Sunday, March 30, 2014

Demographic Winter in Turkey

From the Hurriyet Daily News:
Turkey is at risk of joining “too old” countries by 2023, as the latest population projections released by state-run statistics body indicate that the proportion of elderly people will rise to above 10 percent within 10 years.

The ratio of elderly people – defined as those aged 65 years and over – was 7.7 percent in 2013, but will rise to 10.2 percent in 2023, 20.8 percent in 2050 and 27.7 percent in 2075, according to the population projections announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

... The growth rate of the elderly population was 36.2 percent last year, while the overall population growth rate in Turkey was 13.7 percent, the TÜİK stated.

... The remarkable shift in the young-old balance in Turkey means an increasing number of potential beneficiaries of health and pension funds are supported by a relatively smaller number of potential contributors.

In Turkey, the old age dependency ratio, which is the number of elderly people of non-working age per 100 people, has also been rising. The figure was 11 in 2013 and is expected to be 19 in 2030, indicating that the number of old people who need to be taken care of will rise.

The TÜİK research also suggested that the most important income source of elderly people consisted of “social transfers.”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

LEO Observations on How to Carry A Concealed Weapon

I posted earlier this month my own thoughts and observations on concealed carry, in which I noted the limited utility of opinions from law enforcement for those that are not police. I recently came across this article at Police Link on concealed carry:
 ... On-Body carry is where your weapon is attached to your body. Everything else is Off-Body. And the key word is “attached.” 
As a uniformed deputy I wore a garrison belt threaded through the belt loops of my uniform trousers. I put a Sam Brown gun belt over that and attached the gun belt to my garrison belt by means of short leather straps that went around both belts and snapped in place. These “keepers” anchored my gun belt to me at five points. Put the weapon onto a security holster, attach it to a crane and you could hoist me into the air. My sidearm was attached to my body. It was Zen; we were as one. 
And everything else is Off-Body. Example: In the mid 1970s LAPD experimented with gun belts that had no chrome snaps on them. It gave the uniformed officer a very clean and businesslike look, and limited the amount of light that he would reflect at night. But the cons up in prison immediately started practicing for when they hit the streets back in LA. If they were confronted by an officer and could get a hold of the tongue of his gun belt they could rip that gun belt right off of him because all that held it to his body was Velcro. Not only would they gain possession of his weapon but they would also spin him like a top in doing so and disorient him. LAPD went back to wearing keepers and anchoring their gun belts to their officers. 
Any holster that can come loose from the body, or any device to hold the gun like a purse or day planner is an Off-Body carry. Fanny packs? Off-Body. Unless you attach it to yourself by a secondary method, it’s an off-body carry that can be removed from you as quickly as a suspect spinning a LAPD officer back in 1975. There is a big quick-connect buckle on that fanny pack and the crooks know exactly what it is and what your fanny pack holds. The same rule goes for paddle holsters. If there is not a way to secure it to your body, it is an off-body carry and subject to being taken from you in a fight. 
What has 30-years in law enforcement led me to conclude about concealed carry? Attach your weapon to your body, using a holster and belt. I prefer leather products and carry behind my dominate side hip. The belt threads through your belt loops, though the holster and back through the belt loops. And it should be a good sturdy belt, preferably made by the same company that made your holster so that they properly fit one another. 
Over the past decade various “plastic holsters” have come onto the market. For the most part they do not seem to be standing up to the daily wear and tear life of law enforcement officers, but a few of them have. Some of the better ones even have extra security features and the added advantage of a “paddle” device, which secures the holster to the pants securely enough that you may have to undress to remove the holster. But remember that the cons practice breaking the cheap plastic holsters right off of your belt, so we are back to 1975 again. 
There is another new option for those who want to be able to remove their holsters without removing their belt. The holster is still a traditional belt slide style, but instead of loops it has flaps at either side that snap over your belt to hold it in place, but it is still easily removed. 
There is also the option of using a shoulder holster, and there are many fine shoulder rigs out there that are essentially a “system.” Not only do they carry your weapon but they also have offside pouches for ammunition and handcuffs. If you’ve ever struggled to get a shoulder holster on, you know that they don’t come off that easy, so they are On-Body carry. Downside, after just a couple hours mine starts to get uncomfortable. The upside, I can wear one under a shirt and tuck the shirt in, and leave one or two buttons undone so that I can reach inside to my weapon quickly. 
... I have previously discussed ankle holsters. I used them for years to carry a back-up weapon, but my primary weapon was still on my hip. As I said before, sometimes your ankle is too far away and requires you to take your eyes off of the action to retrieve your weapon. I just don’t like carrying my primary self-defense weapon in an ankle rig.
The author also has a more general introduction to concealed carry, and the selection of a weapon (see also here).

Blogging "The Collapse of Complex Societies" (Part 2)

      This is a continuation of my review and commentary of Joseph A. Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge Press, 1988). Here are the links to Part 1,  Part 3Part 4Part 5, and Part 6.

File:Framework complexity of the Pater Noster lighthouse.jpg
Complexity (Source)
      In Part 1, I covered the first chapter of Tainter's book, which provided an overview and explanation of what constitutes "collapse." But, briefly, Tainter uses the term to describe a sudden decline in the socio-political complexity of a society. In his second chapter, titled "The Nature of Complex Societies," Tainter delves into characteristics and features of complex societies (i.e., states) versus those of simpler societies (i.e., chiefdoms, tribes, and bands), and explores contending hypotheses of why and how complex societies form.

      Tainter initially describes two prime concepts necessary to understand complexity within a society: inequality and heterogeneity. Tainter defines "inequality" as "vertical differentiation, ranking, or unequal access to material and social resources." (p. 23). "Heterogeneity" "refers to the number of distinctive parts or components to a society, and at the same time to the ways in which a population is distributed among these parts." (p. 23). A society with large or high levels of heterogeneity is complex; one with a low level is not. Tainter compares, for instance, between a hunter-gatherer society with only a few dozen distinct social roles, versus the tens of thousands of unique occupational roles in a modern society, with a concomitant number of distinct social roles numbering in the millions. Tainter maintains, however, that there is no direct correlation between inequality and heterogeneity. That is, a primitive society with low heterogeneity may have a high level of inequality. However, complex societies tend toward high levels of inequality.

      Tainter also notes (and I assume this will become more important as we progress into the book), that complex societies tend to be "nearly decomposable systems"--that is, "they are at least partly built up of social units that are themselves potentially stable and independent, and indeed at one time may have been so." (p. 23). Thus, "[t]o the extent that these states, ethnic groups, or villages retain the potential for independence and stability, the collapse process may result in reversion (decomposition) to these 'building blocks' of complexity." (pp. 23-24).

