20 November 2016   Leave a comment

Joel Mokyr has written an essay on the idea of progress.  Progress is a central tenet of Liberalism and we often take it for granted that the future will be better than the present.  The idea of progress, however, is a recent notion which had to fight a difficult battle against the assumption that the ideas of ancestors should be venerated. Mokyr does an excellent job of referring to different Enlightenment thinkers and tracing the evolution of their ideas.

Max Fisher has written a very good article on the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran for dominance in the Middle East.  It traces the hostility only from 1979, the year the Islamic State of Iran was created so it does not address the deeper historical tensions between the two, but it lays out the various stages of the rivalry in geopolitical terms.   The article does a very good job of laying out the reasons why Saudi Arabia is so apprehensive about the rise of Iranian power and why that tension could come to a head in the Trump Administration.

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An earlier post noted how warm it has been in the Arctic.  More recent news indicates that the warmth is contributing to the lowest area of sea ice recorded for this time of year.  Indeed, satellite readings of global sea ice area (including Antarctica) leads to w rather remarkable chart (below).  The red line primarily reflects the loss of Arctic sea ice (as the article points out, it makes little sense to combine both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice) and the deviation from average is stunning.

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Posted November 20, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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