14th December – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Security

Defense One

America’s Africa strategy going forward is apparently to focus on driving American investment into the region. While this might help the United States in increasing their stake in the region (economically), it is not clear the security implications this will have, given that China is economically and militarily firmly embedded.

“….But he did not announce significant new military assets or changes to the size, location or mission of U.S. troops in Africa to counter that threat. The new strategy calls for countering Chinese influence on the continent through bilateral trade and investment programs, while simultaneously reevaluating foreign aid and assistance programs, including financial support for United Nations peacekeeping missions in countries whose governments oppose American interests at the world body.”

Society

Pitbull covers Africa by Toto for the Aquaman movie.

Britain

BBC

Theresa May tells the EU that the withdrawal agreement won’t be passed by her parliament and that her MP’s still need convincing. EU leaders say this is the only deal that could possibly be negotiated. It seems that perception is where balance will be achieved.

United Nations

Al Jazeera

Head of the UNAIDS body has put in his papers following reports that he cultivated an unhealthy and damaging work environment. There were different scenarios including allegations of “a patriarchal workplace attitude” and “a cult of personality”.

United States

Jacobin

The Role that both Republicans and Democrats have played in ensuring that the war in Yemen continues.

Media

Polygon

How Cloverfield and The Cloverfield Paradox are connected.

 

December 14th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Pakistan

The Iran Project

Imran Khan has played the game well since becoming Prime Minister.

“Well, when Imran Khan first came to power and formed his government just a few months ago I went out on a limb but very confidently saying that that he would be the best political ruler that Pakistan has had since the late and great Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” Garrie said.

“And events that have happened over the last few months now that Imran is in the government, have totally vindicated this. He’s put very few feet wrong and many feet right in terms of foreign policy relations. He has embraced with that spirit of win-win multi-polarity,” he stated.

United States

Vox

Maria Butina (Russian National) pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent.

Butina, who is a gun rights activist, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. She admitted to acting under the direction of a Russian official, Alexander Torshin, another prominent gun rights supporter and a fixture in Russian politics.

Truth Dig

Harvard and its role in the California drought.

There was nothing illegal about the purchases, but they raised concerns among activists, Reuters reported. Susan Harvey, of North County Watch, an environmental advocacy group, wondered, “Is Harvard going to keep pumping groundwater, or cut back on returns to protect water quality and quantity?”

Tech

Firstpost

The Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that Qualcomm’s patent licensing and chip sale practices were anticompetitive and sought to preserve a monopoly on so-called premium LTE modem chips, which help mobile phones connect to wireless data network.

Bi-Lateral

Nhan Dan

At the event, speakers and participants exchanged their experiences regarding social network management and information safety solutions. They proposed measures to help the two countries coordinate and warn each other of misinformation and other online risks.

Gaming

Polygon

In a statement released today, Breck and Gresko called the move to scale back development on Heroes of the Storm a “difficult decision” that will affect the future of the game.

Society

The Atlantic

Documentary on Toxic Masculinity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The DRC is a country that has been going through war and ethnic conflict since the dawn of time,” Jackson Mbakulirahi, the program’s founder, explains in Arild Kumar’s remarkable short documentary, Baba Bora. “This ethnic conflict has destroyed the people. It has created distrust and hate. It has had a real impact on their way of thinking—their masculinity.”

Ecuador

Ecuador Times

Chinese loans to Ecuador.

August 22nd – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Ecuador

Ecuador Times

A public prosecutor has found evidence of criminal liability against VP Jorge Glas. However, he cannot be prosecuted without authorization from the legislature.

Society

Vox

Report hung out with Witches during the solar eclipse.

Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: WIki Commons)
Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Philosophy

Philosophical Disquisitions

An argument on the nature of the Private-Public argument when it comes to services rendered.

“They argue that every privatisation agreement will have to afford the private agent a ‘zone of permissibility’ (or ‘autonomy’) in which they are free to exercise their own judgment about what to do. This zone of permissibility will necessarily remove them from the kind of public deference that is required. The reason for this is that in order to make any sense at all, a privatisation agreement must defer to the skills and judgment of the private agent. Recall, that the whole point of privatisation is that private agents are able to provide a good or service more efficiently than public agents.”

Public Policy

A Dragons Best Friend

A Cambridge citizen on the changing nature of his city and what on earth to do for kicks.

