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    Whitley, Elise et al. - 2016 - Variations in cognitive abilities across the life course New paper by Elise Whitley et al. on age and sex differences in IQ for n=~40,000 British sample. Five tests: Word recall, verbal fluency, and subtraction (loading ~0.5 on g), and number sequence and numerical problem solving (loading ~0.7 on...
  • @Philip Owen
    And Trump is? Oh dear.

    I’m 68, exercise intelligently , read thoughtful articles (like the one above!), memorize words of Christ, do math, science, prepare and use foods that are largely nutrient dense and healthy, socialize with smart people, and in general compensate for my aging. This takes about 2 to 5 hours daily but I have no pain, take no medications, and haven’t been to a medical doctor in decades. About 35 years ago I was so unhealthy that I was on crutches with arthritis and taking pain killers like candy. My poor mental performance and emotional stability then started gradually improving as I experimented with natural and intelligent life-styling. My chief problem was acquiring the discipline, self-responsibility, and routines to stay improving (It took years). Don’t give up, don’t settle for less, and don’t be in the center of the bell curves that this article is likely based upon. Good Luck You Guys!

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  • I would say that the ultimate and really the only reason we have mandatory retirement policies are cognitive ones.

    Or you could say that the ultimate and really the only reason we have cognitive decline are because of mandatory retirement.

    I know it’s a something of an exaggeration, but work often involves mental and physical effort (i.e. mental and physical exercise), so retirement could in fact be offering the retiree the choice of “use it or lose it”.

    On retirement I have observed that many people no longer engage in any mental or physical effort – reduce social relations, and quickly go into decline. The few that build a moderately stressful physical/mental environment seem to do OK, as do those that are not able to retire such as some business owners.

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  • @TomSchmidt
    Any suggestions on what to do to offset the steep drop and make it more shallow?

    Old claret and young women.

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  • @Philip Owen
    And Trump is? Oh dear.

    Trump is roughly the same age as the hard-drinking invalid he beat, Mrs Synthetic Hagfish Slime.

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  • @Philip Owen
    Not news but a useful update. There's a life cycle issue this doesn't bring out. I have seen material, decades ago - because there's not much new in the IQ debate, that decline was fastest in those with low IQ's while those with the highest IQ's maintained their level longer and declined slower. So IQ 85 might start to fade fast at 55 and IQ 115 hold on until 75. If you are over 120 I would think that experience will compensate for lack of brute computing power anyway. And speaking as a greyhair I would say my social skills for getting results from base thinking capacity have hugely improved, at least in real life.

    Keep publishing AK.

    Add some pictures to your Russian pieces if you can. You are there now. 3x the readers?

    Nice positive piece about how Moscow Citi is filling up. (Huge developments take time to show a yield. They start empty). Lots of photos in that.

    While I sincerely hope you’re right, my word recall is fading in my mid-50′s. This may be influenced by having a very large vocabulary, or it might not. I’ve always believed I didn’t have any intelligence to spare as it was.

    One area of IQ research I’ve not encountered (it may exist) is whether there’s time line variation in development of intelligence. My early years were not characterized by flashes of brilliance and even H.S. college entrance tests were no more than above average. By the time I was in my mid-20′s, however, I hit 98th percentile on the GRE’s verbal and analytical. Being a “late bloomer” was in hindsight an enormous handicap.

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  • Not news but a useful update. There’s a life cycle issue this doesn’t bring out. I have seen material, decades ago – because there’s not much new in the IQ debate, that decline was fastest in those with low IQ’s while those with the highest IQ’s maintained their level longer and declined slower. So IQ 85 might start to fade fast at 55 and IQ 115 hold on until 75. If you are over 120 I would think that experience will compensate for lack of brute computing power anyway. And speaking as a greyhair I would say my social skills for getting results from base thinking capacity have hugely improved, at least in real life.

    Keep publishing AK.

    Add some pictures to your Russian pieces if you can. You are there now. 3x the readers?

    Nice positive piece about how Moscow Citi is filling up. (Huge developments take time to show a yield. They start empty). Lots of photos in that.

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    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
    While I sincerely hope you're right, my word recall is fading in my mid-50's. This may be influenced by having a very large vocabulary, or it might not. I've always believed I didn't have any intelligence to spare as it was.

    One area of IQ research I've not encountered (it may exist) is whether there's time line variation in development of intelligence. My early years were not characterized by flashes of brilliance and even H.S. college entrance tests were no more than above average. By the time I was in my mid-20's, however, I hit 98th percentile on the GRE's verbal and analytical. Being a "late bloomer" was in hindsight an enormous handicap.

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  • I am 63 and what an utter load of lllllllllllllj aoiaaaaaaaaaaaiaoooooooooooooomma mmmmmmmmmmmm

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  • Gee, Anatoly, I’m almost 70 and was looking forward to my upcoming retirement to start my own blog, impress everyone with my brilliance, and be invited to post on the Unz Review. Come on! I was postponing my life’s projects to, first, better understand and, then, compete with Einstein (okay, maybe Freud … someone … anyone) since I would no longer be burdened with office work and could focus on intellectual pursuits.

    You just let the air out of my balloon, dashed my hopes, and resigned me to my fate. I think I’ll grab a beer and go sit on the front porch :-)

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  • Any suggestions on what to do to offset the steep drop and make it more shallow?

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    Old claret and young women.
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  • Thanks. Easy to believe my word recall :-(

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  • @Philip Owen
    And Trump is? Oh dear.

    It doesn’t take a genius to be POTUS.

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  • And Trump is? Oh dear.

