Recently in Russia is NOT a Normal Country Category

Quotes of the Day

“You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women,”… “You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world, Mr. Putin, will reverberate in your ears for the rest of your life.”
- Alexander Litvinenko

"Meanwhile, as far as I know, in the medical report of British doctors, there is no indication that this was an unnatural death. There is none. That means, there is no reason for discussion of that kind.”
- President Putin

Informed advice for anyone contemplating homicide (podcast)
If you are really keen to murder a spouse, which chemical element would you choose? Arsenic is SO last year. Mercury is so - well, mercurial. Cambridge chemist John Emsley offers informed advice for anyone contemplating homicide who would like to show a little flair and impress the team from CSI. He’s the author of the book, The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison.

Some Podcasts

Andrew Leigh interview about Milton Friedman (second item on the podcast)

Interpreting culture
The distinguished American anthropologist Clifford Geertz died last month. This week, we take a respectful but sceptical look at his work, its origins in philosophy and its consequences for philosophy. Savage Minds have more Clifford Geerz.

"Shifting aims, moving targets: on the anthropology of religion"- a lecture by Clifford Geertz

Postmodern Theory

Imps of the Mind Gone Awry: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Rituals, checking the stove, repetitive thoughts. Everyday patterns for all of us, but when they go awry, the impact of these imps of the mind is devastating and life-consuming. This week, a provocative theory with new, convincing science - could Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in some children be triggered by a common bout of strep throat? And, nipping the obsessions and compulsions in the bud - one parent's story, and a pilot project already changing the lives of young people plagued by OCD. More links here.

The State of Russia
Professor Christopher Read examines the current state of Russia and its changing political and economic position

Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an Oxymoron
Cass Sunstein, professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School

Lessons to Autocrats

If you’ve free assembly, the probability that a leader will be in his or here position a year later- they’re not a democracy- the probability decreases by 86 percent if they make the mistake of allowing people to assemble. Of course they don’t make this mistake….

These guys have figured out, if I let these folks get together, if I let them be well-informed, if I let them know what the government is doing, I’m going to be in trouble. I can make them better off economically and so forth without doing that, and I can by that mechanism postpone the risk that I’m going to be kicked out.”

-Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, in this podcast interview.

First Deputy Chief of Russian Central Bank shot

Russia has yet to become a normal country;

For many in Moscow, the murder of first deputy Central Bank chief Andrei Kozlov has brought back memories of the 1990s, when commercial disputes often ended in gunfights and car bombings.

"I don't think the situation has changed at all since then," said Viktor Ilyukhin, a member of the State Duma's Security Committee. "Organized crime, in association with big capital, can do whatever it wants, and the government is helpless."

Ilyukhin, formerly a senior prosecutor, said the country was in for a new wave of contract hits on government officials. "We are on the eve of a big brawl," he said.

Igor Pushkaryov, a member of the Federation Council's Budget Committee, said the killing was particularly unexpected given the country's current political and economic stability.

"It seemed that the lawlessness of the 1990s was a thing of the past, but what has happened sends us right back to those chaotic days," Pushkaryov told Interfax.”


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