This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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A Nice Place for a Hike

That Thing

You know that thing where you have something you need to do… or several somethings you need to do… but you just want to sleep, or at least veg out watching mindless TV?

Yeah, that’s me, right now.

Isolationism

For those who listened to this week’s podcast, the below is the article on isolationism that I referred to.

The isolationist beast stirs in America again
(Andrew Sullivan, Times Online)

Since the 1930s, isolationism has rarely had a real chance at achieving the kind of ideological dominance it once had in America. The second world war and the cold war – with the fascist and communist threats always in the front of American minds – kept America enmeshed with the wider world. The first Gulf war seemed to presage a new form of engagement – multilateral, order-oriented, pax Americana.

The Bill Clinton years can be seen in retrospect as a kind of neutral zone – with much-reduced military spending, a policy of globalisation and free trade, but with sporadic intervention in various trouble spots: Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo. Then Bush II – and the launching of the New American Century, galvanised by 9/11.

At first blush, 9/11 seemed to mean the end of even the dream of leaving the rest of the world behind. After all, terror had now reached American soil. War had been declared. What choice did Americans have but to fight back?

But the gruelling, soul-sapping war in Iraq has unsettled that idea considerably. Many Americans look at trying to coax democracy or even stability in the Arab world and conclude that it’s a mug’s game. If this is interventionism, could isolationism be much worse? The lead-up to the war disabused Americans of any notion that they could easily corral global support for their policing the planet. The follow-through has convinced them they cannot do it by themselves either. You can see why opting out has begun to appeal.

(via The Daily Dish)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: You do not Exist while I Warble

A few minutes ago I released the 9th Curmudgeon’s Corner of the year. Once again Ivan bailed (some vacation or something) and I had to improvise. You will, as usual, get insightful and exciting commentary on the most pressing items facing the world today. Uh, and other things. In any case this weeks topics:

  • LinkedIn
  • Magazines
  • Solipsism
  • Isolationism
  • Non-Sensical Warble

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Iraq Stories

I’ve checked in occasionally on Michael Totten’s Middle East Journal for his independent reporting on the middle east. Most recently a few months back when he was reporting on the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. And a while ago he posted some good material from Kurdistan. His entries are relatively long by Internet standards, but they tend to be worth the read.

He is now in Baghdad. His reporting from there has started. He is “embedded” so not a complete freelancer of course and what he sees is going to be somewhat controlled. But it is still fascinating. I’m linking to the articles so far below, and will be checking his site for the continuations as they happen.

I’ve been meaning to post these for the last few days but just now got to it. Do check it out. Totten is a good story teller and gives flavor you don’t usually get from elsewhere.

Also of note, the picture he paints (at least so far) is a bit more positive than what you hear elsewhere. Of course, as mentioned, that is undoubtedly related to the specific places he is. Anecdotes never give a complete picture.

Queen and the Zodiacal Dust Cloud

Queen guitarist wraps studies for doctorate
(Reuters via Yahoo)

Brian May, the lead guitarist from rock band Queen, is close to earning his doctorate in astrophysics — more than 35 years after quitting his studies to become a rock star.

May arrived on the island of La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands several days ago to conduct astronomical observations in support of his thesis, according to a statement by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.

His thesis, “Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud,” is the last component of his PhD studies, and May expected to complete his work on Wednesday.

(via Slashdot)

Ivan and Alberto, Secret Twins?

Ehbat Rapnetabaci

For those of you who have known me a long time (that means since college), check out who the host of this TV show is. Blast from the past, eh?

Mission Good Nutrition

Mission Good Nutrition is an exciting half-hour TV program on PCTV Channel 27 brought to you by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. This locally produced show is designed to promote healthy living and healthy lifestyles. Each original show brings you delicious, nutritious recipes your family will love . . . fitness tips . . . plus great ideas from experts to help you feel your best!

There are video clips available in the show archive.

(Yeah, I was Googling a few people I haven’t talked to in a long time to see what I would find, I admit doing it, doesn’t everybody? I also found Geoff, but that wasn’t quite as interesting to me.)

Spock Lives

This kinda scares me.

Nimoy to Reprise Spock Role in ‘Trek’ Film
(Sandy Cohen, AP on Chicago Tribune)

Leonard Nimoy isn’t through with Spock yet. The 76-year-old actor will don his famous pointy ears again to play the role in an upcoming “Star Trek” film due out Christmas 2008.

Nimoy was joined by the newly named young Spock, “Heroes” star Zachary Quinto, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nimoy.

(via Slashdot)

Working at Home

I don’t know what it is about my desk at work lately, but it has seemed like it is not the right place for me to be to get things done. I don’t know why. Yesterday I left work a bit early, so that early today I could sit at home in a nice comfortable chair (a Poang… I love those chairs) and popped open my laptop and spent the next few hours (the rest of the evening until bedtime really) being focused and productive in a way I hadn’t been able to manage at my actual desk at work.

Having said that, it isn’t just work vs home. Even at work I’ve found I can get more done sometimes grabbing the laptop and finding a comfortable quiet place to sit and then just crunching through stuff. And it isn’t just interruptions. Yesterday was pretty quiet in terms of that, but yet my rate of productivity probably doubled in my chair at home as compared to my chair in my office.

I think this pattern has probably always been there to a degree, but I’ve particularly noticed this week. Maybe it is just a “getting into the swing of things” thing after returning from vacation. But I’m thinking maybe the real answer is that I need to put a Poang in my office and use it and the laptop in my lap instead in a docking station on my desk.

Yeah, that’s it. In the mean time, maybe I’ll try spending some time sitting on the couches down the hall from my office and working there.

:-)