Random Links XV

Russian RTG Sub:

http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/2007/12/w3ts2.html

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/003918.html

http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2007/12/russias-not-so-super-secret-special.html?

European Baby Boom:

http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/1620

Optimists noting the parallel between current European fertility & the 1930s will find the conclusion discouraging:  “In sum, the post-war baby boom was rooted in widespread gender inequality in the labour market combined with the after effects of World War II. In the very different circumstances and societies of today, a repeat of the baby boom on these terms is neither viable nor desirable.”

Nth-Country Experiment:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/24/usa.science/print

See also:  Dan Stober, “No experience necessary”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 2003, vol. 5, issue 2, pp. 56-64.

Global Warming & Sea Level Rise:

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/09/new-analysis-co.html

“…increases in excess of 2 meters are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter.”

Chinese Labor Surplus:

http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12052315

IIRC, economic growth is a function not only of change in population size, but also change in productivity. If the increase in the latter outweighs the decrease in the former, you can still have economic growth even with shrinking population.

In China, for instance, one can divide the labor force (roughly) into high & low productivity segments. The former works in technology, export-oriented manufacturing, etc. The latter is mainly rural subsistence farming. China’s economic growth strategy has been to shift millions of people annually from low-productivity to high productivity jobs (*).

Now, say China’s population started decreasing tomorrow by 2 million/yr, evenly divided between the high & low productivity segments. If they were able to move people into high-productivity jobs faster than the high-productivity sector workforce shrank, said workforce would continue to grow, and with it China’s economy.

Of course, there are limits to that; once everyone is in a high-productivity job, continued increases in productivity (e.g., via application of technology) would be needed in order to offset continued population shrinkage.

(*) delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/03/peering_into_th.html

Geoengineering:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/35693

Islamic Bond Crash:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a_Zh0q70aPxY&refer=exclusive

Politics & Civility:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/small-towns-and.html

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f1984d88-7cd5-11dd-8d59-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/do-democrats-ne.html

http://blogs.ft.com/crookblog/2008/09/more-on-democrats-and-respect/

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/coastal_privilege.php

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/respect-and-two.html

Applies to Republicans too, BTW.

Psychology, Politics, & Ideology:

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/haidt08/haidt08_index.html

http://www.edge.org/discourse/vote_morality.html#shermer

Those who believe people vote Republican ‘cuz they’re duped into doing so would be well advised to read these.

Central American Gang Insurgency:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050501faessay84310/ana-arana/how-the-street-gangs-took-central-america.html

Recall that Latin American stability is not necessarily in our interest.  Rather, our goal WRT Latin America is that it remain unwilling or unable to threaten us.  A Latin America preoccupied with domestic troubles accords with this goal.

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