More small wars

Why the nature of today’s warfare means counterinsurgency is here to stay

“Although the world has not seen a purely conventional war since the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, more than 30 countries — including Colombia, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Ukraine, to name a few — now find themselves fighting foes that rely on guerrilla or terrorist tactics. One such conflict, the civil war in Syria, has killed over 170,000 people since 2011.” Image Credit

Max Boot | Foreign Affairs

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Silicon Valley’s billion dollar start-up failures

On the ever increasing rate that start-ups are burning through cash

“Seattle analysts PitchBook say burn rates among all but the smallest US software companies have risen dramatically over the last four years, and are indeed at their highest levels since 1999. In fact later stage start-ups – those most likely to have a significant customer base already – are splurging an average of $1.82m (£1.1m; €1.42m ) per month.” Image Credit

Daniel Thomas | BBC

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Pot kids

Inside the shadowy world of medical marijuana for children

“A German shepherd approaches your vehicle and somehow doesn’t detect the marijuana that’s under a pile of ice in a cooler. As you’re sent on your way, adrenaline pulses through your body. Tears pool in your eyes. You are, after all, committing at least several state and federal crimes, but when you get home a few days later, it’s business as usual.” Image Credit

Kate Pickert | Time

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The origins of the Shroud of Turin

A ‘groundbreaking examination’ into the creation of the shroud

“So the argument that the Shroud is a painted linen cloth of the 14th century and that it has decayed significantly seems strong but it is important to see whether there is any evidence that contradicts this. In April 1988 the Shroud underwent a radiocarbon test. The most recent method of dating, accelerator-mass-spectrometry (AMS), was selected as it allowed small samples to be taken.” Image Credit

Charles Freeman | History Today

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Surveillance, intelligence and accountability: an Australian story

A look at current Australian terror legislation in the context of the country’s history

“The partisan nature of surveillance began early. Beyond enemy aliens, the concentration of intelligence agents during the First World War was on the anti-conscription campaigners, especially after the prime minister, Billy Hughes, was pelted with eggs at a rally in Warwick, Queensland, in November 1917. The prime minister believed that the Queensland police took too little action against the perpetrators…” Image Credit

John Faulkner | The Australian Financial Review

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The regretful jihadists of the Islamic State

Not all the foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq are trying to bring jihad with them

“But, they said, they feared arrest. “We came to fight the [Bashar al-Assad] regime and instead we are involved in gang warfare. It’s not what we came for but if we go back [to Britain] we will go to jail,” a British national, who claimed to speak for about 30 disillusioned jihadists, told researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation…” Image Credit

Leela Jacinto | Foreign Policy

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A bachelor in the White House?!

On why Americans care so much about the minutiae of their leaders’ lives

“The American perception that a person’s private life is the key to his or her value system means that infidelity is punished and marital bliss rewarded; it also has the consequence of excluding from higher office candidates who are seen to be transgressing social norms in surprisingly standard ways. Two categories in particular seem to be unacceptable to American voters: atheists and singles.” Image Credit

Linda Besner | Hazlitt

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Wake up, Europe

George Soros says Europe needs to step in to ‘save’ Ukraine

“However, President Obama refused his request for Javelin hand-held missiles that could be used against advancing tanks. Poroshenko was given radar, but what use is it without missiles? European countries are equally reluctant to provide military assistance to Ukraine, fearing Russian retaliation.” Image Credit

George Soros | The New York Review of Books

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Stalin: Paradoxes of Power

Stephen Kotkin’s biography argues Stalin was a man driven by deeply held convictions

“Unlike a number of Stalin studies, this is not an etiology of evil. The author does not appear to be watching his subject narrowly for early signs of the monstrous deformations that will later emerge. He tries to look at him at various stages of his career without the benefit of too much hindsight.” Image Credit

Sheila Fitzpatrick | The Guardian

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The man who turned speedboats full of weed into Indy 500 glory

Randy Lanier paid for his racing dreams with large-scale drug smuggling and then paid the price

“During his sentencing a federal judge said the former racing star “ruined a lot of lives in this country.” But Lanier, who was 34 at the time, balked at the outcome and said, “A person should not have to spend the rest of his life in prison for marijuana.” Until this month, it almost seemed like he would.” Image Credit

Patrick George | Jalopnik

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