Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Memoriam

Kudos to Joel for dedicating his vanity blog site to others for a day. Very nice gesture.

The html document was missing HTML tags though.

Luke Duff
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Personally, I though it was annoying and cheesy.  Why should the entire nation grind to a halt today?  Sure, a few thousand people died - happens every day.  Economic impact was large, and I'm sure that New Yorkers thought it was a big deal to shut down downtown for a day or two, but life goes on.  Or, at least it should. 

Full name
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

That's big talk for a person who won't put their own name to the comment.

I suggest you show a little compassion.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

According to the DTD, the html tag is optional in HTML 4 (as is head and body). Provided the rest of the document is well-formed, the SGML parser can work out where they should be.

That said, the page doesn't have a DOCTYPE, and it's missing a title, which I believe is required. I also have the sneaking suspicion that nobody but a few pedants really care, since all browsers will display the page perfectly well. In fact, I think if a web browser found a perfectly validating HTML page, it might just faint in shock.

As far as memorials go, the only one I've seen that's worth the effort was by the Blue Man Group, at http://www.exhibit13.com/ (mercifully, the blue men do not appear in it)

Charles Miller
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I haven't seen the press report on how many innocents in Afghanistan died due to "911".

I just think its a bit sad.  Any number of people can die elsewhere (up to, and including millions) and nobody will pay any attention a year later.  3000 americans die in a display worthy of hollywood and we hear about it _all_ year.

Every newspaper and tv station has a big special report on the anniversary here in Australia.

Now this site?  Too much...

like I want the flames?
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I have to agree.
While 9/11 was obviously a tragedy for all those involved, this has rapidly turned into a  "our dead are better than your dead" thing.

tom
Thursday, September 12, 2002

If the towers would have fell due to a structural flaw, you can be sure it wouldn't be such news, even had more people died. The thing is, it has made the world a different place. It has made everyone realize that with technology what it is, we are going to have to figure out what to do about small bands of malcontents when they have access to force-multipliers on a nuclear scale.

Part of the sadness is watching people like you and I having to jump from tall buildings to their death. Of course you are a tough guy, so that probably bounces off you. The other part is that the world will probably never be able to go back to the way it was. And the reason people are mulling over the whole thing so much, is that we still haven't come anywhere near a solution to the real problem, which is a certainty as we move ahead. Of course you are a tough guy genius, so you probably had that all figured out long ago.

Personally, if I lived beside a country as stable as Indonesia, I would spend less of my time poking my ass in the face of the US as Europe as they try to figure these things out. Luckily your gov't, and your average citizen tend not to be tough guy geniuses, so they are more than willing to help us all figure things out. Thus the pictures on your tv.

Robin Debreuil
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Hey Robin, Indonesia is stable right now.
And any news who link AlQaeda to Indonesia is overblown.
We are the friendliest people in the world.
You should come here and prove it.

soeharto
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Yeah, I've only heard nice things about it - just it has had its share of chaos and suffering in the last 50 years. Of course in the last 25 years it has done wonders so I guess I should broaden my view of it, sorry. I was thinking more some military/political struggle or civil unrest, not AlQaeda or unfriendlyness by any means. Sounds like that isn't a worry either though - I stand corrected...

Peace!  : )

Robin

Robin Debreuil
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Matthew,

There is a slight difference between him not putting his name on a comment and you using a hotmail address.

Clie Nicks
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"Part of the sadness is watching people like you and I having to jump from tall buildings to their death."

No!  Watching these snuff movies, helping the media feed off innocent corpses, is _sick_.

The sadness is knowing that these, and many others around the world, die needlessly and pointlessly.

The innocent dead, on all sides, can _not_ be honoured by the killing of more innocents on any side.

If only Bin Laden, Bush and Blair could understand this, instead of feeding their egos from the media trough.

Peace! indeed.

Attending the wake
Thursday, September 12, 2002

what we learn (or have to learn) from all this is that we have to handle the fact that the world consists of individual cultures with individual aims and foe images.

america is (in my opinion) showing the world that it has no interest at all to cooperate with other cultures. america is just as self-centered and "extremist" as the "terrorist" or religious groups they declare their foes.

don't redirect to memorial pages. instead, redirect to sites that show us ways to understand the other cultures. that help us understand why there are people that develop such agressions.

and eventually, we should start to develop ways of coexistence for individual cultures in our modern world.

martin dittus
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I wonder how many people are $500 richer

http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/09/12/ar911.sept11.lottery.ap/index.html

Peace, today and everyday....

apw
Thursday, September 12, 2002

We should have it better than this.

There should be no 9/11, there should no hunger in Africa, there should be no children slaving away in a factory somewhere just so we can have cheaper tennis shoes, or whatever (these are lost lives, too).

However, this is what we have, this is the result of our decisions, this is the best mankind can do.

It never ceases to amaze me how we call ourselves things like"intelligent" and "rational".

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Joel, I for one appreciate it, if only because I knew one of the names -- Brock Safronoff. It was the best kind of memorial -- no commentary, no jingoism/anti-jingoism/opinion, just names that once represented the living and now represent the dead.

