A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘slovakia

[AH] Seven #alternatehistory r/imaginarymaps maps: Vinland, Mali, Korea, Poland, Balkans …

  • This r/imaginarymaps map traces a slow diffusion of Christianity westwards from a Vinland colony.
  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines a transatlantic empire based in Africa, with the late 15th century Mali Empire extending its rule to Brazil and elsewhere.
  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines a Joseon Korea that becomes the seat of a transpacific empire.
  • What if, this r/imaginarymaps map imagines, instead of turning east to Lithuania Poland turned west towards Czechia?
  • What if, this r/imaginarymaps map imagines, the Balkans retained a substantially larger Muslim population?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines a Greater Denmark, expanding east and south.
  • Could Scotland ever have become, as this r/imaginarymaps map imagines, a maritime mercantile power?

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • In an extended meditation, Antipope’s Charlie Stross considers what the domestic architecture of the future will look like. What different technologies, with different uses of space, will come into play?
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the new SPECULOOS exoplanet hunting telescope, specializing in the search for planets around the coolest stars.
  • The Crux looks at the evolutionary origins of hominins and chimpanzees in an upright walking ape several million years ago.
  • D-Brief notes the multiple detections of gravitational waves made by LIGO.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at the development of laser weapons by China.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the gap between social theory and field research.
  • Gizmodo shares an interesting discussion with paleontologists and other dinosaur experts: What would the dinosaurs have become if not for the Chixculub impact?
  • Hornet Stories notes the ways in which the policies of the Satanic Temple would be good for queer students.
  • io9 notes how the Deep Space 9 documentary What We Leave Behind imagines what a Season 8 would have looked like.
  • Joe. My. God. reports that activist Jacob Wohl is apparently behind allegations of a sexual assault by Pete Buttigieg against a subordinate.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the uses of the yellow ribbon in American popular culture.
  • Language Hat shares an account of the life experiences of an Israeli taxi driver, spread across languages and borders.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money makes deserved fun of Bret Easton Ellis for his claims to having been marginalized.
  • Marginal Revolution considers, briefly, the idea that artificial intelligence might not be harmful to humans. (Why would it necessarily have to be?)
  • The NYR Daily considers a British exhibition of artworks by artists from the former Czechoslovakia.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at gender representation in party caucuses in PEI from the early 1990s on, noting the huge surge in female representation in the Greens now.
  • The Signal looks at how the Library of Congress is preserving Latin American monographs.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how Einstein knew that gravity must bend light.
  • Window on Eurasia explains the sharp drop in the ethnic Russian population of Tuva in the 1990s.

[LINK] “The Dalai Lama Test”

At Transitions Online, Martin Ehl writes about how central European disinterest in the Dalai Lama maps onto an increasingly pragmatic pursuit of Chinese investment.

In this way, the October visit of the Dalai Lama – who was the main star of the 20th edition of the Forum 2000 conference, founded by late President Vaclav Havel – was also a test of Havel’s legacy in the former Czechoslovakia. That humanitarian approach is today confined to almost hidden corners of the local political scene, only revived from time to time by small groups, usually consisting of NGO activists, and lately by Kiska. In mainstream politics, it gets almost completely forgotten.

Lastly, the episode illustrates in broader strokes the emerging relationship between Central Europe and China. For the last couple of years, China has crafted its policy toward Europe, and the weak and often Eurosceptic Central European governments have seemed an ideal gateway for Chinese money and political influence. China could thereby reach the wider European Union, which, due to the refugee crisis and Brexit, looks weaker than ever in the last 20 years.