Security

Breitbart News

There’s two sides to the conservative in the United States coin. One wants more troops pumped into Afghanistan, and the other wants nothing to do with foreign wars anymore. Even the ones who want troops in Afghanistan, want them to be private soldiers and not American military. It seems like private security contractors don’t really know how to feel at the moment. America has to win the war. America does not lose. But nobody has the political capital to send more troops into Afghanistan, even with the resurgent Taliban.

August 22nd – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

Chad’s PM has arrived in Khartoum and will hold talks for three days on the matters of political and security co-operation. The two countries signed a deal in 2010 that normalized relations between them.

Biology

Motherboard

Clever article on how antlion larvae prey on ants and why this results in smaller ants getting devoured. As an interesting thought experiment, does this mean that, eventually, the size of the average ant will get larger and larger and that they will stop falling prey to the antlion pincers and that the antlion will die out? So, a hunting mechanism of an organism could create a vicious cycle of selection in a species that is linked to it and that which could eventually result in its own extinction?

Virtual Reality

Motherboard

Straw Labs is testing how animals perceive their environments using virtual reality systems. Andrew Straw also thanked gamers for having created the demand that has allowed the technology that has helped in the creation of this system, to have been created.

Physics

Motherboard

The physics of diamond rain on some planets and what this implies for the synthesis of elements.

Gun Violence

Vice

Trace, a non-profit did a study on gun control laws. Apparently, the threat of social disorder trumps how people feel about gun control law.

2nd Amendment Rights (Image Source: Flickr)
2nd Amendment Rights (Image Source: Flickr)

Academia

Org Theory

Bog post on the experiences of a graduate student at Chicago.

America

Vice

The person in this article makes a point that I also read somewhere yesterday (I can’t remember where). The Unite the Right rally didn’t help the right wing, or anybody who supports trump. Moderate conservatives who might have wanted to be a part of or in fact were a part of the Unite the Right Valley are now seen as being complicit in what happened. Before, if you were a conservative, you could have made arguments for the fact that the right has shades, just like the left. Instead, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make that argument.

Bitcoin

Motherboard

Bitcoin isn’t regulated by officials. That’s a good thing.

Turns out, it’s also a bad thing.

Security

Vice

The United States Navy had a collision. Article on the state of the US Navy and the nature of miscommunication in the armed forces.

Gender

The Daily Dot

Pao, who sued members of Silicon Valley has a book coming out.

Right Wing

Right Wing Watch

Ayyadurai has been heavily endorsed by the Right Wing in the United States. He also lays claim to being the “real Indian”. To me, this is also proof that the Right Wing might not be completely about ethnicity and race, and might be more of a shared vision of order and structure. It’s okay if you’re brown, as long as you don’t think brown.

August 12th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Guam

Daily Dot

The Government of Guam has issued a 2-page document that details what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

Kenya

Sputnik

The incumbent Kenyatta won the presidential elections in. His main rival claims the vote was rigged. There were stand-offs between government loyalists and opposition supporters. The last time this happened (2007), thousands died.

North Korean Conflict

Zero Hedge

Breitbart

We’re going to have to wait and see if even the hardline trumpists like Zero Hedge will get behind this administration opening a two-front war. From what I read, they thought the interventionism of Obama and Clinton was the worst thing to happen. They were firm isolationists, for the most part. Though I don’t think anybody really believes that anybody in the White House actually thinks this is an option that could be explored.

Society

Zero Hedge

The guy who wrote the diversity memo and got fired wrote an op-ed for WSJ. You can’t read the complete thing because you need an account, but the link above has a part of the article.

Immigration

Quillette

Argument against open borders. Author claim that this is not against immigration in general, but says that cases for open borders must be more nuanced. That’s a statement that I agree with in general, though the author does make one absurd claim: that tribalism is so robust because small groups are better at achieving certain results which lead to prosperity. This is ridiculous. Tribalism is a feature of politics which sees ethnic classes banding together. It’s not particularly self-aware or reflexive. In other word, tribalism justifies itself on the basis of ethnicity, not on the basis of efficacy.

Society

The Cut

Article on the politics of “blondeness.”