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    • Replies: @European-American
    It doesn't take a genius to be POTUS.
    , @dearieme
    Trump is roughly the same age as the hard-drinking invalid he beat, Mrs Synthetic Hagfish Slime.
    , @outoftheboxguy
    I'm 68, exercise intelligently , read thoughtful articles (like the one above!), memorize words of Christ, do math, science, prepare and use foods that are largely nutrient dense and healthy, socialize with smart people, and in general compensate for my aging. This takes about 2 to 5 hours daily but I have no pain, take no medications, and haven't been to a medical doctor in decades. About 35 years ago I was so unhealthy that I was on crutches with arthritis and taking pain killers like candy. My poor mental performance and emotional stability then started gradually improving as I experimented with natural and intelligent life-styling. My chief problem was acquiring the discipline, self-responsibility, and routines to stay improving (It took years). Don't give up, don't settle for less, and don't be in the center of the bell curves that this article is likely based upon. Good Luck You Guys!
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  • too A few readers reminded me of the recent Rachel Caspari article in Scientific American, The Evolution of Grandparents. It's actually based on her earlier research, published in PNAS in 2004, Older age becomes common late in human evolution. I was already pointed to this paper by Milford Wolpoff, who seems to be of the...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If, in early hominid populations, women bore children at a much younger age isn’t it possible that grandmothers would also be younger. A 14 yo has a child, her mother had her at age 14 so at age 28 she is a grandmother. I think the results merely show that as human populations grew larger and had more resources they lived longer hence more bones of older people who may or may not have been grandparents.

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  • A couple minor grammar errors early on detracted from this (IMO, not everybody is a grammar nazi I realize). It’s a “to read” folder, not “too read”. And it’s “hummed along through a lot of the paper”, instead of “to”. And near the end, the term “knock-on” was used, where I think “add-on” would be better, perhaps confused with “knock-off” in this case. Otherwise this is a fine blog.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A few years ago a scientist wrote an article stating that women of menopausal age were of little or no use to a the group. I guess this proves that all wrong. Regardless of which theory proves correct for this radical change-nature or nuture- it was necessary for us to continue to become even more cohesive family and tribe groups. Young women of child bering age would have had the highest mortality and a woman to survive to 30 would have made her a person with a lot of stored memories; the same as an elder male hunter or tool maker.

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  • Nador is the high quality reader of Discover that I imagine reads this magazine. Also, I appreciate his humble (not- Cocky) attitude. Makes me proud to be a member of the Discover family. I wish I had access to such smart people in my “regular” life! Thank you for responding.
    Rick

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  • no, u r correct

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  • Shouldn’t the label of the figure be ratio of 30+ to 15-30 year old? Or is it just my poor English?

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  • During the past two years, Russian "dissident" liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called "Independent Expert Reports" (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the "persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda". The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled "Putin. The Results. 10...
  • [...] such as Anatoly Karlin and Sean Guillory easily dismember without breaking a sweat, as they did here and [...]

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  • [...] calibre blew his “Putin is bad for Russia” report into the weeds nearly a year ago, dissecting it mercilessly until even people who flunked out of math in Grade 6 could grasp that his figures have no [...]

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  • One of the podcasts I subscribe to is Thinking Allowed from Radio 4. The most recent one was on the role which robots are envisaged to play in the future of Japan: The guest was very negative about Japan's plan to substitute robots for immigrants. Basically, she perceived that there was a risk that the...
  • The guest was very negative about Japan’s plan to substitute robots for immigrants. Basically, she perceived that there was a risk that the Japanese were going to turn into technologically enabled inward-looking xenophobes, closing themselves off to the rest of the world and interacting only with their robot minions.

    I just listened to the podcast. Jennifer’s attitude towards the Japanese use of robotics as a substitute for immigration, particularly unskilled immigration, is very typical of Western academics who tend to be liberal-left. Her attitude illustrates perfectly that the liberal-left has assumed the same monopolistic belief about the truth that is a trait of the Abrahamic religions. The liberal-left believes that it has the “one true” answer to all social problems and that their answer is applicable to all human beings and cultures. Hence, it is intolerant of any dissent from their position.

    If so, it’s their right as a nation to do so, and I don’t see why all nations should adopt the same policies in regards to globalization.

    This is the great crime that the Japanese people are committing in the eyes of Jennifer. That they would dare to take a different approach to their social issues than what Jennifer believes that they should.

    Some time ago, on Secular Right blog, I characterized both Abrahamic religions as well as the liberal-left ideology as totalitarian. I stand by this assertion.

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  • Huge Asimov fan – I say bring on the robots. I’m now reading Arthur C Clake though and its interesting his 50′s works are all to do with the extinction of religion (almost every novel presents a “novel” way to religion’s end).

    “Traditionalists” who fear change are invariable in the wrong.

    One can be a faithful and devout theist and yet counter that “God can be wrong”. My problem with religion (and I would argue I’m a good believer) is the absolutism and rigorous application of the “law of God”. As I was telling my brother yesterday (or day before can’t remember) any God who’s so concerned with rules, regulations and technicalities isn’t a God I want to believe in anyway, even if (s)he does exist. I would imagine mine to be on the cutting edge of technology, pondering away moral dilemmas and looking at our quirks & discoveries with mild to riveting interest.

    Anyway my point being bring on the robots, cloning and extra terrestrials; it’ll definitely make life more interesting. And kudos to the Japanese for mechanising/automating our society; the concept of human is far richer and powerful than automated tasks. And if the day does come that AI is smarter than us I hope by that time they’ll figure out enough about us to understand our emotions and be as (if not more) empathic than us.

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  • US says: • Website

    TV, DVD-player, washing machine, tumble dryer, computer, printer, mobile phone, I-pod, modem, freezer/fridge, blender, oven, coffeemaker, electric water boiler, microwave, stove, vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, car.

    I can tell my coffeemaker to start making coffee at some future point in time, if I program it to do that and put coffee and water where it’s supposed to be. I take it for granted that when I put something in the microwave, the oven stops heating my food when I’ve asked it to. I can tell my anti-virus program how often to update and it’ll just do it automatically.

