Monday, August 12, 2013


-- Coates writing last month from Paris (h/t). Don't miss the post's poetic last paragraph.

-- The puzzle of evil.

-- Passings: Berthold Beitz; Garry Davis.


Anonymous said...

"We begin with a chilling statistic: 91% of men, and 84% of women, have fantasized about killing someone."

So it's true - women DO lie more than men do!

LFC said...

Hmmm -- I realize the humorous intent of yr remark, of course, but I'm actually not sure about the backstory/background to these figures b.c I didn't hear that particular part of the RadioLab show when I happened to be in the car Sunday listening. I heard the last 20-25 mins or so, covering part of the Haber segment (about the chemist who was a mixed bag, as it were, inventing the poison gas used in WW1 but also apparently winning the Nobel Prize for something good -- too lazy to Google rt now) and also the last segment on the so-called Green River serial killer. The last was chilling. I may listen to the whole podcast at some pt.

Anonymous said...

Haber gets a bum rap - the up/down ratio of his work's social value is astronomically high compared to, say, the entire Los Alamos crew.

Serial killers are creepy, but I'm not sure they're evil as opposed to just mentally broken.

- Anderson (can't post under OpenID, there's a bug)

LFC said...

Sorry about the bug -- there's often something technical going wrong around here.

Re Haber: I don't know v. much about him. The part I heard made clear that, at least w/r/t his family, his conduct left something to be desired, to put it mildly... He apparently had few if any qualms about the use of gas on the battlefield. But the program did acknowledge the countervailing things on the ledger. (I need to listen to the whole thing, prob. will do it this wkend.)

Anonymous said...

Idk anything about his personal life (Einstein fares badly there!).

Re: gas, I appreciate the ability of people still to be shocked by anything, but compared to A-bombs, carpet bombing, and napalm, it rates relatively low in my book. I'm not aware of many issues with civilian casualties.

- A. (again)

LFC said...

from Wikipedia:

"He married Clara Immerwahr in 1901. Clara was also a chemist and the first woman to earn a PhD at the University of Breslau. She was opposed to Haber's work in chemical warfare. On 2 May 1915, following an argument with Haber over the subject, she committed suicide in their garden shooting herself in the heart with his service revolver, possibly in response to his having personally overseen the first successful use of chlorine at the Second Battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915.[14][15] That same morning, Haber left for the Eastern Front to oversee gas release against the Russians.[16] Haber left behind his grieving 13-year-old son Herrman, who had been the one to discover his dying mother.[17]"

(btw it appears from the Wikipedia footnotes that
the radio segment in question may have been a re-air of an old program.)

Anonymous said...

Sociopathic apathy, or steel-hearted duty?

I hadn't realized he was involved with the field work, so to speak.

-- A.