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What's a European to do?? (a friendly discussion)

by whataboutbob Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 07:08:57 AM EST

This is from a...well, I am an American...but I live in Europe (now 3.5 years), like it here a lot and hope to live here a long time (knock on wood)...and so  I count myself as a European too. Anyway, this is not to bash my dear American brethren, or anything like that. However...let me stir up a friendly discussion:

What is a European to do, when all he or she is/has been/and will be hearing in the news is about the <takes a deep breath> American Presidential election, the American-caused world financial crisis, the war...uh, am I leaving anythng out? It is just dominating.

My point being, this IS a European blog, and there ARE plenty of other important and interesting pieces of news, science, sports, arts, etc. etc going on here and elsewhere in the (non-US) world, and I just want to encourage us (including in "us" is our regular American contributors) to keep trying to put up diaries on...Europe and the rest of the World!

That doesn't sound so bad does it? And it is out of no disrespect to or discouragement of US articles...but I for one would just like to see and read more regularly about what is going on here. Any ideas or suggestions about how to encourage this?


Display:
I couldn't agree more.

But only an American could really say it, I think.

As for ideas and suggestions....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 07:21:47 AM EST
I think it has a lot to do with the financial crisis being on the front page of the newspapers every day.  Unfortunately, we're also waiting to see what happens with it in Europe.  ("Is Trichet right to hold rates?"  "What are the implications of the euro rising?"  And so on.)  I'm thinking I'll have a diary up on the whole mess once the Q1 figures come out for everybody.  It's a pretty good bet that we're looking at near-zero growth in America, but I'm interested to see what happens in Britain, and then on the Continent.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 07:28:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
China is the place we need to know more about. And India.

The US is going the same way as the UK. Down.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 07:34:38 AM EST
We might usefully build an Internet directory (or at least links list) on Asia: information sites, blogs, print/Web or video/Web media.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 08:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have Bruno-ken and FarEasterner - be great if we could get more people.

Bob is right - there are lots of European subjects, but we also need to relate these to what is happening outside the EU.

BTW This might interest you. I reported at last year, and it just became official.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is located in Helsinki. ECHA manages the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction processes for chemical substances to ensure consistency across the European Union.

The REACH regulatory framework has already had a major impact on enterprises that import chemicals into EU member states. The Helsinki REACH centre (HRC) was founded to promote cooperation in REACH activities and international competitiveness.

The China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC) opened a representative office in Helsinki in 2007.

I believe there are many areas of cooperation possible with China, and that cooperation is the best way to address those aspects of Chinese international business that we don't appreciate - such as rapacious logging in W. Africa for example.


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to strongly recommend the movie "The World" by Jia Zhang-ke to anyone interested in learning about some of the contradictions in modern China.  It's unlike any other Chinese movie I'd seen before, both in style and content.  It's a stunningly beautiful movie,   with so much going it was hard to take it all in the first time I saw it.

From the first paragraph of the review - link below:

The title of Jia Zhang-ke's 2004 masterpiece, The World -- a film that's hilarious and upsetting, epic and dystopian -- is an ironic pun and a metaphor. It's also the name of the real theme park outside Beijing where most of the action is set and practically all its characters work. "See the world without ever leaving Beijing" is one slogan for the 115-acre park, where a monorail circles scaled-down replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, London Bridge, Saint Mark's Square, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids, and even a Lower Manhattan complete with the Twin Towers. Extravagant kitsch like this may offer momentary escape from the everyday, but Jia is interested in showing the everyday activities needed to hold this kitsch in place as well as the alienation in this displaced world -- and therefore in the world in general, including the one we know.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/archives/2005/0705/050729.html

by Bruce F (greenroofgrowers [at] gmail [dot] com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 03:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Bob!

What would you like to read about?  I'm currently reading Barbarians by Terry Jones (yes, the Python!)

