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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘globalization

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • At Alpha Sources, Claus Vistesen links to his podcast wherein he argues that too much blame is being placed on the IMF.
  • blogTO notes a documentary on a CBC prop warehouse.
  • City of Brass celebrates the Fourth of July and the end of Ramadan.
  • Crooked Timber is scathing about the IMF, the European Union, and Syriza.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper that studies Gliese 229B, one of the nearest and first-found brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that half of the banded iron formations extant on Earth are products of microbes.
  • Geocurrents notes how non-inevitable the Saudi state was within its current borders.
  • Language Log looks at the use of Sinitic characters in modern Korea.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money tackles pea guacamole.
  • Marginal Revolution shares photos of an abandoned Soviet space shuttle.
  • Towleroad notes that Cuba has managed to halt mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphillis.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the anti-Ukrainian slur Khokhol’s unacceptability, looks at controversy over national textbooks in Tatarstan, and examines a dying Finnish-language magazine in Karelia.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World warns of radical Islam among Albanians.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the reheated gas giant orbiting white dwarf WD 0806-661.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the poor state of the oceans in the Permian.
  • Geocurrents maps the right-wing nationalist note in the 2015 Turkish election.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the rapid and thorough success of the gay rights movement.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw considers the Greek crisis with reflections on Australia.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps population losses in Ukraine over 1939-1948.
  • Torontoist features a journalistic piece looking at a day in the life of a firefighter.
  • Towleroad notes that Christian protesters in South Korea were unable to shut down pride there.
  • Understanding Society considers quantum physics’ effects on the mind.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy announces a legal history panel at next year’s medieval conference at Kalamazoo.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi celebrates same-sex marriage in the United States.
  • Window on Eurasia argues Ukraine should continue to resist and finds risible Russia’s nullification of the 1954 transfer of Crimea to Ukraine.

[URBAN NOTE] Chris Selley on how Bombardier failed Toronto with its streetcars

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At the National Post Chris Selley notes Bombardier’s multiple problems in delivering streetcars to Toronto on time, and wonders why we should protect it.

If the bidding process for these streetcars wasn’t rigged in Bombardier’s favour, you can’t blame people for being suspicious. Skoda’s highly regarded 10T model was conveniently excluded because the TTC insisted on a 100 per cent low-floor model. (The 10T was 50 per cent low-floor; its successor is 100 per cent.) Siemens struggled with the Cancon requirement, and dropped out of the initial, aborted bidding process at the last minute. You certainly can’t say Toronto did everything possible to get the best deal — indeed, then-TTC chairman Adam Giambrone had hoped to aim for 50 per cent Cancon, and board member Glenn De Baeremaeker tried to have whole thing sole-sourced to Bombardier, all based on the premise that Thunder Bay will suffer if we don’t buy domestic, and that that’s the TTC’s business.

It is a maddeningly parochial, small-minded view masquerading as benevolence, and it’s not just confined to transit. Last year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warned that CETA, the Canada-Europe free trade deal, would turn all of government procurement on its ear: It would “substantially restrict the vast majority of provincial and municipal government bodies from using public spending as a catalyst for achieving other societal goals.”

Daniel Schwanen, vice-president, research, at the C.D. Howe Institute, agrees it’s a big change — but a positive one, inasmuch as Canadian firms now have reciprocal access to the enormous European procurement market. Indeed, even as Vancouver buys Canada Line trains from South Korea, and Metrolinx buys UP Express trains from Japan, and Edmonton buys LRT units from Germany, the vast majority of Bombardier’s business in Thunder Bay is domestic — in large part because it’s so tough to sell to our most obvious potential foreign customer.

“When we negotiated the NAFTA, the U.S. and Mexico were ready to talk business regarding more open state and provincial and local procurement markets,” says Schwanen. But Canadian provinces weren’t up for it. Schwanen suggests they were more amenable during the European negotiations precisely because their companies found themselves locked out of the U.S. market, and didn’t much like it.

