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    It's now been about two weeks since Roskomnadzor has started (trying to) block the Telegram messaging app within Russia. Let's review what has been achieved: 1. 15-20 million IPs have been continuously blocked since mid-April, affecting cloud servers used by legitimate enterprises and news sites within Russia. 2. Meanwhile, Telegram itself hasn't been blocked. 3....
  • @Thorfinnsson
    The Enlightenment has French origins, not British.

    The Kaiserreich resisted political liberalism and the suffragettes, but it also featured highly developed homo-sexualism.

    Demotism is a stupid concept.

    Russians are prone to paint Western civilization as damaged goods for obvious reasons.

    My critique comes from a Med point of view instead of Russian. I will readily admit that Meds have been pretty much languishing, and despite important Italian contributions to the advent of more modern forms of banking and commerce, arts, and early scientific breakthroughs, Northwestern euros were quick to take over with a much longer list of scientific advances, mass literacy, and early industrialism- pretty quickly the history of the West and its achievements gets confused with theirs. Starting from the late Renaissance and on, with Meds being the losers/laggards of the story.

    Much like we can admire the contributions of the ancient Mediterranean to human civilization while recognizing its failings and long decline- a similar attitude will soon be necessary with the “West” which is experiencing nothing short of decadence and quick degeneration. A few more decades under neoliberal regimes and current ailments will become totally crippling and impossible to reverse- if only because of demographics. Forming a huge class of helots malcontents is always a double-edged sword, as the history of Sparta testifies. For centuries the power of the polity rested on toiling Messenians they reduced to the status of semi-slaves while Spartans would remain professional warriors. Until the Thebans finally freed the Messenians after the battle of Leuctra in 371. Spartan power was then irreversibly and terminally diminished having lost most of its helot population, now permanently hostile and allied to foreigners. The lesson here is that having your turf (Peloponnesus) swamped with masses of inferior status is never a good idea for long term stability.

    The Enlightenment has French origins, not British.

    Anglomanie was a thing in France https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglomanie and British ideas are often advanced as the early influence of the Lumières by French historians.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, finding a mechanism to maintain a steady state between progress and poz is a very hard, but critical - some might say the critical - problem of political science.

    Do we know that for sure? If we take imperial Germany we see a society that achieved technological and scientific primacy, and affluence with standards of living quickly growing and steadily converging toward British levels all the way into WWI- all under a conservative social order and without succumbing to demotism.

    Can we infer that their society would necessarily have suffered the same cultural degeneracy, tendency toward cultural self-destruction over the long term, as observed in Anglo-American countries with the steady march of material and technological progress? Or is the problem specifically rooted in Anglo-Saxon culture? Alternatively the problem may be deeper, as Felix Keverich writes, a deeper flaw in Western civilization and Enlightenment values (which have British origins ultimately anyway). Ultimately an affliction of North-Western Euros. Watching how an advanced country like Japan can largely avoid these tendencies (and probably China too, but we’d have to wait a little longer to be sure), there is food for thought.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Enlightenment has French origins, not British.

    The Kaiserreich resisted political liberalism and the suffragettes, but it also featured highly developed homo-sexualism.

    Demotism is a stupid concept.

    Russians are prone to paint Western civilization as damaged goods for obvious reasons.
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  • Karl Marx - Capital. Rating: 2/10 I did earnestly try to read Capital on about three separate occasions in my early twenties, before I wised up and stopped wasting my time on a pointless historical relic. At a basic level, Marx is just a very poor writer, and I say this as someone who read...
  • @AP

    While you’re correct that Freud mostly sold his snake oil to the educated classes, which were probably otherwise of higher quality than they are today (if only because they were a smaller, much more select group), but Freud really was a total fraud,
     
    Nonsense. And some of his insights are even finding empirical support.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2014/april/14-the-second-coming-of-sigmund-freud

    Skip the article's sentimental stories in the beginning and you get

    They could do worse than look to Freud for inspiration, suggests Eric Kandel of Columbia University, a Nobel Prize-winning expert on learning and memory and one of the most respected voices in neuroscience. “Flawed as it may be, Freud’s is still a coherent and intellectually satisfying view of the mind,” says Kandel. “You can’t have a meaningful science of the brain without having a meaningful science of the mind.”

    "Although many details of Freud’s theories are wrong, some of his major ideas have been borne out. One of those trailblazing observations concerns the scope and influence of unconscious thought"..

    In a study that is now legend, cognitive scientist Benjamin Libet asked people to press a button whenever they felt like it while he monitored the electrical activity in their brains. He could see that movement-controlling brain regions become active about a quarter of a second before subjects said they’d consciously decided to push the button. Some unconscious part of the brain decided well before the conscious mind did.

    Since then, thousands of studies have proven that people process most information, especially social data like other people’s behavior, unconsciously. We also make many decisions without much input from conscious thought. If anything, Freud underestimated the power and sophistication of unconscious thought, says social psychologist Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia. The nature of unconscious thought that emerges from contemporary experiments is radically different from what Freud posited so many years ago: It looks more like a fast, efficient way to process large volumes of data and less like a zone of impulses and fantasies. But he was absolutely right to put it at the center of psychology.

    Another Freudian premise that reappears in current science is that our minds are inherently conflicted, the terrain of a struggle between instinctual impulses and inhibitory mechanisms. Instead of the Freudian terms idand ego, biologists use neuroanatomical descriptions: Motivations like pleasure and reward arise from circuits in the limbic system, a center of emotion, loosely parallel to the id. The prefrontal cortex handles self-control and the override of habitual responses, sort of like the ego. The difference isn’t just a matter of terminology; Freud’s id was a chaotic zone that inspired barbaric, unpredictable behavior, whereas the limbic system is tightly regulated, the origin of rigid and inflexible emotional reactions. But the big picture — of a mind at war with itself — is fundamentally the same, says Bradley Peterson, chief of child psychiatry and director of MRI research at Columbia University, who also trained as a psychoanalyst. "
     
    Etc., etc.

    :::::::::::

    His wholesale rejection in some circles (not nearly as much in elite ones) is symptomatic of a general dumbing down of elite society. As is the popularity of pop versions of his ideas in the humanities.

    Gregory Cochran positively hates him. I’ll find the time, someday, to read Michel Onfray’s book about him, where iirc he absolutely savages him for his scientific “input” but still finds some value in him as a philosopher.

    Having had the intuition of unconscious thought carries as much scientific validity as Democritus making a lucky guess about the existence of atoms, though.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It's a typical historical pattern. A certain worldview predominates over a generation. Later generations have to violently oppose and discredit it, in order to escape.

    But that requires exaggerating a little in the other direction.


    We have a similar situation with discussions of existence of racial differences in group intelligence/personality. And in questions of acquired characteristics.

    Having had the intuition of unconscious thought carries as much scientific validity as Democritus making a lucky guess about the existence of atoms, though.

     

    Democritus had no ability to do experiments, and no systematic knowledge of the field. So it is not comparable to modern physics.

    Whereas psychology has not yet made any revolutionary steps to systematic knowledge, and is still in the barbaric stage.

    The main difference between Freud/Jung, and the current psychology, is that they had a terrible methodology from even a social-science perspective, using stories of individual patients as their evidence, and their own philosophical beliefs and random intuitions.

    Whereas in current psychology, there is a strong belief in methodology that uses representative samples, statistical significances, etc.

    The newer psychology is obviously an improvement - but it still has no real theory of consciousness, or of systematic physical correlates of consciousness, so it is still not close to approaching a (non-social) scientific standard.
    , @5371
    Anyone who thinks Freud intuited the unconscious has never read, or even read much about, Hartmann or Schopenhauer.
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  • Am in London again (that that I particularly want to be), will probably visit Aarhus, Denmark in mid-May (conference). Thinking of going to Denmark by train through the Netherlands, finances permitting. I have yet to visit the Dutch. I have finally picked up my copy of Heiner Rindermann's Cognitive Capital here. Will hopefully soon add...
  • @reiner Tor

    I believe however that it’s fear.
     
    So what. Stalin’s terror was also largely driven by fear — fear of both foreign powers and internal opposition. Yet it would be wrong to think he was weak. Hitler thought so, but he was wrong.

    It’s not an existential fear. Just the fear of a waning dominance, of losing the empire.

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  • @reiner Tor
    They are acting with impunity. Meanwhile they are imposing enormous economic costs on Russia, with very few ways for Russia to retaliate, and Russia not doing even what little it could do in retaliation for fear of inviting more sanctions.

    You are mistaking craziness for weakness. The US is still strong. Even if it will collapse in a decade (I doubt, but who knows), for the moment it is still extremely strong. Just like the USSR was enormously powerful almost up to the moment it collapsed, and even beyond: it took several years for the US elites to get emboldened enough to start baiting the bear.

    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it’s fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Syria so far is a loss for the US, but usually in most conflicts the losing side can point to local tactical or operational victories, while losing on the strategic level.

    Currently Russia is bleeding white economically, while the US lost a marginal battle which is only important to it due to an ethnic lobby group.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak. The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    The economy is the cornerstone of any sustained conflict (cold or hot), and the US is still very strong in that area.
    , @reiner Tor

    I believe however that it’s fear.
     
    So what. Stalin’s terror was also largely driven by fear — fear of both foreign powers and internal opposition. Yet it would be wrong to think he was weak. Hitler thought so, but he was wrong.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    The fear is of the internal opposition, i.e. the deplorables. We're an emerging ruling class which seeks to replace the existing ossified (and deeply corrupt and evil one) one.

    A good way to understand this is by analyzing this in religious terms.

    The Cathedral (Moldbug's term) is the Catholic Church. The deplorables are the Protestant Reformation.

    Increasing censorship, conspiracy theories, etc. are the Counter-Reformation.

    Of course, the Cathedral lacks the self-awareness and intellectual firepower of early modern Catholic intellectuals.

    A more recent and secular example would be the Restoration, Holy Alliance, Carlsbad Decrees, etc.
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  • @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    oftentimes acting erratically, with excess and hysteria isn’t a sign of strength.

