Data on terrorism

Very much looking forward to seeing insights coming from a number of projects trying to get a data-driven handle on terrorism around the world. Hopefully this will allow us all to push back on some of the sillier political and media reports.

First off, a definition. Terrorism is:

The threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.

If only we could drop religious from the list: it is a subset of social, after all.

This: yes!

Radicalization suffers from a lack of data,” said Patrick James, a researcher at the center. “And that’s a problem — it’s hard to form an effective response to something if you don’t have an empirical basis for studying it. You can’t distinguish between people who are likely to commit violence and people who aren’t. That’s the real golden goose we’re trying to get.

The scourge of caste

Extraordinary and depressing view of caste in historical and contemporary India.

I don’t know how this blight upon our land is going to go away, but I do think that somehow even being ashamed about it is going to play an important part. And we can debate what Hinduism means—there are a lot of people who practice Hinduism without adhering to those particular texts—but the fact of the matter is that in a nation of 1 billion people, only under five percent marry across caste. It is a horrible hierarchical system of social arrangement, one of the worst kinds that has ever been known to mankind.

The Scourge of Caste | King’s Review

Friday reading

A few articles that I’ve found interesting this week.

“Musicians are inherently lazy,” says John. “If there’s an easier way of doing something than actually playing, they’ll do that.” A band might jam together for a bit, then spend hours or days choosing the best bits and pasting a track together. All music is adopting the methods of dance music, of arranging repetitive loops on a grid. With the structure of the song mapped out in coloured boxes on screen, there’s a huge temptation to fill in the gaps, add bits and generally clutter up the sound.

  • Ten neglected classics – a good book-related exercise to do more regularly, I think. I’d only read one of them, and think there are some good options there.

My kind of restaurant review

The gloriously named fuck yeah noms made me giggle today. “wah wah wah call the wahmbulance” is pure class. PS Comilonas is a great private kitchen: worth a visit.

So overall, Comilonas’ shit was tasty and it’s clear that the super friendly and welcoming Lluis and Carrie are pouring a lot of goddamn heart and soul into their food.  The space was great and didn’t feel too fucking kitschy, service was good and I fucking loved the food and despite all my complaining above, I wasn’t starving at the end.  But I also strategically had to smash more than one bread basket dunked in olive oil to get to this non-starving position.  Wah wah wah call the wahmbulance cause forcing myself to eat awesome fuck yeah bread in high quality olive oil to avoid starving truly does make me the Captain of the Good Ship Despair and Bad Fortune.

For a review site with totally opposite approach, try Should I go to.

5,200 days in space

This. What an astonishing achievement and one we should continue to support and build upon.

It’s a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don’t know the name of a single active astronaut—many don’t even know that Americans are up there. We’ve got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a stunning achievement, and it’s completely ignored.

via 5,200 Days in Space – The Atlantic.

Helpful hint: a ninth-grader is 14 or 15 years old.