Monday, November 30, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--November 30, 2015 (Updated)

Internal view of the Stanford torus space station design (1976).

The World In Which We Live:

  • "'Jungle' migrant camp plans for tiny rural village"--Telegraph. A developer has proposed renovating an empty business park in the village of Littleton-upon-Severn--which has just 100 residents--so that the park can serve as a refugee center, housing up to 1,800 refugees. According to the story, "[r]esidents say the site is too isolated and the influx will swamp the village, which has just two churches and a pub. But 58-year-old Mr Tull says the site will be 'completely inclusive' and those living there will have no need to leave the site and integrate with the local community." Completely inclusive? So it is to be a prison camp? Somehow, I doubt it.
  • Related: "Uh-Oh… 14,000 Illegal Immigrants in Sweden DISAPPEAR WITHOUT A TRACE"--Gateway Pundit. "Of the 21,748 people who have been given deportation orders by Sweden’s Migration Agency last month – the largest number in history, by the way – 14,140 are registered by police as 'departed' or 'wanted,' the Swedish website The Local reports. 'We simply don’t know where they are,' said Patrik Engström, the head of the national border police."
The clash between the Turkish Air Force and Russia is dangerous because it violates the first rule of proxy warfare which is principals don't fight principals. The whole point of proxy warfare is that only the seconds are allowed to cross swords. The duelists are forbidden from engaging each other directly, a convention intended to limit the scope of war. 
This is exactly what failed to happen when Turkey shot down an Russian SU-24 on its border with Syria.
  • Related: "What happens if the US lose the Kurds in the fight against ISIS?"--SNAFU. I had predicted that the easiest way for Russia to punish Turkey was to start supplying weapons and material to the Kurds. Solomon reports that is exactly what the Russians are now starting to do.
  • Related: "Turkey Arrests Generals Who Stopped Syria-Bound, Weapons-Laden, Spook Trucks"--Zero Hedge. "So let's just be clear about what's going on here, because it would be a shame if the absurdity was lost on anyone. In January 2014, MIT loaded up some trucks with weapons bound for militant groups operating in northwestern Syria. Those trucks were stopped at the border by police who were subsequently threatened by intelligence agents who accompanied the drivers. Erdogan has now charged the officers with "forming and leading an armed terrorist organization," when in fact they were doing the exact opposite. That is, they were trying to keep several truck loads of weapons from reaching armed terrorist organizations."
      • "The Return of the Frontier"--Richard Fernandez, writing about the implications of the passage of the Space Act of 2015 in the U.S. House and Senate. The Act recognizes the right of private companies to claim property on celestial bodies--i.e., space mining and claims. Opponents argue that the Act violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which was an international treaty intended to prevent the United States (then the only country in a position to do so) from laying claim to the Moon or other bodies in the Solar System. The Treaty, however, is silent as to private space development, and only prohibits nations from making territorial claims to extraterrestrial bodies. I suppose that the Act may be moot from the standpoint that, since under the Treaty the United States does not have any rights to extraterrestrial bodies, it cannot grant those rights to a private entity. But the Act does make sense in that it would prevent the United States from seizing materials brought back from space. Anyway, all of that aside, is the implications for space industry and expansion into space. Fernandez writes:
        At stake is not only the biggest Gold Rush in human history, but the greatest territorial expansion since the Age of Discovery. Most products built from space resources will be left outside of earth's gravity well and men will go up to join their products rather than return them to Terra. Exploration means diaspora.
          The Gold Rush aspect of the space industry still dominates the public discussion. As Deep Space Industries writes, until now humanity, like Robinson Crusoe, has been living off resources washed up from the ocean of space. Within a few decades humanity could go for the mother lode. The availability of limitless resources and energy will redefine material prosperity for the entire human race.
          He goes on:
            Liberals must rightly sense, even if they don't currently understand why, that the bureaucratic controls which they have spent decades constructing can never be fully recovered after they expire. The reason is physics. The vast distances of the cosmos impose communications latencies that make real time monitoring and control impossible. When it takes as long as 22 minutes to send a one way message to Mars, the delegation of on-the-spot decision making to artificial intelligence or human beings on location is a necessity.
              The outcome will be the emergence of true frontier where authority must diminish with distance from the center. Out at the edge, humanity will be independent as never before since the age of sail. If mankind spills out into space, future historians will see the last years of the 20th century as the momentary triumph of the human hive, its golden flowering -- before it was replaced by a rough 21st century capitalism with its divergence in authority, and the re-emergence of local culture.
                The Dawn of the Space Mining Age probably signals the Twilight of Socialism as much as it does the end of all material poverty.  It marks the end of a way of life. We live in a special time; a brief epoch when the human universe has become as small as it will ever be, a moment when no man living is more than a few moments away by text messaging from any other and no home is beyond 48 hours of subsonic jet travel.
                  If man takes to the Cosmos, then distances will become real again; and goodbyes will be for the first time in a hundred years once more forever.


