November 25, 2012

21st century navies to watch: China and India

Filed under: China, India, Military, Pacific — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:07

The Economist provides some background on a growing naval rivalry between the two biggest powers in Asia:

Samudra Manthan is the title of a new book on this topic by C. Raja Mohan, an Indian writer on strategic affairs, for whom the myth is a metaphor for the two countries’ competition at sea. This contest remains far more tentative and low-key than the 50-year stand-off over their disputed Himalayan border, where China humiliated India in a brief, bloody war in 1962. But the book raises alarming questions about the risks of future maritime confrontation.

[. . .]

China’s naval plans receive more attention. By 2020 its navy is expected to have 73 “principal combatants” (big warships) and 78 submarines, 12 of them nuclear-powered. Last year its first aircraft-carrier, bought from Ukraine, began sea trials; indigenous carriers are under construction. Proving it can now operate far from its own shores, China’s navy has joined anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Of course this evolution is not aimed at India, so much as at building a force commensurate with China’s new economic might, securing its sea lines of communication and, eventually perhaps, challenging American dominance in the western Pacific, with a view to enforcing China’s view of its national sovereignty in Taiwan and elsewhere.

Indian strategists, however, tend towards paranoia where China is concerned. China’s close strategic relations with India’s neighbours, notably Pakistan, have given rise to the perception that China is intent on throttling India with a “string of pearls” — naval facilities around the Indian Ocean. These include ports China has built at Gwadar in Pakistan; at Hambantota in Sri Lanka; at Kyaukphyu in Myanmar; and at Chittagong in Bangladesh.

[. . .]

India’s naval advances are less dramatic. But it has operated two aircraft-carriers since the 1960s, and aims to have three carrier groups operational by 2020, as part of a fleet that by 2022 would have around 160 ships and 400 aircraft, making it one of the world’s five biggest navies. Like China, it also hopes to acquire a full “nuclear triad” — by adding sea-based missiles to its nuclear deterrent. While China has been testing the waters to its south and south-west, India’s navy has been looking east, partly to follow India’s trade links. India fears Chinese “strategic encirclement”. Similarly, China looks askance at India’s expanding defence ties with America, South-East Asia, Japan and South Korea.

Anthropology and hacker culture

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:56

Cory Doctorow on a new book by Biella Coleman called Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking:

[Coleman’s dissertation has been], edited and streamlined, under the title of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, which comes out today from Princeton University Press (Quinn Norton, also well known for her Wired reporting on Anonymous and Occupy, had a hand in the editing). Coding Freedom walks the fine line between popular accessibility and scholarly rigor, and does a very good job of expressing complex ideas without (too much) academic jargon.

Coding Freedom is insightful and fascinating, a superbly observed picture of the motives, divisions and history of the free software and software freedom world. As someone embedded in both those worlds, I found myself surprised by connections I’d never made on my own, but which seemed perfectly right and obvious in hindsight. Coleman’s work pulls together a million IRC conversations and mailing list threads and wikiwars and gets to their foundations, the deep discussion evolving through the world of free/open source software.

It pays to advertise … or at least set up a website for your new business

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:24

Coming back from running a few errands yesterday, Elizabeth noticed what looked like a new restaurant setting up shop in downtown Brooklin: The Pour House. We’ve been waiting for Brooklin to get a proper pub or wine bar for a long time, so this seemed like good news. As soon as we got home, she ran a few Google searches to see what was on offer. The googles, they do nothing.

I tried again this morning, searching for “Brooklin Pour House”, and got one link: a parked domain at GoDaddy.com. Perhaps they’re listed under a different name, but it boggles the imagination to see a new business today that doesn’t already have a web presence…

Update, 13 January, 2013: Good news! The owners have created a Facebook page:

Hi Everyone…
Thanks for visiting our Facebook Page! We’re excited to have our Grand Opening in the New Year and hope you will join us for some Wine and incredible Cuisine.
Check back for updates and thank you again for stopping by!
Brooklin Pour House

Update, 4 June, 2013: There’s now a bare-bones website at http://brooklinpourhouse.com. In the Brooklin tradition, where no business seems to open without at least one direct competitor opening at the same time, here’s another bare-bones website for the 1847 Wine & Beer Bistro, which is also supposed to open soon.

UK bureaucrat removes foster children from home of UKIP supporters

Filed under: Britain, Bureaucracy, Government, Liberty, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:30

I heard about this case yesterday, and I’d hoped that it was just a mangling of the report, not an appallingly bad exercise of municipal power:

The stunning decision by Rotherham Council to remove three children from a foster home (where they were happy) because the foster parents support UKIP shows that the “culture war” here in Britain is being waged not by the Right, but by the Left.

Joyce Thacker, the council’s director of children, who said her decision was influenced by UKIP’s sceptical take on multiculturalism, is the mirror image of those mad American right-wingers who want to outlaw abortion clinics and homosexuals. Unlike them, though, she is in a position of power. Hers is the latest in a series of increasingly chilling actions of this nature taken by bien-pensant officials.

[. . .]

The special interest of the Rotherham case — and no doubt why Ed Miliband was so quick to condemn it — is that in five days’ time the town has a parliamentary by-election. Labour is already in a bit of trouble here — about 80 of the 114 members present at the meeting to select its candidate walked out in protest after the favourite, local man Mahroof Hussain, was excluded from the shortlist. Many of them said they wouldn’t campaign for the woman Labour chose, Sarah Champion.

At the intersection of “Bronies” and wargaming

Filed under: Gaming, Gaming, Humour, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 10:21

At what many would expect to be a quiet, uninhabited intersection you find the World of Tanks mod for My Little Pony fans:

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a relatively new TV show that’s garnered a huge geek audience, is now invading the most non-pony of places: World of Tanks. Modder RelicShadow has combined several of his and others’ modifications for WoT into a definitive 5GB overhaul package. The result? A ground-up transformation of World of Tanks in which ponies pervade every inch of the battlefield.

Powered by WordPress