Assorted links

by on May 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. No great stagnation in potato cannons.

2. Bureaucrats around the world, a photo essay.

3. Can countries die?

4. Not all variables have been held constant.

5. Might European REPO markets come under threat?

Andrew' May 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm

1. DO NOT use acetylene.

NPW May 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm

@ Andrew, Why not?

I’m curious how one tests for the best fuel exactly. Wouldn’t you first need to find the best fuel/air mixture for each fuel for expansion in the selected barrel?

How can you assume a relationship between one potatoe cannon and all others? Couldn’t the set up affect the fuel of choice?

How would one state that compressed air is a weaker option? Isn’t the effectiveness of compressed air relative to how much compressed air you have?

Aren’t you, in effect, testing the best fuel for your particular barrel/compression chamber/other elements?

The chart, I have to admit, looks pretty definitive though.

Dan Quayle May 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

* potato

stalin May 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

potatoe or you’re an Enemy of the People

Rahul May 11, 2013 at 3:33 am

Strong nominee for Ignoble Awards 2013?

If some kid tries this at home also a nomination for Darwin Awards 2013, possibly.

Joe Smith May 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm

#3 The author is one step away from suggesting emigration restrictions.

The problem in Ukraine is simple – the country is too corrupt to attract Western investment. It was true twenty years ago when acquaintances of mine wanted to invest millions of dollars and employ hundreds of people in the Ukraine (after discussion with government officials in the Ukraine they decided it was too corrupt) and it seems to be true now.

Jan May 11, 2013 at 8:25 am

Corruption is a problem, but there are much more corrupt countries with far more foreign investment. As far as former Soviet states, Ukraine really ain’t that bad–maybe the Baltic countries are better, but I’d say that is probably it. The issue is that Ukraine doesn’t have the oil or natural gas deposits that many of these more corrupt countries do. Also, it was rejected in its short experiment under a more Western model and Russia was able to quickly regain its influence.

JWatts May 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

#3: One assumes, that in the case of Ukraine with its rather drastic emigration of workers, that public retirement pensions and public services in general will disappear.

Mark Thorson May 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Ireland experienced greater emigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but it continued to exist. What does it mean for a country to “die”? There will always be people living on any livable plot of land, and there will always be a government to exploit them (if you count warlords as a form of government, which it most certainly is).

farmer May 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

ireland is an island off an island off a continent, ukraine is dead-center, smack dab in the middle of a continent. geography matters

Rahul May 11, 2013 at 3:21 am

Why should we grieve if a country dies?

Andrew' May 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

3. “Can countries die?” Is that a request? As in, “can countries who don’t have a border but porno scan their citizens before getting into aluminum tubes please just die?”

KLO May 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Ukraine does have much of a reason to exist. Half the population speaks Russian natively, Ukrainian indentity is weak and the political culture in the country has failed. If it were incorporated into Russia, many people there would surely be disappointed but just as many would be happy. In either case, the passion would not be driven by strong feelings for Ukraine itself, but rather for or against Russia.

Dan Weber May 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Urso May 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Historically, times of declining population on the steppes have been self-correcting via an influx of immigration. From the east. On horseback. Query whether this mechanism is still available today.

momo May 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Perhaps it would be more appropriate if they went with the times and used bullet trains.

JWatts May 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

and used bullet trains.

Or just bullets.

Piros May 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Historically the Don steppe also filled from the Northwest and from the Southeast. This wasn’t always invaders on horseback, though it was usually armed. Considering that every one of these involves Slavs I doubt the Ukraine will be all that unrecognizable no matter what happens, and the farm land is very nice.

The only reason Ukraine would “die” is if it was absorbed by another country such as Russia, but as long as Gogol is read in the original Ukraine wont be dead. I’d worry far more about Belorus. But if that ceases to exist as an independent entity, I suspect few, other than smugglers and gangsters will mourn.

The only way nations die is if it they are exterminated, absorbed, or subsumed in a larger nation. Did Ruthenia die? No it became Ukraine.

If I was to ask: can a country die, I would be asking about Kashubians or the Karen, not Ukrainians.

Axa May 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

# 3: It would be great to analyze under this view all the small regions in Europe dreaming with independence. What happens if after independence population goes down until independence is not sustainable anymore? Like the possible scenario of Latvia

A rising population was a default conditon from the past. Not anymore.

Glenn Mercer May 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Those photos of bureaucrats were of AMATEURS! HERE is a REAL bureaucrat!

(I don’t think I can paste photos in comments so here is a link (I swear, it is safe!) to the photo!

Piros May 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

+1 A Harappan would recognize her

Rahul May 11, 2013 at 3:24 am

Is MR recycling links? I could almost swear I saw this linked from MR in the past two years.

derek May 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

>elicit newfound empathy for these very human wardens of the red tape prison

Speak for yourself.

John Schilling May 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm

#3: Before a country dies, it will pass through a stage where it is extremely weak. Traditionally, that was the point where it would be invaded and conquered by a less-senescent neighbor: the real estate at least is valuable, and if it’s inadequately defended…

Presuming wars of conquest remain passe, the question I think isn’t what should happen to dying countries, but how they likely will be exploited in their weakness. If the death spiral takes the form of using borrowed money to prop up a dying economy until nobody will loan them any more money, then the exploiters will probably be those who have money and the imagination or need to invest in something that a dying country might still have to offer.

Sovereignty is one possible answer, for those who don’t already have it. For example, it seems plausible that Mikhail Khodorkovsky could have essentially purchased the government of Moldova outright in 2003, which would have been a good deal for him on account of the diplomatic immunity alone.

Donald Pretari May 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm

So, this week we’ve discovered Two Keys to Success:
1. Cultivate an Unpopular Passion.
2. Have a One Syllable First Name.
Let’s keep this going.

BrentR May 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Before Ukraine died, Cargill would just buy it.

Dave Barnes May 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

And…plant potatoes for the defensive artillery.

Ronald Brak May 11, 2013 at 11:49 am

3. If Australia was two countries, a narrow coastal strip and a vast rural interior, the larger country would already be pretty dead. Internal emigration has shrunk its population, those who are left tend to be old and the young often don’t stay. Many communities depend on pension and welfare payments but interior Australia is not a drag on coastal Australia’s economy because of its agricultural and mineral resources. The Ukraine has vast resources but currently lacks the right combination of factors to make sure its resource wealth supports its aging population rather than going to cronies. In the past joining the EU may have been seen as a way to get that competance but that route is much less attractive now. But with wheat at $315 a tonne and increasing climatic instability, I guess I’m sort of optimisitic about the Ukraine. It doesn’t take too many of the elite driving brand new BMWs and spending big after a bumper harvest to make grumpy old people with little to loose more willing to apply people power to redress some of the imbalance.

stalin May 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

Ah, if Uncle Joe were alive to see how it’s really done.

Prakash May 13, 2013 at 12:55 am

The #3 link makes me wonder why are these countries not pouring their resources into SENS and other such endeavours? Even if the chance of a payoff is very little, the potential benefits, if any of the therapies work out, could be huge.

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