From the blog of George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones:
Sep. 10th, 2017 at 3:51 PM
Jerry Pournelle has passed away. He was 84.
… Pournelle has been a major figure in the field for as long as I have been a part of it. I first met him in 1973 at the worldcon in Toronto, where both of us were finalists for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer (along with Lisa Tuttle, Ruth Berman, George Alec Effinger, and Robert Thurston). …
I came out of the night all right. It was an honor, a huge honor, just to be nominated. And in the aftermath I came up with the idea of a Campbell Awards anthology. A couple editors told me it was an idea worth pursuing, but of course I needed to get all the nominees to sign on… and the key one was Jerry, the winner. So I bought him a drink and pitched him the notion, and he said yes (though, being the consummate pro, he made that contingent on me being able to pay competitive professional rates). Eventually that conversation led to my NEW VOICES anthology, and launched my career as an editor and anthologist… and I’m still going strong there, forty-four years later.
The Hugo voters knew what they were doing when they gave Pournelle that first Campbell; he went on to have an amazing career, both on his own and in collaboration with other writers, particularly Larry Niven. With INFERNO, LUCIFER’S HAMMER, FOOTFALL, and (especially) MOTE IN GOD’S EYE, the two of them helped transform the field in the 70s. They were among the very first SF writers ever to hit the big bestseller lists, and among the first to get six-figure advances at the time when most writers were still getting four figure advances… something that Jerry was never shy about mentioning. Though he was nominated for a number of Hugo Awards in the years that followed, he never won one… but if that bothered him, he did not show it. “Money will get you through times of no Hugos better than Hugos will get...
From The Guardian:
Tuesday 19 September 2017
… As this latest controversy shows, science also has its monuments to white supremacy. Like Confederate monuments, these statues should be removed. They are daggers to the open wounds of communities that have long known that white supremacy reaches far beyond the sphere of conventional politics into medicine and science. But removing these monuments won’t be sufficient on its own. …
There are also institutional monuments within science to be revisited. Britain’s prestigious biomedical research institute, the Crick, is named after Francis Crick, famous for his Nobel-prizewinning work on the double helix structure of DNA with James Watson. Both were proponents of eugenics. In the early 1970s, Crick defended other prominent racist scientists who proposed a plan where individuals deemed unfit would be paid to undergo sterilisation. Crick wrote in one letter that “more than half of the difference between the average IQ of American whites and Negroes is due to genetic reasons”, which “will not be eliminated by any foreseeable change in the environment”. He urged that steps be taken to avoid the “serious” consequences. Crick also proposed that “irresponsible people” be sterilised “by bribery”. In the brochure of the institute bearing his name, Crick is nonetheless presented as a scientific hero known for his “intelligence and openness to new ideas”.
Indeed, Sir Francis Crick’s parents named him after the archdemon Sir Francis Galton. So what more do you need to know about Crick’s innate, hereditary evilness?
… A controversial memo recently circulated by a Google engineer, for example, based its claim that women are less capable than men in certain jobs on evolutionary psychology – a claim that, as physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein subsequently wrote, gains legitimacy from...
Usually, a lot of NFL quarterbacks rack up impressive statistics in the first few games of the season because they start off uninjured and the weather is good. Then autumn blows in, injuries take their toll, and statistics come back down to earth.
This year, however, the passing statistics in the first two weeks seem more like December than September. The average ESPN QBR rating for the 32 main quarterbacks is only 48.8 (on a 0 to 100 scale), compared to 57.1 for the top 30 quarterbacks for all of last season.
Did the hurricane last Sunday cause bad weather across much of the country? Did they change some rule to make it harder on quarterbacks?
From the Duluth News Tribune:
By News Tribune Today at 5:10 p.m. September 18, 2017
Seems like a pretty Minnesotan-level of vandalism…
Someone sprayed dark spray paint over part of the wording on Duluth’s Leif Erikson statue over the weekend. …
The vandal painted over the portion of the wording that listed Erikson as being the “Discoverer of America” in 1000 AD, a claim that’s still the subject of much historical debate.
Some people say that, no matter what European got here when, America didn’t need to be discovered: It was already home to Native Americans and had been for centuries.
