Dark Age Watch

What is a dark age?

Sunday, August 20, 2006
Iran's hardline leader raises stakes with West over atomic bombs: "Iran test fired a series of new tactical missiles as part of a massive army wargame staged on the eve of plans to further defy the West with its nuclear crisis. Tehran now looks set to plunge the world into a new Middle East conflict as it refuses to modify calls for the destruction of Israel. The radical Islamic regime will respond on Tuesday to a proposal by Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and the US aimed at resolving the nuclear row. But foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Asefi said that a halt to uranium enrichment - a key step in the nuclear bomb making process - was 'not on the agenda.' " Wars coming soon? We do not take a position on the rights or wrongs.

Air chaos looms over bank holiday: "Security staff carrying out anti-terrorist checks are over-stretched and exhausted, and there is almost nobody to replace them, said sources close to senior airport management...Airlines may be asked to consider voluntary reductions to their schedules to help hard-pressed airport staff to cope. Last weekend, at the height of the crisis caused by the terror alert, BAA ordered airlines to cut flights by 30% in an attempt to stem the chaos at Heathrow." Internal disintegration-disorganisation coupling The world expands as travelling gets harder, more frustrating and more expensive.

'No open door' for new migrants "The UK will not have an "open door" policy for migrants coming from new countries joining the European Union, trade secretary Alistair Darling says. He was responding to Conservative calls for restrictions to be placed on workers from Bulgaria and Romania." International discohesion Does this not go against the very philosophy of the EU? It could also be considered an own goal, in that east European migrants are one of the main factors keeping the British economy going.

IEDs: Iraq's deadly roadside bombs "According to sources quoted by the New York Times, the number of roadside bombs rose in July to the highest monthly total of the war." International disintegration One should not take a static view of the world. The US forces are constantly developing strategies to deal with this threat.

Ford to halt production at 10 plants "Ford said the cuts will reduce the need for costly incentives to reduce bloated inventories. But they also illustrate just how out of step the lineup at the nation's second-largest automaker has become, as it loses market share to mostly Asian competitors under the watch of Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford." Internal disorganisation The demise of America's industrial base continues.

Bollywood is more successful in UK than British-made films "The unprecedented level of commercial success has been fuelled by a new generation of young British Asians whose appetite for Indian films means that three of Britain's biggest cinema chains, Cineworld, Vue and UCI, now routinely screen Hindi language films." Internal discohesion Changing Britain

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's art, says the naked woman who'll hug a dead pig on stage "Kira O'Reilly will provide her own answer today by spending four hours naked, hugging a dead pig - at the taxpayer's expense. The controversial Irish performance artist will invite one person at a time to watch her sit in a specially-constructed set and perform a 'crushing slow dance' with the carcass in her arms. She claims the bizarre exhibition is an attempt to 'identify' with the pig, which she cuts with a knife during the show." Internal discohesion Anything goes.

Why fly abroad on holiday when Britain offers so much? "It is a classic irony of modern life that when aircraft have become marvels of sophistication, a combination of Islamic mass-murderers, security nuts and overloaded airports makes the experience of going anywhere by plane compare unfavourably with taking the Middle Passage in an early 19th century slave ship." Expanding world Unfortunate imagery.

Nigeria launches kidnap crackdown Internal re-integration

BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Getting back to business in Somalia "Thousands of Somalis are streaming across the border into refugee camps in Kenya. They are fleeing the insecurity in their homeland since Islamist militants seized power earlier this year. At the same time, Somali businessmen living abroad are spotting new opportunities under the new regime and are flying home with potential deals in mind." African dark age Internal disintegration-organisation coupling. Western economies meanwhile are strangled by legislation and the burden of social security.

Belgium 'an accident of history with football and beer' "The political leader of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking half of Belgium, has caused outrage by saying that the 175-year-old Belgian nation was an "accident of history" with "no intrinsic value"...Belgian reactions to Mr Leterme's interview, given to the French newspaper Libération, appeared only to reinforce his vision of a nation falling apart." Internal discohesion

Al-Aqsa: We learned missiles subdue Israel "Since the Gulf War, missiles were what brought Israel to the negotiation table. The withdrawal from Gaza was also a result of missiles. If we use them correctly in the West Bank, we will get rid of the IDF here too," Abu Nasser explained." International discohesion In today's high scale world, the playing field has in some ways become more level, which encourages fierce opposition against the US and its regional allies.

Healthcare collapses under Mugabe "A system that was once the envy of Africa is devastated by drug shortages and rising charges." African dark age

Brazil's alcohol cars hit 2m mark ""Flex-fuel" vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and petrol, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market. Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel." Genuine innovation or resourcefulness in the face of innovation failure?

