Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Blair & Bush: Britain is drawn reluctantly in 2004/09/18/nwar218.xml
Steps on way to war - [a timeline]
(Filed: 18/09/2004)
Covering Jan 29, 2002 - March 20, 2003 2004/09/18/nwar118.xml
'Failure is not an option, but it doesn't mean they will avoid it'By Michael Smith (Filed: 18/09/2004) 2004/09/18/dl1801.xml
The mandarins propose, but Blair carries the can
(Filed: 18/09/2004)
The narrative is enthralling. Britain is drawn reluctantly into a risky venture determined by its closest ally.

Warnings about the political cost, the dubious legality and the lack of a long-term goal abound.

As he prepares to meet the US President for a council of war, the Prime Minister receives chilling words of caution from his Foreign Secretary. The weight of civil service, parliamentary and public opinion is against committing the country to America's plans. Yet can Britain afford to shatter the special relationship by standing aside? 2004/09/18/nwar18.xml
Secret papers show Blair was warned of Iraq chaos
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 18/09/2004)

[USA person at A Brooklyn Bridge]
I'm not blaming Blair for George's decisions: George's decisions are George's responsibilities (and our burdens). But Blair could have delivered a Patton slap: do it, and you go without us. It probably wouldn't have stopped George, but in a best possible scenario, it may have slowed the unholy rush to war, given Hans Blix time to conclude what David Kay found out a year and many lives later (there were no WMD), and thus exposed George's true reason: "F*** Saddam! We're taking him out!"

Equally reasonably, George & Co. could have gone off quarter-cocked (as opposed to half-cocked) a year earlier — but without the quasi legitimacy Blair engineered. But then we would be having a very different election campaign.
Do As I Say
Bush lets down his Guard.

By William Saletan
Posted Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at 10:42 PM P - Just a plain little travelling blog. 2004_09_01_barbyawp_archive.html#109542631379759423

I'm going to get the quote wrong, but I thought the most compelling moment in Fahrenheit 9/11 was this:
"I'm constantly amazed that those who have the least are willing to give the most."

And I'm constantly amazed at how those that have the most are willing tosacrifice those who have the least.

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Jargon Review

Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's
, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." The derivation of the Hanlon eponym is not definitely known, but a very similar remark ("You have attributed conditions
to villainy that simply result from stupidity.") appears in "Logic of Empire", a 1941 story by Robert A. Heinlein, who calls it the `devil theory' of sociology. Heinlein's popularity in the hacker culture makes plausible
the supposition that `Hanlon' is derived from `Heinlein' by phonetic corruption. A similar epigram has been attributed to William James, but Heinlein more probably got the idea from Alfred Korzybski and other
practitioners of General Semantics. Quoted here because it seems to be a particular favorite of hackers, often showing up in sig blocks, fortune cookie files and the login banners of BBS systems and commercial networks. This probably reflects the
hacker's daily experience of environments created by well-intentioned but short-sighted people.
Compare Sturgeon's Law

Finagle's Law /n./ The generalized or `folk' version of Murphy's Law, fully named "Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives" and
usually rendered "Anything that can go wrong, will". One variant favored among hackers is "The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum" (but see also Hanlon's Razor The label `Finagle's
Law' was popularized by SF author Larry Niven in several stories depicting a frontier culture of asteroid miners; this `Belter' culture professed a religion and/or running joke involving the worship of the dread god Finagle
and his mad prophet Murphy. Some technical and scientific cultures (e.g., palaeontologists) know it under the name `Sod's Law'; this usage may be more common in Great Britain.

Sturgeon's Law /prov./ "Ninety percent of everything is crap". Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, "Sure,
90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud." Oddly, when Sturgeon's Law is cited, the final word is almost invariably changed to `crap'. Compare Hanlon's Razor,
Ninety-Ninety Rule Though this maxim
originated in SF fandom, most hackers recognize it and are all too aware of its truth.

Ninety-Ninety Rule /n./ "The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time." Attributed to Tom Cargill of Bell Labs,
and popularized by Jon Bentley's September 1985 "Bumper-Sticker Computer Science" column in "Communications of the ACM". It was there called the "Rule of Credibility", a name which seems not to have stuck.

misfeature /mis-fee'chr/ or /mis'fee`chr/ /n./ A feature that eventually causes lossage, possibly because it is not adequate for a new situation that has evolved. Since it results from a deliberate and properly implemented feature, a misfeature is not a bug. Nor
is it a simple unforeseen side effect; the term implies that the feature in question was carefully planned, but its long-term consequences were not accurately or adequately predicted (which is quite different from not having
thought ahead at all). A misfeature can be a particularly stubborn problem to resolve, because fixing it usually involves a substantial philosophical change to the structure of the system involved.