31 July 2022

Once upon a time in China and Taiwan

Politics is sometimes amusing - or at least something similar to fairy tales. I noticed this once more when I was reading a news telling that a representative of Chinese officer has proposed that his air force would protect the sovereignty of Taiwan.

As we all know, Taiwan does not need Chinese protection but rather protection against Chinese themselves. Neither does it accept Chinese military in its area - and is supported by US air force, which still has a clear technological advantage against its Chinese competitor. 

The latter point cannot be overestimated as we have learned in Ukraine, where Russians have run into trouble after western countries have supported their victims with modern weaponry. Therefore the Chinese offer for protection is not a serious comment but... hrmh... an amusing fairy tale.

24 July 2022

Heat wave in Europe contrasts with the coldness of the Arctic sea

Exceptional temperatures have been reported during this year in many locations. During last weeks the focus has been in Europe, where exceptional temperatures were observed especially in southern part of the continent (example).  

The common theme in those news has been that the exceptional heat would have been due to the global change caused by human actions. I am not denying that, but would like to remind that previously any cold weathers have been neglected by climate scientists as climatic change is a global phenomenon and therefore local cold weathers cannot be used as evidence against global change. Therefore, it would be logical, if the same treatment would be given to warm spells. 

However, climatic science has often pointed out that the change is especially speedy in the Arctic region - actually three times as fast as the global average. Therefore I have been following the area and extent of the Arctic sea ice reported by National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Interestingly indeed, the extent of the Arctic ice is right now more wide than in any of the last 13 years at the same date (July 23). That is in accordance with my analyses of correlation between the area of the Arctic sea ice and atmospheric carbon dioxide content: there has been no statistically significant change between them since year 2002 (the link above is in Finnish, but here is an earlier blogpost in English).

Taken together, based on the local temperatures no clear picture on the global warming can be given. However, we may question the extra rapid warming of the Arctic region - and therefore also climatic models predicting that.


21 July 2022

Should forbidden questions be answered or not?

In the past, it was common to characterize different groups of people bluntly. For example, about the appearance of the dark-skinned African population, it could be said even in school textbooks that "the negro is black or brown in color, the hair is black and curly like sheep´s wool. The lips are strong, the nose is low and the teeth are crooked."

The characterization did not only concern people´s appearance, but also all kinds of claims were made about the nature of different races. For example someone could have said that "a negro never works if he only has enough to eat". Or "they are never angry, that´s why they are too cheerful. Our rowers also sing and talk from morning to night."

Today such characterizations are not scientifically justified nor acceptable. However, forbidden topics are not limited to words that sound stupid or to inaccurate generalizations, but for example scientific inquiry of mental differences between different human groups or people´s cultures are considered politically incorrect. 

This is despite the fact that we know, for example, intelligence to be inherited quite similarly to height - and that there are hereditary differences in people´s heights between groups of people. Logically it would be concluded -  if that was not politically incorrect - that intelligence differences between different groups of people are highly probable.

These thoughts came to my mind, when I was reading one of the recent news from Haiti. According to it, serious violence is taking place in the country due to increasing prizes of food. The situation was described as "a real battlefield. It is impossible to estimate how many people have died."

As you may remember, when Haiti became independent, a massacre of nearly all the remaining white men, women, children was conducted. In just three months several thousand whites were killed, including those who had been friendly and sympathetic to the black population. 

Thereafter, Haitians have had dominantly African ancestry. At the same time, the country is the poorest in the Western hemisphere, and - as now - suffers time after time from violence. Neither have we seen welfare states created by African people in Africa (although the Republic of South Africa has been able to keep and even increase its relatively high standard of living after whites stepped out from the power). The question not scientifically addressed is, that does the genetics or culture of Haitians as Afro-American have anything to do with their poverty?

Naturally I have no answer to that, but in my opinion it would be beneficial if such questions could be subjected to scientific inquiry. If it would be proven that people or culture of a country matters, that information could also be used in finding ways to minimize such an effect if negative. In contrast, refusing research on forbidden topics will only guarantee the continuation of people´s suffering in the future.