This is a rather hearty-looking statue. It might not be that easy to topple when the time comes.
From DNA Info:
By Tanveer Ali | September 14, 2017 2:21pm | Updated on September 15, 2017 11:38am
CHICAGO — Hispanics are officially the second-largest ethnic or racial group in Chicago, based on Census data released Thursday.
Hispanics formed 29.7 percent of Chicago’s population in 2016, based on Census estimates. The population climbed 17,751 over the previous year to 803,476.
Meanwhile the black population dropped by more than 40,000 in one year. There are now 793,852 black Chicagoans, about 29.3 percent of the population.
Since 2000, Chicago’s black population has dropped by more than 250,000 people.
As I’ve often mentioned, there is a huge amount of real estate profit to be made by population transfers of blacks out of potentially valuable inner city locations. You can’t understand the roots of the Obama Administration, or so many of its key figures, such as consigliere Valerie Jarrett, finance chief and cabinet secretary Penny Pritzker, first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, second chief of staff William Daley, and so forth, without comprehending this long push to cut Chicago’s black population.
Similarly, the Obama Administration tried to cripple the ability of less desirable locations, such as Ferguson and Dubuque, to resist getting Chicago’s unwanted ex-residents dumped on them.
No infiltrations from the Sinai Peninsula were recorded over the past 12 months, Population and Immigration Authority says
More than 2,400 illegal migrants were deported during the same period
Some 38,000 African migrants live in Israel illegally.
September 18, 2017
Not a single infiltration from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel was recorded over the past 12 months, the Population and Immigration Authority said on Sunday.
Officials credit this surprising statistic to the fence Israel built along its border with Egypt several years ago.
In 2016, only 18 people managed to cross into Israel from Egypt illegally while in 2015 the number of such infiltrators stood at 220.
You might think that Nancy Pelosi would be getting some appreciation from the Coalition of the Fringes for her efforts over the last week, but no …
“All of us or none of us!”
Okay, I can live with that …
Deplatforming is only carried out by the left against anyone even slightly to the right of them (e.g., Bernie’s Speechless in Seattle humiliation).
In contrast, here is Bernie being welcomed to give a speech at the Falwells’ Liberty University.
Ravens call off DNA Day as biotech firm talks to state
10:24 AM PT
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens announced that they have rescheduled DNA Day about 2 1/2 hours before the kickoff of their home opener.
The Ravens had planned to give out free DNA test kits to fans as they entered the stadium. …
Fans would’ve been able to swab the inside of their cheek, drop the sample into a stadium bin and register with the company online. …
Retired Ravens legend Ray Lewis probably doesn’t want anyone getting a copy of his DNA, just to be on the safe side.
I have finally had it with Amazon.
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.
Judging from my forum thread at Amazon, many people have similar complaints.
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...
East-Central Europe – the Visegrad nations and the Balts – are commonly considered to have had far better post-Communist transitions than Russia. They started earlier, and from a more privileged position; in contrast, the Soviet economy was more distorted in the first place, and there were no living memories of prewar capitalism. They got more economic and institutional support from the West. There was no haphazard rush to privatize state assets, preempting the development of a powerful oligarch class that in Russia’s case has become a byword for sleaze and boorishness.
One positive result of this was a generally much lower degree of income inequality than in Russia.
This conventional view is mostly true.
Finally, the large negative foreign asset positions of Eastern European countries should obviously be put in relation to the fact that these countries have adopted a development strategy based upon economic and political integration within the European Union. Eastern European countries are largely foreign-owned, but the owners tend to come from EU countries (in particular from Germany). So in some sense it is not entirely different from the situation of peripheral regions that are being owned by more prosperous central regions in a large federal country.
It is also worth noting that these patterns of foreign ownership also have consequences for the study of domestic inequality. In particular, as demonstrated by Novokmet (2017), the fact the holders of top capital incomes tend to be foreigners rather than domestic residents contributes to lower top income shares in countries like the Czech Republic or Poland or Hungary (as compared to countries like Russia or Germany). I.e. foreign owned countries tend to have less domestic inequality (other things equal).
In other words, a lower net international investment p...
According to the latest estimates, Russia might harvest as much as 133 million tons of grain this year.
