Article from Issue 79/2007

Dear Linux Magazine Reader,

A few months ago, if I had written a column that made reference to the Battle of

Thermopylae, I would have displayed a commendable command of the past (or at least, an adept ability to access the past at pertinent moments). Since the recent release of the popular film 300, however, the Battle of Thermopylae has passed temporarily into the realm of popular culture, where it shares the limelight with the iPod Nano and the haircut of Britney Spears, so for the next few months, if you talk about it too much, you run the risk of sounding trendy. Sometimes, though, you just have to talk about the Battle of Thermopylae. This glorious moment, in which a handful of Greeks put aside their conflicts to join together and defeat the whole Persian army, is considered a classic “last stand” victory, where the underdogs exhibit extreme tenacity and prevail. The battle is also useful for illustrating another classic theme that shows up frequently in human affairs. If the ancient Greeks had known about haiku, they might have expressed this sentiment as follows:

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