In short, instead of imagining job losses in Thunder Bay, we could be imagining all the jobs freer trade might create there to serve foreign markets.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 25, 2015 at 11:04 pm

[LINK] “Renewables to Beat Fossil Fuels With $3.7 Trillion Solar Boom”

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Bloomberg’s Ehren Goossens reports. I would also add that other energy technologies should be taken into consideration–nuclear energy comes to mind.

Renewable energy will draw almost two-thirds of the spending on new power plants over the next 25 years, dwarfing spending on fossil fuels, as plunging costs make solar the first choice for consumers and the poorest nations.

Solar power will draw $3.7 trillion in investment through 2040, with a total of $8 trillion going toward clean energy. That’s almost double the $4.1 trillion that will be spent on coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, according to a forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The figures show the traditional dominance of coal and natural gas suppliers will slip in the coming years as cheaper renewables mean developing nations can tap less-polluting sources to meet their swelling energy needs. The forecast from New Energy Finance also indicates that coal will remain an important fuel, suggesting policy makers must take further steps to control greenhouse gases.

“We will see tremendous progress toward a decarbonized power system,” Michael Liebreich, founder of New Energy Finance, said Tuesday in a statement as the research group released its findings in London. Despite this, emissions will continue to rise “for another decade-and-a-half unless radical policy action is taken.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 25, 2015 at 10:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams reports on a theory suggesting the distant dwarf planet Sedna and its kin were captured from another star in the sun’s birth cluster.
  • Crooked Timber reports on a Dutch court ruling arguing that the Netherlands is legally obliged to reduce carbon dioxide output.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that hot Neptune Gliese 436b has a comet-like tail.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that DARPA is working on Martian terraforming bugs.
  • Far Outliers looks at Comanche inroads on bison herds in the 19th century.
  • Geocurrents maps the recent Turkish elections, looking for patterns.
  • Marginal Revolution argues that the campaign against the Confederate flag couldn’t work if the two American political parties were competing for rural white votes.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares an Economist ranking of the top tne economies in 2050, Indonesia ranking notably higher.
  • Torontoist notes a local publication of nerd fangirls.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian Orthodox Church’s ongoing losses in Ukraine will marginalize it internationally.

[LINK] “Military parade with foreign troops an attempt to redraw China’s wartime past”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Nathan Vanderklippe reports on China’s new effort to integrate its memory of the Second World War, as a specifically anti-Japanese war in China, with global historical memory. This could lead to any number of interesting things. Thoughts?

On Sept. 3, Beijing will mount the 14th military parade in the history of modern China, as President Xi Jinping seeks to further cement the country’s major-power status by marking the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end in Asia. It will be a public display of military might that promises to show off never-before-seen weapons and, for the first time, include troops from other countries.

Plans for the parade have been made in secret. But on Tuesday, propaganda and military officials partially parted the curtains on an event they hope will bolster their argument that Beijing should be taken seriously as a long-time contributor to global security while also helping Mr. Xi secure even more power at home and shape a new identity for his country.

In a novel step, China is asking other countries to support its argument that it has played a historically important global role in fighting aggression, calling out Canada among a list of more than two dozen other nations whose “anti-fascist soldiers directly participated” in China’s efforts to fight Japanese aggression in the 1930s and 1940s.

Wang Shiming, vice-minister of publicity with the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, specifically mentioned Canada’s Norman Bethune as he spoke about China’s desire to include foreign troops in the parade. Dr. Bethune was a physician who helped Mao Zedong’s Communists during the war; Mr. Wang mentioned him to buttress his argument that fighting in Asia is a shared memory.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 24, 2015 at 9:49 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from the International Day of Yoga, on the 21st.
  • blogTO notes that the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art has moved from West Queen West to the Junction.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Titan.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the Messinian salinity crisis may not have led to the end of the Mediterranean entirely, and looks at evidence for Venus’ active volcanoes.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Rhodesia in the white supremacist imagination and considers ways to engage, or not, with white racism.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the discussion on developing northern Australia.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer does not understand why the Eurozone is so reluctant to set up a more viable deal with Greece.
  • Transit Toronto notes federal government support for regional mass transit in the GTA.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian hostility towards a Karelian youth movement.
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