did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Friday various

1

SOMEHOW WHEN BROWN PEOPLE GET EATEN BY GIANT BIRDS EVERYONE'S LIKE "MEH".


Posted by: OPINIONATED MAORIS | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 6:17 AM
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People projected a lot on Aung San Suu Kyi from her house arrest that is probably more about Westerners than about her and her political movement. Headline on the subject cluster around the misguided theme of some halcyon enlightened days now lost ("lost her way", "fell from grace", "where Myanmar went wrong").

This article may be apologist in the end (11-dimensional chess), but it gives more useful context than the OP-linked. "She was a Buddhist Burman nationalist then, and she remains one today."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 8:29 AM
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Part of being a heroic activist is being really damn sure you're right; this is not a good trait in someone with power.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 8:59 AM
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Her power is also genuinely limited, although it's not clear she'd change the situation given full power.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 9:30 AM
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I have been given to understand in no uncertain terms that the moniker of Ol' Buzzkill has already been appropriated in favor of a more senior commenter.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 9:50 AM
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Interesting link. Looked at in realpolitik terms, it is about Burmese nationalism, and Rohingya ("immigrant Muslims") aren't Burmese. There was a piece I read recently about Eastern European nationalism and authoritarianism that made similar points. They were always there (nationalism was a project of over 100 years duration) and democracy was a front to obtain support from the West. I know nothing about the author (Branko Milanovic) but the historical points he makes are correct (to my knowledge); perhaps his conclusions are as well?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 10:06 AM
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The link in 6 is pretty deeply cynical, ignores completely the existence of ideals other than nationalism, which ideals were certainly pretty important in both 1918 and 1989. Also, national identity before the mid-thirties was pretty complicated. The murder, expulsion and conquest of the forties changed things a lot, in particular the war erased the previously common possibility of a blended identity. It is in my opinion a mistake to consider national identity before the war with contemporary eyes. He's an interesting writer though, thanks for pointing it out.

I don't know anything meaningful about Burmese identity or politics in even the recent past, beyond superficial knowledge of effective previous attempts to violently expel Rohingya in 1991-1992.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 10:37 AM
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It is in my opinion a mistake to consider national identity before the war with contemporary eyes.

I think his point is that Eastern European national identities existed for a long time*, and nationalist aspirations were as large a motivation as democratic aspirations, or larger.

*He mentions "100 years" but that only takes us back to the collapse of the old empires. Nationalist longing existed in many countries for over 200 years (partitions of Poland) or 300 years (the Czechs).


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 11:41 AM
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Why is the partition of a historical country sharing a name with a modern country evidence that nationalist longing existed at the time of partition?

That blog post isn't very compelling. It notes religion as one of the biggest factors in the worst European wars in premodern / early modern times, but handwaves that as "practically" the same as ethnic nationalism ("unending struggles for national and religious emancipation").

Also it equates the elite rulers of those nations with the people of the nations ("none of the nations were averse... to convert themselves into the rulers of other... states").


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 11:58 AM
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The meanings and contents of Central and Eastern European nationalisms are contested, and have been for quite a while. Contemporary Poland and the first Piast state in the 900s have rough geographic similarity, but those are about the only times for which that is true. Poland's nicknames include "God's Playground" and "a country on wheels" for very sound reasons. Poland has variously been the largest state in Europe, the conqueror of Moscow, the savior of the Christian West, the first European state with a written Enlightenment-inspired constitution, a haven for Jews, and a hotbed of the Reformation. It has also been erased from the map of Europe, a most Catholic nation, the plaything of the magnates, the place where other powers compensated each other.

The share of Poles who could vote for King (indirectly, via local and then national parliaments) was greater than the share of British subjects who could vote for the Westminster Parliament. The share of British subjects with the franchise would not exceed that of Poles until the Great Reform of 1832.

Nationalisms have both liberal and liberating traditions. If we (whatever "we" means in this context) cede nationalism and patriotism to the right-wing and the authoritarians and the fascists, then we're letting go of a powerful motivating force, one that we can claim just as well as they can.

In short, each nationalism is complicated in its own way, but that's no reason to yield it to the rightists.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 1:00 PM
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Not to completely derail from contemporary Burma, which is simultaneaously appalling, hopeful for Burmese, and interesting.

