33 thoughts on “Open Thread IV”

  1. The previous post about Pakistan reminded me of something I've been wondering about for a while now. If the Pashtun territories were to break off, would Pakistan's government have an easier time controlling the new borders than they did the old? I'm not thinking in terms of people's desire to cross the border so much as the physical ease with which it could be done.

  2. Well Dan, you asked for it! I'd like your opinion on that old cliche: New Guys Finish Last (with reference to romantic relationships).

    1-2 paragraphs max. 🙂

  3. Dan,

    Thank you for the invitation to comment. I've been a tdaxp wallflower for approximately 2 months, but haven't felt up to snuff enough to comment on the topics (e.g. pakistan failing, homeland security, and others). However, I throughly enjoy the pointedness of your writing and consider it an advance introduction to things I would probably never think about (e.g. 5GW).


  4. “Nice guys finish last, but we get to sleep in.” – Evan Davis

    I use your 5GW and other archived series's as personal reference.

  5. Anybody here remember the “Seven Sisters”? [1]

    Times have changed….

    Interesting comments posted below. Here's one in particular, by someone named “Blert”:

    “It would help to keep perspective:

    The tributaries of the Amazon – in Peru alone – have enough hydro-potential to power the planet.

    Yet there are no dams there.

    Electrolysis of its headwaters could power the hydrogen economy.

    The whole endeavor would be a design-build project, entirely conventional.

    Alaska has staggering methane deposits whose only current use is to expedite Alaskan crude.

    Yet we don't tap them. Indeed, their existence has fallen from the common memory.

    Shifting our heat engines over to compressed natural gas is already economic. Honda has already released one model into regular production.

    On the economics, CNG is going to kill the electric car – in most markets – forever.

    Of the 'companies' listed CNPC of China will never be an oil exporter, and they are all technology importers.

    Of paramount importance is that none of these outfits is any kind of decision maker. They have third rate commodity skillsets – at best.

    These are not 'oil companies' they are extraction-tariff engines. They exist to divert wealth into political hands – not produce it.”

    And there are plenty more interesting comments/discussions below that post.

    Here's another thing worth considering, from a comment posted by one “M. Simon”: [2]

    [1] http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/03/who-are-seven-sisters-of-oil.html
    [2] http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html

  6. How many folks here use the Firefox extension “Scrapbook”? [1]

    [From the website: ScrapBook is a Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections. Key features are lightness, speed, accuracy and multi-language support. Major features are:
    * Save Web page
    * Save snippet of Web page
    * Save Web site
    * Organize the collection in the same way as Bookmarks
    * Full text search and quick filtering search of the collection
    * Editing of the collected Web page
    * Text/HTML edit feature resembling Opera's Notes ” — tdaxp ]

    Just wondering.


  7. Michael,

    Has the loss of Bangladesh made West Pakistan more or less governable?

    I imagine the same would be true of West West Pakistan, as well.


    New Guys or Nice Guys? :-p


    If you've been here for the past two months, you caught a month of really sad blogging. Sorry for the bad introduction.

    I am glad tdaxp is interesting 🙂


    Excellent! How 'bout a link to Dreaming 5GW [1] from the Metropolis Times? [2] 😉


    I love those links! The focus on market solutions is really, really important.

    I haven't tried scrapbook, but I use delicious [3] and its firefox plugin a lot.

    [1] http://fifthgeneration.phaticcommunion.com/
    [2] http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/
    [3] http://del.icio.us/tdaxp
    [4] https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3615/

  8. I installed Scrapbook about a month ago, but haven't used it extensively. I probably should; it's pretty good.

    But I also use Performancing for Firefox [1] , now called “ScribeFire”, for writing new entries or even just notes and proto-entries about whatever I'm reading, and since it sits in the lower half of the screen, I can copy-paste info from sites to it, either saving as a note or publishing to the blog if the entry's ready.

    Scrapbook would allow the creation of a very interesting resident “research library”, however. I'm not that systematic, though!

    [1] https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1730/

  9. Thought I'd just help push the comment count.

    Just finished Sagan's Varieties of Scientific Experience. Nothing new (taken from lectures in the 80s) but still good to hear (read) the man's voice.

    The infiltration of Putin's network continues. This weekend involved wine and the feigned learning of the phrase 'ya nimnoga punamayu paruski' though all here are well aware of my extensive Muscovite vocabulary.

    Soon Michael and I visit Tyler at his abode. Camping is somewhat likely, though weather must cooperate. In transit I shall finish 'Smartest Guy in the World' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front'. Once I have enough reviews to put Bizarro to shame, I may link them in.

    We have purchased tickets to the wedding in Nashville. You don't need to buy tickets for the wedding itself, but walking would be crowded, we've opted to fly.

    Read a brief blurb that '300' is an anti-Iranian propaganda piece sponsored by DoD. Wish I had the link. Check fark.

  10. A link for Aarons above mentioned '300' “propaganda” take. 1

    (Self-promotion begins…) My take. 2 (…and ends.)

    I've been kicking around the subject of Afghanistan's opium trade. Wouldn't a NATO effort to curtail said trade (through margenalizing the source: farming) be counterintuitive in the same respect of Bremers myopic course of action in Iraq? Given the US domestic take (war on drugs) doesn't this present something of a catch-22?