The job, however, isn’t easy for Chinese diplomats in Prague, Bratislava, or Warsaw (the Dalai Lama also briefly visited Wroclaw, without meeting any government official there). They have to exert maximum effort, show off their supposed powers to influence investment, and gain leverage over local politicians. But the real work in leaning on the locals is done by the businessmen who have cultivated business and political ties in China as relations have warmed. That’s not so tough when the United States, a traditional ally, seems so far off, the EU looks to be in disarray, and Russia plays old, familiar Soviet power games.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 12, 2016 at 9:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross writes about how colonizing even a nearby and Earth-like Proxima Centauri b would be far beyond our abilities.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly responds to Canada’s mourning of the Tragically Hip.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the life that may exist in the oceans of Europa.
  • D-Brief notes an Alaskan village that is being evacuated because of climate change-related erosion.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that Gliese 1132b is likely a Venus analog.
  • The Dragon’s Tales wonders about Titan’s polar regions.
  • False Steps considers the Soviet plans for a substantial lunar settlement.
  • Far Outliers reports on the Czech and Slovak secret agents active in the United States during the First World War.
  • Gizmodo notes the steady spread of lakes on the surface of East Antarctica.
  • Language Hat examines the birth of the modern Uzbeks.
  • Language Log shares bilingual Spanish-Chinese signage from Argentina.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the arrival of tourists in Belgium seeking euthanasia.
  • Maximos62 shares footage from Singapore’s Festival of the Hungry Ghost.
  • Steve Munro notes the little publicity given to the 514 streetcar.
  • Justin Petrone reflects on Estonian stereotypes of Latvia.
  • pollotenchegg looks at the regional demographics of Ukraine.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the inclusion of Cossacks in the Russian census.
  • Strange Maps shares a map of the actually-existing Middle East.
  • Understanding Society examines the interwar ideology of Austrofascism.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at what the Soviet coup attempt in 1991 did and did not do.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Antipope’s Charlie Stross considers the question of how to build durable space colonies.
  • blogTO notes that the musical Hamilton might be coming to Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that European populations are descended from Anatolian farmers, not local hunter0-gatherers.
  • Far Outliers notes the plight of Czech and Slovak migrants in Russia following the outbreak of the First World War.
  • Language Log looks at new programs to promote the learning of Cantonese, outside of China proper.
  • Towleroad notes the sad story of a Belgian man who wants euthanasia because he’s ashamed of being gay.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World worries about the possible spread of illiberal democracy to Croatia.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on the scene from Palmyra after the expulsion of ISIS.
  • James Bow links to a documentary on the search for Planet Nine.
  • The Dragon’s Tales speculates that the ability to enter torpor might have saved mammals from the en of the Cretaceous extinction.
  • Honourary Canadian Philip Turner discovers the Chiac dialect of the Acadians of the Maritimes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Afrika Bambaataa has been accused of molesting young boys.
  • Language Hat reports on the renaming of the Czech Republic “Czechia.”
  • Marginal Revolution notes Singapore has a graciousness index.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Australia’s upcoming elections.
  • pollotenchegg maps the 2012 elections in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer explains how American investment in the Philippines was made impossible, so as to avoid welding that country to the US.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper examining contraception and abortion among the Czechs and Slovaks in recent decades.
  • Towleroad notes Ted Cruz’ disinterest in protecting gay people.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the scale of Russia’s demographic problems, report the debate on whether Russia will or will not annex South Ossetia, and suggest Russia is losing influence in Central Asia.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World predicts the end for Dilma Rousseff.

[LINK] “Not Exactly Friends of Greece”

At Transitions Online, Martin Ehl writes about how post-Communist countries in the Eurozone have angrily given up on Greece–a one-time model for transition–as a lost cause.

The anger and fatigue were visible in the face of Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir 27 June when he spoke to reporters in Brussels about another urgent eurozone meeting on Greece.

“For four months we’ve been solving the electoral promises of Syriza,” Kazimir said to Czech and Slovak TV reporters. “If somebody has promised heaven on earth and isn’t able to deliver that, he shouldn’t blame others. Truth is truth, a lie is a lie.”

And that was the polite version. Behind closed doors, reporters were told, the post-communist eurozone member ministers used even stronger language.

These small countries de facto didn’t have much say in the solution to the Greek crisis, since decision-making was down to big member states, and the biggest contributors to the rescue funds. But having fresh memories of painful economic and political transformation, those governments – even the leftist ones, as in Slovakia – don’t have much patience with or understanding of Greek problems.