     There are numerous features that distinguish a simpler (and necessarily, smaller) society from a complex society. Probably the most significant of these features is that at the tribal, and even chiefdom level, the society is organized on a kinship basis. While a tribe or chiefdom may occupy a territory, the territory is not the focus of the societal structure. Conversely, states are organized and, to a large extent, defined by their territory.  "States tend to be overwhelmingly concerned with maintaining their territorial integrity. This is, indeed, one of their primary characteristics." (p. 27). Membership in a state does not depend on kinship, but whether one lives within the territory governed by the state.

      Another principle difference is leadership. Tainter observes that leadership in the simplest societies tends to be minimal: "Hierarchical control is not institutionalized, but is limited to definite spheres of activity at specific times, and rests substantially on persuasion." (p. 24). Moreover, "[l]eaders, where they exist, are constrained from exercising authority, amassing wealth, or acquiring excessive prestige. Where there are differences in control of economic resources these must be exercised generously." (p. 24). Thus, political power, such as it exists, requires the accumulation of a surplus of resources (e.g., food or other goods), "and to distribute these in such a way that one establishes prestige in the community, and creates a following and a faction." (p. 25). In observing more complex societies, such as chiefdoms, the authority of the leader is still restrained. "The ruler is limited in his or her actions by the moorings of kinship, and by possessing, not a monopoly of force, but only a marginal advantage." (p. 25). Similar to the tribal society, "Chiefly generosity is the basis of politics and economics: downward distribution of amassed resources ensures loyalty." (p. 25).

    Conversely, in states:
... a ruling authority monopolizes sovereignty and delegates all power. The ruling class tends to be professional, and is largely divorced from the bonds of kinship. This ruling class supplies the personnel for government, which is a specialized decision-making organization with a monopoly of force, and with the power to draft for war or work, levy and collect taxes, and decree and enforce laws. The government is legitimately constituted, which is to say that a common, society-wide ideology exists that serves in part to validate the political organization of society. And states, of course, are in general larger and more populous than tribal societies, so that social categorization, stratification, and specialization are both possible and necessary.
(p. 26) (citations omitted).

      In short, "[t]he features that set states apart ... are: territorial organization, differentiation by class and occupation rather than by kinship, monopoly of force, authority to mobilize resources and personnel, and legal jurisdiction." (p. 29).

     Tainter cites one characteristic that is shared between simple societies and complex societies--the need for the governing authority to to establish and constantly reinforce legitimacy. By "legitimacy," Tainter means "the belief of the populace and the elites that rule is proper and valid, that the political world is as it should be." (p. 27). He writes:
It pertains to individual rulers , to decisions, to broad policies, to parties , and to entire forms of government. The support that members are willing to extend to a political system is essential for its survival. Decline in support will not necessarily lead to the fall of a regime, for to a certain extent coercion can replace commitment to ensure compliance. Coercion, though , is a costly, ineffective strategy which can never be completely or permanently successful. Even with coercion, decline in popular support below some critical minimum leads infallibly to political failure. Establishing moral validity is a less costly and more effective approach .
(p. 27) (citations omitted; underline added). He also notes that coercion does not require the positive application of force, but by the threat of withholding goods or other benefits. (p. 36).

      When reading Spengler's Decline of the West, there is the constant reference to culture--those principles, philosophies, religious beliefs and outlooks, that provide a foundation for a civilization. Tainter does not ignore that, but suggests that one of the principle methods of reinforcing legitimacy is to reinforce this basic culture. He writes:
Complex societies are focused on a center, which may not be located physically where it is literally implied, but which is the symbolic source of the framework of society . It is not only the location of legal and governmental institutions, but is the source of order, and the symbol of moral authority and social continuity . The center partakes of the nature of the sacred. In this sense, every complex society has an official religion. The moral authority and sacred aura of the center not only are essential in maintaining complex societies, but were crucial in their emergence. One critical impediment to the development of complexity in stateless societies was the need to integrate many localized, autonomous units, which would each have their own peculiar interests, feuds, and jealousies. A ruler drawn from any one of these units is automatically suspect by the others, who rightly fear favoritism toward his/her natal group and locality, particularly in dispute resolution. This problem has crippled many modern African nations. 
The solution to this structural limitation was to explicitly link leadership in early complex societies to the supernatural. When a leader is imbued with an aura of sacred neutrality, his identification with natal group and territory can be superseded by ritually sanctioned authority which rises above purely local concerns. An early complex society is likely to have an avowedly sacred basis of legitimacy, in which disparate, formerly independent groups are united by an over arching level of shared ideology, symbols, and cosmology. 
... Sacred legitimization provides a binding framework until real vehicles of power have been consolidated. Once this has been achieved the need for religious integration declines, and indeed conflict between secular and sacred authorities may thereafter ensue. Yet as noted, the sacred aura of the center never disappears, not even in contemporary secular governments. Astute politicians have always exploited this fact. It is a critical element in the maintenance of legitimacy. 
Despite the undoubted power of supernatural legitimization, support for leadership must also have a genuine material basis. Easton suggests that legitimacy declines mainly under conditions of what he calls 'output failure'. Output failure occurs where authorities are unable to meet the demands of the support population, or do not take anticipatory actions to counter adversities. Outputs can be political or material. Output expectations are continuous, and impose on leadership a never-ending need to mobilize resources to maintain support. The attainment and perpetuation of legitimacy thus require more than the manipulation of ideological symbols. They require the assessment and commitment of real resources, at satisfactory levels, and are a genuine cost that any complex society must bear. Legitimacy is a recurrent factor in the modern study of the nature of complex societies , and is pertinent to understanding their collapse.
(pp. 27-28) (citations omitted).

      Tainter does not discuss (at least at this point) what constitutes the "sacred" in Western Civilization generally, or the United States in particular. However, if we are to apply Tainter's work to our own civilization or state, it is important to understand what underpins "legitimate" government, and what constitutes the "center." It would be easy to point to Christianity as the "sacred" "center", and it is true that many (or most) European countries have an official state religion. However, it is a more difficult argument to make in regard to the United States because the United States has never had an official religion.

      So what is the "sacred" in the United States, and what gives the government its moral legitimacy? I would suggest that the "sacred" in the United States is the concept of self-governance, rule of law, and majority rule--sometimes referred to as"liberty", "freedom," or "democracy"--which is centered in the Constitution. (Alas, for a physical "center," we must look to Washington D.C., and the various edifices that symbolize our ideals of a republic, and our monuments--i.e., temples--to those men significant to "liberty" in the United States, such as Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson). Thus, it is the perception that a leader or law or policy is in conformity with the Constitution, particularly, and the concept of liberty, in general, that give that leader, law, or policy "legitimacy." In fact, I am sure of this conclusion by the frequent, although incorrect, assertion that private conduct should be governed by the Constitution. (For instance, how often do we see examples of people criticizing the private censure of speech by arguing that everyone has "free speech"). I would argue that something similar exists in any stable republic or constitutional monarchy, such as we see in Europe--moderated by traditional edifices of "moral" authority such as the state religion or royalty, if it exists.

