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twinlark
Member since Nov-17-05
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My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.

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>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections.

Chessgames.com Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 16736 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jan-31-15 Wei Yi (replies)
 
twinlark: <Maatalkko> On reflection, I agree with everything in your previous post on this page.
 
   Jan-31-15 twinlark chessforum
 
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> <If China is producing most of the world's metals and industrial chemicals, then it's strong indication that its on its way to becoming the richest nation on Earth.> Indeed. If it can survive and it has every intention of making every effort to do ...
 
   Jan-26-15 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
 
twinlark: <Papandreou started a new party just before the election> That was on the nose as much as anything happening in Greek politics. I thought at the time it was intended to draw votes away from Syriza.
 
   Jan-24-15 OhioChessFan chessforum (replies)
 
twinlark: Round 12: van Wely - Jobava 1/2 35 Radjabov - Hou 1/2 45 Ivanchuk - Caruana 1/2 50 Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian 1/2 29 Ding - Carlsen 1/2 28 Saric - Wojtaszek 0-1 32 Giri - So 1/2 87
 
   Jan-23-15 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
 
twinlark: <Whitehat1963: Continues to show himself to be head and shoulders above the rest. Who will be his main rival in years to come? Caruana? Giri? So? Karjakin? Vachier-Lagrave? Nakamura? Rapport? Wei Yi? Who will it be?> Wesley So is unbelievably solid. He's very difficult to ...
 
   Jan-20-15 Carlsen vs Radjabov, 2015 (replies)
 
twinlark: 1-0. Well done Carlsen.
 
   Jan-17-15 N Gaprindashvili vs Spassky, 1971
 
twinlark: The last time the undisputed reigning World Champion played the reigning Women's World Champion, until Carlsen plays Hou shortly.
 
   Jan-14-15 Kenneth T Solomon (replies)
 
twinlark: Congratulations to Kenny Solomon for landing the GM title.
 
   Jan-09-15 Ivan Saric (replies)
 
twinlark: Probably that the blitz events provide some pre-game entertainment.
 
   Jan-06-15 Aleksander Mista
 
twinlark: Runner up at Hastings this year. Well done.
 
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 234 OF 234 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Quite right.

<visay> is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?

Jan-11-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <OhioChessFan: <visay> is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

If the Earth is young and life created per Genesis, then any discussion over three billion old fossils is moot. They can't be 3 billion years old.

From the point of view of creationists, the Earth is quite young. It's based on thinking that takes the Bible passages literally. For myself I do a lot of exegesis whenever reading the Bible or any sacred scripture. (I have read and to some certain extent studied Genesis, Exodus, New Testament, Koran, Bhagavad-gita, and Dhammapada.)

I see nothing wrong in regarding Biblical stories as fiction that gives theological messages (called 'truths' in theological literature).

All literary fiction, ancient and modern, are not literally real but do serve us by telling us truths, lessons, messages, or entertain us. Just because they are not literally true does not mean that they are malignant lies. (BTW I see from your post in my forum that you have read the Count of Monte Cristo. I haven't, but I have read the Three Musketeers. A masterpiece; and while not being literally true, it tells of many truths.)

However, I believe taking these stories literally might cause trouble. Same with the stories in sacred scriptures. There are many stories in the Old Testament that describe retrograde violence and seem to justify them after they have happened. In the Koran there are lots of suras that contain passages that likewise justify retrograde violence plus even more passages that order the reader to do anterograde violence. In the Bhagavad-gita, the setting is a war story, and it justifies the annihilation of one's enemies even if they are relatives in times of war. If one just goes into these stories taking them literally, and ignore the rest of the truths written in these scriptures, one can justify murder and terrorism as mandates of a divine being, and thus morally right, and even obligatory.

You might be interested to know that I have found out (after reading them thoroughly) that two major world scriptures do not contain a single statement that orders one to do violence. The New Testament and the Dhammapada.

Regarding the puzzles of life, I do believe that the Earth is ancient based on everything that I have read. I do believe that evolution has happened and is happening. I do not regard evolution as incompatible with the Genesis story as long as one does not take Genesis literally. I think we have discussed these things before.

Jan-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plioce...

<The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene (3.3–3 mya) was 2–3 °C higher than today, global sea level 25 m higher..>

If this is accurate, then it implies that a return to Pliocene period climate as global warming continues would raise the present sea levels by at least 25 meters.

The two countries that emit the most greenhouse gases are China and the USA. Hopefully China will have success in its quest to develop and commercialize 4th generation nuclear plants. On the other hand US doesn't seem to have any serious government project to do this. I can only hypothesize that powerful lobby groups are still blocking it.

