Open Thread, 7/3/2016

The_Great_OrdealThe Great Ordeal, the third book in R. Scott Bakker’s Aspect Emperor series is going to come out in nine days. Bakker is apparently working on revisions to the fourth book, The Unholy Consult. So this series will complete (apparently Bakker’s original vision was for three related sequential series, so this would be the second of the three). There has been a large gap in time between the second and third book, but it seems mostly due to issues relating to publishing, and not the writer.

You may be interested in his blog, which has assorted links and comments. Also, there is a history of Earwa online which you might find interesting. The artwork is very evocative.

Bangladesh Attack Is New Evidence That ISIS Has Shifted Its Focus Beyond the Mideast. Apparently the attackers were educated at an English immersion school of some sort. Spoken Bengali, like British English, is very sharply differentiated by class. The menial workers at the bakery were apparently surprised at the obviously upper middle class speech patterns of the terrorists, as well as the fact that some of them spoke casually in English.

This is not surprising. Terrorist ideologues are often from privileged backgrounds. Marc Sageman has presented the most thorough ethnographies that I know of, and they’re rather clear. Generally middle to upper class, often with a technical background. Also a disproportionate number of converts. Many people with cosmopolitan backgrounds, in term of having exposure to other cultures and traveling.

As for why radicalism is cropping up in Bangladesh, it’s because they know that they’re in the middle of a culture war they might lose. There are atheists and gays in most countries, but in Bangladesh they are starting to be public. That’s a sign that the norms of conservative Islam are breaking down. Additionally, economic development and NGO influence are also integrating the nation into a web of international commerce.


Michael Cimino, Director of ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate,’ Dies at 77.

Growing Pains for Field of Epigenetics as Some Call for Overhaul. The correction.

This robot-powered burger joint could put fast food workers out of a job.

3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake.

Democratizing DNA Fingerprinting.

Multi-layered population structure in Island Southeast Asians.

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