I have some important work non-blog related tasks to do up until Nov 16 so there’ll be a temporary halt to my posts deconstructing the Red ideology, but rest assured that this important mission will be resumed.
Speaking of that. Recently met up with a couple of elderly relatives, the centenary of the Revolution came up. One is a Soviet nostalgic and pro-Leninist/Stalinist, as are most people of that generation, the other – a person in his 60s, blue-collar engineer background, even has the engineer’s trademark disdain for humanities education – started opining about the Brusilov offensive, that Russia should have won WW1, that Lenin was a traitorous scumbag, etc. This was shocking to the latter, though pleasantly surprising for myself. I should also stress that there was absolutely no prompting on my part (personally I try to avoid discussing the USSR with old people in Russia and the West alike), though as the debate got going, I did back him up .
What is the point of this anecdote? First, that there are people with all strongly anti-Bolshevik opinions in Russia, including in demographic groups you’d hardly expect it from. Second, that there are some people in my comments threads who are full of shit.
Whining from certain quarters regardless, you really have to work pretty hard to get banned from my blog.
There have been a total of about a dozen such cases. Here’s a representative sample:
The person who keeps on spamming that shitty Holocaust denial forum
The person who believes that literally every Islamic terrorist attack is a CIA/Mossad/reptilian Illuminati false flag
The spammy Islamist
The Stalinist nutjob who made implicit legal threats against me
Anyhow, I am taking the possibly misguided decision of a total amnesty, and have temporarily scoured the entire list.
This doesn’t mean its going to be a free for all. I reserve the right to hide stupid/spammy comments under a <more> divider. I reserve the right to outright delete extremely stupid and/or spammy comments. And if necessary, I will start populating the ban list again.
There’s that joke about the Jew who enjoyed reading Der Stürmer because it was so positive about Jewish achievements such as their control of all the banks and media. I admit I enjoy reading Louise Mensch and /r/politics for the same reason. It’s nice to fantasize about a world where ROG is real.
Russia has promised retaliation, though it hasn’t specified what. It is possible that it will be something completely retarded, like blocking CNN and RFERL (which practically nobody in Russia visits anyway – and those few who do, are familiar with VPN).
Roskomnadzor says it’s also designed an extrajudicial system for blocking the websites of organizations labeled “undesirable” by the Justice Ministry.
If Russia was run by smart people, it would start denying visas to the more hostile Western journalists, like China does. This is effective, and deniable (can’t prove its on purpose). But I don’t expect that to start happening anytime soon.
* This year’s Russian March in Moscow was broken up by OMON. What was a major spectacle regularly drawing ~10,000 vigorous right-wingers 5-10 years ago is now a rather sad affair with no more than ~500 people, most of whom belong to Maltev/Demushkin’s marginal pro-Ukraine, pro-NATO faction.
* Anatoly Vishnevsky: A demographic projection of Russia’s population in the 20th century (within current borders!) if no Bolshevism + WW2 [in Russian].
Around 280 million people (instead of 145 million), plus maybe 120 million Ukrainians and Belorussians = 400 million strong East Slavic superpower.
It will be the centenary of the October Revolution in a couple of days – the original color revolution that finished off a great and rapidly modernizing empire and handed power to a gang of Russia-hating criminals.
To mark the occasion, the next two weeks I will be documenting the dismal failure of sovok across almost virtually all spheres of life. Obligatory trigger warning for commies.
How does democracy emerge from authoritarian rule?… In about two thirds, democratization occurred not because incumbent elites chose it but because, in trying to prevent it, they made mistakes that weakened their hold on power. Common mistakes include: calling elections or starting military conflicts, only to lose them; ignoring popular unrest and being overthrown; initiating limited reforms that get out of hand; and selecting a covert democrat as leader. These mistakes reflect well-known cognitive biases such as overconfidence and the illusion of control.
We took a similarly expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account. Because there is no single characteristic that reliably determines geographic origin or affiliation, we relied on a number of criteria, including whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user’s display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.
In other words instead of arriving its suspicions of Russian meddling in the Presidential election on its own investigations the FBI chose to rely on the work of two private contractors – CrowdStrike and Christopher Steele – both of whom were found and paid for by the DNC, and one of whom – Christopher Steele – was then passed on by the DNC to the FBI so that he could be paid by them as well.
That makes the FBI look more like an accomplice of the Democrats and the DNC than an impartial and objective police agency.
* Chechens organize a queue for the new iPhone in Moscow, selling the first position for R300,000 ($5,000). A few hundred Virgin Kreakls – their idea of “creativity” consisting of being the first person in their tusovka to get a new iPhone – wait in line for a several hours… only for a gang of Chechen Chads to push them aside at the last moment, snap up all the iPhones, and put them up for sale on Russia’s eBay within a few minutes.
* Affirmative action Kremlinologist Terell Starr: “Ukrainians and black folk share common bonds when it comes to resisting supremacy, whether it is from “white people” in the U.S. or Russia.” Memetic response.
Meanwhile, in the actual Putlerreich…
* Moscow authorities want to install a monument to Islam Karimov in the city center, a Central Asian tinpot dictator who removed all of his country’s WW2 monuments.
What makes this even “better” is that the Uzbeks themselves are slowly doing away with Karimov’s legacy, with their new President inching towards liberal reform and criticizing his predecessor for abuses. So it fails even as geopolitical bootlicking.
* Leader of Tatarstan implicitly threatens Putin with low vote numbers if Tatar language instruction in schools is made non-obligatory (“We made it so that all the electoral processes are done by the directors of our schools“).
The problems of relying on ethnic minority states-within-states to give you a 10% point bump in elections…
* Meanwhile, the son of a Tatar director of a military academy (who is also a member of the pseudoscience organization RAEN) was arrested in Tajikistan for joining ISIS for 2 years. Previously, after completing his PhD under his dad at said military academy (nepotism), he was made responsible for ensuring the security of military R&D communications, and had the appropriate high level security clearance for it. Said military academy to KP journalists requesting comment: “We won’t say anything, the director isn’t here, and we don’t know when he will be.”
* @tcjfs: Huntington argues the Confederate monuments to “the Blue & the Gray” were built thru 1920 to foster united American national reconciliation
Seems to parallel Soviet celebration of Victory Day: First Moscow May 9 parade after 1945 was in 1965; then 1985, 1990, became yearly event in 1995.
So as you’re probably aware, The Unz Review had a prolonged server crash. The data was unrecoverable, so Ron had to revert to an earlier backup, losing about a day’s worth of comments.
Apologies about that, but really, it’s GoDaddy’s fault. None of us are very happy with them. One might have expected better of America’s largest hosting provider, but apparently not. Any suggestions for alternatives? Amazon Web Services are under consideration, since they host many of America’s biggest companies. But all suggestions are welcome – preferably at this thread: http://www.unz.com/announcement/server-crash/
1. Only post of mine that got deleted was “The Catalans Actually Did It the Absolute Madmen.” I don’t feel like restoring it since it pretty much just a shitpost that was only funny at the time of posting, not 48 hours later.
But feel free to continue discussing the latest developments in Spain/Catalonia in this thread.
2. Now might be an apt moment for a couple of productivity tips for not losing your comments:
The Chrome extension Lazarus: Form Recovery auto-saves everything you type into form fields, allowing easy recovery from time-outs, crashes, and network errors.
The Chrome extension Comment Save does what it says on the in – also useful for keeping track of comments you make on other sites without having to use a your email as a dumping ground for updates.
There are probably equivalent plugins for Mozilla Firefox.
EDIT 10/31: So we’re back to Square 1. I am even more impressed at the sheer magnitude of this fail than I’m mad about it.
I am going to restore my Kyrgyzstan post – thankfully, I keep a personal backup of all my posts on Evernote – but unfortunately, the many great comments to it are lost (unless you maintained a personal backup, as I recommended above).
Russian nationalists and “patriots” – much like the “Alt Right” and Alt Lite in the United States – each have their own media ecosystems, though overlap is inevitable.
As in the United States, “patriotism” is at least an order of magnitude more prevalent than nationalism (indeed, it is one of the defining strands of Putinist ideology in general). As regards the media scene, one example of a flagship “patriotic” resource would be Komsomolskaya Pravda, with more than 50 million monthly visits (despite the name, it has nothing to do with the USSR). A few other examples would be RT Russian, LIFE News, and Argumenty i Fakty. Whereas in the United States there are several CNN’s and MSNBC’s for one FOX, in Russia the division between “patriotic” and “liberal” (Vedomosti, Gazeta.ru, etc.) is more even.
Towards the right end of the “patriotic” spectrum the two big (>10 million) strongly players would be VZ.ru (the brainchild of Konstantin Rykov, the United Russia deputy who promotes Maria Katasonova, Russia’s premier cheerleader for Trump and Le Pen) and the military-affiliated Zvezda TV channel (which for a time employed British Donbass correspondent Graham W. Phillips).
Also rather influential, with around 10 million monthly visits between them, are the blogs of Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) and El Murid (Anatoly Nesmiyan). Both are one-man content factories, forged in the fires of the Donbass War, who have now shifted their attentions to the Syrian Civil War and general geopolitical and military matters. Rozhin is a Crimean Communist (and chess master); Anatoly Nesmiyan is associated with Igor Strelkov, who also has a blog, though not a very influential one. However, both Nesmiyan and Strelkov are strongly skeptical of the Putin regime, so it’s more accurate to describe them as “national patriots” than “patriots.”
In my article on Russian Nationalism 101, I described Tsargrad TV as a semi-nationalist resource, especially after its ouster of the Eurasianist Alexander Dugin and replacement by the conservative-nationalist Egor Kholmogorov. It is also perhaps Russia’s closest approximation of Breitbart, down to the oligarch funding (Mercer/Malofeev) and American conservative-style focus on religion and “culture war” issues (the most recent example being its furore over the film Matilda), and ambiguous relation with Russian nationalists (Egor Kholmogorov also used to contribute articles to Prosvirnin’s Sputnik i Pogrom, but more recently, Tsargrad included Prosvirnin in its list of the country’s top 100 Russophobes). In any case, it has been interesting to see its visitorship numbers this past year skyrocketing from around the level of Sputnik i Pogrom to 50% of the level of Zvezda/VZ, and 20% of Komsomolskaya Pravda. (That said, questions have been raised as to what extent this sharp uptick is legitimate traffic).
Sputnik i Pogrom (Egor Prosvirnin), the flagship magazine of Russian nationalism, was at 1.5 million monthly visits and on an upwards trend until the Russian censorship authority Roskomnadzor blocked it this July on trumped up reasons. The drop in readership has not been as catastrophic as might have been expected, probably because its texts are highly K-selected and its audience tend to be young, intelligent, and technically literate. It is highly oppositionist in nature, but it is read by a wide swathe of the Russian political elites regardless.
Regardless of this setback, Sputnik i Pogrom’s visits number are still comparable to those of Nikolay Starikov and Zavtra and Nikolay Starikov, the two main flagships of “Soviet nationalism” and the most hardcore/zealous strain of “patriotism“, respectively.
Nikolay Starikov is a sort of “uber-patriot” who peddles in Stalin apologetics and petrodollar conspiracy theories. He is also slavishly loyal to the Kremlin and Putin: After spending early 2014 demonizing the “Nazi junta” in the Ukraine, he made an abrupt heel turn, coming out against the recognition of the LDNR and stressing the necessity of a “united Ukraine”… so as to avoid being drawn into an evil American plot to draw Russia into WW3. This was essentially a Kremlin talking point – the decision against overt military intervention had been made early on in the conflict – but couched in a language understandable to Starikov’s rabid, foathing-at-the-mouth uber-patriotic herd. With a few exceptions, the articles there are highly r-selected.
