The OED is my authoritative source on the English language; some look instead to Merriam-Webster's. There has been some discussion recently in the blogsphere about putting the Ism back in Terrorism. When did it leave? Certainly Bush doesn't deserve the influence he has on the languagewe use, and it does seem that we used to talk about Terrorism and now we hear about Terror, and the "war" thereon. But does this usage have a deeper history?


4 : violence (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands


1946 KOESTLER Thieves in Night 243 While the usual *terror acts continued, the Jewish representative bodies issued their usual protests.
1941 Reader's Digest June 58/2 It must be remembered that this government today is Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, Himmler and a few others{em}men who..ordered the *terror bombing of Rotterdam last summer and of London last winter. 1945 Time 26 Feb. 32/1 Terror bombing of German cities was deliberate military policy. 1959 R. COLLIER City that wouldn't Die ii. 27 To Sperrle the primary consideration was always that the pilot should see his target;..a Nuremberg tribunal absolved him of terror bombing.

Confused on a doctrinal point

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland was clearly only invited to a primetime speaking slot at the GOP convention because he's black. The Republicans are doing their best to pretend that they have got a 'big tent.' (The white people probably concede to this strategy the same way the anti-war democrats have to put up with John Kerry).

Anyway, Steele thought that one of his applause lines would get a lot more applause than it did. He was talking about how W is a Man of Action. Blah blah, Democrats and Kerry just talk about things, don't get them done, etc. But his big applause line fell flat on the predominantly white, probably largely evangelical audience: You can't just have faith to get things done. Faith without good works is no faith at all.

I guess no one told him that born-again Christians think that faith ("a personal relationship with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ," as they usually put it) is enough. Do black evangelical churches actually differ from white ones on this key point of Christian doctrine?

GOP Fake News

While the DNC convention included a lot more "dance parties" (featuring Janet Reno, but unfortunately not in a blue dress), the Republican convention fills a lot of its lag time with fake news.

It would be funny - especially the "reporter" who gets really excited (she's actually a spokesperson for the convention) - if it weren't so cynical a manipulative ploy. Republicans, after all, don't see any difference between fake news and real news (e.g. Fox News). If they distinguish them, they prefer the fake news if Republicans are portrayed positively.

Is there really any difference between the canned blurbs the GOP manufactured for the convention and the canned talking points they send over to Fox News every hour?

setting goals

Yes, I know I just got a phone in March, but I know what my next one will be. It's never too early to set goals.

thinly veiled fantasies

I love when anti-gay crusaders use such graphic language and get all hot & bothered when talking about what those people do:

"You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them," Schrock told the Virginian-Pilot. "You just hope no harm would come by folks who are of that persuasion. It's a discipline thing."

It's even better when someone uncovers the very real experiential source for such vivid description by hypocrites.

Yeah, he knows alllll about discipline in such situations. Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!

It seems to me that self-hating gays (and African Americans (Connerly), while we're at it) would really be ideal Republicans. They should want more Shrocks who take hard right positions to keep their skeletons (or tricks) in the closet.


exploring bibliographic data and workflow

My refdb is up and running. I hate the web interface, which is very oldschool - just an output mode of the regular client through cgi. Its functionality is also really crippled compared to the command line. I guess I'll be in the interactive client a lot, or throwing together some c# that sends shit to the client. I definitely don't have time to rewrite the client itself in c#.

Some claim to be working on prettier php frontends to this, which is promising. I'd really like to see open source stuff like this move away from php toward c#-mono.

I'm also pleased that others recognize the way things should be, and how dysfunctional the academic process is.

Finally, I'm pretty much convinced that refdb is the best solution currently available. And if I choose to move to something else later, I can always dump ris or bibtex out of it and import.

A geographer named Bruce D'Arcus is a name I keep running across, and it's neat that he is both an active scholar and deeply involved in other geeky stuff like this that matters too.


this little piggy went to market

menu for the week (back from soulard)
  1. roast chicken à la provençale
  2. spicy garlic eggplant over jasmine rice
  3. gazpacho for lunch
  4. chili with corn over roasted potatoes or basmati rice
  5. orzo or risotto with roast chicken, thyme, and summer squash

pgsql initdb os x fix

having to tune values like shmmax is just annoying, since there appears to be no reason to have them set so low to begin with.


an end to deficit spending anxiety

I also just found out that wustl is giving me my "powerbook" (subsidized) loan money tomorrow, and also that Apple has credited me the $145 tax from buying it during tax holiday! That's very nice indeed... for a while there really I was spending like the Bush administration. Well, not that much. Maybe if I'd bought a dual g5 and a 30in display in addition to the powerbook (or several), without a need for any of them or any prospect of ever being able to pay them off.

getting there..

I borrowed Game Theory for Applied Economists from Steve and will trudge through a chapter or two of that tonight, and hopefully get Morrow to-morrow. I spent some of the day configuring Jessica's powerbook. I got us both DHCP'd on the ethernet (yay!). TeX works, and various other bits that she didn't know about now work the way they should (e.g., tabs in Safari). Mono works for me. Apache serves aspx. PostgreSQL is making, then php, then finally refdb. Then tomorrow I get to do all this on Steve's machine so it can be my primary refdb server; this weekend I'll give it a shot on windows. And on Steve's dual Xeon it will all compile in like 4 seconds.


6 more gmail invites!

Anyone want a gmail account?

and one week to learn game theory.. rrrriiiiiight

"Ethan- Jenny and I are ridiculously unprepared for your Formal Comparative class. Obviously we can't plow through a semester of Game Theory in a week, but what can we do? -mike"
Find Jim Morrow's "Game Theory for Political Scientists" and read the first few chapters carefully (ie with pad and pen working through the examplesd etc.). Make sure you really understand what a Nash equilibrium is and how to do backward induction to find a subgame perfect equilibrium.

One week until classes

Classes start a week from today.
  • Mathematical Modeling (text is a calc book)
  • Formal Comparative Politics (Jenny and I are not at all ready for this)
  • Law & Society (7 big, expensive, new, hardcover books)
  • American Institutions (basic survey stuff, from Downs to Putnam)


geekness: open source reference db

A project for this week: bib database to serve me for the rest of my career. I am likely going to install refdb and postgresql on at least three different machines - ADM's, Steve's, and my powerbook and maybe my win2k3 server - because of my requirements:
  • db with separate tables for biblio entries and notes
  • import/export in xml and other biblio standards (ris-xris/Z39.50/bibTeX)
  • update-anywhere replication possible (so i can take it with me on my powerbook)
  • easily insert reference links in docbook xml, LaTeX, and html
RefDB is basically the only thing out there that does this. I absolutely refuse to pay for proprietary software that's not being actively developed and isn't based on open standards (endnote). I want a relational database. TeX/bibTeX people (ADM and Steve) like their flat files, but I think that's only because they are not webapp developers and haven't experienced the power of relational data (nor xml, for that matter, but that's another story).