October 29, 2006 at 1:12 am | In Books, History, Philosophy, Globalization, Literary | No Comments | Edit this post






Jean-François Lyotard

In critical theory, and particularly postmodernism, a metanarrative (sometimes master- or grand narrative) "is a global
or totalizing cultural narrative
schema which orders and
explains knowledge and experience".[1]

The prefix meta means "beyond" and is here used to
mean "about", and a narrative is a story. Therefore, a
metanarrative is a story about
a story.

The term is best known for its use by Jean-François
in the following quotation: "Simplifying to the
extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives".[2]
By this, Lyotard meant that the postmodern condition is characterized by an
increasingly widespread skepticism toward
metanarratives, such as the unique status of the individual, the boundedness of information,
and the march of progress, that are thought to have given order and meaning to Western
thought during modernity.

The meaning of metanarrative

A metanarrative can
include any grand, all-encompassing story, classic text, or archetypal account of the
historical record. They can also provide a framework upon which an individual’s own
experiences and thoughts may be ordered. These grand, all-encompassing stories are
typically characterised by some form of ‘transcendent and universal truth’ in addition to
an evolutionary tale of human existence (a story with a beginning, middle and an end). The
majority of
metanarratives tend to be relatively optimistic in their visions for humankind, some verge on utopian, but different schools of thought offer very different

Examples of metanarratives

  • Many Christians believe that human existence is
    innately sinful but offered redemption and eternal peace in
    heaven - thus representing a belief in a universal rule and a telos for humankind. See also Universal History.
  • The Enlightenment theorists believed that
    rational thought, allied to scientific reasoning, would lead inevitably toward moral, social and ethical progress.
  • Marxists believe that human
    existence is alienated from its species being,
    although capable of realising its full potential through collective, democratic
  • Freudian theory holds
    that human history is a narrative of the repression of libidinal desires.
  • An uncritical belief in the free market is a belief that
    through humanity’s aquisition of wealth all who work hard and are afforded the right
    opportunities will succeed materially.
  • Categorical and definitive periodizations of history,
    such as the Fall of the Roman Empire, are
    rejected by postmodernism. Other periodization schemes include the Dark Ages and Renaissance.

Modern skepticism toward metanarratives

According to Jean-François Lyotard, a
defining condition of postmodernity is a widespread
skepticism or "incredulity" toward
metanarratives.[3] Lyotard and many other poststructuralist thinkers have viewed this as a
positive development for a number of reasons. First, attempts to construct grand theories
tend to dismiss the naturally existing chaos and disorder of the universe.
‘Metanarratives’ ignore the heterogeneity
or variety of human existence. They are also seen to embody unacceptable views of
historical development, in terms of progress towards a specific goal. The latent diverse
passions of human beings will always make it impossible for them to be marshalled under
some theoretical doctrine and this is one of the reasons given for the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Replacing grand, universal narratives with small, local narratives

Metanarratives have lost their power to convince, according to
the advocates of postmodernism, – they are, literally, stories that are told in order
to legitimise various versions of "the truth". With the transition from modern
to postmodern, Lyotard proposes that
metanarratives should give way to ‘petit récits’, or more modest and "localised"
narratives. Borrowing from the works of Wittgenstein and
his theory of the "models of discourse" [citation needed] Lyotard constructs his
vision of a progressive politics. He envisages a progressive politics that is grounded in
the cohabitation of a whole range of diverse and always locally legitimated language
games. Postmodernists attempt to replace
metanarratives by focusing on specific local contexts as well as the diversity of human
experience. They argue for the existence of a "multiplicity of theoretical
standpoints", rather than grand, all-encompassing theories.

Is postmodernism a metanarrative?

Lyotard’s analysis of the postmodern condition has been criticized as being internally
inconsistent. For example, thinkers like Alex Callinicos[4] and Jürgen Habermas[5] argue that Lyotard’s description of the postmodern world as
containing an "incredulity toward
metanarratives" could be seen as a metanarrative in itself. According to this view, post-structuralist
thinkers like Lyotard criticise universal rules but postulate that postmodernity contains
a universal skepticism toward
metanarratives. Thus, the postmodern incredulity towards metanarratives could be said to be self-refuting. If we are skeptical of universal narratives
such as "truth", "knowledge", "right", or "wrong",
then there is no grounds for believing, the "truth", that
metanarratives are being undermined. In this sense,
this paradox of postmodernism is similar to the liar’s
("This statement is false."). Perhaps postmodernists, like Lyotard,
are not offering us a utopian, teleological
metanarrative, but in many respects their arguments are open to metanarrative interpretation. They place much
emphasis on the irrational, though in doing so apply the instruments of reason.
Postmodernism is an anti-theory, but uses theoretical tools to make its case. The
significance of this contradiction, however, is of course also open to interpretation.


  1. Stephens, John (1998). Retelling Stories, Framing Culture: Traditional Story
    and Metanarratives in Children’s Literature
    . ISBN 0-8153-1298-9.
  2. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern
    : A Report on Knowledge
    . Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984,
    reprint 1997. Translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi.
  3. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.
    Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984, reprint 1997. Translated by Geoff Bennington and
    Brian Massumi.
  4. Callinicos, Alex. Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique. Cambridge:
    Polity Press, 1991.
  5. Habermas, Jürgen. "Modernity versus Postmodernity". New German Critique,
    No. 22, Special Issue on Modernism, pp. 3-14. 1981.

Further reading

  • Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.
    Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984, reprint 1997. Translated by Geoff Bennington and
    Brian Massumi.
  • Stephens, John (1998). Retelling Stories, Framing Culture: Traditional Story
    and Metanarratives in Children’s Literature
    . ISBN 0-8153-1298-9.

External links


October 28, 2006 at 10:36 pm | In Research, Science & Technology, Philosophy | No Comments | Edit this post








Attach a string to a point on a curve. Extend the string so that it is tangent to the curve at the point of attachment. Then wind the string up, keeping it always taut. The locus of points traced out by the end of the string is called the involute of the original curve, and the original curve is called the evolute of its involute. This process is illustrated above for a circle.

Although a curve has a unique evolute, it has infinitely
involutes corresponding to different choices of initial point. An involute can also be thought of as any curve orthogonal
to all the tangents to a given curve.

The following table lists the involutes of some common curves, some of which are illustrated above.

curve involute
astroid 1/2
times as large
cardioid 3
times as large
a spiral
equal cycloid
deltoid 1/3
times as large
unnamed curve
smaller epicycloid
similar hypocycloid
logarithmic spiral involute another logarithmic spiral
or nephroid 2 times as large
semicubical parabola involute half a parabola


October 28, 2006 at 8:31 pm | In Economics, History, Financial, Globalization | No Comments | Edit this post





Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923

By Hans F. Sennholz

“Mises Daily Article”

Posted on10/28/2006

This article is excerpted from the book
The Age of Inflation

The German inflation of 1914–1923 had an inconspicuous
beginning, a creeping rate of one to two percent. On the first day of the war, the German
Reichsbank, like the other central banks of the belligerent powers, suspended
redeemability of its notes in order to prevent a run on its gold reserves.

Like all the other banks, it offered assistance to the central government in financing
the war effort. Since taxes are always unpopular, the German government preferred to
borrow the needed amounts of money rather than raise its taxes substantially. To this end
it was readily assisted by the Reichsbank, which discounted most treasury obligations.

A growing percentage of government debt thus found its way into the vaults of the
central bank and an equivalent amount of printing press money into people’s cash holdings.
In short, the central bank was monetizing the growing government debt.

By the end of the war the amount of money in circulation had risen fourfold and prices
some 140 percent. Yet the German mark had suffered no more than the British pound, was
somewhat weaker than the American dollar but stronger than the French franc. Five years
later, in December 1923, the Reichsbank had issued 496.5 quintillion marks, each of which
had fallen to one-trillionth of its 1914 gold value.[1]

How stupendous! Practically every economic good and service was costing trillions of
marks. The American dollar was quoted at 4.2 trillion marks, the American penny at 42
billion marks. How could a European nation that prided itself on its high levels of
education and scholarly knowledge suffer such a thorough destruction of its money? Who
would inflict on a great nation such evil which had ominous economic, social, and
political ramifications not only for Germany but for the whole world? Was it the victors
of World War I who, in diabolical revenge, devastated the vanquished country through
ruinous financial manipulation and plunder? Every mark was printed by Germans and issued
by a central bank that was governed by Germans under a government that was purely German.
It was German political parties, such as the Socialists, the Catholic Centre Party, and
the Democrats, forming various coalition governments, that were solely responsible for the
policies they conducted. Of course, admission of responsibility for any calamity cannot be
expected from any political party.

How could a European nation that prided itself on its
high levels of education and scholarly knowledge suffer such a thorough destruction of its

The reasoning that led these parties to inflate the national currency at such
astronomical rates is not only interesting for economic historians, but also very
revealing of the rationale for monetary destruction. The doctrines and theories that led
to the German monetary destruction have since then caused destruction in many other
countries. In fact, they may be at work right now all over the western world. In our
judgment, four erroneous doctrines or theories guided the German monetary authorities in
those baleful years.

No Inflation in Germany

The most amazing economic sophism that was advanced by eminent financiers, politicians,
and economists endeavored to show that there was neither monetary nor credit inflation in
Germany. These experts readily admitted that the nominal amount of paper money issued was
indeed enormous. But the real value of all currency in circulation, that is, the
gold value in terms of gold or goods prices, they argued, was much lower than before the
war or than that of other industrial countries.

Minister of Finance and celebrated economist Helfferich repeatedly assured his nation
that there was no inflation in Germany since the total value of currency in circulation,
when measured in gold, was covered by the gold reserves in the Reichsbank at a much higher
ratio than before the war.[2] President of the
Reichsbank Havenstein categorically denied that the central bank had inflated the German
currency. He was convinced that it followed a restrictive policy since its portfolio was
worth, in gold marks, less than half its 1913 holdings.

Professor Julius Wolf wrote in the summer of 1922: “In proportion to the need,
less money circulates in Germany now than before the war. This statement may cause
surprise, but it is correct. The circulation is now 15–20 times that of pre-war days,
whilst prices have risen 40–50times.”[3] Similarly
Professor Elster reassured his people that “however enormous may be the apparent rise
in the circulation in 1922, actually the figures show a decline.”[4]

The Statistical Bureau of the German government even calculated the real values of the
per capita circulation in various countries. It, too, concluded that there was a shortage
of currency in Germany, but a great deal of inflation abroad.

Gold value of monies in
circulation, gold marks per person















United States of America



Source: Wirtschaft und Statistjk, 1923, No. 1.

(To arrive at US dollar amounts these figures should be divided by 4.2)

Of course, this fantastic conclusion drawn by monetary authorities and experts bore
ominous consequences for millions of people. Through devious sophisms it simply removed
the cause of disaster from individual responsibility and thus also all limits to the
issuance of more paper money.

The source of this momentous error probably lies in the ignorance of one of the most
important determinants of money value, which is the very attitude of people toward money.
For one reason or another people may vary their cash holdings. An increase in cash
holdings by many people tends to raise the exchange value of money; reduction in cash
holdings tends to lower it. Now in order to change radically their cash holdings,
individuals must have cogent reasons. They naturally enlarge their holdings whenever they
anticipate rising money value as, for instance, in a depression. And they reduce their
holdings whenever they expect declining money value. In the German hyperinflation they
reduced their holdings to an absolute minimum and finally avoided any possession at all.
It is obvious that goods prices must then rise faster and the value of money depreciate
faster than the rate of money creation. If the value of individual cash holdings declines
faster than the rate of money printing, the value of the total stock of money must also
depreciate faster than this rate. This is so well understood that even the mathematical
economists emphasize the money “velocity” in their equations and calculations of
money value.[5]
But the German monetary authorities were unaware of such basic principles of human action.

For Health, Education, Welfare, and Full Employment

Immediately after the war the German government, under the leadership of the Socialist
Party, embarked upon heavy expenditures for health, education, and welfare. The demands on
the treasury were extremely heavy anyway because of demobilization expenses, the demands
of the Armistice, the disorders of the revolution, and the staggering deficits of the
nationalized industries, especially the railroads, postal services, telephone, and
telegraph. Public administration by the new men raised to power by the revolution,
nevertheless, was extravagant, as the resources made available by the creation of new
money were apparently unlimited. A number of measures for the nationalization of certain
industries (e.g., the coal, electrical, and potash industries) were introduced, but failed
to become law. The eight-hour day was enacted, and labor unions were given many legal
immunities and privileges. In fact, a system of labor councils was set up which authorized
the workers in each enterprise to elect representatives who shared in the management of
the company! While government expenditures rose by leaps and bounds, the revenue suffered
a gradual decline until, in October 1923, only 0.8 percent of government expenses were
covered by tax revenues. For the period from 1914 to 1923 scarcely fifteen percent of the
expenses were covered by means of taxes. In the final phase of the inflation the German
government experienced a complete atrophy of the fiscal system.

In October 1923, only 0.8% of government expenses were
covered by tax revenues.

The depreciation of the currency brought about the destruction of taxable wealth in the
form of mortgages, bonds, annuities, and pensions, which in turn reduced government
revenue. Some speculators reaped spectacular profits from the depreciation, but they
easily evaded the tax collector. Moreover, the fiscal policies of the socialist government
were openly hostile toward capital and frequently endeavored to impose confiscatory
capital levies upon all wealth. Secretary of the Treasury Erzberger even vowed that
“in the future Germany the rich should be no more.”[6] Consequently a
massive “flight of capital” from Germany developed as all classes of savers
invested their money in foreign bank accounts, currencies bills, securities, etc. Much
taxable wealth was removed from the grasp of tax collectors.

Finally, the rapid depreciation of currency greatly reduced all tax liabilities during
the time interval between the taxable transaction and the date of tax payment. The
taxpayer usually paid a sum whose real value was greatly reduced by inflation.
Nevertheless, government expenditure accelerated while revenue in terms of real value
continued to decline. The growing deficits then were met with even larger quantities of
printing press money, which in turn generated ever larger deficits. The German monetary
authorities, in fact, were trapped in a vicious circle from which they did not know how,
nor have the courage, to extricate themselves.

The leading monetary authority, Dr. Helfferich, even warned his people against the dire
consequences of monetary stabilization.

To follow the good counsel of stopping the printing of notes would mean refusing to
economic life the circulating medium necessary for transactions, payments of salaries and
wages, etc. It would mean that in a very short time the entire public, and above all the
Reich, could no longer pay merchants, employees, or workers. In a few weeks, besides the
printing of notes, factories, mines, railways, and post offices, national and local
government, in short, all national and economic life would be stopped.[7]

The Balance of Payments and the Treaty of Versailles

Throughout the period of the inflation the most popular explanation of the monetary
depreciation laid the blame on an unfavorable balance of payments, which in turn was
blamed on the payment of reparations and other burdens imposed by the Treaty of
Versailles. To most German writers and politicians, the government deficits and the paper
inflation were not the causes but the consequences of the external depreciation of the

The wide popularity of this explanation which charged the victorious allies with full
responsibility for the German disaster bore ominous implications for the future. Its
simplicity made it appealing to the masses of economically ignorant people whose
chauvinism and nationalism always make the idea of foreign intrigue and conspiracy so
palatable. The intellectual and political leaders who actively propagated the doctrine
were sowing the seeds for the whirlwind they reaped a decade later.

The wide popularity of this explanation which charged
the victorious allies with full responsibility for the German disaster bore ominous
implications for the future.

During those baleful years, Germany actually procured gratuitously from abroad large
quantities of raw materials and foodstuffs. According to various authoritative estimates,
foreign individuals and banks bought at least sixty billion paper marks which the
Reichsbank had floated abroad at an average price of one-fourth gold mark for a paper
mark. The depreciation of the mark to one-trillionth of its earlier value repudiated these
foreign claims to German goods. Thus foreigners suffered losses of some fifteen billion
gold marks, or some $3.5 billion US dollars, which was eight times more than Germany had
paid in foreign exchange on account of reparations.

