Month: May 2015

Book Review: Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade by Adam Minter

China Airborne was the 30000 foot view of Chinese development and this book is the view from the ground floor, in the dirtiest and grimiest part of Chinese capitalism. And this isn’t the theoretical capitalism we as Americans usually love to talk about, the capitalism of skyscrapers and modern technology and even exploitation or inequality, …

Book Review: Russian Imperialism and Naval Power: Military Strategy and the Build-Up to the Russo-Japanese War by Nicholas Papastratigakis

This book is a fantastic illustration of the point Chris made in the military thread that navies have to anticipate and predict events 15-20 years in the future to build up naval vessels, making such advice as “build more ships” so puerile as to be useless. Russia faced huge strategic problems after their loss in …

Newslinks 2015-5-21

A study saying gay advocates can change people’s mind has been retracted due to fraud. Facing questions of reproducibility and statistical irregularities, the grad student who collected all the data got really mealy-mouthed about it. Which has led everyone else to the conclusion that he faked all the data or at least enough of it …

Newslinks 2015-5-20

The US has charged six Chinese nationals, including three Tianjin University professors, with espionage. Two are accused of stealing sensitive technology from their American employer, including source code, specs, recipes, presentations, and design layouts, among other documents. At least some of their research, also interestingly, was funded by DARPA. WaPo looks at allegations of a …

Newslinks 2015-5-19

All eyes are on the Fed and whether it will raise interest rates. Bankers are voicing their concerns that low interest rates are fueling bubble growth. Worth noting that the most vocal banks are the ones that have been rocked hardest by scandals and the ones that would be most screwed if something goes bad …

Newslinks 2015-5-16

Japan gets its own TPP headaches as over 1000 people sue the government to keep it out, claiming TPP will infringe on their Japanese constitutional rights. Predictably, most represent agricultural interests in Japan, which will be punished badly by cheaper imports and end many practices designed to artificially increase prices. The head of this seems …

Newslinks 2015-5-15

A biological line is crossed as scientists discover a warm-blooded fish. A paper on the genomics of fruit flies is raising eyebrows with a massive list of over 1000 authors. The list is massive because it includes over 900 undergrads who helped analyze a portion in the main professor’s class. More traditional scientists are outraged …

Newslinks 2015-5-14

Bloomberg has a report that the US has had a new report of Assad using sarin gas in Syria. The administration hesitated to respond and then never got around to addressing it, what with all the buzz around ISIS and the administration’s great reluctance to get more involved. Alarmingly, rebel groups seem to be trying …

Newslinks 2015-5-8

The UK elections are being counted and it looks like a total disaster for Labour. Labour leader Ed Milliband goes from contemplating a broad coalition under his leadership to wondering if he’ll have a job tomorrow. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) has an op-ed in the Hill excoriating Congressional Republicans for trying to defund earth …

Book Review: War and National Reinvention: Japan in the Great War, 1914-1919 by Frederick Dickinson

When most people think of modern Japanese history, they think of the Meiji Restoration as the modernization of Japan, World War II, and then Japan’s subsequent rise to its current position as an economic powerhouse. This book fills in the large gap between Meiji and World War II, arguing Japan made a second transition after …