Later, 7:57 p.m. CT: see first comment. Some of my observations may be incorrect (that's not news, LOL) and a reader has corrected them. Much appreciated. I would trust the reader's comments much more than I would trust my own. I will have to take another look. Much appreciated -- the reader taking time to write.
- cheaper to move natural gas to Asia than Europe
- Asia's demand for energy (coal, natural gas) is insatiable
- China eager to replace coal with natural gas
- air pollution is the big reason (maybe the only reason)
- public relations (FWIW: atmospheric CO2)
The Book Page
Update on my books for the week.
I continue to enjoy The Vikings and the biography of Constantinople by Lars Brownworth, c. 2009.
The former is a much more scholarly book, a great reference book.
I've never understood how / why WWI broke out -- no matter how much I read on the lead-up to that war, I still don't understand it. Same with Constantinople. I've never understood it. Everything in that period: the break-up of Charlemagne's kingdom; the Holy Roman Empire; Constantinople; the Vikings; the Vandals; Justin (and the Justinian Codex), the evolution of the feudal system. All of it. Never understood it. I guess for most of my high school history teachers, Constantinople was a bridge too far.
But Brownworth does an incredible job covering one thousand years of history and a geographical expanse from Persia to Scotland to Spain to Carthage.
I've always wondered why the Vandals seemed to have disappeared from history of abruptly. Their origins and arrival in western Europe is just as mysterious. But after they arrived, they got a lot of historical press, their fifteen minutes of fame, and then abruptly disappeared.
From Brownworth, pages 87 - 89, the Romans under the Justinian leadership out of Constantinople, decided to take on the Vandals once and for all. Their African capital -- from where they controlled the Mediterranean -- was Carthage. To make a long story short -- no elephants this time -- the Romans (again, out of Constantinople) conquered Carthage, 533 A.D.
The victory shattered the Vandals so thoroughly that they virtually disappeared from history. [Their leader] Gelimer survived to flee into the mountaints and fight on, but by the time winter was over, he realized it was a lost cause and surrendered. [The Roman leader] Belisarius entered the bustling city of Hippo in triumph and found there both Gelimer's vast treasury and the looted riches of Rome. Within a few months, Sardinia, Corsica, and Gibraltar had fallen, and this extraordinary victory was complete. The Vandal kingdom had been distinguished in little more than a year, and the watching world had been put on notice. The [Roman] empire was returning to claim its own.