Links — April 30, 2009, 8:59 am

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If we admitted that we are not going to fight a war with China anytime soon, we could retire chunks of the Air Force and Navy that are justified by that mission. Even with a far smaller defense budget, ours will remain the world’s most powerful military by a large margin. The recently enacted GI Bill, which gives veterans a subsidized or free college education, offers a vehicle for transitioning military personnel into the civilian economy.”

The SDS– scent delivery system– is one of the add-ons that Stone has adopted to make the training games more realistic. It consists of eight sealed chambers, each of which holds a pot of wax impregnated with a pungent odour. Available at $25 (£17.26) each from Biopac, an American educational supplies company, they range from the likes of gingerbread and April showers to a mix of odours designed to evoke combat. On command from the computer, compressed air is blown over some or several of the chambers to stir up an instant impression of Kandahar.”

Throughout the Limbo, the first circle of hell, you’ll come across Virgil, the author of the Aenid and Dante’s guide, and he’ll actually relay lines from the epic poem. Yes, in between, slaying demons and wrecking havoc through hell, you can pause to read from one of the classics of Western literature… But artistic license aside, there are also moments in the game that are cringe-inducingly literal. For example, you’ll actually run across unbaptized babies, which are mentioned in the text. EA Redwood Shores imagines them as zergling creatures that have blades for feet and Dante will have to kill them as they skitter, spiderlike, across the floor… Dante’s Inferno is schedule to be released next year.” (via)

Anne Mounic: Why do you think, as you expressed it yesterday, that there is no public for poetry in our universe?

Geoffrey Hill: I do not wish to repeat the opposition between science and poetry. It is not science that is the enemy of poetry, but the fact that our world is secular and governed by this plutocratic anarchy which I talked about yesterday. What produces poetry is the exact opposite of what produces this secular concern. But it is wise to admit that this world of plutocratic anarchy is more powerful than anything.”

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In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.

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"Si told me that various paintings had spoken to him, but he wished they had been hung closer together 'so they could talk to each other.' This observation planted a seed that would come to fruition years later in his mature work."
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"Amid the festivities and the flood of celebrities, it would be easy for Americans to miss that the central plank of the long-standing cold war against Cuba — the economic embargo — remains very much alive and well."
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Ratio of the amount J. P. Morgan paid a man to fight in his place in the Civil War to what he spent on cigars in 1863:

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