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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 19 May

by DoDo Fri May 18th, 2012 at 03:47:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1922 - establishment of the Young Pioneers, the Soviet replacement of the [Boy] Scouts

More here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

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Display:
 EUROPE 



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

by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:31:28 PM EST
Germany's Schäuble calls for directly-elected EU president | EurActiv
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble used his acceptance speech when awarded the Charlemagne Prize to detail his future vision of the European Union, arguing for a directly-elected Commission president.

He should first try his luck proposing a directly-elected Chancellor for Germany...

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

by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:32:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank run fear pushes Greeks into pro-bailout camp | EurActiv

The threat of a bank run in Greece, where savers have started pulling money from their personal accounts over fears of a return to the Drachma, is having an effect on voting intentions ahead of a snap election next month.

Greek voters are returning to the establishment parties that negotiated its bailout, a poll showed yesterday (17 May), offering potential salvation for Greek people concerned about the impact of a return to the Drachma over their personal savings.

The poll, the first conducted since talks to form a government collapsed and a new election was called for 17 June, showed the conservative New Democracy party would win 26.1% of the vote compared to 23.7% for the radical leftist Syriza party, which has pledged to tear up the bailout.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:32:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trichet urges strengthening of monetary union | EurActiv
Europe could strengthen its monetary union by giving European politicians the power to declare a sovereign state bankrupt and take over its fiscal policy, the former head of the European Central Bank said yesterday (17 May) in unveiling a bold proposal to salvage the euro.

If austerity fails, lets continue it with fiscal dictatorship, in other words.

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

by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:32:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A view into all our futures.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well lookie here. What a surprise. The Greeks are gonna cave. Who could have predicted ... oh yeah, I did. Idiots. A chance at freedom and they're gonna blow it. Typical.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead of declaring victory for human stupidity you could look at past performance of the polling institutes and decide if they are worth listening to.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, in times of political threats and bank runs, three weeks are a loooot of time, I'd expect more political surprises and public opinion swings.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just giving the Greeks shit so someone might read this and go, "Oh yeah, watch this, you worthless American twit!"

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 06:59:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rupert Murdoch is 'evil', former editor Sir Harold Evans tells Leveson Inquiry - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Sir Harold Evans, editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981, described his former employer Rupert Murdoch as "evil incarnate" in his evidence yesterday to the Leveson Inquiry.

In 1981 a number of groups were vying to take over The Sunday Times but Mr Murdoch's bid was favoured because "he was the man to take on the unions", Sir Harold said. Sir Harold was involved in a management takeover bid and believed the Murdoch proposal would go before the monopolies commission but the deal went through in three days.

He told the inquiry that Mr Murdoch met former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ahead of the takeover, despite the businessman's denials that talks took place. "There was a meeting on 4 January and Mrs Thatcher did a secret deal with Mr Murdoch," he said. "It was ridiculous to suggest you can't go to the monopolies commission for the most important newspaper takeover in British history," he added. "In three days a newspaper merger went through and it went through on falsehood and false figures."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can a peerage be revoked?
by Andhakari on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 12:18:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes: A reputation shredded: Sir Fred loses his knighthood (31 January 2012)
The former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin, has been stripped of his knighthood by the Queen for his role in the creation of the biggest recession since the second world war.

...

The move provoked a cacophony of calls for honours to be stripped from other miscreant bankers, politicians and regulators. The campaign to humble Goodwin was reignited by the Daily Mail a fortnight ago and then hastily backed in a highly political move by David Cameron as he sought to show he will side with the public against crony capitalists and bonus-seeking bankers.

Normally an honour is only taken away if someone has been guilty of a criminal offence punishable by longer than three months in jail, or has been stripped of their professional status by their regulator.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 02:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Murdoch holds no titles in Britain.

But to remove any he might have requires a ring to be thrown into a volcano

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 07:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was actually thinking of Lady [sic] Margaret Thatcher, but maybe that's just Murdoch in drag.
by Andhakari on Sun May 20th, 2012 at 10:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vladimir Putin gives top government job to tank factory worker - Europe - World - The Independent
Russian president Vladimir Putin today gave a senior government post to a tank factory worker who had offered to come to Moscow with fellow laborers to disperse opposition protests.

