Linky Friday: Worldwide

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

Linky Friday: Worldwide

Worldwide:

[Wo1] The world order is cracking, according to this Foreign Policy piece, and, they say, the reasons and fixes are not going to be easy.

[Wo2] Take these numbers with a whole lot of salt, but here is the number of nuclear weapons in the world, give or take the fact that their existence and numbers are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world.

[Wo3] Grist takes the current events and news as further proof of climate change being an imminent threat.

[Wo4] Bloomberg takes a different tact with the world being on fire, both figuratively and literally, by blaming the jet stream and an odd climate “kink”

[Wo5] The more we accept marijuana, the less we know about where in the world it is coming from, according to Vox.

[Wo6] Turns out the world is full of artificial cities.

[Wo7] The dream of quitting your job and travelling the world is an old and universal one. Now it can make you rich…by selling that dream to others as a financial planner.

Media:

[Me1] Just how much are the world’s biggest celebrities making on Instagram? You might be surprised…

[Me2] Was the rise of Facebook, or at least something similar, inevitable? This Atlantic article thinks so.

[Me3] The next generation of networking to build everything from movies to digital content might be sitting in your social media feed already.

[Me4] FCC is blocking Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune Media, and the president is not happy about it.

[Me5] Ethan Epstein says Trump is bad for the print media, just not in the way you are thinking about. For all the press he creates, his tariffs include the base material for, of all things, newspaper print.

[Me6] AI and news media…what could possibly go wrong?

[Me7] The old saying is there is no such thing as bad publicity, but for Breitbart, the media attention flood slowing to a trickle might be fatal.

[Me8] There are lots of media companies, but according to this Fortune write-up, only about six control what you are consuming.

Nations:

[Na1] There is an international crisis about migration, but less talked about is that most refugee and immigration law, especially in Europe, was designed for the ravages of WW2 and doesn’t fit today, and is more often ignored or flouted without being fixed.

[Na2] The Baltic nations, who were the subject of much focus by NATO over the years, disagree with President Trump’s assertion that NATO is obsolete.[Na3]

[Na4] Nobody has a clue how the EU will view the UK post-Brexit, least of all the EU

[Na5] G20 seeks cryptocurrencies regulations. I know there are many that think crypto and blockchain is the be all/end all, but skeptics-myself included-have long warned to wait till the nations of the world take aim at it.

People:

[Pe1] The worlds first “test tube” baby turns 40

[Pe2] Wherever you fall on the “death with dignity” euthanasia debate, if you have to hold down the patient, consent is, at the very least, questionable. In the Netherlands, they found it to be criminal.

[Pe3] The world’s oldest computer algorithm has sold for $125K. The fact it was written 200 years ago by poet Lord Byron’s daughter is a story in and of itself.

[Pe4] Hard to argue that one of the biggest outside factors to change people in recent years is the phones, and the communications and information ability they now contain.

[Pe5] The largest group of people in the US, the boomers, might be getting eclipsed, but their retirement is going to have a large effect.

Cultures:

[Cu1] They keep flirting with each other but are yet to hook up. Science and culture and trying to mesh the two.

[Cu2] Jonathan Gold has passed away; this review touches on how his turn to being a food critic was just as much commenting on culture as the dishes.

[Cu3] In the UK, a major study shows that sexual harassment is embedded in the workplace culture, and no one seems to know what to do about it.

[Cu4] Its a hard thing to quantify but the BBC takes a shot at it: 5 countries that influence the world with their culture.

[Cu5] Fan culture, or more specifically aggressive fan culture, is starting to flood into the real culture.


