderlands. "Predators can become a modern army's answer to the suicide bomber," Carr wrote.

Carr's argument is revealing. As the U.S. military and Washington see it, the ideal use of Predator or Reaper drones, armed as they are with Hellfire missiles, is to pick off terrorist leaders; in other words, a mirror image of what that Tamil Tiger suicide bomber (who picked off the Indian prime minister) did somewhat more cost effectively. According to Carr, such a strategy with our robot planes is an effective and legitimate military tactic. In reality, though, such drone attacks regularly result in significant civilian casualties, usually referred to as "collateral damage." According to researcher Daniel Byman, the drones kill 10 civilians for every suspected militant. As Tom Engelhardt of writes, "In Pakistan, a war of machine assassins is visibly provoking terror (and terrorism), as well as anger and hatred among people who are by no means fundamentalists. It is part of a larger destabilization of the country."

So, the dichotomy between a "just war," or even simply a war of any sort, and the unjust, brutal targeting of civilians by terrorists has long been blurring, thanks to the constant civilian casualties that now result from conventional war-fighting and the narrow military targets of many terrorist organizations.

Moral Relativism?

We have our suicide bombers -- we call them heroes. We have our culture of indoctrination -- we call it basic training. We kill civilians -- we call it collateral damage.

Is this, then, the moral relativism that so outrages conservatives? Of course not. I've been drawing these comparisons not to excuse the actions of suicide bombers, but to point out the hypocrisy of our black-and-white depictions of our noble efforts and their barbarous acts, of our worthy goals and their despicable ends. We -- the inhabitants of an archipelago of supposedly enlightened warfare -- have been indoctrinated to view the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a legitimate military target and September 11th as a heinous crime against humanity. We have been trained to see acts like the attack in Tripoli as American heroism and the U.S.S. Cole attack as rank barbarism. Explosive vests are a sign of extremism; Predator missiles, of advanced sensibility.

It would be far better if we opened our eyes when it came to our own world and looked at what we were actually doing. Yes, "they" sometimes have dismaying cults of sacrifice and martyrdom, but we do too. And who is to say that ending occupation is any less noble than making the world free for democracy? Will Smith, in I Am Legend, was willing to sacrifice himself to end the occupation of vampires. We should realize that our soldiers in the countries we now occupy may look no less menacing and unintelligible than those obviously malevolent, science-fiction creatures. And the presence of our occupying soldiers sometimes inspires similar, Will Smith-like acts of desperation and, dare I say it, courage.

The fact is: Were we to end our occupation policies, we would go a long way toward eliminating "their" suicide bombers. But when and how will we end our own cult of martyrdom?

John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and writes its regular World Beat column. His past essays, including those for, can be read at his website. Kathryn Zickuhr contributed research assistance to this article.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shame on us

NZ to send SAS back to Afganistan

Not surprised by the Key govt's decision... but it doesn't exactly take a military mind to see this war is unwinable so why John why?

it is not a just fight, it is not our fight.

We cannot help the Afgani people by bombing them and occupying their land

We can't be the country we think we are by stupidly following the requests of our traditional allies... allies that deserve our condemnation for their actions, not our support.

Not overly impressed at Labour using this as a chance to politic - come on you lot sent them there first.

Our SAS are ellegedly real good at what they do... that means all of us Kiwis will have Afgani blood on our hands.

Oh well back to the reality tv it is

Do we want this here? Time for change

War Hero Tackles US Over Degrading Prison Conditions

Dumping grounds for drug addicts, the mentally ill and petty thieves exposed by Democrat senator

By Rupert Cornwell
August 09, 2009 The Independent

Few United States senators have a more unusual CV than Virginia's Jim Webb. He's a Democrat who was once a Republican and served as Navy Secretary under Ronald Reagan. He's a decorated Vietnam veteran and the highly successful author of Fields of Fire, which is said by many to be the best novel ever written about that war. When he made his senate bid in 2006, his Republican opponent ran adverts criticising some explicit sexy passages in other Webb works. Now he is embarked on perhaps his most improbable mission: the senior senator, from one of the toughest law-and-order states, wants to restore humanity, and proportionality, to the punishment of criminals.

All the focus, right now, is on reforming the US healthcare system. Think prisons, and you think Guantanamo Bay, and the bizarre debate over whether the transfer of its inmates to the mainland would see alleged Islamist terrorists burst out of fearsome maximum-security jails such as Florence, Colorado, and run amok across the Rockies.

