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Messages - jax

1
History shows one thing clearly: Always go with the bureaucrats. The country/empire/enterprise with the better bureaucrats always win in the end. Soldiers, leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists may have their days of glory, but bureacrats make it stick and make it run.

That's beside the point here, because the battle isn't between craven companies and unaccountable bureaucrats, but between an open society and rent-seekers.
2
DnD Central / Re: Maps-Maps-Maps! ?
The world divided into areas of 100 million people


The world divided in areas of 1 trillion dollar GDP


Old map URLs broken, so repost with fresher URLs. 100 megapeople


1 terabuck



Or even simpler, each region one billion people. Currently the Americas, Europe, and Africa have one billion each, while Asia has four. Later Asia and Africa are expected to get one more billion each.


3
Yep. Daily Express is the only true newspaper, the only one that realises that fog in the channel isolates the continent.


4
DnD Central / Re: Maps-Maps-Maps! ?
Oil producing countries sized by production
5
ICAN's Nobel Peace Price ceremony at Oslo City Hall today has a few fewer dignitaries than usual.


US, UK, France won't send ambassadors to Nobel ceremony
Ambassadors of Western nuclear powers to snub Nobel ceremony

Quote
OSLO (AFP) - Breaking with tradition, nearly all ambassadors of the world's nuclear powers will not attend this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honours efforts to ban atomic weapons, the Nobel Institute said Thursday.

Russia and Israel will be the only exceptions, with their ambassadors due to attend.

"They clearly received instructions to express their reservations towards ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) and the global treaty" to ban weapons of mass destruction, the head of the Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, told AFP.


The Peace Prize was awarded on October 6 to ICAN, a coalition of non-governmental organisations lobbying for a historic treaty banning atomic weapons, which was signed in July by 122 countries.
Then again, Norway's foreign minister won't attend either. 
6
On the other hand they may not go out in a blaze of glory after all.

Not much remains of Theresa May's red lines after the Brexit deal (Guardian)


Quote
The first, and biggest, concession is buried in paragraph 49 of the 15-page report published early on Friday morning. Its implications will be anything but quiet in the weeks to come, for it undermines the prime minister's previous insistence that Britain will be leaving the single market.

It states clearly: "In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and the customs union." In other words, the UK may not be a member of the single market, or have any direct ability to shape its rules in future, but it could yet have to play by them in perpetuity.

Much will be made of the "in the absence of agreed solutions" caveat, yet what it means in practice is that the UK hopes to flesh out this pledge through a wider free trade agreement with the EU. If the other 27 members were reluctant to allow any wriggle room in the first phase of talks, they are even less likely to budge now that this principle is established as a back-stop.

When the agreement was first drafted on Monday, there was much concern that the promise of maintaining regulatory "alignment" might only apply to Northern Ireland, but the Democratic Unionist party has succeeded in removing any ambiguity and forced Downing Street to spell out that alignment stretches right across the Irish sea.
"The United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom," says the text now - unless, by some miracle, the Northern Ireland assembly were to decide it did, after all, want to be cut off.
In other words until something else is agreed Britain will remain in the internal market. That is good news for British territorial integrity, for business, and for predictability in 2019 and beyond.

Of course, that is also Norway by default (actually a little less, Norway has a marginal say within the EEA), so everything said about Norway applies. 
7
Luggage with non-removable batteries wouldn't be less safe than other devices with non-renewable batteries. Now, removeable batteries is a good thing, particularly for luggage, so there's that.

The Chinese approach actually makes more sense. You are not allowed to check in lithium ion batteries, but you can bring in power banks as hand luggage (up to 15 Ah). A burning battery in the cabin certainly would cause some commotion, probably an aborted flight. A burning battery in the cargo hold could in theory cause a serious fire.
8
Umm. That's pretty stark. 




(Wagging tongues commented that Brexit is a backhanded way for London to get rid of loss-making Northern Ireland.)
9
DnD Central / Re: Today's Bad News
The political, economic and military situation is unchanged. This is mostly pandering to the crazies. It's great for the crazy Muslims and the crazy Jews, neither of whom matter much in the US, and the crazy Christians, who do. A bit like ISIL; though with a different narrative (i.e. their reading of the Book of Revelation), they too want to hasten Armageddon and the end of the world.

I don't think we have that kind of crazy among us anymore, there might have been a couple in the old Opera forums. For the rest of us it is more the division of unavoidable trouble (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Iran are not going to find peace and tranquility through Buddhist meditation), from trouble we that could do without. This symbolic gesture would be in the latter category. Except for the crazies this doesn't have any tangible effect, and most likely it will signify nothing in the long run. Another endtime scenario is appearing though.

