Thursday, September 24th, 2020
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Sunday, September 20th, 2020
Obvious yes but still worth a quick read: the people likely to benefit most from Israeli-Gulf relations are Arab Israelis.
In due time, they stand to serve as excellent mediators for any further economic and tourism ties between the UAE and Israel.
Friday, September 18th, 2020
“Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendant of a common ancestor…” — Let us savor the text of the Treaty of Peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Blessed are the peacemakers…
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Sunday, September 13th, 2020
This piece in The Federalist articulates how the American Left is projecting its own insurrectionism, nicely comparing their rhetoric to Southerners’ threats in the 1860 election should Lincoln win.
As author John Daniel Davidson writes, what they say “tells us less about what is likely to happen in the real world and more about the mendacious worldview, toxic prejudices, and treasonous imaginings of the elites themselves.”
Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Saturday, September 5th, 2020
Friday, September 4th, 2020
Tuesday, September 1st, 2020
Israel and UAE sign their first agreement in the normalization talks: on banking and finance.
Monday, August 31st, 2020
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan signs an order cancelling the boycott of Israeli goods. May they acquire a taste for Osem soup almonds and Beit Hashita pickles!
Dore Gold explains that Arab nations have long held common cause with Israel. This is part of Mosaic Magazine‘s symposium on the Israel-UAE peace accords, and contains links to the other essays.
After a friend forwarded me a crazy conspiratorial post by a mutual acquaintance, I turned for solace to Richard Hofstader’s 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”.
I’m also reminded of Steve Jobs on the topic:
Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and is the great achievement of Western civilization.
Sunday, August 30th, 2020
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
There are many utilities for macOS window management (looks like the most hackable and maybe powerful is Jigish Patel’s Slate) but what I personally rely on is a combination of TotalSpaces2 to keep the Spaces functionality that came and I think went with OS X Leopard; SizeUp for the snap functionality most easily found elsewhere (Moom, Spectacle, Cinch, Divvy, Amethyst); and Zooom/2 for moving and resizing windows and toggling sloppy focus, which I’ve not found anywhere else.
The above link to Zooom/2 is not however to its homepage but to a disk image I just posted because Zooom/2 is no longer available, as I realized when setting up a new Mac. You’re welcome.
Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Sunday, August 16th, 2020
In his report of what we know so far on the Beirut explosion, David Wurmser unsurprisingly surmises that what exploded was a Hizbollah weapons cache. Perhaps the whole terrible tale will come to be known as FatimaGate and that we are witnessing, as Wurmser concludes, what “may indeed be the beginning of the end for Hizballah and the Syrian-Iranian Quisling government.”
Saturday, August 15th, 2020
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan Peterson has huge charisma, period, and his recent travails serve to render him even more human. His efforts to ground our current unmoored times (the chaos referred to in the title) in the fertile garden of our intellectual and spiritual heritage (the curative order) are the work of the angels.
The first of his 12 Rules for Life is Nietzschian, an evolutionary biological backgrounder for the maxim to fake it till you make it. The second is Rousseauian: we must love ourselves with amour de soi rather than amour-propre. But the whole thing — and particularly this second rule — is peppered with discussion of founts fundamental to me — Genesis, Taoism, Jung — so that the book feels like it fell out of my own mind, albeit a more disciplined, erudite, deeper version.
Either because of this over-familiarity or because the book is in fact junk food, I cannot remember anything of it as I revisit a few weeks later to write this. Is Peterson merely an Alain de Botton of the Right, a popularizer / informal codifier of what every self-respecting Westerner already knows? Either I need to pick up the book and start again, or perhaps stop reading everything else and get back to the Bible, Plato and Aristotle.
Friday, August 14th, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve found use for the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. But this latest one is like the Friedman of yore, before degenerating into partisanship and pandering: he warns the United States that a polity such as Lebanon where everything is political cannot hold (never mind that the politicality of everything is a philosophical touchstone of the side to which he panders).