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
American black population more vulnerable to the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2
World Resources Institute had an arrogant demand
Seeing sex developed novel cultures

17 July 2022

Kalle Rovanperä - a rally driver

Rally is a motor sport, where Finland used to be the greatest power since 1960´s. The world championship in rallying started in 1977, and until year 2002 the winner came from Finland a total of 14 times. The rest of the world only had 12 champions.

Thereafter a change was made in the rules, and the winners of single competitions were rewarded with less points that previously. That was poisonous for Finnish rally drivers, who had always taken more risks than others to keep a superior speed, and since 2002 no one from Finland has won the world championship, but French drivers have dominated the rally trails. 

One of the drivers of that period was Harri Rovanperä, who managed to win a single rally - in Sweden - but was at his best "only" fifth in the total competition. But he had a son, who was going to make history in motor sports. 

Today this son - Kalle Rovanperä - has won his fifth rally out of seven competitions driven this year. Right now it looks that he is simply too good to be beaten, as he seems to win single rallies by "driving avoiding all risks", as he said yesterday after winning one of the special stages. 

As the younger Rovanperä is only 21 years old, he could rule rallying for the next decade or so - thus challenging the achievement of the the nine time world champion Sébastien Loeb. But even without that, he will return the glory of Finnish motor sports and thus continue the tradition of the "Flying Finns" in rally trails. 

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
A stupid thief and vandalizing celebrators

15 July 2022

Pacifism - a respectable tool to support inhumane dictators and warlords

Former president of Germany, Joachim Glauck, has commented pacifism. He said that it is respectable, but it does not lead to good. It only cements the supremacy of bad people, i.e. inhumane and criminal actors.

He also said that the political systems of Russia and China deprives people from an opportunity to influence political decision makers and thus support power of a small elite. And such authoritarian countries and dictatorships are increasingly questioning the global system based on values and rules.

Also Ville Brummer, an expert of CMI - Martti Ahtisaari foundation founded by the Nobel Laureate Martti Ahtisaari, has commented global situation. According to him "what is happening now in Ukraine is perhaps the result of a longer global trend". 

He pointed out that during the recent years, we have seen that people in many countries have been less dedicated to solve conflicts peacefully and more willing to use of violence.  And listed Nagorno-Karabakh, Ethiopia and Myanmar as examples.

Taken together, it will be of utmost importance that the war in Ukraine will not end in anything that Russia could claim as a success or achievement. Such a result would work as a stimulant to all those dictators and authoritarian countries that could consider war of aggression as a viable option in their politics.

Unfortunately Joachim Glauck is right, and pacifism is only intellectual dishonesty, and has nothing to give for the global peace and justice. Instead, it is an efficient tool to support those people - inhumane dictators, warlords and criminals - whose actions threat the global peace and development.

14 July 2022

How can Vladimir Putin survive from his propaganda after the Russian loss in Ukraine?

United Stated has delivered HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) to Ukrainians. Thereafter they have been used extremely successfully against the invader. 

According to a Finnish professor of National Defence University of Finland, Ukraine has used HIMARS to destroy Russian command centers and ammunition depots, which has forced attackers to draw their artillery backwards. As a result, we have seen a dramatic reduction in Russian shelling during the last few days. 

This all gives Ukrainians hope that they could survive the Russian attack. And for us in the Western world, the important lesson is that bloodthirsty dictators can be stopped only using brute force created by highly developed weaponry. And that should encourage us for giving more support to the victim to help it to beat the attacker.

At the same time Russians are kept completely unaware about the developments in the front. Instead, they are told that Russia´s war is not against the Ukrainian people, but against their government, and urge Russia´s military to kill the entire Ukrainian government.

It is well known that truth is the first victim of a war. But Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly be hit hard if and when his troops are defeated. How could he survive after his becoming military loss in Ukraine after all bullshit propagated to ordinary people? The answer is: he will not.

11 July 2022

Is Gerhard Schoeder of Germany ignorant, troll or stupid?

