I just watched the “trailer for 300”:http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/300/, a film version of a “Frank Miller graphic novel”:http://www.amazon.com/300-Frank-Miller/dp/1569714029 (which I haven’t read) about the battle of Thermopylae. Looks like the core of it is a good old relentless battle in the spirit of “Zulu”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PC13/ref=nosim/kieranhealysw-20. There’s also some stuff on Sparta and its amazing toughness, Persia and its big golden thrones, and ambassadors to Sparta standing unwisely close to large open pits. The Spartan tradition of compulsory homosexuality was less in evidence in the trailer. My feeling is that the likes of Melanie Phillips, Christopher Hitchens and Victor Davis Hanson are already drafting the flinty Op-Ed pieces they’ll publish the week the film comes out. They can add themselves to the “wide variety”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molon_Labe%21 “of people”:http://irelandsown.net/Nation.htm “who have been”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Anthem_of_Colombia inspired by the story of Thermopylae. It’s all about juggling the analogy to make sure that you get to be one of the lonely 300, and not the vast invading foreign army.

Syllabus construction time

by Chris Bertram on October 5, 2006

I’ve not been blogging much of late, partly because I’ve been making the transition between being on leave and getting back to teaching, a transition that involves desperately trying to get one lot of stuff finished whilst hurriedly updating the things that you last had to think about nearly two years ago. One such is “my final-year global justice course”:http://eis.bris.ac.uk/%7Eplcdib/tj.html , which is the usual compromise between things I really think they ought to know about and things that I want to talk about. The main changes have been the inclusion of a lot more material on territory, borders, immigration and the like (weeks 9 and 10), at the expense of things that they should know about already (TJ). (The lecture/seminar distinction, btw, is a little bit artificial on this course and basically distinguishes between teaching hours where I introduce the discussion and ones where students do.) Anyway, it isn’t set in concrete, and I suddenly realized at the last moment that I don’t really know the secession literature at all. So those of you out there that do, or think there’s something else I’m neglecting, feel free to comment.

You don’t say.

by Maria on October 5, 2006

In mean-spirited response to the executive summary of a report I haven’t read, here is a bad-minded slap down. Pew,the people who write generally solid reports on US Internet usage, ‘surveyed 742 top technology thinkers and stakeholders and gave them a series of “future scenarios” involving the internet and digital technologies to comment on in order to get a consensus on the future’.

And this is what the cheerleading tech crowd believes will happen by 2020:
[click to continue…]

Hastert watch

by Henry on October 5, 2006

By my reckoning, Denny Hastert’s “Galbraith Score”:https://crookedtimber.org/2005/02/22/livingstone-campbell-galbraith/ is “now”:http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/061003/3hastert.htm “two”:http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/010153.php . Any bets on whether he’ll stick it out for the grand slam?

Update: We’re now at “three”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/05/washington/05cnd-hastert.html?hp&ex=1160107200&en=ed644f3ba9b42abf&ei=5094&partner=homepage