Category Archives: Uncategorized

Notes 19 Jun 2017

Wikipedia: History of relationship between the US and Russia

EU “sanctions” against Russia

Summary of actions

And timeline of actions

150 people and 37 entities are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban over their responsibility for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

On 13 March 2017, the Council prolonged these measures until 15 September 2017.

  • limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for 5 major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies
  • impose an export and import ban on trade in arms
  • establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia
  • curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services  that can be used for oil production and exploration

Who are these people?

List of designated entities

Book: Change the story, change the future

Moscow/Washington Hotline (Wikipedia)

Refugee Project: Interactive graphic

“Military spending is so inefficient because there’s a single payer” –Scott.

Trump’s Cabinet meeting. Awkward!

A favorite quote (mine) on globalization:

“When it gets down to it — talking trade balances here — once we’ve brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they’re making cars in Bolivia and microwave ovens in Tadzhikistan and selling them here — once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel — once the Invisible Hand has taken away all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity — y’know what? There’s only four things we do better than anyone else:
microcode (software)
high-speed pizza delivery”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

Universal Basic Income experiments in 2017

Movie Kumari. the true story of a false prophet.

National Geographic article on feeding the planet

Russia accuses US government being a shield for ISIS (from RT, Russian mouthpiece news)

Russian efforts against the IS (from TASS, Russian News Agency) (Russia outperforms in destroying IS infrastructure
Putin Warns about IS
Lavarov recommits to action against IS)

Collapes of the USSR and Putin’s view

Most Russians regret collapse of USSR

According to the latest poll conducted by the independent research agency Levada Center, the proportion of those who confessed to negative feelings over the collapse of the USSR is currently 56 percent, with 28 percent claiming their sentiments are entirely positive and 16 percent deeming the question too complex to give an unambiguous answer.

“Economists exist to make astrologers look good.”

“Did Putin call the collapse of the USSR the greatest geopolitical disaster of the century” (Punditfact)

Gaddy elaborated in an interview with PunditFact, saying Putin is not eager to re-establish the USSR, partly because it would be costly for Russia, which subsidized many Soviet countries during that era. He does, however, want to make sure surrounding countries are not used against Russia.




Notes 12 Jun 2017

Review of Oliver Stone’s Putin interviews in Foreign Policy

Shallowness in public discourse

Origin of CNN

USMC Commandant’s Reading List 2017

Reading List  2011

Reading List 2012-2014

Mattis 2007 Reading List

Another Mattis Reading List

Benjamin Franklin on Choosing a Mistress

Pelosi, “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it…” is a misstatement:

Vox here and context here.

“You’ve heard about the controversies, the process about the bill…but we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.


Notes 5 June 2017

Goals of the Paris climate agreement (wikipedia)


The aim of the convention is described in Article 2, “enhancing the implementation” of the UNFCCC through:[8]

“(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;
(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”

Countries furthermore aim to reach “global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible”. The agreement has been described as an incentive for and driver of fossil fuel divestment.[9][10]

The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement.[11]

The sixth extinction (Wikipedia, Atlantic review).

Why do extinction rates vary so widely?  (Yale University) (The Extinction)

Most ecologists believe that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. Humanity’s impact on nature, they say, is now comparable to the five previous catastrophic events over the past 600 million years, during which up to 95 percent of the planet’s species disappeared. We may very well be. But recent studies have cited extinction rates that are extremely fuzzy and vary wildly.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which involved more than a thousand experts, estimated an extinction rate that was later calculated at up to 8,700 species a year, or 24 a day. More recently, scientists at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded that: “Every day, up to 150 species are lost.” That could be as much as 10 percent a decade.

Bjorn Lomborg: Copenhagen Consensus (website) (Wikipedia)

OpEd on Paris Accord (

Judith Curry (Wikipedia Page; blog)

Solar vs Coal

Sea Level Rise in Bangladesh

Carbon Emissions by country (Wikipedia)

China emissions (Climate Action Tracker)

Have Chinese emissions really peaked?

Population Growth by Country (Wikipedia) (Wikipedia, current rates) (World Bank)

Grameen Bank (website) (Wikipedia).

Large American company discriminating in favor of women.

  1. Increase sourcing from women-owned businesses.Over the next five years, the company will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and double sourcing from women suppliers internationally.
  2. Empower women on farms and in factories through training, market access and career opportunities. New programs will help 60,000 women working in factories that supply products to [the company] and other retailers develop the skills they need to become more active decision-makers in their jobs and for their families. The initiative will also help women farm workers participate more fully in the agriculture supply chain.
  3. Empower women through job training and education.Successful retail training programs will be scaled to help 200,000 women internationally. In the U.S., [the company] will help 200,000 women from low-income households gain job skills and access higher education.
  4. Increase gender diversity among major suppliers. The company will work with major professional service firms and merchandise suppliers with over $1 billion in sales to increase women and minority representation on [the company] accounts.
  5. Make significant philanthropic giving toward women’s economic empowerment. The company will support these programs with more than $100 million in grants that drive progress against key goals. Funding will come from the [the company] Foundation and donations directly from [The company’s] international businesses.

Want to guess who it is? (Site)