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people in particular see it, if young people here are embracing western temptation so readily and at the risk of legal sanction, surely young British Pakistanis must indulge to excess. In the end, what I ﬁnd more puzzling is the reaction of British Pakistanis to the discovery that most of the plotters were from their own community. The conspiracy theories that you hear in Pakistan are also widely believed by British Pakistanis. It does seem that the sense of Muslim grievance in Britain has only deepened in recent months, with spokesmen defensively changing the subject to Lebanon or the lack of a public inquiry into 7/7. It’s unclear what it will take to redress this. In the meantime, I’ve been warned here that I’ll be interviewed intensively when I go back to Britain and that I really should come back more often— s if the British let me.
Ehsan Masood, Tahir Abbas and Shiraz Maher on the terror plot
B Y A NAT O L L I E V E N
Americans’ growing unease at US foreign policy is not reflected by the two parties
strategy of the Bush administration lies in ruins. The battering of the Lebanese state by Israel, with US support, came only months after US leaders vowed to support and defend that country as a beacon of democracy and progress in the middle east. The doublethink in US policy does not relate only to the contrast between the language of democracy and the disasters in Iraq and Lebanon. Even more striking is that this public Anatol Lieven’s latest book, co-authored with John Hulsman, is “Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World” (Pantheon)
HE FOREIGN AND SECURITY
Did one person write the whole of Shakespeare? Who wrote the books of the Bible? Three researchers at the University of Adelaide have come up with a statistical approach which could help to resolve these puzzles. Matthew Berryman, Andrew Allison and Derek Abbot have published some of their ﬁndings on New Testament authorship. Their analysis is based upon inter-word spacing, deﬁned as the word count between a word and the next occurrence of the same word in a text. So in the previous sentence, for example, the count between the ﬁrst appearance of “word” and the second is four, between the second and third three, the third and fourth seven, and so on. This is calculated for every single word throughout an entire text. Now comes the subtle bit. Words are ranked according to how much their individual counts vary around their average. So the top ranked word is not the most frequently appearing one, but the one whose word count is, in a sense, the most irregular. This ranking of words, the so-called “sigma ranking” is how an author leaves a characteristic signature. He or she can be identiﬁed by the slope of the line when the sigma ranking is plotted against the logarithm of the ranking. Testing it on Dickens’s Great Expectations and Barnaby Rudge, and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the
technique shows decisively that the two pairs of books were written by two different authors. In New Testament terms, analysing not an English translation but the original Greek, the same author appears to have written both Luke and Acts of the Apostles. Sigma ranking has applications far outside author identiﬁcation. It has already been shown that words with the highest sigma ranking tend to make better search engine keywords, as opposed to words with high hit counts. And given that DNA sequences can be viewed as possessing a four-letter alphabet (A, C, G, T), it is also being used in genome identiﬁcation.
NHS 99.995% SUCCESSFUL
The Healthcare Commission, which regulates the NHS, has published ﬁgures showing that in the year to July there were 41,000 “medical errors” in prescribing medicines and drugs in 173 (out of 259) NHS trusts in England. This resulted in 36 deaths and 2,000 cases of “moderate or severe harm.” This is less alarming than it sounds when seen in the perspective of one death for every ﬁve trusts, and an average of one case a month of moderate or severe harm. With a best estimate of over 80m drugs and medicines being administered, the failure rate is one in 2,000—or a success score of 99.995 per cent. The Cruncher
rhetoric is diametrically opposed to America’s actual strategy in the middle east, admitted privately by many ofﬁcials, which is a reversion to the pre9/11 norm: US and Israel reliance on autocracies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and elsewhere to hold down their own people. This is the strategy which Bush and the neoconservatives insist was proved to be bankrupt by 9/11; and whose proponents have been dismissed by Bush as racists because
they supposedly don’t “believe that Muslims can self-govern.” America’s pre-9/11 strategy was based on a commitment to maintain stability in the middle east—a tenuous and unsatisfactory stability, but stability nonetheless. The problem is that this strategy is now combined with a parallel US and Israeli strategy that is in effect promoting anarchy. In the case of the latest Israeli attack on Lebanon, this is deliberate.
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