August 10th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

United States

Sputnik News

US ambassador to the UN (Hayley) made a statement on the role that the government and the rebel groups have played in the escalating humanitarian issue in countries like Yemen.

Shadow Proof

New Democracy is an organization that plans to broaden the reach of the Democratic Party. Going by this article alone, I’m not certain how they plan to achieve that.

National Interest

Fairly surface level article on processes of assimilation in the United States and Europe. Though it does point out an interesting point that has been made over the past 4 years, since the European migrant crisis began (and I do believe it is a crisis).

China

Sputnik News

The Chinese base at Djibouti is to act as a logistics supply facility rather than for military operations. China joins Germany, US and France among others in having a base in the uniquely strategic location. Article also quotes a Chinese rear admiral as saying that they were perfectly within their rights to establish a base in Djibouti and that Indian opposition to it was based on nothing.

China's PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
China’s PLA (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Religion

Christian Today

Practicing Christians have of course been a part of the Trump ship since day one. Here’s evidence that it’s not a monolithic whole. If you follow the link to the tweet at the end of the article, you’ll see some stuff about people of faith calling on congress to prevent nuclear war.

Right Wing

Zero Hedge

Article by Ilana Mercer (a libertarian), on the state of American federalism and the fact that she considers the government to be overstepping its boundaries. I don’t really know the American constitution, so I’m not going to take a shot at this. I’m going ahead and putting it down under right wing because there are lines of thought that are fairly right wing, along with all the libertarian ideas being thrown around.

July 30th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Society

Understanding Society

Extremely interesting article. Based on a paper that uses data to develop a model by which the authors analyzed medieval cities and came to the conclusion that medieval cities were strikingly similar to modern cities in how they presented themselves in the model. This, to them, suggested that life in these cities might have been similar to what we experience today in modern cities (in terms of social mixing and mobility).

Uganda

Al Jazeera

AJ throws some shade at the media about their obsession with the Ugandan refugee policy story. The story also covers why this narrative is beneficial to Uganda and EU countries that want to stop the influx of refugees.

United States

Salon

interview with a guy who wrote a book on tea party reactionary politics and how America came to the state that it is in today. He says that the surge of voters that you saw who ended up voting for trump were always there. There is also some truth to the urgency of his call to progressive to embrace the fact that the voice of “resistance”, so to speak, needs to be couched in identity politics. It needs to be about race. It needs to be about sexual orientation. Maybe he’s right.

Vox

There’s been a lot written on the number of people in United States prisons based on minor drug charges. Apparently, all of that data comes from federal prison, which hold a small percentage of people imprisoned in the country. Most criminals in the system are there for violent crimes, such as murder, but there isn’t enough being done to reintegrate them into society. They’re just locked away to rot.

Math

Quanta Magazine

Any social science kid knows about Game Theory and the Nash Equilibrium. The basic idea is that given a game, and a certain number of players, playing the game repeatedly (the N value will change depending on the situation), will result in a stable equilibrium, which everybody will be equally satisfied with. It’s a way of achieving societal compromise. It’s also apparently quite the pipe dream. Researchers picked some games that involved about a 100 people and apparently the time required to reach Nash Equilibrium in them would be a time period that would be greater than the life of the universe. That’s not helpful. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to skin this cat. We have something called a “correlated equilibrium” which are equilibrium which aren’t exactly the Nash Equilibrium, but which serve to stabilize the game at an equilibrium point.

“Nash’s equilibrium concept, which earned him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1994, offers a unified framework for understanding strategic behavior not only in economics but also in psychology, evolutionary biology and a host of other fields. Its influence on economic theory “is comparable to that of the discovery of the DNA double helix in the biological sciences,” wrote Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, another economics Nobelist.”

Philosophy

Edward Feser

Philosopher Edward Feser on the incorporeal nature of Angels in the continuum of life, as imagined by Aquinas.

“The problem facing the Cartesian is rather how to explain mind-body interaction in a way that doesn’t reduce it to something comparable to demonic possession.  A fallen angel moves a bit of matter around in something like the way a poltergeist is popularly thought to move material things around.  A Cartesian res cogitans controlling a res extensa is essentially like a demon’s control of one of the Gadarene swine – the manipulation of something utterly extrinsic to the manipulator, to which it is only contingently related.”

Michel Dorigny - Hagar and the Angel (Source: Wiki Commons)
Michel Dorigny – Hagar and the Angel (Source: Wiki Commons)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

The Daily Dot

Cop is being investigated for having a shirt on with white supremacist symbology on it. The sun cross is an alternate version of the Celtic cross. It’s also part of the logo for stormfront. I can’t figure out where it’s from. It would be interesting to sort of track how this was adapted in this manner. In certain contexts, it might be benign. Probably not in this one though.

Iraq

Iraqi News

Hama has apparently witnessed mass-displacement of people because of conflict. Article attributed this to Russian air strikes and Syrian forces attempting to retake the area.

July 25th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Yemen

Long War Journal

Yemeni Houthi’s launched a Burkan-2 ballistic missile at an oil refinery in the city of Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia. The Ansar Allah website declared that this was a new phase in the conflict, though details as to what that means are still in the offing.

“The Burkan-2 ballistic missile, which is akin to a Scud, is a relatively new missile design for the Yemeni rebel group. The Burkan-1 was introduced last year with a reported range to hit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, approximately 800km away. Yanbu, however, sits 300km north of Jeddah. This indicates a longer range for the Burkan-2 missile.”

Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey’s EU Minister has said that easing tension between the EU and Turkey is of significant importance. His call for a revival of ties comes as Ankara and Berlin have ramped up their offense against the other.

“Turkey will be represented by Çelik and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the political dialogue meeting, which EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also attend.”

The elephant in the room will be Turkey’s anti-terror law and its treatment of human rights activists.

Society

Defense One

A former Army Captain on Dunkirk and how watching this particular movie and engaging with more cinema that deals with issues that affect soldiers could be significantly important to a generation that is so far removed from the horrors of war as we knew it. With a possible military surge immanent under Trump, she feels that these are questions we need to ask.

Media

Al- Aqsa Agitation

Video that is allagedly from Al- Aqsa mosque. Shows a Israeli officer kicking a Muslim protestor.

United States

Fox Trot Alpha

A bill that is to be proposed in the United States Congress is all set to sanction Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections. The article explores what an incredibly difficult position this puts Trump in. What compounds the situation is that he has repeatedly maintained that the meddling did not actually occur. You can’t engage with something that you have maintained does not exist.

Shadowproof

Democrats have consistently let down the people of the United States. I get that they are trying to carve out an economic and social space for themselves and stand for something other than opposing Donald Trump, but general statements will only make things worse. Once again, the Democrats seem like a party without a strong message, and a conflicted leadership that is too far removed from middle America.

Chuck Schumer (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg/1166px-Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg)
Chuck Schumer (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

China

National Interest

On China and how the Chinese government’s use of soft power could be beneficial in creating an idea of Chinese society in the minds of the world.

“In 2013, Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept of soft power, chastised the Chinese government for relying solely on state-sponsored programs to expand China’s cultural influence. China, Nye wrote, was making “the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power,” rather than recognizing that more lasting influence comes from civil society.

On a more irreverent note, the CCTV facebook page is awash with pictures of pandas. They do use the panda well, as something that represents the country. I’m not sure how ethical loaning animals is.