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 'Egyptian tourism minister: Russia, Egypt might use Russian currency in mutual settlements'

http://itar-tass.com/en/world/771695

A surprise. What's up?

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

The only surprise is that it is Egypt involved and not say Turkey (which is taking on the cancelled South Sea Pipeline from Russia as a clearing house for onselling to eastern Europe), especially as the regime in power has been receiving major aid from the US to take back control of the country from the democratic process. I can only imagine the fury in Washington right now as its pet regime switches allegiances.

In the bigger picture, this is merely another step in a long term strategic process of decoupling from the dollar, and engaging in currency swaps in bilateral trade. The establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, and especially the new financial trading system set up by Russia and China to bypass SWIFT, which has been used as an economic weapon by the West, signals a tectonic shift in the view of many commentators of the global economy.

The devaluation of the rouble isn't nearly as disastrous as it might have been, as it enables Russia to repatriate foreign rouble reserves at very low prices, using its massive dollar reserves, helping to shed itself of a future liability in a profitable manner - namely the dollar which will collapse once its status as the world's reserve currency lapses.

Domestically, the devaluation of the rouble causes the cost of imports to increase, which in conjunction with Western sanctions on these same imports, is providing a major boost in building import substitution economic architecture.

In attacking the rouble, the West can cause some short to medium term inconvenience to Russia, but a mere pin prick compared to the pain inflicted by the West in the last couple of centuries, notably by Napoleon, Hitler and the Western involvement in funding the White Army after the Bolshevik Revolution. Despite the internal suffering caused by Stalin, many Russians recall the main with nostalgia, because he was a strong leader and made Russia strong. The upshot of all this is that Russia will take many decades, if not centuries, to forgive Europe and the US for its actions. Putin made a last ditch offer to Europe: abandon the economic alliance with the US and join the EEU. Last chance saloon.

The strength of Russia, its ability to survive the constant depredations by its enemies, puts the Russian population solidly behind Putin during these times. The majority of Russians have moved from favouring the West, especially the US, to being repelled by what they see is its agenda to destroy the sovereignty and strength of Russia in the West's scramble for Siberia's massive resources.

The Russian economy is reasonably sound. It has very little foreign debt, massive foreign currency reserves that far exceed in value the Russian rouble, and control over its own resources. A recent stress test conducted over what would happen if Russia turned off the gas to Europe indicate the EU would suffer an economic collapse or something very close.

The entire strategy by Russia is now to look eastward and decouple not only from the US dollar in trading, but to reduce its reliance on manufactured imports from the EU. When the Iron Curtain collapsed, Russia was subject to economic shock therapy including the domestic market being flooded by European consumer goods, completely destroying local manufacturing and turning Russia into a resource extraction economy. IN other words, placing all its economic eggs in the resource basket.

Had Yeltsin continued, this strategy may well have been successful, but Putin was far more long sighted and extremely skeptical about the West, especially after its blatantly broken promise not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe let alone beyond into the former Soviet Union.

Here's an article which provides some information about the de-dollarisation process being engaged in by the BRICS, SCO and other countries: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/bl...

Here is another interesting article about the double helix DNA relationship between Russia and China: http://www.mediafire.com/view/j8ujx...

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> Those were very informative articles. Thanks.

I disagree though that there is no way for US to get out. I believe that there are two ways.

One. War followed by plunder of the defeated countries. This is a notorious time honored method known to all past empires including the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, and Greco-Roman. I will be cynical in the following statements. USA can ignite a war with an unallied country, destroy it's industries and infrastructure, defeat it, install a puppet regime, which then takes in US controlled loans to rebuild its destroyed countries at staggering interest rates. The country in effect pays the US with its gold and reserve currencies and ultimately with its raw materials and resources for what the US has destroyed. MSM can sugar paint this conquer and plunder event as humanitarian aid to the freed oppressed people of that country.

Two. Embark on a peaceful but massive development of fourth generation nuclear plants, aimed at total energy autonomy. The government finances and efforts shall be as intensive as the US WW2 war effort. The same effort that made the Los Alamos atom bomb in just four years and fully mobilize and logistically support millions of troops in Europe and the Pacific. If the US begins now, it could be fossil fuel energy independent in 5 years.

The US should see this as a war of survival, just as in WW2, but instead of a hot war, a peaceful project toward energy autonomy albeit with the same war effort as the biggest of hot wars.

I hope the US attempts the second.

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: A possible sci-fi theme:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abunda...

If you look at this table of Earth's crustal abundance of elements, uranium is #51, and gold and platinum #72 and 73. Note however that uranium is composed two isotopes, the rarer one U-235 consisting of 0.720% of natural uranium.