Zavtra is the newspaper of Alexander Prokhanov, a Soviet ultranationalist who supported the hardliners during the coup attempt of 1991. However, they have not evolved since, and as a result their articles inevitably follow a set of themes: Praise for Lenin and Stalin; condemnations of Gorbachev for “betraying” the USSR; and other staples of Third Position political rhetoric, such as the petrodollar conspiracy theories. Also a liberal dose of late Putinist era multinationalism: Just checked back, and Prokhanov appears to be writing odes to the Kadyrovs nowadays. It is hard to avoid the impression that Zavtra is fading into obscurity.
However, at least some people still visit it. The same cannot be said of Alexander Dugin’s two Eurasianist sites, Katehon and Geopolitica.ru – they have no more than 500,000 combined monthly visits. As I have long pointed out, Dugin is far more popular amongst Western neoliberal Intellectuals Yet Idiots and confused US Alt Rightists than he is in Russia itself. That is because there are few Russians who have much use for Dugin’s fusion of “anti-imperialist”/”anti-racist” Soviet-Eurasianism and the more obscurantist strains of Orthodoxy liberally, speckled with conspiracy theories about the liberal “sixth column” responsible for Islamist terrorism and the Atlanticist evils of surfing (no, seriously).
Google Trends: Dugin; Limonov; Prokhanov – Russia – Last 5 years
The National Bolshevik Eduard Limonov is somewhat more prominent than Dugin, and also has gigs at more mainstream “patriotic” places like RT Russian. Although his ideas have become dated, as with Dugin and Prokhanov, he is, at least, more entertaining than either one of them, which might explain his greater prominence. This is more of a subjective observation, but I would also note that as someone who has spent some time in France and the United States, he is also more realistic about many aspects of the world relative to his Eurasianist and Soviet peers.
Sut’ Vremeni (Essence of Time) is another Soviet-nostalgic movement led by Sergey Kurginyan. It has zero intellectual content and frankly comes off like a cult, but is allowed to exist thanks to its slavish loyalty to the Kremlin.
It is important to note that just as the Right Altsphere in the United States can’t compete with the collective Vox, so Russian nationalists, Far-Rightists, and sundry “national patriots” and “national conservatives” of whatever flavor are far more marginal relative to neoliberalism.txt’s Russia branch. The two flagship Far Liberal outlets, Echo of Moscow and Meduza.io (successtor to Lenta) each have 30 million monthly visits; TVRain, whose crew is a fixture at any Navalny demonstration, has 12 million visitors; The Village, the journal of Moscow’s SWPL’s, gays, and SWPLy gays, has 8 million; the highly K-selected Republic.ru (formerly Slon) has around 3 million. The nationalist/liberal gap isn’t quite as loaded in favor of the latter as in the United States or Europe, but it is still very big.
We seem to be doing pretty well, if SimilarWeb stats are anything to go by.
The Unz Review is clearly the dominant website amongst the “Intellectual Dissident Right” (we are far ahead of VDARE, Takimag, and are even catching up on the normies at The American Cuckservative).
It is also strongly competitive amongst the “Intellectual Anti-Imperialist Left,” being far ahead of the Antiwar.com (I recall it being the alt news site during the Iraq War era), overtaking the libertarian LewRockwell, and even edging closer to Counterpunch, another stalwart of the old altsphere.
This is all the more remarkable considering that The Unz Review is run on a shoestring budget, its lack of attention to SEO or social media frills, and the bold notion of publishing both Far Right and Far Left content (I am still not sure if that repels or attracts people, on average). Meanwhile, we still manage to retain a high degree of intellectual respectability by hosting some of the most “serious” people like James Thompson.
I also included the more intellectual Alt Right publications (Kevin MacDonald’s Occidental Observer and Greg Johnson’s Counter-Currents). They are both pretty much an order of magnitude less influential than the Unz Review.
I have also included Social Matter, a central aggregator for the NRxsphere (thanks in large part to Nick B. Steve’s prodigious weekly roundups) and, at around 100,000 monthly visits, probably the most popular NRx blog overall – Nick Land’s Xenosystems is the 2 millionth most visited blog in the world, The Future Primaeval is likewise in the doldrums, only Dalrock that I’m aware of continues to eke out a presence around the 100,000 monthly visits mark. Otherwise, the public face of NRx is pretty much dead, confined to mailing lists, secret forums, and (perhaps) infiltration of the institutions.
It is also important to keep a wider perspective that in the large picture alt media remains a fairly marginal phenomenon. Any of the major flagships of the American MSM – NYT, WaPO, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, etc. – have two orders of magnitude more visits (hundreds of millions) than even the most prominent alt outlets like Counterpunch and this very publication. Even the very K-selected MSM outlets like Vox.com and FiveThirty Eight have an order of magnitude more visits. It’s an uphill struggle.
I haven’t bothered compiling detailed stats like Pumpkin Person did in 2015 since apart from The Unz Review, which hosts a huge percentage of active HBD/IQ writers, there is otherwise no real competition. Within the Unz ecosystem, Steve Sailer is of course by far the most dominant figure, accounting for perhaps half of our total traffic.
The single most influential independent HBD blogger as of today would be Robert Lindsay, the originator of the “Alt Left” (i.e. leftist HBD realists, as opposed to the object of Trump’s ramblings, for whom there is a much better name anyway: The Ctrl Left). In fairness, however, Lindsay’s was never a primarily HBD blog, and he has pretty much dropped writing about it all since Trump’s election. (Also, for whateverreason, Lindsay appears to have the strange distinction of being the only person on here to have his website blocked in Russia).
Otherwise, the most popular HBD/IQ blogger, with around 100,000 monthly visits, is… Emil Kirkegaard. This is especially remarkable since his writing tends to the highly technical and he doesn’t have even open comments.
The others are barely competitive. Steve Hsu had a massive surge this past month, but is otherwise at around 20,000. hbd*chick has stopped blogging. Audacious Epigone isn’t prominent enough to get stats from SimilarWeb, through he surely deserves to with his Stakhanovite efforts in GSS mining. Ergo for Pumpkin Person, Lion of the Blogosphere, and several others.
I suppose it might also behove to mention gwern.net, a brilliant polymath who writes highly K-selected essays about the genomics of IQ and many other LessWrongy subjects like nootropics, cryptocurrencies, and the control problem. He also gets around 100,000 per month. However, classifying him as an IQ, let alone an HBD, blogger would be a massive stretch. He is much sooner part of the Less Wrong/SSC/”rationalist” cluster.
When you need to change domains every other week in between confinements to the deep web, you can’t have much of a popular readership. I suspect visitorship has plummeted by an order of magnitude.
This hasn’t helped the old-school Neo-Nazis of Stormfront, long in terminal decline, to recover. They have been overtaken by The Right Stuff podcast – apparently, the recent scandal about one of their members Mike Enoch having a Jewish wife did nothing but attract them publicity and more visitors – and now joins a bevy of other sites such as Amren and Heartiste at around the one million mark.
AltRight.com has disappointed to date. Apart from some of Vincent Law’s longer pieces, their content is much less intellectual than that of Radix Journal – some of the latter’s best writers such as Guillaume Durocher and Gregory Hood failed to make the move to the new venue – so visitorship numbers should be much higher. But they’re failing to accelerate.
As with the “Dissident Right”, the influence of the Alt Right should not be overestimated, even within the general Tea Party Plus/Alt Lite/pro-Trump movement. Visitorship is capped at around 5 million. The eponymous website of the movement has no more than a million. In contrast, just Breitbart/The Daily Caller/Infowars have around 150 million monthly visits between them. There is a similar gap on Twitter, with Richard Spencer having only 80,000 followers – that’s less than Alt Lite parvenus like Laura Loomer, to say nothing of the many hundreds of thousands following Mike Cernovich, Baked Alaska, and Jack Posobiec.
The Alt Russophiles
Russia is distinctive in that the volume of Western MSM lies and misrepresentations about it has traditionally been so bad that it is pretty much the only country to have carved out a sort of “niche” for itself within the Western Altsphere.
Ten to five years ago, this area of the Internet was essentially a constellation of pro-Russia blogs that ranged from the highly considered and data-heavy, to the unhinged and “Russia stronk” hurrah-patriotic (I myself got my start in blogging as “Da Russophile“). Since then, they have been gradually displaced by large websites – primarily Russia Insider (Charles Bausman) and The Duran (Peter Lavelle, Alexander Mercouris, and some others) – and the universal scourge of social media. There are still a few bloggers that fall into the old categories – Paul Robinson, Patrick Armstrong, and Mark Chapman come to mind – but their visitorship numbers are basically irrelevant (they are all at around the 4 millionth mark globally).
Russia Insider and The Duran remain the two behemoths of this world, with seemingly stable visitorship numbers. However, Russia Insider reprints many of its articles, while The Duran writes about many issues other than Russia. The Duran team launched Russia Feed half a year ago to provide an outlet more specifically dedicated to Russia matters, which seems to be growing steadily, but from a low base.
There were a number of pro-Russia outlets that proliferated at the outbreak of the Donbass world, with Fort Russ (Kristina Kharlova) being probably the most prominent of these – at least of those which survived in the long-term.
Unsurprisingly, many of these outlets have connections to the wider Altsphere. For instance, Russia Insider has good relations with AltRight.com, and they reprint my articles semi-regularly (with my permission). The Saker, as most probably know, also blogs at The Unz Review, as well as (occasionally) at The Duran. So does Israel Shamir, who also writes Russian language columns for RT Russian, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Zavtra.
On this note, I am also going to have a post on the relative performance of Russian alt news outlets in the near future.
* CORRECTION: All the graphs should state “monthly visits,” not “monthly visitors.”
“And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority,” he wrote.
“I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out.”
Fortunately he’s old, presumably more or less retired, and lives in East Asia, where nobody gives a fuck.
* Emil Kirkegaard: “Did Lynn fudge the national IQs? Independent recalculation by David Becker. All open and verifiable. So far, n = 305 studies covered. r=.90.” [blog post forthcoming]
Incidentally, German psychometrist David Becker is due to start up a blog any day now. Feel free to help him come up with a name.
This has many implications: primarily, polygenic scores are going to start doubling or quadrupling regularly as contemporary datasets (UKBB in particular?) start hitting the threshold. Years of incremental improvements in GWAS will be compressed into single papers. It will be exciting to have polygenic scores for intelligence which explain up to 30% of variance! These IQ PGSes will highly likely be available by 2019, and it’s possible that they could be computed this year in 2017 (depending on whether existing datasets are big enough to push past the threshold, perhaps assisted by genetic correlation techniques like MTAG). Plus, of course, more accurate genetic correlations. Aside from being one last bullet in the head of genetics denialism, it will massively increase the value of embryo selection and genome synthesis. Has it really been only 4 years since Rietveld et al 2013 was published? It feels like so much longer… It’s worth noting that the cumulative number of genomes is substantially larger than the annual output, and the former is what counts; for example, under one set of assumptions with a fixed annual investment and the observed exponential decrease in cost, there will be 5x total genomes than annually produced, so since 23andMe/Ancestry.com are reportedly collecting approaching millions of samples per year… (In a since deleted post: AncestryDNA alone attracted 1.4 million customers in the fourth quarter of 2016, with an additional two million in the first half of 2017…) The genome sequencing exponentials have been quite a tiger to ride. Very Kurzweilian: everything important happens near the end.
