Roundtable: Afghanistan 2050

An upcoming blog roundtable will feature retrospective posts, and subsequent reactions, to Afghanistan in 2050. The distance between 2050 and now is 40 years, and as Lexington Green writes

40 years is the period from Fort Sumter to the Death of Victoria, from the Death of Victoria to Pearl Harbor, from Pearl Harbor to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. It is a big chunk of history. It is enough time to gain perspective.

This exercise in informed and educated imagination is meant to help us gain intellectual distance from the drumbeat of day to day events, to understand the current situation in Afghanistan more clearly, to think-through the potential outcomes, and to consider the stakes which are in play in the longer run of history for America, for its military, for the region, and for the rest of the world.

I am excited to be a part of this upcoming roundtable, along with Mark Safranski, Shane Deichman, and others. I hope my own upcoming post, The Long Type of Time, will be considered a worthwhile contribution.

The Backlash Against China

Catholicgauze has an interesting post up, titled “China versus the United States in popularity.” One factor that goes unsaid is that because of China’s economic policies, it is rapidly leaving behind the developed world that once championed it. While much is going on behind the scenes, this shot from a Thai newspaper shows something of what the developing world is saying about its largest member

Whether or not “the globe is waking up to the arrogance of Chinese power,” other developing countries are no longer happy with China’s policy of manipulating its currency so as to undercut its competition.

Very Satisfied with iPad

This matches my experiences:

Executive summary in case you don’t feel like reading the rest of this article: They like it. A lot. Ninety-eight percent say they’re satisfied with their iPads overall; ninety-six percent think it’s a good value. In category after category–3G service, most of the individual bundled apps, battery life, speed, the absence of Flash–a majority of respondents are pleased.

As does this:

Interestingly, Nielsen’s results appear to show that reading on the iPad is significantly faster compared to the Kindle 2. But Nielsen was quick to dismiss this conclusion arguing that the reading speeds between the two devices were “not statistically significant.” “The difference [between reading times on the iPad and Kindle 2] would be so small that it wouldn’t be a reason to buy one over the other,” Nielsen wrote.

The study also asked each user to rate how they liked each format on a scale of 1 to 7. The iPad, Kindle 2, and printed book were nearly tied at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6 respectively, while the PC monitor ranked last at 3.6 points. The test subjects said that reading on the PC felt too much like being at work, while they found it more relaxing to read a printed book than on an electronic device.

Obama, Science, and the BP Spill

While Obama has done nothing to prevent the greatest oil disaster in world history…

… his record on broader science projects is, fortunately, more fixed

The good:

Now to end ridiculous patents, fund open-access research, free Europe from Russia, and gain the innovation edge

… and clean up the BP spill, of course.