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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51 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Worldwide

  1. The New Republic tackles the dilemma of Jewish Privilege. The TLDR version is that Jew-hatred from the Right and Left make it very difficult for comes to come to grips with their privilege in the way that other privileged groups are. This is because White nationalists from the Right insist that Jews are not white as the always did while Leftist anti-Semites see Jews as nothing more than a “religious minority within the superstructure of European Christian colonialism that has dominated the world since Columbus.” This is a cosmology that divides the world between evil White people and virtuous people of color in a strict dualistic cosmology. Since Jews complicate this cosmology, the Left anti-Semite just puts the Jews in the position of evil white person and leaves it at that.

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    • Have you seen the recent “Nation State” law that got passed?

      If I were assigned the intellectual exercise of actively trying to agitate both the nuttiest parts of the far right and the nuttiest parts of the far left with one sentence, I doubt I could top this part of the law (emphasis added, of course):

      Israel passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” sparking outrage from Israel’s Arab community and provoking concern from the international community.

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      • I have seen the nation-state law that got passed recently and posted about it on this site in an indirect fashion. The law was at best a political mistake on the part of Netanyahu even though he probably thought he was just trying to make explicit what was implicit regarding Israel. Its going to do nothing but convince the people that already hate Israel to hate it more. For Leftist anti-Semites it cements Israel as being part of the European ethno-wacky nationalists that they hate. At the same time, its hard to get worked up because nearly every other country surrounding Israel defines itself as Arab and Muslim. The hypocrisy among Israel’s enemies knows no bounds.

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          • Lots of people seem to have no problems saying that ethno-nationalism is fine for their group but not for other groups. Most of Israelis enemies are not going to give up their ethno-nationalism once Israel is gone. They want to replace Israel with an Arab Palestine, not a multi-cultural one. If you expand this globally, you can easily find other examples of ethno-nationalism for me but not for thee across the world.

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                • Yeah, back when Ethnostates weren’t yet understood to be racist by pretty much everybody.

                  Look at the sentence again: “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

                  The problem isn’t the argument that Israel should have the right to national self-determination. That’s one of those sentiments that hinges on your opinion of national self-determination. If you’re down with it, it’s fairly uncontroversial. If you’re against it, you probably don’t see a difference between “Israel for Jews!” and “Denmark for Danes!”

                  But the argument that this needle can be threaded by appealing to uniqueness?

                  I don’t see this statement as pulling that particular trick off.

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                  • I think you are reading that differently than me. Maybe its in an awkward translation, but I understand that sentence as saying Israel is a Jewish state. The same law says “the Arabic language has a special status in the state,” a unique status of you will.

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                    • What you said. The way I understand it is this: “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people doesn’t apply to Arabic people.”

                      Israel’s claim to uniqueness doesn’t range over the entirety of known ethnicities, just the two present in Israel.

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            • The problem with a “two-state solution” is that if you have to groups that hate each other, or one large group hating the smaller group, it won’t work. You would have to have two or more groups that can live in relative harmony if not admiration. Or you would have to go full Balkins with a greater power lording over them, keeping the piece.

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                • The difference between the partition of India and the partition of Israel/Palestine was that in the former, the refugees were given citizenship in the state they settled in. For Israel/Palestine, Israel gave citizenship to the Jews from Europe and the MENA countries but the Arab states decided to not allow the Arab refugees to join their nation so they could reject Israel in perpetuity.

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                  • Not always. There is a hot mess of stateless persons in Bangladesh thanks to the partition after the partition. O’Rourke wrote about them in All the Trouble in the World. I can’t remember now if this group is also the Rohingya, or if the Rohingya stateless persons in Bangladesh now are almost all recent arrivals from Burma/Myanmar

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                    • Bangladesh certainly complicates the issue but generally Pakistan and India absorbed most of the refugees from the other side. Same with Greece and Turkey. Population transfers are always messy, complicated, and horrendous affairs. They get much worst if one set of the transferred population gets derived status.

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              • The problem with a “two-state solution” is that if you have to groups that hate each other, or one large group hating the smaller group, it won’t work.

                OTOH, the problem with a one-state solution is that it requires something akin to apartheid, or even genocide, or it won’t work.