Progress is driven by peak knowledge, not average knowledge.
If Fermi and the Wrights couldn’t see it coming three years out, imagine how hard it must be for anyone else to see it.
If you’re not at the global peak of knowledge of how to do the thing, and looped in on all the progress being made at what will turn out to be the leading project, you aren’t going to be able to see of your own knowledge at all that the big development is imminent. …
By saying we’re probably going to be in roughly this epistemic state until almost the end, I don’t mean to say we know that AGI is imminent, or that there won’t be important new breakthroughs in AI in the intervening time. I mean that it’s hard to guess how many further insights are needed for AGI, or how long it will take to reach those insights. After the next breakthrough, we still won’t know how many more breakthroughs are needed, leaving us in pretty much the same epistemic state as before. …
But no matter how the details play out, I do predict in a very general sense that there will be no fire alarm that is not an actual running AGI—no unmistakable sign before then that everyone knows and agrees on, that lets people act without feeling nervous about whether they’re worrying too early. That’s just not how the history of technology has usually played out in much simpler cases like flight and nuclear engineering, let alone a case like this one where all the signs and models are disputed.
Latest iteration, AlphaGo Zero, reached that level in just three days only playing by itself, and took only 21 days to surpass AlphaGo Master, which beat number one Ke Jie and sixty other top players this May.
Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how AlphaGo Zero started off terribly, progressed to the level of a naive amateur, and ultimately deployed highly strategic moves used by grandmasters, all in a matter of days. It discovered one common play, called a joseki, in the first 10 hours. Other moves, with names such as “small avalanche” and “knight’s move pincer” soon followed. After three days, the program had discovered brand new moves that human experts are now studying. Intriguingly, the program grasped some advanced moves long before it discovered simpler ones, such as a pattern called a ladder that human Go players tend to grasp early on.
* Putin mutters some vaguely Alt Right sounding things about White Christians being a minority in the USA and preserving Russia as a European space (while continuing to repeat German policies of the 1960s).
Says that Russians and Ukrainians are one people that will unite. Before you get excited/panic, by unite, he means the restoration of normal relations with the Ukraine – a rather strange definition of the term.
We love Ukraine. And I consider them a brotherly people, if not part of the Russian people. Neither Russian nationalists nor Ukrainian nationalists like this, but I believe they will unite, sooner or later. Not at the state level, but in terms of the restoration of relations.
And, of course, this is a total inversion of the standard Russian nationalist position on the Ukraine.
Also issues some thoughts on foreign policy:
The biggest mistake our country made was that we put too much trust in you; and your mistake was that you saw this trust as weakness and abused it.
However, the largely utopian social model and ideology, which the newly formed state tried to implement initially following the 1917 revolution, was a powerful driver of transformations across the globe (this is quite clear and must also be acknowledged), caused a major revaluation of development models, and gave rise to rivalry and competition, the benefits of which, I would say, were mostly reaped by the West.
I am referring not only to the geopolitical victories following the Cold War. Many Western achievements of the 20th century were in answer to the challenge posed by the Soviet Union. I am talking about raising living standards, forming a strong middle class, reforming the labour market and the social sphere, promoting education, guaranteeing human rights, including the rights of minorities and women, overcoming racial segregation, which, as you may recall, was a shameful practice in many countries, including the United States, a few short decades ago.
* Ksenia Sobchak announces she is running for the Russian Presidency.
Now you, an “educated” and “informed” person, are probably thinking that she is just a brainless celebrity running to give Putin artificial competition in lieu of Navalny. In reality, this is a vicious JIDF smear! My FSB sources tell me this is just the front Ksenia “She-Wolf of the SS” Sobchak (as she is widely known in ultranationalist circles) puts on to infiltrate the PutlerZOG, acting in cahoots with Taylor Swift and American far right militia leader Ben Garrison.
Although I do consider myself somewhat of a nationalist, she sounds far too crazy even for me. I disavow Ksenia “14/88 not 282″ Sobchak and her hateful, extremist ideology. Hopefully Jeb! will save the day.
* #Russiagate. In between the usual nonsense ($100,000 in Facebook ads; Pokemon), we the most serious numerical allegation yet – $2.3 million on a troll factory (broken by the Russian news outlet RBC – so much for the trope of “no adversarial investigation journalism” in Russia).
The obvious question: If all it takes to swing a US election is a few millions of dollars (versus the almost a billion spend by the respective campaigns), why isn’t everyone doing it?
Western MSM 1,000 Nazis march in Charlottesville: OY VEY DRUMPF & PUTLER MUST PAY
20,000 Nazis march in Kiev: meh
* Russia now plans to build a $10 billion bridge to… Sakhalin, with its half a million people. $10 million is approximately what the federal government gives to the Ministry of Education every year.
Rotenbergs are more important, though.
There are hopes of getting Japan involved:
Russia is counting on Japan to join the project by connecting its northern island of Hokkaido to Sakhalin with a 40-kilometer link of its own, the people said. While an overland crossing from Japan could be an economic game changer for Russia’s Far East, they cautioned there’s been no talks or agreements yet with the government in Tokyo.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was circumspect when asked about the plans at the Vladivostok forum with Putin last month.
“It would be fine to travel to Vladivostok by train,” Abe said. “But for this, our countries need to strengthen mutual trust to make all projects achievable.”
The Russian bureaucracy is, admittedly, a lot better than it used to be. In comparison to the state of affairs even just a decade ago, there are fewer papers to fill out, staff are more courteous, and many more tasks can be done online.
The contrast relative to the 1990s is even starker, when outright bribes were not infrequently required to carry out routine services. This is now most definitely a thing of the past.
A large number of “My Documents” centers have been built across the country under the philosopher of making a large variety of different services available under the same roof. They are located in large, modern buildings, tend to employ younger people, and advertise hotlines for reporting unprofessional or corrupt conduct.
These improvements are reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 40th as of 2016.
Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by American/British standards.
Say what you will about the Eternal Anglo, but they have really figured out this bureaucracy thing. Even the Germans that I have met in the UK consider their bureaucracy slow and capricious by comparison, to say nothing of Mediterraneans or East Europeans.
All bureaucracies make mistakes, lose papers, muck up appointment dates, etc. But this is where the similarities end. In Anglo world, staff apologize for any mishaps and devote extra attention to making things right, possibly because they actually feel guilty before the client (the very possibility of “bureaucrat guilt” is difficult to even process for those born behind the Hajnal Line). In Russia, they don’t give a fuck about your travails – at best. At worst, you will meet rudeness (hamstvo) the likes of which someone who has only dealt with Anglo bureaucracies can barely imagine, as the bureaucrats try to unload the blame on you for their own incompetence.
Personal anecdote from the past year. When I was returning to Russia in December 2016, I had a minor problem; my foreign passport (zagranpasport) had expired. No worries, in such cases you can get a Return Certificate (svidetelstvo na vozvrashenie) that confirms you as a Russian citizen; after that, you need to go back within a certain number of days, after which you will have another few days to apply for a new passport. I managed to do this through the Russian Consulate in London, though it took a few more days that it should have thanks to an appointment scheduling mess-up on their part, which they naturally blamed on me (I was somehow responsible for them associating a wrong day to a date).
This is where I encountered my first serious issue. I had already booked my flight back with a Spanish airline with a stop-over in Barcelona, but then the Russian Consulate in London informed me that it needed to be a direct flight. When I asked them why they hadn’t informed me of that earlier, before my booking, they falsely insisted that they had. After a lengthy argument, I got them to submit – I had no intentions of wasting ~$500 booking another flight – but they warned me that I would not be allowed to fly onto Russia in Spain and that all consequent problems would be my problem, and got me to sign a declaration to that effect (!).
As it happened, the Spaniards themselves were entirely cool with my Return Certificate, and gave it no more than a glance when I was boarding; this was evidently a routine process for them. More curiously, at the time I also discovered that this seemed to be a “hard rule” only at the Russian Consulate in London; the one in Marseilles listed a direct flight as only a recommedation. Clearly the guys in London were (rudely) incompetent at best, or perhaps had an “arrangement” with some booking agent or the airline itself. Who knows.
But my problems hadn’t ended there – now that I was back in Russia, I needed to get my domestic passport, also expired, replaced. And I needed to do it pretty fast, since the passport is central to Russian life – you can’t get a cell phone number or even visit some museums without one. (I suppose that the lower trust societies are, the more they make up for it with papers).
So I went down to the local documents center. Since my case – both foreign and domestic passports expired – wasn’t the most routine one, I was called into the office of the head honcho there, a corpulent, middle-aged, heavy-browed man with that distinct chinovnik racial phenotype who proceeded to give me a crash course in Russian Bureaucracy 101.
Instead of getting to work on my problem, he decided to give me a lengthy interrogation.
“Why didn’t you renew your passport?” he barked.
“You can only renew it in Russia, I wasn’t in Russia.”
“Why didn’t you return to Russia?”
“Because I was busy. Could you please tell me how is this relevant?”
“Why did you return to Russia?”
“Why not, LOL. Also, may I inquire what business is this of yours?”
“The hell it’s my business! Why didn’t you renew your passport in time?”
It went on around in circles like this for several minutes, but the best was yet to come.
“If you didn’t renew your passport you obviously didn’t care about it, so why don’t you fuck off back to America?” (sic)
Sensing that things were rapidly heading to an ignominious conclusion, and by this point thoroughly pissed off, I grabbed my documents, told him he was a fat, useless cockroach who had wasted enough of my time, and wheeled out of the room before he could sputter out a reply.
The next place where I tried to get my passport issues sorted processed my problem quickly and professionally, which I suppose goes to show that the quality of bureaucratic service remains… quite uneven.
Rules of thumb for dealing with Russian bureaucrats:
1. Don’t. Do as many things online as possible.
2. Never take the information that they put on the Internet at face value. It varies department from department, Consulate from Consulate. They don’t always even get their opening times right.
3. The starting assumption should be that they have zero interest in helping your resolve your issue. Base your actions on this assumption.
The number of people able to end Earth’s technical civilization has heretofore been small. Emerging dual-use technologies, such as biotechnology, may give similar power to thousands or millions of individuals… Using empiric data from Pubmed to inform the biotechnology parameter, the model predicts human civilization’s median survival time as decades to centuries, even with optimistic psychosociological parameter values, thereby positioning biotechnology as a proximate threat to human civilization. For an ensemble of civilizations having some median calculated survival time, the model predicts that, after 80 times that duration, only one in 10^24 civilizations will survive — a tempo and degree of winnowing compatible with Hanson’s “Great Filter.” Thus, assuming that civilizations universally develop advanced biotechnology, before they become vigorous interstellar colonizers, the model provides a resolution to the Fermi paradox.
Although Bershidsky is inevitably pessimistic, it has to be said that there have been major improvements since the 2000s, when the government was indeed heavily riddled with (political-economic) “clans.” Since Putin’s re-election in 2012, the numbers of high-level government figures that could be identified as belonging to a distinct clan fell into a minority, and this appears to be a genuine further step in the direction of technocracy.
Some interesting stuff, even if it does come from Buzzfeed. For instance, Steve Bannon comes off as an… enthusiastic fellow:
That afternoon, Bannon emailed Yiannopoulos and Marlow.