      In any event, Tainter continues in his analysis by examining various theories of how complex societies arise. I won't get into the merits or detractions of the theories because even Tainter finds any one of the theories to be deficient--heaping extra scorn on theories advanced by Marxists. (Marxism has been so thoroughly refuted as an economic, political or historical theory that it is hard to understand why it has any adherents outside of the uneducated, illiterate and stupid). What Tainter seems to suggests is that state formation is the result of necessity (that is, cooperation to overcome some challenge or threat), resulting in the creation of an elite, which, between further necessity and self-aggrandizement, generally solidifies power. This view, however, understates the importance of technology in my mind. A state cannot exist without a surplus of fundamental goods, and the creation or retention of a surplus relies on technology. Technology, in turn, requires an elite (be it craftsmen or administrators) to build and maintain it--and to protect it from outsiders. It appears to be a self-reinforcing mechanism. Thus, I would suggest that technology be added to the list of factors producing a complex society. 

      However, it is the "problem solving" nature of societies that Tainter believes to be significant in understanding their collapse. (p. 37). Tainter concludes:
Complex societies are problem-solving organizations, in which more parts, different kinds of parts, more social differentiation, more inequality, and more kinds of centralization and control emerge as circumstances require. Growth of complexity has involved a change from small, internally homogeneous, minimally differentiated groups characterized by equal access to resources, shifting, ephemeral leadership, and
unstable political formations, to large, heterogeneous, internally differentiated, class structured, controlled societies in which the resources that sustain life are not equally available to all. This latter kind of society, with which we today are most familiar, is an anomaly of history, and where present requires constant legitimization and reinforcement.

The process of collapse, as discussed in the previous chapter, is a matter of rapid, substantial decline in an established level of complexity . A society that has collapsed is suddenly smaller, less differentiated and heterogeneous, and characterized by fewer specialized parts ; it displays less social differentiation; and it is able to exercise less control over the behavior of its members . It is able at the same time to command
smaller surpluses, to offer fewer benefits and inducements to membership; and it is less capable of providing subsistence and defensive security for a regional population. It may decompose to some of the constituent building blocks (e . g . , states, ethnic groups, villages) out of which it was created.

The loss of complexity, like its emergence, is a continuous variable. Collapse may involve a drop between the major levels of complexity envisioned by many anthropo­logists (e. g . , state to chiefdom), or it may equally well involve a drop within a level (larger to smaller, or Transitional to Typical or Inchoate states). Collapse offers an interesting perspective for the typological approach . It is a process of major, rapid
change from one structurally stable level to another. This is the type of change that evolutionary typologies imply, but in the reverse direction.
(ppp. 37-38).

      Before leaving this chapter, there are a couple other points I would like to emphasize. Tainter makes an amusing observation, though, as to the relative importance of a ruling elite:
It seems obvious, for example, that the costs and benefits of stratification are not always as balanced as integration theory might imply. Compensation of elites does not always match their contribution to society, and throughout their history, elites have probably been overcompensated relative to performance more often than the reverse. Coercion, and authoritarian, exploitative regimes, are undeniable facts of history .
      Also, the ad-hoc nature of leadership in simpler societies is something that should also be noted, because it would provide a model of how governance would arise in post-collapse groups. As any student of American Indian culture is aware, tribal leadership was often split between two or more chiefs. Generally one person (or group of persons) would provide leadership for religious matters, another for what we would probably call civil matters, and another for warfare. Major decisions were often subject to approval by a council. A "war chief" may only be a temporary position. I would note, in this regard, that the general thesis of James George Frazer's The Golden Bough was the evidence of a split of authority in ancient Old World cultures between a hereditary queen (over civil and/or religious matters) and a temporary king (over military matters) who only served as long as he was physically able to carry out his duties of leading warriors.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blogging "The Collapse of Complex Societies" (Part 1)

Wikimedia

      I am currently reading Joseph A. Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge Press, 1988). This book, together with a handful of other scholarly works, such as War Before Civilization, are often included as recommended reading for survivalists and preppers, but not often discussed. I hope to rectify that, at least among the audience of this humble blog. I do not currently have any plan or idea as to how many parts this analysis will be, but I will provide and update links as the series progresses.

      Tainter confides at the beginning of his book that he is not going to present his thesis up front, but gradually build to it during the course of the book. However, from reading what others have written about the book, I understand his thesis to be that societies form to solve certain problems; and if they continue to grow, they will over time add additional layers of complexity to deal with other problems, until finally the society is overtaken by the law of diminishing marginal utility. That is, the cost of each added layer of complexity provides less and less benefit, until the cost of an additional layer actually costs more than benefits it provides. At some point, the society will be faced with a problem it cannot solve, and, perhaps quite suddenly, "collapse." Of course, at this point in the book, I cannot determine if this is a correct summary of Tainter's theory, but it is what other sources indicate. It does match Tainter's initial statements in the book that one cannot understand what causes societal collapse unless one understands what causes the creation of complex societies.

      Like some of the other works I've discussed in other posts, Tainter assigns certain specific meanings to terms. The primary one, in this case, is "collapse." Tainter uses the word to describe a sudden decline in the society, as opposed to a gradual decline. Tainter views collapse as a political process, although it may impact economy, arts and sciences, technology, demographics, or other measures of society. Thus, Tainter states: "A society has collapsed when it displays a rapid, significant loss of an established level of sociopolitical complexity." (p. 4). He therefore requires that a society have reached or been developing toward a level of complexity for two or more generations; and the collapse must be rapid--no more than a few decades--"and must entail a substantial loss of sociopolitical structure."

      Although Tainter provides a time frame (not more than a few decades) to differentiate between collapse and decline, his examples, at least to me, make the difference ambiguous. For instance, he describes the British Empire's retreat and consolidation as "retrenchment," but the end of the Western Roman Empire, the Hittites, the First Dynasty in Egypt, the Maya, the Minoan, the Indus Valley, and several other examples, as a "collapse" even though many of those nations or civilizations were in decline for decades or centuries before their "collapse." (See pp. 5-18). For instance, Minoan civilization went into decline after the explosion of Thera, but lasted another couple of centuries.

     The use of the term "complex society" also requires some comment. Tainter does not assigns it a particular meaning, but seems to treat it synonymously with "state" or "nation state", but it is not clear, at least at this point, if he intends it to include "civilization." Obviously, a civilization may be larger than a state--and may survive a collapse of a state that belongs to that civilization. For instance, we would probably all agree that there is something that can be termed "Western civilization" that encompasses at least the nations of Western Europe and, although I think this is somewhat debatable, the United States. Yet, obviously, nations states have appeared, and disappeared or been reorganized within a civilization. Similarly, we speak of Classical Civilization (meaning, primarily, the Greeks), although there were numerous Greek city-states.