Ukraine is going to conduct a counter-attack against Russians in the southern part of the country. The fightback is extremely important as it has been well prepared, and troops are numerous and equipped with modern western weaponry. 

Therefore I consider the following days to become some of the most important ones during the war. If Ukrainians fail, it provides a lot of confidence to Vladimir Putin´s military force. But if Ukrainians will succeed, that will turn the situation also in Donbas and Luhansk, where Russians have thus far had some success. 

Therefore is was extremely unwise from Gerhard Schoeder of Germany to insist diplomacy as the only way to end the war. In my opinion, a man with such a long history in politics should understand that the only outcome from diplomacy would be acceptance of Russian violence. And that is not acceptable. 

It should also be noted that General Pekka Toveri noted Russians to have - theoretically - a huge reserve of soldiers, but it seems to be difficult to mobilize them into the front. Therefore, spending time with diplomacy would work only for Russians, and against Ukrainian attempts to keep their independence.

Therefore we should ask, whether Schröder is Putin´s troll, ignorant about facts or simply stupid?

8 July 2022

Problem in berrypicking

We have a problem due to Russian attack against Ukraine. And I am not talking about military threat but berry picking.

In Finland we have considerable amounts of berry production. There is a good reason for it as our summer days are extremely long, which results in high amounts of taste-giving aroma in the berries. 

The problem arises from the fact that many berry growers have hired Ukrainians to work in the field during recent years. Now Ukrainians are not available due to the Russians, Finnish kids are not any more willing to search jobs from farms, and refugees and asylum seekers from developing countries rather live with social subsidies than spend their days by working for a salary.

Now the fear is that the excellent yield of strawberries cannot be picked in the short time frame available between their ripening and rotting. The question arising is: what will be the future of a society, where no one is willing to earn their living by somehow unpleasant work. 

Not youngsters, not unemployed or not immigrants. And taxpayers pay to all of them for doing nothing in the name of social security.


3 July 2022

Share of EU recovery funds will turn attitudes more negative

Finland´s share from the EU recovery (from COVID-19) funds is reduced by 300 million euros. Therefore, our share of funding is 4,2 billion euros less than our payment on the package. 

The reason for our reduced share is the economic recovery of Finland that being more positive than predicted. The basis for this conclusion is the development of the national GDP, which in 2021 increased by 3.5 percent from year 2020. 

Therefore one - e.g. the Prime Minister of our country - might think that the reduction in Finnish share is a fair decision. Unfortunately I must point out three facts. 

First, the economic growth of Finland was made by increasing its indebtedness considerably - by decisions made by a government led by the above mentioned prime minister. Second, the economic growth of Finland is predicted to slow down during the ongoing year. Third, the future of the Finnish forest industry - responsible of ca. 20 percent of the export value - has been challenged by the commission despite its high sustainability compared to other EU countries.

It should also be noted that the taxation burden on Finnish taxpayers is among the highest in EU, and increasing quickly. Therefore I would not be amazed if the attitudes among ordinary people in Finland would turn more negative towards EU in the becoming years. 

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
A Finnish Professor would raise inheritance tax up to 65 percent
A new justification is needed for environmental activists
Will an attitude lead Ukraine into EU?

2 July 2022

A Finnish Professor would raise inheritance tax up to 65 percent

Professor Heikki Hiilamo of the Helsinki University proposed that inheritance tax should be raised up to 65 percent. He justified that by the inequality of people, which reduces the chances of poor people to succeed in the society. He also noted that it takes a lot of education to allow them a chance to prosper, which is expensive and not possible in a highly unequal society. 

I just wonder how would such a high taxation of inheritance affect the motivation of elder people to work - and pay taxes - when their offspring would inherit only a third of their fortune and property? And how would that affect the accumulation of funds for investments in private companies owned by single families? 

And ultimately, how would such a high taxation finally affect the living standard of poor people in a free world, where rich ones always have a chance to find a new home in a country, where the taxation is reasonable and hard working is encouraged by a possibility of transferring its outcome to offspring?