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  2. Na1: One big problem that the refugees from Central America face that is alluded to in this article is that many of them are facing persecution that doesn’t fall within the five protected grounds. Much persecution these days is done by non-state actors while refugee law and popular understanding about what persecution is imagines state actors. Recently, Sessions used his power as Attorney General to issue a case called Matter of A-B- (AG 2018). This case held that women who suffer domestic violence and other victims of what Sessions called private crimes are not victims of persecution, reversing the earlier Matter of A-R-C-G from the BIA. Advocates for immigrant rights naturally saw A-B- as a horrendous decision while immigration skeptics saw it as restoring order.

    Central American migrants are not the only asylum seekers that find themselves un-covered because of the existing refugee law. Chinese-Indonesians and Christian-Indonesian often have a difficult claim making asylum cases because their persecutors tend to be non-state actors with the Indonesian government looking the other way. They have the small benefit of having their claim fall under a recognized protected ground, race and religion, but not completely.

    Complicating the matter with refugee rights is that much of the law regarding refugees was a top down reform. For the most part, taking in tens of thousands or more refugees was never a popular proposition with the citizenry of most countries. This is especially true when you have a lot of refugees.

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  3. Cu5: The emotional investment that people can put into books, movies, comics, video games, and television shows that they really love always struck me as unhealthy. Its as if their own life lacks meaning, so they find meaning in their choice of media consumption itself. Rather than accept the choices the creator made, they fight about them amongst themselves and with the authors or writes of whatever they are into. If the fans wanted x female character to have a hot and steamy romance with the bad boy but the creators decided a more mature relationship with a good guy instead, fans are going to riot.

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    • LeeEsq: The emotional investment that people can put into books, movies, comics, video games, and television shows that they really love always struck me as unhealthy. Its as if their own life lacks meaning, so they find meaning in their choice of media consumption itself. Rather than accept the choices the creator made, they fight about them amongst themselves and with the authors or writes of whatever they are into.

      I’m a fan of all of those things you listed and I couldn’t agree with you more.

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  4. Wo5: There are a handful of dispensaries in or near Colorado Springs that actively brag about growing their stuff themselves. Here’s Maggie’s Farm, and they’re talking like their stuff would be suitable for Whole Foods.

    “Seed grown” “Sun grown” “GMO free”

    So there are still markets for the hippie dippy version of weed.

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          • To my surprise, further digging shows it is older. In its modern form it dates to at least 1960.

            Even more surprising, I find it in newspapers to the 1930s in sports contexts. Its meaning is not entirely clear, but being “hippy-dippy” seems to be a good thing: “Grygo is a hippy-dippy runner and the tacklers have a hard time getting their hands on him once he passes the line of scrimmage.” (Charleston S.C. News and Courier October 18, 1940).

            The sporting usage seems to have died out soon after that. I find it as late as 1947, but it was rare apart from being the name of a race horse in the early 1960s. Newspapers in the 60s then show the term reviving, but in its modern counter-culture sense. Any influence of the older sporting sense was very indirect.

            I still suspect that Carlin’s use enshrined it in the English language, saving it from being one of innumerable slang terms with but a fleeting existence.

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    • When I skimmed the referenced article, my first thought was, “In Colorado, every dispensary can tell you exactly where their product came from.” They might or might not advertise it a la Maggie’s, but they darned well keep all the records to satisfy the state when the state asks.

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      • You know, that part didn’t even occur to me.

        I figured that they kept that sort of thing quiet because, let’s face it, the product is worth a great deal of money and is pretty much untraceable. Use it yourself, sell it to trusted friends, or, heck, just take the seeds and grow your own. It’s worth its weight in silver even after legalization.

        But of course the gummint needs to know its provenance. The Feds because they are more than happy to bust any dispensary that uses stuff that crosses state lines and the State of Colorado because any busted dispensary is a dispensary that is no longer pouring money into the coffers.

