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All governments ultimately derive their power from the consent of the people. Dictatorships like to pretend otherwise. They ruthlessly suppress even the faintest whispers of dissent, punish even the unspoken disloyal thought. They know that once the people discover they have power, once a few frightened, lonely dissenters become tens or hundreds of thousands, the regime itself is at risk. Such a revolution can be suppressed by force -- as Saddam Hussein did after the first Gulf War, as the Chinese government did at Tiananmen Square -- but only if the military is willing to fire on its own citizens. In the Ukraine this week it was not.
Well, at least it's an original idea. Thailand plans to drop roughly 80 million origami cranes over the predominantly Muslim southern part of the country in an attempt to promote peace. Cynics observe that telling police not to beat unarmed protestors might be more effective.
(Wall Street Journal article. Paid subscribers only.)
When you decide you'll smash the TV before you'll watch It's a Wonderful Life again, and you invent eggnog drinking games to make White Christmas tolerable, remember that things could be worse. John Scalzi presents The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time
This is interesting. Hugh Macleod, advertising and marketing thinker, tries to convince Tom Mahon, bespoke Savile Row tailor, of the marketing benefits of online conversations. I'm not sure I buy it. I've owned hand-tailored suits (Hong Kong, not Savile Row). They were very nice. I'd buy more if I still worked in a situation that called for them. But I doubt I'd spend more than a minute or two visiting any tailor's web page.
Granted, I'm not a connoisseur of clothing or textiles. Still, it seems like a lot of effort for a pretty small return.
Update: The link appears to be broken. The site has had similar glitches before, so presumably it will reappear at some point.
Is it just me, or is a budget that cuts funding for the National Science Foundation, yet somehow manages to fund the Rock and Roll, Alabama Sports, and Country Music Halls of Fame just a little bit shortsighted?
(New York Times article, free registration required.)
Worth a look this holiday season. Spirit of America funds a variety of projects to encourage friendship and peace between the American people and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Projects range from library books for children to tools for tradesmen helping to rebuild their country. Your donation is tax deductible, and 100% of it goes to the project you specify.
The New York Times (free registration required) analyzes the big picture at Intel. The microprocessor giant is positioning itself for the post-PC future, but at times has seemed to trip over its own feet.
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