Pilot fish surround a whitetip shark. The pilot fish get protection from other predators while the shark gets bacteria cleaned off. From the Daily Mail of the UK.
To readers: HAPPY 2011!!
Good luck to everyone!
International Stories to Watch For in 2011 (Max Fisher and Elizabeth Weingarten) from the Atlantic
"If 2010 was the year of U.S. efforts to promote global cooperation, then 2011 will be the year when those new coalitions thrive or fall apart."
What to Watch for in China in 2011 (Damien Ma) from the Atlantic
"China's progress is a successful variation on the East Asian growth model. That growth pattern may have exhausted its potential."
World's Top Troublemakers of 2010 from the Global Post
"From Julian Assange to sharks, here's some of the most troublesome characters of 2010."
What Do Anarchists Want? It's Easier to Say What They Don't Want (Brian Palmer) from Slate
"Unlike other political movements that define themselves by what they support—like republicanism, fascism, or monarchism—anarchism is defined by what it rejects. Namely, any authority that's imposed from above."
I've definitely been wondering why there has been a resurgence of anarchism in Europe.
Obama Should Impose a Peace in the Middle East (Paul Pillar) from the National Interest
"In 2011, President Obama should do what is necessary to push through an Israeli-Palestinian settlement that will create a Palestinian state and end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Given the prevailing political and diplomatic circumstances, “pushing through” a peace settlement will likely mean imposing a peace settlement."
Pillar may be right -- but I don't envy anyone trying to do this. As Thomas Friedman has noted, at some point, the principals have to want peace at least as much as the US does.
US Data Point to Surge in Recovery from the Financial Times [of the UK]
"Hopes of an acceleration in the US economic recovery in 2011 received a boost as fresh data on the health of the manufacturing sector and the labour market were strikingly better than forecasters had predicted."
Why Obama Pushed These Six Recess Appointments from the National Journal
"Why did Obama have to use recess appointments to get his nominees in? Here's some background on each nominee and what held them back:"
The Pelosi and McCain Awards (Robert Shrum) from The Week
"Shrum's first annual honors to the courageous and cowardly in American politics."
Why Liberals Compromise (Kevin Drum) from Mother Jones Magazine
"There seems to be a certain temperamental difference between conservatives and Republicans on the one hand and liberals and the Democrats on the other. In broad strokes, Republicans, especially of the tea-party stripe, are typically proud, at least unapologetic, and sometimes belligerent about their beliefs. Democrats, in contrast, seem to adopt the defensive position by default."
Further discussion of this topic is at Greg Sargent's Plum Line blog HERE.
Speak of the devil!:
How Harry Reid And Mitch McConnell Could Upend Filibuster Reform from TalkingPointsMemo
"A handful of junior Democrats, including Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), have done an impressive job building momentum for a package of modest, but meaningful, changes to the Senate's filibuster rules. But their plan could be completely upended and replaced by even more modest reforms, if Democratic and Republican leaders successfully negotiate a bipartisan rules reform compromise."
NOTHING meaningful will happen here! The Senate leadership will generate a new rules package with rule changes that will tinker with the most minor unsubstantial changes. Then they will go on TV and declare what HUGE reforms they have accomplished. Take it to the bank.
What the Tea Party Wants from the Constitution (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"I'm very curious to know what the GOP -- or the tea partyers they're presumably pandering to -- think will happen when every piece of legislation requires "a statement from its sponsor outlining where in the Constitution Congress is empowered to enact such legislation." What's the evidence that this will make legislation more, rather than less, constitutional, for whatever your definition of the Constitution is?"
SEE-IT-AGAIN RELIGIOUS BOOK NUGGET!!
I posted this the other day. After reading Alan Wolfe's excellent review, I reference it again in case you missed it. I've included a bigger excerpt today.
Faith and Modernity: A Review of Holy Ignorance: When Religion and Culture Part Ways by Olivier Roy from the New York Times
"Over the past few years, a number of theories have been offered about the rise of fundamentalism. Roy proposes the most original — and the most persuasive. Fundamentalism, in his view, is a symptom of, rather than a reaction against, the increasing secularization of society. Whether it takes the form of the Christian right in the United States or Salafist purity in the Muslim world, fundamentalism is not about restoring a more authentic and deeply spiritual religious experience. It is instead a manifestation of holy ignorance, Roy’s biting term meant to characterize the worldview of those who, having lost both their theology and their roots, subscribe to ideas as incoherent as they are ultimately futile."
BAD REPORTING 'BLAST-FROM-THE-PAST' NUGGET!!
Judith Miller: From the Times to the Nuts (Alexe Pareene) from Salon
"A former superstar reporter finds refuge among the right-wing, who don't care how much she got wrong."
AUTO ENVIRONMENT NUGGET!!
The Electric Car Age Just Got a Little Closer from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Last week, Sankey produced a sixth note called "2011 and Beyond -- A Reality Check." Among the takeaways: As of 2010, the new electric car age is coming upon us faster than expected -- far beyond this year's conspicuous arrival of the General Motors Volt and Nissan Leaf, and the race among the world's industrial nations to dominate this technology. Converging even more rapidly, says Sankey, are far higher oil and gasoline prices, starting in 2012."
There is A LOT of discussion out there from many sources predicting much higher gas prices for 2012.
Here's a related story:
Electric Cars Get Charged for Battle from Bloomberg Businessweek
"The first serious contenders for a mass-scale electric car are on the road. They've already changed GM and Nissan; will they change the world?"
'The Ark': Floating Hotel Designed To Address Climate Change Effects (PICTURES) from Huffington Post
"Russia-based architectural firm Remistudio proposes this arch-shaped floating hotel as a refuge from even extreme floods. Called (quite appropriately) the Ark, the futuristic structure has the ability to exist autonomously on the surface of the water."
A hotel shaped like a … slinky!
NASA Scientist Publishes 'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide from FOX News
"A manned mission to Mars would be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race. And one man knows how to make it a reality. In fact, he just wrote the book on it -- literally."
The most recent issue of the Journal of Cosmology HERE is devoted to this topic!
SCARY MONSTER NUGGET!!
Ancient 8-Foot Sea Scorpions Probably Were Pussycats from LiveScience
"Ancient sea scorpions included the largest and arguably most frightening bug-like creatures known to have lived on Earth, but despite their fearsome claws, these giants might actually have been creampuffs, scientists think."