    In the Valdai Club article Anatoly linked above, the speaker Chen Dongxiao states “the US itself, where social instability is growing, is becoming the most unstable power in the world. ” Is it not a factual statement?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They are acting with impunity. Meanwhile they are imposing enormous economic costs on Russia, with very few ways for Russia to retaliate, and Russia not doing even what little it could do in retaliation for fear of inviting more sanctions.

    You are mistaking craziness for weakness. The US is still strong. Even if it will collapse in a decade (I doubt, but who knows), for the moment it is still extremely strong. Just like the USSR was enormously powerful almost up to the moment it collapsed, and even beyond: it took several years for the US elites to get emboldened enough to start baiting the bear.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I got the opportunity to meet up with commenter AP this week. Had a very pleasant conversation with him, if a pretty short one as was necessitated by his busy schedule. I had been hoping to do a long post on my travels in Portugal, not nuclear war, this week. Will hopefully get that up...
  • people are always saying manned missions to the Moon or Mars are completely wasteful, that robots are the way to go, and so on…

    Few things like space travel, and all the more so manned space travel, can galvanize a nation. I think NASA estimated the cost of a manned mission to Mars to approach $100 billion.

    Now compare with the sports industries, worldwide it’s valued at several hundreds billion dollars. My argument is that walking on Mars is orders of magnitude more elevating, exhilarating than any sporting event will ever be. Doesn’t only emulate physical prowess, but also creates motivation for scientific inquiry and educational excellence. Carrying humans is a great burden on any space mission, it’s only feasible through several innovations (some of the most challenging will be to shield the crew from radiations); but like for Apollo the engineering solutions will most likely find other uses for decades thereafter. And finally if NASA estimates it at $100 billion, Russian and Chinese space agencies can probably do it for less.

    I would be very surprised if Russia goes alone. You’re probably looking at a joint Russian-Chinese program and crew perhaps with small contribution from other nations, and a rival US-EU one which would probably have a more “globish” flavor- I assume it will take great care that its crew allows for racial and sexual “diversity”.

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  • There are some fairly good reasons in favor of Russia's decision to intervene in Syria, which is why I have always been modestly if unenthusiastically supportive of it: It is basically a giant and continuous live training exercise for Russian pilots and generals, making it almost "free" in financial terms. The value of the Khmeimim...
  • @Philip Owen
    See my further comments to FB 986 and 989.

    again, more odd assumptions piled on the others. The site has seen daylight two times since the night strike.
    Barzeh is within Damascus safer zones and suffered no significant destruction. Here, they have a pre-strike image for 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/15/satellite-pictures-show-damage-done-western-strikes-assad-chemical/

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    • Replies: @FB
    Thanks for yet more nails in the coffin for our Palm Oil Salesman...

    I would say that maybe one or two missiles out of those 76 got through...maybe three tops...based on the show off video of the mighty T-hawk I posted above...

    Even one 450 kg charge is enough to bring down a building or sink a ship...

    76 of those would leave a massive crater filled with nothing but pebble sized debris...

    What do you say Dr. Phil...?

    How does it feel to be a punching bag...?


    http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/punch.jpg

    HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW
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  • @Philip Owen
    My point is that maybe the glass isn't even broken. That it is a demolition site anyway. No actual explosions at the time of the picture or maybe anytime.

    too many assumptions. The complex hosted was a research center for things like cancer treatment and antivenom and was inspected by OPCW last November (nothing out of the ordinary was found but of course Trump May and Macron know better)

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    See my further comments to FB 986 and 989.
    , @RobinG
    Yes, B. ______ BARZEH COMPLEX in DAMASCUS

    Scientist gives tour of smoldering site of missile strike in Syria

    Scientist Sayed said his office was there. "Yes, where you see the smoke," he said. He's been here for 38 years and said he cried when he saw this place Saturday -- his life's work destroyed.

    He said it's "totally incorrect" that chemical weapons were being developed there. "The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited here and didn't report anything wrong with this place."

    Syrians are adamant that this was not a place to develop chemical weapons but rather a place of learning – a research institution where they developed things like pharmaceuticals. What's clear now is that it's gone..

    A package on the side of the road is anti-venom, which Sayed says is what they were producing. Sayed told us this airstrikes took his livelihood.

    It's a big institution, but Sayed said it isn't possible that things were going on that he didn't know about.

    CBS News looked into the OPCW report from Barzeh and it noted the Syrians had delayed the visit for security concerns, but didn't find any red flags. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/syria-airstrikes-brazeh-complex-damascus-2018-04-14/
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhW2G-ynvBc
    Assessing the damage of the airstrikes in Syria
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  • @for-the-record
    There is a reason why normies tend to believe Western governments more than the Russians, be it the Skripals or anything else.

    Clearly there is a strong case to be made for this, no one in his right mind would trust Sergei Lavrov more than Boris Johnson (or Vladimir Putin more than Theresa May).

    let Reiner judge by himself, about US claims of 0 intercepts and 76 cruise missiles on this facility.
    Or the Douma incident altogether. Or heck, the whole moderate rebels crock of shit. Normies follow the western narratives because of superior accuracy and subtlety? More like, cargo cultism, or a kind of classism, it seems.

    The day when the list of Chinese millionaires in dollars surpasses that of Americans, you may start to see normies imitating their tastes, the high end brands they consume, the art they crave, probably too, the narratives they spin.

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  • Certainly seems so to me. AltRight.com's Vincent Law was pretty optimistic at the start of 2017: "Overall assessment of the situation: Feels great, man." Only problem is - it appears that he either left them or was fired, which means that AltRight.com is no longer even worth following (Greg Hood is good but posts too...
  • @reiner Tor
    Aren’t the Saudi weapons handled by mercenaries? Mostly from Pakistan, some from the USA and other western countries. I’d think even the Pakis could be taught to handle sophisticated equipment (they can operate nukes, after all), but what they cannot teach them, they could rent some Americans to do it for them.

    That’s what I tend to think as well, that Americans are manning these systems. I suppose Saudi royals can demand and obtain this, but it doesn’t seem we can find open-source information confirming or infirming

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  • OT

    Yemenis have been sending several missiles at the Saudi Kingdom, as far as Riyadh, with several airport targeted in the country. Some footage of spectacular failure at interception by Patriot batteries

    Missile parts fell on main streets of Riyadh. And during this same night, Israel so-called Iron dome inexplicably fired 10 missiles over what was described as a “false alarm”, with IDF admitting later there were actually no incoming rockets.

    Coincidence? It’s as if someone was keen to demonstrate the failure of Western AD tonight, and by extension destroy the false sense of security associated with these systems.

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    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    I don't know much about the capabilities of the Israeli army but I think that it is a widely accepted view that the KSA is incapable of handling much of their military equipment along with being just generally incompetent, so maybe it is merely coincidence like it looks like?
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  • Since the Russian election is taking place on the anniversary of Crimea's incorporation into Russia - an intentional play to increase turnout - now is as good a time as any to reflect on the complete failure of the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Adepts of Putin's "Clever Plan" have predicted all twelve of the Ukraine's...
  • Lots of prose about plans that are no doubt as realistic as Israel’s boasts that it could take out Iranian nuclear sites. Which are completely unhinged.

    PS, Hezbollah has also stockpiled longer range guided missiles, and the Iron Dome is more sieve than dome.

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  • In his September 1, 2017 speech to incoming Russian schoolchildren, Putin made waves by proclaiming that whoever becomes the leader in AI will become "ruler of the world." This provoked a variety of reactions, from Elon Musk commenting on his belief that competition for AI superiority will be the likeliest cause of World War III...
  • @Dmitry

    But should Russia really strive to be a leader in science and tech? Copying and adopting existing tech is much less expensive anyway, especially in burgeoning IT sectors.
     
    This is true to some extent - that catching up on 'technology gap', is cheaper than creating the technology itself.

    But there are huge disadvantages - as the Chinese are starting to realize. If Apple for example, is producing its products in China, a large portion of its production is contributing to Chinese GDP. But at the same time, high profits are skimmed off and repatriated to the company HQ country.


    What is absolutely crucial is having a cutting edge military-industrial complex, and this is precisely what Russia is concentrating on and has a recognized success in. Then there are strategic, civilian industries that matter for national independence and preferably most resources available should be allocated to them.
     
    This has industry has comparatively little impact on GDP, and it's more a product of having a large GDP, than a cause of it. E.g. Americans can spend more on their military than the rest of the world combined, because of their large GDP.

    This said, research and training done in relation to military projects, should be able to carry over into civilian sector. This is an area (civilian-military crossover) which seems there could have been a lot of improvement.


    Considering the combined effect of sanctions, military pressure, being shunned or downgraded from a number of Western-led institutions, and the capital flight encouraged by all the former, how many trillions of dollars have been shaven off Russia’s GDP, anyway?
     
    I think not so much at all. This is an area where the West is less impact than it pretends.

    UK especially has no 'options' to hurt Russia - as any serious restrictions would harm their own economy (which is relying on a lot of Russian investment), more than they could hurt Russia.

    The recession in 2014-16, which Western media boasts about causing - was really more because of an oil price fall due to world over-production.

    I should clarify what I meant with the depressed GDP. Simply using a (completely implausible) counterfactual where Russia is peacefully integrated to the West (what Gorbatchev, I read left and right, naively hoped for). No political puppetery, no plundering, no support to seceding republics, no hostile NATO, but ‘brotherly’ relations as with France or Germany, mutual trade and investments, sharing of expertise etc. In this case it’s more than plausible that you’d have ended up with a very large GDP (owing to size and resources) not eclipsing the US but something much more challenging than what Japan and Germany have become- and a country vying for influence with the US in the ‘combined West’, with a latent military potential that simply vanished in these other two examples. Evidently that’s why the US took no chances.

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  • But should Russia really strive to be a leader in science and tech? Copying and adopting existing tech is much less expensive anyway, especially in burgeoning IT sectors. What is absolutely crucial is having a cutting edge military-industrial complex, and this is precisely what Russia is concentrating on and has a recognized success in. Then there are strategic, civilian industries that matter for national independence and preferably most resources available should be allocated to them.

