Monday, August 23, 2010

Items of Interest, 23 August 2010

Brian Kaller, Tea

Korea Times: Singer Lee Su-young to marry office worker
8-month pregnant Ko So-young still looking stylish 

Chosun Ilbo: N.Korea's Stealth Warfare Manual Revealed
Taiwanese Singer Reveals Underbelly of Korean Showbiz

Asia News:
Bushehr: Iran's strike against sanctions
Iran's uploading of nuclear fuel at the much-delayed Bushehr power plant is tantamount to a torpedo effect on the international sanctions regime. Achieving the goals of getting the plant operational after a 12-year delay and replenishing fuel for a Tehran reactor would represent nothing short of milestones and warrant fresh thinking on the thorny subject of dialogue with Washington. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi

The (propaganda) empire strikes in China
China has enlisted 50 home-grown celebrities to take part in a public relations charm offensive that is hoped to present an image of "prosperity, democracy, openness, peace and harmony" and counter negative perceptions of its rise. However, the worldwide campaign could be undermined by China's close support of other famous figures who lead states such as North Korea, Myanmar and Zimbabwe. - Kent Ewing

Reality check for Asian titans
India and China: The Battle between Soft and Hard Power by Prem Shankar Jha

Arguing that behind India and China's rapid modernization lie dark human costs that will inevitably manifest in economic and social instability, this book takes the shine off the Asian giants' supposed rise to global dominance. The author believes that while "cadre capitalism" in China has created corrupt, predatory authorities, in India the government's pandering to the newly empowered bourgeoisie has triggered a rural crisis. - Sreeram Chaulia

Energy Bulletin:
How will our decline & fall proceed? (original)
Dave Cohen, Decline of the Empire
I have recently written that we live according to the Law Of Civilization And Decay, which can be succinctly summarized: what goes up must come down. Just like balls thrown up into the air, civilizations ascend and then fall as though there were some kind of "historical gravity" at work. America is not (and will not be) an exception.

Local government and the Transition Movement (original)
Joanne Poyourow, Transition US
The 12 Ingredients for Transition encourage us to "build a bridge to local government." I used to think that "building bridges" was lovely British poetic language, but recently I'm learning how that pretty phrase brings with it some fairly serious guidance.

Waking up from the air-conditioned dream (original)
Stan Cox, Common Dreams
To suggest that we start reducing our dependence on air-conditioning is to invite dire forecasts of malaise, poor health, social turmoil, and economic collapse. But that need not be the case. Several lines of research indicate that reducing our dependence on chilled air could improve our quality of life. 

Can we solve two problems at once - unemployment and preparing for power down? (original)
George Mobus, The Oil Drum: Campfire
The model is simple and has been done before. From 1933 to 1942 the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) provided jobs for younger workers conserving natural resources (e.g. our national parks) in the US. The program was part of a general jobs creation program proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression to provide a stimulus to the economy and, so to speak, kill two birds with one stone. There was a great deal of resource management work that needed to be done, things like building access roads in national parks, and there were millions of unemployed young men who, without meaningful work, would have likely run amuck. It was, in fact, a brilliant idea.

Remembering the remarkable Matthew R. Simmons
Steve Andrews, Sally Odland, John Theobald and Randy Udall and others, ASPO-USA

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