I believe many, many years ago I claimed in the Opera forums, with great confidence, that the Israel-Palestinian/Arab conflict was essentially over, and Israel had won. Israel had won separate peace with Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Iran was sidelined, Iraq was disrupted, only Syria remained (and Syria could be bought). I also believe that was where I put up my Israel-Kurdistan-Iran model of the troubles in the Middle East: As the Israel-Palestinian conflict died down, the Kurdish question in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran would escalate, and finally we would have the great showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Now 15 years later it seems clear that history didn't follow my grand scheme. The drivers are the same, but Israel dithered. Dictators are trouble, but they can be bought off, countries broken in civil war can't. Instead of Israel, Kurdistan, Iran sequentially, we have them simultaneously. 

I definitely wouldn't have thought so 15 years ago, but now there may be a sequence of events that will lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state, the motivation for the two-state solution. Maybe future historians will say that fall began with a small misstep like this. 
10
Rankings don't really matter and Britain and France have bypassed each other a good number of times throughout history, but Britain has fallen behind France again.

Britain crashes out of world's top 5 economies

Both are well behind Germany, the only European country likely to remain in the top 8 in the longer run. Like the article said India is set to slide ahead of both, and longer-term Germany and Japan as well, while Italy and Canada are likely to slide behind.
11
Days left until Brexit: 478 (today)
Days since referendum: 530 (today)
Days since Article 50 was invoked: 252 (today)

Less than half total time, and less than two thirds Article 50-time, remains. The negotiations have barely started, and already halted. 

These four requirements cannot simultaneously be fulfilled, and the last two are unacceptable to Ireland. If Ireland says no deal, then there is no deal, and the UK becomes a third world country as far as the EU is concerned.

  • A border between the UK and the EU
  • No border between Northern Ireland and the rest of UK
  • No border between NI and Ireland
  • No border between Ireland and the rest of EU

(1) is what the Brexiteers went to election on, (2) is a requirement from the DUP, whose support May's current government depends on, and for (3) and (4) Ireland holds the cards. Ireland (pop. 5M) has never been in as good a negotiating position relative to the UK (pop. 66M, of which NI 2M) as they are now, and they probably never will. They are not going to fold easily.

Short of giving N.I. to Ireland, which would break May's coalition, and requirement (2), they would either have to give Ireland what they want, or bribe them enough not to want it so much. THEN they have to bribe the DUP not to make too much of a stink about it. It's a good time to be Irish it seems.

Of course, if Britain sinks into the sea, that's bad for Ireland too, if not as much as for the British. And it would be bad for the EU as well, if not as much as for the Irish. There is a limit to Ireland's negotiation power, but I don't think it has been reached yet.

The economic rational thing to do would be to forego (1), the Norway option. Business would be happy, Ireland would cease to be a negotiation superpower (but for Ireland and N.I that would be a fallback to status quo, which is a pretty good anyway). Many of the remaining unresolved issues would disappear as if they never were.

The Hard Brexiteers would be furious though. It would be waving goodbye to brave new trade deals with India and Kenya. It too would probably be the end of May's government, and Britain would have been demoted from being the top power player at the EU to being a somewhat larger Norway. 

Not doing so, the Ireland negotiations will drag on, leaving less time for the rest and risking EU overtime. In that scenario every single EU country will become an Ireland.
12
Brexit broke in the first round.

Theresa May fights to save Brexit deal after DUP backlash

Quote
Ministers are facing MPs' questions about the failure to strike a Brexit deal following a DUP backlash.

The DUP, whose support the government needs in key votes, said it would not accept a deal on the Irish border which saw Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.
13
For Brazil and Ethnologue we got this list and graph:

We can consider 6b-9 for endangered, while 10 is already dead.

14
Excepting {i]RJ[/i], I've appreciated all of your comments.

The one that caught my attention -and that I'd like to pursue- was Belfrager's -- that Freudian psychology is now only an American thing... Is that true, that Freudian psychology is all-but gone from the Continent?

It's mostly a thing of the past, everywhere. As recent as the 1970's Freudian psychoanalysis was a thing, but not what psychology students studied. It continued in niches, like Hollywood, for many decades, "let me tell you about my mother"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQlexoUBY0E

Even in that niche of movies and TV series Freud is becoming a rarity. 

