Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Link roundup

1. From a review of an biography of Pope John Paul II, a major enemy of Communism:

And resist communism through their religion the Poles surely did, one pilgrimage and feast day and power struggle at a time. Take as emblematic the episode of the Black Madonna, a treasured national icon that the dauntless Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, another Polish hero, attempted to send on a pilgrimage throughout the country. Eventually forbidden to do so by the authorities, who obviously feared its power as a rallying point, Wyszynski did something else: He sent the icon’s frame on pilgrimage instead. Such brilliant yet constructive mischief in the face of communist oppression is the stuff of which Polish history in that era was made.
2. From a mock review of eReaders that picked newspapers as the winner:
The most obvious advantage of The Newspaper was the size of its display, which outclassed its rivals both in terms of size and elasticity. The Newspaper display could be read at full size or, when flipped open, twice its normal width. We also had no trouble reading copy when the display was flipped to half or even quarter size. One of our engineers even figured out how to make a hat...

The device's internal security system was chief among these attractions. We left one Newspaper on a park bench for six hours and, upon return, found it in the exact same place. Another we left in a bar after a thorough evening of testing. When we came back the next afternoon, The Newspaper remained untouched...

The Newspaper also has a great number of apps already downloaded onto the device, ones we have yet to see on any other e-reader. There are the previously mentioned fly-swatting, hat-making, present-wrapping, and tailing people apps. But also the "same ol' bullshit", "who's got the sports section?" and "packing material for my eBay business" apps.
3. On Wikileaks:
The Pentagon Papers revelations dealt with a discrete topic, the ever-increasing level of duplicity of our leaders over a score of years in increasing the nation's involvement in Vietnam while denying it. It revealed official wrongdoing or, at the least, a pervasive lack of candor by the government to its people.

WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret. It assaults the very notion of diplomacy that is not presented live on C-Span. It has sometimes served the public by its revelations but it also offers, at considerable potential price, a vast amount of material that discloses no abuses of power at all.
*Buy the McSweeney's newspaper at Amazon.