Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Saturday, February 23, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Resource wars

Energy and Empire: a review of Michael Klare's book Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict.

In exhaustive detail, based on close scrutiny of publicly available but seldom publicized Departments of Defense, State and Energy documents, Klare provides a superb primer of the landscape of potential global conflict over the next few decades, and America's likely role in it. Mainstream media pundits present current U.S. foreign policy - in piecemeal fashion - as a series of scattered, seemingly ad hoc responses to individual, isolated "hot spots." Klare argues that there is a thematic thread running through U.S. strategy, whether in the Caspian Sea, China or Columbia. It is focused on guaranteeing U.S.-based multinational corporations steady, uninterrupted access to the dwindling supply of non-renewable resources. With the end of the cold war and the growth of worldwide energy-intensive consumer markets, the ideological blocs and conflicts (between U.S. capitalism and Soviet communism) that defined, and gave a certain perverse stability to foreign policy from the 1940s through the early 90s, have given way to new "geo-econocentric" struggles.

Quantum programming

Quantum Computers and Quantum Computer Languages: Quantum Assembly Language and Quantum C

We show a representation of Quantum Computers defines Quantum Turing Machines with associated Quantum Grammars. We then create examples of Quantum Grammars. Lastly we develop an algebraic approach to high level Quantum Languages using Quantum Assembly language and Quantum C language as examples.

Oil peak

Peak Oil: an Outlook on Crude Oil Depletion

This paper is about Peak Oil. It truly is a turning point for Mankind, which will affect everyone, although some more than others. Those countries, which plan and prepare, will survive better than those that do not. It is a large and difficult subject, but the essentials are clear.

In summary, these are the main points that have to be grasped:

  • Conventional oil - and that will be defined - provides most of the oil produced today, and is responsible for about 95% all oil that has been produced so far.
  • It will continue to dominate supply for a long time to come. It is what matters most.
  • Its discovery peaked in the 1960s. We now find one barrel for every four we consume.
  • Middle East share of production is set to rise. The rest of the world peaked in 1997, and is therefore in terminal decline.
  • Non-conventional oil delays peak only a few years, but will ameliorate the subsequent decline.
  • Gas, which is less depleted than oil, will likely peak around 2020.
  • Capacity limits were breached late in 2000, causing prices to soar leading to world recession.
  • The recession may be permanent because any recovery would lead to new oil demand until the limits were again breached which would lead to new price shocks re-imposing recession in a vicious circle.
  • World peak may prove to have been passed in 2000, if demand is curtailed by recession.
  • Prices may remain weak in such circumstances but since demand is not infinitely elastic they must again rise from supply constraints when essential needs are affected.

[via SynEarth]

Reading list

Christopher Moore has a new book out: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. I didn't like his last book, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, as much, but hiis first four: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, and Island of the Sequined Love Nun were all hilarious. Lamb goes on the reading list.

Choosing our friends

Tyranny in the Name of Freedom

It is ironic that one of the USA's most valuable allies in "Operation Enduring Freedom" was Islam Karimov, who presides over Uzbekistan -- one of Asia's most entrenched dictatorships.

Karimov allowed US forces to use Uzbek bases against its southern neighbour, Afghanistan. Washington rewarded this support with an historic joint US-Uzbek memorandum, signed on 30 November. Hailed by both sides as announcing a "qualitatively new relationship," it promises Uzbekistan significant military and economic backing. A likely legacy of the war will be the bolstering by the US of yet another corrupt and repressive regime that performs useful strategic services.

See also:

[via Follow Me Here]

Pauling's notebooks

The research notebooks kept by Linus Pauling are being released online by Oregon State University. Parts are available now, the rest will be up at the end of the month. [via ResearchBuzz]

One network to rule them all?

The Urge to Merge: an hour-long radio program on the effect of the recent Appeals Court ruling removing restrictions on a single company owning both cable franchises and broadcast TV stations in the same market.

Who controls the news? After court rulings this week, doors are wide open for new deals that could make the Rupert Murdock/Sumner Redstone world of media magnates even smaller. With fewer and fewer people deciding what stories get covered on radio and TV and in the papers, some say cross-media monopolies are undermining the market. If the only thing keeping editors honest is competition, what's to prevent a 500-channel, but one-view world?

