Monday, January 27th, 2020
Sunday, January 26th, 2020
Thursday, January 9th, 2020
“The Soleimani Killing:An Initial Assessment” [PDF], a study by Hillel Frisch, Eytan Gilboa, Gershon Hacohen, Doron Itzchakov, and Alexander Joffe at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Friday, January 3rd, 2020
From “you can’t do anything” to “a severe revenge”: Khamenei fumes regarding “that guy” Trump as US kills Iran’s Al-Quds Force leader Soleimani in a missile attack at Baghdad Airport.
Tuesday, December 31st, 2019
In trying to improve the performance of an ExpressionEngine-powered web-based system, I came across the following database fields within MySQL query WHERE clauses that therefore should be indexed but aren’t:
* exp_actions: class, method
* exp_categories: cat_url_title
* exp_ce_cache_tagged_items: item_id
* exp_channels: channel_title
* exp_channel_fields: field_name
* exp_extensions: enabled, hook, priority
* exp_fieldtypes: name
* exp_members: in_authorlist, screen_name, username
* exp_menu_items: sort
* exp_modules: module_name
* exp_playa_relationships: parent_is_draft
* exp_plugins: is_typography_related
Every little bit helps.
In r/saltierthancrait and posted by u/yellowdawg299, In your opinion, who is the worst character in Star Wars?. Great stuff.
- “I tell you what, if Rose had killed Leia in TROS and monologued about what idiots the Rebels were for buying her ‘save the people you love’ bullshit, I’d be dragging everyone I knew to the theatre.” —rothbard_anarchist
- “Snoke continues to shrink in intrigue until he is in a fetal position in a jar.” —Wiffernubbin
- “Replace Holdo with an emotionless machine that locks their escape behind a passcode/override that no one but Leia knows after the bridge destruction, and the story becomes more coherent since that’s a matter of procedure rather than a person making active decisions that contradict themselves and their own goals.” —Hylian-Highwind
- “Jar Jar, because the others aren’t in Star Wars.” —JBlitzen
Saturday, December 21st, 2019
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.
“A proper understanding of biblical and rabbinic theology might identify a solution to Israel’s constitutional vacuum“. By Michael Wyschogrod in First Things 
Counterintuitive arguments from the redoubtable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that Boris’s ascension reduces the plausibility of Scottish secession from the UK.
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).
Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.
Friday, December 6th, 2019
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
What a gorgeous country revealed in this photo essay of contemporary life in Iran.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
VDH provides a bit of actual strategy for the USA on the China, Iran, and North Korea fronts:
The most dangerous moments … are predictable. They follow when one side, arrogant from previously being exempt from any consequences for its aggression, believes it’s starting to lose a conflict that it prompted and cannot afford to lose.
With hundreds shot dead, Iran’s Islamic Republic is undergoing its worst unrest to date.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
Quite the overview: “The Real Class War” by Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs.
The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes sional labor.
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
The Smithsonian Magazine excerpts Paul Hendrickson’s Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright. Among the gems:
- “…[Wright’s] 72-year career as an architect and egotist…”
- “…[Wright buildings] come magically out of the American ground looking for the light…”
- “…[Wright,] the old shaman…”
- “…There are certain moments, standing in [Wright homes], if the light is falling right, when it will begin to seem as if Whitman is singing to Emerson, or vice versa…”
Will the author spoil it for me though? Among the crisps are tonal annoyances such as beginning sentences with “Heck,”…
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
Shaman: A novel of the Ice Age
Kim Stanley Robinson
As I return to this a couple of months later to write up this brief review, much of the book unfolds mentally in my head: scenes, characters, the unfolding. Whereas the other couple of books read at the similar time are blanks to me. This book delivered on my hope of a vivid portrayal of the protean human, and was even more vivid than I had expected. KSR is to be congratulated and I’m sure he’s proud of this one. Has anyone else done this so well?
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
A view to the best bit of Bond fan art I’ve seen maybe ever: David Reed’s 007 film title anagrams.
Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
Friday, November 1st, 2019
A deep dive into the newness of the iPhone 11 camera at the Halide blog.
Thursday, October 31st, 2019
A meditation in The New Yorker on aging.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
The Tube Ronnies complete with transcript, thanks to the invaluable IanVisits.
Friday, October 25th, 2019
Gadget: 1. Survey [PDF] is a cool history of software milestones “from Smalltalk to Minecraft” Chaim Gingold (2017). When you see these things collected you realize how much progress they collectively represent. I wonder what we’d have been doing otherwise…
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations
Written aphoristically, long-time Kyoto resident travel writer Pico Iyer provided me with a new view of a major people: that the Japanese exemplify Oscar Wilde’s catechism that style is substance, surface depth. One telling anecdote from his pal the Dalai Lama: when speaking to Western audiences, they perk up at the philosophy and tune out for the rituals; with the Japanese it’s the opposite. There are many more such reflections. One reviewer says the book is profound, and I guess that is the case, yes.