                  Other Stuff:
                  • "Bracken: Tet, Take Two – Islam’s 2016 European Offensive"--Matthew Bracken at Western Rifle Shooters Assoc. "As we roll into the New Year, we are witnessing the prelude to the culmination of a titanic struggle between three great actors. Three great social forces are now set in motion for a 2016 showdown and collision that will, in historical terms, be on par with the First and Second World Wars." The three forces are: Islam, International Socialism, and Nationalism. It is a long read, so save this for when you have some time to absorb the whole thing. 
                  • Vox Day addresses Bracken's post
                  I'm not simply discounting the warning in this article postulating large-scale Islamic 4GW in Europe. But I am just a little amused by it, as Americans always, always, always fail to understand Europe and tend to underestimate the strong nationalist core underneath the soft modern welfare state. 
                  * * *
                    What Americans always fail to understand is that Europeans are, by and large, far more ruthless than they are. They [America], and not the Europeans or the Russians, were the party responsible for preventing the Serbians from ethnically cleansing the Muslims out of Bosnia and Herzogovina.
                      .... If there is an uprising of the sort envisioned, there will be an ultraviolent, ultranationalist reaction that will make the Russians in Berlin look calm and reasonable.
                        Keep in mind that Europeans are already banning the wearing of burqahs in public. They are erecting barbed-wire borders and openly abrogating treaties in defense of their nations. Political parties with considerable support are talking openly about tearing up residence permits and enacting mass deportations. Nor do Europeans have much regard for religious liberties behind which Muslims can hide in the USA; Scientology is already banned in Germany and they could literally ban Islam tomorrow if the leadership was amenable. And the fact that the Islamic populations tend to be concentrated only makes the strategic issue that much easier to address, if necessary.
                          Furthermore, Europeans are far from unarmed. Both France and Germany have more than 30 firearms per 100 population. This is lower than 88.8 per 100 as in the USA, but it is hardly an indication of being defenseless. What Europeans don't have is handguns; they have the rifles and shotguns that would be more militarily useful. 
                            But the chief problem with this Tet 2.0 concept is that it is simply not in keeping with everything we know from military history about how Muslims historically wage war. What works for a highly disciplined, patient group of Asians fighting foreigners in their homeland is considerably less likely to be effective for a more aggressive and impetuous collection of teenagers and twenty-somethings from the Middle East.
                              And while too much of the European leadership is very nearly as treacherous, and anti-nationalistic as he describes, I very much doubt that any of them are secret Muslims. The fact is that most Europeans look at Muslims the way Americans view Hispanics; they don't really see them as a serious threat. After all, their forefathers repeatedly defeated them for literally centuries. They may be right to discount the threat, they may be wrong, but they certainly aren't guided by abject fear of it.
                                If anything, I think the problem is that as highly secular societies, they find it difficult to take a threat that involves a religious motivation seriously.
                                  ... In my research on cultural appropriation, I’ve uncovered a shocking truth, a great, unspoken crime against humanity, hidden in plain sight. It is the greatest, longest-running, and most heinous act of appropriation in global history.
                                    The appropriation of Western Civilisation.
                                      This diabolical act of appropriation has been hidden in plain sight. For centuries, nation after nation brutally, viciously, mercilessly appropriated western culture. Just as they did Rwanda, an uncaring world averted its eyes, and this act of global racism has gone unacknowledged. Until now.
                                        Half-Pakistani in descent, I feel a personal sense of guilt at how non-western countries have unapologetically oppressed their fellow nations. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the things the world has culturally appropriated from the west, in hope that this injustice might one day be corrected.
                                        Read the whole thing....
                                        • "Oil Plunge Raises Fears of Societal Unrest"--Fox Business. "Five countries are high on the radar screen for societal risks from low oil prices, which RBC Capital Markets has labeled the 'Fragile Five.' They are Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela. ISIS operatives are believed to be in most of these countries."
                                        Update: Added a few cites throughout, including the response to Bracken's WRSA article.

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