mercredi 2 juin 2010

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Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion | STRATFOR

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction. Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

Fallout from the Flotilla Tragedy (Real Clear)

In the short term, Hamas will benefit politically from its role as a supporter of the flotilla, its public calls for Israel to not interfere with the effort to break the blockade, and the burnishing of its fading "resistance" credentials. Ismail Haniyah set up the situation as a win-win for Hamas in his May 29 speech declaring that it was a victory if the flotilla got through or if Israel stopped it. The bloody outcome only increased the size of the victory for Hamas. Previously, Hamas had launched a broad media campaign to focus attention on the flotilla and warn of the possibility of an Israeli action against it. so Hamas is hoping the incident will give it at least a temporary boost. It should be pointed out that even the sympathy boost that Hamas garnered after the 2008-2009 Gaza war evaporated in just two months.

Ronen Bergman: Siege Fatigue and the Flotilla Mistake - WSJ.com

What we witnessed in the early hours of Monday morning was symptomatic of a new degree of fatigue in Israeli governing circles. The fact that both the political and the military authorities could sign off on such an irresponsible operation suggests that the leadership of the country has given up what it has concluded is ultimately a Sisyphean attempt to accommodate world opinion. Isolation is no longer a threat to be fought, their thinking seems to go, because Israel is terminally isolated. What remains is to concentrate exclusively on what is best for Israel's survival, shedding any regard for the opinion of others

Geek Power: Steven Levy Revisits Tech Titans, Hackers, Idealists | Wired

The real problem, Greenblatt says, is that business interests have intruded on a culture that was founded on the ideals of openness and creativity. In Greenblatt’s heyday, he and his friends shared code freely, devoting themselves purely to the goal of building better products. “There’s a dynamic now that says, let’s format our Web page so people have to push the button a lot so that they’ll see lots of ads,” Greenblatt says. “Basically, the people who win are those who manage to make things the most inconvenient for you.”

Organizing Armageddon: What We Learned From the Haiti Earthquake | Wired

One of the biggest ideas to hit the humanitarian community in the past decade is the notion of surveying the recipients of aid to see what they think. That’s very commercial ­ treating them more like clients than victims…After the Asian tsunami, the Fritz Institute conducted one of the first-ever surveys of aid recipients. Only 60 percent of families surveyed in India and Sri Lanka said they had received timely aid and were treated with dignity in the 60 days after the tidal wave hit. Almost everyone reported getting water within the first couple of days, but just 58 percent of Sri Lankans reported receiving shelter in a timely manner. In general, post-disaster studies tend to measure “throughput indicators” like how much food was distributed, or how much shelter got provided, instead of “output or outcome metrics” like lives saved or suffering alleviated.

Buddhist leader tests Asustek e-reader

Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen, 73, leads Taiwan's largest charity of 120,000 volunteers and teaches Buddhism on her television show. Add to her resume product tester for Asustek Computer Inc.'s e-book reader. "Because of her patience she can do a better job testing than most," said Jonney Shih, chairman of the Taipei computer-maker and honorary board member of Cheng Yen's Tzu Chi Foundation. "Some ideas were a little bit different from normal usage, but I asked my team to sincerely accept that advice." The charity is testing e-book readers for its Buddhist scriptures and to record donations, said Shih, whose company donated land next to its headquarters for Tzu Chi's Taipei office. Cheng Yen, who gives daily sermons on Tzu Chi's TV station in traditional robes and shaved head, founded the organization in 1966. The reward for Tzu Chi's help will be a final version of the product tailored to the charity's needs in the next 2 months, at least 3 months before the commercial release.

Social Security Cards Issued by Woolworth (SF Gate)

In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, New York decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card, used for display purposes, was inserted in each wallet. Company Vice President and Treasurer Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher. The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size of a real card, was printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across the face, many purchasers of the wallet adopted the SSN as their own. In the peak year of 1943, 5,755 people were using Hilda's number. SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. (Mrs. Whitcher was given a new number.) However, the number continued to be used for many years.

Cyborg soldiers and militarised masculinities (Eurozine)

Increasing military interest in the body cancels the transgressive potential of the cyborg. Where humans become the weakest link in contemporary warfare, the cyborg represents a desire for total masculinist control and domination. Machines, not human bodies, are now the subjects of the text.

 

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