    So long as the West has a bone of contention with an independent Russia, and it will have one as long as its hegemony exists, I presume things will remain that way. Considering the combined effect of sanctions, military pressure, being shunned or downgraded from a number of Western-led institutions, and the capital flight encouraged by all the former, how many trillions of dollars have been shaven off Russia’s GDP, anyway? Certainly watching rampant corruption coexist with some of the low indices listed by Anatoly must be grating. Improvements are certainly possible, but convergence is probably impossible in a western-centric paradigm. If they’re ready to create farcical spy hoaxes and walk with it, they certainly won’t let your science&tech flourish within their institutions. Fortunately the silver lining is visible in the article with China catching up fast, and being poised to be the future global leader. Only then a fruitful scientific and technical cooperation may become possible, be it in English, or who knows in a simplified global Pinyin yet to come. If a hostile West is finally retrograded, Russia might have a shot at realizing its full potential. But we’re talking of a prospect decades away…

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    But should Russia really strive to be a leader in science and tech? Copying and adopting existing tech is much less expensive anyway, especially in burgeoning IT sectors.
     
    This is true to some extent - that catching up on 'technology gap', is cheaper than creating the technology itself.

    But there are huge disadvantages - as the Chinese are starting to realize. If Apple for example, is producing its products in China, a large portion of its production is contributing to Chinese GDP. But at the same time, high profits are skimmed off and repatriated to the company HQ country.


    What is absolutely crucial is having a cutting edge military-industrial complex, and this is precisely what Russia is concentrating on and has a recognized success in. Then there are strategic, civilian industries that matter for national independence and preferably most resources available should be allocated to them.
     
    This has industry has comparatively little impact on GDP, and it's more a product of having a large GDP, than a cause of it. E.g. Americans can spend more on their military than the rest of the world combined, because of their large GDP.

    This said, research and training done in relation to military projects, should be able to carry over into civilian sector. This is an area (civilian-military crossover) which seems there could have been a lot of improvement.


    Considering the combined effect of sanctions, military pressure, being shunned or downgraded from a number of Western-led institutions, and the capital flight encouraged by all the former, how many trillions of dollars have been shaven off Russia’s GDP, anyway?
     
    I think not so much at all. This is an area where the West is less impact than it pretends.

    UK especially has no 'options' to hurt Russia - as any serious restrictions would harm their own economy (which is relying on a lot of Russian investment), more than they could hurt Russia.

    The recession in 2014-16, which Western media boasts about causing - was really more because of an oil price fall due to world over-production.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • So it looks like the British reaction to The Skripal Affair is assuming very serious proportions, especially with the most recent allegations that the nerve agent in question was Novichok. (Incidentally, it is a gas so potent - an order of magnitude more so than VX - that carpet bombing a middle-sized city with it...
  • From the case against Saddam, to every other week in Syria, to this Skripal affair all we ever hear about is poison gas. Is it a cultural thing, or what? I mean presumbly you know which people will obsess more about murder by gas than others. In a neocon-led world you have wonder.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
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  • Domodedovo is a great airport. Rationally organized. A surprisingly good Indian restaurant (Paprika). Giant portraits of Great Leader Zhirik. What more do you need? Here's what you don't need: Belgians and 2 cm of snow. Brussels Airlines was too cheap to even shill out for separate room, instead packing all the stranded passengers in a...
  • @Dmitry

    Metropolises are interesting to tour when they have ancient, monumental buildings. In my opinion. Using this metric, Paris, Moscow or Saint Petersbourg easily beat London or Amsterdam. There is something to be said about the concentration of political and economic power: it certainly does generate more of such buildings over the centuries. So London and Amsterdam created unsurpassed wealth in the modern era and before the scourge of postmodernism: but apparently weak monarchies means you only get to see that in mid-sized buildings, mansions, apartment buildings, or private homes that are surely nice but can’t be toured or seen easily anyway.

    For sure monumentalism can feel alienating, but is inescapable if you want to project an image of strength and greatness, I guess (no doubt Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania was motivated by similar considerations, hypertrophied in this case). Anyway if you’re just a tourist passing by you typically enjoy the vista, perspectives and visits of what are/were important world cities. Not much time to feel alienated.

    I agree that Spanish or Italian cities are the most pleasant to live in, and it’s true even from an architectural standpoint, even the lesser-known cities have lots of beautiful monuments offering a nice compromise: impressive but not hypertrophied, and most often built with taste. In the historical centers, anyway.
     
    This is an interesting written post. But I have to disagree with the idea London doesn't have impressive buildings, or that they are less than in Paris, Moscow and Peter.

    Just walk around in Westminster in London - and you have all the sense of power of the British empire.

    https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.5065045,-0.1290499,3a,75y,260.74h,101.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sT_575XGc1teCUjz2Fblmog!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    actually, comparing London and other capital cities the difference has been noticed, see for example this passage by Piers Brandon also trying to find some of the reasons behind it:

    https://books.google.fr/books?id=eVnyQr2avocC&lpg=PP1&dq=the%20decline%20and%20fall%20of%20the%20british%20empire&hl=fr&pg=PA249#v=onepage&q&f=false

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well perhaps there is some argument. But I find buildings in London very impressive. And in central London feel more impressed than of Peter, for all its beautiful palaces. Not than Moscow though.
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  • Metropolises are interesting to tour when they have ancient, monumental buildings. In my opinion. Using this metric, Paris, Moscow or Saint Petersbourg easily beat London or Amsterdam. There is something to be said about the concentration of political and economic power: it certainly does generate more of such buildings over the centuries. So London and Amsterdam created unsurpassed wealth in the modern era and before the scourge of postmodernism: but apparently weak monarchies means you only get to see that in mid-sized buildings, mansions, apartment buildings, or private homes that are surely nice but can’t be toured or seen easily anyway.

    For sure monumentalism can feel alienating, but is inescapable if you want to project an image of strength and greatness, I guess (no doubt Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania was motivated by similar considerations, hypertrophied in this case). Anyway if you’re just a tourist passing by you typically enjoy the vista, perspectives and visits of what are/were important world cities. Not much time to feel alienated.

    I agree that Spanish or Italian cities are the most pleasant to live in, and it’s true even from an architectural standpoint, even the lesser-known cities have lots of beautiful monuments offering a nice compromise: impressive but not hypertrophied, and most often built with taste. In the historical centers, anyway.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Metropolises are interesting to tour when they have ancient, monumental buildings. In my opinion. Using this metric, Paris, Moscow or Saint Petersbourg easily beat London or Amsterdam. There is something to be said about the concentration of political and economic power: it certainly does generate more of such buildings over the centuries. So London and Amsterdam created unsurpassed wealth in the modern era and before the scourge of postmodernism: but apparently weak monarchies means you only get to see that in mid-sized buildings, mansions, apartment buildings, or private homes that are surely nice but can’t be toured or seen easily anyway.

    For sure monumentalism can feel alienating, but is inescapable if you want to project an image of strength and greatness, I guess (no doubt Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania was motivated by similar considerations, hypertrophied in this case). Anyway if you’re just a tourist passing by you typically enjoy the vista, perspectives and visits of what are/were important world cities. Not much time to feel alienated.

    I agree that Spanish or Italian cities are the most pleasant to live in, and it’s true even from an architectural standpoint, even the lesser-known cities have lots of beautiful monuments offering a nice compromise: impressive but not hypertrophied, and most often built with taste. In the historical centers, anyway.
     
    This is an interesting written post. But I have to disagree with the idea London doesn't have impressive buildings, or that they are less than in Paris, Moscow and Peter.

    Just walk around in Westminster in London - and you have all the sense of power of the British empire.

    https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.5065045,-0.1290499,3a,75y,260.74h,101.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sT_575XGc1teCUjz2Fblmog!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
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  • As someone who’s been following HBD for the past 10 plus years or so, I’ve simultaneously been amused and enlightened by the passionate feelings the topic often engenders. The general conceit of the HBD crowd is that they possess deep insight into a body of scientific truth opening up new avenues of understanding entirely shut...
  • @Daniel Chieh
    Conducting unethical experiments to produce superhumans from prison subjects sounds like a great way to experience V for Vendetta in this present reality simulation.

    I would almost have found that movie entertaining were it not for the off-putting homo propaganda. But the Wachowski sisters had to cram their ‘message’ somewhere, I guess

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    "Sisters"
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  • @Yan Shen
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/01/24/cloned-monkeys-scientists-china-first/1062649001/

    In a feat that raises questions about how close the cloning of humans may be, scientists in China announced on Wednesday they have successfully cloned two long-tailed macaque monkeys.

    The cloning of primates was long thought to be fundamentally more difficult than horses, sheep and other mammals and therefore much further away.

    "It’s a significant advance. Nobody has previously been able to create a cloned non-human primate,” said Arnold Kriegstein, director of the stem cell center at the University of California at San Francisco
     

    What is the policy in China regarding medical experiments with prisoners? It isn’t out of the realm of possibility, I reckon

    https://qz.com/906142/a-chinese-medical-study-is-being-retracted-for-relying-on-organs-harvested-from-executed-prisoners/

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    • Replies: @bjondo
    Think I read China will use CIA and Israeli experiments on prisoners and others captured and used. Experiments by these 2 more numerous and demented than anything the Chinese are willing to do.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Conducting unethical experiments to produce superhumans from prison subjects sounds like a great way to experience V for Vendetta in this present reality simulation.
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  • There's nothing particularly new or interesting per se in the 37 page indictment of 13 Russian nationals, including its head Evgeny Prigozhin, for "meddling" in the US elections through online trolling. The existence of the Internet Research Agency - or "Olgino", as it is known in Russia, after the location of the first "troll factory"...
  • Traditional societies are naturally inclined towards chauvinism, in-group solidarity and a good degree of “natural” xenophobia comes with the territory. The notion of race is typically not emphasized, ethnicity is, however- presumably because contact between close ethnicities was much more frequent than between distant races. Even in regions bordering racial frontiers, you often find gradients where the frontier ethnicity is the result of obvious admixture: Volga Tatars are often visibly white, several Central Asians peoples share Iranian and Turco-Mongol ancestry while Tuaregs are a mix between Berber and SSA populations. Mass contact between distant races for this reason would have been short and rare (often brutal) but quickly the lines would be blurred- so the populations revert back to thinking in term of ethnicity or just simply, this tribe, this village versus the others a few miles away who may look familiar or not entirely familiar.