But even if it had been true that excessive burdens had been thrust on Germany by the
Allies, there was no need for any monetary depreciation. Both phenomena are entirely
independent. If excessive burdens are placed on a government, whether they be foreign or
domestic, that government must raise taxes, or borrow some funds, or curtail other
expenditures. Excessive reparation payments may necessitate greatly higher taxes on the
populace, or large loans that reduce the supply of savings for industry and commerce, or
painful cuts in government service and employment. The standards of living of the people
thus burdened will probably be depressed — unless the reduction of bureaucracy should
release new productive energy. But the value of money is not affected by the reparation
burden unless economic productivity is impaired by the fund-raising.

Once government has achieved the necessary budgetary surplus the payment of reparations
is a simple matter of exchange. The treasury buys the necessary gold or foreign exchange
from its central bank and delivers it to the recipient government. The loss of gold or
foreign exchange then necessitates a corresponding reduction of central bank money, which
in turn tends to depress goods prices. Lower goods prices encourage more exports while
they discourage imports, that is, generate what is commonly called a “favorable
balance of payments” or new influx of gold and foreign exchange. In short, there can
be no shortage of gold or foreign exchange as long as the central bank refrains from
inflation and monetary depreciation. The German monetary authorities flatly denied this
economic reasoning. Instead, they preferred to lament about the excessive burdens thrust
onto Germany and the unfavorable balance of payments generated thereby. In 1923 they added
yet another factor: the French occupation of the Ruhr district. The Central Statistical
Office put it this way:

The fundamental cause of the dislocation of the German monetary system is the
disequilibrium of the balance of payments. The disturbance of the national finances and
the inflation are in their turn the consequences of the depreciation of the currency. The
depreciation of the currency upset the Budget balance, and determined with an inevitable
a divergence between income and expenditure, which provoked the upheaval.[8]

Again I quote Dr. Helfferich:

Inflation and the collapse of the exchange are children of the same parent: the
impossibility of paying the tributes imposed on us. The problem of restoring the
circulation is not a technical or banking problem; it is, in the last analysis, the
problem of the equilibrium between the burden and the capacity of the German economy for
supporting this burden.[9]

Even American economists echoed the German theory. Professor Williams presented this
causal order: “Reparation payments, depreciating exchanges, rising import and export
prices, rising domestic prices, consequent budgeting deficits, and at the same time an
increased demand for bank credit; and finally increased note-issue.”[10] Professor
Angell contended that “The reality of the type of analysis which runs from the
balance of payments and the exchanges to general prices and the increased issue of
paper seems to be definitely established.”[11]

Speculators Did It

When all other explanations are exhausted, modern governments usually fall back on the
speculator, who is held responsible for all economic and social evils. What the witch was
to medieval man, what the capitalist is to socialists and communists, the speculator is to
most politicians and statesmen: the embodiment of evil. He is said to be imbued with
ruthless and fickle selfishness that is capable of wrecking the national economy,
government plans, and, in the case of German inflation, the national currency. No matter
how blatantly contradictory this explanation may be, it is most popular with government
authorities in search of a convenient explanation for the failure of their own policies.

The same German officials who denied the very existence of inflation lamented the
depreciation caused by speculators, or they blamed the Allied reparation burdens and
simultaneously denounced speculators for the depreciation. Dr. Havenstein, the President
of the Reichsbank, embracing every conceivable theory that exculpated his policies, also
pointed at the speculators. Before a parliamentary committee he testified: “On the
28th of March began the attack on the foreign exchange market. In very numerous classes of
the German economy, from that day onwards, thought was all for personal interests and not
for the needs of the country.”[12]

In a chorus the newspapers chanted the charge:

According to all appearances the fall of the mark did not have its origin in the New
York exchange, from which it may be concluded that in Germany there was active speculation
directed towards the continual rise of the dollar.

We are witnessing a rapid increase in the number of those who speculate on the fall of
the mark and who are acquiring vested interests in a continual depreciation.

The enormous speculation on the rise of the American dollar is an open secret. People
who, having regard to their age, their inexperience, and their lack of responsibility, do
not deserve support, have nevertheless secured the help of financiers, who are thinking
exclusively of their own immediate interests.

Those who have studied seriously the conditions of the money market state that the
movement against the German mark remained on the whole independent of foreign markets for
more than six months. It is the German bears, helped by the inaction of the Reichsbank,
who have forced the collapse in the exchange.

In its broadest sense speculation is present in every economic action that makes
provision for an uncertain future. The student who studies aeronautical engineering
speculates on the future demand for his services. The businessman who enlarges his
inventory speculates on a profitable market in the future. The housewife who hoards sugar
speculates on the availability of sugar in the future. The buyer or seller of goods or
securities hopes to make a profit from future changes in prices. All such actions reflect
a natural motivation of free men to improve their material well-being or, at least, to
avert losses.

When speculators observe or anticipate more inflation and monetary depreciation they
naturally endeavor to sell the depreciating currency and buy goods or foreign exchange
that do not depreciate. They are preserving their working capital. Thus they are promoting
not only their own interests but also those of society, which benefits from the
preservation of productive capital. The government that is actively destroying the
currency is injuring the national interest — successful speculators are safeguarding
it. Surely the speculators who sold German marks and bought US dollars were proved to be
right in the end.

What the witch was to medieval man, what the capitalist
is to socialists and communists, the speculator is to most politicians and statesmen: the
embodiment of evil.

The worldwide inflation that is engulfing the western world now springs from similar
doctrines and theories. There is no Treaty of Versailles and no reparation payments that
can be blamed for the present inflation. But in many countries of Central and Western
Europe the responsibility for monetary depreciation is squarely laid on American
balance-of-payments deficits that are flooding those countries with US dollars. While
European monetary authorities are actively inflating and depreciating their own currencies
— although at slower rates than their American counterparts — they are pointing
at the US balance of payments as the ultimate cause of their currency depreciation.
As in the German hyperinflation, foreign intrigue and artifice are said to be at
work again.

American officials and politicians are quick to lay the blame for US difficulties on
foreign intrigue, especially that of “the Arabs.” Since the formation of the oil
producers’ cartel and the significant boost in oil prices, US balance-of-payments deficits
and the dollar weakness in foreign exchange markets are charged explicitly to the Arab
countries. Lest any suspicion should fall on the US monetary authorities, the American
people themselves come in for some of the blame. Their use of “excessive”
quantities of foreign oil is said to contribute to the balance-of-payments deficits and
the dollar weakness. Therefore, our political leaders and economic authorities are
debating the desirability of special taxes that would reduce the consumption of foreign
oil. After the Arab blow at economic well-being the US government is readying its blow for
the sake of financial stability.

Again the speculators are charged for a share of the blame American investors who buy
foreign securities or make direct foreign investments are said to be largely responsible
for the outflow of US funds and the loss of gold, which is creating an unfavorable balance
of payments and weakening the dollar. Moreover, Americans who prefer foreign products over
homemade products or choose to travel abroad rather than stay at home are decried as
selfish and unpatriotic. Numerous regulations imposed by the very monetary authorities who
perpetrate the inflation aim to prevent speculation in order to save the dollar.

The specious argument that denies the presence of any inflation in terms of purchasing
power or gold value has, in our judgment, not yet been raised. But it must be expected to
emerge in later phases of the inflation when our authorities will be desperate for any
argument that promises to exculpate them.

Hans F. Sennholz, Professor Emeritus Grove City College is an Adjunct Scholar of the
Mises Institute. See his articles.
Comment on the blog.

This article is excerpted from the book The
Age of Inflation


Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, The Economics of Inflation (Third impression, New
York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1968), p. 440.

[2] Kar1
Helfferich, Das Geld (Leipzig: C. L. Hirschfeld, 1923 [1910]), p. 646.

[3] Julius
Wolf, Markkurs Reparationen und russisches Geschäft (Stuttgart F. Enke Verlag,
1922), p.10.

[4] Karl
Elster, Von der Mark sur Reichsmark (Jena C. Fischer 1923) p 167.

[5] Compare
Chapter I, The Value of Money.

[6] Compare
Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, The Economics of Inflation, op cit, p. 55.

[7] Das
Geld, op cit.,
p 650.

Statistisches Reichsamt, Deutschlands Wirtschaftslage (Berlin, March 1923), p. 24.

“Die Autonomie der Reichsbank,” Berliner-Bösen-Courier, April 4, 1922,
p. 1.

[10] John
Henry Williams, “German Foreign Trade and the Reparations Payments,” Quarterly
Journal of Economics,
Vol. 36, (May 1922), p. 503.

[11] James
W. Angell, The Theory of International Prices (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard
University Press, 1926), p. 195.

[12] Quoted
by Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, op. cit., p. 63.

[13] Das
Berlin, May 22, 1923, p. 1.

Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923

Mises Daily Article

Saturday, October 28, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 2:51 pm | In Art, Books, History, Science & Technology, Philosophy, Globalization | No Comments | Edit this post






Edge 194

EDGE 194 - links, graphics, video - is available online at:

Published by EDGE Foundation, Inc., 5 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022

Friday, October 27, 2006
Genova, 26 ottobre - 7 novembre

It’s that time of year and all roads lead to Genoa and the city-wide Festival
della Scienza 2006 which opens today. Edge will be there once again, staging a
panel discussion on “The Expanding Third Culture” (see essay below) with Seth
Lloyd, Robert Trivers, and Gloria Origgi on Tuesday, October 31st at 3:00 pm.
Numerous other Edge contributors will also be present during the two week

Edge Panel at Festival della Scienza, Genoa
“The Expanding Third Culture”
Seth Lloyd, Gloria Origgi, Robert Trivers; moderator, John Brockman
Tuesday, October 31, 3:00pm
Palazzo Ducale - Sala del Maggior Consiglio
P.zza Matteotti 9
[click here]

[Download a pdf of the Festival della Scienza program]


By John Brockman

Just as science-that is, reliable methods for obtaining knowledge-has encroached
on areas formerly considered to belong to the humanities (such as psychology),
science is also encroaching on the social sciences, especially economics,
geography, history, and political science. Not just the broad observation-based
and statistical methods of the historical sciences but also detailed techniques
of the conventional sciences (such as genetics and molecular biology and animal
behavior) are proving essential for tackling problems in the social sciences.
Science is the most accurate way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it
is the human spirit, the role of great men in history, or the structure of DNA.
Humanities scholars and historians who spurn it condemn themselves to
second-rate status and produce unreliable results.

By Richard Dawkins

Either Jesus had a father or he didn’t. The question is a scientific one, and
scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same
is true of any miracle - and the deliberate and intentional creation of the
universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either
it happened or it didn’t. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state
of uncertainty we can put a probability on it - an estimate that may change as
more information comes in. Humanity’s best estimate of the probability of divine
creation dropped steeply in 1859

when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during
the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory
in the nineteenth century to established fact today.
The Chamberlain tactic of snuggling up to ’sensible’ religion, in order to
present a united front against (’intelligent design’) creationists, is fine if
your central concern is the battle for evolution. That is a valid central
concern, and I salute those who press it, such as Eugenie Scott in Evolution
versus Creationism. But if you are concerned with the stupendous scientific
question of whether the universe was created by a supernatural intelligence or
not, the lines are drawn completely differently. On this larger issue,
fundamentalists are united with ‘moderate’ religion on one side, and I find
myself on the other.


By Brian Greene

…some have argued that if, after decades of research involving thousands of
scientists, the theory is still a work in progress, it’s time to give up. But to
suggest dropping research on the most promising approach to unification because
the work has failed to meet an arbitrary timetable for complete success is,
well, silly.

I have worked on string theory for more than 20 years because I believe it
provides the most powerful framework for constructing the long-sought unified
theory. Nonetheless, should an inconsistency be found, or should future studies
reveal an insuperable barrier to making contact with experimental data, or
should new discoveries reveal a superior approach, I’d change my research focus,
and I have little doubt that most string theorists would too.

But this hasn’t happened.


October 25, 2006

War & Peace
By Michael Shermer

Was Darwin’s approach to science and religion healthy and logical? To answer
that question I devised a three-tiered model on the relationship of science and

1. CONFLICTING-WORLDS MODEL. This “warfare” model holds that science and
religion are mutually exclusive ways of knowing, where one is right and the
other is wrong. In this model, the findings of modern science are always a
potential threat to one’s faith and thus they must be carefully vetted against
religious truths before acceptance; likewise, the tenets of religion are always
a potential threat to science and thus they must be viewed skeptically.

2. SAME-WORLDS MODEL. More conciliatory in its nature, this position holds that
science and religion are two ways of examining the same reality; as science
progresses to a deeper understanding of the natural world it will reveal that
many ancient religious tenets are true.

3. SEPARATE-WORLDS MODEL. On this tier science and religion are neither in
conflict nor in agreement. Today it is the job of science to explain the natural
world, making obsolete ancient religious sagas of origins and creation. Yet,
religion thrives because it still serves a useful purpose as an institution for
social cohesiveness and as a guide to finding personal meaning and spirituality.


October 18, 2006

Entrepreneur Puts Himself Up for Study In Genetic ‘Tell-All’

Dr. Venter Wants to Be First To Have His DNA Mapped; Risk of Blindness Revealed

Page A1

J. Craig Venter, a biologist and brash entrepreneur, started a recent day with a
bowl of oatmeal and skim milk. Since he is genetically predisposed to heart
disease, he added “just a little” brown sugar. By the end of the day, Dr. Venter
was informed he’s got a gene that quadruples his risk of going blind.

Life can be that way when you study your own DNA.

Dr. Venter, 60 years old, is best known for his role in the scientific fight to
be the first to decipher the full sequence of the human genome, the billions of
DNA letters, or chemical building blocks, that make up the average human’s
genetic code. In the late 1990s, he headed a private company, Celera Genomics,
which tried to finish the task before the Human Genome Project, a public-sector
effort paid for by the U.S. government and others. Both sides reached a
negotiated “tie” announced by the White House in 2000.

After Dr. Venter was ousted by Celera, in a dispute over business strategy, he
revealed a big secret. More than half the DNA decoded by Celera was his own. Now
he heads up his own scientific center, the nonprofit J. Craig Venter Institute
in Rockville, Md. One major activity over recent months: completing the decoding
of Dr. Venter’s genome.


October 9, 2006
I’m a Celebrity, Get My Sequence!
By Kevin Davies

COMMENTARY | Two years ago, the X Prize Foundation awarded $10 million for the
first sub-orbital spaceflight. Now, a new prize — the Archon X Prize for
Genomics — has been formally established. The foundation will award a cool $10
million to the person or team that cracks the much-hyped “$1,000 Genome”
threshold for affordable, personal DNA sequencing.

The prize, underwritten a multi-million dollar donation by Archon Minerals
president Stewart Blusson, will go to the team that sequences the genomes of 100
people in 10 days, although unresolved for now is how complete those sequences
should be. Will the bar be set at 90 percent, 99 percent, 99.9 percent, or

…X Prize Foundation chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis said at a press
conference that he wanted to make DNA relevant to people by finding “celebrities
and leaders of industry willing to do this.” Does this mean we can now expect a
crush of celebrities lobbying to join the genome list? After all, who could
resist the lure of their own personal genome, the ultimate 21st-century fashion
accessory? Paris Hilton or Tom Cruise? David Beckham or Terrell Owens?

Diamandis says reassuringly that additional members of the Genome 100 will also
include “ordinary people” - presumably he means paupers lacking multi-million
dollar bank accounts — with some chosen by medical charities such as the March
of Dimes. They will join a select club of sequenced human genomes headed by
Craig Venter, the former Celera chief who donated his own DNA during the initial
genome assembly six years ago, and James Watson, who is having his DNA unraveled
by 454.