U-235 is the particular isotope of uranium that gets used in today's nuclear plants. If you do the appropriate calculations, it seems that if we separate this isotope from the more common U-238, its crustal abundance comes within a magnitude of the precious metals gold and platinum.

If U-235 is approximately as rare as gold and platinum, I can envision a society that makes currency based on U-235, instead of gold. Currency is still backed up by a metal, but one which is directly related to energy production.

What if US, EU, and BRICS came together and declared that from now on their currencies would be backed up by U-235?

Fascinating sci-fi world. A world where central banks keep uranium bullion in order to back up currencies, but bullion that can be burned in nuclear plants to make useful energy as well.

Jan-19-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> <I hope the US attempts the second.>

I guess we should hope for the best and plan for the worst, especially as the latter doesn't fall within the realm of microscopic probability.

<Fascinating sci-fi world. A world where central banks keep uranium bullion in order to back up currencies, but bullion that can be burned in nuclear plants to make useful energy as well.>

As long as they don't keep all the bullion stacked together...

You may be interested to note that the world's largest central bank, the US Federal Reserve:

<...does not own gold.>

http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/...

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

The following is an interesting site if for no other reason than it provides up to date information about precious metal prices, including gold, silver, platinum and palladium: http://www.gold-eagle.com/

Nevertheless the following article written last November will be of interest. An extract:

<Thus, in exchange for Russian oil, gas and uranium, the West pays Russia with dollars, purchasing power of which is artificially inflated against oil and gold by the efforts (manipulations) of the West. However, Putin uses these dollars only to withdraw physical gold from the West in exchange at a price denominated in US dollars, artificially lowered by the same West.

This [...] puts the West led by the United States in a position of a snake, aggressively and diligently devouring its own tail.>

http://www.gold-eagle.com/article/g...

Interesting reading alongside this possible explanation for the rise in the USD:

<It has rallied nearly 15% in six months, and nearly 10% of this in just the last two month. This I believe is the result of the dollar carry trade unwinding. Many commodities including oil were “carried” by borrowing dollars. This was a synthetic short position in the dollar. As the commodities (oil) imploded in price, traders were forced by margin calls to exit positions. The borrowed (shorted) dollars were paid back (covered) and has caused the rally in the dollar.>

http://normanpilon.com/2015/01/07/r...

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <OhioChessFan: <visay> is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

<visay: If the Earth is young and life created per Genesis, then any discussion over three billion old fossils is moot. They can't be 3 billion years old. >

Is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <OhioChessFan: <OhioChessFan: <visay> is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

<visay: If the Earth is young and life created per Genesis, then any discussion over three billion old fossils is moot. They can't be 3 billion years old. >

Is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

But I do believe that the Earth is ancient. However, if your thesis is correct and the Earth isn't then yes, the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient.

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: All right, you caught me by surprise.
Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <OhioChessFan: <OhioChessFan: <visay> is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

<visay: If the Earth is young and life created per Genesis, then any discussion over three billion old fossils is moot. They can't be 3 billion years old. >

Is there any chance the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient?>

If your thesis is correct and the Earth isn't ancient then yes, the reason an early life on an ancient earth can't be explained is that the earth isn't ancient. Chances are 100%.

What are the chances that the earth isn't ancient? The thesis that the earth is ancient is a hypothesis after all. It isn't about calculating chances. Rather even if there is just one clear evidence disproving the thesis that the earth is ancient, then it's not ancient. That's how the scientific method works. You try to disprove your thesis, and if every new observation or experimental data can't, the thesis is strengthened.

So far I haven't seen any clear irrefutable evidence that disproves the thesis that the earth is ancient, and many that tend to support it.

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <OhioChessFan> You might want to scroll up and read the discussion here on the scientific method. I was wondering why the scientific method mostly works in our Universe. Is there some Universal law or rule that makes it work?

For the field of physics and chemistry and other 'hard' sciences, the scientific method AFAIK always works. But I am not that certain that it works 100% of the time in cases where free will is involved. I believe that it's why it's so hard to predict future human actions, and in the 'soft' sciences such as sociology and political science.

Jan-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: http://www.icna.org.br/sites/defaul...

Go to page 20 titled

Balance Of CO2 and O2 in Pig iron Production

In summary, if one uses plantation tree charcoal as the reducing agent in iron smelters, you eventually net more CO2 sequestration and more O2 production into the atmosphere. It's not that detailed but it's the most detailed calculation so far that I have encountered in the internet.

In Eastern European politics:

Something peculiar seems to be happening in Hungary. Is the leadership veering off EU-NATO and becoming more neutral?

