Around the Web

The Sleep of Reason (Produces Monsters): Lorenz at spotted this disturbing article quoting Iain Edgar, a social anthropologist who claims that dreams are used and interpreted by Islamic militants to justify violence. Edgar is quoted in the article: “Overall, how Moslems [sic], and people in general, understand their night dreams is a powerful tool in assessing their worldview and implicit key motivations.”

Looking for other Motivations for Human Action? Reuter’s report on this cell-phone study, whose conclusion confirms the truism: we are creatures of habit.

While Chris humbly claims that the moment of free software, the subject of his new book, may be untimely, the press coverage of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)’s begrudging collaboration with Microsoft shows that issues surrounding open-source and free software are anything but passé. Originally, OLPC claimed it could make a USD$100 computer for children in the rural global South by using Linux and open-source software, but the initiative has had to modify its approach as more countries show a preference for traditionally commercial platforms. Business Week interestingly questions whether OLPC’s approach is culturally imperialist.

National Geographic does Neoliberalism: I thought this was an interesting piece for National Geographic. They covered the crisis of rising corn costs in Mexico and did a fairly thoughtful job connecting it to American speculation on ethanol. And the article almost manages to talk about Mexico and corn without mentioning its rich indigenous heritage. Near the bottom of the second page it reads:

“Francisco Avila may soon join those statistics [of the unemployed]. He harvests a strain of white corn that traces its lineage to seeds planted by the Aztec and Maya cultures on a small 6-acre (2.4-hectare) plot in central Mexico.”

Well, what did you expect? It’s National Geographic.

Book Review: Xiang Biao’s Global Body Shopping: An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry and discusses its significance as an ethnography by a Chinese anthropologist which is not on China.

Book Reconsideration: The New York Sun published this ‘reconsideration’ of Karl Polyani’s The Great Transformation.

2 thoughts on “Around the Web

  1. Hmmm. No wonder free-market economist dislike Polanyi but they also dislike Marx and both probably are much sharper economists than all the free-market icons. Just that economics, as taught in University, is not a science but a an ideology – at most a technology of free-market. True economic science has been relegated to the field of history mostly (and the search for alternative technologies to that of ecology, I guess).

  2. OK, I’ll bite: can you explain why this is “disturbing”?

    (I don’t know enough about the Middle East or Islam to judge its plausibility, but it is not clear to me that this is necessarily wrong on the face of it.) Abstract for the article follows (I’ve ordered it on ILL):

    The Inspirational Night Dream in the Motivation and Justification of Jihad

    Iain R. Edgar ‌

    This article uses a wide variety of examples to argue that the experience of the true dream (ruya) is a fundamental, inspirational, and even strategic, part of the contemporary militant jihadist movement in the Middle East and elsewhere. Dream narratives are contextualized through a consideration of the historical role of the perceived revelatory power of the night dream in Islam. This article further explores some key aspects of Islamic dream theory and interpretation, and offers examples and analysis of the inspirational guidance claimed by many of the best known al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders and jihadists.

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