From the link:

We think we know all about the Romans, don't we? They gave us sophisticated road systems, chariots and the modern-day calendar, not to mention civilized society. And of course, they had to contend with barbarian hordes who continually threatened the peace, safety and prosperity of their Empire. But is this really true? Accompanying a major new BBC2 series, "Terry Jones' Barbarians" takes a completely fresh approach to Roman history. Not only does it offer us the chance to see the Romans from a non-Roman perspective, it also reveals that most of those written off by the Romans as uncivilized, savage and barbaric were in fact organized, motivated and intelligent groups of people, with no intentions of overthrowing Rome and plundering its Empire. This original and fascinating study does away with the propaganda and opens our eyes to who really established the civilized world. Delving deep into history, Terry Jones and Alan Ereira uncover the impressive cultural and technological achievements of the Celts, Goths, Persians and Vandals. If you thought that highly developed religious philosophy and legal systems based on respect were Roman inventions, then think again. Far from civilizing the societies they conquered, the Romans often destroyed much of what they found. In this absorbing book, Terry and Alan travel through 700 years of history on three continents, bringing wit, irreverence, passion and the very latest scholarship to transform our view of the legacy of the Roman Empire and the creation of the modern world. 'Jones laces the latest academic research with his own increasingly avuncular humour. Who says history can't be fun? In the hands of Professor Jones, how could it be anything else?'

I'm seeing all kindsa parallels with the present day--

There have been diaries about France, about Sarkozy I mean, but yeah...lotsa US readers, so I thought--how about a quiz to stimulate another ripple starting from Europe.  But first, Europe!

Right, here are the questions (it's very easy to find the answers--otherwise I couldn't have built the quiz!  But worth guessing first--if any ideas come to mind.)  I'll give answers if anyone wants them or can't find them.  There's a picture clue for each question.  Oh, and I knew the answer to none of 'em!

What is the name of and where is

1) Europe's highest mountain?

2) Its deepest canyon?

3) Longest river?

4) Most powerful waterfall?

5) Largest glacier?

6) Most westerly point?

Why is there a contradiction between the answers to questions 4) and 6)?

7) Northernmost point?

8) 7) Largest lake?

heh....slow day at work!  Forgive me, bob and congrats on that new job situation!--

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:13:10 AM EST
Elbrus, Russia (Caucasus): 18,510 feet / 5642 meters for the Mountain

and  have you read his book Medieval lives?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:25:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct for number 1!

I'm halfway through Medieval lives.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice introductory article, written by Terry Jones:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,1143405,00.html

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and both have matching TV series.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Glad I lurked before going to bed.  I've just ordered Medieval Lives AND Who Murdered Chaucer.  So much to look forward to, 640 pages altogether.

On the main subject, maybe we could suggest topics that we'd like to see addressed in diaries, or there could be threads that begin with a question such as "how good are public services (postal, libraries, street cleaning, etc.) in your area?"  Or "what do you think are popular misconceptions about Brits/French/Poles/etc.?"  For instance, I'm stumped as to why the Germans I know have the idea that Americans read very little.  But the books in Germany are SO expensive, and it seems harder to find bookstores.  My husband was amazed at the number of bookstores he saw when he first came here.

Just an idea.  

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 12:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi rg! (Thanks!) - And nice quiz!! (Uh, I'll get back to you with some answers...)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey! (As an aside)...I wonder if that's where Dylan got his verse, "the pump don't work cause the Vandal stole the handle..."

Damn Vandals. Where were the Vandals located in Europe, anyway??

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did they come from?

Related to the Goths, apparently, who unleashed themselves on Europe ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:34:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dem vandals who stole the handles...(my emphasis):

vandal  
1663, "willful destroyer of what is beautiful or venerable," from Vandals, name of Gmc. tribe that sacked Rome, 455, under Genseric, from L. Vandalus (pl. Vandali), from the tribe's name for itself (O.E. Wendlas), from P.Gmc. *Wandal- "Wanderer."

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=vandal

And boy did they wand.  (Follow the blue line!)

But were the vandals vandals?

The Sack of Rome

(My emphasis)

In 455, the Vandal king Geiseric sailed his powerful fleet from the capital in Carthage, up the Tiber, finally sacking Rome. The murder and usurption of the previous Emperor Valentinian III by Petronius Maximus that same year was seen by Geiseric as an invalidation of his 442 peace treaty with Valentinian.

Upon the Vandal arrival, according to the chronicler Prosper, Pope Leo I implored Geiseric not to destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants. Geiseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men. Maximus, who fled rather than fight the Vandal warlord, was killed by a Roman mob outside the city.

It is accepted that Geiseric looted great amounts of treasure from the city, and also took the Empress Licinia Eudoxia, Valentinian's widow, and her daughters hostage. One of these daughters was Eudocia, who was later to marry Geiseric's son Huneric.

