Playing With Dominoes

Playing With Dominoes

Playing With Dominoes

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 2 2005 5:39 PM

Playing With Dominoes

Playing with dominoes: Bloggers continue to discuss the newfound democratic leanings in Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel. A New York Times editorial suggesting that President Bush's policies of pre-emptive war and democracy promotion have proved effective has left hawkish bloggers shocked and awed. "The Gray Lady Wakes Up!" declares mystery novelist Roger L. Simon. "At this point I fully expect for cats and dogs to sleep together, for pigs to suddenly take flight, and to see an evil version of Mr. Spock walking around," writes "conservative with an attitude" Jay Reding.

At Vodkapundit, a Peace Corps officer stationed in the Ukraine sends a long dispatch about his liberal American colleagues' difficulty celebrating the events. "My friends looked like they had been punched in the stomach," he writes. "Just that morning they had double teamed me and insisted that the bush regime was the most evil on the planet and of course in the history of the US. … It was if their entire world was crashing down on them."

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War novelist and strategist Austin Bay applauds the obvious regional progress and the American policy that preceded it, but objects to the self-assurance of Mark Steyn's Berlin Wall analogy. "No, it's not 1989– the war on terror is something very different, and we're not [yet] in the endgame," he writes. Cautious Mideast specialist Juan Cole, too, praises the developments, but withholds final judgment—and credit for President Bush. "It is often pointed out that presidents get too much praise and blame for the economy, since the domestic economy has its own rhythms," he says. "We are now going to see everything that happens in the Middle East attributed to George W. Bush, whether he had much to do with it or not (usually not)." The American Prospect'sMatthew Yglesias thinks progress in Iran will be the ultimate measure of Bush's regional policy—and suggests that the Lebanese political landscape is far too complicated to call Monday's resignation a definitive victory for democracy.

Illuminating darkenergy *: Many science bloggers link to an article on NYU physicist Georgi Dvali, who believes he's solved the thorny problem of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Scientists have relied on the hypothetical antigravity force "dark energy" to explain the increasing rate of expansion. Dvali thinks string theory, which proposes dimensions beyond the four perceptible to human observers, might explain the phenomenon: If gravity leaked into these other dimensions, that would mean there would be less gravitational force restraining the growth of the observable universe.

Space blogger Moonage Spacedream says the idea that the universe is simply "meeting less resistance from a force we can measure makes a lot more sense to me than a force that does nothing but repel matter." Luboš Motl, a Czech scientist based in Massachusetts, reviews a couple of relevant academic papers and concludes that "although [Dvali's] general words sounds appealing, the details have not convinced me yet."

Boondocks takes an unscheduled vacation:Editor and Publisher reports that at least three newspapers pulled Monday's edition of The Boondocks, which suggested that President Bush "smoked [marijuana] to take the edge off the coke." The Chicago Tribune's explanation for killing the comic strip: It "presents inaccurate information as fact."

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Drug reform advocate Pete Guiter of Drug War Rant opines that "the Tribune is wrong there. [The strip] presents accurate information as comic strip conjecture." Web developer Sam Buchanan of afongen "hopes that the editors of these papers hold their news reporters to a higher standard than the comics artists and take care when printing inaccurate statements from the Bush administration."On Jim Romenesko's letters page, Mark Remy advises the Tribune to clarify further confusion by printing the following additional corrections:

Snoopy was not a WWI flying ace. Nor did he ever engage the Red Baron, in aerial combat or otherwise.

Humans cannot read the thoughts of cats, as suggested in Garfield. Also, cats cannot eat an entire tray of lasagna in one sitting.

Mallard [Fillmore] is not funny. Ever.

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Correction, March 3: The article originally used the term "dark matter" to describe antigravity forces. The correct term is "dark energy." (Return to the corrected sentence.)