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2. Africa’s least visited countries

After just listening to the "Geography and Development, Trade" lecture, I'm going to guess it's the large number of land locked African countries that aren't getting much tourism.

The top 7 are mostly coastal or island nations that are relatively small ~10k sq miles or less.

The 8-12 are larger and contiguous to one another, but technically only 3 of them are completely land-locked.

2. Nearly all the countries are in central Africa. Coincidence?

#3 was good, and the idea that MOOCs could become college screening was new for me. I guess it makes sense, given that so much high school competition has moved to AP classes.

The Mongolian laddie is obviously a very clever boy, but the headline suggests that the word "genius" has been subject to grade inflation.

Indeed, it sounds like the most exceptional person in the picture is the tiger principal who perfectly packaged and sold this kid into a bright future. There are thousands of young people just as talented (and many much more so) as this one all over the USA, but our cultural elites would rather lavish our scarce resources on these exotic pets. I'm reminded of this Tom Friedman article:

http://mypostingcareer.com/forums/topic/169-thomas-kinky-friedman-must-die/

Damn! I was gonna drop a spoofing "but what about all the neglected perfect score American kids being overlooked" comment here, but you beat me to it.

+1 I read hastily and at first thought it was about a 6 year old boy (not a 16 year old) doing college level engineering on his own in Mongolia.

Mike , 'exotic pets" is a very offensive phrase to use about migrants. You can express your views more politely. By the way, I believe in the superiority of western culture although I am an Indian, living in India with no intention to migrate to the U.S. though I could have if I wanted to. So I am not one of your "offensive pets" but still I find your language objectionable.

So you totally missed the point? The entire point was that these are viewed as "pets" by the educational elites who carefully plug minority quotas with these people (instead of, say, American blacks, who are just yucky to the same people).

I think Mike vews them as exotic pets. he is not articulating the views of the elite in using this expression. Again, he can express his antagonsim to these "exotic pets" , but it would be better if he does it in a more polite way when posting in a blog like MR. I wonder if Mike sympathizes with the views expressed in the blog to which he provides the link. If he does , that phrase just shows he is antagonistic to Asian ( and perhaps other non-European?) migrants for reasons a libertarian will find difficult to endorse. I should add that in my view America should regulate immigration, allowing only skilled migrants who don't depend on doles, and the government should insist they integrate with American society at large. Otherwise God save your great nation.

I think Mike vews them as exotic pets. he is not articulating the views of the elite in using this expression.

freethinker, nuances can be hard to read in posts such as this, but I'm pretty sure that Mike was using the phrase just as Vernunft stated.

freethinker - you are wrong.

I hope this has been useful. I'll bill you for the logic lesson. Cheers.

#4"More likely, “shadow banks” (institutions that act like banks but are not regulated like them) would step in to meet the public’s unmet demand for money-like assets. As shadow banks take over some of the banks’ responsibility for producing money-like assets, the financial system becomes more fragile."

I don't care how the banks are regulated or run as long as the failure of one does not cause the failure of many more and does not result in a government (tax payer) bailout. This article is just sophisticated blocking for the banks against greater capital requirements.

The whole idea is yet another TBTF scam.

A completely deregulated banking (and without central banks) couldn't possibly be worse from the one we had up to 2008 and the one we have now.

One can borrow in Bitcoin at a fairly low interest rate.

The comical part of these breathless articles is they depend upon the reader not remembering how things were last week. In those bad old days of higher capital requirements the "shadow" banking system was smaller by orders of magnitude than it is today. Not that it matters when the government has been turned into a credit generating machine, supplanting banks traditional role. But, that's a topic for another day.

How can Ackroyd write a work on the history of England if politics does not interest him? Or is it more accurate to say that contemporary politics not interest him?

I'm always confused as to what metrics to use to judge the validity of a claim for secession / independence by a sub-state or region.

Does every such claim deserve a plebiscite? Should all plebiscites be binding? Will the ultimate equilibrium here be tiny enclaves of success carved out of mostly mediocre, poor and dysfunctional majorities? Aren't many nations subsidized by smaller regions of industrial or natural resource strength?

I'd love Tyler to post on MR about how one judges the merits of a regional /. linguistic / ethnic claim for independence!

This is something I have always wondered about as well. If my town wants to succeed from New York state, do we have the right to? If me and my brother want to succeed from the town, do we have a right to? At what point does one cross the magically dividing line that makes one to small to have the right to self determination?

And don't try to use language as the the defining metric. Or if you do, be explicit about the fact that you don't think Canada, Australia, and the US should have had the right to self determination.

I've never found a good answer except noting that history judges favorably those secessions that ended up well in hindsight.

Which is why I find baffling the somewhat strong intellectual / academic support for the Catalonian cause: Is there a good objective way of going about deciding which freedom movement is praiseworthy and which not?

The standard is how well the existing government secures the natural rights of the individuals living within the sub-state or region and whether those ends (of securing those natural rights) would be better served through independence/secession. Admittedly, evaluation of this standard is subjective and not always self-evident. However, strong opposition by the central government to self-determination itself is often a sign that such government is either failing in its mission or does not even recognize that its mission is to secure individuals' liberties. An exception to this observation would be where the independence movement itself has anti-liberty motivations, e.g., where a majority in the sub-state seeks independence to suppress the rights of minorities in that sub-state.

To ask a concrete question: Historically, which independence movements would not deserve the support of a disinterested benevolent third party?

The various ethnicities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Americans were, perhaps, perhaps not, a disinterested party. And they broke up a fairly benign peaceful political order to create a lot of smaller little states who were generally nastier to their minorities. Often a lot nastier.

Essentially the Americans made sure Central Europe swapped Vienna for Hitler and then Stalin.

By any measure, better Franz Josef than Uncle Josef.

I subscribe to that reading of history myself.

I will give the obvious answer, even though one is not supposed to give the obvious answer to questions like these in intellectual circles. The Confederacy was not worthy of support since the motivation of that independence movement was to prolong slavery.

But would you apply that to the American Revolution itself?

Britain had moved to ban slavery - in fact they had just found that the Common Law did not make anyone a slave. It was only a matter of time before that logic was applied by British Courts to the mainland of America as well.

Something, after all, pushed slave-owning gentry like Washington and Jefferson into the arms of northern radicals.

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