Information in torture report starts to leak out

The White House and the CIA are still resisting calls to release even the 500-page Executive Summary and conclusions of the 6,300 page Senate torture report. It appears that while the full report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the US government’s torture practices has not been leaked (as yet anyway) elements of what it contains are coming out.
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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…]

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…]