Friday, August 18, 2006
Afghan schools burn as Taliban change tactics: "At least 41 teachers and students have been killed over the past 12 months in a wave of attacks on the country's schools." Internal disintegration-disorganisaation coupling Talk about a dark age.

Relax air security or we'll sue, Ryanair warns International disintegration-internal disorganisation A government spokeswoman says "we must put passenger safety before profits", but since Ryanair could not exist if it did not make a profit, this is a recipe for shutting down airlines and ensuring an expanding world.

UN plea for European peacekeepers "The call came after Israel said it might be "inconceivable" to accept nations that denied its right to exist, such as Malaysia and Indonesia." International discohesion?

Iraq: 3 die as 'worst month' figures revealed "A bomb ripped through a market in Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday, another day of carnage in a city under siege by insurgents and people bent on sectarian revenge." International disintegration We must not forget, though, that it took the Romans seventy years to impose peace on Britain.

Saudis in $19bn Eurofighter deal "Britain and Saudi Arabia have reached agreement on a £10bn ($19bn) deal to replace the kingdom’s fleet of Tornado aircraft with new Eurofighter Typhoons, a contract that will extend the UK’s biggest export deal for the next 25 years." Arming the barbarians (international disintegration)

Top Chechen rebel's brother held "A brother of Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov has surrendered, the Russian-backed Chechen authorities say." Internal integration

Record passes revive calls for review of exam system "As the pass rate rose for the 24th year running - with nearly a quarter of candidates getting the top grade - critics warned that universities and employers could no longer distinguish between outstanding pupils and those drilled to perform well in exams." Internal organisation or disorganisation? The likelihood is that what has been deemed the "academic proletariat" will continue to grow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Powergen hikes gas prices by 18 per cent "Powergen today announced another steep hike in household bills, saying it will put up gas prices by 18.4 per cent and electricity prices by 9.7 per cent from Monday." Internal disorganisation In an ascendant civilisation, energy would be getting cheaper not more expensive.

Lebanese army crosses key river "Lebanese troops have crossed the strategically important Litani river, moving into some areas of southern Lebanon for the first time in decades. The troops were warmly welcomed in southern villages, many of which were badly damaged in more than a month of conflict between Hezbollah and Israel." Internal integration The Lebanese state reasserting its authority. There is also a lot of international cohesion going on here.

Ethanol could leave the world hungry "The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol, for instance, could feed one person for a year. If today's entire U.S. grain harvest were converted into fuel for cars, it would still satisfy less than one-sixth of U.S. demand." Innovation failure? Similar to the "biofuels compete with food" article from Britain.**

DEA reels in a big catch "Accused drug kingpin Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was brought to the United States on Thursday morning after an arrest at sea and rushed to a federal detention center in San Diego to be booked, authorities said." International integration

Opium hits record in Afghanistan "Opium cultivation in Afghanistan has hit record levels -- up by more than 40 percent from 2005 -- despite hundreds of millions in counternarcotics money, Western officials told The Associated Press." International disintegration The west is failing to curb both production abroad and demand in their own societies.

NI fires 'are 60% arson attacks' "There have been more than 1,000 arson attacks in Northern Ireland in the first six months of this year." Internal disintegration In the mid-seventies, the "Ulster Defence Association" (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary organisation, is said to have had 40'000 members. One of the biggest stand-offs between the UDA and the British Army ocurred on 3 July 1972 in Belfast, when 8,000 UDA members confronted 250 troops. During the May 1974 Ulster Workers' Council strike, the UDA, through the use of road blocks, brought large sections of Northern Ireland to a stand-still. Overall, the "retirement" of many hardcore activists appears to have had a becalming effect. It remains yet to be seen, however, whether an older Northern Irish society will be a more peaceful one.

Colombia paramilitaries arrested "Colombian police have arrested 10 senior leaders of a right-wing paramilitary group for breaching the terms of a peace accord." Internal integration, for the time being. The second half of the 20th century has seen a considerable rise in paramilitary activity in states across the world.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
£70 billion nuclear clean-up bill 'set to rise' "The Commons Trade and Industry Committee expressed concern about continued uncertainty over the taxpayers' bill for the disposal of civil nuclear operations." Internal disorganisation Related to innovation failure.

UN drive to build Lebanon force "No countries have yet formally pledged troops, although several have said they will. UN officials say there is concern about the force's rules of engagement." International disintegration Where is the hegemon?

