A man, a plan, a canal, Nicaragua

What with one thing and another, I had been completely unaware that there are plans to build another canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to compete with the existing Panama Canal. This canal will be built by the Chinese and will go through Nicaragua. The graphic from McClatchy gives a good idea of the huge scale of the project. The engineering challenges are massive. [Read more...]

Snowden’s ‘ancestors’ come forward

I have written before about the secret COINTELPRO spying program that was set up by the FBI in 1956 against those people the government considered enemies, although they were mostly engaged is legitimate political activities. As now, the covered up its spying and other wrongdoing in thick layers of secrecy that enabled it to brazenly lie to the public about its activities, while simultaneously saying that they had to protect the country from its enemies, which in those Cold War days were the Dirty Reds. One feature of authoritarian states is that they need an enemy, external or internal, all the time in order to justify their policies and will manufacture one if necessary. [Read more...]

On the issue of banning commenters

There once was an old man in a family who loved to tell the same hunting story over and over again. At family gatherings, the man would try to find some cue that would enable him to insert the story into the flow of talk. On one occasion, he became increasingly frustrated at the lack of an opening in the conversation so he finally took his walking stick and rapped the ground sharply. In the startled silence that followed, he said, “What was that? A gunshot? Talking of gunshots, that reminds of the time …” [Read more...]

Gender identity and professional sports

When I was younger, the thought that a person might change their gender never crossed my mind. But now I personally know five people who have done so and they remain the same in most respects before and after the gender change. You realize that while gender is an important aspect of a person’s self-identity, it matters relatively little in the everyday interactions between people. Being transgender now seems like just another slice of the diversity of the human condition. [Read more...]