11 July, 2017

Reality guide: A poster of how everything fits together | New Scientist

If you have any interest in how everything may hang together, this is useful:

NewScientist_A1-Poster_Reality

Where it's most useful, however, is reminding us how little we actually know.

Reality guide: A poster of how everything fits together | New Scientist

10 July, 2017

China’s biggest ally in the South China Sea? A volcano in the Philippines — Quartz

Interesting connections--between Mt. Pinatubo, Typhoon Yunya, and China replacing the US in the South China Sea.  In one sense these events just accelerated some long-standing trends, but the impact of natural disasters on international relations is seldom given enough attention. 

Clark Air Base after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

China’s biggest ally in the South China Sea? A volcano in the Philippines — Quartz

Fatalities of firearms vs motor vehicle by U.S. State

Fatalities of firearms vs motor vehicle by U.S. State
This is interesting.  A comparison of fatalities by firearm versus fatalities by motor vehicle.  Clearly, it's not a random distribution.  I wonder why?  Any ideas?

Fatalities of firearms vs motor vehicle by U.S. State

The world by income (2017)

 
I like it when a map helps me to see connections I'd otherwise overlook.  I know North Korea is poor, but putting it in the same box with South Sudan and Afghanistan is something I hadn't thought of.  Likewise, Singapore and Seychelles.  It also raises some obvious questions:  why is French Polynesia so much better off than American Samoa?  Better administration?

The world by income (2017)

What the Largest Battle of the Decade Says about the Future of War


Mosul has some interesting lessons.  But we shouldn't get too focused on this one case.  Urban warfare is in transition.

I was interested in the over-reliance on special forces in the first stage of the war.  They're good, but but they're expensive, and grabbing and holding territory is not their job.  This looks like the sort of mistake the US might make with its own forces.

Most important: this is not over.  Daesh is not defeated.  It isn't even driven out of all the territory it holds.  And a coalition is most likely to fall apart when people are more worried about the post-war environment than they are in finishing off the original enemy.



What the Largest Battle of the Decade Says about the Future of War