Celebrity sequencing will attract a lot of publicity for the X Prize, but it
risks trivializing the significance of genomic medicine. In only the rarest
cases - such as certain forms of heart disease or cancer - will trawling through
an individual sequence pinpoint flaws that underlie specific medical
manifestations. The implications of personal genomics require a lot more public
debate than they’ve been given so far.
There is one silver lining in the Genome 100 however - the urgency that it will
lend the cause of genetic privacy. At Harvard Medical School, George Church has
taken great lengths to protect the anonymity of subjects volunteering for his
personal genome project.

By contrast, if Larry King finds his health insurance premiums soaring if any
glitches in his sequence become apparent, he might have something to say about
it. The latest effort to ban genetic discrimination passed the Senate
unanimously, but remains tied up in the House of Representatives.

Celebrities have had a powerful influence in the halls of Congress in raising
awareness of medical concerns such as breast cancer, AIDS, and stem cell
research. Maybe the Genome 100 gimmick is just what proponents of genetic
non-discrimination needed.

Oct 17, 2006

Stephen Colbert Interviews Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, argues that there is no God. He’ll
have an eternity in hell to prove it.


October 14,2006
Entangled in the Matrix Net

YouTube is a conspiracy theorist’s dream, as the number of clips that claim the
collapse of the World Trade Center was a setup attest to. This democratization
continues on Google Video (soon to swallow YouTube whole and complete its
domination), which offers a number of feature documentaries including one called
The Net by German filmmaker Lutz Dammbeck. The Net recently screened at the
Vancouver International Film Festival, but you can watch it free on the Web as
many times as you would like.

This documentary explores the curious relationship between the development of
the Internet and Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a. the Unabomber).

Mr. Dammbeck interviews several influential people, including John Brockman and
Stewart Brand (old hippies turned founding members of the digerati); Robert
Taylor, who helped to initiate the Arapanet (the precursor to the Internet); and
the 90-year-old father of cybernetics, Heinz von Foerster, who offers up a few
wry observations about the nature of reality itself.

Along the way, there are also traipses through Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness
Theorem, the Macy Conferences, Theodor Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality, the
connection between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the military,
Norbert Wiener and cybernetics, Henry A. Murray and the LSD experiments at
Harvard and crazy old Mr. Kaczynksi with his terror of mind control and

Are you lost yet? I’ve watched the film a few times, and I’m still not quite
sure what it all means, or if it means anything at all. Like the Internet
itself, the bewildering density of information requires careful sorting.

But one idea does jump out. John Brockman paraphrases a quote from Doubt and
Certainty in Science: A Biologist’s Reflections on the Brain by J.Z. Young that
states: “We create tools and then we mould ourselves through our use of them.”

In the brave new world of Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, et al., what does this
mean? If we create technology and then become what we have created, have we now
succeeded in making Jackass World?…

…So, are you being controlled by an elite group of cyber-hippies and ex-CIA
military types without even knowing it? Or, as Theodor Adorno believed, lulled
into a state of passivity and pseudo-individualization by pop culture. Or are
you part of what Marshall McLuhan heralded as the new dawn in which “we have
extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both
space and time as far as our planet is concerned.”

[See the trailer: ]


October 14, 2006

What I want for Christmas is…an anti-religion rant
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

A BOOK that rejects religion and argues for the non- existence of God is heading
to be the No 1 bestseller for Christmas.

Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion is at the top of the bestseller chart of the
online bookseller Amazon, and is climbing up The Times bestseller chart.

With Professor Dawkins about to travel to the US to publicise the book, sources
in online sales say that his atheistic rant against all things religious is
already trumping celebrity biographies and could take the top slot at the
festival that celebrates the birth of the founder of Christianity.

Transworld, its publisher, has had to run several reprints since the book was
published just over two weeks ago. More than 100,000 copies have now been
printed, making it the year’s top-selling science book.

An Oxford science professor, Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, uses The God
Delusion to mount a bitter attack on religion in all its incarnations.

He argues that monotheism and polytheism are equally absurd and attempts to
knock down the 13th-century “proofs” for the existence of God drawn up by Thomas

He attacks more modern concepts such as the “God of the gaps”, condemns
Creationism and blames religion itself rather than religious extremism for
manifestations of fundamentalism, such as suicide bombers in Islam.

In the book he writes: “Some people have views of God that are so broad and
flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for
him. One hears it said that ‘God is the ultimate’ or ‘God is our better nature’
or ‘God is the universe’.

“Of course, like any other word, the word ‘God’ can be given any meaning we
like. If you want to say that ‘God is energy’, then you can find God in a lump
of coal.”

Rival science author Stephen Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College
London, whose latest book The Single Helix is due to be published soon, said:
“The polls tell us there could be 20 million Creationists in Britain.

“Twenty million people will not need a yule log this Christmas, they will be
able to burn Dawkins’s book instead. Personally, I do not care if they burn my
own books, as long as they buy them first.” …


EDGE 194 - links, graphics, video - is available online at:

John Brockman, Editor and Publisher
Russell Weinberger, Associate Publisher
Karla Taylor, Editorial Assistant

EDGE Foundation, Inc.

Published by EDGE Foundation, Inc., 5 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022

EDGE Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit private operating foundation under Section
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Edge 194: Festival della Scienza | Brockman | Dawkins | Greene



Friday, October 27, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 2:14 pm | In Research, Science & Technology, Oil & Gas | No Comments | Edit this post






FUEL CELL CONNECTION - October 2006 Issue

Fuel Cell Connection/Fuel Cell Catalyst


PDF Versions of Fuel Cell Connection are posted at

UNSUBSCRIBE using the link at the bottom of this email.



FUEL CELL CONNECTION - October 2006 Issue



* SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

* DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

* FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

* New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

* Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power




News on U.S. Government Fuel Cell Programs

1. SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

2. NASA to Field Test Eight Fuel Cells at Lab Facility

3. USPS Expands Testing of GM Fuel Cell Vehicles

4. ORNL Research Enables Easier Hydrogen Flow

5. DOE Releases $3 Billion Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

RFP / Solicitation News

6. NSF HBCU-UP Grants Available

7. ONR BAA Includes UPS Requirement for Mobile Command and Control System

8. DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

9. Fuel Cell Systems Included as Category in NextEnergy Lab Competition

Contract / Funding Awards

10. FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

11. Minority Universities Receive Fuel Cell Funding from DOE

12. PEDA Awards Grant for 2-MW Fuel Cell Power Plant Project

13. Missile Defense Agency Awards $1.25 Million for Fuel Cell Research

14. Air Force Places $4.0 Order for Millennium Cell Fuel Cartridges

15. Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Selects Fuel Cell Providers

16. NSF Awards $76 Million for Science and Technology Centers

State Activities

17. New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

18. Virginia Expands Systems Eligible for Net-Metering

Industry Headlines

19. Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power

20. Ford, BP Open Hydrogen Fueling Station in Taylor, Michigan

21. ReliOn Fuel Cell Receives CE Certification

22. FuelCell Energy to Install Power Plant Running on Milk-Processing Waste

University Activities

23. University Fuel Cell Roundup


About Fuel Cell Connection

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News on U.S. Government Fuel Cell Programs



1. SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

A 6-kW prototype SOFC system developed by General Electric through the Solid-State
Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Program has exceeded DOE’s key performance
specifications for both efficiency and potential for low cost. The prototype achieved 49%
efficiency, well above the minimum program requirement of 35%. The system has the
potential to achieve close to
50% efficiency using
coal as fuel


2. NASA to Field Test Eight Fuel Cells at Lab Facility

The NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, will perform a field test of eight
next-generation GenSys® fuel cell systems from Plug Power. The units will provide
grid-connected power for portions of the lab facility. The project, which is expected to
begin in November, is being funded by the Ohio Department of Development’s Third
Frontier Fuel Cell Program.


3. USPS Expands Testing of GM Fuel Cell Vehicles

The U.S. Postal Service is expanding its testing of General Motors fuel cell vehicles
by adding a HydroGen3 fuel cell minivan to its fleet in Irvine, California. The minivan
will be the first fuel cell vehicle to be used in regular postal delivery service on the
West Coast.


4. ORNL Research Enables
Easier Hydrogen Flow

Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) could help distribute hydrogen more efficiently to service stations in the
future. A team of ORNL researchers has found fiber-reinforced polymer material
significantly reduces embrittlement created in metallic materials and can reduce the
number of welds and joints needed for delivering fuel.


5. DOE Releases $3 Billion Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

The Department of Energy has released its Climate Change Technology Program Strategic
Plan, detailing approximately $3 billion in federal spending for climate technology
research, development, demonstration and deployment. The plan examines hydrogen, energy
efficiency, and renewable energy among a variety of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas


RFP/Solicitation News



6. NSF HBCU-UP Grants Available

The National Science Foundation is accepting applications for grants through its
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), which will
fund Implementation Projects, Planning Projects, Education Research Projects and Targeted
Infusion Projects for undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics
(STEM) degree programs. Approximately $7 million in FY 2007 funding is anticipated, to be
split between 17 awardees. Optional letters of intent are due November 14, 2006. Full
proposals are due December 15, 2006.


7. ONR BAA Includes UPS Requirement for Mobile Command and Control System

The Office of Naval Research has issued a Broad Agency Announcement for Mobile Modular Command
and Control (M2C2) Prototype Enhancement. Responses are sought to investigate the
feasibility and practicability of improving technology developed and demonstrated under a
previous BAA. Research areas include electrical power generation and management, as well
as an uninterruptible power supply for computers and network equipment. Awards will take
the form of Cost Plus Fixed Fee contracts. Deadline for proposals is November 21, 2006.


8. DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

DOE’s Office of Science issued its 2007 Small Business Innovation Research/Small
Business Technology Transfer program solicitation, which includes a program area focused
on Hydrogen Delivery and Production. Sub-topics are: Off-Board Hydrogen Bulk Storage;
Hydrogen Liquefaction; Hydrogen Compression; and Hydrogen Production. Phase I grants will
receive up to $100,000. Approximately $36 million is expected to be available for new
Phase I awards under this solicitation. Deadline for proposals is November 21, 2006.


9. Fuel Cell Systems Included as Category in NextEnergy Lab Competition

NextEnergy announced a Lab Competition, inviting teams to compete for a start-up award
package valued at $100,000. Qualifying categories of team plans include fuel cells and
other alternative energy systems. The winning team will receive a $25,000 cash infusion
plus lab space, consulting assistance, marketing exposure and a variety of other business
services worth another $75,000. Applications are due by November 24, 2006.


Contract / Funding Awards



10. FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

The Federal Transit Authority announced $49 million in federal grants for projects to
explore new ways to successfully commercialize hydrogen fuel cell buses. The grants were
made possible through the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development Program, which was
part of the recently enacted Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity
Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Among those selected to receive grants is the
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which will receive $8.4 million to lead
its project team in the development and in-service evaluation of hybrid fuel cell buses.


11. Minority Universities Receive Fuel Cell Funding from DOE

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy has awarded grants to four
institutions through its Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority
Institutions (HBCU/OMI) program. The four awards totaled $715,000. Two of the projects
will focus on low-temperature SOFCs and membranes for hydrogen separation.


12. PEDA Awards Grant for 2-MW Fuel Cell Power Plant Project

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) granted HydroGen Corporation
$250,000 to support the application of a 2-MW fuel cell power plant in an industrial
environment. HydroGen will work with U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works on the project,
which will use hydrogen-rich gases resulting from the steel-making process.


13. Missile Defense Agency
Awards $1.25 Million for Fuel Cell Research

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $1.25 million
follow-on-contract to Proton Energy Systems for continued development of regenerative fuel
cell technology for high altitude airships. MDA says the prototype will demonstrate the
engineering feasibility and potential utility of an unmanned, untethered, gas-filled
airship that can fly at 70,000 feet.


14. Air Force Places $4.0 Order for Millennium Cell Fuel Cartridges

The U.S. Air Force has placed a $4.0 million order for Millennium Cell’s sodium
borohydride based fuel cartridge technology. The Air Force will use the technology to
address higher energy density targets for future soldier power sources.


15. Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Selects Fuel Cell Providers

The Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge has selected Jadoo Power Systems and its
technology partner, Millennium Cell, as providers of technology that will be integrated
into multiple locations throughout the city and at the University of South Carolina.
Sponsored projects include use of fuel cells by emergency responders as well as
professional TV broadcasters.


16. NSF Awards $76 Million
for Science and Technology Centers

The National Science Foundation has awarded $76 million to fund multi-university collaborations in support of
cross-disciplinary centers that address four areas: next-generation polymers, climate
modeling, microbial oceanography and coastal environments. The NSF Science and Technology
Center for Layered Polymeric Systems will be headquartered at Case Western Reserve
University and will focus on a layering process that can combine otherwise incompatible
polymers. The funding for the centers will be spread out over the next five years.


State Activities



17. New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

New York Governor George E. Pataki announced plans for a $21 million
hydropower-to-hydrogen initiative. The hydrogen would fuel vehicles and transit buses,
with potential sites at Niagara Falls State Park and at Western New York locations
operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.


18. Virginia Expands Systems Eligible for Net-Metering

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has expanded the state’s net-metering rules to include all systems that generate electricity
using renewable energy, now defined as energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water,
sustainable biomass, energy from waste, wave motion, tides, and geothermal power.
The state allows residential customers with systems up to 10 kW and
nonresidential customers with systems up to 500 kW to net meter.


Industry Headlines



19. Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power

Successful field trials of Plug Powers GenCore® fuel cell system for a leading South
African wireless provider have led to an order for 120 additional units to be installed at
more than 30 cell phone site locations throughout South Africa. During the 6-month field
trial, the fuel cell responded to 121 power failures at a wireless base station.


20. Ford, BP Open Hydrogen Fueling Station in Taylor, Michigan

Ford and BP opened a hydrogen fueling station in Taylor, Michigan, which will fuel a
fleet of Ford Focus fuel cell vehicles being used by the city as official vehicles. Ford
also announced it would begin deliveries of hydrogen-powered buses in late-2006.


21. ReliOn Fuel Cell Receives CE Certification

ReliOn has received CE approval for its T-1000 and T-2000 fuel cell products, which
provide backup power between 600 Watts and 12 kilowatts to communications applications.
The CE certification means a company has met all applicable performance and safety
requirements for the European Union.


22. FuelCell Energy to Install Power Plant Running on Milk-Processing Waste

FuelCell Energy announced it will supply a 750-kW Direct FuelCell® power plant to the
city of Tulare, California, where it will be used to produce electricity using milk
processing waste from large food processor plants. By purchasing the ultra-clean fuel cell
power plant, the city does not have to purchase $600,000 of Emission Reduction Credits,
which would be required if the city had installed traditional on-site power equipment.