Putin said he would make Igor Kholmanskikh the presidential envoy to the Ural Mountains region, saying the job will help him protect the interests of workers.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Missile defense systems put brakes on disarmament' | World | DW.DE | 18.05.2012

...As a countermeasure, Russia has threatened to set up a missile shield of its own in Kaliningrad. From a military and security policy point of view - does that make sense? Their missiles could be fired from anywhere in Russia.

From a military point of view, that hardly makes a difference. We're seeing a lot of symbolism here. Symbolism that is, understandably, quite effective in neighboring states (the Baltic states and Poland - the ed.) - we're talking about short-range weapons Russia wants to deploy, possibley even with nuclear warheads. Naturally that's an alarming level of escalation. There's the basic problem that the installation of a missile defense system makes nuclear disarmament more difficult.

The more progress we make in disarmament - in principle, both the US and Russia are in favor of that -, the more "successful" efforts are to build up effective missile defense systems. The fewer missiles you have, the easier it is to launch them. We haven't been able to solve the dilemma that missile defense systems contribute to putting the brakes on disarmament and even threaten armament, the development of new weapons or quitting disarmament treaties. That's the reason we even face the threat of a new arms race.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
because in a world riven by austerity, what we most need is to spend money on idiocies such as this

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 07:55:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian school hit by bomb attack | World news | guardian.co.uk

A bomb has exploded in front of a school in the southern Italian town of Brindisi, killing two girls and injuring five other pupils.

The device went off as students were arriving at the Francesca Morvillo Falcone vocational school at around 8am (6am GMT).

The school is named after the anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone and his wife, who were killed by a mafia bomb in Sicily 20 years ago this weekend.

But authorities said it was unclear if there was an organised crime link to the school blast. As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Three days ago, government officials announced security was being stepped up throughout the country after a shooting that wounded a nuclear energy official, several threats against tax officials and small explosive devices sent to the offices of a tax collection agency.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 06:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:13 PM EST
European markets slide after Spanish downgrade - EUROZONE - FRANCE 24
European shares tumbled and the euro hit a four-month low against the dollar on Friday, a day after Moody's rating agency downgraded 16 Spanish banks in a move that unnerved investors amid growing concern over the eurozone debt crisis.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police forces put £1.5bn privatisation plan on hold - Crime - UK - The Independent

The biggest-ever police privatisation programme ran into difficulties yesterday when two forces at the centre of the £1.5bn scheme delayed the project in the face of stiff opposition.

The private sector had been given carte blanche to come up with ways to "transform" two forces, under a lucrative contract that could have seen elements of crime investigation, detaining suspects and intelligence work handed over to security firms.

But chief constables accepted yesterday that they failed to sell the plan. The bidding process, expected to cost £4.5m, will be delayed until after the Olympic Games and further public consultation. It follows protests from officers and unions, who warned that the move would downgrade the role of the police and give more power to less accountable security companies in the West Midlands and Surrey.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Usually, News International are the preferred and customary bidder but this time seem to have pulled out fearing bad publicity.

Frnakly, much tho' people fear having corporate controled police interpreting priorities according to their new masters' wishes, the fact is that this is pretty much what has been happening under ACPO anyway.

The whole outrage of the undercover police was that these people were mostly acting as Corporate agent provocateurs by targeting environmental campaigners rather than criminal gangs or terrorists.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 08:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gazprom Eyeing Second Pipeline as Nabucco Faces Failure - SPIEGEL ONLINE
With the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline in southern Europe hitting snag after snag, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom is considering the construction of a second Baltic Sea pipeline to go with the just-finished Nord Stream. With unconventional natural gas from the US flooding the market, however, the strategy is not without risk.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 05:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:33:54 PM EST
Planned Afghan exit risks spoiling Hollande's US visit - FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012 - FRANCE 24

French President François Hollande faced a difficult diplomatic test as he met US President Barck Obama for the first time on Friday. The ongoing war in Afghanistan could cause friction between the two leaders, with Obama pushing to keep some 3,300 French troops in the war-torn country, and Hollande seeking to bring them home by the end of the year.

Hollande, who was sworn in as president on May 15, was greeted by Obama in Washington on Friday morning just hours ahead of a meeting at Camp David, and one day before a NATO summit in Chicago. The two will find common ground over responses to Europe's debt crisis and sensitive dossiers, like Iran's nuclear ambitions, but seem miles apart on the Afghan question.

