As always, Michael Ventura uses the newspaper to greater effect than most people use lengthy analysis of scholarly papers. From the Austin Chronicle.

Reading Diplomatic Code

There’s a shift toward the promotion of Turkey as a stabilizing force in the Middle East


JUNE 17, 2011

Read the rest of this entry »


Came across this study by way of the ever-helpful SchwartzReport.  The original of this article
( contains some very interesting graphics.

Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders

June 22, 2011


Although its historical roots are mostly in Northern Europe and North America, evangelical Protestantism is a global phenomenon today. In 1910, by one estimate, there were about 80 million evangelicals, and more than 90% of them lived in Europe and North America. By 2010, the number of evangelicals had risen to at least 260 million, and most lived outside Europe or North America. Indeed, the “Global South” (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) is home to more evangelicals today than the “Global North” (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand).

Read the rest of this entry »

This article — long article! — is in the Atlantic Monthly. It isn’t so much about programming (writing code) as it is about the way we learn, and the way that we could be taught to learn. Turns out, it’s simple enough, conceptually. Naturally, that isn’t the way it’s taught….
How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code
JUN 3 2011, 10:19 AM ET
JAMES SOMERS – James Somers is the chief technology officer of He blogs at

Have you heard of this organization? No? Your television news broadcasts must not have had time to tell you.

DeMarco’s Law states, “They Always Go Too Far” — regardless which “they” we refer to. It looks to me as though NATO and the people who are using US foreign policy for their own economic and other purposes have, once again, overstepped, and are calling forth the counter-force that will balance them. This in itself is all to the good, but there’s the genesis of many a war here, if all goes wrong.

From the Asia Times via a friend.

SCO steps out of Central Asia

By M K Bhadrakumar

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marked its 10th anniversary at the summit meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday. Anniversaries divisible by five or 10 are almost sacrosanct occasions in international politics – especially for Central Asian countries and the adjacent capitals of Moscow and Beijing that have been weaned on the formalism of Marxism-Leninism. Much expectation was placed on the occasion at Astana.

Read the rest of this entry »

This, from the New York Times, via a friend.

Ever since Ronald Reagan began the process of dismantling Glass-Steagall, I watched with much the same feeling as I did while watching nuclear snake oil being sold as the answer to the wrong question. Yes, times have changed. Yes, new ways of doing business require new ways of regulating it. But I think we all see (too late) that banking without effective regulation is not in the interest of the average citizen – to put it mildly.

But here’s how the only effective regulating mechanism we ever had was enacted.

The Banking Miracle


Published: June 17, 2011

The president of the American Bankers Association was railing against excessive regulation in a speech at the Waldorf Astoria. The banking reform bill, he complained, “would destroy a substantial part of our bond-distributing machinery.” He added, “Can anyone expect that a step of this kind will improve the quality of our long-term investments?”

Modern echoes, for sure. But I read about the speech in a Jan. 27, 1933, article culled from the wonderful archives of The American Banker, the bankers’ bible now celebrating its 175th birthday. The speaker, one Francis H. Sisson, was complaining about an early version of the Glass-Steagall Act, the most famous of all Depression-era bank laws, and the one that, in retrospect, probably did the most good. Less than six months after Sisson’s speech, President Franklin Roosevelt signed it into law.

Read the rest of this entry »

I think the bright boys who have sold the public on  nuclear power are going to be doing a lot of plain and fancy tap-dancing and back-pedaling as people realize how crazy the nuclear tea-kettle business is. But meanwhile, I don’t see how the damage from Fukushima can be fixed — which is what many people have been warning for two generations. This story is  from Al Jazeera via the daily SchwartzReport.

SR Editor Stephan Schwartz notes:

Here is the latest on Fukushima, featuring the current views of Arnie Gundersen who, in my opinion, and the opinion of most of the scientists following this story, is the most authoritative voice on this crisis. 

It is worth noting that this story came out originally in Al Jazeera, while the American mainstream media is largely silent on this subject. Increasingly American corporate media is beginning to look like the old Soviet Union media.

 I am also afraid the Obama Administration is in the bag, having been bought by the nuclear power industry

Read the rest of this entry »

From The New York Times :

Natural Gas From Shale Plays

Create ‘New World’ for Energy Industry


Published: March 11, 2010

HOUSTON — Every day is “gas day” here at one of the energy industry’s biggest get-togethers.

The CERAWeek conference has been dominated by talk of natural gas produced from shale. Talk of vast new reserves in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale has filled the corridors and even the keynote speech Tuesday on what had been billed as “oil day.”

ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva used that keynote to tout shale gas as “nature’s gift to the people of the world.” He praised the ingenuity of an industry that learned how to employ horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to open up shale, a rock that had long been considered too difficult to drill.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: