by Henry Farrell on August 11, 2011

Matt Yglesias “notes Tim Lee’s editing rule”: that you should never use the prefix ‘cyber’ unless you’re William Gibson. A cyber-rule aptly illustrated in the cyber-breach by “this particular cyber-contribution to cyber-knowledge”: from Ian Bremmer and Parag Khanna.

bq. Cyberteeth bared

bq. 2010 was the year that removed all doubt that cybersecurity is now a geopolitical problem. … Yet WikiLeaks was far from the only big cyberstory in 2010. … We also learned that cyberattacks are no longer simply a weapon for petty criminals and teenagers. …In fact, WikiLeaks showed that a cyber-villain can prove just as elusive and decentralized as Al Qaeda. … Julian Assange, will probably have many days in court. If he is prosecuted in the United States, some will cast him as the world’s first cybermartyr. … will defend that freedom with more acts of cyberrevenge. … In the past, corporate willingness to provide the U.S. government with sensitive data hasn’t been hugely consequential for these firms, because they didn’t yet face a powerful cyberenemy capable of launching sophisticated attacks.

In fairness to the authors, they can’t be blamed for the “Cyberteeth” headline, which one can only imagine was a subtle act of revenge by whichever poor misfortunate bastard of a sub-editor had the grim task of polishing this cyberturd. The rest is all theirs though.

Meanwhile in the Horn of Africa…

by Ingrid Robeyns on August 11, 2011

Since England was on fire (perhaps still is, in a certain sense) and the financial markets are in trouble, we may be forgetting that a human disaster is taking place in Eastern Africa, where millions of people are suffering from famines. A photo series in the New York Times makes visual how horrendous the situation is. These pictures are from Somalia, which is for a range of reasons probably the worst situation of all countries in the Horn of Africa where people are suffering from hunger, but that’s little consolation. I recall famines in Ethiopia and neighboring countries ever since my childhood, and it is depressing to see them returning again and again, leaving one to feel rather powerless about what, if anything, one can contribute to providing a sustainable solution to this.

Famines are horrible, and are made worse by war, lawlessness, bad or nonexisting governance, and population growth (there is some accessible background material at the BBC Africa sites). These aspects make it harder to think of solutions to prevent this from happening yet again in the future, but that is not the worry of people currently starving. They need food, water and medical care, and they need it now. But once these horrible pictures get off our screens again, and the people who are now starving are either buried or are trying to rebuild their lives, we should not forget returning to searching for a sustainable solution to global poverty reduction/elimination. Let’s invest more in that discussion here on CT (to be continued).