When it comes to sending people to jail, America is the undisputed world champion. In 1970, a mere 200,000 people were behind bars. Last year, 2.3 million were held in federal, state and county prisons, more than 1 per cent of all adults in the US and five times the international average. Blacks, predictably, bear the brunt of this compulsion to incarcerate, accounting for 40 per cent of the prison population. This punishment industry gives work to more than two million, more even than the 1.7 million employed in higher education.

The establishments themselves hide behind bureaucratic euphemisms such as the phrase "Department of Corrections". In reality, US prisons are hideously overcrowded breeding grounds for crime, and dumping grounds for drug addicts and the mentally ill: "America's default mental health institutions", as one expert described them. Precious little "correcting" goes on. Of the 700,000 men and women who are released each year, two-thirds are back in jail within three years. As Webb puts it: "Either we are the most evil people on earth, or we're doing something wrong." You don't have to subscribe to the country's spiritually exalted view of itself to know which.

The vast majority of those behind bars pose no threat to society; most inmates in state prisons have been convicted of non-violent offences, mainly related to drugs or property. The colossal growth in prisoner numbers can be traced to the collapse of inner cities and the urban rioting of the late 1960s, the futile "war on drugs", an over-rigid parole system - and, of course, politicians' awareness that nothing wins elections like being tough on law and order.

Back in 1988, the elder George Bush used the infamous Willie Horton case to brand Michael Dukakis, his Democratic presidential opponent, soft on crime. In 1994, California became the first state to pass a "Three Strikes and You're Out" bill; within a year, 24 states had followed in an effort to target violent repeat offenders. Instead they led to nonsenses (upheld by the Supreme Court, no less) such as the sentencing of one recidivist to 25 years to life for stealing a bag of golf clubs. No less pernicious are the minimum-sentencing requirements imposed by many states, which force judges to send people to prison unnecessarily, or for too long.

And so a vicious cycle has set in, whereby the country locks up ever more people for ever less serious offences, at ever greater expense, with ever less resources for rehabilitation.

Common sense - with the help of a firm shove from economic reality - may finally be making a comeback and, as ever, California is setting the example. It's not that the place has gone soft on crime: the Golden State is still planning a new death row facility, even though no one has been executed there since 2006. It's simply that conditions in California's prisons have become untenable, with some operating at 300 per cent of capacity, where violence is endemic, and lockdowns are often the only practical means of keeping order.

Now a panel of federal judges has stepped in, ordering Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to come up with a plan by mid-September to cut the prison population by a quarter, or 40,000, over the next two years.

If Webb has his way, as California goes, so goes the nation. This spring, the Virginia senator introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. Assuming Congress passes the measure, a top-level body will be established to conduct a review of the US sentencing and prison system, in which nothing would be off-limits, even drug decriminalisation. Only when the commission has submitted its recommendations would lawmakers be in a position to act. And even then, they may not. America's prisons may be falling apart but many Congressmen will not dare suggest less means more in the fight against crime. Unless of course, you've got the bipartisan war-hero credentials of Jim Webb.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Skip the Happy Talk

This Depression is just beginning

Monday, August 03, 2009

Data is my king

One terrabyte hard drive brought

data re-organised

400 gig left

A terabyte is a SI-multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage and is equal to 1012 (1000000000000) bytes or 1000 gigabytes. The terabyte is abbreviated with the symbol TBA terabyte is a SI-multiple (see prefix tera) of the unit byte for digital information storage and is equal to 1012 (1000000000000) bytes or 1000 gigabytes. The terabyte is abbreviated with the symbol TB

The designation terabyte is rarely used to refer to the tebibyte, its binary prefix analogue, because only recent (since 2007) disk drives reach this capacity. Disk drive sizes are always designated in SI units by manufacturers. However, a possible confusion arises from a conflict between the long-standing tradition of using binary prefixes and base 2 for memory sizes, and the decimal (SI) standard adopted widely both within and outside of the computer industry. Standards organizations such as IEC, IEEE and ISO recommend to use the alternative term tebibyte to signify the traditional measure of 10244 bytes, or 1024 gibibytes, leading to the following definitions:

According to the SI standard usage, 1 terabyte (TB) equals 1000000000000bytes = 10004 or 1012 bytes.
Using the traditional binary interpretation, a terabyte is 1099511627776bytes = 10244 or 240 bytes = 1 tebibyte (TiB).
The capacities of computer storage devices are typically specified using their standard SI values, but many operating systems and applications report in binary-based values.

no extra floor space post data sort

Saturday, August 01, 2009