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Archive for October, 2010

Blue on blue: Can David Cameron keep his own party happy?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

SINCE the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government was formed in May, most observers have looked to the Lib Dems as the main source of disaffection. Yet the big arguments within the cabinet so far have been “blue on blue”, mostly involving causes dear to the Tory right.

Can David Cameron keep his own party happy?

Organised crime in Mexico

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Under the volcano The drugs trade has spread corruption and violence across Mexico. Can the police ever catch up with them?

Check out this special briefing from The Economist

The Tragedy of Sudan

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Here is Time magazine’s treatment of the Sudan crisis from 2004. We’ll see what crisis January 2011 brings…

1945-1998 Nuclear Explosions

Monday, October 4th, 2010

“This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second.  No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier.  The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted.  I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.”

See this display of the history of nuclear explosions.

Russia in color, a century ago

Monday, October 4th, 2010

With images from southern and central Russia in the news lately due to extensive wildfires, I thought it would be interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time – when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun. Collected here are a few of the hundreds of color images made available by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plates back in 1948

Fascinating Photos!

Mexico’s ruling party: The new old guard

Monday, October 4th, 2010

These days, the PAN is part of the system. After 61 years in opposition, it wrested the presidency from the hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000 and held it in 2006. Its strengths reflect its legacy as the protagonist of Mexico’s transition to multi-party democracy. Unlike the big-tent PRI, the conservative PAN knows what it stands for. “Whereas the PRI is driven by power, the PAN tends to be driven by ideology,” says Luis Rubio, the head of CIDAC, a think-tank. And unlike the fractious Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), its leftist counterpart, the PAN runs a slick operation.

More analysis from The Economist

Tools to Measure an Economy

Monday, October 4th, 2010

There are various tools that Economists use to measure the economy. No one tool offers a full or clear picture of economic health. Rather, these tools must be used in concert. Here is a basic definition and description of GDP, GNP, PPP and The Big Mac Index (all you need for APCG).

Of course, there are more creative and holistic means to measure the health of the economy. For example, statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity — instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.

A power struggle in Iran

Monday, October 4th, 2010

In the summer of 2009 Iran’s divided conservatives came together to save the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after his disputed re-election provoked huge street protests by the reformist Green Movement. To have lost Mr Ahmadinejad to a liberal “plot” would, they judged, have imperilled the Islamic Republic which succours them all.

All the same, many conservatives are far from enamoured of Iran’s president. Challenging him, however, is turning out to be a different matter.

More on the power struggle from The Economist

The Race to Lead Labor 2010

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Here is some of the coverage by The Economist of the 5 candidate race to lead the Labour Party after its defeat in the 2010 general elections.

The 5 Way Race

On Ed Miliband’s Victory

Bagehot Commentary on Ed Milliband