And in Greece. What is your opinion of Tsipras and Syriza?

I already expect some reaction from the US government in Hungary and Greece.

Jan-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<http://www.icna.org.br/sites/defaul...

Go to page 20 titled

Balance Of CO2 and O2 in Pig iron Production >

Thanks I'll read that tonight.

<In Eastern European politics:

Something peculiar seems to be happening in Hungary. Is the leadership veering off EU-NATO and becoming more neutral?>

Funny you should mention that. I posted this earlier in the day: Kenneth Rogoff

Fidesz won a landslide election a few months ago and there are already demonstrations in the streets demanding the ouster of Viktor Orbán - http://rt.com/news/219519-hungary-p.... Strangely enough, soon after Hungary started becoming more "neutral". There are already a number of Hungarian figures who have become subject to US sanctions as a result - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-....

Orban is a fairly traditional right wing politician, but he does have a sense of patriotism that tells him that he shouldn't sell his country out, and that the treatment by the US and the EU of Russia is deeply counterproductive. The cancellation of the South Stream Pipeline which was supposed to have been built through Turkey then Westward to eastern European countries including Hungary has no doubt added to the strength of Orban's argument in the eyes of some, if not in those of the US.

<And in Greece. What is your opinion of Tsipras and Syriza?>

I don't envy them. Greece is now in debt for perpetuity, with all the Republic's assets mortgaged to European banks, plus more, with continuing unemployment, a dead economy and a population that has been ready to hang every governing politician from the nearest lamp post.

Syriza is IMO Greece's last and best, if meagre chance, to extricate itself from the euro-mire of debt and austerity. But if faces the opposition of the Brussels bureaucrats, the ECB, the uncompromising stance of Germany and Finland. Germany is at least trying to be fiscally responsible in its dreadfully teutonic way, but the Finnish government just seems to want Greece to be ground into the dust. Not a nice regime, the latter.

But the problem facing Syriza is to make sufficient inroads into shaking off the control of austerity measures imposed on it <within its first term>, or it will be voted into oblivion, probably to the benefit of the likes of New Dawn. If they try and negotiate an easing of the measures and stay within the euro-swamp, they will fail.

I agree with an analyst that opined that Syriza has to take the radical approach of leaving the Eurozone, defaulting on at least some of the bail out debts, and see its future with other countries that are being targeted by the US and the EU, including the BRICS countries, Iran, Venezuela and so forth. Rolling back the austerity measures is a much more radical measure than anything Orban has done, and will attract the deadly enmity of the US, and therefore the EU.

It's big chance is that Putin's cancellation of the South Stream Pipeline could benefit Greece to the extent that it is being rerouted as the Turkstream (or Bluestream, not sure which it is being called), and that the Turkish deal with Russia will have the gas pipeline being built through Turkish territory <to the Greek border>, where it can be onsold to other European customer countries.

Aligning itself with Turkey, which seems to be politically aligned with the West including its membership of NATO while simultaneously becoming more economically linked with Russia and China, could be Greece's salvation.

But it is going to take a lot of extremely brave and determined actions by the new Syriza government to come remotely close to the stated goals of ending the ruinous austerity measures. Especially when you consider the role of the US and the West in eliminating the progressive government that came to power in Greece after WWII. Greece will be a much easier target for a colour revolution.

It can succeed, if only on an outside chance, if similar parties in other European countries such as Spain and England can seize power through the ballot box. It's not a government that will be able to enact its promised reforms without similar measures happening in the national neighbourhood.

Jan-29-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: There could be good chances for both Hungary and Greece to get reeled back into the main EU-NATO line. Both USA and Germany must be giving these two countries their full internal EU attention. But let's see.

Germany IMO is the European key to both EU and NATO. This is another country that I am unsure of. IMO there are two extreme ways to view present day Germany.

1. It is still a US occupied country, consenting to huge US military bases within its territory and with its leading political factions in the US pocket. Ultimately Germany will do practically anything that the US government demands because it has no sovereign political will by its own.

2. Leading German political factions see a way for Germany to gain more power. Consider that under the EU and NATO, Germany has gained much direct economic and political power over nearly the entire Europe. It has achieved a dominating status in Europe that rivals or surpasses old Nazi Germany, and is even now seeking to expand eastward. The cooperation with US foreign policy is being done voluntarily.

3. Maybe something else is happening.

Jan-29-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: I just read in MSM that Greece has voted to extend sanctions against Russia. Just a day after I thought it would get <reeled in>.
Jan-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

That has to be one of the biggest anticlimaxes in political history.

