Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from October 31st, 2011

“I’m Smart…and I’m Your Friend”

October 31st, 2011 · No Comments

In honor of Halloween—and in deference to the fact that I gotta split early today for trick-or-treating—I’m once again paying homage to the cinematic evildoer who caused me countless childhood nightmares: undead utopian cult leader Reverend Henry Kane. I dare you to come up with a more terrifying horror-flick villain—the man oozes menace out of […]

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Road Hazards

October 28th, 2011 · No Comments

So easy to forget what a high degree of transportation safety we’ve reached here in the United States. I’m not talking purely in terms of vehicle safety—we also are fortunate to have law and order in areas surrounding roads. The lack of that sort of security is what enables folks to blockade entire Indian states, […]

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Old Wounds

October 27th, 2011 · No Comments

How long is a public expected to wait before it can see its national traumas depicted on the silver screen? Here in the U.S.A., that estimated time period seems to get shorter with each passing generation: While over a decade passed between the end of America’s involvement in Vietnam and the debut of Platoon, there […]

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Taipan Be Not Proud

October 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Nearly two years ago, I posted about the exorbitant prices of anti-venom, which seem largely due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical manufacturers to service such a relatively small market. The end result of those companies’ economic sensibility is a dearth of medication in Papua New Guinea, where snake bites are a serious public-health problem: In […]

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Goals and Problems

October 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Last day to take advantage of a sweet childcare situation. Trying to churn out a good thousand words worth of book between now and 5 p.m.—four thousand words less than Sinclair Lewis produced during his eight-hour writing stretches, but we can’t all be geniuses. Back soon with the delectable stuff; in the meantime, I once […]

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By Accident of Birth

October 21st, 2011 · No Comments

I am sure that hunting alligators on the Bayou is an especially tricky way to make one’s living. But according to this profile of a lady far tougher than I’ll ever be, the vocation is at least somewhat easier if you have the good fortune to belong to a favored family: Victoria Bouvier, a 41-year-old […]

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Plateau Bargaining

October 20th, 2011 · No Comments

The world economy isn’t only roiled by the machinations of Wall Streeters who are too clever by half; old-fashioned strikes can still upset the delicate equilibrium between prosperity and chaos. An excellent case in point is the ongoing fracas at the Freeport’s Grasberg mine in the restive Indonesian province of Papua. The operation is the […]

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Taking Advantage

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Apologies for not keeping up with Microkhan like I should these past few days. Just too wrapped up trying to make progress on the book, which is coming along in fits and starts that occur all-too-rarely. I’m now challenging myself to have 25,000 words done before Halloween; otherwise, I fear that too many nights of […]

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The Sobotkas of Lagos

October 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Advocates for limited government appear to have a new icon in Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, who appears to subscribe to Ronald Reagan’s fabled view on the public sector. Just check out what she’s doing at Nigeria’s ports, where an alphabet soup of government agencies have been fleecing importers and exporters alike for ages: […]

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Play with Your Emotions

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments

On a Wired deadline today, so just offering a taste of what’s to come this week—a tangential bit of art peeled off from a newly developed interest in the Torres Strait Islands independence movement. I was hoping to track down an example of the baizam, or shark dance, which features the most awesome headdresses you’ve […]

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Everything Counts in Large Amounts

October 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Buried in this alarming account of crooked Brooklyn cops is a brief aside about how New York City is settling up with the scandal’s victims. Dozens, if not hundreds of men were falsely imprisoned after having drugs planted on them by police striving to hit their monthly arrest quotas. How much money do those men […]

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The Roots of the Infographic

October 13th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m almost ashamed to admit how much time I’ve wasted over the past few days sifting through this nifty archive of World War II “newsmaps,” which were essentially weekly progress updates published by the Army’s Special Service Division. Though tinged with the air of propaganda—it’s not like they ever reported on setbacks, and the enemy […]

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Have Boot, Will Travel

October 11th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Though the Faroe Islands are inhabited by less than 50,000 souls, the Danish dependency boasts its very own professional soccer league—one that includes four separate tiers of prestige, topped by the premier-level Vodafonedeildin. As this excellent photo set demonstrates, even the league’s most elite teams don’t draw enormous crowds—though, granted, the humans in those images […]

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No Rest for the Frightened

October 10th, 2011 · 4 Comments

I’m going to labor under the delusion that y’all have Columbus Day off, even though I don’t. Here’s to hoping that you, unlike the sizable Microkhan team, get to spend the next 24 hours doing something that brings the utmost joy to you hearts.

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The Samurais of Sugar

October 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

One of the main keys to writing a non-fiction book is resisting the urge to go off on non-essential research tangents. Nothing breaks your rhythm like spending a needless 25 minutes delving into the world of, say, Soviet helicopter design when you really should be focusing on character development. It is to my great discredit, […]

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Arm in the Mouth of the Beast

October 6th, 2011 · No Comments

One of those days in which I’ve got to wrestle a chapter to the ground, lest it come to occupy too much real estate in my head. Back tomorrow with something worthwhile.

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The Sea Dayaks Bid Adieu

October 5th, 2011 · No Comments

I’ve been slowly pulling together a post about the Iban alphabet, a rather convoluted form of written communication that is nonetheless making a comeback in a small corner of Borneo. In researching the esoteric matter, I came across this excellent illustrated document regarding the funerary rites of the so-called Sea Dayaks, who really know how […]

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The Other Direction

October 4th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Pesky facts keep getting in the way of my book’s smooth narrative. Take the lovely paragraph I crafted yesterday, in which I argued that no one in the West believed that Cold War refugees could possibly flow toward the Soviet Bloc. An earlier experiment with such migration had ended tragically, after all, and that was […]

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