"Most of the enthographic literature is consistent with the hypothesis that people don't willingly join civilization (city-based, hierarchical societies) when given the choice. Civilization has its clear advantages but its externalities have not nearly been solved."
"The thing that people in power fear the most is a population that has basic security and time"
“Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”
"In agricultural research, it’s been understood for some time that many of our most important foods have been getting less nutritious. Measurements of fruits and vegetables show that their minerals, vitamin and protein content has measurably dropped over the past 50 to 70 years. Researchers have generally assumed the reason is fairly straightforward: We’ve been breeding and choosing crops for higher yields, rather than nutrition, and higher-yielding crops—whether broccoli, tomatoes, or wheat—tend to be less nutrient-packed.
In 2004, a landmark study of fruits and vegetables found that everything from protein to calcium, iron and vitamin C had declined significantly across most garden crops since 1950. The researchers concluded this could mostly be explained by the varieties we were choosing to grow.
Loladze and a handful of other scientists have come to suspect that’s not the whole story and that the atmosphere itself may be changing the food we eat."
When I asked Peskov what Putin meant by RT’s mission to “break the monopoly of Anglo-Saxon global information streams,” he went into something of a dissertation, speaking in English with obvious relish and little room for interjections. “The whole trend of global media was set by Anglo-Saxons,” he began. “It’s like the first conveyor belt. It was created by Mr. Ford in the United States.” (It wasn’t, but Ford was the first major manufacturer to use the technology on a grand scale.) But now, he went on, “the conveyor line is not only working in G.M., in Ford — it’s also working in Citroën, in Renault, in Mercedes-Benz, in Toyota, everywhere in the world.”
Something like the dissemination of Ford’s conveyor belt, he said, was now happening in media; the sort of global news networks the West built were being replicated by Russia, to great effect. What was making “the whole story successful,” he said, “is a tectonic change of the global system that all of a sudden started to develop 10 years ago.”
The transformation and acceleration of information technology, Peskov said, had unmoored the global economy from real value. Perception alone could move markets or crash them. “We’ve never seen bubbles like we’ve seen in the greatest economy in the world, the United States,” he said. The same free flow of information had produced “a new clash of interests,” and so began “an informational disaster — an informational war.”
Peskov argued that this was not an information war of Russia’s choosing; it was a “counteraction.” He brought up the “color revolutions” throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which led to the ousters of Russian-friendly governments in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan in the mid-2000s. Russia blamed American nongovernmental organizations for fomenting the upheavals. But now, Peskov argued, all you might need to shake up the geopolitical order was a Twitter account. “Now you can reach hundreds of millions in a minute,” he said.
By way of example, he pointed to “this girl, from show business, Kim Kardashian.” Kardashian is among the most popular people in all of social media, with 55 million Twitter followers, nearly 18 million more than President Trump. “Let’s imagine that one day she says, ‘My supporters — do this,’ ” Peskov said. “This will be a signal that will be accepted by millions and millions of people. And she’s got no intelligence, no interior ministry, no defense ministry, no K.G.B.” This, he said, was the new reality: the global proliferation of the kinds of reach and influence that were once reserved for the great powers and, more recently, great media conglomerates. Even Peskov sounded slightly amazed considering the possibilities. “The new reality creates a perfect opportunity for mass disturbances,” he said, “or for initiating mass support or mass disapproval.
"Russian war machine is gearing up for a major war against a peer level opponent. From the logistics perspective there are no obvious deficiencies that would prevent Russia from launching a large scale invasion against one of its western neighbors. Naturally logistics are only important if there are combat troops that can take advantage of the well prepared rear area services.
If USA, South Korea and Japan decide to pre-emptively strike the North Korean nuclear and missile programs, it would be the largest air and missile campaign the world has seen in decades. With most of the US strategic assets tied to the Far East, Russia would have the best window of opportunity it has had in a long time."
"The S&P is selling at 25 times trailing 12 months’ earnings, compared to a long-term average of 15, while the adjusted Shiller price earnings ratio, which averages profits over 10 years, is approximately 30 times. The period of monetary
accommodation may well be coming to an end. Geopolitical problems remain widespread and are proving increasingly difficult to resolve. We therefore retain a moderate exposure to equity markets and have diversified our asset allocation towards equity
investments where value creation is driven by some identifiable catalyst or which are exposed to longer-term positive structural trends. We have a particular interest in investments which will benefit from the impact of new technologies, and Far Eastern markets, influenced by the growing demand from Asian consumers"
"In the short term, what's not to like? But there comes a point when you realize that you've been funding this on credit, that you've been depending on external assistance, and that your productivity has fallen further and further behind until you've got to the stage that we've now reached where it takes 4 Germans to work the same hours as 3 Americans. And that in the long term that is just not sustainable. Europe now that it's in a globalized economy competing against China and India and indeed North America, finds that it is shrinking precipitously. In the 1970s, in 1974, Europe accounted for 36%, or Western Europe, for 36% of World GDP. Today it's 25%, 10 years from now it will be 15%. That is an extraordinary decline, over a period when the US share of world GDP has remained pretty steady, round about 26%. So there was always going to be a reckoning and I'm afraid that reckoning has come now."