    Of course traditional society kept these attitudes because the masses are traditionally, ignorant and never had the chance to build or internalize narratives about their race, much less to form a coherent nation. Even when the traditional religion/ideology is keen to dissolve ethnic or racial divides on paper, such as Islam, in practice seeing attitudes to sub-saharian Africans or Indo-Pakistanis in Arab countries, you realize its effect on social norms has been shallow, to say the least.

    So indeed, human nature needs a lot of indoctrination to abandon these deep-seated instincts. Presently this indoctrination is the result of the global strength and dominance of Anglo-Saxon philosophical liberalism, but it didn’t have to be so. I don’t believe industrial society necessarily leads to this, only peculiarities of the British and British settler culture. Along these lines a case can be made that protestant Northern Europeans, or even, peoples of Germanic stock essentially (northern French and Italians for example but not the southerners), were and still are the most fragile societies with regards to their ability to cope with multi-culturalism and diversity indoctrination. I don’t fear much for the future of most Meds, the Chinese, Japanese etc but man, the Hajnal line…High trust, civic sense and outbreeding are quite the double-edged sword.

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  • First polls are in with all eight of the official candidates. There are no surprises. Results of VCIOM and FOM polls, both from Feb 11 (adjusting for don't knows, won't votes, etc.): VCIOM FOM Putin 82.3% 84.2% Zhirinovsky 6.3% 6.8% Grudinin 8.4% 6.8% Sobchak 1.2% 1.1% Yavlinsky 0.9% 0.6% Titov 0.2% 0.1% Suraykin 0.1% 0.1%...
  • looks like we have a concerted media campaign going on, full of bombastic claims and repetition

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/russian-mercenaries-in-syria-buried-quietly-and-forgotten

    yeah there is an attempt. To rock the vote

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  • 1. On February 7, the Americans destroyed a Syrian column moving in the direction of the Coneco oil fields with artillery, wiping up the rest with helicopters. There were at least 100 deaths in the SAA, versus one lightly injured SDF soldier. Although this could be viewed as a Syrian provocation, the fact remains that...
  • So while we’re at it http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/turkey-olive-branch-syria-slows.html#ixzz57DozN0AQ


    Balanche, who just returned from a three-week research trip to northern Syria, told Al-Monitor in a wide ranging interview, “America’s current policies … will lead to America’s defeat in Syria. At some point they will be forced to pull out because … US soldiers will get blown up.

    Balanche is a very respected scholar, perhaps the best geographer of Syria’s population- now working for the Hoover institution but devoid of any bias one way or the other (a change from the usual advocacy passing for analysis so common among other “analysts”).

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  • @German_reader

    No American President was going to sit back and let an important ally suffer such a humiliating military defeat against somebody as infamous and hated in the West as Gaddafi.
     
    Yes, emotionally I can understand that, Gaddafi was a real piece of shit and deserved his death just for his anti-Western terrorism...he shouldn't be mourned. It's just that the negative consequences from the overthrow of his regime were too much imo.

    Nassim Taleb often invokes the medical notion of “primum non nocere” to attack neocons/liberal interventionists.

    This is indeed how they should be judged, and indeed a doctor who always causes more harm than the ailments he’s supposed to heal, is soon out of a job. Not so for these interventionist hacks, who keep failing upwards whatever the administration.

    But of course, they do harm the collective, but not certain special interests and foreign governments. That’s the whole point.

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  • concurring reports of a concentration of SAA troops gathering near Mayadeen, according to pro and anti-government sources. Some SAA connected sources confirm the intent is indeed to attack SDF as a retaliation for the events of last week.

    We’ll soon see who has the last word in this confrontation, it seems. We have seen a similar stand-off before (al-Tanf) and how it ended.

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  • There’s this, that emerged a couple of months ago: “A 47-page contract between Evro Polis & Syria’s state-owned General Petroleum Corp. says the Russian company will receive 25 percent of the proceeds from oil and gas production at fields its contractors capture and secure from Islamic State militants.”

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4326734-EvroPolisContract.html

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  • By the way I agree about your other posts that the US is just acting as a spoiler in Syria, not being decisive but just making sure Syria’s stabilization and an end to the conflict in Syria, Russia and Iran’s favor keeps being postponed.

    The combined strength of the US if we put the financial, cultural and institutional influence into consideration beyond simple military matters: yes, it’s still unmatched and by far. But if we focus on so-called hard power, I seem vindicated contra you and others that extremely resource poor North Korea is achieving its fait accompli and that the US is forced to observe its diplomatic parade and attempts at normalization passively. Its leadership will possibly even be accepted back in the “international community” at some later point, (we’re are taking a big step in this direction seeing Yo Jong next to Pence). I’ll keep grinning at those who believe US military power will ever be applied to reverse this

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Kim Yo Jong's invitation to Pyongyang was actually rejected by the South Korean president.

    I don't discount the possibility of North Korea becoming a fully fledged nuclear power and returning to the international community, but this Olympic diplomacy has yet to bear fruits.
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  • @reiner Tor
    I didn’t think the Israeli source proved that they had destroyed half the Syrian air defenses. But it did prove that there was a large number of retaliatory raids.

    a real meaningful Israeli air campaign against Syria will be measured in weeks not hours. And when/if it is triggered, the seriousness of the situation means the south Lebanese front would come to be activated and retaliatory missiles and rockets would start to rain down from both countries. Israel ducked out of it

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  • @reiner Tor

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.
     
    This seems to contradict it.

    A prime example of what was I saying about West-aligned sources. Most people who know a thing or two about Syrian air defenses, many mobile, a lot well hidden, laughed this claim off. This would take a lot more than the short sorties they engaged in, https://twitter.com/aarondmiller2/status/962801713722920960

    Another example of how over the top Israeli misinformation can be is a short video that was published by the IDF twitter account. I could actually see it before it was deleted. A simple infography purported to show the flying path of the f-16 over a map of Syria and then described it safely landing in Israel. This unusually amateurish propaganda effort was soon taken down as the photographic evidence of the crash and official admission came in.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn’t think the Israeli source proved that they had destroyed half the Syrian air defenses. But it did prove that there was a large number of retaliatory raids.
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  • I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don’t doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They’re mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this ‘entity’. I’m not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD’s internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey’s advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov’t and Iran under Turkey’s nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don’t. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player’s game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey’s clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let’s recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don’t believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You make a number of valid points, but I think Anatoly's pessimism is based on a few factors:

    1) The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia (Andrei Martyanov will disagree, and you might as well, but I think it's always better to be pessimistic, because people, including myself, have a tendency to believe what they'd like to be true, and so it's conservative to err on the side of pessimism)

    2) For the Empire a perpetual chaos would be victory - they can easily afford throwing a couple billions of dollars at Syria on a monthly basis well into the future (it'd still be cheaper than Afghanistan, I guess), and they never really aimed for anything stable; the notion that they wanted a "democratic Syria," or even a "stable jihadist Syrian government" is laughable. They must have known that jihadists (or any other kinds of rebels, including the various militias in the FSA) will be at each other's throats the moment Assad falls. I mean, after Libya, how could they believe this time there'll be a stable government (democratic or otherwise) in Syria after Assad's fall?

    3) On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians need a more or less decisive victory and a stable government. They (especially the Iranians) don't have the resources to keep propping up Assad's regime indefinitely into the future. At the very least, spending this kind of resources causes more problems for them than for the Americans.

    Therefore, it's a tall chance to win at such a lopsided game against the Americans. I agree that there are some grounds for cautious optimism, but the emphasis is on the "cautious" part.
    , @reiner Tor

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.
     
    This seems to contradict it.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources
     
    He wouldn't know the difference if he would be positioned directly into operation room in Russia's MO or CENTCOM. At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with "Kremlins". I think, "Kremlins" may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that "hurts" Kremlins. Even if it is BS, which it is most of the time.
    , @Seamus Padraig
    Anatoly's been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start. As a Russian nationalist, he must be angry at Putin for prioritizing Arabs in Syria over ethnic Russians in Novorossiya. To be sure, this is understandable and, at any rate, totally predictable. If I were a Russian, I might feel the same way. But I think he lets it color his judgement a bit too much on what's actually happening in Syria. On an issue like this, I would put more trust in a 'Putin lapdog' like The Saker.
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  • The total fertility rate of Jewish women in Israel increased by a half baby per woman per lifetime from 2000 (2.66) to 2016 (3.16). Meanwhile, the TFR of Muslim women fell by almost 1.5 babies: From Wikipedia: Total fertility rate[edit] 3.13 children born/woman (2016) Fertility rate, by year and religion[68] Year Jews Muslims Christians Druze...
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    You can think of the Haredim as the baby factory of the Israeli Jews.

    In return for some social concessions (no military service, etc.), they continuously pump a huge amount of new Jews into Israel, making the Jewish state more Jewish, increasing its population and national power, and replenishing the ranks of useful secular people since some percentage of each cohort deserts the community.

    This model is unlikely to work in other countries. Closest equivalent would be Mormons in the US, but they make up just 2% of its population vs. 12% Haredim in Israel, and are less fertile anyway (TFR=3, versus TFR=5 amongst Haredim).

    if we’re to believe Cochran’s theory about Ashkenazi intelligence (that it was the result of heavy sexual selection for generations) then there are few reasons to believe these pressures apply nowadays, and that on the contrary the less endowed are reproducing more just like among other ethnicities, but even worse as other ethnicities typically don’t have such large trad demographics reproducing with abandon.

    In which case this will probably not help Israel’s prospects much. If Japan consciously accepts to see its population decrease, it must be to reduce the critical fragility of an overcrowded country that relies on various strategic imports (including food) to survive as a modern economy. Israel does the opposite, while it face similar problems, and it has yet to be seen how helpful it will be to have its youth age groups and social capital converge to Arab norms.

