Friday, March 01, 2002

the failed drug war: "This year's results are especially significant because they reflect a sustained fumigation effort under Plan Colombia, which set a goal of cutting overall cultivation in half within five years. Focused in the southern provinces of Putumayo and Caqueta, the drive has involved crop- dusters spraying herbicides, combat helicopters and American-trained counternarcotics battalions." a few points on this:

first, "reports of adverse human health effects from the spraying have now become so widespread that they can no longer be ignored." fumigation in practice is biological warfare on the columbian small farmer.

second, "Pests that affect the coca plants range from weedy species that rob seedlings of soil nutrients and light to insect species such as the cuqi, an ant, which cuts roots and chews leaves, and ulo, a butterfly and its larva, which eat the plant." these herbicides kill off the only natural predators the coca plant has.

third, "Treatment is 10 times more cost effective than interdiction in reducing the use of cocaine in the United States." coca is grown all over the world. stopping it in columbia (if possible) would only increase production elsewhere.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

kyle asks "what comes to mind when you think of China?" the following is what i sent to him. i didn't really realize this is what i thought of china until i wrote it down:

Last year I took a class titled "History of the Chinese Revolution." It was all about Communism in China and very much focused on Mao. I think this class is now the primary source of my thoughts on China. I think in the back of my head I think of China as a people who once had the promise of a working community, but then lost it. I imagine (older) people now think to themselves "I wish we hadn't screwed that up" kind of like I imagine a lot of (former) hippies do in America. So in many ways, I think of China as a lot like America: defined by an idealistic promise. Only, I think of China more as having given up on that promise, while I think America still has some notion that it will happen.
a long essay on leaving the radical left: "My friend's murder has snapped me out of my dogmatic view that the U.S is evil, and all our political opponents must be good, must be right, must stand for justice and the deserving third world people, and tolerance and diversity." good stuff. my only problem is that it hints at simply reversing the dogma, and not really escaping it. now the US is good and everyone else is evil. one need not adopt moral relativism to recognize that terms like "good" and "evil" are inappropriately applied to large groups of people or entire countries.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

some say the AnswerBus Question Answering System is better than ask jeeves.

Sunday, February 24, 2002