“Dude—we r in a global existentialist war where our enemy EXISTS in social media and u r jerking yourself off w/ marginalia!!!! U should be OWNING this conversation because u r everything they hate!!! Drop your toys, pick up your tools and go help save western civilization.”
That Milo is more Röhm than he let’s on wasn’t a huge surprise to me. An acquaintance with much closer connections to the “scene” told me about this within the past year, but it’s interesting to see it confirmed nonetheless.
Nor could they have known about the night of April 2, 2016, which Yiannopoulos spent at the One Nostalgia Tavern in Dallas, belting out a karaoke rendition of “America the Beautiful” in front of a crowd of “sieg heil”-ing admirers, including Richard Spencer. …
In an April 6 email, Allum Bokhari mentioned having had access to an account of Yiannopoulos’s with “a password that began with the word Kristall.” … In a June 2016 email to an assistant, Yiannopoulos shared the password to his email, which began “LongKnives1290.” … 1290 is the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from England.
And also Peter Thiel is “fully enlightened.”
Yiannopoulos also had a private relationship with the venture capitalist Peter Thiel, though he was more circumspect than some other correspondents… But much of Yiannopoulos’s knowledge of Thiel seemed to come secondhand from other right-wing activists, as well as Curtis Yarvin, the blogger who advocates the return of feudalism. In an email exchange shortly after the election, Yarvin told Yiannopoulos that he had been “coaching Thiel.”
“Peter needs guidance on politics for sure,” Yiannopoulos responded.
“Less than you might think!” Yarvin wrote back. “I watched the election at his house, I think my hangover lasted into Tuesday. He’s fully enlightened, just plays it very carefully.”
* Bannon reportedly said that he thinks there is only a 30% chance of Trump finishing out his term.
Franco placed much greater reliance on the Moroccan soldiers who formed by far the largest number of volunteers, a total of about 78,000 men… The Nationalists appealed to the Moroccans by implying that their country would be granted independence after the Republican government was overthrown, but there was little intention of keeping such promises. The Moroccans swallowed the bait and enlisted in large numbers to Franco’s army… The Moroccans played a vita role in the initial phase of the war: the Nationalists would have been unable to continue their attack in Spain without Moroccans troops flown over from the protectorate. The motives of the volunteers were manifold… Moroccan troops, “los moros,” quickly got a bad reputation. It was said that they systematically raped Republican women and tortured prisoners of war…
Republican propaganda made the most of the real and imaginary atrocities of “the Moors.” In propaganda posters Moroccans were depicted as grinning, thick-lipped turbanheads, who harassed white women and pierced children with their bayonets. Republican journalists and authors wrote of “brutal Africans with knives in their teeth,” and accused Franco of bringing “African savages to a European civil war.” The Left of the 1930’s clearly didn’t embrace the current type of political correctness.
It is the 22nd century, resources are running low, and the world is almost exclusively powered from a Mars base owned by the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), a ruthless Mega Corp that has hit upon the idea of creating an interdimensional rift on the red planet and harvesting energy directly from the pits of Hell.
What could possibly go wrong?
Once the inevitable happens, you are the supersoldier tasked with ripping and tearing your way through the invading demonic hordes and sending them back from whence they came.
You hardly get to meet any (living) humans in DOOM, since you are plunged into the bloodbath straight away. The only demographic details you find about the UAC Mars base is that it suffered 61,337 casualties in the incident; seeing as there were almost no survivors, that would also be about equivalent to its pre-apocalypse population.
However, there was a bit more human interaction in Doom 3, the previous installment of the franchise. There, you got to wander around the Mars base for half an hour before the apocalypse got going. This gamer-ethnographer might have noted that apart from one Black, all of the security guys were either whites, or some kind of White-Latino métis, with perhaps a sprinkling of Asian mixed in. However, one third of the technicians and scientists were distinctly East Asian. That’s pretty much the ethnic mix you’d expect a 22nd century American corporation to send to provide security and technical support at their Mars base. Since UAC is explicitly stated to “engage in research outside of moral or legal obligations,” we might safely assume that onerous diversity requirements would not be a thing by then either.
Although on the other hand, I don’t recall it ever being explicitly stated that the UAC is an American corporation, or that the United States even still exists.
For all we know, maybe there was a translation mistake and UAC actually stands for United Aircraft Corporation and is run by Russian racists, who knows.
Anyhow, before we wander too far off the reservation… At the end of the day, DOOM is for the Chad gamer who wants to rip and tear right off the bat; it is the last stand of implicit gamer masculinity before the harpies of Gamerghazi. Any further social commentary would be as pointless as it would be autistic. So onto the mechanics and gameplay.
Amazing engine. Great graphics. No stutter.
Playing this right after the buggy wreck that was Fallout 4, the difference was like between night and day.
The controls are intuitive, and thanks to the design choice to do away with fall damage and make ammo drops dependent on kills, the combat “flows” in a way I have yet to see replicated in any other modern FPS, harkening back to the spirit of classic Doom but with the power of modern graphics.
The flipside of the action focus is that there is much less of a survival horror element than to Doom 3, with its psychological horror and much darker atmosphere – literally so, given that there is “no duct tape on Mars” for your flashlight. Although you will probably get more enjoyment from DOOM, you will remember your first encounter with a Pinky in Doom 3 for longer.
I also appreciated that the map interface was in true 3D, which you don’t encounter too frequently even today.
And there is no shortage of in-jokes and Easter eggs.
In short, this is your classic Doom recipe with all the old spices and seasonings you miss and remember, presented on a much nicer platter.
As I promised last year, I am going to (belatedly) try to start reviewing more books, video games, etc. (I don’t care for cinema – I watch about two films and a Game of Thrones episode per year. Besides, you have Sailer for this anyway).
I expect to see a few surly complaints about the video games. They will almost all come from the boomer race. Considering these people watch TV for about eight hours a day I don’t see the need to take them seriously.
Next video game review will be about something much less banal than DOOM, probably either Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (this series is to cyberpunk in video games, as Neuromancer, Blade Runner, and Ghost in the Shell are to cyberpunk in their respective genres) or Fallout: New Vegas (whose factions almost perfectly encapsulate the “debate” between ZOG, NRx, and the Alt Right).
Hank Pellissier has created the Transhuman Party in the US, in response to allegations of authoritarianism and cronyism in the original organization headed by Zoltan Istvan.
I don’t follow the futurist/transhumanist scene as closely as I did before – as almost all of you know, I am no longer in the Bay Area, and I have yet to really explore the Moscow scene. That said, I support and am happy to provide publicity for Pellissier’s new initiative. Best of luck to him!
* Still amazed that so few people are talking about the Catalonia situation. Of course Spain isn’t as important a country as the UK, but it’s hardly irrelevant, either – it has around 75% of the population of France/UK/Italy. For its part, an indepedent Catalonia with its 8 million people would approximately be another Greece or Czechia.
Not to mention that the ramifications of this might be far more serious since Spain is stolidly set against Catalan independence.
62% intend to turn out, of which 83% would vote YES for independence – that is an absolute majority (51%) of the population.
Reports that 100,000 people turned out to protest in Barcelona. Relative to its population, that’s similar to the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in 2014 (and around 10x that of the anti-electoral fraud protests in Moscow in 2011-12).
“Recently, 712 (of 947) mayors signed a declaration saying they will provide the voting spaces for the referendum and are now being investigated for it.”
Everywhere we went, there was a sense that Russian science is on the upswing, thanks to substantial investments from the government. These efforts include the National Technological Initiative, an ambitious 20-year science roadmap outlined by Putin in 2014, as well as academic competitions like Project 5-100, which is designed to lift at least five Russian universities into the top 100 world rankings by 2020. The state has begun to offer “megagrants,” valued at up to 150 million rubles ($5 million) each, to entice leading researchers—especially expatriates—to establish laboratories in Russia.
The most popular indicator of this confusion is a never ending discussion of a possible American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, primarily on the air base Khmeimim… The reason for this is purely technological—Russia can go tit-for-tat conventionally in Syria and anywhere in the Middle East. In fact, the Russian military has in its possession the most advanced arsenal of High Precision stand-off weapons which have been demonstrated in action for the whole world to see.
There’s probably only a few months left before Islamic State is cleansed off the map, thus wiping away the inextricable moral complication at the heart of the Western narrative of the Assadist dictatorship “killing its own people.” Some observers like Igor Strelkov fear that it at this point that the US will inflict a “Tshusima” on the highly exposed and outnumber Russian forces in Russia, hoping to perhaps also make Putin’s domestic position untenable. Martyanov argues that Russia’s arsenal of superior stand-off weapons makes this a very bad idea for the US even in just the Syrian theater.
Hopefully he’s right, though I’m not entirely convinced.
The media says russians got trump elected. But reddit hates trump. If you want to talk about foreign influence on reddit, “our” media should be focusing on the british/canadian/european media here. For every RT propaganda piece here, we get 100000 BBC, guardian, independent, etc propaganda.
And the body count issue is interesting because apologists for Communism regularly suggest that these numbers may be exaggerated. Refutations of the statistics for the Chinese famine suggest that it was closer to 10 million, rather than 45 million. This is like saying the Nazi regime has been slandered, because they killed 2 million, as opposed to 6 million, Jews. Quibbling over numbers in a passionate manner like this is the domain of Holocaust deniers, and yet with Communism, I encounter this regularly.
I don’t think it was a great piece – in particular, I take a philosophical and pragmatic stance against sloppiness in numbers tallying (incidentally, an approach much beloved of by Communists themselves), and made as much clear in my comment to his blog.
However, it appears that I’ve been banned from commenting at Razib’s blog. I had made about two other comments since he left The Unz Review and neither has gone through.
(Not that I’m complaining, bloggers have a right to ban whomever they want for any reason).
EDIT: It appears that Razib’s Russophobic anti-spam filter had been eating all my comments there.
A cursory review indicated that Unz Review is largely an aggregation of articles that are published elsewhere with an occasional exception such as Giraldi’s and others in the inner circle of editor Ron Unz. In addition to Philip Giraldi, who is his National Security Editor, there are two men described as “bloggers”: Anatoly Karlin and Steve Sailer. Karlin is a Russian who studied at U. Cal Berkeley and once wrote for “Sputnik & Pogrom”, an ultra-nationalist website that was even too much for Putin based on the evidence of it being shut down on July 6th. In 2015 the website called for “crushing Ukraine” and establishing a “Russian ethnic state.”
In addition to his contributions to Unz Review, Sailer also writes for Taki’s Magazine, a publication started by Taki Theodoracopulos who once wrote: “Modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Africans and non-Africans then split about 100,000 years ago. The further north they went, the harder it became to find food, raise children and find shelter. Larger brains were needed for a longer life and more family stability.”. When he isn’t busy pumping out filth for Taki, Sailer is writing stuff for VDARE, an anti-immigration outfit that can best be described as white nationalist.
Beginning to connect the dots now? Philip Giraldi: the Jews own the media. Anatoly Karlin: too nationalistic for Putin. Steve Sailer: a good old boy from Taki’s and VDARE.
“Too nationalistic for Putin.”
That’s gotta be my new favorite accolade! My old favorite was “ein strammer Putinsoldat”, but it was getting old and outdated.
I regret to say I have never written for Sputnik and Pogrom, though that is probably going to be remedied in the near future.
First, the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future… The EU should provide €15,000 ($16,800) per asylum-seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs – and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states.
