Kettle, Meet Pot

“Corruption across EU ‘breathtaking’ – EU Commission” says a headline in the BBC. The Commissioner responsible for the report said that she believed the cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than the €120 billion (US$162 billion) the report estimates. And indeed that is probably correct because corruption within EU organs themselves was not included. […]

Sochi-Adler Krasnaya Polyana Panorama

There has been an unceasing campaign to denigrate the construction in the Sochi-Adler area. Incompetence, corruption, double toilets and so on and on. In all of this, few people have been shown what has been built for the total cost of 55 billion or so US Dollars. We have a preview; but first a discussion […]

Shredding Sochi… in a Good Way

After a long break, a new contribution to the Experts Panel: Shredding Sochi… in a Good Way Western journalists have been in the business of dismissing Russian achievements and magnifying Russian failures ever since Putin drove them into a collective derangement syndrome – he even haunts their dreams, as recently revealed by the Guardian’s Shaun Walker – […]

The Euromaidan Thread

Discuss all things Euromaidan here and vote in the poll (tick as many options as you like). My own opinion is “Protests die down as Yanukovych reasserts control,” for reasons that I will expound upon in a forthcoming post. But I have made many of the arguments already on my Twitter feed where I, like […]

A Bizarre Pardon

I have no idea what possessed Putin. Did he think that it would spare him Western criticism in the run-up to Sochi? Of course not. Khodorkovsky was on the back-burner. LGBT rights are West’s stick du jour to beat up on Russia. Did he think it would improve the legal and investment climate? I sure […]

From RIA to Russia Today* (not RT)

RIA Novosti, Russia’s main state-run news agency, is going to be dissolved. So is Voice of Russia, a publication that I’ve written for, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta and its Russia Beyond the Headlines project*. They are to be merged into a new organization confusingly called Rossiya Segodnya (“Russia Today”), which is NOT the same as the (in)famous […]

Serdyukov is Charged

Here is the discussion at this on The Russia Debate. My friend and DR commentator Alexander Mercouris correctly predicted this outcome – that Serdyukov would be charged, but that it is a complex case that will take a long time and likely avoid more the more serious allegations in favor of those that can be […]

Ukraine’s Turn to the East: A Geopolitical Accident

“Imperialist Putin “Steals” Ukraine”… If only all those hysterical newspaper articles were true! In reality, the only thing he stole was Ukraine’s credit card debt. He’s no idiot, of course, and is in no rush to pay it off. The drama certainly hasn’t ended. But a geopolitical pivot on the model of Khmelnitsky’s 1654 decision this […]

Could Public Opposition to Life Extension become Lethal?

I have managed to find 3 polls querying people on their attitudes towards radical life extension. By far the most comprehensive one is PEW’s August 2013 Living to 120 and Beyond project. The other two are a poll of CARP members, a Canadian pro-elderly advocacy group, and by Russia’s Levada Center. While PEW and Levada polled a representative sample […]

“Transhuman Visions” Conference @SF, Feb 1, 2014

This conference is organized by brain health and IQ researcher Hank Pellissier, and its aim is to bring all kinds of quirky and visionary folks – “Biohackers, Neuro-Optimists, Extreme Futurists, Philosophers, Immortalist Artists, Steal-the-Singularitarians” – together in one place and have them give speeches and interact with each other and the interested public. One of the lecturers is […]

Health Inequalities: Why do Latinos Live Longer than Whites?

Is summarized below for each state (source) – and it shows some very interesting patterns. The average life expectancy of Asian-Americans (86.5 years) is 4 years higher than in Japan – the longest-lived big East Asian country. Taiwan and South Korea are at around 80; Hong Kong is at 83; Singapore is at 81. The […]

What is Ukraine’s Game Plan?

Even a few months ago, it looked as if Ukraine had taken a significant step towards Eurasian integration by signing up as an observer to the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. However, in the past month, evidence is emerging that it was but a temporary ploy to appease Russia while in reality speeding […]

A Meeting with Hank Pellissier

This Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Hank Pellissier, who used to work for the IEET, a futurist/transhumanist institute, and is now a blogger-journalist and amateur researcher at the Brighter Brains blog. As one may glean from the title of that blog, his current area of major interest lies in IQ and how you […]

Were the 2013 Moscow Elections falsified?

1. The CEC results Here they are. The turnout was 32%. Sergey Sobyanin – 51.37% Alexei Navalny – 27.24% Ivan Melnikov – 10.69% Sergey Mitrokhin – 3.51% Mikhail Degtyaryov – 2.86% Nikolai Levichev – 2.79% Invalid ballots – 1.53% 2. Pre-elections opinion polls: Navalny’s support – among those who indicated a clear preference for one candidate or another – rose from […]

Moscow Exit Polls: Sobyanin ~50%, Navalny ~30%

According to a roundup of all the major exit polls by Kommersant, it appears that although Navalny’s performance was massively better than expected, Acting Mayor Sobyanin still managed to avoid a second tour. Exit Polls are Pubished  for the Moscow Elections In Moscow, voting has finished for the new Mayor. According to exit polls carried […]

OPEN DISCUSSION: The Moscow Elections, 2013

A couple of polls to provide the fodder for the subsequent discussions. Feel free to provide an exact figure (to one decimal place) for Navalny’s percentage share in the comments and we can have a little competition along the lines of the one we had for the Presidential elections. Background – Sobyanin vs. Navalny in Figures (July 23 […]

The Racists Aren’t Where the Prof Said They’d Be

A few months late, but worth posting anyway. The results are based on the latest “wave” of the World Values Survey, a very interesting project that tracks sociological data across countries – and which I will likely post more about in the future. Interesting observations: (1) The West in general is the world’s least “racist”* […]

The Caveman Test

First you couldn’t have more than 10% fat in your diet, then carbohydrates became the source of all evil*. Slow-Carb waged war on the various Schools of Paleo. But the Food Pyramid continues to loom over them all like some kind of Eldritch abomination.  Weight machines were once all the rage, but then free weights became […]

The Russian Aerospace Industry is Rapidly Recovering

More info against the Department of Russia Only Produces Oil and Vodka: Here are some graphs of Russian aerospace manufacturing courtesy of the Reality vs. Myths blog. (2013 figures are projections). Total helicopter construction has now basically converged with the levels of the late RSFSR. Aircraft construction is only halfway there, but its state is nonetheless leagues […]

From Office Slave to Paperless Ninja

I have already written on the joys of cleaning house and how less is more when it comes to possessions. But possessions aren’t limited to the physical realm. Your digital files – documents, emails, music libraries, photos, etc. – share many features with property, especially as regards the need to keep them well organized and […]