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Monday, August 10th, 2020
Friday, August 7th, 2020
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
On Vitamin D and Covid-19 [via Marginal Revolution]. If there’s any truth in the conclusion here — that vitamin D deficiency worsens Covid-19 deadliness by an order of magnitude — then surely it is criminally negligent to not be running public awareness campaigns encouraging people to take vitamin D supplements — especially for darker-skinned citizens, adapted to block out sunlight and consequently vitamin D, and especially in sunlight-challenged locales.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
In wake of Phil Schiller’s ascent, Cult of Mac lists all the Apple Fellows.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
This is gold. For Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center, Kenneth S. Brower pens a blunt bracing comprehensive assessment “Israel Versus Anyone: A Military Net Assessment of the Middle East” with conclusions aplenty. Here’s one:
The Israeli political-military leadership has over-responded to the current tactical threat posed by Iran and its non-state forces and has all but ignored the looming potential strategic threat of renewed hostility with Sunni Arab nations.
Friday, July 31st, 2020
The Smithsonian posts a nice little piece on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, designed for the wheelchair-bound client who clearly adored his wonderful home, which is now thankfully a museum.
Thursday, July 30th, 2020
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work may be a business book but, like Peter Drucker’s best, I found it profound. We can forget that business itself is profound, the intended happy medium of most modern collective endeavor. For authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of the Basecamp organizational management software-as-a-service, business is the expression of philosophy. They counsel practicing it humanely, moderately and deliberately.
They establish authority with a first shock, an obvious idea you’ve almost certainly not thought of yourself: that a company should be considered a product, its employees the users. In fact this is a framing analogy for the entire book; like Nietzsche’s preface to Beyond Good and Evil positing that we suppose Truth be a woman, it throws wide open our thinking on our subject.
Another shock: they advise eschewing goals: “You don’t need something fake to do something real.” How shatteringly refreshing is that! Especially since my previous book was John Doerr’s Measure What Matters, which is all about goals. I had been excited for the Doerr book, but couldn’t finish it due to the sterile-speak of the case studies, which — unwarrantedly perhaps — undercut my faith in the concept. In contrast, Fried and DHH have the clear bracing style of successful coding entrepreneurs. This helps overcome the natural worry that going goal-less means a descent into hedonic anarchy, instead what they seek is appropriateness and authenticity. That said, I wonder whether this is the idea they’re most likely to step back from in future.
A third novelty seems downright crazy: they advocate not selling licenses by the seat, but by the organization. “It doesn’t matter if you have 5 employees, 50, 500, or 5,000 — it’s still just $99/month total. You can’t pay us more than that.” They leave this money on the table as part of deliberately designing the culture of their company (see the first idea); they don’t want to be dependent on a few large customers, nor create an internal cultural schism between serving small business and enterprise.
Similarly, they decided to stop accepting checks for payment just because it was a hassle, which did lose them some customers. This however is a less controversial notion, akin to Apple removing older technologies from new products despite their still being in widespread use and absorbing the hue and cry.
The authors also believe that the American-inspired work ethic of long hours is counterproductive and inhumane. Having worked at an Israeli software services giant I’m in agreement here too; at Amdocs if you went home after a mere 9 hours in the office you were perceived to be not pulling your weight (and, in my case, eventually laid off). And when I was temporarily attached to teams for international business trips, it seemed that all the team leaders were either divorced or in the process of becoming so.
Some of the authors’ values only apply to their particular industry. They make a claim for good enough rather than perfectionism — this is fine when your product is web-based software where one can churn out a fix at little cost, but not for many other high-value products such as cars.
In my small own small way I already practice much of what the authors preach. My only qualm is that while I love their philosophy, I’ve never much liked Basecamp itself.
Sunday, July 26th, 2020
Saturday, July 25th, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Nixon Library to a new posture regarding China.
If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party … securing our freedoms from [the CCP] is the mission of our time.
Friday, July 24th, 2020
If we stopped testing now we’d have very few cases — or any.
US President Donald J Trump
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
We’re humans; fun matters.
In their respective theatres of the Middle East, Europe and Eurasia, the prime strategic directive for liberal bulwarks Israel, Britain and the United States is to block aspiring authoritarian hegemons.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2020