Excerpt from Manufacturing Consent 

The United States attacked South Vietnam, arguably by 1962 and unquestionably by 1965, expanding its aggression to all of Indochina with lethal and long-term effects. Media coverage or other commentary on these events that does not begin by recognizing these essential facts is mere apologetics for terrorism and murderous aggression. The United States was “defending South Vietnam” in the same sense in which the Soviet Union is “defending Afghanistan.”

In a revealing article entitled “Lessons of Running Viets’ War,” published in August 1987, Stanley Karnow, a veteran Asia correspondent and author of a highly regarded liberal history of the Vietnam War, argues that the United States erred in Vietnam because it allowed the Vietnamese people to depend too heavily on us. 47 Reciprocally, the South Vietnamese people also “allowed themselves to be lulled into a complacent sense of dependency on the United States,” thinking we wouldn’t back down, not realizing that small clients are expendable. The South Vietnamese people who fought the U.S. invasion are never mentioned, or considered to be “South Vietnamese” within Karnow’s patriotic frame, although they constituted the majority of the population and the only serious political force…

We cannot quite say that the propaganda model is verified in the case of the Indochina wars, since it fails to predict such extraordinary, far-reaching, and exceptionless subservience to the state propaganda system. The fact that this judgment is correct—as it plainly is—is startling enough. Even more revealing with regard to Western intellectual culture is that the simple facts cannot be perceived, and their import lies far beyond the bounds of the thinkable.

You can also read an excerpt from Manufacturing Consent about the Freedom of the Press here: https://chomsky.info/consent02/

Excerpt from Meat the Benign Extravagance

Only a few from what were many bullet points where Simon Farlie, author, described characteristics a low-carbon mixed (omnivorous and vegan) agriculture.

  • A highly reruralized society would see a revival of fairs, not unlike the growing number of festivals that embellish the modern English summer, but with stalls that purveyed the practical as well as the fanciful, and plenty of dealing in horses, livestock, cheese, and the like. ‘When fairs were frequent shops were not necessary,’ says Cobbett with characteristic hyperbole, and he goes on to explain:
    A manufacturer of shoes, of stockings, of hats, of almost anything that man wants, could manufacture at home in an obscure hamlet, with cheap house rent, good air, and plenty of room. He need pay no heavy rent for a shop; and no disadvantages from confined situation; and then by attending three or four or five or six fairs in a year, he sold the work of his hands, unloaded with a heavy expense attending the keeping of a shop. He would get more for ten shillings in a booth at a fair or market than he would get in a shop for twenty pounds.
    Anybody who doubts the ability of society entirely dependent upon animal traction to shift large volumes of material, or who thinks that country life before the motor vehicle must have been boring, should read Defoe’s description of Sturbridge fair, an event the size of Glastonbury Festival, but with no entrance fee or security fence, and lasting many days longer.
  • In some circumstances it might be more economic to employ a shepherd/cowherd to guard ruminants, rather than to fence them. This has advantages for animal welfare (disease is more readily spotted) and for land management (grazing of different areas can be calibrated by the shepherd, and overgrazed areas such as riverbanks avoided).
  • Some herd of ruminants would be returned to barns or folded on fields at night to supply manure.
  • There might be a return to the formerly widespread practice – still found in Eastern Europe – of family-owned dairy cows being collected by the community shepherd after milking in the morning and returned for milking in the evening after a day in common pastures. There are great advantages to this system: it uses economies of scale where they exist (in grazing and bull provision), but spreads the burden where scale is a disadvantage (in handmilking and veterinary care); it distributes milk to every family participating in the scheme; and gives every participating family a stake in the management of village lands, and the economic and emotional satisfaction of owning a cow. The same system was used on the Eastern coast of the United States, prior to the days of barbed wire. Defoe describes this system operating in Cheddar where ‘the whole village are cowkeepers’ and ‘before the village is a large green, or common, a piece of ground in which the whole herd of the cows, belonging to the town, do feed’. Milk not consumed at home was turned into a single huge cheese at the co-operative dairy (another operation where economies of scale are a great advantage); but families were paid, when they had contributed enough gallons, with a huge cheese weighing up to a hundredweight. which it was their responsibility to sell: “Thus every man has equal justice, and though he should have but one cow, he shall, in time, have one whole cheese’.

