28 December 2018

Trump is leaving Africa

The public broadcasting company Yle told us that the United States will reduce its military presence in Africa. More specifically, Americans will reduce especially troops intended to fight against terrorism.

According to Yle the decision was affected by the threats caused by Chinese and Russians, against which Americans are willing to fight somewhere else than in black Africa. And naturally we all remember the promises president Donald Trump gave during his inaugural speech, according to which USA has focused too much on the borders of other countries instead of its own.

The story by Yle included few items, on which I would like my reader to put attention.

The first one stated that Americans are not any more willing to support fruitless operations for peace, and that they have already reduced their contribution to the development aid. My intrerpetation is that president Trump and his regime have got tired of spending their voter´s tax money and even American lives on futile operations in Africa.

Professor Emmanuel Kwesi Aning from Ghana has obviously not understood this connection as he pointed out that islamistic groups Boko Haram, al-Qaida and al-Shabaab are still timely threats. However, from the Trump´s point-of-view they are not threats to America as long as they stay in Africa and therefore neither targets on which American resources should be used.

It is also clear, that Chinese will not tolerate islamistic organizations any more than Americans, and as they have much less problems with their home fronts, they may use brutal actions to get rid of them. The same holds also Russians now settling more deeply in Africa. Therefore Boko Haram, al-Qaida and al-Shabab will only lose if Americans will be replaced by Chinese or Russians.

The other item I would like to discuss here was the comment of Kwesi Aning, who pointed out the real problem of Africal countries: he said that if you look at the ratio of soldiers and growing populations of African countries, the poor countries are not able to invest enough to their defense against safety challenges. I just wonder if also Trump regime would have understood that no number of soldiers or quantity of help will be enough if the African population growth will not be stopped - and therefore made his decision to give up.

Although I do not know whether Trump regime have understood this or not, it is a fact. And it remains to be seen how Chinese of possibly Russians will get on with the African population explosion.

I have understood that the purpose of China is to hit two flies with one hit - to turn Africa into a colony that supports their own economy and in order to get that done stabilize the African communities by creating local business opportunities. It remains, however, to be seen, whether they have means to handle the  population explosion. I do doubt that.

What is anyway clear, are the Chinese motives. Even Professor Kwesi Aning noted that he does not consider Russia or China to be friends of Africa as they do not care about democracy or human rights.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric question to asked here is that what good the Western countries - putting a lot of energy on democracy and human rights - have provided to Africa since mid 20th century with their developing aid - except of course that they have launched the population explosion that right now looks like the ultimate barrier preventing all development in Africa.

The original though in Finnish:
Trump on poistumassa afrikkalaiselta areenalta

22 December 2018

Finnish parties agreed on actions against the climatic change

The political parties agreed on the goals of the Finnish climate policy. Only True Finns were not included, as according to their view the price would be too high to ordinary people and there would be a risk of losing the workplaces in the Finnish industry. 

According to the agreement, Finland aims to have greenhouse gases of EU to be reduced even more than planned thus far. In order to do so, Finland tries to get EU to cut its emissions by at least 55% from the level of 1990 until year 2030. The current target is 40%.

In addition, the parties are willing to make Finland a forerunner of the Union. According to minister Kai Mykkänen (Conservative party) Finnish forests and soils should absorb more carbon than the country releases so, that we will become not only carbon neutral, but even negative. The plan is to start a widescale forestation, reduce peatland emissions and develop carbon absorption in agricultural lands.

The forestation question is interesting - especially the word widescale - taken the fact that Finland already is the most forested country in Europe. There is also a danger that our preserved forests would be extensively attacked by insects - as has happened in British Columbia - and turn to vast carbon sources instead of being sinks as today.

Otherwise the targets seem reasonable or even sensible. Except that a while ago I noticed an article in the Nature Climatic Change stating that the global means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would increase huger risks of the developing world considerably more than the climatic change alone. But of course, that does not hold for Finland - at least not right now.

In the current position - when the guidelines of the Finnish climate policy have been decided for the next few decades - there are good reasons to hope that the True Finns are nor right on the Finnish industry´s prerequisites for operation, but also all other EU countries will follow - and not only them, but also other countries throughout the globe. And that the opportunities of cleantech will provide new jobs to people released from the old industry, which will inevitably disappear if the planned actions are actualized. 

If not, Finland will face an unforeseen reduction in economy and standard of living. That would be a pity, because - after all - our actions to prevent the climatic warming will have only a minimal global effect provided that our share of global greenhouse gas emission is only slightly above 0.1 percent.

The original though in Finnish:
Suomalaispuolueet päättivät ilmastonmuutoksen torjuntakeinoista

15 December 2018

Wishes to hell by novelist Itkonen

A novelist Juha Itkonen told to a Finnish afternoon-newspaper that he yielded to passing Nazi-demonstrators that they should go to Hell. Thereafter his seven-year old child got frightened and started to cry. The story describes that the reason was his fathers behavior and not the Nazis themselves, but the title was designed so that a reader understood otherwise. Clickbait jounalism, what else?