Europe faces 'very real threat' "UK Home Secretary John Reid has said Europe faces a "persistent and very real" threat from terrorism, after a meeting with EU counterparts in London." Internal disintegration The political authority loses its monopoly of force (and is seemingly proud of the fact).

Japan fisherman killed by Russia "A Japanese fisherman has been shot dead by a Russian patrol boat near a chain of disputed islands, the first fatality in 50 years, media reports said...Both sides claim the four islands, which Russia calls the southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories. The dispute has stopped the two nations signing a peace treaty to end WWII." International discohesion

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
U.S. plans for Mideast foiled, Syrian president says "Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said Tuesday that America's plan for a "new Middle East" collapsed after Hezbollah's successes in fighting against Israel, and warned the Jewish state to seek peace or risk defeat in the future." International disintegration Whatever one thinks of Assad's views, the significant thing is that Assad is taunting the hegemon, not cowering in shock. The apparent successes of irregular forces from Vietnam to Iraq, and now Hizbollah in Lebanon, give encouragement to the anti-hegemonic actors.

NASA goes back to the future Pro-innovation? News of NASA's ongoing assault on Mars. It involves copying and even cannibalising old Apollo models, which does not suggest a programme that is really going places.

'Explosion of diversity' sweeps U.S., census shows "From South Carolina's budding immigrant population to the fast-rising number of Hispanics in Arkansas, minority groups make up an increasing share of the population in every state but one, according to figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau." Barbarian invasion American society is changing, and won't change back.

China, S. Korea slam shrine visit "Koizumi, who steps down as prime minister next month, made Tuesday's pilgrimage in the face of Chinese and South Korean warnings that it would further damage ties already frayed (...)." International discohesion South Korea is under no illusions about the changing balance of power in its neighbourhood. Good relations with China are essential not only with regards to its economy but also when it comes to reunifying the two Koreas somewhere in the future.

Police want new powers of 'instant justice' "Police are pressing ministers for radical new powers to dispense instant justice, including the immediate exclusion of "yobs" from town centres at night, and bans on street gang members associating with each other, the Guardian has learned." Internal disintegration Even an authoritarian state (which we are by no means yearning for) must fail if the individual is constantly encouraged - through the media, adverts, false role-models etc. - to indulge in selfish and anti-social behaviour (discohesion).

Student debt continues to rise Internal disorganisation

S Africa await Sri Lanka review "South Africa's national team will stay in Sri Lanka until Thursday pending an independent security review after a fatal bomb blast in Colombo." Internal disintegration International sporting events rely on a functioning and capable transport networks and a high degree of public safety. The outlook seems to be worsening and the football world cup which is to be held in South Africa in 2010 looks like a test case.

India to put $1bn in African oil "The country hopes to tap into the region's vast oil wealth by accessing the Gulf of Guinea's shoreline. To boost trade ties, India is looking to open new factories in the region, said ambassador Amarendra Khatua." International organisation Another story that highlights Asia's growing weight and ambitions in the international economy.

'One small step for man,' 700-box tape loss for NASA "The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," a NASA spokesman said on Monday." Dark age What makes a dark age dark, of course, is the lack of a historical record.

Monday, August 14, 2006
Ugandan rebels agree to resume peace talks "Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on Monday said it will resume peace talks with the government, but sought a break to mourn its third-in-command, killed by the army over the weekend, officials said." Internal cohesion

Lebanon truce holding "Despite four clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the cease-fire agreement -- which went into effect at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) -- "appears to be generally holding." " International cohesion

Harper asserts Arctic sovereignty during trip to Canada's North "The US does not recognize Canada's claim over the Northwest Passage. That will have ramifications in the coming decades, as global warming will eventually open up the passage to year-round shipping traffic." International discohesion Not only is shipping through the so-called Northwest Passage an issue, but as the ice retreats, the exploitation of newly available oil and gas resources, including even precious gem stones, becomes available in Canada's north. Canada's willingness to assert sovereignty over this area, against America's wishes, even under its current "Bush friendly" conservative government, indicates the possibility of a future falling out with the world's current hegemon.

Long-term threat to economy as UK runs out of scientists, CBI warns: "Thousands of potential physicians, biologists and chemists are being lost because of a "stripped-down" science curriculum, a lack of specialist teachers and uninspiring careers advice, the Confederation of British Industry claims." Internal disorganisation How some of our civilisation's most characteristic knowledge will be lost.

Spanish police find 'drugs' sub "A submarine which police say may have been used for cocaine smuggling has been found floating off Spain's north-western coast." International disintegration See also UK bank details sold in Nigeria "Bank account details belonging to thousands of Britons are being sold in West Africa for less than £20 each."