Old stuff new to me

I’m enjoying the Metadata coursera lectures. He’s pointed us to some interesting sites and information that I was surprised wasn’t on my radar.

First Monday

First Monday is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals on the Internet, solely devoted to the Internet. Since its start in May 1996, First Monday has published 1,381 papers in 218 issues; these papers were written by 1,888 different authors. First Monday is indexed in Communication Abstracts, Computer & Communications Security Abstracts, DoIS, eGranary Digital Library, INSPEC, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, LISA, PAIS, and other services.”

Library Thing

“LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for book lovers.

LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of books: books you own, books you’ve read, books you’d like to read, books you’ve lent out … whatever grouping you’d like.

Since everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. You can contribute tags, ratings and reviews for a book, and Common Knowledge (facts about a book or author, like character names and awards), as well as participate in member forums or join the Early Reviewers program. Everyone gets the benefit of everyone else’s work. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.”

“What is a document?”

Abstract: Ordinarily the word “document” denotes a textual record. Increasingly sophisticated attempts to provide access to the rapidly growing quantity of available documents raised questions about which should be considered a “document”. The answer is important for any definition of the scope of Information Science. Paul Otlet and others developed a functional view of “document” and discussed whether, for example, sculpture, museum objects, and live animals, could be considered “documents”. Suzanne Briet equated “document” with organized physical evidence. These ideas appear to resemble notions of “material culture” in cultural anthropology and “object-as-sign” in semiotics. Others, especially in the USA (e.g. Jesse Shera and Louis Shores) took a narrower view. New digital technology renews old questions and also old confusions between medium, message, and meaning.”

Exerpt from Dream of a Ridiculous Man

In old days I used to be miserable at seeming ridiculous.
Not seeming, but being. I have always been ridiculous, and
I have known it, perhaps, from the hour I was born. Perhaps
from the time I was seven years old I knew I was ridiculous.
Afterwards I went to school, studied at the university, and, do
you know, the more I learned, the more thoroughly I
understood that I was ridiculous. So that it seemed in the end
as though all the sciences I studied at the university existed
only to prove and make evident to me as I went more deeply
into them that I was ridiculous. It was the same with life as
it was with science. With every year the same consciousness
of the ridiculous figure I cut in every relation grew and
strengthened. Everyone always laughed at me. But not one
of them knew or guessed that if there were one man on earth
who knew better than anybody else that I was absurd, it was
myself, and what I resented most of all was that they did not
know that.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dream of a Ridiculous Man captures that uneasiness that sometimes manifests as feeling “weird”. The clumsy juxtaposition of what we are, think, and want and the surrounding context. In the story this character’s sensation of alienation gives way when he reposes into a vision rather than complete the act of taking his own life. In his vision he is fully embraced by innocents in a utopic world. The results of this embrace lead him to realize the sources of corruption and argue an evangelistic message of visualizing a loving and cooperative society.


Book Sale!

Every year SPSU has a $1 book sale to raise money for the library.  And every year I buy way too many books…
This year:
  • Writing for Multimedia and the Web by Timothy Garrand
  • Models of Teaching by Joyce and Weil
  • NextText: Making Connections Across and Beyond the Disciplines by Kress and Winkle
  • A Very Short, Fairly Interesting, Reasonably Cheapt Book about Qualitative Research by David Silverman
  • Rules for Writers by Diane Hacker
  • The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer by Doron Swade
  • The Poems, Prose, and Plays and of Alexander Pushkin
  • Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds
  • The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of its Greatest Inventors by Gribbin
  • Muhammad and the Quran by Rafiq Zakaria
  • Fuzzy Logic: Intelligence, Control, and Information by Yen and Langari
  • Life on Earth by David Attenbourough
  • Drugs and the Human Body: With Implications for Society by Ken Liska
  • The Collected Poems of John Donne
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini
  • An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding by Hume
  • Medieval Technology & Social Change
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Strategies for Creative Problem Solving by Fogler and LeBlanc

Some of them went on my desk at work, the rest will go to the home bookshelf.


And here is a reminder that you can always see what I’m reading by visiting my Goodreads profile!