      Tainter notes:
Collapse is manifest in such things as:
a lower degree of stratification and social differentiation; 
less economic and occupational specialization, of individuals, groups, and terri­tories; 
less centralized control; that is, less regulation and integration of diverse econo­mic and political groups by elites; 
less behavioral control and regimentation; 
less investment in the epiphenomena of complexity, those elements that define the concept of 'civilization': monumental architecture, artistic and literary achievements, and the like;
less flow of information between individuals, between political and economic
groups, and between a center and its periphery;
less sharing, trading, and redistribution of resources; 
less overall coordination and organization of individuals and groups; 
a smaller territory integrated within a single political unit.
(p. 4). However, he also acknowledges that not all collapses will demonstrate all of these features, and some will have other features.

      He also observes:
Based on the sketches of the preceding pages, and an excellent summary by Colin Renfrew ( 1979: 482-5 ), the characteristics of societies after collapse may be summarized as follows.
There is, first and foremost, a breakdown of authority and central control. Prior to collapse, revolts and provincial breakaways signal the weakening of the center. Revenues to the government often decline. Foreign challengers become increasingly successful . With lower revenues the military may become ineffective . The populace becomes more and more disaffected as the hierarchy seeks to mobilize resources to meet the challenge. 
With disintegration, central direction is no longer possible. The former political center undergoes a significant loss of prominence and power. It is often ransacked and may ultimately be abandoned. Small, petty states emerge in the formerly unified territory, of which the previous capital may be one . Quite often these contend for domination, so that a period of perpetual conflict ensues. 
The umbrella of law and protection erected over the populace is eliminated. Lawlessness may prevail for a time, as in the Egyptian First Intermediate Period, but order will ultimately be restored. Monumental construction and publicly-supported art largely cease to exist. Literacy may be lost entirely, and otherwise declines so dramatically that a dark age follows.
What populations remain in urban or other political centers reuse existing architecture in a characteristic manner. There is little new construction, and that which is attempted concentrates on adapting existing buildings. Great rooms will be subdivided, flimsy facades are built, and public space will be converted to private .
While some attempt may be made to carry on an attenuated version of previous ceremonialism, the former monuments are allowed to fall into decay. People may reside in upper-story rooms as lower ones deteriorate . Monuments are often mined as easy sources of building materials . When a building begins to collapse, the residents
simply move to another.
Palaces and central storage facilities may be abandoned, along with centralized redistribution of goods and foodstuffs, or market exchange. Both long distance and local trade may be markedly reduced, and craft specialization end or decline. Subsistence and material needs come to be met largely on the basis of local self-sufficiency. Declining regional interaction leads to the establishment of local styles in items such as pottery that formerly had been widely circulated. Both portable and fixed techno­logy (e .g. , hydraulic engineering systems) revert to simpler forms that can be developed and maintained at the local level, without the assistance of a bureaucracy that no longer exists.
Whether as cause or as consequence, there is typically a marked, rapid reduction in population size and density. Not only do urban populations substantially decline, but so also do the support populations of the countryside . Many settlements are concurrently abandoned. The level of population and settlement may decline to that of centuries or even millennia previously.
... In a complex society that has collapsed, it would thus appear, the overarching structure that provides support services to the population loses capability or dis­appears entirely. No longer can the populace rely upon external defense and internal order, maintenance of public works, or delivery of food and material goods. Organization reduces to the lowest level that is economically sustainable, so that a variety of contending polities exist where there had been peace and unity. Remaining popula­tions must become locally self-sufficient to a degree not seen for several generations.Groups that had formerly been economic and political partners now become stran­gers, even threatening competitors. The world as seen from any locality perceptibly shrinks, and over the horizon lies the unknown .
(pp. 19-20).

      Tainter acknowledges that the collapse will often lead, at least temporarily, to a Hobbesian type world where only the strong survive, and there is a conflict. He, in fact, notes specific incidents of this in Britain, following the withdrawal of Roman control, and the situation in 1918 Istanbul after the collapse of Turkish control. However, I find more significant a matter he mentions only in passing, which are the Minoan, Mycenaean and Hittite civilizations. Although the Minoan civilization had been replaced nearly 200 years earlier (as evidenced by changes to language and other cultural artifacts), the centers of that civilization continued until approximately 1200 B.C. At that time, the Minoan, Mycenaean and Hittite civilizations all collapsed. Writing about the Mycenaeans, Tainter recounts:
After about 1200 B . C . disaster struck. Palace after palace was destroyed. There followed a period of more than 100 years of unstable conditions, repeated catastrophes afflicting many centers, and movement of population. The uniform Mycenaean style of pottery gave way to local styles that were less well executed. Metalwork became simpler. Writing disappeared. The craftsmen and artisans seem to have everywhere vanished. Fortifications were built across the Isthmus of Corinth and at other places. At Mycenae, Tiryns, and Athens water sources were developed within the citadel, cut through solid rock at great labor. The rock-cut well at Athens, at least, seems to date to the time of the troubles. Trade dropped off, and one author has suggested that the subsequent preference for iron implements was due to a sharp decline in copper and
tin trade .
 
The number of occupied settlements dropped precipitously, from 320 in the thirteenth century B.C. , to 130 in the twelfth, and 40 in the eleventh . In some areas, such as the southwest Peloponnese, settlement increased at this time, and it seems that some of the people of the devastated regions may have migrated to less troubled areas. Yet only a small part of the population loss can be accounted for in this way. Estimates of the magnitude of overall population decline range from 75 to 90 percent. Even areas that escaped devastation, such as Athens, suffered ultimate political collapse . By 1050 B.C. Mycenaean Civilization, despite brief local resurgences, was everywhere gone, and the Greek Dark Ages had begun (Stubbings 1 975a, 1975b; Hooker 1 976 ; Chadwick 1976; Desborough 1 972, 1 975; Betancourt 1976; Snodgrass 197 1 ; Mylonas 1966; Taylour 1964).
This is reflected throughout the Mediterranean littoral. Based on other sources, I understand this to have been the not yet understood collapse of a Canaanite civilization or empire.

     As long time readers of this blog know, part of my purpose is to discuss eschatological aspects of prepping. Accordingly, I would note some interesting points from modern-day prophecy. I've posted before about a vision had by John Taylor about the last days. Among other things, in his vision, he saw Washington D.C. abandoned, which seems to coincide with Tainter's characterization of the loss of central authority, and abandonment of capitals. It has to be remembered that, like some of the cities created by the kings and emperors in several Middle-Eastern empires, Washington D.C. was intended to be an administrative center. It has no independent existence, such as a center of trade or production, that other cities like New York or London have. Thus, if central government authority were to collapse, Washington D.C. would cease to function and be abandoned.

    I've also written extensively about the prophecies and predictions (or a non-religious nature) of a coming civil war in the United States. (See here and here, for example).