Friday, October 18th, 2019
Dore Gold primes us on why Israel must retain the Jordan Valley. Like the Golan, it’s not only about strategic depth but also strategic height. When driving down the magnificent road along the Dead Sea from Jerusalem to Ein Bokek, I would often loftily complain that one wouldn’t know one has exited Israel proper as there are no signs, just a little roadblock upon entering Ein Bokek (and a much more significant one upon reentering Jerusalem near the city limits). Whenever there’s no sign, it’s a sign that the State has deemed this land integral yet history has not yet ripened sufficiently for declaring it so.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
Volvo unveils its first full battery electric model, the XC40 Recharge SUV with 402bhp a 248-mile range. Featuring no front grille!
Succession as comedy. Obvious, given its producers, but still, nicely written.
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
Latitudinal psychology? “Like happiness, [individualism and creativity] trend higher as one moves away from the equator.”
A deep dive into the Grand Seiko Snowflake on Hodinkee. “The entire thing seems to have been calculated to create an effect of serenity without boredom; of minimalism without sterility.”
This is actually kind of important: How to select, copy, and paste text in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. Thanks, AppleInsider. In Notes at least, 3-finger swipe-left and swipe-right isn’t just undo and redo, but an entire history of actions to the document.
Meir Kraus, a fellow at the research center at the Shalom Hartman Institute, sets out challenges, lessons, options and insights for a balanced and feasible option on Jerusalem as part of a wider solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A lovely poster of Frank Lloyd Wright homes “in (nearly) every state” by HomeAdvisor.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
AutoCar drives the electric Jaguar I-Pace from London to Frankfurt. As recently as two years ago such a journey simply wasn’t feasible. Now, once you have the more expensive car, it’s much cheaper than driving diesel let alone petrol. That said, charging stops are an hour rather than five minutes, and every 200 miles rather than say every 500. But I think there is some good here. Travellers must get out and stretch their legs for a longer while. All in all our automotive future looks improved.
George Friedman on Brexit: it is very likely to happen, as is the painful shift to increased ties with the Anglosphere.
Thursday, October 10th, 2019
ExpressionEngine (EE) is the content management system that until recently I used for building every web property. In November 2018, EllisLab, the producer of EE, was sold to Digital Locations, Inc. (DLOC) and EllisLab owner Rick Ellis joined the parent company’s payroll. The acquisition is detailed in Digital Locations’ Quarterly Report (Form 10-Q) dated August 13th, 2019.
But the Digital Locations acquisition seems downright skeezy. Despite the company’s tagline about Artificial Intelligence, it appears to be nothing more than a holding company for Mr Bill Beifuss. Moreover it looks like he’s scrimping on incorporation fees: the company was founded in 2006 as Zingerang, then became Carbon Sciences for a decade, before morphing again into Digital Locations. It self-reports never having had any revenues.
According to the linked-to Bloomberg profile, Mr Beifuss is also CEO of some other companies: Warp 9 Inc, Coeur D’alene French Baking Co, and Cumorah Capital Inc., none of which appear to provide any actual products or services either.
Rick must have been aware of and a party to this bullshit. With ExpressionEngine he had a great thing going; I wonder what happened. All I can speculate is that he very much wanted to segue EE’s success into enabling him to try other things professionally but that it remained his biggest achievement and he couldn’t bring himself to let go of the golden goose even though it was fading without his hands-on vision. And then at some point last year he suddenly really needed a buyer.
Recently, on October 3rd, 2019, he bought EllisLab back from Beifuss then sold it a week later to development house Packet Tide, that is, Tom Jaeger. So it Rick Ellis has finally let go of ExpressionEngine, even if he held on too long; despite being free EE can barely be be given away now; the technology has moved on.
I’m relieved to have moved away from it onto the Node ecosystem. I really enjoyed meeting the EllisLab team at an EE conference in 2017 — such cool nice folks in person — but for me EllisLab is a cautionary tale.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
I wish there were something to disagree with in this piece reviewing the fiasco that is Brexit. We see now that due to the United Kingdom’s very make-up — a dominant England, a smaller Scotland, and a Northern Ireland with inherent connections to the Republic of Ireland — Britain needs to be in the EU arguably more than many other European countries do. Surely some game theory simulations would have borne out the current impasse.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
I’m excited by the Richard Mille Bonbon watch collection. Just fabulous. Crazy expensive but apparently all have been bought, most popularly in Malaysia.
MacStories’ macOS Catalina review seems comprehensive enough to take over from John Siracusa’s famous Ars Technica reviews.
Monday, October 7th, 2019
“Guidelines for Israel’s National Security Strategy” by Gadi Eisenkot and Gabi Siboni [PDF] published October 2019 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Erdoğan’s Turkey, once again neither winning friends nor influencing people, this time trying it on around the Eastern Med gas fields.
Healthy in other respects, some adults have profoundly impaired autobiographical re-experiencing.
Saturday, October 5th, 2019