There is, however, some debate over the severity of the Vandal sack. The sack of 455 is generally seen by historians as being more thorough than the Visigothic sack of 410, because the Vandals plundered Rome for fourteen days whereas the Visigoths spent only three in the city.

The cause of most controversy, however, is the claim that the sack was relatively 'clean', in that there was little murder and violence, and the Vandals did not burn the buildings of the city. This interpretation seems to stem from Prosper's claim that Leo the Great managed to persuade Geiseric to refrain from violence.

However, Victor of Vita records how many[citation needed] shiploads of captives arrived in Africa from Rome, with the purpose of being sold into slavery. Similarly, the Byzantine historian Procopius reports how at least one church was burnt down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Rome_(455)

Anyway, who decided that the word for a vandal should be "vandal"?  Someone in Europe (I guess) after the Renaissance--they admired the Romans so the Huns and Vandals were given a big paint job with the pugly brush (Or so I've read--I is no historian!)

(a  v e e e e e r y  slow day at work):

So what happened to them?

The End of The Vandals

Gelimer (original form Geilamir, 480-553), King of the Vandals and Alans from 530 to 534, was the last ruler of the North African Kingdom of the Vandals. He became ruler in 530 after deposing his cousin Hilderic, who had angered the Vandal nobility by converting to Catholicism. Most of the Vandals at this time being fiercely devoted to Arian Christianity.

The eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, who had supported Hilderic, soon declared war on the Vandals, ostensibly to restore Hilderic but more likely to restore North Africa to the Roman Empire. In June 533, Justinian sent an expeditionary force commanded by Belisarius which finally reached Africa in the beginning of September. Meanwhile in Sardinia which formed part of the Vandal domain, Goddas, a Visigoth, whom Gelimer had sent to collect a tax, began to treat with Justinian as an independent sovereign. Gelimer ignorant or contemptuous of Justinian's plans sent a large army comprised of most of the available army in Africa under his brother Tzazo to crush the rebellion meaning that the landing of Belisarius was entirely unopposed.[1]

On landing Belisarius immediately marched for Carthage finally meeting resistance on the 13th of September when he was confronted by Gelimer at Ad Decimium, 10 miles from Carthage. Although outnumbered 11,000 to 17,000 the battle was evenly fought by the Vandals until Gelimer's brother Ammatas was killed at which time Gelimer lost heart and fled. On the 14th of September 533, Belisarius entered Carthage and ate the feast prepared for Gelimer's in his palace. Belisarius, however, was too late to save the life of Hilderic, who had been slain by Gelimer's orders as soon as the news came of the landing of the imperial army.

The Vandals however were not beaten and on the return of Tzazo from Sardinia, Gelimer again met Belisarius in battle this time at a place about 20 miles from Carthage, called Ticameron. (December 533). This battle was far more stubbornly contested than that of Ad Decimum, but it ended in the utter rout of the Vandals and the flight of Gelimer.

Finally in March 534, realizing he had no chance of regaining his kingdom, Gelimer surrendered to Belisarius and accepted the Romans' offer of vast estates in Galatia where he lived to be an old man. He achieved some degree of anecdotal fame, according to Byzantine chronicles, by crying out the verse from Ecclesiastes, 'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' which is mentioned in the works of Gibbon and Fielding.

After Gelimer's defeat the Vandals disappear from history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelimer

Cough cough cough!  

(I'm thinking: "Well, at least it's about Europe!")

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:04:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I find it interesting!! And it IS about Europe!! (Good show, mate!)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:43:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Number two is Verdon, has to be.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:03:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Further east)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is my turf!

  1. Tara canyon (Montenegro)

  2. Depends where Europe "ends"... Either the Danube (Donau) or Volga

  3. Dettifoss (Iceland)

  4. Most people say North Cape (Norway) but probably not true

How well am I doing?
by Nomad on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2 yes!
3 The Volga, yes! (I'm thinking of Europe-the-continent--as per the picture)
4 yes! Triple marks for that--and for a special special bonus: what is the highest waterfall?  Here's a pic

6 That's the not the answer I have, but the answer (that I have--could be wrong!) has the word "cape" in it

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a more detailed map--a clue to number 6 (and its relation to number 4.)



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Aletschgletscher in Switzerland. Absolutely stunning panorama...
  2. Google tells it's Cabo da Roca in Portugal, if one considers only continental Europe. Contradiction to 4 is the fact the on Iceland there's a point more in the west. As usual, Wikipedia has a good writeup on the extreme points of europe ..
  3. I googled it but I'll leave it upon somebody who actually knows it ... ;)
by srutis on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 02:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
5 yes!
6 yes and yes!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 02:28:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aletschgletscher in Switzerland. Absolutely stunning panorama...

