Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Bits and Pieces - January 7, 2015

What is a European? The growing pains of the European Union. What they are trying to do is much more difficult than the United States' union of colonies in the 18th century. And that took a while to work out.

Afghans are being urged to take surnames. Which are a relatively recent innovation, even for Europe.

Nonviolent Conflicts in 2014 You May Have Missed Because They Were Not Violent. We don't see the conflicts that don't happen and the ones in which people aren't shooting at each other.

Likewise, do we really live in dangerous times or does it just feel that way? Some of both, more of the second. Which can lead to real danger. But feelings count for a lot.

How should historical architecture be restored? People become attached to a particular look, which may mean a lot to them but isn't the way things were originally. Buildings that have been around for a while may have had different looks at different times.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's recent speeches and actions seem to indicate he really wants a nuclear deal, but the Grand Ayatollah condemned the Great Satan as unreliable one more time today. Could be a real disagreement or a good cop - bad cop balancing for Iranian hardliners.

My thoughts, via what is beginning to be called a tweetstorm, on the civil-military split in the US.

It looks like male economists are as sexist as ruling males in other professions, but economics may be further behind the times than, say, chemistry.

Hello Russia my old friend -

Igor Girkin is making the rounds, talking to media about how he and his men tried to start an uprising in the Donbas and failed. The fact that he hasn't met an unfortunate accident suggests that this is a message the Kremlin wants out there, perhaps to cover for ramping down their war. Or I suppose it's possible Vladimir Putin thinks this will convince people that Russia is no longer in the Donbas as he sends more war machinery.

Germany's relationship to Russia is complex, but seems to be moving away as Russia keeps doing what it's doing in Ukraine.

A Russian analyst says that Russia's economic troubles began to show up in 2011.

There is no end to Russian propaganda. Here is one more article. I collect articles, think of new things to say, and then just give up. Pro tip: don't believe anything that comes out of Russia unless confirmed by reliable (that means non-Russian) sources.