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Fred PhillipsRSS Feed of this column.

After a dozen years as a market research executive, Fred Phillips was professor, dean, and vice provost at a variety of universities in the US, Europe, and South America. He is now Professor at University... Read More »

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Sorry I've been absent for a while. (I hope you missed me!) Here's one thing that's been keeping me busy:
The Portland International Conferences on Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET) occur in Oregon in odd-numbered years, and in diverse locales in the even. I write from lovely Phuket island in southern Thailand, as I listen to bird- and cricket song and the crashing surf of the Andaman Sea, and gather my thoughts following the close of PICMET-2010.
Rather than hijack Eric Diaz' excellent recent post with lengthy and tangential comments, I'll post my thoughts about the roots of war here. Machines, Organizations&Us is a column on human-machine interactions, so after laying some anthropological and ethical groundwork I'll offer speculations on relationships between technology (and our feelings about technology) and war.

One of my aikido students asked me,

1. “Arizona Legislature Passes Bill Banning Ethnic Studies Programs.”


I thank my Alliant University colleague Eduardo Morales for an email summarizing that story:
“After making national headlines for a new law on illegal immigrants, the Arizona Legislature sent Gov. Jan Brewer a bill Thursday that would ban ethnic studies programs in the state that critics say currently advocate separatism and racial preferences. The bill, which passed 32-26 in the state House, had been approved by the Senate a day earlier.... The new bill would make it illegal for a school district to teach any courses that …[among other things] 'advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.'
Have you ever pondered public radio fund drives? Whether you’ve supported the station or not (I do), the drive persists; they keep asking for money the whole, dreary week. If you pay on the first day, you get six more days of pitch. If you pay on day 7, you’ve still endured the whole week of no music and no news. If you don’t pay at all, you deserve what you get, but that’s not the point.

And whenever you pay, they’re just going to do the same damn thing in a few more months.
I wrote this letter in response to his1 December 19 column. The letter sank without a trace, despite that it was admirably concise and pithy - if I do say so myself.