    1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2033628,00.html

    2. http://soobdujour.blogspot.com/2007/03/psychological-warfare-how-dare-ye-ahm.html

  11. I'm not wondering about overall governability so much as border control specifically. Right now, the border between Pakistan and Afganistan is more-or-less uncontrolled by either nation. If Pakistan let go of the Pashtun regions, would their new border (either with an expanded Afganistan or a newly-formed Pashtunistan) be easier to control without tribesmen on both sides, or harder because of leveler terrain (more passes to watch)? Or would it be easier because of leveler terrain (easier to use fast patrols to watch everything)? Bangladesh, being physically disconnected to begin with, doesn't really say anything about the situation.

    Mind you, I'm not sure this whole scenario is realistic, I'm just wondering if it would be a good idea if it was?

  12. Is anybody else having this problem:

    I can't comment at any blogspot bog (like Zenpundit), because it ask for a captcha that doesn't actually display.

    Is it just me?

  13. PurpleSlog,

    I had a problem recently at a blogspot blog, since the commenting page seemed to **force** a Google/Blogspot login. Whenever I'd try to choose “other”, and hit preview on a comment I'd written, nothing happened at all.

    For some odd reason, I have difficulty logging into my Google account from a blogspot blog, also. It doesn't recognize my password although it should, if I enter it. So I had to open my Google home page — or log in directly through Google — and navigate back to the blog, where I was finally “recognized” as being logged in to my Google account.

  14. Jayson,

    Thanks for all the links! They help keep tdaxp relevant! In particular, the Web2.0 dictionary is very fun. 🙂


    Youch! (Joke about “gagged” diplomats not spoken, in the interest of decorum…)


    I've re-installed the Google Toolbar, because of it's integration with Google Docs & Sheets. Now if I click on an office document in firefox, it seemlessly opens in my Google Docs account, rather than starting up an office editing application or a worthless viewer. (Now if they had the same thing for pdf files…)

    PS + CGW,

    My biggest gripe with the new blogger is that the comment form loads almost immediately, but then will re-load. So if I begin typing right away (which I sometimes do — I'm a pretty good touch typer, so I don't wait to see my words) everything I do will be lost. It's very annoying.


    Can we expect a Learn Russian podcast from you soon?

    Regarding 300, it's interesting that Tehran doesn't use the film to attack the unIslamic nature of ancient Persia…. Of course, the reason is obvious: Ahmadinejad is a nationalist and a populist more than he is a zealot.


    Pakistan's inability to control backwater provinces has a lot more to do with Pakistan's incompetent government than with the nature of those provinces. Pakistan entered the 1940s richer and stronger than India. The decline of the Islamic Republic, and the rise of the Federal Republic, are proof that wealth is in citizens and ideas, not cash or gold.


    Hmm.. I wonder if I can get my blog readers to sponsor that trip! :-p

  15. From the March 2007 issue of The Atlantic:
    “The Ten-Cent Solution”
    by Clive Crook


    If good ideas were all that mattered, everybody who has heard of Jeffrey Sachs would have heard of James Tooley as well—but they aren’t, and you almost certainly haven’t. In fact, even if you are keenly interested in education, aid, or Third World development, which are Tooley’s areas of research, you still probably haven’t heard of him.

    This is not because his work is dull or unimportant. His findings are surprising, and they bear directly and profoundly on the relief of extreme poverty all over the world. (Name me a more important issue than that.) The reason you haven’t heard of James Tooley is that his work is something of an embarrassment to the official aid and development industry. He has demonstrated something that many development professionals would rather not know—and would prefer that you not know, either.[…]

  16. What about the possibility of pulling out of Iraq, letting Iran invade and lose resources fighting their own kind,
    and then come in and mop up the dregs?

  17. Uh, maybe because Iran is being real cagey and using almost entirely proxies that such a strategy doesn't make it off the drawing board. Where's the dregs if Iran's able to do it on the cheap by using urban based terrorists and guerilla forces?

  18. Jayson,

    Reminds me of how federalism [1] is a method of innovation and improvement. Great link!


    By “their own kind” you must mean Muslim, as Arabs (a semitic people) are not Iranians (an aryan people). Likewise, the Baathist/Qaedists Sunnis are not Shia [2]


    Well said.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/09/10/another-reason-to-despise-the-republican-congress.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/12/30/what-is-the-difference-between-shia-and-sunni-muslims.html

  19. Dan!

    If you're not going to put down a post regarding this HJ de Blij map you've found regarding China will you email it to me with some hypothetical context? 😉


    What's your take on the reason Iran snagged British soldiers? As I refer to here [1] (quoting fellow blogger, Strategist [2]) couldn't this be a case of a low level operative acting on impulse?

    [1] http://soobdujour.blogspot.com/2007/03/uncle-naz-and-brother-ahm.html


  20. Jay,

    Re: the China map I promised you [1], here they are [2,3,4]. Remove “_md” to see a bigger version, and then remove “_alone” to see it in the context of the full textbook page. When i have time I want to do a tdaxp miniseries over them, but I've delayed long enough in getting them to you! 🙂

    [1] http://soobdujour.blogspot.com/2007/03/chinas-civil-war-2-ive-previously-put.html#comment-7763494705527154000
    [2] http://images.tdaxp.com/tdaxp_upload/chinese_ethnolinguistic_alone_md.jpg
    [3] http://images.tdaxp.com/tdaxp_upload/chinese_population_alone_md.jpg
    [4] http://images.tdaxp.com/tdaxp_upload/chinese_provinces_alone_md.jpg

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