What is supposed to be getting spoilt? A smiling photo-op of the faithful vassal with the potemkin imperial overlordally next to the ally who is more equal than others, as Sarko preferred it?

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

by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan Helpers Feel Threatened By Withdrawal of German Troops - SPIEGEL ONLINE
With the German army pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, hundreds of Afghan workers fear they will become victims of revenge by the Taliban, who have already condemned them as traitors. German authorities are already preparing for a wave of visa applications.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... hundreds of Afghan workers fear they will become victims of revenge by the Taliban, who have already condemned them as traitors.

Which they are.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:12:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he looked insecure next to obama. not quite fawning or sycophantic, but over-awed and codependent.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 10:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US has plan to attack Iran over nuclear threat - Middle East - World - The Independent
The US has plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, Washington's envoy to Israel said, days ahead of a round of nuclear talks with Tehran.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is this new or news?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I'm sure the Pentagon has game-planned many attack scenarios, this particular news segment is even more suspect, coming as it does from the Israelis

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 08:08:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria's opposition on the brink as activists criticise lack of leadership - Middle East - World - The Independent
Syria's opposition council was accused of drifting away from the spirit of revolution by a key activist group yesterday, dealing a further blow to a body already facing major problems in its quest to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

...Since its inception last September, the SNC has acted as the international face of the Syrian revolution and served as a reference point for Western leaders. If it continues to deteriorate, it could complicate efforts for the West and others to get behind the opposition...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN chief suspects al Qaeda in Damascus car bombings - SYRIA - FRANCE 24
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that al Qaeda was likely behind a double car bombing in Damascus last week that killed 55 people, the deadliest attacks in Syria's capital since an anti-regime uprising began in March 2011.

Saying so without evidence is rhetoric. What is the aim of this rhetoric? A possibility is to imply that these attacks weren't homegrown, that is, to disassotiate them with the rebels against the Assad regime.

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

by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just another blown opportunity. Hope you enjoy being slaughtered and enslaved.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afro-Europe: Three black cabinet members are appointed in the new French Government. (...) The line-up. Christiane Taubira, from French Guiana, is the new Minister of Justice. George Pau-Langevin from Guadeloupe, a member of Parliament representing Paris, is named junior Minister for Educational success. And Victorin Lurel, also from Guadeloupe, is the new Minister in charge of overseas departments. He succeeds Marie-Luce Penchard, who was also from Guadeloupe. Although Taubira is not the first black Minister in France, with her appointment as Minister of Justice she can be seen as being the first black person in France to hold such an important cabinet position.

The Global Barrel: ...unsubstantiated assumptions about the nature, scope and success of Iranian-Venezuelan joint ventures abound. (...) It is very difficult to prove or disprove such assertions, and there may be validity to some. However, great skepticism should pertain when on-the-ground evidence shows that, on the oil-and-gas front, which is the supposed forté of Venezuela and the central focus of President Chávez' signature Bolivarian diplomacy, there has been a woeful and chronic inability by PDVSA to fulfill agreements with Petropars, the Iranian flag-bearer there.

Colombia Reports: A Colombian judge convicted 44 former members of the Popular Revolutionary Antiterrorist Army (ERPAC), a neo-paramilitary organization mostly active in southeast Colombia, reported Colombian newspaper El Tiempo Friday.

Human Rights Watch: (Washington, DC) - Honduran and US authorities should ensure a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of the alleged killing of four civilians and wounding of four others during a joint counternarcotics operation in the Mosquitia region of Honduras.
More on Honduras.

HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban first daughter Mariela Castro has been granted a U.S. visa to attend events in San Francisco and New York, sparking a firestorm of criticism from Cuban-American politicians who called her an enemy of democracy and a shill for the Communist government her family has led for decades. The trip, which kicks off next week when Castro is due to chair a panel on sexual diversity at a conference organized by the Latin American Studies Association, is among several to the United States by prominent Cubans, some with close links to the government.

LAHT, BOGOTA - More than a third of the close to 46 million Colombians are living in poverty or destitution, conditions particularly oppressive in small towns and rural areas, according to a study released in Bogota by the government statistics service.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 08:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd sooner be a shill for Castro than than a craven lackey of Batista any day. But what does either status have to do with getting a visa? Ostracizing Cuba hasn't done anyone any good, besides maybe US sugar companies.
by Andhakari on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 12:36:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:34:57 PM EST
French to revive Sarkozy's EU carbon tariff idea | EurActiv
Arnaud Montebourg, the newly-appointed French minister for "industrial revival" who has built a reputation for his fierce attacks against globalisation, has promised to revive old plans by Nicolas Sarkzoy for a carbon tariff at the EU's borders, an idea previously rejected as protectionist among France's European partners.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China rejects US ruling in solar dumping case - seattlepi.com

"The U.S. ruling is unfair, and the Chinese side expresses its extreme dissatisfaction," said a Commerce Ministry spokesman, Shen Danyang, in a statement.

Shen warned the ruling might harm clean energy cooperation but gave no indication how Beijing might respond. Some American companies that oppose the trade probe have warned China might retaliate against U.S. suppliers.

Thursday's preliminary ruling by the Commerce Department said Chinese producers sold solar cells and panels below fair price and hurt American producers. If that is upheld, tariffs averaging 31 percent could be imposed on Chinese solar-panel imports.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW, our masters say "fuck you".

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 05:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar panel subsidy cuts halted by ministers - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
Moves to cut subsidies for fitting solar panels on homes were halted by ministers today following warnings that the planned reductions threatened Britain's hopes of hitting targets for renewable energy production.

Ministers halved subsidies for feed-in tariffs last year and were due to implement another cut in July.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SANTIAGO - Spain's Eosol Energy plans to build a $615.9 million solar energy project in Tocopilla, a town in northern Chile.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 08:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blogger: The Archdruid Report - Post a Comment

Yupped, if Al Gore had announced that he was replacing his old mansion with a passive solar house made of recycled materials, with solar water heating and other green technologies, and done it, he would be a massive political presence now. If he'd also announced that he was giving up air travel, and traveling by train from here on, and done a few other changes like that, he'd have become a stunningly effective figure, and the climate change movement might not have collapsed the way it did. It's not necessary to live in a yurt -- though that's certainly an option, and can be a good one for some people -- what's needed is a willingness to change in a green direction, visibly and publicly, and stick with that.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 06:50:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ClubOrlov: Shale Gas: The View from Russia

You see, there is no such thing as a global natural gas market. Yes, there are some LNG tankers sailing about, but that is very much a point-to-point trade. There is a closed North American market, a European market, and another market in the Asia-Pacific region. These markets do not interact. The North American market and the European market could have potentially shared just one producer: Qatar. Qatar once wanted to export LNG to the US, but then decided to export it to Europe instead, generating less of a loss, because European gas prices are substantially higher. And the reason Qatar is dumping natural gas in Europe is because it has gas to dump: its northern gas field is a very "wet" field, with a substantial percentage of natural gas condensate. Qatar's OPEC quota is 36-37 million tonnes of oil per year, but natural gas condensate is not considered to be oil and is not covered by OPEC quotas. Exploiting the condensate loophole allows Qatar to export 65.7 million tonnes: 77% over quota. The LNG is just concomitant production, and Qatar can afford to export LNG to Europe at a loss. This is a juicy bit of trivia, but really something of a footnote: an exception that proves the general case: there is no global natural gas market.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 08:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
22 Billion Energy Slaves

So if we can't eat oil what else can we eat? Well, the oceans are being denuded of fish at an ever increasing rate, so fish is increasingly off the menu. I once harvested and barbecued a jellyfish, just to see if it was edible, and the result was a little bit like tough burned rubber. After all, there is no shortage of jellyfish and they have plenty of protein - but not many people were willing to give it a try at the time (despite some nice barbecue sauce and chilli dressing). I wrote about it in a newspaper and the only response was from a vegan who said that jellyfish were sentient beings too. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Topsoil is being turned into chemical, salty dust at a breakneck speed too, and aquifer levels in many regions are sinking fast so there isn't even enough water to keep alive the nutritionally deficient monocultures we have become so fond of. How are we going to cope with these challenges? GMOs will just make things worse. And, no, as far as we know crops cannot be grown on the seabed or, on giant floating sky islands or the Moon.
And just when that sounded like enough challenges, we have the added bonus of the fact that we are moving into an age of climate instability, which is likely to see much of the world's fertile land and coastal cities swamped by rising waters.
Of course, if you are from China or India or any of the other supposed 'booming' countries you'll a) Not be reading this in the first place despite me putting a translation widget at the top or b) Will have covered your eyes and ears by this point as you fumble for the mouse and tune into some other blog which breathlessly discusses the amazing diamond-encrusted future that awaits as you assume your position as heir to the industrial throne. Good luck with that!
But, of course, fear is not a useful response to our predicament. It can be a useful reaction when, say, a wild animal jumps out from behind a tree to attack you - the adrenaline rush allows us to move more quickly and make better snap judgements. But as far as the long, slow arc of the end of the industrial age and the twilight of the West is concerned, fear is practically useless. Instead it is far better to understand the challenges we face, and mentally and physically prepare yourself for it.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 08:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ClubOrlov: Making the Internet Safe for Anarchy
Beyond the purely technical issues with the electric grid, there is also a problem with finding enough energy to power it. About half the electricity comes from coal, which is of increasingly poor quality. The volumes of coal are staying more or less constant, but the energy density of the coal is decreasing over time. The anthracite that made the age of steam possible is all but gone. The lignite and brown coal that have replaced it are sometimes closer to dirt than to coal. At some point it will become a net waste of energy to mine them and transport them to a power plant. Already the inferior quality of coal is causing giant balls of clinker to accumulate in the power plant furnaces, causing extensive downtime and millions in damage. As for other sources of electricity, the aging nuclear power plants, many on their last legs and already unsafe, is a story for a separate article; likewise with the mirage of energy independence, to be achieved by "fracking" for shale gas and other equally ineffective dirty tricks. Moving forward, the amount of time the electric grid is available in any given place will dwindle, and with it the amount of Internet access.
As the electric grid goes down, there will be a great deal of economic disruption, which is enough material for yet another article. But in terms of the surveillance system, two effects are virtually guaranteed. First, people will once again become very expensive to track and monitor, as in the olden days of the KGB. Second, people will cease to be docile. What keeps people docile is access to the magic shiny world of television and the Internet. Their own lives might be dull, grey, hopeless, and filled with drudgery, but as long as they can periodically catch a glimpse of heaven inhabited by smooth-skinned celebrities with toned muscles sporting the latest fashions, listen to their favorite noise, watch a football game, and distract themselves with video games, blogs, or cute animals on Reddit's /r/aww, they can at least dream. Once they wake up from that dream, they look around, and then look around some more, and then they become seriously angry. This is why the many countries and regions that at one time or another ran short on energy, be it former Soviet Georgia or Bulgaria or the Russian far east, always tried to provide at least a few hours of electricity every day, usually in the evenings, during "prime time," so that the populace could get its daily dose of fiction, because this was cheaper than containing a seriously angry populace by imposing curfews and maintaining around-the-clock military patrols and checkpoints.
And so, if you want to achieve a serious political effect, my suggestion is that you sit back Buddha-like, fold your arms, and do some deep breathing exercises.

more wu wei, not less...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2012 at 08:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:37 PM EST
Malawi's new president to repeal ban on gay sex - Africa - World - The Independent
Malawi's new president says she will repeal the country's ban on homosexual acts.

President Joyce Banda's announcement during her first state of the nation address today is one of several steps she has taken that break with the administration of her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frederick Wilfred: London Photographs 1957-62 - History - Life & Style - The Independent
A selection of previously unseen images of London taken by unsung photographic talent Frederick Wilfred go on display at the Museum of London next month.

Capturing the British capital when it was emerging from post-war austerity into the swinging Sixties, the black and white images are remarkable documents of city life.

Although little known, Wilfred (1925-2010) was a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, for which he won numerous awards.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:36:14 PM EST
Pep Guardiola and Fabio Capello on Anfield list as Liverpool cast net wide in manager search - Premier League - Football - The Independent
Liverpool moved rapidly to replace Kenny Dalglish yesterday with plans to approach at least eight managers from across Britain and Europe, including Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez, Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers, and even an ambitious bid to ascertain Pep Guardiola's interest.

Fenway Sports Group's determination to cover all options available to them makes an approach to Fabio Capello, also currently out of work, quite possible. It is understood that Andre Villas-Boas is also among the managers approached on the continent, with initial contact having come through his agent. He is believed to be receptive to the idea, though Roma provide competition, having approached him first. Guardiola is the most intriguing name and Liverpool possess a link to him through his brother Pere, the agent of Luis Suarez. That approach is highly speculative, though, and unlikely to yield a result after the Spaniard's decision to step down from Barcelona.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2012 at 02:36:24 PM EST
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