See also: Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; and Part 6.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Facial Detection Algorithms Look Like

Face Cage #1 (Christopher O’Leary)

The Atlantic has an article about an artist that has represented facial recognition algorithms in 3-D cages (sculpture, if you prefer). What I find interesting is that the very features that it focuses on are those covered by the traditional villian's mask, such as the Lone Ranger's:



Of course, this article would be incomplete with the scene from the Princess Bride on mask wearing:



Yellowstone Supervolcano Dying?

The Daily Mail reports:
It is believed to be the world's biggest volcano, and if it erupted, much of the US would be covered in ash. 
However, researchers believe the massive supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US - which researchers recently found was 2.5 times bigger than they thought - could actually soon be dead. 
Researchers analysed water and gas, and sat [sic] it could already be on its deathbed.
Not a lot of detail, I know, but it is consistent with other information I've seen indicating that the caldera has been subsiding.

It is a Precarious Balance

... In primitive times, individual population centers were virtually self-supporting, living on the produce of neighboring farms. Nothing but immediate disaster, a flood or a pestilence or crop failure, could harm them. As the centers grew and technology improved, localized disasters could be overcome by drawing on help from distant centers, but at the cost of making ever larger areas interdependent. In Medieval times [i.e., speaking of the mid-20th Century], the open cities, even the largest, could subsist on food stores and on emergency supplies of all sorts for a week at least. When New York first became a City, it could have lived on itself for a day. Now it cannot do so for an hour. A disaster that would have been uncomfortable ten thousand years ago, merely serious a thousand years ago, and acute a hundred years ago would now be surely fatal.
-- Isaac Asimov, The Caves of Steel (1954).

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Ground Zero" App

File:NNSA-NSO-259.jpg
(Wikimedia)

The Carloslabs website has a web-app that allows you to pick a location and maps out the damage from the blast of a nuclear weapon and predicted fall-out.

Ebola Outbreak Spreading

An Ebola outbreak has hit Guinea, as I recently noted. Now, it appears that cases have spread across the border into Liberia. And there may even be a case in Canada.

Sleep Tips and Tricks

The Daily Mail has an article about getting the most from your sleep. For instance, since each stage of the sleep cycle is roughly 90 minutes, plan the amount of your sleep at night around a 90 minute cycle--i.e., that you wake up at the end of a 90-minute cycle.
In other words, if we were to sleep completely naturally, with no alarm clocks or other sleep disturbances, we would wake up, on the average, after a multiple of 90 minutes.
This means that you will feel most refreshed when you awake at the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle because you will be closest to your normal waking state.

To maximise the chances of this happening, work out when you want to wake up, then count back in 90-minute blocks to find a time near to when you want to go to sleep.
Let’s imagine that you want to wake at 8am and wish to go to sleep around midnight.

Counting back in 90-minute segments from 8am would look like this:
8am>6.30>5.00>3.30>2.00>12.30>11pm
 
In this example, you should aim to fall asleep around either 11pm or 12.30am in order to feel especially refreshed in the morning.
The article discusses the importance of napping, and says that a 30-minute afternoon nap at least three times per week can improve memory and alertness. It even has a table showing the ideal time to take a nap based on when you wake up.

Finally, it provides a quick overview of snoring issues:

Roughly 40 per cent of men and a quarter of women are snorers — causing problems both for their partners’ sleep and their own. But there are simple steps that can help minimise the risk of an interrupted night.

First, it is helpful to find out what kind of snorer you are.

The results of this quick test will help us discover whether the problem is with your nose, mouth, and/or tongue.
 
1. Close your mouth. Now shut your left nostril by gently pressing on the side of it. Keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath through your right nostril.

Now repeat the test, but this time close your mouth and right nostril, and then take a deep breathe through your left nostril. Finally, still keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath through both nostrils. Did you feel like your nostrils were congested, and therefore breathing was difficult, during any of these exercises?
 
2. Open your mouth and try to make a snoring sound. Now close your mouth and try to make the same sound. Are you able to make the same snoring sound with your mouth closed? 
3. If you can make a snoring sound with your mouth closed, stick your tongue slightly out of your mouth and gently grip it with your teeth, ensuring that your lips are sealed around the sides of your tongue. Now try to make the snoring noise again. Is the sound of your snoring reduced? 
If you answered ‘yes’ to question one, then you have a blocked nose. If just one nostril appears blocked then this might be due to a physical abnormality, such as a twisted septum or polyps. You might find it helpful to try using adhesive nasal strips to pull your nostrils apart, and so help prevent them narrowing when you are asleep. 
If both sides of your nose appear blocked, and you don’t have a cold, then you might be suffering from an allergy.

If your nose only tends to become blocked at night, you might be sensitive to the type of allergens produced by the dust mites that tend to inhabit old pillows and mattresses.

If you think this might be the case, try washing your bedding frequently at a temperature of at least 60C, avoid putting old blankets on the bed, and place your pillows and — if possible — your duvets into plastic bags and then put them in your freezer for 24 hours at least once a month, which kills off the mites.
 
If you answered ‘no’ to question two, then there might be an issue with your mouth. If this is the case, then you probably sleep with your mouth open, and often wake up with a dry throat. You may benefit from a ‘chin strip’, which is essentially a strip of tape that runs under your chin and helps stop your mouth falling open while you sleep. 
Finally, if you answered ‘yes’ to question three then your snoring might well be due to your tongue vibrating. Typically, you will have an unusual bite, wherein your lower teeth are behind your upper teeth when you close your mouth. If this is the case, you might want to think about using a ‘mandibular advancement device’. This is a plastic gum shield that is designed to fit into your mouth, help push your jaw forward, and increase the space at the back of your throat. It’s quite possible that you might be one type of snorer, or be a combination of any two, or even all three. 
In addition to these techniques, you might want to try losing weight, stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, and trying to sleep with your head at a 35-degree elevation by placing a foam wedge under your pillow. Also, it is important to avoid sleeping on your back, as your tongue and soft tissue in the throat are likely to fall backwards and obstruct your airway.
 Read the whole thing (including the side-bar) for some additional tips and tricks, including information on sleep apnea.

Why Terrorism Fails--A Couple More Examples (Updated)

     In my weekend post on Why Terrorism Generally Fails, I noted the failure of terrorists to target selected targets. So, I wanted to note an example. Although technically not "terrorism" because the threats came from the government, here is an example of targeting a particular person (a politician running for reelection) to influence the passage of a law:
Prosecutorial discretion—deciding whom to go after and whom to ignore—is an open invitation to corruption. And this corruption can have consequences beyond the individuals involved. Had Senator Ted Stevens not been convicted a week before he narrowly lost reelection in 2008 in a trial that involved “gross prosecutorial misconduct,” he undoubtedly would have been reelected and the Democrats would not have had the sixty votes in the Senate they needed to ram ObamaCare through.
     I had also noted that terrorists fail to map the paths of power, which can sometimes be very direct. For instance, this Hot Air article from last year observes that top CBS, ABC, CNN executives all have relatives working as advisors for the White House. This recent article at the Powerline Blog (discussing the development of the Keystone pipeline) notes:
“Green” energy is also controversial because it has been used to enrich government cronies. Let’s take, for instance, the billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has made much of his fortune by using his government connections to secure support for uneconomic “green” energy projects that have profited him, to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. See, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. As is explained here, Tom Steyer is a bitter opponent of the Keystone Pipeline. His financial interests, in “green” energy and perhaps also in pre-pipeline oil sources like BP, stand to benefit if Keystone is killed.

