Friday, June 25, 2010

Interesting things that other people have written, said, or done

Because what better way is there to spend your time on a beautiful Friday in June than reading a bunch of stuff on the internet?

Peculiar but fascinating

I love Errol Morris. And not just because he made a documentary about pet cemeteries and not in a creepy Stephen King way. Errol Morris sees things. And then explores them. And then tells you about it. He's one of those people that I would put on my list of "If I could have dinner with anyone," except that I would probably just gawk.

At any rate, Errol Morris wrote what was supposed to be one article for the NY Times that ended up being a five-part article on how we don't know what we don't know called The Anosognosic's Dilemma. (He tweeted: "APOLOGIA: I promised my editor something shorter. Oopsies. Another 20,000 word epistle. (People get badly punished for this sort of thing.)") Somehow it covers Woodrow Wilson, French surrealism, a bank robber who covered his face with lemon juice, phantom limbs, and how we convince ourselves to believe things we don't really believe. It's a mind-boggler, though it does leave me a bit shaken, wondering what I don't know I don't know. Which I think is the point.

Isn't that a great diagram?

Another dilemma

I stumbled across a different five-part series at (which carries Doonesbury): The Humanitarian's Dilemma, written by a young woman who went to DR Congo to work for an aid organization and got very caught up in the complications of trying to make things better for one boy. Oh, do I understand what she's talking about. It starts:

I met the boy on the streets of Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. I was there because I wanted to learn about poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, that thing we are supposed to feel guilty about and don't really understand. I did feel guilty about it, but I don't anymore.

It's a painful read because it doesn't resolve anything. But I was glad I found it.

Zombie diplomacy

This was a fun thing to skim. Someone writing for Foreign Policy magazine developed an international relations theory of zombies, exploring the difference between realist, liberal and neoconservative approaches.

Realism predicts an eventual live-and-let-live arrangement between the undead and everyone else. Liberals predict an imperfect but nevertheless useful counterzombie regime. Neoconservatives see the defeat of the zombie threat after a long, existential struggle. These scenarios suggest that maybe, just maybe, the zombie canon's dominant narrative of human extinction is overstated.

It's good to be thinking about these things ahead of time.

Zombie tennis players

Because otherwise, you'll be eaten at Wimbledon. I didn't find this live blog of the Isner/Mahut match until too late to pull the quote that I later put in my blog entry yesterday. But the whole thing is pretty funny, and just keeps getting funnier.

6pm: The score stands at 34-34. In order to stay upright and keep their strength, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have now started eating members of the audience. They trudge back to the baseline, gnawing on thigh-bones and sucking intestines. They have decided that they will stay on Court 18 until every spectator is eaten. Only then, they say, will they consider ending their contest.


I really like this YouTube that I saw at the Internet Monk which talks about and refutes "the belief that the larger the impact of our ministry, the more legitimate we are as ministers of the gospel." Very encouraging.

OK, I'm going outside now.

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