    I’ve read Asimov, his robot novels are in fact some of my favourite books, so I know very well that he was talking about humanoid robots, but still. A 50/1 ratio of (non-humanoid) ‘robots’ to human, which was the approximate ratio on Aurora, isn’t all that far off as it is, at least not among rich folks living in developed societies. Maybe humanoid robots for sex and very simple household tasks, I can see that happening (it is happening), but developing anything even remotely like Asimov’s ‘positronic brain’ isn’t worth the trouble, if it’s even doable. To have several robot helpers in the same household would also in almost all households be a complete waste as it’s much easier/cheaper to program the existing robot to do the new task than to make a new robot for the purpose (also, robots don’t sleep and could theoretically have a 168 hour work week).

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  • [...] Razib Khan – “Hybridization is Like Sex“, “Positive Change in the World“, “Japanese as Solarians” [...]

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  • I would point out that the “grass-eating men” phenomenon has very little in common with antisocial personality disorder.

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  • Longer living low-birthrate populations through their member’s birthrates are already militarily superior/in control of the rest of the world. Think the top 10% in the wealthiest nations of the world.

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  • These speculative discussions on the potential effects of personal robots on society are interesting and certainly are discussions worth having. On the other hand, the demographic trends the Japanese face are rather clear, and the effects of third-world immigration on other modern cultures are also rather clear. So the push into robotics may not look to them as quite the risky venture others may think it is.

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  • Ick. That ladybot is deep in the gross part of the uncanny valley.

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  • The topic is actually explored frequently in Japanese pop literature. The manga Chobits, set less than a hundred years in the future, by the all-woman group CLAMP, explores the issue of fem-bots, and the ensuing mess of divorces, humans marrying their robots, and forgetting how to treat people like people as a result.

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  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by razib khan and J.S., World Amazing Things. World Amazing Things said: Japanese as Solarians | Gene Expression: One of the podcasts I subscribe too is Thinking Allowed from Radio 4. The… http://bit.ly/djiogG [...]

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  • Though hard to imagine, the Washington Post - or Pravda on the Potomac, as Eugene Ivanov quite rightly labels it - surpassed even its own sordid standards for Russia coverage, in the form of the latest op-ed from George F. Will in Potemkin Country. Time to go grenade fishing again, I guess. I suppose turning...
  • [...] – demolishing the same Russophobe myths gets repetitive and boring after a while (much like grenade fishing), – speaking of which, I think I now understand why similar “Russophile” bloggers [...]

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  • During the past two years, Russian "dissident" liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called "Independent Expert Reports" (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the "persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda". The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled "Putin. The Results. 10...
  • [...] purpose here to deconstruct Nemtsov’s spin as promulgated in his latest effort. That’s already been done – far better – by the razor-sharp Anatoly Karlin over at Sublime Oblivion. However, [...]

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  • Of Moose and Men: 50-Year Study Into Moose Arthritis Reveals Link With Early Malnutrition: "As the study entered its second decade there was increasing evidence of Osteoarthritis (OA) in the moose population," said lead author Rolf Peterson from Michigan Technological University. "OA is a crippling disease and is identical to that found in humans. It...
  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Al Poe. Al Poe said: Malnutrition now, arthritis later? | Gene Expression: Of Moose and Men: 50-Year Study Into Moose Arthritis Reveals… http://bit.ly/d7vpGl [...]

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  • During the past two years, Russian "dissident" liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called "Independent Expert Reports" (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the "persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda". The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled "Putin. The Results. 10...
  • How would the topmost graph look by itself? That is, not taking into account the higher net immigration rate during the 1990s or the influences that prior events had on the Yeltsin and Putin eras?

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  • [...] Warm New England Winters {June 28, 2010}   The Brouhaha over Books So, I’ve been catching up on my reading of blogs about Russia. It looks as if that book on Putin that was written by Nemtsov et al. is going to get media attention that it clearly does not deserve. Since I didn’t read the book, I can’t decide for myself what to make of it. Fortunately for you all, the astute Anatoly Karlin has a short review of book in his blog (check it out here). [...]

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  • @Leos Tomicek
    Speaking of Milov, this is worthy of translation.

    http://v-milov.livejournal.com/244148.html

    BTW, A Good Treaty has an excellent post Solidarnost’. Itogi. 2 goda. (Solidarity. The Results. 2 Years.) on the fecklessness, egomania and bigotry of Solidarity’s leaders.

    Sean also raises the interesting possibility that Vladimir Milov is “the real loser” by jumping the Solidarity PR wagon just as it was about to get really going…

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  • [...] the worst leader ever!”) that is staked out by people like Boris Nemtsov. As Anatoly Karlin has noted, the health and demographics section of Nemstov’s more recent “report” was a [...]

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  • [...] caused something of a media storm. In the Russia-Blogger Anglosphere, Sean Guillory and Anatoly Karlin have already dedicated entire posts to the content and public reception of this political text, but [...]

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I completely agree with this assessment, Mark.

    If I remember correctly, what originally completely turned me off to Kasparov was an interview he gave (in English) to (Western) media outlets about how Australia should not sell uranium to Russia because it is an evil empire that will pass it on to Iran. Sorry, but I don't want someone who practices economic sabotage against his own country to become President or assume any position of power at all for that matter. (That was also about the time I was beginning to get interested in Russian politics).

    I actually meant that the Russian state may deserve its liberal opposition (Russians deserve much better IMO) because of its idiotic hamfistedness, which seems to have the indirect effect of leaving only the driven ideologues and loudmouths and cranks in the limelight.

    Interesting remark. I would say, not just the limelight – the “hamfistedness” *results* in that the only opposition will be extremists…

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  • @Mark Adomanis
    Good work. How very sad but also very expected that Nemtsov's "analysis" of Russian demography would be so hackneyed and silly. Indeed it is percisely this sort of mendacious crap that really turned me off to the Russophobes: you don't need to make things up to attack Putin, but they constantly insist on doing just that.

