Yale’s Bomb Squad Rushes to Action, Bombs

Rich Shapero. Google him, because, guaranteed, you’ve never heard of him (and we refuse to hyperlink him). His recent courageously self-published book, Wild Animus, apparently covers for an extensive underground bomb ring. Well, at least for Yale bomb squads.

The brave men and women of Yale Security and their subsequent (completely necessary) Bomb Squad Division – the guardian angels against a bevy of local New Haven-based terrorists (aka Gin and Juice) – do make mistakes. Apart from failing to mention their very existence before Tuesday, Yale bomb specialists recently confused scattered cardboard boxes near Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book Library, full of Rich Shapero’s burgeoning, unrecognized artistry (aka unsold books), for explosives. Sure, perhaps, they were just taking precautions. But…perhaps, really, they were looking for some recognition from the Academy. Or biting off of recent Times Square gallantry. Or just bitterly reacting to this oh-so-verbose review of Shapero’s epic novel:

Reading Wild Animus is like climbing, skiing or intense adventuring. It puts you in the ‘time is now’ state.

On second thought, such evidently raw, contemporaneous (and necessary) literature is the perfect excuse to take the bomb-bot for a stroll. And besides, rolling, vibrating machines attract the ladies. Good job, gentlemen!

If You Don’t Facebook, The Terrorists Have Already Won

Everyone has those moments where your mom gets a screen name or your high school frenemy pokes you and you think, Man, technology is the worst. Along those lines, did you know that the terrorists use social networking sites too? True story! It appears that Al Qaeda has been distributing training manuals with instructions for would-be terrorists on how to use digital platforms to accomplish their, erm, goals.

Columbia will use any excuse to throw a capital-S Summit, so in a few weeks the Law School will host Facebook, Google, YouTube, MTV, Howcast, Access 360 Media and the U.S. State Department to discuss the “best ways to use digital media to promote freedom and justice, counter violence, extremism, and oppression”:

These young leaders will form a new group, the Alliance of Youth Movements, which will produce a field manual for youth empowerment. The field manual will stand in stark contrast to the Al Qaeda manual on the basics of terrorism, found by Coalition Forces in Iraq… [It] will form the cornerstone of a much larger online “hub,” where emerging youth organizations can access and share “how-to” guides and tips on using social-networking and other technologies to further their causes.

The Howcast press release doesn’t provide details on what exactly in the terrorism manual requires an in-kind response, but the forum was specifically inspired by an anti-FARC Facebook group that helped organize millions of Colombians to demonstrate against the guerrilla organization. Whoopi Goldberg, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and MSNBC’s Luke Russert are scheduled to speak. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ivy League Does Not Torture

If you torture a dog with random electric shocks, will the dog become sad?

Such was the question millions of Americans were once frantically asking, until Penn professor and psychologist Martin Seligman decided to find out once and for all. (The answer: Yes.) However, Seligman’s results, after they were first published 40 years ago, had a perhaps unintended effect. As it happened some time later, CIA torture aficionados became very interested in Seligman’s work and wanted to examine the implications of this revelation for human torture. Seligman’s dog studies, it turns out, were instrumental in developing techniques used at Guantanamo Bay. So say the muckraking journalists, at least. The Daily Pennsylvanian reports:

[Writer Jane} Mayer's book [The Dark Side] alleges that Seligman’s research heavily influenced the psychologists that developped [sic] CIA interrogation techniques at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. But in a pre-publication review of the book’s content, Harper’s Magazine writer Scott Horton writes that Seligman “assisted” in the development of their interrogation techniques. This statement has since circulated on several psychology-related blogs and is a claim that Seligman unequivocally denies.

At last, the truth comes out: everything is the Ivy League’s fault. Read the rest of this entry »

RagTime September 12, 2007: The Sixth Anniversary of That Day When School Was Cancelled

UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: Oh, and Columbia: [Silence]