Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over


Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin's speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn't get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don't think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.
In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.

The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peak Empire, Take Two

[Many thanks to Gary for putting this update together.]

Based on the lessons of history, all empires collapse eventually; thus, the probability that the US empire will collapse can be set at 100% with a great deal of confidence. The question is, When? (Everyone keeps asking that annoying question.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to start a war and lose an empire

[Auf Deutsch] [En français] [日本語訳] [In italiano] [По-русски]

A year and a half I wrote an essay on how the US chooses to view Russia, titled The Image of the Enemy. I was living in Russia at the time, and, after observing the American anti-Russian rhetoric and the Russian reaction to it, I made some observations that seemed important at the time. It turns out that I managed to spot an important trend, but given the quick pace of developments since then, these observations are now woefully out of date, and so here is an update.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Unspeller World Edition

Hello, world! The World Edition is complete and CreateSpace is ready to take your orders. It is not very different from the North American edition, because, you see, it doesn't have to be. Why that is requires quite a bit of explanation; after all, English can sound so different.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Unspeller exercises
The 12 exercises, one for each of the 12 lessons in the Unspeller book, are now available as a free download, and also as a print-on-demand book. Thanks to Pleas Lucian Kavanaugh of Atenas, Costa Rica, for suggesting it. This document is designed for easy inkjet or laser printing, in color or black and white.

Also, since many of the people who have ordered Unspeller should have by now received it, and perhaps even given it a try, I want to take this opportunity to start an open thread devoted to your experiences with it, good, bad or confusing. Your experiences in learning and in teaching Unspell are particularly interesting. And, of course, any suggestions for how the book can be improved are always welcome.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ebola and the Five Stages of Collapse

At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries—Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone—where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. An entirely separate Ebola outbreak in the Congo appears to be contained, but illustrates an important point: even if the current outbreak (to which some are already referring as a pandemic) is brought under control, continuing deforestation and natural habitat destruction in the areas where the fruit bats that carry the virus live make future outbreaks quite likely.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

An important announcement

[Update: the new book is now in its second printing, with a few typos fixed.]

As some of you may have noticed, I didn't crank out my usual weekly essay this week. I didn't even edit and run a guest post. This is not, I assure you, due to a shortage of interesting topics. I could have written on any of the following ones: