Science, Terrorism, and Natural Disasters, Science
Excerpts: Modern industrial societies, because they
are complex arrangements optimized for efficiency, tend to be quite resistant
to random failure; but careful studies of various networks, including
subsystems of our own efficient industrial economy, reveal a troublesome
feature. The Internet exemplifies the pattern: It consists of multiple nodes
(...). The organization is scale-free, because added nodes connect
preferentially to others that are already well connected. Such networks are
robust with respect to random failure. But they are highly vulnerable to
targeted disruption of the most highly connected nodes.
"The CNN Effect": How 24-Hour News Coverage Affects Government Decisions and Public Opinion, Brookings/Harvard Forum
Excerpts: (...)examine the
so-called "CNN Effect"-the impact of 24-hour-a day, live television coverage
broadcast from around the world by all-news cable channels
Policymakers acknowledge that they often first learn of new trouble spots
around the globe from cable channel coverage. World leaders often direct
messages to each other through such news channels, as President Bush has done
in the current crisis. And videotaped statements by Osama bin Laden are an
example of how America's enemies can take advantage of the all-news channels
to spread propaganda against the United States.
The Chip On China's Shoulder, NYTimes
Excerpts: Even in the
chat rooms, the initial tone of xing zai le huo (gloating at the pain of
others) faded as the death toll grew.
Yet there is something going on here, something more complex - and, to me,
far more worrying - than simply schadenfreude at seeing America humbled. It is
a rapidly increasing Chinese nationalism.
This nationalism has deep roots in China and results in part from the
battering that the country suffered at foreign hands over the last 200 years.
Ashcroft Defends Detainees' Treatment, CNN
Excerpt: "Secretary of Defense [Donald] Rumsfeld
and others insist that these are not prisoners of war and there, frankly, he's
wrong," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "The
Geneva Conventions require all prisoners to be treated as presumptive
prisoners of war until a competent tribunal determines otherwise."(...)
But Attorney General John Ashcroft defended his classification of the
detainees as "war criminals." "These people are terrorists, they haven't
fought like soldiers, they don't wear uniforms, they don't reveal themselves,"
Ashcroft said Sunday.
Camp X-Ray, When Is A War Prisoner Not A POW?, Time
Excerpts: Some (...) presumably thought they were part of the
Afghan army. Are they POWs? Washington says no, because the Taliban had no
clear chain of command and was not a legitimate government. That may be so;
unfortunately, as Amnesty International has pointed out, under the Geneva
Convention the Pentagon has no business making such a determination. Those who
fall into the enemy's hands are entitled to POW status until a "competent
tribunal" has determined their status. In the case of those in Cuba, that