Dragon goes to Africa

Jul. 25th, 2017 01:13 pm
abomvubuso: (Groovy Kol)
[personal profile] abomvubuso posting in [community profile] talkpolitics

Dressed in neat military uniforms, sailing in hi-tech amphibious vehicles. That's how the troops of the first battalion China has sent overseas in 60 years look like. The unit will be sent to the new military base in Djibouti, on the east coast of Africa, just opposite Saudi Arabia across the Bay of Aden. The place is chosen deliberately of course, it's just next door to war-torn regions like Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, in a corner of huge strategic importance.

This mission shows just how much the Chinese have intensified their presence on this continent, which drastically contrasts to their non-intervention tradition that they've kept elsewhere. Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, China has abruptly changed its foreign policy in a bid to boost their economic standing and their access to crucial resources around the world.

Read more... )
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] bitesizedreading
How did your weekend reading go? If you planned on anything specifically, did you read it?

Anti-procrastination Tuesday

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:34 am
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Tuesdays here and it's time to tackle the anti-procrastination part of the week (well, today, tomorrow, whenever suits!) What will it be? What's been plaguing you that you're going to deal with this week? Tell us all about it.

Need a challenge? Here we go, let's head for the kitchen today and think about bite-sizing our way to progress. Set your challenge by taking into account time available and spoons left at the point at which you're going to do this and by assessing your starting point.

Suggestion 1 - pick a work surface and figure out what needs to happen for it to be in 'ideal condition' - clearing and packing away items to leave it empty? Cleaning the surface in some way? Be realistic - if the work surface is huge, don't tackle it all in one go, break it into sections and tackle one. Consider the ways of doing this - most important area first in terms of future use, most visible area, easiest to tackle area to provide the encouragement of progress quickly, worst area first because you've got the time and energy to make a good dent in what needs doing - you know best. Set a timer and go for it, how much can you get done?

Suggestion 2 - Open a cupboard and tackle a shelf - first identify anything that doesn't need to be there (our of date, wrong place, unwanted) and remove those items. Next step is to either move everything in there to wipe down the shelf (if you think this is necessary - this may depend on the contents of the cupboard that you pick) or to go straight to organising the contents in a useful/pleasing/practical fashion. If it's a food cupboard, remove anything that out of date and health harmful but also identify items which need to be used up quickly and bring them to a more prominent position to encourage yourself to use them up.


And with that I shall leave you and head to work for the day - I'll be back this evening to cheer, if anyone else can cheer and encourage please do.

Movie Houses

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:34 pm
onyxlynx: BxW F. Lang & T. von Harbou each reading. (Fritz Lang Thea von Harbou)
[personal profile] onyxlynx posting in [community profile] classicfilm
Overall box-office revenues and the amount of theaters both continue to rise, even as the frequency of movie-going continues to fall in almost every demographic.

Indicators are less encouraging, however, for smaller independent theaters with four screens or less. And, as ever, it’s a tough time for cinema purists and art-house aficionados, both in the East Bay and beyond.

[...]

And even David Lynch recently declared that “feature films are in trouble and the art houses are dead.”
Not exactly, but this is a long article on what theaters are doing to attract audiences and what the problems are.  Daniel Barnes, East Bay Express.
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Welcome to the second half of 2017, which will go by in what feels like three weeks but will also feel like 19 years thanks to Political Shenanigans. Time is weird! Luckily, we have books to get us through it all.

I always enjoy looking at all the books I may read, even the ones that I'm going to have to make hard purchasing decisions about. Out of my anticipated books last time, I've read 10. For a lot of them I'm waiting for them to cycle out of the new collection and into general at the library so I can enjoy all the things I check out for a full, glorious month. I suspect I won't get to some of these until 2018 when my library buys all the late-year release books and cycles the others out of new. I love my library, but I wish the new book check out time was longer than two weeks. Two and a HALF weeks would help me. Alas, alas.

I have my eye on a ton of science fiction IN SPACE this time around. Some of these I suspect I'll buy if my finances work out so I can use them for my space opera challenge. Read more... )

What great-sounding books have I missed? What's everyone else looking forward to?

The Lafayette Law of Value

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:13 am
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
I've been saying this for years, and commented on various 'blogs etc with this argument. It's well about time that I stated it in a single post.

Value is objective in supply.
Vale is subjective in demand.
Value is intersubjective in price.

That's the Lafayette Law of Value. Thank you.

July Discussion Post

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:37 pm
lunabee34: (journalsandplanners mod by independence1)
[personal profile] lunabee34 posting in [community profile] journalsandplanners
Recommend a favorite notebook or pen. Tell us about a cool electronic gadget or app that helps you journal or plan. In other words, help us all add to our wishlists by telling us about your favorite supplies. :)
nairiporter: (Default)
[personal profile] nairiporter posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
Let me just start by reminding that last year, Erdogan and Merkel made a deal on the refugee issue. Back then, the migrant pressure on Europe was huge. Hundreds of thousands of refugees were flocking through the Aegean into Greece, and then using the so called Balkan route to go to West Europe, mostly Germany. Hundreds drowned in the Mediterranean. Merkel was forced to do something, or else she would lose her chancellor position. So in February last year she went to Turkey to meet with Erdogan. That mission was perceived by many as the most influential woman in Europe going to kneel before the Sultan, and beg for his help.

Then in March 2016 came the agreement with Turkey. It must have served its purpose well, because the number of refugees immediately dropped significantly. Turkey's part of the deal was to host the refugees, and in return it was promised two things: a political trump card, plus 3 billion euro for supporting the large refugee population.