Matt Christensen
Thursday, September 12, 2002

ok, what happened is sad, innocent people where killed etc ...

but this :

<paulo>
However, this is what we have, this is the result of our decisions, this is the best mankind can do.
</paulo>

is exactly what I fight in every discussion I take part in.

The world as it is today is not the result of our decisions (as far as 'our' means mankind's).

This is absolutely not the best mankind can do.

I'm not quite sure this is the best place to argue about such topic, but as long as educated people don't understand that we can do much more, as long as industrialised country (especially the US) don't take their responsabilities to make this world a better place for everyone, nothing will change.

And if nothing changes, these people will have died in vain.

Ralph
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Indonesia is stable, soeharto? What about Aceh? Irian Jaya? East Timor?

had to comment
Thursday, September 12, 2002

> but as long as educated people don't
> understand that we can do much more, as long as
> industrialised country (especially the US) don't take their
> responsabilities to make this world a better place for
> everyone, nothing will change.

I know we "can" do much more, as in "we have the potential" to do much more.

However, it is true I don't share your faith in the realization of that potential. Especially because, as you say, it must begin with an assumption of responsiblity, and that's a rather scarce attitude, these days. Add to that the fact that we put so little value on life, and that paints a very bleak picture.

Take a look at http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/02/09/06/020906opethics.xml, to see both of these factors in play. Unfortunately, this is just another variation on what's quickly becoming the "same old story".

I do believe something will have to come out of this, as I don't believe our ability to adapt to the environment (both physical and psychological) will take us much further. The problem is that I only see two options:
1. Revolution, with capital "R". And let's see what will rise from the wreckage.
2. Dehumanization (not being a native english speaker, I don't know if this word really exists), where we assume it's proper human behaviour to stop caring about what surrounds us, and we cut it off from our conscience.

Two options, and I can't say I like either of them.

As for this forum not being the best place to discuss this, I have a mixed feeling. On the one hand, it's not dedicated to this kind of subjects; OTOH, somtimes it's just too hard to not take advantage of the presence of a group of people that I've grown to consider quite reasonable, and whose opinions I've learned to appreciate :)

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I thought Joel's front page was one of the most moving things I saw yesterday. In an overwhelming blast of media sentiment Joel's simple memoriam was a classy, understated way to give rememberance - and, most importantly, it was something HE did HIMSELF to honor something he found important.

Jason Wellnitz
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I greatly appreciated Joel's gesture and found it in exceptionally appropriate taste.

I was moved to see how many names there were. Seeing them like this had an effect on me.

The US has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming innocent civilians in Afghanistan and the common folk of Afghanistan understand this.

But in war, innocent people will be killed.

The alternative is to roll over and show our soft pink bellies while the psychopaths of this world rip out our guts as they impose their deranged abuse of women and nonislamists on all who can't defend themselves.

Say what you will, but I find that an unacceptable notion. We are past the time of negotiation and diplomacy.

The sleeping tiger has awakened.

Like the Great Genghis Khan, we have been attacked unprovoked and unnecesarily and we are in a state of justified fury. We are now on a rampage that will strike eternal fear in those who would ever think we are weak. Anyone who is an any way remotely associated with the psychopath attackers and anyone who stands in our way is a legitimate target. We will kill, we will slaughter, we fill fill the fields with the blood of those who have killed our families and loved ones. And when we have finished, we will show compassion on our vanquished enemies, help the rebuild, educate them, and help bring them out of the middle-ages and into the modern era.

For those who don't like that, that's too bad. They shouldn't have been making excuses for and coddling the psychopaths and maybe it wouldn't have come to this. My advise to these terrorists sympathizers and freedom-haters
is to stand out of the way for safety's sake while those of us who know otherwise get down to the business of keeping the world safe from tyranny.

Ed the Millwright
Thursday, September 12, 2002

What a troll. You take the cake man. The dead deserve some respect regardless of how they died. Don't you have any compassion? Innocent people die because evil people kill them and that is tragic.

Personally I think you talk big but would cry in the face of death like a little bitch. You use your bravado as a way of coping.

trollbooth
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"The innocent dead, on all sides, can _not_ be honoured by the killing of more innocents on any side.
If only Bin Laden, Bush and Blair could understand this, instead of feeding their egos from the media trough."

As much as I agree with the first half of what you say, I do wish you would finish the second half. Are those three egos the only thing between us and everlasting world peace? The last twig that can turn back the impulses of the last 100,000 years? I truly wish that too.

Of course war always brings sadness, doubt, and hand wringing, and sitting at someone's memorial is probably not the best place to make light of it. But that taken alone is not new, or even unusual (sadly) in our history. Paying respects to that shouldn't be a ticket to sarcasm, and I too am guilty of that in this thread sorry. Emotions can run high, what can I say, never type with hot fingers.

What is different about this is that we have a very practical definable difficult new problem. In a world where destructive technology has always always been used, how do we deal with the fact that in a world of 6 billion, it only takes a handful to blow up a city? Ok, maybe we have a grace period of 10, 20 or 100 years, maybe not, but that isn't the point. The world will eventually face this, we all know how technology works, yesterday's Cray is todays calculator etc. The technology is out there and there is probably no taking it back.