This would make 2017 a record harvest not just by post-Soviet standards, which were pretty dismal until the past decade, but relative to the RSFSR’s peak of 127.4mn tons in 1978.
(This is the case even after adjusting for Crimea’s absence from the RSFSR after 1954, since the parched peninsula only produces about a million tons of grain per year).
The US Department of Agriculture predicts that Russia will overtake the US and the EU to become the world’s largest single wheat exporter in 2017, accounting for a sixth of the world’s total and recovering its old Tsarist status as one of the world’s great breadbaskets.
Incidentally, if it were to also recover its Tsarist era borders, especially the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, it would account for about a third of world wheat exports.
One of the big proximate reasons for this are recent economic developments. Few sectors of the Russian economy have gained as much from the ruble devaluation and the sanctions as agriculture.
However, there are strong secular trends that Russia’s new breadbasket status is here to stay.
The world population is growing, and the climate is warming. This will raise global demand for calories, channeling investment into Russian agriculture, even as crop yields go up thanks to longer growing seasons and more atmospheric CO2, and previously inhospitable lands are opened up for agricultural exploitation.
Russia is predicted to economically benefit more than any other country from global warming, and relatively speaking, agriculture can be expected to benefit more than any other sector. Meanwhile, conviently, major competitors such as Australia and the US will be wracked by droughts.
Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, where grain imports were running at 30 million tons by the 1980s – that is, about as much as just Russia by itself now exports –...
The other day the Chechen social media page vk.com/karfagen was banned.
This is not surprising, considering that it was genuinely extremist from head to toe, though it is perhaps telling of the Russian state’s priorities that it took longer for Roskomnadzor to catch onto them than it did for it to illegally block the moderate Russian nationalist website Sputnik i Pogrom.
The ban came a few hours after a Meduza article by Daniil Turovsky on the webside, which was translated into English by Kevin Rothrock. The website, allegedly run by a 19 year old Chechen student, was devoted to harassing young women who shared “immoral” photos on social media, including posting their addresses and relatives’ contact details. If that resulted in honor killings, that’s just too bad, one of the Carthage activists shouted in all caps: “IF I FIND OUT THAT SOME VAINAKH FAMILY HAS KILLED THEIR OWN DAUGHTER FOR SOME SERIOUS OFFENSE, THEN I WILL STAND UP AND APPLAUD, BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.” Women were forbidden from commenting.
Apart from doing their bit to make White Sharia real in Chechnya, the Carthage activists also embraced a sort of horseshoe theory Islamism (“You’re trying to distort our religion, publicly promoting the slogan ‘Islam is a religion of peace and good’”), as well as ultranationalist rhetoric. As with women, this extended to website administration; a tenth of the user base identified as Russians were kicked out in September. This is connected with Carthage billing itself as a “youth movement for the purification of the Vainakh people.” They did not mince words about their opinions of the Russian kuffar, who “pair off with anyone they want like animals” and “conceive children in the nightclub toilets.” Although they don’t promote Chechen independence, that is clearly driven by pragmatic reasons: “Chechnya is currently a subject of the Russian Federation,...
Liberal electoral victories in Moscow compared to the prevalence of those ultimate SWPL status symbols, bike sharing stations…
… the upscale organic food store Azbuka Vkusa…
… and concentrations of nomenklatura housing as of 1989.
At first glance, one of these is not like the others.
But that’s not all that surprising.
Dig into the family histories of the Russian liberals, as they are disparagingly called, and all sorts of Communist and chekist skeletons tumble out of the closet.
On September 10 there was a round of gubernatorial elections in Russia, as well as elections to local councils in Moscow.
There’s a lot of confusion on account of whether it was a victory for United Russia.
On the one hand, the low turnout – which traditionally favors more motivated liberals – allowed them to outright win most of the prestigious areas of Moscow.
Amazing correlation between liberal victories (green) and bike sharing stations, that ultimate SWPL symbol.
On the other hand, United Russia did score 76% even in Moscow, gaining 1,150 deputies out 1,500. In contrast, liberal opposition, with 180 deputies, didn’t even manage to gather enough mandates to pass the municipal filter for participation in the Mayoral elections in September 2018. Since municipal councils in Moscow are toothless, having no access to the city budget and answering for little more than park benches, this would seem to be irrelevant.