Supposedly, the FCC; the organization charged with protecting the public and keeping stories like Citizen Kane from coming true. But the new FCC chairman thinks more free market and less regulation is good for the economy and good for you. The leaner, meaner media, mergers and the FCC.

See also: Limits on Media Ownership Voided [via Interesting People]

Is it possibly a hint?

Rockers spooked by singing nuns: members of a rock band playing at Chapel Studios, a converted nunnery in Eastbourne, report hearing nuns sing everytime the band starts to crank it up.

Studio owner and band member Vince Von Bastrum, 38, said: "It's very bizarre.

"It's a high-pitched sound which can be heard over the band, no matter how loud they play.

"I have heard it myself and the funny thing is it doesn't happen with my other clients working with more relaxed music.

"It's just Cobra's rock that seems to set it off."

[via The Anomalist]

Our allies, the slavers

Pakistan's slave trade: Andrew Bushell describes the fate of Afghan refugees falling into the hands of Pakistani slave traders.

Servitude exists in many forms in Pakistan. Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Afghan families -- eager to flee 20 years of war and three years of drought -- have sought safe haven in Pakistan, only to spend the rest of their lives working to pay off the debts they accumulated to get there. They do so by becoming indentured laborers, often at brick factories, and by sending their children to carpet factories that crave small fingers. Indentured servitude is not only legal but ubiquitous in Pakistan, and servant culture thrives: the wealthy can have a driver, three maids, a cook, and a night watchman for less than $75 a month.

And then there are the slaves. Many Afghan families cross into Pakistan through the lawless tribal areas in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). It's a harsh climate, and they have no contacts, no food, and no money, which leaves them wide open to the predations of slavers. Pakistan's tribal areas -- there are seven in the NWFP and several autonomous cities -- are the last vestiges of the British Raj's failure to conquer Afghanistan. A series of agreements ("treaties" is perhaps too strong a word) includes the tribal areas as part of Pakistan, but confirm their complete autonomy from Pakistani law. The political culture, dominated by councils of fiercely independent tribal elders, hasn't really changed in over 600 years -- only now every house has several machine guns, and most have electricity.

[via Cursor]

Will there be anything left even if he loses?

Mugabe pawns nation's assets in deal with Libya

Robert Mugabe is believed to have mortgaged most of his country's most valuable assets to Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, in exchange for hundreds of millions of pounds in loans to keep Zimbabwe from complete collapse.

Desperate to cling to power in next month's elections, President Mugabe is said to have handed over state-owned farms, hotels and oil refineries in a secret deal with Colonel Gaddafi. As part of the exchange, the Libyan dictator is funding Mr Mugabe's security forces.

U.S. sanctions Zimbabwe

As expected, the U.S. has followed the E.U's lead and imposed sanctions, in particular restrictions on travel to the U.S., on Zimbabwe's government members. Mugabe, for his part, claims these don't bother him:

"What is Europe? What have I been wanting in Europe? I think it is not a real punishment to us. We can visit other countries in Asia and Africa," Mugabe said. "Why should my money go to Britain? I don't have goats there. I have goats and pigs here."

See also: US and UK name targeted leaders

The US House of Representatives recently passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which enables the sanctions to be applied specifically to targeted leaders. The punitive measures will also affect their children in colleges or schools overseas.

Topping the list of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) issued in the Anti Money Laundering Guidance Update, Issue 3, of the Joint Financial Crimes Unit, is Robert Gabriel Mugabe, followed by his two vice-presidents, Simon V Muzenda and Joseph Msika.

Others are John Nkomo; Patrick Chinamasa; Stan Mudenge; Simba Makoni; Sydney Sekeramayi; Swithun Mombeshora; Joseph Made; Ignatius Chombo; Timothy Stamps; Herbert Murerwa; Samuel Mumbengegwi; Francis Nhema; Joyce Mujuru; July Moyo; Nicholas Goche; Jonathan Moyo; Grace Marufu Mugabe; and one W Chikukwa (listed as assistant defence adviser--Zimbabwe).

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley