Sunday, December 4, 2011

J.R.R. Tolkien and Vladimir Putin (Link Round-Up 12/4/11)

Egypt's Facebook revolutionaries failed to inspire voters
"We were camping in Tahrir up until two days before election day," said Khaled Sayed, a prominent activist who lost his race in a Cairo suburb. "The second reason we didn't do well was the sectarian nature of the voting instigated by the Islamists. This made many liberals vote for Egyptian Bloc as a balance to the Islamists."
Parliamentary voting exit polls show Vladimir Putin losing Russian support 
The vote was widely seen as a test of Putin's personal authority after signs that Russians have started to tire of his tough-guy image, built up by his crushing of a rebellion in revel Chehnya and antics such as bare-chested horse riding. 
"Russia has a new political reality even if they rewrite everything," said Sergei Obukhov, a parliamentary deputy of the Communist Party, which made considerable gains, its vote almost doubling to around 20 percent, according to the exit poll.
Why Iranians hate the British
Britain staged a joint invasion of Iran with Soviet forces when the Shah’s predecessor got a bit too close to the Nazis in World War Two and then helped the Americans overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 after he nationalised Britain’s oil possessions in the country.
A WSJ writer retracts his attack on liberals' understanding of economics
Buturovic began putting all 17 questions to a new group of respondents last December. I eagerly awaited the results, hoping that the conservatives and especially the libertarians (my side!) would exhibit less myside bias. Buturovic was more detached. She e-mailed me the results, and commented that conservatives and libertarians did not do well on the new questions. After a hard look, I realized that they had bombed on the questions that challenged their position. A full tabulation of all 17 questions showed that no group clearly out-stupids the others. They appear about equally stupid when faced with proper challenges to their position.
J.R.R. Tolkien and the modern fantasy formula
Of all the unexpected things in contemporary literature, this is among the oddest: that kids have an inordinate appetite for very long, very tricky, very strange books about places that don’t exist, fights that never happened, all set against the sort of medieval background that Mark Twain thought he had discredited with “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
Latin American and Caribbean countries exclude U.S. and Canada from political/economic bloc
"China is always looking to approach its ties with Latin America and the Caribbean from a strategic perspective and is willing to deepen dialogue, exchanges and cooperation." Chile will assume the presidency of the group during its first year and the next summit will be held in Santiago at the end of 2012.

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