Archive | December 15, 2009

War Games Eagle

I plan to stay away from campus tomorrow morning, since it sounds like I wouldn’t be able to get into my office anyway:

Auburn University will have an “active shooter” emergency preparedness training exercise the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 16, so university personnel and local first-responders can practice dealing with a campus emergency or disaster. Sultans of SWATPerimeters will be set up around the area of the Student Center and Haley Center for a drill that will include role playing and emergency response by public safety agencies. “We’ll have agencies from across the Auburn area participating in the drill,” said Chance Corbett, associate director of Auburn University’s Department of Public Safety and Security/Emergency Management. “We need to ensure that the university and public safety agencies are prepared and ready to respond to an emergency or disaster on campus.” Participating agencies will include Auburn University, Auburn Police Division, Auburn Fire Department, Lee County Emergency Management Agency, Auburn University Medical Clinic and East Alabama Emergency Medical Services. In addition, a joint information center will be activated on campus that will allow the university’s Office of Communications and Marketing to test its effectiveness in gathering and disseminating information. “In the event of a large incident or an event that attracts national media attention, our department must be prepared to provide the public with timely, accurate information,” said Mike Clardy, director of communications. University officials selected Dec. 16 for the exercise because classes will have ended for the fall semester and activity on campus will be scarce. The exercise is set to begin at 7:45 a.m. and should last until about noon.

I wonder whether the deadline for faculty to submit grades will be extended by an extra half-day to make up for the half-day that we won’t be able to have access to our Haley Center offices? (Okay, I don’t actually wonder that.)

A People’s History of Pandora

Apparently the statist Right is exercised because Avatar is an “America-hating, PC revenge fantasy,” a “thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War.” So hey, another reason to see it.

The Change I’d Be Tempted to Make …

mystery man

… if I were rewriting Atlas Shrugged, or adapting it to movie form.

Sacrilege, I know. But here’s the idea: “John Galt” is just a pseudonym for Francisco d’Anconia.


  • It switches out a character that readers find hard to relate to and switches in a character that most readers love.
  • It doesn’t require us to suddenly transfer so much of our emotional investment to a character that isn’t introduced until the third act.
  • It simplifies the love quadrangle to a love triangle.
  • It gives added tension to Francisco’s friendship with Rearden.
  • By having Dagny end up with Francisco, it makes Francisco’s story less sad.

A disadvantage, from a left-libertarian standpoint, is that now the revolution is being run by two aristocrats (Francisco and Ragnar) rather than by the proletarian Galt. But maybe that problem could be ameliorated by boosting the role of the Brakeman, making him one of the triumvirate, and giving him some minor bits of Galt’s role. Who better to help stop the motor of the world than a brakeman, anyway?

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