February 15th, 2012

Godzilla, default

A curious thought about feminism, women, and police states:

One of my fundamental beliefs about human nature and the genders is that women, in the right circumstances, can be just as brutal and vicious in power as men can be.
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The second is the curious to me exception in feminism where in talking about powerful women one sees a conspicuous absence of those figures of the Ancien Regime. It would seem to me in particular that Catherine the Great would deserve an entry, if for nothing else Magnificent Bastardy and being a Liberated Woman in an un-liberated time. So why is it that feminism at least as far as I've read about it, tends to neglect those women in general, given how few powerful women actually get any mention at all? It would seem to me those women would offer an interesting look, if in nothing else, at how women's roles in politics have shifted from the age of Theresa and Catherine to the age of Thatcher and Asma Al-Assad.
keyboard cat

Leaked memos from the Heartland Institute

Apparently the Heartland Institute, a global warming-denying think tank, has had a major leak of memos and other documents.  Among the gems found so far is the true extent and source of their funding, and their admission of trying to indoctrinate anti-science curriculum into America's schools.

How damaging do you think this will be to the anti-climate change industry movement?  Will it have similar repercussions, if any, to the leaked memos from the so-called Climate-gate emails?

Personally I think it will have little if any impact.  One thing these right wing organizations are good at is marketing and damage control.  They'll try to keep it from getting on the mainstream media and even if it gets major coverage they'll try to drown it out by crying foul about "fairness".  The only real surprise for me is that Microsoft is apparently a major contributor to them, not sure what dog they have in this hunt.
We're doooomed.

So let's reassess

Here's the situation in a nutshell.

Israel says Iran is trying to develop a nuclear technology because it wants to create a nuclear weapon.
Iran says it is trying to develop a nuclear technology because it wants to make electricity.
Thus, the international community believes Iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon.

Iran says Israel has killed its nuclear scientists to prevent Iran from advancing their nuclear technology.
Israel says it has not killed Iranian nuclear scientists and Iran is imagining things.
Thus, the international community believes Israel is not killing scientists.

Israel says Iran is instructing terrorists to kill Israeli diplomats in retaliation of the killing of the nuclear scientists.
Iran says it is not instructing terrorists to kill Israeli diplomats, but it's still angry for the killed scientists.
Thus, the international community believes Iran is the chief exporter of terrorism in the world.

Q. Interesting. Does Israel kill Iranian nuclear scientists or not? Does Israel secretly raid Iranian nuclear facilities - or not? Does that make Israel the other chief exporter of terrorism in the world, or not? Does Iran instruct terrorists to kill Israeli diplomats - or not? And whose side is the international community on? (I'm not asking about the US, that's a whole other story).

Meanwhile, Turkey is rubbing hands in delight seeing itself as the big winner, as its influence grows while Iran is bickering with Israel, Saudi Arabia is bickering with Iran, Iran's buddy Syria is losing ground under its feet, Russia is being the world's douchebag, China is flexing economic/diplomatic muscle, and Egypt is out of the game for the time being, Iran's buddies from the Muslim Brotherhood waiting to take over there. Iraq is falling under increasing Iranian influence, Afghanistan is nowhere near peace, Pakistan is failing to deal with the Taliban, nationalism is rising in Central Asia much to Russia's and China's displeasure and Turkey's pleasure, and the rest of us are left scratching our heads wondering if all of this shouldn't get nuked from orbit and we shouldn't go home and have a drink. Interesting times?
Groovy Kol

China is not in a parallel universe, you know

Many Western economists are eager to predict a hard landing for the Chinese economy during he coming year, not without a certain amount of Schadenfreude and trembling expectation. But tell you what, in principle such predictions are not completely groundless. The fact that the Chinese economy is still holding above water, unlike those of Europe, is that it's presently relying on over-investment. And the investment and credit bubble, which the Chinese rulers are openly feeling anxious about (because of the threat from overheating) basically got inflated by both the private business and the state budget expenditures and injections. And indications are that it has begun to pop now. And the stink could get unbearable.

As most economists know, the volume of new loans issued by the Chinese banks is about yu8.5 trllion. And debts, of course, have to be paid back sooner or later. The Chinese economy is primarily industrial in nature, heavily relying on production. Its growth rests upon a continued expansion in consumption and exports. As a result, a serious drop in the level of consumption automatically renders those credits unrecoverable. The experts estimate that the GDP growth rate for this year will slow down to 6%, or 8.7% according to others (which still sounds kinda awesome), but in the context of the Chinese dynamics this would send the Chinese economy in a downward spiral, because the normal functioning of the Chinese economy at this point requires a critical level of 7% GDP growth, minimum. This is due to two factors of a very different character.

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