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Messages - jax

DnD Central / Re: What's Going On In Russia?
Yes, there is only one way a change of government can happen in Russia now.

Introducing the Russian Presidential election 2024 (a year also the EU and US can vote for Pro-Putin candidates, or not):

Kremlin Handpicks Putin’s 2024 Election Opponents

Should be safe for now, but while the oligarchs are largely out of power, pitting the other groups he depend on against each other is getting harder.
Browsers & Technology / Re: The Hardware Thread
Some items will have near 100% recycling rates, and that includes EV batteries. (And incontrovertibly virtual & HPV > public transport > EVs > ICEVs both in emissions and environmental impact; leaving the Cybertrucks and F-150 Fat boys aside, there was a point where EVs vs ICEVs were a trade-off, we are past that point now.)

Everyone will return EV batteries unless that EV has been in a major accident or lost in a lake. There are second-life use cases and they are simply too expensive to throw away. Maybe in the far future EV batteries will be cheap enough to forget about, but by then reuse has hopefully been automated.

Consumer electronics is a different story. Here the financial incentive a near negligible. But this looks promising.

Framework announces Laptop 16 — and promises ‘holy grail’ of upgradable graphics 
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Scandinavia, North Atlantic, Baltic States and Scotland?
It has been shaping the last five years or so, dramatically increased the last year, pretty significant changes to be expected the next five to ten years. After the Cold War a lull in the Naugties, and now this rearmament a.

More importantly the Nordic integration. Effectively the Nordic countries have been split into two theatres since WWII, the Arctic  theatre comprising Iceland, Denmark (and Greenland) and Norway, and the Baltic theatre comprising Sweden, Finland and pieces of Denmark. These two are now merging.

Nordic Air Force Takes Flight

(That merge is happening elsewhere in Europe too, like the slow merge of Dutch and German forces)
DnD Central / Re: Infrastructure
It is more a practical than political, it was going to happen anyway, but it will have consequences both practical and political. The lag for Latvia and Estonia will probably be 1–2 years.

Kaliningrad has an interconnector to Lithuania, so either they will have to change as well, add some conversion equipment or break contact. For this test Lithuania did the latter.

Estonian connections to Finland and Lithuanian to Sweden are HVDC, so there aren't synchronisation issues as such.

Finland, Sweden, Norway and half Denmark is in a different zone anyway.
DnD Central / Re: Artificial intelligent - Ideas producer
Problem with using generative adversarial networks to detect generative adversarial networks is that they are trained on each other. That arms race could lead to "AI" being as useless at detecting/evading "AI" as the rest of us. (GANs have their limits, question is where they are.)

If it is done in realtime, timestamping would have limited utility (but should prevent retroactive rewriting). And we couldn't stop a "hitherto undiscovered Shakespeare play" from appearing anyway.
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Jax has always seen the EU farther east than actuality permits. Byzantine logic? I'm still waiting for North Africa to be mentioned. 😋

Morocco already applied for European Community in 1987, and was rejected. Of course, this was a different time and different rules, but it is highly unlikely they will send another application. Morocco benefits from a good and close relationship with EU, but integration is a few steps too far. It is our line in the sand so to speak. Besides Ukraine already fills the quota for big, poor and agricultural countries. They are about the same size, but unlike Ukraine, Morocco's population is growing, if not by a lot.

But we got the Union for the Mediterranean, basically Roman Empire 2.0 plus some barbarian states that were not a part the first time around. 

This is something French presidents fiddle around with when bored, but this Club Med, or some club like it, will gradually start to matter.

He has mentioned it repeatedly under the name Sahel. Such as here:

...the EU is taking over the G5 Sahel as a European issue...
In my view, a lucid indication of lack of sense of geopolitical direction.

At best, focusing on Sahel would be a distraction. Its inevitable consequence would be increased ire of the people of the region, since it is France's national project, their colonial heritage. And therefore 100% hypocrisy. At worst, it would divert attention and resources from actual threats and opportunities, also from necessary tasks at hand in Europe, such as the Balkans, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus.

I would actually agree with that, the "ire" part that is. There is no win in this at the moment, except for preventing opportunity losses. And that is not done by force. Militarily the EU has withdrawn from Sahel, but Russians rush in where Europeans fear to thread. 