That said, one thing that most people agree on is that this was a defeat for Navalny. He had distanced himself from the Moscow elections, not out of ideological reasons but personal ones; his deputy Leonid Volkov had fallen out with Maxim Kats, a liberal hipster figurehead who went on to unite with Dmitry Gudkov to form the United Democrats, the anti-Putin opposition bloc that went on to sweep SWPLy Moscow in close cooperation with Yavlinsky’s Yabloko. Incidentally, their positions are radically anti-Russian, more so even than Navalny’s; according to insider accounts, disavowal of Crimea – to say nothing of the Donbass – was a hard condition of entry into their coalition. Although this performance might not be that impressive in the large picture, it still probably counts for more than the number of Navalny’s YouTube views.
How important is this development? Probably, not very.
First, turnout was only 15%, and this naturally favored the liberals, who are more motivated than average.
Second, this pattern...
The conventional view of nationalism is that it was a product of mass literacy and the modern state, underpinned by schoolbooks and Tombs of the Unknown Soldier. Recent years have seen challenges to this historiographic consensus at both a general level (e.g. Azar Gat’s Nations), and with respect to specific peoples (Robert Tomb’s recent The English and Their History comes to mind).
Our latest translation of Russian conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov is more than just a Russian contribution to this debate. It makes the much more radical argument that not only was Russia not a laggard in the process of nation-building, as European historiography has long claimed, but was at the very forefront of this process for longer than a millennium, from Novgorod’s implicit devotion to the Russian commonweal in the 13th century to Russia’s defense of a “Europe of Fatherlands” against the globalist tide of national annihilation today.
by Egor Kholmogorov
Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus
Sometimes I hear that saying “patriotism as a national idea” is akin to saying that water is wet. However, this argument comes from people with a very superficial understanding of how difficult it is to be patriot given that, unlike a comfortable cosmopolitanism, patriotism is the path of struggle. Also, they fail to realize how important the contribution of Russia and Russian culture is to shaping the very phenomenon of a patriotic consciousness in the modern world. The Russians developed patriotism as a national idea far earlier than most European nations. And it is Russia that keeps its faith in a “Europe of Fatherlands” or a “World of Fatherlands” in today’s age of identity erasure.
“Russia is the Motherland of elephants.” This zinger, coined as a mockery of Russian...
Anti-Myanmar protest in a nominally Russian region. Source: Елена Афонина / ТАСС / Scanpix / LETA
Photogenic female face of resistance to the junta and Nobel Peace Prize winner comes to power as de facto leader of Myanmar.
Some of Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments about a certain Muslim minority in her country up to that point had been disconcerting for NYT readers, but still, that wasn’t a big deal. It’s not like a Myanmar is a European country and the Rohingya are Chechens in the 1990s (though in that situation, it was the Chechens doing all the ethnic cleansing).
Anyhow, her government proceeds to step up statutory discrimination against said Muslim minority ramps up to what now appears to be large-scale ethnic cleansing.
Now China is friends with Myanmar, good location for a port and an outlet into the Indian Ocean not dependent on the Malacca Straits, and regularly vetoes all UN resolutions against Myanmar. Russia is friends with China, and supports it on these vetoes, just as China does likewise for Russia in Europe. Some bellicose Muslim minority isn’t going to bother them, especially considering that both of them have their own Rohingyas in the form of the Uyghurs and the Chechens.
There’s more WEIRD os who care about such sentimental stuff in the West, of course, but what with Trump’s latest adventures and Best Korea throwing about missiles every other day, there’s plenty of far more interesting stuff to occupy their attention. Besides, there’s no oil in Myanmar, and coming out too stridently against a female resistance leader they had patronized for decades would be a bit awkward.
Fortunately, there was someone to take up the slack, /ourguy/ Ramzan “White Sharia” Kadyrov.
He was very triggered and cried on Intagram all about it.
Soon after, a thousand strong crowd of Muslims gathered around the Myanmar Embassy in Moscow with their usual Allah Snackbars and the less usual “Buddhists...