Thursday, November 18, 2010

HOT5 Daily 11/18/2010

1. "Rethinking Objectives in Afghanistan" The case for reaching some sort of deal with the Taliban. I'm skeptical, and I don't think we can turn the clock back in Afghanistan. But he makes some good points.

Representative Sample: If our initial intervention stemmed from the attacks, should not follow-on decisions, such as whether to speak to the Taliban about reconciliation, relate directly to the al Qaeda fight? If we want to destroy al Qaeda, does our current strategy of isolating the Taliban -- which has a far greater penetration of Afghan society and provincial life that we or the Kabul government ever will -- make sense?

2. "Is American Exceptionalism Back in Vogue With the Left?" No, not with most. But there are always exceptions.

Representative Sample: Prosperous as we may be, we must not lose sight of the fact that our prosperity is the result of our commitment—precarious at times, but sustained nonetheless—to property rights. As Calvin Coolidge noted more than 80 years ago in a speech commemorating the Declaration of Independence: “We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them.”

3. "This Holiday Season, Consider Atheism!" Although I approve of the messages, I continue to think that these ad campaigns are mostly a big waste of money and effort -- and sometimes counterproductive.

Representative Sample: atheist groups are launching a new ad blitz, with ads extolling the virtues of atheism on billboards, buses, trains and print media. Significantly, atheist ads are also hitting the airwaves for the first time ever - thanks to a $150,000 donation from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which is underwriting a TV ad campaign by the American Humanist Association.

4. "Map of the New World Order " Links to a map designed to offend everyone.

Representative Sample: It's a link to a graphic.

5. "A dark horse in the quantum computing race: the dark exciton" This article made me aware of the existence of the dark exciton -- or any exciton for that matter.

Representative Sample: An exciton is a quasiparticle that consists of an electron and a "hole," or a empty spot in an atom's electron collection. When the spin of the electron and the hole align in opposite directions, the pair is called a bright exciton.

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