Africa is going to matter far more to Europe in the future than Russia will (Ukraine, Moldova, the remainder of the Balkans, and perhaps Georgia and Belarus will become part of Europe). It is Russia that is the distraction, not the Sahel. 
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Nato *is* European security system, but fully separate from the EU institutions. Namely, a European security framework as an EU institution doesn't exist (that's why EU members join Nato, duh). Germany and France are superannoyed by this and keep making proposals for an EU security framework, silently intended to replace Nato. Just ask Macron and Scholz (or better, observe). Luckily their project is stuck for three main reasons:

Obviously NATO is a good and useful thing. To trot out Lord Ismay again,

[The purpose of NATO is] to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.
With Brexit, the British went down instead, but two out of three is still not bad.

"Keeping the Americans in" is as important as before. NATO has let North America and Europe do more with less, and the time of Western supremacy and US hegemony is over. However you should see the difference between these two organisations.

NATO is a what, EU is a how. NATO is a club. EU is a guild. NATO has no rules. EU has rules for everything (a mild exaggeration, there are plenty of things EU has no rules for yet). NATO is also a weapons platform as vangrieg (Mikhail Grigoryev) once pointed out. NATO has been, and can remain, very useful, but it only goes so far. 

It also bends and extends in other ways, not only by having the US (and now Britain) in it, and Canada with Russia & EU & US as neighbours, and the not-yet-ready-for-EU members, but also with South Korea and Japan, and indirectly Australia and New Zealand. All good Europeans.

Like NATO has an article 5, the Treaty of Lisbon has an article 42.7. The latter is actually more definitive, but as until now unused.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Article 6
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.
Article 42
(ex Article 17 TEU)

  • The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. The performance of these tasks shall be undertaken using capabilities provided by the Member States.
  • The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides. It shall in that case recommend to the Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

    The policy of the Union in accordance with this Section shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States and shall respect the obligations of certain Member States, which see their common defence realised in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), under the North Atlantic Treaty and be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within that framework.
  • Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy, to contribute to the objectives defined by the Council. Those Member States which together establish multinational forces may also make them available to the common security and defence policy.

    Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities. The Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments (hereinafter referred to as "the European Defence Agency") shall identify operational requirements, shall promote measures to satisfy those requirements, shall contribute to identifying and, where appropriate, implementing any measure needed to strengthen the industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy, and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities.
  • Decisions relating to the common security and defence policy, including those initiating a mission as referred to in this Article, shall be adopted by the Council acting unanimously on a proposal from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy or an initiative from a Member State. The High Representative may propose the use of both national resources and Union instruments, together with the Commission where appropriate.
  • The Council may entrust the execution of a task, within the Union framework, to a group of Member States in order to protect the Union's values and serve its interests. The execution of such a task shall be governed by Article 44.
  • Those Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework. Such cooperation shall be governed by Article 46. It shall not affect the provisions of Article 43.
  • If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

    Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation.

In the case of Ukraine, the country is neither member of NATO or EU, so the respective articles don't apply, but both organisations have had their uses. The EU is more crucial long-term.
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Jax has always seen the EU farther east than actuality permits. Byzantine logic? I'm still waiting for North Africa to be mentioned. 😋

Putin changed the status of Ukrainian membership from "unlikely" to "inevitable". The only question is when and how. It is possible that it would happen before the remaining Balkan states. 

Blue are member states, green are candidates, yellow are applicants, and red are frozen candidates. Certainly there would be those who would prefer no eastward expansion, like France or Spain, and every country has veto power.

Still it is a political and economic impossibility not to admit Ukraine. We have experience with earlier expansion, and it is extremely costly. Germany spent 2 trillion euro and thirty years on getting East Germany up to scratch, and it still isn't really. Western Europe has spent a lot on Poland, Baltic states, Central Europe and Romania/Bulgaria. That too is pretty much a work in progress.

Ukraine are all three big bads. It is big, poor, and agricultural. Add to that war-damaged, post-Soviet and corrupt. Basically the funds that go to the current Southern and Eastern Europe will go further east.

Still, it is feasible if Ukraine is on a membership path. Then we can expect massive FDI as well as domestic investments.
DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Edit: Oh, and it also helps that in schools we rarely say "book" but rather there is a different fancy general word that means something like oeuvre in French, so that's what we say when we want to seem educated.

Going out on a limb and guessing "teosed", but more generally work, as in "the works of Chaucer" or some such.

(Hi)story is nice, as is tale (a telling), but better yet might be to go for work, or preferably opus (or opera).

Work, in all its form — opus, opera (you know the Opera lore I think, the "Opera" in "Multitorg Opera" comes from here), ergon… — is appropriate, though it focuses on the toil of the creator. That is also apparent in that the word for (a) work, in Swedish verk, is related to a word for "lingering pain", värk. But this word focuses on the producer, not the product.

For the generic word I like words like tale and saga, that which is told or said. But that assumes there is somebody telling. If the work is wrought by e.g. ChatGPT, it wouldn't quite be appropriate.

Appropriate it would be to end with a couple PIE reconstructions. "dough" and "fiction" may share an origin. *dheigh-As may advice, story and wit, *weid-.


DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
A transition from book to novel wouldn't be too unreasonable, if we ignore that most books are not very novel.

None of the books used in English are that great. Book and beech (the tree) have the same wooden roots. Most obvious in Swedish, where the word for "book" is "bok", and the word for "beech" is also "bok". 

Novel comes from new(s), and that is fine, though most books are not particularly new either. In practically every other European language a novel is called a "roman", from the Roman language. That is pretty obsolete by now as well. 

(Hi)story is nice, as is tale (a telling), but better yet might be to go for work, or preferably opus (or opera). Or perhaps clip (cut, but also cleave). 
DnD Central / Re: Artificial intelligent - Ideas producer
You may refer to evolution as Darwinism if you like, but it is odd unless it is either in a historical context, as a way to contrast Darwin's ideas with someone else's, e.g. Lamarck, or, as in "Social Darwinism", ideas inspired by Darwin. It is a bit like referring to General Relativity as Einsteinism. Again, you could if you wanted to contrast to later (or earlier) theories of gravity, just like you could talk about Newtonian physics.

If you think evolution is "waning", that is your prerogative. It is evolving.
DnD Central / Re: Artificial intelligent - Ideas producer
There are those who actually have believed for decades that "AI" is a threat, and that seems a prevalent fear in Silicon Valley. Some also wanted to know if were were someone else's simulation.

But for others this could be a useful distraction from the real threat from the owners of said systems. If we are afraid of artificially superintelligent supermalevolent superpowers, the likes of Roko's basilisk, we might not pay attention on how much Big Data the Big Players have gathered on us. 

I don't worry about the systems as such, and by looking for "intelligence" (or "malevolence") we are looking in the wrong places. These are potentially very useful tools to gain power and wealth and prominence at the cost of others. It isn't "intelligence" that make them useful and/or dangerous, but their capability to take advantage of data collections for benevolent or malevolent uses.

This XKCD will have to go on repeat.


Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: TV Show Popularity in Your Neighborhood
Der gleiche Himmel about spy games between DDR and West Berlin. The first episode is promising.

If you enjoy Estonian subtitles, here you go
If not, turn them off.

Sofia Hedin speaking German was a nice complement to her speaking Norwegian (well, Swedo-Norwegian, she played a Swedish princess) and English in other roles.

The Same Sky had promise, but didn't reach it. Enjoyable in a way, as all series set in Berlin are, but ultimately 🐴🐴🐯🐯 as they say in Chinese.

Speaking of which, we got Counterpart, which I enjoyed, but not enough others, so it got cancelled after two seasons.

DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
There was popular support for EU, except when it mattered. Which in itself is interesting.

With a predictable outcome.

Us joining NATO is a vote of confidence in the EU. It has made Norway joining EU more likely, and the EU debate has started. Not happening soon nor in any hurry anyway, with Norway in NATO and the EEA.

The Muscovite Empire will dominate EU foreign and security policy the rest of this decade, but ultimately it will not be our primary concern. Putin has pushed a path East, so now not only Ukraine and Moldova will become members, uncertain even unlikely otherwise, but Georgia as well. That means that the EU will not just practically bordering the Levant (Cyprus), but practically border the Caspian Sea and Iran as well (Georgia).

Thanks to member state colonialism EU practically borders everywhere else too, but that is a different story.

