Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Keeping a pile of local bookmarks in one's browser is so 20th century, so Old New Economy, etcetera. I was looking through my Firefox bookmarks and I realized how few of them I use on a daily basis. Many hadn't been touched in years, migrating silently from one machine to the next and one browser to the next. Bookmarks are an electronic equivalent of that junk drawer everyone keeps around. Sooner or later you've got bags of old rubber bands that crumble into dust when touched, keys to cars you haven't owned for over a decade, dead insects you don't recall owning at all, a vast pile of rusty thumbtacks, a wad of Canadian currency, the Ark of the Covenant, a never-used doorknob complete with receipt (from 1997), a few nuggets of dry cat food, a mysterious sticky substance in the back of the drawer, and much, much more.

So I've been taking a fresh look at those crusty old bookmarks. Quite a few are dead links, including quite a few I remember liking back in the day. I've got a huge menu hierarchy full of (mostly) Big Media news sites, which I've barely touched since Google News came out. I put this together in the period right after 9/11, during the start of the Afghanistan war, and before the Iraq war, so it has sort of a weird feel to it. It was a different time. Sooner or later I'll write a post or two about how weird that era looks in retrospect just a few short years later. But this is not that post.

Anyway, I figured I'd salvage anything that looked like it might be worth sharing, and post it here. I've also tossed in a few recent items to spice things up, especially in the politics section. (If you're surprised that there's nothing about beer here, never fear; I'm saving all my sudsy-ambrosia-related material for a future post.)


Stuff from Beneath the Sea

Vaguely Urban


Movie stuff


Math articles & blog entries

Scary Militaristic Post-9/11 Bookmarks

Tech and Retrotech

I was also cleaning out a local "My Documents" folder and found a small text file with a couple of quotes I wanted to keep around. Here they are:

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.
It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry.
Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar. – Julius Caesar (apocryphal)

"Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.
The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.
No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

"War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.
In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it.
In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.
In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.
The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."

- James Madison

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