Sunday, October 25, 2009

Links for the afternoon/evening

So, what’s interesting today?

Andrew Sullivan posted yesterday on the disgraceful state of vaccinations and posited that the effect is due to anti-vaccine, anti-science campaigns. Possibly, but consider France (warning: article in French) has little support for vaccination campaigns: 49% definitely won’t get vaccinated against H1N1. This may merely be an H1N1 thing, or it may be more general; I think it's tough to make a specific conclusion here.

The New York Times notes the terrible effects of Britain’s surveillance state:
But the intrusions visited on Jenny Paton, a 40-year-old mother of three, were startling just the same. Suspecting Ms. Paton of falsifying her address to get her daughter into the neighborhood school, local officials here began a covert surveillance operation. They obtained her telephone billing records. And for more than three weeks in 2008, an officer from the Poole education department secretly followed her, noting on a log the movements of the “female and three children” and the “target vehicle” (that would be Ms. Paton, her daughters and their car).

The Bygone Bureau writes about literary signaling, and what book you should pretend to like in order to impress listeners. Hilarious the whole way through.

Jason Zengerle calls Rory Stewart the “T.E. Lawrence of Afghanistan.” It’s a very good profile, and this jumped out at me:
"I think counterinsurgency has become this very, very funny catchall," he complains. "One of the ways in which it operates ideologically is that it’s very, very good at bringing on board humanitarians and academics, because it’s always saying it’s not just a military solution, or we need to do hearts and minds, we need to look at development, we ought to be cautious as to aerial bombardment. So you get this situation where it neutralizes a lot of criticism. It in fact incorporates an enormous number of people who, in previous interventions or theaters, have been quite critical of military operations."

Read the whole thing.

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