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  • Epistemic status: Low. I don't know Farsi. I don't particularly follow Iran. That said, I am hardly alone in this. Bryan MacDonald: "Even I’m kinda astonished by how many American “Russian experts” have suddenly become “Iran experts” in the past 48 hours. молодцы товарищи!! #ачтивмеасурес" 1. Widely divergent reports about how many people are protesting....
  • What is obscurantist about opposing imperialism and zionism for Middle Easterners, and why the scare quotes? Looking closer you see that this is what arab secular nationalists opposed as well. Can it be argued that US and Israeli choices have been extremely deleterious for the region? There is no need to be a bigoted radical to see the obvious.

    The forces eradicating Middle Eastern christians are all US-Israeli funded and backed. From the muslim brotherhood, to salafi monarchies, to jihadist militias doubling as terrorist organizations in Syria.

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  • Conventional wisdom on the Russian elections: Positive interpretation: Russian elections give Russians more real ideological choice (conservative centrists, Communists, nationalists, liberals) than American ones (conservative neoliberals, liberal neoliberals). Negative interpretation: Putin and the party of power are assured of winning through overwhelming administrative resources, state media, and a side of electoral fraud. The other parties...
  • @Beckow
    Modern elections in large countries are symbolic. They are all a form of a 'referendum on a regime'. The choices are very circumscribed, the process is silly, and the result is more amusing than significant. People voting for Trump, Brexit, Macron, etc... all sent a message. Other than endlessly discussing this 'message', not much has changed, or could change.

    In Russia's case, the coming World Cup is a more significant event than the elections. West has to somehow scuttle the World Cup, make sure it is not a success, that people don't see Russia, make sure Russia gets minimum publicity. That might range from Sochi-like 'toilet doesn't flush' to pretending that nothing is happening. Industrious 'NGO"s' are brainstorming round-the-clock on the lists of events, controversies, 'street interviews' and animal suffering stories to present during the World Cup. Compared to that the routine elections are a non-story.

    actually a geopolitical provocation is likely
    War in Georgia: same day as the opening of Beijing Olympics
    Coup d’Etat in Kiev: a day before Sochi’s closing ceremony

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    "geopolitical provocation is likely"
     
    I agree that would top the desired list, but there are not that many convenient places left. Georgia is quiet, Kiev is a spent force, the Baltic area would be beyond absurd. When big things don't look possible, we might get a lot of small stuff - local attacks, homo demos, teenage angst given a platform. In any case, that is the central anticipated event of 2018. It has a lot of potential tension built into it.
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  • 1. I do not consider it likely that North Korea will have the means to successfully deliver nukes to population concentrations in S. Korea, Japan, or the US. As far as I know this is expert consensus. It has had impressive successes in both nuclear weaponry and long-range rocketry in the past year, but there...
  • Expect a degree of draft-dodging. Among the wealthier class many would indeed find a way to settle abroad for the duration of instability- their persons, their assets too? Having more means more incentives to decamp.

    Not that any country would be exempt of this, but the question is whether the RoK would have more or less of this. My impression is that they don’t seem terribly warlike these days, I agree, it’s just an impression but…The legitimacy of their government has a strong foundation in the prosperity it has made possible- a resounding success assuredly. But their history as a very repressive dictatorship until recently and then the enduring corruption of a crony capitalism involving the same old families, a higher inequality than Japan- there are certainly grounds for tensions. My hunch is that endangering this prosperity will deal a heavy blow to the RoK’s legitimacy.

    And again yes, a complex economy inherently means more fragility. There is now way around this.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    their history as a very repressive dictatorship until recently and then the enduring corruption of a crony capitalism involving the same old families, a higher inequality than Japan- there are certainly grounds for tensions
     
    As opposed to North Korea, where there's no history of a repressive dictatorship, no corruption under the same old families, and little inequality. So there are no grounds for tensions.

    Among the wealthier class many would indeed find a way to settle abroad for the duration of instability
     
    Currently they aren't fleeing. When will they start?
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  • US and their allies being true to their warfighting doctrines they will bomb indiscriminately- which will help mobilize the general population against them, and ruin any promises of benevolence they will try to propagate (through flyers, loudspeakers etc), as seen in other theaters. NK’s troops would ensure that this happens, very consciously, by hiding close to civilian infrastructures and dwellings. [Again, old guerilla tactics applied and formalized by Mao, then imitated in the Algerian war of independence and every recent Middle Eastern conflict]. At the same time, news of spectacular strikes on RoK and regional targets, and likely asymetric retaliations and sabotage, will continue to punctuate the conflict, helping the morale of North Korean masses while ruining the other side- complex economies easily ground to a halt by disrupting any numbers of chokepoints, populations long used to comfort and modern amenities.

    The premise that Americans would bomb stupidly and massively is very founded. They have just done that in Raqqa for lack of better solutions and for being in a rush, as the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance was progressing faster than their expectations on the other bank of the Euphrates. As Konashenkov pointed out, destruction is absolutely huge and doesn’t pale in any way compared to the much maligned so-called “barrel bombing” by the Syrian government.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    At the same time, news of spectacular strikes on RoK and regional targets, and likely asymetric retaliations and sabotage, will continue to punctuate the conflict, helping the morale of North Korean masses while ruining the other side- complex economies easily ground to a halt by disrupting any numbers of chokepoints, populations long used to comfort and modern amenities.
     
    That's kind of what I've been saying: contemporary generation of South Koreans look like soft people, and completely unprepared for horrors of total war. How will the government prevent fake news and panic from spreading over the social media? Are they just going to disable the internet in the country? What if there is no internet? What happens if the Norks find a way to disable electricity in Seoul area, how will the government manage to avoid social collapse?

    I find it rather odd, that Anatoly dismisses risks for South Korea in this scenario, given how vulnerable their society is.
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  • @reiner Tor
    The North Korean population watches pirated South Korean DVDs and probably Hollywood crap, too. They probably listen to South Korean and American pop music. What makes you think they hate Americans (and South Koreans) more than Russians did back in the 1980s? They have a lot of reasons to suspect that living standards are way higher in both the US and South Korea than in China. Actually, they probably know this, since it’s common knowledge in China and a lot of them have been to China. They also have a lot of reasons to suspect that their leaders are habitual liars. Why would the crude propaganda of the regime be extremely effective? I’ve read interviews with Chinese about Maoism, and they said they felt it was ridiculous, like a cult, but were simply afraid to step out of line.

    I think North Koreans are probably proud of their military (as were Russians), but think that America is the land of opportunity and anything (any degeneracy) coming out of it is cool.

    Euh…because the Americans are their Nazis? A people obsessed with Kennan’s scribblings who came to kill 1 in every 7-8 of them during the last war? Dropping more bombs on Koreans’ heads than during the entire Pacific theater in WW2 (mostly on the north)? Every family was amputated and bled dry. I figure there is more than the personal graces of the Kim dynasty or repression to build support for the North Korean regime.

    Not even the South Koreans like Americans much, and it has surprised me but there is even some respect for the northern regime in segments of the population there for this very reason. Koreans will never really hold their heads high under the Americans, no matter how many trinkets they can own.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Possible.
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  • @reiner Tor

    In Serbia, we know that US&NATO allies had a mediocre record at destroying a dated military.
     
    The Serb military would’ve been cutting edge in the 1970s. The North Korean military would’ve been cutting edge in the 1950s. Big difference. The Serbs’ opponents were 1990s US and NATO forces. The North Koreans’ opponents will be 2010s NATO and US forces. Another big difference.

    That the Serbian military could evade much of NATO’s onslaught was more the function of the generation of their equipment or of good defensive tactics evading NATO’s prying eyes? You tell me. Anyway,

    designs are various knockoffs of SCUD-B’s, R-27 Zyb, China’s JL-1. Not exactly 50′s, and in any case their recent tests are achievements that only select few countries have realized. I guess it should take more than a few successful tests to prove you have the capability Hwasong 12, 14, or 15 promise. I leave it to people like Martyanov to judge…

    But their scud-B knockoffs with extended ranges are proved and are now an export industry for them. It’s indeed silly to overhype them and their ability to strike the US homeland, to field nuclear-tipped missiles etc… (for now). But, having several hundreds of the lower-digits Hwasongs they can contemplate a wealth of targets in the South, Japan and US military facilities across the region, beyond the much talked-of artillery threat on Seoul proper.

    The premise of US Shock&Awe (that’s how it went down, concretely) is to mete out catastrophic destruction on the targeted nations while watching comfortably from home, carriers groups and bases in allied countries. Not so here, as Norks have enough to cause actual pain on the would-be aggressors and set off a global economic crisis, even with their conventional arsenal only

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  • ” some “anti-imperialist” writers seem to brush off as of no consequence [the technological gap]”

    again we judge by results:

    In Serbia, we know that US&NATO allies had a mediocre record at destroying a dated military. They did disrupt it and force it to go into hiding, to be sure, but only bombing soft (civilian) targets + political maneuvering led to the Serbian leadership surrendering. No technological edge was required to bring about this income.

    In Iraq, they had a better record mopping up conventional forces. They then proceeded to fail at the task of occupation, which is also where they fail in Afghanistan. US&British cutting edge SIGINT&precision strikes? Similarly failing to curb Houthis militias in Yemen (Gulf Arabs are not doing this on their own, Western expertise is involved at every level) who keep beating back GCC troops and mercenaries. Again, the technological edge including drones&precision strikes can’t secure victory.

    In North Korea both winning conventionally and seizing the ground will be required. What with these nuclear sites? You’re looking at a high likelihood of encountering the same resilience the Serbian military put up AND a high casualties partisan war that promises the same grit as islamic fanaticism. No wonder the US has opted out for all these decades, even as NK WMD potential was still in its infancy.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    In Serbia, we know that US&NATO allies had a mediocre record at destroying a dated military.
     