8. Czech aspirations before 1848 mostly meant Jungmann and Dobrovsky, who disliked each other and had a serious dispute about the authenticity of a forgery (claiming former independent glory) Jungmann was attached to.
I do not to think it's realistic to consider a desire for political autonomy back then distinct from nationalism. Efforts then were focused on getting a few books written in Czech published; even participating in parliamentary reform of the empire came later. Talking about nationalism in 1918, varies a lot from place to place; it is the dismissal of other ideals that surprises me. Claiming nationalism as a sufficient explanation to the omission of others reads falsely to me.
Pilsudsky and Masaryk were very different men.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 1:01 PM
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cede nationalism and patriotism to the right-wing and the authoritarians and the fascists

I for one ain't ceding shit. Nationalism and patriotism need to be destroyed. Drumming up nationalist jingoism may seem really awesome and liberatory when it's the [insert your favorite oppressed nationality] fighting back against their overlords, but then you see something like [insert your least favorite unending sectarian conflict that has killed thousands or millions without producing anything positive] and you realize that only an international resistance can ever be successful at effecting lasting positive change.* I don't wanna sound all workerist or nuthing, but I just don't see nationalism as useful replacement for working class solidarity. All that bullshit of national identity has only ever been a way for the grandees to get regular people to fight and slave for the benefit of the ruling class.

*You know, every time I write something like this, I have to think "What if all the 'foggetariat is actually part of the secret, international Man Who Was Thursday-type anarchist organization, and I'm kept around to draw some of the heat. Or perhaps there are even more levels than that. For awhile I really wanted to become a Freemason so that I could start a secret, Hellfire Club-style inner circle (besides the Shriners) which would then have a secret inner circle of incredibly powerful manipulators of nations and people, which in turn would have a super-secret ultimate cabal of anarchists and that would be absolutely the very top...or would it?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 4:43 PM
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Of course, if you take that to its logical conclusion, the worm eats it's own tail, and some bum on the street in Kathmandu is actually the most powerful person in the world.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 4:46 PM
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2.1: The post was to condemn that kind of projection, not just about Burma.
2.2: That's a good link, thank you. I suspect though it apologizes too much in focusing on the Rohingyas, with their British Indian history, and barely mentioning the many other wars in the mountains, like those in the OP quote. The longer history suggests to me that British rule didn't just introduce foreign laborers, but also interrupted Burmese expansion from the middle Irrawaddy outward, and the current regime (like all the post-independence regimes?) seeks to complete that expansion.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 10:33 PM
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12: Nationalism can be harnessed to progressive policies. It doesn't necessarily cause conflict, witness postwar Europe, 20th century Latin America, most of the world since 1945. Most important, nationalism already exists, where international working class solidarity, or even middle-class solidarity, has never happened. You want to oppose actually existing nation states, the most powerful organizations in history, with 19th century pamphlets.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-12-18 10:50 PM
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I'm not very sanguine about nationalism these days, but 12 is definitely the triumph of hope over experience. The historical evidence is that only elites are capable of trans-national solidarity. Elites who turn against trans-nationalism can whip up a nationalist frenzy at will. The right-wing in Poland managed to whip up an anti-immigrant frenzy in a country with zero immigration, and considerable emigration.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 1:51 AM
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Nationalism was an appropriate response to the empires of the 19th and 20th centuries, but in the 21st century it primarily manifests as bullshit racism.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 7:49 AM
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Eh, nationalism was pretty bad in the 20th century too.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 11:31 AM
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17: Creation of as much as response to. The world we live in, anyway, is a world where nationalism has already happened and has to be dealt with. Just pointing and saying racist isn't an adequate response.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 12:50 PM
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If racism isn't an adequate response, it isn't a problem.


Posted by: Opinionated Republican | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 2:20 PM
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The historical evidence is that only elites are capable of trans-national solidarity.
Elites and fascists.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 2:21 PM
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||

Saw this on Twitter:

If Bitcoin were to cease trading tomorrow, 0.5% of the world's electricity demand would simply disappear - which would cover one year's worth of the carbon emission cuts required to limit temperature rises this century to 2C.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 5:04 PM
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How much if we get rid of Twitter?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 5:33 PM
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0.5% of the world's electricity demand is probably an exaggeration. Bitcoin is extremely wasteful, but its also not that widespread.

0.1%, I'd believe.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-13-18 10:45 PM
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||

So, I've been wondering where the President was actually going to speak when he gets here this week. The best indoor venues are at the university, but the word was they aren't interested. The weather looks pretty good -- maybe low 60s -- but Thursday is still far enough away that you'd want to plan to be indoors. Outside the U, there's no indoor concert venue that seats even 1,500.