-- Daniel Hannan https://youtu.be/Ufyov9RO8I0?t=648
the truth is a terrible thing but not compared to falsehood
"Freedom in America is always about government NOT doing something, while in Europe government is defined as a protector of these freedoms. This shows up clearly with respect to stating an opinion at a US company. There is no protection of free speech on private property in the US. I first encountered this when our company got bought by an American one and they insisted that religion and politics should not be discussed at work. It surprised them that such a demand was illegal in Norway. Private property does not trump everything else as it often seems to do in the US."
the US, it's not as bad because of immigration, but if you only include native born americans ( non-immigrants ), our population demographics is even worse than japan. Native born americans stopped procreating at replacement levels since the late 1960s.
Unless Japan/Western Europe bring in millions of immigrants, they are going to be in for major problems because of their liabilities to retirees. A shrinking population can't hope to support the older generation. And the worst part is that if younger generation has to support the older generation, they will put off have kids because they simply can't afford them. Which in turn exacerbates the problem and it turns into a vicious cycle.
But immigration also has its own problems. So the industrialized world is caught between a rock and a hard place.
Even in the US, the pro-immigration policy is a stop-gap measure. The population can't grow forever.
Blackrock has an interesting paper on the overall trends.
"Sweden has started doing medical age tests on migrants who claim to be minors. The tests are still voluntary and the results are not binding in any way. The first results are in with the 'expected' results: 76% of those claiming to be minors are in fact over the age of 18. they tested 581 asylum seekers (96% were men, 4% women). 442 of them (430 men, 12 women) were over 18 according to the test results. 5 of them (all women) were possibly over the age of 18. 134 of them (133 men, 1 woman) were possibly under the age of 18. None of them were certainly under the age of 18.
So, yes, those who expected the majority to lie about their age have been proven correct.
"The outside world cannot force such a psychological recognition, what the Germans call Vergangenheitsbewältigung“coming to terms with the past.” But there is no reason it could not come about organically, among Russians themselves. Eventually, the country could try to follow something like the trajectory of France, which retains a lingering sense of exceptionalism yet has made peace with its loss of its external empire and its special mission in the world, recalibrating its national idea to fit its reduced role and joining with lesser powers and small countries in Europe on terms of equality."
"My Dad used to say soil is overrated. Once nitrogen fertilizer was invented, soil largely quit mattering. He got the best yields on eroded clay hillsides. See, they were well-drained which matters more than all the 'soil structure' talk."
"Here's a little mystery for HN. Have you seen the fictional BBC segment someone produced about an escalating conflict between Russia and NATO?
It made the rounds on HN a couple months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14
It's the only piece of fiction that has made me feel deathly ill in quite the same way Threads did.
The video is incredible. It's one of the best pieces of realistic fiction I've ever seen.
But how was it made? Who made it? And why? I counted at least 10 professional-quality actors with convincing, in-character costumes. See this timestamp: https://youtu.be/2VZ3LGfSMhA?t=1053
The uploader of the video is "Ben Marking", only 8k subscribers, and no online presence. They left a comment: http://i.imgur.com/MJVh31d.png Other than that, no one's taking credit.
So why make it? It's wonderful art, but is there anything more to it?
Whoever's behind this has also uploaded nine revisions since last year: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA9r2N
"The National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), created by the KGB with help from Fidel Castro; the “National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB with help from “Che” Guevara; and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), created by the KGB with help from Yasser Arafat are just a few additional “liberation” movements born at the Lubyanka -- the headquarters of the KGB."
“The only good news is that this activity is now commonplace, and the general population is so used to the idea of a Russian hand behind this, that it backfired on them,”
Latvians basically invented the stiff upper lip
"Government bonds, for all governments including the US government, have never been paid back, with ONE exception (in 4500 years of capitalist history). As soon as the governments get into trouble, losses are imposed on creditors immediately, and often repeatedly. Since states survive, on average, less than 2 centuries, the default rate on government bonds (including government bonds of global hegemons), over all of history, is about 2.8%.
