Archive for January 8th, 2009

The Telharmonium

The interesting and rather amusing story of the Thaddeus Cahill and the Telharmonium – an electrical musical device created around the turn of the 20th century to provide piped music to a cable network of subscribers. After his death his patents were copied to create the Hammond organ.

There are three parts to the documentary here (1), here (2) and here (3).

The story reminded me of a lot of start ups at the turn of the 21st century. An ingenious, expensive and/or silly idea that prompts loads of venture capitalists foreseeing enormous global profits to throw their money down the drain until eventual bankruptcy of the company.

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I heard ex-high-court-judge Mishael Heshin speak this morning on the radio about the morality of war. He suggested that war is pathological and inherently immoral – “you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, have a cup of coffe and go out to kill people”. He said that this is countered by the doctrine of “if someone comes to kill you, get there first to kill him” (haKam leHorgacha hashkem leHorgo). He was asked specifically about the morality of firing on attackers who use human shields and he didn’t really have an answer except that I need to save my life first.

My answer is that it may be morally justifiable but not be wise to allow yourself to be fall into the trap of a provocation to fire on a school. We know their leaders want them to die as martyrs to boost their cause so why give them that victory? However, mistakes in judgement occur and in war these mistakes are fatal. Israeli also tanks fired the day before on their own soldiers in two incidents killing four of our own fighters.

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