Haven’t heard much about Tom Steyer, you say? Maybe that’s because he isn’t heavily involved in politics. Heh–just kidding. Steyer, as you probably know, is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This year, he has pledged to contribute $100 million to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, as long as they toe the line on environmental issues–which includes, presumably, taxpayer support for “green” energy and opposition to Keystone.
And then there is this from the same article:
So we have a contrast that couldn’t be clearer: the Washington Post published a false story about support for Keystone because it fit the Democratic Party’s agenda. It covered up a similar, but true story about opposition to the pipeline (and about “green” politics in general) because that, too, fit the Democratic Party’s agenda. I don’t think we need to look any further to connect the dots.

And yet, a still deeper level of corruption is on display here. Juliet Eilperin is a reporter for the Washington Post who covers, among other things, environmental politics. As I wrote in my prior post, she is married to Andrew Light. Light writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress, a far-left organization that has carried on a years-long vendetta against Charles and David Koch on its web site, Think Progress. Light is also a member of the Obama administration, as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the Department of State. The Center for American Progress is headed by John Podesta, who chaired Barack Obama’s transition team and is now listed as a “special advisor” to the Obama administration. Note that Ms. Eilperin quoted Podesta, her husband’s boss, in her puff piece on Tom Steyer.

Oh, yes–one more thing. Guess who sits on the board of the Center for American Progress? Yup. Tom Steyer.
Tom Steyer understands the importance of mapping paths of power and influencing key officials. Terrorists don't understand this linkage--or if they do, they do not exploit it.

(H/t Instapundit)

Update 3/25/2014: Guerrilla America discusses the concepts of picking targets from a military perspective. Read the whole thing.

Update 5/28/2014: Global Research has published a list of 2014 attendees of the Bilderberg meeting, which is a good example of people of power and influence:
Chairman
FRA Castries, Henri de Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
 
DEU Achleitner, Paul M. Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
DEU Ackermann, Josef Former CEO, Deutsche Bank AG
GBR Agius, Marcus Non-Executive Chairman, PA Consulting Group
FIN Alahuhta, Matti Member of the Board, KONE; Chairman, Aalto University Foundation
GBR Alexander, Helen Chairman, UBM plc
USA Alexander, Keith B. Former Commander, U.S. Cyber Command; Former Director, National Security Agency
USA Altman, Roger C. Executive Chairman, Evercore
FIN Apunen, Matti Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA
DEU Asmussen, Jörg State Secretary of Labour and Social Affairs
HUN Bajnai, Gordon Former Prime Minister; Party Leader, Together 2014
GBR Balls, Edward M. Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
PRT Balsemão, Francisco Pinto Chairman, Impresa SGPS
FRA Baroin, François Member of Parliament (UMP); Mayor of Troyes
FRA Baverez, Nicolas Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
USA Berggruen, Nicolas Chairman, Berggruen Institute on Governance
ITA Bernabè, Franco Chairman, FB Group SRL
DNK Besenbacher, Flemming Chairman, The Carlsberg Group
NLD Beurden, Ben van CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
SWE Bildt, Carl Minister for Foreign Affairs
NOR Brandtzæg, Svein Richard President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
INT Breedlove, Philip M. Supreme Allied Commander Europe
AUT Bronner, Oscar Publisher, Der STANDARD Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H.
SWE Buskhe, Håkan President and CEO, Saab AB
TUR Çandar, Cengiz Senior Columnist, Al Monitor and Radikal
ESP Cebrián, Juan Luis Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA
FRA Chalendar, Pierre-André de Chairman and CEO, Saint-Gobain
CAN Clark, W. Edmund Group President and CEO, TD Bank Group
INT Coeuré, Benoît Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
IRL Coveney, Simon Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine
GBR Cowper-Coles, Sherard Senior Adviser to the Group Chairman and Group CEO, HSBC Holdings plc
BEL Davignon, Etienne Minister of State
USA Donilon, Thomas E. Senior Partner, O’Melveny and Myers; Former U.S. National Security Advisor
DEU Döpfner, Mathias CEO, Axel Springer SE
GBR Dudley, Robert Group Chief Executive, BP plc
FIN Ehrnrooth, Henrik Chairman, Caverion Corporation, Otava and Pöyry PLC
ITA Elkann, John Chairman, Fiat S.p.A.
DEU Enders, Thomas CEO, Airbus Group
DNK Federspiel, Ulrik Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S
USA Feldstein, Martin S. Professor of Economics, Harvard University; President Emeritus, NBER
CAN Ferguson, Brian President and CEO, Cenovus Energy Inc.
GBR Flint, Douglas J. Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc
ESP García-Margallo, José Manuel Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
USA Gfoeller, Michael Independent Consultant
TUR Göle, Nilüfer Professor of Sociology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
USA Greenberg, Evan G. Chairman and CEO, ACE Group
GBR Greening, Justine Secretary of State for International Development
NLD Halberstadt, Victor Professor of Economics, Leiden University
USA Hockfield, Susan President Emerita, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NOR Høegh, Leif O. Chairman, Höegh Autoliners AS
NOR Høegh, Westye Senior Advisor, Höegh Autoliners AS
USA Hoffman, Reid Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
CHN Huang, Yiping Professor of Economics, National School of Development, Peking University
USA Jackson, Shirley Ann President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
USA Jacobs, Kenneth M. Chairman and CEO, Lazard
USA Johnson, James A. Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners
USA Karp, Alex CEO, Palantir Technologies
USA Katz, Bruce J. Vice President and Co-Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution
CAN Kenney, Jason T. Minister of Employment and Social Development
GBR Kerr, John Deputy Chairman, Scottish Power
USA Kissinger, Henry A. Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
USA Kleinfeld, Klaus Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
TUR Koç, Mustafa Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
DNK Kragh, Steffen President and CEO, Egmont
USA Kravis, Henry R. Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
USA Kravis, Marie-Josée Senior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson Institute
CHE Kudelski, André Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
INT Lagarde, Christine Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
BEL Leysen, Thomas Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group
USA Li, Cheng Director, John L.Thornton China Center,The Brookings Institution
SWE Lifvendahl, Tove Political Editor in Chief, Svenska Dagbladet
CHN Liu, He Minister, Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs
PRT Macedo, Paulo Minister of Health
FRA Macron, Emmanuel Deputy Secretary General of the Presidency
ITA Maggioni, Monica Editor-in-Chief, Rainews24, RAI TV
GBR Mandelson, Peter Chairman, Global Counsel LLP
USA McAfee, Andrew Principal Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PRT Medeiros, Inês de Member of Parliament, Socialist Party
GBR Micklethwait, John Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
GRC Mitsotaki, Alexandra Chair, ActionAid Hellas
ITA Monti, Mario Senator-for-life; President, Bocconi University
USA Mundie, Craig J. Senior Advisor to the CEO, Microsoft Corporation
CAN Munroe-Blum, Heather Professor of Medicine and Principal (President) Emerita, McGill University
USA Murray, Charles A. W.H. Brady Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
NLD Netherlands, H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of the
ESP Nin Génova, Juan María Deputy Chairman and CEO, CaixaBank
FRA Nougayrède, Natalie Director and Executive Editor, Le Monde
DNK Olesen, Søren-Peter Professor; Member of the Board of Directors, The Carlsberg Foundation
FIN Ollila, Jorma Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell, plc; Chairman, Outokumpu Plc
TUR Oran, Umut Deputy Chairman, Republican People’s Party (CHP)
GBR Osborne, George Chancellor of the Exchequer
FRA Pellerin, Fleur State Secretary for Foreign Trade
USA Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
USA Petraeus, David H. Chairman, KKR Global Institute
CAN Poloz, Stephen S. Governor, Bank of Canada
INT Rasmussen, Anders Fogh Secretary General, NATO
DNK Rasmussen, Jørgen Huno Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Lundbeck Foundation
INT Reding, Viviane Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, European Commission
USA Reed, Kasim Mayor of Atlanta
CAN Reisman, Heather M. Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
NOR Reiten, Eivind Chairman, Klaveness Marine Holding AS
DEU Röttgen, Norbert Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, German Bundestag
USA Rubin, Robert E. Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury
USA Rumer, Eugene Senior Associate and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
NOR Rynning-Tønnesen, Christian President and CEO, Statkraft AS
NLD Samsom, Diederik M. Parliamentary Leader PvdA (Labour Party)
GBR Sawers, John Chief, Secret Intelligence Service
NLD Scheffer, Paul J. Author; Professor of European Studies, Tilburg University
NLD Schippers, Edith Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport
USA Schmidt, Eric E. Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
AUT Scholten, Rudolf CEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
USA Shih, Clara CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social
FIN Siilasmaa, Risto K. Chairman of the Board of Directors and Interim CEO, Nokia Corporation
ESP Spain, H.M. the Queen of
USA Spence, A. Michael Professor of Economics, New York University
FIN Stadigh, Kari President and CEO, Sampo plc
USA Summers, Lawrence H. Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
IRL Sutherland, Peter D. Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; UN Special Representative for Migration
SWE Svanberg, Carl-Henric Chairman, Volvo AB and BP plc
TUR Taftali, A. Ümit Member of the Board, Suna and Inan Kiraç Foundation
USA Thiel, Peter A. President, Thiel Capital
DNK Topsøe, Henrik Chairman, Haldor Topsøe A/S
GRC Tsoukalis, Loukas President, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
NOR Ulltveit-Moe, Jens Founder and CEO, Umoe AS
INT Üzümcü, Ahmet Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
CHE Vasella, Daniel L. Honorary Chairman, Novartis International
FIN Wahlroos, Björn Chairman, Sampo plc
SWE Wallenberg, Jacob Chairman, Investor AB
SWE Wallenberg, Marcus Chairman of the Board of Directors, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB
USA Warsh, Kevin M. Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Lecturer, Stanford University
GBR Wolf, Martin H. Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times
USA Wolfensohn, James D. Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and Company
NLD Zalm, Gerrit Chairman of the Managing Board, ABN-AMRO Bank N.V.
GRC Zanias, George Chairman of the Board, National Bank of Greece
USA Zoellick, Robert B. Chairman, Board of International Advisors, The Goldman Sachs Group
-
AUT Austria
GRC Greece
BEL Belgium
HUN Hungary
CAN Canada
INT International
CHE Switzerland
IRL Ireland
CHN China
ITA Italy
DEU Germany
NLD Netherlands
DNK Denmark
NOR Norway
ESP Spain
PRT Portugal
FIN Finland
SWE Sweden
FRA France
TUR Turkey
GBR Great Britain,
USA United States of America
 Update (12/30/2014): The Freedom Is Just Another Word blog has Venn diagrams showing the overlap between certain big businesses (big oil, Comcast, GE, Goldman Sachs, big media, Monsanto, and large pharmaceutical companies) and big government--i.e., people that have held high positions in both.