Therefore any government-issued bond that pays less than 2.8% interest is a net-negative investment.
Even the corollary, that government debt is safer than large company issued debt is wrong. Large companies only have default rates of 2.5%. The difference is even larger in the US because the US of course defaulted in practice when Nixon killed the Gold standard, and so did most if not all governments worldwide. Companies that had issued bonds at the time, most paid them back just fine. Same with WWII. After world war 2, a lot of large company debt was actually transferred back to the owners, whereas even the German state did not even repay it's postwar debts.
Even in cases where it's incredibly ridiculous and morally wrong, governments don't pay back debts. Take for example the German debt to Greece from WWII. The Germans decided not to pay it back, and Greece had no way to enforce this. They still don't, and now that Germany can impose monetary limits on Greece, they still don't see any need whatsoever to pay back their owed debts. And yes, the German debt to Greece FAR exceeds what Greece would need to get out of their crisis. Even now, the German state is not willing to even forgive Greek debt to the amount they still owe the Greeks."
"If you’ve got people who don’t even have addresses, let alone credit ratings, how do you sell them energy? Well, that’s easy. You design a meter which will dispense electricity when you type in a twenty-digit magic number. The cryptography that makes that work is what I worked on. You can get your twenty-digit magic number if you’re in downtown Johannesburg by going up to a cash machine and getting it printed out on a slip and your account debited. If you’re in rural Kenya, you use mobile money and you get your twenty-digit number on your mobile phone. It really is a flexible and transportable technology, which is an example of the good that you can do with cryptographic mechanisms."
"This is an example of network effects. We now understand that they’re absolutely pervasive in the IT industry. It’s why we have so many monopolies. Markets tip because of technical reasons, because of two-sided markets, and also for social reasons. About ten years ago, I had a couple of new research students coming to me, so I asked them what they wanted to study. They said, “You won’t believe this, Ross, but we want to study Facebook privacy.” And I said, “You what?” And they said, “Well, maybe an old married guy like you might not understand this, but here in Cambridge all the party invitations now come through Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, you go to no parties, you meet no girls, you have no sex, you have no kids, and your genes die out. It’s as simple as that. You have to be on Facebook. But we seem to have no privacy. Can that be fixed?” So they went away and studied it for a few months and came to the conclusion that, no, it couldn’t be fixed, but they had to be on Facebook anyway. That’s the power of network effects. One of the things that we’ve realized over the past fifteen years is that a very large number of the security failures that afflict us occur because of network effects."
"Back in the early 1990s, for example, if you visited the Microsoft campus in Redmond and you pointed out that something people were working on had a flaw or icould be done better, they’d say, “No, we’re going to ship it Tuesday and get it right by version three.” And that’s what everybody said: “Ship it Tuesday. Get it right by version three.” It was the philosophy. IBM and the other established companies were really down on this. They were saying, “These guys at Microsoft are just a bunch of hackers. They don’t know how to write proper software.”
But Bill had understood that in a world where markets tip because of network effects, it’s absolutely all-important to be first. And that’s why Microsoft software is so insecure, and why everything that prevails in the marketplace starts off by being insecure. People race to get that market position, and in the process they made it really easy for people to write software for their platform.They didn’t let boring things like access controls or proper cryptography get in the way."
"Once you have the dominant position, you then put the security on later, but you do it in a way that serves your corporate interests rather than the interests of your customers or your users. You do it in such a way that you lock-in your customer base, your user base. Once we understood that, that was a big “aha” moment for me back in 2000 or 2001. It became immediately obvious that understanding network economics in detail was absolutely central to doing even a halfway good job of security engineering in the modern world."
"Twenty years ago, I could find everything about you that was on the World Wide Web, and you could do the same to me, so there was mutuality. Now, if you’re prepared to pay the money and buy into the advertising networks, you can buy all sorts of stuff about my clickstream, and find out where I’ve been staying, and what I’ve been spending my money on, and so on. If you’re within the tent of the intelligence agencies, as Snowden taught us, then there is very much more still. There’s my location history, browsing history, there’s just about everything."
"Conflict also comes in. If I’m, let’s say, the Chinese government, and I’m involved in a standoff with the American government over some islands in the South China Sea, it’s nice if I’ve got things I can threaten to do short of a nuclear exchange.