* As James Thompson has remarked major new studies with huge n’s on the genomics of IQ are coming out every month if not every week.
The “Hsu boundary” is Steve Hsu’s estimate that a sample size of roughly 1 million people may be required to reliably identify the genetic signals of intelligence. However, that has to be 1 million real persons, with individual data points, on which the best available techniques can be applied, not aggregated samples which are then subjected to a meta-analysis.
Saakashvili evidently has a very high level krysha. That said I don’t think this will amount to much.
* Ukraine canceling foreign language secondary schooling in 2018, and primary schooling in 2020. All the “hystrionic” fears about the status of the Russian language in 2014 have been proven right. Incidentally, Hungary and even Romania and Poland aren’t very happy with it either.
* 19 Antimaidan activists were acquitted by a Ukrainian court of provoking the “disturbances” at the Odessa massacre of May 2, 2014. The fact that the victims were the ones being prosecuted for murders committed by far right Ukrainian radicals is outrageous enough. What’s more, two of the men, Sergey Dolzhenkov and Evgeny Mefedov, were immediately taken back under custody for separatism, while a third had his skull smashed in by far right vigilantes. Ukraine’s eurointegration proceeds apace.
* The king of the Russian patriotard/Stalinist crowd, Nikolay Starikov, has been caught misusing humanitarian aid donated to Donbass to pay his organization’s staff member’s salaries. Lie in bed with a Stalinist, wake up with… Incidentally, despite his outspoken American baiting, he played an important role shilling against intervention in Ukraine in 2014, ludicrously proclaiming it would lead to nuclear war with the US.
* The Zapad-2017 exercises have finished without Russia conquering Belarus or the Baltics. #fakenews
Begin with the simple fact that he was publicly coming out to detail the FBI’s attempt to bribe his team and pressure Telegram into secretly working with the agency—despite Durov’s own disclaimers and efforts to downplay the revelation, it was a big deal. Despite being chased out of Russia, he wasn’t throwing in with the U.S. security apparatus, but electing instead to fight a two-front war. It was an unusual and impressive move. Most people who run afoul of politics in Russia and find themselves seeking safety in the West as modern-day dissidents usually fall into line with the West’s own propaganda aims, uncritically siding with American interests and players, no matter how unpleasant. Think Pussy Riot fleeing Russia and criticizing Vladimir Putin, while doing photo ops with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In May, at a meeting in London, I was assured by the investors that the obstacles had at last been cleared and I could expect our collaboration to begin in June. When I reported this to Richard at a New York lunch at the end of the same month, he thoughtlessly and angrily dismissed a plan that the investors had shared with me for creating an economic and security corridor from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and across to the Caucasus. This “Neo-Scythian” Ukraine-based approach to the long-term revitalization and liberation of Europe – linked to a future, post-Islamic Greater Iran via the Caucasus – offended the Russophilia that has been fostered by his wife.
So I cannot say I was surprised when the backers ultimately failed to follow through with their long-promised investment. By late June the movement was long past its embryonic stage. A deformed creature, a mindless Frankenstein’s monster had already entered the world. Of course this would not have happened if, between February and May, the angel investors had made good on their promises. Even though they are now responsible for my being libeled in the New York Times, potentially at the cost of my career in academia, I will not reveal their identities. It would catalyze a mainstream media scandal that none of us want to see. I am not interested in testifying before Congress, because the truth I would have to tell is stranger than fiction.
Mr. Hermansson and Mr. Jorjani met at an Irish pub near the Empire State Building, where the baby-faced Mr. Jorjani imagined a near future in which, thanks to liberal complacency over the migration crisis, Europe re-embraces fascism: “We will have a Europe, in 2050, where the bank notes have Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great. And Hitler will be seen like that: like Napoleon, like Alexander, not like some weird monster who is unique in his own category — no, he is just going to be seen as a great European leader.”
What, exactly, is damning about any of this? They have said all this and more in public.
In the next few years, massive datasets will be built of public, semi-public and leaked private data linking people between all services with available data, for all available time periods… All these people will be automatically identified and linked in the near future. It will not be possible to take part in a public demonstration without a mask (illegal in many places) which cannot later to matched to you. It will not be possible to take part in amateur or paid-porn without a mask and maybe without being silent (even moans can be matched in all likelihood).
No, I am not talking of Bezos deleting 1 star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book on how the Russians are to blame for her losing to Trump. Though that’s also a factor. It is firmly part of the globalist empire and the day when they start censoring more than just book reviews can’t be too far off.
I’m talking of their “reform” to the highlights system.
Here’s how things work. When you buy books from Amazon you aren’t really paying for the actual product but for “access” to it, the terms of which can be changed at will. The most famous and ironic case was the removal of copies of Orwell’s 1984 from users’ libraries back in 2009, though that was more of a kerfuffle than anything sinister.
More recently, though, they started enforcing publisher limits on the amount of notes and highlights you can export from your Highlights page. What’s even worse is that each publisher has different policies on the amount and length of highlights they allow you to export. These limits tend to be more stringent for academic works – that is, the ones were you can actually be expected to make a lot of highlights. So imagine plowing through some massive opus, making copious notes and highlights on the way, and then discovering that you only have access to the first ten of them.
Just spent over an hour talking with six different Amazon customer service reps. Most did not even know what the Your Notes and Highlights Page was. They kept passing me higher up until I got to someone who understood the issue. I explained to him that I have thousands of dollars and hours invested in reading and highlighting Kindle books for research and teaching (I have over 1300 Kindle books), and that I can no longer access all my highlights. He said he was sorry, but this is the new system and that nothing can be done. It’s very frustrating because it always worked before, and I no longer trust the Amazon ecosystem.
Customer Support confirmed that the new system is here to stay:
I am sorry about the trouble with exporting your book highlights. Each title in the Kindle Store has limits as to how much of the content can be highlighted or exported, this is set by the author of the book. These limits may vary by title, and cannot be changed.
We don’t have a way to roll back the current reading app version for you.
Fortunately, I transfer my notes/highlights to Evernote as a matter of course whenever I finish a book, so I haven’t truly “lost” all that many notes, except in the case of a few books which I hadn’t finished reading when the new system came online.
Still, in a world where many other content access industries have either adapted (e.g. Netflix for movies, Steam for video games) or been superceded by altogether more “open” solutions (e.g. Sci Hub for scientific articles), Amazon’s boorish decision to rush headlong back into the Triassic of e-book publishing can’t be tolerated.
What makes Amazon’s new policy all the more ridiculous is that not only can many books be downloaded/pirated from sites such as Library Genesis, without any restrictive DRM attached to boot, but there are even software tools to strip the DRM off Kindle books (e.g. certain plugins for Calibre), which you can then read from open source book readers.
But this is where we – or at least, I – hit a snag. The problem is that Kindle for Android – the software that I use to read more of my ebooks on my cell phone – is genuinely good. I have yet to find an e-reader with anything close to its functionality and capabilities.
Integrated with the web, mobile, and Kindle e-book reader versions.
Books can be organized into collections.
Highlights and notes can be easily accessed, including from the web, and exported.
Very powerful navigations, with instant access to Table of Contents and a “summary view” with quick scrolling.
Nice aesthetic/functional with many different fonts, backgrounds (white, night, aged paper, etc.).
Access to popular highlights.
Though it has some very big, and now critical, negatives as well:
Uses the proprietory .mobi format.
The newly enforced restrictions on numbers and length of highlights.
If anybody has suggestions for book readers that contain most of Kindle for Android’s pluses with none of its minuses, that would be highly appreciated.
The other aspect of DeAmazoning is of course the tedious work of downloading all your Kindle books, renaming them, integrating them into your non-Kindle book library, and stripping the DRM of all of them. Not particularly looking forwards to this part, which will probably take at least a couple of evenings, but I suppose it has to be done sooner rather than later.
Again, any tips will be appreciated, and if/when I’m successfully finished with transitioning to another system, I’ll be sure to write up a guide.
* US shutters three Russian diplomatic officers, including the Consulate in San Francisco. I am assuming not all of their staff will be transferred to remaining diplomatic compounds, so the number of Russian diplomats in the US will fall below 455, necessitating a further round of diplomatic expulsions from Russia to maintain the reciprocity principle.
Curiously, more men (38%) support this than women (27%). AE: “I suppose destroying things appeals more to men than it does to women.”
* iSteve commenter roadrunner noticed the USS John McCain was apparently piloted by diversity hires. The symbolism just keeps piling on..
Check out the bios of the CO and XO. The CO is Commander Alfredo Sanchez, native of Puerto Rico. He appears to be a washout from flight school, reassigned to duty as a surface officer.
The XO is named… Commander Jessie Sanchez, also a native of Puerto Rico. He started out as an enlisted sailor, then got a diploma from a diploma mill and was commissioned as a limited duty officer. This is not a typical bio of a XO of a destroyer, at least in my day.
All of this pointed to a stunning conclusion: despite being more complex than sponges and placozoans – which lacked nerve cells and muscles and virtually every other specialised cell type – ctenophores were actually the earliest, oldest branch on the animal tree of life. Somehow over the subsequent 550 to 750 million years, the ctenophore had managed to evolve a nervous system and muscles similar in complexity to those of jellyfish, anemones, sea stars and many types of worms and shellfish, cobbled together from an alternative set of genes.
Intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with lower risk of total mortality (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, total fat: HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·67–0·87], ptrend<0·0001; saturated fat, HR 0·86 [0·76–0·99], ptrend=0·0088; monounsaturated fat: HR 0·81 [0·71–0·92], ptrend<0·0001; and polyunsaturated fat: HR 0·80 [0·71–0·89], ptrend<0·0001). Higher saturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of stroke (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, HR 0·79 [95% CI 0·64–0·98], ptrend=0·0498). Total fat and saturated and unsaturated fats were not significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.
It will certainly be fun to see the 666D chess theorizing on this one. T he man himself, at any rate, isn’t bothering: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.”
This just leaves Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka as representatives of the populist wave that brought Trump to power. All the others have been purged.
Meanwhile, power has drifted towards Wall Street/Goldman Sachs globalists, the Kushner-Trumps, and a triumvirate of warhawk generals (Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly; NatSec Advisor Gen. McMaster; Secretary of Defence Gen. Mattis).
In foreign policy terms, I suppose the main saving grace of this administration – as opposed to an alternate history Hillary Clinton’s – is that Trump has alienated much of the rest of the world. Acording to a recent PEW poll, most countries trust Trump even less than Putin, who needless to say has some major PR problems of his own.
This was, perhaps, unfortunate back when America First was the order of the day, but now that the US is ruled by a nepotistic junta guided by Kushner’s vision, the world’s skepticism towards Trump might become a blessing in disguise, limiting the damage that the people around him can do in the next three years.
I got to talk to people from the Qualia Research Institute, who point out that everyone else is missing something big: the hedonic treadmill. People have a certain baseline amount of happiness. Fix their problems, and they’ll be happy for a while, then go back to baseline. The only solution is to hack consciousness directly, to figure out what exactly happiness is – unpack what we’re looking for when we describe some mental states as having higher positive valence than others – and then add that on to every other mental state directly. This isn’t quite the dreaded wireheading, the widely-feared technology that will make everyone so doped up on techno-super-heroin (or direct electrical stimulation of the brain’s pleasure centers) that they never do anything else. It’s a rewiring of the brain that creates a “perpetual but varied bliss” that “reengineers the network of transition probabilities between emotions” while retaining the capability to do economically useful work. Partly this last criteria is to prevent society from collapsing, but the ultimate goal is:
…the possibility of a full-fledged qualia economy: when people have spare resources and are interested in new states of consciousness, anyone good at mining the state-space for precious gems will have an economic advantage. In principle the whole economy may eventually be entirely based on exploring the state-space of consciousness and trading information about the most valuable contents discovered doing so.