University Activities



23. University Fuel Cell Roundup

(summaries contributed by Kathy Haq, Dir. of Outreach and Communications, National Fuel
Cell Research Center, UC Irvine,

Charles Clark, director of corporate and government relations for the University of
Akron; Martin Abraham, dean of the graduate school and professor of chemical and
environmental engineering at the University of Toledo; and John Lannutti, professor of
materials science and engineering at The Ohio State University are among the individuals
recently elected to the board of directors of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition. [14-Sept-2006,
PR Newswire US]

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built
ceramic microreactors for the
on-site reforming of
hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen
for use in fuel
cells and other portable power sources. Applications include power supplies for small
appliances and laptop computers, and on-site rechargers for battery packs used by the
“The catalytic reforming of
hydrocarbon fuels offers a nice solution to supplying hydrogen to fuel cells while
avoiding safety and storage issues related to gaseous hydrogen,”
said Paul Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois
and corresponding author of a paper accepted for publication in the journal Lab on a Chip, and posted on its Web site. “The
performance of our integrated, high-temperature microreactors surpasses that of other fuel
reformer systems,” Kenis said. “Our microreactors are superior in both hydrogen
production and in long-term stability.” Kenis and his group are now attempting to
reform other, higher hydrocarbon fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.
Space Daily]

Minhua Shao, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in electrochemistry at Stony Brook
University in New York, has won the second annual Dr. Mow Shiah Lin Scholarship. The Asian
Pacific American Association at the U.S. Department of Energy’s
Brookhaven National Laboratory initiated the
scholarship, which consists of $1,000 and a plaque, to honor the late distinguished
Brookhaven Lab scientist for which it is named. Shao, who earned a B.S. in chemistry in
1999 and a M.S. in electrochemistry in 2002, both from Xiamen University in China,
currently works with senior chemist Radoslav Adzic at Brookhaven. Shao’s research focuses
on designing and developing platinum-free or low-platinum electrocatalysts that will
significantly lower the cost of fuel cells. [06-Oct-2006, Brookhaven
National Laboratory

Jerry Y.S. Lin, professor and department chair of chemical engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, recently was
appointed to the board of directors for Alchemy Enterprises, Ltd. Dr. Lin ? considered an
expert in inorganic membranes, solid oxide fuel cells, adsorption and catalysis ? also
will chair the board’s
Technology Committee. Alchemy is an
alternative energy company that is developing a new electric power cell technology it
believes will generate and manage electricity to power a broad range of applications.
Business Wire]

Researchers from the University of Minnesota-Rochester and Rochester Public Utilities
are pairing a fuel cell and a geothermal heating/cooling system at a new laboratory at
Quarry Hill Nature Center to find out how much better they are in tandem. Late this month,
university researcher Jim Licari and three other university scientists start testing a
research system housed at the lab. Electric utilities, the university, and heating and
ventilating manufacturer Trane from La Crosse, Wis., are underwriting the $147,000
project. If the Hybrid Energy System proves to be beneficial, it could be licensed to a
commercial firm and produced for the home-heating market, said Jim Walters, RPU’s customer
relations director. The study itself should be done by the end of 2007 but could be
extended six months depending upon discoveries along the way, Licari said. [18-Oct-2006,
Post-Bulletin (Rochester,

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has assigned a patent to
Texas A&M University System, College Station, for
a method of converting natural gas to olefins. The process for converting natural gas to an olefin includes heating the gas to a selected range of temperature to convert a
fraction of the gas stream to reactive hydrocarbons, primarily ethylene or acetylene, and
reacting with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst to produce the olefin, usually
ethylene.” An abstract of the invention, released by the Patent Office, said: “A
portion of the incoming natural gas may be used to heat the remainder of the natural gas
to the selected range of temperature. Hydrogen resulting from the reactions may be used to
make electricity in a fuel cell. Alternatively, hydrogen may be burned to heat the natural
gas to the selected range of temperature. The process was developed by Kenneth R. Hall,
Aydin Akgerman and Rayford G. Anthony, all from College Station, Texas, and Jerry A.
Bullin and Philip T. Eubank, both of Bryan, Texas. They were issued U.S. Patent No.
7,119,240. [19-Oct-2006,
US Fed News]




Press releases and story ideas may be forwarded to Bernadette Geyer, editor, for
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The Sponsors

US Fuel Cell Council — The US Fuel Cell Council is the business
association for anyone seeking to foster the commercialization of fuel cells in the United
States. Our membership includes producers of all types of fuel cells, as well as major
suppliers and customers. The Council is member driven, with eight active Working Groups
focusing on: Codes & Standards; Transportation; Power Generation; Portable Power;
Stack Materials and Components; Sustainability; Government Affairs; and Education &
Marketing. The Council provides its members with an opportunity to develop policies and
directions for the fuel cell industry, and also gives every member the chance to benefit
from one-on-one interaction with colleagues and opinion leaders important to the industry.
Members also have access to exclusive data, studies, reports and analyses prepared by the
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to promote and support the genesis of a fuel cell industry by providing technological
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serving as a locus for academic talent of the highest caliber and a non-profit site for
the objective evaluation and improvement of industrial products, NFCRC’s goal is to become
a focal point for advancing fuel cell technology. By supporting industrial research and
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Department of Energy (DOE) and California Energy Commission (CEC), and overcoming key
technical obstacles to fuel cell utilization, the NFCRC can become an invaluable
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Technology Laboratory is federally owned and operated. Its mission is “We Solve
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Fuel Cell Connection - October 2006

Fuel Cell Connection/Fuel Cell Catalyst

Friday, October 27, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 3:39 am | In Books, History, USA, Globalization | No Comments | Edit this post





Tales of the South Pacific

Tales of the South Pacific is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories written by James
A. Michener
in 1946 [based upon his observations while
stationed as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy on the island of Espiritu Santo in the
New Hebrides islands.

The stories about World War II in and surrounding the Pacific Islands Coral Sea
are inter-connected by recurring characters and several loose plot lines (the Solomon Islands campaign and a fictitious
amphibious invasion) but focus on interactions between Americans and a variety of
colonial, immigrant and native characters. The musical play
South Pacific (which opened on Broadway on April 7, 1949), by Rodgers and
, was based on these stories.

James A. Michener

February 3, 1907
- October 16, 1997

James Albert Michener (February 3,
1907 - October 16, 1997) was the American author of
such books as Tales of the South Pacific
(for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for
in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The
The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans,
Alaska, Texas,
and Poland. The majority of his over 40 titles
are sweeping sagas covering the lives of many generations in a particular geographic
locale and incorporate historical facts into the story as well. His non-fiction works
include the 1992 memoir
World is My Home
and Sports in America.

Michener wrote that he did not know who his parents were or exactly when and where he
was born. He was raised by an adoptive mother, Mabel Michener, in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Some people later argued that Mabel was in fact his biological mother but he refused to
talk about that. He graduated with highest honors from Swarthmore
, where he played basketball, in 1929. He later
attended the Colorado State Teachers
(in Greeley, Colorado),
earned his master’s degree, then taught there for several years. He also taught at Harvard University. His writing career began during World War II, during which, as a lieutenant commander in the
U.S. Navy, he was assigned to the South Pacific Ocean as a naval historian. His notes and
impressions were later turned into Tales of
the South Pacific
, his first book, which was the basis for the Broadway and film
musical South Pacific. It was published
when he was 40. In the late 1950s, Michener began working as a
roving editor for Readers Guide. He gave up that work in 1970.

Michener was a very popular writer during his life-time and his novels sold an
estimated 75 million copies worldwide [1]. His novel Hawaii (published in 1959)
was based on extensive historical research. Nearly all his subsequent novels were based on
detailed historical, cultural, even geological research.

He was married three times. His second wife was Vange Nord (married in 1948). Michener met his third wife Mari Yoriko Sabusawa at a luncheon in Chicago and
they were married in 1955 (the same year as his divorce from Ms.
Nord). His novel Sayonara is pseudo-autobiographical.
He had no children. He gave away a great deal of the money he earned. He contributed more
than $100 million to universities, libraries, museums, and other charitable causes.

On January 10, 1977, he was
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
by Gerald R. Ford.

In 1996, State House Press published "James A. Michener:
A Bibliography" compiled by David A. Groseclose. It contains over 2,500 entries from 1923 to 1995 including magazine articles,
forewords, books, and other works.

In his final years, he lived in Austin, Texas, and,
aside from being a prominent celebrity fan of the Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team, he founded an
MFA program now named the Michener Center for Writers. In October
, Michener ended his daily dialysis treatment and as a result he died not long
after. He was 90 years old.

Books/Works by James A. Michener

  • A Century of Sonnets (1997)
  • About Centennial: Some Notes on the Novel (1978)
  • Alaska (1988)
  • The Bridge at Andau
  • The Bridges at
  • Caravans (1963)
  • Caribbean
  • Centennial
  • Chesapeake
  • Collectors, Forgers - And A Writer: A Memoir (1983)
  • The Covenant
  • Creatures of the Kingdom (1993)
  • The Drifters
  • The Eagle and The Raven (1990)
  • The Fires of Spring]] (1949), semi-autobiographical
  • The Floating World (1954)
  • The Future of the Social Studies ("The Problem of the Social Studies")
    (1939) Editor
  • Hawaii (1959)
  • Iberia (1968)
  • Journey (1989)
  • Kent State: What Happened and Why (1971)
  • Legacy (1987)
  • Literary Reflections (1993)
  • Mexico (1992)
  • Miracle in Seville (1995)
  • My Lost Mexico (1992)
  • The Novel (1991)
  • Pilgrimage: A Memoir of Poland and Rome (1990)
  • Poland (1983)
  • Presidential Lottery (1969)
  • The Quality of Life (1970)
  • Rascals in Paradise (1957)
  • Recessional (1994)
  • Report of the Country Chairman (1961)
  • Return to Paradise (1951)
  • Sayonara (1954)
  • Six Days in Havana (1989)
  • The Source
  • Space (1982)
  • Sports in America (1976)
  • Tales of the
    South Pacific
  • Texas (1985)
  • This Noble Land (1996)
  • Ventures in Editing
  • The Voice of Asia (1951)
  • William Penn (1994)
  • The World is My Home (1992)
  • Years of Infamy

See also


  • "I am right now in the middle of a difficult writing project. And it’s just as
    difficult now as when I started. But when I get up in the morning I am really qualified to
    say, ‘Well, Jim, it isn’t going too well, but there is nobody on the block who is better
    able to wrestle with it than you are, so lets get on with it."
  • "I think young people ought to seek that experience that is going to knock them off
  • "I had been educated with free scholarships. I went to nine different universities,
    always at public expense, and when you have that experience, you are almost obligated to
    give it back. It’s as simple as that."
  • "I decided (after listening to a "talk radio" commentator who abused,
    vilified, and scorned every noble cause to which I had devoted my entire life that) I was
    both a humanist and a liberal,
    each of the most dangerous and vilified type. I am a humanist because I think humanity
    can, with constant moral guidance, create a reasonably decent society. I am terrified of
    restrictive religious doctrine, having learned from history that when men who adhere to
    any form of it are in control, common men like me are in peril. I do not believe that pure
    reason can solve the perceptual problems unless it is modified by poetry and art and
    social vision. So I am a humanist. And if you want to charge me with being the most
    virulent kind—a secular humanist—I accept
    the accusation."—Interview, Parade magazine, November 24, 1991.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: James A. Michener


October 28, 2006 at 2:53 am | In Military, USA, Science & Technology | No Comments | Edit this post





November 2006


November CCTopics


“This year, we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of our proud Service - born of
revolutionary ideas, forged in combat, and proven through decades of progress and
achievement. In doing so, we pause to reflect on our remarkable heritage, reaffirm our
commitment to today’s fight, and resolve to continually expand our reach toward our
limitless horizons.”

– From the joint SECAF/CSAF Letter to Airmen: Air Force Heritage

To read the entire Letter to Airmen, go to


Air Force Strategic Plan Released

The Air Force Strategic Plan articulates the Air Force mission and can be viewed at
The plan focuses on the three priorities the Air Force has had over the last few years:
winning the war on terrorism, developing Airmen, and recapitalizing the aging air fleet.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Cyberspace Dominance, the Information Mosaic and Precision Strike

Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne spoke to the Precision Strike Association
Oct. 19 at Johns Hopkins University. During his speech, the secretary addressed the issues
of cyberspace dominance, the “information mosaic,” and the future of precision
strike. Secretary Wynne reflected on the evolution of these issues and posed pointed
questions to the audience concerning these issues and their future in military operations.

To read the entire speech, go to


Letter to Airmen highlights Air Force Memorial dedication

In his latest “Letter to Airmen,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael
Moseley discusses the two-day Air Force Memorial Dedication and the start of the year-long
commemoration of the Air Force 60th anniversary.

General Moseley said that the Memorial is a symbol of the people and technologies that
have made the U.S. Air Force the world’s preeminent air, space and cyberspace force.

He encouraged Airmen to read the speeches given at the dedication ceremony which are
attachments to the “Letter to Airmen,” released Oct. 20.

View the letter and attachments at

Hate Groups, Gangs Not Acceptable to Air Force

Department of Defense and Air Force policies prohibit active participation in any
activity that promotes the objectives of organizations and groups that attempt to
illegally discriminate or otherwise deprive individuals of their civil rights. This could
include participating in public demonstrations, fund raising, recruiting, organizing,
leading or training in support of such organizations.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Reading List Announced

The new Chief of Staff professional reading list encourages Airmen toward pursuing
knowledge that grounds them in history, sustains them in today’s flight, and propels
them toward our limitless horizon. I encourage you to begin reading books from this list
and, as the slogan says, “Read it, learn it, live it!”

For the full story, go to

To access the complete reading list, go to




Reductions Necessary to Recapitalize Today’s Service

Reducing the number of Airmen in the service is absolutely necessary to recapitalize
today’s force. Overall, about 40,000 people will leave the service over the next three
years. The money saved will go toward recapitalizing the service’s aging aircraft and

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Two New Programs Guide Enlisted Force Shaping

A date of separation rollback and a limited active-duty service commitment waiver, join
the current tools of reducing the number of accessions into the enlisted force, career job
reservations and the NCO retraining program.

The DOS rollback applies to enlisted Airmen with certain re-enlistment ineligibility
codes or assignment availability codes. These individuals will be required to separate
from the force by March 15, 2007. The DOS rollback specifically affects Airmen with less
than 14 years or more than 20 years of service.

The LADSC Waiver Program allows retirement-eligible master and technical sergeants in
overage AFSCs to have all or portions of an extension waived and voluntarily retire by
Sept. 1, 2007. Waivers can be granted for extensions due to promotion, PCS, attending
professional military education, technical training, Air Force educational leave of
absence, and Bootstrap.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at



Newest ‘Chief’s View’ deals with enlisted development plan

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley addresses the newest page on the
Air Force Portal Web site, “My Enlisted Development

Plan,” in his latest Chief’s View video,

The site offers one-stop shopping for enlisted Airmen’s education, training, leadership
and job experiences.

To visit the website, go to the Air Force Portal, click on “Life and Career,”
and then on “Learning and Development.”

Some Airmen Can Carry Over ‘Use or Lose’ Leave

Airmen who were recalled from or unable to take annual leave this past year for reasons
such as support for contingency operations may be allowed to accumulate more than the
normal 60 days after the fiscal year ends. Special leave accrual carry over also applies
to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members who performed full-time training or
other full-time duties for 30 days or more. Airmen who lost leave may carry over the
following leave amounts:

– Up to 120 days for Airmen deployed or assigned to hostile fire/imminent danger pay

– Up to 120 days for Airmen impacted by significant and unforeseen operational mission
requirements as a result of Hurricane Katrina; and

– Up to 90 days for Airmen who deployed or were assigned to other than hostile
fire/imminent danger locations.

Additionally, Airmen who lost leave as a consequence of assignments in support of
contingency operations as of Sept. 30, 2006, are authorized restoration of the leave they
lost. Those Airmen who meet the criteria for having excess leave should contact their
local military personnel flight customer service element for additional guidance, such as
eligibility to carry over leave beyond the following fiscal year.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Fall 2006 Quarterly Issue of Airman Available

Read about how basic military training is evolving to create Airmen warriors, discover
the meaning behind the Air Force Memorial’s design, and tag along with provincial
reconstruction teams as they work to restore hope and fight terrorism in Afghanistan.

These features and more highlight the fall quarterly issue of Airman magazine, now
available in print and online at

Proactive Airmen Get Jump on Passport Process

The process to get the Department of State-issued document takes three to six weeks
because of mailing, screening and coordination through official channels in Washington,
D.C. Until completed, it prevents Airmen from deploying to countries that require one.