Read more... )

SHREW

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
Yesterday I got to see a tiny shrew very close-up and it was very exciting.

So I was sitting on a muddy path in a wooded area because of reasons (ok, exhausted after climbing) when I saw movement and a tiny thing scurrying past me. I figured that glimpse was all I'd see, but I turned round to see where it'd gone and it was on the path on the other side of me, and with great caution so as not to startle it I managed to dig my phone out of my coat pocket:

longshot in which a tiny shrew may be visible among rocks and moss

(There's nothing to give a sense of scale, but the shrew is a few centimetres long. It makes mice look big.)

THEN --

Cut for blurry close-ups and blurry worm death )
mahnmut: (WTF-E?)
[personal profile] mahnmut posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
...They go around and kill themselves.

Elon Musk may've become the umpteenth high-profile hi-tech celebrity futurist who has cried doom and gloom about the potential threat from AIs taking over the world and eradicating humankind on a whim...

...But apparently we're still a long way from there, as shown by the fate of this poor little R2D2 who somehow decided he had had enough, and plunged himself to a swift electrocution death in a water fountain in DC the other day.

Caution, the footage can be disturbing for the more robo-love inclined... )

The Friday Five for July 21, 2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:06 am
spikesgirl58: (leading the band)
[personal profile] spikesgirl58 posting in [community profile] thefridayfive
1. Have you come to the conclusion that your parents music (music popular in their time) isn't so bad?

2. Is there a song/group/singer you once adored, but don't now?

3. Is there a song/group/singer you once despised, but is okay now?

4. Have you ever heard a favorite song and suddenly had a reinterpretation its meaning?

5. What song would you just as soon never hear again?


Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DW or LJ. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so please feel free to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**
airiefairie: (Default)
[personal profile] airiefairie posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
Today's portion of Friday nonsense features one Sequim, Washington resident who mowed the word AHOLE into their lawn so it could be viewed from space...



Oh, sweet neighbour relations...

Chaos in London

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:28 pm
kiaa: (Default)
[personal profile] kiaa posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
Here they are, the two negotiating sides on the Brexit. The folks on the left are the EU representatives, each prepared with a file of documents. On the right side, the British, gazing into the nothingness, empty-handed. Maybe they've memorized all details so they don't need any paper in front of them? Or maybe they're eco-minded and they're trying to save paper? Heh? All I know is, this picture pretty much sums up the whole situation: the EU has a clear vision of what it wants the Brexit to look like - in the meantime, the British side has no specifics on their side. You think those are normal negotiations? Well, think again.


Read more... )

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

Intended Reading (19th July )

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:19 pm
ironed_orchid: (newsflash)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid posting in [community profile] bitesizedreading
What haven't you read yet this week?

We all have things we mean to read, but never quite find the time, whether it's a bunch of unopened tabs, or in a precarious tower of books by the bed.

What's on your to-be-read list this week?

Russia Minor!?

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:51 am
fridi: (Default)
[personal profile] fridi posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
The term has gone out of use for quite a while. In recent decades it was being seen as a disparaging term used by Russian nationalists and pro-Russian Ukrainian "traitors" who believe Ukraine should be part of neo-imperial Russia.

And now it's being resurrected, and in quite a quasi-official way:

Separatists proclaim a new state to replace all of Ukraine

In comes one Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the separatist People's Republic of Donetsk, the runaway region in East Ukraine that no one, not even Russia has recognized as a state. His actions in proclaiming the creation of the Republic of Malorussia (Russia Minor) have come as a surprise even to the Kremlin. Naturally, the EU deems it unacceptable, and Kiev is vowing to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Read more... )

Midweek Antiprocrastination Post

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:23 am
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Welcome to Wednesday and time to tackle the thing that has been lurking and needs to be done. What will it be? What is that PITA of a thing? Care to share, we're here for you and will be virtually behind you with all the encouragement you need.

In need of a little challenge to get you to start something? My challenge to you today is to check on the fridge. Depending on your energy levels and time allowance, select what's most appropriate for you. Remember if you do want to break it up or end up having more energy/time that you initially expected, you can always come back and do another step later today (or tomorrow).

Step 1 - Open the fridge and do a quick check for anything out of date and needing to go.
Step 2 - Spend a bit more time and do a thorough check to the back of shelves/bottom of drawers etc and make sure that you've checked everything in there - take mental note of anything that needs using quickly.
Step 3 - Starting with the top shelf, take everything out, lift out the shelf and clean it, dry it, replace it and put back in a more organised fashion - you may at this point realise that some things would ideally be in a different fridge location, whether it can be moved may depend upon there being space in its ideal location.
Step 4 - If you've still got energy/time, repeat with next shelf
Repeat Step 3 if you wish, until all shelves/drawers and the little door shelves have been checked and cleaned. If you can, as you go, wipe down the inside top and walls of the fridge as well with a cloth and some sort of light cleaner to get rid of any lurking invisible unwanted life forms. If you are tackling just a shelf at a time, don't get the top/walls too wet so that no cleaner runs down onto food stored lower in the fridge.

Remember that there is no obligation to do this challenge and also even if you do start it, it doesn't have to be done all in one go - a shelf a day for the week would be just as wonderful if you wanted to tackle it that way.

So with that I shall say goodbye (I'm not back until fairly late tonight, so please do cheer each other along), good luck with whatever you decide to tackle and a reminder that the optional challenge is OPTIONAL and also does not have to be completed as the WHOLE task - step 1 is a success, as is any other step. Look after yourselves, remember to think of your rewards for completing any personal pain in the tuckus tasks and let us know how you get along.

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )
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