30 September 2014

Who benefits when the U.S. economy grows?

These graphs (and their accompanying analysis) should be grounds for deep apprehension about the direction of the U.S. economy and all its imitators.

In this chart (from Pavlina Tcherneva's homepage), similar data are plotted slightly differently. The symmetry of the decline of the majority and rise of the poor is startling.

It doesn't get any better if we focus on the 1%.

Opposing the "Property Party" in HK

Some interesting photos of the HK protest posted on Shi Tao TV (an internet TV station?)

     The Chinese on the sign doesn't just say "no," it explicitly says, "Overthrow the Communist Part." The Chinese word for "Communist Party" has three characters, the first meaning mutual, together, and so on, the second meaning property, and that last a party of faction. Notice that the mutual/together character has been crossed out, leaving only "the property party."

This photo, taken around Sept. 29, shows the scale of the protest.

Air-pollution: A real-time map

I came across this map that compares air quality across the world. The air quality in China is amazingly bad.

21 September 2014

A year of solitude

I came across Kull's 1993 PhD dissertation on living a year alone in the wilderness in Chile. I wish it described living alone in a U.S. or Canadian wilderness, since I'm more likely to go to those places. All the same, I'm amazed that this was accepted as a PhD thesis. McGill needs to be congratulated for being open to such things. I haven't read much beyond a few excerpts, but it looks interesting. Some pictures with brief descriptions are available at Bob Kull's website.

20 September 2014

Aging: Will past trends continue?

The Atlantic has an excellent article titled What Happens When We All Live to 100?

18 September 2014

The French Lieutenant's Woman

I recently finished reading The French  Lieutenant's Woman. While not terribly enjoyable, it has its moments. I was searching for a readable book at a used bookstore in Jasper, Alberta, and they had an unbelievably unappealing collection--mostly Readers' Digest compendiums, astrology books, and the like. My guess is these were books given to them by people in RVs. I figured (correctly) that Fowles' book would at least be written well, as it's considered to be something of a classic.

26 July 2014

22 July 2014

Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter

I just finished watching Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, a 2013 German TV series. I just about passed it up due to the dopey English title Generation War, but I'm glad I watched. The film follows five friends after they split up in Berlin around the beginning of WWII. The actual fighting scenes are shot very well, capturing some sense of the jarring effect that large weapons must have when one is actually in a battle. Like so many movies, the film has a completely unrealistic premise of people continually running across each other within the enormous Eurasian theater of war, but I guess a little suspension of disbelief is always called for--it's a movie after all. Unlike many American films, the characters are geeky enough to be believable. Some of the dialogue associated with Friedhelm, who has no patriotic feeling or delusions about the war from the beginning, are interesting. For example, at one point toward the end, his friend asks him why he would keep on fighting when the war's coming to a close--what's the point? In a deadpan, he responds that there never was a point.