There was, however, an interesting point in the article. That is because the novelist was wondering that "what should I have done? Stand there calm and correct just like there would not have been anything special ongoing? At least the boys saw, that you do not need - or you are not even allowed - to accept everything."

I do not know Itkonen´s political views, but his attitude is typical to many Finnish cultural figures and other urban elitists - like a left-wing novelist and writer Pirkko Saisio had to learn, when she brought up her own sober thoughts about the stuffy thoughts of feminists. I mean that - using the wording of  novelist Itkonen - it is a problem if you do not need or you are not even allowed - to accept everything. "Everything" meaning here all those who have views differing from your own.

It is true that neo-Nazis are disgusting creatures. Wretches who are fantasizing that something good would grow out from an ideology, that led to pogroms and to the second world war with tens of millions losses of human life. So, something similar to communists, whose ideology also led to wide pogroms and self-created famine.

In Finland the total number of neo-Nazis are between 60 and 70, which in my opinion is 60 to 70 too many. On the other hand, we have two communist parties, that together got 8 659 votes in the last elections. That is 8 659 votes too much.

Despite what I wrote above, I am strongly supporting the freedom of speech. And that is why I do not loudly wish journeys to Hell for neo-Nazi nor communist demonstrators. Instead I give them a right to walk in peace and embarrass themselves with the absurdity of their ideology.

They deserve the right for that by the general tolerance and freedom of speach, and also because of the constitutional law of Finland. In section 12 it says that "everyone has the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression entails the right to express, disseminate and receive
information, opinions and other communications without prior prevention by anyone."

Of course the same constitutional law assures the right of the novelist Itkonen to swear and wish journeys to hell to those passing by. And at the same time scare his little child. The job for us others is then to evaluate why the intolerant behavior of the novelist ended in newspaper pages, and what should we think about that?

I want to end this thought by sharing a comment by a 97-year old veteran of the second world war. According to him the demonstrators during the Independence day of Finland are living proofs for the usefulness of their sufferings in the front. That is because in the Soviet Union organizing that kind of demonstrations would have been considerably more difficult.  It would be great if also novelist Itkonen would have noticed this statement - and learned its deep message.

The original Professor´s thought in Finnish:
Kirjailijan helvettiin-toivotukset päätyivät lehden sivuille

9 December 2018

World Resources Institute had an arrogant demand

World Resources Institute -organization demanded me and other people in western countries to reduce our consumption of meat. The demand was based on a claim that in future there will not be enough food to everyone, because the global number of people grows rapidly and the size of agricultural fields cannot be increased as that would reduce forest area and therefore accelerate the climatic change.

In other words, the organization asks me to change my eating habits in order to allow people in developing countries to continue their uncontrolled reproduction behavior. The logical reasoning here is interesting. Or actually similar to the one in the following two examples.

One. Imagine an economic adviser from a bank with a male customer, who has lost his control over playing net poker, and therefore loses all family income to internet players. The adviser proposes that the wife of the playing husband should stop having once-a-month restaurant evenings with her friends, and save the money that goes to good food and wine. And also proposes that children should give up their expensive hobbies. So the man could afford his poker playing.

Two. Imagine a policeman coming to an apartment, because a violent man with gonorrhea demands a right to spend a night with the family wife - with all the rights. In order to fix the problem without violence, the police proposes that the wife should agree with the gonorrhea-man. The husband, therefore, should spend his night in the sofa of the living room, and reserve to his wife an audience for a medical doctor to get antibiotics to cure the possible gonorrhea infection. With these arrangements there is no need for the gonorrhea-man to give up his desire.

For some reason I do not believe that any of my readers - not even possible vegans or polygamous people - would accept the solutions of the economic adviser or the police in these imaginary situations, but understand that such solutions would be intellectually dishonest and therefore unjustified. It is weird, however, that the fully analogical demands by the World Research Institute seems to receive full support among many journalists and politicians.

In a poll by a Finnish afternoon magazine, 57% of respondents considered wide civil rights as an important feature of the Finnish nationalism. During the independence day of my country (December 6th)  I enjoyed this freedom by having delicious food including mushroom soup and a large beef steak with excellent wine. And thereafter a bilberry pie with a sweet dessert wine.

Thus, I have no intention to change my eating habits to enable people in developing countries to continue their irresponsible behavior, because such a demand does not make any sense (reasons are explained here).  Instead, I send here a free advise to the World Resources Institute: they should focus on real problems instead of sending arrogant demands to me. The first topic to be addressed - if the goal is to feed all people in the world - should be to stop the self-indulgent population growth in developing countries.