Airmen can look at the DOD foreign clearance guide at, which lists documents needed
for travel to each country. Airmen should look at the passport process as part of their
predeployment checklist and start gathering any missing documentation.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Overseas quarterly assignment listing available

The Enlisted Quarterly Assignment Listing for overseas requirements for the July to
September 2007 cycle will be available Nov. 3. Airmen need to update their preferences by
Nov. 17 and will be notified of their selection by Dec. 15. For more information, read the
Air Force Print News story at

Career Enlisted Aviators Positions Open

The Air Force has immediate openings for in-flight refueling (boom operators), flight
engineers, loadmasters, airborne mission systems, airborne battle management, flight
attendants, aerial gunners and airborne cryptologic linguists. Interested Airmen are
encouraged to visit the Virtual MPF retraining site or the career enlisted aviator Web
site for more information.

Defense Department to Review Military Awards Program

In an effort to provide clarity in awards standards across the military services, the
Defense Department has begun a comprehensive review of military awards and decorations.
This review will result in revision of DOD Instruction 1348.33-M, the Manual of Military
Decorations and Awards. The review will focus on several specific areas where
discrepancies among the different branches of the military have come to light. These
include the criteria for “V” devices and Purple Heart Medals. Another area that
will be addressed is the definition of the theater of operations when it comes to
expeditionary medals.

A working group consisting of representatives from each service, the Joint Staff and
the Institute of Heraldry will form the core of the comprehensive review effort, which is
expected to last about six months. If the services achieve a consensus, DOD will be able
to move quickly with publication of the new instruction.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


“Today’s Air Force” will begin to air on the Pentagon Channel and Armed
Forces Radio and Television Service the first week in November. This 30-minute weekly
broadcast will highlight the efforts of America’s Airmen.


Air Force Reserve Changes Officer Promotion System

Air Force Reserve Command is changing its officer promotion system to meet future total
force requirements. In one change, the command will combine Selected Reserve (Categories A
and B) and Participating Individual Ready Reserve, or PIRR, (Category E) officers into a
single promotion group. Under force shaping actions, the Air Force Reserve will shift some
of its member authorizations from paid positions in the Selected Reserve to non-paid
status in the PIRR.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

Air Force Reserve to Operate With More Reservists

The fiscal 2007 Defense Appropriations Act funds an end-strength of 74,900 reservists,
which is 900 additional reservists from last year. The new legislation also approves
10,214 full-time air reserve technicians and 2,707 full-time active Guard and Reserve
members. The defense bill funds a 2.2 percent across-the-board military pay raise for
active and Reserve forces as requested in the president’s budget earlier this year.

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


DOD to Resume Anthrax Vaccinations

The Department of Defense announced a resumption of the mandatory Anthrax Vaccine
Immunization Program for military members, emergency-essential DOD civilians and
contractors, based on defined geographic areas or roles. For the most part, mandatory
vaccinations are limited to military units designated for homeland bioterrorism defense
and to U.S. forces assigned to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and Korea.

For more information on the anthrax vaccination program, visit or

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

New Tricare Standard Handbook Released

Tricare officials are making a handbook available to all beneficiaries covered under
Tricare Standard. Beneficiaries now may ask for copies of the Tricare Standard handbook or
the summary of beneficiary costs flyer from their regional contractors or from a local
Tricare Service Center, or view the documents on the Tricare Smart Site at
Basic information on Tricare Standard is available at

For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


AAFES Reminds TKS Cell Phone Customers About Contract Termination Provisions

In Germany, TKS customers who opted for a cell phone two-year contract, instead of the
prepaid options, were provided a contract obtained by TKS through the off-base German
provider, T-Mobile. These two year contracts require a three-month written cancellation
notice. When the two-year period is up, T-Mobile will automatically extend the contract in
six-month increments. Additionally, if the T-Mobile two year contract is not cancelled and
gets extended for the new six-month period, T-Mobile still requires the same three-month
written notice to terminate during the six-month extension.

To view recent AAFES press releases, go to

Escaping the Burden of Credit Card Debt

A good rule to follow when looking to purchase anything is that if you don’t know when
or how you will pay for an item, then you probably can’t afford the item and shouldn’t
“charge it.” Here are some tips to help if you are already in debt:

1. Stop spending. The first step is to reduce your use and dependence on credit cards.
Cut up all but one card with the best terms

2. Get on a budget. You need to know where your money is going before you know how much
you can pay toward your cards.

3. Establish an emergency fund. Establishing $500 to $1,000 in savings will provide a
safety net for life’s little emergencies.

4. Find the hidden money. Luxuries such as premium cable/satellite, internet and cell
phone packages are not necessary for survival.

5. Pay your highest-dollar cards first. List each of your credit cards, their interest
rates, and their minimum payments. Pay the minimum balance on the lower interest cards,
and then pay the maximum you can afford to the highest interest card.

6. Make two payments a month. Each payday send a payment to the highest rate credit
card company.

7. Consider finding extra income. A part-time job can help accelerate your debt
repayment. Even just a few hours a week can provide a boost.

8. Seek help. Your base Airman and Family Readiness Centers have certified financial
counselors on staff ready and willing to help you.

Read the commentary at

A better way to save: Keep money interest-growing TSP

Saving for retirement is a good idea regardless of age. The Thrift Savings Plan can
help. One of the largest benefits to the TSP is that it is a tax-deferred account, meaning
all money placed in it is done so before taxes are calculated. TSP gives investors a range
of investment options through five basic funds. Another benefit to the TSP is individuals
may take out loans from their account while they are in the military.

For more information on the TSP, visit

Read the commentary at


Memorial Dedication Launched 60th Anniversary Observance

The Air Force Memorial officially opened Oct. 14, kicking off the 60th anniversary
observance. Located on a three-acre promontory next to Arlington National Cemetery and a
short walk from the Pentagon, the memorial is composed of three bold and graceful spires
soaring skyward to a height of 270 feet. The memorial honors the millions of men and women
who have served in the Air Force and its predecessor organizations.

Visit the Air Force Memorial Foundation at

For the Air Force Print News story, go to

Air Force Link will provide news and stories at


“A good head and a good heart are a formidable combination.”

– Nelson Mandela, recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and former President of
South Africa (1994 – 1999)


Air Force Link

Air Force Crossroads

Air Force One Source

Air Force Personnel Center

Air Reserve Personnel Center

Air Force First Sergeant Link

Base Realignment and Closure 2005

Defense Link


U.S. Government website

Federal Voting Assistance Program


Nov. 2, 1971 — Titan IIIC rockets launched the first two Defense Satellite
Communications System Phase II satellites into synchronous orbits.

Nov. 7, 1907 — Signal Corps allotted $25,000 to purchase an airplane.

Nov. 8, 1950 — First all-jet plane aerial combat in history took place over Korea. A
U.S. Air Force F–80 Shooting Star, piloted by Lt. Russell J. Brown, downed a North
Korean MiG–15.

Nov. 9, 1967 — Enemy gunners shot down a helicopter piloted by Capt. Gerald O. Young
during efforts to rescue an Army reconnaissance team near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam.
Captain Young’s bravery earned the Medal of Honor.

Nov. 9, 1967 – January 1968 — Capt. Lance P. Sijan ejected from his F–4C
Phantom over North Vietnam and successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks. The
enemy eventually captured him, but he managed to escape. Captain Sijan received the Medal
of Honor posthumously.

Nov. 17, 1961 — The first successful launch of a Minuteman ICBM missile from an
underground silo took place at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The re-entry vehicle hit the target
area 3,000 miles downrange.

Nov. 22, 1952 — While leading a flight of four F–80 Shooting Star fighters
dive-bombing enemy gun positions, Maj. Charles J. Loring crashed his damaged aircraft into
enemy emplacements. Major Loring received the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice.

Nov. 25, 1956 — Tech. Sgt. R.J. Patton made the first successful polar parachute jump.

Nov. 26, 1968 — Piloting a UH–1F helicopter, 1st Lt. James P. Fleming exposed his
aircraft to intense hostile fire while rescuing a special forces reconnaissance patrol,
eventually receiving the Medal of Honor for his gallantry.

Nov. 29, 1951 — Air Force announced development of the XB-52, its first all-jet heavy

Nov. 29, 1975 — The first Red Flag exercise began at Nellis AFB, Nev., ushering in a
new era of highly realistic air combat training for USAF pilots.

For more information of Air Force history and heritage, visit the Air Force Link
history section at

Air Force mission — The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to deliver sovereign options
for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests — to fly and
fight in air, space and cyberspace.

Air Force core competencies — Developing Airmen, technology-to-warfighting and
integrating operations.

Air Force distinctive capabilities — Air and space superiority, global attack, rapid
global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority and agile combat support.

We are trying a new format for the monthly Commander’s Call Topics.
Attached is a Word document for the November edition. 

If you experience any difficulties receiving or opening the attachment, please send an e-mail to and reference “November CCT” in the subject line.

Air Force core values — Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we

The Air Force News Agency produces Commander’s Call Topics monthly. For questions
or comments about this or any other AFNEWS product, send e-mail to

To subscribe to Air Force news and information products online, go to

USAFNEWS November CCTopics

Attachment: CCT2006_Nov.doc
(0.14 MB)

Friday, October 27, 2006


October 27, 2006 at 9:23 pm | In Books, Islam, Research, History, Philosophy, Globalization, Literary | 1 Comment | Edit this post





Clifford Geertz

Clifford James Geertz (born August 23,
1926 in San Francisco) is an American anthropologist
serving as professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.


After service in the U.S. Navy in World War II
(1943-45), Geertz received his B.A. from Antioch College
in 1950, and his Ph.D.
from Harvard in 1956. He taught or held fellowships at a
number of schools before joining the anthropology staff of the University of Chicago (1960-70); he then became
professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from
1970-2000, now emeritus. Geertz received a L.H.D. from Bates
in 1980.

Thought and works

At the University of Chicago, Geertz became a “champion of symbolic anthropology“, which gives prime
attention to the role of thought (of “symbols”) in society. Symbols guide
action. Culture, outlined by Geertz in his famous book The Interpretation of Cultures
(1973), is “a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of
which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes
toward life.” The function of culture is to impose meaning on the world and make it
understandable. The role of anthropologists is to try (though complete success is not
possible) to interpret the guiding symbols of each culture (see thick description). Geertz was quite innovative in this
regard, as he was one of the first to see that the insights provided by common language
philosophy and literary analysis could have major explanatory force in the social

He has conducted extensive ethnographical research in Southeast Asia and North
. He has also contributed to social and cultural
and is still very influential in turning anthropology
toward a concern with the frames of meaning within which various peoples live out their
lives. He has worked on religion, most particularly Islam, on
bazaar trade, on economic development, on traditional political structures, and on village
and family life. He is presently working on the general question of ethnic diversity and
its implications in the modern world.

Harvard professor and literary scholar Stephen
identifies him as a strong influence, and Geertz acknowledges Greenblatt as
a faithful interpreter of his work.


Major publications

  • The Religion of Java (1960)
  • Peddlers and Princes (1963)
  • Agricultural Involution: the process of ecological change in Indonesia (1964)
  • Islam Observed, Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (1968)
  • The
    Interpretation of Cultures
  • Negara: The Theater State in Nineteenth Century Bali (1980)
  • Local Knowledge (1983)
  • Works and Lives (1988)

External links

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

by Clifford Geertz

The Raid

Early in
April of 1958, my wife and I arrived, malarial and diffident, in a Balinese village we
intended, as anthropologists, to study. A small place, about five hundred people, and
relatively remote, it was its own world. We were intruders, professional ones, and the
villagers dealt with us as Balinese seem always to deal with people not part of their life
who yet press themselves upon them: as though we were not there. For them, and to a degree
for ourselves, we were nonpersons, specters, invisible men.

We moved into an extended
family compound (that had been arranged before through the provincial government)
belonging to one of the four major factions in village life. But except for our landlord
and the village chief, whose cousin and brother-in-law he was, everyone ignored us in a
way only a Balinese can do. As we wandered around, uncertain, wistful, eager to please,
people seemed to look right through us with a gaze focused several yards behind us on some
more actual stone or tree. Almost nobody greeted us; but nobody scowled or said anything
unpleasant to us either, which would have been almost as satisfactory. If we ventured to
approach someone (something one is powerfully inhibited from doing in such an atmosphere),
he moved, negligently but definitively, away. If, seated or leaning against a wall, we had
him trapped, he said nothing at all, or mumbled what for the Balinese is the ultimate
nonword-”yes.” The indifference, of course, was studied; the villagers were
watching every move we made and they had an enormous amount of quite accurate information
about who we were and what we were going to be doing. But they acted as if we simply did
not exist, which, in fact, as this behavior was designed to inform us, we did not, or
anyway not yet.

My wife and I were still very much in the gust of wind stage, a most frustrating, and
even, as you soon begin to doubt whether you are really real after all, unnerving one,
when, ten days or so after our arrival, a large cockfight was held in the public square to
raise money for a new school.

Now, a few special occasions aside, cockfights are illegal in Bali under the Republic
(as, for not altogether unrelated reasons, they were under the Dutch), largely as a result
of the pretensions to puritanism radical nationalism tends to bring with it. The elite,
which is not itself so very puritan, worries about the poor, ignorant peasant gambling all
his money away, about what foreigners will think, about the waste of time better devoted
to building up the country. It sees cockfighting as “primitive,”
“backward,” “unprogressive,” and generally unbecoming an ambitious
nation. And, as with those other embarrassments -opium smoking, begging, or uncovered
breasts-it seeks, rather unsystematically, to put a stop to it.

As a result, the fights are usually held in a secluded corner of a village in
semisecrecy, a fact which tends to slow the action a little-not very much, but the
Balinese do not care to have it slowed at all. In this case, however, perhaps because they
were raising money for a school that the government was unable to give them, perhaps
because raids had been few recently, perhaps, as I gathered from subsequent discussion,
there was a notion that the necessary bribes had been paid, they thought they could take a
chance on the central square and draw a larger and more enthusiastic crowd without
attracting the attention of the law.

They were wrong. In the midst of the third match, with hundreds of people, including,
still transparent, myself and my wife, fused into a single body around the ring, a
superorganism in the literal sense, a truck full of policemen armed with machine guns
roared up. Amid great screeching cries of “pulisi! pulisi!” from the crowd, the
policemen jumped out, and, springing into the center of the ring, began to swing their
guns around like gangsters in a motion picture, though not going so far as actually to
fire them. The superorganism came instantly apart as its components scattered in all
directions. People raced down the road, disappeared head first over walls, scrambled under
platforms, folded themselves behind wicker screens, scuttled up coconut trees. Cocks armed
with steel spurs sharp enough to cut off a finger or run a hole through a foot were
running wildly around. Everything was dust and panic.

On the established anthropological principle, When in Rome, my wife and I decided, only
slightly less instantaneously than everyone else, that the thing to do was run too. We ran
down the main village street, northward, away from where we were living, for we were on
that side of the ring. About half-way down another fugitive ducked suddenly into a
compound-his own, it turned out-and we, seeing nothing ahead of us but rice fields, open
country, and a very high volcano, followed him. As the three of us came tumbling into the
courtyard, his wife, who had apparently been through this sort of thing before, whipped
out a table, a tablecloth, three chairs, and three cups of tea, and we all, without any
explicit communication whatsoever, sat down, commenced to sip tea, and sought to compose

A few moments later, one of the policemen marched importantly into the yard, looking
for the village chief. (The chief had not only been at the fight, he had arranged it. When
the truck drove up he ran to the river, stripped off his sarong, and plunged in so he
could say, when at length they found him sitting there pouring water over his head, that
he had been away bathing when the whole affair had occurred and was ignorant of it. They
did not believe him and fined him three hundred rupiah, which the village raised
collectively.) Seeing my wife and I, “White Men,” there in the yard, the
policeman performed a classic double take. When he found his voice again he asked,
approximately, what in the devil did we think we were doing there. Our host of five
minutes leaped instantly to our defense, producing an impassioned description of who and
what we were, so detailed and so accurate that it was my turn, having barely communicated
with a living human being save my landlord and the village chief for more than a week, to
be astonished. We had a perfect right to be there, he said, looking the Javanese upstart
in the eye. We were American professors; the government had cleared us; we were there to
study culture; we were going to write a book to tell Americans about Bali. And we had all
been there drinking tea and talking about cultural matters all afternoon and did not know
anything about any cockfight. Moreover, we had not seen the village chief all day, he must
have gone to town. The policeman retreated in rather total disarray. And, after a decent
interval, bewildered but relieved to have survived and stayed out of jail, so did we.

