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Today’s Kindle Sample #14

17 Mar

guanxi-networking“I would strangle everyone in this room if it somehow prolonged my son’s life.” That’s what I blurted into a microphone during a panel discussion on ethics. I was laughing when I said it, but the priest sitting next to me turned sharply in horror and the communist sitting next to him raised her hand to her throat and stare daggers at me. Why was I on a panel with a priest and a revolutionary communist? Long story – not very interesting: we were debating the future of ethics with special attention to the role of religion. The interesting part, however, is that at some point, after we all shook hands as adults and I was on my way home, I realized I meant it – I would choke them all. Well, of course, one can’t be entirely sure that one’s action will follow one’s intentions. The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. But, given some weird Twilight Zone scenario wherein all their deaths somehow saved my son’s life, I was at least hypothetically committed. The caveman intentions were definitely there.

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Today’s Kindle Sample #13

2 Mar

Looking Out For/On YouAs a matter of course, the U.S. government withholds information from the public. It’s been this way way since the beginning, and there’s little likelihood that it will ever change. Accordingly, the public seeks to learn that information both directly (through such mechanisms as the Freedom of Information Act) and indirectly (by purchasing newspapers with sensationalized details). The resulting tension is healthy and is essential to keeping the government honest in its classification authority. For example, in the 1940s, the United States began research into a “silent flashless weapon”. When this research began, someone recognized the danger of it falling into enemy hands, and classifying the material made it a criminal act to reveal any details. Today we know the truth. But if not for the continuing struggle between those who create secrets and those who expose them, we might never have learned about the “silent flashless weapon of World War II – the “bow and arrow”.

Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady (via Dead Drop)

FISA got you worried?

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Today’s Kindle Sample #12

27 Feb

kashora_makeup_enlargeThe excitement of meeting my first Yanamomo was almost unbearable as I crouched and duck-waddled through the low passage into the open, wide village plaza. I looked up and gasped in shock when I saw a dozen burly, naked, sweaty, hideous men staring nervously at us down the shafts of their drawn arrows! Immense wads of green tobacco were stuck between their lower teeth and lips, making them look even more hideous. Strands of dark green snot dripped or hung from their nostrils – strands so long that they drizzled from their chins down to their pectoral muscles and oozed lazily across their bellies, blending into their red paint and sweat.

Noble Savages by Napoleon Chagnon

Holy Rousseau and Hobbes, Batman! What a controversial book, and I don’t mean gratuitous nudity and drug use!

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