There will always be people unhappy with the status quo, because what everyone really wants is to be on top, not to be equal. So what to do? Is technology going to solve this problem? Is the world going to figure it out? Can the world stop tolerating extremist thinking without becoming extremist? If a couple of cities get nuked, how is everyone going to react? If you lower your guard, or offer the olive branch, or give in to demands, will the problem go away? Can the technology be monitored or revoked somehow? Can we just factor in that these things will happen, and keep going as we were? Do we eventually have to decentralize from cities?

What are the chances in the next say 500 years that 'terrorists' won't destroy a big city? So what to do then? - is there even a realistic solution, or maybewe should  just prepare for it like earthquakes..?

Robin Debreuil
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I'm in two minds about the whole thing: Firstly, 3000 people doing their jobs didn't deserve to die. That's fairly plain and simple.

However, to give a couple of personally related data points: a few months back, my sister was all of about 60 feet from a bomb that failed to go off. She was a faulty wire away from... what? A friend of mine lost family members in another bombing. Both of those bombs were, at least partially, funded by American donations. The US government let that funding carry on for decades with no apparent moral qualms.
Somewhere along the line, someone has a very short memory.

Katie Lucas
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"Like the Great Genghis Khan, we have been attacked unprovoked and unnecesarily and we are in a state of justified fury. "

Uhh, just have to mention, Mr. Kahn was the low tech backward guy from the steepes that dressed funny, China was the high tech, peak of its glory modern civilization. It came down to the invention of stirrups, which allowed the mongols to shoot arrows accuratly without dismounting. The stirrups may well have been invented in China, it doesn't really matter, the fact is it was a force multiplier that upset the balance, and allowed the few to overrun the many. You see similar thing throughout history, farming/specializtion, the greek fighting unit, the roman roads, the machine gun... Hopefully we can keep a similar thing from happening in the coming years, but it will be a trick.

And btw, the mongols weren't retaliating for anything, they were the ones attacking. Maybe you can modify your puffy speech a bit for next time, it might lend it a bit more puff. Well, maybe that would take more that a history review too...

Robin Debreuil
Thursday, September 12, 2002

[Somewhere along the line, someone has a very short memory. ]

So that excuses the terrorists right? Because some loser donated their dollars to the IRA or the Tamil Tigers or Haamas or X or Y or who the fuck ever in the past and now  it's "coming back to haunt us".  Well that "us" is not me or anyone I know, so why are we targeted? Can you explain that to me in a way that sounds even remotely logical? Because the last time I checked they were trying to kill ALL Americans using with the same reasoning - "because the US has done X in the past".

Stop being an apologist for murderers and get a grip. You think they give two shits about you or your hand wringing opinion? You'd be head to toe in a burka walking ten steps behind sister.

trollbooth
Thursday, September 12, 2002

> Because some loser donated their dollars...

Actually, the "losers" Katie was talking about were nation leaders, be it US or any other nation. And, from what I understood, what she was talking was government sponsorship of foreign regimes.

As for the "us vs. them", I agree with you that "they" ae evil. I just don't agree that "we" are good.

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, September 12, 2002

The "great Genghis Khan?"  Good Lord...

Anyone who says "America is no better" has no understanding of America, or no understanding of what happened that day.  It really is that simple.

And those who would try to trivialize what happened by comparing numbers vs. this or that everyday event suffer from the same myopia of those who seem to be incapable of appropriately contextualizing world events when attempting to demonstrate moral equivalence between the US and any number of fanatical terrorist murderers.

I thought the page was very tasteful and touching.  Bravo, Joel.

Robert Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

> Anyone who says "America is no better" has no
> understanding of America, or no understanding of what
> happened that day. It really is that simple.

Sorry, but I can't see anything simple is this whole subject.

> And those who would try to trivialize what happened by
> comparing numbers vs. this or that everyday event

3.000 people died in 1 day in the WTC. Let's suppose 10 people die of hunger every day (thus, an "everyday event"), in Africa. Over 300 days, 3.000 people will have died. Why is the latter less tragic than the former? Why is it more trivial? A life lost is a life lost, no matter where it happens.

> suffer from the same myopia of those who seem to be
> incapable of appropriately contextualizing world events
> when attempting to demonstrate moral equivalence
> between the US and any number of fanatical terrorist
> murderers.

A nation's moral status is determined by its actions. These are defined by the nation's leaders, both in government and in corporations, i.e., those with the power to make decisions that affect a large number of people. Thus, a nation's moral status is determined by the actions of a small group of people. From Watergate to Enron, you have years of evidence that many of those who join this group are not to be trusted, and lives are affected, and sometimes lost, based on their decisions.

Please, notice that I said "nation", and not "USA". The problems I refer happen everywhere. It's just that the scandals in the USA usually are more far-reching, get more media coverage, and, so, last longer in people's memories.

