It seems North Korea might now have nuclear weapons small enough to put on rockets:

A report in The Washington Post on Tuesday went further. The newspaper said U.S. intelligence officials have assessed that a decade after North Korea’s first nuclear test explosion, Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, including by intercontinental missiles — the type capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Luckily we have a calm and rational person for our President:

‘‘North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,’’ Trump said during a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

We are so fucked.

Happy New Year

Another year has come and gone which means everyone needs to make their annual petunia wish. Have fun.

Afrikaans  Gelukkige Nuwejaar
Albanian Gëzuar Vitin e Ri
Arabic سنة سعيدة
Azerbaijani Yeni iliniz mübarək
Bahasa melayu Selamat tahun baru
Basque Urte berri on
Bosnian sretna nova godina
Bulgarian Щастлива Нова година
Catalan Feliç any nou
Cebuano (Philippines) Mabungahong Bag-ong Tuig kaninyong tanan
Czech šťastný nový rok
Dutch  Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Danish Godt nytår
Estonian Head uut aastat
Farsi سال نو مبارک
Filipino Manigong Bagong Taon
French Bonne Année
Gaelic (Scotland) Bliadhna mhath ur
Garifuna Buiti iseri irumu
German Frohes Neues Jahr
Greek Καλή χρονιά
Gujarati સાલ મુબારક
Hebrew שָׁנָה טוֹבָה
Hindi नये साल की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें
Hokkien Kung Hee Huat Tsai
Hungarian Boldog Új Évet
Irish Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit
Italian Buon anno
Japanese あけましておめでとうございます  akemashite omedeto gozaimasu
Korean 새해 복 많이 받으세요
Latvian Laimīgu Jauno gadu
Lithuanian Laimingu naujuju metu
Maltese Is Sena it -Tajba
Mandarin Chinese 新年快乐
Maori Kia hari te tau hou
Polish Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese Feliz Ano Novo
Quechua  Allin wata kachun qanqunapaq
Romanian La Mulți Ani
Russian С Новым Годом
Serbian Srećna nova godina
Slovak Šťastný nový rok
Spanish Feliz Año Nuevo
Thai สวัสดีปีใหม่
Turkish Mutlu yıllar
Urdu  نايا سال مبارک
Welsh blwyddyn newydd dda

Climate Change Pact

Well, this is a good thing:

With the sudden bang of a gavel Saturday night, representatives of 195 countries reached a landmark climate accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

It remains to be seen if enough of the countries will actually follow the pact to make a difference, but this is a very nice start.

Of course, there are the Republicans:

“Before his international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on a domestic energy plan that is likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt, and that Congress has already voted to reject,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement Saturday night.

The Paris deal was “more of the same —- lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved,” said Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The White House’s overall domestic strategy of making energy more expensive and less abundant to satisfy international constituencies, many of whom compete against the United States, should worry the business community, American workers, and consumers.”

It should give every American who cares about the planet one more reason to vote for Democrats in the next election.

Earthquake in Nepal

There has been a devastating earthquake in Nepal, which means it’s a good time to consider giving to one of the worldwide charities such as:



International Red Cross (you can try the Nepalese branch, but I wasn’t able to connect);


CNN has a more complete list here.


The Washington Post (Max Fisher) has put together a set of 40 maps. It’s fascinating. I especially like the map about the prediction of the break-up of the US by Russian academic Igor Panarin–among the unintentionally hilarious bits on the map is that the Carolinas will be part of the Northeast region after the US breaks up.

In any case, the whole list is good–go look.


A small world

I haven’t looked much at the statistics for this blog, but I found that this really is an interconnected world. Mine is a small blog and yet since February 25, 2012 (I would guess this is when WordPress started collecting this data) it has hits from 154 different countries (and more than 100 hits from 45 countries–this list might include territories that are not countries). This is out of 206 countries or territories. This includes places like Greenland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Libya and pretty much every country in Europe and the Americas. It really is a bit overwhelming. Anyway, hello world.

DR Congo

The situation in the DR Congo has taken an interesting turn:

Bosco Ntaganda, a Rwandan national and general in the Congolese military indicted for war crimes, a particularly bad actor who’s stirred up violence in a part of the world that has plenty of bad actors and violence, walked into the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, today and asked to be delivered to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

The question is why someone who has been as influential as he has would turn himself in. There are a few basic reasons a person turns themselves in: they’re innocent and want to prove it; they are remorseful; the alternates are all worse. Here it’s obviously the last reason, but it’s not obvious why. There’s speculation in this article as well as here, here, here, and here. Since it’s always about the resources in the DR Congo, my mostly uninformed guess would be:

International pressure has made Rwanda back away a bit from its support of the rebels. This in turn has given Kabila more leverage in the region (along with the prospect of more UN troops being sent into the region) and has resulted in negotiations with the rebel groups. Either Ntaganda was against the negotiations, Kabila was against including him, or other rebels saw an opportunity to take power away from him. In any case it has led to a split in the rebel groups and Ntaganda’s faction was losing. Since Rwanda can no longer support him, he can’t return to Rwanda and so he’s stuck. There’s still the question of why he surrendered in Rwanda and wants to be delivered to the ICC–it could be a kick at Rwanda, it could be he thought it was his best option, it could be he was forced to do it (by who?).

In any case, it’s an interesting little puzzle. The hope is this will improve things, but the problems in the DR Congo are too big and have gone on for too long to be optimistic.

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