Notes From All Over (14/4/2013) – Digital Feudalism, Macrohistory, and Energy

A collection of articles, essays, and blog post of merit.

This collection is a large one. 


Our Internet Surveillance State
Bruce Schneier. Schneier on Security. 25 March 2013.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period…..

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

See also: Feudal Security
Bruce Schneier. Schneier on Security. 3 December 2012.


Some Macrohistorical Context About Mynamar
Razib Khan. Gene Expression. 7 April 2013.

Posts like this are the reason Razib Khan should be on your blog roll.

Domain as State: Sengoku Daiymo Seen Through International Relations Theory
Nate Ledbetter. Sengoku Field Manual. 14 March 2013. 

In  Whence Springs a Strategic Canon?” I suggested that the Sengoku period of Japanese history might boast its own “international state system” and “military revolution” comparable to that of Early Modern Europe and Warring States China, but admitted that my knowledge of the period is not strong enough to back up this claim. Mr. Ledbetter’s knowledge of the period is strong to evaluate the claim and he devotes the first part of this paper to doing so. 

How Social Darwinism Made Modern China 
Ron Unz. The American Conservative. 11 March 2013

The Evolution of Japan’s Turn Away From Confucianism
Mark Hoffman. Japan Times10 February 2013. 


Lets Do Monetary Theory and Lets Do MT – Deferred Promissory Trades
“MaxedOutMama.” Maxed-Out-Mama. 25 March 2013/26 March 2013.

A series devoted to building monetary theory from the ground up – and she really means it, starting with the gift exchanges of Chimpanzees and moving on from there. Fascinating analysis; I look forward to the series completion. 

Superior Mayan Engineering
Noah Smith. Noahpinion. 3 April 2013.

Noah Smith looks at Mexico’s growing economy and pulls a few historical lessons from it:

That blueprint is called, for lack of a better term, “manufacturing-export capitalism”. We don’t really know what countries can do to get rich, but the really successful ones all seem to do something that looks like “manufacturing-export capitalism”. And it’s basically what Mexico is doing right now…. But in that theory, there’s a catch – not all countries can industrialize at once. There’s only a certain amount of manufacturing exports that the rich countries can absorb. So countries have to wait and develop one by one, which is unfortunate, and which is frustrating. Actually you can almost see this happening in East Asia – first Japan got rich, then Korea and Taiwan, now China, tomorrow maybe Vietnam.


Don’t Mess With Dr. Zhang
Dave Cohen. Decline of the Empire. 8 April 2013.

Hydrogen fuel (extracted from plants) may be the next big thing in reneweable energy – Virginia Tech’s Dr. Y. H. Percival Zhang has made remarkable breakthroughs in making this a reality.    

Why Abundant Oil Has Not Cut Gasoline Prices
Asjylyn Loder, Mario Parker, and Matthew Philips. Businessweek. 28 March 2013.

Six Reasons Fracking Has Flopped Overseas
Jeff McMahon. Forbes. 7 April 2013.


The Mesh of Civilizations and International Email Flows 
Bogdan State, Patrick Park, Ingmar Weber, Yelena Mejova, Michael Macy. Technology Reviewver. 2.1. March 2013.

Samuel Huntington is famous for the thesis that the world is divided among cultural and religious lines, which he labels “civilizations.” This study analyzed global e-mail correspondence to find out if the world is connected along Huntington’s “civilizational” lines. The result: it is. Page 7 has the info-graphic (“Figure 3”) that explains it all. 

Hat tip to Breviosity

Analysis: In bitter irony for China, North Korea furthers U.S. strategic goals
Paul Eckert. Reuters. 10 April 2013.

A Day in the Life of a Beijing ‘Black Guard”
Lan Feng and Ren Zhongyuan. Caixin Online. 2 April 2013.


Aligning FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency with reality
Stephen Melton. Small Wars Journal9 April 2013.

Earlier this week I wrote that “counterinsurgency operations are dead. Dead as a doornail.”   More specifically, the operations authorized by the Obama administration are in direct contradiction with the principles set forth in FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency. Stephen Melton outlines what might replace them. 

Hat tip to Zenpundit.

The Western Strategic Tradition
Lynn Rees. Committee of Public Safety. 14 April 2013.

A informative survey on different sources of the Western strategic tradition, written in response to my earlier post, “Whence Springs a Strategic Canon?” 

Of  E.O. Wilson, IR, and Strategy
Adam Elkus. Logics of Transformation. 8 April 2013.


Abnormal is the New Normal: Why Will Half the U.S. Will Have A Diagnosable Mental Disorder? 
Robin Rosenberg. Slate. 12 April 2013.

Could This Be China’s Youth Movement? and Are You A ‘Diaosi’ or ‘Chinsumer?
David Cohen. The Diplomat: China Power. 30 March 2013 and Want China Times. 9 March 2013.


The Making of the Obesity Epidemic: How Food Activism Led Public Health Away
Helen Lee. Breakthrough Institute Journal. Spring 2013.

Moving Beyond the Crisis of Political Science 
Adam Elkus. Logics of Ttransformation. 9 April 2013.

Mega-Volcanoes Tied to Pre-Dinosaur Mass Extinction 
Kevin Krajick. The Earth Institute: Columbia University. 21 March 2013.

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