Legally Blonde - The Musical (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Legally Blonde – The Musical (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

August 12th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

Jim Bakker Show via Right Wing Watch

Panel of Christians with shelves stacked with food behind them. The table that they are seated at has a lot of food on it too. This is really the first time I’ve actually sat down and watched an entire one of these shows, I usually just watch the snippets that Right Wing Watch puts out. You’re going to watch the entire thing yourself, but there are a few things that should be pointed out. He encourages people to buy food from his store, and stores that are his partners. The reason for this is that apparently all of their food has an extended shelf life, which means it’s all powdered and desiccated.

I checked out their online store, and they have powdered fruit.

The reason that this is a good thing, is because, according to Jim, Churches need to stock up for when Jesus comes back to lead his army, and that people (all non-believers), will flock to churches, because that would be the only source of food. They would all have food sourced from the Jim Bakker show.

Fascinating. It’s always really interesting to see the different forms that monetized religion can take.

Klontzas Georgios - The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Klontzas Georgios – The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Society

Washington Post

Shifting demographics and the state of the American dream.

“Cultural shifts are also underway. In surveys, Millennials often say they want to own homes one day, but they are a generation that’s embraced the “sharing economy.” They don’t like to own much. They take Lyft and Uber instead of owning a car. They tell their parents and grandparents “no thanks” when they are offered the family china or trinkets. They prefer to spend their money on experiences — eating out, concerts, travel, gyms — instead of stuff.”

Philosophy

Edward Feser

Feser on the mindscape as being a realm from which all ideas come from. They precede us and will be there long after we are gone.

“The Mindscape, then, is essentially the collection of all the propositions and concepts that might possibly be grasped, entertained, affirmed, denied, etc.  The Pythagorean theorem would be an example of a denizen of the Mindscape.  When you entertain the theorem and I do not, you are accessing a part of the Mindscape that I am not, at least at that moment, accessing.  When we are both entertaining it, we are accessing the same part of the Mindscape.  But the theorem was there before either of us accessed it and will remain there long after we are gone.  The same is true of every other proposition or concept.  They are all out there waiting to be accessed, as it were.”

United States

Rewire News

Overview of what is going down in Virginia, USA. Though it’s probably over by now. Article does a good job of fleshing out how diverse the two sides are and how there are clearly ideological differences even between the both of them. I’ve read alt right articles which pan the entire “alt lite” moment for being a bunch of idiots who can’t recognize what is happening. The point is, there’s definitely more nuance here than you would think.

Media

Geographical Imaginations

Someone made a movie that can be found of multiple platforms. It’s apparently a bunch of imagery that tries to convey the kind of paranoia that should accompany the threat of nuclear warfare. It uses a lot of jarring imagery, clips of destruction and individuals commenting on nuclear warfare, to achieve this effect.

Korea

Vox

The North Korea – South Korea dynamic reminds me a lot of Pakistan – India. They both were a nation state at one point of time. There was an acrimonious split. There’s a demographic divide when it comes to opinions about the split, and a lot more. Most importantly though, the South Korean journalist in the article explains why South Koreans themselves aren’t panicking about the nuclear holocaust. It’s because they’re just used to this.

August 11th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Right Wing

Mother Jones

McMaster apparently fired some kind of member of the White House who wrote a memo that Trump read that detailed the deadly nexus of Islam, Cultural Marxism and Corporate interests that were aligning in the war against Trump. I wish I had access to the full memo. This is starting to seem more and more like the Red Scare from back in the day.

North Korea

Rewire

Fascinating history of the North Korean nuclear program, the geo-politics of the Korean Peninsula and how the world got to where we are now.

Op Ed News

Pepe Escobar on the current stand-off between the United States and North Korea, the various players involved and what they hope to gain from this.

India

The Wire

PM and VP comment on the outgoing VP. Class act.

Economics

Evonomics

On corruption and co-operation.

Data and Advertising

Sputnik

In the US, you can’t collect data from mobile applications that are designed for children. Disney is in trouble for doing just that. They’re still denying the charges. This also isn’t the first time that Disney has got in trouble for this. Sticky ethical situation.

Israel

Vox

Bibi is facing corruption charge upon corruption charge. In rhetoric that sounds familiar to most people in the world at this point of time, he’s blaming the media and left-wing politicians of engineering all of this against him.

Benjamin Netanyahu (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Benjamin Netanyahu (Image Source: Wiki Commons)