    The criticism that Nemtsov should make is that things would have improved more rapidly had Russia's leaders been more attentive and competant. But he can't make that argument because that would mean conceding that things have improved under Putin, so he's forced into the sorts of farcical logical gymanastics you detail above

    I'm not prepared to say that every country gets the government it deserves, sometimes governments do just seize power through force of arms, but, just maybe, every country gets the liberal opposition it deserves.

    I completely agree with this assessment, Mark.

    If I remember correctly, what originally completely turned me off to Kasparov was an interview he gave (in English) to (Western) media outlets about how Australia should not sell uranium to Russia because it is an evil empire that will pass it on to Iran. Sorry, but I don’t want someone who practices economic sabotage against his own country to become President or assume any position of power at all for that matter. (That was also about the time I was beginning to get interested in Russian politics).

    I actually meant that the Russian state may deserve its liberal opposition (Russians deserve much better IMO) because of its idiotic hamfistedness, which seems to have the indirect effect of leaving only the driven ideologues and loudmouths and cranks in the limelight.

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    • Replies: @Alex (zed one)
    Interesting remark. I would say, not just the limelight - the "hamfistedness" *results* in that the only opposition will be extremists...
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  • @Gregor
    Good work Anatoly. I am not entirely unsympathetic to some of the aims of Russian liberals, but they really do seem to be led by narcissistic nutters. Good point as well about his target audience: I've actually heard some similar things about some of Chavez's supporters being country club members, and think that the received wisdom that 'middle class foreigner' means someone who will oppose demagogic leaders in favour of US hegemony is very badly wrong.

    Now, I wonder why they had to translate that petition ;-)

    They didn’t translate the petition; in fact, I’m pretty sure that they would as soon it didn’t see the light of day in English because it is so patently ridiculous to all but the most ideological observers. It was done by the Russia-watching blogger A Good Treaty.

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  • @Leos Tomicek
    Speaking of Milov, this is worthy of translation.

    http://v-milov.livejournal.com/244148.html

    Thanks for the link, Leos. For those who don’t read Russian: it basically says that Vladimir Milov is leaving Solidarity (the umbrella “liberal democratic”/opposition party in Russia) due to its authoritarian ways and fecklessness. He’s moving onto other liberal projects.

    This is hardly exceptional, of course… there are also the cases of Korchevnaya, Nikita Belykh, Masha Gaidar, Marina Litvinovich, etc… who have become deeply disillusioned with the official institutions of Russian liberalism.

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  • This was easily the S/O post that was most boring for me to write in at least a few months. I can only admire the level of dedication it must take to actually translate Nemtsov’s scribblings in full, as Dave Essel does.

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  • Good work. How very sad but also very expected that Nemtsov’s “analysis” of Russian demography would be so hackneyed and silly. Indeed it is percisely this sort of mendacious crap that really turned me off to the Russophobes: you don’t need to make things up to attack Putin, but they constantly insist on doing just that.

    The criticism that Nemtsov should make is that things would have improved more rapidly had Russia’s leaders been more attentive and competant. But he can’t make that argument because that would mean conceding that things have improved under Putin, so he’s forced into the sorts of farcical logical gymanastics you detail above

    I’m not prepared to say that every country gets the government it deserves, sometimes governments do just seize power through force of arms, but, just maybe, every country gets the liberal opposition it deserves.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I completely agree with this assessment, Mark.

    If I remember correctly, what originally completely turned me off to Kasparov was an interview he gave (in English) to (Western) media outlets about how Australia should not sell uranium to Russia because it is an evil empire that will pass it on to Iran. Sorry, but I don't want someone who practices economic sabotage against his own country to become President or assume any position of power at all for that matter. (That was also about the time I was beginning to get interested in Russian politics).

    I actually meant that the Russian state may deserve its liberal opposition (Russians deserve much better IMO) because of its idiotic hamfistedness, which seems to have the indirect effect of leaving only the driven ideologues and loudmouths and cranks in the limelight.

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  • A very interesting (if maybe sometimes overly emotional) piece, Anatoly – better than the original, IMHO. The backside of your effort was that your publication forced me to read the chapter of the original – before that, as well as some other people:), I only glanced at Nemtsov’s report and somehow felt that I had already read it many times in the past .. “I am even coming to think that the deaf Russian state might just deserve its blind liberals.” Me too. Cheers

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  • Good work Anatoly. I am not entirely unsympathetic to some of the aims of Russian liberals, but they really do seem to be led by narcissistic nutters. Good point as well about his target audience: I’ve actually heard some similar things about some of Chavez’s supporters being country club members, and think that the received wisdom that ‘middle class foreigner’ means someone who will oppose demagogic leaders in favour of US hegemony is very badly wrong.

    Now, I wonder why they had to translate that petition ;-)

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    They didn't translate the petition; in fact, I'm pretty sure that they would as soon it didn't see the light of day in English because it is so patently ridiculous to all but the most ideological observers. It was done by the Russia-watching blogger A Good Treaty.
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  • Nemtsov is just mad at the current government, because he didn’t get the president’s chair. And we all know he wants power more than anything. Hence, all the ‘exposes’ on Putin and Medvedev. I’m sure that in the nearest future Nemtsov will be aking up his own stats just to mess with Putin.

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  • Speaking of Milov, this is worthy of translation.

    http://v-milov.livejournal.com/244148.html

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks for the link, Leos. For those who don't read Russian: it basically says that Vladimir Milov is leaving Solidarity (the umbrella "liberal democratic"/opposition party in Russia) due to its authoritarian ways and fecklessness. He's moving onto other liberal projects.

