Notes From All Over (6/10/2010)

A collection of articles, essays, and blog post of merit.

Veronique de Rugy. The American. 5 October 2010.
Mr. de Rugy presents the best graphic of the month:
G William Domhoff. Who Rules America? April 2005.
Val Burris. Politics and Society. Vol 4. pp. 111-134. 1992.
Two studies on the social networks of the ruling class. The second is a tad bit outdated, but still useful given its focus on political networks. Both are necessary reads for those who argue against the existence of America’s ruling class on pluralist grounds.
Or to put it another way: the American elite have asabiyyah

Thomas Henderschedt and Chad Sbragia. Armed Forces Journal. September 2010.
Particular attention should be paid to myths #6, 9, and 10.
Thorfinn. Gene Expression. 29 August 2010.
Thorfinn and Razib’s posts are must-reads for those engaged in the Asian futuristics game. Using a multitude of data sets and maps they beat into readers a point that cannot be stressed enough: all of this talk about “Indian” demographic trends obfuscates the data! Regional variation is so great that aggregation hides the country’s real demographic trends. One contrast proves the point: the life expectancy, birthrate, and literacy rate rate of the 30 million people living in the state of Kerala mirror those of Western Europe; in the state of Bihar, the same figures resemble those of Afghanistan’s. 
Joshua Froust. Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel. 28 September 2010.
I have much sympathy with Mr. Froust’s case – it is one I have made before. Westerners (Americans in particular) have made a great game of blaming all of their problems on Harmid Karzai. Yet the problem is not the man but the impossible situation we have put him in. 
Harry Saunders. Breakthrough Institute.  28 September 2010.
An astute debunking of an oft repeated myth. 
James C. Scott. CATO Unbound. 8 September 2010.
A thought provoking essay on the part of the author of Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Mr. Scott summarizes some of the key arguments of this book, and it ought to be read by all of those (like me) who have not read it.
Richard Tada.  Arm Chair General. 12 August 2010.
Anthony Kadellis. Bryan Mawr Classical Review. 27 January 2010.
Two vicious reviews of Edward Luttawak’s Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. I am no expert on the Byzantine Empire, but I have read a few books on their main rivals – the Turks. Among these scholars there seems to be a consensus that the Byzantine’s poor military performance against the Turks can be attributed to the collapse of the theme administrative system in the 12th century. That Mr. Luttawak devotes but a single sentence to the themes does not bode well for his case. This does not surprise me – in Luttawak’s work on the Roman Empire grand strategy was purely a military affair. It is difficult to include domestic political structures inside such a narrow vision. 

Chris Sullentrop. New York Times. 8 September 2010.
On the creation of realistic first-person-shooter war games. Fascinating read.  

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