What Barclay’s Means By Flat

The power of unconventional thinking,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 June 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001981.html.

Describing an advertisement he say in the New York Times

I can’t resist one more dig at Friedman’s “World is Flat” metaphor. I come across this Barclays full-page color ad in the NYT, which consists of a flat globe sitting on stand. It’s the perfect image for Friedman’s book, much better than that weird art of ships going off the edge of the world that was used in some hardcover versions.

And yet, the ad points out the against-the-grain metaphor that Friedman ended up with when he sought to recast a “level playing field” as a “flat world”: the text of the ad starts with “Without unconventional thinking, the world would still be flat and we’d still be living in caves. Heck, we’d probably never have climbed down from the trees in the first place.”

It could have continued: “At Barclays we believe in providing our clients with metaphors that don’t create cognitive dissonance . . . “

… Barnett proves he doesn’t understand what Tom Friedman means by “flat” … or what Barclays means, for that matter.

When there are specialized experts, life is not flat — it’s steep. That is what Barclay’s is saying. That’s how the Catholic Church is steep, but a hippie drum circle is flat.

How can Dr. Barnett not know this? What, is he not even reading tdaxp or something?

Sioux Falls Vietnam Vets for the Iraq War

Vietnam vets in Iraq see ‘entirely different war’,” by Steven Komarow, USA Today, 20 June 2005, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-06-20-iraq-vietnam-vets_x.htm (from Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

While I had relatives fight in the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War, my extended family was spared Vietnam. So reading about Vietnam Vets who lived just miles from me supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom II is wonderful

If there are parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, these graying soldiers and the other Vietnam veterans serving here offer a unique perspective. They say they are more optimistic this time: They see a clearer mission than in Vietnam, a more supportive public back home and an Iraqi population that seems to be growing friendlier toward Americans.

“In Vietnam, I don’t think the local population ever understood that we were just there to help them,” says Chief Warrant Officer James Miles, 57, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who flew UH-1H Hueys in Vietnam from February 1969 to February 1970. And the Vietcong and North Vietnamese were a tougher, more tenacious enemy, he says. Instead of setting off bombs outside the base, they’d be inside.

“I knew we were going to lose Vietnam the day I walked off the plane,” says Miles, who returned home this month after nearly a year in Iraq. Not this time. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this was the right thing to do,” he says.

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Southwest Sioux Falls
Including major landmarks such as Valhalla, the Empire Mall, Barnes & Noble, Granite City, Century Theatres, and the Big Sioux River
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Central Baghdad
Including major landmarks scary architecture, scary geometry, and scary Arabs

Paperwork and Bed-Chaining

I have a temporary job at an awesome medical testing firm. The people there are nice, the job is comfortable, and the clock goes fast. But…

Paper is everywhere

One of the business-flows is

  1. Order is emailed in
  2. Email is printed out
  3. Printed email is keyed in
  4. Report is printed from keyed-in information
  5. Printed report is faxed

Two paper documents have to also be modified, but this process takes enough time, introduces errors, and could be easily automated.

And now, the an angrier rant:

Several family members when it visit my great aunt. She is aware, intelligent, smart, &c. She has everything except youth and health — deficiencies which put her in the hospital.

Anyway, the hospital has, without informing anyway why, moved her from one room (and roommate) to another. They also have threatened to chain her to the bed, because she will get out of bed at night. (As my grandmother, also as lucid as ever, actually was, this is not an idle threat.)

The alternative is to piss herself.

The best explanation we found was vague fear of “lawsuits.”

Finale: The Economist has reported that, until 1980, there was no statistical correlation between spending on health care and life expectancy. A family friend who was formerly a Chief of Surgery has made similar complaints for years.

I wonder if vigilante executions of small-town hospital workers helped depress life expectancy.

Computers Spread Plagiarism

Automated Plagiarism,” by Joel Martinsen, Danwei, 24 June 2005, http://www.danwei.org/archives/001868.html. (last update: June 24, 05 11:05 AM)

So you have a thousand-character essay due for class. You can’t be bothered to copy an obscure sample composition by hand, and as a matter of principle you aren’t going to write something original. What’s a junior-high student to do?

There’s always Composition Star (aka CStar), an automatic essay generator. From the product description:

Composition Star is software that allows the computer to automatically write primary and middle-school essays. With her, you will no longer be bothered by writing. With a few gentle clicks of your mouse, the computer will automatically write out an outstanding composition that will leave you feeling satisfied.

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Gosh, I thought only us computer scientists could get away with that…

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Agriwelfare v. Shrinking the Gap

Millennium challenged,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 June 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001973.html.

Tony Blair and Jeff Sachs and the ONE campaign want the U.S. to plus up their development aid to Africa, but just pouring more money on the problem is not the answer. The Old Core spends more than a quarter trillion on ag subsidies to its own farmers each year, more than three times the money it collectively provides the Gap in Official Developmental Aid (ODA). The World Bank estimates that if all such subsidies were removed and trade barriers eliminated, the in-kind transfer to the Gap would be in the range of $100 billion in income-just like that.

But what’s the point of doing that much to help win the Global War on Terrorism when you it might hurt agriwelfare and force some farmers to get a real job?