The next morning the village was a completely different world for us. Not only were we
no longer invisible, we were suddenly the center of all attention, the object of a great
outpouring of warmth, interest, and, most especially, amusement. Everyone in the village
knew we had fled like everyone else. They asked us about it again and again (I must have
told the story, small detail by small detail, fifty times by the end of the day), gently,
affectionately, but quite insistently teasing us: “Why didn’t you just stand there
and tell the police who you were?” “Why didn’t you just say you were only
watching and not betting?” “Were you really afraid of those little guns?”
As always, kinesthetically minded and, even when fleeing for their lives (or, as happened
eight years later, surrendering them), the world’s most poised people, they gleefully
mimicked, also over and over again, our graceless style of running and what they claimed
were our panic-stricken facial expressions. But above all, everyone was extremely pleased
and even more surprised that we had not simply “pulled out our papers” (they
knew about those too) and asserted our Distinguished Visitor status, but had instead
demonstrated our solidarity with what were now our covillagers. (What we had actually
demonstrated was our cowardice, but there is fellowship in that too.) Even the Brahmana
priest, an old, grave, half-way-to-Heaven type who because of its associations with the
underworld would never be involved, even distantly, in a cockfight, and was difficult to
approach even to other Balinese, had us called into his courtyard to ask us about what had
happened, chuckling happily at the sheer extraordinariness of it all.

In Bali, to be teased is to be accepted. It was the turning point so far as our
relationship to the community was concerned, and we were quite literally “in.”
The whole village opened up to us, probably more than it ever would have otherwise (I
might actually never have gotten to that priest and our accidental host became one of my
best informants), and certainly very much faster. Getting caught, or almost caught, in a
vice raid is perhaps not a very generalizable recipe for achieving that mysterious
necessity of anthropological field work, rapport, but for me it worked very well. It led
to a sudden and unusually complete acceptance into a society extremely difficult for
outsiders to penetrate. It gave me the kind of immediate, inside view grasp of an aspect
of “peasant mentality” that anthropologists not fortunate enough to flee
headlong with their subjects from armed authorities normally do not get. And, perhaps most
important of all, for the other things might have come in other ways, it put me very
quickly on to a combination emotional explosion, status war, and philosophical drama of
central significance to the society whose inner nature I desired to understand. By the
time I left I had spent about as much time looking into cockfights as into witchcraft,
irrigation, caste, or marriage.

Of Cocks and Men

As much of America surfaces in a ball park, on a golf links, at a race track, or
around a poker table, much of Bali surfaces in a cock ring. For it is only apparently
cocks that are fighting there. Actually, it is men.

To anyone who has been in Bali any length of time, the deep psychological
identification of Balinese men with their cocks is unmistakable. The double entendre here
is deliberate. It works in exactly the same way in Balinese as it does in English, even to
producing the same tired jokes, strained puns, and uninventive obscenities. Bateson and
Mead have even suggested that, in line with the Balinese conception of the body as a set
of separately animated parts, cocks are viewed as detachable, self-operating penises,
ambulant genitals with a life of their own. And while I do not have the kind of
unconscious material either to confirm or disconfirm this intriguing notion, the fact that
they are masculine symbols par excellence is about as indubitable, and to the Balinese
about as evident, as the fact that water runs downhill.

The language of everyday moralism is shot through, on the male side of it, with
roosterish imagery. Sabung, the word for cock (and one which appears in inscriptions as
early as A.D. 922 ), is used metaphorically to mean “hero,” “warrior,”
“champion,” “man of parts,” “political candidate,”
“bachelor,” “dandy,” “lady-killer,” or “tough
guy.” A pompous man whose behavior presumes above his station is compared to a
tailless cock who struts about as though he had a large, spectacular one. A desperate man
who makes a last, irrational effort to extricate himself from an impossible situation is
likened to a dying cock who makes one final lunge at his tormentor to drag him along to a
common destruction. A stingy man, who promises much, gives little, and begrudges that is
compared to a cock which, held by the tail, leaps at another without in fact engaging him.
A marriageable young man still shy with the opposite sex or someone in a new job anxious
to make a good impression is called “a fighting cock caged for the first time.”
Court trials, wars, political contests, inheritance disputes, and street arguments are all
compared to cockfights. Even the very island itself is perceived from its shape as a
small, proud cock, poised, neck extended, back taut, tail raised, in eternal challenge to
large, feckless, shapeless Java.

But the intimacy of men with their cocks is more than metaphorical. Balinese men, or
anyway a large majority of Balinese men, spend an enormous amount of time with their
favorites, grooming them, feeding them, discussing them, trying them out against one
another, or just gazing at them with a mixture of rapt admiration and dreamy
self-absorption. Whenever you see a group of Balinese men squatting idly in the council
shed or along the road in their hips down, shoulders forward, knees up fashion, half or
more of them will have a rooster in his hands, holding it between his thighs, bouncing it
gently up and down to strengthen its legs, ruffling its feathers with abstract sensuality,
pushing it out against a neighbor’s rooster to rouse its spirit, withdrawing it toward his
loins to calm it again Now and then, to get a feel for another bird, a man will fiddle
this way with someone else’s cock for a while, but usually by moving around to squat in
place behind it, rather than just having it passed across to him as though it were merely
an animal.

In the houseyard, the high-walled enclosures where the people live, fighting cocks are
kept in wicker cages, moved frequently about so as to maintain the optimum balance of sun
and shade. They are fed a special diet, which varies somewhat according to individual
theories but which is mostly maize, sifted for impurities with far more care than it is
when mere humans are going to eat it and offered to the animal kernel by kernel. Red
pepper is stuffed down their beaks and up their anuses to give them spirit. They are
bathed in the same ceremonial preparation of tepid water, medicinal herbs, flowers, and
onions in which infants are bathed, and for a prize cock just about as often. Their combs
are cropped, their plumage dressed, their spurs trimmed, their legs massaged, and they are
inspected for flaws with the squinted concentration of a diamond merchant. A man who has a
passion for cocks, an enthusiast in the literal sense of the term, can spend most of his
life with them, and even those, the overwhelming majority, whose passion though intense
has not entirely run away with them, can and do spend what seems not only to an outsider,
but also to themselves an inordinate amount of time with them. “I am cock
crazy,” my landlord, a quite ordinary afficionado by Balinese standards, used to moan
as he went to move another cage, give another bath, or conduct another feeding.
“We’re all cock crazy.”

The madness has some less visible dimensions, however, because although it is true that
cocks are symbolic expressions or magnifications of their owner’s self, the narcissistic
male ego writ out in Aesopian terms, they are also expressions- and rather more immediate
ones-of what the Balinese regard as the direct inversion, aesthetically, morally, and
metaphysically, of human status: animality.

The Balinese revulsion against any behavior as animal-like can hardly be overstressed.
Babies are not allowed to crawl for that reason. Incest, though hardly approved, is a much
less horrifying crime than bestiality. (The appropriate punishment for the second is death
by drowning, for the first being forced to live like an animal.) Most demons are
represented-in sculpture, dance, ritual, myth-in some real or fantastic animal form. The
main puberty rite consists in filing the child’s teeth so they will not look like animal
fangs. Not only defecation but eating is regarded as a disgusting, almost obscene
activity, to be conducted hurriedly and privately, because of its association with
animality. Even falling down or any form of clumsiness is considered to be bad for these
reasons. Aside from cocks and a few domestic animals-oxen, ducks-of no emotional
significance, the Balinese are aversive to animals and treat their large number of dogs
not merely callously but with a phobic cruelty. In identifying with his cock, the Balinese
man is identifying not just with his ideal self, or even his penis, but also, and at the
same time, with what he most fears, hates, and ambivalence being what it is, is fascinated
by-The Powers of Darkness.

The connection of cocks and cockfighting with such Powers, with the animalistic demons
that threaten constantly to invade the small, cleared off space in which the Balinese have
so carefully built their lives and devour its inhabitants, is quite explicit. A cockfight,
any cockfight, is in the first instance a blood sacrifice offered, with the appropriate
chants and oblations, to the demons in order to pacify their ravenous, cannibal hunger. No
temple festival should be conducted until one is made. (If it is omitted someone will
inevitably fall into a trance and command with the voice of an angered spirit that the
oversight be immediately corrected.) Collective responses to natural evils-illness, crop
failure, volcanic eruptions-almost always involve them. And that famous holiday in Bali,
The Day of Silence (Njepi), when everyone sits silent and immobile all day long in order
to avoid contact with a sudden influx of demons chased momentarily out of hell, is
preceded the previous day by large-scale cockfights (in this case legal) in almost every
village on the island.

In the cockfight, man and beast, good and evil, ego and id, the creative power of
aroused masculinity and the destructive power of loosened animality fuse in a bloody drama
of hatred, cruelty, violence, and death. It is little wonder that when, as is the
invariable rule, the owner of the winning cock takes the carcass of the loser- often torn
limb from limb by its enraged owner-home to eat, he does so with a mixture of social
embarrassment, moral satisfaction, aesthetic disgust, and cannibal joy.

The Fight

Cockfights (tetadjen; sabungan ) are held in a ring about fifty feet square. Usually
they begin toward late afternoon and run three or four hours until sunset. About nine or
ten separate matches (sehet) comprise a program. Each match is precisely like the others
in general pattern: there is no main match, no connection between individual matches, no
variation in their format, and each is arranged on a completely ad hoc basis. After a
fight has ended and the emotional debris is cleaned away-the bets paid, the curses cursed,
the carcasses possessed- seven, eight, perhaps even a dozen men slip negligently into the
ring with a cock and seek to find there a logical opponent for it. This process, which
rarely takes less than ten minutes, and often a good deal longer, is conducted in a very
subdued, oblique, even dissembling manner Those not immediately involved give it at best
but disguised, sidelong attention; those who, embarrassedly, are, attempt to pretend
somehow that the whole thing is not really happening.

A match made, the other hopefuls retire with the same deliberate indifference, and the
selected cocks have their spurs (tadji) affixed- razor sharp, pointed steel swords, four
or five inches long. This is a delicate job which only a small proportion of men, a
half-dozen or so in most villages, know how to do properly. The man who attaches the spurs
also provides them, and if the rooster he assists wins its owner awards him the spur-leg
of the victim. The spurs are affixed by winding a long length of string around the foot of
the spur and the leg of the cock. For reasons I shall come to, it is done somewhat
differently from case to case, and is an obsessively deliberate affair. The lore about
spurs is extensive-they are sharpened only at eclipses and the dark of the moon, should be
kept out of the sight of women, and so forth. And they are handled, both in use and out,
with the same curious combination of fussiness and sensuality the Balinese direct toward
ritual objects generally.

The spurs affixed, the two cocks are placed by their handlers (who may or may not be
their owners) facing one another in the center of the ring. A coconut pierced with a small
hole is placed in a pail of water, in which it takes about twenty-one seconds to sink, a
period known as a tjeng and marked at beginning and end by the beating of a slit gong.
During these twenty-one seconds the handlers (pengangkeb) are not permitted to touch their
roosters. If, as sometimes happens, the animals have not fought during this time, they are
picked up, fluffed, pulled, prodded, and otherwise insulted, and put back in the center of
the ring and the process begins again. Sometimes they refuse to fight at all, or one keeps
running away, in which case they are imprisoned together under a wicker cage, which
usually gets them engaged.

Most of the time, in any case, the cocks fly almost immediately at one another in a
wing-beating, head-thrusting, leg-kicking explosion of animal fury so pure, so absolute,
and in its own way so beautiful, as to be almost abstract, a Platonic concept of hate.
Within moments one or the other drives home a solid blow with his spur. The handler whose
cock has delivered the blow immediately picks it up so that it will not get a return blow,
for if he does not the match is likely to end in a mutually mortal tie as the two birds
wildly hack each other to pieces. This is particularly true if, as often happens, the spur
sticks in its victim’s body, for then the aggressor is at the mercy of his wounded foe.

With the birds again in the hands of their handlers, the coconut is now sunk three
times after which the cock which has landed the blow must be set down to show that he is
firm, a fact he demonstrates by wandering idly around the rink for a coconut sink. The
coconut is then sunk twice more and the fight must recommence.

During this interval, slightly over two minutes, the handler of the wounded cock has
been working frantically over it, like a trainer patching a mauled boxer between rounds,
to get it in shape for a last, desperate try for victory. He blows in its mouth, putting
the whole chicken head in his own mouth and sucking and blowing, fluffs it, stuffs its
wounds with various sorts of medicines, and generally tries anything he can think of to
arouse the last ounce of spirit which may be hidden somewhere within it. By the time he is
forced to put it back down he is usually drenched in chicken blood, but, as in prize
fighting, a good handler is worth his weight in gold. Some of them can virtually make the
dead walk, at least long enough for the second and final round.

In the climactic battle (if there is one; sometimes the wounded cock simply expires in
the handler’s hands or immediately as it is placed down again), the cock who landed the
first blow usually proceeds to finish off his weakened opponent. But this is far from an
inevitable outcome, for if a cock can walk he can fight, and if he can fight, he can kill,
and what counts is which cock expires first. If the wounded one can get a stab in and
stagger on until the other drops, he is the official winner, even if he himself topples
over an instant later.

Surrounding all this melodrama - which the crowd packed tight around the ring follows
in near silence, moving their bodies in kinesthetic sympathy with the movement of the
animals, cheering their champions on with wordless hand motions, shiftings of the
shoulders, turnings of the head, falling back en masse as the cock with the murderous
spurs careens toward one side of the ring (it is said that spectators sometimes lose eyes
and fingers from being too attentive), surging forward again as they glance off toward
another - is a vast body of extraordinarily elaborate and precisely detailed rules.

These rules, together with the developed lore of cocks and cockfighting which
accompanies them, are written down in palm leaf manuscripts (lontar; rontal) passed on
from generation to generation as part of the general legal and cultural tradition of the
villages. At a fight, the umpire (saja konong; djuru kembar) - the man who manages the
coconut - is in charge of their application and his authority is absolute. I have never
seen an umpire’s judgment questioned on any subject, even by the more despondent losers,
nor have I ever heard, even in private, a charge of unfairness directed against one, or,
for that matter, complaints about umpires in general. Only exceptionally well-trusted,
solid, and, given the complexity of the code, knowledgeable citizens perform this job, and
in fact men will bring their cocks only to fights presided over by such men. It is also
the umpire to whom accusations of cheating, which, though rare in the extreme,
occasionally arise, are referred; and it is he who in the not infrequent cases where the
cocks expire virtually together decides which (if either, for, though the Balinese do not
care for such an outcome, there can be ties) went first. Likened to a judge, a king, a
priest, and a policeman, he is all of these, and under his assured direction the animal
passion of the fight proceeds within the civic certainty of the law. In the dozens of
cockfights I saw in Bali, I never once saw an altercation about rules. Indeed, I never saw
an open altercation, other than those between cocks, at all.

