As attentive readers know I’m not an economist by training, but I was chatting with someone about things science fictiony and they told me that there are other models than capitalism. One of them is based on the socialist agrarian communities that used to be more common in the 19th century.
These planned economies attempted to internalize production as far as possible to make themselves self sufficient in necessities and create a surplus for trading to obtain what couldn’t be locally produced.
The specifics of our conversation were about food growing, preparation, and recycling in the context of severely isolated populations you might find in slower than light speed space colonizing and the details too arcane for me to grasp, but what I found fascinating is that among experts for whom this is a serious thought experiment what passes for modern academic economics are considered laughably primitive and inadequate because of their failure to account for externalities.
Two months after the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I of England, Elizabeth Tudor, the 25-year-old daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, is crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey in London.
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen regnant of England and Queen regnant of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her brother, Edward VI, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey, cutting his sisters out of the succession. His will was set aside, Lady Jane Grey was executed, and in 1558 Elizabeth succeeded the Catholic Mary I, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.
Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel, and she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers led by William Cecil, Baron Burghley. One of her first moves as queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today’s Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry, but despite several petitions from parliament and numerous courtships, she never did. The reasons for this outcome have been much debated. As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day.
In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and siblings. One of her mottoes was “video et taceo” (“I see, and say nothing”). This strategy, viewed with impatience by her counsellors, often saved her from political and marital misalliances. Though Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs and only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France and Ireland, the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated her name forever with what is popularly viewed as one of the greatest victories in English history. Within 20 years of her death, she was celebrated as the ruler of a golden age, an image that retains its hold on the English people.
Elizabeth’s reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake. Some historians are more reserved in their assessment. They depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity to the point where many of her subjects were relieved at her death. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor, in an age when government was ramshackle and limited and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth’s rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and eventually had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth’s brother and sister, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.
Programming prodigy passes away at 16: Hear her philosophy of life
By Todd Bishop
Arfa Karim Randhawa, the computer programming prodigy who became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at 9 years old, has passed away at the age of 16, according to reports out of her native Pakistan this weekend.
She had been in the hospital for nearly a month after reportedly suffering an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest. Two weeks ago her outlook appeared to improve. In recent weeks, Microsoft had stepped in to help provide expert medical care.
The current case that Iran is developing enriched uranium for a bomb is hardly conclusive and the evidence is sketchy at best. There used to be but it was abandoned under international pressure in 2003. Former member of the IAEA’s Iraq Action Team in 2003 and nuclear engineer, Robert Kelley writes in Bloomberg News that the charges against Iran are no “slam dunk”:
(T)he issue is not whether there is evidence of such a program, but whether there is evidence that it was restarted after being shut down in 2003.
The Nov. 8, 2011, report of the IAEA, under the leadership of Director General Yukiya Amano, is long on the former and very short on the latter. In the 24-page document, intended for a restricted distribution but widely available on the Internet, all but three of the items that were offered as proof of a possible nuclear-arms program are either undated or refer to events before 2004. The agency spends about 96 percent of a 14- page annex reprising what was already known: that at one time there were military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.
What about the three indications that the arms project may have been reactivated?
Two of the three are attributed only to two member states, so the sourcing is impossible to evaluate. In addition, their validity is called into question by the agency’s handling of the third piece of evidence.
That evidence, according to the IAEA, tells us Iran embarked on a four-year program, starting around 2006, to validate the design of a device to produce a burst of neutrons that could initiate a fission chain reaction. Though I cannot say for sure what source the agency is relying on, I can say for certain that this project was earlier at the center of what appeared to be a misinformation campaign.
In 2009, the IAEA received a two-page document, purporting to come from Iran, describing this same alleged work. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity. What’s more, the document contained style errors, suggesting the author was not a native Farsi speaker. It appeared to have been typed using an Arabic, rather than a Farsi, word-processing program. When ElBaradei put the document in the trash heap, the U.K.’s Times newspaper published it.
“I think the pressure of the sanctions, the diplomatic pressures from everywhere, Europe, the United States, elsewhere, it’s working to put pressure on them,” Panetta explained on Sunday. “To make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”
Republicans have been beating the drums of war in recent weeks as tensions in the Iranian gulf have soared. Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transport hub crucial to global industry, if U.S. warships return to monitor their activities. [..]