Based on the findings from a cross-temporal meta-analysis using 1754 independent samples (n = 139,677), the Flynn effect was observed across a 43-year period, with changes here expressed in terms of correlations (coefficients) between year of publication and mean memory test scores. Specifically, the Flynn effect was found for forward digit span (r = 0.12, p < 0.01) and forward Corsi block span (r = 0.10, p < 0.01). Moreover, an anti-Flynn effect was found for backward digit span (r = − 0.06, p < 0.01) and for backward Corsi block span (r = − 0.17, p < 0.01). Overall, the results support co-occurrence theories that predict simultaneous secular gains in specialized abilities and declines in g.
We found 9,714 genome-wide significant SNPs (P<5 x 10-8) in 99 independent loci… Genetic association results predicted up to 4% of general cognitive function variance in independent samples. There was significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function and information processing speed, as well as many health variables including longevity.
The pace of progress in this sphere is blistering, with major papers published nigh near every month.
After doing some of my own investigation (thank you Google), I am of the opinion that this story is well-supported by multiple sources of evidence. The engine that NK has been using since Sept 2016 is definitely related to the Soviet engine that this factory built until the 1990′s. This factory still has these engines, and officially continued maintaining them until mid-2015. North Korean spies/officials were detained by Russia in 2011-2012 when they attempted to enter Ukraine to head to this factory. Ukraine fell apart economically and politically in the 2013-2016 period, and this factory announced it would go bankrupt in early 2015, but then somehow managed to survive. Ukraine has a long history of substantial black market arms trading, some of their rockets have ended up in Iran, Syria, and Pakistan. The best Soviet engineers were stationed in Eastern Ukraine during the Cold War for mainly political reasons (most Soviet leaders were ethnically Ukrainian). As for the engine/missile itself, the trajectory of the launches are similar to tests in the Soviet Union during the 70′s-80′s. The design is very similar in the photos that NK has shown. The dimension of the rocket body and the stages are almost a mirror image of the 1980′s examples. US intelligence officials, and the former CIA head, hinted that the US intelligence community was “caught offguard” by the “unlikely pace of the NK missile program” because of “certain factors”. That seems to indicate that the CIA believed (as of late 2016) that NK had somehow received foreign help that substantially boosted the program. Finally, NK has utilized similar tactics to gain a hold of short and medium range missile technology in the 1990′s. They worked closely with Central Asia, Pakistan, and Ukraine to boost their Ulan missile program. Let’s not forget that NK is well-known for its very savvy black market program and unofficial spy network. There were even NK officials found in Syria back in 2015, most likely eyeing the S-300 missiles that Russia brought there.
Uses his methods from Capital in the 21st Century to calculate historical inequality in Russia, one of his conclusions is that the welfare of the median Russia hasn’t budged relative to 1989.
There is a point to Bershidsky’s critique that inequality in the USSR was primarily expressed in terms of access, not income differentials, so making direct comparisons with capitalist countries are questionable.
* Latest Navalny investigation: The son of Putin’s spokesman Peskov, Nikolay Chole, lived as hoodlum chav in the UK, with convictions and prison time for stealing cell phones with his Black and Pakistani gangmates; gets luxury car collection, horses on returning to Russia.
To many Chinese, ideas about racial hierarchies are not outdated anathema but unquestioned belief.
In Britain, a politician who uses a defunct idiom like ‘nigger in the woodpile’ loses the whip. In China, racism is a standard undercurrent of public debate. A few months ago, Pan Qinglin, a Tianjin politician, announced to reporters that he had found out how to ‘solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong’ — a province with a small amount of African migration. Warning that the new arrivals brought drugs, sexual assault and infectious diseases, he urged local policy-makers to tighten controls to prevent China turning ‘from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country’. …
If China wants to realise its aspiration of replacing America as the country the world looks up to, it will need to sort out its race problem. It is an issue which fuels unrest at home, and damages the country’s reputation abroad. Xi Jinping has talked about a ‘Chinese dream’ — let’s hope it exports tolerance, not racism.
The intensity of the meltdowns is something to behold. I have seen people disowning their children/parents/siblings just for supporting the racist/fascist Trump. Really hard to understand this mindset.
It’s hard to be surprised after this, but perhaps the most striking case of Charlottesville Derangement Sundrome I found is a man with self-evident mental problems thinking about reporting his pharmacist for Nazism at /r/politics.
The patient’s reasons for suspicion? Because his pharmacist has a “1776 tattoo and I think maybe an 88 one too, he’s pale and blue eyed and has shaved his head.”
This was apparently an open and shut case according to the denizens of /r/politics: “Get his ass fired!”
The irony that they were singling out someone for persecution on the basis of his skin color flew right over their heads.
No wonder more and more people are writing about the potential of US Civil War II.
But keep things in perspective – the US doesn’t have the ethno-religious fragmentation of Syria or sharp ideological gradient of the Ukraine, and casualties to date have been far lower even than in the 1970/80s terror campaigns of fringe Communist groups in Europe and Japan.
* Audacious Epigone suggests the Alt Right adopt the Maltese Cross of the Crusaders instead of the Nazi swastika.
* In response to Jeffrey Goldberg’s strange claim that Saving Private Ryan was about “a group of very aggressive alt-left protesters invading a beach without a permit,” Timofey Pnin points out that American GI’s were hardcore Alt Right by today’s standards.
* Jason Reza Jorjani, one of the three main people behind AltRight.com (the other two are Richard Spencer and Daniel Friberg), is resigning from the Alt Right to focus on creating an Iranian nationalist party in exile:
What this also means is that from this moment onward my responsibilities to the cause of liberating Iran from the Islamic Republic have dramatically increased. As I see it, we have several years to form the nucleus of a new regime, before rootless globalists and their Islamist pawns succeed in steering the collapse of the Islamic Republic in a direction that further erodes Iran’s territorial integrity and aborts its cultural rebirth.
* Greg Johnson has compiled the most comprehensive list of shuttenings I have seen to date:
Counter-Currents has been booted by PayPal and our Facebook page has been deleted.
Both Red Ice servers were hacked, as were the site owners’ Twitter accounts, and still have not recovered.
VDare, AltRight.com, and AmRen were bounced from PayPal.
VDare’s conference next April has been shut down by the venue.
TRS was taken down by their webhosting company, but got a new host and were back online in 3 hours.
Mike Enoch was banned for the fourth time from Twitter.
KickStarter, GoFundMe, and IndieGoGo have all vowed to shut down campaigns related to White Nationalist concerns.
Pax Dickinson’s Twitter has been shut down.
Hatreon is offline.
PolNewsForever’s Twitter has been shut down.
The Daily Stormer has been targeted with massive DDOS attacks.
The Daily Stormer domain registration was dropped by GoDaddy, transferred to Google, and then seized by Google.
The Daily Stormer discord server has been shut down.
The Altright.com discord server has been shut down.
Vanguard America’s WordPress and Facebook accounts have been shut down.
Spotify has removed 27 “hate” bands as defined by the SPLC.
GoFundMe has taken down campaigns to help James Fields.
RootBocks has been taken down by its hosting company, but is back online.
Xurious has been removed from Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
Daniel Friberg and Christopher Dulny, both Swedes, have been barred from entering the United States because of their presence at Unite the Right.
Lauren Southern’s Patreon account has been taken down.
Lauren Southern’s Instagram has been taken down, but is now back up.
NPI’s Paypal account has been shut down.
Two upcoming speeches by Richard Spencer have been canceled.
Identity Europa’s PayPal has been shut down.
Christopher Cantwell’s Facebook, PayPal, and website are gone.
Weev’s LinkedIn account has been shut down.
The Paranormies and other podcasts have been kicked off of Soundcloud.
YouTube had demonitized controversial videos, making it impossible for dissident video bloggers to make a living from their work.
Airbnb combed through the social media of people with Charlottesville-area registrations on Unite the Right weekend, and canceled the reservations and accounts of Unite the Right attendees
Uber has cancelled Baked Alaska’s and James Allsup’s accounts.
Squarespace is dropping multiple Right-wing sites.
A Toronto free speech event with Faith Goldy, Jordan Peterson, and Gad Saad has been cancelled.
Christopher Cantwell’s OKCupid account has been closed.
Expedia cancelled flights of people they suspected were attending Unite the Right.
Google removes Gab app from Android store.
Alternative Right, ed. Andy Nowicki and Colon Liddell, removed by Blogger
Mailchimp drops accounts from American Renaissance and Identity Europa.
The food at the Koryo Korean Restaurant was actually rather good – I assume it must have improved considerably since Varlamov’s review from 2013.
The kimchi was properly fermented, as it ought to be (it has been about a year since I last had proper kimchi); the spicy duck soup was genuinely spicy; the cold noodles were superlative; the classic grilled meats were competitive with what you’d get at Korean eateries in the US. The one downside was the sashimi, which someone in our party insisted on ordering for some reason; the fish was almost frozen and the amount of wasabi offered was sufficient for just a couple of pieces. That said, I don’t blame them for that, it serves us right for kowtowing to the Jap aggressors.
However, the service was classically sovok – one dish was not the one we ordered (though it was delicious anyway), one guy’s beer took 40 minutes to arrive, the Nork qt’s waitressing us had minimal knowledge of Russian. Though one might take exception to this at any other establishment, I appreciated it as a nod to tradition – an immersion amplified by the DPRK patriotic songs blasting over from the no frills mirin bar.
And it all came out to just a bit more than to $140 for five people, including drinks ($28 per person; $22 without the lamentable sashimi). I would definitely go there again.
* So about North Korea. China has made its position pretty clear in The Global Times, especially by Chinese standards:
China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.
A reminder that the Chinese don’t actually much like Kim Jong Un – he has blocked Chinese economic expansion in his country, and repressed pro-Chinese political factions (including members of his own family). However, they like the prospect of a collapsed DPRK and the extension of American influence to the Yalu even less.
* “Unite the Right” rally organized by some of the biggest names in the American Alt Right coming up today in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This has prompted Richard Spencer to finally make a manifesto of waht he sees as the core principles of the Alt Right:
In the latest instance of Silicon Valley corporations interfering with the de facto rights of Americans to express their political opinions, Airbnb has been preemptively deactivating the accounts of people it suspects of going to Charlottesville to participate in the rally (one wonders if there were any instances of “friendly fire” on Antifa). Those decisions are not subject to appeal, and will affect all future and duplicate accounts, in effect amounting to eternal excommunication by the high priests of the Cathedral.
Egor Kholmogorov commentary: “In this new world, if your politics aren’t approved of by the owners of Uber, or Airbnb, or food delivery services – you will have to walk by foot and remain hungry and stay at home.”
Claims that military spending in the Ukraine topped out at 2.5% in 2015-16, versus more commonly cited figures of 5%. This is sufficient just to pay for the extra costs of the ATO, with little left over for technical modernization.
The mobilization system for calling up reservists was amped up, though 204,000 troops is considered to be its ceiling at present capacities.
Notes that mobilization was least successful in the most nationalist far western Ukrainian provinces.