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"We will kill, we will slaughter, we fill [sic] fill the fields with the blood of those who have killed our families and loved ones..."  etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Holy crap.  I, as an American, would like to distance myself from Ed's posturing here.  I really doubt that filling the fields with blood will do much for anti-terrorism efforts.  Especially since the "enemy" believes that dying in a jihad against "the foreign devil" will automatically secure them an everlasting chit-chat with Allah.

Even if we were to win the war on terrorism, we're fighting a style of war we're it doesn't take a well oiled machine and blistering military know-how for a guy to strap a bomb to his chest and go Greyhound.  You can't wipe out that kind of enemy.

Throughout history, lunacy gets to power because the masses are unsatisfied, be it from economic hardship, poor living/working conditions, or what have you.  The only ways to stop this thing (long term) are through education and raising the quality of existence.  Everything else is propaganda so Bush can have his war, temporarily boost the economy, have a patriotic legacy, satisfy some inadequecy about living in his father's shadow, blah blah blah.  Make no mistake: I'm not excusing the terrorists AT ALL.  It never should have happened and people shouldn't have died.  No kidding, 4-year olds-know that.  But you can't fight fire with fire.  It reminds me of the carpenter's saying "I cut it twice, and it was *still* too short."

Now to try to remain vaguely on topic: I liked Joel's idea, primarily because it wasn't for ratings, unlike almost every T.V. show I watched yesterday.

Dignified
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"3.000 people died in 1 day in the WTC. Let's suppose 10 people die of hunger every day (thus, an "everyday event"), in Africa. Over 300 days, 3.000 people will have died. Why is the latter less tragic than the former? Why is it more trivial? A life lost is a life lost, no matter where it happens."

Yes, it is.  But that is not where I am making a distinction, nor should one be made.

Let me take a particular example, to explain the distinction that should be made - and that has to do with what can and should be done about deaths in one situation over another.  The earthquake in Japan killed over 5,000 people.  It is a tragedy on a grand scale.  The reason it is not still in the headlines is because apart from improving building codes, *nothing can be done about it.*  In the case of mass murder, something certainly can, and should be done about it.  And that's what we've been hearing about ever since Sept. 11th, and appropriately so.

Now, your example about starvation is a hell of a lot more relevant than the brain-dead car accident statistics I've seen quoted by countless people on internet discussions about this.

But even starvation is more the result of ineptitude on the part of govt officials than it is about willful murder of innocent people.  And when prioritizing responses, I think it stands to reason that willfull murderers be dealth with before the merely inept.  Given infinite resources, all threats to humanity would be addressed.  But unfortunately that is not the reality of the situation.

Robert Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Lest it appear that I was dodging the rest of what you said:

IMHO, of course.  People are people.  But the great thing about the US is that we react, we take action, we examine, we learn, and we progress.  It's the process, not the state of the machine that matters in the long haul.  It's cyclical, but if you don't see the progress in the US in the last 50 years you're are a blind man.  I have every reason to believe the next 50 will be as progressive.

Nixon was impeached, corporate criminals will go to jail, and we'll learn how best not to get fooled again.  Therein lies our advantage and our strength.

Robert Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

 
  "Is this the world that we created ?"
                                              Queen.

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I think there was too much memorializing yesterday. I didn't do anything on my web site, but kind of wish I had at least mentioned it. Yahoo was all gray. I feel like the entire year has been one big memorial and frankly I'm tired. I can't handle much more perspective on 9/11. It's really overwhelming. Not that I don't care or am cynical towards it. Just that it's painful and deep in ways I can't really talk about and I'm not in the place where I want people bringing it up. It's kind of hard to avoid. I was at work all day yesterday and got a ton of stuff done. I felt that was my personal tribute to the people who died at work. No one at the office really mentioned it. It was just another day. Maybe I work with soulless robots, but honestly it was nice. I went home and rented a bunch of movies and watched them. I was escaping. Feel free to flame me. It will be a nice break from the spam.

Phillip Harrington
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Sing it, brother.

I tuned out all news yesterday (and today so far) to avoid the 9-11 media juggernaut.  TV off, radio off, newspaper headlines avoided, no discussion at all.

The last thing you want to see on a day when the powers that be are calling for potential terrorist activities are the events of last year.

Call it wrong if you want, but I gotta sleep at night.

Dunno Wair
Thursday, September 12, 2002

[As for the "us vs. them", I agree with you that "they" ae evil. I just don't agree that "we" are good.]

So how do you define "we"? Who is this "we". Is it the US as a whole? Or only those in power? Is it the poor? Is it the middle class? I disagree that there is some US mass mind that makes decisions as a group. I don't remember voting on any middle east decisions in my past yet I am still deemed "guilty" by the terrorists. I can only affect those that I come into contact with. I choose to live my life in peace and help others, yet I am still considered evil by those that wish to judge me based on their own biased misinformation, wishing me death. And for what? What did I do specifically that caused them to hate me? What did any of us as individuals do?  I know for a fact that I live my life in a good way, so what can I do as a human being, not just as a US citizen, to help the world? I try my best yet that is apparently not good enough.

trollbooth
Thursday, September 12, 2002

(1)  People should be allowed to grieve and memorialize any way they want.  Why should a memorial upset you just because you don't share the opinion?  People put up memorials as much for themselves as for others.