When I was in Brig over a decade ago, in the end it didn't fit into my time. I regret it ever since -- the next time I get there, maybe global warming will have done to it what it did to the glacier under the Großglockner in Austria...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. I'd guess Novaya Zelmya, or Spitzbergen if that is counted.

  2. Lake Ladoga, in Russia.

Re 1), in retrospect it's funny that in commie times, we learn in school that the Mont Blanc is highest... even though we learnt that the Volga is the longest and the Danube only second.

Re 6) vs. 4), the Wiki page you took it from has no contradiction: they say mainland Europe for 6).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd guess Novaya Zelmya

Heh, that's Easternmost...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
8 Lake Ladoga -- yes!

And the northernmost point, from what I've read, is....

Extreme points of Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cape Fligely, Rudolf Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia (81° 48′ 24″ N)[1]


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They do, but I liked the idea that "the most westerly point in europe" wasn't stated.

What is it?

(I assume it's the most westerly point of Iceland, but I don't know the name of such a place.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Extreme points of Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Westernmost point -- Monchique Islet (31º 16' 24″ W), west of Fajã Grande, Flores Island, Azores, Portugal[3]

...Europe, excluding remote islands
Westernmost point -- Bjargtangar, Iceland(24° 32′ 03″ W) [5]



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 09:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason that we focus on the USA is obvious. What is decided in DC today affects Europe tomorrow. In the UK, if you want to know what our military policy is you find out what the White House says.
Want to know what our education policy will be ? Ask the State department.
Judicial policy...DoJ
Financial policy...Fed

etc etc

Also, europe is a difficult project. there is no supra-national political agenda we can easily coalesce around. Our various politicians view their own domestic agenda as of primary importance in which the EU functions as an ongoing G8-like conference. So instead, we form a disparate group of like-minded dissenters. Promoting where we can, warning when we have to, criticising as and when.

 

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:19:25 AM EST
Helen:
In the UK, if you want to know what our military policy is you find out what the White House says.
Want to know what our education policy will be ? Ask the State department.
Judicial policy...DoJ
Financial policy...Fed

Makes  me feel like throwing a ship load of coffee into a harbour.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just don't dress up as a Native American (Indian) to do it.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well we'd have to do it naked and painted blue with woad of course.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All woads lead to Brussels.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:26:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to much saxon drugs'n rock'n roll and you end up punning.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your angle?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
keep up like that and you'll be the boii

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"What is decided in DC today affects Europe tomorrow...
Financial policy...Fed"

I sympathize with you, but actually the recent events don't support this theory. The U.S. just drastically reduced the prime interest rate, while the E.U. is still worrying about inflation and thus keeping the interest rate up. This is part of a significant global move towards devaluing the dollar in order to get our imports down and exports up, which is just the opposite of what Europe is up to...

by asdf on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 01:02:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but Britain is not in the Eurozone.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 01:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, maybe. Not being someobdy intimately connected with the arcane workings of the Bank of england or the US treasury Dept I don't know what the exact relationship is. I'm sure those of a pedantic disposition could reel off a whole stream of significant policy differences between US & UK, but in the broader strokes we are very similar.

Jerome does not label the Anglo-American economic model "anglo-disease for  nothing, even if he uses it mainly as a rod for America's back. We both have hollowed out economies, we have both dispensed with a broad based manufacturing capability to a considerable extent to enable us to export jobs and manufacturing to cheaper offshore facilities(yes, I know some vestigial capability remains in US which is actually quite large in comparison with Europe: It is however dwarfed by that which has been abandoned).

We are both following Friedmanite chicago school/laffer curve bs policies which deter wider wealth distribution in favour of consumer debt driven policy.

I'm sure there are other, but you can see where I'm going.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 06:59:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the US is one of the things Europeans have in common. Local politics of single europeans countries are of less importance to other countries than US politics. All European politics together would be much more relevant to Europe than US politics, but every single country's politics is not relevant enough to warrant detailed study to foreigners. So it can be safely assumed that all people here know enough about American elections to discuss it, but not for any other country.

On top of that, US politics are a much better show. More drama, more cheating, better staging (if you can get your audience hooked a year in front, then you're gooood), better looking politicians. Many European countries on the other hand have coalition governments, whose politics can only be discussed if you studied their movements for years. Belgium, anyone?

And finally, Americans are probably by far the largest single nationality among eurotrib visitors. There is currently a diary from some guy asking for advise on the real estate market in Cincinnati. It has lots of replies.

by GreatZamfir on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 09:35:45 AM EST
There is currently a diary from some guy asking for advise on the real estate market in Cincinnati. It has lots of replies.

It might be pretty good about now...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 10:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You live in Switzerland, right?

They voted to not be in Europe.

But it is true, you are not far from Europe.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:00:53 AM EST
to pay a healthy chunk of money to Europe as part of the integration of the new members. That's a pretty impressive commitment too.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
here. They're in schengen too, that's also a big deal.

I do the same with a Norwegian friend here in the States.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they voted not to be in, they just opted out...a long time ago...though someone will now probably correct me.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:24:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They preferred to enter into bilateral agreements. Switzerland is not even in the European Economic Area, having entered into bilateral agreements with it.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are not in the EU, but still I guess most of them feel very much to be part of Europe. The vote wasn't on the membership to the EU, but to the Europe Economic Area (EEA) (link goes to wikipedia article about CH and EU).
by srutis on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:54:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The identification of Europe with the EU allows people to crack jokes at Norway and Switzerland but is otherwise not very useful.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I happen to be a Swiss citizen and agree with you completely. I replied in light of the statement in the first message of the thread as to we voted "on Europe".
by srutis on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 02:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest using the most inclusive definition of Europe, namely UEFA, which BTW is the only definition of Europe that includes Belarus.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 05:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is it more inclusive than Eurovision?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 05:42:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They overlap partially. Eurovision includes all the Mediterranean countries, and UEFA includes Kazakhstan.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 05:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too tricky a definition, we'd have to figure out how to separate Israel (UEFA = Europe) from Palestine (UEFA = Asia).

It'd be better to leave that separation to the Americans, they're largely responsible for how bad the mess got there.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 10:18:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just think how much worse it would be if Sarkozy has an American girlfriend instead of an Italian one...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:20:30 AM EST
One of the ways to focus discussion is to use technology better. There is an open thread on web site redesign where I've suggested using a different type of layout.

There is nothing wrong with having many threads going at once, on widely divergent subjects, if the reader can find what they are interested in easily.

I suggested going to a forum style layout, but another approach, which might be easier to implement, would be to add subject tags to postings.

This way readers could search for areas of interest and ignore the rest.

One of the reasons I like this site is because it has an international flavor. There have been attempts to attract more contributors from elsewhere, but they haven't been a big success. Some how the BBC finds English speakers in the most remote parts of the planet to interview, surely there are a few who would be willing to speak up in print as well.

We don't bite, if the grammar isn't perfect...

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:18:54 PM EST
It is already possible for people to tag their diary as belonging to a "topic". The default is "Diary" and nobody bothers to change it. One can then search by topic. We could also create boxes listing the most recent diaries by topic.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does that change the appearance of the  'diary', if at all?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:49:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible to assigna small image file to each "topic" and the image will be displayed next to the diary title. Like on Slashdot. This feature is now disabled. It's possible that the appearance could be changed in less obvious ways.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be useful if the tag/image file appeared in the lists, as a prefix to the diary title. Not so important now with the volume of diaries, but could be useful in the future.

But as you say, its main use would be in sorting archived diaries. And maybe connecting that to 'occasional series'.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 02:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just an idea: look at fark.com. The main site lists every thread, but there's a top bar with tabs where you can change to a particular topic with one click. Could work well.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The financial crisis is a worldwide event worthy of close attention. The world is going to significantly change (for better or worse) over the next 5-10 years because of it, and some of the site's biggest contributors have backgrounds in economics.

I think Jerome has attracted a lot of people to this site through dkos, which means a lot of Americans. The diary space is an unlimited resource - someone asking about real estate in Cincinnati is not going to prevent DoDo from doing another European rail diary, for example.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 01:49:34 PM EST
As for myself, I keep my purely American diaries off of ET. My personal connection with Europe is very limited, but I like this blog and the people here and try to do my best to engage.
by Magnifico on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 02:52:45 PM EST
And you are very welcome.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The United States is intrinsically more interesting than Europe because the United States has a future full of spectacular catastrophes, while Europe is quietly breeding itself out of existence (1.2 children per woman in Spain and similar numbers elsewhere) and the future of Europe can be summed up in one word.

Islam.

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 05:16:42 PM EST
Evidence please? Apart from the standard issue racist crap that if Europe isn't populated by "whites" then it's not Europe. Anyway, a smaller population wouldn't hurt.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 05:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By 2050 retirees will make up more than half the population of Europe. How many geezers can one worker support?

It isn't a pretty picture.

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to have a problem with basic maths.

By 2050 the ratio of Europe's working age to senior age population will decrease by 50%, two workers instead of four for every retiree.

That's only 33% of only adults.

Of course, this whole demographics game you bought into is silly, because it ignores the shifts also affecting other populations with no income: workers have supported lots more children and jobless and housewifes in the past than the increased number of retirees in the future...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The particular link in my post actually ignores population decline in the calculation... It's an article about graying rather than depopulation.  

And it's a little weird that you're celebrating the fact that the remaining European workers in 2050 will be able to support so many more old people because they have so few children to support.

Giuseppe Carone and Declan Costello of the International Monetary Fund projected in September 2006 that the ratio of retirees to workers in Europe will double to 54% by 2050 from four workers to two workers for every retiree.[1] William H. Frey, an analyst for the Brookings Institution think tank, predicts the median age in Europe will increase from 37.7 years old in 2003 to 52.3 years old by 2050 while the median age of Americans will rise to only 35.4 years old. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates only 39% of Europeans between the ages of 55 to 65 work. If Frey's prediction for Europe's declining median age is correct, productivity in Europe will radically decrease over the next four decades.[2] Austria's Social Affairs Minister painted a bleaker picture in 2006, saying the 55 to 64 year old age bracket in the European Union will be larger than the 15 to 24 year old bracket by 2010. The Economic Policy Committee and the European Commission issued a report in 2006 estimating the working age population in the EU will decrease by 48 million, 16%, between 2010 and 2050, while the elderly population will increase by 58 million, 77%.

Anyway, your correction is about half right, and it still isn't a pretty picture.

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italy, for example, the graying of the population is a little more extreme than the rest of Europe, with the over-65's expected to make up 40% of the population by 2050.

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.
by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So one of your examples about aging is a shift within Europe, another the not at all representative country with the second lowest birthrate... To boot, you link to a second-rate source that doesn't even give sources, instead of checking data yourself -- that 40% appears to be the percentage of those older than 65 in the population of those older than 21, while the older than 65 are preojected at 32.4% of the total population.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 10:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it's a little weird that you're celebrating the fact that the remaining European workers in 2050 will be able to support so many more old people because they have so few children to support.

Why? Are you one of those who never understood this joke: "Eat shit! A hundred billion flies can't be wrong!"

You seem to think that a predicted decrease in 'working-age population' means a decrease in the share of them in the total population -- but that leaves out potential decrease in the overall population, immigration, and change in retirement age from the picture.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 09:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I\'m new here, and if this is the level of conversation, it\'s really appalling.

DoDo has a dispute with Doug about population, so he tells him to \"eat shit?\"

Who is this person, DoDo?

Is he typical of posters here?

 

Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

by Ulrich Bunion (ulrichbunion(at)yahoodotde) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 11:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome Ulrich! We are always glad to have new posters from Europe.

If you'd like to know what is typical of posters here, please feel free to stick around and read. There is no better way of finding an answer to your question.

In the meantime, let me correct a misapprehension no doubt due to the fact that English is your second language. DoDo above did not tell FPS Doug to eat shit. He asked him if he understood a joke about flies eating shit. I'm sure you'll agree that it's not the same thing!

:-)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 02:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like Jacob has himself a new persona ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 03:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, but Ulrich is von Deutschland, it says so on his user page.

He doesn't understand troll ratings yet, but I'm sure he will.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 03:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That maybe so - but I find it very peculiar that the comment he refers to would be singled out. Let it pass ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 04:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May I also suggest you read the New User Guide, especially the section on ratings?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 02:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Na mach' mal halb lang! Denkst du, dass Doug denkt, dass Milliarden von Fliegen nicht falsch liegen können? Wenn wir schon dabei sind, schaust Du zu viel in die Glotze? Dann bist du vielleicht auch über den Gottschalk pikiert, wenn man bedenkt, was er da in Harald Schmidt's Late Show schrie...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 04:09:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fear of brown people crap.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 05:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you assume all Muslims are brown, apart from the obviously racist stereotype, you have probably never actually traveled east of Vienna. Lots of Bosniak muslims are white as snow, and the Serbs kill them anyway.

