Confessions of a Mullah Warrior by Masood Farivar. Autobiography of a man who grew up in a moderately well-off family in Afghanistan, fled to Pakistan with his family after the Soviet invasion, returned to fight in the Mujahideen, then emigrated to America and became a journalist.
It's an interesting story: not a lot of people have had those experiences, and he tells it well. It's quite enlightening on the experiences of some Afghans
However, the title hints at things that aren't really there. He wasn't a member of the Taliban, and had relatively little contact with them. At this stage of the war most of the fighters were native Afghans who seem to have regarded the religiously extreme foreign fighters with some bemusement. Also there's nothing that's shocking or secret enough to be much of a confession.
Overall though, quite interesting and informative, though not mind-blowing.
Finally upgraded my phone from the classic G1 (the first ever Android phone) to a Samsung Galaxy SIII. I tend to keep my phones for ages, so I now get about three months of "Oh, what a cool phone", nine months of nobody noticing my phone, then about about four years of "Haha that old phone is old haha".
Pretty happy with it so far. It's huge but quite thin so still fits OK in a pocket. Has a nice 1,280x720 OLED screen which is fantastically sharp. Runs all the apps I've tried very fast, though that will change if it holds out for years. Not sure it will, it feels a little bit flimsy: I've ordered a case and but that might make it too bulky.
Battery life isn't too bad for a smartphone, used up about 2/3 of it in a day's heavy use, or 1/3 on light use. I bought a double-sized battery and deep case for my last phone: they exist for this, but I've ordered an external battery pack instead as I think it would make it a bit too huge.
Thinking about using it as an ebook reader on the train, apparently Kobo is mildly less evil than Kindle as it uses an open, portable format. It's a comfortable experience, hoping the battery will permit it: white-on-black text is theoretically less power-hungry on an OLED.
Economics. China: Bad-debt nightmare, In revolt, High-speed trading pioneer thinks thinks should slow down. Homeless youths use social networks.
Sci/Tech. Character and cognition in how children succeed. The War on General Purpose Computing (old talk now transcribed). Ancient human diets varied. Unused Soviet Mars rover. The missed opportunity of the closure of UKNova.
Politics. Tories need to pass Danny Boyle test. Sympathy for George W. Bush. Slavoj Žižek: The politics of Batman. Which US presidential candidate should you vote for? I got Jill Stein (Green) Gary Johnson (Libertarian) , Barack Obama, Mitt Romney.
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