(2)  9/11 has been done to death, no question.  I've spent the last week in a media blackout just to avoid having to groan and roll my eyes all day. Most Americans I know are embarrassed by the way it is constantly turned into a political bargaining chip and a media circus.  If it had not happened, who knows where George Bush would be in the opinion polls now?  But that doesn't mean people are idiots or sentimental fools for remembering.  If they want to remember, let them do it.  Turn your ire to the corporations making money from it and the political leaders using it as a platform.

(3)  Americans (for the most part) don't consciously disregard other cultures and countries.  It's just that most Americans are landlocked and relatively rural in comparison to the rest of the world.  This is not an excuse, just an explanation.  Americans are constantly amazed that anyone else cares what happens here.  I can't remember the number of people who were honestly shocked and moved by the amount of support we got from other countries after 9/11.  Most of the time my friends and I spent crying it was because people who didn't really even have an investment in what had happened to us - people who had far worse tragedies of their own to deal with - were taking time to pause and let us know that they cared and that they were mourning right along with us.

I am constantly being told that Americans are xenophobic, narrow-minded assholes.  I can see why people think this, and I understand.  It still doesn't make it sting less.  It is disappointing that when something happens that might help foster a more global-minded America, we are constantly attacked with the criticism that we don't think outside our borders.  Let's all pause now and watch while everyone throws up their hands and decides "Whatever!"

Lydia
Thursday, September 12, 2002

You may as well ask, "Who are 'they'?"

To (most likely) butcher a quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "The line between good and evil does not run between countries, or classes, or individuals; it runs down the center of every human heart."

I try my best too, but, to bust out another adage, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Devil's Advocate
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"Nixon was impeached ..."

Robert, much sense in what you said.

However, in arguing get all of your facts correct.  Nixon was not impeached.  Faced with almost certain impeachment, he resigned; his successor, Gerald Ford, almost immediately granted him a full pardon.

So, even in the best of governments there is intrigue, lying, etc. etc. etc.  Ad nauseum, as another here earlier said.

Karl Perry
Thursday, September 12, 2002

You are of course correct about Nixon.  This forum needs  "preview" button. :)

The point, of course, is that he lost power.

Robert Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

> I really doubt that filling the fields with blood
> will do much for anti-terrorism efforts.

US behavior is feeble, but not senseless. We kill others when our lives are threatened. It is not unnatural. Unnatural is musing intellectual, vain fantasies of how civilized peoples should nurse wounds and rise above terrible provocation.

> The only ways to stop this thing (long term) are
> through education and raising the quality of existence.

So the terrorists aren't really enemies, they are poor and uneducated souls. Good advice for the Israelis. We'll give it another generation and countless dead on both sides; a little lucre should help smooth it out.

The notion of the US (or any other economic power) will have the time, resources or interest to fix deep complex problems in other countries/cultures is vain and pure folly. Without oil, the middle east would be as high-priority as Rwanda, East Timor or Chechnya.

Quick response and adaptability are critical to survival of a hostile threat. Arrogant scruple tempts a tragic fate.

at the bellows
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"> The only ways to stop this thing (long term) are
> through education and raising the quality of existence."

I would like to believe this is true, but at least in the case of 9/11 the evidence does not support it.

The perpetrators of that crime were neither poor nor uneducated - far from it.  The ringleader was educated in Germany, which offers outstanding education.  The henchlings were mostly Saudis who were anything but poor.  The common thread?  "Religious" fanaticism breeding hatred of Jews and Americans.

Draw your own conclusions.

Robert Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Lydia,

>(3) Americans (for the most part) don't consciously
>disregard other cultures and countries. It's just that most
>Americans are landlocked and relatively rural in >comparison to the rest of the world.

Not exactly true.  Den Beste wrote an article on the distribution of the American population: http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/08/Americancowpoke.shtml

Besides, we're not really hearing from those rural Americans who don't have access to or interest in worldwide events.

What is the question?  Why are American so selfish?

David Blume
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I think shutting down the entire site for a day was not the best thing to do. Not very Joelish. The front page "Memoriam" of today is the thing to do. I didnt know anybody involved in the 9/11 tragedy, so maybe Im just an arrogant, ignorant clueless guy after all.

Patrik
Thursday, September 12, 2002

I read this site for insight into software development, not to suffer more insane American ideology.  Joel has every right to commemorate the events, but excuse me if I don't weep.

America is the ONLY nation in the world that represents a significant threat to world peace.  Until you wake up to yourselves, I couldn't give a toss what happens to you as a country.

sick of americans
Friday, September 13, 2002

"Besides, we're not really hearing from those rural Americans who don't have access to or interest in worldwide events."
Rural is the global sense though, it is a very isolated place geographically, and very insulated as well. Sure there are millions of immigrants, but most of them came to get away from all the crap in the world. The Iraqi's hang around with the Iranians where I live, as do the Irish catholics and protestants. If that is ignorance, maybe it isn't all bad either.