Update (6/19/2015): The Vigilant Citizen has a list of the 2015 Bilderberg attendees:

Castries, Henri deChairman and CEO, AXA GroupFRA
Achleitner, Paul M.Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AGDEU
Agius, MarcusNon-Executive Chairman, PA Consulting GroupGBR
Ahrenkiel, ThomasDirector, Danish Intelligence Service (DDIS)DNK
Allen, John R.Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, US Department of StateUSA
Altman, Roger C.Executive Chairman, EvercoreUSA
Applebaum, AnneDirector of Transitions Forum, Legatum InstituteUSA
Apunen, MattiDirector, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVAFIN
Baird, ZoëCEO and President, Markle FoundationUSA
Balls, Edward M.Former Shadow Chancellor of the ExchequerGBR
Balsemão, Francisco PintoChairman, Impresa SGPSPRT
Barroso, José M. DurãoFormer President of the European CommissionPRT
Baverez, NicolasPartner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLPFRA
Benko, RenéFounder, SIGNA Holding GmbHAUT
Bernabè, FrancoChairman, FB Group SRLITA
Beurden, Ben vanCEO, Royal Dutch Shell plcNLD
Bigorgne, LaurentDirector, Institut MontaigneFRA
Boone, LaurenceSpecial Adviser on Financial and Economic Affairs to the PresidentFRA
Botín, Ana P.Chairman, Banco SantanderESP
Brandtzæg, Svein RichardPresident and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASANOR
Bronner, OscarPublisher, Standard VerlagsgesellschaftAUT
Burns, WilliamPresident, Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceUSA
Calvar, PatrickDirector General, DGSIFRA
Castries, Henri deChairman, Bilderberg Meetings; Chairman and CEO, AXA GroupFRA
Cebrián, Juan LuisExecutive Chairman, Grupo PRISAESP
Clark, W. EdmundRetired Executive, TD Bank GroupCAN
Coeuré, BenoîtMember of the Executive Board, European Central BankINT
Coyne, AndrewEditor, Editorials and Comment, National PostCAN
Damberg, Mikael L.Minister for Enterprise and InnovationSWE
De Gucht, KarelFormer EU Trade Commissioner, State MinisterBEL
Dijsselbloem, JeroenMinister of FinanceNLD
Donilon, Thomas E.Former U.S. National Security Advisor; Partner and Vice Chair, O’Melveny & Myers LLPUSA
Döpfner, MathiasCEO, Axel Springer SEDEU
Dowling, AnnPresident, Royal Academy of EngineeringGBR
Dugan, ReginaVice President for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects, GoogleUSA
Eilertsen, TrinePolitical Editor, AftenpostenNOR
Eldrup, MereteCEO, TV 2 Danmark A/SDNK
Elkann, JohnChairman and CEO, EXOR; Chairman, Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesITA
Enders, ThomasCEO, Airbus GroupDEU
Erdoes, MaryCEO, JP Morgan Asset ManagementUSA
Fairhead, RonaChairman, BBC TrustGBR
Federspiel, UlrikExecutive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/SDNK
Feldstein, Martin S.President Emeritus, NBER;  Professor of Economics, Harvard UniversityUSA
Ferguson, NiallProfessor of History, Harvard University, Gunzberg Center for European StudiesUSA
Fischer, HeinzFederal PresidentAUT
Flint, Douglas J.Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plcGBR
Franz, ChristophChairman of the Board, F. Hoffmann-La Roche LtdCHE
Fresco, Louise O.President and Chairman Executive Board, Wageningen University and Research CentreNLD
Griffin, KennethFounder and CEO, Citadel Investment Group, LLCUSA
Gruber, LilliExecutive Editor and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TVITA
Guriev, SergeiProfessor of Economics, Sciences PoRUS
Gürkaynak, GönençManaging Partner, ELIG Law FirmTUR
Gusenbauer, AlfredFormer Chancellor of the Republic of AustriaAUT
Halberstadt, VictorProfessor of Economics, Leiden UniversityNLD
Hampel, ErichChairman, UniCredit Bank Austria AGAUT
Hassabis, DemisVice President of Engineering, Google DeepMindGBR
Hesoun, WolfgangCEO, Siemens AustriaAUT
Hildebrand, PhilippVice Chairman, BlackRock Inc.CHE
Hoffman, ReidCo-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedInUSA
Ischinger, WolfgangChairman, Munich Security ConferenceINT
Jacobs, Kenneth M.Chairman and CEO, LazardUSA
Jäkel, JuliaCEO, Gruner + JahrDEU
Johnson, James A.Chairman, Johnson Capital PartnersUSA
Juppé, AlainMayor of Bordeaux, Former Prime MinisterFRA
Kaeser, JoePresident and CEO, Siemens AGDEU
Karp, AlexCEO, Palantir TechnologiesUSA
Kepel, GillesUniversity Professor, Sciences PoFRA
Kerr, JohnDeputy Chairman, Scottish PowerGBR
Kesici, IlhanMP, Turkish ParliamentTUR
Kissinger, Henry A.Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.USA
Kleinfeld, KlausChairman and CEO, AlcoaUSA
Knot, Klaas H.W.President, De Nederlandsche BankNLD
Koç, Mustafa V.Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.TUR
Kravis, Henry R.Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.USA
Kravis, Marie-JoséeSenior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson InstituteUSA
Kudelski, AndréChairman and CEO, Kudelski GroupCHE
Lauk, KurtPresident, Globe Capital PartnersDEU
Lemne, CarolaCEO, The Confederation of Swedish EnterpriseSWE
Levey, StuartChief Legal Officer, HSBC Holdings plcUSA
Leyen, Ursula von derMinister of DefenceDEU
Leysen, ThomasChairman of the Board of Directors, KBC GroupBEL
Maher, ShirazSenior Research Fellow, ICSR, King’s College LondonGBR
Markus Lassen, ChristinaHead of Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Security Policy and StabilisationDNK
Mathews, Jessica T.Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceUSA
Mattis, JamesDistinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford UniversityUSA
Maudet, PierreVice-President of the State Council, Department of Security, Police and the Economy of GenevaCHE
McKay, David I.President and CEO, Royal Bank of CanadaCAN
Mert, NurayColumnist, Professor of Political Science, Istanbul UniversityTUR
Messina, JimCEO, The Messina GroupUSA
Michel, CharlesPrime MinisterBEL
Micklethwait, JohnEditor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LPUSA
Minton Beddoes, ZannyEditor-in-Chief, The EconomistGBR
Monti, MarioSenator-for-life; President, Bocconi UniversityITA
Mörttinen, LeenaExecutive Director, The Finnish Family Firms AssociationFIN
Mundie, Craig J.Principal, Mundie & AssociatesUSA
Munroe-Blum, HeatherChairperson, Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardCAN
Netherlands, H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of theNLD
O’Leary, MichaelCEO, Ryanair PlcIRL
Osborne, GeorgeFirst Secretary of State and Chancellor of the ExchequerGBR
Özel, SoliColumnist, Haberturk Newspaper; Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has UniversityTUR
Papalexopoulos, DimitriGroup CEO, Titan Cement Co.GRC
Pégard, CatherinePresident, Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of VersaillesFRA
Perle, Richard N.Resident Fellow, American Enterprise InstituteUSA
Petraeus, David H.Chairman, KKR Global InstituteUSA
Pikrammenos, PanagiotisHonorary President of The Hellenic Council of StateGRC
Reisman, Heather M.Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.CAN
Rocca, GianfeliceChairman, Techint GroupITA
Roiss, GerhardCEO, OMV AustriaAUT
Rubin, Robert E.Co Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the TreasuryUSA
Rutte, MarkPrime MinisterNLD
Sadjadpour, KarimSenior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceUSA
Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, PedroLeader, Partido Socialista Obrero Español PSOEESP
Sawers, JohnChairman and Partner, Macro Advisory PartnersGBR
Sayek Böke, SelinVice President, Republican People’s PartyTUR
Schmidt, Eric E.Executive Chairman, Google Inc.USA
Scholten, RudolfCEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AGAUT
Senard, Jean-DominiqueCEO, Michelin GroupFRA
Sevelda, KarlCEO, Raiffeisen Bank International AGAUT
Stoltenberg, JensSecretary General, NATOINT
Stubb, AlexanderMinisters of FinanceFIN
Suder, KatrinDeputy Minister of DefenseDEU
Sutherland, Peter D.UN Special Representative; Chairman, Goldman Sachs InternationalIRL
Svanberg, Carl-HenricChairman, BP plc; Chairman, AB VolvoSWE
Svarva, OlaugCEO, The Government Pension Fund NorwayNOR
Thiel, Peter A.President, Thiel CapitalUSA
Tsoukalis, LoukasPresident, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign PolicyGRC
Üzümcü, AhmetDirector-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical WeaponsINT
Vitorino, António M.Partner, Cuetrecasas, Concalves Pereira, RLPRT
Wallenberg, JacobChairman, Investor ABSWE
Weber, VinPartner, Mercury LLCUSA
Wolf, Martin H.Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial TimesGBR
Wolfensohn, James D.Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and CompanyUSA
Zoellick, Robert B.Chairman, Board of International Advisors, The Goldman Sachs GroupUSA