By becoming NATO members, the last two military significant EU members that were not NATO members have now joined. Sure, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, and Malta are still not NATO members, but while they may strategically or otherwise matter, militarily they don't. It is a bit like the Swedish oral tobacco exemption, or maybe more seriously the Danish opt-out on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which Denmark voted just a few months ago to drop. 

Denmark, Sweden (soon), and Finland are now fully integrated in the European security system, and Norway and Iceland pretty much are as well. 

NATO is a club. Club members are the EU countries (with those four exceptions), prospective EU members (though Turkey's prospects aren't that good at the moment), EU peripherals (Iceland, Norway, UK), and the former colonies as rjhowie would have said (currently self-governing). In addition to a military platform, it is a contact group, with some outreach to South Korea, Japan and Australia. It is not very formal, but it is quite useful to keep club members on at least adjacent pages.
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
I haven't killed a thread like this since Opera. I truly am home.  :pirate:

Congratulations. Good job.

It was fervently hoped that this winter should be the winter of our discontent(s). Didn't quite pan out.

While national governments may often struggle with their popularity, the EU is popular and improving in both soft and hard power. 

Popular support for Ukraine and the energy transition remains strong.

EU seals deal to send Ukraine 1M ammo rounds

The EU has reached a deal to send Ukraine 1 million rounds of ammunition within the next 12 months.
The plan — seen by POLITICO — will see the EU both donate ammunition from its own stockpiles and also jointly purchase new shells for Ukraine. It also leaves open the possibility that the EU could help countries collectively buy missiles for Ukraine. And it sets a goal to “jointly procure” these munitions “in the fastest way possible” before October.
Diplomats and ministers finalized the strategy during meetings in Brussels on Sunday and Monday. EU leaders are expected to give their final blessing at a summit in Brussels later this week.
The deal represents a landmark juncture for the EU, marking the first time the self-described peace project has plotted to jointly buy arms for a country at war. Officials have argued the EU must evolve to meet the extraordinary moment — no less than the fate of democracy on European soil is at stake, they insist.


In the run-up to the informal meeting of the Ministers of Defence Council, which took place in Stockholm on 7 and 8 March, Head of Agency Borrell set out three complementary tracks to deliver more artillery ammunition and to deliver it more quickly: first to help Member States in sending such ammunition from national stockpiles or from pending orders; second to aggregate demand and quickly move to 155mm collaborative procurement; and third to ramp up the manufacturing capacity of the European defence industry.

DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Really? Is there a difference? I consider the difference as imaginary (or rather unnecessary) as between Internet and internet. (As to "the", Estonian - and Finnish and Russian - don't have it and I'd rather we never did.)
Perhaps it's because we live in a Christian (Dutch: christian) nation. The distinction is somewhat imaginary when talking about bibles that contain the Bible but there are also bibles in the sense of authoritative works in general.

"The Bible, that's how it's written in the Bible, Biblestudy"
"biblepaper, a bible seller"
"an Italian food bible"

The general rule is that proper names are capitalized and type names aren't. So the Bible/Quran/New Testament is considered the same as something like the Guardian or the New York Times, albeit under a special "holy books" category. But an individual bible is a type name. The Bible is a bible and the New York Times is a newspaper. Or something like that. But yeah, it's certainly odd for the bible seller.

There are a lot of Xerox/xerox pair where the trade mark name lost their trademarks. Bible/bible, referring to the Phoenician city of Byblos is just one example.
DnD Central / Re: Today's Bad News
Speaking of these German burgers, far-right groups used to have wild plans to get into power.

Now they seem more intent on cutting power instead.

Fears of Extremist Campaign After Attack on US Power Station

Vandalism at four power stations in the western U.S. state of Washington over the weekend added to concerns of a possible nationwide campaign by right-wing extremists to stir fears and spark civil conflict.

Local police on Tuesday gave no information on who they suspected was behind the vandalism, which knocked out power on Christmas Day for about 14,000 customers in Tacoma, a port city area south of Seattle.

Tacoma Public Utilities, which owned two of the facilities targeted on Sunday, said in a statement that it was alerted by federal law enforcement in early December about threats to their grid.

Odd, though. The closer groups are to Putin, the more keen they are on energy warfare.