Personally I have no problem with the Islamification, infertility, and graying out of Europe (average age 52 in 2050). The American dollar is so low that I can't afford to travel anywhere except Mexico, where the (slightly more distant) future of North America is visible in shanty-towns from Juarez to Puerto Escondido.

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know little about me.

I studied in Pakistan in the late '80's. Guess what - in Peshawar, where I was, they're not brown either.

But you should watch your language. Surely you must be aware of your "islamification" rhetoric is straight out of Horowitz and has no place in any serious discourse on Europe.

And is, 9 times out of 10, at root racist.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:48:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like 99 out of 100: based on the assumption that immigrants and their descendants keep to the ancestral culture as if it were in their genes. In truth, Islamist fundies are concerned about the strong secularisation of most immigrants to Europe...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 09:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are plenty of people here in the U.S. (probably well over half) who think that a brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking North America is not really "America." They are undergoing a lot of stress recently...

I met a guy last week who teases his arch-conservative friends by saying "Hey, amigo, you're in America now--so speak Spanish!"

by asdf on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 12:59:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's some poetic justice in it, if you consider how a single country appropriated the name for the entire continent. (Think of the restrictive use of 'Europe' for the EU, and how many Europeans rightly object to it.)

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Sun Jan 27th, 2008 at 10:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thank you Mr Steyn.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let the record show that Mr Steyn is Canadian, not an Etats-unien.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:50:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's a 49th parallel between bigots ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 06:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've focused your responses to other comments to the depopulation angle (more on that below), but let me remind you of one thing: until 9/11, France did not have Muslims, it had Arabs and blacks. Now there are a number of things we need to deal with in that respect, but Islam is pretty low down the list.

As to depopulation, here's the latest INSEE population update, as of end 2007:


En 2007, 783 500 naissances ont été enregistrées en France métropolitaine et 33 000 dans les départements d'outre-mer (tableau 1). Malgré un repli par rapport à l'année 2006, le nombre des naissances demeure supérieur à celui des 25 dernières années. En 2007, l'indicateur conjoncturel de fécondité s'établit à 198 enfants pour 100 femmes, en légère diminution par rapport à 2006 (tableau 3). Mais il reste très supérieur à son niveau des années quatre-vingt dix.

(...)

Les femmes qui ont achevé leur vie féconde ont eu en moyenne plus de 2 enfants. La descendance finale s'établit en 2007 à 2,14 enfants par femme pour celles nées en 1957. À 35 ans, ces femmes avaient déjà eu 1,95 enfant. Pour les femmes nées dix ans plus tard, en 1967, ce nombre moyen d'enfants n'est atteint qu'à 40 ans (1,74 enfant à 35 ans). Aujourd'hui, les femmes de 35 ans (nées en 1972) ont eu en moyenne 1,68 enfant. Malgré leur retard par rapport aux générations antérieures, elles devraient atteindre deux enfants par femme au terme de leur vie féconde.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 04:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™] Your multiple troll ratings recently, as seen here, are unjustified and retaliatory. As per our stated policy, on the agreement of several frontpagers not involved in this thread, your ratings have been wiped and your ratings privilege has been disabled for one week. If you abuse the ratings system again after that week, your right to rate will be permanently disabled.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 03:17:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The general description of population decline in Europe usually leaves out net emigration from countries like Bulgaria, where the population decline by 2050 is predicted as 35%.

It isn't the geezers who will be moving to Paris!

Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

by FPS Doug on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 06:52:30 PM EST
Wouldn't you know it, the fear of the immigrant OTHER raises its ugly head. So much for friendly discussion, eh?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 03:19:27 AM EST
My point being, this IS a European blog, and there ARE plenty of other important and interesting pieces of news, science, sports, arts, etc. etc going on here and elsewhere in the (non-US) world, and I just want to encourage us (including in "us" is our regular American contributors) to keep trying to put up diaries on...Europe and the rest of the World!

As an American, I could not agree more!

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jan 28th, 2008 at 11:48:13 AM EST
I keep saying the same thing, but people write what they would like to read and what they think their audience would like to read... So if you want different content, write it!

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2008 at 05:01:41 AM EST


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