They've announced today that it'll be at some hangar at the airport. I guess that keeps him from having to be driven into town, maybe seeing someone who voted against him. Also, it's convenient for people coming into town from the north, where plenty of people support him.

The point of the visit isn't the 1,000 or whatever people he can talk to at the airport, but trying to get a Dems Gone Wild video somewhere. We'll see.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 8:49 AM
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The Economist reckons Bitcoin used 22 TWh last year. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/07/09/why-bitcoin-uses-so-much-energy#ampf=undefined

World electricity consumption in 2017 was 20,000 TWh. So Spike is pretty much bang on.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 12:31 PM
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It will be interesting to see what happens when the money flowing into Bitcoin becomes lower than the cost of 22 TWh of energy per year. In fact, that's probably already the case.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 1:08 PM
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Maybe that's why things have been interesting* lately.

* "Interesting" in the sense of really horrible but will make for good reading in a history class 200 years from now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 1:18 PM
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Well, the inevitable bank run on Tether seems to finally be underway. There is a distinct possibility it will cause the entire crypto ecosystem to collapse.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 2:33 PM
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OT: I just finished grading exams, and one of my students scored a 24. Out of 100. With a curve.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 4:56 PM
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Don't write them a letter of recommendation unless they want to study in Israel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 5:21 PM
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The bird article from the OP was very interesting. I just got around to reading it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 6:08 PM
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Hey, Moby, get the free trial of Acorn TV and checkout Keeping Faith.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 10:23 PM
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Or anyone else who likes their thrillers with a Welsh accent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 10:23 PM
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For instance:

the beginnings of an Arakanese insurgency. In 1811, a new royal levy for 40,000 men sent another huge exodus of refugees towards Chittagong, adding impetus to the local guerilla resistance which soon defeated the Burmese garrison and took Mrohaung.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-14-18 11:28 PM
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In Arakan, Burmese governors, backed by elephants and musketeers, barely controlled more than the main towns of Mrohaung, Ramree, Cheduba and Sandoway, as the peoples of the marshy countryside and the adjacent hills held out against their grasp. Ava's occupation lasted only forty years and throughout this time rebellions and cross-border raids by Arakanese insurgents continually challenged ap recarious presence.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 1:05 AM
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It was only the Irrawaddy valley that the Burmese kings really controlled.The overwhelming proportion of their subjects lived in a narrow strip of land on either side of the Irrawaddy and its principal tributary, the Chindwin.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 1:24 AM
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I never even heard of Acorn TV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 4:30 AM
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Revenues from the occupied towns were divided between the treasury and selected members of the Court of Ava, with all the revenues from Mrohaung itself being granted to the king's white elephant.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 6:00 AM
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I have literally no idea what that means, so it may or may not be relevant.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 6:03 AM
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#relevantelephant


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 6:06 AM
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I initially read 35.1 as Arkansan insurgency


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 6:26 AM
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The historical evidence is that only elites are capable of trans-national solidarity

This seems to be generally true, but wasn't there a time that people might have said, "Only elites are capable of national solidarity"?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 7:04 AM
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And now I'm reading job applications, and a letter of reference from an Ivy prof not only didn't turn off track changes, but also clearly cut and pasted from a letter about another student. We're still gonna short-list the guy, but...


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 7:16 PM
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It would be really funny if the track changes were all removing the word "not" and were attributed to the candidate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-18 7:25 PM
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Land donations [to Buddhist monasteries or pagodas] were often accompanied by donations of slaves to work the land. Those who did, the hpaya-kyun, were irredeemable slaves. Even though they were common cultivators in every other way, they came to occupy the lowest rung in the Burmese social ladder, as low as those who dealt in death.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-16-18 12:36 AM
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44: My first advisor once turned in a rec letter (for PhD candidacy, so internal, at least) where not only was it templated, he had forgotten to change the pronouns, just did a find/change on the name.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-16-18 3:45 AM
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My final D.Phil advisor made me write my own letters of recommendation, and then he'd give it a quick once over and sign. Hateful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-18 4:00 AM
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48. You probably knew yourself better than he did.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-16-18 6:07 AM
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47: There were definitely pronoun problems in this one.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-16-18 7:08 AM
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