Everyone knows america's business and their own. In Canada you often hear it said that americans should know more about canada, they don't even know the capital or prime minister, they think it is constant winter etc. But ask a Canadian what they know about a giant 'country' that borders them, with 1/10th the population - Greenland. They don't know the capital or the leader's name, and they think it is constant winter. There reaction is usually, 'but who cares about greenland?'. Same people that care about Jean Chretien I guess. I'm sure this applied to Rome in Roman times as well, and any somewhat centralized power structure for that matter.

So instead of asking why the US doesn't know much about your own country, the question is , why do you know so much about the US? Well, because it is an importnat place in the world these days. We still follow what happens in NW Europe quite a bit, in proportion to how important it is. We know a lot more about the Japanese economy than we used to. And nobody paid attention to the US in the early 1800's. We follow what happens in Afganistan when it is important to us too - when they were blowing up old statues, when they were blowing up tall buildings, and now that they are being 'stabalized' from our point of view if not the Taliban's.

Now that isn't ethocentric, because everyone follows what is important to them. Nobody outside Canada (ok, outside Ottawa) follows canadian politics, becuase it doesn't matter to them. People outside 'western' infulence follow the US a lot less than you might think. When a Tibetan nomand tells you they think the US is near Beijing, it isn't a sign of ignorance or stupidity, it is a sign that what happens in the US is of no great consequence to them.

Anyway, whoever sees this as a 'US' only problem has their head in the sand. Japan understood this problem with the sarin attacks years ago, Europe has probably always understood it (ira, eta, many others) and maybe is releived that at least the US recognises it too now. Pick a country randomly, Russia, Columbia, Angola, Phillipines, many of them have had these experiences recently and get it. This is why its been so easy to get everyone on side, really it is the US that crossed the floor, not the other way around.

Certainly there is jockeying, and political spew, and network profit, and a general 'land grab' mentality, but that is right across the board. I've even seen software companies post on the net that 'pirating our apps helps terrorists'. Ugh, hope that backfired. But look at the actions of other countries too, Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Europe, Isreal, 'Palistine', Sudan, the US - almost anywhere countries and people are postioning themselves to best benfit from the shakeup, or at least not to get crushed by it. Everyone stands to benefit or lose from the situation, so you have to be on your toes. How is that not normal?

What alarms everyone then is this was such an escalation. Before you weren't feeling well, now you are told you have cancer. It always has been escalating, and we knew it would one day come to this, but it is still no fun to see it take a jump. But the sliver of hope is that we now all know this and agree something has to be done. We don't agree on what, but the problem is on everyone's plate, so that is a start. If a hole in the ozone opened up and destroyed all the wheatfields in the US midwest (or something proved that it was a myth if you like!) you would get a consensus on pollution much quicker. And you would get a lot of name calling in enlightened chat rooms too I'm sure, but what would that help?

Most plans I've seen though, strike me as incredibly naive ('we should just give them what they want'), or mostly designed to further the planner's short term interests. Maybe it will take another disaster to wake us up, hopefully not.

Robin Debreuil
Friday, September 13, 2002

Hi all,

I just wondered, would any of you say that your personal life has changed because of 9-11? I think, when I heard the news a year ago about  what had happened, my first reaction and greatest fear was: "That's it. Everything will change now, nothing will ever be the same again.", thinking of further terroristic escalation, world war III, total breakdown of diplomatic relationships or whatever. And then, nothing changed. My life just went on and everything went back to normal in no time. I still think about what has happened from time to time, but it is rather remote now.

Is this different for you? What is it like in the United States? What is it like in New York? In Manhattan? (or in Washington for that matter, I tend to forget that the WTC was not the only place that was hit, there were a lot of people dying in the Pentagon in Washington, too) Are you scared? Have your feelings towards the rest of the world changed? Or towards islamic neighbours?

Just interested,

Jutta Jordans
Friday, September 13, 2002

Hi,

Americans, your president got into power by the skin of his teeth. For his poll rating to be high and to get re-elected, he needs you and your country to be at war with someone, anyone. Don't just look at 9/11, Iraq and the next war, look at what may be behind the decisions. Over the coming months you will be slowly brainwashed into thinking that war against Iraq is very important, even though before 9/11 it wasn't.

You have a mind of your own, use it.

Stephen
Friday, September 13, 2002

"And then, nothing changed. My life just went on and everything went back to normal in no time."

That is an interesting point. One thing that may be worth mentioning is once the wheels are set in motion, things don't always happen right away. WWII was called the 'phony war' for the first six months, because everyone had declared war, but nothing much happened. Yet from today's perspective it seems that Poland was invaded and that was it.

That doesn't mean there will be war, but I do think many things have changed and been set in motion. Not sure exactly what though...

Robin Debreuil
Friday, September 13, 2002


The WHO estimates the annual deaths for children from
malnutrition are at least 5.5m. That's 14900 children a
day, 620 an hour, 10 a minute, one every 6 seconds.

In the time it took you to read the above paragraph, a
child died somewhere in the world from hunger.

In your average working day, twice as many children die
as did people in the WTC towers. That's twice as many
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends grieving from
the pain of avoidable loss.