    This is hardly exceptional, of course... there are also the cases of Korchevnaya, Nikita Belykh, Masha Gaidar, Marina Litvinovich, etc... who have become deeply disillusioned with the official institutions of Russian liberalism.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    BTW, A Good Treaty has an excellent post Solidarnost’. Itogi. 2 goda. (Solidarity. The Results. 2 Years.) on the fecklessness, egomania and bigotry of Solidarity's leaders.

    Sean also raises the interesting possibility that Vladimir Milov is "the real loser" by jumping the Solidarity PR wagon just as it was about to get really going...

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  • The GSS asks people about the morality of premarital sex between post-pubescent minors (TEENSEX):Most people say "always wrong," so I'll just look at those responses; the other responses have little room to vary since all must add up to 100%. How does opposition vary across demographic groups? [1] As for social class, the elites say...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    How much of the response variation could be due to the attitude towards precise speech? I struggle with questions like these — surely there is some situation when almost any behavior is justified? This issue could be answered by adding in the “almost always wrong” responses to see if it changes the curve.

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  • Class is a state of mind, not income. I’m sure class is related to intelligence, but it is not so clear that it’s related to education. 
     
    Possibly I’m thinking of a different type “class” and it is perhaps related to being a cultural southerner.

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  • How do rates of actually having had sex aged 14-16 vary across the demographic criteria used here? 
     
    This is a very good question. 
     
    People say one thing, typically what they are expected to say by society and their social millieu but usually do what their genes have programmed them to do :-)

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    How do rates of actually having had sex aged 14-16 vary across the demographic criteria used here? If you did have sex before 16 yet suffered no ill consequences, would you be more likely not to think of it as unequivocally wrong? If rates declined with higher socio-economic status, education etc., as did the effect of negative consequences (since at least some of them are mitigable with money), then that could explain the hump in the middle.

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  • One interesting thing is that people of average intelligence/education seem to be more opposed to teen sex than people above or below. I hypothesize there may be some of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development at play here. People at the bottom may simply think “What’s wrong with that? It feels good!”. People in the middle say, “It’s dangerous to have sex that early, it can lead to all sorts of problems. It’s best to not do it at all.” The most educated people are thinking, “Well, it’s not always bad. It does sometimes work out.” 
     
    Another interesting thing is that income doesn’t seem to matter much, while education and intelligence do. I don’t have the numbers. Which is more heritable, income or education level? Knowing this could give a hint as to whether moral views about teen sex are more a product of genes or environment.

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  • It makes me wonder what the approval rates are for sex outside marriage for the various respondent age groups. Do people who disapprove of unmarried teens having sex also disapprove of older unmarried people having sex, and if so, at similar rates?

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  • Other factors that seem obvious: poorer people are more likely to think that their children will become mothers or fathers in their early teens, a poor 16 year old mother is much less likely to be able to get an education and/or a decent career path, wealthier parent/child sets are more likely to all agree that abortion is an acceptable option…

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  • Or, you’re more opposed to something you could actually see your kids doing. Lower class and lower intelligence people have lower future time orientation, and so do their kids. Therefore the parents will be more likely to be strongly opposed to it. 
     
    This still falls under the “fast vs. slow” life history explanation that I gave.

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  • Because “premarsx,” real income, and education all show a pronounced secular trend you really ought to be doing the analysis within a single year or controlling for period effects. 
     
    Do they? For EDUC, yes, due to the education bubble. But checking SEI(c:5,17), REALINC(c:10000,5000), and WORDSUM by YEAR, restricting YEAR to 1986-2006 (when the TEENSEX question was asked), there’s no strong secular trend. 
     
    But I repeated the original searches, only going in roughly 5-year intervals, and the patterns look the same.

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  • Because “premarsx,” real income, and education all show a pronounced secular trend you really ought to be doing the analysis within a single year or controlling for period effects.

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  • Or, you’re more opposed to something you could actually see your kids doing. Lower class and lower intelligence people have lower future time orientation, and so do their kids. Therefore the parents will be more likely to be strongly opposed to it.

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  • Though hard to imagine, the Washington Post - or Pravda on the Potomac, as Eugene Ivanov quite rightly labels it - surpassed even its own sordid standards for Russia coverage, in the form of the latest op-ed from George F. Will in Potemkin Country. Time to go grenade fishing again, I guess. I suppose turning...
  • I just thought of another Will moment having to do when the wars of the last decade in former Yugoslavia broke out.

    As he stated, his solution was to bring back the Hapsburg Empire (seemingly meant in a half serious, nut serious enough way).

    Never mind how its policies in Bosnia escalated tensions.

    I sense that GW has his own version of a “culture war.” There’re others out there who seem to take a similar route.

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  • Over the years, it seems that whenever Will writes or comments (on TV) about Russia, it’s with all of the misinformed negatives imaginable.

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  • Fedia, great point! Thanks. This is certainly something worth keeping in mind when arguing with Russophobes.

    PS. Though not exactly generous to Russia, he’s not even right about the caviar. Caspian sturgeon stocks are close to depletion, with peak caviar having been reached around 1980. ;)

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  • Anatoly, you didn’t really understand the article. It was a veiled compliment. Every time Count Potemkin is mentioned, it is always a veiled compliment. Because what is Count Potemkin famous for, besides being one of the lovers of Catherine the Great? He oversaw the development of huge newly conquered areas of Russia from scratch and turned them into its most flourishing provinces. What the foreigners enviously referred to as “Potemkin villages” were in fact real, as is well known to any serious student of history (and was even described in Wiki last time I checked).

    So what exactly is the real meaning of the adjective “Potemkin”? It is something that is so amazing you don’t want to believe it’s true, but nevertheless it is. So what do the phrases “Potemkin country” or “human Potemkin village” really tell us? They tell us that George F. Will stands completely in awe of Russia. Either that, or that he is an utter fool who tries to use historical allusions he doesn’t understand. But I’m feeling charitable, so I choose the more optimistic (for George F. Will) interpretation.

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  • Great job as usual, Anatoly!