This crosswise doubleness of an event which, taken as a fact of nature, is rage
untrammeled and, taken as a fact of culture, is form perfected, defines the cockfight as a
sociological entity. A cockfight is what, searching for a name for something not
vertebrate enough to be called a group and not structureless enough to be called a crowd,
Erving Goffman has called a “focused gathering”-a set of persons engrossed in a
common flow of activity and relating to one another in terms of that flow. Such gatherings
meet and disperse; the participants in them fluctuate; the activity that focuses them is
discreet-a particulate process that reoccurs rather than a continuous one that endures.
They take their form from the situation that evokes them, the floor on which they are
placed, as Goffman puts it; but it is a form, and an articulate one, nonetheless. For the
situation, the floor is itself created, in jury deliberations, surgical operations, block
meetings, sitins, cockfights, by the cultural preoccupations-here, as we shall see, the
celebration of status rivalry-which not only specify the focus but, assembling actors and
arranging scenery, bring it actually into being.

In classical times (that is to say, prior to the Dutch invasion
of 1908
) when there were no bureaucrats around to improve popular morality, the
staging of a cockfight was an explicitly societal matter. Bringing a cock to an important
fight was, for an adult male, a compulsory duty of citizenship; taxation of fights, which
were usually held on market day, was a major source of public revenue; patronage of the
art was a stated responsibility of princes; and the cock ring, or wantilan, stood in the
center of the village near those other monuments of Balinese civility-the council house,
the origin temple, the marketplace, the signal tower, and the banyan tree. Today, a few
special occasions aside, the newer rectitude makes so open a statement of the connection
between the excitements of collective life and those of blood sport impossible, but, less
directly expressed, the connection itself remains intimate and intact. To expose it,
however, it is necessary to turn to the aspect of cockfighting around which all the others
pivot, and through which they exercise their force, an aspect I have thus far studiously
ignored. I mean, of course, the gambling.

Odds and Even Money

The Balinese never do anything in a simple way that they can contrive to do in a
complicated one, and to this generalization cockfight wagering is no exception.

In the first place, there are two sorts of bets, or toh. There is the single axial bet
in the center between the principals (toh ketengah), and there is the cloud of peripheral
ones around the ring between members of the audience (toh kesasi ). The first is typically
large; the second typically small. The first is collective, involving coalitions of
bettors clustering around the owner; the second is individual, man to man. The first is a
matter of deliberate, very quiet, almost furtive arrangement by the coalition members and
the umpire huddled like conspirators in the center of the ring; the second is a matter of
impulsive shouting, public offers, and public acceptances by the excited throng around its
edges. And most curiously, and as we shall see most revealingly, where the first is
always, without exception, even money, the second, equally without exception, is never
such. What is a fair coin in the center is a biased one on the side.

The center bet is the official one, hedged in again with a webwork of rules, and is
made between the two cock owners, with the umpire as overseer and public witness. This
bet, which, as I say, is always relatively and sometimes very large, is never raised
simply by the owner in whose name it is made, but by him together with four or five,
sometimes seven or eight, allies- kin, village mates, neighbors, close friends. He may, if
he is not especially well-to-do, not even be the major contributor, though, if only to
show that he is not involved in any chicanery, he must be a significant one.

Of the fifty-seven matches for which I have exact and reliable data on the center bet,
the range is from fifteen ringgits to five hundred, with a mean at eighty-five and with
the distribution being rather noticeably trimodal: small fights (15 ringgits either side
of 35 ) accounting for about 45 per cent of the total number; medium ones (20 ringgits
either side of 70) for about 25 per cent; and large (75 ringgits either side of 175) for
about 20 per cent, with a few very small and very large ones out at the extremes. In a
society where the normal daily wage of a manual laborer - a brickmaker, an ordinary
farmworker, a market porter - was about three ringgits a day, and considering the fact
that fights were held on the average about every two-and a-half days in the immediate area
I studied, this is clearly serious gambling, even if the bets are pooled rather than
individual efforts.

The side bets are, however, something else altogether. Rather than the solemn,
legalistic pactmaking of the center, wagering takes place rather in the fashion in which
the stock exchange used to work when it was out on the curb. There is a fixed and known
odds paradigm which runs in a continuous series from ten-to-nine at the short end to
two-to-one on the long: 10-9, 9-8, 8-7, 7-6, 6-5, 5-4, 4-3, 3-2, 2-1. The man who wants
the underdog cock shouts the short-side number indicating the odds he wants to be given.
That is, if he shouts gasal, “five,” he wants the underdog at five-to-four (or,
for him, four-to-five); if he shouts “four,” he wants it at four-to-three
(again, he putting up the “three”), if “nine” at nine-to-eight, and so
on. A man backing the favorite, and thus considering giving odds if he can get them short
enough, indicates the fact by crying out the color-type of that cock - “brown,”
“speckled,” or whatever.

Almost always odds calling starts off toward the the long end of the range -
five-to-four or four-to-three- and then moves toward the shorter end with greater or less
speed and to a greater and lesser degree. Men crying “five” and finding
themselves answered only with cries of “brown” start crying “six.” If
the change is made and partners are still scarce, the procedure is repeated in a move to
“seven,” and so on. Occasionally, if the cocks are clearly mismatched, there may
be no upward movement at all, or even movement down the scale to four-to-three,
three-to-two, very, very rarely to two-to-one, a shift which is accompanied by a declining
number of bets as a shift upward is accompanied by an increasing number. But the general
pattern is for the betting to move a shorter or longer distance up the scale toward the,
for sidebets, nonexistent pole of even money, with the overwhelming majority of bets
falling in the four-to-three to eight-to-seven range.

The higher the center bet, the more likely the match will in actual fact be an even
one. In a large-bet fight the pressure to make the match a genuinely fifty-fifty
proposition is enormous, and is consciously felt as such. For medium fights the pressure
is somewhat less, and for small ones less yet, though there is always an effort to make
things at least approximately equal, for even at fifteen ringgits (five days work) no one
wants to make an even money bet in a clearly unfavorable situation. And, again, what
statistics I have tend to bear this out. In my fifty-seven matches, the favorite won
thirty-three times over-all, the underdog twenty-four, a 1.4 to 1 ratio. But if one splits
the figures at sixty ringgits center bets, the ratios turn out to be 1.1 to 1 (twelve
favorites, eleven underdogs) for those above this line, and 1.6 to 1 (twenty-one and
thirteen) for those below it. Or, if you take the extremes, for very large fights, those
with center bets over a hundred ringgits the ratio is 1 to 1 (seven and seven); for very
small fights, those under forty ringgits, it is 1.9 to 1 (nineteen and ten).

The paradox of fair coin in the middle, biased coin on the outside is thus a merely
apparent one. The two betting systems, though formally incongruent, are not really
contradictory to one another, but part of a single larger system in which the center bet
is, so to speak, the “center of gravity,” drawing, the larger it is the more so,
the outside bets toward the short-odds end of the scale. The center
bet thus “makes the game,” or perhaps better, defines it, signals what,
following a notion of Jeremy Bentham’s, I am going to call its “depth.”

The Balinese attempt to create an interesting, if you will, “deep,” match by
making the center bet as large as possible so that the cocks matched will be as equal and
as fine as possible, and the outcome, thus, as unpredictable as possible. They do not
always succeed. Nearly half the matches are relatively trivial, relatively
uninteresting-in my borrowed terminology, “shallow”- affairs. But that fact no
more argues against my interpretation than the fact that most painters, poets, and
playwrights are mediocre argues against the view that artistic effort is directed toward
profundity and, with a certain frequency, approximates it. The image of artistic technique
is indeed exact: the center bet is a means, a device, for creating
“interesting,” “deep” matches, not the reason, or at least not the
main reason, why they are interesting, the source of their fascination, the substance of
their depth. The question why such matches are interesting-indeed, for the Balinese,
exquisitely absorbing-takes us out of the realm of formal concerns into more broadly
sociological and social-psychological ones, and to a less purely economic idea of what
“depth” in gaming amounts to.

Continued in …..

Part Two of Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight pt 2

by Clifford Geertz

Playing with Fire

concept of “deep play” is found in his
The Theory of Legislation. By it he means play in which the stakes are so high that
it is, from his utilitarian standpoint, irrational for men to engage in it at all.

I must stress immediately, is not to say that the money does not matter, or that the
Balinese is no more concerned about losing five hundred ringgits than fifteen. Such a
conclusion would be absurd. It is because money does, in this hardly unmaterialistic
society, matter and matter very much that the more of it one risks the more of a lot of
other things, such as one’s pride, one’s poise, one’s dispassion, one’s masculinity, one
also risks, again only momentarily but again very publicly as well. In deep cockfights an
owner and his collaborators, and, as we shall see, to a lesser but still quite real extent
also their backers on the outside, put their money where their status is.

It is in large part because the marginal disutility of loss is so great at the higher
levels of betting that to engage in such betting is to lay one’s public self, allusively
and metaphorically, through the medium of one’s cock, on the line. And
though to a Benthamite this might seem merely to increase the irrationality of the
enterprise that much further, to the Balinese what it mainly increases is the
meaningfulness of it all. And as (to follow Weber rather than Bentham) the imposition of
meaning on life is the major end and primary condition of human existence, that access of
significance more than compensates for the economic costs involved.
Actually, given
the even-money quality of the larger matches, important changes in material fortune among
those who regularly participate in them seem virtually nonexistent, because matters more
or less even out over the long run.

This graduated correlation of “status gambling” with
deeper fights and, inversely, “money gambling” with shallower ones is in fact
quite general.
Bettors themselves form a sociomoral hierarchy in these terms. As
noted earlier, at most cockfights there are, around the very edges of the cockfight area,
a large number of mindless, sheer-chance type gambling games (roulette, dice throw,
coin-spin, pea-under-the-shell) operated by concessionaires. Only women, children,
adolescents, and various other sorts of people who do not (or not yet) fight cocks - the
extremely poor, the socially despised, the personally idiosyncratic - play at these games,
at, of course, penny ante levels. Cockfighting men would be ashamed to go anywhere near
them. Slightly above these people in standing are those who, though they do not themselves
fight cocks, bet on the smaller matches around the edges. Next, there are those who fight
cocks in small, or occasionally medium matches, but have not the status to join in the
large ones, though they may bet from time to time on the side in those. And finally, there
are those, the really substantial members of the community, the solid citizenry around
whom local life revolves, who fight in the larger fights and bet on them around the side.
The focusing element in these focused gatherings, these men generally dominate and define
the sport as they dominate and define the society. When a Balinese male talks, in that
almost venerative way, about “the true cockfighter,” the bebatoh
(”bettor” ) or djuru kurung (”cage keeper”), it is this sort of
person, not those who bring the mentality of the pea-and-shell game into the quite
different, inappropriate context of the cockfight, the driven gambler (potet, a word which
has the secondary meaning of thief or reprobate), and the wistful hanger-on, that they
mean. For such a man, what is really going on in a match is something rather closer to an
affaire d’honneur (though, with the Balinese talent for practical fantasy, the blood that
is spilled is only figuratively human) than to the stupid, mechanical crank of a slot
machine (….Continued…)

What makes Balinese cockfighting deep is thus not money in itself, but what, the more
of it that is involved the more so, money causes to happen: the migration of the Balinese
status hierarchy into the body of the cockfight. Psychologically an Aesopian
representation of the ideal/demonic, rather narcissistic, male self, sociologically it is
an equally Aesopian representation of the complex fields of tension set up by the
controlled, muted, ceremonial, but for all that deeply felt, interaction of those selves
in the context of everyday life. The cocks may be surrogates for their owners’
personalities, animal mirrors of psychic form, but the cockfight is - or more exactly,
deliberately is made to be - a simulation of the social matrix, the involved system of
crosscutting, overlapping, highly corporate groups –villages, kingroups, irrigation
societies, temple congregations, “castes” - in which its devotees live. And as
prestige, the necessity to affirm it, defend it, celebrate it, justify it, and just plain
bask in it (but not given the strongly ascriptive character of Balinese stratification, to
seek it), is perhaps the central driving force in the society, so also - ambulant penises,
blood sacrifices, and monetary exchanges aside - is it of the cockfight. This apparent
amusement and seeming sport is, to take another phrase from Erving
Goffman, “a status bloodbath.”

The easiest way to make this clear, and at least to some degree to demonstratee it, is
to invoke the village whose cockfighting activities I observed the closest - the one in
which the raid occurred and from which my statistical data are taken.

Consider, then, as support of the general thesis that the
cockfight, and especially the deep cockfight, is fundamentally a dramatization of status
, the following facts:

  1. A man virtually never bets against a cock owned by a member of his own kingroup. Usually
    he will feel obliged to bet for it, the more so the closer the kin tie and the deeper the
    fight. If he is certain in his mind that it will not win, he may just not bet at all,
    particularly if it is only a second cousin’s bird or if the fight is a shallow one. But as
    a rule he will feel he must support it and, in deep games, nearly always does. Thus the
    great majority of the people calling “five” or “spes the great majority of
    the people calling”five” or “speckled” so demonstratively are
    expressing their allegiance to their kinsman, not their evaluation of his bird, their
    understanding of probability theory, or even their hopes of unearned income.
  2. This principle is extended logically. If your kin group is not involved you will support
    an allied kingroup against an unallied one in the same way, and so on through the very
    involved networks of alliances which, as I say, make up this, as any other, Balinese
  3. So, too, for the village as a whole. If an outsider cock is fighting any cock from your
    village you will tend to support the local one. If, what is a rarer circumstance but
    occurs every now and then, a cock from outside your cockfight circuit is fighting one
    inside it you will also tend to support the “home bird.”
  4. Cocks which come from any distance are almost always favorites, for the theory is the
    man would not have dared to bring it if it was not a good cock, the more so the further he
    has come. His followers are, of course, obliged to support him, and when the more
    grand-scale legal cockfights are held (on holidays and so on) the people of the village
    take what they regard to be the best cocks in the village, regardless of ownership, and go
    off to support them, although they will almost certainly have to give odds on them and to
    make large bets to show that they are not a cheapskate village. Actually, such “away
    games,” though infrequent, tend to mend the ruptures between village members that the
    constantly occurring “home games,” where village factions are opposed rather
    than united, exacerbate.
  5. Almost all matches are sociologically relevant. You seldom get two outsider cocks
    fighting, or two cocks with no particular group backing, or with group backing which is
    mutually unrelated in any clear way. When you do get them, the game is very shallow,
    betting very slow, and the whole thing very dull, with no one save the immediate
    principals and an addict gambler or two at all interested.
  6. By the same token, you rarely get two cocks from the same group, even more rarely from
    the same subfaction, and virtually never from the same sub-subfaction (which would be in
    most cases one extended family) fighting. Similarly, in outside village fights two members
    of the village will rarely fight against one another, even though, as bitter rivals, they
    would do so with enthusiasm on their home grounds.
  7. On the individual level, people involved in an institutionalized hostility relationship,
    called puik, in which they do not speak or otherwise have anything to do with each other
    (the causes of this formal breaking of relations are many: wife-capture, inheritance
    arguments, political differences) will bet very heavily, sometimes almost maniacally,
    against one another in what is a frank and direct attack on the very masculinity, the
    ultimate ground of his status, of the opponent.
  8. The center bet coalition is, in all but the shallowest games, always made up by
    structural allies - no “outside money” is involved. What is “outside”
    depends upon the context, of course, but given it, no outside money is mixed in with the
    main bet; if the principals cannot raise it, it is not made. The center bet, again
    especially in deeper games, is thus the most direct and open expression of social
    opposition, which is one of the reasons why both it and match making are surrounded by
    such an air of unease, furtiveness, embarrassment, and so on.
  9. The rule about borrowing money - that you may borrow for a bet but not in one - stems
    (and the Balinese are quite conscious of this) from similar considerations: you are never
    at the economic mercy of your enemy that way. Gambling debts, which can get quite large on
    a rather short-term basis, are always to friends, never to enemies, structurally speaking.
  10. When two cocks are structurally irrelevant or neutral so far as you are concerned
    (though, as mentioned, they almost never are to each other) you do not even ask a relative
    or a friend whom he is betting on, because if you know how he is betting and he knows you
    know, and you go the other way, it will lead to strain. This rule is explicit and rigid;
    fairly elaborate, even rather artificial precautions are taken to avoid breaking it. At
    the very least you must pretend not to notice what he is doing, and he what you are doing.
  11. There is a special word for betting against the grain, which is also the word for
    “pardon me” (mpura). It is considered a bad thing to do, though if the center
    bet is small it is sometimes all right as long as you do not do it too often. But the
    larger the bet and the more frequently you do it, the more the “pardon me” tack
    will lead to social disruption.
  12. In fact, the institutionalized hostility relation, puik, is often formally initiated
    (though its causes always lie elsewhere) by such a “pardon me” bet in a deep
    fight, putting the symbolic fat in the fire. Similarly, the end of such a relationship and
    resumption of normal social intercourse is often signalized (but, again, not actually
    brought about) by one or the other of the enemies supporting the other’s bird.
  13. In sticky, cross-loyalty situations, of which in this extraordinarily complex social
    system there are of course many, where a man is caught between two more or less equally
    balanced loyalties, he tends to wander off for a cup of coffee or something to avoid
    having to bet, a form of behavior reminiscent of that of American voters in similar
  14. The people involved in the center bet are, especially in deep fights, virtually always
    leading members of their group-kinship, village, or whatever. Further, those who bet on
    the side (including these people) are, as I have already remarked, the more established
    members of the village - the solid citizens. Cockfighting is for those who are involved in
    the everyday politics of prestige as well, not for youth, women, subordinates, and so
  15. So far as money is concerned, the explicitly expressed attitude toward it is that it is
    a secondary matter. It is not, as I have said, of no importance; Balinese are no happier
    to lose several weeks’ income than anyone else. But they mainly look on the monetary
    aspects of the cockfight as self-balancing, a matter of just moving money around,
    circulating it among a fairly well-defined group of serious cockfighters. The really
    important wins and losses are seen mostly in other terms, and the general attitude toward
    wagering is not any hope of cleaning up, of making a killing (addict gamblers again
    excepted), but that of the horseplayer’s prayer: “Oh, God, please let me break
    even.” In prestige terms, however, you do not want to break even, but, in a
    momentary, punctuate sort of way, win utterly. The talk (which goes on all the time) is
    about fights against such-and-such a cock of So-and-So which your cock demolished, not on
    how much you won, a fact people, even for large bets, rarely remember for any length of
    time, though they will remember the day they did in Pan Loh’s finest cock for years.
  16. You must bet on cocks of your own group aside from mere loyalty considerations, for if
    you do not people generally will say, “What! Is he too proud for the likes of us?
    Does he have to go to Java or Den Pasar [the capital town] to bet, he is such an important
    man?” Thus there is a general pressure to bet not only to show that you are important
    locally, but that you are not so important that you look down on everyone else as unfit
    even to be rivals. Similarly, home team people must bet against outside cocks or the
    outsiders will accuse it - a serious charge - of just collecting entry fees and not really
    being interested in cockfighting, as well as again being arrogant and insulting.
  17. Finally, the Balinese peasants themselves are quite aware of all this and can and, at
    least to an ethnographer, do state most of it in approximately the same terms as I have.
    Fighting cocks, almost every Balinese I have ever discussed the subject with has said, is
    like playing with fire only not getting burned. You activate village and kingroup
    rivalries and hostilities, but in “play” form, coming dangerously and
    entrancingly close to the expression of open and direct interpersonal and intergroup
    aggression (something which, again, almost never happens in the normal course of ordinary
    life), but not quite, because, after all, it is “only a cockfight.”

More observations of this sort could be advanced, but perhaps the general point is, if
not made, at least well-delineated, and the whole argument thus far can be usefully
summarized in a formal paradigm:


  1. Between near status equals (and/or personal enemies)
  2. Between high status individuals



  1. The closer the identification of cock and man (or: more properly, the deeper the match
    the more the man will advance his best, most closely-identified-with cock).
  2. The finer the cocks involved and the more exactly they will be matched.
  3. The greater the emotion that will be involved and the more the general absorption in the
  4. The higher the individual bets center and outside, the shorter the outside bet odds will
    tend to be, and the more betting there will be over-all.
  5. The less an economic and the more a “status” view of gaming will be involved,
    and the “solider” the citizens who will be gaming.

Inverse arguments hold for the shallower the fight, culminating, in a reversed-signs
sense, in the coin-spinning and dice-throwing amusements. For deep fights there are no
absolute upper limits, though there are of course practical ones, and there are a great
many legend-like tales of great Duel-in-the-Sun combats between lords and princes in
classical times (for cockfighting has always been as much an elite concern as a popular
one), far deeper than anything anyone, even aristocrats, could produce today anywhere in

Indeed, one of the great culture heroes of Bali is a prince, called after his passion
for the sport, “The Cockfighter,” who happened to be away at a very deep
cockfight with a neighboring prince when the whole of his family-father, brothers, wives,
sisters-were assassinated by commoner usurpers. Thus spared, he returned to dispatch the
upstarts, regain the throne, reconstitute the Balinese high tradition, and build its most
powerful, glorious, and prosperous state. Along with everything else that the Balinese see
in fighting cocks-themselves, their social order, abstract hatred, masculinity, demonic
power-they also see the archetype of status virtue, the arrogant, resolute, honor-mad
player with real fire, the ksatria prince.


What sets the cockfight apart from the ordinary course of life, lifts it from the realm
of everyday practical affairs, and surrounds it with an aura of enlarged importance is
not, as functionalist sociology would have it, that it reinforces status discriminations
(such reinforcement is hardly necessary in a society where every act proclaims them), but
that it provides a metasocial commentary upon the whole matter of assorting human beings
into fixed hierarchical ranks and then organizing the major part of collective existence
around that assortment. Its function, if you want to call it that, is interpretive: it is
a Balinese reading of Balinese experience; a story they tell themselves about themselves.

What the cockfight says it says in a vocabulary of sentiment-the thrill of risk, the
despair of loss, the pleasure of triumph. Yet what it says is not merely that risk is
exciting, loss depressing, or triumph gratifying, banal tautologies of affect, but that it
is of these emotions, thus exampled, that society is built and individuals put together.
Attending cockfights and participating in them is, for the Balinese, a kind of sentimental
education. What he learns there is what his culture’s ethos and his private sensibility
(or, anyway, certain aspects of them) look like when spelled out externally in a
collective text; that the two are near enough alike to be articulated in the symbolics of
a single such text; and-the disquieting part-that the text in which this revelation is
accomplished consists of a chicken hacking another mindlessly to bits.

Every people, the proverb has it, loves its own form of violence,
The cockfight is the Balinese reflection on theirs: on its look, its uses, its force, its
fascination. Drawing on almost every level of Balinese experience, it brings together
themes-animal savagery, male narcissism, opponent gambling, status rivalry, mass
excitement, blood sacrifice-whose main connection is their involvement with rage and the
fear of rage, and, binding them into a set of rules which at once contains them and allows
them play, builds a symbolic structure in which, over and over again, the reality of their
inner affiliation can be intelligibly felt. If, to quote Northrop Frye again, we go to see
Macbeth to learn what a man feels like after he has gained a kingdom and lost his soul,
Balinese go to cockfights to find out what a man, usually composed, aloof, almost
obsessively self-absorbed, a kind of moral autocosm, feels like when, attacked, tormented,
challenged, insulted, and driven in result to the extremes of fury, he has totally
triumphed or been brought totally low.


October 27, 2006 at 6:36 pm | In Islam, Economics, History, Financial, Globalization | No Comments | Edit this post





Zeti Akhtar Aziz: New opportunities for growth and development in Islamic

financial markets

Speech by Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, at the
official ceremony for the completion of the Share Subscription Agreement between BIMB
Holdings Berhad, Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Dubai Financial LLC & Lembaga Tabung
Haji, Kuala Lumpur, 16 October 2006.

* * *

This occasion marks the successful completion of the share subscription agreement
between BIMB Holdings Berhad, Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Dubai Financial Limited
Liability Company (LLC) and Lembaga Tabung Haji. It also sets a new chapter in Bank
Islam’s drive to chart its future direction in meeting new challenges and in exploiting
the new opportunities for growth and development in the
Islamic financial markets,
both in the domestic and global market place. The participation of such key foreign and
local institutions in the new share issuance by Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad signifies an
important turning point in the history of Bank Islam which has been the pioneer Islamic
bank in Malaysia.

The partnership between BIMB Holdings Berhad, Dubai Financial LLC and Lembaga Tabung
Haji is significant in several important ways. Firstly, it reflects the confidence and
trust that international and domestic investors have in the investment and business
climate in Malaysia, and in the Malaysian Islamic financial sector
in particular. Indeed, the Islamic financial services industry in Malaysia has experienced
robust growth in addition to being reinforced by enhanced market discipline and
transparency, and the vibrancy of the Islamic financial market
developments in Malaysia.
The latest financial indicators show that the Islamic banking industry remains well-capitalised with a
risk-weighted capital ratio of 14.8% as at end-August 2006, while the net non-performing
financing ratio has declined to 4.2%. Clearly, therefore, the industry is strong,
resilient and well-positioned to meet emerging

challenges and to capitalise on new opportunities for the mutual return of its

Secondly, this partnership comes at a significant juncture when Malaysia is enhancing

international dimension of its Islamic banking and financial
, with the introduction of increased foreign participation. In line with the
aspiration to position Malaysia as an international Islamic
financial centre (MIFC)
, new licences and business divisions to conduct
international currency Islamic banking business, tax and other incentives have been
introduced to attract global Islamic financial institutions to make Malaysia the hub for
their regional business operations. These measures and incentives are also expected to
attract international investors, including from the Middle East, to leverage on Malaysia
as an investment gateway to tap the rapidly growing investment opportunities in the East
Asian region.

Thirdly, this partnership also serves to enhance Malaysia as a centre of product
innovation in Islamic finance. Indeed, conscious efforts have been made to ensure a
conducive environment for innovation in Malaysia, including the development of the
necessary pool of expertise and talent to drive such innovation. Within Bank Islam itself,
there is a track record and brand name for innovation, with the development of new
business models and product offerings. This partnership would thus contribute towards
accelerating this process and towards serving as a bridge to strengthen the relationship
of the Islamic financial markets as well as the investment
and trade ties between the West Asian and North African regions, with East Asia.

Strengthening the capital of a financial institution, however, is not the only factor
that will determine its capacity and potential to perform. Equally important is the
quality of its talent, the systems that it has in place, in particular, its risk
management and ICT systems and its governance structure, its leadership and its corporate
culture. Thus, while this capitalisation exercise will put Bank Islam in a stronger
position to tap new opportunities, all the other elements also need to be in place to
enable the institution to realise its true potential.

Sound corporate governance and effective management of banking institutions are vital
to ensure their effective and sound functioning. In particular, significant shareholders
are expected to play an active role to ensure that capable individuals are appointed on
the Board and senior management of banking institutions.

Bank Negara Malaysia had as early as 2001 required the Board and management of Bank
Islam to undertake remedial actions on several operational and control weaknesses. When
the weaknesses

BIS Review 99/2006 1

were not adequately addressed, the process of reconstituting the Board and management
of Bank Islam was initiated in 2003. In such an exercise, key shareholders are expected to
be proactive in making prudent and responsible action to remove any member or employee
that is found to be unsuitable or not having the required calibre so as to avoid a
prolonged process in the reconstruction of the Board and management of the bank. It needs
to be recognized that the responsibility for the safety and soundness at the institutional
level rests primarily with the Board and the management of each banking institution and
the key stakeholders such as the significant shareholders. Institutional investors should
also have an active role and make swift and bold decisions in ensuring that only capable
individuals are appointed and remain on the Board and senior management of banking

Currently, virtually all the directors and key executives of Bank Islam are new, with
diverse banking experience. In accelerating the provisions and in instituting the measures
to address the bank’s system, processes and business culture, it has now paved the way for
drawing in new shareholders. It can now offer a valued proposition. And indeed, the
participation of a new strategic investor will in fact further strengthen the bank. This
has allowed the existing and new shareholders to focus taking the bank to the next level
and to capitalize on the new opportunities the environment offers.

Indeed, the bank can gainfully advance to venture abroad to explore new business
opportunities in the regional markets. The growth prospects will also be further
strengthened by the overall performance of the industry and the sound and mutually
reinforcing inter-linkages of the various market components in the Islamic
financial system

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate BIMB Holdings Berhad,
Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Dubai Financial LLC and Lembaga Tabung Haji for their
contributions in the successful completion of the share subscription agreement for Bank
Islam. I wish Bank Islam and its shareholders every success in taking the Bank to greater
heights in its future endeavours.

Thank you.


October 27, 2006 at 6:04 pm | In Islam, Economics, History, Financial, Globalization | No Comments | Edit this post






Bank for International Settlements

BIS Review

Monday, October 23, 2006

Please find BIS Review No 101 attached as an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.

Alternatively, you can access this BIS
on the

Bank for International Settlements’ website by
clicking on

What’s included?

BIS Review No 101
(27 October 2006)

Axel A Weber: The independence of the central bank and inflation -
the Bundesbank example
Stefan Ingves: Introduction on monetary policy
David Dodge:
The global economic landscape and the implications for Ontario

David Dodge: Summary of the latest Monetary Policy Report
Fatos Ibrahimi: The reduction of cash in the context of reducing
the informal economy

If you would like to be taken off the list to receive BIS Reviews,

or if you would like to add or change an address,

please e-mail

Please find BIS Review No 100 attached as an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.

Alternatively, you can access this BIS
on the

Bank for International Settlements’ website by
clicking on

What’s included?

BIS Review No 100
(25 October 2006)

Jean-Pierre Roth: Prospects and limitations of Switzerland as a
business location
Petar Goshev: Monetary policy challenges under a current account
Petar Goshev: Central banking in Macedonia - a brief review of the
first 60 years
Petar Goshev: Importance of the relevant statistical data for the
market economy
Radovan Jela¹ic: Dinar products and declining in interest rates
in Serbia
Radovan Jela¹ic: The National Bank of Serbia - accomplishing its
Radovan Jela¹ic: Serbia’s individuals and institutions - adapting
to become transition winners

If you would like to be taken off the list to receive BIS Reviews,

or if you would like to add or change an address,

please e-mail

Please find BIS Review No 99 attached as an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.

Alternatively, you can access this BIS
on the

Bank for International Settlements’ website by
clicking on

What’s included?

BIS Review No 99 (24
October 2006)

Mario Draghi: Luigi Einaudi and economic freedom
T T Mboweni: The relationship between the South African Reserve
Bank and academia
Y V Reddy: Payment and settlement systems - select issues
Zeti Akhtar Aziz:
New opportunities for growth and development in Islamic financial markets

Caleb M Fundanga: Catering for the un-banked population in Zambia
Lucas Papademos: Integration and development of financial markets
- a key to faster sustainable growth in Europe

If you would like to be taken off the list to receive BIS Reviews,

or if you would like to add or change an address,

please e-mail

Please find BIS Review No 98 attached as an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.

Alternatively, you can access this BIS
on the

Bank for International Settlements’ website by
clicking on

What’s included?

BIS Review No 98 (23
October 2006)

David Dodge: Monetary Policy Report - introductory
David Dodge: Summary of the latest Monetary Policy Report
Erkki Liikanen: Finland, the EMU and the introduction of the euro
Joseph Yam: One country, two financial systems
Eva Srejber: Vulnerabilities in the modern payment system

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or if you would like to add or change an address,

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BIS Review No 98 available

Attachment: bisrev98.pdf
(0.12 MB)

Press, Service

“Publications, Service”

Monday, October 23, 2006

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