If I can threaten to cause millions of cars in America to turn right and accelerate sharply into the nearest building, causing the biggest gridlock you’ve ever seen in every American city simultaneously, maybe only killing a few hundred or a few thousand people but totally bringing traffic to a standstill in all American cities— isn’t that an interesting weapon worth developing if you’re the Chinese Armed Forces R&D lab? There’s no doubt that such weapons can be developed."
"All of a sudden you start having all sorts of implications. If you’ve got a vulnerability that can be exploited remotely, it can be exploited at scale. We’ve seen this being done by criminals. We’ve seen 200,000 CCTV cameras being taken over remotely by the Mirai botnet in order to bring down Twitter for a few hours. And that’s one guy doing it in order to impress his girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever. Can you imagine what you can do if a nation-state puts its back into it?"
"I believe that the corrupt government of Joseph Muscat is a direct outcome of the very same amoral familism that anthropologist Jeremy Boissevain wrote about in his 1962 study of Malta, Saints and Fireworks. Boissevain discovered that the Maltese family-centred worldview holds that any action undertaken to benefit one’s family or oneself is justifiable. And everyone expects everyone else to do whatever benefits their family or themselves, regardless of whether it’s legal or ethical.
If you’ve read Boissevain’s study, you’ll know that amoral familism leads to a complete disregard for the effects of one’s actions on others — neighbours, strangers, future generations — and a complete lack of personal responsibility for one’s actions.
You see it in the way people dump rubbish in the no-man’s-land of public spaces. You see it in illegal building construction, done with total disregard for the laws and regulations that protect the quality of life of others, or the environment. You see it in the pervasive system of patronage and nepotism, and the belief that a network of influential friends or relatives in government or a political party should give you favours, cash, permits, etc in return for your vote.
Everyone does it. But don’t you dare point it out or you will be in the wrong, and someone will burn down your front door, set fire to your car, vandalise your house or kick you out of your job.
Well, this very same culture of amoral familism has produced a government that is pillaging your country like an elderly aunt at a wedding buffet with her purse lined in plastic. Crooked politicians split hairs, play with words, and cloud the waters to distract from their completely obvious wrongdoing. And they’re successful at this because the audience they’re speaking to really can’t see the difference between right and wrong. [..]
“Well, Charlie did X” is the inevitable response to criticism, or to someone who points out wrongdoing. It always sounded crazy to me. But I realized that, though it’s a logical fallacy, in the Maltese setting, whataboutism actually is an admissible argument. That person is saying, “You acted to benefit your own party, and to hell with everyone else, so what’s wrong with what we did?”
Whataboutism conforms to the amoral familism worldview, rather than to moral right or wrong. And politics in Malta will always be about that sort of opportunism, because it reflects the culture. This is why prosecuting Muscat & Company (or “companies”, rather) for their crimes and cleaning up the mess isn’t enough. The same pattern will repeat itself again and again, because the culture allows it.
Amoral familism may have been a practical solution when it developed in those medieval villages of Malta long ago. And it probably helped Maltese families to survive by exploiting the scant resources available to them, including the ‘resource’ represented by groups like the Knights of St John who conquered the islands. Wealth was not created; it came from outside, and you had to grasp whatever you could before someone else took it first.
Amoral familism made life miserable for many, but it worked in a closed island setting composed of isolated villages, each playing by those same grasping rules. But I think amoral familism is a cultural dead end, just as Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon were biological dead ends in our physical evolution as humans.
You can polish your house to a shine and fling the dirt out the front door, into the street and the common areas, along with your litter. But you can’t do that when you’re part of a community of nations, or those other countries — your neighbours — will shun you.
You can’t join a community of nations and sell their passports to shady Eurasians and Middle Eastern people, and then pocket the money and send those people to live in someone else’s country. That really pisses off the other members of the group. You can’t launder money for Azerbaijan because the kickbacks are good, and then expect legitimate business to invest in Malta. [..]
The entire government of a country becomes corrupt to that shocking level — laundering money, selling national resources to shady countries, peddling passports, pocketing kickbacks — because the rest of society allows it. It happens because of all those landlords who only take rent payments in cash so they can avoid paying tax. It happens when you slip some cash to Uncle Charlie’s Garage for a fake VRT certificate rather than just maintaining your car.
It happens when doctors help you out by making up symptoms for an insurance form so you won’t have to pay. Why not? Everyone else is doing it. The government’s just doing it on a larger scale.
It takes change on an individual level to go in a different direction. It starts by making the decision not to cut corners. Not to participate in that low-level day-to-day corruption, even if it seems easier. The opposite of amoral familism is to work for the good of the entire society, rather than just for the good of your family, or your faction."
188.8.131.52/24 Norvik Banka LV
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