Thursday, June 2, 2011

Underwater Ruins, The Kurdistan Controversy, and The Failing Global Drug War (Link Round-Up 6/2/11)

[via reddit]
"So an Arab, a Kurd and a Turkoman Walk Into A Bar..."
No Arab leader in Iraq could hope to survive politically if he is seen to surrender Kirkuk to the Kurds, and inversely Kurdish leaders would lose all their credibility if they failed to stand up to an Iraqi army bid to drive the Kurds out of Kirkuk. This means that if the current standoff persists, unilateral moves, by either side, will without doubt trigger armed conflict once the US security blanket is removed.
Fog of War
"Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said."
How Monterrey, Mexico went from model city to drug violence-plagued nightmare
For Monterrey, the biggest lesson of the drugs war is that, despite its entrepreneurial flare, it faces the same institutional crisis as the rest of the country. The drug war has ripped the skin off the illusion that it is different.

Its municipal and state police services have been infiltrated. Officials acknowledge its justice system fails to resolve most crimes. Its youngsters are caught up in the country's dysfunctional education system. Huge inequalities between rich and poor have created a festering underclass that is cannon fodder for the cartels.If Monterrey could make even a little headway on these challenges, it could lead Mexico once again.
The signs that it is about to do so are mixed.
Little Rascals
So worrying is the behavior of today's "little emperors" -- the products of the country's one-child families -- that Beijing is preparing a law to impose a legal duty on young people to visit and care for their aged parents. Indeed, the proposed amendment to the "Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Aged" would allow elderly people to go to court to claim their right to be physically and mentally looked after by their children.

Filial piety has long been a tenet of traditional Chinese culture and is a core concept of Confucianism. Today, however, many young people not only shirk this duty, but insist that it is actually the duty of parents to do all they can to care for them, even as adults. Small wonder, then, that a popular insult hurled at the current generation of young Chinese is to call them ken lao zu -- the generation that sucks the blood of their parents, i.e., the vampire generation.
I'm On A Boat
Scientists search for evidence of Mayan boat trade

“The maritime Maya have been described much like ancient seagoing Phoenicians. They traded extensively in a wide variety of goods, such as bulk cotton and salt, and likely incense from tree sap called copal, jade, obsidian, cacao, Quetzal and other tropical bird feathers, and even slaves,” said Dominique Rissolo, Ph.D., expedition co-chief scientist and director of the Waitt Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “Maya trade was far-ranging between the Veracruz coast of modern Mexico and the Gulf of Honduras, with each port a link in a chain connecting people and ideas. Yet there is still much to learn about the extensive history and importance of the maritime Maya and how they adapted to life by the sea.”
Buried In The Past
The new “henge-like” Late Neolithic monument is believed to be contemporaneous to Stonehenge and appears to be on the same orientation as the World Heritage Site monument. It comprises a segmented ditch with opposed north-east/south-west entrances that are associated with internal pits that are up to one metre in diameter and could have held a free-standing, timber structure.
Situated 68 miles beyond the east coast of Taiwan, Yonaguni Islands are a remarkable place for its rugged and mountainous coastlines. The special attraction is the submerged ruins located in the southern coast of Yonaguni: a superb 100×50x25 meters man-made artifact out of solid rock slabs stands erect at right angles. Its is estimated to be around 8000 years old, which is remarkably early for the kind of technology that has been used for carving it. Different theories exist about the possible identities of this structure.

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