    A short comments. Will doesn’t write often about Russia: as far as I know, the last time he touched the subject was on August 12, 2008. At least, let’s give him credit for his modesty and restraint.

    Best,
    Eugene

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  • [...] which almost started W. W. III, the Vietnam War (1965-73), and the Soviet War in Afghanistan Grenade Fishing on the Potomac – sublimeoblivion.com 04/21/2009 Though hard to imagine, the Washington Post – or Pravda on the [...]

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  • Pardon my not also mentioning the I word in the above essay. It goes hand in hand with the B one.

    To reiterate on an eariler point, it’s great to see substantively hard core media criticism that has been otherwise lacking.

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  • On the matter of GW and the mentioned B word:

    Back in the late 1970s/early 80′s, in one segment of the PBS aired Agronsky & Company, GW kept referring to the Soviets as Russians. At one point, he said they’ve an inferior culture. Agronsky stopped him and briefly noted Russian literary and scientific achievements. In a crazed way, Will repeated his inferior culture point.

    Afterwards, I don’t recall any critical overview of that, other than what was privately expressed by some history students in my cabal.

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  • As we covered in the previous instalment, Demographics I: The Russian Cross Reversed?, fertility rates are not abnormally low by European standards and are likely to rise further in the future. The same cannot be said of mortality rates - a 'quiet crisis' that has been a 'catastrophe of historic proportions'. Take life expectancy. As...
  • stalker, your numbers seem to confirm my point. If in RSFSR male lifespan reached 65 yrs, then collapsed to 57 in RF, that’s exactly 8 yrs. I wasn’t talking about today, but about the differnce between zenith of RSFSR and nadir of RF.

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  • BTW, yet more proof for cheap vodka = more mortality causation.As you all probably know food prices globally have been increasing rapidly since around mid-2007. In Russia, the increase has been about 2x greater in food than in vodka, and by now the food/alcohol price ratio is now comparable to its all time low in 1994, and maybe even lower.Guess what?http://www.gks.ru/bgd/free/b08_00/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d03/8-0.htmFor Jan-Feb 2008, compared with the same period last yet, 14,600 more people died, a rise of 2.6%. And that’s despite continuing healthcare improvements and shifting patterns of alcohol consumption (to beer).

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  • @oleg,In the RSFSR since 1959, male life expectancy ranged 61-65 years. In the RF has it has ranged 57-62 years. So the gap isn’t 8 years as you say, but about 4. Note also that the only times Russia achieved the mid-60′s figure after the alcohol epidemic took off was in 1986-88 (period of anti-alcohol campaign).Women life longer than men by 5-8 years in every industrial nation. The fact that in Russia this differential is more like 12-14 years is due to the fact that in Russia, about 60% of men smoke compared to about 10% of women, and drinking rates are much higher as well – i.e. relative to average Russian women, average Russian men life more unhealthily than the average American man to the average American woman.Collapse in morale does not necessarily have to result in decreasing life expectancy. LE in 1930′s America and 1980′s Latin America continued increasing regardless of economic depression. On the other hand in the Russian case liberalization led to massive drops in alcohol prices, which encouraged consumption, which as I’ve written here is very closely correlated to mortality in Russia, especially amongst ethnic Russian men.I dispute your assertion that women life for children and men for their country. The former trumps the latter by far for pretty much everyone I’ve ever met of both [email protected],As above. Few people die from being depressed or pessimistic, they die from heart attacks, cancer and accidents caused by bad lifestyles.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Stalker,I am in agreement with Oleg. It is obvious to me as a foreigner that it was the collapse of society that led to the early deaths of many. Alcoholism and smoking are just manifestations of this not the cause. As society becomes stronger people will turn away naturally, but good goverment policy can help.DJP

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  • stalker, I thought it could be misconstrued that way, but, again, what I implied is that since Russian men are subject to the same everyday factors of life as Russian women, yet live so much less, then something beyond these factors must be at work. There are not enough vodka and cigarettes in this world to achieve such a discrepancy in the length of life. From my point of view, it’s the collapse of Russia itself that led to self-destructiveness of Russian men. Women live for their children, men live for their country. Take men’s pride away, and you don’t need to kill them anymore, they’ll kill themselves. Not necessarily by putting a gun to their head, but by simply not attaching any value to their own lives – and adopting a corresponding lifestyle. That’s what happened in 1990s. I do agree that lousy high-calorie, low-nutrition food, and excessive smoking/drinking add to the plight of Russian men, but clearly these phenomena can’t explain it away. All of this was plenty present in USSR, when men lived 8 years longer on average.

