Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shoot First, Write Essays Later

"Under what conditions, if any, may a country wage a preventive war of self-defense?" That's the first question on last semester's War and Justice exam at the University of Edinburgh. In layman's terms: When can you go to war in order to address something not happening now, but something you expect to happen later? It's a very practical question. In 1941, Japan struck Pearl Harbor, presumably to prevent the U.S. navy from being able to strike at them. In 1967, Israel launched the Six-Day War by decimating Egyptian air fields in anticipation of a massive Egyptian-Jordanian-Syrian-Iraqi invasion. In 2003, the United States went to war in Iraq in order to prevent - in advance - the use of weapons of mass destruction. Wars are often justified in terms of self-defense, but does it count when the defense happens before the attack? Thanks for tuning in; it's philosophy night.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How to Scam Tufts (for Dummies)

It's Sunday, 3:52pm EST. It's nighttime in Edinburgh, and I'm typing away at my computer, studying for upcoming exams. Suddenly, an email notification. The subject reads: "(Suspension Of Your Email Account)*". The message claims to come from "". That seems pretty legitimate. There's a link... it wants me to submit my Tufts username and password. "Failure to comply will lead to the termination of your email email account in the next 48 hours." Scammer, let's get a couple things straight, here. This was pretty good. You probably picked up a few email account passwords. But you weren't exactly the brightest hacker of the bunch. I've got a few pointers for you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Highland Hanukkah

Scotland isn't exactly known for its Jewish population. Despite the recent creation of a Jewish tartan, you can tell the Jewish communities aren't too large by the mere fact that one organization, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, represents all of them. (Aside: Excerpts from Voices of Grandchildren were recently published in the December 2012 issue of their Four Corners newsletter). But the fact that 0.1% of Scots identify as Jewish (2001 census) doesn't stop the Hanukkah celebrations from happening, even during our exam weeks.