The original though in Finnish:
Järjestö esitti järjettömän vaatimuksen

2 December 2018

Seeing sex developed novel cultures

In Sweden the local culture is breaking down as the number of immigrants from other cultures increases, but in Finland even a main media journalist Annamari Sipilä has noticed that all cultures may not be equally good. That turned clear to her, when a rapist recently asked the court to reduce his punishment by pleading to his cultural legacy. 

I have also noted other cultural oddities - at least to us westerns - during the last years. Women were forced to sex work by threatening with their cultural specialties including voodoo. In Iran 4200 girls under 14 years of age got married in year 2010, 716 of them under 10 years of age. And in India eight men raped a pregant goat. 

Thus, there are differences between the cultures. And that is why the scientific and technological revolution that changed the world took place in Europe instead of e.g. China, Near East or Africa. 

But how did the cultures appear? Are they typical only to people and perhaps most intelligent animals? Or could cultures develop even among insects?

This question was addressed in the research conducted by Etienne Danchin and colleagues. They analysed the effects of seeing sex on the common fruit flies´ sexual behavior and their offspring. In their report, Danchin et al. define cultures as a traditions, which have their roots in earlier generations and are inherited via social learning.

The research was also based on the knowledge that we tend to conform our behavior to that surrounding us. One extreme of this are children, who say that black is white when several robots claim that. Fortunately we adults are more clever, and only conform our behavior according to real people surrounding us.

But then to the research report itself.

In their first experiment Danchin and colleagues gave three days old virgin flies to watch a young female selecting a partner between two males colored either pink or green. After seeing the copulation, the virgin fly was allowed itself to make a choice between a pink and a green fruit fly. As a result, their selection was the same color as what they had just seen being selected by another female. In control, where the virgin had not seen any copulation, the colors did not make a difference.

In the second experiment the researchers made a similar experiment, but now the virgin was allowed to follow an elder female to select between pink and green colored males. And the result was the same as in the first experiment. That it, they selected a male with the same color as they had just seen being selected by the elder female. So the virgins learned equally well from elder flies and their peers.

In the third experiment the virgin flies followed five times a selection of the same colored fly, and were again allowed to make their own selection, but only after 24 hours. That is, after about three per cent of their lifetime. The same rule worked again, so the flies remembered what they had once seen.

In the fourth experiment, mutant flies - normally avoided in pairings - were offered to virgins as painted according to their favorite color. And the males were again selected according to the color instead of genetically determined outlook.

In the fifth experiment the researchers manipulated the ratio of colors shown to be selected by other virgin flies in their sphere of vision. Again when there was only one color selected in front of their eyes, they tended to make the same selection themselves. However, it was a big surprise that this rule held all the way to a frequency of 60 vs. 40 percent. 

And finally, the researchers made an experiment to determine whether the mode of behavior - that flies had learned as virgins - was also transmitted to their offspring. The answer was yes, and even over several generations. Therefore fruit flies developed a learned tradition somehow taught over several generations, and can thus be added to the list of animals with cultural behavior, where populations learn habits from previous generations. 

Taken together, the study by Danchin and others showed that as simple animals as fruit flies may have cultures that differ from each other. Therefore, also the roots of our own cultural behavior probably extends to our evolutionary prehistory; perhaps even to the time we had not yet climbed from ancient seas to the dry land.

Because this blog is considered a political one, it is also important to think what the above described research contributes to the question of equal value of all human cultures. However, as the purpose of this blog is not to provide prefabricated views, but to provoke its readers to think themselves, I am not going to give answers myself, but leave the question to be figured out by all my highly valued readers. 

The original thought published in Finnish:
Seksin katsominen synnytti uuden kulttuurin

1 December 2018

The Danish government proposed reforms for immigration policy

The government of Denmark proposed two reforms for their immigration policy. According to the first one, the asylum seekers with criminal behavior should be placed in a dormitory to be built in a small island of Lindholm until they leave the country.

What en excellent proposal!

And therefore it is not surprising that I have also proposed a similar refuge for my country (unfortunately the text can only be read in Finnish or translated by Google translator, which is not doing very well with Finnish). However, in my proposal I suggested that also those, who are not in a need for asylum could be placed there - even if they have not been guilty for any crime.

The second proposal by the Danish government is even better. It states that refugees - who have a true need for asylum - would be asked to sign an agreement to leave the country immediately after the problems in their home has calmed down. 

This should actually be self evident, as humanitarian refugees are not migrants seeking for job, but people who are escaping problems in their homes. However, it is clear that those of them, who have integrated to their new home so well that they are able to sustain their own life by working, should have a possibility to apply for a residence permit based on that.

Although the proposals by the Danish government are excellent, there is one big problem associated with it. That is the lack of a parliament and government in Finland, that would execute similar policy as proposed for Denmark. The unfortunate fact is that there is only one political movement in Finland - the True Finns with about ten percent support among voters - which is along the same lines as the government of Denmark.

The original Professor´s thought in Finnish:
Tanskan hallitus esittää maahanmuuttoon uudistuksia