Jan-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Basically it chops any potentially meaningful reforms right off at the knees. In other words Syriza has already sold out and betrayed its constituents and Greece's last best hope for any chance at a meaningful future.

I notice the new foreign minister, Kotzias, announced that: "I am not a Russian puppet."

What he forgot to mention was that he is and will now always will be an EU puppet.

Jan-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <I notice the new foreign minister, Kotzias, announced that: "I am not a Russian puppet.">

What has Russia been doing to make him a puppet? It looks like a statement to the EU asserting his loyalty to the EU, but phrased in a troubling manner. Statements such as these from European politicians seem to equate hostility to Russia as loyalty to the EU. If this is the mind frame of many European politicians, it indicates a return to a Cold War perspective.

Jan-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: The war in Ukraine seems to be escalating. Any thoughts on this?
Jan-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: We live in the iron age, with at around 95% of all metal production being metallic iron. From buildings to cars, iron provides an indispensable building material.

Production in million tons:

China 1,114.9 (iron ore); 549.4 (pig iron); 573.6 (steel)

Australia 393.9 (iron ore); 4.4 (pig iron); 5.2 (steel)

Brazil 305.0 (iron ore); 25.1 (pig iron); 0.011 (direct iron); 26.5 (steel)

The other two most commonly used structural metals are aluminum and magnesium.

Production in thousand of tons aluminum:

China 21,500

Russia 3,950

Canada 2,900

Production in thousand of tons magnesium:

China 661,000

U.S. 63,500

Russia 37,000

If we are to return to the gold standard, we will be curious as to who produces most of the world's gold.

Production in thousand of tons gold:

China 420

Australia 255

United States 227

(Source is Wikipedia but in this case, Wikipedia referred to official surveys and stats by reliable institutions.)

The pattern gets pretty boring. It's the same pattern for many other metals, rare earths, and the most commonly used industrial chemicals in the world sulfuric acid, ammonia, sodium hydroxide.

China is either tops or near the top.

There are lots of smoke and mirrors and dragon lies regarding the way leading central banks, financial institutions, multinationals, and governments manage the world economy. But some things never change. The economic wealth of a nation is ultimately measured in its productive output.

If China is producing most of the world's metals and industrial chemicals, then it's strong indication that its on its way to becoming the richest nation on Earth.

Jan-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor: The war in Ukraine seems to be escalating. Any thoughts on this?>

It was inevitable. The truce was never going to hold as it was a convenient pause for all sides to consolidate and plan the next phase of the conflict.

There is a saying in the region, namely that the US will fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. A bit of grim Russian humour, but not entirely inaccurate.

What is clear is that Ukraine is now a broken state, a shambles like Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The escalation of hostilities is more of the same, more Ukrainians sent into the meat grinder, more senseless destruction for the sake of creating chaos on Russia's borders and preventing the economic integration of Eurasia, something that Washington cannot tolerate as that would render it redundant.

The future of Ukraine is all grim. Rostislav Ischenko's analysis is almost a mournful eulogy:

<The Ukrainian coup, intended to make from Kiev not only an eternal source of enmity between Russia and the EU, but also a black hole devouring Moscow’s resources, has not fulfilled any of its tasks -- a year after the coup, Ukraine continues to devour the US resources.

But since Ukraine is just one of many sites of global confrontation between Moscow and Washington, the further concentration of efforts on this site becomes unprofitable for the US. They cannot quit, because then the site will be taken by Russia, which would be a geopolitical defeat of Washington. Therefore, the site must be destroyed. Let the winner occupy the ruins; if they could not entangle him by the whole Ukraine, let he be entangled by the rotting and decaying corpse of Ukraine.>

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.a...

Jan-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<If China is producing most of the world's metals and industrial chemicals, then it's strong indication that its on its way to becoming the richest nation on Earth.>

Indeed. If it can survive and it has every intention of making every effort to do so. The massive investments and deals it is extending to Russia, Asia, and Africa make it abundantly clear it is trying to expand and consolidate its economic and political powerbase to buffer it from, and enable it to survive, the economic and environmental crises that are growing by the day.

I think the Chinese are extremely aware of the environmental problems facing it, and to which is is contributing in no small part, but are locked into rapid economic development at whatever cost in the short term so it can at least survive in the long term with some hope of taking the necessary remedial action.

Best of all, it is still lifting its people from poverty - albeit somewhat unevenly - putting more effort into the outer provinces and maintaining a viable civil society that will not disintegrate the moment it comes under pressure. The recent purges of corrupt officials are most encouraging, as nothing undermines a civil society more than corruption.

First the world has to survive US militarism, and it is not at all clear how this can be achieved.

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