    The Serb military would’ve been cutting edge in the 1970s. The North Korean military would’ve been cutting edge in the 1950s. Big difference. The Serbs’ opponents were 1990s US and NATO forces. The North Koreans’ opponents will be 2010s NATO and US forces. Another big difference.
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  • Might as well get this out of the way now so as not to sully the New Year cheer. Here's a pessimistic (for some) but plausible (I think) way things will develop in the next couple of years. 1. Trump cedes key positions to globalists and neocons. This has already happened; for all intents and...
  • You describe the US as having a lot of options and ‘revisionist’ countries being on the defensive, awaiting what lies in store for them. Especially Russia that could face isolation in your scenario.

    The opposite is true, every month we see revisionist powers getting more insolent towards the US as it falls short of solutions to regional challenges. Syria, Iran, North Korea have demonstrated a pattern of US impotence, each encouraging the other to become bolder. Astana totally shuns the US in favor of Syria’s regional neighbors. Most Middle Eastern powers are now seeking the favors of Russia. It does appear that countries such as the Philippines are carried by this general trend of doubting US might, in this case it centers on Duterte’s fiery personality, but he could incite others to follow.

    As for the US attempting to to ‘flip’ some of its enemies selectively, instead of taking on everyone at the same time, that would be sensible of them. But not even a minor player like Cuba really flipped, instead it seeks diversified relations with the various poles, being content with a reduction of US pressure. No reason to believe more important countries would act with less wisdom. So at worse China would just slightly rebalance for a while with nothing remotely resembling a split (but anyway, as someone observed, hard to imagine the US let up on China given its momentum and Iran because of the hysteria of Israel’s lobby)

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  • First, the bragging dummies Trump and Haley are still at it. The want to force China to take action against the DPRK by threatening to take North Korea "into their hands" if China refuses to comply. Haley said “But to be clear, China can do more, (...) and we're putting as much pressure on them...
  • @Anatoly Karlin

    ... you kinda just dismissed it
     
    No, I didn't, I pointed out that at a certain level of technological disparity it becomes quite irrelevant.

    But feel free to continue believing Iran would kick America's ass, or whatever. My only hope is that poor Iranian conscripts won't have to test our your proofs by braggadocio.

    PS. The comment in question: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-popular-cliches-about-modern-warfare/#comment-1425439

    We can differentiate between destroying a military from afar, a country’s infrastructure and then, occupying it. Occupy and police countries such as Afghanistan or Iraq? we can now conclude that it is an impossibility for the US. Western countries are way too casualties-averse to even try anyway. And it will be very hard to convince first-world troops used to comfort to sacrifice as much as poor but determined tribal goat-herders or Vietnamese farmers with no pampered lives to lose.

    The other solution consists in applying overwhelming firepower from afar. What was done to North Korea and to some extent to Vietnam, what is tentatively being tried by the Saudi-US-UK coalition in Yemen. A PR disaster nowadays, to be sure, but even when it was done with abandon in Korea, this didn’t amount to any lasting solution, as we can see today. So there are situations where morale is absolutely decisive, even when the highest technological level is available

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Disagree.

    People on this site just love examples of Koran war in FIFTIES.

    What they, conveniently, tend to forget is how the world was organized then.

    There were TWO superpowers in conflict and, more importantly, two competing ideologies.

    North Korea at the time was supported by Soviet Union and China and, actually, Chinese troops were the problem, not North Koreans.
    US military was conscript based and, at the time weak after scaling down after WW2.

    Things are different today.
    Much different.

    North Korean regime is a cult, isolated from the world. Far cry from the same place in 50's.
    US military is a high tech volunteer force; also far cry from 50's.

    I mean, even The Fat Boy knows all that. That's the only reason he choose to go nuclear and not only on tactical but, apparently on strategic level.


    Combat moral is a peculiar thing.
    It's one thing to play war games; quite another to see own unit decimated from skies.

    As I said before, North Korean military moral is so brittle it will break in 48 hours should US attack happen.
    Those people know about combat as an average Western civilian....nothing.
    They read about it and watched some movies. Also heard some old stories. That's all fine and dandy while nobody is being blown into pieces around him/her. And, of course, while the brass is watching how enthusiastically you behave.
    At two in the morning when his/her company gets blown into dust all that self-delusion will simply collapse.

    I, mostly, agree with Z-man and Anatoly.

    The only problem I see is a nuclear land mine somewhere in that artillery belt.

    All the rest...easy.
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  • A couple of memes that you can only find in the most autistically glorious corners of /pol/. If we view history as an evolutionary competition between societies and ideas, it seems obvious that primitivism would be the most self-defeating - and consequently, self-refuting - ideology on the planet. While transhumanism is accelerationism maxed, the most...
  • As a kid I used to read vulgarization magazines, when they dealt with nano-machines they’d imagine new ways in which matter could be manipulated, making possible *in theory* almost anything. That almost amounted to magical thinking couched in ‘modern’ terms.

    I suggest we welcome innovations as they come and assess them on a case by case basis. Entertainaing ourselves with sci-fi, why not, but by all means I’d rather avoid weaving them in utopian thoughts or worse even, ideologies…

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Of course. We're talking about things like singularity or the uploading of the human mind onto computers, which are in themselves quite sci-fi sounding ideas.

    In general, I'm more open to overman-type modifications than machine transhumanist modifications, but that's just me. Also, most currently available artificial enhancements (like artificial testosterone, or cholesterol-lowering statins, or cocaine, etc.) have way too many side effects, so are preferably avoided altogether. Even when we add a machine somehow (like smartphones), they don't seem to make us really smarter, and in general restricting their use (like carrying a book, and reading it instead of your smartphone) is a sound advice. So far, though it probably won't stay like that forever. But a late adapter approach could easily prove superior over being an early adapter in such matters.

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  • @reiner Tor
    Even most biological transhumanism looks a bit dangerous to me, but I can accept it as a way to the future: genetically modifying humans to become healthier, smarter, etc. The laws of thermodynamics allow humans to live forever in their biological bodies (like Egyptian gods, who could be killed, but wouldn't die of old age or illness), our aging is genetically programmed (and so should be possible to modify). It must be possible to edit genes even in adult organisms using some technologies like designer retroviruses, so theoretically it must be possible to make live humans smarter or healthier. These overman beings will still be humans.

    Of course, the problem with transhumanism is that it might be unavoidable. But at least don't cheer for this as if it was a good thing.

    Genes that influence embryo development and later growth into adulthood could only be altered at the right time and not after the fact. So even if that becomes possible that’s already a very limitating factor.

    As for your previous comment, I agree that there definitely something misanthropic to some of these utopias.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    That's true, but that only means that it'd be way more difficult to achieve it. If we feed the system enough energy, in theory, anything is possible. For example werewolfism: it's not totally impossible to create a mammal (a wolf) from another mammal (a human), at least not inherently more difficult than creating a butterfly from a worm. (Okay, I know, the cells of the butterfly are already inside the worm. But still. You could create those cells, or change existing cells, etc.)

    But yes, the technology to improve babies of 100 IQ parents to 150 IQ will arrive way earlier than the technology to improve 100 IQ people to 150 IQ points. But the latter is still not impossible.
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  • Big surprise. /s Lots of boring and repetitive takes out there, so I'll write about something different; maybe this too will be boring, but at least it's probably unique. Here is how three of the leading lights of the Russian nationalist movement, the Two Egors and Igor Strelkov, reacted to this news. Egor Kholmogorov approves,...
  • I’ll just note that both Prosvirnin and Strelkov sound caricatural and hyperbolic in their criticism while Kholmogorov is more temperate in his praise. Being personally aggrieved does that, I suppose, but it doesn’t make their takes very useful compared to a more dispassionate critique.

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  • Guangzhou, China (/r/Cyberpunk) Some time ago a commenter asked me about the state of China Studies in Russia, an issue that is pretty germane as they increasingly align with each other. TL;DR - Catastrophic. Simply put, Russia does not have the cognitive tools to understand the country that Kremlin talking points describe as Russia’s "strategic...
  • If we refer to barbarian hordes as the ones who brought down the Western empire, or sacked Rome, yes this applies rather well to people following in the footsteps of Alaric.

    As for Venetians, for so many centuries beholden to Constantinople, they weren’t exactly the ‘muscle’ of the operation. Ironically, the later rise of Ottomans would seal Venice’s fate as an international player (ruinous naval wars on the background of declining commerce along eastern routes). Karma, probably, if belated

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  • @Anon
    The Latins outside Constantinople may have found it expedient to sack it, but that was only because they were invited there by shifty Greeks who made promises they couldn't keep, bearing out both the stereotypes to the max of brutish Latins and sly Greeks.

    nonsense, it was originally aimed at Egypt. As for an ‘invitation’, you mean some frustrated prince scheming with the Latins (more like barbarian hordes, then)? As good a pretext as any, really

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Frenchmen and Venetians are barbarian hordes? Perhaps, but the Greeks had a long history of using barbarians against each other. Maybe the Venetians were the wrong barbarians to use, by anyone who remembered the Massacre of the Latins.

    nonsense, it was originally aimed at Egypt.
     
    Correct. Where's the nonsense?
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  • @Anatoly Karlin

    ... innate mendacity and treachery of the Byzantines was common place, a kind of “cliché”.
     
    In all fairness, that was pretty much warranted.

    that’s remarkably coy on the impact of crusades, but I suppose par for the course for occidentalists. The catastrophic territorial loss following Manzikert was well on its way to be reversed. Few things are more pointless than alt history but had this process been completed the greek word for “Reconquista” would perhaps have some currency today. Except Latins found it expedient to sack and rape Constantinople in 1204, “westerners” partitioning the empire between themselves for a couple of generations- after which everything went to shit, terminally, despite some desperate attempts to stitch things back together

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    • Replies: @Anon
    The Latins outside Constantinople may have found it expedient to sack it, but that was only because they were invited there by shifty Greeks who made promises they couldn't keep, bearing out both the stereotypes to the max of brutish Latins and sly Greeks.
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  • The Franco-German media organization Arte recently produced a documentary about the decline of global average IQ. What courage in the Current Year! What resolve! Not only do they treat IQ as a legitimate concept, but are even willing to seriously contemplate whether it is declining, and what could be done about it. Could the tide...
  • I’m curious about how the Woodley effect would work in a particular place like North Korea. It’s definitely industrialized, but still unique in that keeps Malthusian features.

