You poor bu99er…

So I have my thesis abstract on my home pages, and about once every two-three months, someone somewhere wants a copy. So I put a copy in the post and hopefully someone somewhere learns something.

Except this week, I get an email from a scientist who is working on computer modeling of laser welding. And he’s at the University of Technology in Baghdad. And he’s not offering some dodgy Nigerian scam, nor asking for cash. No, he’s asking for my help because he’s having a terrible time tracking down some references regarding the transient heat flow around laser welds.

So I’ve mailed back PDFs of my papers, and have asked around some people who might have copies of the relevant journals. But damn, respect to the guy for trying to live a normal life and get some work done. I might moan about not being able to take books out of the Parliamentary Library, but at least I don’t have to dodge car-bombs just to get to a library.

Coincidentally, there’s an article in yesterday’s Guardian about the university that he’s at. Poor bu99ers indeed:
The best university in Iraq. Imagine the rest.

For those of you who didn’t see my performance, I’m in the paper, page 3 of the Wellingtonian. I’m at the back of the crowd, at the top, the one in tigerskin.

And, does anyone know of a warehouse/rehearsal space available in Wellington? Coz the Circus House is going to be sold and Alice is s.o.l. right now. Details of requirements in article in paper.

True Knowledge

And here’s Ken MacLeod sounding worryingly like Leo Strauss, favoured political theorist of the NeoCons:

But the True Knowledge sounds suitably seductive, maybe it’ll become this generation’s Ayn Rand? At least his books are far less tedious and he’s aware of the consequences – gigadeaths, justified by the simple fact that its not us that’s toast.

And if this makes no sense at all to you, any philosophy can be summed up in movie quotes. So from “Army of Darkness: Evil Dead 3”:

“Good? Bad? I’m the one with the gun.”

Horse stance?

So today we had keen young sensei. Who made us do horse stance whilst stretching arms and wrists. And this being aikido, its all arm and wrist locks, hence much stretching.

Horse stance? The main defensive move in aikido is to offer your opponent tea and biscuits. You don’t need strong quads to pour tea, dammit!!!

The Assault on Truth and why you didn’t just punch a postmodernist in the face

whereupon I get a bee in my bonnet.

Conspiracy theories are helping George W. Bush. They assault the idea that there is a truth*. When George pits his words against the facts, anyone who denys or even suggests that there cannot be facts is on George’s side.

A more detailed statement of this argument.

And, as we all know, if you’re not on George’s side, then you’re with the terrorists, and you approve of slaughtering children, stamping on kittens and being rude to old ladies.

*As do postmodernists, moral relativists, revisionist historians and frankly, quite a few people these days. And it may well be true if you’re talking about interpreting literary texts, but try this fun experiment with postmodernists. Punch them in the face. And when they claim that you punched them in the face, say you didn’t, and that their claims are merely subjective metanarratives and thus no more valid than your own claims that you didn’t punch them in the face.