Category Archives: Geopolitical News

Posts about interesting news, with links and brief excerpts.

Updates to past posts, and an open thread to post comments and questions about gepolitics

Summary: Today we have updates to past posts, interesting recent news about important themes.  Also, please use this as an open thread to comment and ask questions about geopolitics.

By Drew Friedman, New York Observer, 21 August 2012

Contents

  1. More news of the robot revolution
  2. The rumor-mongers were wrong (again) about US carriers attacking Iran
  3. Ayn Rand back in the news!
  4. The rumors were wrong. Prince Bandar is alive!

All of these stories are about observation, learning, and adapting. Things we used to do so well, but appear to have forgotten.

(1)  More news of the robot revolution

During the past two years the FM website has run many posts about the robot revolution, the next wave of automation in manufacturing and especially services. Better vision, mechanical skills, sensors, ability to interact with humans, and what sci-fi author James Blish called “semi-intelligence” = another structural shift in unemployment.

Slowly it comes into view of the general public: “Skilled Work, Without the Worker“, New York Times, 18 August 2012 — Excerpt:

This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution. Factories like the one here in the Netherlands are a striking counterpoint to those used by Apple and other consumer electronics giants, which employ hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers.

… The falling costs and growing sophistication of robots have touched off a renewed debate among economists and technologists over how quickly jobs will be lost. This year, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made the case for a rapid transformation. “The pace and scale of this encroachment into human skills is relatively recent and has profound economic implications,” they wrote in their book, “Race Against the Machine.”

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Wisdom in the raw: best of the comments from the FM website

Summary: Intense bare-knuckle discussions of important topics brings out the occasional burst of raw wisdom. Here we harvest those from the comments section of the FM website. Please post in the comments your favorites and your reactions.

By Walt Kelly, for the first Earth Day in 1971

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Pogo: one of America’s greatest philosophers explains the challenge for our time
  3. How to reply to scientists that disagree with you about climate change
  4. Why do conservatives call Obama “Fearless Leader”?
  5. One of the best attacks on Obama
  6. The key to the reform of America
  7. Some best of thread winners
  8. See the future of comments on the FM website!

(1) Introduction

The FM website has 23 thousand comments, and they show its evolution. We started with the goal of presenting information and analysis about technical aspects of geopolitics: our wars, 4GW, history, military theory, and economics.  We believed that this would help people better understand the world, and the comment section would provide readers an opportunity to discuss things on the edge of the known — the borders of our data, theory — and differing values. We were naive.

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Recommendations for your weekend reading pleasure – and an open comment thread.

Summary:   Today we have a potpourri of articles — insights, information, and folly — for your weekend reading pleasure (with the two best below the fold).  Yes, this went up a day early. The comment box is open.  Ask questions and express your views.  Please be polite and brief.

(1)  Everybody loves real estate!  See the fascinating tables and graphs in the 2012 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.  Australia looks like a bubble ready to pop.  Out-migration has produced very inexpensive housing in some US cities.  Too bad they have little (or no) job growth.  An Florida urban housing affordability still has not returned to levels of 2000.

(2)  Propaganda deconstructed:  “Tax Foundation – up to its usual nonsense“, Linda Beale, Angry Bear, 6 May 2012 — Marketing the bogus “tax freedom day”

(3)  An important insight from research, to remember every day:  “Don’t Like the Message? Maybe It’s the Messenger“, Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review, 4 May 2012

(4)  This is what the approach of peak oil look like:  “Marginal oil production costs are heading towards $100/barrel“, Financial Times, 2 May 2012 — A steady rise in exploration and development costs.

(5)  This deserves to be at the top of your reading list: a revised edition of John Boyd’s Patterns of Conflict. An introduction is here. Download the PDF here.

(6)  An interesting report about an important subject “A Dozen Economic Facts About Innovation“, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, Brookings Institute, August 2011

(7)  The ominous opening sentences to Limits to Growth – the thirty-year update by Donella Meadows, Jorgen, and Dennis Meadows:

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