In the 1990's we learned how the brain worked. Nowaday more trials are double-blind randomized controlled, and sometimes replicated. A large portion of psychology results have not been replicated.  
15
The Chinese "dialects" are obviously quite distinct Sinitic languages. But over in Africa there are plenty of languages that we'd call dialects over here. Of course the famous quip is that a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot (mostly notably perhaps Denmark and Sweden) and with dialect continuums many distinctions are arbitrary, but that's not a problem provided the arbitrary distinctions are sufficiently consistent. However, there's an important difference between language consolidation (i.e., various dialects becoming a more standardized national language like in Europe) and language extinction. The former is a process we can observe in Flanders today, while the latter is something that the Belgian state attempted in the 19th century.

I am fine with considering Scandinavian to be one language, in fact I do it myself. There is a continuum if you travel from Western Norway to Eastern Sweden, though with a fairly clear discontinuity when you cross the border. The closest Norwegian and Swedish dialects are closer than the two most distant Norwegian dialects.  Swedes consider Norwegian more intelligible than Danish, and Danes consider Norwegian more intelligible than Swedish as well. That is somewhat interesting as there was a dialectical branching all the way back to Old Norse a millennium ago. Back then Norwegians and Icelanders spoke the Western dialect, Danes and Swedes the Eastern. Furthermore, while Norway was partially isolated from the other two, the Danes and Swedes spent that millennium battling each other over which French-speaking German should be their king.

It goes down, I think, to army, navy and tv channels. Like Italian standardised on the Florentine dialect, Swedish standardised on the Stockholm dialect, Danish on the Zealand dialect, Newly independent Norwegian half on a mix of older Danish and eastern dialects and half on "pure" inland dialects. One and a half century of schooling and half a century of television has lead to the dialects as spoken in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm dominating the rest, and Oslo is closer to either of the other two than Copenhagen is to Stockholm.

The Sami languages are more typical of the languages at risk in the world. It is a small number of speakers over many languages/dialects, where all but the largest one are at risk. Sorbian would be another typical candidate.
16
When Ukraine and Russia became independent countries Crimea was recognized by Ukraine, Russia, and the rest of the world as an integral part of Ukraine. No number of Russian military annexations will change that.  Crimea is clearly and absolutely Ukrainian by international law.

Eventually fait accompli might kick in, but the Russians would have to wait a very, very long time for that to happen. Morocco's annexation of (and de facto control of most of) Western Sahara is still not recognized 38 years later. Indonesia's annexation of East Timor at about the same time wasn't recognized and today it is an independent country.
17

The video actually says that the hypothesis has been tested and it does not hold. But I don't blame you, linguistic statements are pretty subtle.

It doesn't say that at all, but obviously we don't speak a single language. Just as obviously there isn't as much variety in Europe as there is elsewhere in the world. On the third hand the languages we've got, that have survived the onslaught of empires through the millennia, are generally healthy. Taking the assumption that half today's languages will be extinct by next century, very few of those will be European. 
18
Languages in Europe as seen in the news. For the convenience of you-all, I have set the video to start at the most important language of them all.

It's more or less

https://youtu.be/r_AJbEoArkU

one language we speak, Standard Average European.  Europe is the (sub)continent with the least linguistic diversity in the world. We can probably blame the Romans and other empires for that.
19
Just to your info.
Since the Guardian changed ownership it ceased to be what it once was and became the same "bundle of rubbish" as the rest of your and our guided mass media. So far you are almost right. :)
BTW, those who miss the old Guardian may check Off Guardian.

The Guardian, while left of centre, isn't so left-wing as to enthusiastically support Jeremy Corbyn.
20
Freud means "joy". Fraud means "deception".
I think that's freude and fraude. :P

This Freud is quite joyful. Names don't always adhere to modern spelling standards. Then again, by modern map standards Sigmund Freud was Czech. Like many famous Austrians he was born and grew up in what today is Czechia.
21
Freud means "joy". Fraud means "deception". Is that the same thing? Maybe ask a psychologist.

22
Quote
Airbus boss says Brexit risks losing UK aviation's 'crown jewels' to China

UK operations chief tells MPs trade barriers and restricted movement for staff will put thousands of jobs in Wales at risk




The Airbus factory in Broughton, North Wales pictured in 2006. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Airbus has told MPs that Britain risks losing the "crown jewels" of its aviation industry to China as a result of Brexit, putting up to 7,000 wing-manufacturing jobs in Wales at risk.

The company's senior corporate representative in the UK warned the business select committee that the threat of new customs bureaucracy and reduced employee mobility could deter long-term investment and accelerate a shift to Asia.

Though there are no current plans to move, Katherine Bennett said, she was "fighting to ensure that wing design - the crown jewels of aerospace - remains in this country".

"I need to let you know, committee, that other countries would dearly love to design and build wings," she told MPs. "Some of them already do; we do build wings in China now, and believe you me they are knocking at the door as a result of the situation we are in in this country.

"Every single thing we export goes into the EU - we don't export anywhere else - so non-tariff barriers are a really big thing for us," added Bennet. "[This is] yet another burden going on my shoulder when I am putting a good case for the UK". (The Guardian)

There has getting more of those warnings lately as companies are starting to panic and negotiations are not pulling up to speed. How many will actually act on those remains to be seen, with the timer set to 493 days left to Brexit, while 515 days have gone since the referendum. 
23
Today is a day to divvy up the spoils. With Brexit EU agencies will leave Britain, and 19 European cities are competing to grab European Medicines Agency (EMA) and 8 cities are fighting over the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Politico has an overview of the election procedure, How to watch the Brexit battle for EU agencies like a pro and helpfully comes up with the bookies' odds. Fight! It's the EU agency free-for-all
In case you wondered, and of course you did: My hedged bet for EMA was right, Amsterdam will be the new home of EMA (Milan came second, Copenhagen third), while more surprisingly Paris got EBA (Frankfurt second, Dublin third). While Paris like to present themselves as the new London, I didn't expect them to have this pull. 
24
By all means, I prefer medium-sized airports to the huge ones for user experience. Heathrow is my least favourite airport i Europe, followed by Charles De Gaulle. Schiphol is number three or four I guess.

For its size I kind of like Schiphol, but all of these have more stress and more walking, while the medium-sized one are smooth and efficient, at least the better ones. I actually haven't been to Vienna airport, but my wife passed through yesterday and liked it. Outbound the transfer was around 50 minutes, which would have been touch-and-go with Heathrow, and a bit stressful in Schiphol, but with plenty of time to spare in Vienna.

Anyway, a medium-sized airport can't compete with the number of departures, so that would be a drawback for an agency that presumably should have good connections to all member countries. 
25
The human condition is of interest where ever it is, though this thread is primarily motivated by boredom, at least for me it is. I only enter it when there is nothing on, which for this forum is getting to be the usual case, and this is a thread where you can expect a reaction (I am not so bored as to go to the religion threads).

Gun violence exists through most of the world, though apart from countries at the edge of civil war it is not as common as in the Americas. In the Americas the US is unique by the type of debate. Only a small minority want an outright gun ban, but also only a small minority want no controls to avoid accidental or homicidal shootings.

Does it affect Europe? Is it a concern? Not much. A bigger concern is that we are entering the era of the killing machines. Suicidal weapons technology may be more likely to be developed in the US, but even with the US out of the game it is likely to happen. Waging war is expensive, killing people is cheap. Some thousand farmers and self-styled militiamen are no real danger to the US, let alone the world, but automated killing technology may be. Assuming a progress similar to mobile phones, and the risks are stark.

Supposedly killing a Taliban soldier cost an average of $50,000,000. Of course this is due to very expensive toys, big overhead and so on, and it is much cheaper for the Taliban (though of course they are not as proficient at killing US soldiers), but war is expensive.  A rifle isn't particularly expensive, say $500-$5000, but the person using that rifle is, as is his/her training. No matter how popular your cause is you will run out of people willing to fight for you. Only major countries can wage war successfully, even an insurgency doesn't come cheap. 

However, as long as you have production capacity, you will not run out of drones. Today's drones are insanely expensive to buy and run ($30,000/hour for a Global Hawk), and they are semi-autonomous, meaning you need expensive and rare specialists to control them. Truly autonomous drones are likely to rapidly fall in price and size, a development similar to the PC. The price could drop from $50,000 to $5000 to $500 to $50 or lower. You can stop a big unmanned aircraft, but it is hard to stop a swarm of autonomous killers. IS had some success with their grenade-dropping remote controlled hobbyist drones in Syria and Iraq, but their kill capacity is limited. That technique will likely be adapted even by street gangs in the future, but they are merely a lethal annoyance. 

A swarm of truly autonomous self-fuelling killer robots with embedded maps and face recognition is a wholly different kind of weapon. A rogue state or a rogue billionaire could mass produce them, in time an insurgency or disgruntled individual could as well. Here's a dramatisation de jour. 

https://youtu.be/9CO6M2HsoIA