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 5th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Philosophy

Nautilus

Great article on the constraints that physical processes place on the computational power of various organism. Hypothetical and otherwise.

The Wire

Article on life extending technologies and the fact that we need to think about them more, going forward. I think it’s put in a very interesting way. Also, some of the facts that he mentions are absolutely shocking. I mean, just intra-country wise, the fact that rich and poor counties in the United States can have a gap of 15 years in terms of life experience. If this argument is taken to its logical extreme, if we could create life extending technologies which could work, and were expensive, we would in essence create two strata of society. One would just be struggling and dying, and the other would be able to survive for a much longer period of time and would accumulate more wealth than they otherwise would have. This would then provide their offspring with the chance to do the same. I feel like life extending technologies would have a kind of multiplicative effect on an already unequal world.

India

The Wire

Article on the recent fuss about Karnataka (a state) that wanted a state flag. States in the US have flags. Some of them do at the very least, if not all. I agree with the author on a couple of things. What are we creating this unitary sense of being for? Why do we feel this fear when it comes to how we identify?

Media

The Imaginative Conservative

Thoughts on the show about William Shakespeare. It’s called Will, I believe. Might be wrong. Article points out that he was a catholic and the show takes his faith as forming part of the narrative of his life.

William Shakespeare (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
William Shakespeare (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

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

Media

Fair Observer

Alternative media sources are getting bigger and bigger. People aren’t going to the same big newspapers to get opinions on how to view the world. I get that you’re going to have a fair amount of skepticism about that statement, because alternative news is mostly alt-right. Which is true. This article though speaks of non-profit newspapers and smaller publications that have alternative business models and stay up and running through a combination of factors, which are not related to advertising income.

Slate Star Codex

On twitter practices and feuds. The ethics of signal boosting a person’s awful/embarrassing comment.

Yemen

Trend

Almost 2, 000 people have been died in Yemen due to Cholera. Red Cross estimates that there will be 600, 000 cases by the end of 201.

India

Scroll

On the issue of a right-wing organization asking for Tagore to be removed from NCERT text books. I don’t think anyone can really deny that there has been an obvious attempt to color society and the national narrative a certain way, over the past 3 years. The one thing that surprised me was the fact that the author mentions that the RSS is not a registered organization. That’s literally the first time I’m hearing this. That’s quite a shocker.

The Wire

A wealth increase of 300% for Amit Shah, and articles being pulled off the TOI website. Looks bad.

Amit Shah (Source: Wiki Commons)
Amit Shah (Source: Wiki Commons)

July 27th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Society

Consumerist

Article on a study that was conducted on a wide range of consumers, all in the first world, on the kind of purchases they made with their money and how happy it made them. Apparently, these people gained more happiness If they produced time-saving devices/ services with their money.

I think it would be very interesting if someone tried to replicate this experiment in a third world-country. I think there’s a certain value attached to status items when people acquire money in a country that isn’t part of the first world.

Right Wing

Acting Man

Person who claims that the British were the best thing to happen to India. Real Uncle Tom vibes from this one.

Rightly Considered

Philosophical argument against the death penalty. Blog that is dedicated to right wing philosophers. Article on why the author considers the death penalty to be just: because some people deserve it. He also brings in the question of who authorizes said punishments. As an aside he also mentions that God and the Church can punish him.

UK

SPERI

With the UK leaving the EU, they will have to renegotiate with the SACU, a bloc of Southern African countries that includes Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa among its members. It’s imperative that they lock that down since they apparently quite a large amount to these countries. The article also points out that since the SACU negotiates as a bloc, this makes things a little more complicated, since there are varying levels of importance in these linkages.

LSE Blog

Does MP voting reflect what the MP believes or what his constituents believe? The article feels like since MPs voted for what their constituents felt like on a certain range of issues (free votes?), this would also extend to other issues. I’m not sure about this one. I think the behavior of members of the parliament are dictated by a much more complex array of preferences. One of which is the institution of the political party.

Iran

Al Monitor via The Iran Project

Inflation in Iran is set to climb a marginal amount (from 10.2% to 10.9%) in Rouhani’s second term. Iran’s cash economy seems to be one of the biggest reasons why the country struggles to keep inflation in check. Their central bank has to keep up the supply of money in the economy to ensure that it satisfies all potential transactions, and this can lead to inflation if left unchecked. The central bank is also looking to manage the interest rate so that they can manage the balance between investment and inflation.

Scotland & Catalan

Fair Observer

Scotland and Catalan are both countries within countries. Or at the very least that’s how the local population predominantly feels. They have both tried to hold referendums in the past. Article focuses on why the referendum attempts that they might attempt in the future need the support of the British and Spanish governments, even if it is by coercion.

Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Media

YouTube via Long War Journal

Watch an Al- Qaeda affiliated organization along the Syria-Lebanon border shoot down an armed Hezbollah drone. The drone is seen dropping its payload at various locations, before being shot down.

Israel

Al Jazeera

Israel has removed the metal railings at the Al-Aqsa mosque. They removed the metal detectors on Tuesday.  According to an Al Jazeera reporter, this is a very people centric movement and is not directly influenced by any political organization (read: Hamas). I posted a video of the protests outside the Al Aqsa mosque which was essentially Muslims praying on the street. Though, there has been media of major unrest around the area.