And that's just children dying from hunger. Add in deaths
for adults from malnutrition, for preventable diseases, war,
poverty, even terrorism. That's a lot of pain and sorrow in
this world, from the father in New York who lost a son in
the WTC, to the mother in Africa who's just lost her
daughter as you read this.

I know what the real "axis of evil" is in this world.

Do you?

Sense of perspective
Friday, September 13, 2002

Ok, this is long-ish. Sorry.

Robert Anderson,
> Nixon was impeached, corporate criminals will go to jail,
> and we'll learn how best not to get fooled again. Therein
> lies our advantage and our strength.

You could be rigth. I could just be tired of watching so much injustice dispensed all around, that I lost faith.

I do hope you're right and I'm wrong. This is a bet I would love to lose :)

trollbooth,

> So how do you define "we"? Who is this "we".
> Is it the US as a whole?

Like I said, this is not a "USA thing". The USA are the ultimate example of the Western Civilization (at its best and at its worst), and that, the West Civ, is "us" (not "US", as in "USA").

> I disagree that there is some US mass mind that makes
> decisions as a group.

Sorry if I implied that. As you say, it makes no sense. What I meant is that we elect our leaders, and then we become hostage to their decisions, and *we* all face the consequences of those decisions, whether or not we agree with them. Our leaders represent the "mass mind", whether or not it exists.

> I try my best yet that is apparently not good enough.

Let's face it. In order to get a noticeable result, the right decisions should come from our leaders, as they are the ones with the power. However, the Earth Summits have been a fine display of just how innefective we (as represented by the ones we elect) are.

at the bellows,
> So the terrorists aren't really enemies,
> they are poor and uneducated souls.

Naturally, they're not. And they deserve whatever punishment they get. However, many of those you see on the news, jumping with glee at another suicide attack, are. As much as I hate to admit it, we failed in bringing a significant part of the world up to our status of development. That doesn't mean we shouldn't react when threatened, but it's in very bad taste to paint ourselves as blameless in this mess. The Holy Inquisition was a huge mistake; the Church took centuries to admit it. Maybe in a couple of centuries, we'll have an admission that "supporting this south-american regime", "supplying weapons to that country" was a mistake.

Anyway, I think we can both agree that most of the population in those countries that we view as enemies are not terrorists, and are indeed uneducated, and easily manipulated by their leaders. Marketing may be losing its efficiency here, but I bet it's still very effective in Iraq.

> Without oil, the middle east would be as high-priority
> as Rwanda, East Timor or Chechnya.

This is a serious problem. What you call "arrogant scruple", I call valuing life above money (or power, or whatever). If we don't, then let's just admit it, and ditch the "we're good, they're evil" story. We're not stopping "evil", we're just managing *our* resources.

Robin Debreuil,
> The Iraqi's hang around with the Iranians where I live,
> as do the Irish catholics and protestants.
> If that is ignorance, maybe it isn't all bad either.

This isn't ignorance, this is wonderful.

> If a hole in the ozone opened up and destroyed all the
> wheatfields in the US midwest (or something proved that
> it was a myth if you like!) you would get a consensus
> on pollution much quicker. And you would get a lot of
> name calling in enlightened chat rooms too I'm sure,
> but what would that help?

Nothing. But why must we always wait until it's too late to act? We've been having Earth Summits for some years now, and nothing has been accomplished. Like you say, only when we enter "serious damage control" mode, will we do anything about it. It's a waste, really.

Sense of perspective,
Thanks for the research and the enlightnment.

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Friday, September 13, 2002

America is great because anybody who had intelligence, drive and ambition left your pissant little countries long ago and came to these shores to work hard in a country that respects and rewards the work ethic.  Apparently the Darwinian residue left in the rest of the world finds it much easier to whine and complain because big bad America is the most successful nation in the history of nations.

Still, America puts forth billions and billions of our tax dollars in foreign aid, which the great “leaders” of your shitty banana republics and socialist states promptly pocket, leaving their own people to die in poverty. 

Fuck you idiots.  If your ancestors weren’t the bottom of the gene pool barrel, you’d be here now too.

Second Generation American
Friday, September 13, 2002

Sense of perspective,
>I know what the real "axis of evil" is in this world. Do you?

No.  What is it?

The fact that wealth is distributed unevenly?  Partially.  But socialism and communism don't work well with real individuals.  There will always be some limited resource that some greedy individuals will capitalize on.  Imperfect though it is, America has a realistic and sustainable economic system.

Irrational fear?  Yep.  Too bad Zambia won't accept GM corn.  http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/08/Bettertostarve.shtml

Uneven distribution of opportunity?  Yep.  But like greed, it isn't something we can realistically overcome.  Geographic, despotic, prejudicial and theocratic barriers are high.

Lack of education?  Yep.  There are some grass-roots campaigns against this.  Room for Reading and more.

The real world, like monolithic programs, will never be perfect.  We need to apply occam's razor to determine where our limited resources will yield the best results.  Don't anguish over the things we won't fix.

What is the axis of evil, Sense?

David Blume
Friday, September 13, 2002

Whoops.  Delete misuse of Occam's razor, and replace it with something like "serious thought".

(I was thinking about the monolithic program and debugging it.  Heh...)

