Thursday, March 23, 2017

Time: "Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Conviction"

Time has a Special Edition “Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions”, :25 Years of the Innocence Project”, 96 pages, heavily illustrated, many writers.

There are seven chapters, each with several essays.  The first one starts with the wrongful conviction f a man for a brutal robbery and murder of a money order salesman in Cleveland in 1975.
One of the biggest topics is DNA evidence.  But it has been surprisingly difficult to get cases retried with new DNS evidence,  Politically motivated prosecutors or the police entice confessions out of vulnerable defendants, especially from child witnesses in sex cases.

There is some attention to forgiveness and to reparations.

Chapter Six contains an excerpt from “Ghost of the Innocent Man” by Benjamin Rachlin, this excerpt focused on the Center for Actual Innocence in North Carolina.

The book should be interesting to filmmakers Andrew Jenks and Ryan Ferguson (who was himself unjustly convicted of second degree murder in Missouri and got out after 10 years (Andrew Jenks’s film “Dream/Killer”, Movies, Jan. 22, 2016), and the MTV series "Unlocking the Truth".

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Beer Garden Book Club" celebrates birthday with nature books

The Westover Market Beer Garden Book Club had its Fifth Birthday party tonight in Arlington VA.

The featured books were “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail”, by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, 2012) and a children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are”, by Maurice Sandek.  They are in the bedroom.

I had time to read the kids’ book.  The “Happy Birthday” song is copyrighted.

The “Wild” book would remind me of Ken Kwapis’s film “A Walk In the Woods” (movies, Sept. 5, 2015). 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joseph Nye delivers major paper on cybersecurity, "Deterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace"

Joseph S. Nye, the University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard, has a major paper in the MIT Press Journal,  Winter 2016-2017,  “Deterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace”, with access link to the 71-page PDF here (free).

Nye discusses for major strategies: (1) Punishment or retaliation (2) denial or defense (3) entanglement (4) taboos or norms.   Some of his scenarios refer to LOAC, or the Laws of Armed Conflict.

Nye mentions the possibility of threats to power girds, and doubts that they can be fully prevented by “air gaps” between grid or infrastructure pieces and the public Internet

He mentions the importance of rogue states or non-state actors.  One of his concepts, of norms, would preclude attacks on targets that have civilian use only (this might include political parties). Yet that seems to be the point of attacks by entities like North Korea, or some hackers motivated by ransomware (often in Russia or former Soviet components), or radical Islamists who resent modernism.   North Korea attacked a corporate entity outside its borders, Sony Pictures, in the US, for mocking its leader.  It seems as though a sufficiently radical and nihilistic actor could be motivated by asymmetric targeting of individual speakers in the US or other western countries just to prove it could wreak havoc with all parties associated with a particularly provocative person or private business.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

First Book aims to put hardcopy books in the hands of underprivileged kids

Today, a sermon at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC mentioned a charity called “First Book”.

I visited the site, which asked for a donation before it would say much else about itself.  But I did do a $25 contribution (I prefer to consolidate contributions through one portal at a bank).

The charity seems to work with the American Federation of Teachers and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association of Tampa, FL (and others), as it explains it a recent blog post.
I would appear that the focus is specifically on children’s books, which I normally don’t cover much (but I have covered some self-published young adult books on a newer Wordpress blog).
But this is another example of a renewed interest in physical books (as opposed to e-books) to get young people into reading.  My own output doesn’t normally comport much with children’s (below, say, AP high school).

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Should authors "troll" book clubs?

There are some book clubs here in Arlington VA – one for AGLA, which meets in members’ homes or sometimes at Freddies’s, and another one at the Westover Market BeerHaus (Facebook ).

Book clubs are a bit time consuming for me, where I need to review what comes across my plate as important (I reviewed as self-published novel on bullying (and the horrific consequences from revenge for it), “Crossing the Line”, by Alan Eisenberg, although I could see it fitting in at Westover with “Diana’s Magic” by Mr. Hicks himself).

And some clubs really involve semi-radical hospitality, rotating member’s homes, rather like my parents’ shrimp creole parties in winter in the 1950s (I remember one during a 1958 Saturday February blizzard, which nearly turned into a preview scenario of the movie “The Ice Storm”).

Where book clubs would help is with authors working on fiction manuscripts that they want to sell as actual copies of books.

Erin Geiger Smith writes “When You Bomb at Book Club” here in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

"The Dead Sea Scrolls" from Life

Life Magazine offers a coffee table book “The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Race to Solve an Ancient Mystery” at sypermarkets, 96 full size pages, heavily illustrated, by J.I. Baker.

There are seven chapters, explaining how a religious sect left the area in AD 68 in a region near the Dead Sea, in today’s West Bank.

The first scroll was found in a cave by a shepherd in the winter 1946-47, and others followed.

The largest scroll contained a lot of today’s book of Isaiah.

The book also describes rural Jewish subcultures in the first century AD, most of all the group Essenes, looking for a messiah to return and lead to an apocalyptic battle.  But later on the ideas of the Essenes would lead to many of the ideas of the Rosicrucian Order (April 7, 2007).

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Newsweek's "Hitler" The Evolution of Evil" seems all too appropriate now

Newsweek offers a 100-page gloss table-top booklet, “Hitler: The Evolution of Evil” with the subtitle, “Can he happen again?”  The booklet has two parts: “The Kingdom of Hatred” and “Evil on the Rise Again”.

It used to sound amazing that a nation could be duped by someone who had been an adaptive failure early in life (and who had unrequited desire for recognition for mediocre artistic talent). 
Of course, there was hyperinflation, unemployment, the burden of reparations, and the resentment of the elites.  Individualism wasn’t possible, but hyper-nationalism was, starting as populism.  Dumb.  Low IQ.  Stupid. 

Is history repeating itself?  It’s pretty shocking that Donald Trump could mobilize the proletariat and get it chanting “Lock Her Up” and “Build that Wall” as if he were conducting an imaginary orchestra. 

 And today, there is the Wiretap Tweet Storm on about the level of Comet Ping Pong. 

This is a good place to re-mention Lothar Machtan's 2001 book "The Hidden Hitler: The Double Life of a Dictator" (Basic Books, translated from German) which sounds so blase dispensing "Hitler's homosexuality", legacy review
Here’s a typical collection of free response answers on how Hitler pulled off his swindle of the masses.