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  • @oleg,I am afraid your argument contains the seed of its own destruction. You make the following comparisons:Diet – Russia = PolandSmoking – Russia = Japan, ChinaAlcohol – Russia = France/ (but ignoring the fact that in general Russians binge on hard spirits while French consume red wine moderately every day. I’d also dispute your observation that ‘people on the street don’t look any more hung over than most Westerners’. Take a walk in the morning in Moscow and you’ll almost inevitably find a passed out alkie).Stress = JapanPoverty = MexicoClimate = IcelandOh, and national demoralization to boot.In other words, what you’re saying is that in many areas (diet, alcohol, smoking, environment, stress, poverty, climate) Russia is near the bottom. Even though it might not be lowest on any one of those (although I’d argue that it is at least on alcohol), on average it is at rock bottom, and this is reflected in the mortality stats.The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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  • stalker, fedia, DJP, – I’d never try to minimize an impact of alcohol and other unhealthy habits on Russian life expectancy, but aren’t we overblowing them just a bit? Let’s see. Russian men and Russian women aren’t eating radically different food (and, oh, yeah, women boast higher rates of obesity) and yet former die 14 years earlier than the latter. So food can’t explain it, considering also that Russian and Polish cuisine aren’t radically different. So, it must be smoking then! It well may be, but not to that degree. Japanese are prodigious smokers, Chinese also and have air quality magnitudes worse than Russians to top it off – yet both live significantly longer. Alcohol, it’s got to be the alcohol!!! Well, alcohol consumption levels in Russia are way overblown. More than 30% of the population (data from my memory, might be inexact) don’t drink at all, similar numbers drink very little, and total per capita consumption is approximately on par with France, and less than UK. So if anything, it may be quality of alcohol, not quantity, and even that should not be overestimated. These days Russians are switching fast from hard spirits to wine and beer. People on the street don’t look any more hung over than most Westerners. Stress, maybe? Japanese are the most stressed people on the planet, yet outlive Italians who stress only when deprived of gelato. Poverty? Mexicans are poorer. Wheather? Iceland is not much better, yet Icelandic lifespan is tops. I’ll volunteer the suggestion that Russian men die early simply because they are lost, dispirited, defeated, and deprived of meaningful purpose – or to put it simply, fucked up in the head by the communist experiment gone awry. In USSR, they ate shit, drank like there was no tomorrow (which was true), smoked like chimneys – BUT LIVED LONGER! Why? Sense of purpose, that’s why. Will to live. Feeling of belonging to a community. Belief in the future, however misplaced. All of these served to dumpen self-destructive impulses so evident in Russian men today. Speaking od self-destructive impulses, I think we fail to appreciate the devastating impact of violent crime and traffic accidents on Russian male population. 70000 people die annually in both, bulk of them young men. Almost 5 million lives snuffed out over an average lifespan. That’s where I see the biggest problem. And women? Why do they live so much longer? Because women are far more adaptable to changing circumstances, and in the wrenching transition that Russia had to go through, adaptability is everything. Today, as Russia is on a mend, I am not at all surprised to see Russian life expectancy rebounding sharply. I’m going to go on record and predict that it will continue for decades, and quite possibly will even accelerate. stalker, can’t help you with AIDS picture, sorry. Numbers are all over the place, and all are taken out of thin air.

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  • Btw, do any of you have any detailed info/projections/etc on AIDS in Russia, apart from the media soundbytes that half the country will die from it in a few years?

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  • Finished second post. Got far longer than I ever expected.Anyway the third (and last!) one will be much shorter, as its just a series of graphs I generated with various [email protected],Stalker, seriously, if you could expand the section on proving that alcohol is the main factor in Russian mortality, and then translate it all into Russian, you would actually be contributing to alleviating the situation, rather than simply talking about it.Great idea! I’ll do that within the month.To be fair I’ve got quite a few online things on hand right now, not limited to DR. For instance, building a website :) (which I’ll link to when it’s put up).

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  • fedia, good point, although the very fact of metodical inconsistency from one year to another may itself serve as a subject for critique, if not lack of trust. And if you reread my original post I never said that CIA data is “wrong”, but rather inaccurate (which may be “slightly off but generally in a ballpark”), outdated, and/or manipulated. Debt data clearly falls under “manipulated” category (one year we calculate it this way, next that way, go figure), while demographic data would easily fit as “inaccurate” and “outdated”. How else could you explain that they project for 2008 life expectancy in Russia full 2 years lower than was already achieved in 2007, even though all headlines coming out of that country continue to point to rapidly falling mortality? Is it Inertia? Laziness? Wishful Thinking? Pure Lies? I don’t know. All I know is that the data is corrupted. It’s even more disconcerning if you realize that all these geniuses have to do is google and read Russian stats. Those aren’t top secret anymore.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Fedia,wasn’t the cause of alcoholism during soviet and immediate post-soviet times due to idolness? That is: no work or no incentive to work, or even no perspective to improve one’s circumstances. Hasn’t that changed during the economic boom? Hence Stalker’s info regarding the mortality of educated professionals being lower than the rest of the population.DJP

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  • Oleg, the other part of debt is intragovernmental. It’s the debt that the gov’t owes to itself. What it means in reality is that it consists mostly of social security obligations, which are definitely not the same as the gov’t debt on T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds. It’s a much lower level of obligation.The main point, though, is that the data provided by the CIA fact book for various countries must be compatible. It is correct to include the entire debt, even intragovernmental one, only if for other countries their own gov’t pension plans are included as part of the public debt. If they are not (and I believe they are not), then it would make US data incompatible with the rest. So the change in methodology was justified.

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  • Also forgot another big piece of evidence that points to alcohol as one of the main culprits in Russian mortality.Remember the excise tax stamp screwup a couple of years ago, when alcohol products disappeared from store shelves for a month or so? Check mortality statistics for that period. They simply took a nosedive.Stalker, seriously, if you could expand the section on proving that alcohol is the main factor in Russian mortality, and then translate it all into Russian, you would actually be contributing to alleviating the situation, rather than simply talking about it. :)

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  • DJP:Do you know what the one reform that Gorbachev is hated the most for was? It was the anti-alcohol campaign.Was he right? Without a doubt. For the short period that it lasted, it probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But it was also one of biggest contributors to the collapse of the country, since people completely lost trust in the authorities and were in fact quite angry with what they saw as interference in the natural right to drink themselves to death.So it’s not an issue of money, and it’s not a matter of political will at the top either. What is necessary is general awareness on the part of the population that right now is doing its best to kill itself early and often, that things cannot go on like this, that something needs to change. Only then will the people support restrictive measures on the part of the government. Otherwise, there will be social unrest once again.And that’s why I’m recommending to Stalker that this article needs to be in Russian.

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  • Stalker,I believe it is also justified to criticize the Putin goverment for torpidity in correcting the problems that you have mentioned: smoking,highway safety,alcoholism and diet. Good legislation and intelligent funding can go a long way in correcting these problems. What is taking so long? Money is not question.DJP

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  • Don’t think anyone would accuse you of censorship if you deleted that spam. I always delete that guy without warning or guilt in my blog.Anyway, I just thought that your article would actually be of more use to Russians. Maybe you should consider translating it and posting it in Runet?