David Blume
Friday, September 13, 2002

Sense of perspective:
You and many others are sick of media frenzy, a common theme.

It is a mistake to reach for moral equivalence, to judge Sept 11 against other tragedies like a contest. By your logic, a long line of tragedies must be respected before Sept. 11 is entitled.

You are disconnect from the event, and express envy instead of perspective.

at the bellows
Friday, September 13, 2002

> Imperfect though it is, America has a realistic and
> sustainable economic system.

Realistic? Definitely. Sustainable? Perhaps.

Why do I doubt? Because, nowadays (I don't know how it was before), it relies mainly on one fallacy: That you can grow every 3 months. It presumes that one of two things will happen:
1. You will continuously gain market share over your competitors; or
2. demand will continue to increase to accomodate for your continued growth.

Point 1 is the reason for all the mergers we're seeing. If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. Otherwise, you won't grow, and that's a sin, these days. You must grow, at any cost.

Point 2 is the actual reason why people even bother about bringing development to Africa and Asia (and, to a degree, South America). The size of those markets could postpone capitalism's big problem (as I see it) for a long time to come.

Unfortunately, it's not looking good. Apart from China, potential markets remain mostly potential, so far.

So, what's next? We go on merging until there's only one corporation left? We wait until the Mars colonies are ready to become a viable market? :) (no, I have no answers. That's why I'm asking).

Apart from that, my three major dislikes about capitalism are:
1. It needs a cyclical (sp?) depression to regain its balance.
2. It "sponsors" survival of the unethical (and, quite often, downright dishonest), instead of survival of the fittest.
3. It's too vulnerable to rumours and speculation.

Looking at capitalism and socialism/communism (I keep confusing which is an economic system and which is a political one), I think they both look good on paper, i.e., in the specs. However, the implementations we've had so far shouldn't have made it past QA :)

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Friday, September 13, 2002

> So, what's next? We go on merging until there's only one corporation left?

The company we worked for is bought up, we're laid off, and start new corporations. It's not like there isn't still work to be done, new people being born.

Christopher Wells
Friday, September 13, 2002

Clearly a heavily interventionist US sucks for the world.  We'd hate being on the receiving end of some country's blunders.  But when Europe invited the US to WWII, they should have realized it would be much harder to get us to leave.  Some people find it so lucrative to have all this worldwide infrastructure in place, that we couldn't easily leave even if we tried.

The solution needs to be external to the US.  One bottleneck seems to be cheap information technology.  Then eventually people may be able to talk intelligently about sustainable living, helping them to gain independence from economic pressures.

And if everyone's lingua franca happens to be English, that would make My life easier. ;-P

Sammy
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Interesting point, Sammy, but hard to think about economic considerations while you're fighting for your lives.

And since you mention it, the WWII Allies were losing more people every day than died on 9/11 while waiting for the US to join that war.

European
Monday, September 16, 2002

"and we'll learn how best not to get fooled again. Therein lies our advantage and our strength. "


Robert, you're very naive my friend

George Langara
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

"Anyway, I think we can both agree that most of the population in those countries that we view as enemies are not terrorists, and are indeed uneducated, and easily manipulated by their leaders. Marketing may be losing its efficiency here, but I bet it's still very effective in Iraq."


Paulo, you think you're not being manipulated by leaders and media here. Come on dude wake up!!!!

kalam
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

> Paulo, you think you're not being manipulated by leaders
> and media here. Come on dude wake up!!!!

I know you're right. However, I have access to a wealth of means at my disposal to fight it. Whether or not I choose to fight it, it's my decision, but I am much better prepared than, say, the vast majority of Iraqis (sp?)

IMHO, our major problems are information overload, and deciding who to believe. You know, the 3 sides to every story - mine, yours, and the truth :)

Their major problem, I believe, is lack of proper information. When I say "they", I mean those unfortunate enough to be born in a nation where a) there's little or no access to information, b) access to information tightly controlled, or c) propaganda is passed on as "information".

As for us, Western Civilization, we should know better.

I don't know how it happens in other countries (e.g., in the USA), but here, in Portugal, we have the following cycle:
1. Political force A (PFA) wins election, not by their own merit, but by political force B's (PFB) demerit (scandals, corruption, unpopular measures, etc).
2. PFA makes lots of speeches, promising to clear up the mess left by PFB.
3. PFA announces strict measures to clear up said mess, and asks for a general belt-tightening period.
4. Word of first scandals involving PFA members surface in the media.
5. PFA loses popular support, especially as it becomes obvious that the strict measures mencioned in point 3 are, shall we say, rather selective, i.e., not all belts are tightened equally. Street protests and strikes begin.
6. PFA drops in the statistics, as PFB climbs. If the election was to be held at this point in time, PFB would win.
7. Eventually, go back to 1, but switch parts of PFA, PFB.

You'd figure people would've understood how it works by now, but the truth is they don't. Whenever there's a campaign, there they go again, believing whatever promises the candidates throw at them. And, after the election, people are actually surprised when the winners break their promises.

It's my belief that we should know better. If we ignore reality, it's by our own decision.

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

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