Public Notes


Recent Activity

  • Robert shared from The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition by Richard Dawkins
    Let me end with a brief manifesto, a summary of the entire selfish gene/extended phenotype view of life. It is a view, I maintain, that applies to living things everywhere in the universe. The fundamental unit, the prime mover of all life, is the replicator. A replicator is anything in the universe of which copies are made. Replicators come into existence, in the first place, by chance, by the random jostling of smaller particles. Once a replicator has come into existence it is capable of generating an indefinitely large set of copies of itself. No copying process is perfect, however, and the...
    Note: Basic summation for an incredibly interesting book. Add to your reading list!
  • Robert shared from The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition by Richard Dawkins
    The point I am making now is that, even if we look on the dark side and assume that individual man is fundamentally selfish, our conscious foresight—our capacity to simulate the future in imagination—could save us from the worst selfish excesses of the blind replicators. We have at least the mental equipment to foster our long-term selfish interests rather than merely our short-term selfish interests. We can see the long-term benefits of participating in a ‘conspiracy of doves’, and we can sit down together to discuss ways of making the conspiracy work. We have the power to defy the selfish...
  • Robert shared from President Kennedy: Profile of Power by Richard Reeves
    “Whether it is Viet Nam or Laos or in Thailand, whether it is a military advisory group in Iran, whether it is a military attachè in some Latin American country during a difficult and challenging period. . . . Whatever your position, you will need to know and understand not only the foreign policy of the U.S. but the foreign policy of all countries scattered around the world.... You will need to give orders in different tongues and read maps by different systems. You will be involved in economic judgments which most economists would hesitate to make. You will need to understand the importance...
  • Robert shared from Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
    I do not see how anyone who took part in our discussions could emerge without profound questions about the viability of counterinsurgency. Our military will do its part: They will clear anything we ask them to clear. They will hold anything we ask them to hold. But no one can tell you with conviction when, and even if, we can produce the flip sides of COIN that are required to build and transfer responsibility to the Afghans: an effective and sustainable civilian surge, a credible partner in Kabul, basic governance and services, and competent Afghan security forces. We simply can’t control these...
  • Robert shared from Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
    For years, we dwelled on the limitations of the Afghans. We should have focused on ours.