Another account by Vladimir Orlov, a Russian visiting the LDNR on the Colonel Cassad blog (h/t The Saker) is more pessimistic, noting a substantial improvement in the Ukrainian Army’s hi-tech inventory and reconaissance capabilities (going so far as triangulating mobile comms to pinpoint two Russians in the NAF and fielding a night vision equipped spec ops team to capture them).
VIPS instead surmises that, after WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016 his intention to publish Hillary Clinton-related emails, the DNC rushed to fabricate evidence that it had been hacked by Russia to defuse any potential WikiLeaks disclosures. To this end, the theory goes, the DNC used the Guccifer 2.0 online persona to release mostly harmless DNC data. …
The former found that 1,976 MB of Guccifer’s files were copied from a DNC server on July 5 in just 87 seconds, implying a transfer rate of 22.6 megabytes per second — or, converted to a measure most people use, about 180 megabits per second, a speed not commonly available from U.S. internet providers. Downloading such files this quickly over the internet, especially over a VPN (most hackers would use one), would have been all but impossible because the network infrastructure through which the traffic would have to pass would further slow the traffic. However, as Forensicator has pointed out, the files could have been copied to a thumb drive — something only an insider could have done — at about that speed.
* Louise Mensch finally gets round to blaming the Jews for Trump. The handshakeworthy are pissed off – only conspiracy theories involving Russian villains are kosher.
Here is how the electoral map would look like if only whites of Generation Z were allowed to vote.
AE’s view is that, exposed to Alt Right propaganda, Generation Z has been throwing off the shackles of both progressivism and civic nationalism, and adopting American minority identity politics – which makes a sort of sense, since American whites are becoming a minority.
Whites are still over 60% of the voting population. As long as Democrats pander to identity politics the GOP will be able to herd whites into supporting it. It seems too late for the Democrats to disengage with identity politics. So GOP will continue to market itself (sotto voce) as the party of whites. Democrats will be out of most offices until whites lose their majority. That won’t be for a decade. Most countries that do not have a 70%+ super majority ethnic group have ethnicized electoral politics. For example Malaysia, where majority Malays correspond to whites in the US context. There is a risk for the Democrats that GOP will become like Barisan National in Malaysia and win the majority of offices for decades.
Will they survive the university brainwashing machine? It sure ruined the millennials.
To what extent are Generation Zyklon natural shitlords, as opposed to teens reacting against Establishment shitlibs?
The strange case of Utah is moderately disquieting; it is, of course, one of the very few places in the US where the orthodoxy of the fathers is still conservatism. (Though it could also be the McMuffins eating away at a monolithic Republican edifice).
The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire.
The James Damore Affair
* The misc/culture wars segment this week has basically been monopolized by the James Damore story.
Depositing all the more significant links here for reference purposes:
Kelly Ellis: “I experienced this at Google, and was frustrated that they did nothing about rhetoric that was harming employees… It’s not just the rhetoric that’s the problem. What this employee said indicates discrimination and hostility. Google should fire him… LMAO I’m so glad I didn’t decide to return to Google. I would’ve flipped my shit. This gives me a new q to ask potential employers.”
Girl Who: “Google women: this memo is sexist bc it says women are emotional. Also Google women: we’re too emotional about this memo to go to work.”
/pol/: “Google is filled with employees who now feel emboldened to create public lists where anyone with “problematic” views can be flagged as such.”
/pol/: “Google employee wrote a memo explaining how diversity of opinion was more important than just “diversity.” Leftists began to hunt him down.”
Today I learned an American journalist friend was stabbed in Moscow. (Not, he was not anti-Putin, quite the contrary in fact, so it won’t be highlighted in the Western media).
Fortunately the injury seems to be quite minor, though I wish him the best for a speedy recovery regardless.
So about crime.
All things considered, Moscow is pretty safe; at any rate, I don’t fear walking the streets at night, even though my neighborhood is one of the more prole ones. It’s certainly a world away from American inner cities and the more “enriched” European banlieues. And this is reflected in both statistics and the “background rate” at which I hear of crime victimization from friends, relatives, and acquaintances.
For my part, the only “bad” experiences I had since returning here was a drunk aggressively demanding a cigarette, and some Gastarbeiters who insisted I pay more for moving some furniture than we had agreed on. Pretty irrelevant, all things told – about what I’d expect in a year in Berkeley.
Specifically, how likely were global innovators and leaders intellectually talented or gifted when younger? This paper reviews retrospective data on multiple US samples (Total N = 11,745), including Chief Executive Officers, federal judges, politicians, multi-millionaires and billionaires, business leaders, elite journalists, and the “most globally powerful men and women”, examining to what extent these groups were in the top 1% in general intellectual talent in youth, also examining their educational backgrounds. About 50% of these leaders were in the top 1% of our indicator of ability, so overrepresented by a factor of about 50. Elite education, and especially the impact of Harvard, was notable, suggesting that in addition to talent, elite education and networks were important.
Unsurprising to anyone who follows the IQsphere, but it’s great to have all the research in one place nonetheless.
The time it took to move computers from average human to peak human performance across various domains – typically, on the order of several decades for many board games – suggests we should not expect a runaway superintelligence).
* I have nothing to add to Alexander Mercouris’ comprehensive analysis of the Russia sanctions Trump was cajoled into signing:
Two particularly acute observations. Trump’s (or his team’s) strategic acuity:
In doing so the Presidential Statement calls into question the wisdom of the whole measure, for example by worrying that its effect will be to “drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together”. It is actually remarkable that Donald Trump – a person wholly inexperienced in exercising public office – seems to be the only prominent public official in the US who worries about this.
And care in sidestepping any possible grounds for impeachment:
Indeed the more I think about this bizarre sanctions law the more I wonder whether the impeachment scenario I have just outlined may have been the very scenario that it was intended to engineer.
If you feel isolated by this, that your views are basically unwelcome in tech and can’t be spoken about… well, that’s a fair point. These views are fundamentally corrosive to any organization they show up in, drive people out, and I can’t think of any organization not specifically dedicated to those views that they would be welcome in. I’m afraid that’s likely to remain a serious problem for you for a long time to come. But our company is committed to maintaining a good environment for all of its people, and if one person is determined to thwart that, the solution is pretty clear.
I’m writing this here, in this message, because I’m no longer at the company and can say this sort of thing openly. But I want to make it very clear: if you were in my reporting chain, all of part (3) would have been replaced with a short “this is not acceptable” and maybe that last paragraph above. You would have heard part (3) in a much smaller meeting, including you, me, your manager, your HRBP, and someone from legal. And it would have ended with you being escorted from the building by security and told that your personal items will be mailed to you. And the fact that you think this was “all in the name of open discussion,” and don’t realize any of these deeper consequences, makes this worse, not better.
* YouTube partners with the ADL to make “the internet a safe space for all.” We can be sure enforcement will be entirely partial.
Previous work has shown that a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C can be considered an upper limit on human survivability. … We project that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in South Asia are likely to approach and, in a few locations, exceed this critical threshold by the late 21st century under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas emissions. The most intense hazard from extreme future heat waves is concentrated around densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and Indus river basins.
Here’s a simulation that was run several years ago at a global level. South Asia even then looked like it would be the first major region to start becoming uninhabitable, which is incovenient, since it hosts about 20% of the world population.
* Jean Raspail says that publishing Camp of the Saints would be impossible now. He could be persecuted 87 different ways for it based on current French legislation.
“Trump doesn’t want to be friends with China, the elites won’t let him be friends with Russia, and the EU doesn’t want to be friends with Trump.” – Egor Kholmogorov.
As pithy a summary of this last week’s clusterfuck as any.
Germany (!) considers the US sanctions to be in violation of international law, and has told the European Commission to look at countermeasures.
Russia expelling 755 US diplomats and seizure of US diplomatic compounds is a delayed reaction to Obama’s analogous step at the tail end of his Presidency. The response had been suspended to give Trump time to normalize relations, but with the prospect of that going out of the window with the Senate’s 98-2 vote in favor of widening Russian sanctions, there was no longer any point to holding it off.
Russia’s response to the actual US sanctions are a different matter and will be formulated as the situation develops.
* Mikheil Saakashvili has been deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship, formally on the basis of him having neglecting to inform the authorities he was wanted in Georgia. Since the Georgians had stripped him of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 by dint of him having received Ukrainian citizenship, this effectively makes him a stateless person.
His mistake was to take Maidanist rhetoric about reform and the war against corruption at face value. As Ukraine’s most popular (least unpopular) major political figure, his increasing oppositionalism to the Poroshenko clan must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Latest word is he is now living with his relatives in the Bronx (as an undocumented alien?). How the mighty are fallen.
* Eighty years ago Stalin launched the Great Terror.
* North Korea
The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been saying many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out (even though its evident that neither supports the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula).
For HBD-aware people, there’s a much more succinct explanation: The average IQ of North Korea must be close to 100. And of course a huge percentage of North Korea’s brighest are engaged in military R&D. This is why Israel, South Africa(n whites), and now North Korea have been successful at developing a nuclear deterrent – while the likes of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and even Iran, who are a standard deviation lower – have failed at it.
* Sperm counts fall by 50% in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011 – but not in Asia, Africa, or South America. The hypotheses put forth there don’t seem all that likely.
* So it seems that Game of Thrones has basically stopped paying any heed to logistics or manpower realities.
The idea was put forwards without any consultations with the LNR, and apparently even the Kremlin, and was almost immediately forgotten. Just like Zakharchenko’s bizarre proclamation this March that Ukraine would cease to exist in 60 days.
The idea is total nonsense, of course, even from a Russian nationalist (i.e. historical) perspective. Little Russia is the territory of central Ukraine around Kiev, which was brought into the Tsardom of Russia by the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654. Southern Ukraine, i.e. Novorossiya, was a land directly conquered by the Russian Empire’s force of arms.
I don’t know how this came to be. Maybe some part of the Kremlin “towers” wanted to give things a push to see how Poroshenko/the West would react. Maybe it was the result of a Zakharchenko and Zakhar Prilepin and some other DNR honchos going on a drunken bender. What it is not is anything serious.
At the present time, most discourse on China itself in Russia happens through a Western prism (as far as I’m aware, the same is true of China). Since Russia only has a few dozen academic China specialists, this could hardly be otherwise. This is a good initiative, but there needs to be more Chinese who know Russian, and many more Russians who know Chinese.
No idea why he plead guilty; nobody apart from the Ukraine considers the NAF/DNR/LNR to be terrorist groups.
* Affirmative action Kremlinology:
* I suppose the John McCain brain cancer jokes write themselves – no need for futher commentary on my part.
My favorite McCain story is when he demanded Pravda give him an op-ed like NYT did for Putin – learly the only Russian newspaper he and his idiot staff knew about. Pravda was a bottom-tier tabloid big on alien abduction stories that very few read, and McCain duly got his op-ed there.
* Ireland, along with the US, is much richer than its national IQ would suggest. Why? Well, its GDP figures might be ridiculously overvalued.
* Rolf Degen: “The alphabet was originally designed by illiterate miners from the templates of a few Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs”:
The invention of the alphabet was a central event in global cultural/scientific history; all else equal, it allows far more people to be literate than under logographic systems. It would be hilarious if a contingency like this contributed to Europe beating China to the industrial revolution.
Using a novel database of interstate conflict in Europe between 1200 and 1800, we perform the first quantitative analysis of domestic political institutions and warfare across the pre-modern era. We find that early parliamentary regimes — the institutional predecessors of modern democracies — were disproportionately more likely to experience armed conflict than their absolutist counterparts.