“We’re prepared to save Greece but not at any price,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said a week earlier at a conference in Bratislava.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 7, 2015 at 6:26 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Gerry Canavan shares his collection of links.
  • Centauri Dreams reacts to the discovery of a polar cap at Charon.
  • Language Log considers rhoticity and class in New York City.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell from a productive intellectual property perspective.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Wikipedia will survive the displacement of the personal computers used by contributors by mobiles.
  • Steve Munro looks at the latest on the Yonge relief line.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer compares Greece to the Baltic States and Slovakia, and notes the depth of the Greek collapse.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla shares the latest from New Horizons
  • .

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on censuses in British India.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the intense anti-Americanism of Russia.

[LINK] “Euro Debate Ignites in East EU in Face of Public Skepticism”

Bloomberg’s Lenka Ponikelska writes about the continued appeal to some in non-Eurozone central Europe of membership in the single currency.

In the Czech Republic, the prime minister said on Wednesday that joining the euro soon would help the economy after the president challenged the central bank’s long-standing resistance with a vow to appoint policy makers who favor the common currency. In Poland, the main divide between the top two candidates in the May 10 presidential election is whether the region’s biggest economy should ditch the zloty.

“It’s quite interesting how the sentiment has shifted — I’m slightly surprised by this,” William Jackson, London-based senior economist at Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone on Wednesday. “As the story coming from the euro zone in recent years has been negative, it’s very hard to imagine how the euro case for the public would be made now.”

The obstacles are many. Romania, which has set 2019 as a potential target date, and Hungary don’t meet all the economic criteria. Poland faces legal hurdles and the Czech government has said it won’t set a date during its four-year term. As a standoff between Greece and euro-area leaders threatens to push the country into insolvency and potential exit, opinion polls show most Czechs and Poles oppose a switch.

The appeal of the euro, which all European Union members save Britain and Denmark are technically obliged to join, suffered when the area had to provide emergency loans to ailing members during the economic crisis. While five ex-communist countries that joined the trading bloc in 2004 — Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — have acceded, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary don’t have road maps.

The region’s three biggest economies argued that floating currencies and control over monetary policy helps shield themselves against shocks like the euro crisis even if smaller countries may benefit from lower exchange-rate volatility and reduced trade costs. Facing weakening in their korunas, zlotys, and forints, some politicians in eastern Europe are questioning that logic.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes a Toronto vigil for the Jordanian pilot murdered by ISIS.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about friends and age gaps.
  • Centauri Dreams draws from Poul Anderson</a. to consider the far future.
  • Crooked Timber considers trolling.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper wondering why circumbinary exoplanets are so detectable.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at robots: robots which put out fires on American navy ships, robots in China which do deliveries for Alibaba, robots which smuggle drugs.
  • Far Outliers notes Singapore’s pragmatism and its strong military.
  • Language Log notes the language of language diversity.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders about the prospects of the Euro-tied Danish crown.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the approach of Ceres.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers scenarios for a profitable Nicaragua Canal and notes the oddities of Argentina.
  • Registan looks at Mongolian investment in Tuva, and other adjacent Mongolian-influence Russian regions.
  • Savage Minds looks at Iroquois linguistic J.N.B. Hewitt.
  • Seriously Science notes how immigrant chimpanzees adapt tothe vocalizations of native chimps.
  • Spacing Toronto talks about the need for an activist mayor in Toronto.
  • Torontoist examines the history of important black bookstore Third World Books and Crafts.
  • Towleroad notes many young gay/bi students are looking for sugar daddies, and notes the failure of Slovakia’s anti-gay referendum.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a new Bosnian Serb law strictly regulating offensive speech online.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the collapse of the Russian world, suggests Russia should not be allowed a role in Donbas, argues that a Ukrainian scenario is unlikely in the Latvian region of Latgale and in the Baltics more broadly, and looks at the growth of fascism in Russia.