    Upkeeping its bloated military, and pursuing their weapons programs require certain meritocratic selection. Its TFR is considerably higher than in the South and we know them to encourage fertility to catch up with them. It seems they’re accused of practising eugenics, too, and if we’re to believe the “Cleanest race” thesis, quite racially conscious as well. Don’t know how much stock to put in all this, though.

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  • Yesterday there was another poll on the Russian Presidential elections in 2018, this time from FOM (although state-owned, my impression is that they aren't any less accurate than the independent - and somewhat oppositionist - Levada). Adjusting for undecideds/no shows, the results if elections were to be held tomorrow are as follows: Putin - 84%,...
  • @Anatoly Karlin

    This hints at the biggest and most irreconcilable problem of nationalism not just in Russia but throughout Europe and the US generally – the human capital is very low.
     
    I keep getting flak for it, but I have yet to find a single negative exception amongst the European countries.

    Anti-immigration is associated with nationalism. Nationalism is associated with tribalism. Tribalism is associated with lower IQs.
    https://pumpkinperson.com/2015/07/01/the-iq-of-racialists/

    Lower IQ people will support bad policies, despite (presumably) being correct on a few very important things.

    I would also note that nationalists are lower trust. Liberals look out for each other - whenever one gets in trouble with the state, all his/her buddies in the human rights organizations start to campaign for their release. Russian nationalists can't even muster 100,000 people to sign a simple petition that has the chance of benefiting them.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/933297377846415360

    Typical low trust reply: "Perhaps, nationalists are smarter than you think and don't want their names/emails harvested?"

    Low trust also expresses itself in more support for sub-optimal policies.

    well conversely there is that one group that is both very tribal and high IQ. Worked wonders for them

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  • From the New York Times: Why Putin’s Foes Deplore U.S. Fixation on Election Meddling By ANDREW HIGGINS NOV. 23, 2017 MOSCOW — ... “Enough already!” Leonid M. Volkov, chief of staff for the anti-corruption campaigner and opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, wrote in a recent anguished post on Facebook. “What is happening with ‘the investigation...
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, Jack D. spelled it out pretty comprehensively.

    I am not the best person to ask this since I hardly care for cheese, but I would say that some of the Russian blue-veined cheeses are already of a sufficiently high quality, i.e. I, a non-conoisseur, would be unable to distinguish them from a French import. The only thing I miss is feta to make Greek salad with. There's an equivalent in Eastern Europe called brynza, but it's not really the same.

    here they say some of Russia’s supermarket cheese has palm oil in it, which is pretty terrible https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/warning-this-is-not-cheese-in-russia-watch-what-you-eat-54689 Unsurprisingly this practice originated with American brands, a pretty low bar to be sure

    I think if sanctions go on we can expect French, Dutch or Italian companies to open plants in Russia, especially seeing as the ruble continues to be weak. Perhaps not for top of the line products but what passes as supermarket standard in those countries, i.e. something definitely much better than palm-oil soaked rubbish.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There probably were a lot of local cheeses in Russia in 1917 that were pretty interesting. Did any of the old traditions survive Communism? If so, maybe in 10 or 20 years we'll be hearing about exotic Russian cheeses being the new new thing in Brooklyn foodie circles.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    These people are obsessed, obsessed with the lack of Gorgonzola and Gruyère in Moscow (yes, specifically Moscow, ofc).

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/gessen-nyt-cheese/

    Pls update us on the progress of national cheese output in Russia. Seeing as it is THE most important facet of national power, according to these oppositionists. Surely a five-year plan is in order!

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  • It is usual to distinguish between biological and machine intelligence, and for good reason: organisms have interacted with the world for millennia and survived, machines are a recent human construction, and until recently there was no reason to consider them capable of intelligent behaviour. Computers changed the picture somewhat, but until very recently artificial intelligence...
  • About animal cognition, I must add that ranking animal cognition in a one-dimensional line all the way up to humans is wrong. There are discrete tasks where animal cognition can be superior to ours, like the now famous experience of a chimpanzee beating humans at visual memory tests. But it’s not only among homininae or primate line, I read squirrels can remember the precise place where they hid several thousand acorns for years, which no humans barring those few with freak eidetic memories could do (not necessarily geniuses).

    A more suitable hierarchy is to grade the ability for communication and abstract reasoning. But even life forms with crude nervous systems, say a jellyfish or more concretely, the worm C. elegans and its extensively studied 302 neurons, still escape scientists’ understanding and modeling. It would appear that even such organisms are still extremely complex devices, interacting with their environment in ways that are, if reflexive, more complex than any machine we can engineer. Seeing as the OpenWorm isn’t yielding anything and some behind this generational effort are now close to declaring the task impossible…

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    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    But even life forms with crude nervous systems, say a jellyfish or more concretely, the worm C. elegans and its extensively studied 302 neurons, still escape scientists’ understanding and modeling. It would appear that even such organisms are still extremely complex devices, interacting with their environment in ways that are, if reflexive, more complex than any machine we can engineer.
     
    Viewing a neuron as functionally equivalent to a transistor appears to greatly underestimate what a neuron can do. Neurons compute, which means that the human brain has the equivalent of, not 80 or so billion transistors, but perhaps many billions of integrated circuits.

    Watching a squirrel cross the road suggests that they rate low on the IQ scale, very low. However, watching a squirrel caught raiding a crow's nest outrun the crow in a race through the crowns of a row of trees shows that even a squirrel is smarter than any AI-controlled device yet invented. As for the crow, winging its way among the branches at very high speed, that is some avionics package it has in its tiny brain case.

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  • @CanSpeccy
    AlphaGo Zero is a computer program that beat the program that beat the world Go champion. This program, when run on a computer system consuming as much power as a small town, differs from human intelligence in several ways. For example:

    First, it performs logical operations with complete accuracy.

    Second, it has access to an essentially limitless and entirely accurate memory.

    Third, it operates, relative to human thought, at inconceivable speed, completing in a day many life-times of human logical thought.

    That AlphaGo Zero has achieved a sort of celebrity is chiefly because it operates in the domain of one-on-one human intellectual conflict. Thus it is hailed as proof that artificial intelligence has now overtaken intelligence of the human variety and hence we are all doomed.

    There is, however, nothing about this program that distinguishes it in any fundamental way from hundreds, and indeed thousands, of business computer systems that have been in operation for years. Even the learning by experience routine upon which AlphaGo Zero depends to achieve expertise is hardly new, and definitely nothing superhuman in mode of operation.

    Thus, what AlphaGo Zero demonstrates is that computer systems deploying at vastly accelerated pace the analytical processes that underlie human thought, which is to say human thought when humans are thinking clearly, together with the data of experience recorded with complete accuracy and in quantities without limit, exceed the performance of humans in, as yet, narrowly defined domains, such as board games, airline booking systems, and Internet search.

    Where humans still excel is in the confusing, heterogeneous and constantly shifting environment of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, and their broader implications — for example, political, economic, and climatic — in relation to complex human ambitions.

    I will, therefore, worry more about humans becoming entirely redundant when a computer system can, at one moment, boil an egg while thinking about the solution to the Times Crossword, and keeping an eye on a grandchild romping with the dog in the back yard, only at the next moment to embark on a discussion of the significance of artificial intelligence for the future evolutionary trajectory of mankind.

    In fact, James reminds us how go’s complexity exceeds that of chess, and thus it took longer and a new approach (if not entirely novel concepts) to achieve this breakthrough.

    And yet, it’s still a game with a narrow, finite set of rules.

    You’re right to point out that what the algorithm did can be described as an accelerated, scaled up form of what humans actually do, collectively. How can one master go? Learn the rules, practice. Then read the literature. Study the greatest games. Compete with the best, if you can. Learn from them, and eventually make contributions of your own. In sum, as talented as one might be no progress can be achieved without capturing first the accumulated experience of thousands of masters having played millions of games…something the program could do with brute force, at a very accelerated pace

    But now what about real life, with real world problems? Many day-to-day problems can be much simpler in appearance than extremely contrived go games. The difference will be that almost always, there will be no small, fixed set of rules but instead innumerable variables, some being unpredictable. I’m not certain how machine learning can solve these outside of simplified or narrowed-down specific cases (that describes all the advances claimed to this day). How does animal intelligence, even the simpler forms, deal with that complexity to solve their day-to-day problems? It certainly appears they do it in ways much more economical, and actually efficient, compared to what any AI routines could attempt. Speaking of which, before expecting AI to beat humans, can’t we in the meantime expect it to beat simpler forms of animal cognition? I’m not aware of any attempt or claims in that direction, but perhaps someone can enlighten me?

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  • Westerners have semi-legitimate reasons to like Lenin. Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles). The increasing popular strains of SJW leftism...
  • So if I’m not mistaken (judging from this post and others), your view is that fixtures of modern liberalism such as multiculturalism, open borders, gay rights…etc

    1) were more popular among educated western elites (this is undeniable),
    2) who then proceeded to “convince”, “win over” the rest of elites and the general population

    I just…don’t see it. This evolution never felt organic, but only the result of elite capture and crude social engineering
    Lion of the Blogosphere once had a post touching on this which seemed spot on to me https://lionoftheblogosphere.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/how-the-gays-won/

    What took place was steady entryism, and after a certain threshold, shaming, exclusion and even criminalization (depending on the country) of alternative viewpoints. I generally hate conspiratorial thinking but in many respect these evolutions have the traits of conspiracies. For instance in France the freemasonry openly advocates for ART for gay couples, surrogacy, euthanasia. Other groups and operations might be harder to track…

    It may be that I misinterpreted you, if so I hope you correct me. But in any case it shows there may be hope for Russia and other countries at odds with the liberal ideological order. Just make sure these students never get anywhere in positions of power or cultural influence.

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  • The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative thinker Egor Kholmogorov. Translated by: Fluctuarius Argenteus; slightly edited by AK. Original: *** It may seem strange that, at the turn of the 21st century, the word “Socialism” is back in the popular political idiom. The final decade of the preceding century seemed to have...
  • I would argue that the more math content there is in a field of study, the more g-loaded it will be. For instance, highly intelligent subjects often (but not always) distinguish themselves with a rich, precise use of language, but someone less bright can also attain satisfactory levels through effort.