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  • @anonymous,I’m not enthusiastic about deleting posts, since that could lead to accusations of censorship. On the other hand your’s was quite clearly copied and pasted spam, which you didn’t even bother making unique for my blog (e.g. see here for a copy of the comment http://unatemporadaenelinfierno.blogspot.com/2006/06/espaa-naciones-escindidas-odios.html). As such I think I’m justified in deleting it so as not to hopelessly clutter [email protected],Thx. Poland = fixed. Twas’ a typo.

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  • Let’s hope our anonymous American friend had commited suicide right after expressing his delusional self. If not, and he keeps hijacking the comment section, we may all be in trouble. My condolences, stalker.

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  • stalker, you also gave too much credit to Poles for male life expectancy – CIA says it’s 71.42 yrs, not 75.41(this number includes both sexes). 10 yrs difference with Russia, not 16.

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  • Thanks for the tips/corrections [email protected],True. The evidence linking Russia’s high mortality rates to alcohol consumption is [email protected],That’s true, I was suspicious of the CIA’s data to be fair but couldn’t find anything better for 2007. Anyway, you’re figures helped and I’ve found some sites confirming those stats (e.g. http://www.duma-er.ru/news/29056).Well this is certainly taking far longer than I thought. It certainly will be finished off by tomorrow. I hope.

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  • fedia, with all due respect, public debt is debt OWED by the public (e.g. GOVERNMENT) , not held by the public. Who holds it is absolutely irrelevant. Debt is still a debt. No? If CIA people are starting to parse it that way, the’ve got to be really desperate to make situation look better than it really is. Whichever way one is to look at it, it’s beyond pathetic.

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  • Oleg, the CIA fact book is not wrong. They include only debt held by the public and exclude intragovernmental holdings in their calculation. They did not do that in the past.Debt held by the public is thus $5.6 trln, while total debt is $9.4 trln.

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  • stalker, yesterday I stubmled upon a brief in Lenta.ru, I believe, which was recycling ITAR-TASS info on life expectancy in Russia. Tried to find it today to post a link here, but was unable to do so. Anyway, it said that Russian life expectancy at the end of 2007 was 67.7 yrs ( men at 61.5, or pretty damn close), up from 65-something in 2005. As I have said before, CIA data is often innacurate, outdated, or outright manipulated (US public debt for example went from 64.70% of GDP in 2005 to 36.80% in 2007, even though US had borrowed massively in between, impossible feat), and should be taken with a grain of salt, with requisite independent verification. Their Fact Book is incredibly sloppy for an organization with a budget as big as France’s total defence outlays. Otherwise, you continue to impress.

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  • Another thing: where you have “less 2)” in the text, it should be “2) less”

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  • Very informative and interesting. A small nit to pick:”many Russians suffer from high blood pressure, excessive blood cholesterol levels and hypertension” ==> hypertension is in fact high blood pressure.As an additional note, when I used to engage in arguments about the effects of alcohol consumption on demographics (believe it or not, many Russians simply refuse to accept the reality), I also used a comparison between predominantly Muslim republics and Slavic oblasts. If you compare infant mortality, which is often used to represent the overall quality of the medical system, you will find that it is significantly higher in poorer Muslim regions. But if you compare male life expectancy, you will find that Muslim men live much longer. That’s despite the apparently inferior medical care. Why? Because Muslims traditionally don’t drink.Another piece of evidence is detailed statistics of improved life expectancy during Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign. The more alcohol a certain group consumed, the greater rise in life expectancy it experienced. So Slavic men benefited the most (3 years, if I’m not mistaken), Slavic women significantly less, and there was almost no effect in Central Asian (once again, Muslim) republics.

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  • @djp,240,000 net immigrants arrived in Russia in 2007, compared with 150,000 in 2006. (http://www.gks.ru/bgd/free/b07_00/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d110/08-0.htm). This is substantially larger than in recent years, although lower than in the early and mid-90′s, when many Russians from the “Near Abroad” returned.I doubt it will rise substantially in the near future, however, since the government has capped migration at between 180,000 and 300,000 people per year, [email protected],If you multiple post, please keep on topic (in this case, demographics). I greatly appreciate input on other matters but can you please do it by email (darussophileATyandexDOTru) or in a relevant post.

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  • Stalker A question and answer with Andrey Parshev. Probably one of the most interesting interviews I have read in years.http://spb.kp.ru/daily/24082/316169/DJP

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Stalker,I am sure you have read Leonid Fedun’s comments about Russian oil production. If not here is the link: http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/04/15/peak-oil-da-say-russian-oil-execs/?mod=WSJBlogRussia needs to gradually scale down to about 5-7 million barrels a day. Placing money in the reserve fund is wasting it. This money is in a paper currencey which is declining. Russia may never even get to spend this money! I hope this wakes up Russia in regards to the energy situation and the goverment mobilizes to conserve precisous black gold for the future. DJP

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Stalker,I was reading the table regarding migration to the Russian Federation. The last year was 2006. Due to the incentives being offered by the Russian goverment for immigration and the increasing economic separation between Russia, UKR,BLR,KAZ and Baltics is their any indication that immigration is increasing in 2007 and 2008? I would expect an acceleration in immigration soon.DJP

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  • To be fair, objectively, things on the mortality front actually are quite dire. So perhaps our beloved Russophobes will indeed be saved from the gutter…just.

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  • stalker, please tread carefully here. If you come up with anything that says that Russia is not about to disappear within 20 years, you’ll get a lot of Russophobes staring into abyss of underemployment, and hordes of Russophobes’ children unable to come up with soaring college tuition. Be sensitive. US stock market is about to break on the downside, and you surely don’t want to multiply American misery, or do you? Demography is all these people have left to lie about. Please, remember that.

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