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From the Notebook

Cover of "The Art of War (History and War...

Cover of The Art of War (History and Warfare)

Love these nice relaxing summer months…

– The George Zimmerman trial got a lot of coverage, but as usual, there lacked any real depth to the analysis. Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed man because he was on his own crusade to rid his neighborhood of wrongdoers. The simple answer, assuming we as a society want to avoid this situation (and we should) is to include a No Vigilantism Clause in the pistol carry laws. If you defend yourself using lethal force, you will be judged by the circumstances of the event, however, if you were seeking out a confrontation (as evidenced by the event taking place outside normal daily life of work and recreation, by being in neighborhood watch patrol, by any 911 calls, etc.) then you are guilty of violating the No Vigilantism Clause (and that should probably be a gross misdemeanor). This will effectively prevent most situations like the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Self Education this month:

– Listened to Sun Tzu‘s the Art of War, a free public domain audiobook available from LibriVox. This Eastern Classic provides the foundation for thinking not only about military matters, but business matters as well. The nature of planning a strategy based on current circumstances and acquiring knowledge is universal. (I think I listened to this book four times, because it’s rather short and I forgot to switch out the recording on my mp3 player, so after listening to it a few times, on top of having read the book, one starts seeing applications for its advice everywhere in daily life.)

-Listened to a course on Aristotle’s Ethics by Father Joseph Koterski, one of The Great Courses from The Teaching Company. This was a great short course, and for most people the two important lessons from Aristotle’s Ethics will be fully understanding the idea of the Golden Mean, and getting a better handle on friendship and its meaning. Could not recommend the course more highly.

– Watched Matthew Khan’s Environmental Economics playlist on YouTube. Khan is a professor of economics, focusing on environmental economics at the micro level, He’s also, if I remember correctly, a self-described member of the Chicago School. Much of his work seems contradictory, but libertarian minded people who have a soft spot for the environment will definitely benefit from his work.

– Watched the Khan Academy Buddhist Art module on the Art History Playlist. So KA is going through changes in how they setup their coursework, creating small modules that act like short seminars on specific topics and include not only videos but readings and quizzes. This short module focused on Buddhist Art is very informative, and I went through it as a supplement to an audio course on Buddhism that I’m currently taking.

– Read 1 Chronicles (older NLT version). The many pages of genealogies make this one of the more difficult books of the Bible to plow through, but those genealogies hide interesting historical perspectives on David and Solomon.

– Saw Pacific Rim, in 3D. And I was surprised how good it was, considering the source material. There are lots of little things that make it a good movie, and it only has a few rough spots. It’s not quite cliché, so it’s fresh, but there are lots of familiar elements that make it a good movie because it reminds us of other movies (and not just monster movies) that we previously enjoyed. Lots of depth, good effects, acceptable acting. Good flick.

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