"Now, of course, the fellows producing this model are physicists and they are not directly familiar with the socio-political factors that can strengthen or weaken a language, though they did attempt to factor some of these into their results. Their model nevertheless produced some interesting findings. They reckoned that there are three factors that allow two languages to coexist indefinitely in an area. Firstly, there needs to be a significant number of speakers of each language there. Secondly, the languages need to be somewhat similar. And thirdly, there needs to be a large bloc of people who can speak both languages. Their model is apparently fairly good at retrospectively predicting the historical data on the relative strength of Spanish and Galician in northwest Spain. The last requirement is being presented as the most surprising one, but I was struck by their model's suggestion that the two co-existing languages need to be somewhat similar."
"It is always great to see a brutal dictator like Colonel Gaddafi being overthrown by his people, even if he is a rather colourful character who brings a certain excitement to the normally bland world of international relations. More than that, though, were the treats that could become available to researchers if the regime fell and its archives became accessible."
"I think the arguments above are mostly pretty solid and convincing, that a no-fly zone would have all sorts of negative consequences and would be in many ways a Bad Thing. What I do not find convincing is that these consequences would be a worse thing than for Ghaddafi to succeed in crushing the rebellion..."
"So, much as I am extremely wary of anything done by western militaries, and especially American, in the end I must come down in favour of imposing a NFZ; possibly alongside other actions, such as jamming Libyan armed forces' communications, and arming the rebels. That is not to deny the potential negative consequences, or that western governments are hypocritical and self-serving in their actions and need to be watched like hawks; but the likely consequences of the alternative are too ghastly to contemplate."