        So these best-kept secrets have to remain registered secrets.

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  5. Wo1: A big problem is that the world order doesn’t seem very good at defending itself and can mainly be seen as a sign of keep privileges among a small-cast of people. I’m a believer in free trade but we also need to acknowledge wealth inequality and income inequality. Very few people are going to be convinced by “Globalization lifts millions out of poverty in Africa and Asia” if they see their communities decline. At worst it sounds like, “Your time is up. Get used to it.” We see this on an internal level too where our so-called bipartisan elites don’t understand the backlash and anger they get and keep on chugging along as if nothing has changed. For example, the backlash from the liberal base against so-called liberal elites in law praising Judge Karanvaugh despite his record. Or with the recent “third way” convention desperately trying to keep the Democratic Party in the land of triangulation.

    Of course the dark thing is that the elites might know (or believe they know) that nothing can topple them.

    Na1: The problem with a lot of international law is that there are very few enforcement mechanisms for international agreements. Most of them need something very close to scout’s honor to work or operate. The interesting thing about the left and the right at the margins is that they both believe the United Nations is way more powerful and important than it is. Most countries play lip service to international law or ignore it depending on convenience but if you look at lefty and right posts on facebook and were an alien, you would conclude that the UN is actually a powerful force in the world. Righty posts are all about evil UN conspiracies. Lefty posts are gasps of horror when the U.S. or some other country is accused of breaking some UN convention or international law and a seemingly belief that there is a punishment-enforcement mechanism.

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  6. Na4: Charlie Stross has another Brexit piece up at his blog. He has some health problems, and has started the process of stockpiling a six-month supply of his medications. Also he’s planning on having at least two weeks worth of non-perishable food on hand prior to B-day in March next year. Some of the commenters, many of whom are reasonably well-to-do and well educated, are starting to sound like preppers.

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  7. Automation continues to devour high value job skills:
    Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters

    “Computers know what to buy and when to buy, when to offer a deal and when not to,” says Neil Ackerman, a former Amazon executive who manages the supply chain at Johnson & Johnson. “These algorithms that take in thousands of inputs and are always running smarter than any human.”

    These aren’t the “dull, dirty, dangerous” jobs that we talk about. They aren’t the tedious repetitious and mundane skills.
    These are complex thinking and calculation skills, logic analysis and pattern recognition skills, the same skills that form the majority of what white collar professionals do.

    The point isn’t that the AI totally replaces the human; it just takes over the high value work, leaving the dull, tedious,mundane work to the human.

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  8. Na2/3 Baltics not Balkans. The Baltics are an interesting case in NATO expansion because the US never recognized USSR sovereignty over them during the entire run of the Cold War. But they all have some ethnic Russian population (Lithuania the least, Estonia the most) and Kalingrad is also right there. But so is St Petersburg, which historically has always been the most Western looking and Westernized Russian city.

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  9. Wo2 – believe it or not, nuclear stuff (ours that is) is kept under one of the lowest classification levels, and a lot of information (particularly on numbers) is now public due to treaty terms with USSR/Russia.

    What is rare are sharing agreements with other countries regarding nuke stuff, like there is with some much higher level info (e.g. Five Eyes)

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  10. Me7 – Breitbart may well be in decline, but it’s not because the mainstream media have lost interest in them. That’s got nothing to do with it. The whole point of Breitbart is that its fans don’t follow the lead of the mainstream media. The idea that someone from CNN wrote that story just shows how irrelevant CNN is, not Breitbart.

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    • Respectfully disagree; just in audience reach, CNN-whatever you think of it-is far from irrelevant. Especially compared to Breitbart that follow the Bannon debacle and the mess Mercer financing issues is a niche website. Breitbart benefitted from their close Trump association, and the constant coverage by mainstream outlets of course raised their profile. That’s not to defend CNN, who has their own issues at the moment, but you cannot discount Breitbart’s decline simply because CNN is the one reporting on it.