Middle East

National Interest

Iran is significantly important in the world at this moment. Back before the nuclear deal, Iran was just one bit of the “axis of evil”. The nuclear deal and the restrain that Iran and the United States showed in reaching it, changed all that. Iran sort of came out of the shadows of the world. Sort of. The problem is, with an Iran that could work with nuclear fuel came fear from majority Sunni Gulf States and Israel. The article details how the Iran issue is driving them together. This is a good example of how something can make it seem like there’s some modicum of co-operation, but it’s really more of an alliance of convenience. I think that if the Gulf States and Israel do come closer solely on the basis of the Iran issue, it would be like if you got married to someone just for the sex. Eventually you realize that it’s not enough. There needs to be much wider engagement between the two blocs.

United States

Vox

Skinny Repeal is essentially the only thing that the Republicans can get enough numbers behind to pass. Anything else is way too radical. All of them know that they would be impaled by their constituents if they repealed Obamacare wholesale. Not to knock Obamacare, but at this point of time, it really does not matter if Obamacare is the most splendid healthcare bill on the planet. As long as it does a half decent job and people perceive it as kind of fair, it’ll be nearly impossible to repeal. Healthcare and other government services are kind of like that. They’re massive and have such enormous amounts of inertia that it becomes political suicide to touch them.

Tech

Zero Hedge

The internet was around a long time before 1995, but it started to experience 100% growth year upon year from 1995 onwards. That’s the year Netscape was introduced. With respect to the article, I don’t think bitcoin has really had its Netscape moment yet, but time will tell.

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part III)

Right Wing/ Conspiracy Theorist

Stefan Molyneux on Info Wars

Stefan Molyneux and Alex Jones have a talk on what to do about the world. That’s actually the general topic of discussion. It’s actually pretty confusing what they stand for. Molyneux, I remember from a documentary about cults. From what I recall, Free Domain Radio was all for “unshackling” their kids from their parents. In this interview however, Stefan proudly says that he is in fact a father and that he is working with other members of the alternative media to create a better world for his child. It’s difficult to tell where these guys come down on various subjects. They conflate globalization, communism and socialism. There’s a very real fear of the left. I think you would have to be American to understand where they’re coming from here, and I don’t mean to agree with them, I just mean to understand them. Though, in many ways the idea of large scale narratives explaining certain phenomena that we see isn’t new to me. You see the same kind of fear when people talk about Love Jihad and the wiping out of Hindu’s in India. We don’t mind smaller narratives to explain why we scraped our knee or why we fell off the bike, but I think when it comes to explaining larger phenomenon, like why our daughter won’t pray or why half my son’s friends are brown, we might resort to bigger explanations.

United Kingdom

LSE Blog

It’s been such a roller coaster in the UK. From Brexit to the partial rejection of Theresa May. Article explores the political currents that have shaped the fact that conservative party in Scotland has been putting up a solid performance at the ballot box. The author think that this is a combination of the fact that the conservatives were able to market themselves as unionists but also as those who believed in the devolution of powers. While the idea of being Scottish might be different from the idea of being British, they funnily enough are both euro-sceptics.

Media

Ritholtz

Earthquakes are the most covered natural disasters. 33% of the media coverage that natural disasters get in the media are focused on earthquakes. Couple of reasons for this, I think. Earthquakes affect urban centers much worse than they affect rural areas. At least in terms of casualties. Putting aside the idea of it being a “disaster” only if it takes human life. Storms are 14%. I think the American east coast accounts for a huge portion of this. It is also the country that produces the most amount of media. Again, I could be dead wrong. I haven’t bothered to check if I’m right on this one. Let me know.

Mongolia

Mongolia Focus

Article on the state of Mongol-Turkish relations at the moment. Turkey has long considered Mongolia to be a neighbor to him they have deep ethnic linkages. The Turks are seen to have originated in the general region. The author doesn’t really talk about the state of relations as much as mention that Turkey could use a friend right now and that the friend is not coming from the west, which Turkey has pissed off enough this year alone.

AI

Daily Dot

China is using AI to predict and preempt crime. The system works by putting together various points of data that can span days or even weeks. It then creates a pattern out of this, along with the individual and predicts crime. The article also mentions that the United States is attempting to do this in Chicago. It would be very interesting to see how that turns out. How would you predict gang violence?

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily

The CPP heavy constitutional council passed amendments to the constitution on Tuesday. This will pass on to the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers (who will both approve it) before it will have to be signed by the king. He of course, isn’t home. Funnily enough he left as soon as the opposition kicked up a fuss about the law. According to law, in the absence of the king, the acting head of state (The Senate President) can sign legislation into law.

France

SPERI

Article on the awful performance by the French Socialist party in the recent elections which saw the French public deliver the throne to one Emmanuel Macron.

China

South China Morning Post

The Honk-Kong and Mainland China railroad link throws up some interesting legal questions about whose jurisdiction various parts of the station and train belong to. For example, a baby born on the train counts as a citizen of mainland China and will not be granted residency in Honk Kong.

The high-speed rail link is set to be completed by 2018. It’s been delayed quite a few times, is projected to cost almost twice as much as it was supposed to and resulted in the demolition of 200 homes. That’s the price to pay for high speed connectivity, right?

United States

Breitbart News

Trump is making enemies out of some of his best friends. I’m not sure how this is sustainable. Almost every conservative worth his/her salt has stood behind Sessions. He is seen as a respectable figure who stood behind Trump from the very beginning. Immigration policy and immigration cities are seen as some of his biggest talking points in his job as AG. Does all this come down to the fact that Trump really wants to go behind Clinton? After all this time?

Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)