Research by the University of Sydney’s David Goodman has found that around 84% of today’s elite are direct descendants of the elite from pre-1949. This suggests that six decades of Communism may not have a dramatic impact upon the elites, who have the advantage of decades of capital accumulation — including economic, cultural and social capital — which have apparently continued to benefit them under the party-state system.
Study 1 demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples. These findings are particularly concerning, given evidence of antisocial reactions (e.g., aggression, perpetration of violence) to dehumanized targets.
People are also more disgusted by faggots than maggots despite a few decades’ worth of homosexualist propaganda.
Social engineering can make people say they approve of race mixing and fag marriage in opinion polls but can’t change base human nature.
I am no longer a big fan of the series (the only TV series I follow through the excellent cable alternative qBittorrent). It’s not even that I’m a stickler for book accuracy, or a “bookfag”; as I have pointed out, I believe that some things the show did do better. A few characters and organizations – Tywin, Bronn, the Faith Militant especially come to mind – were fleshed out better. The absence of Lady Stoneheart was a welcome departure from the book. Even Sansa’s “ordeals” with Ramsay Bolton were a bold, if questionable, plot decision.
Still, as the book/show timelines have continued to diverge, it has become increasingly clear that Benioff & Weiss (or “D&D” as they’re disparagingly called) are talentless hacks incapable of maintaining interest in the story without a constant stream of illogical “surprises” and shock deaths. The Dorne episode has been universally panned as a disaster from start to finish, and yet IMO it was still good in comparison with the ridiculous fate of Show!Stannis, who rage quit on the Baratheon family line thanks to Ramsay Bolton and his 20 good men. And Brienne just had to be there in the midst of a chaotic battle to personally put Stannis out of his misery.
Season 6 hasn’t much much of an improvement over the disaster that was the previous one.
Kingslaying is supposed to be this great taboo in Westeros, but we are to believe that the Dornish guards stood by by as their popular and benevolent ruler was cut down by his dead brother’s consort and her bastard daughters. It doesn’t even make any sense from Ellaria Sand’s viewpoint; are we really to believe that the dying wish of the man she loved would have been for her to avenge Elia Martell by… killing all of the rest of the family line? (Not even going to go into the mechanics of how the Sand Snakes managed to instantly kill that massive black dude, the captain of Doran’s guards, with a single dagger in the back). That entire scene made no sense from either common sense or the ethical framework of Westeros.
Anyhow, I found that particular scene so overly ridiculous that, on seeing it a year ago, I didn’t even bother watching the rest of the season in disgust until a week ago.
The Dorne debacle could have perhaps been excused as the price the show had to pay for putting an end to all that nonsense with the Sand Snakes. To the contrary, kinslaying and kingslaying have actually become entirely normalized affairs – in a society where Jaime Lannister faces widespread opprobrium for betraying and killing the “Mad King.” Euron openly bragged about killing his king and brother at the kingsmoot of the ironborn, apologizing only for not doing it sooner, and was duly elected king to voluble applause; at which point he immediately proceeded with a further attempt at kinslaying. Ramsay stabbed his father, Roose, and assumed lordship of House Bolton without any major problems or resistance… even though the Boltons kill and torture peasants pretty much at will, surely that should have been a step too far even for them. But apparently not.
That said, I can’t say it was too bad, especially relative to the low expectations I had developed for it. I would even say it was better than Season 5, though perhaps primarily because that was when we had to come to terms that GRRM’s story was finished, and that D&D didn’t have a tenth of his talent.
It also featured what is IMO the finest soundtrack of the entire show, by Ramin Djawadi:
What’s going to happen in Season 7? (no spoilers)
The newly crowned Cersei is in a completely untenable position. The Tyrrells, the single richest House in the Seven Kingdoms, with an army of 80,000, are now her sworn enemies; with all its direct heirs dead, the House’s matriarch Lady Olenna has nothing to lose, and has made common cause with Dorne, with its army of 50,000 spears untouched by the War of the Five Kings.
As if that isn’t enough, they have made an alliance with Daenerys, who has a host of 50,000 Dothraki horsemen, 8,000 Unsullied, a bunch of mercenaries, an armada, and three dragons. The North and the Vale are also hostile; the former has been wracked by years of war, but the latter are at their prime strength, having remained neutral in the war. At least there is the hope that the northern kingdoms are going to have their hands full now that winter has come and the White Walker invasion is imminent.
And if all that isn’t bad enough, the Lannisters’ gold mines have run dry, and the Crown owes untold amounts of septims to the Iron Bank of Bravoos (my pet theory: The Iron Bank also has the Faceless Men at their beck and call… there’s presumably a good reason why the Bank always get its due. And who’s the conveniently located Faceless Man in Westeros with a grudge against Lannisters?)
The Lannisters have, at most, perhaps 40,000 worn down troops, including the King’s Landing city guards. Furthermore, if the first episode of Season 7 is anything to go by, a significant propotion of their army now consists of green recruits.
The commonfolk, the septons, and the nobles whose friends and relatives were burned to a crisp by wildfire at the Sept of Baelor all hate Queen Cersei.
Their only allies are the Freys, who are of questionable worth in the first place, and whose continued existence is, in any case, open to doubt following Arya’s assassination of their patriarch Walder in the final episode of last season.
What do these ominous comparisons presage for the Lannisters? Their triumph, of course.
Yes, this is going to be my bet for this season. For Daenerys to put Cersei out of her misery and team up with Jon against the White Walkers would be too logical, boring, and predictable. The game of thrones will not stop even as the song of ice and fire reaches its apocalyptic crescendo – and for that to happen, Cersei will have to hang on for just a bit longer.
Here is how I think the season will go, to be proven or disproven in the next seven weeks.
Euron’s Iron Fleet will triumph over Daenerys’ armada. I don’t know how he will deal with the dragons. In the books, Euron has a horn that can “bind” dragons, but including it in the show would be too much of a deus ex machina (though nothing can be excluded with D&D). In any case, Daenerys’ armada will be destroyed and a large percentage of the Dothraki and Unsullied will have to pay their mite to the Drowned God. She herself will be confined to Dragonstone, like Stannis after his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater.
This will demoralize the Lannisters’ enemies. The Dornishmen will start asking WTF they’re doing fighting for kingslaying usurper bastards, and the lesser Houses of the Reach will rebel against the ruling Tyrrells and their Redwyine allies (the Tarlys are prime candidates to head this betrayal). Highgarden finishes the season under the gold-red flag – as well as its vast grain, manpower, and monetary resources. The Iron Bank is satiated, and extends Cersei a new loan.
Seeing no realistic chance of furthering her claim to the Iron Throne in the near future, coupled with Jon’s insistence that the real struggle is the one against the White Walkers, Daenerys will decide to follow in Stannis’ footsteps, taking her dragons and what remains of her army and fleet to the North – as well as copious dragonglass supplies. Since this is the penultimate season, the final highlight will surely be hordes of White Walkers and the undead poring south over the Wall.
Cersei will eventually meet an exceedingly sticky end, her murderer’s hands wrapping about her pale white throat and choking the life from her – at least, going by the valonqar prophecy – but that is for the last season.
On a quixotic quest to find a cheap watering hole around central Moscow. So far the best price/quality ratio I’ve found is 190 ruble beer (Siberian Corona) at the Duckstar’s chain.
There are 150 ruble beers at the Kristiss cafe by the Patriarch Ponds but it’s really bottom-tier stuff.
My favorite central Moscow bar for casual meetups remains Dati Rayka, though the beers there are pricier at 250-300 rubles.
I went to my first Indian restaurant in Moscow, Aromass, last Tuesday. Unimpressive, at least relative to what I was used to in West and Tandoor in SPB. The samosas were cool and bland, the naan seemed store-bought, the curries and palak paneer were underwhelming, the masala chai had a predominantly bitter flavor instead of the mix of spices it should be, though the service was nice. Are there any other Indian restaurant recommendations in Moscow?
* Timeline of anti-ageing developments since 2015.
* G.K. Chesterton on eugenics: In this sense people say of Eugenics, “After all, whenever we discourage a schoolboy from marrying a mad negress with a hump back, we are really Eugenists.” Again one can only answer, “Confine yourselves strictly to such schoolboys as are naturally attracted to hump-backed negresses; and you may exult in the title of Eugenist, all the more proudly because that distinction will be rare.” (h/t Anon)
* Russian economics/demographics blogger zemfort1983 estimates Russia’s population, adjusting for undocumented longterm Central Asian residents and other factors, at 150.1 million versus the official 146.7 million as of 2016.
In the article “The Kyrgyz again got a gift of $240 million Russian money” it says the following: “The Russian Federation has sinned against the Kyrgyz. Russian skinheads forced a simple guy from the town of Osh, Akbardzhon Djalilov, to blow himself up in the metro.” (This is in reference to the SPB metro terrorist attack).
Which social/ethnic group, exactly, is this supposed to “insult”? Russian skinheads? /s
Or maybe, as Israel Shamir posits, this is a Jewish plot to sabotage Russian relations with the great superpower of Kyrgyzstan.
Anyhow, as I suspected, the lameness of the justifications goes to confirm that the authorities have had it with Sputnik i Pogrom and with nationalists who refuse to toe the Kremlin line.
* One LDPR deputy is going to send an official request for clarification to the Prosecutor General asking for an explanation as to why it was blocked. Reminder that Zhirinovsky has also come out against this, as has at least one Communist deputy.
* Incidentally, I can still access Sputnik i Pogrom without any workarounds with Rostelekom. #BasedISP
* John Helmer: The new proposed US sanctions directly target Kremlin-friendly oligarchs: “… lines of credit to international banks; the brokers, repositories and clearinghouses of their shares and bonds; their trade with the US and Europe; their US companies, bank accounts, boats on the high seas and homes abroad. If targeting the oligarchs is followed by formal sanctions, the aim will be to destroy their power at home and abroad.”
* Leonid Bershidsky on how Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer figuring in the latest round of the Russiagate scandal, is actually a minor, unimportant figure.
* Russia’s leading libertarian Mikhail Svetov appears to have written an inordinate amount of pro-pedophilia blog posts several years back (according to some cyber-sleuthing by ROGPR contributor @pigdog).
Anatol, being against Jews is the essence of Right Nationalism, and Left Nationalism. It is not “weird obsession”. You can read a very anti-Jewish author Simone Weil (d. 1944) who explains that by “Jews are the poison of uprooting”, the sentence that T.S. Eliot used much. Jews-friendly Nationalism is a clear sign of manipulated lot. Your “do not care” shows that you are not aware of metaphysical depth of Nationalism. For you it is just a form of Neo-Darwinism. But people are not squirrels, and nationalism without metaphysics is tribalism, like a Georgian-Abkhaz quarrel.
* Macron is becoming even more of a /pol/ meme. His comments on African fertility have managed to trigger Ross Douthat.
Anyhow, it’s not yet time for existential panic. He’s still liberalism.txt to a tee.
I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.
One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.
Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.
This is not so much meant to be comprehensive as to illustrate the themes and individual thinkers whom I follow and am inspired by.
I do not bother including any MSM outlets, since I’m sure they can do just fine without my publicity.
Blogs which I consider to be particularly good and/or prominent are highlighted in bold, and blogs that appear to have gone dormant appear at the end in italics. While I try to keep these things objective, if you include me in your blogroll that does vastly increase the chances that I’ll reciprocate.