Friday, April 9, 2010

P.W. Singer, Foreign Policy - Meet the Sims...and Shoot Them

The link between games and war goes all the way back to "boards" scratched onto the back of statues by Assyrian guards almost 3,000 years ago. Three millennia later, as the U.S. military recruits from, and is increasingly led by, a generation raised on Grand Theft Auto, real warfare is taking on the look and feel of a video game, from the aerial drones launching precision strikes at terrorists in remote hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the joystick-controlled robots defusing roadside explosives in Iraq. "The biggest change is that it's gone from being unique to being ubiquitous. It's everywhere now," Mark Sinclair, a staff vice president at military contractor General Dynamics, told a U.S. Navy journal.

Adam Hoschild, Mother Jones - Blood and Treasure
IN 1890, A BEARDED YOUNG POLISH SEAMAN made a trip up the Congo River as a steamboat officer and was appalled by the lust for riches he saw among his fellow Europeans. A decade later he finally got the experience onto paper. "A stream of manufactured goods, rubbishy cottons, beads and brass-wire" flowed into the interior, wrote Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, "and in return came a precious trickle of ivory...The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it."

Eli Saslow, The Washington Post - For a look outside the presidential bubble, Obama reads 10 personal letters each day
Obama read the 10 letters in the folder on Jan. 8, but he responded to only a few. He typically returns five to 15 letters each week, aides said, and he tends to write back most regularly to level-headed critics, military veterans and destitute Americans who maintain their optimism. He gravitates toward messages that "inspire," said Valerie Jarrett, his close friend and adviser, and prefers mail that provides a "counterbalance to business in Washington" and transports him someplace else.
After Obama read Cline's letter, he took out one of his custom-made notecards -- thick slabs of white paper cut to the size of postcards, with the presidential seal embossed at the top.

Donald Morrison, The Financial Times - The Dreyfuss Affair
Dreyfus’s ordeal was the first big test of a modern justice system, and it defined one of the central issues of democracy: should the rule of law be applied consistently, or are there cases in which it should be bent to fit a current crisis or pressing national concern? Even today, hardly a month passes without an alleged misstep of justice somewhere in the world being labelled a “new Dreyfus Affair”. 

Stan Grossfield, The Boston Globe - Cleaned-up Hitter
“I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to the ballpark, took some [amphetamines], took a pain pill, drank a cup of coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate and hit,’’ Carbo said.  The Sox were four outs from elimination against Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine in Game 6 when Carbo came off the bench to smash a three-run home run into the center-field bleachers, tying the score at 6-6. The blast set up Carlton Fisk’s arm-waving, 12th-inning walkoff home run for the ages.


homelesseus said...

Like a poem or collection of snapshots that point out the total moral bankruptcy of the nation, highlighting just what a critical moment it is for the country.

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