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  11. Speaking of toxic fan cultures, some comic book fans are outraged that an African-American actress is going to play Starfire in a live-action movie of Teen Titans. Its basically like the She-Ra debate but somewhat more understandable to the extent that the Teen Titans comics were aimed at geeky boys originally. These debates get intense because they involve people’s fantasies, which is to mean their aspirations to an extent. Starfire was depicted as some sort of babelicious sex goddess to a bunch of adolescent and young men for decades. They built up a fantasy in their head of how Starfire should look. I guess its natural for them to be disappointed when the movie version turns out differently even if they express this disappointment in ways that are very counterproductive. What makes things worse is that not only do they not get to see their fantasies depicted on screen but that they get told their fantasy is illegitimate.

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    • I laugh at this. I mean, the trailer for the show looks terrible, but Starfire has orange skin. Any buxom female can play her, because they are going to be covered in orange skin paint (or a CGI equivalent).

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      • This is a thread that invokes #comicsgate which is every bit as eeeeevil as #gamergate was but it still makes some interesting points:

        I swear to god, chalking up dissatisfaction over the upcoming "Titans" live-action movie by focusing on criticism of Anna Diop's appearance as Starfire and chalking it up to racist fans is one of the stupidest, most tone-deaf attempts at deflection I've ever seen. 1/6 #ComicsGate— Lunar Archivist (@LunarArchivist) July 27, 2018

        (Warning, it contains some SFW pictures of cosplaying *ahem* “adult” actresses whose producers of the films in which they perform put more care into their costumes than the producers of the Teen Titans show.)

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    • Some of us — well, at least one of us — is old enough to have been a young teenaged male comic consumer when the only female character in Teen Titans was Wonder Girl: snappy dialog, cute, curvy, but non-spandex top and no cleavage. Although about the time Mary Jane and her breasts showed up in Spider-Man, Wonder Girl got a pretty pronounced boob job.

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    • There is something that I’ve been thinking about lately and this is a good illustration. Take a look at this particular case. Somebody, somewhere Tweeted something questionable and some other people made questionable comments on Instagram. BuzzFeed turns that into a narrative about racist backlash to a black actress, which Vox then amplifies and fits neatly into the narrative about toxic fan culture.

      And that leads to a bunch more people on social media running with the idea and
      commenting here that:

      Speaking of toxic fan cultures, some comic book fans are outraged that an African-American actress is going to play Starfire in a live-action movie of Teen Titans.

      Is this an accurate statement? The only honest answer is that I don’t know. The Vox article gives us one example of a Tweet that is, if not explicitly racist, certainly racialist; that is focused on the actress being black. Vox also says that BuzzFeed has compiled the comments, but when I click on the BuzzFeed article, I only find three more Tweets from two more people. And @jaybird’s link implies that people are mostly actually pissed off about the bad costuming.

      But let’s say that the narrative is true, kind of. Let’s say that there are a few people making racist statements about an actress playing a comic book character. Does that tell us something meaningful or interesting about comic book culture? How much does it make sense to define a group by the worst examples of its members that you can find?

      In this particular case, the media finds the few negative examples and amplifies them to create/support this narrative of toxic fan culture, while failing to uncover what may be an entirely different, but decidedly less likely to go viral, motivation. All of this makes me ask: is it the culture of comic book fans that looks toxic or the culture of the media?

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      • There could be a lot of amplification in order for the people trying to create a more progressive fandom to depict existing fandom as toxic. We really do not have any accurate statistics on how many white male fans are as really bad as their critics say. There does seem to be at least some truth to the accusation that fandom is changing in ways that older fans do not like. For me this seems to be just as much of a reaction against the commercialization of fandom because the older fans liked it when things were less glossy and they did have their own little subculture, their safe space. To a large extent many of them seem to want to be semi-marginalized again.

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