Sunday, November 20, 2016

Again, Mark Perry Never Disappoints -- November 20, 2016

His Saturday evening links.

On another note, UN climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco, at five minutes to midnight, reach a consensus, announce a breakthrough: implementing the "Paris Accord" will be delayed for one full year.

I was in Marrakesh, Morocco, many, many years ago. I stayed at a 5-star hotel courtesy of the US government. Wow, those folks certainly live in style. Malcolm Forbes knew that. In 1989 he threw a birthday bash in Tangier, Morocco, to beat all birthday bashes to celebrate his own 70th birthday. I remember that well. I had been to Morocco before then so I was able to vicariously enjoy his party. I loved the shrimp; I hated the small talk.

Casablanca, An Alternate Ending, SNL

Update on Nigeria

Speaking of narratives, the narrative coming out of Nigeria is all about militancy putting Nigeria's oil future at risk. Not.

It's red tape.

The inability of the Nigerian government to pass an energy bill, according to Platts, is putting Nigeria's oil future at risk. Some data points:
  • red tape has cost Nigeria $15 billion / year in lost investments
  • more worrying: a slump in both its output in the past two years and its fast depleting oil and gas reserves
  • Nigeria's crude reserves have dropped from 37 billion bbls to 28 billion bbls over the last five years
  • Nigeria's current production: below the 2.2 million bopd in early 2016
  • Nigeria is suffering its first recession in more than 20 years 
The cost of tribalism.


On September 8, 2016, I started reading Witches by Stacy Schiff. Each day at the library I would read a chapter or so. Then all of a sudden, in late September, the book was no longer on the shelves. I checked every day.  Then, all of a sudden, this past week, now that Halloween has passed, I guess, Witches is back on the shelves, and I'm starting to read it again.

Be that as it may, in the June 30, 2016, issue of London Review of Books, there is another story on witches. This one took place in Germany, in 1615, and involved Johannes Kepler.
Most witchcraft trials occurred not in the Middle Ages, but in Kepler's lifetime, during the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. Witch-hunting can in part be explained by the fury of that schism. The war between Christ and Antichrist took many forms, including village squabbles where the wretched were suspected of bewitching the righteous for revenge and gain.
The accused were typically women, usually older and dependent on their communities. Around 25,000 witches were executed in early modern Germany, including 3,200 in southwestern regions between 1561 and 1670 [the Salem witch trials: 1692]. Of these, only 197 (6 percent) were in the duchy of Wurttemberg.

This relatively reassuring information was not available to the Keplers, whereas the horrifying news of scores of people burned in Ellwangen, outside of the duchy but just sixty miles away -- three hundred in 1611 - 12 alone -- probably was.

Johannes was right to fear the worst for his mother. The first to accuse Katharina was her own son, Johannes's younger brother Heinrich. He had returned home from serving in the imperial guard, penniless, at a time of bad harvests, shortages and high prices, and had denounced his mother for failing to feed him properly. Rumours crept through the streets of Leonberg, and dark patterns formed in the minds of people who had suffered bad luck.

Ursula Reinbold, who had recently become lame, said: "That Kepler woman has to take her spell away before I die."
Sort of reminds me of global warmists vs deniers.

Camelot 2

The Trump presidency is going to be simply mesmerizing. There will literally be surprises and spectacles every day (if the link breaks, it is being reported that Melania and 10-year-old Barron will not be moving to the White House). This is going to be so exciting. I can hardly wait. 

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