    Not so with mathematical skills. If at a certain level in math you’re struggling, protracted study, interest and discipline will only bring about meager progress. This is why so many bullshitters indeed find a refuge in humanities. Imo, the best and ultimate measure of someone’s intellect won’t be measured by an IQ score (many may have gamed their high score, Langan comes to mind) but how mathematically accomplished the person is.

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  • What the commenter Cicerone wrote in response to the study about dysgenic decline in Germany. The findings come rather surprizing to me and I am always sceptical of using these low N studies to make out trends. Using fertility by education data from the Wittgenstein database, my estimate for the intrinsic IQ loss over the...
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Ironically, pretty much the only guy who gets it right is Andrew Anglin - go hard on White Sharia (or don't bother at all).

    I must say nationalists, or worse, ethno-nationalists who crow about social liberalism always made me laugh. It is, and will remain, a contradiction in terms, and only leads to this: https://www.volkskrant.nl/magazine/smoorverliefd-op-een-syrier~a4503160/
    Or Nordic/English grannies making ‘special’ trips to Africa

    But so long as educated women have one or two decimal points higher TFRs. To each their own I guess

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  • Two weeks ago, I wrote for Unz.com an article entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” It sought to make several points concerning the consequences of Jewish political power vis-à-vis some aspects of U.S. foreign policy. It noted that some individual American Jews and organizations with close ties to Israel, whom I named and identified,...
  • Their reaction will probably be to hire more gentile faces to promote their bellicist causes and policies, from lawmakers to journalists to think tanks ‘experts’. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have notably fulfilled this role but they’re getting a bit spoiled.

    Though in the end there’s only so much they can do to hide their hand. Simply inquiring: cui bono? is enough to see through it

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  • 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...
  • @5371
    Although his occasional shows of contrarianism have earned him an undeserved reputation for independence, Bershy is not only malevolent, but stupid as a bag of rocks. When push comes to shove, economics is downstream from politics. Foreign owners are less able to use their economic power to effect social change than domestic owners, not the other way round. This argument should have ended a century ago with those who claimed economic integration meant WW1 couldn't happen.

    I wonder, it’s probably not true of Russia, perhaps it’s not true of Hungary, but I’m not sure.

    Materialism has certainly grown since the early 20th century. In many of the richest EU countries knowing whether you’ll achieve half a percentage point less or more in GDP growth is ranked as the first national cause.

    There real poverty has in effect disappeared long ago, low income people routinely spend half of their earnings or benefits on tobacco, alcohol (both often highly taxed), mobile phones and TV sport subscriptions/betting. The homeless are much more the results of psychiatric and societal disorders than strictly a scarcity problem. Anyone who has been to or knows developing countries sees that very clearly.

    And while the lower classes do bitch about inequality, the 1%, for valid or not so valid reasons, deep down all they want is to partake in the same material lifestyle, not to overturn the liberal economic order in any way.

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    • Replies: @Anon

    Materialism has certainly grown since the early 20th century. In many of the richest EU countries knowing whether you’ll achieve half a percentage point less or more in GDP growth is ranked as the first national cause.
     
    It is certainly true in Germany whose national identity was built on the economy (Zollverein, Mittelstand, Mark,...).

    There is nothing else left after the old order was destroyed several times and non-economic nationalism discredited.
    , @Che Guava
    Bukephalos,

    You make a points that are interesting, but I cannot agreeing.

    I have never visited a developing nation that is one of the overpopulation nightmares, but have lived in or spent time in several that are not. Seeing few or no homeless people.

    In Japan, your idea of mainly insane people or close to that, or just antisocial, valid in the time of the bubble economy and as it burst, so mid-to-late eighties.

    Abe Kobo's The Box Man is a good work of fiction about one such. If you are to liking deeper fiction, you maybe can get it through inter-library loan. I checked, the above is the correct title for the english translation. One such spends much time at a park near my flat. He is, or was, a scholar, he doesn't like to talk. Once, I asked what he was doing, he was copying the Socratic dialogues in Japanese, into tiny and very precise handwritten script. So studying. Haven't seen him doing such things lately, which makes me sad.

    Through the nineties, numbers of a different type of homeless grew, older working-class men, they had cardboard and PVC tent towns in all major parks in Tokyo.

    The 2011 earthquake and big wave were gifts from above to govt. for hiding their presence. Almost all of that type are now working on the Fukushima clean-up. Which will never end.

    The tent towns are all gone.

    I find it it very difficult to believe that what you are saying is applying in say, NY or London, extortionate rents because of stupid and greedy policies must be rendering many homeless. Sure, they may be seeming like crazy people, but how many were to starting that way?
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  • The horrific execution by police of an Australian woman in her pajamas that took place last week in Minneapolis has again produced a torrent of criticism over killings initiated by law enforcement in situations in which the officers are in no way threatened. America has always been a violent place relative to much of the...
  • @peterAUS

    Syria may somewhat change the trend with Syrian Army being definitely battle-hardened but opinion of SAA’s General Staff is still very low.
     
    Well, I really doubt it.

    After all this time SAA simply can't do any combined arms operation above the level of small brigade, and even that not well.
    I simply haven't seen the basics yet....artillery support of mechanized attack in daytime, just at battalion level (close support of attack/assault that is).
    Let alone the same at night.

    I believe the cause is really cultural (probably racial too....).

    I mean, they have Russian air support, technology, advisers and specialists...and still can't do the very basics after all this time.

    Actually, personally, I believe that even Russians got surprised, after getting into it, how bad SAA was/is.
    I was expecting, when Russian air-campaign started, that in a less than 6 months tops that war would be over.
    And, then, when watching/analyzing SAA ground forces I got that they simply can't do that. And IMHO, they will never get it.

    I know Arab armies have the reputation of not performing well in such operations, and it’s possible the SAA is still lacking in this department- however observing the current conflict wouldn’t be really useful to reach this conclusion.

    It’s essentially a war against militias and urban sieges, all the time. At all time militants blend with civilians or take them hostages. No chance to apply state of the art tactics against conventional enemy formations. For the same reasons, US forces failed in Iraq when the war entered its insurrectional phase. There is no way you win these types of conflicts in six months

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Off topic reply so I apologize.

    On policy/strategic level you could have a point.

    On tactical level I disagree.

    For a very good example how it CAN be effectively done I'd suggest taking a look at Serb/Yugoslav response in Kosovo before "Merciful Angel" kicked in.

    And, all that without Russian help.

    Say, you magically transfer Serb/Yugoslav response force of that time into today Syria, and with Russian help......I'd say 3 months tops to clear any visible opposition.

    Agree that after that we'd have Afghanistan/Iraq scenario but that's not the off-topic here.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • This is the weekly Open Thread. This week I also participated in a podcast with Robert Stark about transhumanism and effective altruism. *** * Baptiste Dumoulin & Emil O. W. Kirkegaard - The Decline of Brussels: Immigration and social inequality in Belgium * Via James Thompson who is at the ISIR conference in Montreal: Vladimir...
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    It's GDP (PPP) adjusted is already higher than America's, and will end up about 3x higher once it converges to ~70% of US GDPcc like Japan/S. Korea did.

    Nominal Chinese GDP will overtake American GDP around 2020.

    I estimate Chinese naval power will overtake the US around 2040, assuming present trends continue.

    I don't know if it will ever decidedly overtake the US in science/technology, since East Asians seem to be less inventive at similar IQ levels; though the fact of its 4x population should ensure at least a convergence. However, an outright overtake can't be excluded if dysgenic trends continue or accelerate in the US.

    These GDP per capita comparisons made me curious about one thing. How many people in China (or Russia), actually have a standard of living equivalent to the American average? In other words, high first world standard?

    In both cases they would belong to the top tier in the local distribution of income. It’s difficult because inequality measures aren’t accurate, but I surmise in Russia we may have some 30 million people, in China perhaps 140 million. Of course in PPP terms, much less nominally. Functionally it would correspond to being “well-off” in their respective societies, with the assorted behavior of consuming less, saving more as a percentage of their income than US middle class etc…

    Still I think the figures are becoming large. At some point the huge first world consumer market that is the US could be rivalled in economic weight by the higher income quintile in China. First world products, or Chinese production of first world quality, would tend to accrue to this one huge market. I suppose this has an economic effect somewhere (having the biggest market for high end consumption in the world, even as the country as a whole will keep middling living standards on aggregate)

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Consumer patterns matter a great deal here. F.e. very many (and I mean in tens of millions) Russian families have dachas, which range from shacks to mansions--this thing (bar some vacation homes of well-off people in US) is non-existent in US. Dachas are also a huge factor in supplemental nutrition for Russians since they grow there a lot of staff, from potatoes to cabbage and carrots. Americans, on the other hand have access to better healthcare, in the same time, Russians have vast network of free healthcare, which in US is afforded mostly to medicaid patients. A number of adjustments required for getting more or less objective picture for comparison and is huge, which is usually beyond the capability of most Western "economic" analytical institutions. In the end, there is no "pure" economics--it is always a combination of historic, cultural, economic and other factors. Without considering them all those numbers and "markets" mambo-jumbo is just that--BS. Just to give a more honed example--in Russia you go to any pharmacy and ask for antibiotic by the title--they will sell it to you, as long as you know the name of the medicine. Try the same in US--not happening without visit to a doctor (often expensive one) and getting prescription--money, time, energy are spent, very often needlessly.
    , @Duke of Qin
    A quick and dirty way of assessing consumer purchasing power are automobile purchases which outside of housing are generally the most expensive consumer good that households usually make.

    2016 passenger vehicles in the US was around 17.5 million, 28 million for China, and a little more than 1.4 million for Russia. The Russian figures are of course depressed by Western sanctions and the ruble devaluation. I think peak auto sales in Russia was in 2012 with around 2.8 million or so vehicles with slight declines in 2013-2014 and a huge near 40% decline in sales in 2015 and a more modest 11% fall last year.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.