Monday, March 31, 2008


I will write posts on Scott Powell's history course, Islamist Entanglement, on a regular basis, at least one post every two weeks. I have to catch up a bit because Scott Powell has already presented the third lecture. The course started on February 20. Please click on the above link and check out a special offer for European customers.

Here is the course description from

The Islamist Entanglement is the third installment of the A First History for Adults™ program, designed to help adults learn history. It is a 10 lecture course on the history of the interface between Western and Islamic civilization, which focuses on the modern history of that relationship, starting c.1700. The course begins with a discussion of the "Eastern Question," as it was called in European diplomatic circles, and charts the impact of Europe's empires on central Asia through to WWII. It then shifts in emphasis to the conduct of American foreign relations with the region in the context of the Cold War, and follows through to the present. Over the course of the ten lectures, the history of seven major Middle Eastern countries will be examined in turn: Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, with a 1.5 hour lecture dedicated to each. As the course proceeds, the differences and similarities between the various Islamic states will be examined, with the final aim of situating the current Middle Eastern crisis in its proper historical context.

In this first post I want only to touch briefly on the content in the first lecture, and instead point out how well structured the course is. I know already from the first lecture that I will learn much from this course.

You get plenty of resources as course material. In the outline, Scott Powell gives an introduction to the course and the power of historical knowledge, and then asking the Eastern question and Britain's answer and ultimate retreat from the Middle East. [Editor's comment: America will take Britain position later on and do similar mistakes... Do you know why America didn't help Great Britain in the Suez crisis of 1956?]

In addition to the outline, you get maps, visual outline with time periods (blank and with answers), internet resources, and recommended reading material.

The visual outline has the following time periods:

  • The background story: the Muslim threat to Europe (662 - 1529).
  • Early Western ascendancy (1415 - 1798). Read Scott Powell's post, Middle East Milestones: The Treaty of Karlowitz (1699).
  • The Middle East as a means to British ends (1798 - 1920).
  • Britain's retreat (1922 - 1979).

One great way of retaining the course is an active participation in the homework sessions by email (mailing list). The core in lecture one is the five milestones. From Scott Powell's email of February 26:

Could somebody please state, in essential terms, how 1798 and 1956 are milestones in Britain's involvement in the Middle East? Be as brief as possible, i.e. force yourself to essentialize. ([1hfa3-1] Homework: Britain and the Five Milestones, 02/26/08.)

The five milestones are:

  • 1683 - Failed Siege of Vienna by the Muslim Ottoman Turks. Western Ascendancy.
  • 1798 - Napoleon's Victory over the Muslim Mamelukes at the Battle of the Pyramids. Western Supremacy.
  • 1839 - Initiation of the "Tanzimat" Westernizing Reforms by the Ottoman Leadership. Modernization / Westernization.
  • 1956 - Nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian Leader Gamal Adbel Nasser. Transition from Nationalism to Islamism.
  • 1979 - Overthrow of the pro-American Shah of Iran and Establishment of Islamist Government through the Iranian Revolution. [Editor's comment: The progression of the Islamization has been going on for almost 30 years. With this in mind, it is not strange what you see happening in today's world with issuing of fatwas, growing jihad movement with terrorist attacks, etc.)

During the recorded lecture, one course participant said that the Middle East is in the middle between Great Britain's movements in Europe and the Commonwealth's interest in India. [Editor's note: Could it be that the new superpower, America, is using the Middle East as a buffer against communism?]

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Appropriate reading during Easter: An Atheist in the Pulpit by Bruce Grierson. [Hat tip to J.E.]

Here is the first question on reason versus faith from the Ayn Rand Institute channel on YouTube.


I just saw an interesting documentary (All In This Tea) on the tea trader, David Lee Hoffman.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


It takes a long time to load the page at the moment. I don't know if the problem is caused by a third party script, a widget, or something at Blogger...


I am now a member of Vasa Order of America (lodge Gothenburg # 452). [Editor's note: Please send me an email if you know about a lodge in your area.]

Will you eat waffles on Tuesday, March 25? They will eat Swedish pancakes in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, on April 12.


I am back with positive stuff! Yaron Brook is all over the place, Forbes, Fox Business Network and YouTube!


I haven't blogged for a week, and after watching a documentary called The Denial Machine, it was pretty hard to come up with something positive to write about..., but here is a try:

  • I will write a blog post on history on a regular basis for at least 10 weeks.
  • I will prepare for starting a new series of radio show / podcast interviews.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


EGO blog is listed in a new blog directory called EGO is rated as "8.0 - Great" and is ranked #19 in the business / innovation category. Here is an excerpt from Kristen Nicole's post, More than Just Another Blog Search Tool?

In all, Blogged is more along the lines of BlogCatalog than technorati, so its primary topic is likely going to be the average web user that recognizes blogs too have a wealth of information across various topics. So in that regard I find Blogged could be a potential way to bridge the gap between a typical consumer searching for info on the web and the blogs out there that haven’t become part of the average online publication lineup. (Mashable, 02/24/08.)

I agree with Anita Campbell's statement: Helps You Discover New Blogs.

Rate this Blog at Blogged

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I wonder what Spock would think of this new search engine called

For searches on the world wide web, I start with Google as my standard search engine, but I am always looking for testing out new specialized search engines. [Editor's comment: Could you tell me when you changed from using for example AltaVista as your first pick to Google? I remember that I used AltaVista during my time in college between 1997 - 2000. I still use AltaVista's translation tool called Babel Fish, but my main tool is now Babylon translation and dictionary software.]

To continue with my line of thought in my ["editor's comment"], Google could end up in the same situation as AltaVista did in 2000... AltaVista had started with a portal and it lost it focus on search related stuff. [Editor's note to self: Is this the same pattern as the origin of Yahoo and the new human-edited blog directory service called] Google is nowadays all over the place and could end up side-tracked by another player on the search engine market. I have seen signs how they have been obsessed with beating Microsoft in all kinds of areas and as a consequence of this "hubris", having problem with its main focus on finding correct and valid search data and information on the internet. But I must say that I am impressed with their customer services in the case story of Anita Campbell's post, Google Called. Really!, at OPEN Forum Blog ("Insight from Business Experts").

For a different angle on the search engine competition, read Patrick's (Spock Research) post, How does Spock stack up against Google? In order to investigate how the "people search engine" Spock could compete with other search engines, I registered my own profile on Spock and did some searches. I see that I am already listed as a "male, 24 years old, Manchester, NH, United States." I will learn how to update old data and suggest a merge between the old and the new biographical information.

On's blog you find several posts on the presidential candidates. As a believer in freedom of choice and that abortion is pro-life, I did the following search to find a pro-choice presidential candidate:

My understanding is that the "Grand Old Party" has an unspoken rule to apply a "litmus" test for the potential candidates. According to the conservatives, the candidate has to be pro-"life". It is time to revert and turn around this requirement. Do you think that will happen in the Republican party?

I will follow the development of Spock and see if I could pronounce the following statement: " - A Great Place for Search" in the near future.