Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yemeni Al-Qaeda's Tips for Aspiring "New Media" Magazine Editors:

Sada al-Malahim manages to get by without paid advertisements. The staff keeps costs down by having no central office. The editor sometimes communicates with his far-flung jihadi writers through the pages of the magazine itself. (In one issue, he apologized that he had too much content to run in a single issue, but he promised jilted contributors that their work would appear in the subsequent issue.) Most of the contributors are either members of al-Qaida or their relatives, and they're probably not paid for their writing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How marketing techniques can help NGO's and Aid Foundations save millions of lives, and save millions more from social apathy:

Any consumer-products company rolling out a brand of toilet paper will agonize over marketing. The messaging will be carefully devised, tested with focus groups, revised based on polling, tested in a particular market, tweaked, and tested again. And that's for a product whose launch makes no difference for humanity. In contrast, if an aid group is trying to raise support for a new program that could save many lives, it will often rely on a hodgepodge of guilt and statistics that limit its effectiveness. It has been said that "statistics are human beings with the tears dried off." That's precisely the problem—all the psychological research shows that we are moved not by statistics but by fresh, wet tears, with a bit of hope glistening below.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Detroit-bound Nigerian bomber's hometown blames foreign schooling for his actions.

"We the children of the masses in this country, we don't know anything about terrorism because our parents are poor. They don't have the money to take us abroad," said 25-year old student and Funtua resident Usman Mati.

The Parallels Between The United States and Alexander The Great's Afghan Tribal Problems

A persuasive argument that conflict in the region has always revolved around tribalism.

An on-going set of interviews with Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai, of the Zazi region on the Af-Pak border:

"So, to answer your question, who are these insurgents? Are they coming from Pakistan or are they living within the Zazi Valley?

These insurgents are living within the Zazi Valley. We have identified their commanders and members and they are not more than 35 men. Can one imagine that only 35 men are intimidating the lives of over 250,000 people?"

Old New York Was Once New Amsterdam...

Much as New Orleans was a product of French colonization, another distinct and vital city in the United States, New York, has Dutch roots that have shaped its subsequent history:

“Most historians don’t think much of the Dutch; they minimalize the Dutch influence and try to get out of that period as quickly as possible to get into English stuff,” Mr. Gehring said, explaining why he has spent half of his 70 years mining Dutch colonial history. “What you find out is how deeply the Dutch cast roots here and how much of their culture they transmitted to this country.”

The Forgotten History of Afghanistan

As German forces mull over negotiations with the "Moderate" Taliban factions in Afghanistan, BBC correspondent and documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis' blog provides a thought-provoking, heart-breaking, and ultimately surprisingly history of this war-torn land.

Who knew Italian avant-garde artists and Madison, Wisconsin had such an impact on Afghan society today?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Greece, elements of the traditional "Left" have come together to organize widespread strikes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Follow the Money

While the Iranian government has recently provided money for the construction of a hospital in Bolivia, anti-government protesters have turned to sloganeering on the national banknotes to get their voices heard:

The Central Bank of Iran has tried to take these banknotes out of circulation, but there are just too many of them, and gave up. For the activists’ people it’s a way of saying “We are here, and the green movement is going on”.
Evidently, Iran and Bolivia are proponents of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" school of International Relations.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Did Non-Denominational, feel-good, prosperity-focused mega-churches prime Americans into taking subprime loans they couldn't pay?

“I wasn’t very surprised when the whole subprime-mortgage thing blew up. I’m sure a loan officer never said, ‘God wants you to have a house.’ But you’ve already been taught that. Now here comes the loan officer saying, ‘Sign here, and this house will be yours.’ It feels like a gift from God. It’s the perfect fuel for the crisis.”
The thesis that only Islam is to blame for Muslims' supposed inability to assimilate in Europe is far too simplistic to stand the test of reality. In fact, it's just as simplistic as the argument peddled by the Muslim right wing, which is that Islam is the only cure for whatever ails Muslims.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Somali Pirate stock exchange:

Somalia's Western-backed government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is pinned down battling hard-line Islamist rebels, and controls little more than a few streets of the capital.

The administration has no influence in Haradheere -- where a senior local official said piracy paid for almost everything.

"Piracy-related business has become the main profitable economic activity in our area and as locals we depend on their output," said Mohamed Adam, the town's deputy security officer.

"The district gets a percentage of every ransom from ships that have been released, and that goes on public infrastructure, including our hospital and our public schools."

(via Global Guerrillas)
Your political views correlate with how light or dark you perceive Barack Obama's skin to be.

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