History, Politics, Truth

Russian intervention in U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

U.S. Civil War has become a popular topic of late, but as it turns out, what nearly everyone thinks they know about that event is wrong. My high school and university history classes left me with the impression that the war was fought over the issue of slavery: the “North” (good guys) was against slavery and wanted it abolished; the “South” (bad guys) wanted to keep the slaves, so they all went to war. Good guys won, bad guys lost, slaves got their freedom, and the world was made a better place. That, in a nutshell, is what I thought I knew about the Civil War. I’m not sure why I had that idea so, to make sure I wasn’t mistaken I conducted an informal survey among my American friends and acquaintances, all university educated people, some of them with advanced degrees. I asked about a dozen of them what they thought U.S. Civil War was about. To a person, all of them unhesitatingly answered that it was about the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, none of them were aware that Russia played any role at all in the Civil War. It struck me that maybe my friends and I all had the same basic idea about that event because we were meant to have that idea, which is now pretty much part of the popular culture. However, the popular interpretation omits some critical aspects of history. Continue reading

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Economics, Eurasia, Media, Policy, Politics, Social development, Truth

Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in power: the scorecard

The following article summarizes many of the changes in Russia over 17 years  under Vladimir Putin’s rule. All of the information presented is based on empirical data, most of it from western sources like the World Bank, Ernst&Young, Vtsiom, Ipsos and Gallup. Virtually none of this information was presented in any western corporate press with the notable exception of Forbes magazine (which took the information down after a few weeks). In addition to the below, I’ve subsequently published an article in three parts titled, “Is Vladimir Putin evil?

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Media, Policy, Politics, Psychology, Truth

Zika hype and how the media fail to serve us

Noam Chomsky wrote that, “Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.”

Any time the mainstream media latch onto an issue and make it a big story you can be sure that it’ll be spun, doctored and distorted so that the public can’t take a well-informed position on the subject. Examples of this are countless and pervasive. About a year ago, the Zika virus story suddenly burst forth, seemingly out of nowhere, linking the mosquito-borne virus with frightful birth deformities in infants of affected mothers, including microcephaly. The story led to mass trip cancellations, abortions, unnecessary carpet-spraying against mosquitoes (which killed millions of bees), and much hysteria in general. As it turns out, the virus is harmless. Continue reading

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Complexity, Energy crisis, Policy, Psychology, Social development, Truth

Dear Leonardo, …about that 97% consensus…

Yesterday I saw a brief speech by Leonardo di Caprio imploring people to vote – not for the candidate who ignores science. He was talking about the scientific consensus on global warming and mentioned that 97% of all scientists agree that global warming climate change is a man-made phenomenon. This 97% consensus figure is so compelling, it is only fair to explore where it came from.

Where “97% consensus” comes from

One Margaret Zimmerman conducted an opinion survey in 2008. The “survey” consisted of a two-question online questionnaire sent to 10,257 “earth scientists” (?), of whom 3,146 responded. Continue reading

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